QUESTION - I recently experienced something significant that I know anyone else would dismiss as purely coincidental. Based on this experience, I've been wondering... how can you tell when something is a coincidence, or would have happened anyway... or if you had a hand in making it happen with pure intent and/or magic? I'm very inexperienced and would really like to know what you personally feel is the difference. Thanks! :)
ANSWER - I’d kind of like to park this question and come back to it in thirty years when I’m a wise old crone with fifty odd years of practicing magic under my belt. The reason is that your question tackles the very fundamentals of magic and the complexity of how it actually works and it’s a pretty tricky business.
Magic is an entirely non linear process. This is why people find it so hard to comprehend. In the scientific world of direct cause and effect its easy to dismiss something that works in a completely different way to the laws of the world that we are used to. The best explanation I can give is that the practice of magic isn’t a direct influence of intent on outcome. Magic is endowed with its own interpretation of intent and works in an roundabout meandering route rather than creating a direct influence. As you point out in your question, this makes it very hard indeed to know if something actually is magic or just a coincidence.
The thing is a lot of witches do mistake the two. That eye rolling moment when they assure you they make the traffic lights change colour upon approach (coincidence!) or they receive a cheque out of the blue after practicing absolutely no magic to obtain it and assume it is a result of their powers…. Its easy to take every little happening as meaningful and/or magically generated but the truth is that most of the things that make up 99% of our lives (witch or not), just kind of happen and are not a result of any magic we work.
The first sign that something actually is influenced by magic is forethought and intent. If you know you have worked on something magically and the results you obtain come to fruition, you can have if not a certainty but a credible claim that it may have something to do with the working you have performed. This is backed up by regularity - the more you see results from your magic, the more you can feel confident about making the claim that what you are doing is working. If only 25% of your spells ever work (25% is the luck/coincidence alone figure) then chances are you are having little influence. If however you see a consistent outcome in situations where you have applied tangible magical intent then likely you can start to feel confident that what you are doing is working. Its a bit like that old saying “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” but in this case you need to eat quite a few puddings before you can rely on the fact that what you are doing is actually having an effect.
I'm not entirely sure that it matters too much if you occasionally give yourself credit for something that would have happened anyway. Spellwork, as we know, is all about intent - if your intent becomes strengthened on the back of a few coincidences it can only have a positive effect on your future magic. And vice versa, sometimes we can send out our intent without realising it and influence situations that we did not realise we were trying to influence. So the line between the two remains very blurred but in my own opinion it comes down to consistency – When you can state with confidence what will happen as a result of a spell, fully believe you can control the outcome and ultimately and with regularity obtain the results you desire, that is enough to convince me at least that some magic is being worked.
QUESTION - First off, it's awesome that you offer this. I just graduated from college and I'm looking for a job. I was just rejected from the one I really want, but I'm hoping a good offer comes my way soon. I've been poor my whole life and I'm ready to get a steady pay check. :) Could you send some good luck vibes my way?
More importantly, though... I've been really searching for some spiritual answers lately. I'm not sure what you could do to help. Is there some way to help me find some clarity?
ANSWER – Good luck vibes no problem! I will light a basil candle for you at 21.00 GMT Sunday 29th June when I do my weekly ritual. But you sound to have the right attitude, keep trying, keep applying, keep slogging away and it will yield results. Getting a job is probably 90% effort, 10% good luck. Great to do all you can to influence the 10% but don’t forget that the real success will depend on your ability to put the effort in to deliver the 90%.
Finding spiritual answers is a complex but rewarding undertaking. I think there are two very clear definitions of this though. It’s crucial to decide in your own mind whether you want to look for an academic path to a universal truth or whether what you actually desire is to find your own way to muddle through the world. I think you mean the latter or you’d be asking me to recommend courses on philosophy…
The first step to embracing your own spirituality is to make time for it in your life, it’s a fallacy that anyone is too busy to lead a spiritual life and anyone who says they are is most definitely lying to themselves. But in your case, by taking the step to determine that you want to think and feel more than your immediate world can provide you with, you have already progressed further than those who refuse to seek.
The first thing to do is to adopt some basic spiritual exercises, these will have the benefit of confirming to yourself that you are doing something practical to embrace your spirituality but they will also make you more receptive to taking on new concepts outside your normal worldly view.
Here’s a couple of basic ideas to get started. Before you go to bed, think of a question that you would like to focus your mind on in the morning, something a bit deep, the kind of thing you wouldn’t like to ask a stranger on the bus. Maybe: “What does the idea of a God/Goddess mean to me?” or: “How would it feel to experience total peace?” Set your alarm clock ten minutes earlier in the morning, get out of bed, sit on the floor and really focus on the question you have set yourself. You’re not meditating, not trying to clear your mind but nor are you looking for an actual answer. What you are doing is allowing your mind to wander through different ideas, thoughts and visualizations. You are taking your mind beyond the mundane and lifting it up into the clouds. Stay still and feel the different thoughts and feelings pour into your mind and trickle in and out of your brain. Don’t force a conclusion, just enjoy taking that small part of the day for unhurried simple thought. Over time you can build up to ask different questions, possibly even raising your thinking time to 15 or 20 mins as you become more proficient at considering the deeper matters. As your mind becomes accustomed to plumbing the depths of its own limits you will find your own spirituality awakening and becoming more conscious of the truths within you.
The other thing you can try is keeping a spiritual journal. Write down your thoughts, experiences, dreams and moments of progressive epiphany as they happen. Don't show it to anyone and don't try to edit it into a work of art, see it as a living breathing stream of consciousness that helps to shape your thoughts into some sort of cohesive jumble. Use it to explore your own beliefs.
Finally, I'd have a good go at meditation. Meditation can lift the conscious mind to a higher spiritual plane. And all those things you've ever seen in Hollywood films when people meditate work pretty well. Low lights, new age music, candles, incense....it all helps get you into a state of mind when you can concentrate on what it is to be you for a short while. See meditation as your chance to put down the doubts and uncertainties of the mundane world and let the spirit world flow about you, even if only for a short while.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1406619 (African_fi)
QUESTION - I moved from Australia to the UK to marry my then fiance and now, my 'husband' hasn't been interested in me for nigh-on 4 years (since I got over here pretty much) and has announced that he wants a divorce.I have tried and tried to get him to deal with whatever had been the problem in the bedroom which caused arguments so I gave up and was just miserable. He doesn't seem still to be dealing with stuff but seems to be running from the damage he has done and is just definite in wanting me gone.
Something isn't adding up but I just have to go. I have been diagnosed with 'MS' but he swears it makes no difference and keeps just using MY words as if it will make the situation more palatable.
I don't know what to think. sorry it's not a question as such....just can't see the trees from the forest. *shrugs*
ANSWER - Firstly you have all of my sympathy, to be diagnosed with any illness is traumatic enough but to then have your husband behaving in such an ill thought out and unsympathetic manner must make it feel worse. You say you can't see the trees from the forest and I'm not surprised, asking you to see such a difficult situation in complete clarity is asking too much from you at this moment in time. What you need to do is take each stage of your journey in individual steps and eventually the small steps will add up to a fuller understanding of where you are going and where your journey will take you.
I very much feel from what you are saying that this does need to be a journey away from your husband. Even if you manage to persuade him to give it another go, it would be no good for your mental equilibrium, you would always be waiting for him to change his mind. Basically you would be handing over all the power and control over your life and making it within his power to allow you to be happy or not. Not only is that no basis for a marriage, its no basis for you to live an independent and healthy life.
He says he wants you gone but that isn't necessarily an indictment on you. Sometimes relationships just run their course. You can be entirely right for someone at one stage in their life and entirely wrong for them in another. Leaving a marriage doesn't mean it was a failure, just that it isn't working for either of you now. Courage is facing up to that fact and moving on rather than hoping with futility than one of you will change or you can sticky tape over each crack as it appears.
Accept that this is a new beginning for you. It may be daunting but its also a clear indication that its time for you to strike out on your own. Maybe he can't handle the MS, but you can, you know you can. And sometimes its easier to be strong on your own, you can focus on your feelings and your concerns without being weighed down by what he thinks and feels. I think you've rationalised with him enough, if he can't come to terms with the issues you have both had in the marriage then it isn't fair for you to spend the rest of your life trying to help him deal with his inability to face facts. You owe it to yourself to put this baggage down for a while, have a rest, clear your mind of all this negativity weighing you down and focus on you rather than him for a while.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/743473 (SuperKwast)
My boyfriend wants to marry me but I'm starting to think that our whole relationship is a mess. But he says if I ever leave him he will kill himself. What should I do?
Tell him to get on with it. This is emotional blackmail of the very worst kind. He is asking you to forgo your own life in favour of his. Now, chances are he won't do it. Or he'll take a half hearted overdose of a tame painkiller. We all know the people who go on about it are rarely those who actually do it. But I think in your own mind you need to distance your actions from being a direct cause of his. Should this man be unable to live without you, that is a failing in him, not in you. If he does decide to kill himself it is his own autonomous choice and no blame can be attributed to you.
I understand that guilt is a very natural emotion and though in your situation I would experience none whatsoever, I appreciate that you have cared for this man and do not wish him to come to harm. But ultimately each of us lives our life alone. We make our own choices and it is up to each of us to take responsibility for the choices we make. Sometimes we have to step back and let people make their own choices, even when those choices are not the right ones.
I sound harsh, I know but I urge you to live your life for you and let this man stand or fall by his own hand.
QUESTION - I hope you don't mind me messaging you on here?Is there anyway a person can find out if someone is working against them or has hexed them in someway?
I look forward to a reply and thank you for taking the time to read this.
ANSWER - This is a tricky one and to be honest it depends on your level of experience. If a person is in the regular practice of using shielding as a form of defence then the first sign of magical attack would be sensed through disruption to the shield. If not then intuition goes a long way and though it is healthy to maintain a certain degree of skepticism and not jump to the conclusion that you are suffering a magical attack, it is also prudent to take steps to dispel any attack you may be facing.There are some extremely complex (and potentially dangerous…) spells to reverse a hex, or send a hex back but I wouldn’t be comfortable recommending any of these unless you are absolutely sure you are under attack from another practitioner and know specifically who is doing the attacking. Even then I would hesitate, you don’t want to end up pitting yourself against someone with more power and experience than you and finding out they get nastier and you can’t prevent them from attacking you further. I would certainly not advise that you attempt any counter attack as any witch accomplished enough to send out an effective hex will almost certainly have protections in place that you are unlikely to be able to penetrate.
My best advice is to keep an open mind but to get some protection in place – fast.
The best protection you can get is by raising a protective shield (I wrote a blog post on this, have a look in my archives) over yourself, your home and your family and spend time each day reinforcing the visualization of those shields. I use something called a “prickly” shield where I anoint holly leaves in mistletoe oil, string the leaves together in a circle and shield inside the circle. The idea behind this is not just to protect myself but to give a bit of a sting to anybody who tries anything on. It works pretty well.
You can use also defence on the boundaries of your home by smudging -I’d use something a bit more potent than sage by the way -try amber, benzoin or juniperberry.
Some witches defend the boundaries of their homes with salt, others with urine, there are a lot of different favoured methods. If you’re just looking for something simple and effective though, I’d go with an amber smudge all round your property.
You could also try creating a witch bottle where you seal a part of yourself away and bury the bottle in a secret location. The idea of this is to confuse the hex and draw the negative intent away from yourself and toward the bottle which is a representation of yourself.
You can also use herbs to break a hex/curse. Agrimony is an excellent curse breaker. Although use varies, I would personally incorporate into protective shielding by burning and stepping through the smoke.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1365593 (Alfie007)
QUESTION - Hi. Your Altar is beautiful but i live in a house with 6 kids and a very superstitious and catholic estate. how can i make an altar or is it impossible. the estate i live in is very violent and unforgiving and if they found out i was a witch they would burn me and my family out. sorry so long just looking for advice. BB
ANSWER - This is the kind of question I love getting because it really makes me put my thinking cap on. What we’re looking for here is something that you can identify as an altar but something that anybody lacking knowledge of witchcraft would entirely overlook. A friend of mine had a brilliant idea the other day (inspired by my candles burning a huge hole in the curtains) – she suggested that instead of using physical depictions of the elements in a circle, instead a witch could use mythical creature representations of the elements. And I think this would be fabulous for an altar for you. A small statue of a dragon (fire), a tree (earth), a fairy (air) and a mermaid/fish/sea horse (water) would go completely unremarked upon in a house but you will understand the symbolism behind each of the statues and so to you it will have a proper significance as an altar.
The other important thing about an altar is that you want something that is unlikely to be handled. Again, statues work well because you can always ask kids/guests not to touch your breakables. But you could also try doing something similar with herbs on a high kitchen shelf. This has the advantage that herbs are so “boring” none of your kinds will ever dismantle your altar. Again, you could use different representations for the elements – chilli for fire, nutmeg for earth – let your imagination run wild, lol.
In your personal situation the best thing to do is to hide in plain view. Instead of hiding things in secret, you need to be very very open with your private things but hide their relevance and significance to you. By having a disguised altar you have all the benefits of following your personal faith but the comfort of knowing that you will never have to explain your beliefs or practises to others. It may also be worth doing some secrecy spell work on the altar to diminish its appeal to others and reduce its interest. A simple shield should work well for this.
(Another quick and simple way is to use photos - even a simple holiday snap of the beach could represent water on your altar..)
Image http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1423223 (leonardobc)
QUESTION - I just came across your blog through fb and read what you wrote about living with a witch,and overcoming fears.i am quite new to the craft (4 months)and since I started researching and studying it has been amazing! I finally found myself and everything I learn seems to have already been former knowledge.
It is the weirdest and coolest feeling to have such wisdom. My problem is I was raised in strict Christian home and I live in Oklahoma bible belt. I want to know where this wisdom came from. Isn’t it true that when someone is a natural witch tit is inherited through bloodline/hereditary? NO ONE in my family will even come close to admitting anyone being a witch but i suspect it may be fear, I don’t know. My mother seemed to try to give me a hint it seemed to me when she vaguely mentions out of the blue that she had a great aunt that "was burned to death in a 'house fire'.” It seems like a strange thing to say when we are on the subject of if anyone in the family is psychic. Anyway I am just searching for someone to guide me and even though i want to be solitary, I wish it did not feel like solitary confinement.......will you give me your input? I would highly value it and be honored for your gift of wisdom........blessings! btw....i really like your writing style and I totally get your humour. I giggled a few times while reading. Thanks a bunch!
ANSWER - Your question touches on the most sensitive topic known to witches! Nothing has caused more arguments in the witch community than the question of whether you can be a genuine witch without a hereditary bloodline. There are strong advocates on both sides of the fence, many Traditional witches believe firmly in bloodline, others believe a witch is made but by formal initiation by another witch. Yet others believe a witch can be born while others believe there is a hereditary element but that it is passed down through the reincarnations of the witch rather than from a specific family heritage. You won’t find a definitive answer, just a lot of very strong opinions and belief.
My own belief is probably a mix of all the above. I certainly believe that some elements of witchcraft can be hereditary. In fact, I’d be astonished if any practicing witches of today have no element of witchcraft in the bloodline, but it can be hard to trace. Many witches do not advertise what they do and this unfortunately makes it difficult to trace the craft even in the immediate family tree. And the hereditary craft may go back further than you can trace. Just because your mother/grandmother did not practice witchcraft does not mean it is not present in your family. You may never find out, but the fact that you can’t prove it does not preclude you from being a hereditary witch and it certainly doesn’t prevent you from practising as a witch.
You mention in your question that some of the knowledge you are discovering feels like former knowledge. This may suggest that you have practiced as a witch in previous lives. We need to keep an open mind on the matter, it could also mean that what you are doing now just feels very right for you in this particular life.
Its also important to differentiate between being a natural witch and being a practicing witch. There are many more people with the natural inclination toward the craft than there are witches. Many people choose not to act on their innate abilities and choose not to define themselves as a witch. Again, this makes the tracing of witchcraft in your family difficult. It also means there can be little kudos attached to the claim that just because you have witchcraft in your lineage means you are more inclined to the craft yourself. There may be extremely powerful witches in many family trees who have simply chosen not to practice, if a person inherits this power and chooses to practice, they may be perceived as the first witch in the family though the truth would suggest that they do actually have a craft heritage.
As an aside, in terms of the whole it takes a witch to make a witch thing, I’ve spoken out about this before – it irritates me. I dislike the idea that it gives too much credence to the power of another on your individual path. I work with deity and quite frankly I don’t credit anyone at all with a greater power than my deities. If something can be done by a witch, it can certainly be done by a God/Goddess. So I’m all in favour of cutting out the middle man and confirming a chosen path with the craft directly at source.
I’ll repeat though, a lot of this is just what I think and others will differ strongly on the matter.
(In answer to the latter part of your question – I’ve sent a private reply.)
QUESTION - Thank you for a really great website. It's fabulous to read someone on a very similar wavelength to myself! I'm having difficulty choosing the right kind of spell for a noise problem. A neighbour constantly leaves their dog outside and it barks and barks. It's a distressing bark, not a happy one. I think my intent is a bit woolly as I love animals and don't blame the dog at all. I just need some peace (I work from home)and I feel so sorry for the dog. My intuition tells me not to confront the neighbour and I don't feel a banishing spell is right either. I'd appreciate your advice very much.
ANSWER - Tricky one. I think probably I'd go with something to calm the dog down. If you can get a bit of its hair, try sealing it into a small plastic bag with some chamomile and placing into the freezer. Freezing the essence of the dog should slow it down and hopefully make it less stressed and agitated. In conjunction with the calming properties of the chamomile, you should see the dog happier and more content.
I'd also suggest that it may well be worth experimenting with playing different types of music outside the window to the dog. Classical music can have a very calming effect on animals, particularly anything by Mozart. You may feel a bit silly pointing your speakers out the window, but hey if it works, peace is always worth looking a little silly for.
I'd be very interested to know how this one turns out. Keep me posted!
Image http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1420563 (Leesa)
QUESTION - I have a close spiritual friend that I wanted to give a gift to, but could find nothing suitable. I was worried about what she was going through, and she became a constant in my thoughts. Then she had a dream that a witch came to her and gave her a dragon. When she told me of the dream I suddenly felt so released and happy. So I knew that somehow this witch was one of my past lives, and had given her the dragon as a gift. We are both dragons in the Chinese calendar, she is a fire dragon and I am a water dragon. What I need help understanding is ...is this really possible and what would such a thing be called. I do not practice witchcraft and neither does she.
ANSWER - I don't think anyone could tell you conclusively that such a thing isn't possible. It is certainly plausible that we retain the links between close spiritual friends in our different incarnations. Nor is it unlikely that you were a witch in a previous life even though you are not in this life. However, I would not necessarily assume that just because your friend found meaning in the gift in her dream that it was given by yourself in a previous life. Dreams often bring us meaning through symbols and in this case, the gift of the dragon, symbolising strength and courage may have been a strong indication to you that your friend has found the strength within herself to face her problems and confront what was making her miserable.
I don't personally see much relevance in the dragons of the Chinese calendar, though that may just be because it's not something linked to my own path.
I think you have both got an excellent opportunity here to study what dragons mean to you and what lesson the dragons can teach you. I agree there is more to the dream for both of you, but think carefully about all the possibilities and don't assume your first interpretation of the dream is the correct one.
No. It's pointless but it isn't dangerous. I believe there are a few practitioners out there who use the reversal of the Lord's Prayer as a kind of reverse programming for people coming to Witchcraft and/or the Pagan faiths from Christianity but that to my mind would be the only significance. You cannot summon devils and demons by reading the Lord's Prayer backwards (as it sometimes believed). I wouldn't use it in any of my practises because I believe Witchcraft stands independently on its own and I dislike the view of it being perceived as a reaction or alternative to Christianity. The whole idea of using mock Christian rituals to enforce my own faith turns me off completely. However, if it works for you, there is no danger at all in doing it.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1019642 (Renaudah)
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