Category Archives: Metaphysics
The Conjure Workbook Volume 1: Working the Root is an excellent tome on Southern Conjure work. When I picked up this tome I knew that it was going to be full of Christian mysticism and biblical references. That is what Hoodoo and conjure is. The Southern Hoodoo and conjure traditions are a mixture of folk beliefs from pre-slave days in Africa and the various Christian faiths in the south. This was how the slaves were able to hold on to a bit of their previous culture and identity.
If those who are looking to learn about Hoodoo and conjure work are expecting information to come from a pagan perspective and are looking at this work they will be disappointed. Mama Starr is very clear about her roots and the roots of Southern Conjure which are in Christian belief systems of the south. While she does say that you can be of any belief system and still work the spells and rituals she provides, unless you respect the Bible and understand that it is filled with lore, spells, and practices you will not get anything out of this book.
The author begins the book by discussing the work of ancestors. Here the author begins explaining one of the core concepts and beliefs across Conjure/Hoodoo/Rootwork traditions. There is an overall belief in an existence of an afterlife and that our ancestors will be there to answer us. The author starts by describing how they help us and work with us and finally ends with setting up an altar to venerate and pray to your ancestors.
I mentioned the importance of respect for the Bible as a sacred text and as a book of power as that is the second topic discussed in the book. As I said early on the author is clear in that this book is a southern conjure book which is going to have referenced to the Bible in there. Most of the references are in the Old Testament but they are still Bible references.
After working with the ancestors is covered, crafting altars and work spaces is discussed, and the Bible is mentioned as an important source the Author gets into the spirits and beings that are often worked with in her practice of Hoodoo. Prior to reading this book I was aware of the work with the archangels and the saints. Here I learned of new spirits and beings also associated with Conjure as well as how we can even work with the prophets in the bible.
Each being mentioned came with several different prayers and ways that you can work with them. These early workings are here to give you an idea about the powers each spirit has. These workings also introduce you to the concepts of repeating works, and how actual effort is put into the work. The author makes it clear that these things are repeated several times for effectiveness.
As the book continues the author mentions and focuses on another core belief in rootworking traditions. That belief and practice is one of divination. Starr provides many different ways of working divination including a very traditional practice of reading the bones. While the actual practice of bone reading is not discussed, the author does include its history of use. The author included a photo of her own bone set.
As the book continues the author continues an easy to follow step by step instruction on workings. The author also continues her straight talk. The author is very serious about their work and their tradition. Throughout the book the author mentions how some of these works are dangerous and are not to be simply played with. She does this not to discourage people from doing these works, but to encourage people to take the work seriously.
The author does speak only of their own tradition and practices. While the author does give you all the information you need to create your own Hoodoo/Conjure practice she does encourage you to find an actual teacher to learn more complex works. As an example the author explains why some packet spells written by other authors aren’t as effective as they could be because of folding the paper of the packet in a different manner than she was taught with an explanation of why the other method may actually backfire.
This book is filled with practical information. With the authors attitude, explanations, and the step by step processes in the book the tome The Conjure Workbook volume 1: Working the Root provides everything you need to know in order to effective start working your own spells and rituals. By working the spells in the book you develop understanding of associations and correspondences which can be useful in creating your own effective spells.
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Today we are going to cover one of the most basic and yet most elusive concepts found within spirituality and magical practices. Today even many modern self help and positive thinking programs talk about the effect of energy and working with energy. Yet none ever really seem to cover and explain what this concept really is. As a seeker this vague yet all important concept seems to be essential to any and all spiritual development. So learning about an understanding what this concept is is important.
Energy: What it is and how to work with it
Spiritually the concept of energy is rather vast. You have it as a force of life. You can have it be seen as simply magic itself. Energy comes in many forms, shapes and workings within the spiritual world and work. As a seeker it is important to come up with your own basic understanding of the types and styles of energy out there. I am going to provide you a few of my own examples and definitions. With each type of magic I am also going to provide you with an exercise to work with and create your own understanding of that style of energy.
The first thing I am going to do though before I explain the different types of energy out there and how to work with the magically, spiritually, and effectively in day to day life is provide you with a simple exercise for sensing and feeling energy. This technique is one of the first energy exercises I ever learned so placing it here will give context to the rest of the energy exercises.
Energy Ball exercise:
This deceptively simple exercise remains one of the most effective exercises for energy manipulation and energy work. It is from this basic exercise that basically any specific type of energy work can be done. This exercise teaches to feel and be aware of energy. It also teaches shaping and direction of the energy. This is essential to directing more complex energy forces later on in spell and ritual work.
- Vigorously rub your hands together creating friction.
- Cup your hands about a foot apart.
- Focus and see the energy on your hands from rubbing them form a ball between your hands.
- Gradually move and shape your hands until you feel a ball in between your two hands.
- Move the ball to one hand and then another. Feel the weight of the ball as it transfers from hands.
- After a while start to stretch and change the shape of it to anything you can think of. Use your hands and your mind to shape the image of the energy force between your hands.
- After a few minutes see the energy disperse into the air.
- Rub your hands on your legs to return the energy remaining on your hands to your body.
Now write down and note everything you just experienced. This was your first magical exercise with energy. You through that exercise were able to raise, maintain, manipulate, direct, and disperse the energy into the world. For fun you can place thoughts and goals into the balls as you shape them and then when you disperse them those thoughts and goals are sent into the universe. Try it both ways. Write down different experiences with your mind, your body, and your emotional state. You have in that exercise experienced all forms of energy.
Types of energy
Energy as I said comes in many forms. Each form and style of energy has its use in day to day life, spiritual work, and magical work. By understanding the different energetic forces in your life you can more effectively work to create a spiritual balance. You can work more towards a sense of inner peace and have an effective way to work with the world. We have physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy, and spiritual energy. All of these energetic forces are working with you at all times. These are the forces that allow us to live and have day to day experiences as well as significant spiritual experiences.
Physical energy is probably the most obvious style and type of energy that I have mentioned. This is the energetic force that gives our body motion. This energy is created both by activity and by food. This energy is effected by the foods we eat, physical health (sicknesses, pain, etc), sleep patterns, and behavioral patterns. Physical energy is also greatly impacted by your mental state and thus your mental energy as well.
Physical energy in magic and spiritual work may not seem to have a place but it actually does. In ritual the physical energy is the energy our body raises by performing ritual actions. In some styles of ritual physical energy is also used in the worship through the means of dance or physical movements and actions related to the myths and tales being told. In working spells the physical energy is the energy you spend manipulating the objects for example in crafting incense the energy spent grinding the herbs in a mortar and pastel or weighing, pouring, and mixing with a grinder is put into the incense to be used for the completion of the spell. In magic using physical energy is an excellent way to raise and direct energy to the universe through physical actions or directions.
Physical energy exercise
The following exercise is going to help you understand how to judge and feel your personal physical energy levels. This exercise will also teach you how to work magic using just your physical energy and sending that energy out into the universe. All you need for this exercise is a space to stand and not be disturbed for 10-15 minutes. You may also want some music as there will be “dance” involved.
- Turn on any music you desired to use for this exercise. It should be instrumental in nature. Irish or Celtic instrumental music will work well for this. Clear the area and make sure you wont be disturbed.
- Stand in the center of the area. Take note of how you feel right now. Listen to the music and let the music’s beat take an effect on your energy stance. Slowly start to move to the music.
- Think of an idea you want to “grow”. This should be a new plan, a project, or something you have been working towards you want a boost on getting completed.
- Bring your body to the ground. Basically be a seed. Make your body into your idea as you dance. Begin to as you feel a plant would slowly grow towards the sun move your body in this fashion. Repeat this motion over and over again. Eventually you will get into a rhythm.
- As you dance if you feel the desire to move in a circle or outside of your standing position do so. Continue to see your desire go from being a seed to a seedling, to a bud to a full mature plant for harvest. As you dance you will build speed and energy. Focus and direct this energy.
- When you feel you can dance no more jump straight up and move your arms into a point above your head directing the energy from your body into the universe. See all the energy you have raised going into the universe knowing that it will be worked on and you will get your desire.
- Get your notebook and write down your experiences before, during, and after. Take real note of any physical changes or feelings you had in your body during the exercise.
- Eat and drink something to ground and refocus your mind and body on reality.
What you had right there is an experience of working with the physical energy created by our body in movement and through exercise. That exercise there was given to not only give you an idea about working with physical energy but also about working magic in general. There are other ways you can work with and experience physical energy. Exercising is one way-though regular exercise in a gym or through an at home system of some form you can learn the differences before and after exercise in your body’s energy. It will be different for each of us as all of our bodies are different. The technique though is something you can apply to basically all bodies.
Mental energy is another energy that is really simple when you think about it. In our day to day life this is the energy that we expend on thinking and problem solving. This is also the energy we use when we focus on a task or concept intensely. Mental energy then is simply the energy of our thoughts and our brains natural processes. Mental energy is also the level of our ability to concentrate and focus on a concept and idea.
In our day to day life this is what allows us to write business proposals. This is what allows us to focus on our tasks at work or at school. With out our mental energy we can not get anything done. We could have all the physical energy in the world but if we have no ability to focus nothing will get done. This is why mental energy is effected by physical energy.
Mental energy like physical energy is also effected by our sleep patterns and behavior patterns. More than physical energy though our mental energy is tied to the state of our emotional energy. These three energetic forces (mental, physical, and emotional) make up our basic energetic health and these three all impact spiritual energy.
Now that we know what mental energy is and what it does for us in our day to day life we need to know what it does for us in magic. Mental energy and magic have a very special relationship. In magic mental energy is tied to belief energy. By working mental energy, and belief together amazing results can happen. This is why it is possible and even effective to cast spells and perform entire rituals just in the mind.
The power of the mind in magic is really what makes magic work. Magic is the ability to work mental forces to create external and internal changes to the best of ones abilities. This is why affirmations are a form of magic. This is also why visualization skills and mental focus training is of great importance in most magical and spiritual practices. Here is a meme to basically illustrate what I mean:
Our thoughts create our reality. That is the role of mental energy in magic. Have you ever wondered why the things you spend the most time thinking or worrying about are always what seem to manifest in your life? By focusing on those things you are sending those thoughts into the universe and that is what the universe will bring to you.
This next exercise set will help you learn how to focus your thoughts and use your thoughts to work magic and create noticeable changes in your life. There are two exercises here because there are two ways I want to illustrate working with mental energy to create changes in your life. The first is sort of silly but effective for when you are running late and the second is more long term but also effective.
Time bending mental exercise
This first mental energy and mental magic exercise is something I use frequently when I am running late. This technique here is something I picked up originally from Instant Magick by Christopher Penczak, but I have modified it slightly for my own use as it works effectively both ways.
- See yourself and your time stream in one place. See the time stream of your location or if you are meeting a type of transportation service see their stream going the other direction.
- As you focus on the time streams see the other stream slow down and your stream speed up.
- See the streams eventually meeting the same speed, direction, and flow but with you slightly ahead of the other.
- Hold this visualization until you can no longer focus.
- Release the thought and the energy to the universe knowing you will be on time.
You can modify the exercise so that if you only have so much time before you have to leave and you want it to feel longer by slowing down your time stream. This will allow you to mentally experience time passing slower.
This next exercise is about positive affirmations. This is about thinking to yourself and saying to yourself repeatedly that you are something or you have something. By seeing yourself with these attributes and thinking about having these attributes you will begin to develop them and the universe will manifest them for you.
Positive Affirmation Exercise
- Write down and consider five different items you are looking for in life. For example you can write down love, succsess, friendship, prosperity, and appreciation. These could be five goals that you are looking at working on. They could be things you need to improve on. Just have five goals in mind.
- Take each goal and write in at least five different ways that you have the goal. For love for example you might write I am loved. I have love. Love surrounds me. I love. People love me. You then do the same for each other goal in a similar fashion. Note you write these in the current stance. By saying I have love and I am loved it is manifesting in the known here and now while if you say I will be loved or they will love me it will manifest maybe at some unknown time in the future. If you focus on not having something like not having debt you will manifest debt because you are focusing on the negative rather than the positive so in stead of saying not having debt or nor debt focus on prosperity or having enough to cover all your needs.
- Keep the affirmations by your bedside, probably on your nightstand. Put them basically somewhere you will see them to recite them every day.
- In the morning shortly after waking or in the shower recite each individual affirmation for each goal five times. Do this for each goal. The more often you say them aloud the more you will believe it. The sound of you saying it confirms your mental belief in it. The two work together to manifest these five goals. See yourself with each affirmation firmly. Believe and know that you have them.
- In the mid morning repeat the affirmations aloud and mentally as before.
- In the afternoon around lunchtime or your midday meal repeat them again as you did before.
- Do the same with your afternoon snack or break after work. Repeat each affirmation for each goal five time.
- Before bed once more perform the affirmation exercise for each goal. This will program it into your dreams and also into the universe.
- Perform this exercise daily for two weeks and take notice of how you feel. You may not believe the affirmations at first but give it time and it will work.
- Continue for another two weeks and notice any changes in your state of mind, life, and emotional states. This will show any progress in manifesting these goals.
- After a month you can either continue with the same goals or you can try new ones. The process of reflection and practice starts again though.
The affirmation exercise is a long exercise but it forms mental bonds and beliefs. By changing the way you think about something you change the way you work and view the world. Thoughts and thought processes are very powerful in forming the world we live in affirmations are a way we can work on ourselves and change our thoughts and thus change our reality and our world, and if that is not magic I don’t know what is.
Affirmations may take a little longer to take effect than other magical works, but at the same time the repetition of the visualizations and the verbalization as a daily spell will cause changes. This is why I have you make a note of the progress after two weeks and then after a month. After you have done the exercise a month you can change or continue to work. Its up to you. However a month is enough time to see some sort of change in your own mental views of the world and yourself which again is magic.
Emotional energy is a hot one. Often times emotional energy and mental energy can become confused. Emotions are how we feel and how we work. Our emotions often effect our mental and physical energy is substantial ways. When we are feeling depressed for example we have little focus (mental energy) and may have less drive or desire to do anything (physical energy). When we are feeling excited about something we can have either a lot of focus on the subject at hand or we could have no focus on anything until the thing we are excited about happens (mental energy) and physically we typically have a lot of energy when we are excited (physical energy). The emotional energy then is the excitement. The mental and physical energy states are the reaction to the emotional energy.
The one thing that drives magic more than the mind is desire. Desires are formed from emotional reactions to situations and stimuli. The stronger our emotional reaction to a need the stronger our desire will be and the more emotion and intent we can put into the spell to make magic work. The emotions we have can be very effective in driving our thoughts and then our behaviors. In magic we can use this to create thoughts and behaviors which will effectively bring the desires to us rather than keeping the desires in the distance.
So how can we work with emotional energy in magic? That is simple. our emotions become our intent for the spell. Intent is desire or wanted outcome. Without an intent there is no reason to cast a spell. So emotions and intent form our reasons for casting spells. However the emotional energy can also be the force behind the spell physically through actions. This next exercise is actually going to be a spell for removing stress (often a very difficult emotion to deal with) that uses emotional energy and physical behaviors and reactions to the emotion to drive the spell.
This spell will show you how emotional energy effects the body but also the mind. This exercise and spell focuses on releasing the emotion through intense focus and action. This spell is simple and effective. It also works with the basis of elemental magic. It actually comes in four different forms (one for each element) for now we will focus on fire. I will probably post the other spells in elemental theory when I post on that next time I focus on the letter E.
Emotion energy exercise:
Fire stress relief spell
Materials: a candle, a fire safe container to collect ash and burn paper in, paper, and a pen
Take the paper and write on it as many details as you can about the stresses you have going on in your life that you want to be gone. Push as much of the stress energy you can into writing down the stressors or stressful situation in your life.
When the paper is full or you have written out everything you can light you candle. Charge the candle with the power of fire. See the fire burning away everything that does not serve you.
Take the paper and rip it up into small pieces. As you tear the paper throw any more frustration and stress you have into the act. Grab the fire safe container. Light each piece of paper on fire from the candle. As the fire burns chant something along the lines of “Fire burn away all that does not serve me on this day”. Repeat the chant as long as each peice of paper burns. See the fire burning away each issue. See the stresses get burned away with the ashes of the paper as well as with the burning of the candle.
Once all the paper is burned, the candle has burned out, and the ash collected gather the ash and the candle remains. Throw it on the ground outside and stamp on it. As you stamp the ashes into the ground state “Stressors no longer control me” Release any final stressful energy into the ground with that stomping. The forces the stress to be under your feet no longer being what controls you.
As you can see by looking at the spell above you the emotions in stress, anger, frustration, confusion, and even simply stress itself become what you charge the paper with. You force those emotions out into the paper and into the candle. The candle and the paper become full of those emotions and when they are destroyed through being burned the emotions are also burned away in your life. The stomping in the ground is the announcement that those stressors no longer bother you and you have control over your life.
Up to now all of the energetic forces are forces that are directly observable and slightly measurable forces and effects on the human body and in our daily lives. Spirit energy is not really observable or measurable. It is something that can really only be experienced. Spirit energy is the energy of our soul. It is our life force. This is the energy that makes up ghosts and phantoms. This is also the energy of the various plants and crystals or physical items used in magic for the spells to work.
Spirit then is something that we can only experience. Our spirit energy is expended basically by living. It is effected by physical illnesses, mental states, and emotional states. Our spirit energy is also our energetic connection to the greater world of nature around us. It is our spirit energy that we use to communicate with spirits of loved ones through divination, but it is also the energy we use when we try and objectively think about and work for our best needs and desires.
Spirit energy is made up of physical, emotional, and mental energy. Though it also has divine energy forces. Spirit energy is the energy of magic. This is the energy that makes up the universe. For us it is connected to our soul and thus our minds and bodies. Though our spirit energy is also connected to the land and the world of spirits around us. Spirit energy is basically the known yet really unsubscribed and unmeasured force put forth by philosophers and some scientists.
In spirit work it is our spirit energy that leave the body for astral travel. It is this energy that we use to align to our various spiritual allies. This is also the part of us that is always connected to the divine currents in the universe. Some believe our spirit energy is also the form our guardian angel or guardian spirits take. Though I disagree with that. Our spirit energy is us and not another being or part of us manifested seperatly. Our spirit energy is unique to us and lasts for all lives. It modifies and changes but is always our signature in the universe as it were.
This next exercise is a way for you to align your spirit energy with another spiritual force. By aligning your spirit energy with another force you are actively working on your spirit energy. This alignment and vibration exercise will teach you where your original spiritual energy is and where it will be after the exercise. This exercise will also help you develop a stronger connection with various spiritual forces as you are trying to be at their spirit energy level.
Spirit Vibration energy exercise
- Set up a space with quiet instrumental music. You may want candle light as well as some incense. The idea is to create an atmosphere for meditation and spiritual work. Make sure you will not be disturbed for 10-15 minutes.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to calm and center yourself.
- Get yourself into a meditative state through self hypnosis, breath control, or what ever means you find useful for entering meditative states.
- State mentally and verbally “I vibrate in harmony with (insert spirit name or type of spirit here)”
- Repeat the statement over and over again. As you repeat the statement see yourself spiritually becoming one of those spirits. Feel yourself becoming filled with and full of that spirit energy.
- Continue letting your vibrations rise and your visualization develop. As you continue the chant and the visualization if the spirit allies are welcoming to you, a door will open to their spirit realm and world. Enter the world. Take note and try to remember what you see and feel.
- Hold on to the energetic forces, visualization, and chant until you can no longer hold them. Then release the energy and the vibration back to the universe. You will slowly find your self returning back to your body.
- Record and note your feelings throughout the process
- Eat something to ground and center yourself.
You mat notice now that you physically and mentally feel a little different. This means that the alignment was successful. By repeating the exercise with those particular spirits you will be able to establish stronger vibration connections and a deeper relationship with those spirits. This exercise also provides you with a simple and effective way to experience astral travel and astral spirit work.
This entry has provided you with several different exercises for spiritual development and focus. This entry also introduced you to some of the most basic concepts of energy work. You have felt and experienced all the different types of energy that exist within ourselves. This entry has given you many tools to effectively start working magic and to start making simple and effective changes in your spirituality every day.
By working through these exercises our connection to the energetic forces will grow stronger. We will be able to sense the energy of the world around us and we will more effectively be able to judge how much of each energy to use in a specific working. These basic exercises will form the foundation of much deeper work. They will also strengthen spiritual mussels and connections to our self and our spiritual guides.
The tools are now yours. Discover for yourself what these energetic forces are. Use these tools now to create your own theories about magic and spirituality. The world is yours to explore and discover the mysteries. I can provide you insight and tools to have experiences but you must do the work yourself.
Good luck. As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments feel free to ask and post them. I will do my best to answer and respond to them. The more you ask me the better I can provide information and insight for you. The better I can assist you in your spiritual development.
Returning to reality
I promised this week that I would have a post containing information and a few exercises on contacting your spiritual guides. I was not lying. I realized however that at the end of my work on trance states I never explained exactly why I had the plate of cheese or nuts by your side at the end of the exercises. To be honest this entry has come out of a need for my to do exactly what this essay is about.
Grounding is the last part of any trance, ritual, magic, or energy work that I do. It is the also the first thing that I do. In this way my concept of the circle being the symbol of perfection does into play. Grounding is what allows us to switch gears and allows us to focus on one specific task or goal at a time.
In some ways I see the techniques of grounding as techniques of getting into a trance or at least of altering ones state. This is why grounding is the first part of getting into a trance and it is the last part of getting into trance. For people who suffer from anxiety disorders or even who wish to learn how overcome anxiety before tests, interviews, presentations, ect grounding is a good skill to learn. It is something that really applies to every day life and all parts of life.
I have somewhat of an anxiety disorder. When I have worked in fast food I have had the problem of beings one of the few employees who would try and do everything they could. In many ways this made it harder for me to do my job which was always to take the orders at the front counter. I ended up over coming my anxiety at being overwhelmed by imagining one leg being a root taking in new energy and the other leg being a root pushing out my anxiety.
What I have just illustrated is a practical use for grounding that allows me to work and earn my own income. That is a technique that for me connects me to how I truly see the concept of being both grounded and centered, That illustration for me is that of a tree. For me the image of a tree becomes very important and you could say that the trees are the the central key to the mysteries as I understand them.
So why are trees sacred to me and why did I use that specific example for grounding?
The first thing that comes to mind for me is my location. Location and land relationships are very important to me. I live in Maine. I constantly see the trees taking nutrients from the ground up to the crown to be filled with the light from the sun back down through the heart to the roots and back into the ground. For me that is the perfect example of how life is constantly changing and being recycled. The best form or grounding is one where you don’t remove the energy and emotions that bother you, but transmute it by changing it’s vibration and polarity. It goes from one state into another at your will.
The manipulation and change of energy from one form to another is the definition of magic. The only real difference here is that instead of directing the energy out into the world you are directing it through yourself, into the ground and back up into yourself in a different form. They say that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it simply changes forms. That is grounding.
So here is your first exercise:
Grounding energy 1:
Get seated in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breath deeply and relax. Take a few breaths with an inhale of five and an exhale of five. This will get you ready to focus on the exercise at hand and clear your mind of everything that you have experienced that day.
Place both feet flat on the floor. From each foot visualize a set of roots connecting and digging you into the earth. Once you feel as if you are connected with the earth see any energy that feels “off” (anxiety, anger, exhaustion, ect) into the ground through your right leg. Direct that energy back into the ground around and between your feet. Once the energy has been reenergized so to speak pull it up with the left body and direct it up towards you crown and into your hands. With your next exhale release the energy into your body and feel the changed energy.
And there you have it. Your first exercise with magic.
The Reflection & modifications for other exercises
Now once you have done that exercise a few time write down in your journal how you feel. The out come of this exercise should be that you are reinvigorated and ready to go. This is an exercise to relax as well as a grounding exercise. It’s a grounding exercise because you have come from one state to a more centered state by directing and manipulating various energies. You have performed a small bit of magic.
The why this exercise works will be discussed in an upcoming post when I deal with the basic Hermetic Philosophy laws and how they apply to magic. For now I will leave you this photo which describes magical practices perfectly:
The topic of this post is meant to bring questions to your minds. What I am about to post here are thoughts I have regarding why I consider myself to be a witch and why I define witchcraft the way that I do. In time I plan on having each aspect of my definition as its own series of essays which I hope in time will become a book.
So as I write these essays I have a question that I ask myself and I would like you my readers to ask yourself as well. It is only by asking myself these questions that I am able to really define my own practice and my own philosophy. The development of ny philosophy is the most important thing for me as I am a philosophy and anthropology major whose primary interests are Northern European cultures (Norse, Celtic, Germanic, ect) as well as the native magical religious traditions in the US (this is where anthropology comes in as occasionally anthropologists become part of those groups and can really learn their ways). Any way the goal of these essays are to explore my thoughts and get my self and you to think about and help develop your own path.
To define a seeker:
These essays come from the eyes of a seeker. I consider a seeker to be one who explores many different paths in order to discover the “truth”. A true seeker knows that the truth of the universe will be different for every one as no two people can have the same perceptions of the world. That doesn’t mean we don’t question our selves or others. It is actually just the opposite. As a seeker one must learn to be a skeptic. A true skeptic is one who will give and question all facts until they have come to their own answers and decisions, So in essence these essays are going to be written with the understanding of questioning what I say and also being willing to accept what I have to say by testing it yourself.
The primary focus of these essays will be paths that relate to witchcraft in some way as I identify as a witch. I am not that familiar with other magical traditions. As I study and explore more views of magic, mysticism I will add them to my topics. For now I stick with witchcraft. It is what I know yet do not know and what I am. I am a witch and I am proud to call myself a witch. I have only recently really accepted my self as a witch and have come to terms with what that means. Now it has started to become little by little a part of my day to day life.
Witchcraft is defined as many different things. In reality the statement ask ten witches what witchcraft is get twelve different answers is not far from the truth. In most of the supernatural forums I belong to and post in I become one of the central authorities on witchcraft. Over time I have come to have my own rather broad definition of witchcraft.
By the nature of the craft, there is no way that there could be one united definition of witchcraft. Through out history no two witches or two groups of witches ever practiced identically. While many of them may have had the same tradition or same basic back ground, how each of them were taught or learned is not the same due to the very nature of perception (which is a topic to be dealt with at another time). For this reason I decided to cover all of the definitions I have come to understand and accept as part of my development as a witch.
For the sake of this essay and all future essay’s by myself witchcraft shall be identified as:
A religious, mystery, spiritual, philosophical, magical, and craft where by working magic and manipulating the subtle energy of the universe the practitioner is able to manifest direct changes to their reality at will. Will here is meant as desire or force of interest.
As you have seen there are many aspects to the definition of witchcraft. That was the simplest definition I could come up with that encompasses everything I know about witchcraft from personal experience, research, and conclusions based on the experience and research. The following segments define what each of those sections mean.
For many people witchcraft is essentially a religion. The rites and rituals they do are done as an act of worship towards their deities. The rituals they enact have highly religious over tones to them. In many cases the religious aspects are different. A Christian Witch who used her witchcraft to worship Jehova would have different religious overtones than a witch who practiced Asatru whose spells would be an act of worship towards the deity.
The central theme of religious witchcraft is that the spells and the craft is about an act of worship or service to their deity. There are several well known witchcults out there. None of them have anything in common aside from the use of witchcraft to access the mysteries and commune with the deities. The most commonly known witchcult is Wicca (and most calling them selves Wiccan, or a member of Wicca are not actually Wiccan). Wicca is a witchcult, and there are specific reasons it is a witchcult. Again that will be dealt with in an other essay when I cover the religious aspects of my own witchcraft.
Other witchcults include:
- Traditional * more on this later*
- Black Forest Clan
In the above discussion I mentioned mystery and mystery aspects of witchcraft. That is where I add in yet another addition to my definition of witchcraft.
In many ways witchcraft traditions and practices are mystery traditions. A mystery tradition is one where the practice helps you come to your own understanding of how the universe works, what deities are, and the like. The mysteries are the central themes of these religions and are the lessons that can not be learned through a book, but must be experienced. The temple tradition is a Mystery tradition in that regards.
Witchcraft for many is a spiritual path but not necessarily a religious path. A spiritual path is one where a person as they practice their path are trying to better themselves and become something more than they are. It may or may not include beliefs in spirits and other realms of being. Spirituality like witchcraft is a personal thing. One central theme though has been becoming something more than you are right now. This is in many ways what AA has in mind when they mention having a relationship with God as “you know him”. They simply mean to try your hardest to find your way to become more than what you are at that moment. Self improvment.
Philosophy and magical practice are both intertwined as magic is by it’s nature a philosophical concept. The concept however is a specific philosophy which is why they addressed as separate points. I feel that it is the core philosophy that leads to the explanation as to what magic is and how it works.
Witchcraft is a philosophy. In this case it is a way of looking at the universe and of reality in general. It is a way of being able to manifest changes in your own world and your own life. By thinking about the philosophy of witchcraft and working and acting as a witch you are in control of your reality.
Philosophies are essentially how you look at your life and the world around you. Each witch is able to practice witchcraft due to having their own understanding of how magic works. The essentail goal of philosophy or the study of philosophy is knowledge and truth. One of the most famous sayings about witches is when asked about how magic works and what we “believe” is :
“Witches don’t believe. We know”
Knowledge is a philosophy and way of gaining knowledge. There for philosophy once again comes into play. Philosophy does mean love of wisdom. Knowledge and knowing how to use what you know are the keys to wisdom. Witchcraft when used as a philosophy is a way of gaining wisdom. It is a way of knowing and understanding the world and how you play a part in it.
Some forms of witchcraft are based directly on a specific worldview. A person’s world view is one of the many philosophies that they will engage in their lives. For my own practice my central worldview is based on different cultures and personal gnosis. It is a world view simaler to that found in The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill and Hedge Rider with the flavors of Hermetics as understood in the Temple and Cabot traditons as well as Wyrd and the nine worlds found in Asatru.
Magic is how witchcraft manifests changes. Magic is the practice and process of manipulating energy and force directing it to the universe through various means ingestion or release/use. That is why witchcraft is a philosophy and a magical practice all in one. Magic only works due to a person’s understanding of the nature of reality. There are many theories and philosophies as to how magic works. Each witch will most likely have their own understanding of their magical practice and how magic works.
For myself I have a hermetic view of magic. I have made an earlier post about hermetics and will post more thoughts about hermetics as I continue to review and reread the Kybalion for at least the 10th time. I am developing magical training exercises to help understand the hermetic principles and find ways of using them in my witchcraft.
Craft, skill, and practice:
For many people a craft is the same as a skill and a practice. In this case specifically for witchcraft I would have to agree that they are essentially the same being. In order to become good with a skill you need to practice the skill. In order to use the skill effectively for a craft you need to practice a craft. This it’s self is an example how Craft,skill, and practice are tied together.
There are many people out there who identify themselves as witches that have no religious or spiritual aspects to the actions. It may be a philosophy/magical tradition for them. In some cases the craft maybe simple family folk remedies and folk beliefs. To some the above may be considered spells and witchcraft and others it would not be.
The craft in this case refers to how the spell is written, created, and enacted. The spells could be food based, potions, candle, poppets, or take many other forms. There are as many ways to cast and create an effective spell as there are witches out there. That is why there are no specific ways of casting spells. There are types of spells, but every witch and magician for that matter needs to find their own way of casting spells.
Identify as a witch:
As I pointed out above there are many reasons a person would be confused as to what witchcraft is. For myself witchcraft is all of the above and maybe more. I call myself because my beliefs are aligned with some of the above listed religious witchcraft traditions. I also feel that my philosophy aligns well with witchcraft. Every magical practice I have tried has been under the name of witchcraft which is yet again why I identify as a witch.
Could I call myself a magician? I could as I work magic. Some aspects of my practice have been influenced by sources which are in general not considered to be witchcraft such as the LBRP which I learned from the HP of the local OTO a few years ago. The LBRP has influenced my ideas as to how to banish energy from an area, and also works when I am doing a ritual with a christian flavor (for my christian family). That I would not consider by it’se self (meaning the LBRP) witchcraft, though many rituals used in religious or ceremonial witchcraft are based somewhat off the OTO.
Some day I may add magician onto my identification. For now I am a witch. I have done rituals to dedicate myself to witchcraft. Some people say that only a witch can make another witch. In some cases and traditions that is true. If I am to identify myself as a member of the Temple tradition I must have done the proper rites to do so. I am a dedicant of the Temple tradition recognized by my teacher and co-founder Chris Penczak. In initiatory traditions in order to become a member of that tradition you must be formally made a member of the tradition. Initiation into Traditional Wicca makes one a witch and a wiccan.
Many of my friends consider me to be a priestess. Once again that is a label I deny. I am training to become a priestess and hopefully one day a fully trained reverend in the Temple tradition. As of this moment I am not a priestess nor a pastor of any sort. I would consider myself sort of an acolyte or hand maiden. I am able to preform rituals for myself but not for others. I can preform a ritual with my family, but I do not feel comfortable leading strangers with ritual. When I have gained that status I will identify as a priestess.
In the end if you identify your magical tradition as witchcraft then most likely it is witchcraft. If you identify as a witch you are a witch (unless you wish to belong to a specific tradition). I can not myself say you are a witch. If you asked me if I considered your practice to be witchcraft most likely I would say that it is. All I can do is give you my idea and understanding of witchcraft from personal experience and study.
I saw this meme on Angus’ blog and thought that answering this would help anyone who reads this blog. Most of these questions will be expanded on in future blogs.
Please describe briefly your Path:
I would say I am a seeker. A lot of my work does involve the other worlds. I have had some influences from traditional witchcraft (by authors like Robin Artisson and Paddington) which shows the underworld tradition. As I am a member of the Temple tradition that tradition plays a lot into my beliefs and practices. I have also worshiped the Norse Gods. I feel I should start that over again. There is some influence of Germanic paganism in my religion.
I worship a 5 fold God and Goddess. The Goddess may be Frau Holda. I have yet to confirm that through folk tales and UPG. I believe in fate or wyrd. I also believe in all deities. I am a hard polytheist. I believe all deities to be seperate individuals and not faces of one supreme being. I work heavily with Dragons in my practice. I have been working under the Hermetic philosophy as outlined in the Kybalion.
My path is constantly twisting and turning, with some criss crossing. I am a seeker as such my path will change and evolve as I gain wisdom.
Please describe briefly how you practice it:
I practice by holding rituals. Lately I have been lax in my practice. I am working on getting back into practice. Meditation and trance work are essential practices. When I don’t hold a ritual I typically try and do a bit of journeying through the use of Drums.
When did you first commit to your Path?
I started to explore paganism when I was 13. My practices back then were quite odd. I incorporated a lot of the anime I was watching at the time to my practice. At the time I was moody and quite odd. I was confused about a lot of things, add to that most of my information came from Teen Witch and my delusions of being those charecters in this day it makes for an entertaining story now.
When I was 18 I first learned exactly what Wicca was and how it was not what I thought it was. I got in contact with a local coven (now disbanded) which I later found out was associated with Oath breakers. For a while I looked at being a Hellenic pagan. Then I just started to read any book I could find on the subject.
I was 21 when I found the Temple tradition through the books. The next year my mother and I took a weekend workshop with Chris Penczak. It was after working with him and having some of the most vivid experiences that I have ever had that I knew I wanted to learn more from him and seek the deeper mysteries. Last year I was enrolled in Witchcraft 1. I was unable to continue for personal reasons.
It was at that time that I began to remember what I had read from Artisson. Those things have begun to become included in my path. If I had to say I would say it’s only been the last 3 years that I have really committed to trying to follow a specific path. One of the things about the Temple tradition is that I can add in some other practices as I learn and explore.
Why did you choose to follow a path of paganism?
At first I wanted to get out of Christianity. I was angry at Yaweh or Jehova and thought I should explore other things. I went through my confirmation, but it was then that I realized I did not agree with the central doctorine of my church. I was not a trinitarian. I had always believed in other gods and knew that I should leave the church formally and go my own way.
That was when I was 14. During my teen years I was at church on a regular basis. I assisted in the nursery and as a Sunday school teacher. That church had been family. So I had a dual faith for a while where I tried to combine Christianity and generic neo-paganism sometimes called “neo-wicca” a term I hate with a passion. Though I would call it extreme fluffy bunny.
Today I still believe in Jesus and Jehova. I am learning about Jehova through a bible study at the local Kingdom Hall. I feel it is important to understand what other Christians believe. I consider myself pagan as I do not worship Jehova but I do honor him nor do I follow Yaweh or Allah. I choose to be a pagan because I feel my core beliefs do not resonate with Christianity.
How is your practice different now than it was then?
I grew up. I no longer hold the views I did then. I no longer blindly follow rituals and practices outlined in books. Today I basically question everything and work based on what I see as truth. Due to my constant questioning of myself I am constantly changing or revising my views.
Is your practice different today than how you thought it would be back then?
Very much so. I feel I have learned a lot but I know that there is so much more to learn and explore. I have my own beliefs and I no longer follow cultural misapropriation. I have gained wisdom. I see clearly where I once saw only shadows and clouds.
Does your Path and core belief system differ now than how it was when you first started?
In some ways very much so. I used to believe in one divine being that was expressed as a God and Goddess who were seen through the faces of all other deities. That changed when I actually started to read core myths and saw just how different the Goddesses were from each other. I did see some similarities but nothing to say they were all the same.
I now believe in one being known as The All which is an all enompassing living mind. We live with in the mind of The All. I believe in different planes of existence where we learn lessons until we can move to the next plane. The highest plane is being in full union with The All. The universe is infinite and there are myrids of reality.
I also believe that the other planes of existence are seen in the other worlds. In this specific reality the three worlds are one yet viewed seperate. We are all part of one reality connected through an intricate web. Yet we see ourselves as seperate. This is the key to understanding fate. I am still working on getting into my full and true self.
My concept of the soul has changed quite drastically. I include many different philosophies in my view of the soul. Many of them tie into the concept of Wyrd. Though I feel there are a few components missing from Wyrd.
What is your heritage and how does this inform your Path?
It wasn’t until I read and seriously took the time to explore Asatru that I felt a need to get back to those roots. I felt that I should explore those paths seriously. I have read the Eddas several times and they resonate deep within my core. I feel close to Odin as well as Niord and Nerthus. From that point I felt that there should be some element of the religious beliefs of my blood ancestors (and quite likely my Franco-American ancestors as well) in my religion. I quickly inserted ancestral veneration into my practice.
What are your main influences for your Path?
For books I would have to say:
- The Kybalion
- Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches
- Poetic and Prose Eddas
- Temple of witchcraft series
- The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill
- Sorgitzak: Old Forest Craft
- Wicca for one (Buckland)
- Assorted Grimms fairy tales and other folklore
- Essential Asatru
- Exploring the Northern Tradition
Which do you do more: practice or research?
Research. I have to admit it. I have more academic or book knowledge than I do actual experiences. That changed and will continue to change as I work with the Temple tradition and other sources.
Do you feel that one is more important than the other?
No. I feel that they are equally important. I feel research is good for understanding cultural context and exploring new ideas. Practice however is how we actually worship the beings in question. It is how we actually physicalize our beliefs.
What values and ethics are important on your Path and in your practice?
The Nine Nobel Virtues. They are guide lines to help me live a life where I feel I am being ethically responsible. These virtues are:
I am working on discipline.
What sort of cycles do you feel your practice goes through?
Read, ponder, journal, test, reflect, use, nothing….repete
What is one of the greatest obstacles or struggles you have had to over come?
My mental illnesses and my developmental problems.
How do you see yourself practicing in ten years?
Public rituals and writing.
How do you incorporate your practice into your life?
Meditation and energy work.
Has walking your Path changed you as a person?
I think so. I feel I am more free to be open to new thoughts and thus new ways of conducting my behavior. It has also helped me understand my own behaviors. My worldview has changed as well.
Do you consider yourself to be a priest/ess? How so?
No. I have not been trained in the rites and rituals of my tradition to the point where I would call myself a priestess.
A witch? How so?
Yes. I practice witchcraft.
A shaman? How so?
I do not call myself a Shaman. There are elements of Shamanic practices in my practice. These come from European views and not Native American or Siberian.
Which matters more: getting the vocabulary right or the actual practice of what we are trying to define?
The actual practice is important. If there are specific terms to be used in rituals then knowing the correct vocabulary would be more important.
One of the most profound things anyone ever said to you was:
“You only fail if you stop trying” which was told to me by my fiance when ever I feel as if I have failed.
A defining moment on your Path was:
The journeys I took during the workshop with Chris Penczak. I had started to access the mysteries but I was not yet ready to do so. I needed to start at the beginning, which is where I am now.
Have you ever taken a “leap of faith”?
Yes. I have and I hope to do more so soon.
Please tell us something stupid, reckless or embarrassing you did once in your practice:
I almost set my bathroom on fire with a spark that fell into an open bag of toilet paper. It took a few moments but I fixed it. This happened during one of my ritual bath/meditations.
What is the most frustrating thing about your Path?
I’d say trying to avoid following or taking one authors word with out question.
Have you ever been frightened?
In ritual? Once. I was outside and alone at dusk doing a ritual to gain power.
Can you perform ritual without a script?
Yes. Though I use one when I am trying to invoke a being or try a new evocation that I have written.
Have you ever preformed spontaneous magick/spellcraft?
All the time. It’s how I was able to get parking at school. It also helped my fiance and myself in a financial situation.
What are you still exploring or experimenting with?
What (or whom) are you the most committed to in your practice and on your Path?
The Gods who choose to listen to my worship and prayers.
Ritual tools are …
Expensive and fun.
Magickal tools are …
Enjoyable and great helpers and often the same as ritual tools
The one thing you can’t do without is:
My mind and a journal with pen/pencil
power is …
With in and everywhere
Politics and you Path are …
Hardly ever involved. The whole separation of Church and State thing.
One thing you wish people would understand about your Path and/or practice is:
I am a witch. I work magic. I will do what is necessary to get what I desire or defend my loved ones.
Do you teach?
No. I may advise and guide though.
What do you feel is the role of clergy in modern Paganism and Heathenism?
To teach and inform the community about our beliefs at large.
When the Veil (or Hedge!) is thin, how does that feel to you?
I feel hyper and I also feel jittery. I hear a lot more things than I normally do at these points.
What entities do you work with most? (ancestors, gods, fae etc)
Ancestors Dragons and the spirits of the land. I also worship deities.
What is your relationship with the Land?
I worked well with the spirit of this land. She lives in an oak tree in my front yard. I have given her hair and money.
The most important aspect of ritual is:
The reverence in which you perform the ritual.
The main purpose of ritual is:
To honor and be close to the deities or beings to which the ritual is directed.
What is the purpose of divination/dowsing (or whichever for of augury you use)?
To gain insight as to how things may come to pass. It also gives me another way of looking at what has happened. I use an oracle deck based on the medicine wheel. Though I feel I may start to look back at something more European.
What was the most difficult book you ever read? (Either difficult to understand or hard to face what it said or both)
It’s actually a book I started but decided I needed to give it more attention than I could at that time. It’s the 3 books of occult philosophy by Agrippa. The language is odd.
The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill was difficult, but I found the Horn of Evan Wood to be much more difficult.
The book I read on Germanic Heathenry was only complicated when it came to the explanation of the calander.
What book do you recommend the most to others?
That will depend on what they are looking for.
What is you favourite podcast (if any) and favourite blog (other than your own)?
I dont know. I have only seen a few blogs and heard one podcast
If you could impart only one last piece of wisdom or knowledge, or share one experience with the world at large, what would it be?
Trust your heart.
Is there an additional question you would like to see here?
Do you have any specific beliefs regarding the afterlife or what happens after death?
Yes, but I dont have a lot of room here to explain it. Multiple part soul reincarnation and
Please finish this meme with a picture, image or photograph of some sort:
Posted in Hermeticism, magic, Metaphysics, Occult, Other Worlds (heven, hell, ect), Philosophy, philosophy, Psychic abilities, Sabbats, soul, Soul, Spells, spells and will working, Spirituality, Temple Tradition of Witchcraft, Witchcraft, world view, Wyrd