I just thank the Gods they didn't have a scene where the witches had to kiss the devil on his leather cheerio.
I also loved the SJW & feminism aspects of the show... and Sabrina and her friends rebelling wholeheartedly against Everything and the patriarchy. Go girls! Go!
I will admit that Sabrina was getting on my nerves a little when she kept insisting she could do it all, talked back to her aunts, and thought she knew everything better than anyone else, (as I understand it, this is typical teenager behavior), but she redeemed herself (for me) when she finally owned up to her failure.
As a historical leaning pagan, I was pleased with the references I recognized peppered throughout. But like many witches in the community, I am worried about the demonizing of witches, Wiccans, and modern Satanists alike. Whether we like it or not, media shapes the way people think and it could very well be three steps back for the modern pagan. However, there are so many memes being shared by my fellow witches about just how evil they can be so can we really blame a TV series? Maybe I'm not as worried as others in the community are, but only because the new world generation hasn’t been able to take over the old yet. These new, young, fresh-faced kids who are more open to new ideas, flexible in their thinking, and are completely tolerant of others: when these guys take over, we’ll be just fine.
The series is superbly entertaining. Watch it, don't watch it... I don't care but know this: that exorcism is going into my grimoire.
I'm also secretly hoping the Mother of Demons will usurp Satan and become the sole Queen of Hell. Hail Lilith!
Journals for Witches
If you are anything like me, you have a hundred blank books, and some of them have been dedicated to be your personal grimoires or Books of Shadows. I have a spell grimoire, a divination grimoire, a collected ritual Book of Shadows, a note-taking one for randomness, and even one filled with post-its I designated as "Interim" - The In-Between Time.
In the coven I belong to, I am an elder and a teacher. My planner became as much of a grimoire as all the ones I had sitting on my book shelf. I started to transfer all the notes I had taken through the years, but as you well know, that doesn't always get done. So recently, after happening upon a group called the "Bullet Journal Community", I've decided not to stress over it anymore.
I had already been doing some of what I have seen in the BuJo community (BuJo - Bu-llet + Jo-urnal). Below is pictured my redecoration of January 2018's calendar. Below that is a lecture spread I made for a presentation I did on the Sun God in the Wiccan Mythos.
The first thing to catch my eye and drew me in was something called a collection. The idea that in your personal, everyday carry planner / journal (or PLOURNAL, if you will - my new favorite made-up word) you keep a collection. The collection is relegated to a section of your everyday carry book, instead of being scattered in the book all willy-nilly. It was so simple and yet AMAZING. Why didn't I think of that?!
My Wicca is an ever-evolving one and that includes how I learn and teach it, and this journey into this new, creative community has fully captured my imagination and heart. I will still have my ritual Book of Shadows, and my spell and Divination grimoires... but I'm going to expect them to be artistically amazing now and so, so, so much more organized.
Another thing the BuJo community introduced (re-introduced? re-defined?) to me was the INDEX. Yes, the simple, everyday, in the front of every book, INDEX. Who knew? So now, every personal book gets one and because my Wicca is integrated into my every day AND my everyday carry book, I think I will incorporate a MASTER INDEX (another excuse for another blank book.)
I belong to a few BuJo facebook groups and the members of Bullet Journaling Witches asked for a full picture of the Wheel of the Year I had teased them with.
"This is my record of our covens Wheel of the Year. I edited out the dates of the remaining sabbats (blue). The red up in the top right of each is the astronomical date and time. The small black writing is the wish candle we do for each (Yule and Samhain should be reversed.) The solar sabbats are marked with gold embellishments while the agricultural are marked with silver. The triangle blank space is to record who performed what parts and the exterior white space is used for extra notes about each."
Follow this link to the video by Ryder Carroll
who organized the Bullet Journal system in the first place
or visit the website here
A young witchling asked in a private forum:
[I was] using a pendulum to do a reading for myself. I asked the pendulum to show me yes and then to show me no. During the reading I asked a question. I did not get a yes, I did not get a no. The pendulum made an action that was different from both yes and no and it started to hit me. I assumed I had the pendulum to close and moved it further away from my body and asked the question again and I got the same response again; neither the yes or the no, but the pendulum hit me. So I moved it away from me again and once again the same response and the pendulum hit me. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I've never had the pendulum do this. Please advise.
Pendulums can take a while for you and it to sync so you understand one another intimately. You can't pick up a new pendulum every six months and have it react the way it's supposed to. As with any tool, you have to make the time to get to know it, allow it to get to know you.
When a pendulum reacts in a way contrary to what is expected, I have found that it is usually the questions that are the culprit. It is either:
1.) Worded incorrectly. Try different variations of the question or work up to the 'big' question with smaller questions.
2.) Not the question(s) you should be asking at the moment. Or in other words, "Why are you asking about that when you should be asking me about something else?"
When you are a first year student of the Inner Circle Sanctuary, it is required that you take on three types of divination. There are several reasons for this requirement but the two main reasons are that:
1. To learn to trust your intuition. Everyone has intuition but your signals can get lost in the day to day noise that surrounds us, especially if you are an urban witch. Divination tools serve as focus points and require you to take the time to focus solely on that point. Practice a divination with a tool long enough, and soon you'll find yourself just knowing things without the tools. (I want to emphasize that 'long enough' usually means years, btw.)
2. We believe that before any witchcraft is done, you need to ensure you're doing the right spell. Divination can help you make that determination. Imagine doing a love spell to find a mate when what you really needed was a self-confidence spell so that you're actually okay with being alone for a while.
The pendulum is usually always chosen by first year students. It's simple, inexpensive, and easy, easy, easy to learn. Questions are (usually) limited to 'yes' and 'no' and it can even help you 'dowse' to find lost objects.
The range of materials that go into making pendulums is as diverse as our planet itself. I've read that wood is the best and most accurate and that copper, bronze, or silver attune to the bearer of the tool faster and easier. Almost every book and website I read claims that crystal pendulums need to be cleansed right before and right after use because their 'programming' can easily be swayed.
Just pick one that reaches out to you. That calls to you.
There's not a lot I can tell you about the pendulum that won't contradict with something you read out there. Every book and website will be slightly different, as well as everyone's tradition.
I will tell you however that in my Wiccan tradition, I teach that we, as humans, are every bit a part of the Universe as the owl and the snake; as the tree and the oceans; as the planets and the galaxies. We are a part of the ALL; the Universal Cosmos and everything it knows and with that, we have the capability to tap into that Everything.
When you use your pendulum, be sure YOU are holding it, you piece of the Megacosm. Allow all of creation to speak through every sinew and nerve and pore and cell that is a part of ALL NATURE.
You can sit or stand, you can support your elbow or not... try it both ways (and keep notes). Listen to that inner voice. That inner voice that is not your guardian angel, but you can call it that if you like. It is not the gods, but you can call it them, too. It is the primal source of all things; ALL THINGS, including you. Call home.
Bifrons is Latin for "two-faced
Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, time, gates and doorways. His two faces look simultaneously back at the past and towards the future. He was given the dominion of January, the beginning of the new calendar as established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Romans believed that the beginning, the start of anything was an omen for the whole of the endeavor whether it was a new year, a new month, a war, or a time of peace. To ensure a positive outcome for a year, they would spend the first day exchanging words of good fortune, presenting gifts of dates, figs, honey, and coins (strenae). To Janus, they offered salt and cakes made of spelt; no animal sacrifices (according to Ovid.)
There is a superstition that says whatever you are doing at the stroke of midnight will foretell what you will be doing the whole of the year. The tradition of being with friends, kissing someone at
midnight, and toasting in cheer is a common motif because of this belief. The former two is to ensure a friend-filled year without loneliness and the latter is to be filled with cheer. I spent many a New Year's penning a calligraphy project. My traditions have since been modified to include the whole day.
I like the idea of making resolutions but I don't do them often. Making a resolution is making a commitment. It's making a promise. Decades ago, when I first started my training in the Craft, my Lady nurtured the concept of:
If you are a practicing witch or you want to be a practicing witch, this should be your first resolution; the first promise to make to yourself, to the universe, to the Gods. Without this concept lived every day, wholly, and fully realized throughout your life, any magic you try to create is doomed from the start. If you happen to have this one in the bag... here are a few others:
Actually keep a spell journal to better define which spells are working and what you did to make them work best; A SEPARATE book of shadows, a record, data from your spell operations. Here is a PDf of a page you can download and use if you'd like. SPELL JOURNAL WORKSHEET DOWNLOAD or scroll to the bottom of this post.
Learn your North, West, South, and East directions. Step out onto your porch with a compass and find north. Mark out the four quarters in your home. Learn that when you are turning right, that it's North or South, East, or West.
Celebrate the sabbats as best and as often as you can. Schedule the time to do something even if it is just to light a candle or make a toast. If you are a solitary witch and you already do this, try celebrating one of the sabbats this year with an established group or invite your closest friends to join you. If you already do this, try celebrating a sabbat with others of a different tradition. Expand your horizons. Ask a lot of questions. Learn something new.
Organize your herbs / oils / ritual gear. Make labels. Buy jars or vials. Purchase a cabinet from a goodwill store. Get a nice box to house a ritual-go kit for when you want to travel to a friend’s house or to the back yard.
At the Inner Circle Sanctuary group, we ask our first year students to do a spell every moon phase: a waxing moon spell and a waning moon spell. It's not required, but it gets them into the habit of doing magic regularly if they participate. Adopt something similar.
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!
The athame is the "true witches' weapon." This quote is as stated in the Gardnerian ritual for first-degree initiation in 'A Witches' Bible' by Janet and Stewart Farrar. In fact, the whole of it reads:
"Next, I present the Athame. This is the true witches' weapon, and has all the powers of the magic sword."
Ummmm.... hold on.... okay, here you go....
"First, the Magic Sword. With this, as with the Athame, thou canst form all Magic Circles, dominate, subdue and even punish all rebellious spirits and demons, and even persuade angels and good spirits. With this in thy hand, thou art ruler of the Circle."
Symbolism behind the athame speaks to it representing an individual's control of the elements and as a personal symbol of witch-hood. Just imagine the control man felt the first time his knife made a difference in whether he lived or died, either from attack or starvation. The knife is a personal tool; revered and held in the highest of regards since it was crafted from stone. So much so that it has been buried with its owner since the beginning and taken to the next world with them.
Elementally, the Athame has been associated with fire, since it involves the use of an individual's will. It takes the heat of a forge and the skill of a smith (always considered a magical profession, akin to an alchemist) to produce a blade, furthering it's link to the element of fire. Its affiliation with the element of air is much of a controversy with many saying it was a "blind*" perpetrated by the Golden Dawn, from where Gardner may have adopted many of his ideas for Wicca.
But, modern day ceremonial magicians use a black-handled knife much the same way we do - to inscribe symbols and circles in the air. This knife is not, however, the "air" knife, which by Golden Dawn standards is yellow-hilted, with purple sigils. The "controversy" has always seemed to me unwarranted- it's all a matter of perspective.
In the Tarot, the suit of Fire is the Wands; of Air, the Swords (long Athames). On the other hand, the fiery Archangel Michael brandishes a sword, while Rafael, Archangel of the East, Air, etc, etc, is seen with a staff/wand. I do not think these revered traditions teach these attributions as blinds, rather, meaningful living symbols that aid us in our Work. However you use or decide to use your athame and its associations, just try to always remember the mantra: "Every coven is a law unto itself."
The sword/athame ultimately typifies the phallus and the masculine half of the Universal Creative Force, (the other half being the Chalice.) To take on the role of a man during a ritual a woman needs only to buckle (I said buckle!) on a sword and bam! - An instant appendage. (He-he, and yes - we've heard the joke about the man buckling on a chalice.) The fiery dagger being placed into the watery womb of the chalice signifies the union of that "essential [masculine / feminine] polarity that pervades and activates the entire universe" during the Great Rite. (2nd degrees… get it??)
The athame and its use has been traced back to the writings of King Solomon. Although there is no mention of a black handled knife, there is a depiction of a sickle-like curved blade with the word'Artavo.' The bolline utilized for herb gathering is usually sickle-shaped. In medieval texts we do have the words Artavus, Artamus, Arthanus, Arthana, Arthamy, and Artharme used in relation to ceremonial or ritualistic knives. The pratice of carving or placing symbols on either the haft or blade also stems back to the time of Solomon but I'm pretty sure the practices of the Norse had some influence. They would carve Tyr's rune onto the blade and invoke him before battle.
To Wiccans, the athame is singularly THE "witches' tool," although there are many variations to it's type, color, and usage. "A Witches' Bible" dedicates five and a half pages to the athame alone. In comparison, its ritual counterpart - the chalice only received half a page. (The pentacle was the second highest tool with two pages.) But no matter what a witchcraft groups ideas on the athame are; the common thing they share is that they all have one (an athame, that is), whether some believe it is usurped by Gardner from ceremonial magic or a link to the ancient hunter/gatherer from which our religion spawns.
The knife, in our tradition, is a double-edged dagger; the dual edges expressing the dual nature of the universe; positive/negative, active/passive, masculine/feminine, projection/reception, good/evil, and also symbolizing the dual nature of energy manipulation or magic all driven by the will; by intent for good or ill; for healing or destruction, protection or attack. The double edge gives the athame its symbolism. I have seen some exquisite examples of single-edged blades that are also athames, so as stated above, whether to choose that style is up to your own tradition.
The haft is traditionally black. Black is the absence of colour, the absence of anything, a metaphoric black hole allowing the athame handle to receive your personal energy readily and store it for future use if needed. There have been several non-black-handled athames I have encountered usually made of bone, deer hooves or a fanciful wood like Brazilwood or rosewood. I would by no means suggest the coloring of these types of handles, but "do not leave the handle bare out of laziness." Besides, black is another color of the Goddess and the impaling of the shiny, pointed steel deep within the void of blackness helps to lend more symbolism to your tool.
There are some consecrations that require marking your handle or blade as mentioned earlier. If you desire to do this always take it into consideration before acquiring your tool. Obtaining by gift or purchase an athame owned and extensively utilized by a powerful witch is a phenomenal find and highly prized by those who understand the concept of resident energy and how it can guide and empower your own magic.
The tool will have never touched blood when you first acquire it, unless of course it is a storied blade previously owned by a witch. This is a holy tool, one that you'll be using in rituals where you'll be before the gods and performing spells of healing and benefice. To have a blade that has taken a life, any life, or that has a sketchy past is to bring that unknown energy (resident energy again) into whatever it is you are doing. Therefore, your blade should be new and shiny. I love browsing antique shops and flea markets too, but you never know the history of a used knife unless you're a gifted psychometrist.
Whether you decide to blood it later will be up to the consecration you use and of course, as always, your own tradition. While we're on the subject of acquisition, one caveat I'm a firm believer in is the "no-haggle" policy many Wiccans have adopted when it comes to magical tools. Ask the price; if it's too much it wasn't meant to be. Don't cheapen your magic by cheapening the tool. Bargain basement magic is just not the order of the day. Something you can do is ask the universe for the perfect tool and I'll bet, you being or wanting to be a witch and all, it'll manifest. Such is the way of the witch.
Another dictate regarding the athame that I don't agree with is that of dulling the blade and breaking it's point. Granted, the athame will only be used for the control and manipulation of energy, but if you have a problem with your double-bladed knife being a "weapon" then perhaps a wand of crystal or wood would suit you better. Some arguments regarding this mandate is the 'danger in a group' factor. Okay, I can see that, but if everyone practices safe conduct in regards to their weapon, then there should be no problem. In my years with a group, we have never had a mishap of someone accidentally cutting someone else… of course, stabbing oneself is a different matter all together.
Another argument against 'blooding' the blade whether intentional or accidental is as Donald Tyson explains; "once it has tasted blood it ceases to be a symbol of the will and becomes a weapon no longer consecrated in the service of the Goddess but to service the God of War." While this is beautifully stated and my Libran sense can grasp and understand the position, I personally want my Goddess-hafted weapon to be an instrument of war (besides isn't it Boaz that is severity?) How the Hel else will you be able to 'dominate, subdue and even punish all rebellious spirits and demons' if it is not a threat. On top of that, once consecrated the tool has an astral double that the adventurous witch could effectively utilize while traveling the astral plane. The astral plane can contain some nasties and I want to be sure the astral blade I call to my defense is wicked razor sharp. Again, this is my opinion… defer to your own tradition.
Do not think that I condone carrying your athame around with you so you can use it as an everyday means of defense. I most certainly DO NOT!! Number one, it is usually illegal to carry such a weapon and number two; it would be like the "Catholic priest taking the communion chalice down to the pub for a beer."
That being said, I disagree with the Kitchen Witchery philosophy of utilizing your athame for every mundane task to help build your rapport with it. If we were poor and lived in a one room cottage during the Middle Ages, I can see having one knife serve several purposes but we don't live in cottages in the Middle Ages and any witch worth his or her salt who wants to grow in their abilities will utilize their ritual dagger as often as possible because they will be doing magic all the time. As always, defer to your own tradition.
So... there you have it, my dissertation on the numero uno tool of the witch although this post would not be complete without the mention of your Goddess/God-given athame. Your God-given athame is the one you were born with. It is your pointing finger and your middle finger joined together to direct your energy. How's that for a bargain?
~Lady Atheona (with help from the magnificent Lord Tanys)
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!
*A 'blind' is a deliberate 'lie' or omission in many books written by those who have sworn an oath to protect the information they have been given. Are there blinds in the essays I write? Yes, in the form of omissions. I have sworn that same or similar oath. But that oath also says I cannot refuse the true seeker. Join a class and find out for the truth for yourself.
Originally Posted 2 Sep 2007
Finding a Pagan Path of Study
There are a few things you have to keep in mind when looking for a group to study with. The first is that YOU MUST BE the seeker. Don't rely on “When a student is ready for a teacher, they will appear.” Some philosophies believe this, but most pagan religions are participatory practices. Just because you've prayed or lit a candle or did some chanting doesn't mean whatever it is you've asked for will fall in your lap.... the buck stops with you. If you're sitting around your house playing video games and just waiting for something to happen doesn't mean it will. You'll have to accept the invitation to go out and meet people. You'll have to DO SOMETHING!
The second thing to remember is that all paganism today is NEW. Hence, you are a NEO-Pagan. It's nice to be able to say that what you do, who you worship, what you practice comes from the days of antiquity but unless you are gilding cow horns with gold before slicing their necks, or sacrificing humans into murky bogs, or are cast into the wilderness with nothing but a loincloth and a wooden spear... you are a NEW pagan.
Thirdly, most neo-pagan practices involve religion;
"Religion n.1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the Universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs”
I like the Farrar's definition for a genuine religion:
IMHO, these are the three most important things you have to take into account before you decide to change your whole life.... because your life will change. Adopting a new religion is adopting a new way to look at the world and a new way of treating it. Your consciousness will expand as your subconscious grows. The friends you have now will seemingly be standing still as you begin to move forward along your new path. The Divine will manifest in every decision and action you take because you will find that it is all interconnected and that there is no escape from yourself. You will become cognizant that your life is exactly where it's supposed to be because the buck ultimately stops with you and you are the one responsible for it. So, with that said... on with the subject at hand,
Then besides those up front and readily available resources there are web pages upon web pages of different groups and individuals that you can peruse, including MeetUp.com. There are advertisements in the back of pagan magazines. There are occult supply stores with their own networking. There are renaissance festivals to which all pagans are somehow attracted to. There are a myriad of resources on and off the web for finding a group so I think the real question must be:
How do I find a group I'm compatible with to study with?
As with almost every other pagan in the world, you start by READING. Get a hold of as many books as you can and start reading about the philosophies of the paganism you're drawn too. With the advent of private booksellers teaming up with Amazon and places like Ebay and Google books online, there is almost no book that can go unfounded. Check your local library. When I first started out some twenty years ago there was hardly a book left on the shelf that hadn't been checked out and never returned but today, most libraries keep occult books a plenty on their shelves.
Don't limit yourself to just books on the subject of the occult. Look at anthropological books, history books, and even some historical fiction. If you can, get your hands on some videos on a wide range of subjects and maybe even peruse YouTube.com to see if there are any pagan related videos available.
Find out what YOU are comfortable with. What kind of paganism do you want to practice. Is it Wicca? There are a plethora of forms of Wicca alone. Or is it Druidry? Asatruar? Voodoo? Santeria? Maybe you're actually more in line with the Hindu religion, or Buddhism? Have an affinity for the Greco-Roman period? There are groups out there that reconstruct the worship of those gods as well.
You can look to your ancestry. Most pagan religions revere their ancestors in some way. From there you can even further refine your search to Mediterranean, Nordic, Welsh, American Indian, Islander, etc. By reading about a particular path, you'll be able to recognize groups that utilize the very words you have been reading in the titles of their groups or members. Don't be afraid to ask outright. Even though most pagan religions are mystery religions, things like, “What kind of paganism do you practice?” are not kept secret for a true seeker.
Second, you want to figure out HOW you want to learn. How much of your life are you willing to invest in the change you want in your life? One day a week? Two? Three? Or are you only able to dedicate one day every couple of weeks, or even only once a month? Do you want to eventually be able to teach others? Every group teaches very differently. Some teach in very open formats, allowing students to float in at anytime. Others teach in sectional classes where one week you study this and another week you study something else. You may never see the same student twice or you'll see a core of the same students at every session. Still others are very disciplined, treating the course of study almost like a college class where specifics and ritual training can seem too rigorous for most. There are groups that don't teach per se but gather together to socialize more than anything else and plan on a holiday celebration if enough participants are available.
The variety of groups usually equals the variety of ways to be taught, so again YOU will have to do some research. Ask the questions.
You also need to know HOW a group celebrates its holidays, if they even do. Personally, I'm used to always being outside unless there is heavy rain, sleet, or heavy snow. If you are more of an 'indoor kinda person' that may not be right for you. The Wiccan students I've known have performed the parts of priest, priestess, quarter caller, etc. of every ring and are required to have memorized their lines. If you prefer something more free-flowing or loose, then there are plenty of groups that practice this way. Some regard robes and regalia highly and and others like to go sky-clad (that's nekkid, if you don't habla) and even others are more casually oriented where jeans and t-shirts are okay. What would you be more comfortable with?
Most of all, you have to at least meet the people and see if your personality clicks with the rest of the group. If you are not comfortable learning from a particular teacher then perhaps you are not supposed to be there. Ask the questions you have brewing at the back of your mind. If a group does something a particular way and you want to know why... ASK. They should have a good answer. Treat it like a job interview where you are looking to hire a teacher. Ask the instructors their qualifications. See if you can do a background check. Ask if you can attend a class or holiday celebration or other function before you decide on if it is the right group for you or not. If a group is registered with the government, ask why. If a group is not registered, ask why. Some groups are registered non-profit and others are not. Ask why. Some groups collect dues and others do not. Ask why. Some are taught in someone's living room and others are taught at a store. Ask why. Be comfortable with the answers you receive. If you don't get the answers you like, keep looking.
The group you belong with could drop into your lap tomorrow or you may not find it for many years. Don't despair. If you truly want to find a group to be with, it will come. Keep reading. Start to practice. Try a simple spell or two (I'll give you one.) Try a simple ritual. Don't let the fact that you're all alone stop you from pursuing your new chosen path. There are plenty of people you can consult until you find what you want. Practicing alone, or being a solitary, can be a good thing. There are some who prefer being in a community. The energy dynamic of solitaries and communities are very different, but neither is wrong.
Step One: Clean your candle.
Step Two: Carve what you desire to attract into the side of the candle. Depending on how wordy you get determines how you use the candle as your canvas. The most important thing is to BE SPECIFIC! (I did an attraction spell for a new boyfriend and I spent a month getting the wording down before I did the spell. I made the mistake of writing the word “witty” twice. My new beau, as perfect as he was, was a smart ass... witty, but verging on annoying.) If you use this spell to find a group (which is the whole purpose of giving it to you here) – you may want to say something like:
“I want to attract a Druid group in which to study with to further my connection to nature.”
Again, BE SPECIFIC!
Step Three: Light some incense and anoint your candle moving your hand deosil (clockwise or the “way of the sun”). Remember to visualize what you desire: see yourself already surrounded by those you want to study with. Imagine what it would be like at a holiday ritual. If you're an outdoor person, see yourself outdoors with fires while you are smiling and enjoying yourself. If you want a subdued, quiet indoor group, visualize a living room or dining room table with study materials around you. Empower the candle as long as you can with your visualization.
Step Four: Light your candle. Put in safe place. Let it burn day and night. When the candle is finished burning, you can collect the wax and wrap it with your chosen herb(s) in the orange or yellow cloth or bag. Tie the cloth closed with your string. Carry it with you like a charm: especially if you plan on socializing with other pagans - OR... you can bury or throw the remains away.
You can find this basic type of spell in almost any book on candle magic. One of my favorites is The Magic Candle by Charmaine Dey.
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!
What's In A Name?
Names are very important in our society. They distinguish each of us as individual entities. They group us together under a common theme or ideal. Some are very proud of their names and display them for the world to see. Others despise their names and will go through the red tape of getting it changed legally. Some adopt pseudonyms for protection and anonymity and others because they do not believe their name match their personalities. Names can define us. Names can mold and shape us.
In some ancient cultures, and even to this day, there are those who will not give out the true name of their newborn child. Instead, they have a nickname designation they share with everyone else and the true name of the child is whispered into the child's ear and shared only with those the mother truly trusts. It is believed by some societies that knowing the true name of a person can hold them in your power, mundanely or metaphysically (Rumpelstiltskin, Betelgeuse). Others also believe that the name and soul of a person are synonymous. To read the name of the dead would breathe life into their soul. Taboos against speaking a dead persons name for fear that it would invoke them and they would haunt you abound all over the world. Many great magi throughout the ages have utilized a version of this belief to call and control different demons, angels and similar entities.
The Craft name you choose for yourself, if you decide to do so, works in a similar manner as above. It can define you. It can ennoble you. It can give you courage, strength, or compassion. It can protect you. It can shape you into what you've always believed you can become.
In my group, we require that you have a Craft name. To us, the magical name is a most essential tool. Just as there are many diverse groups in the Craft, there are just as many protocols for finding, choosing, or being granted a magical name.
Others, if even semi-cognizant of the world around them, will be given their name by the Universe itself through a series of seeming coincidences. They'll receive some mail with a name that's interesting on it and then a phone call asking for that particular name. In a place they've been a thousand times will suddenly appear a book or article in reference to that name and then a friend will mention it out of the blue.... Maybe they'll even dream about it. Who knows? Take it as a gift, a divine helping step into your new life.
There are some who are not even in the Craft that love the aspect of having a pseudonym. The Internet with all of it's message boards, online societies, and social media promote this behavior and the reasoning as to why a witch would choose a name can dutifully apply to that of the Internet surfer as well. But unlike that of just finding a name to identify yourself on Twitter, the magical name will serve a purpose in your magic and Craft life for years to come. It should be given some deep thought and at least a little research. It should reflect a side of your soul and inner self that you want to share with the divine. The traits your name carries will come to fruition in your life, magically (and sometimes mundanely) speaking, but we'll cover that in just a little bit.
Still others like the occult mysteries from which we learn and choose names like Shadow and Rain. There are tree and flower names like Rowan and Waterlily. There are stones and other natural edifices like Amethyst, Amber, Meadow, or Sierra. Still others go universal and use names like Starchild or Moonglow. Metals like Silver, Gold, and Iron are popular as are names that derive from the legends of heroes like Boadicea or Ulysses. Family ancestry can play a part in the choice of name a young witch may choose for themselves as well as the rapport they may have with a culture other than their own. Of course, many of these name are used in conjunction with one another like the popular authors Silver Ravenwolf and Starhawk.
The most important thing about your magical name is what it means to you. If you're happy with a silly name like Tootsiepop or Starbunny then you should have a bonafide reason for having it. If you believe that you take life too seriously and this would aid you to lighten up - could be used as a pretty good argument for the use of that name if it is being presented to your Priest or Priestess, just argue it well. While the Craft is filled with love and light and even the Charge of the Goddess may refer to mirth:
"Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."
Studying the Craft to become a priest or priestess should be taken just a little more seriously. 'Mirth' is paired with 'reverence' Let's not forget that. There's lots of learning to get to.
Your magical name should reflect the qualities about yourself that you love and want to bring out. It should help to bring out qualities that you think you might lack. For those qualities that you lack, you have to be careful. If you want to convey strength, choose wisely. "Oak" seems to be the most popular for relaying this quality. "Storm" is a popular name in the Craft, especially after the X-Men movies, but Storm brings more connotations than strength. It brings the ideas of chaos, destruction, and turbulence. The word "Blood" is also used in the Craft often, especially those drawn to the mythology of vampires but you have to remember that the word "blood" can be a verb as well as a noun, ie; to blood someone. Even some innocuous names can have dire consequences in your pursuit of magical knowledge as well as in your personal life. We had a young lady who chose the name 'Gypsy' for herself. While it is a lovely name and evocative of her heritage and of mystery, Gypsy found herself moving from one place to the next constantly. She dropped and rejoined classes often. It was once suggested she change her name to something more stable, like 'Pat' or 'Mountain'. (I was joking with mountain.)
Powerful magus and sorceress names are popular as well. "Circe" is a common name amongst women in the Craft and while she may have ultimately helped Odysseus in the end to get home, she did hold him captive for over a year and turned his men into pigs. She could be quite treacherous and vengeful so if you believe that those traits are a good exchange for being a top notch enchantress, then by all means, just don't expect to have a lot of friends in or out of the Craft after you've attempted to turn them into swine.
If Athena would have worked out numerically for me, it would be the name I would be using now. I'm glad it didn't. Instead, I added the 'O' to make it a numerological viable number and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did I have a unique and beautiful name, but it honors Athena much better than calling myself by her name. (I get to explain it and talk about Her a lot.)
Just as the names of everyday things utilized as a magical name can invoke those particular traits into your life, you'd better believe that the same goes for the names of gods, goddesses, heroes and legends. I've known a Herakles and while having great resolve, he was forever being tasked and persecuted by all the women he dated. Almost every god and goddess has a good side as well as a dark side. You have to be sure you can live with the dark aspects of that god and goddess before calling yourself by their name.
Some in the Craft believe it to be utterly presumptuous to go around calling yourself by a God name. If you decide to call yourself Thor, you'd better not go around being dishonorable in any way that could sully that Gods name. It is a great responsibility to wear the mantle of a god or goddess. Make sure you are up to the task, which incidentally, most of us mere mortals are not. And what if you decide to change the God/Goddess name opting for something different after having been studying for a while? Changing the smooth flow of god-to-you-to-god energies that you decided to align yourselves with in the first place can have grave repercussions when you decide to interrupt those energies. It's likened to turning your back on those particular god-forms and a form of disrespect.
As my current High Priest says, "If you're going to be Wiccan, then you need to be wise."
Where Should I Use My Magical Name?
There are some that use their magical name everywhere, like me. I write essays under this name and if it has to do with the Craft at all, I utilize the name Atheona instead of my mundane name. At my regular job, around my family and in my business, I strictly use my given name (which I also happen to like a lot since I was named for my great grandmother). Some schools of thought believe that your magical name should only be between you, your coven, and the gods. This is a good school. Others believe you can't fully experience all there is to experience with the Craft unless you immerse yourself into it fully. I can see their point. I don't quite agree with it, but I do see it. This all depends on you personally, your tradition, and location, location, location. If you find yourself living in an area where your magical name could get you persecuted, I would rethink having one that you use publicly.
Why Choose A Magical Name?
In the Craft, the reasons for taking on a magical name are numerous. First of all. Let me say that I agree with many who say there is no reason to take on a magical name if you don't want to. It should, as always, defer to the tradition and path you want to follow. In fact, I would rather a student go without a magical name instead of taking on a silly one just for the sake of having a name. In our group, is required to have a magical name before the first non-introduction class. (about three weeks in).
The main objective of taking on a magical name is for its utilitarian aspect of being a 'tool of transformation'. It aids in the separation of the magical side of a person and their mundane life by helping a young witch focus and prepare for the work at hand. Using your magical name in a simple chant is usually enough to help 'switch' your mind over from the grocery list to making a holy space to practice magic. A magical name can give a wallflower a sense of courage and purpose otherwise not displayed on a regular basis. A forceful name can convey a sense of strength, fortitude, or steadfastness. A gentle name can tame the coarsest of behaviors. A spiritual name can aid in the attainment of enlightenment. Power and mystery can be easily conveyed through an enigmatic magical name far more than 'Wilbur' ever could. (No offense to any Wilburs.)
Unfortunately, even today, many witches take on a pseudonym for protective purposes. Adopting a magical name today serves the same purpose in the way of protection as it has for centuries. Authors, teachers, Craft leaders, and store owners can find themselves as targets of those with ill intentions towards any involved in the ancient arts and sciences. When the witch hunters of medieval Europe went searching for a great magus, they usually only knew a magical name which kept the identity of many a nobleman or noble woman protected. On the other hand, I have a dear friend who did subject himself to the paperwork and fees needed to add his magical name to his government name so that he doesn't have to delay when he decides to devote himself fully to the Craft in deed and in work.
It can be a means of connecting to divinity without and within. Some in the Craft have such an affinity for the mythologies they grew up hearing as a child that when they finally do find this religion that caters to the stories of their youth, they can't help but align themselves more closely to that divinity they have loved their whole life. Others have a difficult time with the concept of a divine being outside of themselves. Trees, stones, animals and other humans having the spark of the divine within them can sometimes be a hard notion to embrace, but the other aspects of the religion are common sense enough that the connection to divinity is the only impediment. By aligning oneself to divinity, whether specific or general, can sometimes help bridge the gap.
Taking on a magical name can be symbolic of the devotion you have for your new found religion. I hear so often from new additions to our coven that they have believed in the concepts of Wicca their entire life but never knew there was an actual religion that encompassed their beliefs. Upon finding a book, another practicing witch, or a class like ours - some of these students are so overwhelmed that they'll even start to cry. "It feels like I have finally found my place," is a phrase I hear at least once a year, usually through a veil of caught voices and tears. Even before experiencing an initiation, these students have had a rebirth into a religion they call home.
The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Joseph Noel Paton
How Do I Go About Choosing A Magical Name?
Start by looking around you. Look at your favorite books and stories. Look to the flowers that you love and the trees that fascinate you. Look at the ideas and things that thrill you. Look at your own life and your own personality. The choices for a magical name are endless. Just try to remember the caveats I've expressed already. Tools you can use to help choose a name are divinatory. Tarot cards, pendulums, scrying mirrors, crystal balls, rune stones or chips, Yes-yes boards (Ouija), dreaming and meditation are all great ways of helping you choose or narrow your choices for a name. Sometimes, the universe can be cajoled into helping you find a name even if its not dropping it into your lap as described before. You're about to become a witch. Ask the universe for help. Wish upon a falling star. Write the request on parchment and burn an offertory candle. Stand with your face to the wind and put it out there into the ether. Connect with the nature around you by going out into it. Here is a great story about how the son of one of our members decided on his magical name,
âRead Daniel's Magical Name
Do I Need To Choose My Name Numerologically?
No. But you can if you choose to.
Raymond Buckland says, "Why does the name have to match your Birth Number? Because your birth number is unchanging. People can change their names, addresses, etc., but they cannot change their date of birth. By choosing a new name that matches that birth number, you are then aligning yourself with that same vibration; the vibration of the moment you chose to be born."
Write your birth date and add the numbers. Reduce to one number.
09-23-1976 = 37 --> 3 + 7 = 10 --> 1 + 0 = 1
Use the chart above to designate number for the letters of your magical name. Add and reduce.
Atheona = A 1 + T 2 + H 8 + E 5 + O 6 + N 5 + A 1 = 28 --> 2 + 8 = 10 --> 1 + 0 = 1
There. Hopefully I've covered every part of the magical name I could cover. If I missed something, please do not hesitate to ask. I'd be more than happy to provide an answer if I can. If I can't answer it myself, I'll find the answer for you.
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!
As we move into the waning phase of the moon where reversing spells are par for the course and encouraged to get rid of the blockages standing in the way of your progress in ALL matters, I thought I should share a quick story.
Many, many years ago, after being in a Wicca school for about 6 or 7 months, religious proselytizers came and knocked at my door. Filled with Wicca and confidence, I talked to them about their "religion" versus my "religion." I was haughty; I was overconfident; I was a bit malicious... so the Goddess saw fit to take me down a notch. She sent ants; lots and lots of Las Vegas red ants to bite the s*** out of my feet.
Watch the energy in which you empower your reversing candles. They are to help you, not take someone else down. That's for the Goddess to do. Try and claim her territory and no matter how righteous you feel, she'll remind you. Here's a myth about Arachne you may want to read.
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!