Occult Walk

Yesterday we went on an occult walk in London. The guide Deliane is a trained guide and priestess.

She has really researched the occult history of London. She started off with James VI (I of England) time and went gradually forward to Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardener.

We learnt a lot about London, especially Cleopatra’s Needle, which is said to be the most cursed spot in London with numerous people committing suicide at that spot.
The only criticism I have to make is that several walking tours could have been done over various parts of London. For example, Eliphas Levi (who was not mentioned) was resident in Gower Street in London.


Witchcraft is like Cooking

Learning witchcraft is like learning to cook. In both cases, people look up spells or recipes in a book, perform them, then get them right or try and find out where they are going wrong.

Both are easier with a teacher to advise or to tell you where you went wrong. In both you may panic because you haven’t got an ingredient, then work out if you can get it now, or if you can substitute something else that you already have, or just give up and do it later.

The only difference is with spells you should always write your own. With cookery you can go your whole life using someone else’s recipes.

Book Habit

I went to Treadwell’s bookshop at the weekend, fully intending only to buy “Celtic Myths and Legends” by T. W. Rolleston.  I read a copy belonging to my sister many years ago, and since then I’ve wanted my own copy.

I knew Treadwell’s had a copy as I saw it when I went for a ritual [detailed here] and because of the ritual I had a £7 credit note in my purse.  Then I saw a copy of Brian Day’s “Celtic Festivals”, which I’d read and was on my to buy list, so I had to get that.

I’m also buying a book on charms via post, so that gives me three books, plus one on order via my local library, plus another I’m currently reading and two on trees which I bought a while ago.  Which equals seven.

It’s a good thing I have a job to support my habit, now I just have to find the time to read them…

Halfway Through Making a Stang

I am in the process of making a stang, which unfortunately is getting interrupted by This Damn Wedding of mine.

I have oak wood for the stang, which was given to me by a tree I often talked to.  The wood is split into three pieces, which I will put together by dowel rods.  It’s being delayed because I first have to make a water blessing so I can give the tree I take them from an offering.  The wood for the main body of the stang was lying in the water, so I did not have to make an offering.  Then I will have to wait for the wood for the dowel rods to dry and carve out the spaces for the rods in the wood which will make up the body of the stang.

I was told by one of my goddesses that I was to attach the bones of the sea, the bones of the earth and the bones of the air to my stang.  I was given a mouse and four birds courtesy of my cat.  Normally there is nothing strange in this, but before now my cat had caught three birds in the entire eight years I have had her.

I have to wait for the mouse and birds to decompose so I can attach the bones to the stang, some of which are going to be put between the pieces of wood.  I have seashells for the bones of the sea, but need something to cut the shells up so they look like bones instead of shells.

After that I need an antler for the top and a nail for the bottom and it will be finished.  Unfortunately this is not a quick project and is even slower with wedding s**t intruding upon it.  I want to get it finished this year (my year begins at the Spring Equinox) but I am not sure this will happen.

In Your own Words

It’s important to use your own words when consecrating items, doing spells or anything else of a ritual nature.

Because you have made these words, they are tied to you and thus the spell is tied to you.  If you use someone else’s words, then they do not have that tie and will not work as well, especially if you do not understand what they mean.

Making your own words can take a lot of work, but in witchcraft, if you want to get results, you have to put the work in first.  Witchcraft is not just two seconds of doing a spell that you see in the movies, it’s putting a lot of work in in the first place.

Consecrating Items

In my opinion consecrating items is the ABC of witchcraft.  All the basic books tell you how to consecrate items, but they never state why.

The act of consecrating an item is to program the item to be used in a certain way.  This is why a consecrated kitchen knife will work better than an unconsecrated athame, even if it has fancy runes and carvings and costs lots of money.

The purpose to which an item has been made does help it work, but I have found that all items work better with consecration.  If you have bought an item in a shop, you do not know to what purpose the maker has made it for.  For example, if you buy a wand its maker may have made it to be a wand used for healing and you bought it to be used for blessing.  If this wand was left unconsecrated then it would not be terribly effective at blessing as it was made for healing.

The best way to consecrate items is one which fits in with the path you follow.  From what I have seen, most people use the four classical elements : earth, fire, water and air.  However, if you followed Chinese gods it would be more appropriate to use wood, fire, water and metal as these are the Chinese elements.  I have a ritual which uses the Celtic realms of earth, sea and sky, since I follow an Irish path.

It’s that Time of the Year Again…

It’s that time of the year when I hit the books hard.  You’re probably thinking something like “eh? but it’s nice and sunny out there, what’s she doing reading books?”

It’s the time of the year when flowers start growing and trees are starting to put on leaves.  The ash trees haven’t come out yet, but the river birches are way ahead of them and the horse chestnuts are finishing putting on leaves.

This is the time of the year when I start cracking open my identification books.  Or if I can’t find the plant or tree or bird or animal or insect in my books, I look in the library’s books.

So many pagans are what I call “Commercial Pagans”.  If they can buy it, or go on courses about it, then they will do it.  What they will not do is do any actual work for it.  And then you get pagans who are unable to name more than two or three leaves of eighteen common trees in their area, plus one uncommon one.  I had this experience when I put up a drawing of nineteen different leaves on a British forum several years ago.  The only person who was able to name more than four was a druid, who got all of them except the poplar.

Knowing the land you live on and knowing the flora and fauna that grow on it and the animals, birds and insects that live off it is, in my opinion, one of the most important things a pagan can do.  And yet so many don’t want to bother with anything they can’t easily pick up and have now, which is why there are so many pagans and witches who don’t get beyond the basics because it’s too difficult for them, or they’re “too busy”, which means that they can’t be bothered.

Identification is only the first step.  Then there’s the lore of the land, what certain trees putting out leaves before other trees mean and knowing what plants and trees to use for what.  It’s a long process which I have only just started, and this is what I meant in the introduction to this blog that you cannot just read one book and become a pagan or a witch, it takes study and hard work.  But it’s really worth it.

Spring Equinox (I Suck at Blowing Eggs)

The day before the Spring Equinox I belatedly started getting ready for it.  I normally do this so that I have time to spare, but I’d been so busy things had been left for later, so of course it was one of those times when things didn’t go according to plan.

I tried to blow eggs for the third year in a row and still haven’t been able to get it right.  Last year it didn’t work because I didn’t put a bigger hole in one end of the egg than the other.  This year I don’t know what went wrong, but I was rushed and may not have given it my best shot, so I’ll try again next year.  My betrothed tried and got quite a bit out of the egg, but then the shell started cracking so he gave up.

So for the first time in my life I dyed the eggs, which involves boiling them for twenty minutes, so I didn’t have to blow them.  I tried at first with the juice from a jar of picked beetroots.  This didn’t work, so I looked at the instructions at (http://www.dltk-holidays.com/easter/natural.htm) and used turmeric, which the instructions mentioned.  The turmeric dyed the eggs a bright yellow and after that I used onion skins, which dyed one egg orange and the other a shade of red my betrothed calls “sunburnt”.  I suspect that the red egg had more onion skins around it than the orange one.  This was the only craft thing that went right for this ritual.

Then I got out the paints I had bought at my local art shop and tried to paint the eggs, but the paint didn’t work on the eggs.  For my ritual I was going to paint one egg to symbolise the dark days and the second to symbolise the light days, say some words about the dark days ending, then break the dark day’s egg and hold the light day’s egg up to celebrate that the light days are here and the dark days are gone, but I had to do the ritual without the eggs.  In retrospect, I should have painted one piece of paper with dark days symbology and the second with light days symbology and used this, as the ritual felt a bit flat with only words.

I also managed to make chocolate nests.  These are cornflakes covered with melted chocolate with three Cadbury’s mini-eggs in the middle, and even this didn’t go right.  I think it was because I was cooking on gas (the vast majority of my cooking has been done on electricity) and the hob was too big for the pan, so the chocolate didn’t melt gently and started congealing into a lump.  The nests taste okay, they just don’t look very good.

It was a bit of a disaster, but I muddled through and the most important thing is not to leave preparation late, although my new year is March 25th (more on that later) and I haven’t made the ritual up yet…

Bad Ritual

Last Friday I went to a group called “A Sacred Place” in London which was supposedly not for beginners and was supposedly to utilise ritual for magic in a group setting.  I thought I could learn something from them and it would be interesting.

I came in and was given a refund on my money because of the Tsunami.  I asked why we were being given a refund as I would have been okay with my money going to help the survivors and the person manning the desk didn’t know why.

We then went downstairs and after introducing ourselves we split into groups to discuss why the Tsunami happened.  The leader is a nature worshipper and couldn’t make sense of why it had happened and was upset because of it.  I later learned that the Shinto monks in Japan had campaigned against nuclear power on those sites as it was against the land spirits.  When we reformed into one big group the idea put forward was that “it happened because of the planet’s karma”.  One of these days I’m going to have to learn about karma just so I can tell people why they’re speaking absolute rubbish.

The leader called for a break so that they could smoke and get the room ready.  Candles of colours representing north, south, east and west were placed in the corners of the room.  Since we would be casting a circle of some sort I wondered why we were putting candles in the corners which delineate a square.  I would have moved them forward till they weren’t in the corners, but still standing at the compass point they represented.

Then we stood in a circle and the circle was cast by the leader pointing a wand at us and every time he pointed the wand we had to say “I cast this circle with care and compassion”.  It’s a basic tenet of every type of witchcraft or paganism I have come across that when you cast a circle you are inside the circle.  This was setting us up to be the circle, which is so not a good idea.

The wand went faster and faster around until we could go no faster.  It was a good way of building up power, but there was so much power already in the room that we didn’t need to build anymore up, we could have used the power that was in the room.  We also chanted “earth, water, fire and air” to build power up.  That worked, but the ecstatic dancing around the room (everyone was left to their own devices as to which dance to do) dispered the power somewhat and broke the circle.  After which the ritual just ended.  I didn’t dance as half-way through the ritual I had wondered why there was so much power in the room and then I realised it was because they weren’t doing anything with the power they had built up.  When I realised this I hastily protected myself and stood outside the ritual as all that they were doing was turning themselves into one huge, blaring lighthouse for anything out there and I really didn’t want to be in the firing line when anything out there noticed them.

This was a ritual to help the tsunami.  I’m very glad they didn’t do anything with the power because as I understand it a tsunami is the water which has been displaced by an undersea earthquake and therefore has more than enough power of it’s own.  If these people had sent out all the power to the tsunami the power would just have fuelled it on.  Plus the chant for raising power should have been something appropriate, not “earth, water, fire and air”.  The tsunami was fuelled by earth and water and I hate to think what a mix of power raised by chanting these elements would do.

I’m glad these people were too inexperienced to know what to do as otherwise it would have been a prime example of the amount of damage that can be done by a little information in the hands of people who can’t think through what they’re doing.

Thomas the Rhymer

On Wednesday 2nd of March I went to Treadwell’s to hear a talk on the shamanic journey of Thomas the Rhymer.

The talk went through the whole ballad and emphasised its shamanic parts.  It was interesting to hear what was to me a new theory on the ballad (and a lot more new theories when we were discussing the ballad afterwards) but I’m not sure if the ballad is shamanic or just a bog-standard ballad which someone has tried to force into shamanism.

However, to find this out would mean doing a lot of study on shamanism, of which I know very little.  It’s something I would like to look into but current demands on my time are keeping me too busy.

It was a good talk and I enjoyed the discussion afterwards.

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