Witchcraft Journal Blog

A resource for information and opinions on the beliefs, practices, customs, and magic of Traditional Witchcraft of the British Isles.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 2 =-

[This is a the second instalment of an article by Aquilius Cattus that appeared in Witches' Voice. Hope you enjoy it. Adrian.]

I would like to discuss the most important point covered in this essay first, which is the secret to a fruitful practice. The secret rests within the simple formula of intention = action = result. If you plant the proper seeds, and cultivate them with care, the fruits that follow will be that much sweeter. Whenever we act, there is always going to be an intention behind it—even if we are completely unaware of it. It is that action, colored by the type of intention behind it, which becomes the basis for a result. We therefore reap the results of our own actions, and those results depend a great deal on the quality of the intention or intentions that preceded it. While it seems overly simplistic at first, it becomes more complicated when we realize how unruly and subversive our own intentions can be, and how the results of our past actions can influence the present (hence the results of our actions will never be exactly as we design them to be, and we will need some room for creativity). With actual insight (and not just intellectual conceptualization) into this phenomenon, a magician will have incalculable benefits added onto his or her practice—regardless of what that practice may be.

To develop the skill of being aware of our intentions and then using them appropriately takes a great deal of training. Perhaps this is what initially turns away many of the brash, young would-be magicians from exploring this further, but patience is a virtue (and a very important one at that). The reason it is so difficult is because the mind is continuously moving, and a great many things, things such as underlying tendencies (habits), greed, hatred, and simple unawareness, influence these movements. It can be a massive undertaking to explore the mind, understand it, tame it, and finally direct it towards whatever it is that we are working. While this training is too complicated and time consuming to cover fully in this brief composition, we can at least look at the basic factors involved. It would also help to caution the brash, young would-be magician to start this training with mundane physical, verbal, and mental activities until an appropriate combination of direct experience and insight is reached. If we were to begin to experiment with our magickal workings right away, who knows what unforeseen complications might arise. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

The first factor involved is to gain an awareness of the fact that we are not always in full control, even of our own minds. This is often in direct conflict with our ego who likes to imagine all is under its control; however, we must not let delusion get the best of us. One simple way of understanding this is to think about what happens when we try to keep something in mind for an extended period of time. What usually happens? The mind gets bored. When we wish to focus our mind on something, we tend to have to fight to keep it there. If we do not exert a substantial amount of effort, our mind will have the tendency to wander off to more exciting and alluring distractions. Just imagine the harm that this can cause in our magickal workings. Who knows what subconscious intentions we are putting into our works without even knowing it? The mind is moving and working constantly (even when we think we are holding it still), and we must continually remind ourselves of this if we are to one day master it. If we do not keep this knowledge firmly in mind, we will never pay close enough attention to the mind’s inner workings to see all of the subtle tricks that it can play.

Continued in Part 3, tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 1 =-

The following is from an article by Aquilius Cattus and appeared in Witches' Voice. Hope you enjoy it. Adrian.

As simplistic as what I am about to say is going to sound, it is something that is important to keep in mind whenever learning, studying, or practicing any magickal path. No matter what course of magickal studies one may choose to undertake, one must always be able and willing to see beyond the exterior of such practices. One must not be afraid to dig deep beneath the rites and rituals, and to uncover what it is that actually lies underneath these useful tools. To unlock the core of any teaching, one must have the ability to develop direct insight into the very nature of their own hearts and minds, for the mind is the forerunner of all things. With this skill, any practitioner will be able to progress rapidly in the right direction on their chosen path, because even the right path will lead to a bad destination if the mind of the traveler is polluted by unskillful and ultimately corruptible intentions. The practice of magick is certainly no exception.

When we first begin the journey of exploration into our chosen field of study, religion, or magickal practice we will usually start with the basics. We will learn the correct words, phrases, motions, ceremonies, procedures, and all of the various do’s and don’ts associated with them. From there, we will probably learn the meanings behind what we have initially learned. We will learn the definitions of the words and phrases, the reasoning behind the motions, the symbolism behind the ceremonies, and the methodology behind the procedures. Subsequently, the last step is generally learning how to apply all of these things to our present lives and experiences. Regardless of what path of practice we may immerse ourselves in, this is going to be the basic outline of the learning process. It is rare to have any structured way of learning deviate from this basic pattern. Therefore, while this process is relatively standard, I feel that some of the specific keys to the magician’s success should be elaborated upon because they are sometimes overlooked.

In my experience, the danger often lies in two things. One is when the magician clings to one way of practice without a proper understanding of why it is useful in the first place. The second is when they blindly wield their power without the knowledge of how to use it wisely and skillfully. It is the second danger that I wish to explore here. It is hard to give a simple example of what I mean, but the basic premise is to understand what our intentions actually are, and just where our intentions lie in relation to the fulfillment of our desires. When we understand exactly what it is that we are doing, and the reasons.

Part 2 tomorrow

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Protecting and Shielding With Herbs

The following was taken from an article in Witches' Voice. You can see the full article there.
Go to fullsize image

There are many different ways of protecting and shielding, but I am not sure that everyone will wish to discuss or open up about how they shield or protect themselves. Personally , I don't wish to tell anyone everything about how I accomplish this. I hope that no one takes offense; it's just a personal decision. If I tell everyone how I shield, I am opening myself up for any person to figure out how to "attack" or "break through" my shields if they so chose. While it's not likely that anyone would want to, let's face it, this is a public domain, and breaking through shields can be done. Rather than discussing some of my most private and personal ways of doing this, then, I choose to share my knowledge and experience of a particular form of Earth Magic. And that form is how to protect oneself or shield oneself with herbs.

Herbs , as most of us already know , have different spiritual, medicinal and magical properties. Spiritually, they can aid healing and cleansing of thespirit/soul , mind and/or heart (and chakras.) Medicinally, they can assist in the healing of physical ailments and/or illnesses , and magically, they can aid in the casting and/or production of spells and/or bending of the will toward the acquisition of personal desires. If we study herbology long and hard enough, we can learn how to use herbs to our benefit in each of these ways.

There are many hundreds of thousands of herbs that our lovely Mother has provided us., and there is no way to learn them all in a lifetime. Even the most knowledgeable herbalists realize that learning about herbs is a continual study, practice and process. The study of herbs , depending on how far one wishes to take it , can become complex and difficult. It's almost as hard as going to pharmacology school! In fact , in my opinion, the study of herbs and all of their properties can be much harder than pharmacology school. Unlike standard western medicines and synthetics, herbs are not federally regulated; they encompass a broad spectrum of uses, ultimately leaving it up to the individual to learn about them, whereas in pharmacology a person only learns what the federal government "allows" and what the school teaches. Moreover, there are many, many more herbs than there are federally recognized and standardized drugs! But as most of us already know, 90% of the drugs we do have are extracted from herbs; medicines have been coming from our Mother Earth since the beginning of humankind and the emergence of our innate desire to help those in need.

Tarot Interpretation

This is an interesting article from Metereligion, one of my fav websites. It has been edited. Adrian

Interpretation of the Tarot comes completely from what the cards signify to you. Many use the books that occompany every deck, holding the "true" interpretations of the cards. The books are there to start you off, not confine you to the parameters of the authors opinion. Even though they published the deck, remember, the Tarot connects with your Inner Self, the author simply doesn't have room to be the middle man.

Interpretation comes in three separate aspects. The meaning of the:

  • Individual Card

  • Position of the Spread

  • Overall Reading

Which is the most important?

Most believe the individual card meanings are most important. This is untrue. Where does this leave us? [T]he most important and accurate interpretations come from you. Which ever aspect seems more significant at the time, that's the one that is most significant.

When interpreting individual cards, look at the card and figure out what you see and the implications it gives. However it comes to you, let the thoughts flow, and the interpretation will flow also.

Positions in a spread exist in a logical pattern that suggests the relationship between cards. Positions often imply a chronological state or influence, helping to establish a workable time frame for the reader. The spread positions define the origins of the energies being interpreted.

Becoming a fluent reader does not happen over night. Rather, it takes many hours spent familiarizing yourself with your deck and strengthening the connection between your consciousness and Inner Self.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Can a Christian or Jew become a Witch?

Yes. But only if they leave Christianity or Judaism. Witchcraft is a religion all unto its own. The traditions within the Craft have their own belief structures.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Magic Vs. Prayer

There are two means available to us to change life's circumstances, magic and prayer. They have three things in common: 1) both refuse to accept the status quo; 2) both assume the ability to affect change; 3) and both require a belief that the procedure could work.

"Could" work?

Of course, while we have "faith" in the process as a workable solution, this faith should be tempered with a realization that just because we want something, doesn't mean we can have it. Sometimes the answer is "no". Some things are not meant to be changed.

Magic and prayer are two distinct approaches to problem solving. Magic is the belief that supernatural forces can be influenced and manipulated by executing a ritualistic formula, either physical or verbal. For magic to work, energy must be manipulated. The seeker or witch takes the active role in the manipulation. The energy can be from any
source, herbal energy, a spiritual force, God energy, an Elemental or planetary energy, etc.

This manipulation is what takes magic beyond the scope of prayer.

Prayer is a conversational request. It is not a ritual as much as a submitted application for assistance. It is asking God to manipulate change.

It is a paradox that Christian hymn verse and set liturgy glorifying God is magic! This is so because the hymns and liturgy are based on "the belief that supernatural forces can be influenced and manipulated by executing a ritualistic formula." The worshipper or congregant takes the active role in the manipulation, albeit without a conscious intent to
manipulate. But manipulation it certainly is.

Magic and prayer are two distinctly different approaches, nevertheless they utilize a means to achieve the same result.

by Adrian
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Monday, July 24, 2006

Doing Spells

Lighting a candle and chanting some words over a flame does not mean you are actually casting a spell. Before you begin down the path of magic, you should understand how it works.

The universe is energy; and on and within the Earth, we live within these energies. They surround us.

These energies must be used correctly or they can disrupt the flow of our lives or the lives of others. Therefore, it is important to be patient and learn what you are doing before you accidentally do harm when you intended to do good.

I would also like to say that I am a believer in Personal Consent and in the Law of Return.

Personal Consent means that we need to get permission before trying to "help" someone.

The Law of Return is a rule which states that in accordance with the laws of physics, energy that is directed in one direction will eventually return in the opposite direction. For every force there is an equal counter-force. Thus, positive spells are returned, as are the negative.

Wiccans believe in the Law of Three. That spells (energy) sent for good or evil return to the sender in threes.

Therefore, if you follow, it's wise to have the knowledge necessary rather than trying to do magic thru the back door.

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