Monday, March 19, 2012

When Will The Stupidity End: A Rant

I'd like for you guys to watch this video, all the way to the end... then we'll go into my rant.

Have you watched it? Good, cuz it's kinda important to know what my rant is about. First let me say, I don't care if you've studied for over 20 years, or 200 years; if you haven't actually taken Wicca's true meanings to heart, you're not a Wiccan. Please note this is not pointed at anyone who doesn't claim to be Wiccan, and I also do not mean this as offense to any of my dear bloggy friends, because you guys are amazing.

Wicca specifically states, An' It Harm None, Do What Ye Will. A lot of people take this differently, but I personally (especially after what my mentor taught me) believe that this statement means you don't intentionally harm yourself, or others. This woman states that because there isn't the concept of sin in our religion, she started drinking, doing drugs, and having sex.

First off, I don't know what's she's been studying, and if there is something I haven't studied when it comes to Wicca (which is likely, because to study everything available on Wicca would take longer than I have in this lifetime) let me know, but what I have studied about Wicca says this: drinking and doing drugs while working magick DO NOT MESH! While taking wine during ritual is acceptable, becoming and staying drunk affects your personal energy, making it difficult to focus enough to raise energy, and causes all kinds of things to run amok.

I tested that theory when I was much younger, and guess what... in my case it was true. Let me explain something ... no matter what religion you are, when you lose your life in the bottom of a liquor bottle, bad things will happen. Drugs have the same friggin effect. I again know that, because I am a recovering addict, and the addiction had absolutely NOTHING to do with my religious choice. In all actuality at that time, I had pretty much stopped believing in any Gods, Christian, Pagan, or otherwise. I drug myself out of the pit of addiction with the help of my family, and my own will. After I got my life straightened back out from the shambles I had turned it into (notice I said what I turned my life into, not what Wicca turned my life into) with the addiction, I went back to Wicca, and have always felt fulfilled with my religion.

Just because there are few rules when it comes to Witchcraft, doesn't mean you shouldn't have your own set moral codes that tell you what's right and what's wrong. Relying on a religious belief to tell you what's right and wrong is idiotic and brings to mind the argument of bad cults, with their punch cups, and "all knowing" leader ruling over their flock. Please people, when will we learn to use our brains, other than processing what others tell us to do? I know something that does that, and I'm typing on it right now. Computers don't make good humans, and humans don't make good computers. That's why we have brains, and computers have processors.

Now, I don't want it to sound like I have something against Christianity itself, because I don't. In it's true meaning, Christianity is an awesome religion, with a wonderful moral code, and great intentions. However, I cannot stand the people that shove that religion down your throat and tell you that you are making the wrong decision, you are going to hell for the decisions you are making, and that God will always love you, and why are you turning your back on him? First off, how in the hell can anyone tell anyone else what is right for them? Who knows what's better for me than I do?

There are so many arguments I have that prove to me that the religious choice I've made is right FOR ME. Maybe it's not right for someone else, and that's fine. Having a one size fits all religion makes about the same sense as having one size fits all shoes. Trying to force people into a religion that isn't right for them is like trying to force someone into shoes that don't fit; it pinches, hurts, and at some point that person is going to rebel against those painful freakin shoes.

It's regrettable that her first serious relationship didn't work out, because her fiance's family didn't approve of her religion, and I truly sympathize with her on that, but if he had really loved her enough to go through with marrying her, it wouldn't have mattered. The fact that she completely changed religions for her second fiance proves that, yes she loved him enough to do that; but it shouldn't have been necessary. Of course, if she truly found something better in Christianity, I'm very happy for her; and I appreciate that she didn't have too many horrible things to say about Wicca in general.

What I'm truly angry about is the 700 Club did not even show what Wiccans actually worship. It kinda ticked me off that the announcer said she worshipped her favorite tree to try to find answers. Yes, we find answers in nature, and I talk to trees, but we don't just worship trees! Our religion was completely misconstrued! And it truly ticks me off that the 700 Club is using idiotic crap like that, with a person who obviously hadn't paid close enough attention to her studies, to launch a smear campaign against Wicca! Get the freakin facts straight, and correct before you start smearing religions, and the people in those religions.

But I think what really ticked me off about this video, is that I forgot how bad it still is. I live in my little bubble with my bloggy friends, my true friends that know what religion I am and that often call and ask for distance healing or card readings, and my amazingly supportive family, and I forgot. I forgot how hateful, and stupid some Christians can be, and how ruthless they can be when trying to convert someone. I forgot how much of a struggle it is to be taken seriously at best, and to be treated as if I am the devil incarnate at worst. So, to end this rant, I want to thank the God and Goddess for bringing this video to my attention. I appreciate them reminding me how hard it is for those of us in this religion, trying to live double lives, just to be able to worship the way we want to. So, I'm going to end this here, before I go into a further rant about the fact that America was created because people wanted the right to WORSHIP THE WAY THEY WANTED TO!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review: Seasons of Witchery by Ellen Dugan

I am doing a review for Llewellyn through I got the read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a book review. So this book is called Season of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats With the Garden Witch by Ellen Dugan. I greatly enjoyed this book, for the most part. Ellen Dugan shares so refreshing information about the Sabbats, and offers some wonderful spells and rituals for each Sabbat. I found it informative, and I love that it is written from a "garden witch's" point of view. However, at times it felt as if the author were writing a diary/journal rather than an informative book on the Sabbats.

Her personal stories were not boring by any means, but there were times where I thought to myself "why can't we just get on with the book". At some points during her personal stories I tended to forget exactly what the book was about. I did enjoy reading about her life, because it made me feel as if she was a person just like me or you, rather than a famous witch who has written several books.  The information presented in the book is well worth the purchase, and the personal stories about Ms. Dugan are entertaining and worth a read as well.

All in all I give this book a 4 out of 5, and I would suggest it for your collection if you are interested in flower, herbal, and faerie information surrounding the Sabbats. Look for this book in June 2012.


In the Witchcraft world you'll hear a lot about balance. Balance within yourself, balance in nature, finding your balancing, maintaining your balance. But I'd like to talk about a balance that a lot of us tend to overlook, me included.

Most of us in the Pagan tradition, especially if we came from a Christian background, are happy to find a religion that has both a male God, and a female Goddess. We're drawn to that because we don't like the idea of an all powerful male God and no Goddess, because we see in all of life that there are both male and female. However, a lot of us are guilty of almost completely ignoring the God. We tend to focus more on the Goddess and either push the God to the side, or forget about him completely.

I, personally, am very guilty of this. This time of year, with Spring coming represents the rebirth of the God in his masculine form, and we are reminded more of him, because the sun is stronger this time of year, and the sun is the biggest symbol of the God. However, this year my challenge to myself and to you is to find a balance between honoring the Goddess, and the God. Both are equally worthy of honor. This Spring, while celebrating Mother Earth, let's also celebrate the God of nature as well.

Try meditating and finding the version of the nature God that most calls to you. When you find that version, do your best to find a way to balance your worship to include both the Goddess and the God. Feel the wild masculine energy that the nature God has to offer, revel in it, and feel the earthy, grounding energy of the Goddess, and wrap it around you. Pray to both and thank them for their many blessings, leave offerings for both. And if it helps you to keep your balance set up an altar honoring both God and Goddess. Find images of both that call to you and set them on the altar, maybe with a white candle (white is technically a combination of all the colors so it represents anything you would like) that would work well to remind you of the balance. Or use white and black, or green and gold, or silver and gold candles. Add pine cones to represent the God and flowers to represent the Goddess, or whatever else reminds you of Them. In this way, you'll be able to find a wonderful balance and see it everyday on your altar.

The Gods Are Everywhere!


I found this adorable figure in a yard while driving around in town with mom. They carved this out of an old tree in their yard. I wish I had something like this around my house. It would make an amazing god/goddess icon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Wiccan Rede

Before we get deeper into spell work, I want to take a small step back and go over what I feel are very important foundations. The Wiccan Rede, An' it harm none, do what thou wilt, is a fairly common tenet found amongst most modern witches. Note that I did not say all witches. Witchcraft is entirely too diverse to say anything all inclusive.

The Wiccan Rede is an awesome tenet in my opinion, it's a good thing to live your life by, but a lot of people over think what the Rede means in it's entirety. So, in 1973 and 1974 a very diverse group of witches, called the Council of American Witches, made an attempt to define the Wiccan Rede. After much debate, they eventually agreed on these 13 points:

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces, marked by the phases of the Moon, and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature in ecological balance, offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity, as masculine and feminine, and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energy used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, the Inner Planes, etc., and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and live within it; a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft, the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch, but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way," and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship an entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

I'm probably about to tick someone off with what I'm about to say, and so be it, but I feel that a lot of people these days tend to forget these tenets. Yes, not everyone has studied Wicca, or even know these tenets exist, but those that claim to have studied Wicca should know these tenets, or at least have read them once or twice. There are so many people out there that forget that Witchcraft was not created to be a "one true and right way" type of religion. We are taught to believe that because each human is so different and unique, there should never be one exact way of worship either. Your way of worship should be personal and fulfilling to you, with a respect for other's ways of worship as well.

These tenets are terrific to live by and hold in your heart. In my opinion, they embody what Witchcraft truly is about. However, just because you live by these tenets doesn't mean that you have to be a fluffy bunny and allow yourself to be attacked or harmed because you aren't to harm others. I learned that lesson a hard way for myself. When I was 15 and just starting out, I had an amazing mentor, whose opinion matter the most to me in the world. At that age, I had a problem with cutting myself. I am an abuse survivor, from the hands of my biological father, and trying to deal with that at such a  young age was too hard for me to deal with. Cutting myself was a way of taking control of the pain I felt. I was the one who dealt pain to me, no one else. Yeah, a twisted way to look at it, but that's the way I looked at it.

One week I was in his shop going over our weekly studies when all of a sudden he grabbed my arm, flipped it over, and found some of the cuts. Somehow he had just sense that they were there. I had them hidden under a long sleeve shirt, and when it wasn't long sleeve weather I work wrist bands that hid most of them. He asked me what they were, why they were there, and I explained everything to him. He was the first male outside of my grandfather and step-dad that I had trusted after being hurt by my biological father, and it meant the world to me to be able to openly talk to him about those things. I cried, and he asked me, "Have you not been paying attention to our studies at all?"

I was heartbroken! I could cast a circle just as good as his, I could recite everything he asked of me, and I could cast a protection spell that was infallible. I just couldn't understand where he thought that I wasn't paying attention. He sensed what I was feeling and was going to say, and he said, "The first lesson we ever went over was 'Harm none, do what you will.' You are the most adept student I've ever had come into these doors, you are the first of the people that asked to study with me that was truly dedicated to the path and not just playing, but you haven't absorbed what that saying means."

"It means don't harm anyone when you do magick, or in your every day life," I said, "but I'm not harming anyone, just me. That doesn't count." He looked at me as if he was ready to smack me upside the head. He didn't because he knew the things I'd been through. He took a breath, and said, "Of course you count, idiot. When it says 'harm none,' it means 'harm none,' you included. If you don't understand that you have to be in good health, mentally and physically, to be able to truly work magick, you will never be more than a scholar who understands the principles, but can't do what they know." He ended our session right then, even though we still technically had an hour or more left, and informed me to spend the rest of my week meditating on and thinking about what he had just told me. He counted every cut, and checked all the scars, keeping them in memory, and told me if he found even just one more, or sensed that I had cut somewhere that wouldn't show, he would end our lessons indefinitely and I would be left on my own.

That's super tough love for someone as emotionally wrecked as I was at the age, but I took what he said to heart. I meditated and thought until my brain hurt, and I totally understood what he was saying. I've never thought of cutting myself ever again. Granted there were a couple times I wished I would die, like when Gram passed from this world and I felt I couldn't live without her, but at times like that his voice always comes back to me saying, "When it says 'harm none,' it means 'harm none!'" I took that lesson 100% to heart, and as you've read today I can still remember every minute detail of the day my mentor made me realize what that Rede truly means. So, no you should not be a fluffy bunny. When it says harm none, that's what it means, including you. If you feel attacked or feel as if your family or loved ones are being attacked, it is good to defend yourself, keep you and yours safe and protected and healthy and happy. If that means sending a curse back to who it came from so be it, but don't hurt innocent bystanders in the process. If that means killing a couple snakes, spiders, or scorpions to protect you or your loved ones so be it, but don't be cruel about it.

So there's what I wanted to talk about today. For your homework, whether you're new or have been on your path for a while, take out a notebook, write down these points, and ask yourself if you've been living by them. Yes, we all slip and there's probably a couple you're not living by just because you don't think about them, so this is not an exercise in berating yourself, this is a way to refocus your path and goals; a way to remind you why you came to this religion in the first place. Write down the points that you may need to focus on a bit more and try your best to reinstate them in your life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Do Witches Really Cast Spells?

                                                                                                             Now that we've explained what witchcraft is, you're probably wondering if witches really cast spells, or if spells are real at all. My answer to both of those questions is yes, witches cast spells, and spells are real. However, spells are not the same as what they show on movies. Unlike Sabrina the Teenage Witch, we cannot change our clothes with the snap of a finger, we cannot change anyone into any sort of animal, and unlike Samantha of Bewitched, we cannot wiggle our nose and clean our house. However, we can bring about subtle changes, and even big changes, it all depends on our intentions and how deeply we feel about something.

There are so many spells out there, and so many different kinds of spells. There are love spells broken down into categories of finding love, keeping love, attracting love, finding true love, finding a ;) lover, avoiding a lover, break up spells (to break up your relationship), and many many more options there. I started with love spells because for some odd reason love spells have always been, and still remain, the most popular spells out there. There are spells to help your business, spells to help you find a job, spells to help you keep a job, and so much more. There are spells covering protection of all sorts, because since the beginning of time people have always felt the need for protection from all sorts of things. There is a spell for just about anything you can imagine, except turning people into something other than human.

But, what exactly is a spell? Is it something in a strange language that I can't speak? Well there are spells out there in Latin and other languages, but you don't have to speak in tongues to cast a spell. A spell in it's simplest form is just an intention, a want, a need, something you feel so deep you know you have to have it. I love the movie Halloweentown, and in that movie Grandma Aggie tells her granddaughter that magick is simple, you just have to want something, then let yourself have it, and I've learned through my practice that, that statement is very true! It sounds simple, but it's not as easy as you think. We humans have a way of naturally telling ourselves no. We limit ourselves by thinking "I can't do that," or "That's not possible," and so many other things. By telling ourselves that, we effectively cut off our time to our magickal energy.

Think back to when you were a child, and everything in the world was possible. The tooth fairy existed and came and took your teeth, leaving you money or something else in exchange. Santa Clause was real, and somehow even though he is a rather rotund man, he could squeeze down chimneys and if you didn't have a chimney somehow he just magickally appeared to eat cookies and leave you presents under the tree. Back then fairies/faeries were real, and there was no limit to what we can do. I bet you even saw fairies/faeries as a child, but somewhere along the way you convinced yourself that they weren't real, just a figure of an overactive imagination, etc. I can tell you that anything you believe in is real. In general, you believe that the sun will rise each morning right? What would happen if you just one day decided to stop believing that the  sun would rise in the morning? No I'm not saying that you chose to not be around to see the sun, I'm saying you just didn't believe it would rise. Well, in all honesty, the sun would probably still keep rising, but who's to say that's not because although you don't believe it will rise, other people do. The same applies to magick. Just because you've convinced yourself it's not real, doesn't mean it isn't.

Now there are several things that can go into a spell. Notice that I said can. There are no set and steadfast ingredients. Yes there are certain things that compliment your intent in a love spell, business spell, etc., but the absolute most important ingredient in a spell is ... YOU. Yes, you. Your intent, your focus, your faith, your belief, that what you are doing is real, and actually works. The extra ingredients just help things along. They add their energy to yours to help bring about what you want in a stronger way than if you did things just by yourself.

Different kinds of ingredients include things like color, herbs, crystals and gemstones, different kinds of salts, powders, and oils, candles, incense, and even days, and times of day. It's a good idea to study these different correspondences. Magickal reference books come in super handy for that reason. A lot of beginners books will cover certain correspondences and if you don't want to have to dig through each page to try and find what you need, it's a good idea to write down those correspondences and keep them in a journal, binder, etc. so that you have a reference guide right at hand. You can buy spell books to study the makeup of spells, and even use those spells for yourself. Look for things called Grimoires and Books of Shadows. We'll go over more on spells tomorrow. For your homework this go around, write down what spells interest you the most and why. If you already have your own spells, what is your favorite spell, and why.
Looking for yet another good magazine? Check out the new Tricky Witchery! New posts coming everyday, filled with useful information for everyday, for celebrations, and much more! We're also looking for contributors! Do you like to write? Do you like to write witchy things? Whether you write short fiction, informative articles, or just fun tidbits, all are welcome! Contributions must be witchy/Pagan/Wiccan/magickal in nature, must be your original work, and must be family friendly. For more information click here!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What Is Witchcraft?

Now that we've gone over how I got into witchcraft, let's talk a little bit about what witchcraft is. According to the definition of witchcraft is:

1. the art or practices of a witch; sorcery; magic.
2. magical influence; witchery. 
Well that's not very meaningful, is it? Let's try what says about witches, shall we? According to it, the definition of a witch is:

1. a person, now especially a woman, who professes or is supposed to practice magic, especially black magic or the black art; sorceress. Compare warlock.
2. an ugly or mean old woman; hag.
3. a person who uses a divining rod; dowser.
Verb (used with an object)
1. to bring by or as by witchcraft: She witched him into going.
2. Archaic. to affect as if by witchcraft; bewitch; charm.
Hmm, not very flattering, huh? Why in the world would anyone want to be a witch? They are perceived so badly! Well, the truth in that is we are not all old ugly mean women, nor do all of us practice the dark arts, although there are some people out there that just can't seem to stay away from the dark side... guess Darth Vader has a pretty good pull on people. 
However, most of us never hear the call of the darker side. Now don't get me wrong. I study curses, and I know some damn good ones, but that doesn't mean that just because a person looked at me cross-eyed I'm going to curse them and make the dead keep them from sleeping for the rest of their lives. No, I personally believe in the power of Karma. What's Karma you ask? Well my friends, Karma is this little thing that can make your life wonderful or miserable, but guess what... you have full control over that! You ever heard that old saying, "What goes around, comes around"? Well it's true, and that's how Karma works. If you put good things out into the universe, good things come back to you. If you put negative things out in the universe, negative things come back to you. It's as simple as that. 
So let's look at my definition of witchcraft shall we? And please remember this is only MY definition of witchcraft. To others it may mean something totally different. In the end what only truly matters is YOUR definition of witchcraft. After all my studies, my definition of witchcraft is this: I have the power to work in harmony with the God and Goddess, the elementals (earth, air, fire, water), herbs, candles, and more, to bring about changes in my life and the lives of my loved ones. Witchcraft to me is being a healer, helper, friend, confidant, and sometimes bully, to help people in anyway possible. Witchcraft is a practice filled with spells, rituals, and meditations; but, it is also a religion, filled with prayer, faith, and communing with the God and Goddess, walking with them everyday. 
To me, witchcraft is NOT: evil, hateful, over zealous, over bearing, over powering, or controlling. I do not believe in the Christian devil aka Satan, and I do not believe in dabbling in dark magick because I prefer to have good things in my life. I do not believe in Hell, because an all loving God/dess would not forsake us to a place of torture for all of eternity. However, just because I do not believe in the devil, or Hell, does not mean that I don't believe in evil. There is pure evil out there. I'm not sure where it comes from, but I have a theory that it comes from the darkest parts of our own minds. We create our own demons and evils, so if we create them, we also hold the power to destroy them as well. 
To me, witchcraft is a wonderful path. My path as a green witch goes a little something like this. I believe in a God and a Goddess because everything has to have a balance, i.e. male/female, sun/moon, night/day, yin/yang. Without those balances we would never truly know what happiness is, because we'd never known sadness either. I believe in living in harmony with the earth, and being eco-friendly. I believe that I hold a personal power, supplied by the earth and elements around me, to effect changes in my home, family, love life, personal life, and so forth. I believe in the power of universal healing, and I believe that everything on this earth and in this universe are all inter connected. In the end we are all part of the earth. Yes sometimes I have to remind myself of that. Think about that person that never really does anything wrong, and they've got a good heart, but somehow they always just seem to rub you the wrong way and you get irritated as all get out with them. Well, even though they are irritating me, I have to realize that we are one, we come from, and are part of the earth.
Witchcraft today is not some nut case cult, and if you ever find yourself in a situation that feels cult-ish, drop that cup of juice, step away, and think it through! Witchcraft is about making personal choices, and deciding what feels true and right to you, not because someone said it's right, but because you feel in your soul that it's right. Modern witches do not sacrifice animals (we love our furry children), we do not eat or sacrifice babies (what the hell would be the point of that!), and we do not sacrifice virgins. Actually human/animal sacrifices are kind of taboo, at least in most Wiccan, and Pagan views. Voodoo I'm not sure about ... I haven't studied enough of it to know, so if you know anything about Voodoo let me know if the chicken sacrifice actually happens or if that's just something I saw on Scooby Doo. I mean no offense by that, I'm actually ignorant of that, and would love to know more about Voodoo. 
So there you have it ... the bare basics of what witchcraft is. Now don't you feel better knowing we don't dance naked under a full moon, eating babies, and hanging cats or dogs in trees, while fornicating with Satan? Well the dancing naked part might happen ... some people just like being in their birthday suits! And yes, there are some witches that practice witchcraft skyclad (aka naked). I am not one of them, because I personally am not comfortable enough with my body to sit around naked while invoking a diety. Yes I know they see me naked all the time, and they love me anyway, despite the stretch marks, and the extra weight, but I am too distracted thinking about how bad I look naked to be able to focus enough to work skyclad. It just ain't happening for me sister! But, if you are comfortable enough in your own body to work naked, go for it! However, if you ever decide to join a group activity make sure to check out the rules beforehand. Most groups today prefer to work naked at home, and clothed in the group. 
Now, similar to Christianity, there are different sects of witchcraft, with different beliefs, and guidelines. There is Wicca, which is an organized religion believed to predate Christianity; however, there are lots of debates about whether that is true or not, and we won't get into those debates here. The point is Wicca is here, and it is a wonderful religion! It was popularized in the 50's and 60's by Gerald Gardener, and has set guidelines, and a pretty awesome moral code. It is a very ceremonial, and ritualistic religion, and most Wiccans practice in a coven, although there are lots of modern, solitary Wiccans as well! Wicca itself has many different facets to it, and all are worth at least a slight peruse. To learn a little more about Wicca here online, check out the Wikipedia entry on Wicca. And good books to learn more about Wicca include Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (especially if you are a teen lol), To Ride a Silver Broomstick, To Stir a Magick Cauldron, and To Light a Sacred Flame all by Silver Ravenwolf. Some people are not big fans of Silver Ravenwolf, but she is who I learned with and I enjoyed her writings. Wicca, A Guide For the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham is very good as well, and I fully recommend Scott Cunningham as a wonderful, knowledgeable author. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland is also an amazing choice, and makes a wonderful workbook, and reference book! And Mr. Buckland is another author that comes highly recommended from me. There are other very good choices available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Just be sure to read at least a little of the book before buying to make sure you'll even be interested in it. 
Next we have Paganism which is basically a blanket term. It covers things like Greco-Roman Polytheism (which I am guilty of being a believer of :D), the polytheistic religions of Europe and North Africa, before Christianity, and in contemporary meanings it covers folk magics/religions, Eastern religions, and so much more. It is a very wide, and varied term. But the key note of Paganism is the lack of door to door Pagans trying to convert you to their religion or them telling anyone else that their religion is the only one true way to God and heaven. For more information from the web check out the Wiki on Paganism. For books on the subject check out Paganism Today by Graham Harvey, Pagan Spirituality by Joyce Higginbotham, and Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions by Joyce Higginbotham. I've also heard that Spirited: Taking Paganism Beyond the Circle by Gede Parma is a good read, although I haven't had the pleasure myself. Currently I am enjoying A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith. Again, a search of Amazon or Barnes and Noble will bring up good and bad choices, just be sure to read reviews, and read some of the book to see if you are interested in what it has to say. 
Then there are the smaller sections of witchcraft, and while these are normally not religious, they can be. These sections are mainly just practices that you add your personal religious beliefs to. There is kitchen witchery; which is basically working your witchy trickery in the kitchen. But it isn't just about cooking or cleaning up. You can change lives just by making a simple tea. You can heal heartache by making a pie, and you can create harmony in your home by making soup. There are several things that go into kitchen witchery, and it is definitely something worth looking into. Books on the subject can easily be found. One of my favorites is A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook by Patricia Telesco. Patricia Telesco is one of my favorite author's on kitchen witchery, and she has several books on different subjects as well.
There is also green witchcraft which revolves around nature. Being out in nature, gardening, and so forth, but you don't have to have an amazing green thumb to be a green witch. I'm a green witch, and I kill every plant that comes into contact with me lol. Being a green witch is about being one with nature, feeling her rhythms, celebrating her changes, looking to her for all the things we need. My absolute favorite book on the subject is The Way of the Green Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. I'm adding a link to it because there seem to be different versions of this book, and this is the link to my favorite version. Also Aoumiel aka Ann Moura is a good author on the subject of green witchcraft. Just search her name, or green witchcraft, and you'll find several books by her. 
Let's see here, next come garden witchery, cottage witchery, hedgecraft, and so many other folk practices and traditions. I just don't have the room in this post to continue with them! And these are just the different practices and beliefs. This doesn't come anywhere near covering the different forms of magick out there like candle magick, crystal magick, energy healing, ritual, spells, prayer, and so much more! So, I believe this is where I will end this post for today. We'll cover more tomorrow. For your homework this go around, read a little about the different sects and practices I just mentioned in this post and make a list of things that interest you that you might like to study more about. Or, for those of you that are already on your path, write down the reasons you found your path, and what makes you truly enjoy your path. Who knows, maybe you'll find there is more you would like to learn! 

Welcome to Witchcraft

You may be like I was when I started on my magickal journey. I was raised in a fairly lenient Catholic home, and grew up watching Disney movies with princesses that needed rescuing, and evil witches after them. I always wondered what happened to those witches to make them so mean. Odd reasoning for a young child, right? Well, I got that point of view from watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch, The Wizard of Oz, and Charmed, just to name a couple shows that portrayed witches in a positive light.

I was fascinated with magick, witchcraft, and witches in general. I checked out any books at the school's library that had anything to do with witches. I remember trying my hardest to find answers from the time I was 9 years old, and I especially remember the responses my research brought about. One teacher told me one of the book was evil, and that I could get in trouble just for having it. "Then why is it available at the school library," was my smart ass response. The teacher had no viable answer, so I got to keep my book, until I had to return, at which point I still had the right to check it out again.

My search continued, with many bumps in the road, until one fateful day. My parents and I were in Hastings, and I was happily browsing the books, when somehow I ended up in the occult section. My 15 year old self was so amazed to find non-fiction books on the very thing my soul had been searching for my entire life! Witchcraft was real! And anyone could learn it! Holy cow, I thought I'd found paradise! I picked up book after book on the subject, and while I desperately wanted to run to the cash register with every book they had in that section, I knew my parents would not be okay with, or able to, spend the thousand dollars it would probably take to buy all those books. I also knew that even though I was vaguely interested in some of them, if I took those home with me they would just end up in a corner discarded and unfinished.

So, what's a girl to do? I stopped, closed my eyes, and ran my hand down the spines of each book until something told me to open my eyes. I opened them and ... disappointment cut deep into my soul. My hand had landed on a book that I had no interest in at all. Sighing, I decided to look through the books ahead of me, rather than starting from the beginning again. But, I must have done something right, because right beside the disappointing book was Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf. It had the coolest cover, which has been changed since my original copy, and the back professed that witchcraft was real, and it had nothing to do with the devil. I sat down and decided to read a couple of pages. In the front was a letter to my parents outlining what I was reading about, and easing their fears; and there was a letter to me, the reader, telling me about having the power to control my life and so much more, written in teen speak, something I could understand and relate to.

In that book, I learned about a religion that I could completely relate to. The religion, Wicca, was very ceremonial and ritualistic, which slightly mirrored things I saw at Sunday Mass. The priest ritually cleansed the sacred space with incense, holy water, prayer, and chanting. We had communion every Sunday at Mass which the priest ritually empowered before we took part in it, as did we during a Wiccan ritual. I learned so much about the things I saw in the Catholic church, and at the young age I was, I became so angry at the church because I learned about an all loving Mother Goddess, that these rituals were sacred to, and the church had basically beaten the beautiful Goddess and stolen her worship.

I had finally found a religion that made me fell whole, happy, as if I was coming home, and I'd been searching for a home for a long time. I found myself focusing more on the statue of Virgin Mary than what the priest was saying and doing. Eventually Mom got used to having to tap me to make me kneel or whatever was required at the time, because I could go into a trance like state listening to Her words. The first time that happened MOm asked me what was going on. I explained in complete honesty, and from then on she just understood what was going on, and to keep the congregation from trying to have me committed to the mental ward, Mom discreetly signaled when I needed to do something.

I've come a very long way from being that seeker, just looking for something to tell me I wasn't crazy, something to tell me what I was searching for was real and not something I'd just made up. I found that and so much more! While I am no longer Wiccan, the lessons I learned while studying that path have stayed with me in my current practice as an eclectic green witch. I found a religion that makes me feel whole, powerful, and more caring than ever. This is an amazing journey that I have never regretted, but this is also a journey that takes dedication, and it should not be taken lightly. There are much more resources available now than there was when I began my journey, but you still have to do the leg work.

Here at the blog, I will be going over the things I've learned and telling you what witchcraft is and is not to me, but in the end the only definition that truly matters is yours. There are many different forms of magick and witchcraft, each with their own sets of rules/guidelines and beliefs. I will do my best to discuss each one that I've studied, and if there is something you are interested in just let me know. I'll find online resources for you and possible books if I can. I'll do my best to point you in the most reputable direction possible. There is one thing I will not go over, and that is Satanism or Satanic magic. First off, I do not believe in Hell or Satan, and second off, while I'm not what people call a fluffy bunny, meaning I don't think you can just get by with positive thoughts and rainbows because life and nature aren't that way, I also believe that when there is no absolute need for negative energy, which we will go over later, it should not be used, and we learn that when you tap into total darkness, and what is perceived as evil, nothing good every comes out of it. Now there are certain exceptions, in certain situations, but we won't get into those in this post.

So, welcome to the amazing and fulfilling world of witchcraft! Yes magick is real, yes there is a religion out there more empowering than Christianity, and there is a loving Goddess that has been calling to you, if you are here and reading this. Welcome home seekers. In the next few posts I will be going over the basics of witchcraft. I will break it down in categories of witchcraft as a practice, and witchcraft as a religion because there are some differences there.We will go over the basics of spell work, and discuss the God and Goddess, and so much more! I hope you'll continue your journey here with me, and freely share your questions and opinions. This is a safe place, and while debate is always welcome, peer bashing is not. You are free to express your opinions and ask all genuine questions, without fear of judgement or ridicule. Please know that any and all questions will be answered with heartfelt honesty, and genuine caring.

So, tune in tomorrow for more about witchcraft and what it is, and how you can become a witch too! In the mean time, here's a little bit of homework for you, whether you are a seasoned witch, or just new to the scene. I want you to sit down and write out why you became interested in witchcraft, magick, Wicca, Paganism, or whatever you are interested in right now. You can do this in a notebook, as a document on your computer, here in the comments, or as a post at your blog if you have one. Share your blog link here if you like. Bright blessings to you on your journey, new or old, and I hope to see you here tomorrow for the next installment!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I hope everyone is liking the new theme! I've changed it in anticipation of the new route the blog will be taking, starting tomorrow!

I Found A New Magazine!

I was just trying to catch up with everything that's going on with my bloggy friends since I've been on hiatus, and found this awesome magazine made just for witchy people! It's awesome! So along with the new focus of the blog, I would also like to share this magazine. I just looked over this month's issue and it's awesome!Hope you'll spread the word!

Today's post is just a quick update on things going on around here. I have my final state test to take on the 15th of this month! Once I pass that, all I have to do is basically wait for my license, then I can start working! I'm a little nervous and excited. Not about the test, but about actually working. I know I know my stuff, but I always seem to get nervous before working with a client, especially when doing artificial nail services. So hopefully things will go well once I start working.

On another note, I feel like things have gone stagnant here at the blog, so I have a plan... Ready for it? While I wanted to do the Ask Willow thing, and probably still will, I'm also thinking about starting out by posting beginner information. That way I'm reteaching myself, and helping out seekers as well :D This is not a party like the last one I wanted to do, but I will be working with the same things I had outlined. So, I hope you guys will tune in, and read along! I will start posting these new topics on Monday, and of course, you guys are more than welcome to leave comments, or post your opinions on your blogs and leave a link! Hope to see you all tomorrow! Bright blessings!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Have Internet!!!

I finally got internet installed at my house. Super excited! I'm doing a little better on my Weight Watchers thing, but after last night, I'm a little depressed about it. I started the program out at 246, and I weighed myself last night... 257! So I'm working harder trying to get this damn weight off. I don't want to be the person that can't do something because of my weight. So I'm working out more, did 30 minutes of kickboxing last night, and staying much more strict on the points area, and hopefully at the end of the week I'll have some more results, that I like!

I'm excited to have internet back at my house. Now maybe I can write things a little more meaningful than I have been. I've had an idea, and I'd like your opinion on it. Some time last week, I got an email from someone new to the Pagan/Wiccan path, asking my opinion on killing spiders, scorpions and such. I was a little confused about it at first until I remembered that I'm a WitchVox sponsor, and I have a listing as clergy. After responding to her email, I got to thinking... There are so many people out there with questions, and they aren't sure where to turn for answers. I remember as a child, when I first became interested in magick, I had so many questions, but I didn't know where to turn. So... what if I do an Ask Willow sort of thing for seekers? In that option I would have certain days where I answer questions emailed to me on the blog. Of course, if I don't have the answer to a question, I will find the answer (and in keeping honest, give credit where it is due). Or in option number 2, I could start a second blog called Ask Willow and it would serve only to answer email questions. What's your opinion? And would anyone be able to help me get the word out about it? Let me know in the comments friends :D

Friday, March 2, 2012

Start Over

I haven't posted in a little while. Haven't really had that much to say. But today, I wanted to share with my blogging friends. I have things almost pretty much set up the way I want them here at home. I still need to get the fence built, and still need to get my day bed in here instead of the couch, but things are working out in their own ways.

I've been mainly focusing on myself during all of this. I've decided I want to learn a little about voodoo/hoodoo, and I've read a little on the subject and am enjoying what I'm learning so far. Also, I've been part of Weight Watchers online for quite a while, since Yule, and I realized I've not lost near the weight I should have in the few months I've been on the plan. That's because I followed it for a while, then just fell back into bad habits for several reasons. My friend Sarita joined WW as well, just last week, and it made me realize that I need to get back on track. So now I'm trying to get more serious about the program. Thankfully Sarita has my back on it this go round, and I think it will help.

I am an xbox 360 owner, and I plan on going into town tonight to pick up a kinect because my xbox is kinect ready, and zumba, and maybe one more workout game. I think if its a game that I can do in my own home I'll be more likely to actually workout. Plus I actually really do like zumba. I wonder if they make a yoga one for xbox kinect? I like yoga too, and have a mat somewhere lol.