Absolutely you can. A lot of spells do use fire it's true but there are many other ways to cast. You can utilise the other elements just as effectively. I favour using wind for worry spells - worries tied into knots and flung to the winds can be very effective. Water can also be a useful spell ally. I did a spell recently to get a friend away from a job she hated. I made a (biodegradable) wooden poppet and set it free in a river- it worked like a charm (witch joke there...). Earth can also be handy - I've buried secrets in jars that I don't want other people knowing about and even using the energies of the earth to cleanse the tools you use for your workings is spell crafting to some extent.
Poppet work, charms and visualisation magic all fall into the non candle category. Spell work can actually be very simple - my apprentice uses a piece of paper with a clock face to influence time when she's bored at work and it works very well for her. Beware those spell books that say you have to work magic a certain way, they generally lack creativity. Magic can be worked just about anywhere and with just about anything and don't let any witch or spell book tell you otherwise!
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1409489 (gorand1983)
Let me put it this way, it certainly isn't abnormal.
Many witches talk about feeling different after spell work. Some feel tired, others invigorated. Some of it also depends on the type of magic being performed. I find I put a lot more emotional effort into spells where I am personally involved, recent spell work for my sister left me noticeably drained but a spot of everyday magic to get my own way doesn't really affect my equilibrium.
I'd say on balance being tired afterwards is quite a common consequence of performing magic - however, that said, there are things you can do to minimise it. Don't work magic when you are already tired and run down (unless its urgent) and look at when you are performing magic. I'll do daily off the cuff spells without much preparation but if I'm doing something more involved I will take the time to make sure I am properly shielded and that I have raised energy to utilise for the spell work. I'd also suggest you update your grimoire with particular attention to which spells have a tiring affect on you and learn which ones require a bit more preparation. Like I say, spells with a personal involvement tend to be draining, I also find hexing more depleting than performing "lovelier" types of magic. Get to know what magic wears you out and get your energies ready before you start. And nothing to worry about if you do feel tired - if you think about it magic is all about concentration and you wouldn't expect to do a two hour exam and not be a bit tired by the end of it, would you?
QUESTION - You know witches, like, what do you do when you cast spells and stuff? I know you've got wands and knives but what do you actually do?
ANSWER - Well it's one out of ten for effective use of Google from me... There are witchy pages all over the internet covering this. Though if I'm honest I can take your point, many forums and pages do assume the basics and what you're asking about here are the real fundamentals.
In a nutshell Witchcraft is about the manipulation of intent and energy. It is about infusing the creativity of desire into the actuality of tangible outcome. Witches as you rightly remark do use tools to achieve this manipulation and both the wand and the athame (knife) that you comment on are used to direct energy within magical workings. Witches use other tools as well, tools less flamboyant than the ritual knife. Oils, crystals and herbs are all likely to play a part in the path of the average working witch.
As for what we actually do, well practise of magic varies wildly between individuals. Magic can be as simple as stirring a little well wishing into the evening meal (the transferring of intent to deed, in this case the altered state of the diners) or it can be as complex as raising energy to create a sacred space and conducting a formally written ritual with the use of specific wording and symbolism (and no, before you ask, not necessarily performed naked...)
There is no one answer to what we do because we all do different things. Some witches will only perform magic in a circle, others never use a circle, some use tools, others don't. The individual's practise is honed over time with the experience of what does and what doesn't work. Eventually a practised witch adopts tried and trusted methods of working and these grow to form the basis of her ever developing relationship with magic.
QUESTION - As a practising witch, for over 16 years, I can't seem to banish the negative events that are consuming me. A couple of months ago my 19 year old daughter crashed my un-insured car on her way to work, ( she was unhurt, and I thank the Gods and Goddesses that she was able to steer the car into the cliff face, as opposed to going over the cliff)., She quickly got her car back on the road, serviced etc. only to have the motor blow up. There is no public transport here. I have performed quite a few spells, but nothing is manifesting to rid us of bad luck and misfortune, Do you have any advice for me as I am on a disability pension, so getting my car fixed soon seems to be met with other pressing bills. Do I need a prosperity spell or continue to rid of bad luck? Blessed Be.
ANSWER - Doesn’t it depend how you look at it? You’re choosing to see the negativity here. How about looking at it this way – Your daughter was lucky enough to escape what would have been undoubtedly a fatal accident by managing to swerve the car from the edge of a cliff. She was then lucky enough to escape unscathed when the engine blew up…. Had she been killed in the accident or maimed in the motor failure you’d be wishing to goodness that the worst of your problems was being without a car for a while. I sound a bit harsh and I don’t mean to belittle your troubles but I think your perspective is allowing you to get mired down in your problems. Turn the coin over and look for the shiny side. You’ve still got your daughter and she is unharmed. Are you so sure your anti bad luck spells aren’t working? I wonder if circumstances might have been different if you hadn’t been throwing some magic around? Possibly your daughter may not have been so lucky…?
It is sometimes very easy to look at our magic as witches and to feel blue that our spells aren’t working the way we want them to. But you never really get to know what would have happened without the magic do you? Instead of beating yourself up that your spells haven’t worked, why not take a moment to be grateful to your strength and abilities for getting you this far? Sounds to me like your influence has been more than instrumental in helping your daughter.
By changing the way you look at things you can start to generate a more positive focus into your life - this will have a beneficial effect on your magic and you may well find that any prosperity or remove bad luck spells that you cast will work better.
So I’d keep going with the anti bad luck spells. I genuinely think whatever you are doing is working well for your family. Prosperity is a totally different matter and yes I’d definitely be lending some of your efforts to drawing some money into your lives. I’m getting the impression that if you’ve been a practising witch for 16 years you don’t need me to tell you how to work prosperity magic but as we all benefit from input on occasion, I’ll suggest something very simple, very symbolic, the good old basil plant planted in the garden, a burning of your debts with some banishing herbs, anointing your bank statements with basil oil and mailing to yourself to bring the money back to your door, hanging money above your windows (money draws money in)… Something along those lines. I never complicate spell work unless I have to.
Stay positive, keep the magic coming and you’ll get it sorted. And I’m sincere when I say – your luck really could have been a lot worse.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1148745%20 reisereise
Question - I have a item that was given to my grandmother by a sailor and presumed lover during the 1920's, this item passed to my mother, was in her possession until her untimely death 25 years ago, and although the details of how I wound up with this item are not clear, I feel as if it holds significance to my own new (2 years) solitary practice. All of my mother's sisters and all of my female cousins practise on some level but none of us are close enough to ask each other for specifics of one another's practice. My first question is how do I ask for this item to show its potential? As of for now all of my use for the craft has been for good, How do I handle this item if its potential is for something bad or something I don't understand? Secondly I wonder why in my family it's just the women who have or want to practice, or if the men do have the power are they just more reluctant to say? I appreciate your guidance and if asked i may be able to recall more details.
Answer - I can see how you believe this object to have gained power as anything closely associated with strong emotions can act as a magnet for retaining those emotions. But I think such an item would be more a vessel for tapping into potential power than actually alive with a power of its own. There is a distinct difference. Unless an object has been deliberately endowed with magical power by a magical practitioner then I don’t subscribe to the idea that it can have a bias toward good/bad. It can be infused with energy but energy as with all power is merely a force that can be manipulated for the purpose of your own will. That is not to say that this item cannot be of immense use in your craft but what it is very unlikely to be is an object with the inherent ability to harm you.
Before I continue though, let’s just examine what you would do it you did happen to end up the recipient of a cursed item. An object can be cursed in the sense that it is intended to cause harm to the owner or equally it could be cursed to command protective damage if it fell into the hands of the unintended. If you do believe this might be the case I would advise you not to use the item. If you know a local witch with experience in such matters he/she may be the best person to dispose of it for you. Failing that I would suggest burying the item some distance from your house. There are various procedures that can be invoked to remove a curse from an object but given your level of experience these might be best left well alone. Bury it and forget it if you think it may hold a curse.
Cursed objects are rare (a waste of energy if there is no purpose to doing it) and it is far more likely that what this object has actually done is to pick up on the energies involved in the love between your grandmother and the sailor and possibly also your mother’s link to her mother who gave it to her. As a taglock to connect you to your ancestors this object could be incredibly powerful. The fact that you feel such a draw to it is important as is the fact that you sense something of power in the item itself. With regard to how to use it I would suggest you use it as a focus to draw down the powers of those who have gone before and call upon their energies to lend themselves to your workings. You could use it as a focus of calling upon the spirits of your departed relations and seek their wisdom to help you on the path you have started to follow. As the object is so intrinsically linked to those who will wish you well I doubt it has anything malign attached to it and I would feel safe suggesting it is something you explore working with. You’ll notice I am suggesting not so much that you ask the object to reveal its potential but that you decide and determine the usage for yourself. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the object as the main source of the power – that’s you - an object, even a powerful one is only ever the servant of the witch.
On another note, you sound very uncomfortable moving beyond what you term “the good.” Objectively I have no issued with using magic for any purpose approved by the castor but I will warn you not to act against your own instincts. If you feel something is wrong for you, back away. You sound more than a little nervous that you might be moving into deeper waters than you yet feel ready for with this. If that is the case there is nothing to stop you putting the object safely away until you feel ready to work with it. The motto here is – If in doubt…wait.
Interesting that males in your family have no real interest in the craft but not all that surprising. The volume of female witches outstrips male witches by a huge margin. Males can be every bit as much effective at the craft as women but for some reason there is still a bias toward the female. The stereotypes passed down through history have yet to be entirely overridden.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1426580%20 fsegundo
Should I keep my stones and crystals on my altar all the time? Or, are there specific items that should be kept on your altar?
As far as I am aware there is no specific path or tradition that will dictate an answer on this. I'm not even aware of any path that dictates you must have an altar. Many witches practise effectively without one.
If you do choose to use an altar (and I do personally believe they are an excellent focus of both magic and deity worship in the home) then how you use it and how it fits in with your path is up to you.
Some altars are used specifically as a point of worship and intended solely for deity worship. If this is the case you may want to pick out crystals that you use to honour your deities or objects associated with deities themselves (silver candles, oak leaves, statues...). You may want to be selective about what you choose to offer to your Gods in which case your more valued items might take pride of place of your altar.
Other witches use their altars less for worship and more for magical workings. If this is the case then you would probably keep items relevant to your current spells and workings in situ. You may choose to redecorate in line with the seasons and/or sabbats in which case the stones and crystals you put on your altar will change as the wheel turns.
A less common use for the altar is simply a place of magical storage in the home. If this is how you choose to you your altar it may become a good place to store your collection of magical supplies.
I think altar usage is largely a matter of preference and as always it is crucial to have a good understanding of why you are choosing to do something. Intuition plays a large part but so does having a practical understanding as to why you are completing a specific action. Intuition is only as good as intent so think not only what feels right to you but why you are doing it. Once you have decided the purpose of your altar and what it means to you as an individual you will find the answers as to what you want to keep on it.
QUESTION - After being on my own now for over 3 years and divorced for nearly 2 years, I would now like to meet a man who will love me and treat me good. I have know someone for just over 2 years and like him a lot, but nothing as happened and it's like just being a good mate, am I wasting my time with him. Can you please help me? Thanks BB
ANSWER - I'm not going to hedge on this one. In my opinion it is unlikely anything is going to happen. I'm not saying friendship can't turn to love and I personally believe friendship is actually the key foundation of love. But the more usual order is that love settles into friendship. It is rare that a grand passion springs up out of friendship.
If it hasn't happened by now then chances are it isn't going to and I think you probably know that. If you loved him you wouldn't have been able to maintain a friendship this long without making it your feelings known and neither would he. It sounds a strong friendship but not one inclined to develop to romance.
To be fair the emotion of the grand passion isn't for everyone. If what you want is more akin to friendship with the mutual satisfaction of occasional lovemaking then possibly a frank discussion to that effect would prove to be fruitful. But I caution you not to settle for less than you want. If in your heart your yearn for all the depth a passionate reciprocated love can bring, don't turn to a man incapable of giving you that. Hold out for what you truly want.
I personally have no problem manipulating other people.
Granted it may be inappropriate for those of a harm none disposition but generally I can't see the point in having power if you don't use it. Manipulation is a means to an end and providing you can justify that end (and when I say justify I mean align with your own moral spectrum not justify to another individual or belief system) then to me it is a natural function of performing magic.
I'm not sure if I'm honest how I'd function as a witch if I didn't manipulate people, it's pretty much the essence of my craft. And as I'm not great at manipulating people on a mundane level its natural I should turn to using the skills I am good at. Do I feel guilty? No not really, it's a little selfish of me perhaps but I work toward my own desires and I think you will find most witches do.
Incidentally some people are far easier to manipulate than others. Even unknowingly there are some individuals who have a real resistance to magic. Others - just a little nudge will send them scuttling to do your bidding... I adore the latter, they make my life so easy!
After I'd said "don't"?
To be entirely honest I don't necessarily see suicide as always being the wrong decision, there are circumstances where I would support a person in doing it. However I do believe very specific conditions have to be in place before suicide becomes a viable option.
I'd ask anybody thinking of suicide the following four questions:
If the answer to any of the above is yes then I would discard suicide as an option.
I think there is a lot of fluffy hand wringing on this subject but rationally speaking suicide is always an option that all of us have. Sometimes knowing there is a final way out can be a comfort, a security blanket that never needs to be used but comforting for its presence regardless. I don't think ignoring discussion on the matter helps the unhappy and desperate.
Better to confront it as an option get it on the table and start looking at alternatives.
I do believe that life is precious and I think that in many many of the cases where people take their own lives there would have been a better alternative. But I would never condemn a person for being too entrenched in their unhappiness or pain to see a better way out.
If someone came to me talking of suicide I would seek psychiatric help for them and do my best to get them the support they need. I wouldn't take it upon myself to be their sole support, suicide is a serious matter and I dislike the common belief that those who talk about it don't do it. If someone trusted me enough to tell me something that critical to their wellbeing then I would do them the courtesy of taking them seriously and helping them find support.
I often get into discussions as to how my viewpoint would differ to that of a Christian. I can't speak for all Christians (I'm sure some are very nice) but the ones who assure me that taking your own life is the path to Hell are both foolish and cruel. I do believe in a God but let me tell you this, I could never believe in a God who turned his/her back on people when they were at their most desperate. My God would offer kindness, strength and support - exactly what I would strive to offer if I encountered somebody in this very difficult position.
QUESTION - I have a six year old daughter and I want to introduce her to witchcraft to follow in my tradition. Do you think she is too young?
ANSWER - I think it very much depends on both your own natural understanding of your child and what you mean by witchcraft.
Children mature at different rates and what is right for one child isn't for another. I know one witch who regularly involves her similarly aged child in seance work and another who won't let her son join the family coven until he reaches 18. Two very different approaches but we can only assume they are appropriate for the individual children.
I don't see any reason why a young child can't be introduced to the craft. It is easy enough to incorporate some child friendly activities in what we do. I'd have been delighted as a six year old in getting involved in mixing herb concoctions, learning about wildflowers, discovering how to channel energy and being taught how to draw protective magic symbols. It's also never too young to learn how to invoke protective shields or how to use meditation to maintain a healthy frame of mind. All these can be made fun and interesting to a child. There are elements I would personally stay away from with a six year old, I wouldn't start talking about spirits or hexing, nor would I introduce them to complicated casting methods. I'd suggest you keep things lighthearted and be guided by how the child reacts.
The comment in your question that did cause a raised eyebrow or two was that you want your child to learn about witchcraft and your tradition. No mention as to what the child wants? I'd be comfortable exploring magic with an interested child - I would be far less comfortable imposing adult ideas and traditions onto a child who shows no natural curiosity. Beware of imposing your own desires only to find you push too hard and your child rejects what you want to teach them. I'm afraid I also have to warn you that your child - even if inclined to the craft - may show no interest in your own specific tradition. Introduce by all means but resist pushing. As any rebel knows there is no quicker way to push your child away from the path you want them to follow than trying to force them onto it.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1420651 (tonypowell)
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