Friday, 5 December 2014

Intent is All You Need

I keep seeing this said in comments on spell requests. 

Intent is everything or If you have pure intent then that's the best you can do.

I find myself wondering if the people who say this have ever really performed successful  magick.  Because quite simply, this isn't true.  This is very similar to Wishcraft or Begcraft as some friends like to refer to it.  Using prayer instead of spells and not understanding the difference.

So what is the difference you may ask?


Prayer is asking for something else, Gods, Spirits or some Higher Power to do it for you.  What is missed is that it is at Their discretion.

Spellcrafting is taking matters into your own hands and doing it yourself.  This may or may not include the guidance or assistance of a Higher Power, but it is not relying purely on Them to bring about the change you are asking for.

I often get a picture in my head when someone talks about how much they've prayed for something or over something.  It's a picture of their Gods looking down on them and saying "Again?! I've given you the tools, grow up and deal with this stuff yourself!"

How does Intent fit into this?


Intent is the purpose for a spell.  It is what you mean to achieve and the change you are creating.  It goes deeper than "meaning well" or "thinking positive" or "trying to help".  It is all your true motivations, emotional need, whim and fancy that goes into the reason you are casting a spell.

If intent is all you need, then you should just sit back on your chuff and assume that your every wish will be provided for.   How do you think that will work for you?  Let me assure you it won't.

It may be your intent to get a job.  But until you actually do the work - like applying for some and putting your cv or resume out there - it's not going to happen.  No one goes out of their way to find a person they've never heard of to hire them with no knowledge of their experience, personality or work skills.  The people who get headhunted for jobs are the people who are already showing brilliance in their field or are well known to the employers.

Intent is what you mean to do.  This is a world away from actually doing it.

Everything takes work.  Intent is a great beginning, but that is all it is - a beginning.

Blessings



Debbie




Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Colour of Magic

This is a subject that rears it's head with far too much frequency.  Putting colour to the type of witchcraft that people are drawn to or like to label themselves.

Always there are arguments about what constitutes each colour, as though the world should conform to such a narrow view and those who, like me, reject this classification completely.

White Magic


White magic is most commonly seen as good and selfless.  It is positive and constructive and involves healing and harming none and yoga and tantra and all sorts of feel good positive self-esteem stuff.

People who claim to only use white magic or be white witches often spout platitudes regarding karma, threefold law, personal gain is bad and not using magic to affect the free will of another.

Black Magic


This is the nasty stuff.  This is doing magic to destroy or harm - binding, cursing and hexing primarily.  In some texts, a black magician is not a real witch because they only do good things. 

Sometimes this is also referred to as Dark magic or Shadow magic.  The people who like to claim this will often also try to convince you of how twisted, tortured and terribly gothic they are. 

Grey Magic


This is a balanced place.  Using both sides of the polarity as needed.  It's a middle path that sometimes seems to have one foot on both of the other paths.

Grey magicians will use phrases like "harm none but take no shit" or "I do only positive magic unless you threaten me or mine".


What These Really Mean


Each of these colours are completely vapid ways to categorise and classify witches and magicians in such a way that the person doing the labelling comes out in a morally superior position.  It is nothing more and nothing less than a way to sit on your high horse and look down your nose at someone you feel is less than you.

Doing only White Magic means you do no magic.  None at all.  In fact it means you do nothing in your life. 

Harm None - in modern popular usage, not it's traditional meaning - is a completely impossible rule to live by.  You may choose a vegetarian diet for this, but plants have feelings too, the rainforests of Sumatra are being stripped for palm oil plantations which has made the native tigers endangered and severely harmed the survival of other species of rainforest flora and fauna.  Where were your shoes made?  Under what conditions were the materials obtained?  Do you drive a car?  Do you have any idea of the worldwide damage that comes from fossil fuels?  Not just climate change, but wars for control of oil fields, the damage to the land from roads (the road itself, the emissions and the volume of animals killed on the roads) and the thousands of people killed and injured every year in normal vehicle use. 

Free Will is one of my favourites.  I think that not affecting the free will of another is the same as a truly selfless act - there is no such beastie.  If you do magic to protect your property from theft, burglary or unwanted intrusions, you are restricting the free will of the thief, burglar, the Jehovah's Witnesses or your mother-in-law.  If you look deeply into any spell, there is nothing you can do that will not affect the free will of another.

Doing only black magic means you build nothing in your life.  I also believe it's like true anarchy or chaos - it doesn't really exist except as an abstract concept.  An order will arise regardless - growth and patterns will emerge and there will be constructive elements and not just destructive.

Grey magic is a difficult one for me.  It describes how I feel for the most part, but I still don't like the colour application.  I frequently say that I have two hands, why would I tie one behind my back and not use all the tools at my disposal?

I also feel that while polarities can be useful to partition up the world around us, balance must come from more than two points (black and white).  When casting a circle, you are creating a crossroads of north and south and east and west, but also your place between upperworld and underworld.  There, you are at the centre of six directions made up of three polarities.  Those polarities are also symbolic of states of mind or being - active and passive and logic and intuition among many others. 

I've heard it said recently that white and black magic came from racist roots - that the implication was that white magic was tied to white folk and black magic to black folk.  I personally think this is a superficial look at the origins of the terms.  I believe that in the black vs white usage regarding magic white is tied to light - to daytime when most things are visible and seen, when we are made to be active and doing things to improve our lot in life.  Black is tied to dark - to night-time, to sleep and dreaming and shadows.  To the times when most things are concealed by the darkness and our fears come out to play.

All Colours of the Rainbow Magic


But then we have other colours of magic now coming into popular usage.  People are describing themselves as purple witches and red witches and all colours of the spectrum.  I can cope with Green Witchcraft - that is less of a colour descriptor and more of the colour of the things they work with.  Green Witchcraft concerns a lot of plant work, herbcraft in particular.  But the rest don't seem to make a lot of sense to me.

There are spells that use colour correspondences for a specific area of life.  I suppose it can be turned around to say that an emotional spell is blue magic or warlike spells are red magic but it feels rather contrived and simplistic to me.  I am aware that Isaac Bonewits used this system of classification in his book Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Light.  I haven't read the whole book, but I have read the excerpt in which this system is described and can only hope that the content improves. 

While it may be a useful (or not depending on your viewpoint) way to classify different spells, I still struggle with taking that "colour of magic" and turning it into the colour of the practitioner.  Does this mean that a red witch will only do magic for anger, sex and the things they're passionate about?  Are they unable, unwilling or does it not fit their path to do magic for wealth or healing?  How does that work?  It seems terribly limiting and to be honest, rather childish to narrow your options down in such a way.

I know that some people like or need to categorise the world to make it easier to understand.  To be able to file things in little boxes in their minds and have everything cross-referenced from there.  I don't get it.  I like to try and see the whole picture, rather than cut it up into small chunks.

Blessings



Debbie





Saturday, 1 November 2014

The New Modern Super Powers.

I've come to the conclusion that reading comprehension and critical thought are fast becoming super powers.  Rare gifts that only the few special people possess.

Quite frequently, it seems that knickers get knotted, tempers rise and people everywhere get themselves worked up into a right old state over a non-issue that could have been avoided simply if they bothered to read the source properly.

The event that has brought this up for me is not a new thing.  A pseudo-news site (although not noticeably a satire or troll site) took a fragment of an article out of context and turned it into something totally different.

I think it's probably best if you begin with the original article.  Time Magazine's article about the surge in popularity of the TV Witch.  I found it to be an interesting piece about how witches are currently film and tv winners.  The fascination with witches and a bit of history and opinion about why this is.

A quote from a book, explaining some of the hysteria around witch-hunts (specifically the Salem Witch Trials) became the basis for this piece of ... well, I can only call this trolling.  Actually, a number of words leap to mind, but I'm not going to use them.  This little shit-stir article that is doing the rounds of facebook and getting the "more persecuted than everyone else" brigade all up on their high broomsticks.

It's even led to this piece of head-deskery.

I found a great blog post that summed up my issues.  It can be found here.

Sadly though, there will be people who think that Time has given Witches and Pagans a Bad Name.  Most either will not bother to go and read the original, or if they do, they'll skim it to find the bits they can be offended by.

What they don't seem to realise is that their whining, hand-wringing pleas of "an offensive portrayal of a positive religion" actually do far more damage to paganism and witchcraft than what they think the article said could ever do. 

Simple reading comprehension - reading through an entire article and concentrating enough to absorb what is really being said - shows that such a reaction is completely unfounded.  Nothing in the Time article had any relevance at all to modern witchcraft or paganism.  But who cares right?  Who lets the truth or reality get in the way of a good tantrum and moan.

Let's make all witches and pagans seem like a group of ignorant whiny little bitches who can't read properly.  That's so much better.

Even sadder, it seems to be a trend.  I made the mistake of not going back to read the original for a similar type of shit-stir "this big reputable media outlet just said something really offensive" article a few months ago.  I felt a bit of a twat when I realised what I'd done.

I applaud the writer at The Inquisitr for misrepresenting the original so badly.  As I know from personal experience, the writers get paid by page views and she'll be laughing all the way to the bank from this one.

There are writers making money from taking snippets of articles, twisting them into something attention grabbing and playing mind games with readers.  They'll keep doing it too, because reading the original without buying into the bias placed on it by the muck-raking article takes critical thought, it takes the ability to comprehend what you read and as I said at the start, they seem to be extremely rare super powers.

Blessings

Debbie

Friday, 31 October 2014

Yet Another Halloween Rant.

Last year I had a bit of a rant about Halloween.

This year, Halloween has inspired me again, but in a different direction.

Just like last year, the people preaching, judging and making claims about what everyone else should and shouldn't be celebrating has been a theme this week not just on facebook, but also on our local news website.

Everywhere I look this week, I seem to be confronted by people complaining about other people's choices.  Choices that in no way have any real impact on the complainants, no effect at all except to offend their sensibilities or in other words, be different from their own choices.

When it comes down to it, I know the origins of Halloween.  I know the connections to Samhain, I know that it's changed over the years, generations and geography.  I'm quite over having to explain that Halloween is not the same as Samhain.  The origins are cool to know, but they're not relevant to every single discussion or mention of Halloween.  Nine times out of ten, no one cares and the person pontificating again just gets ignored.

As such, I'm quite baffled by all the people who think they have some right to tell everyone else that they can't celebrate anything in the way they want to.  My news feed this morning was filled with New Zealand pagans and witches moaning about how often they have to tell people that it's Beltaine, not Samhain and so they shouldn't be dressing their kids up in scary costumes for school parties or to go trick or treating.

Hang on, who gave any of you the right to dictate such a thing?  And isn't this the kind of thing you complain about when someone else does it to you? 

Why do you care so much what other people choose to do with their time?  How does that affect you at all?

As I said elsewhere, celebrate what has meaning to you.  Don't celebrate the things that don't have meaning to you. Don't rain on the parade of anyone else doing the same.

In other words, Wheaton's Law applies - don't be a dick.

Blessings

Debbie

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Spelling in your Spelling

Many years ago, I found an article online, I think it was called "A Pegan at the Alter: Why Spelling is Important".  It may possibly have been a Themestream article.  I thought I knew who had written it, but when I do a search, I can find most of her writings from that time frame, but not this one.

*shrugs*

Spelling and Grammar


I am a geek when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar.  I've never quite made it to Grammar Nazi status - there are a few things I'm just a bit lazy or rusty on and I got to see how obnoxious it was when my daughter and her friends were doing it.  However, I find that I lose the message if it's badly presented.  I glaze over if a sentence starts to look more like computer coding - b4 gr8 - aren't they coordinates on a chessboard?  Or if there are too many letters or numbers in place of words - r u able 2 b ready?  It's not as though there are too many places where you have a character limit anymore.  Text messaging charges are far more flexible - I do remember the bad old days and going through $20 credit in a day, 20c a text message back then, and you had only 80 characters I think - although having to scroll through them in capital letters was a bit painful.  Facebook got rid of the character limit on posts.  I think Twitter still has them, but half the attraction for twitter is the little bites of life.

I don't see any excuse for the sloppy spelling when damn near every interface that you are typing into these days has a spell-check built in.  Yes, I do often tend to ignore some of the red squiggly lines because I'm not American and I totally reject putting z in everything and taking out the u.  But that doesn't account for some of the really awful spelling that is still consistently in use. Predictive text and autocorrect should be able to help out too - even if some of their fails are highly amusing.  Ironically as I write this, the only word in that paragraph that has a little red squiggly spelling notification is autocorrect.

Someone recently invited everyone to a new facebook group they'd created.  Tragically, in the name and in the url was "peganism".  It made it hard to take it seriously.  I frequently see people posting pictures of their "alters" and it drives me crazy.  I can cope a little with "insense" because sometimes there are words that I just can't put together on that day and I rely on the red squiggly line to help me out with them.

Some words that have come from Hebrew have multiple options for spelling.  I can cope with that.  The vowels are usually left out so QBL can be spelled Qabala, Qabballah, Cabala, Cabballah, Kabala or Kabballah or any variation thereof.  It took me a while to get my head around that one and after seeing a comment about it today, I'm clearly not the only one.

For the record, an ALTAR is a table used as sacred space, ALTER means to change or is a shortened version of Alter-Ego.

You cast a spell, you will cast a spell and you have cast a spell. At no time is the past tense "casted".  It's like talking to my 8-year old.  I'm frequently having to explain the unusual past tense words to her - brought and not bringed, caught and not catched.

The Witches Who Can't Spell


There seem to be a few jokes about Witches having bad spelling, but jokes aside, I do have to wonder how successful you can be in your magic if your basic written language is so lacking.

To create successful magic requires more than just intent, regardless of what the latest still-wet-behind-the-ears, fluffy beginner might try to preach.  Intent is a great place to start - as I've said more times than I can count - but it is not all of the story and stopping there can cause all sorts of misfires, unexpected outcomes and magical mistakes.

Successful magic requires precision, both of thought and of deed.  It requires specifics, you can't have vagueness or generalisations unless you want a vague and muddy outcome.

How does this relate to lousy spelling?

It's quite simple really.  Above I've explained how there really is no excuse for bad spelling any more.  It takes willful laziness and a total disregard for other people to still be spelling so badly.  My former brother in law used to say things like "If it's any constellation, or to be pacific" but then when gently told what the correct forms were "consolation and specific" he'd get all pissy like I was being horribly rude to him and say "listen to what I mean, not what I say".  Then he'd go on to keep using the words wrongly, knowing they were wrong.

Listen to what I mean, not what I say.

How does that work exactly?  How do you know for sure what he means if his words suggest something different?

So this becomes laziness and arrogance and willful stupidity at times.  It shows a complete disrespect for people around you by telling them that they should just 'know' what you really mean.

Now let's transplant that little snippet of personality into a magical setting shall we?  People don't suddenly change persona when they're spell-casting.  You have laziness and arrogance and willful stupidity mixed with a spell to create change in the world.  A spell using magic, which as I said, takes the path of least resistance.  So if the easiest path is not clear, if it has been lazily constructed and has several possible interpretations - which would translate as several easy paths - can we now see how this becomes a problem?

I'm not saying that none of their magic would work but that there is huge potential for muddy results.

In any magical setting, I was always taught to be careful what you "put out there" and that words have power.  Think about what the wrong words could do when put out there.

Blessings

Debbie

Thursday, 7 August 2014

What is Folk Magic?

When I am asked "What is Witchcraft?" I always define it as the use of folk magic.  In all honesty, I always thought that covered it nicely.  It seems however, there is some confusion or differences of opinion as to what is folk magic.

Folk Magic is the magic that was performed by the common folk.  By the everyday folk, by Cunning folk, by the practical down to earth people.  It is not necessarily Hedgewitchery, nor purely rural farm-based or herbal magic although all of these are somewhat related and intertwined.

Folk magic is sometimes referred to as Low Magic or Dirt Magic.  This is as opposed to High Magic or Ceremonial Magic.  For the main differences between these two, we need to step back in time a couple of hundred years and more.

High or Ceremonial Magic


High Ceremonial Magic was generally performed by rich men.  How do we know they were rich men? 

  • There are many prohibitions in the Grimoires regarding women.  You cannot teach them magic, you cannot speak to a widow during ritual preparation, you cannot come into contact with a menstruating woman during ritual preparation.  There is so much misogyny (which was also just the standard way things were) throughout these ponderous tomes.
  • The tools, clothing, incenses and oils required were not cheap or easy to attain.  Having several knives or swords that were kept purely for magical purposes is an indicator of wealth and of nobility.  If you had the means to have such a wasteful thing as a knife that was deliberately blunt, then you were rich.
  • Having the available free time to devote yourself to days and weeks of ritual purification, cleansing, prayer and meditation means that you were not working from sun up to sun down.  It means you did not have to worry about where your next meal was coming from, taking care of your animals yourself or taking part in the production of your food.  The only people able to do this were wealthy or clergy.
  • The simple fact that they were literate and able to read the Grimoires, to study the heavens for Astrological transits and to draw the shapes, sigils and often Hebrew lettering required for a circle.  This indicates an education which was generally only available to the wealthy or clergy.

Yes there will be exceptions to all of this, there always is.  I'm speaking in general terms.

High or Ceremonial Magic is strictly structured, it requires that all instructions are followed to the letter.  That the right words, prayers, actions, symbols or sigils be used in the right order, in the right place at the right time.  There is a vast body of learning and theoretical knowledge required for this magic.

The focus and purpose of most magic of this type is to make contact with Angels, Demons and Celestial Intelligences.  To have those spirits do your bidding and bring you the results you require.  These results all lead to The Great Work, which is to raise the magician to a level of purity, holiness and power that they achieve unity with God. 

Yes this is greatly simplified for the purpose of this discussion.

Folk Magic


Folk Magic was what was performed by the not so rich.  It was the magic of the common people.  It was practical, using what is readily available and it was performed by anyone and everyone.  There were the Cunningfolk, Wise Ones or Herbwives that people could go to for special help.  But at the same time, there was much that the folk did for themselves.  Many of our superstitions, old wives tales and folklore still contain hints of the simple folk magic of a few hundred years ago. 

Until Gerald Gardner did his thing in the 1940s and 1950s to claim the word and redefine it, Folk Magic was not witchcraft.  Witchcraft was purely evil intentioned magic.  These days we seem to forget that simple fact.

Today, Folk Magic is still the practical magic.  It is tangible, common sensical (I will make that a real word one day) and anyone can do it with a bit of training and work.  Some combine psychic abilities with their Folk Magic and many don't. 

Folk Magic and Practicality


Being practical, something which is dear to my heart and an absolute virtue, Folk magic has no need for special or specific items.  Even the newer books on the subject contain huge appendices of substitutions.  You use what you can lay your hands on right now.  If you want to wait and perform your magic when you have that particular item, herb, gemstone or candle available, then by all means do it. But if you can't wait or you can't afford or source that item then whatever you do use is just as valid.

A former acquaintance used to wax lyrical over how your pantry herbs had no power.  Any Witch Worth Her Salt would know this and only buy certified organic herbs from a reputable witchcraft supplier - which was supposed to be her.  This attitude (all self-serving motivations aside) seems to be thankfully in the minority.   Many reputable Witches well worth their salt speak of grabbing pantry items to perform their magic.  Having a special cupboard where your magical versions of culinary herbs goes seems the opposite of practical to me.

In my own experience, most of my serious magic has been to deal with an emergency.  I've had a need to do something right here and right now, it will not wait until the planets are in the right alignment or my daffodils are blooming or anything else.  I may have some of the things I want previously collected, dried and stored, but equally, I may not.  It doesn't mean I need to spend time looking for a substitution or a spell that will only require what I have on hand.  It means I need to be practical and create my spell using what I do have.

When I talk about things previously collected and stored, that speaks of another level of practicality.  Be aware and conscious of what's around you.  Seeing that the hawthorne hedges are in fruit and collecting the berries. Picking up that unusual stone when you see it.  I carry spare bags in my car and if I see something I might need on the side of the road, I will stop (if I'm not on time constraints) and gather what I need.  Sometimes that's flowers or berries and sometimes that's road kill.   I gather the rainwater during thunderstorms, morning dew, the water from mists and fogs, hailstones and snow.  It's not just a herb thing.

Spoken Charms


Within some of the traditional Folk Magic lore is a wealth of spoken charms.  These are often small rhymes, phrases or prayers.  Psalms especially are abundant in quite a wide variety of folk magic applications.  Pow-Wow and Hoodoo, two reasonably well known forms of American Folk Magic both make extensive use of Psalms and prayers.  The Swedish Svartkonstboks (Black Arts Books or Magic books of their Cunning folk) contain many charms that end with saying "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" three times.  This is also a pattern in most European Folk Magic texts that are older than the last fifty years.

For many modern Witches, anything Christian is absolute anathema. They're horrified and offended that there can be such a thing as a genuinely Christian Witch.  The truth of the history was that many of our Folk Magicians were Christian.  Not as a safety pretend-to-be-so-you-won't-be-persecuted thing, but genuinely Christian.  Folk Magic is not religious.  Adding prayers and Psalms gave it an added boost, an extra layer of blessing.  Many people also included their faith into almost everything they did, including it in Folk Magic was just an extension of that.

I often cringe at some of the rhyming stuff that is bandied about.  I hear Charmed, I often hear overly flowery flaky ideas, really lousy poetry or poorly chosen words being used just to make it rhyme.  I often have an unfair aversion to any rhyming spell.  I say unfair, because some of the most successful work I have done has involved a rhyming chant that I wrote myself.  It's a simple two line chant that I repeat as I raise energy that I weave through my words and give them power.

Again, go back to some of the stuff that we do have from our ancestors.  Nursery Rhymes.

Rain rain, go away, come again another day,
Little children want to play, rain rain go away.

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, 
I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

Folk Magic and Positivity


In all of my research into Folk Magic, my many years of study and practice, I have yet to find anything (that isn't brand spanking new and New Age as well) to say that Folk Magicians were nice people.  There are no prohibitions against cursing or hexing, no dire warnings of rebounds, threefold law or cobbled Westernised (and bastardised) versions of Karma.

There are spells and folklore giving advice on how to curse, how to protect against curses and hexes and plenty of simple spells to coerce someone - from making a thief own up or return your property to making a shotgun shoot crookedly or laming a racehorse.  There are equally spells and folklore for healing, for stopping your cattle from straying, for divination into all things and for bringing good luck into a home.

Like most things in Witchcraft, the ethics and ways to use it are purely up to the Witch or Folk Magician.


Sources and further reading:

The Book of The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
or this version

The Key of Solomon the King
or a revised edition here

The Long Lost Friend

The Works of Henry Cornelius Agrippa (most notably the Three Books of Occult Philosophy)

Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus

 The Witch of Forest Grove - Sarah Anne Lawless

Grumpy Old Witchcraft - Cassandra Latham-Jones

Gemma Gary

Plus a variety of awesome groups and people on facebook!

Blessings

Debbie

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Fantasy Magic and Works of Fiction

Artwork by Alexander Liptak -

In one of my groups, there seems to be a weekly rinse and repeat cycle of someone new asking about the Necronomicon.

There immediately follows someone pointing out that it's fiction, someone disputing that and saying it's really ancient and inspired the fiction and someone claiming the Simon Necronomicon is the real one. Shoddy history, butthurt and fluffy OMG it's so evil reactions abound until it dies down, drops down the page and then starts again next week.

The useful part of the discussion that came this week though was about inspiration from fiction and works of fantasy.  This also extended into Sir Terry Pratchett's Pagan credentials and Harry Potter.

As you should know by now, I'm always pushing that you should write your own spells, that your magic should come from the heart and be an outward expression of you.  To me, these discussions highlighted that in many ways.

Where you find the inspiration for your magic doesn't necessarily have to be the Pagan books or the Spell books or all the experts you might find online.  It might come from a line in a fictional work, it might come from a Harry Potter spell or it might come from something seemingly small on your favourite sitcom.  The only thing that is required is that this inspiration works for you.

I have used something similar to the Ridikulous charm from Harry Potter.  Even before I'd read the series.  When my children had nightmares they'd tell me about the giant spiders chasing them or clowns or something.  I'd listen, hug them and then we'd make whatever had frightened them into something ridiculous and silly.  Their spiders would be wearing sequined top hats, fishnet stockings and tap dance around the kitchen sink, the clowns became cute little shelf ornaments and tigers were suddenly fat spoiled lap-cats with big shiny bows around their necks.  While it may not have been magic as such, it was still headology and Granny Weatherwax would approve.

I found myself inspired by the system of magic slowly revealed in Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series, I spent months working on building my City of Memory but I could never quite manage to use it as a filing system the way Liath does.  I found the Mage's Ladder very similar to the system of Gates I've found in some witchcraft books.

I know I'm not the only person inspired by Terry Pratchett's liminal half-moons.  In one book (I don't recall which one) he goes into the way witches stand in the liminal places, the boundaries, doors and portals, the places that are between two states being both and neither and how the half moon is all the more special for being liminal although it's terribly overlooked.  A good friend makes an effort to have a special half moon ritual twice a month.  She sees them as points of balance where the positive and the negative have equal value.

Many years ago, I had a challenging staff member who was the master of the sidetrack when you were telling him off.  Before you knew it, he'd taken you down so many tangents you'd just walk away feeling confused and not quite sure what just happened.  To deal with him, I created my Seven of Nine glamour.  I'm sure the Trekkies will get it, but for the others, Seven of Nine was a character from Star Trek:Voyager, she was half human and half Borg - rescued from the Borg and she became a member of the crew.  As a half-Borg, she would be extremely emotionless and cut through any crap with clarity and precision.

Before I had to deal with this staff member, I'd take a moment to feel I was channeling Seven of Nine, I'd lay a glamour of her over me.  When he started off on his tangents I found I was able to simply say "That's irrelevant" and repeat my previous statement.  When I didn't get distracted by his rubbish, he tried to wind me up and make me angry instead.  Seven of Nine also helped there.

Any inspiration, anything that works is useful in magic.  You could be visualising your protection as prowling centaurs, the Wall from Game of Thrones or the Bog of Eternal Stench from Labyrinth, if it works for you then it's valid.  If you think it will draw ridicule, don't share it.  You do not owe anyone an explanation about your methodology. 

Now, while I am saying that your inspiration could come from fiction and be valid, I am not saying that it is valid to make that fantasy or fiction into your reality.  That is something altogether different.  You cannot summon the demons from Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches or from Charmed.  Whatever you get will not be what you may think it is and is unlikely to behave in the manner you expect.  I have yet to meet anyone who was genuinely a were-anything despite hearing many claims. I am not going to enable anyone's beliefs that "Everything is true (or could be) and has value" because I'm too old to play those games.  I have too much hard experience under my belt and I have spent too much time cleaning up other people's messes when they've tried to make this stuff work.

So, with that grump over with, go out and be inspired.  If something moves you or works as a way to picture something then use it.  Use it without embarrassment, use it consciously and make it yours.

Blessings

Debbie