I'm presuming this question is inspired by the Wiccan Rede and the quote "Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!" Unfortunately there is very little information available as to the origins of this and why There is a tentative tradition that witches allegedly used to have the power to transform themselves into elder trees so it is possible that the folklore started from this legend.
Christian tradition has it that Judas the traitor was hanged on an elder tree so this might explain the association with death.
I'm a practical witch and I believe that most folklore has its roots in practical answers. My guess would be that knowing elder is an unpleasant wood to burn, giving off little heat and a lot of quite smelly smoke it became a wood to avoid burning. I would imagine it was rejected as a source of firewood and the myths sprang from the reluctance of people to burn it. It is also a very quick burner so possibly there was a concern of the fire spreading too quickly for safety and this was also a factor in shunning it.
Elder is also a very useful tree with almost all parts of it having a purpose. The berries, the flowers and the leaves are all edible and even the bark can be used for medicinal cures. With elder trees providing so much bounty to the communities of old it is unsurprising that cutting them down for use of firewood was frowned upon.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1402779 (Ayla87)
QUESTION -What is your experience of psychometry? I would like to develop this ability. I tried for the first time recently with an object that belonged to my deceased father (who died many years ago). Not really expecting much on my first try, I was taken back to the bedroom shared many years ago by my father and mother, where the object resided on the bureau. I did not receive any thoughts of my dad specifically, but I was struck by the details of the room, the furniture, the position of everything in the room - which I had not thought of or remembered for half a century. My question is: Was this a valid reading, or just a trip down memory lane? Thanks.
ANSWER - Psychometry is the skill of using an object to pick up vibes from an object to generate understanding, knowledge, information or memory pertaining to the object itself, its surroundings or most commonly those who have used or handled the object. This is a genuine skill claimed by many witches and non witches alike. It is an interesting skill because it relies on a blend of intuition and logic. You can guess a lot about a person by being provided with one of their belongings and this is of course where the logic comes in. If you handed me an antique Victorian hair brush I'd be able to have a pretty educated guess as to the type of owner, lifestyle, house their lived in etc. etc. This kind of deductive logic is often played upon by charletons who falsely claim the gift of psychometry. A person who genuinely has the gift would be able to tune into the vibrations of the object and (for what of a better word) "see" rather than deduce the association. I'd be surprised however if even the most genuine of psychometrics wouldn't use an element of deduction in there as well.
I have some experience in psychometry but it is very much limited for me to being a memory trigger. I can use objects to help with recall and to an extent to immerse myself in sensory experiences relating to an object. I have a table from my grandmother's old house that has proven to be a very valuable link to allowing me to go back to that house in my mind. It is of particular importance to me because I use that house as my memory space for meditation and being able to experience the sights, sounds and smells associated with the house helps with this greatly. However I would not consider myself to be gifted with the skill of psychometry as I cannot personally pick up an object belonging to a stranger and experience their memories. I can only use the skill to the limited extent of unlocking my own memories.
In terms of your own experience I would say that you sound pretty similar to myself. Your experience is both a genuine act of psychometry and a trip down memory lane. The memories are fuller and more vibrant because you are tuning into the object and using the vibes and associations to aid your memory but the memories are not coming from the object itself they are coming from you, you are simply using the object to unlock them. This doesn't devalue your experience and certainly you are using psychometry to some extent though possibly not in the strictest interpretation of the term which would be to use the object as an aid to extra sensory perception and gaining actual knowledge from the object rather than unlocking existing memories from it.
You may well find that you have a greater skill in this area than I do and that unlike me you are able to "read" items belonging to other people. The only thing I can suggest is that you have a go and try it. Get a few friends to give you some items belonging to their relatives and try reading the object to see if you can get the same kind of experience that you managed with a personal object. It is a valuable skill to have indeed if you do turn out to have a flair for it!
A quick glance at Google will give you thousands of New Age sites all falling over themselves to give you an interpretation of what subjects in individual dreams mean. And yes, although I find some of them a bit arbitrary and others way way too specific in their readings of dream symbols - the site for example that proclaims if you dream of death then you must be pregnant (!) - I do have to agree that dreaming of your death is not necessarily an indication that your own death is imminent.
I'm not at all keen on this idea that specific symbols in dreams correspond to fixed meanings. The mind is a good deal more complicated than that. Symbols mean different things to different people and trying to formulate a universal dream dictionary where they all mean the same thing too each person is too confined an approach to explaining what dreams actually are. Take spiders for example - to one person they might represent a fear or the concept of intrusion in the home - to me as a tarantula owner they are more likely to symbolise my mothering instinct. The ability to understand your dreams lies not in looking up other people's ideas in books but in looking inward and working out what significance those dream elements have to you as an individual.
Dreams usually do have a significance but their role is more as a filing system for the clutter of the mind. Things that perhaps we need to understand, think more about and focus on often do crop up in our dreams and by listening to the messages in our dreams and looking for the patterns thrown up by our sleeping unconscious minds we can make more informed decisions in our daily lives. Thus the primary role of dreams is to illuminate the present. This is not to say that dreams never foretell the future, precognitive dreams do certainly do occur for some people but they are significantly less common than the dreams that aid us to understand the present.
In answer to your question is your dream a premonition of your own death..? Well yes it well might be. Because if there is one thing we can all comfortably predict it is the fact that we are going to die. It's a daunting thought and one that becomes all the more daunting the closer we get to it. Dreams may well be our mind's way of preparing us -not for near death but for eventual death, a gradual way of accustoming our minds to the fact that one day we will die. Dreams give us a perspective on death and particularly for those who fear exploring the idea of death with the conscious mind the dream world can help accustom a person to face the idea of death. But it doesn't mean you will die soon - you may live another seventy years and live to have many of these dreams preparing you for your eventual and inevitable end.
This article from the Huffington post is worth a read too.
The general consensus on this appears to be yes but it does very much depend on how you define the concept of witch. Some witches see witchcraft as primarily akin to developing a relationship with nature, communing with spirits, crossing into other worlds and spiritual plains and learning the crafts and practises of those who have walked the path before - ancestors for example or the cunning folk of old. Others would argue that a knowledge of herbs and herbal remedies or perhaps new age witches with their knowledge of crystal healing could be considered to be witchcraft even though such practises may have little to do with actual magic.
My own view however if I'm honest is no - you can't identify as a witch if you don't practise any type of magic. Magic and spell work to my mind are an intrinsic part of what it is to be a witch. It doesn't have to be formal magic, ceremonial magic or anything more complicated than a word and a stir when making the dinner... But for me a witch involves herself in using intent and energy to make a change in the world. This in a nutshell is what she does. A witch changes things and she does this using magic.
Witchcraft has many definitions (probably as many as there are witches) but if you are asking my opinion then I don't think you can separate what it is to be a witch from what it is to practise magic. A little more dogmatic an answer than usual perhaps and I'm sure you'll get a few witches disagreeing - but you asked for my view and this is it!
QUESTION - Hello, recently I've been feeling really emotionally run down. I've felt depressed and my self esteem (which has never really been great) has finally hit rock bottom is there any spell you can offer me to help me love myself more?
ANSWER - That's actually quite a complex question because for me although spell work can be of great help in this area, it isn't the first step to improving self esteem. Spell work will enhance the efforts you put in but in something as deeply rooted as your relationship with your own self, you need to put in some mundane groundwork first.
Before answering this I had a chat with another witch who has suffered very similarly and who I've watched spend the last two years on improving her own self image and I asked her what the key steps were that she took. She explained that the first step to liking herself more was to be self honest and understand why she had so little self esteem. She then worked it back as a logical progression to find what fears lay behind it.
The thought process was along the lines of...
Why don't I like myself?
Because I'm ugly -
Why does that bother me?
Because nobody will want to be with me?
Why does that bother me?
Because I'll be alone.
Why does that bother me?
I'm frightened of being lonely.
This might not be the same thought sequence for you but it is a good indicator as to how you can trace back the surface worries to find the hidden fears that are really bothering you. Once you know what they are you can start working on them. Too many people try to treat the symptoms of poor self esteem (for example - I'll lose weight/have surgery/buy expensive clothes - whatever..) but without digging up those hidden fears from their roots you'll always be stuck with them. Work your self esteem back to what is really bothering you and then take practical steps to tackle it. In the case of my friend it was a matter of living her life for her and not being so reliant on the thoughts and opinions of other people. When she stepped beyond allowing other people to validate her life for her and started to validate her own life her opinion of herself rose significantly.
From a personal viewpoint I'd also suggest looking at the bigger picture. When I'm prone to melancholy I like to watch documentaries on space and the universe that show just how insignificant me and my little life are. There's a lot of comfort in understanding your own unimportance and it frees you up to make mistakes without feeling that ever little thing that you do matters. The universe is something like 14 billion years old and you'll live in it maybe 100 of those years. That kind of perspective encourages you to get out there and make the most of it. And if you're not always the prettiest/cleverest/most popular person you know you can be the person who made the most out of their 100 years on earth and that's a hell of a boost for anyone's self esteem.
I'd also advocate slowing down - I find I crash emotionally when I'm working too hard, not spending enough time meditating, neglecting my garden and not enjoying the odd walk in nature. Take some time to shore up your spiritual self. Ignore some of those demands on your time and take some time to let yourself heal gradually. Make the time to sit and listen to whale music on the internet or to take a stroll through the local woods. It's a bit cliched perhaps but if it helps (and it does) - who cares??
In terms of spell work - I did a spell recently to improve a person's self image that may help you. It involves two people but could easily be adapted to one person if you don't have anybody you would feel comfortable doing it with. I held up a mirror and the other person sat in front of the mirror and spoke into it (shades of fairy tales here...)
"Mirror mirror on the wall
Who do I love the most of all?
and then I replied (as the mirror)
"You love yourself the most of all."
We repeated this several (50+) times and I asked the other person to take a non permanent pen and then to write on the mirror with positive thoughts as she felt inspired throughout. At the end of the spell I gave her the mirror and asked her to keep doing the spell every day.
Another spell I've had success with is to take a part of yourself (toe nails..blood..hair) and to place in in a jar with herbs that promote positive thinking (St John's Wort...Lavender..Chamomile)
Seal your essence up in the jar tightly and visualise it as the peaceful part of you that nothing can attack.. Seal the jar with candle wax and then shake gently to activate when you are feeling at a low ebb.
Good luck with it, I very much hope you start to feel better soon.
QUESTION - I'm new to the craft but I feel it is the right path for me. I have been studying as much as I can. My mother is fine with me being a witch but I think my Uncle says otherwise. I have said before that witches do not harm anyone, for it is against their beliefs, but my uncle keeps saying that witches do sacrifice rituals and that the athame is used to cut animals for their blood, He also said that Jamaican Witches use chicken blood in their rituals. Part of me knows that it is not true, because of the Witches' number one rule of not to harm. But another part of me can't help but be saddened when he says stuff like this. I don't know what to do. So my question is: Do ALL Witches' believe in harming none or are there witches out there that would do rituals involving, let's say, the blood of a chicken or any other creature? Please help. It confuses me so much, and it is hard to practice the Craft when I have no mentor and my Uncle keeps making horrible comments like this. Thank you for taking the time to answer this. I really appreciate it.
ANSWER - Your uncle is both wrong and right. He's incorrect to imply that all witches use animal sacrifice (they certainly don't) but he is correct in believing that some witches do use sacrifice as a part of their path. However as with most things in life - generalising isn't very helpful. Individuals adapt their practises and beliefs to what suits them and the fact that some witches would do the things your uncle describes doesn't mean either that others have to do it or that it is a necessary part of what it is to be a witch. I don't perform animal sacrifice myself for example - I'm the kind of witch who'd spend 20 minutes helping a spider out of the bath so it doesn't drown. The thought of killing a creature turns my stomach. I do utilise dead things in my magic but they are without exception always dead when I find them.
The belief that witches harm none is intrinsically a Wiccan belief. Wicca is the modern practise of the craft and far more concerned with moral law than Traditional Witchcraft which is a secular magic path focusing on the belief of the individual rather than a shared group belief. Wiccan witches follow the Wiccan rede, believe in the sanctity of life, the principle of harm none and the idea of the threefold law of return. A Wiccan would not use an athame under any circumstances to kill an animal and most Wiccans dislike the idea of their athame coming into contact with any blood, including their own. It sounds to me that your own beliefs fit this persuasion quite well and it might be worth getting your hands on a good quality rudimentary book on Wicca (normally anything by Scott Cunningham is well thought of) and to perhaps encourage your uncle to have a read as well. If he is mistaking the Wiccan belief system for the less morally structured forms of witchcraft that may stray into areas you/he would find uncomfortable then it is understandable that he has reservations. From my knowledge of the Wiccan religion (which I do not personally practise by the way) I doubt very much he will find anything that would cause him concern if he were to read more about it. Wiccan witches are very focused on doing good in the world and not using their magic to harm or to hurt. A Wiccan for example is very unlikely to use hex/curse spells and would consider animal sacrifice to be a total violation of their harm none law.
You ask if there are witches who don't believe in harm none - well yes, there are. As I say, harm none is primarily a Wiccan belief and most witches practising crafts from older times do not make the differentiation between light and dark magic that the Wiccans do. Traditional witches view magic as a neutral force to be shaped with the will of the witch. So magic can be used for harming and for healing for example but it is not the magic itself that is good or bad, it is the intent of the witch. A Wiccan witch (and there are substantially more Wiccan witches in the Western world than there are any other type of witch) would use that same force primarily to bring about positive results that they deem to be within their sphere of harm none. That is not to say that Traditional witches don't observe their own moral creed, morality for some is still a concern but the beliefs are more centered on what the individual witch deems appropriate rather than a law of which all would abide by.
I'm glad you asked the question because in your case I think some reading on Wicca will help you to define the path you wish to go on and I think your uncle will be reassured that you are not interested in practising the voodoo/shamanism types of magic that Jamaican witchcraft would fall into. Keep the communication lines between you and your uncle open, be open and upfront about your discoveries as you progress on your path and let him share in your journey of education and exploration. The media have done a lot of work in portraying witches as sacrificers of chickens and the like and it is more than understandable that those not practising the craft have a negative view about what it is witches actually do. Your uncle sounds like a man who finds it all quite interesting and I think if you are willing to be open and share from your end you will find that he becomes more accepting of who you are and more tolerant about the path you wish to pursue.
And one final point - please never worry that you have to do anything other witches do. You can be a valid witch in your own right without ever having to do anything that you don't want to do or that feels wrong to you. Listen to your intuition -if something feels wrong, don't do it.
QUESTION - I did a candle magic spell to heal a person. I did it on Weds night 9pm before I went to bed. I used a blue taper candle, wrote the person's name on it lit it and said the incantation. Then I woke up at 6 in the morning and it was still lit. So it was in a safe place so I left it alone went to work and the candle was gone, there was a little wax left in the holder, that's it. What does that mean?
ANSWER - Ummm... I've read this through a few times and I'm not entirely sure what it is that you are asking. Your lit candle burned down... I'm unclear why you find that out of the ordinary? A little wax after a candle has burned out is perfectly normal and likely has no significance in regard to the spell you are performing.
Tell you what - send me a bit more information and explain what exactly your concern is and I'll have another look and update your answer more fully.
Image http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1383149 (VikaZayc)
QUESTION - I wish to go back to April 3 2014 now please.
ANSWER - There is no spell that will enable you to physically travel back through time. Nor at this stage of our technical development is there any non hypothetical way of doing so. I believe there is a physics theory corresponding to travelling at light speed in which time travel is technically possible but this is into the future and not the past. (Mind I'm no scientist so any physicists are welcome to expand on this in the comments.)
You can travel back through time to some degree with the mind. This would depend on what you want to achieve though. If you want to relive and influence your own current life which by the way you have phrased the question I suspect you do then I am afraid there is no simple way to do so. I say it like this because some witches do consider that magic can work backwards as well as forwards and therefore might believe anything you did on this specific date could technically be reversed. This isn't my viewpoint though - in your situation I'd be focusing on spell work to mitigate the influence of whatever has happened.
So I'm sorry, I can't help you go back in time. I will offer the advice however that there is little you can do to permanently screw up the rest of your life in just over a month so although you can't actually go back and undo it you've probably still got enough to work with to get back on track.
QUESTION - There's this guy who is 20 years older then me, we both like each other more then friends, and i can't stand to be apart from him. The only obstacle is age. I want to know is there a spell that can reverse his age so we can be together
ANSWER - To my knowledge and I'm pretty certain of it, there is no spell that will actually reverse the ageing process. You'd be hard pressed if I'm honest to even slow down the ageing process and even if you did employ magic you would only be masking the symptoms, not actually slowing down the years themselves.
Which makes it important for you to understand what it is that you are actually asking for. A spell to slow ageing could be for the purpose of any of the following:
1. To reduce the age gap between you to one that is more socially acceptable.
2. To change his looks so he looks younger and more attractive.
3. To enable you to spend more of your lives together and make it so you are likely to die at a similar age.
If we look at the first... To be honest a love that can't withhold a little eyebrow raising probably isn't a love worth having. If you care more for what people think about you than you do for the relationship then chances are the pair of you are going nowhere. The exception of course would be if you were underage and not legally old enough for an adult relationship. In your case as you have indicated you are not in your teens then I see no reason why society should balk at you having a relationship with a man in his forties. A strong love should be able to overcome the petty judgements of those who believe otherwise.
My rationale for the second point is a similar one. Love should supercede a few grey hairs and a pot belly. If you don't think you'll love him when he's old and incontinent then chances are you won't last the distance. Older men may seem glamorous now but project into the future when you're in your prime at 40 and he's looking forward to his bus pass. You've got to be certain that what you feel for him goes deeper than his looks and if you're struggling now, it will get harder as he heads into the drooling years.
The third point is the only one for which I would do an anti ageing spell if it was possible. It is very hard indeed to love somebody and know your time together is limited by the age difference between you. However the poets remind us it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. So - if he's worth it - embrace the time you do have together and accept that it may be short but it may also be wonderful. If your love can't overcome the fact that you will lose him one day and be left on your own then perhaps you would do better to cut your losses now and save yourself the future heartbreak.
Incidentally I do empathise, my own husband is 18 years than myself and we have faced quite a few similar dilemmas. My own choice was to go with it and accept that the sexy man I met in his forties would one day become old long before I did. If you make the same choice then I wish you well and I wish I did have a magic spell to offer you. But as I can't offer the spell you want I'll just suggest you make sure you think it all through very carefully before you make a permanent commitment to a man so much older than yourself.
Image http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1196167 (wedward)
Join the Witch Path Forward Facebook community. (Click the icon).
Changing your path/religion/way of life can be a time in your life when you need a bit of support. The purpose of this site is to offer a helping hand and a starting point to explore all the information available on the net.