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#126509 How to Teach Yourself

Posted by sarasuperid on 24 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

Now, there is no doubt a bunch of threads pretty much on this topic. But often those are in kinda of convoluted ways, teacher vs teaching yourself etc.

But really there are simple strategies for teaching oneself.

Okay I have in the past mentioned five major foundational areas for witchcraft. Okay they aren't everything you need, it doesn't include the characteristics you need, it doesn't include some of the soul searching. But they are skills one can learn and teach oneself to an extent.

1) Herbalist (or geologist (gems) or birdology (okay sue me I don't know the latin names) other natural craft). Get a few guidebooks for your area, go outside. Then once you have identified a few (plants, stones, birds) with your manual and taken notes, drawn pictures or taken photographs, gotten samples (a leaf or flower, a rock or a feather), look up folklore about that thing--especially local, see if there are any places named after it. Look at those. Build a relationship with the natural thing, as you are building up the other foundational areas, think how you could incorporate this natural craft into those areas.

2) Seer. Just pick up a simple divination tool, whatever draws your fancy or just whatever is cheapest, don't obsess over it: tarot, runes, playing cards, a pendulum with a pendulum with a pendulum chart, whatever. Okay now if its tarot, you can begin by just getting to know your cards, yes you can look at the white book, but primarily figure out what they mean for you. If you do runes, read the runic poems. Then just practice with your new tool. Take it to bed with you, put it under the pillow etc. You are getting to know this tool, it will take a while. Do readings for friends and family, don't feel bad if you need to pull out the meanings book while you are practicing, but try to read as much of the spread as you can without it before grabbing the book. Start thinking about how you can use your divination tool in other forms of witchery as laid out below and above.

3) Spirit Medium. Okay some may disagree with me, that's fine you could skip this one, I did it when I was a kid and I am still alive and well. "Play" with a oujii board. Alternatively, try automatic writing or drawing. Neither of these forms of spirit communication require much more than a pen and paper. You can make your own spirit board and you can automatic write draw in a notebook with a pen. You might just be talking to another part of yourself, or you might contact a spirit, either way you are doing something. Once you start having some success with it start thinking of how you can combine this with the other foundational areas.

4) Mystic. Everyone is different, some people can sit still and meditate, others can't. Some people rock, some people drum, some dance, some listen to meditation tapes, some stare at a symbol or a spot on the wall until their imagination starts wandering out. Find one that you think you will be able to do and do it. Do it for five minutes a day for a week. Then add a few minutes next week until you are spending more time day dreaming and can start getting far enough into the day dream to leave your own conciousness and go out. If you fall asleep, try getting more sleep and doing your practice at a more awake time of day for you. Start thinking about ways the other areas of foundational skills can assist you.

5) Magic User. Its this easy, get a candle a little one like about two inches tall, how about a white one. Write down what you want to happen on a piece of paper or carve it into the candle. Light it every day for an hour, just sitting by it and thinking about how great it will be when it happens. Okay after the candle burns out, wait a week and get a new candle and burn it towards another goal. Have these goals written down somewhere in a small notebook, but don't look at it unless you are doing a new spell with it. Don't think too much on it outside of when you are doing the spell. Then when you are doing like your tenth spell, look at your first, has it happened yet? Start thinking about how you could combine your other skills with the spell work.

---Now really candle spells are not the only kind of magic nor the most important. And if you cannot burn candles where you are, well then go somewhere where you can. This is magic this is witchcraft, you are going to have to get uncomfortable, try new things and get out of your comfort zone sometimes. If you can't burn candles at home, go to a small park. Are there always people at the park? Find a time to go when there aren't a lot of people, or climb a tree and light your candle in a lantern that protects it from the wind and catching other things on fire. If you are not able to climb trees or there are no parks, find another place you can go to light a candle, there is somewhere, even if you gotta take two buses to get there. Why am I saying this? Why am I pushing the candle issue? not because I think candles are all that important, but I think doing what you have to do is important. Making excuses all the time for something as minor as even lighting a candle to me means you don't have what it takes to be witch. If you cannot figure out a way that you can light a candle so that you can do a few spells, then you might not have what it takes to be a witch. Does this apply to witches who are already practicing and do other types of magic not candle magic? No, it only applies to new people who claim they want to get started and haven't yet.-- We aren't a site for teens, I am assuming you are an adult and therefore you can make decisions for yourself--your first clandestine candle spell might be to get in a situation where you can light candles whenever you want! Hey you don't even have to do what I say, you are an adult, I am just pointing something out, if you want to be a witch you gotta figure out your own power and how to make things happen for yourself.

Okay none of these methods of teaching yourself require getting a book about witchcraft or watching a video. Yes they do require you do some research, but the vast majority of it is finding your own knowing. You can start with any of these, but they all benefit each other and can be combined in bajillions of ways.
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#133890 Practicality, Tips and Tricks

Posted by Whiterose on 16 September 2012 - 10:03 PM

Being a witch is not easy, actually its alot of work. Many of us have learned the hard way the tips and tricks to make life a little easier. Since alot of us have been around the block a time or two with witchcraft, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on practicality, tips and tricks and have everything in one place for easier reference. I have learned valuable tips and tricks from many of you on the site and actually have figured out a few of my own the hard way. So for those of you who have random tidbits of everyday wisdom, here is place to put them.

A couple things I figured out during my 12 or so years of practising:

-Do not store salty water in a corked bottle, the salt will corrode and decay the cork and make the whole thing go to shit.

-Used dryer sheets are an easy and disposable way to clean up candle holders after spells.

-When labeling bottles and jars, use paper and scotch tape instead of fancy, expensive labels. The glue, over time on the labels with turn in to something the strength of super glue and will be a bitch to remove if you want to use the container for a different purpose. Vinegar or alohol will dissolve it, but its a pain in the ass. Paper and scotch tape is for one, cheap, and two, very easy to remove with out 15-30 minutes of scrubbing off adhesive.

-Do not burn tapers in a glass holder, it will shatter.

-Do not roll your candle in oil and herbs like it says in the Wicca books, when you light it you will have BIG fire.

-Do not put loads of an herb on a charcoal block, you will get lots of smoke, and be choking and coughing as you try to quiet the screaming smoke detectors. A little goes a long way lol.

-Cats love the energy created by spell work. Either lock them out or have the burning things away from cat tails.

-Fancy ritual capes will, inevitably, catch fire or collect spilled wax. They just get in the way, save yourself the headache and just skip the cape. If you want to be fancy and mysterious, wear a mask.

I will probaby think of more but that is all that comes to mind right now. Some one care to chime in?
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#32068 Traditional Craft by Startella

Posted by Startella on 29 May 2008 - 05:38 PM

Our Craft is nothing that we ally with, it is us. Our craft is what we do every minute of our waking moments, and some of our not so waking ones too. Which includes trances, deep meditations, astral travel, lucid dreaming, etc.. Most of us will add a little of our local environment and cultural background and customs, making it unique to us. That is not to say that we don’t “practice” our craft too, as you will read here.

We are drawn to it because it was born in us, some and most can find signs when we were children, some are able to follow through and continue – some have family to help, others are forced to follow what their parents tell them, some following without others knowing their secret, others as soon as they are of age to seek themselves find it coming out stronger and they then pursue it. Most of us here have not had family to guide them, or have a family line, and even if there is a family line, does not mean that they will be a witch.

For most of us, Nature is very big, most people think of nature they think of trees and animals, lakes and streams, they don't think of every single natural thing on this planet, and the rest of our solar system, galaxy and universe as well. Nature encompasses all of these things. Universal energy. We generally do not worship any entities, but we recognize the existence of them, commonly referred to as spirits. We believe in the equality of all beings in the Universe, seeing them all as different and separate but still equal. We revere and respect Nature, however we do not worship it or its representatives.

Most of us here do not call on deities, (except those that accept deities,) but many may call on spirits and their ancestors. Some of us use the “deities” energies, aspects in our workings, if it is needed. Some of us may occasionally call on the elements as well; most do not have the same belief of the 4 elements, that is taught in Wicca. When performing magic we will concentrate on our own power, or and we may call on assistance from a spirit in the spirit world or and ancestors.

Magic, that’s a big mouth full. It’s an everyday thing, we work our magic into our day to day lives, in cooking, cleaning, little spells here and there, keeping ourselves our family, and our homes even work, safe, healthy. We also work spells, doing something very specific (lack of a better word). Some of us do it in ritual style, sometimes, other times not. Some of us use tools, sometimes and sometimes not. Our spells and magic depends on our backgrounds, what we are doing at the moment, all different elements come into play here, at any given moment when it comes down to it.

I do not consider doing readings, magic. I have a natural ability but that did not make it so I can just do them. I had to find what spoke to me, and from there I had to work at it, not as hard as doing something I don’t have an natural eye for, but it is work and takes time to develop. We all do things very differently, and some here don’t do readings at all, some maybe they haven’t found the system that speaks to them, or they don’t have the time now to work at it.

Love and intent, wow, that’s wiccan…lol. You didn’t go very far in love, but yes we all do things in love, like protect our loved ones, our pets, family, friends whatever. We send each other healing energies, good thoughts, etc out of love. We will protect our cars, homes, lands, bikes, boats whatever, to protect them and the ones in and on these things, to keep them safe, running good, and healthy as best we can.

Intent that’s a whole different arena. Our intent is to do what ever it takes for most of us to get the job done, usually as quickly as we can. Does it harm someone in the process, well it might, but what were the consequences to us if we didn’t? And we take full responsibility for what we do. We don’t do things without thinking about it first.

Some of us, do hexes, jinks, and we will even do curses, if the need arises. What is the intent here, well that is obvious. I kinda think of it as tough love. Sometime you just have to do it, because it will help in the long run, no matter how hard it hurts right now. And then there are the times its just the right thing to do to someone, because of what they have done to you or yours. It maybe hate, discus, or anger as part of the intent, or because they paid me to do it, ..LOL But all in all you will find that we have very strong ethics that we follow, and each one of us has our own.

Evil spirits - none, that’s fluffy wiccan to me – just saying, no offence here, please. Please take a look at another thread here on the forum; Is ignorance truly bliss? Its in here the Discussions of Main Articles and Topics. I think you will get our ideas here very well.

When we die some of us believe we travel to the plane of existence called the spirit world. Our resting place. When we continue our journey we may be born into a new life, reincarnation being commonly believed in by many. However another alternative that some believe is that we meld with nature becoming one with it, becoming a land spirit, one of the reasons we always show respect for the spirits as they are the spirits of those that have passed before us. I think the vast majority of spirits will remain as themselves within the spirit world sometimes interacting, (or trying to,) with the living. Not all spirits are nice though.

We see all life, all nature, all space as sacred. Since we believe that everything is sacred it is perfectly acceptable to do magic or rituals and spells in our living rooms or bedroom as opposed to being outdoors. We do not need to cast any circles to make it sacred, we do not call upon the watchtowers or elements to guard us, if we need assistance we may ask a spirit or an ancestor with help or the use of the universal energies. At the same time this does not mean that we may not use a circle to do a working in, it all depends on what we are doing.

Some of us generally observe the sabbats as these days correspond to solstices and equinoxes, but I do not all relate them to a specific mythology, some do, per their tradition, background, culture and customs. I honor the seasonal changes themselves, when I see them happen in my area, rather than on a calendar. But not the lives of any Gods or Goddesses. Some or most, not sure, observe Moon phases and other natural phenomena also, with the full moon being the most significant. The Esbats (full moons) being more important than the Sabbats even. Others follow even older ways when the Sabbats were the full moons and the now called sabbats were just the festivals of their culture and customs.

For most of us things kinda flow being a witch and our craft is just who we are, and we can't imagine not being. That doesn't mean that it is easy, it can be a very hard path, is a life long journey, and well rewarding. As you see there are no hard fast rules, these are more commonalities. Each one of us is different, our craft is as individual as we are, it is the commonalities that bring us together.

(I’m being general here, because I know not everyone believes this, and it is only my view point)
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#157970 Working with Spirits

Posted by Wexler on 05 April 2014 - 08:05 PM

Excellent post RS.


Here is some information I have heard on the forum, and some of my own experiences, put together randomly. I am not sure if this is what you are interested in but it may be helpful :smile:


If you want to work with local spirits, it pays to research local traditions. If I went to Ireland I would research Irish mythology and the lore of local Irish spirits. I believe it is respectful and advantageous to approach local spirits in the manner they are accustomed to.


There seems to be a lot of debate regarding the classifications of spirits and entities. Charles Leland Leadbeater wrote a book called The Astral Plane, Its Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena. This book was published 114 years ago during the Spiritualism revival (if I have my history correctly) and has interesting concepts on the classification of spirits. It can be downloaded free and legally here: http://darkbooks.org...hp?v=1791067929


Spirits who show up on your doorstep and are very eager to please you may not be good news. It is perhaps hubris to assume that you are such a great and powerful witch that strange spirits will bend over backwards to please you. If you encounter a spirit who is willing to agree to anything or submit to every test, you may find yourself with a pest trying to worm their way in.


If you are communicating with a spirit, and it tells you everything you want to hear, be aware. If you have always wanted a red dragon familiar, and all of the sudden your pendulum is telling you that a glorious red dragon has been watching over you your entire life and is now ready to grant you amazing magical gifts, consider that you are being lied to. Make notes when you communicate with unknown spirits, and be wary if they begin to change their answers if you express dissatisfaction with what you hear. This thread is an excellent example of someone who got very excited with spirit communication, and perhaps was not as alert as they should have been to red flags. (Notice that after the OP said he thought the spirit would be Biblical in nature, whatever he was communicating with changed its story to come in line with his expectations.)


It is egocentric to assume that every spirit you meet is interested in talking to you, is there to help you, cares about you, or is able to communicate with you at all. Not every spirit is a human in ghostly form; there are entities with which humans cannot directly communicate.


Spirits live everywhere. They live in our homes, gardens, buildings, towns, and wild places. Building homes for spirits to live is common amongst all cultures and may help foster good relations with the spirits in your life. In his book Protection and Reversal Magick, Jason Miller provides a ritual of offering to spirits. He says that humans, being often out of touch with the spirit world, can offend spirits in ways we do not notice or understand. Giving incense offerings (the energy of which the spirits may use to their advantage), he says, will appease spirits and encourage good will between you and the spirit world. There seems to be a lot of useful things a person can do to earn allies amongst nature spirits, the basis of which is acknowledging them and treating them with respect.


Some people advocate a test to see whether or not a strange spirit is "good" or "bad". In this test, you simply ignore the spirit for a few weeks. If it sticks around, it is good; if it leaves, it is bad. I do not believe that this is sound advice. A spirit of ill-intent may be perfectly willing to leave you alone and come back in a month when you are suddenly willing to trust it. Likewise, a spirit of good intent may roll its eyes at being ignored and leave to find someone else willing to accept their help. Instead of tests, try speaking to spirits as you would another person and getting to know them the old-fashioned way.


When wanting to foster a relationship with ancestors, a witch can hold Dumb Suppers. I don't know much about them personally, but it is a dinner with the dead. Sometimes they are just held on Halloween, but you can do it whenever you please. You cook and set out a proper dinner, with several place settings. You invite your beloved dead to eat with you, and talk to them like family.


When you present yourself to the otherworld as a witch interested in spirit contact, it is advisable to be ready for them when they come. Spirits do not follow our earthly schedule, and they may show up at the most inopportune times. Some members on this forum have designated certain areas of their homes as 'no spirit zones' so they can get some peace and quiet. If you are not used to spirit contact, a first encounter with one can be startling or even frightening. Don't freak out and command the spirit away (how rude to invite someone in and then slam the door in their face!). Just as spirits may show up whenever it suits them, most spirits are not our servants and may not show up whenever you call them. When working with a spirit, it may be advantageous to designate a certain day and time to meet weekly.


Spirits have their own stuff to do. They are probably not hanging around and watching you constantly.


Actions by spirits can be misinterpreted. What we see as malicious or aggressive could be a spirit acting out of curiosity or simply teasing. If there is a spirit acting in apparently malicious ways, it may be best to speak to them plainly instead of whipping out the banishment kit. Addressing a spirit and saying, "this is my home and I do not want you to do X any longer" can go a long way towards solving problems.


Speaking from the perspective of a novice, I find some spirits will test me, so to speak. They will cause problems for me and wait to see how I solve it. I believe my reactions to these problems are very important, including how much I let them bully me before I take a stand. In this manner, I have found paying attention to my life is extremely important with working with spirits, because sometimes they can act in subtle ways that may not be easy to immediately notice.


Also speaking as a novice, sometimes spirits will do stuff that will plain freak you out. Being home alone and having the television turn on by itself, or coming in to a room to find stuff moved around can be distinctly unsettling if you aren't used to it. This is just something you will have to get used to and overcome. Or you could ask them to stop, but what's the fun in that? Discomfort means you are overcoming your limitations.


Regarding Guardian/Guide spirits: It has been advised to me by some very experienced members on this forum that these spirits can be very forgiving. In the past, if you believe you have sent your guide away out of ignorance or fear, there may be a possibility that your guide is still waiting for you somewhere. Do not give up on the idea that you may meet up with them again; what is the worst that could happen if you try?


It has been suggested that reaching out to any random spirit is like reaching out to any random person on the sidewalk. They may end up being a great friend, or someone you hate, but more than likely they're just average people with little connection to you. Instead of reaching out to any spirit, focus on who you would like to attract: Ancestors (both in blood and spirit), benevolent beings who are interested in helping you, a spirit who has knowledge of something specific you want to learn, and so on.


Some spirits help us out of the kindness of their hearts. Other spirits help us because they want something in return. I have been advised on this forum to be very careful with a spirit that is willing to help without apparently getting anything back, especially if they are strange spirits with no connection to you. Working with a spirit who wants something in return is not necessarily bad, just make sure the contract is clear before you get started.


Some spirits do not take kindly to being ignored, especially if you have made a big show of communicating with them regularly and wanting to form a partnership with them. If you only talk to a friend when you need something or when it suits you, you would be called at best a fair-weather friend or at worst a user. "Out of sight, out of mind" isn't an excuse to neglect your relationship with spirits. If you can't commit to maintaining a relationship even when you're not 'feeling it', it may be best to stick with casual communication and avoid trying to earn Allies for now.


It is my opinion that being able to see and "feel" spirits is a psychic talent. Working to open your psychic awareness may be advantageous if you want to see spirits. Even if you can't see them, using a tool to communicate with them should be accessible to anyone. Pendulums and spirit boards are popular. I have used tarot to communicate before as well, but that is not as optimal for me. In the past, I have used a physical alert system so a spirit could attract my attention, which sounds fancy but I really just told the spirit to knock over a small tube of medicinal ointment if it needed to talk to me. There are many clever methods for allowing a spirit to get your attention, I believe wind chimes are popular. Just as you are able to call your Allies, I believe it is germane to give your Allies a way to call you if your psychic senses are not developed enough to 'hear' or 'feel' them.


Nature spirits are not always nice, loving, and all-forgiving. This post by Michele talks about her relationship with her Elder tree, and I think it is a wonderful description of how even trees will hold you to high standards.

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#139928 Is secrecy still important to you?

Posted by Jevne on 29 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

As to what I actually do, well that I keep to myself as it would not be a mystery tradition if we told all and sundry.

Bumping this little tidbit, again, simply because it speaks to something that I was thinking on after reading a bit about World Religions Day, which I was previously unaware of. (Thanks, D.)While the premises of tolerance and peace deserve their rightful places in civilized society, I realized that I become indignant when those concepts cause any individual or group to cross the line from acknowledgement and respect to flagrant / unabashed assimilation.

I am not referring to the various individuals here, who have already said that they incorporate methods and symbolism of other Paths into their practice. I have talked with Aloe, Marabet, Sarasuperid, among others, about how they engage the energies of other Paths. I give a nod to each of them for showing that it is possible to honor something without taking it over and declaring it for your own.

For example, when I responded to Athena that I see Traditional Witchcraft and Native American Spirituality as different, I was demonstrating my profound respect for her heritage and belief system, not insinuating that one was better than the other, or that there were not recognizable similarities. I may ask Athena or others on different Paths about their ways, but I will never lay claim to their mysterious or imply that I am deserving of the full depth of knowledge that they have earned through joy and tragedy.

As we were discussing in Chat one evening, far too many new age types have taken to calling themselves "traditional", as if using the word to describe themselves somehow makes them Traditional Witches. OK, don't go all pissy on me here. I am well aware that there are many, legitimate and honorable ways to practice Traditional Witchcraft. (Not just regular, but profound, respect, after all.) I also recognize that everyone has to start somewhere, so I have no problem with those who are trying to explore the possibilities, but . . .

I resent any group or individual, who slaps the word "Traditional" on a book or website, dishonoring the Path that my Kin (here and IRL) and me have spent our entire lives learning and practicing. I enjoy sharing with and learning from others, reading and hearing about the different Paths and practices. That is why I am on the TW Forum, after all. :) I find the basic premises of World Religions Day appealing for the same reason, but I remain secretive and private for the most part, because I do not wish to be assimilated. The christians did it to the Pagans. The settlers did it to the Native Americans. Now, the wiccans are trying to do it to the Traditional Witches. It is hard to describe how angry that makes me, personally.
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#116329 Working with Spirit and Things Going Wrong

Posted by Michele on 21 November 2011 - 01:01 PM

Due to the recent threads about spirit dolls, thought-forms, "house old ladies", servitors, sprits houses, and whatever else one wants to call them the subject came up in chat about the dangers of these things and when things go wrong and the wisdom of working that when one works alone (i.e. no teachers/elders) and I thought it prudent to address this on the forum (and for any FYI's it was a very friendly, informative and enjoyable chat, lol).

The first belief I have is that the one thing man will never be able to bottle, teach, or pass on is common sense. And I'm not claiming I have any, lol, but one can read about how to make spirit dolls, and one can read about how to drive a car. Doing either at one's own pace and with precatuion is up to the common sense of the reader. Information about anything is out there it is up to the reader to decide what to do with it and whether or not they feel comfortable working with it, and if they don't feel comfortable to decide if they are willing to take that risk. Without effort and experimentation there is no learning and no moving forward on a solitary path. Having had to walk that path alone, I am of the (possibly unusual) mindset that as long as it is not personal I usually don't mind sharing information (and no, no one told me or suggested I shouldn't, lol).

It is very true that in making anything to house a thing of a different nature, one can unintentionally "leave doors open". That has happened to me with a poppet and something I did not intend came in and started using the poppet as a portal/entrance into this world. It became a problem. I finally figured out where the problem was coming from and then got rid of it. Some people are less lucky in the magnitude of their "problem" and/or their ability to get rid of it. But in a solitary path if one does not attempt, and one does not deal with thiings that come up, one is not going anywhere.

One of the first things I would personally suggest is knowing well the energy of your own home. Know it to the point that if things are going wrong (and they may not be that obvious at first) that you can "feel"the shift. If you feel this, address it immediately. And never create something you would not be willing to destroy. If you are a die-hard animal lover then don't make the housing for your spirit in a cute little puppy teddy-bear that you would not be willing to rip to shreds, stab to death, cut to pieces, burn to a cinder, and banish. Don't feel sorry for things and don't take anythign at face value. If your soft-spot is the doe-eyed mistreated child, then that which would work it's way in may well take on that appearance. You have to work on feeling with your gut, not yor emotional associations. Doe-eyed children can have teeth and claws and other things can and do appear in whatever form we are most likely to accept them. Take nothing for granted and take nothing at face value.

Know what you want and mean what you say. "Ummm.. please go away now(I think. I mean, if you really are not what you look like.)" In a way it's like bring up a small child - if you constantly threaten "do that one more time and yo're grounded for the next 70 years" right then and there the kid knows damn well you're not grounding him for the next 70 years so you've already lost some credibility. And the phone rings and you answer and the kid does it again and you ignore him becuase you're on the phone. Kids know very well when you mean what you say and what you don't and exactly how many times you will say sotp before you loose your temper and enforce it. When working with spirits mean what you say. Do what you say. Act immediately and confidently and question yourself afterwards. Don't yell and scream bacuse like the kids, they will know it means nothing but you yelling and screaming - quiet, confident (whether you're scared or not - fear is not wrong), concise action gets results. Over-emotion gets escelation and a lot of loose energy running about to feed off of. You can't help what you personally feel. If you feel frightened (and I have been frightened and/or creeped out often) that is okay, how you choose to react to that feeling is what matters.

And this is not to say that spirits are necessarily "little mischieous (sp) kids" to control (although some can be like that). Some spirits are a lot "higher up" than I will ever be in this life and some are tons stronger than I will ever be. But you have to be able to stand your ground. Any allies you have, if you mean what you say, will know that if you say to a thing "you outta here" that you mean it and will back you up. Allies that have seen you waver and wishy-washy may well sit back and wait to see what you really do mean if you rarely say what you mean. One's word means a LOT on many different levels in the craft, besides honour and integrity. It is also a form of ccommunication and not merely by the words said, but by how you back them up.

Thought-forms are also not slaves. I do know of some people who treat them like that - treat them like shit, punish them and in my opinion actually abuse them. If you wouldn't do that to a working animal (i.e. the oxen you use to pull your plough, not as a pet) then don't treat anything else under your control like that. One can control through fear and abuse and ego, but it is a very iffy and deceptive control and breeds anger and hate - must better to control through respect and ability.

Also, know your allies. There is nothing wrong with having allies and needing allies. It is not a symptom of "a witch without her own power." Your allies can become your actual teachers, develop an interest and fondness for you, and if you prove your integrity and worth and staying power to them, they will back you up. They don't suffer fools gladly and you will be tested(or at least I have been) but they do understand actual effort. To me a spiritual life and relationship and allies is very important, more so than magic. Magic can be worked without that, but you're working alone in a void. If you don't know your spiritual beliefs and base then you don't konw what you work with. Yes spiritual beliefs have to be investigated and learned to one's own interpretation, but I would apply the same rules there. Respect, quiet strength, integrity, and honesty.

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#146764 "Witchy" Names

Posted by anjeaunot on 04 August 2013 - 12:05 PM

There are no hard and fast rules in the Trad Craft.


Trad witches are free to do whatever they choose to do with their own skills and abilities.  Nobody has the right to gainsay them.

Evidence is lacking for witch names in the British Isles prior to the 16th century.


It does appear that the Protestant leaders who fled England and Scotland in the 16th century returned with the views of the continental witch-hunters:  witches were baptized by Satan, and every witch had a Satanic baptismal name!


IMO very few of the old families or old covines used witch names.  Of course, there could have been some exceptions.  Trad witches have always gone their own way and devised their own formats.


IMO there was an upsurged interest in witch names during the 20th century.  Gardner was a member of an Order – run by Michael Juste – which celebrated Golden Dawn rituals.  Gardner was frustrated that he couldn’t establish the O.T.O. in England, and resurrected witchcraft instead.


Gardner adopted the arm gestures used by a magical order founded by one of Crowley’s disciples.  Indeed, Wicca is the fulfillment of Crowley’s dream for a new world religion which honoured the Great Mother and the Solar Phalus!  Wiccan “names” are similar to magical names.  The strict rules and observances of Wicca owe more to magic than witchcraft.


It’s entirely up to the individual witch whether she/he opts to use a witch name.  IMO it was never mandatory.

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#89051 Laying a Compass v. Casting a Circle

Posted by Michele on 05 December 2010 - 04:21 PM

This is an essay I wrote and is solely my opinion at this time and does not necessarily reflect the views of this forum, its members (besides me!) and/or its affiliates.

Laying the Compass/Casting the Circle

One can find many instructions for circle casting in books, but few, if any, examples of laying a compass. The difference in meaning between the Compass and the Circle is, to me, is one of the fundamental differences between Wicca and Traditional Craft – even more so than the “an it harm none.”

In Wicca the Circle Ritual is derived from Ceremonial Magic and the circle is usually erected to create a sacred and protected space and to keep the energy raised contained until the time is ripe to send the energy. It is also raised to protect the witch. The actual understanding of the circle quarters and keys may even differ from one Wiccan to another depending on the tradition and how far removed and eclectic it has become from the original teachings. The original teachings are not necessarily “correct” they are merely the original teachings. The craft, whether Traditional or Wiccan, is a living, breathing tradition and must change or die slowly the death of the lost mythologies and mysteries.

The Traditional Witch’s compass, like the physical navigational object, is a tool to help one navigate one’s path. Depending on the tradition and/or the witch, there are many different ways of constructing a compass. It can be done as ritualistically as you like, or it can be done with extreme simplicity. There are deities and mythologies of Paganism which “rule” over the quarters and cross-quarters of the compass. These are not “gods” in the Judeo-Xtian definition and reasoning, but are “man-made” (yet no less valid and alive) gods whose mythos are used by some as keys to understanding the Path.

The compass is walked in a year (the well known Sabbats), it is walked in an hour or so (the specific working one is doing in the compass), and it is walked in a life-time (birth to death to rebirth), and deep within the compass itself is the key to understanding who and what we are as humans.

Many Traditional Witches will say they don’t need to work in a compass, and they are right. The witch (and any other human for that matter) is already in the center so there is no need to lay the compass or call the land to place one’s self there; however, to gain true understanding of the center, what the center is, and what the human’s relationship is with the center, the keys are within the compass and must be worked to be understood. The center is the Center – it is the World Tree, it is the Point in the Circle, it is the Pole Star around which everything revolves. And many witches will say they already know this – and they do. However, few actually “know” this on the deeper level. The knowledge of the compass is a bit like having your first child. You plan to get pregnant, you have taken your vitamins and prepare, you’re read every book and watched every documentary and attended every birthing class. You know that birth and parenthood will be the biggest endeavor of your life and that nothing will ever compare to what you will feel for this child. Fine – you know this, but you know it intellectually. No matter how much you truly REALIZE this, everything you thought you understood about parenthood is reduced to trivial dust beneath your heels the moment your child arrives and you actually see it and touch it. You won’t even be able to put it into words what you feel because it doesn’t translate into something so trivial as language. Suddenly intellect falls to the bottom of the barrel of understanding. You knew intellectually that you would love this child but that knowledge was completely insufficient to prepare you for what you would feel. This is the difference between intellectually knowing the meaning of the compass and the fact that we are already at center of the compass and actually “becoming” a part of the compass. Actually “knowing” this truth in every fiber of our soul, not simply in the brain which is a physical manifestation and will be reduced to bone and dust upon our demise.

I rarely do magic in a compass unless I am doing the magic with and for someone who is unfamiliar with the process. I use the compass in my spiritual practice; I use it to connect, to understand, to devote, to mingle self with the ancestors, to work the Sabbat – the meeting of the witches out of time; time past and time yet to come – and to work the Sabbats. The compass is an elaborate illusion that is necessary in our current state of evolution. The reality is deceptively simple.

So how does one lay a compass? Really, however one wants to. If outside one can actually plow the ground (make a trench or furrow). This alone is steeped in lore and symbolism and if one delves into plough-lore one can find much of value in the simple act. One can mark the compass with anything one wishes from leaves and stones to candles or a pre-cut cord. You could mark it with chalk. I once marked one in a woods with Cheerios. Outside in the land the space is sacred already. If you do work indoors you may want to do a cleaning simply to remove the human emotional ups and downs that often collect in the dusty corners of one’s home. Once one has marked out the compass (and you don’t actually have to physically mark it although it is advisable) one “raises” energy by whatever means one uses. This energy raised is conducive to realizing the difference of the space. Technically it is not different, but also, on a much deeper level, it is very different. Form here on almost everything is oxymoronic and paradoxal – it is different but it isn’t different, fair is foul and the sun shines brightly at midnight, dreams are reality and reality is sleeping. The circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is no where. Once you have achieved this, have raised this cone, you will feel a “heaviness” to the air. You can raise this cone by chanting, by curcumambulating (sp?) the space, by dance, by song… the correct way is the way which achieves results for the witch. Now one can do one’s work, devote, tread the Mill, mingle, or work the mythologies, keys and mysteries of the Compass.

Does the Compass need to be “taken down”? Probably not – outside the land is sacred and the space is not changed, so I would just leave something behind (an offering, thank you, or paying of the Keeper – whatever one wants to call it). Inside, as I do most of my work in the kitchen or living room I do take it down. I have affected the energy of that environment. I do not “negate” the Compass by totally deconstructing it, but simply make clear that I am finished, the work is over, and the area is going back to being my kitchen. Is this absolutely necessarily? Probably not. If you have, whether outside or inside, opened any door or portal during your workings you definitely want to close that prior to leaving your space.

So is the Compass necessary to work as a witch? No. Is it necessary to work and understand the mysteries? In my opinion, yes. The mythologies and the rituals themselves are not what is important – it is the mysteries hidden within the rituals, and the mystery hidden within the Compass which are waiting to be re-lived by the witch. These mysteries may not be important to the witch who is solely practioner of magic, but to the witch of a spiritual practice the Compass is one of the keys of discovery. It is a key which is used to work the rituals in which are hidden the keys to unlock the doors to that which has been forgotten and hidden. It is but part of the layers and veils that shroud the mysteries from the eyes of the profane (not meant in a negative sense, but more as "unawakened"). These are simply my truths at this time. Each witch must find her own truths and her own answers to the mystery of the Compass.

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#164047 Bone casting

Posted by Caps on 28 September 2014 - 01:07 AM

I have had a few people ask me about this since I mentioned it in chat a couple of times.  I learned this in the Spring of 2005 from an old Priestess who was rather vile and rude but full of knowledge.  The events and circumstances leading up to me meeting her and her son spell out quite a tale unto themselves and perhaps I can elaborate on that at another time.  Unfortunately I have gotten lax about practicing this as of late and have lost some bones to my set but I intend to rebuild it and continue, especially after the next hunting season.



What is bone casting?


Many of you are familiar with or practice the use of runes, Tarot, tea reading, entrails, etc. and this is just another similar form of divination or seeing.  You sit in a predetermined location and direction, North, South, East, or West depending on what the circumstances call for...the bones which are kept in a small pouch are tossed onto the ground or altar.  The directions they land and their location within a circle drawn into the dirt represent the answers sought.  

I honestly have never researched its origins but the Priestess learned it from her family who came from Belgium...I guess it's not a wild assumption to think it is Germanic or Celtic in origin.


Choosing a set of bones is entirely your choice, and the association of each bone or bone fragment is customizable.  I have three of each in my pouch and each has an association that is identified by me and only me.


Deer teeth

Deer antler tips

Poultry spurs

Opossum fingers

Shark teeth

Raccoon baculums

Fox vertebrae


For my own purposes I use the following associations with the directions:

North --knowledge, discovery, wisdom, exploration

South --emotions, familial connections, unity, trust

East --awakening, beginnings, spiritual advancement

West --dreaming, goals, travel, endings


When casting while say, facing North (casting to divine from the spirit of knowledge or discovery) and 2/3 or 3/3 of the bone that I associate with the unseen or the hidden (opossum fingers) lands pointing West or within the Western quadrant of the circle (spirit of goals and achievements) I will be able to use this to make a reading. 


There are similar methods of divination such as reading twigs or reading frost but I personally like this one because it has a lot of character because of the animals involved and has a lot of customization involved based on bone choices and their associated meanings.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of the witches of the old ways may have even done this with human bones. :cauldron04:



Maybe someone can use this, if anyone wants to add anything that would be great, especially if you know any history of the practice.  I'm always open to other peoples interpretations of this as well.




#161564 Keeping records

Posted by Wexler on 18 July 2014 - 08:38 PM

I have had an impressive amount of coffee this morning, and I am trying to burn off some excess energy so I can work on a project without my eye twitching. So I thought I would try to channel some of that energy in to a post :biggrin:
I know there are a lot of new/curious/interested people who read TW, who don't have accounts. I know I lurked on TW for about two years I think before I made my account. (P.S., guys: making an account is really great. Give it a try, talking to these folks is a lot more fun than just reading what they have to say!) Anyway, since I am hardly in a position to speak to the experienced, I wanted to share my thoughts about record-keeping with folks like myself who are still in the beginning stages of their Path.

Here is my point of view: Record keeping is a vital aspect of witchcraft, especially for people who are starting on a traditional path. The rest of this giant post is going to try and explain my position.


The thing about witchcraft is that for many of us, it lacks the physical input we usually need to make decisions. Did I leave my bedroom door open? I just have to glance over my shoulder and I can tell you yes or no. Did I leave a doorway in my mind open? That may take a bit more work. That will especially take more work if I am not adept at "feeling" these kinds of things. Magic is often subtle, and sometimes you can't feel the water rising until you are almost drowning. Sometimes it isn't enough to say, "well I don't think anything is happening, so everything must be fine." Sometimes you don't realize you left a door open, or a spell unattended, until the undertow rips you off your feet and sucks you under. In hindsight it may seem obvious, but by then it will be too late. There has to be a way for us to keep track of all the taps we've turned on so we don't get flooded.


That way is positively mundane; you need to write down what you do.


As a side-note, it doesn't matter if you think you have power or not. It doesn't matter if you believe your spell can't possibly have that kind of effect. To be fair, if you are a beginner, you are not experienced enough to make those kinds of judgment calls. Nor does it matter if you are just messing around, or you aren't sure you want to be a witch. You need to keep track of your business.


I have learned a few lessons about magic in my recent adventures, and here are two important ones:

  • Every detail matters
  • By the time something happens, you will probably have forgotten what you did to cause it

Magic, being the fair mistress that she is, takes you at your word. When you say something, it is done. Your spell does not have a mind of it's own. It does not say, "well, Wexler told us to do A, but I think she intended for us to do B, so we'd better do B instead." This means that it is possible for you to think you are casting a spell for one thing, when in reality you are casting for another thing altogether. When your spell starts doing freaky stuff and you have no idea why, you need to be able to have a copy of the original spell so you can go back and say, "wow, the wording of this could actually make us drift apart for our greater happiness, not come closer together." If you don't have those notes to figure out exactly what the heck you actually set in to motion, you are going to be confused and upset in a bad way.
Keeping notes is especially important for us beginners, because it is how we learn. Suppose you are doing a spell to help your boss see the error of his ways, are you going to say "hit him with understanding like a bolt of lightening," or, "grace him with understanding like the dawning of the sun"? This stuff is metaphor, but it has real effect. Do you want to blast out someone's mind with an LSD-level epiphany, or do you want to gently grow the idea on them until it rises beautifully in to their conscious mind? If your boss starts freaking out and behaving really oddly, you are going to have to remember exactly what you put in his mind, and exactly how it was delivered. If it looks like your boss is having a psychotic break and going in to a tailspin, you may have walloped him just a little too hard. To fix that, you will need to know what happened in your original spell. And if you don't have your notes, you will have just stalled your learning process. "Why is my boss acting out? What did I do wrong?" You will never be able to figure that out unless you remember what happened. If you have your notes it is infinitely easier to say, "he's probably acting oddly because I just cleaved his mind in half, I should avoid doing that in the future."
If you have your original notes, it is also much easier to send clean-up spells after your original working to help reduce collateral damage. Now that we know why your boss is losing his mind, we can send gentle spells after him to reduce the damage we did and help bring his sanity back. If you know why you and your friend are drifting apart, you can work to end that spell and create a new one that will actually bring you together. If you do not understand what you originally did to mess things up, all you can do is blindly guess what the issue is and pile more and more magic on top, which may just make things worse. (If you didn't know your original spell was forcing you and your friend apart, for example, you may think you didn't cast it strongly enough and cast the same spell again with more power, assuming that will fix things.)
Now the tricky thing about magic is that it isn't always instantaneous. Like leaving the water tap on, sometimes it takes a while to see the effects of what you have done. Suppose I cast a money spell, and a month later I see fabulous returns. Well, excellent - I'd love to cast that spell again... if I could remember what it was. Or say I am trying to perfect a spell that makes people tell me the truth. I cast a different version on four people I know. And one of them works! Great, now, which version was that again? Was it the one where I said 'Let ye speak no untruth to me' [I don't actually cast spells with Olde English wording, but ye rhymes with me, okay] or the one where I said 'Speak no untruth to me; when you see me your heart is filled only with honesty'? By the time my magical truth serum starts working, I may have forgotten. Experiment ruined.


Lastly, I have noticed a pattern in my own life, where I do something and then I'm amazed that it actually had an effect. I can "feel" things a little better now, but before I would do something and not "feel" it, then assume it was a dud. Two weeks later when shit got crazy, I would have no idea what happened... until I looked back and said, "oh, duh, that was me." If you do stuff involving magic or your power, whether or not you think it 'took', make a note of it. The most incidental things can become pivotal down the road.




All that being said, how can you keep good and accurate notes? What do you need to write down? I think that as beginners, we need to write down more than the experienced. Specifically I would say, if you journal, do it often even when it seems like nothing is going on. Be brutally honest with yourself, and don't avoid writing things down because you don't want to admit what you have just done, what you really think, or what you have seen. Don't get bogged down with fancy inks and expensive journals when a fifty cent composition book and a ten cent Bic pen from Wal-Mart will do. When it comes to spellwork, being very detailed and specific may really help you out a lot, especially when you can look back and see where your strengths and abilities lay.


[A random note: If you buy bound paper journals, get one where the pages lay flat when the book is opened. I bought a cute paperback journal a while ago, but it doesn't lay flat and it is a pain in the ass to write in, because to keep it open you have to constantly hold one side down. Never again.]




Some people will agree or disagree with my opinions here. They are not fact, just my thoughts stemming from my experiences. I hope this post did not come off as too teachy or preachy, I know I kind of have a problem with that.


Some people don't need to take a lot of notes. The more experience we get, likely the less we will need to keep track of. I think sooner or later, people begin to develop a sense for what is important and what is not. Until then I think it is best to err on the side of caution.


They call it the Crooked Path for a reason. Keeping notes is like creating a map for yourself, so when you get lost you can find your way home. No matter how you get around to it, I think it is a very good idea to keep a record of where you have been and what you are doing.


Finally, do not underestimate the effects of a single spell. As they say, every gun is loaded; every action a witch takes has power. Don't get it in your head that the dabbling you do now will have little or no consequence. People are taught to respect the power of guns before they learn how to shoot. Respect your own power before you cast spells. Whether or not you can see or feel it, you will send invisible bullets flying. So make note of which direction you fire the damn gun.

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#144104 Symbolism of the ritual knife

Posted by Jevne on 03 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

I have an idea. How about we stop talking about wicca shit on the Trad witchcraft forum?
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#133893 Practicality, Tips and Tricks

Posted by The Exile on 16 September 2012 - 10:30 PM


Never let a busybody woman near your house. Had to kick one out that barged into the house.


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#133892 Practicality, Tips and Tricks

Posted by Michele on 16 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

After Xmas sales at craft stores have great clear glass Xmas-tree balls on sale real cheap. Wonderful to fill with your choice of things and hang over windows and doors as protections. Halloween craft store stuff is great, too.

Protect your entrances (including mirrors). Don't wait until you find out WHY it's suggested.

If it's creeping you out, stop. It's not you being chicken; there's a problem.

Label all things containing body fluids you wouldn't want your teenager to drink. Label anything you make becuase 6 months later you won't remember what you put in it. Label teeth and hair and birthday candles, too (whose they are).

Keep your children's birthday candles for workings and mark the age and name (if you have more than one kid).

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#161599 Keeping records

Posted by Wexler on 19 July 2014 - 07:23 PM

Thank you Redhead and Rose :biggrin: You guys are too kind.




I bet the reason everybody freaks the fuck out about having a Book is because every Witch 101 book puts a huge amount of emphasis on it. Like, "you need a special, private, custom book that only you ever touch, and it must have specific sigils written on it, and instructions in Theban writing, and you may only write in it with home-made magical ink. And every single spell and magical experience you have must be written down in your ~special book~, and it will become your most powerful tool that you keep with you forever."


I am pretty damn sure that there is no historical precedence for witches keeping all of their path work like this. Hell, the entire concept of the BOS is a modern construct that started with Gardner. I have a hard time believing that the common folk witches of old told their apprentices, "you only get one book that functions as a combination journal/spellbook/resource manual, and god help you if you write so much as a sentence down anywhere else. And most importantly, it must be very, very fancy."


Anyway, I am not against fancy books. If someone gave me a $1000 giftcard on Etsy to buy hand-made journals I would probably spontaneously orgasm. But I also have to identify when my desire for theatrical, 'witchy' stuff is stopping me from actually being a witch. When I don't want to scribble notes in a journal because it is too beautiful to mess up, I know I am approaching my path in the wrong way.


Witchcraft isn't polished and pretty. It is gritty, wild, thrilling, amazing, ugly, and breathtakingly beautiful. But it ain't pretty! :tongue: Or at least, I haven't seen that side of it yet. My journal is ugly because I take it around with me and scribble it, cry on it, dog-ear the pages, throw it in my bags, toss it on the floor, draw things in it when I'm in a floaty crazed magical high, and leave my mugs of coffee and tea on it when I can't find a coaster. And I love that stupid thing. We have been through a lot together. I have made it powerful and special because of what I put in it, not because of how it looks or how many times I smudged it. If you are a witch, you do not need leatherbound tomes wrapped in scarlet silk to make your writing special. You can put your power anywhere, so choose a medium that is tough enough to survive the ride with you.

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#173384 Starting a line of communication to the unseen

Posted by Aurelian on 28 June 2015 - 03:42 AM

It took me a while to decide how best to respond to this, and I've decided we should get down to a bit of practical business, as none of our well-meant advice and wisdom will matter really if you can't actually manage to perceive and communicate with the entities in question. The first step is to actually flex and build up those muscles which will enable you to do so

Can you induce a typical, non-ecstatic trance state, by yourself? This a practice which will help you greatly, and not just with spirit communication, in your lifelong practice of the Arte.

My typical advice regarding spirit communication is to promote the practice of scrying, at least 20 minutes per session, as often as possible, preferably daily, until you are able to perceive those spirits which are already around you...and trust me, if you practice magic with any regularity, you will have attracted a number of them.

You know what, get yourself a nice bottle of Abramelin oil, acquired from someone who actually knows what they're doing, and USE it! Anoint the so-called 'third-eye' area with it, just a dab, prior to any exercises pertaining to this project. Some things, like this, are minor, but really quite helpful.

Another thing you can do, is to go outside, and practice projecting your consciousness into the air, into the wind, but only when you're well-rested, and do all your good protective juju! Not all the spirits in your local environment are likely to be wonderfully friendly, and this will attract their attention. If you can attune yourself properly, their presence will be apparent, IME. Just don't expect the sort of interaction you'd have with a human, or human spirit...you can get stream of consciousness type oddness directed your way, or the like, but that's typical of nature spirits.

Also, as Leonardo mentioned, establishing relations with ancestral spirits will get you everywhere, and will help you to attune to Other. So, as a daily practice, start leaving out glasses of water for the deceased. Light a candle when you do so, for just a little while, and call out to them whilst you're setting out this minor offering, as this will help them to perceive YOU. This is one of the great utilities of fire for a witch, it's not necessarily, or limited to, elemental concerns! If you would like to make this even more effective, go to a cemetery which feels 'friendly' to you, leave offerings of silver at the gate, and bury a simple glass-encased candle just inside the gates. Leave it there for a while...at least 13 days, for traditions sake, and if you'd like, drill some holes down into the candle and load it up with wormwood.

Also, as nobody has yet mentioned it, find yourself a nice active crossroads! You want chatty spirits...well, that's one place to find them, and if you establish relations via intent and offerings with a gatekeeper spirit(Hecate, certain mercurial spirits, angels and the like, there's quite a few of them), and this will be a less dangerous place to interact with them than wandering graveyards or haunted locales.

Be persistent, and do not give up! This really can take a while, trust me, I know. If you want relations with spirits that are worth building relationships with, this will signal to them that you are not the idiotic type of ignorant thrill-seeking dabbler that disrespects the otherworlds!

These tips are in no particular order, and I've forgotten what else I was going to say....

Edit: Oh! You need to get yourself a familiar. Having such will help to eliminate the type of bullshit problems that can crop up in these practices. Also, consider acquiring a guardian daemon, think about it! Highly recommended!

Anyone else have ideas on how to help her flex those senses that will enable communication? Book recommendations, anything? Let's do this girl right!
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