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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/29/2008 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    So lately I've been coming across a theme on the internet with bloggers about the trend of witchcraft, the selling of witchy products and the seemingly endless lot of "witches" who are copying other witches to try and make a buck. This post by Nefaeria got me thinking, as did this one by Sage and Bone. It does seem that there is now a proliferation of "witches" (I use quotations because I am not entirely convinced they're all witches) who whip up some ointments, oils, herbal concoctions etc to make a quick buck and it is concerning because as Nefaeria mentions, a lot of these products contain entheogens of varying degrees. It is almost like some of them woke up and decided to whack out some flying ointments without a care as to what they were putting in. I'll admit I've been experimenting with ointments and whatnot but some plants like Datura scare the shit out of me yet these people blindly buy some from a random place and add it in. I for the life of me can't figure out why these people who have little or no experience with dangerous herbs would do this. I mean don't they get that they could be sued if some one gets poisoned? Or worse yet, dies? Is it an arrogance that the minute you decide you're a witch you feel like you can run around using dangerous plants? Is it thinking that witchcraft is a way to make a quick buck? Chuck up some pretty glitter wands and flog them? Do any of these people actually care about what they're selling or is all about the money? Do new witches suddenly think that because they're witches they can whore out the Craft and posture about, letting everyone know they're a witch and they sell witch stuff? I know there are genuine witches out there making a living and doing the best they can and I feel like they are the ones getting kicked in the pants by the wannabes who see it as a money machine and not something to be respected and revered. I know some of my fellow witches here sell on Etsy and your items are beautiful, personal and powerful. If a witch wants to go into business, why not do something like you guys do? Something that matters and has purpose. I'll be the first to admit that I had created a large website with the intention of selling wholesale mass produced witch stuff. But it felt dead and empty to me, the products were a means to an end and I found that I didn't enjoy it anymore. So I emptied my store and am now re-evaluating where I want to go with my business. To me, it feels as though these other "witches" doing this can't be true witches because they are selling what everyone else is selling in hopes of making money. I know for me, the path I want to take now is more personal, beautiful handcrafted items, things I grow and make myself. To me, my path is a beautiful and sacred thing, it is who I am and when I do eventually go back to selling it will be select items that I feel would enhance the path of other witches, some will be wholesale things (popular like cauldrons etc) but a bulk of it will be handcrafted by me or by others I know. I feel like there is a bastardisation of witchcraft in business and I would rather see people scale it back to making personal items that mean something as opposed to signing up to a wholesale site and listing 7000 products. It's too much and I think it cheapens the Craft at every turn. I just wish there could be a little more respect for the path we walk instead of seeing it as a money making opportunity. I really wish that these "witches" could see that they're hurting something larger than themselves, and most of all I wish they truly understood what it means to be a witch because I think they would think twice about what they do or say. Especially the ones who, like Sage and Bone mentions, change their spirituality like they change their underwear.
  2. 5 points
    I started this as a way for me to think-out-loud. As many on here aren't into god-forms it probably wouldn't interest a lot of people as a thread, so am keeping it as a blog. I am still working out for myself (in a logical fashion for a totally illogical concept) the actual nature of gods, different realms/worlds, and my relation to them. I believe that god-forms have specific individualized beings/personalities as well as being a collective of focused energy of a specific attribute. Which technicaly makes them two things at once which is dualistic and illogical in our world. In trying to reconcile this dualism in my mind I posed the above to a piece of hawthron wood I've been working with. First off it told me to take a simpler example of how things work than gods, then apply that simpler understanding to gods. It said look at me, I'm a stick. Unrecognized and incorrectly invoked at the taking I remain just a stick. But you're talking to me - so who are you talking to? Um... the spirit of the hawthorn tree? Right. So whereas I am just a stick, with the spirit of the tree living within me I become more than just a stick. I become the embodiment of the nature of the hawthorn tree, not the tree/wood/stick itself. Hawthorn is a teacher and a gate - it is a hedgerow wood that is a mediator of the boundries and in working with the nature of the plant and how it grows you are working with the energy behind that nature - the energy that manifests as that specific nature in that specific species of tree. You are not working with "wood" you are working with the nature and spirit of the tree which manifested the wood. Same with gods. You are working with the energy/spirit that fuels the mythologies, not the actual literal mythologies themselves. So last night I was thinking about this some more, and I again had a chat with the hawthorn. If god-froms exist, what is their interest in me? What do they get out of it? Go back to the tree again. Start smaller. Start simpler. Understand that and you will be better able to understand god-forms and other realities. If you chop down a tree at ground level, the roots may send up shoots and grow again. If you cut some twigs and stick them in water, them may grow roots and grow again. So either one can produce a "new" tree. But ultimately a tree must have roots, leaves, and a trunk to grow. Take away any of the above and the tree will eventually die. Logical. How does that relate to gods and other worlds? The Tree? Tree? Oh - you mean THAT tree. Yes. The world tree. Ahhhh... so you mean that if I take the mythology of the world tree and all the realms upon it - 9, 7, or 3 depending on one's basic path, and apply the above to the worlds... they are all somehow feeding eachother? Like root feeds the tree and leaves do that clorophil thing, etc.? Yes. Its an intricate finely balanced relationship. But each part of the tree gains a necessary thing from the other parts. Something necessary for survival as the tree knows survival at this point in time. And all the worlds exist in relation to the world tree. Jeez that's complicated. Well you're the one who asked. Okay - well whose spirit are you? The tree you came from is still alive. So is that tree-spirit fragmented and a part of it lives in you now, or are you a tap-in to the "collective" nature of hawthorn? Or are you a "new" spirit? You're being dualistic again. This isn't Harry Potter and I'm not a horcrux. Just becuase the spirit of the tree is me, doesn't mean that it isn't the spirit of the tree, too. And it doesn't mean I'm fragmented. Good point. Sorry. All tree spirits are both individual and collective. Just like the gods, and just like you - you are an individual personality yet you retain the memory (collective) of your ancestors. They live becuase you live. I'm not getting that. I know. Just let it sink in. And go to sleep, will you? Right. Goodnight then. (Sticks piece of wood under pillow and turns off light.)
  3. 3 points
    It's been awhile since I've been in the forums, life and whatnot gets in the way so I thought I'd pop in and say hi and share some photos of my mandrakes - the first two are the sizeable Mandragora turcomanica I am growing (I have 5 but this is the biggest) and of my lone Mandragora officinalis root - I had to repot because the top was looking a bit half dead and the soil was quite wet (not from over watering but just general wet weather). So hi again all, hopefully I can become a little more active once again.
  4. 3 points
    Wytches crone, wytches fair Fire light and bodies bare Drum and rattle, spell and song Midnight shadows deep and long Stag and doe, owl and crow Summer reaps the Springtide sow From your crafting may we see Autumn's bounty soon to be.
  5. 3 points
    I think that we are given a brain for a reason. Perhaps it is a question of balance, open heart/open mind. Follow your heart, but not off the cliff. Listen to common sense, but don't overthink. We know what right and wrong feel like and we understand consequences of action. You should follow your heart first, but let head help you avoid the fires and pointy things. I think both of these should be tempered by 'Gut'. Both Heart and Head can tempt destruction, Gut prevents it. Heart has a flair for the dramatic, not always helpful, but Heart loves play, which is necessary. Head kills artistic inspiration and causes self doubt, but can solve important problems. Gut has no tolerance for nonsense. Gut tells us not to eat poop or spiders and also has the ability to see through bullshit. So feel, think in equal amounts, but NEVER eat poop or spiders.
  6. 3 points
    Magic - The Essence of the Forest All to often, it is thought that "magic" is something that a witch does to manifest one's desires. While that be be a 'small' part of what magic is, there is much more to it. Magic in an of itself is it's own essence. It is void of dualities such as positive and negative, black and white, etc. it is the raw supernatural essence that permeates, and emanates from all that is in existence. With this being the case, a "witch" does not have to always gather his or her tools of the trade and stand in a compass round, calling and directing energy to manifest the means of a specific goal. Instead, this raw magical essence can be found in the most natural of places-the forest. The forest is imbued with this magical essence, just waiting for those with the extraordinary, or what I would even call ordinary, communication skills to sense its message. Saturday morning was a beautiful morning. I decided I would go and explore an area of the forest in which was unfamiliar with and see what I could learn. As always when it is warm enough, I prefer earthing myself - the process of taking your shoes off and walking barefoot upon the raw earth, and connecting with the natural energies of the earth. In doing so, we become attuned to her electrical frequencies and with an open mind, begin to walk not only into the forest, but into a whole new realm - which I call the Greenwood. As I take my first step, the magical essence of the forest begins to open my senses to the spirit of the forest. I am quickly reminded that each step must be made consciously, with mindful awareness as to where I will place my foot before taking the next step. It becomes a form of meditation, a type of trance that opens me up to the lessons I am about to receive. Putting my foot in the wrong place could be painful. Each step is symbolic of the choices we make. I am quickly reminded that along our journey in life, the choices we make may at times hurt. This pain is not always a bad thing however, it often is a cue that we need to make changes before we make the next step. It could also mean that perhaps we need to tread a bit more gently. As I progress along the unfamiliar path set before me I notice that as I take each calculated step, I lose my balance at times, to which I must reposition myself to gain sturdy footing. Lesson number two ushers forth. The spirits of nature reveal that no matter what math you walk, there must be balance. For without balance comes the fall. Yet, when you lose balance in your life, you reposition your step (make better choices) that will place you back into balance. Balance is the key to any journey whether it be relationships, happiness, health, etc. one must have balance in order for them to function correctly. Roughly 3 miles into the trance like walk, I stumble across a hidden circle, full of green grass, yet completely encased by thorns and horse chestnut shells as if to ward off potential trespassers into this sacred space. It had a strong pull, so I entered this space of energy. I spent time walking the perimeter of the sacred circle. I found fresh deer scat as it was surely feeding upon the lush greenery within the borders of this circle. I thought of a stag, and I was reminded of the Spirit known to me as "He of the Forest Deep" - whom is often known as the "Horned god", "Pan", and even the "Green Man" to those who's witchcraft is steeped in gods and goddesses. But to those of us who walk a path of provenance witchcraft, this Spirit is known as "He of the Forest Deep". He is the anima-loci, the very Soul of the forest itself. The energy of this circle was great, so I decided to sit in the middle of the sacred space and meditate a while. I felt called to renew my covenant with the spirits of the land. With permission, I harvested a single thorn from which protected the boundary of the circle. I returned to the middle of the circle and pricked my finger, squeezing out three drops of blood onto the land as an token of my commitment to the covenant I have made with the anima-loci, genius-loci, spirits of the plants, familiars, and the natural path I have been called to walk. I then poured out some water from my bottle as a libation to those who have served me well. I left the circle feeling renewed and continued on my path. As I walked, I began to continuously see the sproutings of a single 'redbud' like plant - dark purple merlot color mix, heart shaped leaf in random - yet not so random- places along the way. I immediately felt the appreciation that the spirits of the forest had for the renewed covenant with them. The dark color reminded me of why "black" is such a prominent color in witchcraft. Black keeps hidden all that it contains, protecting the sacred within from being profaned. It is for this reason that the night is so powerful for those of us who walk this crooked yet natural path. A half mile or so into the continuation of my meditative walk into the Greenwood, I am lead to a tree that is tall, stands firm, yet has a clear hole straight through it. The spirit of this tree begins to speak. It tells me that "the key to accessing the Unseen World is through nature itself." For the tree's foundation was sprung forth from the depths of the dark earth (symbolic of the Unseen World), it's existence progressing harmoniously in nature, not rushing anything, but allowing nature to simply "be", it sprouted into this world, growing tall, wise, and old, all the while maintaining roots deep into the dark earth. It now exists in the Seen World (above-it's trunk and branches) and the Unseen World (below -roots) simultaneously. Without being rooted below, it would lack the nutrients and minerals it needs to live. Without reaching into the world above, it would lack the the sun, water, and air that it needs to live. the Tree tells me "To truly live, one must feed (gain knowledge) on that which is seen, and unseen" - the material realm, and non material realm. As I stare through this hole, it reminds me of the birth canal. I am given a vision of my own birth. While in the womb, I did nothing of my own accord to progress the stages of my birth. I was living in complete harmony with my environment. I was given all that I needed to ensure my existence. Somewhere along the way, we as humans decided that we can take the wheel, and push nature aside, severing this organic union of relationship. in doing so, we cause ourselves to live in desolate space, void of the spiritual nourishment we were once naturally provided. The spirit of the tree tells me that if humanity would return to this natural relationship between the material realm and the non material realm that our primal ancestors maintained - the very relationship we are all conceived with, we could once again thrive in organic knowledge in union with the Unseen World, void of the need of synthetic knowledge through technological advances, and societal programming. We can then return to "the knowing". It seems as though I was only standing there for minutes however I look at my watch, realizing that over an hour has passed in this communication process. I thank the tree for its lessons, leave and offering, and make my way to my return destination. On the way back, I am in awe at all that I have learned on this day. For the magic in the air was thick. I felt it with every inhale I made. I was rejuvenated, spirits lifted, much accomplished, all without tools, chants, herbs, incense, etc. For He of the Deep Forest provided all that and more, without me even asking!
  7. 3 points
    The fact that there's no instruction manual for TW is perhaps its most attractive quality. It can also be the most frustrating thing, especially for us newbs. I'm gonna quote RoseRed above and say "Look deeper". And while I think she was probably referring to the forums specifically, I'm going to advise to expand that to all areas of your life. Read deeper, search deeper, experience deeper, feel deeper, believe deeper. Go deeper in your connection to nature, into introspection, in exploring levels of consciousness, in reading history and folklore and religious texts. Go deeper into your family history, with your practice and rituals. Go deeper into your connection with spirits. It can be so frustrating when you are a solitary witch and people tell you "it's not about what's in the books". It can make me want to throw my hands up and say "then where am I supposed to find it?" But yet, I do end up finding the wisdom I need and precisely when I need it. Ask your ancestors or any spirits that you have a good relationship with to help you. They will show you exactly what how they want to be worked with and can lead you to new resources and teachers and experiences. Focus in on a couple of practices and become an expert on them rather then feeling like you have to become an expert at all aspects of traditional witchcraft in all traditions at once. You've got plenty of time to explore. It's not so much about what you read but how you read it. You're already learning how to think like witches of old...that's why Wicca didn't sit right with you. Your perspective is changing, as though you were able to step back a few feet and see a bigger picture than before. Dive into religious texts, historical documents and folklore with these new eyes. Study the culture of your ancestors, or whatever tradition speaks to you. Plus a couple of other trads for perspective. Find the common threads in beliefs and practices. Look to the shamans, or the healers, or the diviners and spirit workers and storytellers. They are present in almost every culture. Learn to be comfortable with metaphor and parables. It's good to study the history of the occult as well, even Gardner and Crowley and all that, even when it doesn't speak to you. You're not reading their works as a how-to guide, but learning about where they got their resources and why they set up their orders the way they did. Understanding the how's and whys will help you to know what parts of their teachings you can ditch, and which parts may have some wisdom for you. It's okay to take a deeper look at Wicca, as long you do it with your new eyes. Don't blindly follow anything someone tells you is fact...get to the bottom of things and see the big picture. The heart of Traditional Witchcraft is a connection to the ancient practices of witchcraft. You can come at it from many angles and cultural perspectives. But for the most part, there is no clear view of exactly what those ancient practices looked like, so we can gather evidence and piece it together (which is how most of our understanding of history is put together anyways). But we have the added bonus of being able to directly ask ancient spirits and teachers to help guide us on that hunt for wisdom, to help us navigate the sea of crap that is out there in modern occult teachings. It is a tedious process to dive deeper, but trust that the process is as valuable as the end of the journey.
  8. 3 points
    When my darling Mother-in-Law prior to her passing spent time in the hospital for conjestive heart issues, when she was moved out of ICU to a regular room, I was there. In and out of respect for her belief system I said this as she was reclined and all she could see out of her hospital room was the brightest blue sky... I leaned over to her and said : " Look how close to heaven You are Mom. "... she replied with no hesitation... " I know, and I'm TRYING to get there ! " 17 days later, she was. xo, Gypsy
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