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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in witchcraft

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Winter is starting here in Wellington New Zealand, and has been heralded by a weeklong southerly storm. The Cailleach, she is not far away and can be felt in this the first of the winter storms.  Offerings are already being made by unsuspecting people who were silly enough to bring umbrellas as protection against the strong southerly winds.

 

The Cailleach, a Scottish winter Goddess brought here, if you will, by settlers from the British Isles.  She is similar to Hine-nui-te-pō  the Maori Goddess of the underworld and death, who was here before. It maybe that the Cailleach found her,Hine-nui-te-pō as a sister, their energies do seem to coexist in a complementary way.  Well they do for me anyhow.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for sharing! You have a great sense of place, informed by an awareness of the Gods and spirits.

Common Sense tea

The Common Sense Spell Book

By Debbie Dawson

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for clueing us in about another fascinating bit of Kiwiana! I hope it sells well. You write from long ex
  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Bought the Kindle version! I'm always on the lookout for new material to add to my website's suggested reading list and always ha
But what am I to do with all this fury, all this rage?

As you know, I am a woman of a particular place, a woman who is from and of the southern highlands of the Appalachian mountains. From my west-facing window, I look out on the third oldest river in the world, framed by the oldest mountains.

The energy is deep here, hoary, implacable. If you are brave and crazy enough to connect your energy to this land, there can be no turning back from it. And no turning your back on it, not for long, not if you value sleep and quiet thought.  This land will haunt you and you need only ask those whose families left here for greener pastures and died longing for a remote and drafty cabin set on a rolling hillside.  Those who still think of themselves as mountain folk--though they have lived in the flatlands for a long, long time.

For almost a week now, word has been coming out of West Virginia about a chemical leak into the old Elk River. Bits and pieces, then the full horror. But little on the mainstream media, not surprising.  All about the Olympics and Christie and the president of France's girl friend.  Was there some problem with the drinking water in West Virginia?  Was there some weird incidence of corporate incompetence and toxic materials lightly tended and rarely monitored?

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Blessings on your land. May those of us who live far away sit up and take notice.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Good rant! The Progressive/Liberal campaign to kill energy production in the US has fallen hard on the people of West Virginia an

 

Depression Comes Before Acceptance

Better you die than I.  - Katerina Petrova, The Vampire Diaries

Full disclosure: I'm writing this wearing a Nightmare Before Christmas t shirt and grey leggings (breaking my leggings are not pants rule).  I have not yet brushed my hair or teeth.  However after I write this, I will try to not look like I've escaped from an asylum and will be continuing to clean out my house and pickling and cordialing all the things in preparation for my birthday jamboree in a few weeks.  If I'm snowed out for my birthday, there will be sonic screaming.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_new-home-026-2.jpg

So I had a half written post about using magic, specifically a magic spell to find a home, using a combination of Kiwiana, and perhaps other more ‘traditional’ magical stuff, but I stalled and have only written about one object, the 21st Key Mirror, a Kiwiana staple for 21st gifts, generally given to you by your family.  It has strong significance of love, family and independence, which is for most of us, what we are looking for when finding a new home, rather than just a place to live.  I was also going to include things like tiki’s, and teapots, but in actually that was nothing like what I actually did. 

What I did looked nothing like the spells in books or described in blogs, I did not wait for the waning/waxing dark moon, or other significant timing, I did not purchase a Mirror Key or make one myself, in fact I didn't really use any of the Kiwiana objects that I had been contemplating.  I also didn't set up an altar, with the correct red blue orange candles, and matching altar cloths, even though I do love my altars, and have quite the collection of wonderful altar cloths,   I didn't’t call on any specific deities who help with such things...  What I ended up doing looked nothing like ‘magic’ spell work, that you read about so often in those instructional spell books, actually what I did I have never really found in any book or blogs.  What I did looked like me walking into town one morning.   

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for sharing! As some who frequently incorporates found objects into my shrines to the Deathless Ones, I ca

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

When my daughter recently told me she no longer felt drawn to witchcraft, I'll admit, my heart broke a little. This was the girl who at three proclaimed herself a witch, and at five, added "Buddhist" to her identity as well. Now, at thirteen, after a rite of passage ceremony and the opportunity to finally join in with the pagan and shaman groups as a woman, with wise women ready to give advice and guidance, she wants no part in it.

At first, crushed, I forgot my own basic tenets. Though I believe everyone finds their own path toward enlightenment, and proselytization is abhorrent, I found myself nudging and needling my own daughter. It took a few days and some quiet reflection with my spirit guides to address why I was disappointed.

For years I'd been holding on to the anticipation of having my wee witch be able to handle more than deep breathing and candle wishing. Also, a friend who has been a shamanic guide for my daughter most of her life had been looking forward to my daughter becoming more grounded so that she could join the monthly study group if she chose. I wanted to share in these experiences with her.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_kiwianaaltar.jpg

New Zealand is not really old enough to have magical folklore as such, we were settled about 150 years ago, wait let me rephrase that, Europeans did not really settle in any great numbers here until about 150 years ago, around the late 1800’s and early 1900s with larges amounts of immigration happening after World War I and World War II, well after, it can be said, the time when magic was something other than fairy tales that you told children. 

This means that Magical Folk Lore, from far of places like Europedidn't really make it here, and if they did it didn't really stick.  New Zealand was a pretty harsh and isolated place to live for those early settlers. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Tena rawa atu koe! (Apologies for some missing symbols...) Many thanks!
  • Mistress Polly
    Mistress Polly says #
    hh pronunciation, can be both an age thing, and a regional thing. so short answer to your question is yes and no.. let me expl
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Many thanks for sharing! New Zealand is a fascinating part of the Anglosphere. I have a question. When I was watching the extra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Introductions and Explanations

Kia Ora I’m a Tea Drinking, Urban Witch and Textile Artist.  Welcome, to my little corner of the interwebs, all the way down here in Wellington, New Zealand, situated in the Southern Hemisphere. Where the seasons are opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere and we cast our circles in an anti-clock wise.

I first became interested in things spiritual and magical when I was around 18, and I am nearly 43 now so a few years ago. As an 18 year old I had a wee way to go before I would fall upon Witchcraft, or as I like to say it fell upon me. It was not until I was about 25 did I meet my first Witch, who became my introduction to things Witchey. I remember her first words to me ‘So you’re a Witch then.” It was not a question, and oddly or not so oddly that just felt right.

I am a Witch of no particular flavour, as here in New Zealand courses, classes and teachers are far and few between, but I have had one or two, unofficial teachers and mentors. I have read, oh how I have read, so much so that my uncompleted masters was on Modern Pagan Books from 1954 to the Present day and the pagan Community. With my favourites or most influential ones being, Doreen Valente, Starhawk, Ronald Hutton, Dianne Sylvan, and our very own Juliet Batten, who wrote Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa, a must have for any practicing Pagan in New Zealand. And not just books on Witchcraft and Magic, as my degree is in Religious Studies and religions fascinate me.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Welcome to PaganSquare. And don't you just love that Millennial Gaia statue? I have one front and center on my main altar, too.
  • Mistress Polly
    Mistress Polly says #
    oh yes she is my favourite i got her years ago when i had gotten a shiny new wellish paying job.. it was my reward.. ♥
  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez says #
    Welcome dear friend! I'm very glad to find you here .

So, about a year ago I was having a conversation with my friend Christopher and a host of others, and we were talking about something very interesting he had heard about.

It's called "the wizard's game."  It's a sort of trick old Pagans and occultists play on each other.  I may have mentioned it in my previous blog posts, but here's a simple recap: a new person enters into a conversation on a subject she or he are very new to and enthusiastic about.  However, this person, we'll refer to the person as "he" for the rest of this analogy, is a bit of a showoff or a know-it-all, or is perhaps espousing some sort of shallow theory as fact.

In any case, they enter the conversation all full of verve and self-righteous "knowledge," which is nearly always designed to irritate people of all kinds, be they "in the know" or not.

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  • BethZamiEl Closas
    BethZamiEl Closas says #
    Indeed we find our way in our own time, you guys are very lucky since you have all the literature and teachers you can find. At le
  • Sophie Gale
    Sophie Gale says #
    You would like "Re-Thinking the Watchtowers or 13 Reasons Air Should Be In The North" by Mike Nichols. http://www.witchessabbats.
  • S. Rune Emerson
    S. Rune Emerson says #
    *nods* I've read it, actually. I do like it, although I don't personally practice elemental magic in this manner. It's a well

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’m going to step away from my usual blogging theme this week to share a topic that came to me while driving the two hours it took me to get to my camping destination.  (Hubby and I are on staff for a Pagan retreat here in Colorado and this was our work weekend.)  We had stopped for lunch at a place where the server recognized our t-shirts as Pagan in content.  So she proceeded to ask questions which required long answers.  Neither of us had the time.  I needed to get back on the road and she needed to help her other customers. So in hopes that it will be of service to her (I so hope she emails me!), those just starting out and those that are trying to make sense of what the broader community is, here is my viewpoint.  I am NOT trying to start up the “my way vs. your way” debate again…most of this is based on my own experiences and observances.  Your mileage, as always, may vary.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Pagan-Umbrella.gif

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  • Brian Shea
    Brian Shea says #
    And apparently, as I've found out recently, there are atheist pagans! Or non theist pagans. Who knew? There are also those who ar
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    It does seem odd, though for the most part I understand the wanting to be included in a community that for the most part is welcom
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I've gotta echo Wizard on the narrowness of this one, which is interesting. Monist Goddess worshippers ("We all come from the Godd

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Quest for Connection Down Under

For many witches and pagans, one's practice is deeply connected to the land. It is in this that the oft-used, and sometimes contested moniker of 'earth-based spirituality' originates, and whilst I have a lot more to say about the idea of what 'earth-based' actually means in the context of witchcraft, for many, it has literal interpretations.

The turning of the Wheel and the observations of the Sabbats as framed by contemporary neo-paganism is one that links in movements that are both solar and earthly. Cultures live and die by the weather and the elements, even today in our world of modern conveniences, and this is something that many neo-pagans seek to tap back into, in order to weave meaning into our lives and to join in the dance that strums throughout the All. We gather on the Sabbats to celebrate the changes and to honour the deities who stride the land with us, and we feel and honour a connection that is deep and sacred. The waxing and waning of the planet matches the waxing and waning in both our lives and in the cosmos; in the Beyond, and Between. As the veils shimmer and lift, rise and fall, we dance in our circles and break bread with each other and with our Gods, however we view them to be.

The ubiquitous Wheel, however, takes on quite a different face when you are no longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Travelling Down Under, the Gregorian calendar no longer lines up so neatly if one chooses to continue to work with the land. Unease and disconnect inevitably arises and different pagans seek to take up this challenge in different ways. Horned creatures are not found in the wilderness, our moon crescents are backwards, our sun moves around the other way... we are looking at it all 'upside down' with a vague sense of colonial displacement.

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We live in an over-culture that tries on a daily basis to annihilate the sovereignty of the individual.  So many of us are carrying wounds from a childhood and adolescence where we suffered humiliating and confusing experiences in the religion of our birth.  No wonder then, that at least initially, many of us were attracted to Witchcraft because it celebrated an independent, rebellious spirit. We found Gods and Goddesses here that did not demand that we act servile or scraping or deny ourselves pleasure.    We found deities who invited us to empower ourselves through tools that were brought to our communities through many brilliant teachers.  Witchcraft is not a collection of traditions that denigrate humanity and humanness. Rather, by acknowledging the divinity immanent within our own selves, we work with our innate powers to affect great change in ourselves, and through ourselves, in the world.

Witches thus adopt a way of viewing the world that understands humans as being fundamentally powerful beings. So what then, of helplessness? Of powerlessness? What then, of submission and surrender in the face of defeat?  What then, of the addict or alcoholic Witch who awakens one morning, hangover piercing their brain, withdrawals fogging their thoughts, who finally understands that life cannot go on this way any longer but who has utterly failed in every attempt to exercise autonomy over themselves and address their addiction problem ?  Whether they go to rehab or enroll in an intensive out-patient program, or look for recovery support on their own, they will likely at some point be directed towards Twelve Step recovery where they will learn that the program revolves around the following concepts; Powerlessness, Surrender, Submission, Dependence, Humility, Willingness, Open-mindedness and Honesty.

Without a doubt there are going to be spiritual concepts and practices in recovery that are going to feel uncomfortable and wrong to many Witches. For a witch, who understands empowerment as a sort of sacred act, the act of admitting powerlessness might feel like turning her back on the very concept of an immanent Divine that dwells within.   The concept of “Thy will, not mine, be done” might feel like a defeated return to that cringing deference that they cast off as adults.   Does this mean that Twelve Step recovery is fundamentally incompatible with Witchcraft traditions?  I think the many happily recovering Witches in the rooms today would heartily say “No!”  But what is required is open-mindedness and a willingness to look at these concepts passed the initial reaction.  Twelve Step recovery is like an animated kids movie; there is the initial level, that is simple and easy on the surface and is exactly what it says. Then, there is the more sophisticated second level. The one that makes the parents in the audience laugh and glance at each other over their kids heads, gaping at the slightly risqué reference. This is where we have to go to find a place where Witches in recovery can enter the literature, the program, and be comfortable.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Over many years of witnessing witches and pagans participating in 13 step programs, i have seen that most have succeeded in substi
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    I've heard this argument many times before and it always makes me smile. Have some people been so sick, suffered so much, been so

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I love a good mystery. Gore I can do without, but good old fashioned suspense, intriguing puzzles, deep dark secrets. Heck, yeah. Even better if the sleuth who stars in said mystery is Pagan; or, at the very least, magically-inclined.*

The latter is easy enough to find. Study the shelves at your neighborhood library or bookstore, or browse the Amazon or B&N sites, and you will find plenty of mysteries which feature magically-gifted protagonists. Most fall in to the "cozy/amateur sleuth" category; meaning, no gore, no sex, and no hard-core swearing. Just to name a few such examples: the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series by Melissa Bourbon; the Magical Bakery series by Bailey Cates; the Magical Cats series by Sofie Kelly; Annette Blair's Vintage Magic series; the Magical Cures series by Tonya Kappes; and Ellery Adams' brand new Charmed Pie Shoppe series.

There are also a number of psychic and ghostly sleuths whose adventures you can follow. Kari Lee Townsend's Fortune Teller series, for instance; the Psychic Eye and Ghost Hunter series from Victoria Laurie; the Haunted Souvenir Shop series from Christy Fifield; and Molly MacCrae's new Haunted Yarn Shop series.

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  • Caleen Canady
    Caleen Canady says #
    I am writing away on just this topic. My novel involves a fea/human race who follow the path of the Goddess. My main character's f


This post was inspired by reading about the second Pagan Health Survey, and I encourage all readers to go participate!

For me, being Wiccan means that I value the feminine and the metaphysical, two things that have been derided, often on the same terms. The history of healing is an interesting case study in how responding to both does not mean reversing that derision and eliminating what has been valued in the meantime (the masculine and the scientific) but restoring the value of what has been missed, finding balance and ideally integrating them both. This does not depend on me seeing myself as the literal or spiritual descendent of the medieval wise-woman or accused witch; it is an argument about current understanding of the best ways to re-enchant the world. Thus I think that the argument advanced in Ehrenreich and English's pamphlet Witches, Midwives, and Nurses about not throwing out science in order to destabilize patriarchy is equally valid when we look at it from a spiritual perspective.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Percentages of Practice

On the last episode of the radio show I co-host with my partner, the popular topic of labels within Paganism came up and we spent a few minutes talking about what we thought of it all. Although neither of us seemed to care much about using singular labels for our path, it did prompt us to think about labels in terms of percentages. What started as a funny way to talk about self-identification turned into some pretty deep introspection for me.

The thing is, human beings are very complex. Although we might resonate with one philosophy or practice, I don't know of very many people who follow just that one thing and only that one thing. This fact can bring about a good sense of personal satisfaction, knowing that we don't have to strive to fit into the boxes set before us. But it also challenges us to look deeper at what we believe and why we believe it. Even if we feel we fit within one system entirely, there are still aspects of culture and upbringing that shape us into very unique individuals.

I'll use myself as an example. Growing up Wiccan for most of my life, I've always been pretty comfortable with that term. In the areas I've lived its always been a fairly friendly term socially. I never received that much persecution because of it. It described my belief system as well as my personal practice quite nicely.

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  • Michael Brazell
    Michael Brazell says #
    I think that too often we not only get caught in labels, but we get bound to how others are defining those labels. Identifying al
  • Elizabeth McNally
    Elizabeth McNally says #
    This is a very good topic. The more I have become involved in interfaith community, labels are something I have become increasing

Carl Jung articulated a psychology in which myth emerges from biology, part of a natural process of individuation.  This 3-part guest post series by John Halstead explores the influence of Jung on major figures in Contemporary Paganism.

by John Halstead


Janet and Stewart Farrar

Janet and Stewart Farrar, from http://www.bewicked.be/P11JanetFarrar.html

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Carl Jung articulated a psychology in which myth emerges from biology, part of a natural process of individuation.  This 3-part guest post series by John Halstead explores the influence of Jung on major figures in Contemporary Paganism.

by John Halstead


Doreen Valiente

Doreen Valiente, from www.controverscial.com/Doreen%20Valiente.htm

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Carl Jung articulated a psychology in which myth emerges from biology, part of a natural process of individuation.  This 3-part guest post series by John Halstead explores the influence of Jung on major figures in Contemporary Paganism.

Carl Jung, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Jung_%281912%29.png

by John Halstead

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Before I start, allow me to take a moment for some blatant promotion of fellow blogger Star Foster's radical experiment: getting money for a blogging day job. She's absolutely worth it, so please check out her plea and IndieGoGo campaign!

Alright, on to the post!

Because I'm both a lesbian and a Pagan, I get send a lot of things people think I may find interesting. I love it when people do this; most of the stuff is really good, poignant, or simply hilarious. One of the things that got send to me a lot is the new UK series Switch. I guess this is because I blogged about Pagan characters we would like to see, and Pagan webseries

 
This post contains spoilers.  


Switch is a television series about a group of four girls who live in London, deal with boy/girl trouble, jobs, and friendship. Most of that dealing is done through magick, because all of them are witches. A few days ago, I caught up with the series, of which three episodes have aired. I didn't have high hopes for it, and most of my fears were realized, but I have found I like the girls, and the stereotypes aren't offensive.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Meditations on Hávamál 1-4

Hávamál offers us a glimpse of a past that had already become somewhat nostalgic when a single hand transcribed the poem around 1270 CE.  As David A. H. Evans writes in the Viking Society for Northern Research’s edition of the verses, this second poem of the Elder Edda “is deservedly one of the most celebrated works to have survived from the early Norse world.” It’s full of gnomic advice that continues to be of interest—and application—to us in the modern world. Old Norse text via the Heimskringla Project.

1.    
Gáttir allar,
áðr gangi fram,
um skoðask skyli,
um skyggnast skyli,
því at óvíst er at vita,
hvar óvinir
sitja á fleti fyrir.

2.
Gefendr heilir!
Gestr er inn kominn,
hvar skal sitja sjá?
Mjök er bráðr,
sá er á bröndum skal
síns of freista frama.

3.
Elds er þörf,
þeims inn er kominn
ok á kné kalinn;
matar ok váða
er manni þörf,
þeim er hefr um fjall farit.

4.
Vatns er þörf,
þeim er til verðar kemr,
þerru ok þjóðlaðar,
góðs of æðis,
ef sér geta mætti,
orðs ok endrþögu.

 

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    This is what I needed today. Blessings on your dear head, Laity.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    You are most kind, my friend.

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