Tag Archives: Witchcraft

Wishcraft or Witchcraft — The Power of Intention

I’m facilitating my Self CARE™ program of personal development for a closed Facebook group focused on healing of body, mind and spirit. It’s bringing me all the way back to my days as a health and wellness coach, and my blog,  Living Well, Body – Mind – Spirit.

I didn’t identify as a witch 20-some years ago. I was spiritual—delving into metaphysics and all the possibilities in the universe. I believed then, as I do now, that there was “something” to the power of attraction. I made vision boards, I filled journals, read all the books and listened to all the tapes for manifesting the life of my dreams.  

Now, after learning the craft of the witch, I see the intersection of wishcraft and witchcraft, even though the two are not one-in-the-same.

My definition of witchcraft may be different that yours, and it ever evolves the more I learn and practice. As a newbie, I can remember being disappointed that while there might be a secret club (many of them, in fact), there were no mystical secrets, no arcane words foreign to my ear, to be passed on, allowing me to unlock the power of real magick. At least not the kind of secrets I envisioned—where the knowledge, or the words, or the tool, would be imparted and instantly I would be able to change physical matter, levitate things (or myself), light a candle with mere thought, or be able to turn an enemy into a toad.

It’s almost embarrassing now to believe I even hoped that was possible, but I was at a place in my life where I felt completely powerless. I just wanted to make it all go away as soon as possible—poof! I say almost embarrassing, because this is the crossroad where so many of us choose the path of the witch.

Eventually, I began to see witchcraft as a practice, a skill that improves with dedication and experience. Still, something was missing from the equation. Now (over the past year or so), I’ve deepened my understanding of witchcraft to be a practice of personal power that comes from personal development. I’ve come around full circle, back to the basics of coaching. 

Desire + Intention + Action = Successful Outcomes.

But that isn’t witchcraft. Or, is it?

In 2000 my marriage of 23 years ended in divorce, my world was upside down, my future was unsure and the last thing I felt was that I had any control in my life.

Each morning before getting ready for work, I’d sit on the wide, raised hearth of the fireplace drinking coffee and making check lists. Most of them were straight forward chores, cleaning, painting, removing overgrown shrubbery, making flower beds—all things to make my new place feel like home. When I checked the items off a list, I tucked it into an envelope with others I’d completed. Seeing the packet grow thicker over time gave me a feelingI of accomplishment and confidence.

I started a wish list that included things like, new carpeting, remodeled kitchen, potting shed, potager garden, sunroom addition, gas fireplace insert, and more. My mother would have called my list pipe dreams, because I had no idea how I was going to make any of it happen. 

About the same time, I jumped onto the power of attraction bandwagon. Among other books in the genre, I read The Circle: How The Power of a Single Wish Can Change Your Life, by Laura Day. Much of the book’s contents fades from my memory, other than the objective to write a description of my perfect life.

I wrote of a small cottage in a, quiet waterside community, where I would spend my days writing, in a cozy room tucked under the eaves. I’d shop at the market for the evening meal, that I’d share with my spouse. We’d go for walks or ride our bikes, smile and wave as we passed by others, knowing most everybody we saw—a storybook existence, to be sure. I wrote it in great detail, including the style of the house and furnishings, the shops in the village, the colors of the sunrise and sunset, and everything that happened each day between those hours.

I was a middle-aged divorced mom still raising the youngest of three daughters, running around like the proverbial chicken, but trying to keep my head on. Looking back, that morning hour of list making and wishing was my instinctual way of tending to myself. The completed lists of everything I was doing, even if it was just remembering to buy groceries, do the laundry, and pay the bills on time, were reassuring me that I was capable, that I would make it on my own. The wish lists for my future were a promise to myself that I could still have everything I dreamed of—I wasn’t a failure and it wasn’t too late.

Life carried on as it does. I remarried, I went to work and came home every day. My youngest daughter grew and left the nest, she and her sisters all did what children do, built a life of their own. Routine days and milestones passed and I took it all in stride. At some point, I ran across those early wish lists, tucked into an envelope, slipped into one of my journals, forgotten.

Or so I thought. As I looked over the lists, and then read the description of my dream life, I was astounded to see how much of it had come to pass, without having consciously thought about it and in ways I never expected. I am still in the very same home, and though I envisioned something quite different, I realize I have almost everything I wrote in that description, vine covered cottage included.

Did I make it all happen?  Of course I did; I made the choices and took the steps. But success isn’t always that easy. Many, many people want things they never get, many try only to fail. Far too many are blocked by institutionalized disadvantage, discrimination, and oppression . . . and yet there are those who overcome.

The power of thought is limitless. I like to remind people that everything in this world that did not spring forth naturally, began first with a thought; everything made by man or beast exists by the intention to manifest a thought into being.

But thoughts work in the opposite way as well. There is a common misconception about aerodynamics and the bumblebee, with wings too small to keep its chubby body aloft. It’s been used over and over again to inspire determination. And, it turns out to be wrong. Bumblebees move their wings in a different pattern that indeed makes flight not only possible, but scientifically sound. So there goes the inspiration, right?

Perhaps, but think about it this way. What if the bumblebee had listened to all the bad press, and formed the thought that it was true, that it couldn’t possibly fly and so didn’t. The only single thing keeping it from flight would be its own thought form—it’s belief and acceptance of something completely false.

My mentor is talking a lot about thought forms, exploring the idea that everything in our personal existence is a creation of our thoughts manifest in form. That’s a very simplistic way to frame her concept—it’s not an easy one to wrap my brain around, and I have no idea if it’s valid or not, but I’m traveling down the track with her. 

How much of what I believe to be true and irrefutable is really a result of the thoughts I form around it? Does the placebo effect prove this out? In a limited fashion, yes. But if I’m diagnosed with a fatal disease, can I think it away? If not, how do we explain those rare cases of people who have survived against all odds? A miracle, yes, but are miracles necessarily divine intervention from some unknown and powerful source? If that’s the case, the seeming arbitrary determination of who deserves miracles and who is passed over is troublesome to me. 

As a witch who stands loud and proud for social justice and equal rights for all, I have to walk this tight rope carefully. Saying the power of desire plus intention is limitless— if we can find the key to unlock it—is one thing. Saying we can wish all our troubles away if we just think positive is another. One is a willingness to explore the possibilities and put in the effort (practice, practice, practice) and the other is toxic positivity.

For now, I’m willing to believe that my thoughts have power beyond my current understanding. I’m willing to put forth the required work in action, and explore the possibilities. I’ll never know if I don’t try, and really, what can it hurt?


Simple Witchery — Part 2

statue-1405539_640

witch·craft
/ˈwich – kraft/
noun

synonyms: sorceryblack magicwhite magicmagicwitchingwitcherywizardry; spells, incantations.

I have to say I take exception to the rather archaic concept in the definition above specifically the descriptor, especially black magic. Most of the definitions I found with a simple dictionary search were equally as faulty.

Yes, some witches practice black magic, not all, and not even the majority. So why the inference that all witchcraft has a menacing element?

The persecution of witches (mostly women, but men too) is a time honored tradition of suppressing power. Not magkical power mind you, but that which resists the ruling powers of the prevailing institution. One very effective method to thwart opposition is to cast aspersions that create fear, and also promise repercussion for offenses. It plays out as convincing the masses that a witch is to be feared and reviled. It is a vehicle to prosecute and punish accused witches, up to and including death.

The rest of the definition, the casting of spells and use of invocation is accurate enough, if not amusing. By that definition, I was a witch sitting in the pew of the Roman Catholic Cathedral attached to the church school that I attended for 9 years—because if chanting litanies to the saints doesn’t fit the description of a spell, and calling forth the body and blood of a religious icon, a man who died over 2,000 years ago isn’t invocation of a spirit, then I guess I don’t know what is.

The largest misconception about witchcraft today is that is a religion.

~ Mad Goddess

Here is where I’m going to go off the rails because the further out of the broom closet I come, the more this is becoming my pet peeve. The largest misconception about witchcraft today is that it is religion. Some witches do intertwine their personal spiritual faith belief with their practice of the craft and in that way it fits the frame of religious practice.

The saying often goes, all Wiccan’s are witches but not all witches are Wiccan. It serves its purpose, but there are a few glitches even in that.

  • Wiccans are not the only witches who incorporate spiritual faith belief into their practice.
  • It is possible to practice Wicca without ever incorporating spell work, an essential component of witchcraft.
  • I know I can do spell work and invocations without a trace of religious trappings, or for that matter, belief in a supreme being; the only belief required is that in the properties of natural and physical laws, the properties of energy and the affect of motive and intention.
  • Finally, witchcraft can be practiced by those who follow a religious faith. Their faith may or may not approve, but otherwise, the two are not exclusive.

The least assumptive definition I found was, “The use of magic to help or harm people.”

Uhg. There is so much wrong with even that statement, some of which could be remedied by just dropping the last word. Yes, witchery (not necessarily magick) can and is used for both help and harm, depending on the practitioner—but help or harm can be directed to all things energetically connected by the web of life.

Witchcraft is the study and use of natural and physical law, for
the purpose of applying focused intent and personal will to a
specific purpose, and to manifest a desired outcome.

~ Mad Goddess

If any of those dictionary scholars were asking me (and they aren’t) this is what I’d tell them: Witchcraft is the study and use of natural and physical law, for the purpose of applying focused intent and personal will to a specific purpose, and to manifest a desired outcome.

A witch has a deep and abiding relationship with nature and the natural world, including an understanding that simply because many parts of the natural world are unseen to us it doesn’t mean we cannot enlist the aid of those properties and powers. In other words the belief that if E=mc², ( all physical matter consists of energy) that energy can be tapped into and used.

Many witches practice with a deity or deities, but even this does not a religion make. The major religions of the world call for belief in and worship of an all knowing supreme being (or beings) responsible for the creation and/or oversight of life as we know it, with the power to reward and punish our deeds. Witchcraft requires no such thing.

The practice of modern witchcraft, or neo paganism, primarily arises out of the desire to eschew the dogma and doctrine of organized religions, yet in many cases veers right back into those codes of behavior. Old habits and beliefs are hard to break; for those who were raised with prescribed religious practice it can be difficult to leave that aspect behind. Thus witchcraft and spiritual practice have become so enmeshed it can be difficult to tease one out from the other.

Working with the energetic qualities of archetypes and deities, gods, goddesses, prophets, saints or spirits, as opposed to worshipping or venerating and or submitting to the same, separates witchcraft from religious practice.

A witch might call on the energy of a particular animal to inspire its qualities, for example an Owl’s powers of observation. Indigenous American spirituality would describe it as calling on the animal’s medicine. Likewise, one could call on the energy or medicine of the ocean, the mountains, the sun, moon or stars, rocks and trees—as well as deities, spirits or human forms no longer of this realm; even archetypes and symbols have associated energy.

If witchcraft requires any faith belief, it’s the belief that all things have an energy that can be combined with our own to achieve a goal or manifest a desired result. Or, at the least the belief that we hold within our aspect the energy of all living things, each to be called forth as needed.

If either of those possibilities sounds a little crazy to you, consider how these concepts have permeated our culture:

  • He is the salt of the earth
  • She is an angel of mercy
  • I’m sly like a fox
  • WWJD – What would Jesus Do? What would your mother think? What would your father tell you?

All of these and many more are the calling forth of energy to our purpose. Of course, that alone does not make a witch. No more than my husband is a Catholic priest because he can still recite the entire mass in Latin (altar boy for three years). Nor I am Madonna because I can sing all of her songs. Yes that Madonna, not The Madonna—it’s okay for witches to have a sense of humor too.

You are not a witch until you know you are a witchTo Know is the first of the Four Pillars of Witchcraft*:

  • To Know
  • To Will
  • To Dare
  • To Keep Silent

The meaning of the first might seem obvious—you have to know witchy things to be a witch. But this pillar also commands the witch to know thyself above all else. It is essential to know not only what witchcraft is, but why you choose to be a witch.

Whew! It sounds like simple witchcraft is anything but simple.

Think of it this way—it’s like playing the piano. You learn to read music, practice the scales, develop and ear for the the sharps and flats, you have to know how to play all the notes and chords. Where you take it from there determines whether you’ll become a virtuoso or play chopsticks the rest of your life.

There is nothing wrong with playing simple tunes the rest of your life, just as there is no failure in making simple witchery the entirety of your practice. It’s not necessary to have a working knowledge of the uses for every herb in the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. You can do everything you need to do with herbs that are easily grown in your region or purchased (fresh or dried) at your grocery store.

Likewise, you don’t have to have one of every crystal and gem in your collection. A clear quartz crystal can be charged for any purpose. For that matter, a stone natural to your region holds scads of magick to be used.

Truth be told, you don’t even need that much. I’ll cover this in more detail in my next post—Everything You Need to Know About The Four Pillars of Witchcraft. Suffice it to say, the only thing you need to practice witchcraft is yourself and your intent. The rest is accoutrement.

My idea for simple witchery is to develop a practice easily incorporated into daily life, your daily life, because consistent practice is the key to effective practice.

Simple witchery is knowing that lighting a candle and invoking sacred space, is as effective as calling a circle and holding formal ritual. That drawing a magical symbol on a small stone to carry in your pocket, is just as effective (maybe more so), than a pricey, magical bracelet or amulet. That isn’t to say it’s okay to be a lazy witch (never putting much effort into your practice) or that you shouldn’t make fair exchange for the things you desire (it’s okay to buy the bracelet, purchased from the metaphysical shop).

Remember this; you will get as much out of your practice as you put into it—no more and no less.

Blessed Be and Journey Well

If you enjoyed this post consider supporting my work to share simple witchery by
 Becoming A Patron!


Here . . . Hold My Brew

 A post in a witchy ways social media group I belong to called my attention to an intriguing proposition. The Witch Kit Challenge was issued by Fire Lyte on her blog, Inciting a Riot.

The challenge to those who choose to accept it, is to pull together a witch kit containing everything necessary for a basic ritual, on a budget of $50 or less, all purchased from one store  accessible to most people. The choice of stores includes:

      • WalMart
      • Target
      • Goodwill
      • Dollar Tree
      • Dollar General
      • Home Depot
      • Lowe’s
      • HomeGoods
      • Ross
      • Michael’s
      • TJ Maxx

The contents of the kit is open to personal interpretation and imagination, but must include a representation for each of the four elements, a representation of spirit or deity, a knife or carving implement, an offering dish, a blank book and a magical activity.

Fifty dollars? Here, hold my brew!

I was confident I could pull together a fabulous kit with less than half that amount. With list in hand I headed to Dollar General.

I knew I’d be buying candles, and there’d be plenty of choices for an offering dish. As I expected, the most difficult was finding representations for the elementals. Then in the craft isle I found thin, 3-inch wooden letter cut outs. I envisioned painting and decorating the initial of each direction, north, east, south, west, to reflect earth, air, fire, and water. And bonus—that could be the magical activity part of the requirement.

44052908_690887971286148_8630333698631270400_n

Unfortunately, there was not and E or W to be found. I moved on to wooden tags, and then found black cut-out letters that I thought were cardboard. When I got them home, it turned out they were paper, three of each letter of the alphabet, stuck together like a sticky-note pad. It worked, but I doubted it would last long. Still the wooden tags were a great blank canvas.

I ended up using my alphabet stamps to print each element on one side, and the cardinal directions on the reverse side. As I recall, I bought the stamps in the dollar bin at Target, an approved store. Personally, I’d also add a bead that corresponds to each element using ribbon looped through the tag hole. But hey, that could be another activity for ritual.

The dollar store offered several blank books to choose from. I nearly bought a three pack of tiny composition notebooks, the size to tuck in your pocket or purse, because—hello—I’m obsessed with them. Instead I chose a Jumbo Little Book, with a rigid plastic cover that could be painted or decorated with tape or stickers for a mini BOS. I couldn’t resist the cool green pen at the check out counter, it has a sort of cosmic vibe to it.

Witch KitTo represent spirit or deity, I choose a mandala magnet that can be left as is, or colored in with markers—yet again an activity. To me, the mandala represents the cosmic circle, the cauldron of of creation as the source of all life. As a meditative practice, creating or coloring a mandala accesses inner knowing and higher consciousness, so it covers secular witches too.

I was on such roll I wanted to include an activity that stood on it’s own, apart from being used as another item from the list. I went for a bag of paper clay, perfect to make a little poppet or a classic Goddess form.

The rules for the challenge prohibited using seasonal items, specifically mining the halloween isle. But with all the requirements met, I couldn’t resist a little Samhain booty. I chose a Day of the Dead tattoo sheet because—just too cool to pass up (please, don’t inundate me with your thoughts on cultural appropriation—if it’s not for you, just pass on by).

Finally, I purchased a sturdy wooden box to hold the kit.

44079060_564410380676309_2835136366247936000_n

Here’s my breakdown:

  • Wooden Tags. There were 8 in the $1.50 package/used 4  = .75
  • Stamp set (previously purchased) 1.00
  • Tea Lights 1.00
  • Notebook 1.00
  • Pen 1.00
  • Bowl 1.50
  • Knife 1.00
  • Paper clay 1.00
  • Mandala. Two in $1 package/used 1   .50
  • DOD tattoos 1.00
  • Wooden Box 3.00

That gives me a sub total, before tax of 12.75

I’m stoked. I think this is a kick-ass witch’s kit if I do say so myself, and I’ve decided to give it away to one of my readers. FOR EASE OF SHIPPING, THE KIT BEING GIVEN AWAY WILL NOT INCLUDE THE OFFERING DISH. It doesn’t fit in the kit box and you can purchase an inexpensive dish or use something you already have.

The winner will receive these items:

  • Wooden box, stained and waxed, with pentacle burned on the lid and colored with gold permanent ink.
  • 6 tea light candles
  • Mandala for coloring
  • DOD Tattoos
  • Blank Book and Pen
  • Wooden tags with elements and cardinal directions.

This was all such fun I got carried away and added these awesome bonuses from my personal stash:

  • Multi-purpose tool (instead of a a dollar store paring knife.). The multipurpose tool is small enough to fit in pocket or purse. It’s great for cutting stems, plants etc, when foraging. It also has a small screw driver, a knife blade, scissors and a bottle opener.
  • Small mirror for scrying, and use in deflection spells
  • Clear quartz crystal point to increase or hold energy
  • Ritual Oil to dress candles or ritual tools
  • Lavender balm (handcrafted by me) – because it smells nice and feels good 
  • Sage wand (organically grown in my back yard) – for cleansing and purifying space
  • Dragon’s Blood incense – also for cleansing and purifying, or simply as fragrance to enhance your rituals.

HOW TO WIN THIS FABULOUS WITCH KIT

To qualify for the drawing: You must have a Facebook account and a U.S. shipping address, and do the following three things:

  1. Share this post on your Facebook account and leave a comment below.
  2. Go the MAD Goddess Facebook Page and leave a comment in the pinned post (the one about the witch kit), telling me why you’d like to win the witch kit box. This is the important part, it’s how I’ll contact you if you win.
  3. Visit my Patreon site, read the free post you’ll find there and comment “sharing link”. Then be sure to share my Patreon site on at least one of your social media accounts and include the hashtag #SimpleWitchery. (Again, the hashtag is important, it’s how I’ll know you shared the link. Best practice is to copy and paste for accuracy).

To repeat, share to your Facebook account and comment here, go the the MAD Goddess pinned post and comment there, visit Patreon sit and share the link site on at least one social media account using #SimpleWitchery hash tag.

When you do all three of these things, your name will be entered into a drawing to be held on October 30.  And as long as you’ll be at my Patreon site, take a moment to look around there—there are free posts!

DRAWING WILL BE HELD OCTOBER 30, 2018

May luck be yours!


%d bloggers like this: