Monthly Archives: February 2014
It started on my birthday (and ends on my mother’s — how’s that for weird?) and it has been miserable this time around.
Usually, a retrograde Mercury doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s more of a minor annoyance. But this time…
I have had nothing but trouble with electronic devices.
My cell phone wouldn’t pick up a signal the other day, yet someone else was having no trouble at all.
My computer has been lagging and temperamental. (Okay, it’s old and cranky but it’s not normally this cranky.)
The computers in at work really hate me. I’ve been rebooting them seven times a shift or more.
There was some sort of a glitch and a scheduled payment didn’t happen. (The money was in the account but somehow it just never happened.)
And let’s not talk about transportation issues.
But all that aside, a couple people have asked me about Mercury retrogrades, and at some point in explaining them the following came out:
Mercury retrogrades are not a good time for communication. Messages are missed, misdirected, and misunderstood. Communication is disrupted in one way or another.
But retrograde Mercury is a good time to meditate on communication: on how you communicate, on how you fail to communicate (remembering that communication is a two-way street — you not only have to speak, but listen), on what you do and do not say, on what blocks your own personal communication — with others, with the gods, with yourself.
There are always lessons — even from things like a retrograde Mercury.
In fact, the best lessons come from adversity.
And, I just realized that Mercury is the Roman version of Hermes, who is one of my primary deities, and I do believe He has been trying to get my attention.
So if you will all excuse me, I have a couple more days of retrograde to use to use to improve my communication with Him…
Be blessed, and blessed be.
Lately, I’ve seen the question asked if it is all right to cast a spell for yourself, for a new job, money, etc.
Why wouldn’t it be?
As long as you are harming none with your actions, why wouldn’t it be?
You are as valuable as anyone else.
Your needs are as important as anyone else’s.
Not less than.
Not more than.
The same as.
Where does the thought that it might not be all right come from?
I had my own suspicions as to the origin of that thought, but I ran the question past some Pagan friends of mine to see what they said.
Caro, a traditional Witch (not a Wiccan!) believes that it is a “recent” development that grew from Neo-Paganism’s desire to get away from the image that witchcraft is “evil.” Many modern Pagans are still strongly influenced by Christianity and its moral code and seem to have just replaced the (Christian) God with a Goddess without making a real break. Scratch the surface of many Pagans, she says, and you’ll find that their Paganism is only skin deep – the concept of divine punishment is replaced by a form of “karma” or the “rule of three.” Real witchcraft is still frightening to many who claim to be witches and they seek to sanitize and emasculate it. Adding the gloss of altruism made witchcraft less frightening, both to its practitioners and to those outside of the Craft.
But, I argue, the Bible basically says what I said above. It says to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Not more than, not less than, but the same as.
Brandon’s response to that is that most of the dogma of the last two thousand years is not based on the Bible, and part of the non-biblical dogma includes a denial of self, not for the greater good of the group, but for the divinity. Being “selfish” – even in a healthy sense – is seen as “bad.” In fact, we are still fighting the “evil” of masturbation because it is a “selfish” act.
In addition, he points out, our media and daily culture are all about stories of selflessness, of people risking their own lives for others, of putting others ahead of themselves, of giving “selflessly” to others.
This is reinforced by Becky’s experiences. As the oldest of three children, she was expected to be the more “responsible” one and help take care of her siblings, take on more chores around the house, etc.
She says that she still doesn’t know how to put herself first, and feels that putting oneself first is looked upon as being selfish by society. And especially so for women, who are taught to be everything for everyone, whether it be for our children, spouses, other family members, etc.
Thus, casting spells for oneself would be considered selfish by society in general, regardless of any religious overtones.
So, how do we get past this?
Well, for starters, by accepting that we are as worthy as the next person. There is no need to feel guilty for wanting to better yourself and for using your skills – including magical skills – to do so. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Honest!
And by understanding that there is a huge difference between the God of the Christians and the deities worshiped by Pagans. It’s not easy to cast off a lifetime of indoctrination into guilt and fear, but that is not what our deities are about.
You are worthy, not worthless.
“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.”
Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again, when a young witch’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love – and love spells.
Pagan/Wiccan/Witchcraft Facebook groups are being hit with questions almost daily about “How do I make someone fall in love with me?” “Do you know any love spells you can share?” “How can I break up this other couple?”
Now, granted, not all witches follow the Rede, but most have some sort of code of ethics, a knowledge of right and wrong, and believe in some sort of Law of Return, that what you send out comes back to you in at least equal measure.
And interfering with someone’s free will is just plain wrong. (Well, there is a grey area on that – if someone is hurting someone, yeah, then I’m cool with stopping him or her. But back to the subject at hand.)
You can’t force someone to fall in love with you. You can’t force love.
Not real love, anyhow.
Yes, it is possibly to get someone obsessed with you, but what happens when you get bored and want out? Uh-huh. You’re bored and they’re still obsessed.
Besides, why would you want someone that you had to force to love you? Being loved freely is much better – you know that they are with you because they want to be, they choose to be. That’s a far better ego rush than “I forced him/her to love me.”
That said, it is possible to do ethical love spells.
A couple ways.
One is by focusing on yourself. What might you be doing to block yourself from being in that perfect relationship that you want?
Which leads, of course, to the question, “Do you know what you want?”
Spend time thinking about exactly what you want in a life partner, what s/he is like, what things the two of you would do together, do you want someone who is outgoing and always on the go or do you prefer (or need) someone quieter, someone who is content to spend quiet evenings at home together.
(HINT: If the only things you can think about are your potential partner’s looks, then you are not ready to do any sort of love spell. You’re not even open to real love – go back and re-think your answers to “What might you be doing to block yourself from being in that perfect relationship that you want?” When you’ve gained some insight and maturity you may continue.)
This doesn’t need done in a day. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be. Spend some time on it, say from new moon to full. You want your list to be as true and complete and in depth as possible.
Once you have the qualities you seek firmly in mind (and preferably written down) there are several ways to proceed.
You can focus on your intent to draw love into your life, charge a pink candle with that intent, and light it.
You can charge a piece of rose quartz and carry it with you.
You can make a poppet – just be careful that you aren’t tying it to any specific person, but to the concept, the ideal that you have been creating. Then sleep with it under your pillow, carry it with you (if it’s small enough), leave it on your altar, leave it on your dresser in front of the mirror – whatever works for you.
But the most important thing is to put yourself in places where you can meet the person of your dreams. Staying home and waiting for her or him to come knock on your door is probably not going to yield the best results.
* * *
Recommended correspondences for love spells include roses/rose petals, rose quartz, and pink candles. (Roses make us think of love, rose quartz promotes self-love (and it is necessary to fully love yourself in order to fully love another) and pink is the blending of the red of passion with the white of purity.) And, of course, anything that has meaning to you, personally.
Tomorrow is my birthday – I’ll be 53. No big deal.
Seriously, it doesn’t bother me. Neither did 30 or 40 or 50.
A long time ago I used to think that birthdays were magical. That I would somehow suddenly feel different being a year older.
I never did.
(I also used to think that I would feel different being in another grade at school, but that never happened, either.)
So, in a sense, it will be just another day. Depending on the weather (ah, the joys of a winter birthday!) my roommate and I will probably go out to eat.
I might do some divination for the year ahead. If I didn’t have other things to do that day I would maybe get brave and try the full 210 card Tree of Life Tarot spread, but it takes a great deal of uninterrupted time.
At any rate, I’ve been pondering birthdays and birthday traditions. Not just the blow out the candles on the cake tradition, but the sorts of things that are unique to individual families.
One of ours was that the birthday person got their favorite food for dinner that day. My grandfather never expressed a preference: my mother’s was always stuffed pork chops. (I can still see my grandfather’s hands as he stood at the counter stuffing them.)
Mine? Creamed chipped beef on toast. Yeah, yeah. I know it’s called “shit on a shingle” but I love the stuff.
And there was cake, of course. Again, the choice was left up to the birthday person. Mine was always chocolate, preferably with chocolate peanut butter frosting. Mom’s was chocolate. My grandfather’s was a spice cake.
My most memorable birthday cake was a round layer cake. My mother frosted it with green coconut frosting, built a fence out of Twizzlers, put a couple plastic horse figurines on it (I was – and still am – a horse lover). She even put on a few malted milk balls behind the horses for authenticity…
And then there was the unicorn cake I made my mother. She was working third shift, so I baked it while she was sleeping and put it in the freezer to hide it, and so it would be firm enough to frost. (She had been taking a cake decorating class which meant that I learned how to do it too.) After she left for work I started frosting it. All went well until the directions told me to make the horn from royal frosting. I had no idea what royal frosting was or how to make it, and I couldn’t find the recipe in her cake books. (This was pre-internet days.) I was tired and frustrated and facing a white horse with blue eyes and mane. It needed a horn. The horn in the picture was orange in color. A light dawned.
And a few minutes later the unicorn had a horn.
I cleaned a carrot, shaped it, stuck a toothpick in the big end and stabbed it into the cake.
It’s odd, how memories work. Most of my Christmas memories center around the tree, and most of my birthday memories center around food. I
(In fact, the only birthday present that really sticks in my mind was when I turned 16, (and was thus eligible for my learner’s permit for driving): I was given a set of keys to the family cars. I suppose I remember it because it was something of a rite of passage.)
Now, we’re more likely to go out for a birthday dinner (the birthday person gets their choice of restaurants) – a new tradition being forged.
As a kitchen witch, however, I find it intriguing that my birthday memories center around food. I don’t think that anything makes you feel quite as loved and cared for and… special… as having your favorite meal prepared for you.