Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Exercise

A friend of mine posted this on facebook. I think it's a beautiful and practical ritual for the time of year — akin to things witches do at some Sabbats, and very appropriate for this time in the calendar year also.  I'll be doing it!

On one piece of paper I write all that I'm glad for, that came with the year that is passing. I add it to my altar or under a seven-day candle, flowers or any other reverent, symbolic item in my home or where I'm staying.

On another piece of paper I write all that I'm glad to be rid of. I get a metal bowl or if I have a fire place or fire pit, I go there, light the paper that contains all I'm rid of and burn it to ash; then let the ashes go.

On a third piece of paper, I write what I'm keeping, allowing to grow and inviting into my life in the new year. I sign the document and tape it to my door.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Once we were very close, for a long time. Then some things happened which had us end the friendship. We moved to different parts of the country. Seven years passed. I heard she was very ill. I got in touch via her daughter; did absent healing and got others doing it too; sent her a crystal which was supposed to be good for her condition....

All the time, I felt that she was in the process of leaving. I had an impulse to phone but it turned out she was already in hospital with 'not long now'. I kept picking up that she had come to terms with it and was very peaceful. Others got the same impression. Tapping into that, I have been strangely peaceful myself.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down and communicated via Reiki II, which allows for a detailed conversation. I said the things I needed to, and heard what she had to say.  I felt a very strong heart connection the whole time.  I asked if she wanted me to light a candle for her after she was gone and say the Prayer for the Dead. Yes, she did.

Last thing last night I sat down and wrote my verse for Tanka on Tuesday:

non-stop rain here
the weeks of her dying there
too far away
I say my goodbyes in thought
listening to the rain fall

This morning a friend emailed that D had just passed, at 10.36 am. About an hour later I had myself and the temple ready, and my Spouse sat with me as I lit the candle and recited the prayer:

I light this candle for D. May her spirit pass through the portal betwixt this world and the next and find rest and peace. May her time spent in the land of light be profitable that she may learn the lessons necessary for the next stage of her journey towards God. May D be at peace and at rest. Peace be with you.

I spoke it aloud. He said it with me silently, in his mind, and added — he told me afterwards — some farewell words of his own.

We left the candle burning. It's a flat tealight candle, sitting in a big oven-proof dish with high sides, for safety. Unattended, yes, but I look in now and then. There is no wind in there, and nothing positioned to catch alight. It is burning quietly and steadily. When it is all burned down, the ritual will be complete.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Power of Thought

It was a gathering of 'wise women' run by my friend Dinah. She spoke of the power of thought, and how important it is to take care of what we think. Then she demonstrated by kinesiology, i.e. muscle testing.

A volunteer, Charm, left the room. Dinah whispered to the rest of us that during the testing we were to think of Charm's arm as a piece of limp seaweed. Sure enough, when she came back and Dinah conducted the test, the poor woman couldn't hold her arm firm no matter what. Then Dinah took her out of the room again, and we heard her saying,

'You were under psychic attack just then.'

We didn't hear what else she said, but when she returned she whispered to us to think of the arm this time as a gold bar. During the second test Charm's arm stayed absolutely firm. Then Dinah told us that during the first test Charm had no instruction about her thinking, but the second time she too was told to think of her arm as a gold bar. So that time we not only had a powerful thought in itself, also we were all aligned on it.

'Imagine what it's like for people in the public eye,' said Dinah. She mentioned a well-known Australian who became a fugitive from justice after his actions caused hardship to many people, and who appeared to have got away to a life of luxury.

'He had so many people wishing him ill,' she said, 'And he got cancer and died.'

I thought of others to whom this applied: corrupt politicians, other fugitive criminals, those awaiting trial…. It happens frequently, when there is a lot of publicity surrounding such cases, that the people become seriously ill and die before the law catches up with them, or soon afterwards. Often it is cancer that kills them.

Next, Dinah asked a volunteer to stand in the centre of the circle, focus her thoughts above her head, and think:

'I'm really stupid'.

Then Dinah pushed her very gently on the shoulder with one fingertip, and the woman fell backwards. Luckily Dinah had positioned someone behind her to catch her!

Then she asked the same woman to focus her thoughts into her dan tien or hara (an inch and a half below the navel) and if necessary sink roots deep into Mother Gaia as well, and to think a strong, empowering thought. After that, she pushed the woman's shoulder again, much harder than before, but this time the woman stood firm without the slightest effort. Then we all tried that one on each other, with the same results every time. Sometimes, with the strong thoughts, the person's shoulder gave way just a little before firming up. People shared their strong thoughts afterwards. They included,

'I am very strong,' 'I'm smart,' 'I'm a powerful witch' and so on.

One woman stood particularly firm and strong, not the slightest wobble. What was her thought, we asked.

'I am the Goddess!'

We cheered.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Effective prayer

... probably needs to be heartfelt.

A friend just shared this on facebook:
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith) ~
"Here are the two best prayers I know:
'Help me, help me, help me' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.'"

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Nose for Healing

I can be slow on the uptake!  Our cat Freya has been rather clingy of late. In particular she likes to get on the bed when we retire for the night and come up close to be stroked. She stays there a long time, purring under our hands. This is a new development.

I noticed recently that she was looking a bit off colour and took her to the vet. Early kidney disease! (She is 12 years old.) She is now being treated to prevent it getting any worse and seems to be responding well.

Finally the penny dropped about her bedtime behaviour — she is ensuring that she gets her regular Reiki treatments!

I should have realised. Cats, like other animals, love Reiki.

Freya, as explained in another blog, is a reincarnation of a previous cat, Sam, who had feline leukemia but lasted many years becase of Reiki. He had a nose for healing hands and would leap into the arms of any newcomer to the house who happened to be a healer. In this incarnation too, living with two Reiki Masters, Freya knows where to come to look after her health!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Spell for Healthy and Abundant Water: a Blog Action Day post

Although I had some difficulty registering my blogs with Blog Action Day this year, and didn't in the end, water is an important topic. Without sufficient clean water, we're in trouble!

Masaru Emoto, who discovered the effects on water of language and emotions, requests that when we use water — perhaps when having a shower, perhaps when drinking it — we say, 'Thank you water, bless you water, I love you water.' His advice is that this will help clear water pollution and help it to flow more abundantly. I believe him.

I suggest that, in witchy thinking, this little formula will function as a spell. Just imagine the energy we can generate if we all do it, and keep doing it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crystal Surprise

I am, among other things, a crystal healer, so I ought to have known ... but we are all human, prone to forgetting the wonderful tools and techniques we learn along the way.

I've had a painful leg as a result of some heavy lifting. Arthritic, I suspect. At times I've had to walk with a stick. Various ways of trying to relieve it didn't work all that well. Moving around helped a bit. It was always worse if I'd been sitting awhile, and worst of all first thing in the morning, after lying in bed all night.

On impulse, two mornings ago, I picked up and put around my neck a clear quartz crystal on a cord, which I usually use as a pendulum. I have learned to follow my strong impulses, but didn't connect this with my leg in any way — until I realised, that evening, that I had been pain free all day. So I kept it on while I slept, and woke up still pain free. I haven't taken it off since!

I do get a slight twinge if I move the wrong way; the underlying condition is obviously still there, and I am taking steps to address it. (Getting a scan, booking in for physio...) But I can function normally and I don't need to walk with a stick.

It's just a tumbled crystal in a metal coil, but boy is it powerful!

Clear quartz is of course the all-purpose healer in the crystal world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wear a Big Pentacle Day!/event.php?eid=110031952376384&ref=mf

As the link explains, this event was created in solidarity with an American schoolgirl who was denied this right, although her Christian schoolmates were free to wear their crosses. There is some question about whether the report is strictly accurate — but I have certainly known an Australian schoolgirl to whom the same thing happened!

In the Southern Hemisphere, this event took place yesterday.

I tried to draw a pentacle on my forehead with eyebrow pencil, then with lipstick. But I am not good at drawing, and both attempts looked ugly — which was NOT the idea, so I cleaned them off.

My Celtic knot pentacle, which I wear all the time, is not all that big, and is ambiguous.

My plain, unequivocal silver pentacle is even smaller.

My Mother-of-Pearl star on a piece of coconut shell is big, but is not obviously a pentacle, and I'm sure was not really intended to be; it's just that I choose to use it that way.

So, none being entirely satisfactory for this purpose, I decided to wear all three so as to make a big enough statement. I draped them artistically at different heights on my chest, from smallest at my throat to largest over my diaphragm.

It was a bit of a non-event. I live on a quiet cul-de-sac in a very small town, don't go out to work 9-5, don't socialise a lot, didn't have any shopping to do.... The only place we had to go was a visit to the doctor at 11.30 am, where my three pentacles were not remarked upon and probably passed entirely unnoticed.

We were hardly home when a workman arrived to repair a cupboard. He was a friendly chap who did the job quickly and paid no attention to anything we were wearing, including my tiers of pentacles.

I decided, 'This is silly.' I had on a black top, and realised that the plain silver pentacle would be sufficiently striking against it, and perhaps even more noticeable on its own. So I left it on and took the others off.

After an afternoon spent only in the company of my husband and cats, I needed to do a small errand that involved walking up to the end of the street to visit our Seventh Day Adventist neighbour. 'This is it,' I thought, squaring my shoulders. He's a lovely man, respectful and tolerant of other denominations. We have spiritual discussions in which we find many points of agreement. He knows we don't attend church. However, I have avoided mention of the words 'witch' and even 'pagan' until he got to know us.  He's often seen me wearing the Celtic knot pentacle, but that is not so obviously a pentacle. If he knows what it is, he's never let on. We're good pals now, so I decided to face up to it. He could not fail to recognise the plain pentacle, I thought.

It was dusk. He was sitting in dim light watching TV. We had a nice chat, fairly brief. It was still daylight when we went out to his garden so that I could pick some flowers he'd offered me. I imagined that he spotted the pentacle and looked a trifle pained for a moment — but that could have been imagination only. He said nothing about it, and I found no pretext for opening that discussion. I'll have to wait until the next time religion comes up in conversation.

I miss the big pentacle I used to have, which I ended up giving away some years ago.  It was a whopper: plain, heavy nickel. It had a flaw, though; it wasn't quite circular. One section of the circle, between points of the pentacle, was straight, not curved — if it had been a drawing, you'd have thought the artist's hand had wobbled just there. It was hardly noticeable, however. A Pagan acquaintance loved this pentacle so much that, when I felt like a change, I gave it to him. Now I'd like to find another as bold and solid as that!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Put On the Spot

I was speaking to one of my new neighbours.

‘What’s that?’ she asked, pointing at my chest. I thought she meant the crystal pendant I was wearing and began to tell her about it, but she interrupted. ‘No, the other one.’

Oh — the pentacle.

 ‘It’s a Celtic knot,’ I said.

‘What does that mean?’

I held it up to show her. ‘It’s endless, so it symbolises eternal love. If you look closely, you can see a star in it, and also a stylised rose.’

Her expression softened. ‘Oh, it’s lovely.’

Wasn’t that cowardly? All true, but by no means the whole truth. I didn’t want to risk it with someone I’m going to be living near for the rest of my life. I don’t think they burn witches in this street, but some might have funny ideas about us as many people do. I’d like them to get to know me before giving them any cause for alarm.

What do you think? Should I have been upfront?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Say Her Name

© Michele Vassal (from her MySace blog, with permission) 

I heard her calling from folds of dreamt 
cupped for solstices and fossilized stars
the cairns of her nubile breasts
and the flece of her mound welcoming
I heard her roar rivers and hurricanes
soft saplings and pebbled beaches
teacher of dancing heresies
guardian of dark bestiaries
where she-wolf and seal mate
with the sins of men
witch of wrens and frosted sloes
sassy whore giving herself
to the impotent and the poor
nurturer of bog blackened bodies
feel her rip
feel her burn
feel her veins
her flesh
her blood
dark harvests
and say her name
like you mean it

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dealing with the Common Cold

Even Reiki Masters can get sick. We're all human, handling our lives and circumstances as best we can, and sometimes manifesting illness or injury in the course of doing so. Spouse and I have had head colds the last little while: very sneezy and a bit of a cough in the throat, nothing on the chest.

Along with my Usui Reiki, I learned about the metaphysics of illness. It's not, strictly speaking, a necessary aspect of Reiki; but a knowledge of what thoughts or emotions might be involved in the condition can help with any kind of healing.

Colds, I learned, can be an expression of grief. Just think of the symptoms — runny nose, streaming eyes, gasping, spluttering, choking; very similar to an outburst of hearty crying. If that's the case, best deal with the grief consciously and express it directly. It might be time to 'have a good cry' for real, not in a disguised fashion. It could also be helpful to write it all out. (You don't have to show anyone afterwards, if you don't want to.) You'll probably be well aware of what's causing you grief. If it's elusive, look instead for something external that upsets you (domestic violence, floods in Pakistan) or some past source of sorrow, and feel into that in order to release the tears.

Or a cold may be an excuse to take some time out, to 'have a bludge' as we say in Australia. If we're supposed to be at school or at a 9 to 5 job, we may well need a legitimate excuse — unfortunately. How much better if we could just give ourselves permission. If you need time out, you'd better take it if you can, hopefully without having to make yourself sick first.

If we know all this, how come we still got these colds? First of all, we're still human and fallible enough to forget what we know, or not to take enough notice of our needs in the first place. I'm far too inclined to push myself to get things done instead of taking life a bit slower and easier.  Then, sometimes we want a break from things we're stuck with.

My Spouse is 81 and I'm now his official carer too. Doctors and friends tell us he's 'amazing for 81' and indeed he is — but he doesn't have the strength, stamina or concentration of a younger man. I now do a lot of things that he used to handle, from putting out the garbage to balancing the budget. And I'm 70 myself; one gets slower. At times I resent the fact that there's less time for what I call 'my own life': reading, blogging, movies, meditation.... He'd probably like a bit more of that kind of thing too, but he needs his daytime nap these days. We shouldn't complain, and we're not; many people younger than us have lesser quality of life. However, as I keep saying, we're human — there are times we'd like out of all this. I don't mean dying; we don't feel the least bit ready for that yet. But it would be nice if someone else would take over the hard work.

The trouble is, no-one's going to. We're not actually ready for the nursing home, either. We very much like our autonomy, thanks. And our children all live interstate or overseas. So here we are, wanting a bludge and not able to get it. What are we to do?

Have one, that's what!  During the course of this cold, we have been having days in bed. Mostly in bed, that is. One does have to get up and get a meal now and then, but we've made them easy meals, like opening a can of baked beans. When I was kid, comfort food was tinned tomato soup with brown bread broken into it; we've been having that too. It feels like mothering myself. We've brought the laptop to bed and watched movies, while ignoring our email. We've caught up on our reading.

My domestic mentor (and thousands of other people's) FlyLady has been reminding me for years that 'you can do anything for 15 minutes' (not IN 15 minutes, please note) — after which you are supposed to spend the next 15 doing something for you, such as putting your feet up and having a cuppa.  If only I would do what she says, I would be taking my time out every 15 minutes! (I must set my timer, I must set my timer, I must....)

FlyLady also teaches that 'housework done imperfectly still blesses your family', giving permission for the proverbial 'lick and a promise' when that's all there's time or energy to do. So why have I been feeling stressed for lack of time? Why am I resentful at not having enough time for 'my own life'? I've been being a martyr, that's why. Pushing myself beyond my limits, being perfectionist about things that don't warrant it, failing to get to bed at a decent hour (another of her precepts) and so on. FLY Lady is about Finally Loving Yourself. Time to put that into practice!

If you have a cold, perhaps it's time to take a vacation, or maybe you could drop some of your responsibilities for a little while. Maybe your parner could walk the dog; maybe the kids could water the plants. Perhaps it might be as simple as getting to bed a little earlier. That's when our bodies do their healing and repairing, when we rest.

What about Reiki? Metaphysics is a big part of the story, and you can speed up healing by addressing the metaphysics, but let's not neglect actual physical treatment of your ailment. Of course go to the doctor if you feel the need. What you think is a cold might be the precusor to something more serious; it's useful to get a diagnosis. If your doctor gives you advice, take it. It won't conflict with Reiki; they will enhance each other.

The place to Reiki yourself for the common cold, or anything infectious, is the thymus. Place a hand on your upper chest, with your thumb touching the collarbone; that will more than cover the right area. It's a very good idea to make a habit of Reiki-ing your thymus even if you aren't sick; prevention is so much better than cure!

If you listen to what your symptoms are telling you, and take care of the metaphysics, and consult your doctor, and give yourself Reiki — who says the common cold is incurable?  If you just do the Reiki and nothing else, that will certainly help — Reiki is powerful stuff — but the full works shoud clear it even faster.

We've had our echinacea and zinc tablets which the doctor recommended. Spouse has just gone to lie down and have a rest. I'm going to get comfortable and do a bit of reading, holding one hand over my thymus while I read.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Truths in Fiction

Great fiction can be a source of great truths, truths which go beyond mere fact. I have just been re-reading Ursula le Guin's 'Earthsea' novels. If anyone who sees this hasn't read them yet, do! They are masterpieces in the fantasy genre.

Great truths are not necessarily new, but bear contemplating anew, particularly in the words of such a gifted writer. Here is a piece from A Wizard of Earthsea, in which her main character, Ged, integrates his shadow into himself:

'... had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived for life's sake and never in the service of pain, or hatred, or the dark.'

It is the suppressed and/or unrealised parts of the self which, remaining unintegrated, can cause trouble.

First, we have to know they are there. It helps, I think, to accept that 'we all carry within us' — as my old shrink once said — 'the ape, the savage and the child.' That gives us some power to notice these aspects, reassure them if necessary, and to decide when it is appropriate to indulge them or refrain.  Good wizards, good witches — indeed, good people — are those who understand what we are all capable of, who do not exempt themselves from the horrifying truth, and who choose deliberately and wisely.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Appurtenances

It’s true that we don’t really need an altar; we can create sacred space anywhere, at a moment’s notice. It’s true we don’t actually need magical tools; our hands and fingers are sufficient. All the same, both my Beloved and I were starting to feel that something vital was missing. We’re elderly, we’re slow, we’re busy, he got sick for a while ... it has taken us many weeks since moving house to finish unpacking the books and the magical supplies, and set up the garage as library / consulting room / temple.

We’re still not quite there, but nearly. The pictures are on the walls, almost all the books have been put right way up and in their right order on the shelves, and some of the ornaments have permanent homes. The Reiki table and the little table for psychic readings are in place and have even been used.

Yesterday I finally created a makeshift altar on a couple of tea chests turned on their sides on top of each other like huge drawers. I set out the symbols of the elements, the big black cat statue that represents Bast, and the gnome through which I acknowledge the nature spirits. I stored wands and athames inside one of the ‘drawers’ and began to assemble the components of my crystal healing grid.

Sometimes, if you 'show willing', the Universe steps in. Unexpectedly, in a couple of days we are getting a real chest of drawers from friends who need to downsize. That will become the repository for magical supplies, and the top will serve as our altar.

Meanwhile, it feels SO much better to have things set up, even in a temporary way. It changes the atmosphere.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Merry Meet and Merry Part — Isaac Bonewits

I am remembering magickal author Isaac Bonewits, who died peacefully in  his sleep on August 12th, with his family around him, from cancer. I never met him in person but valued him as an author and teacher who made great contributions to the Pagan community.

You can read his obituary here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Experiencing the Divine

Pagan Magic asked:

The town that I live in has quite a few churches, as I suppose many towns do - and each of them have posters which change weekly, asking questions such as 'Find God through Jesus', 'Have you found God?' - as a pagan I've always felt in touch with the divine spark - but these posters make me question the experience of Christians - do they connect to God like we do to ours? and then that got me to thinking, what experiences have other pagans had with God/Goddess/Creator.

Very much a musing question this week, but I hope that you'll get involved as I do enjoy reading the comments each week.

I said:

Well, I suppose Christians must answer for themselves, and that it would depend on the individual Christian. I see those posters as advertisements addressed to unbelievers, part of the evangelical impulse of the Christian churches. It also seems to have to do with the Christian concept of being 'saved', of finding God in that sense, involving a renunciation of 'sin'. These are all concepts which feel very foreign to me.

As for me, in childhood I was unquestioningly aware of the divine spark in all things. It was just there, part of what is. It was a surprise when I realised others didn’t always share that awareness. I learned not to speak of it but never became unaware.  That, I think, would have been impossible.

I was always aware, also, of spirit beings of various kinds. Only I didn’t think of them in that way; they were just people who were around. Some of them were maybe a bit different, but the main difference was that, again, other people weren’t aware of them. There was one who seemed particularly protective, though not in any way that curtailed my freedom. He was humorous and wise (still is). It was many years later that a magician friend described his Patron Deity, Thoth, and I recognized that he was talking about the dude who’d been around me forever. That was pretty exciting as Thoth is, among other things, patron of poets. But mainly he’s a friend.

I have since met others on a personal level, usually — though not always — when 'journeying' (including Jesus, btw; he’s been around a long time too, as a friend, and in later years as my 'Master of Healing'). But the question was about God/Goddess/Creator, the Source of all, whom I sometimes refer to as Great Spirit or The Universe, and like to address as 'Mother'. I can’t think of a time when that energy hasn’t been present in my life. There has never been any need to 'find God'; God’s never been missing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Important Are Words?

Pagan Magic asked:

We've all heard the phrase 'The pen is mightier than the sword' - have you found this to be true yourself, and how important is it to use the correct words in magical rites?

Aleister Crowley frequently relied on the etymology or origins of words to interpret their real meaning (Source: Goetia pxx Editors Foreword) - nowadays a lot of words have different meanings to their original ones - how does this affect magical workings.

I said:
As a poet, of course I think words matter enormously, in both sound and meaning. The sound vibration (the music of the words) is important, so is the message the words are intended to convey and we'd best use the most accurate words we can find. (Which can be quite tricky in languages like English, with many nuances and shades of meaning, many ways of saying the same thing a little differently!) Hopefully sound and meaning work well together.

In energy work, intention is indeed paramount and it's true that a wordless burst of emotion will communicate powerfully to the Universe and bring about the desired outcome. Energy is always the first thing that communicates. In an emergency, a forceful yell of "Help!" directed to the Deity or to one's personal guardians, either aloud or mentally, is as powerful a spell of protection as anything more elaborate. However, we do use words for communication, and even the yell of "Help!" does that. It makes sense that the words should accurately reflect the intention.

If you're doing a working in your own language and have clarity and certainty about your intent, I think there is room to improvise your own words, whilst attempting to make them as clear as possible. If you're working with traditional words from another language, best try to get the pronunciation and if need be the spelling correct, or you'd risk sending the wrong mnessage.

 I added:
On the other hand, a small mistake probably won't spoil the working. E.g. I guess everyone glossed over my typo above and read "message". (No, I didn't do it on purpoise, but it IS a good example!)

Oh no! 

So is "purpoise".

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Magickal Self

This originated as a meme on facebook. If anyone wants to know more about my background, this includes the little details one tends to forget in a more formal account. 

Some of you may like to pick it up as a meme yourselves. If so, please let me know where you post it so I can have a read! (The comments hereunder could be one possibility.)

Do you have a magickal name?
Yes, I have a public magickal name, DragonStar Rose, and another known only to me and the Goddess. Both were bestowed by Her.

Does it have a special meaning?
Yes. The public one refers to the fact that I am friendly with a tribe of dragons from their own planet. The Rose is added because there are many people with the magickal name DragonStar. The private name is also meaningful.

How did you find Wicca/Paganism?
Delicious, thank you. (Yes, smart-arse answer. But read on.)

How long have you been practicing?
All my life, but I didn't always know that's what it was called.

Solitary or group practitioner?
Both, but most often solitary. I was part of a coven for a few years: very special people and although we are scattered now we have never lost that bond.

What is your path?
Contemporary Eclectic.

Are you out of the broom closet?
Yes. I neither hide it nor flaunt it, and if asked I am truthful.

Goddess & Gods

Who are your patron Gods?
Thoth is specifically my patron; I am also treated kindly by a number of others: Pan, Cernunnos, Lord Narasimhadeva, Ra, and of course the various alter egos of Thoth (Hermes, Odin, etc.)

Who are your patron Goddesses?
I am under the specific patronage and protection of Arachne. And I am also watched over by Ariadne, Sekhmet, Maat, Tauret, and Ishtar/Inanna. Hestia blesses my home.

Do you fear dark aspects of the Gods/Goddess, or rather, respect them?
Not fear but respect — as i do all their aspects.

Do you worship the Christian God?
No, but I love and revere Jesus as an ascended master and my friend.

Do you ever worship animals? Or plants?
No. I honour nature though.

Do you regularly commune with nature?
Not regularly so much as frequently.

Ever walked barefoot in the woods?
Seldom, but sometimes. Little opportunity these days.

Taken a camping trip just to talk to nature?
Not mad on camping. But communicating with nature is one benefit. However, there are other ways.

Describe the moment you felt closest to Mother Earth?
There are many.

What is/are your power animal(s)?
I think I'll keep that to myself.

Do you have a familiar?
One of my cats is my familiar. (The other is my protector.) I have had a number of familiars (one at a time), always cats.

Have you ever called upon the powers of an animal in ritual? Or a plant?

Do you hug trees?

Give them gifts?

What is your favorite flower to work with?
I don't generally work with them.

What is your favorite tree to work with?
I relate to individual trees rather than species.

What are your favorite holidays?
Samhain. (It's the Scorpio in me.)

What is your least favorite holiday?
There isn't one.

Have you ever held a ritual on a holiday?
Yes whenever possible.

Ever taken a day off work to celebrate a pagan holiday?
It's always been possible to celebrate it without needing to do that.

Do you celebrate Yule on the 21st rather than the 25th?
I celebrate it on whichever day it falls in June.

Have you ever felt the Veil thin?

Ever danced the Maypole?
Yes. Not often.

Know what the Maypole symbolizes?
Don't we all?!

Ever made love on Beltane?
Oh yes!

How do you usually celebrate the pagan holidays?
Home, alone, with a simple ritual generally.

Do you use Tarot?
Yes. I'm a professional Tarot reader and teacher, and used to be feature writer for The Magician, newsletter of the Tarot Guild of Australia.

Do you use runes?
Yes, I'm fond of the runes for my own use.

Do you use a pendulum?
Yes, and have taught its use and written a manual. Also have made many.

Do you use dowsing rods?
Sometimes. The pendulum is usually more convenient. I have my own dowsing rods, which I bought in America from a Native American who made them.

Do you use astrology?
No. I have a smattering, which can augment a Tarot reading, but I'm no astrologer.

Any other form of divination?
Pretty much all of them; also have created a number of oracles.

What was the first spell you did?
Goodness, I don't recall.

What was the latest?
Never you mind.

Ever done a love spell?
No, I think that's manipulative. I've done self-love spells, though.

A job spell?
Yes. For friends. (Haven't needed any for me.)

A healing spell?
Yes. Often!

What was the most powerful spell you've ever performed?
A banishing spell which had my friend's tormentor suddenly migrate to England.

Do you believe in Vampires? Werewolves? Shape shifters? Elves? Faeries? Dragons? Nymphs? Sprites? Mermaids? Sirens? Satyrs?
Yes - and the rest.


Ever "seen" any of the above?

Ever talked to any of the above?

Ever called on any of the above in magick?

Do you have one of them as a personal guardian?
Not just one.

Do you see a rabbit, a man or a woman in the moon?
None of the above. But when I see the moon, I understand that I am seeing the Goddess.

Own a cat?
Two. (Though I'd have to agree with others who point out that one does not exactly 'own' a cat; more the other way about.)

When you meditate what does your sacred/safe place look like?
That's private.

Do you work with Chakras?

Do you believe in soul mates?
Yes, but not in the romantic version of only one forever.

Ever met one?
Yes. Several.

Do you have a Spirit guide?
Yes. Several.

Is it always love and light?
Love and light are good. So are darkness and passion.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Problem-Solving Technique: the Golden Key

This might be considered more New Age than Pagan, more 'spiritual' than 'witchy'. No matter— magic is magic, and works regardless of systems and labels.

It is an astonishingly effective technique for ridding yourself of those problems which appear insuperable. I've used it a number of times, and can attest to that. My title is perhaps a bit misleading; it is not so much that the problems get solved, although they do — it's more that the problematic situations simply vanish from your life!

It originated with the great spiritual thinker and writer, Emmett Fox.

Here is a link to the complete text of The Golden Key.

And here, for good measure, is another article which explains it well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What's a Witch, These Days?

I read my last SnakyPoet blog post, about Wendy Rule’s recent concert, to the writers’ group.

‘What do you mean by the word ”witch” in a contemporary context?’ asked one. She wasn’t being smart; she genuinely wanted to know.

(I forget how little awareness of Paganism there is in the general community. When I mentioned to a friend — one who identifies with witchcraft, moreover — that I was going to a ‘Pagans in the Pub’ meeting, she hooted with laughter at the name, as if this were a clever joke that I had just invented instead of a well known way of getting together which goes on all over the country. But I dare say it’s not so well known if you've never subscribed to any publication listing the regular meetings.)

It was quite hard to explain contemporary witchcraft to someone for whom concepts that I take for granted were new.  She wasn’t septical and had no axe to grind; evidently she had just been unaware of Neo-Paganism, even as a word. That was the first word I tossed off, thinking to give a quick answer, but it led to more questions. I found myself getting into the whole thing about witch versus Wiccan: how one can be a witch without being Wiccan, but not the other way about; that Wicca is the religion of witchcraft, but not every witch subscribes to it — for instance, there are Christian witches. (I didn’t mention it at the time, but I happen to know both Buddhist and Hare Krishna witches; I dare say the same applies in other religions.)

We got into magic and what that is, after I answered a question as to what I mean when I say specifically that I’m a witch: why that particular term? I answered that I cast spells and participate in magical rituals. I explained magic as shifting energy to bring about a result in the everyday world. (I don’t think I expressed it as clearly as that, but it’s where we got to after I floundered around a bit.)

My questioner had spent time in Aboriginal communities and was aware of skills those people had which the white population, for the most part, lost long ago — telepathy, for instance. She wanted to know whether that was the sort of thing I meant. Was it the same as being psychic? And, having heard of the group spell casting at Wendy’s concert, she asked, ‘So does casting a spell mean getting together in a group and allowing the music to put you in a certain frame of mind?’ (Or words to that effect; I didn’t take notes.) She spoke of the way music can change one’s mood; was that what I meant by magic? If I didn’t mean these kinds of things, then how did I differentiate?

I ended up asserting that, whereas telepathy etc. are gifts which some people have more than others, witchcraft is something you DO. And it can be done either in circle or solitary. ‘Spells,’ I said, ‘Are active prayers. It’s like the way a Christian might pray alone at home, or might go to church and join in prayer with other people.’ That was understood.

I explained that there are all kinds of Pagans, as there are different denominations of Christians. (There are different kinds of Wiccans, for that matter, but the conversation didn’t get that far.) The question of Satan was left rather inconclusive. I trotted out the usual Wiccan line, ‘The devil is an invention of Christians’ but one of the group pointed out that there are Satanists who call themselves Pagans. I know this is so, but know little about them. I have the impression, however, that modern Satanism is about self-determination rather than evil deeds, and suspect that its adherents don’t worship the Christian devil — but I’m only guessing. (A quick Google reveals various, very different  ways of being Satanist.)

And then I told my story, in outline:

That I was a psychic child who was told it was her vivid imagination, and got the message that it wasn’t true and you’d better not think so or you must be mad. So I shut down hard for many years.

That eventually things happened which I couldn’t explain away. I struggled with them a long time, trying to find the rational explanation and eventually gave up and accepted the ‘irrational’, i.e. that these experiences were real. Upon which, the floodgates opened.

That in the course of time I explored Druidry, Shamanism, Ceremonial Magick, but had a resistance to witchcraft — until one day I realised that of course I was a witch, had always been one (a recognition based on things I did as a child). It was a homecoming.

That nevertheless I think scepticism is healthy. There’s a lot of bunkum out there. After my floodgates opened, I used to joke, ‘Now I believe anything‘ — but I didn’t really. One of the writers asked, ‘How do you decide what to believe?’  I answered that I believe what I personally experience, and which I can’t explain away by ‘rational’ means. I told them my personal slogan of which I’m rather proud: ‘Magic is science for which we haven’t yet found the scientific explanation.’

For my story in more detail, click on the 'About this crone' tab above.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Should Practitioners Charge for their Gifts?

Pagan Magic asked:   

This is a question that I see a lot, and I would like to know the opinion of the people here.

Should a spell caster charge for their gifts - is it right to make money from the Craft, or should it be freely given?

I said:

I have a double standard. I charge for doing psychic readings and mediumistic work, and for any form of hands-on healing – except for very close friends and family with whom there is a lot of give-and-take and no-one could possibly keep track of who owes what to whom. For absent healings I don't usually charge; it becomes too complicated. In return I feel free to call upon other absent healers to help with any work I need for myself or others. Again there is that give-and-take operating amongst us. And so far I haven't charged for doing spellwork either, for similar reasons.

I do however like the point that others have raised, that when a spell is requested one has the right to ask for an energy exchange. I might do that if it were a member of the public asking rather than someone close to me. Mostly, however, clients ask in the context of readings or healings I'm doing for them. If possible I instruct them in how to do their own spells for their particular purposes, and incorporate that instruction into the time for which they're paying. If it's complex, though, I just tell them I'll 'do something' later. If they offer me a gift, or extra money, I accept; if not, no matter.

I have a friend who is able to 'see' people's energetic origins before their life in this place and time. She herself is what she calls a 'feathered angel', whose joy and purpose is to serve; so she never charges for the psychic information she is occasionally impelled to give someone. The first time I met her, she walked past my market stall while I was doing a reading, and caught my eye. She came back later to tell me – as others have done – that when I read I am plugged into Source. She added, 'You are a human being. You have chosen to do this work. Never let anyone tell you that you shouldn't charge for it. I never charge for what I do, because I'm an angel and it's my duty to serve. But you have chosen it freely and you have a right to be recompensed.'

I like what I recently heard a healer say (after working on my husband for free): 'I do some work for love and some for money. This one's for love. Aren't I lucky that I can choose to work for love or money?' I guess that's how it is for me too; and if the choice is sometimes arbitrary, well that's my right and privilege.

PS A young woman did once take me to task in the market for charging for spiritual work. She cited the case of 'a wonderful man named Edgar Cayce who never asked for money for the wisdom and healing he gave the world.' I was a bit flabbergasted and just reiterated that I was comfortable with what I was doing. I didn't think until afterwards to ask whether Edgar Cayce had a day job or people who supported him! (Of course I have some books about him, but they focus on his spiritual, not mundane life.) Personally I'm on the Age Pension, which is a frugal living, and the readings etc. merely supplement it within the allowable limits.


 Re-reading [other answers, some weeks later] I think it rather depends on whether one treats it as the career / profession, or as something extra, outside one's everyday work.

If you're working as a shop assistant, accountant, hairdresser, plumber, you-name-it, then some form of donation or other energy exchange when you do magickal work for others might well be sufficient. It's fine to refrain from charging for the work if you are provided for by some other means.

But some of us choose to make this our actual occupation and source of income, and that's a valid choice too. Then it becomes like any other form of self-employment: a means to eat and pay the bills. It's just that we choose to work at something that is both our passion and our service.  (Not unlike those who have a vocation for nursing, teaching, etc.)

In my case I used it to supplement the Age Pension within the limits legally allowed, as the Pension alone was impossible to live on when I was in private rental. Now that I have recently moved into Housing Department accommodation at lower rent, I've retired from my regular work as a psychic medium and energy healer, but will continue to help some people privately — for love, barter or money, as appropriate. I have been given gifts; I also spent much time, energy and even money developing them, and I'm good at what I do, so I don't have any qualms about being recompensed financially.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Silent Prayer

Found on the Wild Women page on facebook and reposted with permission:

In my heart, I accept my perfect Being.
I accept that the joy that I have intended is already in my life.
I accept that love I have prayed for is already within me.
I accept that the peace I have asked for is already my reality.
I accept that the abundance I have sought already fills my life...

In my truth, I accept my perfect Being.
I take responsibility for my own creations,
And all things that are within my life.
I acknowledge the power of Spirit that is within me,
And know that all things are as they should be.

In my wisdom, I accept my perfect Being.
My lessons have been carefully chosen by my Self,
And now I walk through them in full experience.
My path takes me on a sacred journey with divine purpose.
My experiences become part of All That Is.

In my knowingness, I accept my perfect Being.
In this moment, I sit in my golden chair
And know that I Am an angel of light.
I look upon the golden tray - the gift of Spirit -
And know that all of my desires already have been fufilled.

In love for my Self, I accept my perfect Being.
I cast no judgment or burdens upon my Self.
I accept that everything in my past was given in love.
I accept that everything in this moment comes from love.
I accept that everything in my future will result in greater love.

In my Being, I accept my perfection.
And so it is.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Experiencing the Divine

The town that I live in has quite a few churches, as I suppose many towns do - and each of them have posters which change weekly, asking questions such as 'Find God through Jesus', 'Have you found God?' - as a pagan I've always felt in touch with the divine spark - but these posters make me question the experience of Christians - do they connect to God like we do to ours? and then that got me to thinking, what experiences have other pagans had with God/Goddess/Creator.
I said:
 Well, I suppose Christians must answer for themselves, and that it would depend on the individual Christian. I see those posters as advertisements addressed to unbelievers, part of the evangelical impulse of the Christian churches. It also seems to have to do with the Christian concept of being 'saved', of finding God in that sense, involving a renunciation of 'sin'. These are all concepts which feel very foreign to me.
As for me, in childhood I was unquestioningly aware of the divine spark in all things. It was just there, part of what is. It was a surprise when I realised others didn’t always share that awareness. I learned not to speak of it but never became unaware.  That, I think, would have been impossible.
I was always aware, also, of spirit beings of various kinds. Only I didn’t think of them in that way; they were just people who were around. Some of them were maybe a bit different, but the main difference was that, again, other people weren’t aware of them. There was one who seemed particularly protective, though not in any way that curtailed my freedom. He was humorous and wise (still is). It was many years later that a magician friend described his Patron Deity, Thoth, and I recognized that he was talking about the dude who’d been around me forever. That was pretty exciting as Thoth is, among other things, patron of poets. But mainly he’s a friend.
I have since met others on a personal level, usually — though not always — when 'journeying' (including Jesus, btw; he’s been around a long time too, as a friend, and in later years as my 'Master of Healing'). But the question was about God/Goddess/Creator, the Source of all, whom I sometimes refer to as Great Spirit or The Universe, and like to address as 'Mother'. I can’t think of a time when that energy hasn’t been present in my life. There has never been any need to 'find God'; God’s never been missing.

In or Out of the Broom Closet?

Pagan Magic said:
Whilst Paganism and Earth based religions are more socially accepted today, there are still many people who remain in the broom closet through fear of persecution, social stigma and bullying. Are you In or Out of the broomcloset? Was it easy for you to announce your path, do you object to people announcing their religion? Have you suffered at the hands of intolerant people. Looking to hear from all sides - your experiences both good and bad, what advice would you give - what support do you need?

I said:

I'm out, and I neither hide nor flaunt it. I don't usually raise the subject, but if people ask, I tell them.

I'm completely open about it online, and must say I have made some wonderful Christian friends who are broadminded and understanding, and can see me for who I am, not as a label — which is how I see them too.

In my offline life, for a few years I wore a very large pentacle. Eventually I gave it to someone, and replaced it with a much smaller one, but still clearly a pentacle. Then one of my customers for a psychic reading looked at it, and asked what it was. I told her, and she said, 'I don't think I'll have a reading after all,' and left. That was the only occasion in many years; still my husband was worried that wearing the pentacle might lose me customers, so for his peace of mind I now wear one which is a Celtic knot and looks like a heraldic rose as well as a star. Any Pagan recognises it at once for what it is, but others seldom do.

In fact I've always copped a lot more flak for being a professional psychic and healer. The narrow-minded consider those occupations, too, to be the work of their Devil. The repercussion, though, have been no more troublesome than being accosted verbally with arguments not of my seeking – which I bring to a halt as quickly as possible.

My close friends and family know I'm both witch and Wiccan. I don't think they are bothered by it; some may regard it as another of my eccentricities. You know – like being a performance poet, dying my hair purple, running meditation classes, and marrying three times. Many of my friends are of course witches and/or Pagans themselves. A number are healers, and quite a few are psychic.

In my mother's family there was a lot of telepathy and intuition among the women – my grandmother, mother, aunts and cousins. They used to say jokingly that they were all witches, but they really only meant they had ESP. They would have repudiated any suggestion that they were witches in our sense. And yet it makes me think there must have been a strong hereditary line there which at some stage became hidden and forgotten. I am the only one who took it seriously as such, and looking back, I think that must be because my gifts were more pronounced. The others tried to convince me and themselves it was "just imagination".

Although I am well and truly out now, there was a long period of my life when it all went underground and became suppressed. But it would not be denied and had to break through eventually, I'm glad to say. I managed to avoid the very real possibility that I might have been labelled mad by being fairly discreet about it at first, until I understood what was going on and who to trust, and became comfortable with it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fraudulent Psychics

Pagan Magic said (in  November 09):
It came to my attention yesterday that a local tarot reader - who seems to have only just appeared on the scene - is making very upsetting and disturbing predictions.

One of his clients, a young girl - was told that the predictions were always right, and that her brother would kill his best friend in a car accident, before committing suicide - she (the querent) would commit suicide shortly after this. Obviously this has left her feeling very shaken, and as she has a disabled mother - very emotionally distressed.

Now, as I've heard this third-party I can't very well confront this young man - however I am putting together a press release for my local papers (and one that I can later turn into an article for general distribution).

The press release will cover the following areas:

The rise in people turning to psychics
Types of psychic and their services
Guide to choosing a respected and reliable reader
What to avoid - the signs of a fraudulent psychic
The Law - i.e. the UK Consumer Protection Regulations

I would like to hear from genuine psychics on what people should look for and what to avoid - so that I can provide a responsible yet practical guide to prevent other people from being affected, not just by this young man - but by other fraudulent people.

Thank you for your help

‘Mel’ said:

Thank you for asking. :) The future is many times changeable. I personally believe that if such a terrible psychic message were to come across to me, it would also come along with advice on how to prevent or alter the future. People aren't told of their tragic deaths unless it isn't their time and there is a way to change the outcome. Personally, even if I saw such an outcome, I most likely wouldn't share it because it would cause way too much fear. However, I might delve deeper to see if there was a message I was being asked to pass along in order to alter the future event. I have inadvertently prevented such things but I was never aware of the danger, I only gave a message and advice, it was taken to heart and that is how the tragedy was avoided. Anyways, here goes:

1. A good psychic will tell you that the future is changeable.
2. A good psychic will never tell you that they are always right. No psychic is 100% accurate.
3. Do not trust a psychic that tells you that there is a curse on yourself and/or your family and that they need additional money to light candles for you in their church in order to lift the curse.
4. Do not trust someone who tells you that they can solve all your problems for you through their own magick and ask for personal belongings from you and/or more money to buy supplies for a ritual.
5. Do not trust someone who puts you down for your deep rooted beliefs. Example: You work with the Angels and mention it to them and they tell you not to do that anymore. This kind of thing is an attempt at dis-empowering you...making you vulnerable and more dependent on them.
6. Don't trust someone who brags about themselves and goes overboard on trying to convince you of how powerful they are.
7. Do not go to a psychic when you are extremely depressed or grieving unless you already have a trusted relationship with one. When we are vulnerable and go out looking for a psychic, this is often when we attract bad psychics. You can get lucky and find a good one but as a rule of thumb, take care of yourself, go talk to a friend, meditate, something to bring your energy and mood level up before seeking out psychic advice.
8. You shouldn't feel worse after seeing a psychic. Even if the session made you cry (it happens) you should still leave feeling lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
9. Don't trust a psychic that needs personal information about you before they start the reading. If a psychic asks you for clarification during the reading, chances are, they are digging for information to use.
10. Consider promises and guarantees red flags.

Not all "bad psychics" are bad people. Some are people pleasers that just want to feel special and want to be liked. They may be beginners at reading and believe that they are better than they really are. It's not right but it's not the same as the others out there that are intentionally out to manipulate and control others. These types are in a different, more dangerous class. Some of them really are psychic but are using their gift in a really negative way.

Good psychics come with different personalities and different ways. Some are quiet, some are loud, some are bubbly and some are solemn. Best thing to do is go by the guidelines above but also trust your gut. Everyone has an intuition about things. If alarms are going off inside you, pay attention.

As a reader personally, I never know if my reading is accurate until after it's over and the person gives me feedback. I don't ask for any information. First name and a handshake is just the polite thing to do. I tend to do all the talking (and prefer it that way) throughout the reading, just letting the information flow out. When someone starts talking during the reading, it totally throws me off and my emotions and opinions get in the way, it lessens the accuracy of the reading. It is my belief that the message is already there, it's not something the psychic has to think about, they just have to receive and deliver it. But again...I don't mean to pass judgment on other good psychics, this has been my experience.

I said:
Yes, Mel's remarks are excellent, and cover the matter thoroughly.  I would only differ on one point. In my own practice I do ask for feedback on what I am getting, in the specific instance when I am working as a medium. I describe who I am "getting" and ask if they know that person; or, if they have asked to be put in touch with someone in particular who has passed over, I will ask if I am getting the right person. It's not uncommon for some other deceased friend or relative to come through, and we both need to know who is communicating.

I have an arrangement with my guides that if there is something the client is not supposed to know, then I don't get it in the first place. It saves all the worry about whether I should or shouldn't tell them. If I do see anything untoward, I don't leave it at that; I find out either how to prevent it or, if that is not possible, how to deal with it for the best.

I tell my clients that "nothing is set in concrete" and that "forewarned is forearmed"; that I can only tell them what the tendencies are at this point, and they have the power to change them. If they have a dilemma, I try to show them what each option would be like for them so they can make an informed choice.

Oh, and another thing - the mark of a professional is that they'll refund your money if you're unsatisfied. I have only had to do so once, when a woman came back after her reading, to complain that she had wanted serious advice and I had fed her a string of platitudes. I felt this was far from the case, and she simply didn't want to let in what I had told her - however I just said, cheerfully, "Oh, let me refund your money then," and handed it to her. She was mollified, and allowed that I had probably done my best. I later heard that she was bad-mouthing me all over town for being a fake, but I wasn't worried - plenty of people knew otherwise.

In fact I had given this woman extra time at no charge because I wanted to help her understand the changes she needed to make in her life. That's probably another sign: a good psychic will be more concerned to be of service than to be rigid about times - unless there are other clients waiting.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Do Love Spells Actually Work?

Pagan Magic said:

In the media, Love Spells are probably the most common form of magic which is depicted - from childhood story books to Xander's unfortunate incident in BTVS which left him fearing for his life.  But, do Love Spells actually work?

Has anyone ever met a person under the influence of a love spell - or themselves been affected.  How were these spells broken, and if they weren't what happened to the persons involved.

Can Free Will be so readily controlled by another? Is casting Love Spells simply wishful thinking - or is it a dangerous form of magic?  Are there situations where a love spell should be used?

 I said:

I wouldn't do it because, if it involves a particular person that's manipulation, and if it is general it would need to be VERY carefully worded. I think a self-love spell or ritual is the way to go. Even more, practise loving. Become a being of love, and you will naturally attract it.


Why would one want a forced or coerced love anyway? What if the spell wore off and the person didn't like you any more? Even if not, surely you must always feel cheated and insecure? Better to be loved truly, and for yourself!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drug Use and Magic

Pagan Magic said:  
Many ancient traditions used herbal drugs for sacred and religious purposes. Drugs have also been used for self-exploration and astral travel. 

Do you think that drugs should be used as a tool for process of self-actualisation and learning? Are some drugs more socially acceptable than others?  Should drugs even play a part in today's magical society?

I said:

I know shamans who have found the sacred cacti very helpful and valuable. I think it is necessary to understand what one is doing, and respect the plant ally. It is a living teacher.

For myself, meditation is the tool and I can't imagine needing any other.

I have conversed with the cacti and I find this energy very wise and true — but I did that telepathically, not through ingesting it.

Are Craft Names Necessary?

Pagan Magic said:
This weeks question - are craft names necessary?

Do they serve a valuable function —  are they merely used to give an element of mystery to the user — are they pretentious or a harmless piece of fun?

I said:

Like many others, I don't regard them as essential, but I think they have their value. In the Star Circle coven of which I was a part, our magickal names were used to keep our mundane identities secret. Some members had very public jobs, or their spouses did; others had children in school. I was ‘out’ but for others that was an as yet unobtainable luxury, and we all felt bound to protect each other's secret if necessary.

Long before the coven existed, when I was a solitary, I woke one morning ‘just knowing’ my magickal name was DragonStar. That made sense; I have had a lot to do with dragons. Later I discovered there are so many DragonStars, it's practically the Smith of the magickal world, lol. So I added Rose, as it's part of my mundane name. Later, when self-initiating, I was given another name with the understanding that it was to be secret, known only to me and the Deity. In private ritual, that's the one I use. DragonStar Rose is my public magickal name.

Newcomers to the Star Circle coven went on a 'journey' to meet the Goddess and discover their magickal names. Several were given two, one secret and one semi-public. Those of us who already had magickal names had them confirmed. The Goddess corrected my pronunciation of my secret name! I had been saying it in my mind with a broad Australian accent. Her pronunciation made it beautiful, and I could also see that was the correct way to say it.

Although they may not be strictly necessary, I like having mine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Universe is Always Listening

But you do have to give it a clear message.

While our car was gradually dying, my Beloved stuck a big picture on our fridge of a red car in a particular make and model, on which he had written, 'THIS IS OURS!' as a signal to the Universe that it was what we wanted to manifest. He was mad keen on that car. I wasn't so convinced. Months passed. He didn't give up hope, but we couldn't see any way to buy that car — or any car.

Meanwhile I was frequently expressing appreciation for the car we had, which had given us many years of excellent service, and which we had kept on the road as long as we could. It had got to the point where it just wasn't worth spending any more money on it. In fact it was getting a bit scary to drive. I wanted to make sure it lasted until we could afford to replace it, and that we would find something suitable to replace it with. Expressing gratitude for what you've got is another way to let the Universe know what you like and want. And it wasn't hard — it had been a good car and I was truly grateful.

Where we now live is wonderful for us. I'm clear the Universe found us this place in excellent timing. But public transport is not great. What would we do if the old car conked out and we had no replacement? 'If you really  want us here,' I said, 'Please solve our transport problem.'

One day we were in a car park and he said, 'That's one of [particular make and model] there.' I went and had a good look at it, and immediately said, 'Oh no, that boot's nowhere near big enough. You'd have to put the back seats down to use it.' I thought that I wouldn't mind a red car, just not that kind.

A couple of days later he saw a notice about a car for sale, same make as ours but a later model, in very good condition, within our price range — and red. We phoned, we inspected, we drove it, we bought it. And we're very happy with it! (The old one went to the wrecker.)

Afterwards he pointed to the picture on the fridge and gleefully declared that it had helped get us a red car. I don't disagree.

How could the Powers That Be act in our behalf when we weren't united about what we wanted? But as soon as I vetoed the [particular make and model] and he accepted that that wouldn't suit us, then They could go, 'Right, they want a car that works, they like the make they've had and they like red — hey presto!'

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What are the Summerlands?

Pagan Magic said:

As a Pagan — what is your view on life after death? Do we go to the Summerlands, cease to exist, or are we re-incarnated?  Have you had any experience in communicating with those that have crossed over — and if so, how have they explained what has happened to them?  Perhaps you've had a near death experience that you want to share.

I said:

I work as a psychic medium, work which I did not seek but was given. Doing this, I learn a lot! I certainly know that individuals continue beyond the physical, and that they present themselves to those they have left behind with the same personalities and physical characteristics as in life.

Where they go is not so clear, but I do know they can be simultaneously there and with their loved ones still here. I have come across cases of people resting awhile after trauma from this life/death, and other cases of people finding work, e.g. acting as guides. Everyone seems pretty happy, I must say!

I have also had plenty of indications that reincarnation is a fact, and would say I know it to be so.

I have to accept what I “get” but I haven’t always been able to explain to myself the apparent contradictions, except to think that people don’t all experience the same things in afterlife. Now ®ø††en ƒLuƒf¥Ð@rKLiñG explains it perfectly!  [This refers to another respondent to the question, who said: In my experience in communicating with the deceased, I'm told that it is our choice. That there are 4 paths which we have the choice to follow. The first path is that of reincarnation. We are all connected, and are always able to find eachother and recognize eachother in every life. We may choose to be once again with those we love on this plain, and to experience life once again. Another being the Summerlands. The end of our road into a place of peace and rest from which we may decide to leave later on. Yet another path is the spirit world. We may choose to become a guide for the rest of our existance which is eternal. We can devote ourselves to helping others in a spiritual capacity. The last path is the river leading to the source when we decide to return to the Divine, the Great Source of all.] That all makes absolute sense in the light of my experiences as a medium, and I’m glad to have been given the understanding at last.

I have not had a near-death experience, but am acquainted with people who have. I have had visits from dead people, long before I perceived myself as psychic or thought to work as a medium.  When my Nana died when I was four, I walked outside alone into our back yard, felt her energy with me and realised she had not been snuffed out (though of course didn’t think of it in those terms then, just that she was somehow there).

When a friend who had a troubled life crashed her car and died, I didn’t find out until later; but I woke up very early in the morning, at what I later learned was very soon after her death, into a beautiful feeling of peace — and more, something I have experienced after some other deaths since, which I can only describe as “a white feeling”. And the thought of my friend came into my mind. Afterwards I was sure she had come to tell me she was now at peace. I grieved but was not as devastated as I might otherwise have been.

There are more such stories I could tell. So I have known from an early age that death is not the end.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How can we [Pagans] educate the general public?

Pagan Magic said:
How can we educate the general public?

Around this time of year the media often focuses its attention on pagans and witches - usually by choosing a stereotypical nutter to speak for all of us. My question this week is how can we educate the general public about paganism in a way that is positive but does not force our beliefs on others? 

Should we have craft mornings, moots, leaflet drops, retreats, public forums? - or are you against the idea of drawing attention to our path?

I said:

A vexed question all right! Like others here, I am reluctant to do anything that smacks of taking an official line. I love that we’re not evangelical or preachy; I love that we don’t have a written text like Bible or Koran. I love that we are individual; I love that ours is a religion of joy and freedom.

Yet I do believe in education as a way of minimising misunderstandings and prejudice.

I like the idea of comparative religion being taught in schools from an early age – if only we could find enough free-thinking teachers to run the courses and open-minded parents to let them. I am not sure that would be much more likely in Australia than the United States!

I do take very seriously the fact that in some places being known as pagan can cost people their jobs, their marriages, custody of their children, their social standing…. So yes, it is vital to educate the public. But how? As many have pointed out, the public is not much disposed to listen!  Clearly it is going to be a slow business.

I treat it as a duty to speak up if I hear things said that bear correcting. I always, as a matter of principle, take exception to the word “witch” being used as an insult. However I don’t seek arguments. I say these things firmly but politely, with good humour.

I’m “out” but not in-your-face. Many people wouldn’t notice it about me; others would. For instance I wear a pentacle that looks like a Celtic knot. Any pagan would recognise it immediately. Others, who might get scared off by something more obvious, have a chance to get to know me before they realise. When people do find out, I become a representative of the pagan religions, whether I like it or not. I don’t think this means having to be extra good, though. I think it’s important to just be the human being I am, and let that be seen.

Above all, I’m  writer, so I write about it. I write blogs, I write poems. I’m even writing a memoir, though it’s going slowly.

What all that adds up to is doing what I can. I think that’s all any of us can do. Band together, and we can do a lot. In Australia there was for a number of years a glossy magazine called WitchCraft. It was produced by and for witches, and it was excellent. Many people who were not witches, but were open-minded, learned a great deal about us from that magazine. It eventually finished, but another one started, called Spellcraft, which is good too. Initiatives like that are good, but they only work with members of the public who are already open-minded. The closed-minded would never look at such a publication. We can only hope for a widening ripple effect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is the best form of religion?

Pagan Magic said (in 2009):
Earlier this year the city of Canterbury in the UK was host to the Goddess Festival and Parade.  During the course of the celebrations a Canterbury Cathedral spokesperson commented that 'Christianity is the best form of religion'. 

So this weeks question is - what is the best form, does the church format have advantages? What are your feelings on this attitude - should people still even be making claims over who has the best religion, in this day and age.  Are you religious - or do you follow your own path?  Have you had a profound religious experience that you would like to share?

I said:
I agree with others here who say it's a matter of what's best for you.

I also agree in disliking evangelism. One of the many things I like about Wicca is that it's not an evangelical religion, and has no attachment to being the one right path for everyone.

I followed my own path for a long time, and even as a Wiccan I'm what's known as contemporary eclectic - I don't see what little tradition we can point to as being in any way "gospel" - though it's nice in creating a sense of ceremony and continuity, and the deeper meanings of those practices are things I can relate to. (But then, as a youngster, I adored midnight mass on xmas eve when my Catholic cousins took me along - and did not on that account think I had to embrace the whole belief system.)

For a long time I distinguished between religion and spirituality and felt I was on a spiritual path but was not religious. I love that Wicca is a religion without dogma, so am now happy to find spirituality and religion united – which is no doubt how sincere adherents of other religions feel too.

I understand the wish of many Pagans to have their path accepted as a valid religion with equal status to others, nevertheless I am uneasy about attempts to create anything resembling churches. I dislike hierarchy and loathe institutionalism. Ours is a free and down-to-earth religion; let's keep it that way. Once you institutionalise something, I think it's a short step to creating rules, regulations ... dogma. And once you've got dogma, it's dangerously easy to start thinking there is only one right Way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How do you view the Gods and Goddesses?

Pagan Magic  asks:

Do you see the Gods and Goddesses as individual entities, each with their own power? Or are they universal archetypes? Do you even believe in a divine entity? Are the Gods and Goddesses aspects of the whole? How important is it to you to worship them? What experiences have you had? We'd love to hear your views.

My answer —

I think we are all sparks of the Divine fire, metaphorically speaking, i.e. expressions of God — or like one point that expands out and out into many. I tend to see deities and angels as somewhat closer to that original source, but we are all aspects of that. We are in God and God is in us. And when I say we, I mean everything. I'm monotheist, polytheist and pantheist all at once, seeing no inherent contradiction in that. It is, instead, a paradox.

I sometimes say The Universe when I mean God or Deity or Source or Great Spirit — and I experience that Universe / God etc. as having a personal connection and relationship with me. (Much as I might look after my own finger, say, if I also related to that finger as sentient and autonomous.) This Source I see as beyond gender, and surely beyond our comprehension in many ways. When you realise that there are colours our physical eyes cannot see, how much more is there that we cannot in this form apprehend?

For everyday purposes I prefer to focus on the female aspect of Deity, and have no problem meaning that when I say 'God', although I do also use the term 'Goddess'. I think the individual deities are as real as you and me, though not in physical form in this dimension in the same way that we are. I have personal relationships with a number of them. I also see them as embodying archetypes, and again perceive paradox rather than contradiction.

Years before I identified as Pagan, a magician friend who was clairvoyant told me that this own patron deity, Thoth, was with me. He described Thoth, and I realised that this was the same dude who had been hanging around me since earliest childhood. (I always had awareness of the spirit world.) So I knew him as a friend, guide and guardian already, and knowing who he was simply deepened the relationship. I regard him as my patron deity too.

Then, when I first self-dedicated to this path, that morning before I did the ritual I kept being presented with spiders, both in the flesh and in mental images. I got the message and dedicated myself specifically to the Goddess in her aspect as Great Mother Spider. I identified her by the name Arachne, though also aware of the Native American version. It seemed appropriate, as Spider is the Creator (as weaver) and I'm a poet. But then I came to know what a great gift it was from the Universe, that I was directed that way. A witch with hubris tried to attack me and some of my friends and helpers. (The ultimate target was someone else we were close to, but even so, we all felt the effects.) She had some Native American heritage and her totem was Spider, so many of the attacks came via venomous spiders. They were all averted: close calls, and frightening, but not fatal. We soon worked out where it was coming from, and were able to raise enough protection that she gave up. But my point is, just before the attacks began I had been guided to put myself, in effect, under the protection of Spider — and so, while she could mount the attacks through her own connection with Spider, they were then turned away (not only from me but also my allies) by the same agency.

Later again, forming a coven with some like-minded friends, I participated in a journey meditation for each of us to find our specific deity to guide us in this venture, and Ariadne came to me.

There are others I relate to also, in various ways and through various circumstances. Their personalities are distinct and individual.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Was I Tutankhamen?

There — how’s that for a heading to have everyone convinced I’m a self-aggrandising nutter? We all know how everyone who believes in past lives thinks they’ve been someone famous, and no-one’s ever been anonymous and ordinary.

Well, actually I have recalled some very ordinary, anonymous lives. There was the fat German housewife with lots of children, a love of gossip and a fairly disappointing marriage. There was the itinerant Chinese vegetable seller, a young man with neither education nor prospects. And others more interesting but equally forgotten by history.

In fact I don’t think I was any of them, in the sense of being the same identity repackaged and recycled. That’s not how I view reincarnation. I think of the soul as being a very vast entity, pushing this focus of itself out into this reality.  (Theoretically, then, one could meet another aspect of one’s soul during this — or any — particular lifetime.) This means that I might be able to access the memories of any other aspect of the same soul, but could not claim that I — this identity / personality / ego — WAS that other identity / personality / ego.

OK, so I wasn’t King Tut. However, during one soul regression, I most certainly had a vivid experience of being in his body and feeling his feelings.  I — let us say ‘I’, as that’s what it felt like at the time — was standing in the temple, watching adoringly as my father Akhnaten performed the ritual. The temple had a huge opening in the roof, through which we could all see the blazing sun.  As Tutankhamen, I spoke passionately to the person guiding me through the regression, explaining that it wasn’t true that Akhnaten was ugly (as his pictures and statues seem to suggest). I exclaimed: ‘My father was a beautiful, beautiful man!’

At that time, decades ago now, it was thought that Tutankhamen was not a child of Akhnaten. Imagine how vindicated I feel, now that there is clear evidence that he was. Incidentally, it appears that Akhnaten may not have been anywhere near as misshapen as the images portraying him have led us to believe.  I can confirm the supposition that Tutankhamen was frail and sickly, too.

Some years after this regression, I became very friendly with a woman who had her own memories of having been Tutankhamen. Many of the details she recalled meshed with mine (and were not in the public domain). Around the same time, I met a psychic who confirmed that about my friend, and told me I had been Tutankhamen’s tutor, who was very close to him.  This was puzzling and disconcerting of course, but then, in quite a different context, my friend and I received indications of being twin souls. I’m not sure what that means. Would twin souls share the same makeup, as physical (identical) twins do? Or does it mean we are different aspects of the same soul, happening to inhabit the same time period? Either way, I think it feasible that the me who is here now might have access to ‘his’ (Tutankhamen’s) memories and even emotions.

All I can say is, it sure felt real, and it sure felt like ‘me’ — though not this me who writes this now.  And I certainly have a lot of emotion bound up in it all. Part of this me wants to leap with joy at the latest findings about Tutankhamen’s parentage, and yell: ‘See!!!’