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  1. I don't believe in worship and have never been able to connect to deities. For me power is inside ourselves and to give it over to a higher being or supernatural being does not sit well with me. You are giving your power away. The stories in mythology and creation are man made. They serve a purpose, they explain the world so we can better relate to things. But I do understand people needing deity.
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  2. Receptively sensing energy for me is more a refinement of the kinaesthetic sense, rather than the visual. Although I do actively "visualise" in all senses, and I have perceived shifts in energy visually, normally when I sense energy receptively it's mostly about texture, coolness, warmth, density etc. Anyone who's felt out the aura of a big old yew tree, will know that crackling repelling electric vibration they have. Magick also leaves it's own energy field, you feel the sparkle that's left in the atmosphere when others have performed a rite in a public place.
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  3. So this post come up under a search for masks, lol. I read through the whole thing as I am starting some work on a poppet soon. I just wanted to add in case some new members take an interest it the topic that after my ancestors the next spirits I had contact with were the wights or land spirits in my home. I started leaving offerings of honey in milk. Warmed just bit to mix well. I have three now. One from the old house, one from the new and one that just showed up. I can feel them very strongly when grounding and making offerings. They are great to work with for anything around the house from protection, to gardening, to energy. They will also move with you if you offer, like the one from the old house. I used a bird house for it to attach to.
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  4. Sorry Blacksmith, I heavily disagree. I had my initiation and am in the deep of my people's indigenous shamanic tradition, and we've always had to charge a fee. our gods refuse to "work" through us if they aren't paid. So no, a lot of ancient shamanic traditions will require a fee of one kind or another. And it doesn't mean anyone can pay to be one. Good, proper shamans will not say "you need an initiation" unless it's absolutely true - because this life is endless hardship. Not everyone is fated to be a shaman even if they're chosen by spirits, and this cannot be verified by the person themselves. they must be verified by a shaman of that tradition.
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  5. I was reading a thread today and I can't find it now, but basicaly it was saying that power belongs to the witch and no outside help is needed from spirits, ancestors, gods, etc., and I have been thinking about that all night and where power comes from. I was not born "powerful." Yes, to an extent one own's one's power, but that is not becuase the witch herself is "powerful." Power is through the ability to connect to and tremble the web and from energy (serpent energy, current, etc.) the witch has the knowledge to build up, pull in, and work with. I would definitely say that any god-form, archtypal or otherwise, is more powerful than I am by it's very nature. Why do we use herbs and incenses and candles? Becuase of the powerful energy of the hooded flame, and becuase of the essence of the related plant. Becuase they "lend power" to our working. I have a spark within me that is powerful, but that is becuase it is a divine spark and its interest is not intellectual on my level and it probably couldn't care less about my little spells. My power is completely knowledge-based. It comes to me through knowledge of how to interact with and work with the unseen. Without the web and my connection to it my spells would be wishes. I think witches may not be any more or less powerful in and of themselves than any other person, but they know how to connect to power/energy and how to manipulate it. That is knowledge. And yes, knowledge is power. But there are things closer to that power - like ancestors, spirits, and god-forms - and to work with such things does increas the power of a working. To say it's all me would personally be deluding myself. I build up energy in myself to use, and to an extent I do own that energy as the serpent runs through all things, but without it, I wouldn't even be in existance, much less be powerful. M
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  6. This is so true! If I am asking for answers to something it's pointless to be completely consumed because I won't remember the answers. I am often working with spirit animals, and one is rather elusive but considering what it is I'm not too surprised. The other one is often...and just as I am about to say silent he decides to plop himself next to me. The most vocal one I have taken a liking to we seem to have this silent admiration for each other, and I ask this spirit simple questions to which I get simple answers. I try to avoid full trances though as mentioned above.
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  7. Id like to explain something about Christianity that a lot of people don't understand about Christian worship (even practicing Christians don't often have a grasp on this). I know people get kinda hinky about Christianity (and rightfully so) but when talking about diety, it's useful to have several perspectives on the accepted worship of deities to know how cultures over the years interacted with diety. Orthodox Christian practices were based on Jewish practices which bear many similarities to the Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Sumerian practices that the Jews would have been familiar with. I'd love to hear also from the people that have a good understanding of how other pagan religions viewed worship because there are many similarities and differences and I believe that somewhere in those common threads is a good place to understand how to work with deity (and when to leave them alone). So here goes nothing, a quick primer on Christian Spirituality from the Witch's perspective, by a former pastor: ----- Most flavors of Christian theology teaches that God doesn't "need" humans to worship him but that humans are formed and shaped by their worship of Him. Since the goal of Christians is to have the Holy Spirit "within them." Whether that comes from the sacrament of baptism, or sanctification, or intaking him through Christ's presence in the Eucharist varies across the denominations, but the end goal is always the same: to have the presence of God within you, changing you to be more like Him so that you can enjoy unity with others in the body of Christ (the Church) and with God himself in heaven for eternity. So while many people may talk about the end goal being "getting to heaven" the New Testament really puts emphasis on joining with God (often referred to as being a part of the Kingdom of God) by his incarnation within the person themselves, granting them eternal life or consciousness or unity with God. When you look at it like that, it isn't too far off from the concepts of many eastern and shamanic religions, but where they differ is the orthodoxy, so I'll explain that. The Torah and the rest of the Old Testament are pretty clear about one thing: this God (referred to by many names) that claims to be the creator and judge and master of all things cannot stand sin. This is where it gets dicey...does he hate sin? Is he just a pompous asshole that created a sinful race of humans only to spend eternity telling them they aren't good enough. Theologians generally agree that this isn't the case, that the Jewish and Christiam God cannot stand sin because he IS the essence of good. That he literally can't exist where sin exists, because He is the opposite of sin as pure light and pure darkness can't exist in the same space. He was supposedly so glorious and righteous that in his presence anything corrupted by sin would be destroyed. So if a sinful human wishes to have communion with God (which the bible teaches is the only way to eternal life), he must first cleanse himself of sin, or he would die in the presence of God. This is the reason behind the importance of Jewish purification rites, and why no one but the high preist was allowed to enter "The Holiest of Holies," the place at the heart of the Temple where God was present. It is there that the priest would go and make sacrifices and supplications on behalf of the people. This is remarkably similar to ancient Eypgtian practices where deep inside the temple was a place that only the Pharaoh (or a preist named to go in his stead) would go and meet the God of that temple to plead on behalf of his people. No surprise there, because remember that Moses (who gave the Law of God to the Jews) grew up in Egypt in the Pharoah's own household. So that explains offerings and purification rites, which we see in many world religions that approach Dieties. But what about worship? How do gods stand to benefit from worship other than inflating their egos? Again it returns to the Christian desiring a full communion with God. The Jewish prophet Daniel (the one with the lions) was given a vision of his God on the throne of Heavem and he described that heaven is literally a place of constant and eternal worship. There were creatures and beasts who were created for the single purpose of worshipping God without ceasing, creating a sacred space for the God to dwell. You'll often hear Christians quote "The Lord is present in the praises of His people" because they believe that there is something in the act of worshipping the God that creates a sacred space for the God to dwell in. Hence why church services are full of worship in song and prayers and thanksgivings and offerings. Its more than just an invocation that we might make to invite a spirit to join us in the physical realm, but something about filling the space with worship and offerings allows the God to dwell there. Much in the same way we use herbs and incense to consecrate a space to make it inviting and comfortable for a spirit's presence, they use incense and worship to make their God comfortable. So Christians worship God not because they beleieve he needs it, but because they desire his presence among them. To take it a step deeper, all facets of the religion are in hopes that they can create a sacred space within themselves for the God to dwell. They achieve this by purifying themselves of sin (becoming "sanctified" through various rituals and prayers of surrender) and worshipping in all things. They are essentially Invoking a possession by the Spirit of their God, but of course, most of them don't see it that way. Because their God has made it forbidden for them to make contact or relationship with any spirit or God beside him, they are ignorant of anything that vaguely resembles spiritualism or witchcraft and unable to see the similarities. Which would be a smart decree to make if you were a deity that wanted the sole devotion and worship of your people. You may be asking where Christ comes into all this and the answer is simple. Where the priest once had to sacrifice an animal to atone for the sins of the people, Christ was the final sacrifice that would enable all people to commune with God through himself and his gift of the Holy Spirit. He claimed that God had sent him as the sacrificial lamb to release the people from the law which stated only priests could enter the Holy of Holies. Christ is the great high priest that stands before the throne of God and pleads on behalf of all people (which can get confusing if you consider that through the trinity, God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one in the same, but I won't get in to that). The theology behind this atonement can get complicated but what you really need to know is that again, his crucifixion and the devouring of his flesh and blood in the Eucharist are simply continuations of the Jewish rituals of purification, atonement and invocation of the God's presence, but instead of a priest, the presence was now made accessible to anyone (Jew or Gentile) through Christ. ---- Woof. Okay, sooo... This is one religion's answer to working with a deity that was very clear about a few things: that His followers must be pure (or made pure by atonement and purification) and they must worship no other Gods. And in return he made MANY promises to them. The reason I am no longer a Christian is simply because I beleieve that God is a liar, about many things, and uses fear and threat of judgement and promises of miracles to manipulate the powers of the world (something that I believe he feeds off of). I do not believe he is the creator or the great judge, or the only way to eternal consciousness. However, what we do have here is an interesting case study of a deity's relationship with his followers. We have the benefit of it being well documented for centuries where many other religious traditions are lost to us. We have the benefit of seeing that this God was very clear to his followers on how he wished to interact with him, and what he needed from them for full communion. We see a God whose demands and expectations change over time as his people changed and as history progressed. We see him making allowances and sacrifices to bring himself more followers and to allow for more people to come to know him. I believe this can be valuable, not for knowing how to approach this God (because I wouldn't recommend it unles you are ready to commit to his rules), but for understanding the symbiotic relationship between a deity and their people. A lot of Christian worshippers (in the US especially) don't have a very good grasp of the full narrative of the bible, or the complex relationship of the God to his people. In the last century, Church attendance became more a mandatory social norm than a show of devotion, and I believe this opened the door for a lot of other entities to attach themselves to local congregations. The church I ministered to for most of my life had a very strong attachment to their building and land, and I believe that the spirits of the land, along with ancestral spirits of the original builders/founders, and spirits created by what the congregations truly worshipped in their hearts over the generations are the entities that actually inhabit that sacred space and respond to the prayers and worship of the church. Those spirits are more than willing to take the guise of Christ and God when needed. And maybe that's okay? Besides the fact that it's blatant manipulation on the part of the spirits. Once I learned how to interact with them (and they realized I wasn't going to expose them for what they are) a working relationship developed. They are protective of their people and the people are protective of the land. It's...fascinating to watch really. The problems occur when the people hurt others "in the name of God" but that's a whole different can of worms...I think the Catholic Church of the dark ages was absolutely controlled by malevolent, vengeful spirits and tricksters that fed off the power of the church and used its leaders as willing pawns. But I'll leave that for another day. I hope this incredibly long-winded post offers some perspective to someone. And I hope it clears up a lot of the misinformation that floats around about Christian worship and its heritage.
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  8. All of the comments made by other members are brilliant. My computer mouse is getting worn out with all of the +1 clicks. :D The only thing that I feel I can add is the discipline of establishing a baseline. What this means is that before engaging in new activities in witchcraft, take a few days to define your "normal". Humans are dynamic creatures, always changing and growing- so what is "normal" behavior and thinking for you is probably going to be different now than it was a year ago. Personally, during these periods of establishing a baseline, I like to be as "clean" as possible: engage in little to no witchcraft, completely abstain from any mind-altering chemicals, and even adhere to a strict diet of unprocessed foods. It is a time not only to prepare for new experiences, but also to reflect upon my personal development. Creating this "control group" to use as a reference comes in handy when new experiences with the Other may prompt a witch to doubt their own perceptions (and, in extreme cases, their sanity). It provides a set of criteria for that one can strive to regain if they begin to feel as if they're losing themselves when working with the dead, autonomous entities, or traditional deities. Also, it can be an excellent tool to use when defining the different levels of influence a witch experiences when communicating with the unseen: there is an enormous spectrum of interaction, ranging from easily-missed messages to full-on invocation. "Witch, know thyself" isn't an adage that applies only to Seekers: it's a wise commitment to self-awareness that is critical for safety when dealing with the occult.
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  9. This is some of the best advice that I have ever read on the topic, and I completely agree with what's been written here. I'm a nitpicker by nature, so that is extremely rare. If you follow the advice from Ravenshaw, MonSnoLeeDra, and Leonado, you will get results, and with minimal damage. At some point you will then want to stop having contact with spiritual entities, at least for a little while. Everyone needs a break. There are some things you can work out individually as you progress regarding the circumstances under which various entities may contact you, you'll find that information all over the place.
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  10. Both Monsnoleedra and Ravenshaw has given some excellent advice above and I fully agree that you must begin with what calls you and feels right. I would only add that sometimes the simplest act can have the most profound impact. Take a few minutes to make a small offering to nature, to the spirits of your local landscape, your deity(ies), your ancestors, or whoever/whatever. This will forge and strengthen a link to your spiritual and magical current. The more you build up this connection the more natural communicating with the spirit realm becomes. While doing this you will also start to feel small physical changes in your body, take note of these as you will find that your body has a way of informing you when you are in presence of spiritual entities. As Monsnoleedra states “listen and feel with every aspect of your body." For me it is mainly my hands, as they start to tingle and vibrate when I am in a spiritually charged environment, but each person will have their own ’signal’. My personal journey started with honoring my ancestors and the guardian spirits at the gates between the living and the dead. Speaking to my ancestors daily, leaving offering and tending to their altar attuned me to the ever-present reality of the spirit world. As I got older I really piqued an interested in grimoire magic and invocation and evocation of various spirits. This was a period of trial and error as I began to test the waters so to speak and see just how much tangible physical change I could effect via magical workings. I tried evoking spirits into crystal balls, into black mirrors, into the solomonic triangle, etc. This was a rather tumultuous time in my life and I made many costly mistakes dealing with entities that I was clearly not ready to invite into my life. Today, I have a handful of spirits that I work with very frequently though I still seek out new ones from time to time using the methods outlined in the Greek Magical Papyri and in a select set of grimoires. Yes, they have names. Some are spirits of the dead who I work with for mutual benefit ( a necromantic business partnership, if you will), some are the same spirits outlined in the grimoires others are personal guardians that I have never heard of until they came to me and still others are outright deities. Over time I've built up a small spirit family that I can trust :smile:
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  11. I suck at sensing things, lol, or perhaps it is more apropos to say I suck at recognizing what I'm sensing, lol. Like if the norm is different, it feels creepy because it isn't the norm. But that doesn't mean it's bad, but since I'm human and accustomed to the human norm, I interpret different as "threat" or "creepy". I started with just sitting by my trees and closing my eyes so I didn't have the distraction of the most commonly used "sense" which is sight (I have yet to try it with ear plugs, lol). And then I concentrated with what I was FEELING. And I got to recognize the feel of my Elder trees, and then the basic feel of my garden. So then I do the same thing in differing weather, and differing times of the day/night, etc. And it slowly builds but it is still often hard to tell if it is something I am feeling, or something I am feeling from an outside influence. It isn't easy, and it gets overshadowed when I'm dashing out the door to work, lol. I have to make a point of sitting down and doing it, and hopefully one day it will become second-nature. But I try not to visualize because then I am dictating what I feel, and I am trying to pick up the feel of the energy around me, not what I am "expecting" to feel... Visualization I use more when I need to pull in a feeling that I'm not specifically feeling at that moment, if that makes sense. M
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  12. As to the importance of any specific holiday, I would say that it depends on whatever particular tradition a specific person follows. One thing I have learned from my path is that there are certain things that are expected of me. My path is less about me than it is about the bonds and relationships I maintain, and as such (and as in any relationship) certain things are expected from both sides. Would the sun stop rising and the Earth stop turning if didn't do these things? No, of course not. But my relationship with the things I claim as kindred would, I believe, suffer if I did not do certain things or if I took those relationships for granted. M
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  13. If you are seriously considering working with god-forms, I would not suggest calling upon one and then trying to control it or "boss it around", I really, really would be very careful there. Yes, divinities have been transformed and changed over the centuries - just look at mythology. Lilith was a grain goddess who then "became" a demon (was demonized). Inanna became Ishtar, the sacrificial king has been told a hundred times including in the mythology of Christ (I'd go on but my mythology isn't that good ,lol). But what really changed - the actual energy of the divinity or the aspect in which humans dress it? The stories about gods are not the gods themselves, they are the stories man has made, and man has told, in order to put into words something that is inexplicable. M
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  14. For some reason I'm not having any luck with the quote thingie, lol ... but that's not unusual for me. I suppose it depends on how you define power/energy. To me, if a witch were a battery then yes, she can "plug herself in" and raise power, store power, and access her power at will... and yes, some people may be born with "natural battery" impulses, others have to learn it. And yes, of course everythign has a life force/energy, including the witch. But remove the source of the current, and a battery eventually dries up and goes stagnant or even dies. Granted I know sod-all about electronics, but that's the best I can come up with so far, lol. A psychic vampyre-type witch could just pull on other's stored up battery power and drain them, but she's not connecting to the source (and actually that's one type of cursing... draining someone's battery power until they rectify a situation, but that's ot, lol). But what I look to is the source of the energy that fuels the batteries. Where, who, and why? And yes, obviousley it comes from the earth and there is a tremendous amount of energy within the earth and the things on it (oceans, winds, etc.). Sometimes with ancestors I get a sepcific feeliing/message that seems person-specific, especially if it is an ancestor I have known (like my father). But often times it seems more of a pool of knowledge and it could even be combined knowledge of several or many ancestor experiences not just specifically tapping into one person. I don't even know that these ancestors still exist with person-specific capabilities, but I do know their experiences and knowledge still exists. Perhaps the ones more recently passed-over have a more human-type feeling to them as they are closer to this reality... I don't know. But ancestors are not necessarily DNA blood-relative ancestors. They are ones who have walked your specific path before you. Sometimes I do wonder how that works with the very eclectic paths as I think it may narrow the ancestor base, but I'd have to think on that some more. I am also starting to get the feeling that if one oathes to a god-form, then that god-form itself becomes an ancestor of the witches' line along with all who walked the path with that god-form... if you think about it, that's one helluva long trail. So to break an oath with any god-form becomes breaking an oath to your ancestors you adopted by taking that original oath. I also thinnk working with gods can be like dating - if one doesn't have a specific tradition then one could work with this one and that one seeing if there is a fit and if a relationship and understanding can develop - like dating. But you wouldn't get married (oath) to someone without dating them a long time and making sure that you hold the same beliefs, have a good solid relationship, etc. And as for using god-forms only for spells, would be like going through the dating thing with some guy you really don't like but are only marrying for their money. And how long is that marriage going to last? Not to mention questions about values and intregity. I have worked with several god-forms but I have not oathed to one to date. Interestingly enough, as my introduction was Wicca and I was initiated into a Gardnerian coven, I wondered about the breaking of oathes as I left that path. I know people here are not Wiccan, but to me an oath is an oath and my word is my word and I would consider breaking that VERY serious whether or not it is a god I still relate to. I talked to my old teacher about that and it was her opinion that I had oathed to the coven and not to the gods as I left that path very shortly after initiation. I don't think it is so much a retaliation thing from gods - oath breaking - but that it is a personal integraty thing. If I oath to something and break my word, then I am an oath-breaker, and how could I expect anyone or thing to take me seriously? When my son asks if he can borrow 20 bucks and he'll give it back next week, I know damn well I'm never seeing that 20 bucks again, lol, becuase that is what past experience has taught me with lending him mooney (and no, I dont mind helping out my son, lol). And I wouldn't want anything from the other realities to start taking my oaths and my would as complete shit. "She never means what she says... she means the opposite" could get one into a whole lot of trouble in their lives. Even spells that you call ancestor experience for - "well, we all know she means the opposite of what she's asking for..." Okay, that's an extremely literal explanation, but you get my drift. So for me the finding of the source and working with it is one thing, but oathing to it is a whole 'nother ball-game. Gods are archtypes of the source of this energy, but they are also individuals within their own right and have specific personalities, to me. So in "dating" a god, I wouldn't use one solely for spell-power, becuase it would be rude and demeaning would not be conducive to a reciprical inter-active relationship with that spirit or force. M
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  15. To me it is the bigger part of my path - Magic exists becuase we recognize these forces and one can stop there and just do magic and use the tools to do magic. But if one wants to get into more mystical workings, one actually goes past "using" these forces and moves into direct interaction with them. If separateness is a duality, then the witch IS actually the force - not becuase of her own will and focus, but becuase there is nothing separating her knowledge of her self and her relation to the forces of spirit. And in becoming that, the witch then has access to what has been before and after becuase these forces have always been. But to know that intellectually doesn't automaticaly "get one there" one has to work it, to find and connect to the force, to awaken it in the tool and in one's self and join the them. Doing magic is one way of strengthening this bond. But to my mind, the bond and the becoming are the important things, magic is the byproduct of recognizing and working with the Truth. Magic is the mundne action in this reality that is one key to working with the mystery that exists in the other reality. M
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  16. About to make myself very unpopular, but I have a problem with Empaths. I do believe there are some true "Empaths" but that they are about as common as blue cats. All humans are able to pick up on the emotions of others; some, such as psychologists, specifically train themselves to do so. I think that the sudden influx of empaths in our culture is less about true empaths and more about people living such harried lives that they may not have solid boundries. And I'm no one to talk, believe me. I have some friends who are completely depressing to be around, but it's because they have depressing lives and are constantly trying to suck sympathy from wherever they can, not because I'm an empath. People who are sad or angry - it does hang around them in the very air they stand in. But some people also don't want to be helped, they just want to be rescued which actually causes them more harm than good. And unfortunately our current culture is all about the underdog and not about showing the underdog how to pull his own socks up; hence, we are raised feeling the need to rescue every down-and-out we come across, be it animal or human, and we have not been trained how to have appropriate boundries to protect our own psychies. Children are taught that 'no' is a bad word, then when they're 40 and their lives are falling apart their parents wonder why they can't say no to all the people mooching off them. There's nothing wrong with being a friend, there's nothing wrong with going through somethign WITH someone, there is, I think, something wrong with going through something FOR someone. M
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