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[Witch Way] Volume #6 Issue #8 -- The Month of Janus
January 13, 2014
|Hi, Happy New Year!
I’m going to do something a little different this month. Instead of marveling at another year gone by, I’m going to repost a newsletter I got, that explains a magickal concept in a mundane way. I get a lot of newsletters in email. Several are related to making money and doing business online. I read the following on New Year’s day, and it struck me how without knowing it, this author is actually crafting a very powerful spell. This is the essence of magick, Will & Intent.
While this particular spell is about making or keeping more money, it works for anything you make as a goal, and besides, we could all use a little more money, right? Read the column, and I think you’ll find that at its core, it’s telling you exactly what I’ve been telling you all along. Set specific goals, find what steps it takes to reach those goals, then take the steps. That is how you take control of your life, and take it where you want to go, not the other way around.
Happy New Year!
Making New Year’s Resolution You Actually Keep This Year
I bet I can guess what New Year’s Resolution you made this year. Statistically it’s one of two things; to trim either your wallet or your waistline. That’s the promise everyone makes. To either get in shape and lose some weight or pay off some bills and make more money this year. And since you signed up to receive information from League of Power, a company committed to making its members richer, I’m going to guess your choice had more to do with your wallet (although I’m sure trimming your waistline would be nice too). No matter if you are up to your ears in past due bills or have some money in the bank, New Year’s presents an opportunity to do better. Isn’t that what you are really creating a resolution for, to be better off financially this year? How do you do that, you ask? Well your first step has to be to look inward. You must ask yourself how you got to this place where you don’t want to be anymore. Identify what caused your financial troubles in the first place. Is it a spending addiction or are your monthly bills more than 25 percent of your monthly income? Whatever it is you need to identify the areas that are causing you to overspend. Then make a commitment to yourself that things will be different in 2014. I can give you all the tips and tricks available, but if you don’t commit to making change then this information will do you no good. Once you’ve made yourself this promise it’s time to set some goals. Think about what you want to accomplish this year. Do you want to travel more? Or pay off your house? Do you want to make more money? Choose one or two financial goals to accomplish this year. If in years past you’ve made New Year’s resolutions only to fall off the bandwagon just a month or two later, then I’ve got a solution that will help you stay committed this year. The real secret to keeping your resolutions is in the crafting of your goals. I follow the SMART goal setting protocol. I make my goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Specificity is the key to staying on point throughout your journey. Don’t say I want to be richer by the end of this year. That’s too general. Say I will open an IRA account this year and contribute the maximum amount. It’s much easier to accomplish your goal when you are precise.
It’s also important to make your financial goals measurable. You will not be able to accomplish your goal overnight. It will take you months, if not the entire year, to reach your goal. Because of this your goal will need to be tracked throughout the year. This is important to staying committed to your goal. If you can see the progress you are making, you will remain motivated to attain your resolution. Break your goal up into monthly or weekly mini accomplishments so you can measure your progress. For example if your goal is to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt by the end of this year, break that down into 12 monthly goals you need to meet ($417 a month). Break that down further by paying $104.25 each week. That way you can check off each week you pay and see that $5,000 balance come down. You’ll never reach your goal if you make them too hard to accomplish. That’s why I do not want you to set more than two goals. You don’t want to overcommit and then fail when you realize you made things too hard on yourself. You must be realistic in your pursuit. Every exercise professional will tell you it’s impossible to make a 360 degree change. No one goes from never working out to working out three days a week. It’s too big of a change and you set yourself up for failure. The same goes with finances. You can’t go from big spender to cost cutting queen overnight if you want to find long term success. Choose one or two things you want to accomplish this year and set your mind to it. Paying off bills, saving for retirement and putting money aside for a rainy day are not fun things to do, I get that. Don’t make goals simply because you think you should. You’ll never meet a goal you don’t care much about. Instead of committing to saving 20 percent of each of your paychecks, tie it to an action you actually want to do like traveling more or retiring early. These goals are much more motivating, than simply saying you want to save money. Just like you need a starting line for your goals, you also need a finish line. Set a deadline for accomplishing each goal. You’ll need that pressure to motivate you to continually move towards your goal. Once you’ve made your selections right them down on a sticky note. Then place them in an area that you see every day. Mine are on the mirror of my bathroom. Every day when I get up, they are the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to bed. They help continually remind me of what I want to accomplish. It also keeps me focused on my goals, which is especially helpful for when I’m feeling depressed and want to give myself a pick me up by buying myself something nice.
Next write yourself a letter detailing why these goals are important. You need to remind yourself what it is about this goal that makes you want to achieve it. Come up with at least two to three reasons for each goal. Then go to futureme.org. This site lets you send a future letter to yourself. We all need motivation and reminding yourself of why you came up with these goals in the first place in a great way to keep yourself on track. You type out the letter and set a future date to send it to yourself. This will help keep you motivated along your journey.
Finally, don’t worry if you get knocked off track along the way. It will happen at some point that you make a mistake, or miss a benchmark. When this happens you may feel like giving up. Don’t allow that to happen! Instead come up with an action that will get you back on course. If you do that you will be better off than 95 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions.
Good luck! Nancy Patterson
Someone Else With The Same Message[If you’d rather watch a video, here’s another marketer saying pretty much the same thing, and actually using words like “manifest” and “ritual” to explain what he means. I keep saying Witchcraft isn’t just something you do 8 times a year, or on the Full Moon. Jeff Walker lives up in Durango, CO. a perfect place to get back to nature – Ken]
(You may need to open in a browser to watch the video)
The Witching Hour
by Marcus Leader
As we start this new year we each should look deep inside ourselves and examine our accumulated spiritual and magickal experiences and knowledge. This is best done by taking an inventory of our spiritual broom closets to put into perspective what we have accomplished or learned up to this exact moment, which establishes a reference point of where we are in our lives. Without a spiritual reference point of our here and now, we tend to lose track of where we have been and this obscures our aspirations and stagnates our future progress.
Take an honest look at your personal inventory and then decide what needs to be discarded and what needs to be improved or added. This would also be an excellent time to reaffirm or set your spiritual or magickal goals in life. The Toltec shamans call this act “sweeping the Tonal”.
This sweeping of the tonal allows shamans to gain a clutter free view of their own magickal world and allows clarity of thought and paves the way to the impeccable actions of intent. If you set aside a time to do this once or twice a year you will experience not only increased productivity, but you will begin to feel a lightness about you, caused by a sense of spiritual freedom as you sweep away the accumulated unnecessary thoughts, ideas, or perceptions of your excess spiritual baggage and ties.
Not all shamans practice this technique, in fact to my knowledge it is indigenous only to the Toltec shaman. Among all the cultures of shaman around the world, the Toltecs are the most mysterious and technical of all shaman. Technical is an odd term to use in describing any form of shamanism but it is the best suited term in the case of the Toltecs.
In the world of the shaman, Toltec Shamans are considered to be adepts at perception and energy manipulation. They have spent centuries exploring and pushing the boundaries of perception of our physical world and the worlds beyond. They act as spiritual warriors to gain mastery and control over not only their own luminous being, but of the natural world around them. The ultimate goal of a Toltec shaman is to gain freedom through the accumulation of personal power and total control of their perception so that they may pass between the worlds whenever they so desire and most important of all, to have the power and knowledge to act with impeccability at the time of their death so that they retain the power and knowledge and therefore freedom to continue to act under their own will on the other side.
There are many shamanic cultures and shamans around the world and all of them contain great knowledge and teachings. Most people when they hear the word shaman, think of medicine man because this is the most common specialty that shamans are known for around the world. Shamans, even Toltec’s are healers both of the mind, spirit and body. But they are also the healers of animals, plants and even the mineral kingdom. They are in short healers of the planet! Shaman also have the ability to speak with animals on a spiritual level and often have their own spirit animals that aid the shaman in various acts of healing and protection as well as teaching and seeking vision of the future.
Toltec shamans even have developed the ability to speak and interact with the mineral kingdom known as inorganic beings and although it can be dangerous, shaman sometimes seek wisdom and spiritual aid from these odd and mysterious entities.
Some shamans use psychotropic plants to shake the normal reality of the world so that a separate reality comes into perception and it is in these places that shaman seek their vision quests and speak with the Creator and other beings both inorganic and organic. They use substances like peyote, datura, and psilocybin Mexicana, the magic mushroom. Not all shaman use these substances and the ones that do use them in moderation.
The Toltecs have been known to use some of these substances including a mixture called little smoke which has psilocybin mexicana and some other things which I cannot divulged in a public arena. They use these psychotropic very rarely and only for those students that have trouble shaking their view of the false reality of the world around them. I myself am of a new lineage and the use of these substances is not used at all for they have been replaced with more advanced techniques that make psychotropics obsolete. My teacher gave it to me once, a substance called little smoke to teach me why it was best not to use it. I spoke of this in one of my past articles, but in short, the use of psychotropic substances will shake your perception and allow perception of other realities but you sacrifice control of both your perceptions and personal power thereby leaving you defenseless in what can be a hostile world.
These are only small examples of what the world of the shaman represents. There are so many more functions that a shaman serves and so many other types of shamananic cultures that I could not possibly touch upon in this short article, but I hope this will have given some of you a different perspective on the mysterious world of the shaman.
In closing this month I would like to give you a peek through the eyes of a Toltec shaman and take you on a stroll into the veil that separates our world from the next, in hopes of illustrating some of the things I have shared with you.
Before I proceed further, I want to make very clear that my perceptions and explanations of the paranormal universe and the phenomenon within were taught to me by my shamanic mentor over a period of 8 years and then later experienced firsthand. I have tested these perceptions through experimentation in and out of lab to the fullest extent within our scientific understanding of the Universe. This research along with the findings of other researchers around the world have produced substantial evidence indicating that my perceptions and theories are correct....HOWEVER, these are still ONLY theories to use as possible sign posts along YOUR own personal path of discovery. In the end, PROOF of these alternate realities is something that can only be validated through direct experience and accepted within your heart as truth.
If I were to help you “shift” your perception to align your conscious awareness with the phase-shifted vibrations of the primal energy that permeates our universe, you would be standing face to face with what many hyper dimensional physicists call the Zero Point Field. To the shaman it is known as the Plane of Power and in many other belief systems, it is called the Etheric Plane. However, the most common and affectionate term for it, especially among investigators of the paranormal, is the Veil between the Worlds.
Completely surrounding you would be an ocean that you would “see” as a pulsating and churning bluish-white light in varying degrees of rapidly changing forms and shades of color density. You would feel as though you were surrounded by a sea of white and blue shimmering clouds that distorted your visual perceptions similar to the effect of heat waves rising off the surface of a hot desert road.
Through the chakras of your body you feel and hear an almost incomprehensible roar caused by the transfer of energy and information between the physical and spiritual worlds. You would intuitively understand in an instant that this place of power, this Veil between the worlds served two purposes. First, it is the place where all energy on the physical plane emanates from and travels through….. it is a conduit of the primal force and sustains our world energetically. Second it is the medium or “ether” through which information from higher rings or planes of harmonically phase shifted vibrations, sometimes referred to as the Astral Plane or Spirit World, is transmitted through.
Standing in this sea of such an awe inspiring force would cause an overwhelming feeling of confusion by its grandeur, and you may miss many of the more subtle intricacies that occur there. If you were to focus your awareness off into the undulating currents in any given direction, you would eventually notice one of many individual spheres of white light far off in the distance. These spheres seem to move for a distance and then just vanish right before the etheric eyes! Soon you would also intuitively understand that these are what shamans call thought spheres. These thought spheres are made from the very matrix of the plane of power itself by the focused intent of a being either from our world or from a world beyond the Veil. These “thought spheres” are a form of communication and can be both consciously generated as well as subconsciously. When someone prays to a Deity or asks for help and guidance from a spiritual guide or simply longs for a loved one lost, it generates a thought sphere of energy that is launched to its target through the power of intent. Most of these messages are lost or absorbed by the highly energetic fields of the Veil or Plane of Power and never reach their targets.
The more brilliant and powerful spheres often have a greater rate of success for they are driven with a more powerful force of intent most often as a result of greater emotional need or desire. The most brilliant of these spheres from the physical plane originate from skilled people of knowledge or religious faith such as clergy, priests (of all religious belief systems), shamans, and surprisingly enough…. young children! From the other side of the Veil the brilliant spheres of energy seem to originate from Deity, spiritual teachers (angels?) , and a very large group of spirits that still have emotional ties on the physical plane (ghosts?). Slipping back into our own reality you would see and feel the surface of the etheric veil as we slipped through its elastic barriers and back into our own normal reality.
Until next time may you have a great and prosperous new year.
By Gwynalda Shadowalker
Dispelling “Wiccan Mystique”: Part III—TRADITIONAL
“That’s not the way we do it in MY Tradition,” s/he proclaimed haughtily, and then flounced off in a fit of self-righteous indignation.
Query: How many times has THAT happened? Answer: Far too many for me to count...
Imagine that you’ve been asked to lead an open Wiccan ritual. You consecrate the elemental representations, cleanse and charge the space, cast the circle, call the quarters, invite one or two of your favorite deities, and guide those with you to raise energy. Everything flows, change is wrought, magick is afoot.
Afterwards, several celebrants tell you how deeply and profoundly they were affected, that they definitely “felt something,” that they personally experienced the power of divinity. You’re thrilled and delighted to have been able to serve in such a manner. You’re all excited. This is great. This is what it means to be Pagan Clergy.
Then one of the celebrants, who you don’t know very well (and who runs a group that’s part of a famous author-Witch’s Tradition), comes up to you and tells you in no uncertain terms that you did something wrong and that you need to go back to Witch School, preferably theirs, which charges a hefty fee, but they’re willing to give you a discount.
You patiently explain that you’ve been practicing and teaching for quite a long while, and that you’ll continue to keep on doing what you’ve been doing the way you’ve been doing it, but if it makes them so uncomfortable to be in Circle with someone who does things differently, then perhaps they shouldn’t attend rituals facilitated by those who aren’t members of their Tradition.
Don’t be surprised if the disgruntled celebrant starts trashing you and your Tradition all over town, as a result of this conversation.
Discussions of “Tradition” can get a mite bit dicey. Most folks who come into the Craft sincerely believe that what they’ve been taught by their first Craft teachers is the One-True-Right-And-ONLY-Way. Oftentimes, it’s not. However, there’s a very real human need to have faith in things that can’t be proven, to do things the same RIGHT way every time, and to trust that statements made by authority figures are true. We don’t want to listen when that pesky, childlike inner voice hollers, “The Empress is Skyclad!” We wish that we could see her fabulous new robes. We don’t want to be exposed as incompetent or gullible. We WANT to believe...
The term “Tradition” has become equivalent to “Denomination.” Upon further examination, it becomes clear that “Tradition” is a personality-driven phenomenon, similar to what the Protestant denominations once were. For example, Henry VIII founded the Anglican Church after the Roman Catholic Pope refused to grant him an annulment. Henry defied the Pope, and made himself the head of the new Church of England. He promptly divorced his barren Spanish queen, and married the much younger Anne Boleyn. Several centuries later, the British monarch is still the head of the Anglican Church.
In a personality-driven religion, the founder has quite a lot of latitude when it comes to setting up policies and procedures. What starts off as a personal preference (or simply the way one has figured out how to do something because it suits them the best) quickly becomes the “standard.” And presto, you’ve got orthopraxy. Anyone deviating from that standard is wrong and worthy of denunciation. Small differences can get magnified all out of proportion. Ambitious rivals, contending for that ultimate “Magister” or “Witch Queen” title, can get downright nasty. This is how garters get all twisted and Witch Wars begin.
We wind up flattering a few people’s pretentious egos and preferences at the expense of the Elder Gods, the truth, and our own spiritual advancement. In the process, we create a new kind of dogmatic Pagan fundamentalism. That is so not cool.
OK, here’s the deal, for those who’d like to hear it: We’re making this up as we go along. We’re NOT “the chosen people of the great Book of Shadows.” There AREN’T ANY ancient, written-down Witchly rituals and formulae—OR orally (or astrally) transmitted secrets—that have been hidden away and passed down over the millennia through certain special families, which have only recently come to light. This will come as a complete shock to hard-core fans of certain celebrated, famous author-Witches and students of a couple of online Wicca training courses.
When I figure out that I’ve been lied to, I tend to get ticked off. And when I see others continuing to lie to advance themselves and inflate their own self-importance, I get really angry. A search for the “Truth” was what initially brought me to this spiritual path. When some so flagrantly capitalize upon this quest for knowledge by deceiving Seekers, and by pretending that they’re privy to ancient secrets when they’re not, I feel the need to DO something about it.
So, here it goes:
Great-Grampa Gerry Made The Whole Thing UpHe had help, of course. (Oh, and “Gerry” is short for Gerald Brosseau Gardner [1984-1964], also known as G.B.G. and Scire, the founder of Wicca.)
Gardner blatantly plageri—erhm, BORROWED material from numerous available, published sources during the late 1940s and early 1950s, which he incorporated into what became the first “Book of Shadows.” He most extensively borrowed ideas (as well as complete phrases) from the works of folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland, Egyptologist Margaret Murray, French writer Jules Michelet, and occultist Aleister Crowley. Regarding the latter, Gardner had an O.T.O. charter (that he wrote out himself), which the Great Beast signed just a few months prior to his death in 1947.
G.B.G. was also an experienced Master Mason , just like many other leaders in the British occult revival of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the early 1950s, Gardner’s second High Priestess, Doreen Valiente, brought with her a great deal of knowledge about the Western Mystery Tradition, as well as hard copies of a deceased Adept’s Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn rituals and supplemental manuscripts.
And G.B.G. tapped into a current that had been percolating in the British occult psyche for quite some time when he publically presented himself as a Witch and the spokesperson for “the Wica”...
I must admit that I have a real soft spot in my heart for good ol’ Grampa Gerry. He was, to put it succinctly, quite an eccentric and rather peculiar British bloke. He enjoyed romping about in the nude (a.k.a. “skyclad”) for health reasons; became an acknowledged expert on edged weapons (knives and blades and swords); indulged in a life-long fascination with folklore and anthropology; and even worked several stints at various archeological digs in the Far and Near East, the Mediterranean, as well as in England, throughout the 1930s. (Hmmm. Is anyone else picking up intimations of a real-life Indiana Jones character, here?).
Gardner was a self-professed , inveterate “leg puller.” One leading member of the Folk-Lore Society thought that his claims about discovering an ancient, surviving Witch Cult were just so much “moonshine” designed to lure in attractive young people and enhance his notoriety. I’m pretty sure that she was onto something, there...
Gerald B. Gardner is the “point ZERO” person for the worldwide viral spread of Wicca. Before Gardner, nothing like Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, or what has become the religion of Wicca, actually existed. Those who would like to refute this, I invite to present their evidence and supporting documentation to reputable historians, such as Professor Ronald Hutton at the University of Bristol in England, for analysis and verification.
I believe that every single one of us who self-identify as modern-day Neo-Pagan “Witches” and/or “Wiccans” owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the “Grand Old Man” of Witchcraft. Especially for those of us who aren’t properly lineaged, pedigreed Gardnerians, it’s important to understand where and from whom our various Traditions originated.
That way, when we say, “That’s how we do it in MY Tradition” and explain WHY we’re doing something a bit differently, folks will understand and, hopefully, choose to accept it for what it is: a different way, not a wrong one.
Blessed Be—Gwynalda )O(
Endnotes:  Aiden Kelly, “Crafting the Art of Magic” (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1991).  Ronald Hutton, “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft” (New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), ch. 11.  T. Allen Greenfield, “The Legend of Witchcraft and the Origin of Wicca” (2010); and Morgan Davis, “Gerald Gardner 1946-1949” (available as a pdf download).  Michael Howard, “Modern Wicca: A History from Gerald Gardner to the Present” (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2009), 12-13; and Philip Heselton, “Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner—Vol 1: Into the Witch Cult” (Loughborough, U.K.: Thoth, 2012) 66-67, 122.  Doreen Valiente, “The Rebirth of Witchcraft” (Custer, WA: Phoenix, 1989).  G.B. Gardner, “The Story of the Famous Witches Mill at Castletown, Isle of Man” (Tunbridge Wells, U.K.: Photochrom, 195?).  J.L. Bracelin, “Gerald Gardner: WITCH” (Thames, U.K.: I-H-O Books, 1999 ).  Gerald Gardner, "Witchcraft Today" (New York, NY: Magickal Childe Publishing, 1991 ), 27 & 54.  James W. Baker, “White Witches: Historic Fact and Romantic Fantasy,” in “Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft,” ed. James R. Lewis (Albany. NY: State Univ. of NY Press, 1996), ch. 8, p. 185.  Ronald Hutton, “Writing the History of Witchcraft: A Personal View” (Sheffield, U.K.: Publishing Ltd, 2010) available online.  Raymond Buckland, “Introduction” to Gardner’s “Witchcraft Today” (q.v.), vii.
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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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