Structured Living

Hey guys –

Last week was really the end of my mid-term time and therefore, I should have a little more time to post, although I have to remember that I’m also writing a novel this month – I can’t let that go too far without maintaining it.  That besides the point, two days from now is my favorite holiday of the year!

I’d like to see some comments: How do you celebrate Samhain?

Unfortunately, because I am in a college setting, I will probably do no more than give thanks and celebrate a little bit – take a walk, etc.  Its hard to celebrate on “Halloween” because there are noisy kids and troublesome teenagers everywhere causing trouble.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t set out goals for the new year like every other year – and the classic ‘New Year’ that non pagans – and pagans! –  celebrate.  The great thing about setting out your goals at our New Year instead of theirs is that you have two whole months to start them, and you’re not dragged down by the social stigma of new year’s resolutions.

I usually divide my goals into three types, relating to the three realms of the self: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual goals.  Physical goals are those things which don’t take a lot of thought, and may relate to health or appearance.  Mental goals are those things which aren’t necessarily involving the use of magick or ritual, but do involve the use of the mind, thought, and reason.  And spiritual goals are actions which involve magick or ritual.

I will give you a few examples of the goals I have set out this year for myself – those which I will let others know about.  Some goals you should never share.

Physical:

  • Increase my running to a total of 9 miles per week
  • Participate in at least one group-athletic event (ex: 3k, 5k, century ride)

Mental:

  • Construct a computer program to read tarot cards
  • Begin research on uses of talismans and amulets

Spiritual:

  • Establish a standard, ritualized, daily non-moving meditation routine (night)
  • Establish a standard, ritualized, daily moving meditation routine(morning)

After I establish goals (there are a total of five per category this year), I then take each category and establish timelines for them.  This year, I added one mile per week for the running goal, and although I haven’t reached a schedule for either the mental or the spiritual goals, I’m going to simply lay out the steps that need to happen.  This devotion of intent to my goals helps greatly with their overall effectiveness in my life.

I always change so much during a Witch’s New Year.  I am amazed, looking back at the positions I was in, the people I was around, and the knowledge I gained through the previous year.  I remember standing alone in front of a patch of trees last Samhain, and receiving the knowledge that this year would be difficult.  And, in response, I remember establishing a rule:

I may cry when I am sad or in pain, but I will not cry when I am overcome by fear.

But, I digress.  If I don’t get the chance to post in the next few days: Happy Samhain to all!

The Cougar

Hey guys – this post actually stems from a very odd dream I had last night, which I would like to at least study in a broad, magic relevant context.  As we all know, the time between Mabon and Samhain just flew by, and we’re looking at an upcoming new year.  At this time, it is especially important to be paying attention to those signs and omens all around you.  Why did that particular bird just fly over you?  What are your dreams filled with?

Last night, I had a bit of an issue with sleep, but between 7 and 9 am today, I had a dream which involved my roommates and our apartment, a small, gray kitten, and a large, lion-like cougar.  We were, for some reason, in our apartment which was translocated onto the middle of my campus (don’t ask me why!).  We looked outside, and rounding the corner, prowling, was a large cougar.  We grabbed the kitten and held her as far inside as we could, and I grabbed my phone to take pictures as it was going by us at a dead-on run.  My picture didn’t come out.  I then called 911, to explain that there was a cougar in the middle of our campus.  They redirected us, and said that we were on national radio, and asked if we wanted to join them in a prayer.  I woke up.

Checking my Animal-Speak book, I found that Cougars are a sign of mastering yourself and beginning to assert yourself and your knowledge in your everyday life.  Because cougars are paired with their prey – deer, and porcupines – we must study those as well.  Although no deer or porcupines were apparent in my very weird dream, it is wise to remember that deer are gentle, and have mechanisms for blending in, which the cougars can see right through.  In addition, cougars have a fantastic ability to capture and eat porcupines without any major harm to themselves.  The ability to pick through a (pardon the pun) sticky situation is one that a cougar possesses.

Its interesting to note also, that in the region I am in, there are no wild, large cats.  According to the DEC of New York, there are no cougars in the state – but there are bobcats and bears.   I can’t remember why, but I was reading and viewing a substantial amount of user submitted proof to the contrary one night a long time ago.  That aside, I have never experienced a large cat (or a bear) in the wild, and I doubt I will while remaining at home.

So, on the eve of our new year, what can this indicate?  That I have begun to master myself and express my knowledge?  I do feel like I am coming into my own.  I know that I am strong, and I know that I am capable of surviving on my own.  Mabon was all about independence – and Samhain is on the rise.  Samhain’s primary energy, by my own personal determination, is that of Communication.  How fitting.

Have any weird dreams lately?

Rhyming Responsibilities

Without even bothering to apologize for my lack of posting, which has been extreme this month, I turn my attention to a continuation of the discussion of rhymes.

Looking at the previous post, we can see that rhyming is a way to set the world right, to declare our intentions, and to craft our way through the world.

When we declare our intentions, its kind of like leaving a written note to someone. You sign your name on it. In the same way, when you create a rhyme, it has your personal perceptions, your personal signature on it.

If you share that rhyme that is part of a spell with someone, you are releasing them from personal responsibility. Its like giving a five year old a beer that has your fingerprints all over it. “Sure, drink away. I’ll take full responsibility for your actions”

Just like the Nobel prize’s story – Nobel invented dynamite – the knowledge we release to the world will come back to haunt us. If you post your own personal spells online, to millions of people – then what they do with those spells, or derivations of those spells, is your fault, your karma.

That is why I speak of concept, and practical practice – and not actually words that are my own. And if they are my own – then I try to make sure that the words I use are ones with either a very specific intent, or with no intent at all – simply ideas that have no practical use.

Sorry for the short post, but I must run! Til next time.

Reason In Rhyme

Well, I found my blog stats the other day, and let me tell you, they’re extremely useful.  From now on, I’ll be using those to craft what I’m writing about, in addition to my mood, etc.  Today’s topic will be rhyme within spell craft.  Please note that I am speaking of magick, and not Wicca: although they go hand in hand.

Many people just discovering Wicca or the idea that magick (Yes, magic!) is real – turn immediately to the internet for spells to cast.  Things to make their luck turn good, or more money come their way, or tricks to become invisible, or more noticed…everything you could ever want.  And these same people look at these spells they find, and make the connection: woah, they really do rhyme like on TV!

Why?

Spells are, from the most skeptical point of view, effective because the performance of a ritual like a spell has the following elements:

  1. Repetition of an expression (I want money, I want money…money comes to me…) which allows the caster to sink into an open minded state and begin to believe what they’re saying
  2. Rhyme of an expression (Roses are red, violets are blue, You’re so pretty, let me love you…) which also allows the caster to sink into an open minded state.  In addition, the cliches of the modern world aids in the caster believing in what they’re doing
  3. Some symbolic act, which, since humans operate on analogies, will further cement the change that the caster wants to happen into their heads.
  4. They will then emerge from their little ritual happy, and on their way to having their wishes come true.

Although we who are not skeptic believe all of these things – on a different level – it is useful to keep the psychological aspects of Witchcraft in mind.  Knowing these, you can better manipulate them.

So, what about the rhyming?  Is the cliche of modern society the only thing that makes them work?  Absolutely not.

Rhymes leave no loose ends.  To write a rhyme or a short poem, you must have intention.  And, as with any spell, intention is the first step.  So, to create a rhyme to accomplish a purpose, you are sending out the message, “I know what I want!  I know what I want!”, like a kid at Christmas.

Rhymes are considered the foundation of the world by some, including myself.  With rhymes, as I said, there is nothing left hanging.  Things are whole, and complete.

Rhymes are also easier to remember (a little bit of practical paganism leaking through there) and easier to recite in a rhythm which is smooth and unawkward.  Allowing your words to flow smoothly means that (here comes the analogy!) your spell will flow smoothly also.

Rhymes are also cyclic, which means they spiral, if you could paint them – and spiraling, raises energy.  Rhyming therefore, is a great way to raise energy.  Which is what you want to do when you cast a spell.

Right?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on why rhymes shouldn’t be shared for these exact reasons…

Hanging On

Ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?  I’m a college student – that’s about as close to ‘the rest of your life’ as you can get.  With an inordinate amount of expectations and tests, its easy to see how we get lost in the sands of time.  Although I do not consume alcohol personally, there are a lot of people around me who stress during the week, and then party to the point of sickness on the weekend.

The good thing about being pagan is that we get a little extra in terms of stress relief.  Not only do we get the usual breathing or exercise techniques…we also retain the ability to focus, center, meditate, visualize, and otherwise calm ourselves.

In addition, I believe learning, at least, becomes easier for me when I remember that I am a witch.  Because we have such a broad view of the world, it is easy to connect what we are doing in class (most times) with those things which exist in the real world.  The trouble comes when professors want you to attempt something in their fashion and method, without understanding the broader concepts presented.

I’ve always held that college should be about getting the big picture – and the little picture – and piecing it together.  High school was when I learned about the war of 1812.  College is when I examine why it occurred – from societal, psychological, economic and  technological standpoints.

I have several tests upcoming this week, and into next week.  In these, I am asked to express my knowledge.  My issue with standard college is this:

We are in class to learn.  Learning lends itself to mistakes.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to introduce a concept to us.  It is our responsibility to understand it – however, we cannot fully understand it if the teacher either gives no work or an unreasonable amount of work to do relating to the concepts learned.

We get grades for our expression of knowledge.  However, if these are the only grades that we receive, how are we expected to show that we can improve and increase our understanding?

You know the teachers I am talking about – the three test, all lecture teachers.  But life isn’t like that, really.  When you’re at a job, most times, you don’t get just one chance to do something right.  Everything is taken in steps.

As a programmer, I take the following steps:

1.  Create a plan of action

2.  Create a prototype

3.  Review and receive feedback on prototype

4.  Make changes – receive approval or feedback (Repeat until approved)

5.  Move onto next stage…

Its a never ending process of going back and forth between the consumer and myself.  There are some instances, yes, where an expression of knowledge is needed – but it is the constant feedback that makes a job or project successful.  Something that we, as college students, sometimes never get.

Happier post tomorrow when I stop being angry 🙂

Self Image in Circle

This topic might draw a few readers, but it is one that I find extremely important.  How you see yourself reflects strongly in how a circle casting will go.

Having a good body image is always essential if you walk the path that we do.  The gods speak to us, and they say, “you are the leaders of the world…when you walk forward, the world takes the step with you…but when you stumble, the whole world begins to fall”.  Being confident in yourself, how you look, your intelligence and your spirituality is the first thing that any one will see when they meet you for the first time.  If there is an uncertainty, it will be found.

Now that I’ve made it sound like every time you meet someone, its a test…let’s talk about the circle.  The Circle is drawn, as you know, with the basic method of purification, censing, sprinkling, casting, calling the quarters, then calling the spirits and Gods.  This layering of steps causes a magnification in all that you do within the circle.  Because the circle is a container for which to hold all energy raised within, the energy spirals around and around.  Think of it like a never ending funnel  that you send a coin down – it just keeps getting faster and faster, stronger and stronger.

This in mind, entering circle either unclean or unsure of what you’re meant to do is probably a bad idea.  When I was in sacred space with my High Priest, one thing he said struck me very truly, after the circle was done.

“These are your Gods.  When you speak to them, have pride.  You should never be afraid of them.”

He was right.  The reason I had spoken so softly in that instance, was not from fear, but more from awe.  It was the first time I had raised energy with my High Priest, and his voice had dropped unbelievably low, and the air had practically shimmered around us.  I spoke to the Gods silently, and instead of waiting for signs or feelings, they answered me back.

Needless to say, the point he brought up was very relevant.  If I had been frightened, or not confident in what I was doing, the effect would not have been as strong.  We would not have been as close to the other side as we were that night.

Have a great day!

The Omens

I have not dissected what they mean, yet.  But, I thought I should include you in my areas of observation.  I was walking out of class, after speaking to a teacher about speaking to his class about novel writing, and I make my way towards my apartment building.  There in the sky, come two large birds, screeching as they, yet again, disappear from sight.  Upon pursuing them, of course, I can’t find them.  Its happened a few times.  With, of course, the screeching being analogous to the cries of Red Tails, my preferred bird and the one I tend to see the most when looking for symbols.  This morning, however, I was simply trying to go home.

Hawks are generally associated with, according to Ted Andrews of Animal Speak, “It may pop up as a totem at that point in your life where you begin to move toward your soul purpose more dynamically”.  He also says, it teaches to see, and to ‘fly to great heights while still keeping your feet on the ground’.

I also spotted a ladybug on my way back to my apartment – which I held, briefly, before allowing him to fly off to his next task.  He was just chilling on a blade of grass.

I mention these without the intent of interpreting them to the world, but instead to remind you that all creatures – great and small – or the way that the trees whisper as you walk by – can lend clues to your cycles of life.

Some great resources for omen/association identification follow.

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/4076/index1.html

(Bird ID) http://identify.whatbird.com/mwg/_/0/attrs.aspx

(Tree ID) http://www.arborday.org/trees/treeID.cfm