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

  1. Hello, I wanted to post a link to a facebook group called Shadowlands I admin with some friends. It isn’t exactly trad craft, but I thought it might be of interest to some people here. If you do decide you would like to join, please answer the admission questions, or drop me a message (Belladonna Miles on fb) to let me know who you are. I tend to automatically delete requests I suspect might be bots or scammers, it happens a lot. Here is the welcome statement for the group, to give you some idea what it’s all about, and whether it is something you might be interested in. Welcome to Shadowlands, a place existing beyond the reach of the light. I am here searching for something, though I couldn't tell you what exactly that is. I thought perhaps others might like to join me, and we could learn from each other. Earnest and bold seekers of the occult are welcome, as are the adept. Just know I seek to break the binds of dogma and indoctrination. I would topple the high-towers and strike their occupants from the parapets. If this is not your path you are always free to go your own way. If we are able to get enough interested parties with compatible ideas and chemistry, we would eventually like to engage in some group activities and experimentation, providing everyone involved is on board with that. It is by no means a requirement for membership, and it will probably be awhile before we get to that anyway. Mind you, I feel like time is ticking. The following is an advert for the group written by my dear friend you might know by the name of Ouroboros. Dear fellow occultists, witches and practitioners of the craft, it seems humanity is at a crossroads. The current chaos is both as symptom of our disease and a potential catalyst for change. This is the tipping point. Will we dig our heels in and attempt to continue with the strongholds that are currently in place? Will mankind wallow in ignorance and continue to aide and abet the oppressors? Or, is it possible to use this fire to burn away our bonds and topple towers? If you are interested in discussion and the pursuit of knowledge in this vein, please join us. We do not pretend to have all the answers, but we hope that maybe together we might find them. To be clear, so that no one gets the wrong idea; This is not a meme group. We unequivocally support BLM and all movements that that work toward human rights. We believe science is real. If your politics do not agree with these sentiments, this is not the place for you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/889510984858973/about
    3 points
  2. 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.
    3 points
  3. Trust your intuition - every single time. Know that you are so much stronger than you think you are. Tread carefully. You are leaving the safety of ignorance, and entering wilder territory. Centre yourself in your own work. Follow your own star. Craft is tools and techniques. Arte is your talents. You will develop your arte by practicing the craft. Get on with the witching work. Get on with the workings. Do the practice. Maintain a log of your practice. Write it down. The way that ye fall, shall be the way that ye rise. Thou Art Witch. Own it Sister. It's yours by blood and by rite.
    3 points
  4. 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.
    3 points
  5. 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.
    3 points
  6. Grow them, kill them, weep for them. Grow them again. Eat them, drink them, smoke them, wear them. Tincture them and distill their oils. Capture their Alchemal essence in a spagaric preparation. Grind their body, blood and bones to make your incense. Carve them to make the tools of your craft. Plant them to guard you home and boundaries. Visit them and leave offerings of yourself to help connect with their spirits. Sleep with them, meditate with them, lay with them and put down your roots.
    3 points
  7. 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.
    3 points
  8. 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.
    3 points
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