Just over a year ago I would have given you a very different answer. But now, the worst thing that has ever happened to me was probably the last few weeks writing my novel last year. I'm taking worst thing to mean the most emotionally difficult. It was the only time when I have ever walked right up to the line of my own sanity and seen just how easy it would be to cross over. The frenzied period of writing nearly cost me my marriage, my job and my health. I was easily drinking a bottle of wine a day and surviving on around four hours sleep a night. I was in fact completely addicted to writing my novel. It went from a hobby to a passion and finally into an obsession.
As for how it helped me as a witch. Well witchcraft was one of the many things that suffered. I neglected my established practises and routines and my shielding went to pieces. And when finally after the novel was finished and I had the time to examine my spiritual health I understood just how much I needed those practises. I realised I was in significantly better health and happiness when I was grounded, meditating regularly, practising my craft and taking the time to step outside the world. That was my learning, not to ever again let anything become so important to me that it could endanger my health to that extent.
I'm currently about to finish my second novel and I have taken this learning seriously. It took me nearly a year to start again, I think I shocked myself a bit with just how much it took over my life. But this time I am in excellent spiritual health, established in all the elements of my craft that I undertake with regularity and determined that my writing, albeit a big part of my life won't become all there is in my life.
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I am at the very end of my rope with my new baby. My boyfriend has left me and I am scared that I am just going to pick the baby up and either hit it or smother it to stop it crying. I know that sounds evil but I worry I won’t be able to stop myself.
Working on the basis that you have chosen to write to me instead of Miriam Stoppard, I’m going to give you my very genuine and personal advice with the caveat that it probably isn’t what you would find in any conventional book on raising babies and also please bear in mind that I am not a mother so I do not speak from personal experience.
I could blather on at length about meditation and lavender baths but to be honest if you’re as close to the end of your tether as you say you are, such advice won’t cut it. So my advice, plain and simple is – go for a walk. If you feel you are in immediate danger of harming your baby, leave it in its cot and walk to the end of the road without it. Do this as many times as you need to. If you need to walk round your block fifty times a day – do it. Stress is a strange thing, the impact of removing yourself from a stressful situation brings immediate relief. Just those few simple minutes could save your child’s life.
Ignore the overcautious brigade who will warn you against about leaving a child alone in the house. What harm can it come to for ten minutes while you collect your thoughts? A damn sight less harm than it will come to if you do snap and turn on it.
Ok, so that’s my immediate advice. Longer term, beg steal or borrow somebody to look after the child for a few hours every week. If you don’t know anyone or have no family close, advertise for a “child swap” where you and another mother take it in turn to look after both kids periodically while the other gets a break.
Contact the Samaritans and talk to them about your feelings. They will not judge you. Many women feel exactly the same as you do. It is a hard situation to be in. I have a great admiration for any woman who brings up a child on her own. I know I couldn’t do it.
Try and join some local mother and child groups where you can discuss the frustrations you are having with those in the same situation. Sometimes, just knowing you are not alone can help. Try asking at your doctor’s surgery for details of local groups and if they can put you in touch with any organisations that can help. And while you’re at your doctors, tell him/her about the problems you are facing. There is no shame in taking anti depressants or other suitable medication for a while until you are back on your feet.
Magically there are certainly things you can do to help yourself. I would suggest you visualise a protective shield over your baby and focus your energies into maintaining this shield. As they cry a lot, I’d word any spell work you do to ensure that the shield strengthens as the baby cries. That way, your natural irritation at the sound of the crying will be focused into a more positive energy. I’d also suggest you make a witch bottle and seal your peace and tranquillity safely away so they will not be disturbed by the frustrations of your baby.
On a practical note – remember that the constant crying is not deliberately done to annoy you. Your baby is equally frustrated, it has no ability to communicate with you but it has needs and desires. Think how frustrated you would be if you suddenly lost all powers of communication.
But the walking is my key advice. Leave the house for five minutes, breathe and calm down before you return.
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Question. If the bad stuff I do comes back x 3 then does the good stuff as well and if that’s the case and I do a load of good stuff to help others will my own life get 3 x better?
ANSWER. Hmmm. Go and get a dictionary and look up the word altruism….
The rule of three that you refer to in your question is a Wiccan belief. Few non practising Wiccan witches believe it. I personally think it’s a load of nonsense. Yes there is a logic that if you put nothing but misery into the world you are likely to get nothing but misery back but that isn’t down to anything special to do with spells or magic, that’s down to the type of person you are. Nice people are likely to attract nice people and happy people are likely to spread and receive happiness. And magic is all about intent. If you do something for someone else with a glad heart because you want to help them then chances are you’re a decent sort of person who will in turn receive help from others. If you cynically cast a batch of spells to help others with nothing but the sole intention to benefit yourself then chances are you’re a bit of a selfish sod and things probably as a consequence won’t always work out well for you.
Sometimes magic is employed for selfish reasons, sometimes its employed for altruistic reasons (did you look that up??). But be clear about the purpose of what you are doing. Spells where your intent is muddied won’t work very well. They won’t backfire with a huge and explosive karmic reaction, you’ll just find you wasted a lot of energy that hasn’t achieved very much at all. A good witch is wholehearted when she casts magic - focused and direct. Cheating magic is a bit like trying to cheat your own will – rather futile.
I sometimes doubt a witch of my (ahem) generous proportions could fly on an aeroplane but believe me they haven't built the broom yet that could carry this witch anywhere......
Brooms, as I pointed out in my blog the other day are largely used for symbolism. There is no witch that I know of personally who actually claims to use her broom for physical flight. And its the kind of thing you would boast about isn't it? If I could fly on my broom, I'd take the odd pic, I'd let it slip, I wouldn't be able to keep it quiet!
As to whether its possible, well I'm not so sure I'd rule it out completely. There are documented cases of levitation. But I've never encountered any specifically concerning a broomstick. I suspect that anyone having a mind capable of defying gravity would probably be putting it to better use than joyriding broomsticks.
So I'm sorry if I've disappointed you. Brooms are a traditional heritage with plenty of modern meaning for the witch of today. But sadly our transport is buses and trains, same as anyone else.
Recently someone told me that if you become a witch, someone in your family will die. Is there any truth in this?
None at all. I speak from experience. When I crossed over, every member in my family was perfectly hale and hearty and nobody died at all. I also know many other witches, none of whom have lost a family member at the same time as becoming a witch.
I'm not sure who has made this suggestion to you but I'd go back to them if I were you and challenge what their logic is behind it. Are they imagining a huge fearful deity who will punish an innocent soul for someone choosing to practise the craft (rather begs the question why not smite the witch herself...?) Or perhaps some kind of negative karma? I'm getting the impression that whoever told you this has a rather naive view of witchcraft and almost certainly is fearful of it, hence the association with punishment and death. Many witches use their powers for the sole purpose of furthering the "good" (bless them..!) so there would seem to be no logical ground for such an extreme consequence.
I have to say that such a question does suggest you have some fears/concerns, possibly about becoming a witch? If that is the case, I would strongly recommend that you spend some time deciding if this is something you genuinely want to do. Don’t rush into anything. Take the time to dispel any doubts you have.
And should you or anyone you know decide to become a witch and finds a family member suddenly drops dead, don't worry, there really is no link. Don't worry that there has to be a meaning in every coincidence - there doesn't.
We all do. Sometimes every witch has a crisis of confidence that plunges her in the abyss of uncertainty in terms of – does what I am doing actually work? Proof of the pudding is in the eating. Sometimes you just need to stand back and look at what you have achieved through the workings you do. If your spells work, if you believe your spells work and if working spells is good for you - your life and those around you then I think the evidence stacks up to prove that you are having a fair degree of success in using magic to influence the world.
Confidence is about little and often. Don’t save up all your energy for some huge ambitious working that will bring your confidence crashing down if it fails. Build up your experience of magic in little workings, learn how to harmonise it into all aspects of your life and incorporate it into your everyday routines. As you start to see the changes you make it your life and others, your confidence that what you are doing is adding value will grow.
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I use snake skin as I have two handy adult corn snakes who shed pretty regularly. I also have access to tarantula shed skins and cat hair. Actually I've been offered dead pets by a few people! And most reptile shops are happy to sell/give you shed skins.
I tend to use animal parts (and humanely only I stress, I would never kill anything at all) to represent the ethos of the animal in my workings. So I might use snake skin for a spell that required stealth for example. I might use fox hair for a spell that needs cunning or cat hair for a spell for intelligence. No idea at all what I would use any part of a degu for, I suppose if I ever need to do a spell to make somebody really really irritating then a bit of degu hair might be useful....
I don't use animal blood but that is mainly because I can't think of any humane way to extract it. And it isn't too great when its all congealed. Hair is a much better prospect.
If I can't use the animal itself then I will meditate on the nature of the animal and draw its spirit and characteristics into my circle. Or a pictoral representation can work quite well. Its all about knowing what the animal can offer and thinking of a way to release that energy for your workings.
Well first things first – did your mother leave any journals or writings behind that may help you on your path? If so (and many witches choose not to so don’t be too despondent if she didn’t document her path) then these would be a good place to start. Ask your Dad for any diaries she may have kept – If not, could you talk to any other members of your family and find out more about what your mother practised and any details of her path? It can be comforting for many young witches to follow in the footsteps of a parent or an established tradition before branching out and finding their own feet.
If none of the above is possible, let’s start with the basics. Buy a couple of starting books on witchcraft. You say you are young but you don’t say how young so I’m going to recommend an author I wouldn’t usually recommend to older witches. Try reading some of Silver Ravenwolf’s books. They are very basic and way too Wiccanish for my tastes so I suggest you take some of her super duper love and light ideas with a big pinch of salt. But in terms of steering a young witch through the beginnings of working with the craft, she is a good starting point.
I also think it would be an idea to join an internet forum or two where you can swap ideas and thoughts with other young witches and perhaps learn a bit from those experienced in the craft. Try a website called Everything Under the Moon. The owner – Starwitch – pitches her site at beginners to the craft and there are lively discussions in the forums, many of which cover beginner topics. Getting to know other people on a similar path can help you to feel you are not alone in what you are doing and that there are others who can offer you help and advice on your way.
But the most important advice I can give you is to start practising and see what works for you. Perhaps start with something basic like candle magic. Get some tea lights and begin to focus your intent while concentrating on the flame. This will help you take control of your own mind (so important for a witch) and it will also form a sound basis for spell work. There really is no rights and wrongs in spell work so once you have mastered the basics of visualising what results you want, begin to work on your candles. You can dress the candles in a matter to aid your spells. So if you are performing a hex, you may want to use rose thorns pressed into your candles, if you are performing love magic, you may dress your candle with petals. Experiment with different items, smells, oils, flowers etc that fit the work you want to do and have some meaning for you. Your imagination is the thing that makes you a witch – let it run free. And start a little diary. Note down what worked for you, what didn’t, what you’d use again and how you think you could improve your spell work to get better results. Doing this on a regular basis will help you build up your own personal data of your workings and help you gain confidence in the craft.
As you gain knowledge from your reading, support from forum chats and confidence from your workings you will start to form your own ideas in terms of the direction your path will take. Just take your time and let it evolve gradually.
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I have recently finished university and I couldn't find a proper job so I've had to end up working in a burger place. I hate it and I hate the narrow minded people who don't take my craft seriously. I feel so stuck in a rut. What can I do?
I want to answer this question twice, firstly from a purely practical point of view and then from a more emotional perspective.
Practically if you want to meet like minded people you need to get out there and do it. Look for moots in your area, set one up if you have to. Go on internet forums, get to know people.
From a craft perspective, look at what you can do in your job to advance your witchcraft. I work in a bank, hardly witchy, but I strive to make life a little happier for each of my customers and I feel a real sense of value when I have guided them through a difficult time like a personal bereavement.
With your colleagues, have you tried actually explaining to them what it is you do? If their perception (not uncommonly) is a black hatted old hag flying the night skies they may well be uncomfortable with what you are telling them. Trust them a bit and you may find they are genuinely interested. If they aren't then remember you are there to be part of a working team, not as a spokesman for your craft. Find other things you have in common with them.
Emotionally I think you are writing people off too quickly. People are not the sum total of what they do. Working in a burger bar does not mean that person is lacking in intelligence or spirituality. Take your very good self for example. Or me. Given the choice between working in McDonalds or a being a high powered executive in a Chanel suit, I would choose McDonalds. Much more compatiable with the state of mind I need for my witchcraft. I don't want to be harried, stressed out and bogged down with responsibilities. A lot of people work in the more mundane jobs because they want to focus on the other parts of their lives rather than what they do for a living. Don't assume a burger flipper is a lesser person just because they may have chosen to opt out of the rat race.
As witches we are ideally placed to detect the spark of humanity wherever it exists. And it exists in all of us. Talk to your colleagues, don't assume they are stupid. Get to know them, find out about them. Without exception none of my closest friends practise the craft. But we have other things in common, other things that I value in our friendships. A witch looks for guidance and signposts on her path and these messages can come from anywhere. A chance conversation can open up a whole new direction. But unless you can pull yourself down from your lofty position in the clouds you are going to miss a lot of the value (and fun) of interacting with your colleagues.
And don't make the mistake of confusing academic ability with intelligence. Some of the most brilliant people I have ever met have never set foot inside a university.
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QUESTION - I guess i should start from the beginning. My whole life has been a study of the occult even being raised roman catholic. i was one of those children that would be seen waving to an empty spot in the house or talking in whispers to a corner. it was only after my first confirmation at church that i started getting the feeling that when i was alone at night i was not truly alone. time when on and i have always been sensitive to places and people. i would always catch things out of the corner of my eye that other did not. Some pleasant and other to horrible to describe. some made me feel happiness and safety and other made me feel like i was cold and in pain. One in palatial i saw an a every day bases i knew it was there but could not make sense of the feeling it gave off. it was not till the age of 18 or 19. i started a small study on astral projection. one night i had a break trough when i though i had gotten out of bed to turn off a tv that i didn't even know was on until i turned it off, turned around and saw my girlfriend and myself still in bed. This is also when i noticed something else. the thing that was constantly in the corner of my eye for years now. Something was sitting next to me. it was toddler size humanoid type creature.words cant describe him. even now as i think back i cant place a clear picture of it other then it was far from being pleasant to the eye. i felt no fear of it though. it was almost comforting to finally see it. i soon came too in my bed and went to sleep. I soon realized with in the next few weeks it was no long just in the corner of my vision. i would wake up in the middle of the night. i would see it perched at the end of the bed for those few seconds between waking up and your vision finally adjusting. Soon after a few strange nights and odd dreams it could almost hear him make comments to me in my head. the dreams and its words after almost seemed like guidance. Soon after my life really took off great things happened and for a while i lived a great life. The my life fell apart. career loss, divorce, close to poverty. Tonight i was thinking about my life. i don't remember my little friend being around when the bad stuff happened, only the good parts. Then when the worse hit and i was at my lowest it came back. it was right after my divorce and i was in bad shape that night i woke in the middle of the night to it at the foot of the bed as i had seen in the past. this night was different, in a blink of a eye it was no long at the foot of the bed. it was on my chest. its cold hand on my face and in my mind i herd " she was not the one for you" then in a blink it was gone. I clearly saw my friend this time . cold dark eye dark flesh. still cant put words with features but it was not a pleasant sight. Think again tonight my friend was gone again around the time i got our dog. As i sit here tonight and type this i am struck with a sudden and overwhelming sadness as if a part of me is missing. Did this thing contribute to my life? what was it? and why do i all of a sudden feel lost now that i have remembered it. I'm not even sure why i thought about it tonight. was it bringing me my great luck and success until i took it for granted? i never associated it with what was going on until tonight? is that way it left and then returned when i was low. or maybe it was something bad, feeding off my emotional highs and lows. i felt comfort and strength from it. and now feel sad that its gone. any advice or insight on this would be great. should i call out to it and see if it returns?
Answer - There is a saying that the gifts of the spirit are recognised by their fruits. Broadly put this means that if something is good for you, the will know by the goodness it manifests in your life. If we examine your creature, by your own suggestion this creature (spirit, entitiy, ancestor, whatever) has been a source of support and strength to you. It has been present in the happier times in your life, absent when perhaps you were less needing of its help and reappearing when you hit rock bottom. I would say that (its less than pleasant appearance aside), this in a benevolent entity who wishes you help and not harm.
Your question ...what is it. Well I could give you over 100 possibilities and come no closer to the truth. It could be an encounter with a soul mate, someone you have met in the world before and who has crossed the barrier to support you in this life. It could equally be a projection of your own sub conscious. Many people find it easier to understand parts of themselves if they project them into being an individual in their own right. This could be the case, I am not discounting it. It is possible that your own dissatisfaction with elements of your life have evolved to create a representation of your fears who advises you to move forward/back off when you hit a rocky period in your life.
Having said that, it could just as easily be a benign spirit, akin perhaps to the Christian construct of the guardian angel. It could be equally be a projection of one of your ancestors, reaching to you from between the worlds to guide you forward through difficult times.
I do feel obliged to offer the warning that your creature may also be a low level spirit messing with your mind, but to return to my first paragraph, I think you would have been unlikely to see such positive results from your interaction. The fact also that you feel sadness at the absence of the creature would suggest the relationship to be genuine. I would also be inclined to discount the idea of a malicious little low level entity given the duration of your time with the creature. Most low level spirits have neither the intelligence nor the stamina to maintain any kind of relationship for any length of time.
You ask if it brought you happiness until you took it for granted. I can only offer an opinion but actually, I think not. I think this creature appears to you when you need it, not simply when you desire to see it. It is unlikely it is offended that you took it for granted. What I think is more likely is either a) the crossing of the worlds requires a good deal of effort on the part of the creature and it only expends the energy when you are in need or b) you are only receptive to the creature when subject to emotional turmoil. This latter explanation is not unlikely, when our primary senses fail us through whatever means, the spiritual senses will often step in to lend a hand. Also, desperation can lower your natural inhibition toward belief of other world creatures. When life is all going well, most people are perfectly happy to leave their knowledge of the other world to the books of JRR Tolkein. When the chips are down we are receptive to anything, anything at all that may offer a touch of comfort.
Do I think you should try to contact this creature. Yes, but I don't think it is as simple as whipping out your ouija board. On some level I suspect the creature may well be with you all the time, just generating the additional energy to become visible when you need the extra source of support. In which case, I do not think it is likely to put the effort in because you are curious to know more about it. You may feel it is absent but I wonder how much of that is about the creature and how much is about you. You talk of having an affinity with spirits in your youth and yes, this is a gift especially common in children. But have you allowed yourself to become too dragged down into the mundane. Is it a case of the creature not showing itself to you or is it a case that you are no longer able to allow yourself to see the creature. Have you let the problems in your life drag you down to such an extent that your own gifts have become jaded. And if so, the answer lies in enhancing your own receptivity as a person, not calling out to the creature directly.
I would finally offer the possibility that the reason you no longer see your creature is because its work may well be done. People, spirits, soulmates move through our lives and we gain succour from them. But sometimes as we move forward their help is no longer needed. This does not devalue the relationship, merely that we have learned all we can from those who have touched our lives. You have experienced a difficult divorce, career issues, poverty. And yet you have survived. If how to survive is the lesson this creature wanted to teach you, you have learned it well. Perhaps that was its intention. To help you over those immense hurdles as you move into a happier phase of your life.
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