PBN Blues Series: ” Vampire Women” by Spark Plug Smith

Welcome back to another installment of our PBN Blues Series. Today we examine the dilemma of the husband enslaved by a wife’s greed, and the wife disappointed in her husband. As a worker, you will find situations that come to your door that are very startling. Detachment is vital, and so are your ethics. You may find that you are the only worker in the area, and thus could face a similar situation. Here is an interesting case.

All that glitters

Doretha P. and Horace. P are loyal customers at your small botanica. Not a month goes by without products for their home being replenished from your shelves. Blessing products, cleansers, and prosperity candles are on continuous renewal orders. All seems right with the world.

Of special note is the glowing face of Doretha P. . Married life suits her. She is immaculately attired at all times, nails manicured, and make-up perfectly applied. Her car is never over two years old, and she drips in diamonds. Yes, life is very sweet for her.

CCOO

Horace. P. is fairly well off. He works seven days a week at their business. On Sundays, he works alone so that his wife can attend church and volunteer. He is a modest man, very shy, and always fatigued. He picks up the monthly order of products like clockwork. Never does he forget to tip.

However, for the past few months, the orders have been picked up with smaller totals, and this time he did not tip. His eyes appear red and haggard. One look at his shoes tells the story of excessive wear and hard work.

His wife appears happier than ever. She is radiant and adds to the order, despite his objection, by using his second credit card. You smile and complete the transaction.

Later that week, Doretha P. comes in to order a selection of dominance products. Added to this are candles and Essence of Bend Over oil.  She smiles wryly, and tells you she has now secured a sugar daddy on the side. While her husband is working his way into bankruptcy, she is setting up a new relationship to which she can escape. Her intention is to drain Horace P. dry, divorce him, and move away.

You have known Horace P. longer than her. He conducts himself honorably, and absolutely adores his wife. He is the classic example of a fool for love.

But, twenty dollars is twenty dollars. You add the spell set to her total, and watch her leave. Your cash register closes with a snap, much like the trap she is setting.

 

An ethical question

Doretha P. and Horace. P are loyal customers at your small botanica. Not a month goes by without products for their home being replenished from your shelves. Blessing products, cleansers, and prosperity candles are on continuous renewal orders. All seems right with the world.

Of special note is the glowing face of Doretha P. . Married life suits her. She is immaculately attired at all times, nails manicured, and make-up perfectly applied. Her car is never over two years old, and she drips in diamonds. Yes, life is very sweet for her.

Horace. P. is fairly well off. He works seven days a week at their business. On Sundays, he works alone so that his wife can attend church and volunteer. He is a modest man, very shy, and always fatigued. He picks up the monthly order of products like clockwork. Never does he forget to tip.

However, for the past few months, the orders have been picked up with smaller totals, and this time he did not tip. His eyes appear red and haggard. One look at his shoes tells the story of excessive wear and hard work.

His wife appears happier than ever. She is radiant and adds to the order, despite his objection, by using his second credit card. You smile and complete the transaction.

Later that week, Doretha P. comes in to order a selection of dominance products. Added to this are candles and Essence of Bend Over oil.  She smiles wryly, and tells you she has now secured a sugar daddy on the side. While her husband is working his way into bankruptcy, she is setting up a new relationship to which she can escape. Her intention is to drain Horace P. dry, divorce him, and move away.

Your ethics can come into play in this. There are multiple paths before you. What do you do?

 

Money is not everything

You choose to inform Doretha P.  that because of the relationship you have with them as a married couple, you cannot be a party to this. She is offended and reminds you that you are just a business person, and to mind your own. You ask her to leave.  She states she will find a worker elsewhere.

You wish her success in her future endeavors and close the door after her. Because you are morally outraged, you do some work to banish her. You also make sure to do some protection work for your business, just in case she tries to bad mouth you.

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Meddling

You choose to inform Doretha P.  that because of the relationship you have with them as a married couple, you cannot be a party to this. She is offended and reminds you that you are just a business person, and to mind your own. You ask her to leave.  She states she will find a worker elsewhere.

You wish her success in her future endeavors and close the door after her. Because you are morally outraged, you do some work to expose her to her husband. The next time her Horace P. comes into your shop, he picks up his last order and questions why you offended his wife. He then imparts a web of lies that she has told him about you insulting her out of jealousy.

You attempt to clear it up, but he is furious. He tells you how disappointed he is and walks out with his purchases. You shake your head and remind yourself that this is why you are not supposed to get involved with clients.

A year later, he returns to your shop. He is divorced and seeking to apologize to you. His wife’s lies have been exposed and he feels like a fool.

What would you do?

Ultimately, the question of ethics is personal. It is that which makes us individuals withing the societal whole when it comes to our actions. This case is only one of many, with different outcomes not discussed here.

Metro Detroit Pagan Community Statement of Concern 2018 – G.L.W.C of Michigan

The G.L.W.C. of Michigan just issued this press release. Full disclosure, I am on that council board.

 

Metro Detroit Pagan Community Statement of Concern

2018

 

METRO DETROIT, APRIL 12, 2018 — Actions and circumstances have necessitated, in the view of this body, an official statement regarding our position on several matters. Over the last year, the rise of “witch hunts”, “witch wars”, and what appears on its face to be a power imbalance are of concern to us.

 

Multiple organizations in the region are in internal and external crisis. Leadership positions are no longer based on community visions. The previous culture of service, vision, and upliftment is now one infected with backroom negotiations and breaches of promise. Rumors and hearsay are used to destroy character, without chance for rebuttal, in the public eye. The torches are lit and we see missteps, mistakes, and ignorant actions no longer being times for education, but times for total annihilation by social media attackers and mercenary courtiers.

 

Michigan moved from presumption of innocence, and subsequent actions against those who commit physical harm. Now the community punishes, with great zeal and relish, any perceived infraction no matter the relevance to the person’s position. Personal slights are magnified into full on reputation assassinations. The drive to foment conflict and cause factioning is in full swing, and we fear it has not yet reached its amplitude.

 

Of primary concern are the following:

 

  • The hyperbolic reactions and consolidation of personal and organizational harassment against persons during a crisis without a community sit down meeting.
  • The penchant for the total destruction of leadership without thought to restorative measures considered to the community.
  • The removal of persons from positions of leadership based on non-public and personal relationships and affairs.
  • The insidious climate of a McCarthy type marginalization of people based on differing ideas, tenets of spiritual practice, and political views.
  • The fostering of conflict in what seems to be a premeditated path to an underground purge of said persons.

 

We urge our peers to step back a moment and consider their actions very carefully. How you proceed in the next year will set the stage for an incoming generation. Now is the time for open and honest public conversation and transparent airings of accusations and grievances.

 

For at least three in our community, they are hamstrung by this shift. Their character and actions were cast aside to rot, good works be damned. That is the risk of public service, though. However, usually the public is not swayed by private agendas so easily. How many stakes will be needed to feed your witch hunt fires? If this continues, when will you take your place in one next?

 

“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion.” – Grantland Rice

 

The G.L.W.C. of Michigan was founded in 2012 to To Facilitate Workshops, Events, Classes, Community Outreach, and a Forum for the Magickal and Magickally Interested Communities.

Media Contact:

Kenya Coviak

rzrrvn@yahoo.com

G.L.W.C. of Michigan/Great Lakes Witchs Council

The Alchemy of Shadow Work and What Spring and Autumn Can Teach Us About This Important Work

Bet that title has you scratching your head, wondering what can Spring and Autumn teach us about shadow work. Maybe you have scoffed at the regurgitated old analogies of what shadow work is about. Maybe you’re just beginning your learning. Whatever your thoughts, questions and such, I hope you have some curiosity as to what Nature through any of its seasons can teach us about the important work of Shadow Alchemy.

I’ve been a student of Nature, life, us humans since I was a child. I’ve been an initiated person of spiritual wisdom, healing and such also since I was a child. I watch, listen, ask questions, always curious and understanding that there is more and more to learn and understand.

I’ve also come to understand that we humans are not allowing ourselves to evolve, change, heal or grow. We are hindering ourselves by not allowing our stories, myths, analogies, metaphors and other things to change or grow. We’ve also turned important truths upside down and firmly believe our lies.

Which brings us to shadow work and the alchemical process that it is !

We’ve turned shadow into a scapegoat for all the messed up things we are capable of. We believe that shadow only contains the messed up things. We keep being fooled into believing that we don’t need a different approach to our relationship with shadow work.

Yet we can find that nature has a lesson about the truth of shadows and really it’s lessons!

I willingly admit that what I’m sharing isn’t the end all and be all of answers. For even I am a student and I understand I can only know but a portion of any given thing. I also know that each person has their own unique journey of learning to accomplish. Yet my life’s journey thus far because of how I’m always wanting to reach understanding of things, has taught me some things.

Nature, life, our world, each human, animal, element  and all the cycles, seasons, processes  and such are always patiently teaching us important truths. Really life, nature, our world is one big classroom! What I mean by that is, our world, ourselves and life are the micro versions of truths about the much larger or macro of The All That Is and it’s truths!

So what does Nature and it’s many cycles have to teach us    about shadows and our own shadow work?

We have to start with a couple basic things about shadow. Yes, I realize you may know these basic things about how shadow needs light and usually a solid object or person, such as you! But what do these basic things about shadow have to teach us about our shadow work.

Well with this first basic fact about formation of shadow needing light and then a solid something in order for shadow to be able to happen, we then see if this correlates to how our minds and our senses work.

We take a look at our minds and how the information of various things are all first processed in our minds. Then we speak, act and such from those thoughts and we formulate ideas, judgments and beliefs about the outer world we live in. Our minds are an interesting mixture of solid and yet subtle things and our senses we use to carry out different tasks can be seen as as the light and strangely as the shadow also.

So the true point of shadow for us happens between a thought or feeling moving towards an action and or reaction with the outside world!

Shadow lies between each thought, belief, self talk, action and reactions and so much more. Shadow lies in us making our minds conscious and aware of what it’s thinking and believing. Even when we aren’t actively being aware of how we are reacting and interacting with life,  shadow is still there between the mind and outside world.

Another intersting basic fact about shadows is that they change according to the direction of light upon a thing or person!

This basic fact about nature’s ways with shadows can be an amazing teacher in showing us that change is a very natural thing within life and ourselves. Which is a really big truth that we humans struggle to accept especially about our minds and lives.

Yet nature is showing us that change is a very real and natural thing that goes on from moment to moment, day by day, season to season, year by year and so on!

Which brings us to what Spring and Autumn can teach us about shadow work!

When we look at the placement of these two seasons within the seasonal cycles, we see Spring and Autumn at mid way points towards days getting longer or shorter, and same for the night time.

Spring time’s shadow play is one where the shadows look to be getting shorter. For the sunlight during the day is at a point more directly over our home, trees and such. So it’s almost as if shadow is receding.

Another thing about Spring is we start getting excited and making plans for outdoors type of things we want or need to do. So we are engaging the outside world more and more during Spring moving towards Summertime.

This time of year can encourage us to take a good look at how we are engaging and connecting with the outside world, including our interactions and beliefs and such with ourselves and one another.

Another lesson Spring has for our shadow work is all about planting and cultivating growth of things! Spring  can be a big help in guiding us towards the things we desire and long to heal and change. Because we have positive, negative and things in between those two points. Shadow and darkness are actually neutral ground so to speak.

So all facets of beliefs and such reside there! Shadow is very much capable of holding seemingly opposing things! So when we bring this understanding into our shadow work we then can have fuller and easier access to the whole of ourselves!

So during the Spring and going into Summer we can do the work of planting and cultivating the change and healing we long to have happen. And if we understand that shadow and darkness of our minds contain all that we need or can guide us to the things we still need for growth and healing, Spring will help us in big ways to heal and change our interactions with the outside world.

Another point I want to make about shadow is it can be a gentler and safer terrain to travel versus the darkness, because we do have light along the way to help guide us better, versus what can happen with darkness! 

Which brings us interestingly to what can Autumn teach us about shadow work! I’m bringing up Autumn along with Spring in this writing because while the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing life awakening, the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing life heading towards certain levels of restfulness, of becoming dormant for a time!

With Autumn the shadows lengthen because the sunlight is at more of an angle. So we have more to shadows during the Autumn. Also in Autumn we have the nights start to get longer and we ourselves with the cooling down of the temperatures, start to stay indoors more. Autumn is the season that gets us ready for the cold and freeze of Winter.

So as we are seeing with Autumn we have a season that we have of preparation for the freezing time of Winter. This means getting the harvesting done, getting seeds planted for early spring, making sure our windows and such don’t leak and getting our Winter clothing out and many other sorts of preparations are done during the Autumn in time for the Winter freeze. Autumn then is a time of pulling inward and making preparations for the dark time we call Winter.

So Autumn as a teacher and guide helps point towards us having opportunities to do the work of understanding the inner world of our minds! 

Shadow work during the Autumn is all about navigating the inner terrain of our minds and getting to the things that limit us, shackle us, or may be toxic and poisonous that need healing. It can also though help us train up the positive aspects so that we can accelerate our growth and healing.

Another reason I am writing about both Spring and Autumn is because shadow work needs to happen in both directions of outer and inner worlds. Especially if we are doing all we can to grow and heal. We need to pay attention to how we are reacting and interacting with the outside world. While also on a regular basis doing the work of checking into what’s going on within the innner world of our minds!

For us to truly become whole and healed we must do conscious working with both the inner world of mind and the outer world of living! Hence why both Spring and Autumn are much needed teachers and guides. Because together they help us have a more holistic approach to ourselves, minds and lives!

Blessings to you all this Spring! Let it be a time of growth and healing in your life that it can be! And let Autumn guide you as you work with your inner world of mind and gain fuller access to your power!

 

 

Working with the Land

This morning I  sat my desk and looked out side to see it snowing on the second day of spring.  As the snow falls I see at least 6″ of snow all over the ground from a blizzard that occurred last week.  This is how it is every year where I live.  Lots and lots of snow that never seems to go away.

Yet when you walk into a retail store you will see seeds for sale and signs of spring every where.  people longing for the time where the days are warm and gentle and that they can be outside with out harsh heat and those pesky bugs (we have a lot of bugs in my area).  Spring time in Maine can be a wonderful time of year when it finally gets here.

Its hard to be thinking about planting your gardens when its still covered in snow and the temps outside can still reach below freezing.  There were times when during this past year I thought about getting started on my prep work outside, but once that thought hit me another draft of snow appeared to come our way.

It may be weeks before we actually notice spring here in Maine.  As a pagan and as a witch I work with the spirits of the land and the current of the land energy.  Hug a tree to talk to the spirit now and they are often annoyed that they got woken up.  They are not yet fully awake and the land is still very much asleep.  Some trees like Birch and Maple have started to have small leafbuds.  Looking outside at the trees in the back and I largely have an image of this:

Maine Winter 2018
Photo courtesy Jeannine Kari Martell-Morris

The grips of winter largely still hold over this land.  Yet we see the squirrels and chipmunks darting to and fro finding food and the birds looking for any seeds or food they can find out in the snow.  Life still moves in Maine spring, just moves quite slowly.    Once the spring rains get here then I can say that the season has begun and that Spring has come to Maine.

This is why for myself I really dont celebrate and honor either Imbolc or Ostara.  To me neither one really represent spring.  Its not spring here.  To me honoring the birth of the sun at Imbolc makes no sense, its still very dark here during that time.  Then the Spring Equinox often has snow storms and ice going on, which to me is not very spring.  Its not really the season of spring, at least in feel or look.  Its still in the grips of old man winter.

The land does not have flowers blooming and baby animals all around.  Its still quiet, cold and mostly slumbering.  The lakes will start to crack and the ice will start to melt, and some flowers will start to peek through the snow in a few weeks.  When that happens I will gladly honor and welcome to start of spring, but for now its very much winter still here.

It took me a while to get comfortable with not having those two sabbats in my practice, but then I realized if I was really going to honor and work with the spirits of the land I should honor the seasons when they actually come to the region.  When they come to Maine, and Winter by far is our longest season.   I’ll acknowledge the light and increase in day when we see that happen and I’ll welcome spring when I see the first flowers popping up in gardens.  Till then I’ll simply continue to ask Old Man winter to be gentle with me and hope the ice and snow spirits accept my prayers of protection and my offerings when I give them.

I look forward to connecting to the spirit of the land when they wake, but for now I will let the land sleep.  I have some plants I can work and grow in my office to try and feel as if Spring is here, but until the land wakes and the mud is here its still a land of snow with ice and cold and fires are needed to keep warm.

Be mindful of your land and the climate.  Don’t force yourself to work in rituals or holidays that dont fit what you see and experience as your land.  The land spirits will guide you and direct you and may even help you find new ways to look at everything you have been doing.

Plant spirits our allies and teachers

As a witch I work with many different spirits and have many different spirit allies.  Some of these spirit allies have been with me longer than others, and many times they have lessons to teach me.   For a long time I wondered what exactly it was my spirit allies had taught me, and where their lessons came from.  There was a time when I actually believed that I had never learned anything from spirits, but I was wrong.

For years one main lesson from all of my spirit allies was to simply trust my intuition and trust my knowledge.  I knew and know more than I often give myself credit for in both theoretical practice and actual practice.  To put it blunt I was afraid of my skill with energy manipulation and with psychic work, so I didn’t let myself access my actual knowledge and understanding.  I didn’t let myself practice.

This was until I encountered my first plant spirit guide.  I had been buying “healing” incenses from stores and “Astral Travel” or “Psychic” development incenses from stores to use in my meditations, spells, rituals, and works.  These worked for a while, but I began to wonder how I could make my own and if that would be any different.   So The next time I went to the local metaphysical store I bought a few herbs to use for healing work and psychic work.  I bought Peppermint, Myrrh, Calendula, and Mugwort to start with.   I also had white sage, Dragons Blood, and Frankincense.  This base provided me lots of different things to work with, spirituality, psychic work, meditation, and healing.  It was a perfect selection to start my journey into magical herbalism.

Before I made my own I started by adding a little of these herbs to the powdered incenses I had been buying.  Just to get myself use to the concept of working with herbs in this fashion.  After a while I decided it was time to start working with the herbs and make my own blends.   I had no idea what I was doing at first, no real connection to any of the herbs, then as I sat down and looked at them I started to have an understanding of which herbs I was supposed to use for the general healing incense I was creating at that moment.

I didn’t think about where the decisions and choice came from at that point in time, but looking back its pretty clear that it was the plants that were helping.  One plant in particular seems to help me more than any other.  That plant is Marigold/Calendula.  To this day it has been the plant marigold that has led me to trust in the plants energy and the plants spirits guiding me in working with them and getting the incense blends just right.

Marigold
Photo found at: https://pixabay.com/en/flower-blossom-bloom-yellow-orange-2469091/

Today when I do spell work or rituals I get out the herbs and ask them who is best to do this work with me, or who wants to be used in this work.  One time when I was doing this for a money spell Calendula spoke up and wanted to be used in the mix.  Which to me was strange.  Our relationship had been with healing and psychic work.  But after some time I relented and added some of the flower to the mix and the ritual worked quite well.  A few days later I did some research and found out that money work was one of the attributes of the herb, yet the plant itself decided to teach me this lesson over books.

A lot of people ask me where the recipes I make come from.  The answer is quite simple.  The plants tell me.  Its that simple.  I may get out a bunch of plants with a similar set of associations (lets say astral travel and psychic work).  I will then set them out and say what I am doing for work.  The herbs themselves will guide me in their use and the specific work.  Some herbs speak louder than others.  Some take getting used to understanding how they speak, and others may never work or speak to you, each plant spirit is different and each one will have different lessons for you as you work with them.

It can be easy to forget the importance that these spirits have in our lives and in our practice.  When we do they can give us needed wakeup calls.  Sometimes these calls are as simple as quick image flash reminders of what we need to do and are doing and other times they can be more to the point causing issues in areas of our life until we address what they have to teach us.

I almost forgot how and why I got to where I am today.  Its thanks to working with the marigold spirit and the spirit of the Pine tree.  These two plant spirits more than any others have helped me develop an understanding of the green world and are one of the reasons I consider myself a magical herbalist.  There are other plant spirits that have been influential in my life, as a witch I have a relationship with mugwort, but its not as strong as any other spirit, but the two who have been my main teachers and guides in spirit work with plants are Marigold and Pine.

Today I got that reminder from one of the spirits.  Writing this article has been one of the ways I am apologizing to that spirit and trying to show the world what it has done for me.  The other way is I reworked my workshop a little bit to include herb samples and a secondary incense to awaken psychic and spiritual powers and connect to plant spirits.  One of the herb samples that the people attending my workshop will get is marigold, helping other people connect to the energy of that spirit is another way I will be making up for forgetting their lessons.

Let the plant spirits guide you and you will find a lot of allies who will aid you in contact with other spirits and your own spirit.  Let the plants guide you and they will teach you their mysteries, their magic, and their spirit uses.  They can be great friends and allies in magic if we just open up to them and listen to what they have to say.

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Let’s Change Our Stories About Our Relationship With Darkness And Shadow

A Winter Sunrise

This time of year for the northern part of our world go through the dark time of the year. Further north you go the more shorter the days are. The other thing about this time of year for the north is the shadows get longer, same as the night hours do.

Winter has its own expression of beauty. Yet it also has some unique challenges and lessons. Some of those challenges seem to have so much to do with this season of long shadows and long nights, long times of darkness and shadow.

And I can’t help but wonder if we could heal those challenges we can have during this time of year! By healing our stories, beliefs, perseptions and such!

For life and the cycles of nature can help us see where we may need to change or heal a belief, a pattern we are stuck in, something of our past traumas and so forth. Creation and nature are great healers and teachers. And the seasons and their rhythms have so much to offer us.

                   

I also know that we as individuals and as a collective can point towards what is needing healing, transformation and change! 

And oh my goodness am I feeling and knowing in a deep way we need to change our stories and even maybe language about darkness and shadow!

Oh I know it may seem I’m talking crazy here!

But I’m not alone in understanding that the true relationship we need to heal is with our Minds! For it is there that All things come from in our lives! Our minds is where our power is to bring about change or destruction!

And dear ones, when we close those eyes for meditation or sleep, there you get to see Darkness and Our Shadow, it’s where we have a fuller access to ourselves!

And we are not going to be able to be whole, complete and having full access to our power. Oh no we won’t! Not if we keep making Shadow and Darkness places of nightmares or turning them into our scapegoat for all the nasty stuff we do to ourselves and each other. No! Instead we will run and run and run away! In fact that’s why we are hurting and our world is hurting!

Can we do anything to change this? Oh! Yes we can! But only if we are willing to change our stories about Darkness and Shadow! And only if we are brave enough to want fuller access to the fullness of our Minds!

So! How do we go about changing our stories, beliefs, perceptions and such about darkness and shadow? Well, are we willing to accept we are talking about our minds, when we speak our shadow and dark side?

That’s the first step is realizing we are having all kinds of stories and philosophies about the dark and shadow parts of ourselves being such terrible parts of our human psyche and that we are really talking about our thoughts, our mind.

I’ve had the humble privilege of being able to share my philosophy and my thoughts about humanity’s relationship with shadow and darkness and how we are really speaking to the inner workings of the mind. Yet when I’ve had some understanding from folks, I could still see they didn’t quite understand where I was coming from. That was until I had them do a few interactive things.

First I have them put on a blindfold or close their eyes. I like the blindfold better, by the way. Then I ask them first what they are seeing. Answer is, maybe you guessed it, darkness. But I take it further I ask them to remember a happy moment in as much detail as possible, with as many of their senses as possible. Then I ask them what they are recalling and then ask them where is this all coming from? Then yes, I have them recall a sad moment, all this is happening while they are blindfolded mind you. Again this time safely bringing up a sad memory as thoroughly as safely possible. Again my question of where is it coming from. Now mind you, some of them are getting that information through smell and touch. It isn’t just visually. I ask them a final time, where is this all coming from. Most of the time it’s darkness. The more visual type people can have a harder time with this. So I tell them clear the mind’s screen. Then they also realize it’s darkness that they are experiencing. In our sleep time is another time we are pretty much alone with the darkness of our mind. Our dreams happen there too.

For shadow, it becomes a bit of a fun time of shadow play. But I also take people outside to see nature’s shadows, building shadows and their own shadows in the natural light. I ask them things like, in the summer on a hot day isn’t sitting in the shade, the shadow of a tree nice when we’re hot? I ask them to look at the shadows and ask are the shadows detailed, do they look identical to the things casting the shadow? Then I ask, are these scary terrible things they are looking at? Most of the time the answer is, no.

As you see, through experiencing through ourselves blindfolded we have a real personal look at the mind, which when blindfolded we realize all our thoughts are coming from a place of darkness. With the help of nature we find that shadows are not perfect reflections of the things casting them. Yet in certain ways they can bring us comfort.

The most interesting thing about the darkness of the mind when blindfolded, is that darkness is neutral space till a thought brings up information. And for shadows they are not mirror images of things. Which allows us to see things in a different way.

We also have stories that are positive stories or myths about creation coming forth from darkness. Again darkness being as a neutral space till something happens.We have stories about how the people wanted it to be daytime all the time. Well those people changed their mind after awhile because they couldn’t sleep or the lands were drying up and no food was available. So they had to ask for darkness to be around again.

Life through the birth and growth of life happens often in a space of darkness, wether it’s the womb, the inside of an egg, the seed within the soil or the networks of roots and animals within the ground, under our feet.

But the most important thing I’ve learned is both shadow and darkness are very important parts of our human psyche!

Just as the people that asked for daylight to be all there was, we become bankrupt, dried up and starving because we are afraid of sitting with our minds. We get too caught up in specifics that we can’t see things in new ways.

But most important is the darkness of the mind and it’s shadows is where all things come from!

Yes! Our most amazing ideas, love and compassion come from our mind! Yet also our most nasty, fearful, judgmental and condemning things come from our mind. And that mind until we think, imagine, or sense something, all of it comes from the neutral fertile space of darkness and shadow!

So to heal this relationship for yourself, try the blindfold experience. Try the shadow play and outdoor exploration of shadows. Track down positive stories about darkness or cautionary stories about why darkness is important. And the best pictures I can recommend are of space. To see all that potential of life in the star systems is an amazing example of the amazing things that come from darkness. Look down an animal hole into the ground and you’ll see roots and such down there in the dark of the earth. And be amazed at the network of plant and animal living under your feet. Look at pictures of a baby growing in a womb and marvel at the miracle of life. And know this is your mind seeing all of this, learning and reading and such.

Yes dear ones it’s even with the darkness and shadows of your mind that is reading this!

Blessings to you all this Winter Solstice time of the year!

Crystal forms: A variety of curio magic

Crystal forms: A variety of curio magic

An assortment of Crystal types and forms

Crystals are simply larger and more defined pieces of minerals. They are often polished and tumbled for sale and decorative pieces. Most of the ones you find for sale at metaphysical shops are likely tumbled and polished. Raw crystals like the ones above are the ones that you can find yourself when you visit a local quarry or dig site. In these locations you will be able to find stones yourself in their natural environment. When you pull them from the earth yourself you have a closer connection to them and can feel their natural power more easily.

Crystals are natural curios regardless of the form. Crystals come from the earth and are natural items. While humans have shaped them and formed them for us to collect, play with, enjoy, and work with they are still gifts from the earth. They grew deep within the earth and are the bones of this planet. They are very powerful natural curious for this reason.

shapes, sizes,and forms of crystals
Crystal forms
shapes, sizes,and forms of crystals

In the above photo you can see several different forms of crystals. There are small totem stones, you have a crystal mala bracelet, angel carved crystals, shaped animals, hearts, raw, tumbled, skull, spheres, towers or wands, pendants and a pyramid. All of these different forms provide many different ways to work with crystals. By combining the shape of the crystal with the properties of the crystals you can find unique ways to work crystal magic that suit your personal body and style.

Raw and Tumbled

Raw crystal curios

Raw and tumbled stones and crystals make the best talismans and charms. They are easy to carry and to create into jewelry. For many stones and crystals the tumbled varieties are readily available and less expensive than working with a pyramid, sphere or object in that manner. Small tumbled stones and raw stones are easily obtainable. Which means depending on the stone obtaining what you need for the work can be done.

When it comes to crystal magic the best way to work with them is to carry them as a talisman or amulet. A Talisman is typically a piece of jewelry that is worn or a stone carried that has a symbol or phrase inscribed on it describing the magical use. Talismans are typically for draw something to you. An amulet is typically an item worn or carried to ward off something. Both talismans and amulets are used for protection. One tends to be more about removing it the other is more about preventing it from getting there to begin with.

Two of the best examples of stones carried as charms for protection come from warriors. Both of these stones were associated with blood and bleeding. The first is Bloodstone and the second is Hematite. Two very different stones that share a common historical use: Protection from bleeding or excessive wounds on the battlefield.

Hematite is a stone that has associations with blood and protection in battle. The name comes from the Greek word for blood. It has been used as an amulet against bleeding, and so is known as the “blood stone”. Many people believe that Hematite is actually the original stone referenced when folklore mentions “bloodstone”.

Blood stone was historically carried by warriors in battle. It was thought that it was a charm that would protect against bleeding in battle. Which is why warriors wore it or carried it for protection. Occasionally it was worn as a pendant hanging over the heart chakra to cleanse the blood and protect from wounds.

In the case of both Hematite and Bloodstone they are both working as protection charms. Bloodstone worked more of preventing and removing so it was more of a talisman while Hematite was more of an amulet designed to try and ward excessive or unnecessarily wounds and fights in battles. Both stones worked to protect the warriors and both stones dealt with blood.

Amethyst, quartz, Hematite Hanging Pentacle charm

Today wirewraped crystal gifts have become very popular. They are made with crystal chips or small raw or tumbled pieces. Witches by knowing the properties of the crystals can create charms that are hidden in plain sight. They will be able to place the decoration on the wall or in the window to catch the light and the properties of the crystals will be brought into the home. Creating powerful subtloe natural magic.

The above photo is a crystal sun catcher in the shape of a pentacle made out of Hematite, Amethysts, and quartz. Hematite isused for protection and grounding. Amethyst is used to promote peace and protection. Amethyst being an empath’s stone is also one used for healing and working out emotions. Quartz is also a good one to have in the mix. Quartz provides power to all other stones and is a good overall energy stabilizer.

When the person who bought this pentacle hangs it in their house they will be bringing the energy of those crystals into the home. The shape of the pentacle ensures protection as it is a protective symbol. The way the crystals are aligned balances the energy of the three crystals in a repetitive pattern so that none of the energy overwhelms each other and they all work in harmony for the purpose at hand. Now all they have to do is charge the crystals like they would with any other crystal item. once it is charged and dedicated by hanging the crystal on the wall they bring that magic and energy into their home.

Mini prosperity and succsess grid

Raw and tumbled stones are also the corner stones of grid work. Crystal grids are a way of laying our crystals in a pattern that sends out your intent and desire into the universe. Most crystal grids are more complex, the one above was a simple one created for one day. The Aventurine stone was the anchor or core for luck, prosperity and succsess. The five citrine tumbles were arranges around the center piece in a star or pentacle pattern to direct the desire for sales and succsess into the universe through the directions and elements. Citrine was chosen for its money, luck, and prosperity properties.

Wands

Wands of crystals and stones

Wands are actually a new thing in my life and in my practice and I have to say its a new way to look at one of the most common tools in witchcraft and magic. Wands are the most common tool in magical traditions and practices. Wands are used to direct and raise the energy manipulated for the spell at hand. Wands are tools traditionally made out of wood and fashioned with crystals feathers etc. Crystal wands allow us to work with crystal energy in spells by directing the energy trough that crystal.

A Selenite wand is good to banish and remove energy. I use it regularly to wipe myself down after a day of high anxiety. The properties of selenite are clarity and dispelling negativity. Its an excellent stone to use to work with banishing and removal work. My wiping myself down with selenite after work is an example of banishment and removal work.

An Aventurine tower held over a money incense as it burns would be a great way to work with the energy of the wand. The wand will absorb the energy from the incense, add its own energy to the blend and then direct it out into the universe amplified and further charged. As seen in the grid photo posted earlier the wands also can work effectively as core components of grids. This allows them to direct the energy from their root (bottom) to the universe up through their tip. They in the end focus the energy of the other crystals from one point into the universe to create your change.

An amethyst wand would be a great way to direct specific healing energy. Simple hold the crystal wand over the area with the specific ailment and direct the energy through the Crystal into the area. The point of the tower will provide pinpoint accuracy to the area. The energy channeled will also be charged by and effected by the energy of amethyst infusing any healing energy with amethyst healing and protecting properties.

One thing wands are really good at is directing energy long distance. Lets say you have a friend that is feeling depressed and you want to help them heal and feel better but can’t travel to them. A Rose quartz wand with lavender and catnip incense burning and a photo of your friend combined together can make an effective love and healing spell. You’d burn the incense and chant something about love and healing for your friend then take the Rose quartz wand and direct the energy of the chant, the incense, and your mental/emotional energy at the photo of your friend sending it into the universe towards your friend.

The more assortments of wands you have the more opportunities you have to work crystal magic. You can work with many different wands until you find the right crystal wand for a specific task. You may even find that some crystals dont work well for you in a wand form but they do work in tumbled or shaped or other forms. The crystals will speak to you.

Totem Stones

Totem crystal collection

Many people work with animal symbols within their spiritual practice. These totem stones and soapstone or gemstone animals are tools that can be used to call upon animal energy and powers. The shape and image of an animal can be a powerful way to connect with that animal when physical contact or items are not possible.

By carrying those stones with you in the shape of an animal or with the engraving of an animal you have that energy with you. Not only that but you also have the combined power of the stone with you. Its a double wammy. Great way to create charms and talismans with very few tools.

So if you have an Unakite totem stone with a dolphin carved into it you not only have the power of the dolphin in your hands but also the power of Unakite as well. In this case the symbolism of dolphins can be protection, rebirth, and renewal. The stone Unakite encourages psychic visions and the development of the third eye. Unakite is a powerful healer too. Unakite helps balance emotions, it can help with sleep, stress and healing addictions. With these two sets of symbolism there are a few different things that we can have here.

For someone trying to overcome and addiction they could carry the stone to help balance their emotions, relieve stress, and protect them self from the addiction. The healing of the addiction will also lead to renewal. They would simply need to create a dedication spell for this purpose. That spell should include herbs to heal for strength and for power. Lavender, Woodruff and Rosemary would help in this working.

For someone who is still developing their psychic abilities the protection and rebirth aspects of the dolphin can be of help while the Unakite stone itself can help them deal with the new information and regain balance. As with the above the person carrying this stone would now need to create a dedication spell or ritual for the purpose of strengthening their psychic abilities and providing a new start. Here I would recommend using herbs like Frankincense, Mugwort, and again Rosemary.

Lets take another stone and animal combination. Red Jasper is a very common stone. Red Jasper is known for dream work, sleep aid, and protection, Eagle is a popular bird to call on for spiritual aid. They bring independence, vision, strength, power, and freedom. Here are a few different combinations here.

Lets say you feel that you need more insight and are looking for dream wisdom. By sleeping with a Red Jasper Eagle totem stone under your pillow you can call upon the eagles vision for insight and you can call upon the Jaspers properties for dream work and sleep aid. Together you have a sleep magic dream work charm. As with the Unakite an actual spell to dedicate and charge the stone would be required. Chamomile and lavender with rosemary or ginkgo would work well in this spell.

Eagles are strong and powerful. Lets say you aren’t that physical strong but want to feel more confident. Red Jasper is a stone of strength and protection. It will bring you protection energy and build your confidence. By charging this crystal in a spell calling upon the animal and stone spirits you can create a charm to carry for protection that fits in your pocket. In the charging process I’d personally add Dragons Blood, Frankincense, and Nettle Leaf for additional energetic and spiritual protection.

Skulls

Crystal Skulls

In witchcraft communities you will find a lot of people who love their skulls. Many witches wear skulls in various jewelry and there are those who have skulls on their altars. Skulls are powerful symbols for many cultures. For many witches skulls are a symbol of the powers of death and rebirth and decay. Witches dont see death as a bad thing. Its seen as part of the life cycle. For many death is not an ending but the start of something new. For other witches death is the end of this life but not our full journey.

For most witches skulls are symbol a symbol of the dead and of our ancestors. They provide us a way to connect with our ancestors. Some witches use animal skulls on their altars to represent the God and some use human skulls to represent ancestors. Most of these skulls are resin or made out of clay/ceramic. For those who want to have a skull on the altar but dont want ceramics or resin and a more natural material crystals provide that opportunity.

Skull shapes crystals offer us a unique way to work with the dead. The skull shape due to its symbolism allows us to call on ancestral powers and properties fairly easily. Like with the totem stones crystal skulls would retain the properties of the crystals that they are. They also gain the additional property of being able to connect to the dead and be used to channel ancestral energy.

A quartz crystal skull is a great addition to an ancestral altar. Quartz crystals are good all purpose crystals. They also empower and power up any and all other magical workings. So with a quartz skull on your ancestor altar any workings that you do with your ancestors is automatically amplified. Quartz skulls also hold energy so it can be charged with the energy of your ancestors and brought with you so that you can take their energy any where with you. To charge a quartz crystal Frankincense and Copal are good for generic all purpose spiritual cleansing and workings.

An Opalite Skull would also be a great addition not only to an ancestor altar but a working altar as well. Opalite is a highly spiritual stone and is great for communication, meditation, and all around healing. Opalite can also help us be successful in business. By placing the Opalite skull on the ancestor altar it opens your communication with the dead making it easier to let them teach you and help you in your life. Magically lets say you had an ancestor who ran their own successful business and you want to do the same. When you do a spell or working to help with your business succsess add the Opalite skull into the working. This will allow you to call on that ancestor, their wisdom and the energy of the crystal at the same time. To add further assistance I’d add herbs like Cinequfoil, Cinnamon, and Dragons Blood.

Obsidian Skulls are probably some of the most popular Skulls out there. They are Black, which is a color associated with the dead and underworld as well as death and they are simply beautiful. Obsidian is also a very protective stone. Its great against psychic attacks, removes negative energy, grounds, and protects. IN many traditions the first spirits that should be called on for protection magic or any magic is our ancestors because they will answer before any other spirits will answer. An Obsidan Skull allows for that instant connection to ancestor energy and protection. To charge it I would run it through an incense that is a combination of Wormwood, Dragonsblood, Basil, White Sage, and Frankincense.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many different shapes and forms that crystals can take. There are many other shapes and forms that haven’t been mentioned that all have their own unique properties and benefits. Let these styles, shapes and ideas be another way for you to begin your journey into the world of crystal and gem magic.

The hip of the rose: leadership in Pagan communities after crisis

When Pagan communities have unfortunate uproars, or controversies, it often leads to fissures in the communal networks. In the settling dust of the aftermath is where the remains of once seemingly seamless connections burn slowly under their own power. The hurt and anger expressed by the parties involved spill out and touch all the events, celebrations, and organizations in some way when factions draw lines over who is right, who is wrong, and who is interested in healing through discussion vs. excommunication and banishment. It is at this time that the responsibility of leadership to not only bring peace, but also truthful constructive examination and amelioration.

In these times, we have access to the power to inform one another in the blink of a cursor. Information travels as quick as the thought can leave our brains and animate our fingers upon the electronic devices that serve as our virtual avatars. Words that we would not serve in person are dished out upon the byte filled landscapes of social media. When used for confronting the pains brought by crisis, they are the stallions of our causes. They deliver the emotions and thoughts that join the fray in order to bring about justice and fairness. When used carelessly, they become hellhounds that are unleashed to destroy our opponents without the nasty inconvenience of having to look them in the eye and share the same air in the same room.

It is the wounds that words and actions inflict that must be healed. To do this, those same words must be examined and digested. The community must eat from the plate that it serves. If our words are truthful, that means the meal will be pure. And if our words are cruel, that will season the meal. If we refuse the meal by avoidance or dissembling, then we starve our souls. And if we only eat from one side of the table, we are in a state of imbalance. All sides must be present at the table if the people involved are to heal and grow stronger.

Leadership is not pushing the truth under the tablecloth. Leadership is not forcing a narrative. Leadership is not playing holier than thou, or claiming the cloak of respectability by staying silent behind group statements. Leadership does not tip over the lid of the boiling pot of problems, and then walk away to pretend nothing has happened. Leadership does not call attention to a transgression and then refuse to take the next steps.

What are the next steps? What do those look like?

The next part to any situation where hurt and pain and anger have burned through the bonds that connect us as peoples in the Pagan circles is examination. After the flash of conflict has faded, it is the time to really look at what happened and weigh how it was handled. Was it done with determination and fairness? Was it righteous? Was the will of what is right served? Are there ways that could have led to the desired outcome that may have been more productive? Did the desired outcome happen? Why, or why not? How does we heal after this?

If the crisis is legal, have the authorities been contacted? Did we follow through with making sure the reports were filed and accurate?

If it was ethical, were all parties contacted? Was there a town hall meeting type of conversation? Was there an opportunity to make amends given? Was there a desire to do so?

Now comes the part where foot to ground comes into play. What actions are leaders taking in order to decompress the atmosphere? Did they set up a forum, or simply walk away back to their regularly scheduled programs? Are there educational events or rituals scheduled in order to make peace or bury animosity? Is there any effort to heal the fractures that this may have caused? Where do we begin?

Each body of people is its own. Each will find its own way of handling what may be a pivotal moment for them as individuals and part of a greater circle of connections. However, it is the responsibility of leaders to take part in finding what that looks like…with purpose and action.

 

 

Upcoming Events

Calendar of Events
Date Event City, State Website
10/14/2017 Midwest Witches Ball 2017 Warren, Michigan http://michiganwitchesball.com/tickets/
10/15/2017 Pagan Pride Day LA/OC Long Beach, California https://www.facebook.com/paganpridela/
10/20/2017 Little Witches Ball Warren, Michigan  http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball/
11/2/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/3/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/3/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
11/4/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/4/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
11/5/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/5/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
6/8/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
6/9/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
6/10/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
7/20/2018 New England Metaphysical and Holistic Festival Augusta, Maine theenchantedbazaar.org
7/21/2018 New England Metaphysical and Holistic Festival Augusta, Maine theenchantedbazaar.org
9/22/2018 York Pagan Pride Wrightsville, PA http://yorkpaganpride.webs.com/