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[Witch Way] Volume #4 Issue #5 -- Blessed Samhain!
October 14, 2011
|Hi, Happy Samhain!
Making a difference.
Itís no secret that I see a lot of things out in my local community that really bother me. Iíve talked about quite a few of them here in this column. Iím not one of those people who sits back and just complains, but never does anything to change things. I have always been very active in my local Pagan community.
I have helped others put on Pagan events, Iíve helped run the largest Pagan Festival in my area, Iíve served on several boards of directors for various Pagan causes. I own a Pagan website, and put out a monthly newsletter, I spent ten years as co-host of a Pagan oriented radio show on the Internet, long before anyone thought up the word PodCast. Iíve now even co-written a book.
Iíve done a lot in the Pagan community locally, and globally. This is my spirituality, and I want to do everything I can to help it grow and thrive in the larger world. I do these things not because I have to, but because I want to. I am driven by passion for what I have found in this Earth based belief system I follow. Iím not out to spread the Word, or Convert lost souls, Iím trying to help those who have found this Path on their own, be the best at it that they can.
Having been a Witch for nearly 25 years, I have some very strong opinions about what Witchcraft is, and how itís practiced. I feel that if youíre presenting a public ritual, and you have to read off cue cards, or a script, you probably shouldnít be doing that ritual. I think that any ritual worth attending should have enough energy to feel. I also believe that if you go to a public ritual, you should be willing to participate by lending your own energy to that ritual. When you come away from a ritual, public or private, you should feel some change from when you entered it.
I think that ritual isnít for socializing; itís for celebrating the seasons, and honoring the Gods. Socializing happens before and after the Working is done. I also think that Pagan Standard Time, where everyone arrives 30 minutes after the announced start time of an event, is just plain rude. If you arrive late to my ritual, you obviously didnít care enough to attend, and so you wonít. Things happen, anyone can be late once in a while, but I see a lot of people who are chronically late, and think nothing of it. It has become normal, hence the term Pagan Standard Time.
I have been accused of holding myself to too high a standard. I have also been called an Elitist, a title I accept as a compliment. I have been told that I canít hold everyone else to my standards. Yes, I have high standards, and I try to live up to them. For me, being a man of my word is important. If I say I will do something, I do my best to live up to that. I canít always, but if I canít, I make amends. That is part of taking responsibility for myself. How can we as Witches, expect the greater world to take us seriously, if we canít even show up on time?
This is an issue Iíve spend some time pondering. It really bothers me that the mainstream looks at us as a bunch of Hippies, playing at spirituality. We canít even come together to form a cohesive community. Iím not trying to make everyone think as I do, or act as I do, but I do believe there should be some accountability. At the least, accountability to yourself and that doesnít even seem to be happening.
So Iíve been pondering how best to herd cats. Iíve spent many years trying to do just that, in one form or another. I have started to discover like-minded people in and around my community, and that is encouraging. My students learn very quickly that I have high expectations beyond just learning how to cast a circle.
Then, in the last couple of weeks it hit me. Iíve been going at this all wrong. I learned a long time ago, that you canít help someone who doesnít want your help. Yet that is exactly what I have been trying to do. The community at large seems happy to be disorganized, and free spirited, so Iíll let them.
Iíve often said that the people who do what needs to be done, are called leaders. Instead of trying to force others into my idea of how things should be, Iíll simply start doing some things that need to be done. Those who understand, and feel as I do, will tend to join in my efforts.
It all started at one of my Meetups, when we were talking about the general lack of good Open Rituals. I asked how many there, would be willing to attend a ritual if I offered one. We had a crowd of about 20 people, and every single one of them said not only would they attend, they wanted to know when I was doing it. Even after nearly 25 years, Iím still learning.
Every powerful movement starts with the smallest of steps. Iím confident in my ability to create and run a ritual like most have never seen. A ritual where those who attend can feel the energy, and will help to raise it. So now I have to find a place to hold some rituals. As Winter is coming upon us, I may use the time to plan how and what to do.
I believe that most people in my local community have only ever been to public rituals, and the rituals they have done themselves. Because few, if any of the public rituals have any real energy, people assume that must be how ritual should be. If I can pull this off, and people feel something after my ritual, I think theyíll want more. I donít have to expect others to feel as I do. Those who do will continue to attend the rituals. With some time, they could become very large indeed. Iíve seen it happen many times before.
The best thing about this idea, is that it doesnít require any special skills. Anyone can do this. You donít have to have connections, or titles, you simply do what youíre called to do. You live your Craft. The best way to lead, is by example.
You might have noticed this issue is a little late. I was planning to put it out for distribution after work tonight, but I have spent the last couple of hours talking to the guy Iíll be working with on 3rd shift. Heís 7th generation family tradition Pagan. He and I seem to agree on a lot of things. As I said, I have recently started finding people of like-mind. He has also done some writing, and Iím hopeful that he might write something for Witch Way, in the future.
Itís now 4am on the 13th, so Iím going to get some sleep before I send this issue out. It will be a little late, but Iíll be awake enough to keep mistakes to a minimum.
The Witching Hour
by Marcus Leader
Talismans and amulets have been around for as long as humans have walked the earth. They are found in every culture and religion around the entire planet. To main stream Christians these are tools indigenous to pagans and surely the work of the devil, however, upon examination of the many Christian faiths we find a belief structure saturated with talismans and amulets in a variety of forms! The most significant and common of the Christian talismans is the cross. Other examples are the Saint Christopher amulets of protection for safe travel and holy water amulets.
The point here is that these magickal tools are not restricted to any particular belief system. They are found wherever humans are or have been. This fact makes talismans and amulets a rather significant tool and one that must truly wield great powers of influence and protection.
One thing I still find odd is that for such significant objects as talismans and amulets throughout human history, its amazing how much confusion there is to the present day about the difference are between amulets, talismans and power objects.
So before I explain how and why these objects work, let me start in basic definition.
Talismans , regardless of what you may have read, can be made of anything from stones to plants and animal products as well as articles of construction such as a series of numbers or words written on paper. The same is true for amulets. However, when it comes to power and energy content certain stones and metals have the ability to generate and store greater amounts of energy than other materials.
Such is the case with power talismans and amulets as we call them. These objects are always made from stones or gems and sometimes metals. The reason is simple; the hyper dimensional structure of these materials interact better with the Etheric plane of power.
Talismans are considered dynamic objects of power, meaning they manipulate certain energy flows in and around both itself and the person using it. The objective is to bring about a desired change or attract certain energies and therefore material or emotional desires.
On the other side of the spectrum, Amulets tend to radiate static fields of magickal energy surrounding itself and the person or place with protective energy flows that restrict energy variables from entering its field. This could be anything from bad luck or personal habits to demonic entities. The energy harmonics of an amulets radiating field repels the harmonics of most negative energy sources. The easiest way to remember the difference is that talismans attract things into the userís reality while amulets try to maintain constancy in a userís reality. In the simplest terms, Talismans attract and amulets repel.
Shamans often speak of power objects and sometimes these are confused with talismans or amulets when in fact they are neither. Power objects from nature are rare but do exist and are usually in the form of crystals or special minerals that have been exposed to great amounts of earth energies around the area of earth Etheric vortexes found in various places around the world, such as Sedona Arizona.
They can also be created by a skilled a shaman who is proficient in the arts of Etheric energy manipulation. These power objects contain pure primal energy and can be thought of as a battery or capacitor that stores magickal energy, also known as chi or orgone energy.
Power objects are used in fighting off a psychic attack or to supercharge a magical endeavor. They are primal power in its purist form and have no predetermined qualities or actions. The shaman or user of a power object gives the object purpose through the Etheric matrix of the mind.
To understand how a talisman or amulet is created and how it works we must draw upon the hyper dimensional model of the universe.
Understand that all energy and matter is made of the same primal force known by many names such as chi, spirit, orgone, and Prana to name a few, and that the different energies and states of matter throughout all the universe visible and invisible are the results of various primal force densities and dimensional placements.
Keeping this in mind, when we examine a magickal object such as a talisman or amulet we see a material object that is made of pure energy in a dimension that resonates with our physical world. In other words we see a solid object. What we don't see is the subtle Etheric resonance that is siphoning energy from the plane of power, the place where magickal energy is drawn from.
This talisman or amulet has undergone a dimensional phase shift that has disturbed part of the make up of the physical object so that it exists in two realities, our physical reality and a separate reality that channels primal energy into the physical object.
To be honest with you, when I was younger I took the scientific model of the times and applied it to the subject of talismans and amulets and my biggest contention with the concept of these magickal items was in their energy source. I could not conceive how an object could be charged with energy and used more than once. It seemed to me that once you used the energy instilled in it that it would be useless. Therefore I lost faith in any kind of talisman or amulet thinking that they must be psychological in nature. Man was I wrong! The fact is, these objects have a limitless energy supply once they have been transformed and dimensionally shifted.
This dimensional phase shifting is accomplished in two possible ways. If an object is exposed to repeated ritual thought forms in a magickal environment or sacred gathering place such as Stonehenge or Native American kivas or religious temples, then a dimensional phase shift begins to occur.
The other way is through direct intent using specialized techniques and ritual by a skilled shaman or other magickal individual. This is the preferred way of creating these objects as finding relics from ancient places of worship is a difficult task.
If an object is acquired by a shaman from one of these sacred places then the result will be an amulet or talisman of tremendous power! Talismans and amulets of lesser power can of course be created by anyone willing to go through the ritual procedures but truly powerful ones should be made by the skilled individuals.
One other matter concerning amulets and talismans that I would like to point out is that they can be made generically so that anyone can use them or they can be made for a more specific purpose for a particular individual. These items can also be damaged energetically by mishandling or NOT treating them in a sacred manner. You can literally undo the dimensional phase shift, making it just an ordinary object again.
I have developed techniques to measure the amount of energy a magickal tool contains and its degree of effectiveness as well as a digital method of recording a photographic imprint of the Etheric energy it radiates. The differences between a dimensionally shifted talisman and a non-shifted one are like night and day.
I hope I have illuminated this subject a little, perhaps from a different angle while giving you something to think about. The next time youíre out and about take notice of how many people are wearing some sort of talisman or amulet and if you really want to get some strange looks ask them if their amulets has been dimensionally shifted yet!
Time Of The Season
Itís that time of year again. That time when itís just plain cool to be a Witch. You see us on TV News and magazine shows, you hear us on the radio, and you see images of Witches on all sorts of advertising. If this season has a mascot, itís the Witch.
Samhain, which is an old Celtic word meaning ďSummerís EndĒ and pronounced Sow-en, or Sow-een, is the last of the three harvest festivals in the year. It also marks the end of the old year, and beginning of the new in Celtic culture. Unlike the Christians, who arbitrarily decided the middle of Winter should be the New Year, the Celts looked at the seasons, and well, they arbitrarily decided that the beginning of Winter should be the New Year.
This actually makes a lot of sense. The New Year, being a transition itself, it just seems natural that it should happen at a transition of seasons. From what we can find, the Celts really only had two seasons that they noticed, the time when things grew, and the time when they died. The Romans put the New Year in April, when everything began growing again. New life, New Year, just like people, plants are born, they live, and then they die, to be reborn again at the New Year.
Looked at that way, having the year start in April makes a lot of sense. The Celts on the other hand, saw death as the middle of a long life. To them, death was as natural a part of life, as birth. No one fears birth, and the Celts didnít fear death. So looking at it through their eyes, death is a form of birth into a new life. Itís nothing more than a transition.
Having that quiet time at the start of the year, meant every year was a crescendo into Summer, instead of slowly winding down through Winter. We celebrate Samhain on October 31st, because the Celtic day begins at sundown. If the day begins when the sun sets, itís only natural that the year would begin when the Summer ends.
The Celts understood the spiritual significance of fire. It seems all of their celebrations used massive fires. During the day of Oct. 31st, the fires in the hearth were put out, and the home was thoroughly cleaned. Pastures and crop fields were cleared for the last time. Everything in and around the village was made ready for Winter.
That night, the material cleared from the fields was burned in a massive fire, as were animals that could not be fed through the Winter. These plants and animals were sacrifices to the Gods, in an act of sympathetic magick. The community gave up to the Gods what food they could, to thank the Gods for what had been given them, and to ask that the next year be as bountiful, if not more so.
While we in America will celebrate thanksgiving at the end of next month, October is the traditional time for thanksgiving celebrations of most other cultures. This is the last of the harvest, nothing else will be pulled from the fields this year. It only makes sense that you would give thanks at this time. Most likely, the first Thanksgiving was held in October, not November.
During these celebrations, the people wore costumes, and danced around the fire. The dances told stories that were handed down generation after generation. They told the story of the people, the story of the families, they honored those who came before them and were now dead.
Honoring the dead was extremely important to the Celts. It was those who came before them, that allowed them to have the life they did. This is the night when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest, and the dead have the power to cross over at this time. Most spirits are of ancestors and well loved friends. Some spirits are more malevolent.
A malevolent spirit could be anything from a criminal who had died, or been put to death, to battle dead of the opposing force, to spirits most modern people think of as demons. The Celts believed in the Fey, and most sources agree that the court of the faerie was moved on Beltane and Samhain. Anyone unlucky enough to stumble into this move, would probably not be seen again.
The costumes worn by the Celts for this celebration served several purposes, they honored those who had already passed beyond the veil, they hid you from the malevolent spirits, and they honored the Gods of the harvest. This is the origin of dressing up in costume for Halloween.
Because the veil between the living and the dead is so thin at this part of the year, communication with those who have passed beyond is much easier. Scrying in all forms is done at Samhain. For the Celts, it was a way to talk to those who they believed had knowledge of the future. They could ask what was going to happen in the coming year, and get the answers they needed.
Inviting the dead to join the celebration is traditional in all celebration at this time of year. To this day, Christians in Mexico celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. We are who we are, because of who our ancestors were. There is no escaping this fact, and ancient cultures understood this far better than we do today, even with our insight into genetics.
We are shaped by those who came before us, both in positive, and negative ways. Samhain, is at its core, a way to acknowledge and celebrate this. It is a time for remembering ancestors who had a direct influence on us, and those whose influence was indirect. The world around us is in the process of dying. Death is literally at our doorstep. Itís not to be feared, but revered and celebrated.
Death is just the middle of a long life.
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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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