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[Witch Way] Volume #6 Issue #2 -- The Dog Days of Summer!
July 13, 2013
|Hi, Happy Lughnasadh!
It’s the Dog Days of Summer, in the Northern Hemisphere. Midsummer passed just a couple of weeks ago, and Lughnasadh, the first of the Harvest Sabbats happens in about three weeks. Everyone is busy doing all the Summer activities. The less enjoyable things get put on the back burner, because it’s just too nice to be inside.
As I write this, I am ending two weeks of vacation. Even so, I didn’t seem to have the time to write my column because I was too busy doing other things. My brother and I installed a swamp cooler on my house, so life is much more comfortable. If you live in the Southern US, you have no idea what a swamp cooler is. You can’t imagine purposely putting humidity into the air, but here in the high Alpine Desert, normal humidity is in the single digits, or teens.
I’ve also been working on my businesses, trying to make a living without having to be a wage slave. Evelyn talks a little about the issues with working for a living in her column this month. I’ve always wanted to be my own person, sinking or swimming by my own efforts. I think that’s a good attitude to have as a Witch.
Because of all the activities people do in the Summer, a couple of regular columns aren’t being published this month. Life happens to all of us. We do however have a guest article by Night Owl, so you really shouldn’t notice any difference in length.
Hopefully your Harvest begins well, and you have begun to manifest the things you want in your life, by the time you see the next issue.
The Path of a Seeker of Knowledge.
by David “Night Owl” Evans
Everyone has a path in life even if they don’t know they do. Some of us strive to be stronger, some smarter, and some simply a better understanding of the world around us. A seeker of knowledge is the path I walk. A seeker of knowledge is simply someone who wants to know the Who, Where, What, When, Why, and How of everything. Gathering knowledge leads to a better understanding of the world. There is no end to learning. Once the seeker has gained sufficient knowledge, they will make wondrous teachers. “The passing of knowledge has been a tradition and natural instinct since the beginning of time. From simple acts of a mother animal teaching her young to survive in the wild to a professor, mentor, or shaman passing their knowledge, wisdom, and abilities onto a younger generation of individuals.” These things include secrets of the universe, the great arts, mathematics, etc. All the way down to simple information about herbs and basic healing.
The path I walk is constantly changing. Old knowledge is reclaimed, while new knowledge is constantly found and created. Seekers must be willing to ask the hard questions by delving into places that most wouldn’t venture. Once knowledge is gained, it can then be passed along to the next generation, thus ensuring the knowledge will not be forgotten. Knowledge, unlike many things, never dies, it is just lost in time and what most call development, waiting for the time it will need to be called on again. It is the task of the seeker to help preserve that knowledge, because a world without knowledge that is preserved and passed along is doomed to failure. The world isn’t just black and white. “The seeker must delve into the grey area, where knowledge in its purest form resides.” The ease of access to information has greatly changed since the olden days. Back when your circle of knowledge would generally encompass an area of fifty miles or so depending on your form of travel. Now with just a click of a mouse you have access to limitless information, but with that there lies many problems. Thus it is placed upon the shoulders of the seeker to search thru the mass of intelligence and filter out the falsehoods, biases, and half truths to see what is true.
The world has become lazy and ignorant causing truth, history, and knowledge to become clouded, forgotten, and simply misconstrued, thus the need for more seekers. To be a seeker is simple, when there is something you don’t understand, ask someone. Things you can ask include, “How does that work? Why is that? Can you describe that in more detail? Etc” Simple thing knowledge, it is so easily obtained, yet in the end it is the most powerful thing a person can have.
To summarize this, the seeker must be open to all sources of possible knowledge. Once the information is obtained, sort it between falsehoods, truths, and biases. Once all that has been conducted, all that is left is raw information, which should be recorded and passed along to a farther generation. Seekers can’t be biased, seeing as knowledge is for everyone, and should be shared freely. But when knowledge and information becomes clouded and distorted it takes the seekers to clear that up for themselves. This is the path of a seeker of knowledge. I encourage everyone who wants to know everything there is to know about the world, our Mother Goddess/Gaea, the universe, to never give up and always question everything. In the end, knowledge will help you become more attuned with the Goddess and Her divine wishes and guidance.
Merry Meet and Blessed Be. May the Light of the Goddess guide and protect you in your pursuits and through good times and bad.
The Witching Hour
by Marcus Leader
In my last article I explained some of the energetic mechanics of circle casting as taught to me during my 8 year apprenticeship in Toltec shamanism combined with 30 years of study and practice of various magickal systems and traditions. In that article I also talk about the use of energy pulled both from within as well as outside sources to channel into our circles or spheres of protection. In this article I am going to expand on the use and summoning of this energy.
When casting a circle of protection during ritual you are actually casting a sphere of energy around your ritual space, as explained in my previous article, but where does this energy come from? It comes from two primary sources, your own personal energy fields and more importantly, from the Earth itself. Each one of us has what is known as your own personal power or energy fields that surround our entire body. This energy field sustains you and the stronger it is the healthier you are and he more energetic you will act. This energy in your own personal field, is constantly being used and replenished through your chakras through natural processes, but you can boost the energy absorption through special breathing techniques and meditations which I can’t really teach effectively in a written article, but perhaps in the future we can find a method to teach this process effectively that can be offered to those who wish to explore it further.
Another aspect of personal energy, that must be addressed when discussing its use and projection in an energetic or magickal endeavor, is the tendency for our energy to become stagnant and stale within our auric energy fields. If we do not flush and keep our energy active on a regular basis it will tend to gather and stagnate at the inner surface of the outer barriers of our energy fields much like the way that plaque builds up on teeth. When our personal energy fields start getting this build up, the energy is no longer available for any kind of use and our perception and interaction with the outside world becomes more obscure and limited. This condition is not found in people who keep their energies flowing through energetic and physical activity. The energy harvesting techniques that I spoke of using breathing and meditation will also keep this build up from forming, but even then it will still tend to form in layers to a certain degree. This is found in even the more adept shamans and magickal people. For this reason the Toltec shamans of my lineage developed a technique to help free this energy called Magickal Passes. Magickal Passes are similar to various martial arts energy movements but have been specifically designed to free up that energy plaque buildup. However, once again this is something that is difficult to teach in an article. For example, one such technique involves a movement with the arms sweeping over the head in a repetitive fashion, and then the other like combing your hair from front to back without touching your head. That describes the action, but is still lacking without the video as a demonstration.
The other and more significant energy source for circle casting is from the Earth. The Earth is alive and has unimaginable energy forces swirling all around us that can be tapped into and channeled using your intent and awareness of these energies. The very first step when calling on these forces is to politely ask the Earth for her assistance and use of her energies. This might sound a bit corny to some, but trust me in this, the Earth is aware of us more so than we are of Her and she will help us if we ask properly.
The next step is to make contact with the Earth and ideally this is done by actual physical contact bare feet on the soil. If you are doing this inside on a concrete floor this will work too. However, if you are wearing shoes or if you are on some other surface like a wood floor then you are limiting your energetic connection and the more material you put between you and the Earth the weaker the connection becomes. The good news is that this can be overcome with what is known in my lineage as a Gaia stone or power object. This is usually a stone or bag of soil that has come from a place of power on the Earth such as a lei line intersection or an actual energy vortex from a sacred site. This can also come from a personal place where you have encountered or preformed some act of magick or energetic encounter.
A good example of this was a lesson taught to me when I was still an apprentice in Toltec shamanism. My teacher sent me to an old abandoned church without telling me why. This place was extremely creepy like something out of a horror movie. I was sent to the basement of this church which had just enough light coming through the windows for me to navigate through the spider webs and debris. While poking around I suddenly felt something watching me and the hairs stood up on my arms and neck confirming that I was not alone! I slowly turned around expecting to see something lurking in the shadows across the room, but gasped as my heart leaped to my throat when, only a foot in front of me, were two large glowing pinkish eyes. I froze and then instinctively ran for the stair case but the eyes appeared just before I reached it blocking my escape. Unfortunately, I was moving too fast and could not stop and ran right through the entity instantly falling to the ground paralyzed by some electrical like charge that shorted out my nervous system. After a few seconds, awareness and movement returned and I escaped out the front of the old church to find my teacher standing there laughing at my antics. I was pissed that he sent me into that kind of situation, but became horrified after he stopped laughing and in a very serious tone, told me to go back in and confront the entity and defeat it in the manner I had been taught. This is a form of spiritual combat that Toltec shamans are taught to deal with the nasty type entities that you will encounter on that path of knowledge. He also instructed me to gather two small stones form the earthen wall of the basement once I defeated the entity. Reluctantly, I obeyed him, defeated the entity with a series of magickal passes and gathered the stones. He later told me that those stones are from a point of energetic combat where I summoned and pulled great amounts of the Earths energy through the floor and walls of the basement and therefore the stones have become power objects forever connect to the Earth and its energy flows. He said just by holding those you will be able to summon her power through that connection.
Short of battling a supernatural entity, you can also use similar stones of power from sacred energy spots on the planet that have been properly prepared and charged through shamanic intention. I occasionally make some of these items available to people in the form of power talismans, but they are rather rare and hard to get because of the time it takes to make one (usually 3 months to 2 years). If you are interested in acquiring one of these, contact me and I will see what I can do. When you wear this type of power object around your neck or hold it in your hand it is as though you were standing on the sacred power vortex from where it came, giving you the ability to channel the energy of that sacred spot directly.
So to recap, when pulling energy from the Earth to charge your circles or any magickal act, try to make physical contact with the earth with your bare skin and if this is not possible use a power object to make that connection and pull forth enormous Earth energies. While doing this visualize and force this energy through your own fields of energy and project it out with your hand or magickal tool to form the circle. Most important of all, ASK the Earth to assist you before beginning. I will write more on this topic in the future.
By Gwynalda Shadowalker
Obsidian—Power of Earth and Fire
Obsidian is a lustrous, black, silica-rich, glassy rock with a composition similar to granite (quartz and alkali feldspar). It forms during volcanic eruptions when lava or magma cools quickly.
Many different varieties exist. Gold sheen obsidian results from the inclusion of tiny gas bubbles. Red and brown obsidian gain their color from the presence of hematite (iron oxide). Other obsidian flavors include gray, blue, green, mahogany, purple, snowflake, and rainbow. The electric-blue, purple, and silver varieties can produce an especially lustrous sheen. The distinctive Apache’s Tear obsidian is said to be formed from the tears of Native American women mourning the loss of their tribe’s warriors, who were driven over a cliff by the U.S. cavalry.
Obsidian derives its name from the Latin obsidianus, which resulted from a mis-reading of obsianus in early editions of Pliny the Elder’s Historia Naturalis. According to Pliny, a man named Obsius first discovered this volcanic glass in Ethiopia. (And, oddly enough, Pliny was killed by a volcano. He died while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E.) Native Americans and other prehistoric peoples throughout the world preferred obsidian for fashioning weapons, implements, tools, and ornaments. The ancient Aztecs and Greeks used polished obsidian as mirrors. High in the Peruvian Andes, a recently-discovered prehistoric obsidian quarry indicates mining activity and artifacts dating back more than 12,000 years. By at least 2500 B.C.E., items from this quarry may have been distributed over trade routes to customers 200 miles away.
Cunningham attributes obsidian to the element of fire and the planet Saturn (although I disagree with the latter correspondence). He suggests using it in magickal workings for protection, grounding and divination. Obsidian orbs and eggs make excellent scrying tools. Some say that the seers Edward Kelley and Nostradamus used them as such.
Katrina Raphaell recommends scrying with obsidian (in small doses and in conjunction with clear quartz) to dispel the shadow-self’s illusions that promote self-deception and fear. This method makes obsidian a powerful tool in realizing one’s inner truth. It further acts as a “black mirror” that reflects all our faults—usually in a rather blunt and tactless manner. (Yes, well, the truth that lies beyond denial is rarely pleasant! I recommend using Gold Sheen or Rainbow obsidian for these purposes, as they are a bit “gentler.”) In crystal healing layouts, she advocates placing obsidian at the root chakra or the navel to facilitate the grounding and anchoring of higher energies into the physical body.
Melody suggests carrying obsidian as a protection—to strengthen one’s psychic shield and to dispel negativity. In healing, she notes that this stone helps both the practitioner and the patient better understand the causes of an ailment, and find the clarity necessary to implement an effective treatment.
Due to its volcanic origins and magickal qualities, I believe that obsidian can be placed under the rulership of Pluto and the Zodiac sign of Scorpio. Of course, all volcanic deities—such as the Hawaiian Goddess Pele, the Japanese Goddess Fuchi, the Aztec God Tezcatlipoca, and the Greco-Roman God Hephaestus/Vulcan—would also have jurisdiction.
Blessed Be and Happy Lughnasadh!—Gwynalda )O(
Sources: Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals by Melody; Three Books of Occult Philosophy—Henry Cornelius Agrippa (Edited and annotated by Donald Tyson); World Book Encyclopedia by Marilyn M. Lindstrom, Ph.D.; Crystal Enlightenment by Katrina Raphaell; Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham.
Trending Toward The Positive
By Evylyn Rose
Bringing Magick Into the Everyday
One of the struggles of modern witches is finding ways to bring witchcraft into our everyday, mundane lives. Some are fortunate to have built businesses, such as stores or as artisans, or have careers as professional writers, readers, and counselors. Others of us must rely on other jobs or have pursued our other passions outside of witchcraft for jobs.
For those “others of us,” we can bring our practices into every waking moment no matter what we are doing. It may not be what we had in mind , but with practice, you’ll have to agree this technique is great, not only for your health, but also for your craft.
Let me introduce you to the Institute of HeartMath. This internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization has brought the acceptable standards of science to the practices you’ll recognize in the metaphysical, new age, and old age traditions. The mission of HeartMath is to help people “reduce stress, self-regulated emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives.” The tools, technology, and training are geared toward helping us retrain to rely on the inherent intelligence of our hearts in connection with our minds (goodbye centuries of relying on brain alone) in all settings and times of day.
As you can tell from this description, HeartMath is all about health. The benefits are impressive. You can reduce everyday stress, address anger issues, heal past wounds, etc. In turn, you release less cortisone (chemical good in fight or flight situations, but damaging to the body in prolonged states) and more endorphins.
HeartMath uses the heart as a focal point in combination with even breathing that can be maintained at any time (balancing the in-out breaths, regardless of how deep or shallow). You’ll recognize this technique from Yoga, meditation, journeying, visualization exercises, grounding and centering, etc. To ensure you are getting the most from the self-help tool, biofeedback is utilized in recording results to ensure stress is reduced and the body is returned to coherence (coherence would be what we aim for when grounding and centering).
So why are we, as witches, in need of HeartMath if we already do the same techniques in our craft? Because HeartMath is all about reaching and maintaining the connection between heart and brain throughout the day. The benefits of our craft need not wait until we have a spell to cast, someone to do readings for, or meditation time. We can apply them to all areas of our lives at all times for better health, heightened intuition, and never-ending magick ready to tap whenever needed.
Consider for a moment why breathing is so important before we begin spellwork. We focus on the exchange of energy, connecting with the earth or tools, and so forth. However, we rarely stop to consider the wonders magick does for our bodies. It is said that witches age slower and, in some cases, that we are capable more physically, even if we are not the most athletic sub-culture. Why is this? Because we have trained ourselves to do what HeartMath is finally teaching others. The focus is not on the magickal and energetic, benefits, of course, but it sheds light on the physical health aspects.
Now the Institute of HeartMath can vouch for itself why it is vital to all individuals. Improved health is improved quality of life. Easy enough. However, if you find yourself hesitant to give it a try, consider the magickal benefits of HeartMath. If you have been on the path of the witch for some time, you can look back at how much time it used to take you to ground and center. However, as you continued to practice, the exercise became easier. Those long and dedicated on the path can do it near instantaneously. (Thanks to biofeedback through HeartMath, I have learned that I am grounded and centered after only one to two minutes no matter how stressed I am.)
Now consider how much simpler your craft could be if you were to be in a continuous state of centeredness. Connecting to energies would simply be a matter of consciously intending it as opposed to having to stop to clear your mind for grounding and centering. You can reach deeper levels of connection to your intuition as well as overcome any nagging, lingering doubts.
On the physical sides of things, we know that our magick is more effective and easier when we keep our bodies healthy. Our bodies are the temples from which energy is raised. As such, the better we care for it, the better the energy can move. Better health then, is better magick. Not to mention we can better handle the situations that come at us. No need to fear Karma when we are in a calmer state to make wiser decisions.
Personally, I am finding HeartMath (though it may appear at times to be a watered-down, mainstreamed, science version of what we do) to be a vital tool on the path as a witch. It has applications beyond that which is taught by the Institute of HeartMath and we should stand ready to take advantage of them all. So feel free to give it a try. You can learn more and get started at http://www.heartmath.org/.
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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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