Saturday, 25 March 2017

Taking Credit Where It's Not Warranted

I've found within the Pagan and Magical community a tendency for self-aggrandisement. This isn't a new thing, not by any stretch.  There have always been the people who are so uber powerful and so much more special than everyone else.

But the one I've noticed the most lately is taking credit for other people's misfortune, or taking credit for surprise or miraculous major events.

As examples, one chap took credit for a storm changing it's predicted path and turning away from a major city, another claimed they'd caused a huge cluster of destructive earthquakes.  Another has taken credit for one man's death and another's misfortune.

There was a guy a few years ago (I think I mentioned him in another blog) who rang me to tell me he'd changed the weather so that I had sunshine for a party and was seriously expecting me to thank him.  Even though the weather was completely seasonal and fit what had been forecast.

There is also the mass curse of Daesh a year or so ago, it was a public event and because Russia did a bombing run a week or two after the curse, success was claimed.

I've recently had a bad run. I know the causes, they were rooted in choices made years ago and actions taken or not taken way back then.  It's not my personal misfortune, it's extremely bad health in someone very dear to me and while it's partially their own fault and partially genetics, it's still very distressing for me.

I find myself reluctant to talk about it though.  In many of the places where I would normally be asking for support and would normally get it, I find it difficult to raise.  This has hit me on a personal level and I realise that my struggle to ask for support is rooted in fear.  I don't want to have it come back to me that anyone I might have upset or offended over the past few years is taking credit for this.  And word of that will come back to me, it always does - just because I don't react publicly or obviously doesn't mean I don't know.

I think if I was to hear of someone bragging about how they caused this to happen, I would lose my shit on a spectacular scale.  All of the rages and tantrums I've ever had combined could not equal the reaction I would expect to have.  I would, in the end, be most likely facing some serious jail time and the loss of everything I hold dear.  And I would feel my wrath was justified.

So I don't talk about it with anyone outside of my close inner circle.  And it sucks.

I also find myself angry that my fear of other people's narcissistic behaviour and my potential reaction to it holds me back and prevents me from asking for what I need.  I am angry mostly at myself for buying into this shit, for letting it get to me before it happens and for overthinking myself into expecting it to happen.  It might not, although there are people in my wider circle who have done this sort of thing repeatedly so not being prepared for it would be equally foolish.  So I am also pre-emptively angry at the people who have done this in the past who may or may not try it with me this time.  Even though right now, I haven't given them the opportunity to be good people to me, I feel as though I'm punishing them (to some extent) because of what they might do.

And that sucks.

I find it a challenging and painful thing to talk about anyway.  I often cry when I am talking about it with the few I do trust enough to talk to.  I hate showing any weakness, I hate not being strong enough to cope with this.  I'm everyone's rock, I'm always okay, I'm not okay with not being okay.  I don't do vulnerability when anyone else can see, it's a secret and private thing that I am always a little ashamed of and embarrassed about.  Yes I've been lectured about it and I know that's not healthy and I am working on it.

And that sucks some more.

I sometimes wonder if this is part of the Keep Silent part of the pyramid/cornerstones/all sorts of different names depending on who you're talking to.  Even if you believe your magic caused this result, claiming it publicly makes you a wanker.  Save yourself the ridicule.  Especially if it's equally likely that it was nothing at all to do with you.



Monday, 20 March 2017

Hexing, Jinxing, Cursing and Binding

The Mass Binding of Donald Trump came up on a local group that I'm in.

As you can probably imagine, all the usual pearl-clutching and wailing about the consequences of taking part followed.  I patiently tried to explain the origins of threefold law, that it's not that simple and that it's a belief you need to buy into to have an effect.  I received a terribly funny condescending response from a girl younger than my oldest daughter telling me that it didn't matter what I believed, it was a law and would happen whether I believed it or not.

Such things continued rather predictably, apparently they're entitled to their beliefs and I'm not entitled to mine if they're different and so on.  Then one absolute gem of a respondent piped up.  I should trust him, my soul is in danger and I need to do some serious cleansing, my soul will thank me for it.  Blah blah blah.

Then I got a rather arrogant and terribly funny private message demanding I explain myself (because Hexing is Baaaaaaad) or he'd be forced to name and shame me and ban me from anything to do with their society.

It was the best belly laugh I've had in about a year.  I am open that I will hex and curse and bind where I see it's needed.  I have never had a backlash or bad consequences follow.  I am also smart enough not to blame the slightest little bit of bad luck or misfortune on anything than what actually caused it.  I don't see a hoofprint and expect to see a unicorn.  So, since I am so open about it, just who is he planning to name and shame me to?  What is this society that I'll be banned from?  Who is this guy anyway and why should I change or edit myself to suit him?

I've been active in our local community for most of the last 15 years.  I ran coffee meets for about 10 years, I've run several Pagan Festivals and I've had the only Pagan and Witchcraft stall at the Body Mind Spirit Festival for 12 years - although to be fair, there was a new one at the last festival.  I was part of a group that ran open sabbats and esbats in Christchurch.

As such, I know most of the people worth knowing in our local community.  Before his arrogant assumption of group conscience, I had never heard of him.

I have met busybodies of his sort before, they believe they have some sort of responsibility for the "spiritual wellbeing" of a group, they are self-appointed in this role and are usually overbearing, filled with expectations of gratitude for providing a service that is neither needed or wanted.  I have never seen it end well for the person concerned.

Anyway, because it was so politely requested (*eyeroll*) I have decided to "explain myself", just so that we're completely clear on my views.

I will hex, curse and bind where I see a need.  However, that need must be genuine and not something I do lightly.  A decent curse or binding takes planning and work, it takes my time and energy and for me to bother with one requires more than boredom and feeling a little offended.  I am not going to throw down because someone insulted me on the internet or hurt my feelings in some way.  I'm a big girl, I can cope without resorting to petty revenge.

I am specific in my curses and bindings. I make it clear exactly what outcome I am working for.  Whether that is the target suddenly starts to take responsibility for their past deeds, or they are unable to speak falsehood or gossip regarding specific people or that they get horribly sick from their continued alcohol abuse or they see people they've been favouring for who they really are.

While I have worked on behalf of others and will continue to do so, that also requires an explanation of why it's needed and for me to believe that it's necessary.  I don't do it for just anyone either, only people who are important to me in some way.

The only way a curse ever backfires or has a backlash is when you believe it will and you build it into your magic unconsciously.  Or when you plan and craft your spell badly without proper attention to detail.  There may be unintended consequences that come from poor planning and a lack of attention to detail, as with any spell crafting.  

A well-planned and crafted spell cast with no guilt or expectations of backlash should cause no issues to anyone except the intended target.  You have to mean it, you have to know (not just believe) you're doing it for reasons that are right to you and you need to be certain that you know what you're doing.

So to be clear, I do not and will not recommend firing off a curse whenever you feel a bit pissy, someone disagrees with you or for any real or imagined slight you suffer.  Raping my daughter and claiming it was consensual - that will get you bound and cursed.  Continuously attempting to sabotage my place of employment - that will get a lesser curse.  Repeated stalking and harrassment of people who matter to me - that curse is ongoing and cumulative.



Friday, 25 November 2016

Euphemism and The Naming of Things

I've been working away on my next book.  It's a book about ritual.  Included in this is a chapter about the journey from cradle to grave that goes into all the well-known and commonly celebrated milestones and a few suggestions for others that aren't necessarily recognised as often.  Most of it has been fairly easy to write, but I found myself stopping at one and writing other parts of the book.  Over and over again.  I kept finding excuses and reasons to avoid writing about this bit.  Death.

I have been rather erratic in writing the last few parts of this book.  I think I've done most of the bits I'm passionate about and I'm working on the parts that I feel are important to include to make it a well-rounded book.  I value the information, but I'm less excited about it. Except for writing about death, I am passionate about that, but for some reason I just kept shying away from it.

Over the last few months, I've been getting nudged from all directions about finishing and publishing this book.  I've been told off for self-doubt, I've been nagged by admirers, I've had friends build me up and give me a well-deserved bollocking.  I've also had nudges from other powers.  Some I've made promises of writing for when this is finished.

So I sat down and started writing.  I came round to the Death part again.  I chose not to tackle it head on, but start by discussing superstitions, beliefs and expectations surrounding death.  So rather quickly it came to all the euphemisms commonly used around mortality.

I hate euphemisms. I'm a big fan of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.  To say things like "left us" and "passed over" instead of "died" has always struck me as pussyfooting around the subject and trying to pretend that they're just sleeping and will wake up soon.  I put it out there to my facebook friends, trying to understand why using the actual words is considered tasteless, impolite and rude.

Most of the answers began along the lines of softening the blow and that death and dying are harsh words.  There were some about respect for the families and sensitivity for how they're feeling. There were the times when "karked it", "kicked the bucket" or "croaked" were considered appropriate.  Then there were the answers that made me sit up and pay attention.  They were answers that made sense of it all for me.  They fit neatly amongst beliefs I already held without realising that there'd been a part of the puzzle missing.

Naming is powerful magic.

This is a feature of many a fantasy story and folklore.  Magic users who know the true names of things gain power over those things.  Speaking an evil one's name is to attract their attention and can turn their gaze toward you.  Never name the well from which you will not drink.

Variations of this are obvious or sometimes hidden in common superstitions.  My Granny wouldn't have Arum lilies in the house unless there had been a death in the family.  They were a funeral flower and to bring them inside without an accompanying funeral was to invite Death in to take someone.
Touch (or knock on) wood when discussing the expected misfortune that passed you by. Don't bring particular baby gear into the house before the baby is born.

While someone dying or being pregnant seem to be fairly mundane evils, if evil they are, they can still be things that people fear, things that people don't want to attract more of and things that sometimes get anthropomorphic personifications.  The Grim Reaper and the Stork.  One brings life and the other takes it away.

In the answers to my question was a response from a very wise woman who has spent time on the Isle of Man.  She says that no Manx would say "rabbits" or "rats" for fear of the island being over run by them.  They call them "short-tailed fellows" and "long-tailed fellows" instead.  This one makes me smile rather than annoy me, it's less like the He Who Shall Not Be Named that gives what you fear power over you and more like the Gentry, Shining Ones and Good Neighbours.

Saying Their names aloud is an invitation.  If you're in a group, crowd or at a party and you hear your name spoken, you pay attention.  Sometimes you might go over to see if whoever said your name was calling you or talking behind your back.  This is no different.  They might come if you call and most sensible people really don't want Them to come visiting.  If They don't actually turn up, They may still turn Their attention towards you.  They may be listening.

A Fijian Indian told me that suicides are contagious.  There is a demon that hangs around a suicide and takes other young folk to keep their friend company.  I don't know if this is a Fijian belief or an Indian belief or specifically her belief - we were dealing with the suicide of a friend so the sources were unimportant at the time.  Looking back now, I see a similarity and a connection.  In my experience, there are no gentle euphemisms to explain suicide.  When someone has been informed that they've lost a loved one, a friend or a workmate, especially if it's sudden and unexpected, one of the first questions is "how?".  Usually the answer details the how, as in what method was used.  I can't think of a single time that has been softened with euphemism, although that may also possibly be because the friends I've lost to suicide were all boys and men.  Statistically, they tend to prefer more violent means.

I think most of us like to believe (even if we don't admit it) that we're immortal.  We say silly things that suggest we have some sort of control over the timing of our eventual demise, "I'm not getting life insurance at this stage, it's okay, I don't have any plans to die any time soon" or a favourite from an ex-boyfriend "I don't need to wear my safety gear on my motorbike, I'm not going to have an accident".  Facing our impending death usually scares us and generally speaking it's something we can't avoid thinking about when we've just lost someone.

All the euphemisms for Death have probably sprung from similar beliefs.  Death, the Grim Reaper, the Dark Angel, Mighty Thanatos has already come calling once, He might still be nearby.  Calling to Him might make Him take closer notice of you and yours, He could see something He overlooked the first time.  He might decide to take you or your partner or your child.

Best not to call.  Let Him carry on His way and pass the rest of us by.



Thursday, 18 August 2016

If You Don't Like It, Don't Do It

I know this isn't a new thing, but it's really getting on my nerves lately.

I'm talking about people trying to tell other people how to live.  This leaks over into every part of life - there are things like gay marriage, interracial relationships, dietary choices or lack thereof, medical choices or lack thereof and most recently, Pokemon Go.

I don't understand this need to regulate other people's lives or even to concern yourself with choices that really have no impact whatsoever on you - except perhaps that it might make you a little uncomfortable.

Who someone is in love with (and what bits they have), what tv shows they like to watch, whether or not they eat wheat or meat, what car they drive, what they wear or what Gods they worship is none of your business.  In no way does it have any effect on your life or your ability to enjoy your life.  What seriously is the purpose in trying to dictate to others that they have to be like you?  Do you get a kick out of making someone miserable just so you can feel more comfortable around them?

Objections on Religious Grounds

If you feel that someone else's life is offensive to your religious beliefs, then why not leave those judgments and punishments in the hands of the Gods?  I'm pretty sure They're more than capable of taking care of things Themselves if something should offend Them.

Personally, I'm not aware of any religion that requires it's followers to make others outside of the religion miserable just to please themselves.  Similarly, I'm also not aware of any religion that asks it's followers to be the most obnoxious, self-important prats who constantly try to make the world over in their own image.

If something is against your religion, then don't do it.  You don't get to tell others that they have to conform to the ideals of your religion.

Objections to Food Choices

If you are vegan or vegetarian (for whatever reason) good for you.  Unfortunately, there's a trend amongst vegans particularly to try and push their lifestyle choices onto everyone else as though it's the only healthy option.  This is usually supported by cherry-picked bad science that also assumes that everyone's physiology is identical and the dietary needs of one person are identical to the next.

If you don't like eating (or wearing) animal products, then don't.  But you don't get to dictate that others have to follow your way.  For many people this will make them very sick.

Since I discovered that I was Gluten Intolerant, I've found it truly bizarre not just how many people have an opinion about it but the range of opinions and suggestions I've had.  I've heard everything from "this gluten-free stuff is all bullshit" to "it's not the gluten, it's the preservatives they put in white bread (which I didn't eat anyway), you need to make your own bread and you'll be fine" to "You're just being a drama queen".

I don't understand how becoming violently ill if I eat gluten affects you enough for your opinion to be something I should take under serious or any consideration.  Unless you're holding my hair for me, I'm going to file you under "dick" in my head.

Objections on Aesthetic Grounds

Unless it's a school which has a dress code or uniform rules or you are employing someone for a job with a dress code or uniform rules, then how someone else dresses, what piercings or tattoos they may have is none of your business.

This whole "dress for the body you have, not the body you want" thing leaves me flabbergasted.  All the social media memes about how low-riding or sagging started in prison to show you were "available" or all the blog posts about "what women over 30 should never wear" are all part of the same thing.  Why does a complete stranger require your approval?  If someone is comfortable and feeling confident and happy in their clothes, then that should be celebrated not condemned.

If you don't like those clothes, those piercings or those tattoos, then don't wear them.   You might not like to see their stretch marks or their ribs, they may be bigger or smaller than you feel comfortable seeing, but you don't know their story, you don't get to tell them what they can and can't wear or what they should be doing about their body type.

Objections because Science

If someone wants to do a detox diet or use homeopathy or restructure their home for good Feng Shui how is this your problem?  Aside from people dangerously neglecting children and pets by failing to seek appropriate medical attention when it's needed or trying to make a cat vegan, anything else is not your problem, it affects you in no possible way and there is nothing useful to be gained by being offended by someone else's choices in these things.

I'm sure you're seeing the theme here.  Decide for yourself what you do, let other people do the same.  Try to understand why you think that others require your approval and why you think your opinion of their choices or lack of choices should matter to them - would their approval or opinion matter to you?

Voicing your opinions about things like this says more bad things about you than it does about them.



Monday, 15 August 2016

Magic With Jars

I've always been a big proponent of use what you have and find what works.  It never ceases to amaze me how often people feel hamstrung by not having the "right" things for the spell they want to perform.

Let me introduce the humble jar.  It might be a preserving jar, a plastic peanut butter jar or a large fancy decorative jar.  The uses for it are limited only by your imagination.  Below I've provided a few ideas to stir up that imagination.

As with any spell, it's important to be clear and specific about what you want.  Vague spells get vague (or no) results.  Charging, empowering, energising (however you look at it or whatever you call it) is also absolutely essential.  Otherwise, it's no different to the jar on the windowsill that all the little stuff (buttons, pins, paperclips) that might be useful one day gets stored in.

Any of these could be stand alone work or used in conjunction with any other type of spell.

Honey Jar

Honey and Sugar Jars (or bowls or saucers) for sweetening people are common in Hoodoo, Rootwork and American Folk Magic.

Write the name of the person needing sweetening and place it in the jar.  Alternatively, you can combine petition magic with this and write a letter or explanation of the situation that needs sweetening.  Fill the jar with sugar, honey, molasses, syrups, jams - anything that is sweet can work.

Some dress a candle and burn that on top or beside the jar, some do this repeatedly until they get their results.

This can be used for a job spell to make the potential employer favour you, to attract someone to you, to resolve conflict in your favour, in court cases, to soothe someone who is upset at you or to stop or prevent abuse of any sort against you.  Any situation where someone needs a little sweetening up.

Protection Jar (also known as a Witches Bottle or Bellarmine Jar)

This is a well-known and common jar spell used for personal (and family) protection.

Fill a jar with nails, broken glass, sharp and nasty stuff.  Fill it with your own urine, add some blood or hair or other bodily fluids.  Seal it and tuck it away hidden somewhere on your property.  Under the floor, inside a wall or buried in the garden are popular places.

The personal links act as a decoy for you.  Anything sent your way goes to the jar instead of you, then the sharp nasties trap it there and tear it apart.

Money Jar

Any money spell can work in a jar.  Fill it with money drawing components, add a magnet and some coins.  Be specific about how you want money to come to you.  You could add your spare change to this when you think of it and have a magnifying component.  You could write yourself fake cheques from the "Bank of Life".  You could add a money powder or bank statements or something to represent goals that you need money for.

It might help to decorate the jar and leave it somewhere you can see it often.

Binding Jar

A jar can work in place of both poppet and thing to contain or bind the poppet.  Put the person inside the jar (photo, personal links, names or a poppet), you could bind the jar, or bind the links inside the jar.

This can also be used to calm someone down when they're a bit over the top in any fashion. I know a lady who "bottles" her husband when his exuberance gets to be too much.

Curse Jar

A curse jar can be a specific one curse only item or for repeated usage.

The jar could be filled with sharp nasties as in the Protection Jar, poisonous or thorny plant matter, animal faeces, toxic or unpleasant insects or their houses (ant hills, wasp nests, spider webs) or any other unpleasant items you can think of.  Add the person's name, photo, a personal link or sample of their handwriting.  You could also add water collected during a thunderstorm or black water from a septic tank.

I'm sure by now, you can see a pattern.  Put your spell components or sympathetic components into the jar, add your target or purpose, charge it up and seal.  This list is only a few ideas that I see or use most commonly, use your imagination for any other uses.



Monday, 23 May 2016

Lenses and Filters

There's a person I've kind of known for some time now.  Let's call them Fred.  In the last few weeks, I've been talking with Fred more often and I have found myself realising that Fred is actually a good person and I really do like them.  That might not sound like a big thing to realise, I know.  But there is surprise with that realisation.  I'm surprised to find that I like Fred.  I am surprised to find that they're really a good person.  This made me think.

It came to me that most of my interaction with Fred up until recently has been coloured by another person.  We'll call them George.  George has known Fred for longer than I have and doesn't have a particularly high opinion of them.

It shocked me that I'd only seen Fred through the lens of George's opinion.  I had thought after being caught out by this sort of thing in the past, I'd learned from it.  I had thought I'd be better able to recognise it.

It then occurred to me that seeing many things in life is often coloured by the lenses and filters provided by other people.  This is a huge part of the conditioning we receive as children - our parents ideals and opinions shape the way we see the world, then the teaching we get at school, the books we read and the tv channels we choose to watch.

As an adult, I like to think that I'm past all that.  Question everything is a huge part of my personal philosophy and I know I drive a lot of people a little bit nuts by questioning things they take as gospel.  I play Devil's Advocate often when someone says something that I'm sure they haven't thought through very well.  So it really did shock me when I realised that I'd allowed this to happen.

Why am I writing about this on a Pagan/Witchcraft blog? Because I feel it's relevant.  Much of my frustration with the idiocies I have to deal with as an admin online comes from, I believe, the lenses and filters that people have.  There are a heap of dreadful authors out there - this isn't news, I'm sure - many decent groups have a "recommended reading" section and a "books/authors to avoid" section.  While we're busy bagging Silver RavenWolf, DJ Conway and Edain McCoy, there are still times when they were the first things we read and we still see our paths through the filters they initially provided.

This may be and probably is an unconscious thing for most of us.  We haven't thought about where an aversion to something comes from, why we shy away from certain types of work or the way we still tend to think of Goddess as a generic all-encompassing Divine Feminine Cosmic Barbie Doll.

For me, much of my early days were Dianic.  I found it unfulfilling and unbalanced and I found myself besieged by bestial masculine Gods who demanded Their share of my attention.  But every now and then I still find myself seeing things from a Dianic point of view.

I think if we make a conscious effort to examine our ideas and beliefs every now and then we can take away the rosy tint, fuzzy focus or blinkers that our early learnings have placed over and around our vision.  Make an effort to consider the whys and hows of what we think.

It can be brutal, I'm not going to lie to you.  Any time you go through a process of honest self-examination, there are things you find that challenge the picture you have of yourself, that show you up to be not the person you think you are or aspire to be.  The trick is to accept it, learn from it, change what needs changing and move on.  If you allow yourself to wallow in self-loathing (which is easy to do), then it turns into a blame and punish situation rather than an opportunity to learn and grow.



Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Please stop calling them ISIS

Small rant.

I love Isis... She's my patron Goddess and showed me the door to the pagan world so many years ago. (Yes I know the Isis vs Aset argument but this isn't about that). 

I'm currently writing a short story for submission to an anthology about dark gods and benevolent ones with dark sides so I'm writing a story featuring Isis' shadow side.  Without going into details I thought I'd do a quick google search for possible weapons She might use.  

In my naivety (and before engaging my brain) I googled 'weapons used by Isis'.  NEVER do this.  I'm sure I'm now on some FBI watch list.  Yes I can google weapons used by Goddess Isis but I am just ranting about my disapproval of the name of a Goddess being corrupted by this terrorist group.  

They have been referred to as a few different names including ISIS and ISIL.  Both of these attempt to legitimise their claims as they stand for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (an archaic term used to describe the lands around Syria which includes modern day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan).  They are a terrorist group not a state and aside from corrupting the use of a Goddess' name, calling them the Islamic State is what they want, so I'll not do it.

I know on a whole it's a small inconvenience for me to have to change how I google something or to be questioned if I worship Isis when asked.  (Yes one deluded individual actually argued with me about my support of a terrorist organisation).  But please, stop calling them ISIS.  Call them Daesh, call them monsters, call them bastards or arseholes or any number of other expletives but please don't call them by a name they want and stop besmirching the name of the Goddess Isis.