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[Witch Way] Volume #5 Issue #8 -- Winter, The Worst Is Past!
January 13, 2013
|Hi, Happy Imbolc!
Last month I told you I would begin explaining how to get what you desire this year. The new year is here, so it’s time to make good on my promise.
The last thing I said in my column last month was that before you can get what you want, you have to know what it is that you want. This seems obvious, but if it’s so obvious, why do most people live day to day, not getting what they truly want?
There are several reasons for this. One is that they don’t know what they really want, or more correctly, they haven’t taken the time to think about what they really want. If I ask you what you want out of life, your first answer is likely to be, “I don’t know.” or just as likely you would give a simple but trivial answer.
These answers aren’t given because you lack the intelligence to give a solid answer, it’s because you’ve probably never thought about it. We live in a society where people aren’t expected to think about what they want; they’re expected to give all their energies to their job, their family, and everything except themselves. In fact we are told that we are selfish, if we even hint at the idea we want something more out of life.
Don’t believe me? Try telling anyone you know, a friend, a coworker, even family, that you want a better life than you have. Chances are, whatever they tell you, it will be negative. They’ll tell you that you already have a good life, or that you must take what you’re given in life, or any of a hundred answers that all mean you don’t deserve better.
Why do people who know you, and are even supposed to care about you, tell you that you don’t deserve better? Two reasons, first, they don’t like the life they have, so if you get a better life, you must be somehow better than they are, and people don’t like to feel inferior. Second, all through our lives, even while our parents, teachers, and mentors are telling us that we can be anything we want to be, they are preparing us for life as an average working person.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of myself as average. The average person, in America at least, is keeping up with the Kardashians, or watching life on the Jersey Shore, and personally, I have to wonder why. While the average person is busy watching other people be successful, and have a good life, I’m busy being successful and having a good life. Average people do what they are expected to do, they follow the latest gossip about which celebrity is dating who. Average people live vicariously through other people because they don’t believe they deserve to be anything other than they already are.
If you believe that you are the best you’ll ever be, right at this moment, you might as well unsubscribe now. This isn’t for you. If on the other hand, you understand that you constantly grow, and learn, and evolve with time, you have the ability to get whatever you desire. It’s all up to you. You are the only one who can get what you want, and you are the only one who can keep you from getting what you want.
I want you to reread that last sentence over several times. You are your best ally. You are also your worst enemy. People talk about having a positive attitude. As Witches, we talk about visualizing the outcome of a spell. Both are irrevocably connected. If you as a Witch, expect to create change through magick, or any other means, you have to be able to clearly see the end result, and have the attitude that you can make the change. Otherwise, nothing will happen.
I was shocked to find that there are people who can’t visualize. If you ask them to imagine themselves in five years, they simply can’t. They will tell you that they will be doing the same things they are doing today, and that is all they expect. If you can’t imagine yourself living a better life, you never will find that life.
When I talk to some people about using their imagination, they immediately think I mean make things up. Imagination is one of the most powerful tools any person has. It took imagination to create your iPhone, your LCD TV, and your tablet computer, even the idea of building a house out of cut lumber, instead of living in a cave. For a Witch, imagination is required.
If you are to live a better life, first you must be able to see what that better life is, and then you must be able to see yourself living it. There are a lot of people who can imagine a better life, where a person has money, a lot of free time, the ability to travel to far off and exotic places, but they can’t see themselves in that type of life.
Why not? A lot of people seem to think it’s selfish to want more than the basics out of life. We are told from a very young age that being selfish is wrong. According to the World English Dictionary, the definition of selfish is, “relating to or characterized by self-interest”. There we find the basis of the problem. People believe that self-interest is bad.
Let’s face it, we are all self-interested. You want a warm, dry place to live. You don’t want to live in a cardboard box under a bridge. That’s self-interest. You want enough food to eat, that also is self-interest. You’d like to attract a mate, someone to share your life with. Again, this is self-interest. So tell me why self-interest, or by definition (which I’ve provided above) selfishness is wrong?
As with everything else, selfish behavior is only wrong when it’s taken too far. When your self-interest excludes all others, it’s a clinical behavior called Narcissism. Being selfish and self-interested is the basis for healthy self esteem. The ability to believe in yourself, is a form of selfishness. If you can’t believe in yourself, who can you believe in? More to the point, if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?
So the first step to attaining your desires, is believing that you can. First you must think long and hard about what it is you truly desire, then you must believe that you can attain that desire, and be able to see yourself living that desire. It sounds so simple when it’s put that way, yet even knowing that, most people will never achieve their desires.
Next month I will discuss what keeps us from attaining our dreams.
The Witching Hour
by Marcus Leader
For this month’s offering I had planned to share with you some information about the assemblage point of awareness, but I have decided to postpone that until next month because I have some new information relative to this powerful topic of energy manipulation, that I think should be shared at the same time, and the information will not be ready for public release for another couple weeks. So until the next article I have decided to give you a break from my technical dissertations and share with you a true story that could make you think twice about going into a basement by yourself!
Because of the nature of this event, I feel that I must first qualify this story by telling those of you that do not know me a little bit about my world.
Besides being a paranormal researcher, I was fortunate enough to encounter an extraordinary man many years ago who single handedly changed the course of occult belief around the world with his books and lessons from his encounters with a Toltec Shaman. Dr. Carlos Castaneda authored 11 books and was called by Time Magazine as the “Godfather of the New Age”.
I called him my friend and teacher as he took me under his wing for 8 years teaching me the secrets of His lineage of Toltec Shamans that had been handed down by word of mouth for nearly 500 years.
Sometimes his teaching methods were somewhat unorthodox and very frightening. This story is about one of my learning exercises that took place near the end of my apprenticeship. A learning experience that to this day still has me proceeding into basements with a considerable amount of trepidation.
It all started one evening late in October during a full moon. Carlos asked me to meet him at a house near the water on Lake Coeur d’Alene Idaho where I live. The house was a single story with large garden style windows. When I pulled up to the house there were no lights on and I started to get that eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me something bad was going to happen.
I got out of my van and walked to the front door which was standing ajar. I knocked on the door and it opened even more from my rapping and I called out “Carlos?” No answer... man I hate this type of scenario but I walked in anyway reaching for the light switches and finding them not to work. The inside of the house was illuminated in shadows from the full moon shining through the windows. It was eerie and surreal but I pushed on entering what appeared to be the living room. Calling out to Carlos again and not hearing a reply made me even more nervous and I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up anticipating doom.
I was just about to turn and head back out the door when I saw movement at the far corner of the room. I called out again “Carlos?” and stepped a few feet closer to the movement. It was then that I saw that it was not Carlos but a female standing in the shadows. I called out to her and she glided from the corner of the room to a position about 6 feet away from me which caused me to instantly freeze. Her face was in the moonlight and my first impression was that she was absolutely beautiful! Her skin had no color at least not in the moonlight and when I saw her eyes I wanted to turn and run but I tried my best to maintain my cool. Her eyes were gorgeous but the iris of her eyes were totally black giving the appearance of having two large black eyes surrounded by white.
I was not sure if I should run or stay longer with this very beautiful and seductive creature. Turns out that Creature was the correct word for as soon as I decided to stay I felt a suction coming from my heart area like someone had inserted a straw and sucking out my energy. Well this freaked me out and I turned to run and in a flash she was standing in front of me blocking my exit!!! She moved closer in a very jerky glide and I then noticed that she was not standing on the ground I bolted for the door running right into her and instead of knocking her down I ran right through her!!!! As I did I gasped because it felt so cold and there was a numbing energy that hit my entire body causing me to fall to the floor. Just then I heard laughter and turned just in time to see Carlos standing in the door way smiling from ear to ear saying why Marcos it looks that you have seen a ghost!
Well after he stopped laughing, Carlos took me to the room where Andrea ( pronounced Ahn Dre ya) was still waiting for me. She came at me again so fast it made me jump and fall backwards much to Carlos’s amusement. He then formally introduced her as Andrea your spiritual adversary. Seems that to fine tune your spiritual defensive tools a Shaman must encounter an adversary much as a boxer has a sparring partner and what an adversary she was!
Andrea was not a corporal being made of flesh and blood she was what the Toltec shamans call an etheric double vampire. Andrea did not suck blood she sucked personal energy or chi. Carlos instructed me on a method of what he called magickal passes which worked very well in dispelling this seductive creature. All was well for about 2 months and there had not been another encounter with Andrea so I figured I learned my lesson well and I would never encounter her again... WRONG!
I was called on a job to retrofit some windows in a basement downtown one day when I got an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach that alerted my senses. It was a half-lit basement and I could only make out boxes and junk all over. Just at that moment, I was hit from behind and knocked to the floor. I felt like a jolt of electricity went through me as I lay on the floor trying to move. I look up and coming at me was Andrea but she was NOT seductive or beautiful. Her face was distorted and grotesque and the last thing I saw before she jumped on top of me and held me to the floor was the red glow from her pupils. I lost consciousness and awoke to laughter and my name being called out "Marcos , Marcos , Marcos" It was Carlos again saying "how many times do I have to tell you not to play with vampires?" After having his fun making fun of me Carlos got very serious and said that I should not under estimate the danger from this type of energy vampire. He said they have no conscious and they do have the ability to induce death by lowering your life force to a fatal level. He said that many people attract these creatures that come to them in the night and drain their energy making their victims very lethargic during their waking hours. He then warned me that he will not be around for my next encounter with Andrea and that I should always be alert.
Well, to this day I have not encountered Andrea again but every time I walk into a dark room or have to go into an unfamiliar basement I cringe and step cautiously for I know that my spiritual adversary is still out there just waiting for the right moment to attack. Carlos leaves me with such wonderful gifts! (sarcasm)
By Gwynalda Shadowalker
Happy New Year! And since you’re reading this, you must have survived the 2012 year-end holiday madness with your sanity still relatively intact, which is always a good thing. Since the apocalypse predicted by the doomsayers failed to manifest yet AGAIN (remember Y2K?), I reckon that we all had quite a bit to celebrate.
So, here we are in the midst of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The social festivities of Yule and New Year’s are behind us, and there’s not much to look forward to until the spring thaw sets in. (In Colorado, March and April are the snowiest months—so that might not happen until May.)
A lot of folks are going through a rough patch emotionally right now, which seems more serious than the typical post-holiday blues. It’s tough to get motivated to accomplish anything when one’s feeling so depressed. That lousy mood makes it oh-so-tempting to keep hitting the snooze button and hibernating for a few more weeks, especially when it’s so cold and dreary outside.
Our Celtic ancestors noticed this very human reaction to the ravages of late winter. The clever Scots explained it in their myth cycle of Beira (the Cailleach, or Winter Hag), Bride (the Spring Maiden), and Angus (“The-Ever-Young”—Beira’s son).
In the old tale, the beautiful young Princess Bride is the captive servant of Queen Beira in the hag’s cold and barren Northern kingdom. Bride has only crumbs to eat and rags to wear. Beira assigns Bride the task of changing a brown fleece to white. No matter how many times Bride washes the fleece, however, it remains brown.
Beira gets quite exasperated with her royal servant for failing to do the impossible. And day after day, the Winter Hag sends Bride back out to the stream to repeat the same futile task. The young princess becomes quite dejected. She weeps because no matter how hard she tries, her efforts are always in vain.
Meanwhile, Beira’s son, Angus, has dreamed of the beautiful sorrowing Bride and has fallen in love with her. He vows to rescue the princess and sets off from the Green Isle of the West to do just that.
One day an elderly gentleman passing by notices Bride’s tears and asks why she’s crying. She explains. He takes the brown fleece, shakes it thrice, and returns the now snowy white wool to her—as well as a bouquet of fresh snowdrop blossoms.
The old man (Father Winter) also imparts a message for Bride to pass along to her captor: “If Beira scolds you, give her these flowers, and if she asks where you found them, tell her that they came from the green rustling fir-woods. Tell her also that the cress is springing up on the banks of streams, and that the new grass has begun to shoot up in the fields.”*
When Beira sees the flowers, she goes ballistic—this can only mean that her reign as Winter Queen is nearly over. She and her eight storm-hag cronies ride out on their goat-steeds to summon forth wintery tempests. Beira seeks to prevent the land from re-awakening. The Winter Queen also tries to prolong her reign by driving her son, the future Summer King, back to the Green Isle so that he cannot find Bride.
Ultimately, Beira fails. And on the first day of spring in early February, Angus finds and weds his Princess Bride.
*P. 35, Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend by Donald Alexander Mackenzie, 1917. The complete text is available at SacredTexts.com
In another version of this story, the Hag/Winter Queen and the Spring Maiden/Summer Queen are the same Goddess. After She drinks of the sacred Waters of Eternal Youth, the Hag transforms into the Maiden and happily reunites with her son (Sun)/consort. Yes, well, in light of the oftentimes contradictory Wiccan “Wheel of the Year” mythos and the Celtic concept of non-linear time, that does make a weird sort of sense. (I also rather doubt it’s a coincidence that the Gaelic words for old woman [“cailleach”] and young girl [“caileag”] are so similar…. But surely, I digress.)
Most Witches are probably more familiar with the Irish Spring Maiden Goddess—Brighid (pronounced “breedj”—like “bridge” but with a long ee). The Irish Brighid is the daughter of the Dagdha (the “Good God”) and the Morrigan (the mighty War Goddess), and is THE most beloved Celtic deity.
In the myths of the Irish Tuatha De Danann, Brighid married the half-Fomorian prince, Bres, who later became king after Nuada lost his hand in battle. Bres was a miserly ruler, however, and was later deposed. During the battles, Brighid’s son, Ruadan, was killed, and she mourned his death with the first sound of keening ever heard.
Brighid became the tripartite divine matron of poetry, smithcraft and healing. She survived into modern times as the Catholic Saint Brigit. Much of the lore attributed to the saint is confused with that of the goddess, and vice versa.
Both saint and goddess share the same holiday: February 1st through 2nd—the half-way point between the Midwinter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. Wiccans call this cross-quarter festival “Imbolc” (from the Old Irish imbolg, meaning “in the belly”) or “Oimelc” (pronounced “oy-melk”, meaning “ewe’s milk”). Catholics call this celebration “Candlemas” (“feast of candles”).
A priestess friend of mine recently asked if I could celebrate Imbolc without doing so in Brighid’s honor. I immediately replied, “No way!” But then I recalled an Imbolc ritual that I helped to put together last year. The presiding High Priestess identified strongly with the Cailleach, and for this and other reasons, had always considered Imbolc her least favorite Sabbat. (I’m the exact opposite: Brighid is one of my Matron deities, and Imbolc is one of my favorite Sabbats.)
We created a ritual that left out many of the traditional elements associated with Brighid, with the exception of lighting candles (which kept blowing out). Hmmm. I wondered why that ritual felt so “off” at the time. The Goddess must have Her due, after all, if we want to continue to receive Her blessings.
To “make up” for that omission last year, I taught a couple of seminars about Imbolc lore and facilitated guided visualizations to meet the Goddess. Participants worked on releasing and letting go of that which no longer served them, as well as clarifying and setting goals to manifest their desires over the next Turning of the Wheel. We made butter and corn dollies, carved and lit candles, and explored the healing powers of Brighid’s sacred wells.
We formed a circle, and then we each went through Brighid’s Hoop (a silver sparking hula-hoop decorated with woven red ribbons) three times while chanting: Brighid beside me, Brighid to guide me. Three times will I go through Thee, Seven times better my life will be.
On Imbolc Eve last year, I left an offering out for the Lady and Her Wee Folk—homemade butter, walnuts, honey and Drambuie. It seemed to fit right in with that old Irish adage, “What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there’s no cure for.” And if I recall correctly, Denver did receive quite a lot of snow after the sun set on February 2nd.
I am Brighid, Lady of the Faery Folk, Elder Goddess of the Fomorians and Mother of the Tuatha de Danaan, Exalted One.
Before the beginning of days, I WAS.
I am Song-Sweet Brighid Of the Tribe of the Green Mantles.
I am the heart of poetry, And I have been a whisper in your mind Since before your first birth.
My radiant flame of gold Protects you from all dangers. No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn you, No lake, no water, no sea shall drown you, No arrow of Faery nor dart of Fay shall wound you.
May the flames warm you, May the waters heal you, May the winds inspire you, Under My protection, go in peace.
Happy Imbolc and Blessed Be—Gwynalda )O(
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Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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