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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE COMMON BOOK OF WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT

is being made freely available by Witchschool.com and people are encouraged to spread the information widely.  It is comprehensive, consisting of contributions by a number of knowledgeable people, and looks wonderful!

Click the link to view online or download to your device.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A SPELL TO CALM STRESS

A spell to calm stress:

From "Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead"
by Normandi Ellis.

Close your eyes and envision yourself wrapped in warm light. Then speak these words either aloud or silently:

"I am air and flame, water and dust.
I am a wick burning in a blue bowl of oil;
a fiery sun rising in a tranquil sky.
I am the phoenix. I am light. I come forth by day.
I am power, an ancient river overflowing
I am love and memory and sorrow that fade away."


Isn't that beautiful? I hand it out to my students and clients if ever they seem to need it.


It does work to calm stress; why, I don't properly understand. (But then, I don't properly understand electricity either.)


I encountered it on its own — so long ago that I now forget where. Some day I must get and read the book it came from. If it's all as good as this....

It came to mind just now because a friend was wondering what constituted her self, that inner self that looks out of her eyes, that something behind or beyond all the labels she might give herself. 


Her conclusion? 


Soul? Essence? Star stuff? Those are the only answers I can give.

Good answers, I thought, and the only ones any of us can give. Then I remembered this spell, re-read it, and thought again, as I have many times, that it says very well what we are. 

Perhaps that is why it is calming — perhaps it puts us in touch with ourselves, so that for a moment one touches one's core, one's bedrock, one's eternal truth. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING DEAD?

Recently at dVerse Poets Pub, an online community, we were asked to write from the point of view of a dead man or woman.

My poem was a fantasy which did not draw on my work as a psychic medium, but rather on past selves I've been in this lifetime, welling up from the subconscious.

However some readers asked what I had learned from that work. I struggled to answer succinctly — but then I read someone else's poem which perfectly expresses much of what I have learned about being on 'the other side'.

You may read it here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

COMFORT COMES

My little cat, Freya, left me just over a week ago, as recounted at my SnakyPoet blog.

By that evening I had developed the worst back-ache of my life, across the whole of my back from neck to tail and side to side. It lasted the best part of three days, and at its worst was almost crippling. Luckily all I had to do all weekend was sit in front of a computer, hosting my section of a collaborative virtual book launch.

That was a commitment I couldn't get out of. The only other person who might have been able to fill in for my hours was ill herself, and hardly likely to make an instantaneous, miraculous recovery just because my circumstances had suddenly altered.

As it turned out, the launch was tremendous fun. Doing my duty was a blessing in disguise, as it took my mind off the emotional distress. And what with pain-killers and hot water bottles, sitting at my desk was probably one of my better options for not exacerbating the back-ache.

I had to be on deck for the launch on Saturday morning, so couldn't dash off to the doctor until Monday. I called on absent Reiki from two friends, swearing them to online secrecy. (I didn't want to deflect attention away from the purpose of the launch, let alone make my collaborators feel guilty. Being caring people, I thought they might have done, however irrationally.)

What caused the pain? There were two possibilities. Either the new weekly tablet for osteoporosis, which I began that morning, or Freya's departure that afternoon. Maybe both.

Painkillers, heat and absent Reiki did help some, but not as much as I'd have liked. Not immediately, anyway. I wondered if I would have to end up going to hospital. But who would look after my remaining cat, Levi, if that happened? And how would the poor lad cope with my absence, when still distressed at that of his sister?

During my tea break on Saturday, at one point I lay down on the bed to have a cry — partly at losing my Freya, partly from pain, and partly in anxiety about how to cope. It was clear to me that, with sole responsibility for Levi, I just can't afford to have any serious health breakdowns!

Levi came onto the bed and snuggled up to my back, needing comfort himself. I started to turn, so as to take him in my arms and say, 'What are we going to do, Levi?' As I did, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of Andrew (my late husband) standing by the bed in his white shirt. I didn't even see his face, but after living with the man for 20 years, I know his torso — and his energy.

'Andrew!' I said, half turning back — not in alarm but in surprised greeting. Of course, the image had already vanished (that is the way of it in my experience) but I knew he was still there.

'I don't know what to do,' I told him. I explained about the pain, the possibility of hospital, and my concerns for Levi. I explained about having to be present for the launch, so as not to let others down.

'Help me!' I said. Then I lay back, exhausted from that small effort.

I sensed him reach down and give me Reiki. I didn't feel disembodied hands on me or anything. Instead I had a mental image of him reaching his arms down so that his hands touched my shoulders. Funnily enough, although I had seen and still felt him by the bed, my image was of his arms having to elongate and stretch a long way down. But I didn't think much about that at the time, through the pain; it only registered afterwards.

What I did feel was the Reiki taking effect very quickly. Not only did the pain reduce considerably, my sorrow was eased by a deep feeling of peace. Neither pain nor emotional distress went away entirely, but I was very soon able to get up, feed myself and Levi, and go back online refreshed.

By Sunday morning the pain was starting to leave. By the time I saw the doctor on Monday, it had almost gone. He said he couldn't rule out the medicine but that was not one of the known side-effects, and as it's a slow-acting drug, he wouldn't have expected any reaction so soon. He did, however, think it feasible that it could have been due to emotional stress.

'We won't know until you take your next tablet next Friday,' he said. The mere thought of taking another was scary, just in case it was the cause!

But it is true that emotions tend to go straight to my body. I'll get a cold, or a headache, or a bit of low back pain. I just never experienced quite such an extreme physical reaction before. (Well, there's a school of thought, to which I partly subscribe, which says most or even all physical symptoms can be traced to an emotional origin — but not usually so fast.)

I saw my chiropractor on Tuesday. He felt my back and confirmed that there was  'a large stress component' in what had happened. And I took the second tablet this Friday without the same effects.

Since then, Freya herself has come back to visit, as detailed in this short poem.

It's nice to get such vivid reminders that my dear departed are still around, and to know that Andrew still has, as I always told him, 'the best Reiki hands in the business'.

Monday, August 25, 2014

URBAN SHAMAN by Serge Kahili King

Book review


This is one of my favourite books. It was one of the first books on magic I ever read (nearly 20 years ago) and remains, in my opinion, one of the best. It's on shamanism and I'm a witch, but I'm a pretty eclectic witch. In any case I think this book, while staying within a tradition, also transcends it. 

It's not dogmatic, and it IS practical. If you try the exercises, they will work. In practical terms magic is about shifting energy, in any context. King shares a number of techniques, and discusses the sorts of situations in which you might want to use them. Not everyone will want to do everything, e.g. I am trained in various healing modalities and have no need to add huna healing to my repertoire. It's still interesting to read his description of it. 

He also discusses the theory and beliefs behind these practices. His shamanism is a loving variety, and the seven principles on which it is founded are attractive and make a lot of sense to me. 

I also find the book very readable and engaging. 

I recently sent a copy to a 15-year-old grand-daughter who is developing an interest in magic. It's benign, easy to understand, and it works — what better introduction? 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

HEALING WITH THE GODDESS

(A talk I gave to a women's circle: The Goddesses of Shining Light)

Some of my sweetest childhood memories involve being sick in bed — because my mother was so good at making me feel better. She always seemed to know exactly what I needed — the best comfort foods to tempt my palate when I was able to eat; and whether to close the blinds so I could sleep or let the sunshine in and prop me up on the pillows to read a book. 

It starts when we're very young. If a small child falls over and gets hurt, they run straight to their mother, who says, "Let me kiss it better." So when we think of the Goddess as healer, it's natural to evoke Her in Her Mother aspect — the one who knows how to give us comfort, the one who can cure a hurt with a kiss, whose hugs are a haven, the one who makes everything better. It's a beautiful experience to rest and recuperate in the arms of the Mother. It can be as simple as calling on Her in thought when we feel unwell. 

Sometimes, being human, we forget that we can do that. 

We can evoke a particular Goddess, or simply The Goddess, that overall Divine energy of which specific Goddesses are aspects or representations. It may be that a specific Goddess is particularly suited to heal a particular condition. We can choose whom to call on, or be guided intuitively.

There's the Celtic Brigid — though she's also associated with poetry, so I tend to ask for Her help more often in that aspect of my life. There's Quan Yin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, who is connected with various healing systems, notably the Karuna Ki  energy healing modality. There's Mother Mary, whose wisdom and tenderness continue to guide many. And a number of others. Some people think that the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost — as in 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost' — is really the female aspect of Divinity, disguised in language because the early Church was so patriarchal. If you're a Christian, it is perhaps not inappropriate to ask the Holy Spirit to help when you need healing. The Reiki Master who initiated me as a Master was also a priest in an esoteric Christian church, and she believed in this interpretation.

These and other various manifestations of the Goddess as Healer are perceived as exquisitely gentle and comforting when they're in that healing role.

But healing is not always peaceful and gentle. It may involve painful surgery. It might take the form of purging to get rid of toxins. Another Goddess of healing is the lion-headed Egyptian, Sekhmet, who is associated with a system of energy healing called Seichim or Sekhem, which is similar to Reiki and has a Sufi component as well.  Sekhmet sometimes uses drastic methods, and you could find yourself undergoing a healing crisis, where you feel worse on the way to getting better. Then again, Sekhmet can be gentle too when that is needed. After all, her alter ego, the other aspect of her, is the nurturing cow goddess, Hathor. They are two sides of the same coin. So don't be afraid to call for Sekhmet if you are so guided. Trust that this form of the Divine will know and provide whatever you most need,

A simple, mental call for help will work. In an emergency, that may be all you can manage. Because you have, through this group, made a conscious, loving connection with the Goddess, your call will be expedited by that love energy. But She hears all those who call Her.

We can go further and use ritual to evoke the particular Goddess we'd like to work with. I expect you already have your own methods. Lighting a candle in an appropriate colour — or a white one, which encompasses all colours and so can substitute for any — is one simple way. Or you can be more specific. Brigid, for instance, loves flowers, so you could put an offering of flowers on an altar dedicated to Brigid. How lucky we are to live in the age of Google! It's easy to research the specific ways of honouring specific Goddesses. 

Prayer is a universal way of contacting the Deity. A mental yell of, 'Help!' Is a prayer, but if you have the time, you can make the request as long and detailed as you like. My particular path to the Goddess is through witchcraft, and I regard spells as active prayers, so I might well choose to perform a healing spell if possible. And there are many kinds of spells, some of which don't require a lot of tools or activity. Saying an affirmation is one kind, and you can do that while you're lying in a hospital bed. I might choose to cast circle — and I know that if I was lying in a hospital bed I could do that with visualisation and it would be acceptable.

Colour healing is another possibility. 'Breathe in green and breathe out pink,' my favourite colour healer once told me, when I was about to have surgery. Green and pink are the colours of the heart chakra, which again we may equate with motherly love. You can also research which colours are best for particular conditions.

Naturally I am not suggesting we ignore medical help. I'm trained in all sorts of wonderful and effective healing modalities, but I still go to the doctor if my symptoms appear serious, or they don't go away in a hurry. I see spiritual healing, energy healing, all kinds of natural healing, as complementary to traditional medicine rather than alternative. I'm a great believer in doing EVERYTHING that might work. (Which is one reason I've done so much training in so many modalities.)

So far I've focused primarily on one's own need for healing if illness or injury should befall. That's important.

We can serve the Goddess in many ways, and we don't necessarily have to be well to do so — but for the most part being well is more practical, and enables us to do more good for others. Not to mention the fact that it makes one's own life much more enjoyable. The Goddess is in favour of joy! So yes, make it a priority to take care of yourself and keep your energy replenished. Remember the saying, 'You can't give anyone a drink out of an empty glass'.

However, we can also call on the Goddess to help with the healing of others. We had an example of that only this week, when we received an email asking us to hold one of our members in the light as she underwent surgery, and in the days of her convalescence. Group energy is indeed very powerful, as we know from our meditations here when we send out light and healing,* and it doesn't necessarily require the members of a group to be physically together — though of course it's wonderful when that happens, as we are together now. 

Holding someone in the light is effective, and particularly suited to this group, as we are the Goddesses of Shining Light. When we send light to surround one of our own, naturally it is done with love. Projecting Love energy towards someone is always the most powerful thing you can do, in a group or as an individual. Easy when you happen to love someone in everyday life, but what if it's a stranger? What if it's someone you don't like very much? 

You are not obliged to give healing to anyone, and it might be better not to if you have mixed feelings about it. But if you do want to go ahead for altruistic reasons and you have trouble summoning up a feeling of love, one way is to project white light to the person, identifying that light as the energy of Unconditional Love. Another way is to put the person into the care of the Goddess with a formal declaration that you are doing so. You can speak to the Goddess concerned — 'Dear Sekhmet (or whoever), I place X within Your care in order to be healed' — or you can inform the Universe: 'I give X into the care of the Goddess to be healed.' It's nice to have someone bear witness, so you could state it aloud in a group, or to a single individual. Or you could say it, either aloud or silently, with no-one else present and ask the Earth or the Universe to be your witness.

Though I've focused on the obvious connection between healing and mothering, the Crone aspect of the Goddess, with her wisdom, also has a place in healing. While mothers are the obvious nurturers, grandmothers can also be very nurturing, sometimes in less obvious ways. They're good for a cuddle, but they may also encourage their grandchildren's self-reliance, intuition or creative thinking. In those difficult conditions which doctors have trouble explaining, it could be helpful to ask a wise Crone goddess for assistance. 

Old age leads to death, always. The Crone may transform into the Dark Goddess — Kali, Lilith, Hecate, the Morrigan. As my Reiki Master used to remind us, healing and curing are not necessarily the same thing. 'Death,' she used to tell us, 'Is the greatest healer.' 

On this plane we can't always see the bigger picture. Miracles do happen. People with terminal diagnoses don't always terminate. But sometimes it is indeed a person's time to go. This can happen at any age, with or without warning. A friend of mine in Melbourne recently lost her son to a quick and unexpected cancer. He was still a young man. She's an extraordinary woman. While deeply grieved, she has also been in touch with him since his death and understands that in his last few years of life he had lost connection to his own soul, and he needed to die in order to recover it. I hadn't seen him since he was a schoolboy, so I don't know how his soul got lost. But I trust the mother's insights because she's always been highly spiritually aware.

Death is hard on those left behind, but it may be a joyous blessing to those who move on. In that case, as healers we can seek to keep the person's quality of life as high as possible, as long as they have life, and to ease the transition when that time arrives. We can also recognise that our primary healing role in such a case might be to comfort and strengthen the bereaved.

You may be familiar with the practice of 'drawing down the moon', which witches sometimes do on full moon celebrations. It means that we invite the energy of the Goddess in Her Moon aspect to enter us and fill us for a time, to empower us in our magickal workings. 

We can all do that at any time, with a request. We can most certainly do it for healing, so that the Goddess works through us as we speak to a sick person or touch them with soothing hands. When we are done we can say thank you to the Goddess and ask for the energy to withdraw, or simply let it fade as it will over time. 

Above all, remember that the Goddess is available to you at all times. If you or anyone else needs healing, ask. A way will be found.

Perhaps there is no healing that does not come from the Goddess.


* When the circle meets, healing is sent not only to individuals who need it at the time, but also, always, to the whole planet — and in particular to places where there is disaster or conflict. 



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Incorporating the Magical Mermoirs

People who follow this blog by email will have noticed a whole lot of "new" posts turning up, with last year's dates on them. Indeed, I see a few of you have already come to check out what's going on. (Smile.)

I decided to move my "Living a Magical Life" blog over here.

(a) I hadn't written any of it for some months. I also don't post all that often here, so combining the two might create a bit more action. Or the illusion of.

(b) It was all over the place, I thought — particular memories written as they occurred to me. Trying to get a linear, chronological account happening felt constricting.

(c) It seems to belong with my other "witchy" and "spooky" stuff.

(d) It just felt too "out there". I felt too exposed, sharing that stuff so boldly. Doing so here feels safer, somehow. No, it's not rational, lol.

I don't know what it is — I'll happily tell the world all about my politics, religious views, sex life ... but when it comes to disclosing my spiritual experiences, that feels very intimate, very confronting.

If I put them here, I tell myself,  they'll be read by people who already accept other-dimensional realties, or at least have very open minds. Of course, people could stumble over this bog by mistake, or from curiosity — but if it didn't interest them, they wouldn't stay or return.

Anyway, I hope that, by including my magical memoirs here, I'll feel freer to continue writing them. I had become self-conscious, inhibited, paralysed. I suppose it's the old bugbear of "no-one will believe me". When I was a child no-one did.

Not only that, I was ridiculed. My parents were kind about it, though keen to have me distinguish between the 'imaginary' and the 'real'. The kids at school, and even in my own family, were scornful. 'You're mad!' or, 'You're making it up. You're a liar!'

By now I have encountered many others whose spiritual experiences are similar to my own, others who live magical lives and accept it as natural. They're not mad and they aren't lying. Even so, we're not exactly mainstream.

I do intend to turn the magical memoirs into a book some day, if I live long enough. Meanwhile, here they be.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Quote On Nature Magic

Too good not to share!

"A Witch, a Wiccan, or a Pagan is not usually a high formal magician. We do magic because it comes to us naturally and because it is a part of our creative nature. We do not study formal magic strenuously. We study nature and the magic of the elements, the wee Beings sometimes called Devas, and all creatures high and low of the earth and sky that we are surrounded by. Instead of studying formal high magic we study nature magic that comes naturally to all Priests and Priestesses. If you can align your energy with the elements, the earth, the old Gods, the Goddess and the movement of the oneness of All then you can do powerful magic with simple intention."


— Healing Magick: A Primer of Clairvoyant Healing for Wiccans, by Lady Levanah Shell Bdolak

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Does Number 7 Mean?

I received an email from a friend:

Thought you might be the person to advise me. What meaning has the number 7 in pagan history?
We have the 7 Deadly Sins, 7 days of the week, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T Lawrence...

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

I replied:

No particular significance, actually.  Or not in any broad, general way. 

One could look to what it means in Numerology, or to various legends and fairy stories such as the ones you mention, and to natural phenomena such as the 7 stars in the Pleiades constellation — but none of these is especially Pagan, and the meanings are limited to the particular context.

Pagans revere Nature. It's a spiritual path lacking dogma. We don't have gospels, and differentiate ourselves from what we call 'the book religions'.

It may be that some Ceremonial Magicians would include 7 among their magickal numbers, but I think that would be based on Numerology — if indeed they do so at all.

The 7th Sephiroth in the Qabalistic Tree of Life has its own meaning, but so does each of the others — and again, not all Pagans study the Qabala.

There are varieties of Pagan. My personal interest is in Wicca, Druidry and Shamanism, in other words the earthier varieties (though I have also studied Ceremonial Magick and Qabala).

I would say the number 7 has whatever meaning a particular person or group of people assigns it in a particular context. If there is a lot of agreement on a specific interpretation, e.g. the numerological, that belief would no doubt gather some energy and might therefore have observable effects.

Thanks for raising this interesting question! It's always good to have occasion to articulate one's thoughts.

What do my Pagan friends think? Have I missed something? Please comment if you think I've got it wrong or there's more to add.