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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Following My Calling

I just withdrew from the dragon magic tradition I was invited into a while back. I never felt truly called to it. It seemed a good path nevertheless, and I was asked repeatedly to stay by people I like and respect. For various reasons they felt they needed my presence in the group. I didn't want to disappoint them.

When I reached a point in the studies where I was asked to undertake a (solitary) initiation ritual, one of the steps went horribly wrong. I attempted to improvise and complete the task, and a member of the group later offered help to rectify the matter – but the incident shook me. 

Eventually I decided to put the whole thing on hold while on my present extended holiday, and not even think about it. Not thinking is sometimes the best way to let the subconscious get to work! It suddenly dawned on me, as if spontaneously, that of course I shouldn't be doing anything spiritual that I'm not deeply called to – simple and obvious, really.

I feel relieved and peaceful – indicating the right decision.

It doesn't change the fact that I have my own connection with dragons, which dates from long before I encountered any dragon magic systems or teachings.

The picture is of a dragon figure I own, not directly related to any magical tradition.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Good Books for Witches, Shamans, Magicians etc.

– or for those who want to learn more about these matters.

My personal favourites:

Urban Shaman by Serge Kahili King. Available in both paperback and ebook.

My very favourite book on magic. Loving, practical, readable, varied, well-informed, and 'from the horse's mouth'. King is a Hawaiian shaman, brought up in a family of them, who has also studied other forms/traditions of shamanism.

'Uniquely suited for use in today's world, Hawaiian shamanism follows the way of the adventurer, which produces change through love and cooperation - in contrast to the widely known way of the warrior, which emphasizes solitary quests and conquest by power.'  – Amazon review

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.  Available in ebook and paperback. This is the 20th anniversary edition. Contains both theory and practice.

"This bestselling classic is both an unparalleled reference on the practices and philosophies of Witchcraft and a guide to the life-affirming ways in which readers can turn to the Goddess to deepen their sense of personal pride, develop their inner power, and integrate mind, body, and spirit. Starhawk's brilliant, comprehensive overview of the growth, suppression, and modern-day re-emergence of Wicca as a Goddess-worshipping religion has left an indelible mark on the feminist spiritual consciousness."   – Amazon review.

Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot (known as 'the official witch of Salem'). Available in ebook, paperback and hard cover. Readable, practical, comprehensive. 

Cabot includes, among other things, a brief history of 'the old religion', and techniques for putting oneself in an alpha state, which helps in performing magic. She draws very much on her own experience in explaining how various practices work.

This is an updated edition from the one I have, but appears to be very similar.

Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham. Available as ebook, paperback, and MP3 CD.

Cunningham's personal journey, and everything you need to know to make your own journey.

Cunningham’s classic introduction to Wicca is about how to live life magically, spiritually, and wholly attuned with nature. It is a book of sense and common sense ...  and one of the most critical issues of today: how to achieve the much needed and wholesome relationship with our Earth. Cunningham presents Wicca as it is today: a gentle, Earth-oriented religion dedicated to the Goddess and God.  
Amazon review.

A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic by Marian Green

Another book for the solitary practitioner; this one arranged as a course of study with Green as kindly mentor.  It is written for people living in the UK, and some exercises and references are specific for that country, but it still offers much of broader interest.

'It is a practical manual of instruction for those who choose the solo path of study and particularly stresses the importance of being in tune with nature. As there are approximately 13 moons each year – the book is divided into 13 parts. Each section is aimed at lasting from the new moon to the dark to make the student fully aware of the changing power in the tides of the sea and the tides of the self.'  – Amazon review.

Witch: a personal journey by Fiona Horne. Available in ebook and paperback. (Horne is also known as a rock musician, radio and TV personality, and actress.) 

This is a down-to-earth, contemporary manual for the present-day witch, complete with using your computer to cast spells! An Aussie, she takes into account the requirements of the Southern Hemisphere, without ignoring the Northern. It includes interviews with some other notable witches.
She was quite a young woman when she wrote it, and it has a refreshingly direct, breezy style without being flippant. She can write, and she knows her stuff. 

Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein. Available in ebook and paperback.

The subtitle, Ancient Metaphysical Techniques for Modern Lives, explains the content. Although Weinstein is a witch, this book is more about magic than witchcraft. It is particularly about occult methods, and includes sections on Tarot and Astrology. The focus is on self-help, self-transformation.

I love it best for the section on 'Words of Power', a way of working with the mind to achieve results, which I find very useful.

Instructions in Gardnerian Wicca:

Gerald Gardner was responsible for popularising the religion of Wicca in the 20th Century.  Neo-Paganism is evolving, and many modern witches, including me, have departed from Gardner's specific teachings and procedures. However, if you are interested in what some regard as the classic, traditional way of working, you can learn it from these books.

A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook: by Janet and Stewart Farrar. Available in hard cover and paperback. There is also a free down-loadable pdf version.

This thick book is actually two books in one: The Sabbats, and Rites for Birth, Marriage and Death, and Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft. It was written by the High Priest and High Priestess of a Gardnerian coven. (They were also trained in Alexandrian Wicca, which developed from Gardnerian and is very similar.) It is the complete text of these beliefs and practices, well indexed and with comprehensive Glossary and Bibliography.

Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium by Vivianne Crowley. Available in hard cover and paperback. (The one shown is the newer edition with slightly different subtitle.)

This covers the same ground as The Witches' Bible, but more succinctly. It is still an authoritative work of considerable scholarship, also with good Index and Bibliography.

Crowley (no relation to the famous – or infamous – Aleister) also addresses psychological aspects of the Craft. 

These authors have also written a number of other books on witchcraft, magic and related topics. There are many more excellent works by many other people; this is a brief and subjective list.

Monday, July 20, 2015


A friend emailed me a question:

When a loved one passes and we believe we can talk to them or it may be just how we honour their life, but if they reincarnate, what should we do then?    Just stop talking to them? 

I thought my answer/s might be of wider interest:

You are confusing soul and personality. The soul is much bigger than the person you meet in life (who is an aspect of that soul). 

You can continue talking to the soul, and in the aspect to which you related during your present life. 

The reincarnated being is a different aspect, or focus, of the soul, pushing itself out into this physical reality. It is not personalities which reincarnate. But because they are part of the same soul, they can access memories of other incarnated personalities of that soul; and this often causes people to believe and speak as if it is the same personality which reincarnates over and over. 

However the soul is always present in every aspect of itself, so you are still talking to the truth of that person — and the soul also has all the memories and feelings of their interaction with you in this lifetime. 

That was my initial reply to my friend; then I had further thoughts:

This leaves aside the question of how you would know they had reincarnated anyway! Perhaps you get a strong feeling that a new family member is the deceased person returned?

I think it’s important to relate to the new personality as the new. I have many indications that my cat Levi is the reincarnation of my wonderful dog, Flint. However, it wouldn’t be much use to Levi to try and relate to him in exactly the same way as I did to the Flint incarnation. He’s a cat now, which is a far more practical way for him to be with me in my present circumstances; and his needs are those of a feline. Also his personality is not quite identical — naturally enough.

You must work it out for yourself. I just naturally (without even thinking about it) stopped talking to Flint at about the time Levi must have been born, though I did not know of his existence until seven months later when he came to be mine.

When I talk to Levi telepathically, I do sometimes acknowledge in passing that he used to be my beloved dog. In those moments I am perhaps talking to the soul. However, I mostly talk to Levi’s inner being or Higher Self, which is not quite the same thing, being to do with this current self.

In the case of [my late husband] Andrew, I happen to know that he has entered into his angelic being (his true soul origin, as he was an incarnated angel or earth-angel as we call them). So in his case, I still chat away happily to the personality I remember, knowing that he is in some part still that person while simultaneously being an angel.

When love has connected us with other beings, that connection  — even if it is no longer conscious — cannot be broken.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


It's all about energy and intention, really.

This is an excellent article which draws some useful distinctions and clearly explains many thing about Paganism and magic:

The Pop Culture Pagans Who Draw Power from Tumblr

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A WiINTER SOLSTICE TALK: Ceremonies of the Ancient Celts and Druids

A talk I gave towards the end of the day at the 2015 Winter Solstice program arranged by The Goddesses of Shining Light. Note, it's a quick sketch, not a scholarly treatise! (In a couple of places I refer to things said earlier in the day.)

The Ceremonies of the Ancient Celts and Druids

As mentioned earlier, by doing ceremony here and now we are connecting with generations and centuries past. And as far as we know, those ancient ceremonies were not so very different from those which we have conducted here today. It happens that by now we know quite a lot. In areas that were occupied by the Celts in both France and Britain, archaeologists have found enough evidence of ancient seasonal festivals to give us an idea of the way they were conducted.

Actually one can't really separate the Celts and the Druids. The Celts were the people, Druidry their religion — though not everybody officiated in the religion, just as not everyone in our society is a minister or priest. ‘Druids’ was the name for the priests and priestesses of that culture. (They also had roles as bards, healers and seers.) It is clear from traces of old stone circles that remain that, contrary to some assumptions, Druidry was a cult of the moon as well as the sun, with a matriarchal, fertility side. Nevertheless the sun was of great and obvious importance, being vital to life on earth. The ancient circular structures were sometimes oriented to stars such as Sirius, but most often to the midsummer sun or to the sun's birth in midwinter — that point in the cycle that we ourselves have reached at this time.

Modern research suggests that both the Celts and their Druidic practices evolved from Neolithic times, with input from the early Britons when the Celts arrived there. This proto-Druidry then evolved into what we now think of as classical Druidry — that is, the Druids whom Caesar described, and the image that comes to mind when we ourselves think of the ancient Druids. 

It appears that Druidry and what we now call Wicca were two branches from the same trunk, two versions of that original religion.  After the Romans spread their Empire throughout Europe and imposed their own religion, the original religion went underground for centuries. Both strands became secret for a long time, and still have elements of secrecy today, revealed only to initiates. During this long underground period, the old religions were kept alive by a secret oral tradition. That last is disputed by some people; but, having studied both Druidic and Wiccan traditions and taken part in their ceremonies, I'm persuaded that there is reason to believe it.

As you know, there has been a great revival of these ancient traditions. New versions of both religions have arisen. The ever-emerging archaeological evidence increasingly supports the opinion that the ways of Neo-Pagan worship do indeed echo the old ways. 

Just as we have done here today, people gathered in a circle. These were, and are, nature religions. When possible, people gathered, as they still do, outdoors — sometimes inside a stone circle they had already created, or within a grove of trees. In cold weather they gathered around fires — often, of necessity, indoors. Parts of Europe can get very cold indeed.

In their circles they honoured the four directions, as we did in the Temple of Diana today, and the elements associated with those directions. They danced, they sang, they feasted. They told stories and recited poems. Their poems were their stories, put into verse to make them easier to remember. It was always an oral tradition in those days, and depended on being memorised. It was surely natural enough to preserve and disseminate it in the same way when it went underground. 

Their festivals were seasonal, and each one was a farewelling of the old season just past, and a welcome to the new one just beginning. They used this time to symbolically banish the ills of the previous season, putting those things behind them with the season itself — just as we today burned in the fire the lists of things we no longer want in our lives, creating an opening for new and better things to come.

Winter was very important in those old agrarian societies. Preceding Winter Solstice were the harvest festivals, in late Summer and at the Autumn Equinox. If you hadn't reaped and stored a sufficient harvest, Winter became dangerous, even fatal. The whole community could starve. People lived and behaved as communities then, not just as separate families. When they got through the winter, it was a time for great public rejoicing and thanksgiving. It was very literally a time of rebirth into light and life as the days now gradually started to get longer, moving toward Spring, when the crops would grow again and young animals be born. Winter Solstice was the beginning of the ancient New Year.

It is also known as Yule, and of course in the Northern Hemisphere it happens in December. Its significance as a time of new birth gave rise to the assignment of that time of year to Christmas and the birth of the Christ child.

The Druids call it Alban Arthan (the Light of Arthur) linking it to King Arthur. Today we are most familiar with one version of the Arthurian legend, the medieval or Romance version. In fact the story can be traced to nine different versions of Arthur, some historical, some magickal, some mystical, and some to do with the fertility of the land. There are parallels with other stories, such as that of Osiris. I'm sure we could find many parallel stories around the world. These ideas are deeply embedded in the human psyche — certainly in areas where the Celts lived and thrived. There is even an astronomical version, to do with the Northern Hemisphere constellations of the Bears, representing Guardianship. The name Arthur means Bear. The seven brightest stars of the Great Bear are known as the Plough, and Arthur then becomes the ploughman, preparing the ground for seed.

Whatever the story, whatever the origin, whatever the details, whatever the interpretation, one thing is constant. Arthur is always a saviour, appearing at just the right time to save the land from the forces of darkness. In that sense he is also the newborn Sun God, and therefore synonymous with Winter Solstice in the Druidic ceremonies.

Ross Nichols, one of the founders of modern Druidry, says, in The Book of Druidry, that Alban Arthan is,

Essentially a death-birth — the death of the old sun and temporary victory of the dark, the birth of the child-sun from darkness on the horns of the moon, the seed-period of life-spirit. [The] tiny light-seed or the first ray of [the] Light is represented as coming from the horns of Night as mother. All Christmas and New Year celebrations are from these ideas.

Here, of course, Christmas and New Year are six months away, but this is our Winter Solstice, or Yule, and the deeper significance is similar. A modern Australian Wiccan, Fiona Horne, in her book, Witch: a personal journey, has this to say about Yule:

The Goddess gives birth to the Child of Promise in the longest night.
From the greatest darkness emerges the strongest spark.

Reaching down deep into the psyche, in the face of greatest adversity, results in tapping into true unconditional joy.

Yule is the time of the Great Feast when the last of the winter stores would be used up in joyful abandon and defiance of fear, resting secure in the knowledge that the Mother will always provide.

Gifts are exchanged and people share cheer and courage in the longest night. The Goddess rewards our optimism and trust with the birth of the sun.

And that is one difference between the ancient ceremonies and this one. Fiona Horne suggests staying up all night with candles lit, to see in the dawn. We're not doing that here, as a group, but you might choose to do it for yourself, if you wish. The ancient peoples, I like to believe, would in some places have kept vigil together by firelight. And, as we heard earlier, there were places where they waited in total darkness for the return of the light.

Finally, Horne says:

Make plans for the coming year. As the Sun/son gains in strength, so dreams gain strength to manifest in reality.

You might not choose to stay up all night and see in the dawn; but you can reflect, before you sleep, on the things you wish to bring in as the light returns, holding them as promises to yourself. And of course, you don't have to stay up all night in order to greet the new sun tomorrow. It will rise at 6.38.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


In the 20-odd years of our friendship, she was on a profound spiritual journey, listening hard to her inner guidance and always seeking to learn and grow. A warmly loving person with highly developed intuition, she seemed essentially positive — yet I also know she had struggles, challenges and sorrows like the rest of us. 

Nothing was more shattering than the death of her son from cancer, quite quickly, still a young man, just under a year ago.

In the months since, her spiritual journey accelerated as they remained connected. Alongside her overwhelming grief, she gained many realisations about the path of his soul both here and beyond. She was given deep understanding of the lessons he was here to learn, and the insights that she herself could derive from the whole experience. 

She shared her journey and her insights generously on facebook, including the times of pain, doubt and confusion ... from which she always managed to emerge with new illumination. She shared this not only for her self-expression, but because that was her way of teaching and empowering others.

Recently, I thought she had reached a stage of peace and happiness — assisted by a spiritual retreat she attended in Bali, and by her joy in the rest of her family: husband, daughter and grandchildren.

Yesterday evening I was vaguely aware of a spirit presence, thought it must be (as so often) my darling husband come to pay a visit, but then I realised it was a dark-haired woman. I didn't pay a lot of attention. Being a psychic medium, I am used to spirits hovering around: I often function as a kind of clearing-house, which doesn't have to involve any conscious action on my part. I gave a brief, friendly acknowledgment, received a feeling of calm friendliness  in return — as if we exchanged a wave or a smile in passing — then went on with other things.

It was the night of the full moon. A friend and I saw it rising, very large and bright, just above the horizon, as we drove home from a Tarot class I'm teaching. By the time I went out into my back yard, quite early in the evening, and did a brief ritual, the moon was much smaller, but still very clear, very white. Full moon is a time of strong and positive power. My ritual was fairly informal this time. Basically, I re-dedicated myself to the service of Love.

Was it before or after that, that I became aware of the spirit visitor? After, I think, but I can't be sure.  In any case, she chose a wonderful night to make her transition!

I was already in bed at 11.20, sitting up and browsing fb, vaguely wondering why I was doing so, when a mutual friend messaged me out of the blue to tell me Ursula had died that day, of a brain haemorrhage. She thought I probably hadn't had the news yet. She didn't go into detail, exhausted after much crying and ready to sleep at last. 

"I'm glad I told you,' she said after our short conversation. I got the impression it had occurred to her to message me just as she was about to retire for the night. A nudge from Above, perhaps?

I was shocked! I couldn't go back to sleep immediately, so in the end I got up about 2am, toasted Ursula with a glass of red, ate some bread and honey, read some poems, did some (unrelated) writing, thought.... 

Finally I held a little vigil all by myself, reminiscing about details of our friendship. How strange, I thought, not to be sharing these reminiscences with my dear husband, who first introduced me to her (they were already friends) — as we surely would, had he been still alive himself.

I contemplated the idea of her saying hello to him in the after-life, but then I thought no, she'll be heading straight for a reunion with her son. (We interviewed her many years ago, as one of the mothers in our tales of psychic children. The story she told us involved that same son, as a sensitive young boy who even then had awareness of the other-worldly.)

I'm not sure when I got back to bed; maybe 3.30, maybe 4. But then I slept peacefully.

I think now how devastating it must be for her family — a second loss in so short a time, either one of which is terrible enough on its own. 

But for her? It seems to me that she must have completed her incredible journey. She had found huge, ever-increasing stores of love and understanding. She had attained deep peace. She knew great happiness in the true and simple joys of this world: nature, friendship, family. She did everything she could to bring peace, understanding, love and happiness to others. 

She has left us at an age we think of as 'too young' (62). But I do believe it was the perfect time for her soul to move on. Many are blessed to have known her.

Am I making her sound saintly? She wasn't. She was funny and feisty, earthy and human. I guess I knew her best as a good friend. 

This morning, of course, I make the connection to the dark-haired woman who visited in spirit last night — younger and slimmer than I knew her, which may be why I didn't recognise her at the time. (It was just a quick glimpse anyway, seen only dimly.) 

Or perhaps she deliberately didn't make herself known, as I hadn't yet received the news; but just connected sufficiently for me to know, later, that she'd come to wave goodbye as she set out on her further journey.

(Photo by Yvonne Teoh Bource, from the Bali trip)

Thursday, April 30, 2015


It’s wet out – very light, drizzly, nonstop rain. Levi is having a quiet day inside on some cushions. I too am having a quiet day, in dressing-gown and slippers, to shake off the last of the flu.  

But I had to put the bins out on the street. As I did that just now, taking the recycle bin from its possie by the fence, when I turned to move it to the street I saw over my shoulder a familiar cat shape pacing down the driveway towards me.

I thought that was awfully quick for Levi to have gone to his cat door, and then come all the way around the house ... hang on, it wasn’t a black cat but a grey one.

When I turned back to go fetch the other bin, there was no cat to be seen. Levi, of course, was still on his cushions when I came back inside.

It’s a mixture of sad and sweet to know that my precious girl, Freya, who died last September, still comes visiting now and then.

Oh of course — it's Samhain! (When the veil between the worlds thins and we may see our dearly departed.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


This is a selfie of me with my new shield, a piece of black tourmaline. That stone not only protects against negativity, it also transmutes it into positive energy.

When I was working as a telephone psychic some years ago, I found that if the person on the other end was suppressing anger, it would almost paralyse my ability to give a reading; if they were sceptical about readings, I would go into self-doubt; and so on. I was able to overcome my reactions and do the work, but with some effort.

I realised that telephones are very good conductors of energy. Although people who consult me face-to-face may have similar thoughts and feelings, it doesn't have the same effect on me.

I started paying attention to see where their energy was getting in, and it became apparent it was through my solar plexus. That was a huge revelation. For years my guides had been telling me to open my heart more. I wanted to, but I was afraid it would put me at the effect of other people's 'stuff'. I couldn't work out how to open my heart and stay shielded at the same time.

As soon as I realised the 'stuff' came in through the solar plexus, I had my answer. Before working on the lines, I would shrink and close that chakra, and construct a psychic shield over it. That could have taken any form, but I chose to visualise it as a large circle of bronze, with an equal-armed cross on the front. With that in place, I was then able to open my heart chakra as wide as I liked and work in the energy of Unconditional Love — ideal for any endeavour, and particularly when working with people.

Later, at a market, I was guided to a big round copper pendant on a chain, the same size and colour as my visualised shield, and when I put it around my neck, sure enough it sat right over my solar plexus. It was from an estate, and all that the family member selling it could tell me was that it had come from Central or South America, where the deceased person had travelled. It had an image of a deity I was very friendly with in those days: Kulkulcan, or Queztalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent.

I wore it for years, then on a visit to Texas in 2006 I was guided to give it to a shaman I met. We are still in touch, and he is now based in Guatemala, constructing a Temple of Illumination. Many of the locals are helpful; some others, who are into using magick for power and evil, have tried to be obstructive, with little success. I like to think the medallion, which I see in photos that he still wears, may be helping with protection and limiting what his enemies can achieve.

Meanwhile, I never replaced the medallion. I went back to using my etheric shield with the equal-armed cross. As I eventually stopped working the psychic lines, even this became less necessary. Until now.

I've been unwell. I contracted shingles, a first for me, and not pleasant. When I took a friend to my favourite crystal shop, this pendant caught my eye. I was strongly drawn to it and three others, and bought them. Of course, when I brought them home and consulted my crystal books, they all had properties I need at present.

I am wearing one of the others too, in the picture above: it's chrysocolla, which, among other things, helps to strengthen the immune system. (I am wearing it over my thymus.) A weakened immune system is one of the reasons people get shingles! The chrysocolla was actually the first one I was drawn to that day, and the tourmaline second.

I don't think I am under psychic attack just now, intentional or otherwise; I think that, due to the illness, I am probably a bit vulnerable to any negativity which may be floating around. But my new shield will be valuable against attack too, if ever it occurs. For whatever reason I need it, I trust my guidance. I have always found it good.

By now I have asked many other aware people where they experience psychic attack entering their being. I wanted to see if it was the same for most people or different for everyone. They all confirmed: solar plexus.

Using an etheric shield is pretty quick and easy if you're practised at visualisation and intentionality, but popping a pendant around your neck is even quicker and easier, and you don't have to remember to strengthen it from time to time.