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Witch vs. Witch

September 2, 2010 1 comment

Dear Witchful Thinking,

I found your site in a search for ways to protect my home from a guest who I am going to have to invite into my home, but this woman, who is also a Witch, does not not like me and I do not trust her. I am Wiccan also, my distrust isn’t due to her beliefs. I need some advice on ways to protect my home when inviting an unfriendly guest who could cause harm into it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Blessed Be,

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

There’s an old saying that goes “guests are like fish, they stink after three days”. Ok, it’s not a very nice thing to say, but there is something to it. Back in the day, maybe our parents generation, folks knew what it meant to be a guest. This included cleaning up after yourself, offering to cook one night, and generally not trying to be much of a burden on the host. Now-a-days, guests expect it to be like at a hotel, where they are waited on hand and foot. Some open communication with your guest could really help–especially establish when she will be leaving.

I assume that since you have to invite this guest into your home, that you are either 1) related, 2) working on a business deal, 3) trying to please your partner who wants them to visit, or 4) taking a charity case and you are the nicest person ever.

In Wicca, we recognize that sometimes people we don’t like are actually very like us. It is what we see in them that we don’t like about ourselves. So what is it about this woman that you dislike so much? Is it her manners? Her attitude? Or just the fact that she doesn’t like you? And does she really not like you? Or do you just think that she doesn’t like you?

I don’t know what kind of harm this woman can do to you that you would allow. If she breaks something like a vase, that harm can often be mended. Even if it is irreplaceable–it’s just stuff. If she leaves “bad vibes”, you can clean them up when she’s not looking, and recognize that it’s probably only upsetting you anyway (you’re the sensitive Witch, after all!). Will she physically hurt your animals or children? That’s unacceptable for anyone, Witch or no, and she should know better (after all, who needs that kind of 3-fold return Karma??). So what kind of harm are we talking about?

Not everyone will like you. Sometimes they are projecting their own past on you. Perhaps you symbolize something distasteful to them. Sometimes they just have the wrong impression. Often their values are different than yours. It doesn’t make sense, but I think you know it is true. Something about you scares them–and that there is valuable information that you should try to find out! With that info, you can work on it and learn to help them have some compassion for you. Here’s the thing: it goes the other way, too: As Above, So Below, right?

Remember that Wiccans work for the highest good for all involved, especially because we reap our own Karma. Is starting a Witch War going to help you do that? Your guest may not have the same values that you do, even if you are both Witches, but hold true to YOUR highest ideals and strive ever toward them (Thanks Uncle Al!).

So, it sounds like you can’t change the situation. But you can change your mind. Imagine this woman is, well, a Witch–she challenges you and rubs you the wrong way and might cast a spell on you. You can’t fight her with sword and shield, so you must defeat her in less obvious ways. You are the hero in the journey and story of self-awareness and personal growth. You will defeat her because you know the ways of magic. You know that you are powerful, and nothing she can do will truly harm you (after all, a curse only works if you believe in it). You listen to her and are kind to her because you know that she can teach you something about yourself and about the world.

My advice in real life? Kill her with kindness. Make food she’ll enjoy. Make her comfortable. If she gets petty, take the highest road. If you think she’s casting spells on you, utterly ignore them. If her vibes are trashing your house, cover them with your light vibes of peace and tranquility (and a little sage or cedar never hurt either). Do not sink to her level and engage in a Witch War. I promise you will both lose.

Perhaps this isn’t the advice you wanted. But I honestly believe that when you cast spells on people, your Karma gets tangled with theirs. And I know I don’t want to be tangled with someone I don’t actually like. I trust that the Gods and the Laws of Karma will even things out in the long run. Until then, I’m free to change myself–and so are you. You have a valuable opportunity for learning here. I suggest you take it and run with it!

Otherwise, check out this article on clearing spaces and keeping magically safe.

Tangled Karmic Yarn.

Magical and Romantic Partners

April 30, 2010 2 comments

As you know, our boundaries about relationships is different from other peoples. In honor of Beltain I wanted to talk about a specific one.

Very likely, if you are just beginning your magical practice, this won’t be a problem for you, but as your practice grows and your magical identity deepens, you may want to consider choosing a magical partner.

A magical partner is a person with whom you do magical work with. This work could be spellcraft (like a two person coven), service to the community (such as leading a group), doing a Great Work, or a mature teacher/student relationship. A magical partner is someone you work closely with as you grow in the Craft. In Wiccan communities, your partner is typically the opposite gender. It is an unusual relationship when looked at from outside the community.

A magical partnership is not inherently a romantic or sexual relationship, although it can take on the characteristics. A magical partnership is based upon the work you do together, but the nature of the work can be very intimate and emotional, with or without sexual activity. The relationship is very much like professional dance partners.

Some things to consider when choosing a magical partner:

  • Magical practice: choose someone who has the same style that you do, or who magically thinks like you do, or is of the same tradition. Your styles need to mesh and come to some agreement about how you will go about your practice.
  • Your romantic partner: what would your spouse or significant other think about this magical relationship? What are the boundaries? At what point does it become emotional cheating? Think about what energy and parts of yourself you would be keeping away from your partner. Come up with some rules to avoid jealousy–remember that in a serious relationship, your partner comes first. Obviously if your magical partner is your romantic partner, then this is not a problem.
  • Focus and intent: what will be the nature of your work? Will you be working on a project? Leading and teaching the community? Worshiping a particular deity? Working on a particularly difficult psychological problem? Exploring other realms together? You and your partner should be on the same page.
  • On the Outside: how does this relationship look to outsiders? Not that it matters, on one hand, but you had best be prepared for rumors if you aren’t willing to explain yourself. If you are leading a Beltain ritual and one of you invokes the Goddess and the other invokes the God and you spend half the ritual flirting and making out with each other, people are going to wonder if there is anything between you and what your significant other thinks about it. You may tell yourself that it is just ritual and, like actors on stage, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but for the observers, the energy is there and it looks very real.
  • In the Pagan community: while those not in the know about your relationship may be whispering to each other, those in the know in the community may treat you like a couple. For example, they may invite you and your magical partner to a ritual or gathering, and neglect to extend the invitation to your significant other.
  • A magical partnership is very serious: the Karma and energy accumulated in a magical partnership is amplified, just like in Circle. Personality differences, psychological scars and spiritual crisis are more likely to come to the surface quickly in this kind of relationship. Luckily, you have this partner to work through it with! You will experience a deep sense of loyalty, almost like family, that comes from being emotionally intimate with someone else. This relationship is a chance to experiment, and the work you do here is likely to influence how you are in other relationships. In order to experience the best of the other, you will have to give them your best. It is a serious commitment.
  • This relationship has cycles: it begins with a lot of energy, experiences growing pains and conflict, and may eventually end or change form, just like any other relationship. It may not go in the direction you expect, but you will certainly grow and learn from it. Be prepared to commit to it as long as it is productive, and be ready to release it when it is time to move on.

Having a magical partner is a beautiful and intimate way to experience Divinity and do the work of the Gods. But it is a very mature relationship, both personally and magically, and must be thought through just like any other magical endeavor. Rather than searching one out, I think you’ll find that you’ll fall into one naturally as you grow in the community and in your Craft. You will end up working with people on rituals and may find a powerful energetic chemistry between you. You will likely end up partnering with someone you already know–partnering with a stranger is unwise when you consider the possible ramifications.

Meditation Is Hard!

March 19, 2010 2 comments

Dear Witchful Thinking,

I really dislike traditional forms of meditation. I understand that it is very important to cultivate the discipline to be able to meditate, and I try to work on it, but I am really not enjoying what I’m doing. The process feels too unnatural for me, and I find it to be boring and irritating at best. I believe that the frustration of forcing myself to sit down and meditate regularly is counteracting all of the gains that I make from actually doing the meditation.

I have tried sitting down and quieting my mind, I’ve tried guided meditations of all ilk, including downloading countless podcasts, reading meditation books and on occasion recording myself or making a friend record a meditation for me to listen to. I know that I have the ability to meditate — I’ve had some success doing free writing, and I can get into that artist’s head space when I do activities like knitting, spinning or doing life drawings — but I am still frustrated, because meditation still doesn’t really feel right to me yet.

Is my problem a discipline issue? Or is meditation like birth control, and I just haven’t found the right kind of “birth control” to fit my lifestyle yet. I hope its the latter.

Thanks!
Cassie

P.S. You’re a gem and I absolutely love your blog!

Dear Cassie,

Great question! I think you’ll find that a lot of people share your feelings about the practice of meditation.

Krishna's meditations often involved sexy times!

There are several definitions of meditation that I want to get straight. In the East, meditation is the act of stilling the body so you can still the mind in an attempt to reach enlightenment. Over here, we use it to guide the mind to our inner self, or use it to still the body to do astral work. So the question is, Cassie, what is your purpose for meditating?

You mentioned discipline as a possible goal for meditation. There are many ways to achieve this goal. In Zen Buddhism, the monks don’t meditate as often as other sects, but rather look for enlightenment through other forms of mental discipline such as work, humor, exercise, writing and thinking. Some stories tell of monks who gained enlightenment from a blow to the head–no meditation required!

So there are many ways of achieving a goal, and I suspect that you haven’t identified your goal in your meditation practice. If the goal is discipline, and you want to do it every day for 30 minutes, then that is what you are aiming for–the success or failure of your meditation doesn’t matter as long as you give it a try every day for 30 minutes. You could also practice discipline by going for a run every day, going to bed at the same time, or going vegitarian–all of which are meditation-free but require your original goal of discipline.

Meditation is about bettering the self by being more self-aware. It is a tool that can be the basis for many things. In my opinion, you have given it a really good try, spending a lot of time at it and using lots of different methods, and you’ve come to the conclusion that meditation is not for you. I see that as a valid piece of self-knowledge! In Witchcraft, we use things because they work, but obviously this isn’t working for you! So let’s think of other things you can do.

The Farrars believe meditation is important because it disciplines the mind for visualization, so that your magical intent can be clear, but that “artist head space” you talked about is the same thing. You’ve already met this goal. So use this to your advantage. If a group is doing a guided meditation, consider taking out a big blank piece of paper and doing a free-draw while the group leader describes the meditation.

If you are really stubborn about working on your meditation abilities, try doing some shamanic work with drumming. The rhythmic and steady sound can get  you in that headspace so you can do some work. It is the same way that knitting or spinning gets you in that brainwave pattern that allows many to see the future. If that doesn’t work after a few times, try something else.

If your goal for meditation is to ground yourself, consider some other magical grounding techniques. You could make a charm or amulet out of hematite or metal to carry with you. It will serve the same purpose without requiring actual meditation. You could also use some of the parts of meditation that do work, such as three deep breaths when you feel loopy, or sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.

If you are doing some astral work in meditation, you can try other ways to do the same goal. Instead of visiting the Gods and spirits in their realms in your mind, visualize the space around you and act out your actions. Use ritual theatre by yourself or with a group. Ask the Gods or spirits to come to you (in a magical circle) so you can talk to them.

Honestly, I can’t think of a single goal for meditation that requires you do the goal with successful meditation. That is why the practice of magic is so vast–it covers all the possibilities and it is up to us to figure out are particularities and use what is available and useful to us. Bottom line–if meditation isn’t useful, do something else!

Best of luck to you in your magical endeavors!

P.S. Thanks! I think you are a gem too. Thanks for your letter! đŸ™‚

Casting Spells For Others

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

DEAR WT,

I have been asked to cast. I use some for of Magic in my everyday life, little utterances of protection, serenity, and feel most of my power comes naturally. feeling that if i do try to channel outside forces, it almost always backfires. I never cast for someone else unless implicitly asked and, for a specific reason. I.E. protection, clarity, or if someone needs help getting through a darkness. I feel the strong calling to protect those around me, or far away, those that need little more help than usual. I give them what small tools I am able. It’s not always enough, but it usually helps calm the waters.

My problem lies in a friend, I have been called to help a woman who is after many years of trying, finally able to conceive. the family has asked me to cast circle of protection, on her and the unborn child, as its a high risk pregnancy. But I find myself frozen, frightened of the consequences should my casting backfire. This is the biggest thing I have ever been asked to preform, even if I use my own brand of magic, its the most taking, I feel the need to call in reinforcements even though I have always practiced solitary. Do you have any suggestions or words of wisdom?

Your concerned Witchful Believer

Dear Witchful Believer,

There is a lot going on here! A sign of a mature person is knowing when to ask for help, and I want to commend you for taking the time to consider the ethical and practical implications of your magical practice.

It is my belief, and feel free to disagree with me, that ethically speaking, we can only do magic (that is, make change) to ourselves. Practicing spellcraft is as much about changing our minds as it is about changing our fortunes. But we do impact everything we touch. Our attitudes, beliefs and actions ripple out and have consequences, most of which we cannot imagine, correlate or quantify. Magic gives us some control over those ripples.

Yeah. I Grok you too!

The idea that we can control all the effects of all those ripples is, dare I say it, a little egotistical. The Greeks called in Hubris, and mortals who committed such were punished rather harshly. It means that we are reaching too far, beyond our limits. We all naturally have our own power, which is what you are calling on when you do your brand of magic. Working with others allows you to combine your power with theirs, but you do not take on their power, so it is not going beyond our personal limits. When we work with others, and the magic doesn’t work, the most likely cause is that you haven’t created sufficient group-mind. Perhaps they were thinking about something else, or the energy didn’t peak strongly, and the result was unfocused energy that fizzled before it could do any real change.

When friends ask us to do magic for them, it gets ethically sticky. Let’s say you do a protection spell for someone else. Since you can only change yourself, you will see them as being protected, which ripples when you tell them “Wow! You seem so safe! Spell must have worked!” which gives them a little confidence in themselves, which makes them feel safer. If it’s a run-on sentence, then it’s run-on magic. In order to make an effect on them, you have to work really hard on yourself, right? The more channels the energy has to go through to work, the less energy will be there at the end. Not only that, but when you do magic for someone else, you tie yourself to them and the resulting karma. Do you really want to be tied to this person? After all, you don’t have control over them. I would be fearful and frozen too.

There is such a thing as helping too much. Doing a spell for someone else is like doing someone else’s homework–they don’t learn the material! The best discussion of this concepts and how to work with it is probably Robin Wood’s book When, Why, If. Things happen in our lives to teach us lessons, but you can’t learn them for someone else. This is likely why your spells sometimes backfire–they aren’t meant to work!

My advice to you and to others with the same problem is to make it a habit to NOT do spells for other people. But you can certainly help them do it themselves. Not only will the spell work better for them, but they retain the consequences and  you are not tied to it. In a practical way, they can’t blame you if the spell doesn’t work. There is more power in teaching someone else to find their inner strength than to try and carry them with yours. By all means, lend them your energy, create harmonious group mind, and even help design the spell. But the person who needs the magic, in this case, your pregnant friend, needs to get the ingredients, put it together and lead the energy raising. Assist and support them, but don’t do their homework for them.

Scientists say she looks pregnant, but what if that is not her function?

If you still feel nervous about the whole thing and need more support, you can ask the Gods for help. Many Godforms are sympathetic to childbearing mothers. Artemis in particular helps with childbearing, and would understand the challenge of a high-risk pregnancy. A watery Earth mother like Danu would lend her energy to bring a healthy babe into the world. Pick someone with a known track record. I once read about a woman trying to conceive who prayed to the Crone aspect and the Venus of Willendorf. It’s no wonder it didn’t work, especially when we don’t know anything about the paleolithic Venus statues. So you could help your friend make an altar to one of these deities, and light a candle or say a prayer daily to assist with the pregnancy. It need not be a one-shot magical deal, since childbearing is a rather long-term situation.

Sometimes our spells just don’t work. If we are fearful of attempting them, then they will definitely not work. Magic manifests and magnifies, so don’t magnify that fear! Your fear is likely your intuition telling you that you haven’t found the right way to do this spell. Consider using a neutral party to decide about spellcasting. I have a bag of yes/no stones which give me a clear answer. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to accept the answer and not know the reasons why. Spells work or backfire to teach us lessons. Try recording your spellwork and the results to see if you can learn from your mistakes. Occasionally, after awhile, what looked like a failure actually turns out in your best interest. We can’t always get what we want, and that’s damn true of spellcraft too. Sometimes the lesson is just how to deal with failure.

I believe you can do this. Your friends asking for help is a big deal–it means they want your support and believe in you. Do them the same favor by believing in them and believing in a positive outcome that is best for everybody. Teach them how to protect themselves, and lend your energy if needed. Support them with the magic power of love–the truest and purest form of magic. That’s what they really need from you, no matter the outcome of the pregnancy. End each spell or blessing with “the best interests of all and harm to none.”

Blessed Be!

Apparently, That’s Not Mine…

February 3, 2010 1 comment

My tradition, when you begin to study, is rather tool-heavy. That is, we use a wide variety of ritual tools during our Esbats and Sabbats–besoms, swords, candles, anointing oil, etc. If you read my article awhile ago about ritual tools, you’ll remember that we learn to work without them almost before we get really proficient with them. I love the tools. Finding and collecting them is a very good time. I love going into a shop and finding just the right thing that is “totally me”.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that just because you buy something does not mean it belongs to you…

The Fey

Call them Fairies, Fey, Kami-sama, the Lares, goblins, gnomes, elves, brownies…whatever cultural name they go by, it is hard to deny their existence once you know they are there (and a little rude to deny it too!). They are small, often invisible beings that live in our homes, in the garden, and generally out in nature. They help our plants grow, change the weather, put dew drops on spiderwebs and, I suspect, mock us humans. Plus, they move your car keys, steal your left socks from the dryer, and will totally take shiny things that appeal to them (that one necklace, for example). They can also take your ritual tools. If you find yourself distinctly remembering where you put something, and finding it not there or anywhere near there, it is possible you have been visited by the Fey!

How To Deal

They Fey can’t be reasoned with, but they can totally be bribed. You can leave them something appropriate and shiny, like a amethyst crystal or a cool sea shell. Leaving out a bowl of honey and milk is traditional, but I’ve found that a bottle of whiskey goes a lot further. Offer half up front, and the rest, plus more, when the object is returned to you. You’ll likely find it in plain sight within a week.

A Friend

Pagans are notoriously flaky, but they do love their books and often read widely. When you lose something to a friend it often happens when you loan something out and then completely forget about it. For me, this mostly happens with books, particularly Cunningham’s Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. I’ve owned at least three different copies. Sometimes people will give one to me in a box of books I “might like”. I have no idea where the original copy that first guided me went to. The truth is that I don’t need it anymore, and have a dozen other books on the same topic. If I had another copy, I’d just give it away again. So whenever I do come across one, I recognize that, really, I’m holding it for a friend!

How to Deal

You could write your name in the book, and keep a list of what is coming and going. I find that trusting them to remember to return it doesn’t work out best for me in the long run. I usually limit the number of books I loan out, and try not to loan something I use regularly.

A Complete Stranger

This is an odd category, but I have lost items to complete strangers. I make it a habit to pay attention to that little voice in my head. Sometimes it speaks more clearly than others. Once I purchased a candle holder at a shop, and then later that week made candles. As I admired my new altar decoration, I was struck with that little voice, “that’s not yours”. Fine, well if it’s not mine, then whose was it? I had to wait four months to find out. I went to a festival, and happened to bring along the candle stuff, thinking I might have a chance to use it. Instead, I gave it to a complete stranger in the dining hall. She was as surprised as I was! Later I found out that she was really questioning her path, and had been looking for a sign as to what to do. I had unwittingly delivered a message that gave her some real clarity. It was truly magical!

How to Deal

You can always choose not to listen to that wee voice. The energy will find a way of getting itself done. If I hadn’t given her the candle, the woman at the festival would have found her sign somewhere else. Perhaps it is easier to simply be gracious, and work the will of the Gods when you are called to do so.

These things go the other way around, sometimes. You might find something that doesn’t belong to you, come to realize it does. Can’t tell you how many times neighborhood cats have adopted a Witch for themselves! Or if someone leaves something at your home and it never gets returned, or you find something in a box you didn’t know you had… Tools belong to the element of Earth, and although it is the most solid form of energy, there are ways that it can move too.

Have You Seen Me?

I wonder if sometimes things don’t have our energy imprint on them. I think it is especially important to consecrate ritual tools before we use them, so the tool knows it is attached to us. Sometimes the signs are just too clear, and are there to teach us a lesson. These last few years, I’ve had a problem keeping an Athame around. I had been shopping for the perfect one, found one that made me smile (although it didn’t have that “totally me” vibe I was going for), and started using it. Well, I used it once or twice and never saw it again. I’m afraid it might mean that I have a problem delineating boundaries (for that is what the tool is for), or that my ability to perform leadership roles is compromised (for the tool is used to begin and end the ritual). Perhaps if I work on my inner self, the tool will return.

If you want to know what losing your tool means, consider what the tool is used for in circle, and then replace yourself with the circle. A missing wand could show that you aren’t directing your action well. A lost candle may mean missing passion in your life. A broken mirror may mean your perceptions about your identity are off. Try it and let me know what you come up with.

Our tools can become a large part of us, and changing tools can be difficult when we become attached to them. But we know that She Changes Everything She Touches, so next time you lose a tool or altar item consider the fact that, apparently, it doesn’t belong to you.

Essential Magical Tools

January 15, 2010 2 comments

Dear Witchful Thinking,

When you are new to the Craft, there is so much stuff to buy! Incense and besoms and athames…it’s all a little over-whelming. If you could only have a few items to practice with, what would they be?

Sincerely,

K-Jo and J/K

Dear K-Jo and J/K,

Ok. I’m going to tell you an arcane secret. Something you don’t learn until years and years of studying magic…a secret that will astonish and amaze and surprise you….

You don’t need a single thing to practice magic or do ritual, except the will to do so.

Here’s the catch, though: it takes a fair bit of practice to get to that point. Most people don’t pick it up the first time they try.

The purpose of magic and ritual is to commune with the Universe, manipulate the energy in our favor, and to create change. All the tools used to do that, all the spell components, arcane words and formalized gestures are psychological triggers to help us move the energy in alignment with our will.

Science tells us that once something has been done, it makes it easier to do again. By repeatedly using the same symbolism over time, it makes a kind of path that the energy recognizes. So for new magical practitioners, they can access these pathways and have more effective magic. The Lesser Banishing of the Pentagram, for example, has been done the same way by thousands of magicians for a hundred year. You can bet that it is effective at grounding the practitioner and banishing negativity. In the first place, if it didn’t work, no one would do it again, let alone hundreds of thousands of times.

But the tools and paraphernalia work, or else we wouldn’t need them and encourage others to use them. They give us something tangible to work with and look at, which sends signals to the brain and activates certain parts of it. Slightly less than half of the population are kinesthetic learners, meaning they learn by doing. Only about a quarter of us prefer to think entirely abstractly–these are the folks who probably don’t need tools.

One of my old altars. Look at all the stuff!

That being said, I love the paraphernalia. The quest to make that perfect blend of incense, finding that beautiful besom, or symbolic athame, is a meditative and magical joy in itself. When you first start, you’ll probably use what you have around your house in a kind of “kitchen Witch” way. So you’ll use an actual broom for a besom, and an actual steak knife for an athame…that sort of thing. Or you’ll find that you accidentally have magical things around the house. My first athame was a little boot knife I bought at a Renaissance Fair for $5. At the time, I liked the stag motif on it, never knowing it symbolized the Horned God.

If I could only have three things, I would have an athame, my tarot deck, and a lighter. Why?

  • The athame puts your will out into the Universe. You use it to cast a circle, make doors and open and close gates. For me it is a mental trigger that I’m about to do some magical work and need to focus my will. While I could use anything to assert my will, I prefer the power symbol of the double-bladed knife. It is like an avatar of myself. The style and decoration of the knife show my personality and my power.
  • The tarot deck allows me to have long conversations with the Universe over tea. I can ask questions and get answers. Sometimes I’m not feeling too sharp or receptive, and the tarot deck helps me focus my questions and helps me make decisions. I know about myself that I’m not a good enough omen reader or psychic to do it without them.
  • The lighter means I have the power to create sparks, and thus fire. I can often find a piece of cedar around here that would be good as clearing incense, but without a lighter, it’s just a bit of bark, and the aromas are trapped inside of it. I can also burn paper to banish or transform thought. Or I could light a candle. Fire is change and transformation. There is something deep in our psyche which connects us to fire. It would be essential to me that I could cause that change.

I think that’s all I would need. Everything else, I could visualize or make do without. But I do keep ritual kits around, especially in my car, so if I wanted to do a spontaneous ritual, it could easily be done. I often do ritual in an inter-religious setting, so the tools and paraphernalia are important to help others figure out what we are doing. And as much as I don’t require them, they really do.

What are your essential magical tools?

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The Supernatural

January 1, 2010 2 comments

Ok. I guess I didn’t cover the supernatural enough in the post Facing the Darkness. So let’s talk about that.

So…what exactly is the supernatural? I hate the word. It brings to mind alien abductions, Atlantis, ghosts waking you up in the middle of the night, being transported to alternate realities, and superstitions. The word literally means “beyond nature” and implies phenomenon that is beyond natural law. The word inherently has judgment in it as it means “departing from what is usual or normal”.

But I’m a Witch. I’ve traveled between the worlds. I know that we can travel to other places that only exist outside of time through astral travel, shaman journey and meditation. I know that ghosts are all around us. I’ve not experienced aliens, but I’ve had encounters with Godforms and spirits. What I don’t get is what is so unusual about all that. After all, 99.99% of the population (really, I’m only excluding these people, who shouldn’t attempt it) can do it, and humans have been doing it as long as we’ve been in this state of consciousness.

In fact, I’ve found that the natural laws mostly do apply in the spiritual or astral realms, if we expand our ideas of what these laws are. If we think like Newton, and suppose that time only moves linearly towards some ultimate end in a universe that we can see and observe, then supernatural phenomenon are indeed beyond nature. However, if we think more in line with today’s quantum mechanics, we learn that, sometimes, you can travel through matter, and that there is something in the space between things that we don’t understand, and that particles can actually be in two places at once. Scientists know that observation and expectation changes the outcome of the experiment. So telekinesis? Child’s play! There is nothing here outside of natural law. It’s just that we haven’t understood natural law until very recently.

Some people vibe with certain aspects of the supernaturalism more than others. There was a time when I saw a lot of ghosts, but couldn’t talk to them. I was in a funny place in my life then–a kind of liminal space. So it’s not really surprising that I saw things that lay between ordinary perceptions of reality. Now I’m the last person in the room to see a ghost. Truth is, I don’t have much desire to see them anymore. I’m more focused on learning about my self, the nature of what it means to be human, and in accessing the Gods. I have a very different mission in life than I did when I saw apparitions falling out of windows and crying in stairwells.

We’ve had the light/dark discussion already. I don’t think you can attract something unless you already believe in it. People who are haunted by ghosts already believe in ghosts, on some level. Not to say they aren’t real (what is real anyway?), but they won’t vibe on your frequency, so they might as well not be real to you. For that reason, I choose not to believe in demons. I think the world is dark enough without inviting that kind of energy into your life.

You can see why maybe one wouldn't be into this...

They are pervasive in our literary past and in our culture, but I choose not to make them real for me. That means when something goes wrong in my life, I don’t even think about blaming it on demons or ghosts or aliens, but look for other explanations that fit within my worldview. But I also work on expanding my worldview. So at once we are open to encounters spiritual beings and magical energy while we deny other parts of it. Hmm…maybe this is an area that I need to work on.

So the supernatural is a paradox. It exists as surely as a table does, but isn’t real for some people because it is beyond their world view. As a Wiccan, I’m comfortable with paradox, and absolutely believe something can be there and not there at the same time. It’s all part of the whole, you see.