Ouija Boards

Someone commented the other day (while I was gone) and I feel obligated to respond to their question in a public and rather longwinded manner. I understand that this post, because of its subject matter, will get a lot of outside traffic. Ground rules:

  • I am NOT teaching you any super cool tips or tricks to use Ouija Boards.
  • I am not responsible for any stupidity occurring before, during, or after the reading of this post. In fact, I am discouraging stupidity.

Now, the question was: “what is your opinion on ouija boards yes or no”

My answer is coming directly from what I have been taught. This may differ from other traditions. First of all,

Where attention goes, energy flows

I know I used that saying in a recent post. It is true here, as well. If you put a lot of attention and therefore, energy, into a ouija board, something, “results,” are more likely to manifest.

99% of astral entities don’t give a shit about you. Of the rest, some may be helpful, some may be harmful.

That’s right. What makes you special enough to call into the astral realm, “Hey, I’m looking for some fun! Want to oblige me?” Gee, I wonder how that is going to turn out.

Groups + occult = group hysteria

Again, not ruling out the occurrence of shared experiences of other entities, but often, a ring leader(Controlling the Crowd: Mass Hysteria) will easily take over the mood of the evening and perhaps it will not turn out as you wish. (Can anyone else say, “Possession!”? Number Six of the Top Ten Things A Witch Learns Over Time)

In conclusion, unless the Ouija board is your preferred method of divination for higher wisdom(and who actually asks for the gods on a Ouija board?) I’d suggest staying away. It is a boiling cauldron(I know, cheesy. I had to.) of trouble and drama just waiting to happen.

Advertisements

Controlling the Crowd: Mass Hysteria

I’m not a psychologist, or by any means an expert, but anyone can learn and document the behaviors of others without going to college and earning a degree, or learning all of the ‘fancy’ terminology that goes with it.

Unfortunately for us, there exist times in the world where people tend to use the ‘supernatural’ as a means to gain control over others. I am not bashing experiences that you may have had, and I recognize that there is some truth in all experiences and perceptions. However, there is also powerful magic at play in group situations, and that powerful magic can wreak havoc on the spiritual, emotional, and physical grounds of play.

Mass hysteria is well documented in history – the Salem Witch Trials, the hunt for Communists, the “War on Terror”; as well as in pop media, culture, and everyday life. Here, I am defining this ‘mass hysteria’ as a group atmosphere, which upon the suggestions and actions by its group members creates a different atmosphere or different rules which is/are separate from an outsider’s perception. Please note that what I am talking about is relating specifically to ‘supernatural’ hysteria. Hauntings, things following you around, etc. I do recognize that there are things out there which will haunt and hurt us – but I also recognize that 99% of those astral creatures don’t care whether we live or die, and want nothing to do with us.

My first experience with mass hysteria was several years ago, with two friends of mine. One, slightly mentally unstable (as all teenagers are), began to slip in and out of trances. Eventually, she worked up to a full possession of her body by a man who wanted to have sex with me (No joke.). We spent the entire night, wrapped up in the idea that she was possessed and trying to fix her.

When I spoke to my high priest later that night (Who I don’t believe was my high priest at the time) he told me to get my head out of my own ass and go play cards – or something to that effect. He told me she was fine. He was right.

How did I find myself down that dangerous road of delusion? Simple. Breaking it down, we find that the instigators of mass hysteria follow a similar pattern.

  1. Gaining Trust. The instigator will gain trust of the others or will have already established trust with the other group members. This may be through close contact (hanging out together all day and acting sane) or verification of sanity through name/information dropping(Ex: my friend who’s a cop told me once that; the teacher said; my high priest/ess said; I read in a book that).
  2. Establishing Grounds and Baiting the Hook. The Verification of Sanity is actually part of the second step. The instigator will slowly lead into a topic which the others are “not informed of” yet. They may use the name dropping skill or, in the case of themselves being possessed, begin to lapse in and out of conversations, or do something dramatic, like changing voices or accents.
  3. Gaining Control. If the group – even one person – accepts the bait – its a downward slope. Once the instigator has the attention or partial attention, they will focus their efforts on maintaining the attention. How far can they string you along? If it is a “third party haunting” – a creature inhabiting the room – they will get chills, or a cough, or something will have moved – the lights outside of the room might have ‘shut themselves off’ according to the instigator. If it is the instigator’s haunting, then they may employ any and every trick. They may laugh or cry, or play with knives, or do something classified as creepy.
  4. Maintaining Control. The instigator will try to do everything in their power to keep the group on the subject at hand. As the group drifts from the topic, the claims or actions will get more outrageous. Following the instinctual rule, “Where attention goes, energy flows”, the instigator will get ridiculous in attempts to keep the focus on them.
  5. Losing Control. If the instigator loses control, they will either drop the subject and never speak about it again, or, becoming desperate, try to rally others to their cause, through telling the truth or confiding in them.

How does this relate to my trip? One of the places we stayed at was a family owned, remote and rustic lodge in the mountains of Costa Rica. We, for the most part, had ice cold water only. The door to our cabin wouldn’t shut. There were half-doors for crawlspaces and curtained windows leading to planks and nails because the building had been expanded. Our bathroom door was temperamental and locked itself. Because of high winds, our outside door was constantly opening and closing itself.

Prime territory for someone to come and play instigator with the group. Which, they did. There was myself and three other girls staying in this particular cabin. One of the girls began the process with a one-liner from a scary movie: “Did you hear that?”

Unfortunately, I was ill at the time, and had completely lost my voice. I kind of wheezed the entire time, and I couldn’t make out more than a word or two at a time. I was coughing every minute or so and my throat was on fire.

The door had slammed – the first of many times. Ensued a discussion about how creepy the place was. How they didn’t want to be in there alone. I tried to interject and explain that nothing was going to happen – I was a witch, etc. I was trying to disarm the situation quickly.

Two hours later, the entire group had entered our cabin to play a friendly card game of “Spoons”. When all had gathered, we played a round, and then the girl spoke up again.

“Guys, I have something to tell you, but I promised (Professor) I wouldn’t say anything.”

People vie for information. She refuses for a few minutes, then proceeds in a hushed voice.

“(Professor) said this place used to be a barn used to slaughter horses and cows.”

[[Collective opinion: Not so creepy. Instigator tries again.]]

“She said that the couple used to have a child before (child’s name). They had bought the place, even though the locals said it was haunted.”

[[The couple who owned the place were not Costa Rican. They have one daughter, an adorable two year old. Group takes the bait.]]

“I guess a bunch of weird stuff used to happen here. Doors would slam, and windows would break, things would go missing. And then their first daughter, she fell down a well and died.”

[[Group mutters. Someone asks why they stayed.]]

“Well they had this second daughter, (child’s name), and it was a really lucky day that she was born, and they did a bunch of things to be lucky, and they named the cabins and the place after her to keep away evil.”

[[Instigator’s boyfriend rises, and goes to shut the door which has slammed, loudly. He walks back in and leaves the door open. Someone notices that the lights are off outside of the room, and they should be on.]]

“I don’t know, they were off when I got there.” [[Instigator’s boyfriend]]

[[Instigator becomes freaked out, muttering and rambling about how she doesn’t want to stay there, practically screaming. Place calms down as I choke out, “Why don’t we play cards?”]]

This continued on until everyone left and the Instigator ‘confided’ in us that it had all been a ‘joke’ – the energies with which I had to deal with, silently, for four hours.

So!

How can we as witches, or as concerned members, who recognize what’s about to happen, disarm the situation?

  • Change the subject. By focusing the attention on yourself – “Ow shit, does someone have a bandaid? …. So did anyone hear about the new regulations at…” – you take attention away from the to-be-instigator.
  • Silence. Not participating in the discussion – at all – can sometimes disarm the situation. Complete disinterest is not what the instigator wants. Its a fine line, though, between being interpreted as indifferent and being interpreted as fearful.
  • Self-validation. Not the best decision, but can work in some instances. Saying to them, “I’ve dealt with these situations before, just relax” takes power away from the instigator. However, depending on the group dynamics, you may be marked and filed as either crazy or not part of the conversation, or not ‘qualified’ enough.
  • Leave. If all else fails, the least you can do is remove yourself from the situation.

Keep in mind that staying does feed the unstable energy. And when enough of that unstable energy is around, things will start to happen in the group perception. This time, I chose self-validation and then silence, for lack of a voice and energy to do anything but let the issue run its course.

Got any fun stories?  Feel free to share!

Pagan Pride in the Outside World

I know I’ve gone on briefly within many of my posts about what a witch should be. What a pagan should be. I’ve said that we are leaders, that we are role models, and we should always be so to both our fellow pagans and to the outside world. But, what exactly is Pagan Pride? And why should we be celebrating it?

Pagan pride is having pride in your religion and your path. It doesn’t have to be coming out of the ‘broom closet’, but if you plan on doing so, there are probably events in your surrounding area. The Pagan Pride Project is dedicated to these festivals, and they’re going on right now. Where I live, for college, in Buffalo, the event was this past weekend. I didn’t attend, but it was partly because I had spent the previous night up until five o’clock in the morning. Close to me, in Rochester(I live right around there when I’m not in college) the pride day festival occurs this upcoming weekend.

Now, for me at least, this is a daunting concept. I am openly pagan online, but I will admit that my current employer doesn’t know my religious affiliation. Only a few of my professors or ex-professors know. And, let’s face it: some of those ‘new age freaks’ that others talk about really are, well, freaks. The unfortunate aspect of a festival is that any one can attend – so, although I’m sure there are many respectable members of the pagan community present, there is always a chance that someone is there for the wrong reason – to attract attention, to talk about D&D, etc. I use my real name, but there are many Samantha Davis’ around.

Anyway, back to the main discussion. We should be role models – especially because of those ‘new age freaks’ that many people use as a base stereotype any time that the word ‘pagan’ or ‘magic’ is used in a sentence. We have to fight through those stereotypes, any bad experiences, the commercial psychics who charge for readings…to get people to start to understand the path we walk and where we come from.

Also, in explaining yourself and your path to others, you may almost feel pulled to tell people about the amazing astral experiences you’ve had, or the omens you’ve received – almost as proof that yes, the religion is valid. Don’t. At least, not immediately. These revelations may make them leave the conversation convinced that yes, you are crazy, and yes, you need help. Instead, for a first contact in terms of religion, this is what I’ve found, works.

  • The conversation about religion can come up randomly. Be prepared. You should never lie, but omitting details is another ball game altogether. If you don’t have the time, want, or energy to deal with, “So you like, worship the devil?”, but have been asked what church you attend, stick with, “A very small community of us meets about once a month” or something similar, depending on your situation.
  • You will most likely, upon the revealing of your path, be asked any number of questions. I’ve been asked all sorts:
    • You worship the devil?
    • Do you believe in God?
    • Do you believe in Jesus?
    • You can practice magic?
    • Do you cast spells?
    • Can you do love spells?
    • Are you a black or a white witch?
    • Isn’t that a cult?
    • Do you dance naked around fires?
  • Answering these questions can be challenging. Work out your beliefs before you come out of the closet. Some of the questions can and will be offensive, and others will be impossible to answer easily. Some can be confusing, or double edged. Usually, people mean no harm – they’re just curious.
  • Decide what you’re comfortable telling people, and what you’re not. Remember to respect the privacy of other witches by not revealing their association with our path unless you have permission. Follow your coven’s rules, if you’re a part of one. And please, if only for the rest of us – don’t try to scare people off!
  • If people pursue, you can always recommend them to books, or other resources. I’ll probably be listing a few on here eventually, but compile a small book list and commit it to memory.

In the end, how far, if, and when you come out of that closet is your choice. But never, ever feel like your religion and path is not valid. Always have pride, and make sure you give all of us a good reputation!

Procrastination in Three Realms

I’ve been noticing as of late that my mind and subconscious have slowly been forming ways to ease me into not feeling guilty about doing things that I should. One immediately comes to mind: I feel fatigued whenever I even think about doing something that I don’t want to do. I think this morning may be an exception – I’m just tired, but last night, mid day, and most other ‘free’ periods of my life, I immediately feel like I want a nap whenever I *should* be doing something else.

So, it made me wonder on my walk back, if I am procrastinating within the simpler realms of the physical and mental activities I must pursue, what am I taking shortcuts on spiritually? Turns out my life is like one of those casino machines where you send a coin flying and it goes through a maze to get to the bottom to try to push the other coins out. Sometimes you hit big and lots of coins fall to the floor, but other times, you just keep feeding in the coins and they start adding up. Isn’t it so frustrating when you keep trying and nothing comes of it?

We are, by nature, external beings. We want to see results for whatever we do. Especially with the emergence of the internet as an everyday tool, we are so expectant to see immediate results, that sometimes, when I check my email after an hour, I’m expecting a reply. I’m finding its important to tune that urge out. The tiredness though, is such a physical manifestation of my reluctance, that its hard to overcome. I shouldn’t have to overcome it. If I’m overcoming it, then my mind isn’t benefiting. All I’m doing is forcing myself.

So, instead, let’s turn to the three realms of the self and motivate them individually. I know, for example, that within the physical realm of my life, I have a hard time keeping a consistent diet and exercise plan to train for the upcoming biking season. But, I also know that when I exercise and eat properly:

  • My digestion runs smoothly
  • My energy levels remain consistent throughout the day
  • I am stressed less easily
  • I have a happier outlook on life

Within the mental realm of my life, I have trouble focusing for long periods of time on projects which don’t necessarily interest me as much as I’d like them to. My classes are interesting – the lectures are very comprehensive and engage my mind. However, the idea that I need to create lab reports and other repetitions of already acquired data is boring to me. However, I know that when I buckle down and do my work,

  • I have more time to pursue what I want – even if its sleep
  • I have less stress in my life
  • I tend to be more creative
  • I am happier and more secure

Within the spiritual realm of my life, I often find myself starting new projects in an attempt to get a new look on spiritual data. I have restarted my ‘herbs’ project at least 3 times now, each time, learning a little bit more, but not ever getting past a few entries or portions. This is not to say I can’t complete projects – I did successfully complete an entire project dedicated to Tarot, as well as an entire project dedicated to the energies of the Wheel of the Year. I do these in my own time, but such things as meditation, astral exploration…I tend to procrastinate. Its not that I don’t want to do these things, and they are often very rewarding. My mind and focus just seem to be in two different places. Projects in my spiritual realm have all sorts of benefits:

  • I feel more confident along my path
  • I am more focused
  • I am less stressed
  • I learn

So why, then, do we procrastinate? If anyone reading this has done a similar dissection of their lives, I think they’ll find that they have similar results – positive things come out of working hard. I think, for me, my procrastination stems from a mixture of boredom and fear of doing things incorrectly. In the physical realm – pushing myself too hard, to the point of exhaustion or injury. In the mental realm – burning myself out. And in the spiritual realm – falling so deep within ‘me’ that I can’t be focused on anything else.

I guess we have to walk the line in all things. After all, we are all about balance. I live my life methodically. That isn’t to say without passion, but much of what I find passion in, are things that others do not understand, or find boring. Likewise, I find the normal college activities like communal drinking, clubbing, and partying – boring. They are, in my mind, a useless social construct.

Well, I’ve written quite a bit now, so I think I’ll leave it at that. I’m at 800 words, so that’s about 300 more than I wanted to do.

Til tomorrow!

Experiences with Entities

Well, I’ve procrastinated all day to keep from writing this. Well, if you count waking up at 7:45, walking to get breakfast, trying to sign up for another class, going to four hours and thirty minutes total of class, a 2 hour meeting, and spending the last 3 hours doing homework as procrastinating. ANYway, I don’t really want to write about my experience with entities last Friday night. To be honest, I don’t remember much of it. The following points seem to stick in my mind

  • I was told / felt compelled to leave ‘something shiny’ by the tree where I stood that night as a gift to the creatures
  • I was told that I was to walk my own path, and the beauty of my path lied within the concept that sometimes, our paths cross…but always, we must choose where our own feet go.

Regardless of who told me these things, I benefited from a reminder to respect energies and to craft my own path. Also of benefit to me were…

  • Laughing when something in my head amused me – becoming relaxed
  • Singing as a sign of respect to the entities – which I always love to do
  • Feeling comfortable and at home, surrounded by the dark warmth of trees

Especially the third bullet – that is something that crafts my religious beliefs. Its what draws me to kneeling on the earth naked and thanking the gods for my existence. Enjoying that life force is why I am happy and alive and well.

Why are you on the path you’re on? And for what purpose do you live? What drives you? Is it guilt, or love, or pleasure, or honor? Respect? Wonder?

All of these things are those of our Great Mother. Christian, Pagan, whatever name you call that divine force by – these feelings and compulsions are what drive us.

Well, the title doesn’t really fit the above description. So, we’ll dissect my experience. Let us first assume that the entities that I felt that night were real in my individual existence, and perhaps, had there been another human present, in a collective existence. What did I note above?

  • How I felt during the duration of my experience
  • What occurred during the experience
  • What occurred after the experience

Other useful things to record when dealing with energies, which aren’t relevant or I did not feel comfortable revealing to the world wide web:

  • What occurred before the experience that drew me to the situation
  • How many energies were present besides myself?
  • Were the energies present divinely based, astrally based, or physically based? (was I speaking to god, a spirit, or a physical being such as a plant or animal)
  • What did I learn from the experience?

Keep a journal if you’re not Wiccan. And if you are – this stuff, both the methodology and the individual experiences that you have and collect throughout your adventures along your path – this stuff should be recorded in your Book of Shadows. That’s what its there for.

Til next time!

Interactions with Entities

Hey guys – the weekend was a busy time and I completely forgot about writing daily! I know, I know, I’m a bad person. I’ll make it up, at least.

I may have mentioned in previous posts (too lazy to check), but I’m currently participating in a weekly community service adventure to Habitat for Humanity. That’s right, once a week, I help out in rehabilitating houses. My father’s a roofer and general remodeling / construction man who owns his own business, so I have some experience. Needless to say, not used to the work, my muscles were crying out by the end of the 6 hour drywalling stint on Saturday. Nevertheless, if I ignore the twinging of my shoulders and the tingling in my fingers, I can keep typing!

I had a very interesting experience on Friday night regarding night time energies and speaking to the spirits. Now, I am the first one to call someone crazy in my mind if they spout too much ‘faeries’ and ‘bad spirits’ at me. And so, today, I will tell you my philosophy. And tomorrow, my experience.

Consider this. You walk by thousands of people every day (exaggerating, but let’s just say: many). Of these, how many notice you? How many actually care about what you are doing? Chances are, most of them are just trying to get through their lives – like you. And so, we can detract from this the following:

  1. The majority of people in the physical realm don’t give a shit about you.
    THEREFORE LET US ASSUME THAT
  2. The majority of entities in the astral realm don’t give a shit about you.

Alright, let’s continue. Let’s say you’re walking down the street, and you see someone drop their wallet. There are a few options:

  • Do nothing
  • Retrieve their wallet and chase after them to return it
  • Retrieve their wallet and keep it for yourself
  • Run screaming at them and kick them in the face

Most likely, if you’re a decent creature, you will do one of the first two. Hopefully the second. Now, if you drop your wallet, and someone sees it, lets hope that they will do the same. From this, we may assume several things:

  1. People in the physical realms tend to ignore each other, or help when needed
    THEREFORE LET US ASSUME THAT
  2. Entities in the astral realm will either ignore you, or try to help in a situation
  3. If the entity tries to hurt you, much like a person running screaming at you to kick you in the face, it will be a rare event.

Now, if you’re poking them with sticks or upsetting their environment, that’s an entirely different story. That is why in all things, we are supposed to act respectfully. You know…

  • Merry meet and merry part; bright the cheeks and warm the heart
  • Mind the threefold law you should, three times bad and three times good
  • Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill; and it harm none, do what ye will

Now, with that out of the way, (we’ll touch on group hysteria at a later time, I’m sure) let us evaluate briefly the benefits of interactions with forces which we cannot physically see.

  1. Reality is of utmost importance. Let us assume that, regardless of your belief in another’s story, it is their belief that matters – and so, the experience is meaningful, regardless if they are talking to themselves in their heads or something does exist in a world external from their own.
  2. From the skeptic point of view, these interactions with the self foster creativity and perhaps identify truths to that person about themselves previously unknown.
  3. From the spiritualist point of view, these interactions confirm a code of chivalry when dealing with other beings, and allow the person to bring home spiritual lessons and knowledge which they may then apply to their everyday life.

Continuing on…it seems at this point, I have 650 words and should probably save my experience of the weekend for another time. Stay tuned!