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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in witchcraft

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’ve heard it said that the famous “Witch City” of Salem, MA has five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, and October. As a witch from the opposite end of the country, I’ve always wanted to experience that October goodness in Salem. Finally, two days before Samhain, I got the chance.

Part of the experience is the overall vibe of acceptance and openness among the pagans in town. I’m so used to being part of a fringe religion, that to be thrust into a situation where I was among the majority was a sudden and welcome change.   Certainly, not everyone wandering Essex St. and Pickering Wharf that day was a practitioner of Witchcraft, or even Pagan, but they were open and tolerant of my minority religion. Even if they were only doing it for the money, it was still a wonderful feeling.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Wonderful insight....that coincides with "What's good for the goose is good for the gander"....
Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, October 19

The inimitable allure of witchcraft is considered by a skeptical writer. The history of the Devil in comics is examined. And nine of the weirdest horror films from Italy are listed just in time for Halloween. It's Airy Monday, our weekly take on magic and religion in pop culture. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Magick of Making

What is a spell? Is it the gathering together of specific items such as crystals, herbs, and colored candles during certain phases of the moon to heal?  Is it the power of an invocation chanted by a coven to bring a deity? Is it a song sung by a mother to her child to soothe them? Is it the drawing of a certain symbol on the ground of a sacred space designed to protect it? 

If we define magick as the process of focusing intention and applying will to situations, objects, and energy around us to cause a change in consciousness, then all of these activities are kinds of spells. They are all forms of magick in their own way.

So with that in mind, we may also consider the visual art-making process as a magical path. Of course, not every piece of art is a magickal working, but with the right elements and conditions, it has the potential. 

Art can be created to take on a variety of magickal purposes - here are a few examples:
-A painting or statue created to represent a deity, to remind us of the divine
-A vessel or sculpture created to house a spirit or other sort entity
-A work created for as a focus for meditation or to transform a person, place, or thing 
-Work created to be an interactive altar, sacred space or be part of an altar offering

And while nearly any object can be re-purposed for use in magick, there is something extra special about an item that was handcrafted with that intent in mind. Why?

As an artist, when I sit down to create a painting, piece of jewelry, drawing, or sculpture, there are numerous steps and factors involved.  I generally (and prefer to) create my work in my studio space, which is essentially my personal sacred space.  I consider what I wish to work on, making a list of what I need. I carefully prepare the area that I work in/on/around and painstakingly gathering my materials.  I choose the light, music, and time aside needed to focus - and then I get to work. If I am creating a custom painting for a client, then I am meditating on them and their needs.  If I am creating a piece that relates to a deity, then I approach them respectfully and allow a dialogue to occur that brings them into the process.

I find that creating work is a balance of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels of awareness and thought.  If I am too much in any one area (overthinking, or perhaps too much in trance), the work will not be as successful.  The body, mind, and spirit must be in alignment, yet also be fluid enough to allow for change.  

Through much experimenting and observation over the last 20 years, I have recognized the similarities between the state of being I experience during classic spellcraft and when I am creating art infused with magick.  The energy transfer feels identical, and as I have studied the work and experiences of other artists, I have noticed similar results in the product.  It has its own buzz that you not only see, but feel. Whether it's a ceramic chalice, a talisman necklace, an elemental mask, a goddess sculpture, or painting of a god - the hand-worked, mind-forged, spirit-infused item seems to possess something more, right from the start, and continues to build as it interacts with the world around it. 

Just like any good traditional spell, it requires skill and knowledge in the medium, the ability to focus one's intent and energy, and the patience, dedication, and understanding of working with the project and seeing it through until the end. 

If you don't consider yourself an artist, that's OK. Think about the art and artful objects you may have in your home, be they originals or copies.  Why did you choose those pieces, or how did they come to you?  How do they make you feel? Why do you have certain things in specific places? What about art or objects that you have left behind, given away, or sold? 

If you are an artist, and this is new and intriguing to you, then consider what media you are best in, and what sort of magick it may lend itself to.  Over the years I have created deathmasks and psychopomp portraits, spirit portals, fetishes, drawings to bring about change, paintings for meditation, altar objects, and energizing talismans to name a few.  There's a lot of potential out there, when you have the right mindset and skill to make it happen. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why Wicca Won

Wicca certainly has its share of critics in the pagan community these days. Much of that criticism seems to me justified; some of it, frankly, stems from Wicca Envy pure and simple.

In the English-speaking world, Wicca is far and away the largest and most successful of the new pagan religions. For those both within and without, it's well worth asking why.

Skyclad and the Great Rite. Face it, sex and nudity sell. We're human beings, and we find them inherently interesting.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Throwing out the baby with the broth water," I like to say. Bwa ha ha. In the Old Craft neck of the woods, Wicca-bashing is a no
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    As an eclectic polytheist (small-P) post-Wiccan myself, I owe a huge debt to the "fluffy-bunny, Goddess-centric" Wicca you describ
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Let me add here that, for many of us whose ways have since gone in other directions, Wicca has been a point of entry into the paga
Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, July 27

Welcome back fellow Witches and Pagans! We hope you enjoyed your weekend! This week for Airy Monday we've brought you a whole gamut of stories featuring magic and religion in pop culture. Read on to learn how one self-defined "urban hipster" got involved with witchcraft, which popular villains were most successful, and how the animated series Steven Universe has developed some of the most complex protagonists in television. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths

Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths

My years of experience will do no good for anyone if I do not share it with you. I hope my words of wisdom and advice help you avoid many of the mistakes I made. 

Spirituality is a process. Witchcraft is a journey, not a destination. There are many factors to consider when choosing a spiritual path. Spirituality is about devotion and practice. One cannot simply associate one’s self with a path, and call it their own. You must practice it. You must become a part of it. You must be willing and able to live that path. 

The path of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism is not about shock value. It is not about making your oppressive relatives angry, or proving yourself different in main stream society. Yes, by nature we tend to go against the grain, but not always so harshly. The path is about devotion. It is about finding a spiritual balance and focus that makes you a better person. It is about finding your place in the world that also helps make the world a better place.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This weekend my coven will be celebrating our first "outdoor" sabbat.  I know that a lot of groups exclusively meet outside but that's never really been an option for us.  While my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a house, there's another person living in our backyard.  He's not a living in a tent or anything like that, but he does occupy a studio-like living space attached to the garage.  I doubt he wants to listen to us chant in the backyard while he's trying to sleep.  


While I do share a backyard the garden spots are all mine and with the corn already over six feet it feels pretty magical. It may not be with the coven, but every time I water my garden (with grey water from the shower) I feel like I'm at least performing a private ritual. I talk to my sunflowers, implore my pumpkins to grow, and stop to bow at Aphrodite-Chicago of the Lemon Tree.  My garden is ia magical place, but it's a magical place for mostly "just me" (and sometimes my wife when she checks on things). 

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