Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life, magick, witchcraft

Witchcraft Authenticity

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In browsing the internet this morning, I came across this article about navigating your way through spiritual enlightenment. I’m usually wary of articles about how to be spiritual, but this one had an authenticity to it I found quite refreshing. In reading it, I first thought I was stuck between the healing and life purpose phases that the author describes, which deflated me quite a bit. I mean, I’ve been on this path since 2004! Certainly, I’ve made it farther than that.

As I read on, I saw the paragraph on grounding, and I realized that was the step that has alluded me. The author writes that this step helps to control your emotions, which is something that certainly would be useful to me.

I kept going back to the life purpose step. At first, I thought that meant I should have discovered some fantastic purpose to my life, something that is life-shockingly amazing. Upon further thought, it occurred to me that rather than find some new life purpose, witchcraft has given me a way to strengthen the life I was leading.

I’m a stay-at-home husband. In the past, that’s been difficult to convey, because it flipped societal norms. Yet, it frees my spouse to concentrate on a job that is stressful, but lucrative. So, I had to reshape my ego to fit into a plan that was right for us.

What has escaped my logic until now, was that witchcraft strengthened my ability to take care of our family. In the past, I was looking at witchcraft as some kind of personal enlightenment, affecting only me. The reality is that most of what I have learned as a witch has practical use on a day to day basis.

I learned about clearing the space of our home, whether it be from residual anger from some disagreement, from lingering illness energy, or just setting a mood of serenity. I learned all about essential oils. At first, I used them just for ritual, but quickly found their usefulness in both household and personal care situations. I was able to rid our home of nasty chemicals, in favor of herb and oil creations. It led to a safer home, and to less money spent on cleaning, health, and beauty supplies.

I could go on about the multitude of connections between keeping a healthy and happy home and the Craft. But let me cut to the chase, and tie this in a bow that supports the title of this post.

At times, I’ve struggled with the validity of witchcraft and magick. I’ve seen magick work mostly on small problems, but I haven’t deluded myself that magick can supernaturally bring you everything you desire. It won’t miraculously cure severe illness, or fix a broken bone. It won’t bring you boatloads of cash, or never-ending happiness or joy.

What witchcraft will do is give you a direction, a pathway to leading a better life. If you choose it to, it will show you some kind of divinity, often it being whatever kind you are able to wrap your mind around. Be that thinking the the deities exist, or that they are simply a part of you. With magick, you can direct your emotions, your mind, your actions to solving issues. Secondly, it is absolutely useful for day to day applications, such as the ones I previously mentions.

I’ve come to accept that I need a belief in the gods and goddesses. It helps me make it through life. Do they actually exist? For me they do. You have to make up your own mind. Witchcraft has shown me that while the deities are there, they do not guide your life, like Judea/Christian belief. That is where magick, and directing your intent come in. Witchcraft is you taking charge of your life, and using various techniques in which to aid you through the business of daily living.

In days gone by, witches were the healers of communities. They learned the properties of herbs, oils, stones, and other natural elements. Their magick was the ability to use that knowledge to aid themselves and others. Sometimes we expect too much of the Craft, thinking it will do more than the universe allows. But if you bring it down to a personal level, you can realize that it is a path, sometimes a spiritual path, that helps you live a better life. If that’s all it is, isn’t that enough?

Posted in Paganism, Wicca, witchcraft

Witchcraft Side Effect: Losing Friends

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I’m hoping this will never happen to you, that all your current friends are open minded, and they will be excited that you are going to start practicing witchcraft. But you may be surprised by the reaction of some of them, and you should be prepared for that unfortunate witchcraft side effect.

I started practicing witchcraft after 40, so I was stealth about it. My assumption was that long time friends who knew me as a cynical, largely non-religious person probably wouldn’t get it. Most would think I was nuts. So, other than my wife, I told no one. Except bookstores and Amazon, when I was buying all those witchcraft books!

We redecorated our house, and I set up an altar in a bedroom. When I wasn’t there, my wife showed some of our friends the new decor, and boom, there’s the altar. They asked about it, and my wife casually said I was interested in Wicca. Oh boy.

This reverberated though that friendship circle. At one of our next get-togethers, I could tell there was a different vibe between them and myself. Eventually, a few of our “friends” in that circle stopped inviting us over for parties. The girls all got together as usual, but when it would be couples, we were left out of some gatherings. I vividly remember one time we all were together after that, religion came up, and one person said, “well, he’s apparently a Wiccan now,” in a definitively condescending tone. After that, I didn’t want to be around them either.

Their loss, right? Yes, but that was our social circle, and at midlife, it’s hard to develop new ones. After that, Wicca was never mentioned again around the remainder of the group. Now, over a decade later, I people generally know that I’m Pagan (it says so on my Facebook page), but we leave it at that.

I’ve often said that I am jealous of those that come to Paganism or witchcraft early in life. Those people get to build a life around their path, and friends that they make are often aware from the start that their new friend is a witch. The generation of younger people who come to, or are born into Paganism tend to be very open about it. Because of all the information out there about our paths, today’s youth is much more open-minded, for the most part.

However, there are plenty of exceptions, there are employers scouring your social media, and religious zealots who want to save you. A witch fights a battle against stereotypes, drummed into the public’s head by TV, movies, and churches. Face it, there are lots of people who think of Fairuza Balk flying in a window in “The Craft” when they hear the words witch, Pagan, and Wiccan.

It’s funny how mainstream people love movies like “Practical Magic” or all the Harry Potter movies, or sit and watch TV shows like Buffy, “Charmed,” “The Good Witch,” or the dozens of others, yet look down upon people living a real witchcraft life, with none of the theatrics you find in TV or movies.

So take this as a caveat. If you are new to, or interested in witchcraft, there will be people who don’t like it. Some friends who you might have thought were open minded might surprise you by their reactions. There is a good chance you will lose a friend or two. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but I think it’s best to be prepared for the possibility.

I wish you the best.

Blessings!

Posted in Depression, Energy/Vibrations, Goth, witchcraft

Gothic Witch: Getting Real..

5899c095f774c4b387045440c7de16f8Yeah, the hippie Wiccan thing backfired. I completely went the other way. I simply found that trying to be all “blessed be” hippie was more of a public image than part of my internal make-up. Putting on one face for others, while harboring a darker mindset seemed crazy, considering I’m already doing that in real life, by concealing the fact that I am a witch to most who know me.

So why have I tried so diligently to project that persona? There are many reasons really. I’ve always put on a pleasant face to the public. My parents didn’t exactly teach me to do that, but their actions did, so I just seemed to follow in their footsteps. My father was a genuinely nice and caring person, so it came naturally to him. My mother had her demons, yet projected a polite persona. I inherited a few of  my mother’s demons, which I hate to admit, but indeed, I must.

I’m always shocked by people who air their displeasure with situations in public. I have family members who seemingly have no reservations letting everyone know they are unhappy with something or someone, even to the point of making everyone in the room uncomfortable. It seems their feelings trump everyone else’s feelings. I can’t imagine doing that.

To a fault, I’ve been a people pleaser. I try to make everyone comfortable and happy, often to the detriment of my own health and happiness. I’ve written about the fact that I believe I’ve experienced illnesses after the December holidays because I spent so much of my personal energy making sure everyone was having a good holiday. By January, I was so energy depleted that my immune system was compromised, and I spent a month or more paying the price.

Truthfully, and I will write more about this in the future, I discovered psychic vampirism back in 2007, when I began exploring my gothic tendencies. I had an immune system breakdown, which landed me in a rheumatologist’s office. I credit both his advice and medication and Michelle Belanger’s book, The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work for my recovery.

I continue to occasionally suffer from immune system problems. I can point directly to stress as the main trigger for the onset of the disease. Often, it happens when I’ve put myself out there for others, while forsaking my own physical and psychological needs.

I’m straying from my intended post here a bit. What I’m trying to say is that it’s time to embody and project my true self, especially in my online witchcraft writings, in which I try to be brutally honest. If I can’t be honest in a relatively anonymous forum, when can I be?

I have days when I’m a real hippie. I dress like a hippie. But most of the time, my mind, my interests, and my actions point to goth. A gothic outlook. It is ultimately what keeps me sane and healthy. This mindset takes me in a different direction from Wicca.

There’s no definitive conclusion here. I simply felt that I owed you, the reader, the truth. I know it flies in the face of my “Hippie Wicca!” post.  But you might have noticed that I’ve not written (except for the horror movie post) since I wrote the Hippie Wicca entry. I started half a dozen posts, along the hippie witch lines, but they just fizzled out after 300 or 400 words. Those drafts just felt forced. Conversely, this entry just flew out my fingertips. That alone speaks volumes.

More later.

Blessings!

Posted in Goth, Hippie, Wicca, witchcraft

Witchcraft Philosophy vs Practicality 

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Lots of highfalutin rhetoric in the post on the 14th. I was reading that post when I woke up at 2:30 AM, thinking it felt like I had been asleep for days. In actuality it was 4 & 1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure I was a vampire in a previous life…..

Anyway, as I read that post, I was thinking back on this past couple of weeks. I’ve been under the weather for over a month now. I’ve spent the good part of a day in bed several times over the last 10 days.

It’s been a frustrating time. It has brought on a couple of near emotional breakdowns. Not really from the illnesses themselves, but the frustration of not being able to get well, and feel like I’m a part of the world.

So I was contemplating the spiritual actions I’ve taken over the course of this illness. They have included:  reconstruction of my Wiccan altar and a formal ritual, with a circle casting, a magical working to drive away my illness, complete with prayers to Isis & Osiris.

I began meditating again, in full force, using guided chakra cleansing for healing, and meditation designed to connect with your Goddess. You go into that meditation without any particular goddess in mind, and see who comes to you in that meditation. The goddess that came to me? Hestia, virgin goddess of hearth & home.

I’ve also listened to hours and hours of New Age music, specifically that of the healing and relaxation kind.

I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to the God & Goddess, you know, the Wiccan kind. My theory is that witches don’t ask deity to answer prayers, rather we perform spells. But I did ask for strength to heal. These are the two recitations I said, and continue to say each morning & night:

May the power of the One, the Source of all creation, all pervasive , omnipotent, eternal; may the Goddess, Lady of the Moon, and the God, horned hunter of the sky; may the powers, Spirits of the Quarters, rulers of the elemental realms; may the powers of the stars above, and the earth below, bless this place, this time, and I, whom are with you.

Lady and Lord, Earth and Sky, the Laws of Nature I will abide. Thank you for allowing me to understand your ways. Thank you for the strength and guidance you give me each day. Accept this token of thanks, for it is given in perfect love and perfect trust.

Decidedly Wiccan, wouldn’t you say? So what gives? I write a whole post about being all Left Hand Path-ish, devoted to Lilith, and being goth. But then, in practice, during a most desperate and stressful time, where do I go? Right back to Wicca, that’s where.

Obviously, this is where my spiritual trust lays. When shit gets real, I’m not invoking Lilith, or relying on the LHP. And the meditation & chakra thing? More hippie than goth..

In life, there is the philosophical, then there is the practicality of living life everyday. It appears that there is a part of me that craves the darkness, perhaps even needs it at times. Yet, when spirituality is put into action, when something needs to be dealt with, its back to the hippie Wiccan.

So which witch am I? You might say these are different aspects of my psyche. While that may be true, doesn’t actual witchcraft practice demand a choice? Doesn’t one aspect of deity need to be chosen and honored daily?

Perhaps Hecate should be my patron deity. I’m at the frigging crossroads enough!!

The one thing that does occur to me is that I might be having difficulty separating lifestyle from spirituality. Obviously, I have a duality of goth and hippie going on, and I think that’s ok. Simply two aspects of my personality. But when it comes to putting spirituality into action, Wicca appears to be the cream rising to the top.

Maybe the true test is to think about what spiritual direction I would choose on my deathbed…..

Blessed Be

Posted in Goth, left hand path, witchcraft

Polishing My Witchcraft Path – A Journey

8d2d8af208fa60baa28c3bc381547932It’s no secret to anyone who has read my blog that I have struggled with my spiritual path. In fact, I decided to walk away from the blog for a bit to quietly contemplate what it was that A) I really wanted in a path, and B) what path could I realistically live, on a day to day basis. The two can’t be mutually exclusive. You can have grandiose plans to celebrate a path daily, or envision a path you might like to live, but actually doing so is often a difficult task.

When I weighed those factors, and I looked within to see what was really there, these descriptors came to mind most often:  Witchcraft, Wicca, Left Hand Path, New Age practices and a goth outlook. Some thoughts on that follows:

Wicca is a distinct path, albeit fairly eclectic these days. It’s probably a disservice to the Wiccan religion to stretch it’s description to encompass all those aforementioned practices. It is, however, the foundation upon which my path is built. That is why it is so difficult to move past that witchcraft path description.

Witchcraft is, of course, a practice, using magical techniques to effect change. A witch need not be religious at all to practice witchcraft. Or a witch could be a non-Pagan and practice witchcraft, such as a Christian witch. That seems like a difficult dichotomy to traverse, but I know people do it.

Moving on to the Left Hand Path, a trickier subject. I was pulled toward that path, beginning in 2008. I’ve had forays into chaos magick, Luciferianism & to a far lesser and shorter experience, Theistic Satanism.  I’m well aware that the mention of the latter two are of concern to some. Please understand these paths have nothing to do with evil. Unfortunately, there are those who use those paths as an excuse for hatred and criminal behavior, which I find deplorable.

I find that Luciferianism is a path of empowerment and of nonconformity. To be honest with you, I’m rather tired of all the “experts” telling me how to be a Wiccan or what I might be doing incorrectly. It sometimes seems that some people who have come to Wicca from other religions have brought along their concepts of dogma, hierarchy, and non-individualism.

Chaos magick is intriguing because it offers the opportunity to practice all paths. Essentially, the premise of chaos magick is to have no belief until you find a certain belief beneficial. Then you adopt that belief system, use it until you have achieved a desired result, then cast aside that belief. The belief system you choose can be an established one, or one you invent. The system itself is secondary to your belief in the system.

A motto used in chaos magick is, “nothing is true, everything is permitted.” Belief is fleeting, but can be used when necessary to affect the mind to achieve a desired result. Then the belief is discarded.

The primary difficulty of chaos magick is deprogramming the mind. Absolute belief is only necessary for a specific purpose. Most people need a belief system, which is why chaos magick is so challenging. It is said that this path can cause mental breakdowns.

The last practice I mentioned was New Age. Many witches will say that New Age practices aren’t part of witchcraft. However, actions speak louder than words. Reiki, meditation, mindfulness, incense, crystals, stones, herbs, essential oils, and so many other techniques used by witches bleed over into New Age practices. I’m listening to New Age music as I write this.

I also mentioned goth. The word conjures up images of angst ridden teens wearing black. I get that. But I, and legions of others, see it having by a deeper, more far reaching meaning in the witchcraft world. For me, witchcraft bubbled to the surface the fact that I am an empath. I absorb the problems of others. I am entrenched in the darkness of others all the time. If I can’t live with that darkness, if I’m always fighting it, I will lose my sanity. So I embrace the darkness. So much so that it bleeds over into my life, in my tastes in art, decor, sex, literature, music, and life outlook. I see the beauty in aspects of life often avoided by others at all costs. If I struggle to be in the light all the time, depression is sure to ensue.

I’d like to say, and often have said, that I’m a carefree hippie. I dress like one. But the fact of the matter is that I need to embody the goth outlook on life to survive.

So where does this leave me? The one certainty I can point to is that I am, and always will be, a witch. It is where the universe has seen fit to place me. To paraphrase Fairuza Balk in the film The Craft, “I am the weirdo.” It is the perfect path for expressing my uniqueness.

Secondly, I’m firmly, and irrevocably entrenched in a goth outlook and lifestyle. I simply need to stop questioning and doubting it. It is what it is.

As far as what kind of witch I am. Well that’s a bit more difficult. I’m not strictly a chaos magick witch, but I do use some of the techniques of that path.

I would say that I’m a Left Hand Path witch. I am largely outside conventional societal norms, and my path is free of dogma. I, unlike a growing number of Pagans and witches, have no desire or need to be “the same as everyone else.”  I will tell people who ask that I’m Pagan, but I’ll keep the witch part to myself, thank you. To me, that seems to give me a degree of empowerment.

It’s taken 13 years, and a lot of personal emotional carnage to arrive at this destination. Interestingly, blogging has been somewhat detrimental to getting here. There are times when I’ve blogged, I’ve held back, wanting to appeal to the greatest number of people, while worrying that I won’t be perceived as fairly “normal.” I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there really is no normal in this world.

I’m contemplating a reversion to a Craft name I used when I was practicing chaos magick. Having a bit of Latin in school, I found Nocturnus Veneficus appealing and rather appropriate. It seems to reflect what I’ve laid out here better than Patchouli Sky. I’ll think about it.

Sorry this was so long. It was a post that came tumbling out this morning at 3AM, and after polishing, ended up at a length I don’t normally create.

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the blog. Sorry for the disruption in posts, but sometimes you have to step back and take a breath.

Blessed Be.

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft

Cottage Witchcraft

Harvesting oregano from the gardenI think my blog post from yesterday confused people as much as I was confused when I reread it later in the day. I wrote that early in the day, having come off the day before, when I found out that I need a crapload of dental work done on something I thought was already rectified. Choose your dentist wisely people!

Anyway, my post was just supposed to be about finding more ways to raise my level of energy, or vibrations, whatever you want to call it. But as I’m known to do, I went a long way around the barn to say that one sentence…

This morning I was reading one of my books, Progressive Witchcraft, which I love, and was struck by the fact that there were so many “rules” in Wicca. Obviously, I’ve known that, but for the past few years I’ve basically been doing something I like to call, ‘Wicca, My Way.’ In other words, I’ve been ignoring the fact that Wicca is really a ceremonial witchcraft path, and I’ve not been very ceremonial in my practice. Yet, I still called my practice Wicca.

That’s clearly not the case. Wicca is not anything you want it to be. It has guidelines, and generally accepted methods of practice. I’m not doing the path justice, and conversely, it’s not providing me with what I need at this point in my life.

My lifestyle is simpler, greener, and more relaxed than it was when I started down the witchcraft path 13 years ago. Ironically, much of that came as a result of Wicca. I’ve always been a type B person, but at this point in my life I’m even deeper into that B. I don’t have a lot of interest in elaborate rituals and complicated spells.

I’ve written in the past about cottage witchery. It’s a broad term, that seems to include kitchen, green, and hearth witchery. Basically, it’s witchcraft that centers on the home, and since I’m home the most, take care of the cooking, cleaning, and most things connected with our home, it seems to be a perfect fit.

I believe I do a lot of the things connected with the path. I make great use of essential oils, herbs, crystals, and stones when it comes to cooking, making my own cleaning supplies, personal care supplies, and minor health issues. I do have to credit my wife, for she has the green thumb as far as gardening and growing herbs. To be honest, I probably need to read some more books on the path.

As far as magick and spells, most of my workings are folk magick. Making magical sachets, essential oil blends, and herbal remedies. Judika Illes book, Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells is a great reference for folk magick. Most of the spells are based on low, or folk magick. Once you have the ingredients, the spells are simple in nature.

So, I’m going to stop identifying myself as Wiccan. Cottage witch certainly seems more fitting, basically describing what I do on a daily basis.

Hopefully, this post makes more sense than yesterday’s convoluted offering. As always, thanks for reading, and leave a comment if you’d like! I love hearing from you guys!

Blessed Be!

*Pictured above are herbs drying in one of our windows. Very cottage witchy, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Depression, Energy/Vibrations, witchcraft

Raising Vibrations, Witchcraft, Serenity

It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. 

Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last. 

All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. 

Life flows with ease. 

~Eckhart Tolle

There is about a million ways to interpret that quote. I think it has to do with your expectations, and depending on circumstances to be just as you want them to be. It’s about letting go of those expectations, not counting on them, and finding happiness with what comes. And perhaps those things will come to you easier than you ever imagined. Yet, one has to realize that these things come and go, there is some sort of cycle, but if you have no concrete expectations, you will not feel sadness when these things go away, and you will not live in fear of them disappearing while you have them.

I’ve been noticing that much of my interest, and what I read about these days, is energy. The philosophy of life, of how energy, my own feelings, my own vibrations and frequency affects my life.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time over the years trying to define my Pagan and witchcraft path. Gothic/hippie/light/dark/Wiccan/just a witch/chaos practitioner, and on an on. That’s a whole lot of energy wasted. Worse yet, it doesn’t really matter. How I practice, how you practice, how the “experts” tell you to practice, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Every witchcraft author has their own spin. There are more offshoots of witchcraft than you can count.

At this point, I’m not sure what I am. The other night, with my arthritis flaring like mad, I asked the God and Goddess to help me out. I had a small (think tiny), informal ritual, said some blessings, and gave my thanks to them. This is not how I normally think. Witches do spells, they don’t count on the deities for help, they don’t really pray, they do magick. But I didn’t have the energy to do any magick, so I tried asking. Yesterday, things had improved. Did the deities do that? Was it simply mind over matter? Did I raise my vibrations by thinking positive? I can’t tell you. I just know that it worked to a degree.

From this point on, I’m just going to call myself a Pagan and a witch. That is enough definition. I am going to explore energy vibrations, frequencies, and how it affects me. I’m probably going to step foot in New Age territory a bit, or even a lot, and I know that just disgusts some witches.

But here’s the thing. So far, in thirteen years, I haven’t found serenity. I’ve found a spiritual practice I’ve enjoyed at times, but I’ve also had plenty of Dark Nights of the Soul. A lot of that had to do with how I took criticism of others, based on their writings. I’ve eye rolled new witches who wanted to know if there was a spell to turn them into a vampire. I’ve wasted so much energy on stuff that was so far out in left field.

Some may say that the quest upon which I’m embarking may qualify for a bit of craziness. Maybe, but it seems to be working for a lot of people. If it is just mental, that’s fine, because if I can find serenity though energy workings, so be it.

There is a lot of upheaval in the world right now. U.S. politics scare the shit out of me. I’ve wasted a lot of energy on worrying about that too. So, it seems to be a really good time to work on centering myself, and rising above all the crap.

The bottom line is that while I enjoy being a witch, it has not given me the strength I had hoped it might, and I am going to explore further to see if I can find some help.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think, or if you have any reference suggestions on the topics I’ve discussed here.

Blessed Be!