Ellen Dugan's Witches Tarot has become my go to deck and that is a special privilege in my deck collection. I wasn't sure anything could top the connection I made with my Steampunk deck but then the Witches Tarot called to me in a dream (I kid you not) and now it is the deck at the top of my pile. This is a deck I flirted with for awhile before it showed up in my dream. I made googly eyes at it on Amazon and even drooled over the images on facebook but I had not committed to buying it.
Then it happened, it came to me in my dream time. Yes this deck is that powerful, it will communicate to you while you sleep. I dreamed of the cards and each one spoke to me, literally, it was a dream what can I say! The images imprinted themselves on my mind so when I work up I had no choice but to ring my local Pagan Store, Well of the Moon and ask them if they had the Witches Tarot in stock. Of course they did, right!
So now I had the physical deck in my hands, not a dream deck, not a virtual deck a real printed deck and boy oh boy was it vibrating. The energy that was radiating off this deck was so intense and I had not even taken it out of the box yet. The reveal of a deck for me is a scared thing, the way I take it out of the box, the way I pick up the cards, flip through the book and slowly and carefully look through each of the cards. And the reveal of this deck was extra special.
This deck is based very heavily on the Rider-Waite style, which to be honest I really like in a deck as it means you can pick up pretty much any book on tarot to further your relationship with the cards, their meanings and their archetypal energies. There are a couple of name changes in the Major arcana to be mindful of
The Hierophant becomes the High Priest
The Wheel of Fortune becomes The Wheel of the Year
The Devil becomes The Shadow Side
Judgment becomes Karma
The Royals are standard King, Queen, Page and Knight and there is nothing funky about the Minor suits they are Pentacles, Wands, Swords and Cups. As I said this is a very easy to read Rider-Waite deck. In this particular deck my favorite suit has to be the wands, those huge hawthorn blossom wands are powerful, strong, sturdy creative yet gentle. It is interesting to note that not all the wands have blossoms some are bare and some just have the start of young green growth.
The companion book is very well written my only beef is that the author spends too much time describing the card image. I would have liked to have seen more on the messages and more spells at the back of the book. For me the magical aspect of this deck is what makes it so unique. I mean this deck is created for magic, it vibrates magic so lets have more magic! But at the end of the day that is a very minor complaint about an otherwise invaluable deck in my collection.
Just in case you where wondering I did try some of the spells in the back of the book, but I found I had to modify them slightly for a more direct purpose. They are however a great place for beginner spell casters to start their practice with Tarot Magic. For the rest this deck is perfect for your spells so create away!
Here is one of my own spells written just for this deck
I wish, I wish upon a star for the dream that sits inside my heart.
With the magicians help he waves his wand and commands that what is above shall be below.
With my own hands I craft this wish as the power of the eight of pentacles allows everything I touch to turn to gold.
The six of wands heralds triumph and success for this wish as Body, Mind and spirit all come together and celebrate with their 3 cups filled.
For joy, health, wealth and happiness shall be mine.
For the good of all and harm to none this wish through tarots magic is now done.
Cards you will need
8 of pentacles
6 of wands
3 of cups
Place cards on your alter in the order listed above. Sprinkle green incense powder over a beeswax tea light. On your alter have a small dish of water and some coins, if possible open a window while you cast the spell. See your wish as if it is already manifest, place your hands in a prayer position and make sure your thumps touch the heart center as you connect your third eye and heart chakra energy. Now that you have tapped into your wish light your candle and begin speaking your spell out loud. Leave everything on your alter until the candle has burnt out. Then put your cards away and clean your alter with sage spray.
P.S If you would like to know more about Ellen and her work check out her site at http://ellendugan.com/
* 78 card deck and companion book, published by Llewellyn World Wide
* This deck is good for beginner to advanced.
* Good medium semi gloss card stock. Easy to shuffle, does not stick together.
To be performed during the Waning Moon
You will need:
Bowl of water
Fresh Sage Leaves
Sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Cleansing/purifying stones like selenite, kyanite, clear quartz, tourmaline, amethyst, or whatever works for you.
Optional: cleansing herbs to add to the water. I used fresh hyssop flowers and calendula petals.
Place a bowl of clear water on the altar. Place your stones around the bowl, touching the bowl as much as possible. Place salt, rosemary sprig and sage leaves close to bowl.
Cast the circle in your usual way.
Sit comfortably in front of the bowl of water.
Hold fresh sage leaves between your hands and think of what you need to release. This could be illness, or it could be the self-destructive behaviors that you wish to let go. Feel the fresh sage pulling these energies from your body to be cleansed. You might feel the sage leaves grow hot between your palms.
Drop the sage leaves into the water. Tell yourself you are releasing _______. Feel it dropping into the water.
Add a pinch of salt and purifying herbs (if you're using them) to the water. Use the rosemary twig to stir the water widdershins/counterclockwise: visualize _________ being dissolved, and the energy being cleansed and transformed by the salt water, herbs and stones.
Smudge yourself, again focusing on cleansing/healing. Consider what you will do with the strength and energy that will be freed up by your spell. Consider what you will be able to give back to the world in gratitude for being healed. Make a promise to yourself and any gods or spirits you work with that you will use your revived health and energy in positive ways.
When you are finished, pour out the purified water onto the ground. If you're performing your ceremony indoors, you can wait until after the circle is cleared to take the bowl of water outside.
A few notes:
If you are ill, please don't use magic as a substitute for competent medical or psychological care. Do the spell, but also see a medical professional and follow his or her advice. Magic works best when we do our part.
Dried rosemary and sage will work if it's all you have, but fresh really is best for this spell. You can usually find small packages of fresh sage and rosemary in the produce section at the grocery store if you don't have access to a garden.
This spell can easily be used in a group ceremony. All participants can focus on releasing into the sage leaves at the same time: then have each participant drop their leaves into the bowl and stir the water widdershins a few times with the rosemary. Allow each participant to decide whether or not she wishes to speak about what she is releasing.
There are times when pouring out your water outdoors isn't possible. As long as you maintain the focus of your intention, and pour the water out with respectful purpose, you could pour it down the drain at the end of the spell.
Please feel free to add your own suggested rituals, spells, and magic workings in comments.
We're Witches. We should do something about this.
Weigh Your Words. Four months have passed since Samhain, the new year, where you probably planned all sorts of wonderful changes for yourself. Draw a scale on a clean page in your Book of Shadows. One one side, write or draw all the things you've managed to accomplish since Samhain. On the other side, write or draw those things that are still in progress or waiting to happen. Look at both sides of the scale. Which side is heavier? Of the things you still have to do, are there any that you found difficult? What did you do when you were faced with that challenge? Did you put it off, or try and succeed? Or fail? How did you feel about that? Maybe you're in the midst of a task right now--how is that coming along? What about your accomplishments? Even if that side of the scale has less on it, perhaps those things took a great deal of work. Think about it and write down your feelings.
Cup of Wonder. Creating a touchstone--or in this case, touchstones--will help you regain balance as the seasons change. Wash a chalice or cup and three small crystals with salt water to purify them. Crystals can be purchased, but if you can't do that, then find three white stones that remind you of the full moon. Fill the cup with water and place it outside where it will catch the light (and the energy) of the moon. Leave it out until at least noon the next day so that it will also capture the sun's light and energy. Remove the stones and rinse them with plain water and pat them dry. Your touchstones now have the power of equal day and equal night. Carry them for balance, enlightenment and growing strength--but first, it's time to get even!
A Balancing Act. Add some action to your spell by turning yourself into a scale: Hold your stones in your left hand and close your eyes. Slowly extend your arms out from your sides and open your palms being careful not to drop your stones. Picture your empty hand filled with the things you need to get done. In your mind, weigh your tasks against your touchstone, adding energy to the touchstone until you feel that both hands are carrying the same weight. Move your arms up and down as the weight is added to help you visualize. When both sides are even, your touchstone and energy will be in balance with what you want to accomplish.
Time Weights for No One. As the warm days of Spring dance merrily towards Summer, keep track of those tasks that have yet to be done. Do you still find yourself bumping a particular job to the back of the list? Why do you think that is? Do you feel that your moon-stones are helping you in any way? Why or why not? If you feel your touchstone could use a little boost, wait until the next full moon and work the magic again--then return to your Book of Shadows to keep tabs on your progress.
by Natalie Zaman
A few weeks ago, in a conversation on Facebook with several of my customers about negative Spirit activity, one of them asked me which process I used for cleansing and protecting my own home. Since I am a professional Spiritist (professional as in making my living out of it), I get this kind of question almost very day – and I think my answer always disappoints them.
I spiritually cleanse my house weekly, using seasonal but simple elements like Salt, Sage, Resin Incense and Blessed Water, always caring that they are of the best quality possible. I go from the front of the house to the back, and then from the back to the front, saying a simple prayer that banishes negativity and encourages peace, protection and abundance – not more than two or three lines, that I can learn by memory quickly. If I feel a particularly negative energy I will choose a prayer from any of the prayer books I use, but that is very rare.
Why do I say that I think they are disappointed by my answer? Because it's too simple for them to believe that it works, and they always think that I am hiding some kind of secret or magical formula from them that makes my work more effective.
I have said it many times in my articles and I will say it again – such things do not exist; and even if they existed, I wouldn't use them. The type of work I do does not work because of complex ritual procedures, or because of words in magical languages, or because my spells rhyme perfectly (actually they don't, at all) – what I do works because of excellence in the materials chosen, and most important, because I have walked the path for more than two decades.
People always expect the power to lie in the ritual, when it's exactly the opposite – the power is in the practitioner AND in the practise. The fact that my cleansing works is not the elements I use, or the specific words I say – the power lies in almost a quarter of a century of doing this, completely devoted to the work with Spirits. The power lies in the many trials I have been put through by those Spirits that guide me, and in the price I have paid to overcome those trials. The power lies in not giving up and finding a “normal” job, even when faced with hunger and homelessness. The power lies in facing rejection, ridicule and pain coming from friends and family members about what I do. The power lies in not giving up in my faith, when it would be so easy to do so and follow the mass. You can call those my medals, and as it happens with a member of the military, those medals represent my experience, the things I have been through, and my rank as a worker. The only difference is that only Spirits see my medals – but that is all I need to make my rituals work.
So, if you want your rituals to work, do not focus on complex rituals and secret formulas – focus on simple but quality materials, and just DO the work. One million times, do the work – each time you do it, you get a little better; and, above all, focus on using the strength of your faith as the support you need to improve yourself and your life slowly but without stop. The best advice I can give after almost a quarter of a century doing this is – if you want to become a Witch, if you want personal power to help yourself and others, do as much good as you can. Choose the right path, not the easiest, not the smoothest, not the straightest, but the right one. There lies all the Magic and all the Power you will ever need.
And, while you grow, let a professional do the work that you can't handle yourself – because that's why they are there. I cannot tell you how many times I have to “fix” the effects of poorly made spells – actually, I do it so often that my husband calls it cleaning the blood. I believe this is the worst consequence of a culture of books and fake spiritual teachers that trick beginners into thinking that they sell those secret formulas I spoke about at the beginning of this article, so they can take more profit from people who have had no access to any kind of true spiritual upbringing.
Using a very simple example – if you have a headache for one day, you take an aspirin; if you have a headache for a week, you go to the doctor. The same applies to your Spiritual life – if you have a negative feeling for a day, try to solve it yourself; if it doesn't go away, look for someone to perform spiritual work for you, as soon as you can.
Although I consider myself a Pagan, and I always will, where I live (Canary Islands, northwest coast of Africa) there are no Pagans. I come from a background of Santiguado (Canarian Curanderismo, mostly Catholic) and Afro-Latin traditions, and on both it is completely normal to go to a Spiritual Healer regularly. Since these traditions are embedded in our culture since childhood, everyone knows a bit of everyday magic, but as soon as that magic is not enough, they visit the Healer immediately. For example, my father knows how to make the traditional Santiguado ritual to remove sunstroke, a very common ailment on subtropical desert areas like the Canary Islands, but when I got seriously ill with erysipelas at 11 years old, and of course after taking me to the doctor, he contacted the local Healer, who practised her rite on me – three days after, I was completely healed.
I have to say that, when I started working for the international market*, and started meeting Pagans of European and North American traditions, I was very surprised at the omnipresence of the “everyone can do it” concept. Six years later, I can say I have cleaned a lot of blood caused by such wrong concept. Please don't get me wrong – absolutely everyone without exception can have a Spiritual Life, and a Spiritual Path, and I encourage my customers all the time to work on it every single day, and even create and sell tools to make their work easier and better – but those of us who are completely devoted to the Spirit Work are here to handle what you can't handle, and that you should not be handling until you have earned a good amount of medals.
* I would like to add a small edit to this article – when I first published it on my newsletter a few days ago, a reader (mis)understood that I was speaking about individual Pagans, and told me how her lack of cultural/family traditions led her to make up her own as she learnt. I want to make very clear that here, I am criticizing publishing houses and businesses, NOT individual Pagans. I'm criticizing those who offer fake answers, taking advantage of the exact problem my reader was telling me, the lack of inherited cultural traditions of many, many Pagans. So, if you are one of those Pagans, please understand that I am not talking about you – I am talking about those who want to steal from you, use you and abuse you for their own profit. Despite the fact that I do have an inherited magical background, I have never had a teacher and I have had to craft my way myself – and I would NEVER, ever criticize anyone for that.
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As with every post I publish, all the pictures are from my own work.