Monday, 30 June 2014


Negativity is Bad

Oh no.  We don’t want or can’t have your negativity here.  It’s bringing us all down.  It’s something to be ashamed of donchaknow.

Memes and quotes and exercises abound, filling your awareness constantly with their messages about removing negativity from your life, surroundings and consciousness.  Lightworkers and Spiritual Coaches lecture you on focusing purely on the positives and letting go of all that is negative.

Cancer is negative.  I let go of all cancer.  I no longer acknowledge it’s existence or it’s power to harm those I love.  Cancer has no power over me.

Do you think that worked?  Can I now think positive and choose to never have another Cervical smear or mammogram because that would be inviting negativity back in?


It’s a word that you’ll hear a lot in Pagan circles.  What does it mean?

There seems to be a number of ways it gets used:

  • Anything perceived as bad or evil
  • Anything that makes you feel challenged or uncomfortable
  • Any time someone disagrees with you
  • Anything that takes away from your self-esteem (deserved or not)
  • A buzzkill
  • An expectation or projection of judgment or criticism (again deserved or not)
  • Worrying or concern

Negativity has become a cliched catch-phrase that is supposed to make you feel bad for displaying anything other than bouncy nauseating optimism and positivity.  Even neutral things now come under the heading of negativity.

Most recently I was called negative for giving my reasons for disliking and not recommending the works of a certain author.  Apparently it is bad of me to think that advising a teenager to be dishonest with their parents is wrong.  I questioned a blanket statement “witchcraft teaches us that we can’t do magic for personal gain”.  Questioning this person and asking him to back his assertions allegedly qualifies as negative banter.

I find this most fascinating in magical circles.  Especially those circles where the way magic works is described using electricity as an analogy. Magic is just like electricity apparently.

I also inform all clients that magic is like electricity.  It is energy that feeds off other other energy (the intent of the Enchantment & how well you follow my instructions on following through with prayers and/or meditations after the Enchantment is completed). 

In some ways, magic is like electricity. It can flow from one source to another.

Magic is like electricity; if you do not give electricity a specific way in which to travel it will fit [sic] the quickest route to ground itself, which usually ends up with someone being frazzled.

Magic is like electricity, it will choose the method which is both direct and energy efficient. Therefore a bolt of lightening would be quite energy inefficient, when a spell is cast. It would be more likely that it would be an energy packet (quantum energy) which would interact with the environment on a quantum level, hence no balls of fire.

Magic is like electricity--it has a purpose but can't do everything.

Psionics use the inner strength of a person to operate and like any other physical exercise can and will tire a person out. Magic, however, does not draw on a person's essence to operate. Magic is like electricity, it is power and people are the shapers and users of such energy.

Never mind all the ones that go into dark or light purposes…  Well, sticking with the electricity analogy.

I’m sure that at some stage in school we’ve all done that little exercise where you make a small circuit with a battery, some wire and a light bulb.  Now picture that battery in your mind.  Do you remember how it has two terminals on it?  Two opposing poles?  How are they labelled?  Yeah, positive and negative.  What happens if you only attach the positive terminal to your circuit and not the negative?

In magic, there is no difference.  Your lightbulb won’t glow if the source isn’t balanced, that is if the connection to both poles isn't present.

I think some of this phenomenon has come from a misunderstanding.

Positivity and Negativity

Affirmations leap to mind for me as my next and best example.  Affirmations allow us to change our reality, to improve ourselves and the world around us.

Affirmations must always be positive.

Now this doesn't mean that they must be filled with childlike optimism and naive choices to ignore reality.  It means that you can't use negative words in your affirmation.  Not bad words, negative words - "not", "don't" and so forth.  The reason for this is that your brain doesn't really hear them - it filters out many of the filler words.  If you were to make "I will not get sick" as your affirmation, your brain will hear "will get sick" and filter out the rest.  This is why your phrasing must be positive - "I will be healthy and well".

When you're phrasing a magical intent, the same rules apply.  "Only happy thoughts shall enter" is better than "sadness is not allowed".  You can have things that are thought of as negative "I will take my vengeance" (yes, it's melodramatic but it's fun) and it's still a positive phrasing of intent.

The negative is seen as the bad things.  The things we don't like about ourselves.  Some traditions refer to these things as Shadows rather than negatives.  Your Shadow side is still a part of you.  Denying it's existence or pretending that it's not there or that you can be rid of it is as silly as trying to cut off your actual shadow on a sunny day.  Are you Peter Pan?

If you are frightened of or threatened by your shadow side, then it has power over you.  It becomes a driving force and isn't that the opposite of what you're trying to do? 

I've done readings for people who've been freaking out over something they perceive as negative or bad.  I recall one lady whose husband had died about six months earlier.  She had been told it was time for her to be moving on with her life and letting it go.  I told her it was okay for her to be mad at him, it was okay for her to be still mourning him.  It didn't make her bad, it made her human.  It had been eating her up so much that she was so grateful for that one sentence.  She'd almost been making herself ill with the idea that it was negative, bad or wrong for her to be still sad, mad and caught up in her husband of forty years. 

Turning Wheels

Why is it that we can accept that night follows day and will pass at sunrise tomorrow.  We can accept that Spring and Summer follow Winter.  The darkness and the light follow each other in these cycles and it's natural.  We accept that these darknesses are essential and temporary, but when we face our own darknesses it is something wrong, it is to be feared, treated and medicated?

I know I can't change the world.  I know I can't beat everyone around until they grasp this concept.  I can only try to reach those who are willing to listen.



Monday, 23 June 2014

Winter Solstice Musings

Saturday was the Winter Solstice.  I had planned my usual solstice party.  I'd even chosen to open it up and put it out there in a couple of local internet pagan groups.  Especially as one of those groups contained a couple of people living not too far away, who had complained about being unable to find anything in their area.

I had several maybes.  I had several "Oh yes, we'll definitely be there".  I had a few nos, but thanks for asking.

I planned and wrote a ritual.  It was quite a deep and transformative ritual while being terribly simple.  One of those things that sinks in later, days or weeks later.  It was about recognising that darkness happens and light follows in endless cycles.  We know and accept this in our night and day.  We know and accept this in our yearly seasons.  But we don't seem to know or accept this in ourselves.  The dark times are something wrong that needs treating.  Or sometimes it just needs a little of someone else's light to remind us that the light is still there.  The ritual also contained being able to say something nice about yourself.  Something positive, something you are proud of.  Without any embarrassment, without comparisons (well, you should have seen me last year or you should see my sisters), without any projections (she just said she was smart, thinks she's smarter than us) and without any justifications.  To just be able to stand forward and say "I am smart, I am funny, I am strong" whatever it was that you are and to have that be supported by everyone else.  It was a phenomenal ritual.

It's just a shame that we never did it.

I've spent the last couple of years struggling with ritual.  Doing battle with ritual.  Ritual has almost grown into a larger than life nemesis for me.  No, I take that back, I can do ritual fine when it's someone else's ritual.  I can take a role and do that fine.  I can judge their rituals in the armchair comfort of my own head and pull apart what I would have done differently (and therefore better of course) and what worked for me.  What I am doing battle with is leading ritual for others.

I thought that by telling enough people that I was planning one, I'd be able to force myself into actually taking that step and doing it.

Now I have all sorts of justifications and reasons rolling around in my head as to why I didn't do it.

  • A lot of those 'maybes' and 'definitely be theres' bailed out and weren't there.
  • I really didn't feel this ritual would be right or well received or taken seriously with the people who were present.
  • I was disorganised and didn't give a clear start time so by the time I was ready for ritual, many others were drunk, going to sleep or heading home.
  • I should have planned to do the ritual first and dinner stuff after.
  • Sabbat celebrations are more about the gathering of people for me.
  • I'd woken up that morning with a dreadful migraine and been taking medication all day to keep it at bay so I just felt tired and sore and brain full of fuzz.

All of this is true and none of it is - all at the same time. 

I did still love the gathering.  I loved the mix of people and feel glad that some new people came along, as well as some people from many years ago.  I enjoy the pot luck dinner.  I enjoy sitting outside around our bonfire on the longest darkest night of the year.  Having one side toasty warm and the other feeling the cold.  I love that we get a different mix of people every year but don't seem to have any dramas with them.

I also love the next morning.  Sitting in the cold weak winter sunshine in my pyjamas with a cup of coffee and a great group of friends.

I am both grateful and a bit pissy that no one mentioned the lack of ritual. 



Friday, 13 June 2014


“Do you have a moment to talk about Amnesty International?” A very polite and somewhat attractive young man addressed me outside my supermarket.  His little table was covered in pictures of Malala with a single tattered laminated leaflet on top.

That day, I really didn’t.  I had a very small window of time to get my grocery shopping done before I had a series of appointments and commitments.  I said as much and offered a simple cash donation.  “We’re not taking donations today, we’re just taking registrations” he told me.  I was a bit baffled, so I asked for clarification.  He went into his spiel telling me about how they have a direct debit system and their minimum fee was $6 per week - the equivalent of only blah di blah.

Sorry lad, sorry Amnesty International, you lost me at the words “minimum fee”.

It’s not new though.  Over 20 years ago when I was a poor, struggling beneficiary, a collector for Greenpeace knocked on the door to my flat asking for donations.  At the time, my total income was $97 per week.  Out of that came my share of the rent, the phone and power, and the groceries.  I was still happy to give this young man some of my change - maybe $3 or $4.  “Oh no,” said this man, “Our minimum donation is $20”.  He left with nothing and I’ve never made another donation to Greenpeace.

I was a bit angered when Campbell Live did a piece on St Johns Ambulance.  John Campbell explained about how they survive purely on donations.  I looked from the tv to the tax invoice and threats of debt collection that I had from St John’s for the third ambulance call out I had last year.  I’d already paid for the first two ambulances at $84 each, but I was struggling with the third.  They were life-saving call outs too - not something minor or time wasters.  I don’t begrudge them the money, they save lives and do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances.  But this was quite a misrepresentation.  How is payment for services surviving on donations?

Now I accept that some of this may be that I have some Oppositional Defiant issues - my husband certainly complains that I don’t do what I’m told - but I’m sure I’m not the only one who tends to object to this.  A donation to a charity is supposed to be a voluntary offering of what I am able to spare, isn’t it?

At what point does a charity become a business?  I was sure it has something to do with profit and non-profit.  But as I have a business that has yet to make a profit and profits are not our focus, doesn’t that blur that line already?  Benefiting the wider community? There are other non-profit organisations that benefit the wider community (TimeBanking is an immediate example for me) that don’t count as charities.  Giving goods or services away to those in need with no expectation of return was a suggestion from my husband.  Surely the $252 in total I was invoiced by St John’s ambulance made that argument invalid.  I’m also aware of a religious group in New Zealand, a group of maybe 5 people at the most that have registered as a charity and are constantly asking for donations, but I have yet to see what they are doing for the community around them to qualify as a charity.  In case you’re wondering, they’ve been registered for at least 5 years.

I’m saddened by all of this.  I think all these charities do some wonderful work.  However, whatever small amount I have to spare I will share where I please, when I please.  And it will be a donation, not a weekly fee.