Sunday, September 11, 2011

Commemorate Life instead of the Tragedy of 9/11

I'm not watching TV today. I know every channel will be having it's tribute to 9/11. The 10th anniversary of a tragedy isn't worthy of commemoration to me - instead, we should commemorate life, not the day those lives died.

I haven't totally decided what I believe about death or the afterlife. Most Wiccans believe in reincarnation - that the soul is eternal and comes back many times to keep learning and growing. Some believe their souls merge with the Divine upon death, some believe in "heaven" (known as the Summerland in Wicca). I didn't know anyone that died on 9/11/01, but I have lost loved ones - my mother, beloved mother and father-in-law, grandparents and friends. I used to light a candle on the day they died. I don't anymore. Instead, I light a candle on their birthdays and celebrate the life and love they brought into this world and the light they had, and perhaps still do.

Yes, 9/11 was a tragedy of epic proportions - but every time I flip past yet another program showing the Twin Towers burning and falling I wonder how the families of those that did lose loved ones must feel. Having to watch that again and again and again is truly tragic to me. How hard it would be to move on and let go of your grief when it's cause is shown so often you cannot escape it.

Grief is a process and, as painful as it is, at some point you do move on. You have to for your own sanity. And yet the families and friends of those that died are constantly reminded of it. A wound re-opened every anniversary year.

So instead of focusing on the day they all died, I'd rather think of the day they were born - of the joy and love they created while they were on our mortal plain. And let go of the death and destruction of 9/11.

Mother Theresa once was asked to participate in a march against war. She declined saying that she would gladly march for peace.  Instead of focusing on the tragedy, I prefer to act as Mother Theresa - to look forward, not back. To focus on the way the world came together after 9/11. Not since World War II were so many countries united it one cause or help each other so much. And to focus on the lives the people who died had before - and perhaps will have again if they are reborn.

It's their lives I celebrate today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Empower your Amulet or Talisman

A few posts ago, I talked about how an amulet or talisman was just a hunk of metal - unless you empower it. This time, I'll expand a little more on it and tell you how to empower it for your intent.

First of all, what is an intent? An intent is something that is intended; purpose; design; intention. Basically what you want that shiny new amulet (something that deflects something away from you or protects you) or talisman (something that draws something to you) to do for you be it lose weight, get more money, get a new house or car, pass a test, find the love of your life - or keep your dog from running away. Some faiths call this sort of intention "magic" or "a spell" - others think of it as an "affirmation" or "prayer". However you think of it, get clear on what you want this specific talisman to do for you. You want one talisman with one intention (and I don't suggest you load up on a lot at once - achieve your first goal and then set another. Working on too many things at once can scatter the energy you are trying to draw).

So the first thing you need to decide is what do you want to work for? What is the biggest challenge in your life right now?

Once you decide on your intent or goal, make sure it is clear and measurable. If you need more money for example (and who doesn't these days?!), set a time limit and amount. Such as "I will have $5,000 dollars more than usual by the end of the month" or "My income will increase 20% beyond what I need for all my bills and expenses within the next 60 days". Get specific, but don't hold yourself back either. I like to include " least..." when I set a goal like this: "I will have at least $5,000 dollars more than usual by the end of the month". That lets the universe attract more into my life than I thought I needed, yet still sets a goal.

I always write out my intent and includes a clause to prevent any unintended results. For my money example, I wouldn't want to achieve that $5,000 goal by having a loved one cross over or by harming another person. So at the end of whatever intent I set for myself, I always include a generic clause of "for the greater good and so it harms none". So to continue by example, the entire intent I may write down is...

"I will have at least $5,000 more than usual by the end of this month for the greater good and so it harms none".

I usually write down intents on bookmark size pieces of papyrus paper since I practice Egyptian Wicca, but you can have some fun with it and write it beautifully in calligraphy embellished with stones or gems on your favorite stationary (green is ideal for money of course)....or just on a piece of notebook paper. You could even make a copy of one of your bank deposit slips and make a $5,000 "deposit" to yourself writing your intent on it! Creativity builds energy so have fun with it. This little note can be put somewhere you will see it often to remind yourself of your goal as well.

Once you have your intention written down, gather any other items you want to use in your spell. I'm not going to go into correspondences of crystals or herbs or incense or colors here as it would be huge and there are many great books that give you such lists. Just take a look around and see what you have that can lend it's power and sympathetic vibration to the spell. To continue with my money example, I might choose a green pillar candle I can burn for several days, a malachite stone, cinnamon oil or powder.

Once you have everything you need (and don't forget things like matches, plates or bowls!), prepare yourself and your altar. You might want to take a ritual bath with salted water to clear your energy. I like to do a quick cleansing with a sprinkling of salted water across my altar to clear away any remnants of past spells or other energy. You may want to erect a special spell altar just for this particular working or use your main altar (spell altars are best for a long-term spell you want to work such as for someones health or prosperity). Put on a green altar cloth if you'd like. Shut off your phones, play soft music if you'd like - whatever you need to do to get into the mood.

A good basic pattern is:
  1. Cleansing of negative energy
  2. Casting a circle around you and your altar
  3. Prayer to the God & Goddess while lighting your altar candles (if using your regular altar) and calling the Elements if you use them in your practice, lighting incense or any other rituals you follow.
  4. Cleanse the talisman by dipping it into salted water, passing it thru incense smoke, or whatever method you prefer. Visualize all energies it accumulated before coming to you drifting out into the universe or sinking into the ground leaving it pure.
  5. Dress your spell candle - you could engrave runes or symbols into it ($ for prosperity spells are always good), rub it with oil or sprinkle herbs on the top of it.
  6. Read your incantation while lighting your candle.
  7. Hold your talisman in both hands and repeat your incantation over and over visualizing its energy infusing the talisman shining like a star to attract what you need.
  8. Pray to Diety. I like to include why I need what I'm asking their help with, what I plan to do mundanely to help myself, and what I really need from them. Ask them to add their energy to the talisman to aid you in your quest.
  9. Meditation or quiet reflection on the problem. Often a great solution suddenly occurs to you during this time. 
  10. Put the talisman on if you will be wearing it or on your altar on top of the written incantation if you will leaving it on the altar.
  11. Thank Diety with an offering if you'd like, or just a simple thank you.
  12. Close the circle, ground and center.
I'll often put the incantation paper under the candle and let it burn for a bit sending my intent to the Gods (be safe of course - don't do this if you have children or pets that could knock the candle over and never leave a burning candle unattended). Of course adjust this for whatever spiritual practice you regularly follow. You might also want to write down what you did - I always journal after working a spell recording the time and date and working I did along with a repeat of my incantation. This is a great reference for you to be able to go back months later to work the same spell again (or make adjustments if it didn't work exactly as you had hoped). Be sure to include your mood, moon phase, and any sensations or feelings you experienced while performing the spell.

Once charged, your talisman is ready to do it's work. If it is intended for a long term goal, you should recharge it at least once a month (every full moon is a good time). If you will not be wearing it constantly, find or make a pretty pouch or box for it (another opportunity to infuse your intention into the storage vessel by decorating it too!). If you will be leaving it on your altar or another area, try to put it where others will not pick it up or bombard it with negative energy. Most witches like to avoid energy from technology as much as possible too keeping it away from their computer, phones and televisions.

Remember that the talisman cannot do all the work for you either - you still have to do the everyday mundane things to support your intention. If you charge a talisman for increased prosperity then quit your job the next day it's going to be a much harder battle! Focus on all the tasks you need to do to achieve your goal and let your talisman help make them smoother and faster for you - or attract the people or things you need to accomplish it.

Once your goal has been achieved, be sure to cleanse your talisman and store it until you need it again. Treat your amulets and talismans with respect and you will find them working their magic for you for many years.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah's farewell a lesson in gratitude

I was never a regular watcher of the Oprah Show - I would occasionally catch a part of it now and then and watch when she had a guest that interested me. But I have long admired her and caught the very end of the very last show today.

Teary-eyed, she said farewell with grace and with gratitude for her fans, her life, and God. I've admired her beliefs in the Law of Attraction, meditation and gratitude. It's so easy for us to get distracted from the good in our lives - and forget to be grateful for it. Struggling to make our lives work, we forget that there is a universe out there that supports and nurtures us. Watching Oprah's final shows reminded me of how amazing the universe does work. What miracles can happen if we persevere and be true to ourselves.

How many thousands of other people have been in the same situation as the young Oprah - in small towns, with people telling them they cannot do what they want, with abuse, with everything possible to keep them down and keep them from achieving their dreams. It's the rare Oprah's that make it due to their own hard work and belief in themselves. And the rare examples can remind and inspire us of all we can be - if we only believe, stay focused on working towards our goals - and let the universe help us along the way.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Listening to the Universe...even the things you don't want it to say

I had an interesting conversation with a customer earlier. He had a bad job situation and ended up forced to resign due to one person he had issues with for more than a year. He called looking for ideas for candles and oils he could use to help get the job back. But after talking for a bit, I got the impression that perhaps that wasn't the best idea. Maybe the universe was telling him it was time to move on.

Sometimes we get stuck - in a job, a relationship, situation, or just a mindset. When we are in it, it's hard to see any other way. No options. We just keep trying to work within it digging ourselves deeper into the mire. Until the universe, Gods, a good friend or sometimes even a stranger kicks us in the butt to get us out of it...which often just confirms that feeling we had but did't want to admit. It is time for us to move on.

A lot of times, getting out means taking a step back...which no one likes to do and perhaps is one of the big things that keeps us stuck. Collecting unemployment, ending a relationship, moving back in with parents or borrowing money from them is never a fun thing. But that step back can make it easier for you to see the big picture - make it easier to realize you are stuck and have to make a change.

If you practice any form of divination, you might try doing a reading on the situation. Ideally though, have a third party do a reading for you as it will be more objective. It's easy for us to see what we want to see.

And if you practice The Craft, don't get stuck on doing a spell that will keep you stuck. If you truly feel that is your best choice for now, be sure to include a clause that you will keep yourself open to all possibilities. But consider working towards new options, drawing towards you that which you need for your greatest good. Meditate or pray on what you really want and how to move towards it.

Here's to that kick in the butt!
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Beltaine - Reflections of the Day

It's May 1. Beltaine. A time to celebrate fertility and the growth around us - of the Earth, of children, or ourselves.

Traditionally, Beltaine or May Day was a celebration of the union of the God and Goddess - of the Earth and Sky. It was often celebrated with bonfires and May Poles, dances, picnics and revelry. Often bonfires were lite the night before or on May Day Eve to burn away the old with a dance around the May pole the next morning to ring in the new.

May Poles represent the penis of the Earth or God and the ribbons from the top of it are his divine emanations spilling upon the land and it's people to fertilize and bring new life to all.  This to me, makes the Earth more in line with the Egyptian view of it being male (the God Geb), though most Pagan traditions consider the Earth female - Mother Earth or Gaia. The pole could be seen as reaching into the heavens for Nuit - the Egyptian sky Goddess and mother of the Gods. Though it could also be seen as One God renewing him/herself and in many other ways.

Whatever your tradition, Beltaine is a day to celebrate the God and Goddess joining in marriage and love - and is a traditional day for handfasting (marriage). It's a time to celebrate the loved ones in your life, to appreciate your children (and children in general) for the unbounded possibilities they hold for the future. To plant seeds that will grow throughout the warm, summer months and blossom into flowers or food.

It's also a great time to reflect on the seeds you want to metaphorically sew in your business or life. What changes do you want to blossom in the coming months? What plans to you want to see bloom? Celebrate today as a day of opportunities, new birth and joy. Let failures or set backs go and focus on the brightness of what is to come.

If you have the space to erect a real May pole, dance around it and let go in joy. If you cannot, make a small one for your altar - decorate it with ribbons and flowers and know that the God and Goddess are present in your life bringing their energy to whatever you want the future to hold.

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Having problems with my posting software :(

Been having some issues with my favorite posting software so have to actually go to each of my blogs and do a manual post - not the easiest way to do it, but I'll try to get going on some new content this week. Sorry for the blip!

Just a quick test post

Just a test to see if the issues with my posting software is fixed so I can actually easily post to my blogs again. :(

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Daily Tarot Blog Launched

Just a quick post to let you all know I've started a separate blog for my daily tarot posts. This will help me keep them all together, include photos of the cards so you can learn along with me perhaps, and let you comment as well. Please feel free to add your interpretations and notes - I'd love to see another view!

The new blog is Daily Tarot.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An amulet is just a hunk of metal...unless you empower it

Owning a spiritual/witchcraft shop means I get a lot of questions - some of them very interesting ones (like the customer in my last post that asked about disposing of a sacred object). Well, actually, most of them are very interesting.

One of the most common questions I get is "What amulet will do x for me?".

From the response to my answer, I can always tell how experienced in The Craft the questioner is. My answer? "Any amulet is just a hunk of depends on what it means to you and what you empower it to do".

It's true that a certain design, pattern or materials of a piece can aid in a particular function - but really the humblest hunk of stone from the street can work just as well as the most expensive amulet or talisman (not that I don't want you to buy one of course!)...if you put the time, energy and programming into it.

Any mention of what a particular piece is useful for on my or any other site is really just a guide - what it means to you is the first important thing. The second is what energy you put into in to empower it's function (I'll get into that in a later post).

When you are considering something to empower (or enchant if you want to use a more magical sounding term), consider what you want it to do..and look at the design to see what it says to you. Just as dreams are best interpreted by the dreamer as they draw on your unique symbolism, so do the symbols on a piece of jewelry or other object. A tree is generally thought to embody growth, renewing opportunity, and abundance - but it could also be seen as longevity, Earth, and a lot more. So think about what the design means to you. You might need to meditate on it a bit to know, but patterns speak to our subconscious far better than words. Just seeing a design that to you symbolizes courage can give you a lot of courage when you need it - even if you don't empower it!

Of course, jewelry is the most common thing to empower as a talisman (something that draws something to you) or amulet (something that deflects something away from you or protects you), but anything can become your personal magical tool. This is especially useful for situations where you want to keep your Craft work secret - such as at school or work or from family members that don't agree with your beliefs.

Have a co-worker that is always causing issues for you? Try a pretty crystal on your desk empowered to deflect that person's negative energy. Plants are other great absorbers of negativity. Need some help with a project or test? How about setting aside a special pen or other mundane tool empowering it for creativity or memory and only using it when you are in need of it's help (a "thinking cap" would be another great object for this). The ring you wear every day - even your wedding ring - can be empowered for anything you need on a daily basis. Seeing or touching that object will bring your goal to mind helping you keep it energized and working its magic for you.

Some ideas? Tuck a Tarot card or other symbolic art into your text book as a book mark or a rune stone in your pocket. Design a sigil (more about that another time) and draw it on your notebook or scrap paper when you need to release it's power. Put a pretty statue on your desk - just as decoration, of course ;-). Tie a cord or ribbon of a meaningful color around your wrist as a bracelet to remind you of whatever it is you need that day. Even wearing clothing of that color will give you a boost!

Sure a piece with those fancy symbols or made of a specific metal or set with that certain stone can help give your magic an extra boost, but don't rule out the simple things that you use every day as your own personal amulets or talismans. Give the humblest of objects power, and you have an object of great magic. Only you have to know.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Disposing of Sacred Objects

One of my best customers on Egyptian Marketplace asked me something the other day that got me thinking - which of course means I had to write about it :-) He had accidentally broken one of the statues in his temple - a statue of Osiris he had knocked over and unfortunately the head broke off. He called me to get a replacement for it, but then asked what to do with the broken one. He didn't feel comfortable just throwing away something that had been used for some time in his temple, so what should he do.

This is a very good question. A piece you have used for a while in your spiritual practice picks up your energies as well as the energies of the Gods or any spells you have used it with. So if that piece is no longer needed or becomes damaged, should you just throw it away?

After some discussion with my customer, he decided the best thing to do was to bury it (appropriate too since this particular case was Osiris, Lord of the Underworld). Wrap it in clean linen or other natural fibers and bury it with reverence.

At the very least I think you should cleanse the piece of any residual energies - something you should also do if you give away or sell a piece you have used. You can do this by several methods such as burying it using the Earth to ground it. You could also hold it under running water (a natural source such as a stream would be best, but a faucet would do too) visualizing the water washing away all energies.

You could also get a little more formal and do a cleansing ritual - many spell books have rituals on cleansing and consecrating a piece before you use it on your altar. You could do the same ritual stopping after the cleansing part.

The other question is of course, if it is a broken piece, can you repair it and continue to use it? This is another tricky issue - many people feel that anything dedicated to the Gods should be perfect and once broken, it loses any power or significance it had. You could certainly repair it and use it after as just an art object instead of in ritual, but can you use a repaired piece in ritual - especially if it was an expensive piece, one you cannot replace, or you just don't have the budget to replace?

After having had my cats knock over more than one of my statues, I thought a lot about it and personally came to the conclusion that I would still use them. My personal path is Egyptian based and I feel that even the fragments of ancient Egyptian artifacts and temples have power - the chips and cracks and wearing they have experienced do not destroy their power, so why should a bit of super glue destroy the power of my pieces?

In the end, you must decide what feels right to you. Meditation, intuition, prayer and asking your spiritual guides is always a great way to determine the best path in any situation - this one included.