Thursday, 15 March 2012

Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Divination: Finding, Crafting & Using Fortune-Telling Tools From Around Your Home by Patricia Telesco

The blurb on this book begins:

Divination is a time-honored tradition that has appeared all over the world in many different forms. Early diviners played a role similar to modern counsellors. Their task was to provide alternative perspectives and hope. Today, each of us is our own priest and priestess, counsellor and guide. Anyone with the right intention and concentration can learn to make or adapt their own divination tools, then use them to gather the insight they most need.

I won’t put all of it in, it’s a big blurb.

The first part of the book is called “Scry If You Want to: The Art of Seeing” and goes through the basics of divination with 20 commonly asked questions – effectively a FAQ for getting a reading. Developing your inner psychic lists a wide variety of tips and hints for opening your senses and setting the right mood for divination. Adapting divination methods begins with an overview of what is readily available, the pros and cons of different styles and methods and then how to adapt an existing system, or create your own.

The second part goes through many more styles and systems – each to its own chapter and gives some history and ways you can make this work for you.

When I first picked up this book, I was prepared not to like it. On the surface it seemed to be just another one of the many pulp superficial new age books that fill our shelves and are just a rehash of the books before and after them. However, once I started reading it, I was pleasantly surprised.
Patricia Telesco has a nice light voice, it’s easy to read and doesn’t preach, which is always good in my opinion. But it’s not all nice and light, there are many common sense answers and intelligent comments in all the right places. I especially liked many of the answers in the FAQ part. As I am a tarot reader myself, I’m really quite cynical about many of the readers I see, and the way their clients often behave.

When I saw the “Coupon Tarot” and divination by drawing an item randomly from your junk drawer I was starting to go back to my original preconceived notion of ‘this book is fluff’ but the explanations made sense and I can see how these could work. There were also the Omens that could be read around the home – these come from folklore, and she states how in our modern world you could think about the things that you see and hear or stand out. I was waiting for it to turn into the “everything has a special message” type of stuff that often makes me feel physically ill when I hear it from some New Age practitioners, but then she says:

“Lastly, if I could leave you with one final piece of advice when it comes to psychic information and divination, it would be simply: sometimes a rock is just a rock. Not everything in life has to have intense spiritual significance. A situation in your life could be just normal life happening! I’ve often joked with folks about creating a system based on body odors just for the fun of it. You laugh, but unfortunately some people get so caught up in their yearning for spiritual experiences that they forget to keep one foot on the ground, and actually seem to look for signs everywhere. No one needs omens, signs, portents, and divinations to know how to run every moment of every day. Just live it! Be the magick, and on those days when you get stuck with really difficult questions, then consider divination as an ally.”

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about using any form of divination. Even if you are planning to stick with a well known tried and true system like the Tarot, there is still some very valuable advice for all in this book.


PS Cauldrons do stock this book for $33 – below RRP. Check it out here if you are interested.

Monday, 12 March 2012

My Top 20 Pagan Sayings Peeves

Okay, so in my previous post I made mention that there were little pearls of ‘wisdom’ that many self-proclaimed ‘Real’ Witches like to share. Mixed in with common threads and things they seem to say. Here are a few of my favourites, with my attitude towards them.
Please bear in mind, this is my attitude, it might not match yours, I may even offend you. Awesome. Maybe it will make you think about some of the things you say, even if they didn’t make it onto my shit list.
  1. We're all about balance - but won't even discuss anything dark. That’s not being “about balance” that’s kidding yourself that you’ve got a clue.
  2. If your intentions are pure then that's the best you can do - how about some research you idiot. If you cock up, own it and learn from it, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  3. It's in the hands of the Gods - are you a witch taking personal responsibility or a child wanting to be rescued from your own actions? Do you still need someone else to blame?
  4. I'm constantly under psychic attack/cursed/bound - I'm not even going to touch that one right now. I think a profanity filter may be necessary for when I do.
  5. We are traditionalists and will celebrate the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December every year - even though we're in New Zealand, it's the middle of bloody summer and the Solstice is in fact an astrological event that moves every year. Twat. What did you think this whole thing is about? Try being aware of what is actually happening around you.
  6. In the old days, a witch was a peaceful woman (but often mysterious and beautiful), who learned her knowledge from her mother and grandmother and would go peacefully and secretly into the forest to gather her peaceful secret herbs and make her peaceful secret potions for all those wonderful but ignorant other peasants who came to her peacefully and secretly for her help - I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
  7. Wicca means "wise" so witchcraft is the craft of the wise - again, how about some actual research.
  8. You must follow the Rede/the Rede says... - the Rede is Wiccan and not universal, the word Rede means 'advice' not Law-That-Must-Be-Followed and the Rede is really some lovely poetry written 60 odd years ago to make Wicca seem acceptable to the masses.
  9. A Real Witch is vegan/vegetarian/one of those nutters who claim to exist purely on light but get caught on camera leaving Maccas with a Quarter Pounder Combo - Harm None includes yourself (for those who quote the Rede as their reason). I don't absorb iron easily from non-haem (not meat) sources, my body is not made that way. If I don't eat meat I will get very sick. I won't be much use as a witch or anything else if I'm not eating meat. If that's what suits you, awesome, do it, but don't bother telling me I have to conform to your ideals.
  10. You must have all the right tools/jewellery/clothing/cloak/material masturba... err, props - what a load of shite, you're born with all the tools you need. It's fun to have the rest, and can make learning easier, but it's all window-dressing in the end.
  11. I've got 10/30/400 years experience - and? Seriously, what's your point? What have you done with all those years of 'experience'? Why do you think I should care? How does that make you any better than an honest learner or seeker? Or as a friend says is it 10 years or the same 2 years repeated 5 times?
  12. My Grandmother was a witch/psychic/deep-trance medium/tea leaf reader/navel gazer so therefore I know all about it – cool for her. So what did she actually teach you? Was she a good one? And in all honesty, if she was any good she would have told you to keep learning as much as you can from everyone you can. She wouldn’t have claimed to know it all so why do you?
  13. This psychic I went to told me that I’m such a powerful witch, and I was a witch in a past life and I got burned at the stake an’ everything – fuck off! There are a lot of dreadful psychics who will tell you anything you want to hear. If you are foolish and gullible enough to fall for this type of crap, please, keep playing with your powerful magic, see how you go... (evil laugh)
  14. Anything at all about the Burning Times having any kind of link or relationship with modern witchcraft – enough truth and reality has been published about this subject. If you are still silly enough to play this kind of card, I may tie you to a stake myself. See also Salem Witch Trials.
  15. The Patriarchy has demonised this Goddess/old Pagan Traditions/life the universe and everything – cos it was all so nice and peaceful and sweet right? Stop looking for something to blame and get your knickers in a twist about. Even if it was true (that whatever had been demonised I mean, which is doubtful in many cited cases), what do you really think your little piece of righteous anger will achieve? Do you think you can smite history? And now you’re demonising the Patriarchy, hypocrite.
  16. Wicca is the original Pagan Religion that has been around for over 8000 years - seriously, I got that in an email once. I laughed so hard I snorted my coffee all over my screen. Someone I used to know wanted a bumper sticker made that said “Wicca: Pretending to be an ancient religion since 1951”. I also upset a couple of young fluffies at an expo when they thought they had the right audience to start talking about how ancient Wicca was and blah blah blah. They didn’t really like it when I stopped them and told them they were talking shit. It may have been inspired by something older, but Wicca as it is now was created by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s.
  17. Wicca and witchcraft are the same thing, Wiccans are witches and all witches are Wiccans – no, they’re not, we’re not and both sides are offended by this.
  18. All modern uses of the word witchcraft mean what we do/all witchcraft is nice, and caring and life-affirming – again, fuck off. Really, I mean it. I’m not always nice, caring or life-affirming much less all three in one go. See my previous post. And when they talk about witchcraft in Africa, a lot of what they mean is the really nasty often evil stuff that is performed by the witch-doctors. They are not nice, or happy fluffy people who dance around under the full moon. They curse, hex and sometimes even murder people (and often sacrifice cute small fluffy animals). And it still falls under the heading of witchcraft. You know, some of the news articles about these folks being on trial for it or lynched by locals for it are actually nice good human interest pieces not reasons to be offended.
  19. We have nothing to do with/are better than Masons/Vodou/Satanists/Christians – speak for yourself sunshine. This is nothing more than needing someone else to look down on. If you tried looking for similarities instead of differences you might be surprised. And when you follow this up with a bleat about being discriminated against based on your beliefs, that makes you a hypocrite all over again.
  20. Pagans/Witches/Wiccans are more accepting and open-minded, we don’t judge – yes we do. Look up – how often have you heard the previous quote from the same person? We just kid ourselves about it more. We’re still people, with all the same faults people have, and all the same traits. This is trying to feel more special/better than/superior to non-pagans.
    I think I need to stop there. I could go on all day, I’ve just spent a weekend at a big Spiritual Expo after all, I always hear this kind of crap throughout these weekends. And worse. And there is better, there are some really wonderful down to earth people out there and I thank them for keeping me sane.

    I am a Witch

    Now there's a loaded word.


    Everyone has a different definition for it, and all are convinced that theirs is the only correct one and often take great offense at the other definitions.


    As the blog name shows, we love the Witches out of MacBeth. I also love Bad Jelly the Wickedest Witch in all the world. Stinkypoo stinkypoo knickers knickers knickers. I don't find offense in the ugly hags of Halloween, or the evil witch queens of fairy tales or the Isobel Gowdies of history.

    Calling them witches and what they do witchcraft is older than the modern "white witch". This is a more traditional form of the word.

    Where I do find myself becoming offended is at the modern "white witches" of our world. The people who go looking for something to be upset about, firing off emails filled with righteous indignation to Meriam Webster for the dictionary definition of Witch or to protest the negative imagery of Halloween, or to constantly bitch about how "those Christians stole our holidays."

    I stopped calling myself a witch for a long time. I didn't want to be pigeonholed into someone else's negative assumptions, I didn't want to be thought of as the wrong kind of witch. Now don't get me wrong, it was nothing to do with being associated with Devil Worship, Satanism (something totally different) or the hags of literature. In all honesty, I would prefer that to being associated with what seems to be the modern witch.

    I was going to list the easy signs for successful identification of such characters, but it was sidetracking this post and starting to piss me off, so I'll leave that for another post :)

    I have also found myself deeply offended by some of the information that is readily available for the seeker, or beginner or the curious. I started to write on a website that had a lot of the 101 information, but so badly fluffed out or filled with other peoples ideas as hard and fast rules that I frequently threw up a little in my mouth. It was awful, so I started setting a few things straight. Because of the guidelines for articles on this site, my writing was polite, verified by other sources and simplistic, but I was still getting my message across.

    I found my work on other people's blogs. That's kind of flattering. They like it enough to repost it. Unfortunately, that is copyright theft, my contract doesn't allow me to have my work published elsewhere for a specific time period even if I had been contacted and asked for permission and I'm the one who suffers for it, but most were happy to shorten it and post a link to the full article. When I find one of my articles on another blog, credited to the blog owner and by her clixsense stats at the bottom of the page, she's made a lot of money from it (hundreds of US Dollars), there's a whole new level of offense to take. And worse, having read some of what she actually has written, her spelling, grammar and her whole grasp of the english language is so terrible that I'm completely gobsmacked that anyone can mistake my work for hers!

    Silly woman, you call yourself a witch, and claim all this knowledge and experience. I call this a lie. If you had even half the knowledge and experience you claim, foolish harpy, you would know that I'm not going to take theft like that lying down. Even if you are of the fantasy-filled fluffier variety, all white light and sparkly moonbeams, you would be "knowing" that Karma (even if you really mean dharma) will be kicking your arse so hard you won't sit down for years.

    I'm not of the fluffy variety, I'm not going to sit back and wait for the Universe to "teach you a lesson." I work with a Goddess who had the job of punishing those who transgressed - think you know your stuff - figure out who She is. Sod the Universal Cosmic Laws of what goes around comes around, think of me as your agent of dharma (cos Karma is about the next life you uneducated twat).

    I am a Witch. I work with Magic, Gods and spirits. I take responsibility for my actions. You push me and I will push you back. My path is my own, my work is the result of my life experience, how dare you try to claim mine as yours.

    Watch your back honey, you've pissed off a Witch.