Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Question Time: Is the Dark Queen the same as the Snake?

Miss R. Stephens asked the following question in a community that we're both part of.
As a newbie to Filianism, I may have made a connection that is either totally preposterous and misguided or really super obvious to the rest of the faith that I just haven't caught onto before, and I'd like some input! A few nights ago, I was reading through the Scriptures again, and it struck me that first daughter of the Mother embraced the 'snake' or the darkness that was before things were created, and the outpouring of her energy/creative power gave this darkness a shape, a body 'like hers.' In at least one version of the Scriptures, I know the Snake is written as 'he.' But here I wondered - a body like the daughter's. Wouldn't that mean a female body? And then as I read further along, and went through the story of the Daughter descending into Hell and seeing the Dark Queen, I also thought - what if this is the same snake? In the body that the first daughter gave it? I had previously thought this was the Thea-Beyond-Form, since I've seen her referenced as the Dark Queen. But now I wonder if this is the same? It would make sense. . . . . like I said before though, this is probably either absolutely ridiculous or something really obvious to other believers. So. Give me your thoughts. Did I read this the right way or I am missing something??
Before I give my thoughts upon this, I wanted to share the position of the esteemed Bishop Georgia Cobb, who is head of the Elegant Lady Feminine Seminary, of which I am a member. She writes:

The Snake is not a person (he or it or she).  The snake is a concept.  The concept is "distraction: from Dea and Her Divine Will.  It is the "space" between that which Dea has Created and that which she allows to happen (i.e. the consequence of free thought and free will). Embracing the snake (embracing those things which "distract" ; her from looking to Dea for guidance) does not give the snake ("distraction") a life of it/his/her own.  It is only a weight which drags the soul of the first maid away from Dea.  This weight, takes on the shape of she who embraces it.  But this weight (distraction) does not then become a person like the first maid (nor does it enter into a relationship with her). 

This is not the same story as is told in the Palagians Myth in which the Goddess Eurynome has an intimate relationship with a snake (the north wind) as is impregnated by it/him.

The Dark (Evil) Queen is not the same as the Dark (Mysterious) Mother aka Dea Beyond Form, The Absolute Deity, The Darkness Beyond the Light and the Light Beyond the Darkness). 

The Dark Queen is not the snake. 

The Dark Queen is another concept which represents the power of Evil, that which is furthest away from Dea (Goodness and Light).

The Mythos of the Divine maid is a mystery, not a history lesson.
The question of the relationship of the Snake and the Dark Queen to Dea can be difficult to understand. To examine this more fully, let us take a moment to look at the scriptures in question. The first one we consider is that of the Creation. In chapter two, verses six through nine, it speaks of how the First Daughter of Dea embraced the Snake and that it took on 'shape like hers.'

Now, just as Bishop Cobb noted, the story of the Creation is not an entirely literal story. Much is detailed here that is difficult to see as literal events. In my consideration and meditation upon the elements of the Creation story, I too struggled with the concept of the Snake. I then realized that the Snake is an allegorical figure. The First Daughter and the events surrounding her are also allegorical.

The Snake symbolizes that which is not of Dea. Bishop Cobb describes the Snake as an aspect of the power of Evil. It could also be understood as the essence of self deception. In engaging in self deception we 'embrace' the Snake. One who is completely given over to their self deception has taken the Snake in their arms and cut themselves off from Dea.

Additionally, the Snake can be understood as the illusion of the world. It is the pleasant lies that we tell ourselves about life and how the world operates. By immersing ourselves in these deceptions and giving them our thought energy, we give 'form' to the Snake. It is something like an egregore and the more thought we give it, the more powerful it becomes.

Now, the second set of scripture verses that we consider come in the Mythos of the Daughter. In chapter five, verses twelve through nineteen, the Daughter is confronted by the Dark Queen. Again, we must consider that the story of the Daughter's decent into Hell is not like the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The Daughter and her mythos take place outside of the scope of history. It is like the Creation story, a tale intended to reflect the greater truths by way of symbols that we might understand.

The Daughter's confrontation with the Dark Queen could be rephrased as the Divine's confrontation with that which opposes it. Within the Filianic understanding of the universe, the Divine confronts that which opposes it for the sake of all that is. In confronting opposition, the Divine suffers as that which exists does. Then, by way of Grace and Love, the Divine is restored to wholeness, and in the process restores all of existence to wholeness.

The Gospel of Our Mother God speaks of a term 'khear'. Khear is not only the Snake within the context of the Creation story. Khear is the Dark Queen and her daughters. Khear is akin to the concept of sin. It speaks of the abyss that divides all of existence from Dea. That abyss is understood to have opened up between existence and Dea when the first essence of existence turned from Her and embraced the Snake.

The mythos of the Daughter speaks of how that abyss is bridged by the Daughter's death and resurrection. Additionally, we are cautioned within the Gospel to be vigilant and mindful of how we tend to turn away from the Truth. We are called upon to repent and correct our ways. We are also called upon to reach out to the Daughter for aid, because while we are frail and fallible, Dea herself might bring us into her arms.

There are elements of the Gospel that I interpret differently from Bishop Cobb. Like her, I agree that the Snake and the Dark Queen are separate emanations of the antithesis of Dea. I, however, do not see them as beings of pure evil. I see them as beings of pure illusion. If we can resist the temptations of the lies about reality, then we might learn to see truly.

Evil is not an intelligent thing. It is a trait. Can the Dark Queen and the Snake be perceived as evil? Yes. That is possible.

I can not separate reality from Dea. She is present in all things. As such, the Snake and the Dark Queen are some how bound to Her. I understand the Snake and the Dark Queen to be illusions. I understand evil to be the actions of humanity. Once we master illusion and see things for what they are, we see that there is only Dea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iconography of the Goddess.

In my earlier post, you may have noticed that I have an image of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary. What you may have figured out is that I am using this iconography to represent the Mother and the Daughter of Filianic faith. Borrowing images from established traditions is a frequent thing in the representations of the Goddess. It happens in almost every tradition or faith within the western world that involves a goddess figure.

In some cases, this is a symbolic reclamation of earlier iconography that has been carried forward through the traditions of other faiths. This is most frequently the case with Catholic Christian imagery. In other cases, the imagery of other faiths are recast with different meanings. An excellent example of this can be found in the use of various Catholic Christian devotional images within Voudon. (This is not with out precedent, for the early Catholic Church quite famously took Isis statues where she is nursing Horace and recast them as Marian images.)

While there are parties at work on building a modern vision of the Goddess in her many manifestations, I would kindly ask for others to view our borrowing of their iconography as a way of honoring them. We uphold these images so highly that we understand them to represent the fundamental truth of our deities. We treat them with respect and have as much love for them as you, though it may be for different reasons and seem rather odd to you.

Pagan Advent.

The advent season is upon us. For the Christian community, advent is a time of preparation and anticipation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ. Within the pagan community, a similar time of preparation is observed, but this is in preparation for the celebration of the winter solstice.

Within the Filianic faith, the advent season is a time of preparation and anticipation of the birth of the Daughter. It is, what some would call, a pagan advent. The Filianic calendar begins their advent season on the first of the month Astrea (Nov. 28th according to the Julian calendar). On this day, many of the Filianic faith will begin their decorating and preparing their homes for Nativity. On the eleventh day of Astrea (Dec. 8th), is the feast of the Conception of the Daughter.

I celebrate the Filianic advent season as a time to honor the Lady. As such, the Mother and the Daughter are equally honored in my home this time of year. I am in the midst of also preparing something special for Yule.  For, I am not only eagerly awaiting the birth of the Daughter, I also am preparing and awaiting the rebirth of the Sun child.

Image from here.

Spell Craft: How to Write your own Spell.

Anyone who has seriously considered spell craft has been faced with the question of writing their own spells or purchasing them from another person. If one chooses to write their own spell, it can be challenging to determine what precisely you will do.

There are two approaches that can be taken in crafting a spell. The first is using what you have on hand. The second is one that requires purchasing components. I tend to fall more along the first methodology. In either approach the same foundational requirements are there.

     1. Purpose/Intent
The question of 'why' you are casting your spell is very important. Before casting any spell, it is good to have a clear idea of what your objective is. For a formal ritual, at the beginning of the ritual, you will state what your intent is. A clear and simple statement of what your goal is serves to front load your mind with your objective at the beginning of your ritual. The simpler your statement of purpose is, the easier it is for you to keep that fixed in your mind as you engage in your spell.

Equally important is to make sure that what you state as your intent is truly what you wish to accomplish. Many people state that their goal is one thing while their true objective is something a bit different. A classic example of this is that they want person B to find 'true love' while they are really seeking for person B to establish a relationship with them. The end result of their attempted love spell is that person B does find 'true love' but it is with some one other then the spell caster. Here, the difference between objective statement and true intent results in a successful spell that does not accomplish the desired result.

At the same time, many spells fail because the cognitive dissonance between the objective statement and the true desired result is so intense that improper focus renders the spell impotent.

     2. Methodology
The method that you choose to cast your spell can vary widely. Some spells are mere incantations and others require a great deal of ritual and many materials to complete them. There are some people who argue that the high ritual content of more 'formal' spells collects a greater amount of psychic energy. This is because they engage a greater percentage of the mind in the enacting of the spell. Using more of your mind allows you to bring a greater degree of focus to the task and create a stronger initial psychic ripple.

This said, it is possible to have very potent and successful spells that are done very, very simply. One of the ways this is accomplished is by way of repetition. Either a gesture or a phrase is repeated to create successive psychic ripples in the universe that have a cumulative effect akin to the strong initial psychic ripple. The more repetition, the more psychic energy you are moving. The stronger your psychic push is with your spell work, the more likelihood you will have success.

In addition to repetition, one can use volume or intense gestures. Thus, saying something quite loudly and accompanying your spell with a dramatic motion that uses large muscle groups helps to add more of that psychic energy into the push you are making with your spell.

In determining what method you wish to use for casting your spell, you will want to consider the following factors:

  1. What tools do you wish to use?
  2. What Elemental or other spiritual beings do you wish to call to for assistance?
  3. What correspondences* are you using?
  4. How quickly do you want your spell to manifest?
Magical tools come in may shapes and sizes. The most popular ones are candles, poppets, and sigils. Looking at these three, you will have different physical items required for each magical tool. Candles are the simplest, requiring merely the candle in question and something with which to light it. Poppets require the doll and something to interact with the doll (most often depicted as being pins). Sigils require paper, pen, and a source of fire to burn them (safely). If you are not using combustion in your sigil magic and you are placing them upon other items, it may necessitate different tools and the item in question.

    Elemental & Spiritual Beings
Some people choose to call upon Elemental beings and spiritual beings (such as angels) for assistance with their magical efforts. This may require the addition of other tools (ranging from candles, to incense, to an entirely separate altar) and additional invocations. 

Correspondences are a system of symbols that serves to identify the representatives of the ideas you are working with. This can range from simple symbols such as a heart for love to powerfully complex ones, such as sigils (which serve a dual purpose of being a ritual tool and part of the symbolic language of magic).

The speed with which your spell will manifest is dependent upon many factors. Some of this is by the method you choose to work your spell. Spells that are done with a short time frame focus (ie long enough for a match to burn down) will generally manifest quicker then spells with a longer time frame focus. I don't entirely understand why, but this seems to be the case. On average, when I am doing candle magic, a birthday candle brings results within 24 hours, a tea light brings results in approximately a week, and a votive candle can be about two weeks. Your mileage may vary.

Another factor to consider is the psychic 'weather' that you are operating in. The moon phase will have an influence on how much and what type of psychic energy is generally available. Waxing phase has energies of increase associated with it. Waning phase has energies of decrease associated with it. Full and New phases can be understood to have a the apex of the phase immediately prior's associated energy and a subtle undercurrent of the following phase's energy. If you put this in terms of the tide, waxing phase is the tide coming in. Full moon is high tide. Waning phase is the tide flowing out. And the New moon is low tide. Sun signs and moon signs will play an influence in your magical efforts, if you choose to incorporate them into your metephysical framework.

Monday, December 2, 2013

New material coming soon!

National Novel Writing Month and some familial chaos took a huge bite out of my time. As such, I was forced to leave this blog languishing. Look for new material tomorrow. I'll be continuing on the themes of my last post and addressing something to the 'advent' season.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spell Craft: Rituals

A simple axiom to remember when considering spell craft is that all spells are rituals but not all rituals are spells. Ritual is extremely important for spell craft because it helps us to reach the correct mental state to engage in this work. A ritual does not need to be extravagant. At it's most basic, a ritual is a repetitive action performed to accomplish a specific goal. My morning cup of coffee is a minor ritual that assists me in starting my day. With out it, I find it difficult to concentrate and fully wake up. Some of this is due to the lack of caffeine but mainly it is due to the disruption of my habit (which is built upon a collection of rituals).

Some people distinguish 'high' and 'low' magic by the degree of ritual required. 'High' magic is often described as extremely ritualistic in its orientation where as 'low' magic has very minimal ritual requirements. Modern witchcraft's 'high' ritual magic owes a great deal of its structure to the ceremonial magicians of the 19th century. The use of a ritual circle to 'contain' the magical energy did not become a commonly accepted practice until the Victorian revival and romanticism of the pagan practices of their ancestors.

Prior to this, such practices were restricted to ceremonial magicians and those who would attempt to engage in demonolatry . It is the conflation of demonolatry , ceremonial magic, and the practices that were known as 'low' magic later that were poured forth in the Malleus Maleficarum that laid the groundwork of what developed into what we recognize today as codified magical systems. Before the period commonly known as the "Burning Times," written record of magical practice was infrequent and predominantly limited to that which was preserved from antiquity.

With the rise of interest in the occult and pagan systems of the past, a rough ritual format became standardized. Some variant of this ritual format has been in practice in most of the modern pagan systems that are employed within Western society, with the exception of a few specific areas. Upon examination, this 'basic' ritual format can be found to resemble the ritual format of the Catholic mass. I do not believe this is a coincidental thing. Indeed, the Catholic mass is one of the oldest rituals surviving in Western society.

A ritual can be understood as something of a private (typically) drama that serves to recreate the universe in microcosm and allow the practitioner(s) to adjust their situation. The changes enacted in ritual creates an effect upon the universe at large by a process that is described in classical Western metaphysics by the axiom:

As above, so below. As below, so above.[1]
Most rituals can be broken down into a simple format. The ritual opens with a recognition of the necessity of the ritual. Some do this by way of a declaration of intent. Using my morning coffee example, my ritual begins by stating "I need some coffee." Then the practitioner uses the tools assembled to enact the steps of the ritual. Often, to make the ritual simpler, practitioners will gather their supplies before hand.

In the example that I present, I have already gathered my tools. I boil the water and put my instant coffee into my mug of choice. I then pour the water into my mug and mix the contents together with three counter clockwise turns. (Just because I feel like it and it's habit.) If I were charging my coffee to assist me in my writing, at the time of mixing the contents together, I would intone my charm, directing my spiritual energy down the spoon and into the beverage I am making.

My little ritual of making coffee complete, I would then clean up my work area and enjoy the results. Because, a hot cup of coffee in the morning is well worth enjoying, even if it is instant. The same process of recognizing the necessity of the ritual and stating objective can be found in various other places. Ritual magic is not the only place that uses this format. Indeed, if one were to conduct a science experiment, many of the steps are quite the same.
  1. Form a hypothesis
  2. Design an experiment to test hypothesis
  3. Observe experiment and record results
  4. Determine if hypothesis is proven valid by testing
  5. Re-test as required
In a spell craft situation, the steps can be summarized thusly:
  1. Determine objective of spell craft
  2. Design a ritual to accomplish objective
  3. Observe ritual and record results
  4. Determine success of ritual
  5. Re-cast spell as required
Some practitioners do not engage in steps four and five. I find this poor practice because it is important to determine what spells work and what spells do not. If one find that they are exceptionally talented at poppet magic and that is where their highest rate of success lies, it would only make sense to focus upon this as a primary mode of spell craft. Engaging in spell craft willy-nilly and failing to keep methodical records during this day and age, wherein you have the means to keep such notation safely, is purely irresponsible [2].

1. Please see my previous post discussing Sympathetic Magic.

2. It is for this purpose that ciphers were developed as were magical alphabets. Encrypting one's book of shadows (as the popular name for this kind of record is known) is a very old practice. The majority of spell craft that was practiced by the people in the past was not written down for two reasons. The primary reason was illiteracy. Instead, other means were used to pass the knowledge on. The second reason was because amongst those who were literate, it became quite dangerous to possess occult knowledge with the rise of the strong church and secular influences of the era.

Witchcraft became a byword for undesirable people. As such, people who did not fit the social mold, held dissident political, cultural, or social views, or were otherwise undesireable in this era of the past (the Burning Times) were accused of witchcraft and punished. Contrary to popular opinion, the most frequent punishment of witchcraft accusation was not burning at the stake but rather fines. The accusations became a means of redistributing wealth. A large amount of the difficulty during the 'Burning Times' came as a result of socio-political stresses within European culture. I will discuss this period in history in greater detail in its own post.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Additional writings.

Here are links to work that I've published under my pen name Argent Aisling.

Wicca 101

Spell Craft: Purchased, pre-written or personally made spells

There is some debate as to if spells one writes themselves are better then ones that are purchased or pre-written. Many traditionalist witches insist that one must write their own spells for them to be most effective. While I strongly encourage writing one's own spells, I recognize that sometimes it is simply not an option due to time constraints, availability of resources, or other unavoidable limitations.

It is important to remember that purchasing spells from another is not a bad thing. It can be an economical option. There is also a great deal of historical precedent set for purchasing a spell or contracting the services of another to perform said spell. That said, let us look at the costs and benefits of acquiring a spell that is crafted by another person.

The first and most obvious benefit is that the work of developing the spell was done by another person. The spell has been built upon established systems of correspondences and magical associations, requiring no research on your part. Presumably the spell has been tested before being set out for purchase, thus has been proven to be effective to some extent. Also, the list of supplies required for said spell is established and thus easier to locate.

It is more expensive to purchase a spell rather then write one. This does not always include the material components for a given spell. It does not resonate as strongly with one's personal energies and goals because it has a very general focus. A purchased spell is also difficult to customize because efforts to customize the spell may have unplanned for effects in how the spell manifests.

Writing spells for oneself allows one to tailor the spell to ones personal energy and specific need. It is significantly less expensive. Also, writing your own spells allows you to work within your personal spiritual identifications and correlations. Crafting your own spells allows you to use whatever you happen to have on hand at the time, which can be an additional source of savings.

They do, however, require some research to make the spiritual connections of the spell strong. It also is difficult to predict how it will manifest the first time you cast it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I have published a few things. Please take a second to look here.

I thank you all for your readership, support, and love.

Spell Craft: Blessings vs Curses

Many people look at magic and assume that blessings are strictly 'good' and curses are strictly 'bad'. Much of what the entertainment industry has presented on this topic has been shaped by the cultural attitude that these two things are true.While cultural belief does shape the metaphysical landscape to a degree, the idea of 'good' vs 'bad is an over simplification and highly subjective. That which is 'good' for one person is not so for another in many cases. That is before you start to consider the implications upon the larger global scale.

As such, I define blessings and curses in a different fashion. Blessings are magic that works to increase an element of a situation. Curses are magic that works to decrease an element of a situation. As such, the spell to increase the population of ladybugs in your garden to combat the aphid problem, for example, is a blessing. The spell to reduce the population of aphids would be a curse. It is with a bit of cleverness and creativity that one can craft a blessing or a curse for any given situation.

Many people argue that certain phases of the moon are the times for certain forms of magic. This is not entirely true. While waxing phases of the moon do correspond with an increasing psychic 'tide' of energy, a curse can still be cast during this time. It will not be as effective as one cast during the waning phase, or the decreasing psychic 'tide' but it will still work if proper effort is applied.

Over the ages, generations of magical practitioners have learned that certain things are true about how one performs magic. Records of this information are transcribed into grimores, tables of correspondences, and recorded folk lore. This information bears out time and again that magic can be worked for increase or decrease of an influence.

There are very few spells that exist for the purpose of maintaining stasis of a situation. This is because life requires there to be movement in all areas. Apparent stasis comes from a slowing of the rate of change, but the changes will still occur. This is due to the fact that change is an inherent part of the fabric of reality. The trick to determining if a blessing or a curse is necessary to achieve one's goal is the same as that for observing anything.

One must compose their frame of reference and operate within those parameters. In the case of the aphid problem example, the first frame of reference calls the ladybugs to increase (blessing) to resolve the problem. The second frame of reference calls for the aphid population to decrease (curse) to resolve the problem. The end result, in either case, is the same, a resolution of the damage caused by aphids.

Some people are most comfortable working from a strictly 'positive' frame of reference. These people could be called 'lightworkers'*. Their primary form of magic is that of blessings. Other people are more comfortable working from a strictly 'negative' frame of reference. These people describe themselves as 'dark' magic practitioners. Then there is the group that uses a blended approach, like myself, who could be described as 'gray' magic practitioners.

The frame of reference is not always an accurate reflection of the intention of the person's actions. As such, it is possible that a person who is working a blessing has a targeted goal that will cause harm or distress to another individual. This is where one must take careful stock of what it is they are attempting to achieve. Blessing and cursing are mere mechanisms of how it manifests.


* 'Lightworker' is a popular term for people who do primarily positive (increasing) magic. Some people assume that the differences between light, dark, and gray magic are divisions between good and evil. I would invite those who make this assumption to review the previous discussion of the problem of evil on this blog here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spell Craft: Sympathetic Magic

Sympathetic magic can be defined as action taken on a representative of the target intended for a specific result that is manifested by chains of causality.

This is the most common form of magic practiced today. The sterotypical image of a practitioner with a poppet* is the most blatant image of sympathetic magic. However, if one uses anything to represent their target rather then the target itself, one is practicing sympathetic magic. As such, the candle burned to break a hex can be the image/representative of the target. The mechanism by which sympathetic magic works, I described earlier in my discussion of direct magic.

Sympathetic magic relies heavily upon the axiom 'Like calls to like' or as it has been more famously postulated: As above, so below. In some cases, one could argue that the action of sympathetic magic could be described as a measure of quantum entanglement on the Newtonian scale, but there has been no in depth study to determine if such a thing could be upheld. The principle, however, could be described as the ideological predecessor of the concept of quantum entanglement.

Examples of sympathetic magic includes:
  • Poppet magic
  • Most forms of candle magic
  • Enchantments ala Macbeth

* Known variously as voodoo dolls, spirit dolls, or mommets, the poppet is a doll in a human form that is frequently used as a 'stand in' for the target of a spell.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spell Craft: Direct Magic

Direct magic can be defined as: action taken on the spiritual body of the target intended for a specific result that is created by way of immediate consequences of said action

Direct magic can be performed by various methods. They generally fall into two categories: physiological action and psycho-spiritual action. Physiological action is the method that requires physical activity to activate it. Thereby, if the magical act under taken requires one to touch the target, ingest a charmed item, or otherwise physically interact with the spell, this falls under physiological action. Under this heading would fall everything from incantations spoken whilst laying on of hands to the fine art of herbalism. 

Psycho-spiritual action requires that there is no physical contact. This would include trance inductions to manipulations of the bio-spiritual energy field (also known as the Aura) to the speaking of a blessing over an individual. If one does not have to physically interact with the spell components but are a direct recipient of the effects, this would constitute psycho-spiritual action.

Examples of direct magic include:
  • Aura reading
  • Laying on of hands (also known as faith healing)
  • Trance work (a subset of guided meditation)
  • All forms of herbal methods that require ingestion and/or application of an herbal preparation to the body
  • Mediumship
  • Psychometry (the receiving of psychic impressions upon handling an object)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spell Craft: Types of Magic

Magic can generally be categorized as sympathetic or direct. Sympathetic magic acts upon symbolic representations of the target of the spell. Direct magic acts directly upon the target. The most frequently used form of magic is sympathetic. J. G. Frazer delineated in his magnum opus The Golden Bough two principle methods by which sympathetic magic can be described as working through (1).

The first he called the Law of Similarity. This law argues that an effect resembles its cause and that like will attract like. This is often summarized in the Hermetic axiom 'As Above, So Below.' The second principle method he called the Law of Contagion. This law argues that what is done to a material object will influence the target of the spell once they come into contact with said object, and that effect will continue after initial contact is broken (2). Most sympathetic magic is a combination of the two laws being put into effect.

Direct magic is the application of one's efforts to the target in question. Herbalism and most 'potions' are direct magic. The practice of laying on of hands and direct manipulation of one's bio-energy field can be considered direct magic as well. One could argue that direct magic is a function of the Law of Contagion. I would contend that the Law of Contagion can only be applied to items that are enspelled with the intention of having an action upon some one when handled or otherwise coming into physical contact with said person (3).


1. Full discussion of this can be found in chapter three of the condensed version of the Golden Bough. Specifically, reference section one, paragraph one.

2. One could argue that the Law of Contagion was something of a precursor of the theory of quantum entanglement as described in the EPR paradox. It is important to keep in mind that the development of modern physics was not established until after J. G. Frazer's work was published. One must also consider the author's bias against magical thought.

3. People are the most frequent targets of spell craft, thus my examples revolve primarily about them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spell Craft: Introduction

Many people become interested in witchcraft because they desire to tap into the seemingly limitless power of spell craft. They see what is portrayed in the entertainment industry and believe that such things are possible with their own efforts. Sadly, they mistake stage craft and illusion with reality. They assume that the fantastic things described in fantasy and fiction are the same as what I, and many others, do on a daily basis.

The closest I come to chanting over a bubbling cauldron is saying a blessing over a pot of soup I'm making. In place of mysterious concoctions made from gruesome sounding ingredients, I make normal food and use various herbs for taste, medicinal, or magical purposes. I can not cast lightning from my hands, but I can throw my spiritual energy out into the universe to call rain to me in a few days. I occasionally use a poppet (also known as a voodoo doll) for healing spells. I read tarot cards and other divination tools (it's a hobby of mine.) but I do not get 100% accurate visions of the future.

My spell craft is simple, homey things. It is part of the reason why I call myself a kitchen witch. It is possible to do high ceremonial magic and get successful results. They will not, however, look like what you expect from Hollywood's theatrics. Magic is a subtle art. As my previous discussions may have made clear, the most important aspect of making magic work is force of will and having one's mind aligned properly. The psychological aspect of magic is at the forefront of most spell work.

Herbalism is classed by some folk as a form of spell craft. I believe it has its own distinction because the mechanisms by which is operates are entirely different. Herbalism operates 99% of the time upon the physical body. It can be a component in spell craft, but it will not be the primary method by which one's goal is attained. Spell craft's mechanisms of action are based in one's spiritual energy and the manipulation of the spiritual energy of the universe. This could put prayer as a form of spell craft, though most people are disturbed by such a suggestion.

There are many different techniques and methods of spiritual energy manipulation. They can be classified by the methodology used, purpose, or tools applied. We will be looking at each major division of techniques independently. Following this, I will help you determine if you should write your own spells and walk you through how to do it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Theological Consideration: Death, Afterlife, and Reincarnation

Before we continue our discussion of magical practices, let us pause to briefly consider the age old question of death. In many different sects of Wicca, death is viewed as a transition to an afterlife in a location known as the Summerlands. The Summerlands are a place of rest and respite for the soul. Reunion with beloved dead who had passed before you is considered a common element of one's passage to the Summerlands. It is also believed that all forms of life pass on to the Summerlands when they die.

The most predominant belief in modern Wicca is that reincarnation is possible and happens fairly regularly. This, in conjunction with the belief in the Summerlands (or something similar) provides the theological foundation of how modern Wicca approaches death. It is, in short, a natural transition to another phase in life that is no more fearful then birth or growing older.

Within my tradition of witchcraft, it is a touch more complex then this. Reincarnation is possible and does happen. It is also equally likely that one will choose to remain within the spiritual realms. A phenomenon which I refer to as the Veil acts as a subtle barrier between the living and the dead. The Veil tend to be more resistant to penetration in locations where there is a great deal of live activity. Places traditionally associated with the dead are places more permeable because there is a greater concentration of this energy in conjunction with the thoughtforms that associate the dead with this location. As such, the Veil is thinned and communication with the dead or other spiritual beings is easier.

If one chooses not to reincarnate upon their passage to the spiritual side of things, they have their choice of places of rest and habitation. Some choose to remain close to the physical world, thus there are hauntings and people who have spirits about them. Others move to places traditionally associated with the dead, for the thoughtforms are far more cemented and 'physical' in the spiritual realm.

There is not strictly only Heaven or Hell for where the dead might go. There are many, many different locations. Every spiritual abode of the dead that has been conceptualized exists in the spiritual realms. In my practice, I have traveled to several different locations by way of a trance journey. (The general response to a living soul visiting is one of pleasant surprise. In a few locations I was firmly invited to leave.) The thing that I find is the most consistent with all of the locations I have traveled to is that those who had lived a life that was virtuous and in accordance with the beliefs of their chosen faith were treated well. Those who had especially proven to be outstanding examples of such traits were held with honor and had a higher status among the others.

Those who failed to do so were of lower status and, when applicable, punished in accordance with the traditions of their faith. The most telling thing about this arrangement was that there were many people who chose to put themselves into the lower status conditions because they had felt that they deserved them. It was an interesting discovery, to be perfectly frank. Some, however, were not permitted to take on lower status then what they had earned. These spirits were frequently bewildered by their good fortune. It was explained to me that it took a measure of time for these souls to acclimate to their surroundings and unlearn the habits of self criticism. Some may ask, how do people who operate in a mixed religion situation fare upon death. In this, I have found that they spend time in the places accorded to them by their mixed religions with a portion of time for each location.

The many deities of death are varied and of different minds with respect to their charges and of visitors. If one wishes to trance journey to a specific spiritual realm, it is wise to study the mythology and lore of that realm. This helps to make one familiar with the 'architecture' of the realm and makes it easier for them to interact with the denizens of those locations. I also advise to leave an offering for all deities and spiritual beings involved in the trance journey. It is simply a matter of good manners to express your gratitude for their assistance.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Question Time: What is the difference between hard and soft polytheism?

New feature here on The Veiled Witch: Question Time! You guys give me a question and on the last Tuesday of the month, I will do my best to answer it. This week's question comes from Kelly J.! She says:

I'd be especially interested in hearing about the differences between hard and soft polytheism.

I would like to first reference the great oracle known as Wikipedia. We find the term polytheism comes from Greek and originates in the term invented by the Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria polytheoi - literally: many gods. Philo of Alexandria coined the term in the midst of arguing with the Greeks over religion. He had felt that the polytheists were practicing a false religion (thus the term for a while has been colloquially considered synonymous with idol worshipers). 

The term dropped out of usage until it was revived in the 16th century. It still had many of the same implied connotations given that Europe was predominantly monotheistic at the time. Modern usage has been the subject of debate in some circles because anthropologists and sociologists are having a bit of difficulty determining if the major branches of modern pagan belief are true polytheism or some form of pantheism. Wikipedia does a far better job of summing up that debate then I can at the moment.

Hard polytheism views the gods as distinct entities.They have unique traits and are individual personalities. Within the community of people who are hard polytheists, there are folks who will reject the gods of other pantheons as being false. 

Soft polytheism does not have as rigid dividing lines between deities. In many ways, the gods are viewed as aspects of a more general deity/supreme being. The most notable of pagan faiths that practices soft polytheism is classical British Wicca.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Magical Studies: The Psychology of Magic

There is another component to why magic works. This is the component that is frequently upheld as the primary modus operendi of what is the functional working bits of magic. It is also what skeptics and others point to and use to declare that all of magical study is nothing more then psychological manipulation of the gullible. This argument, however, is ignoring the other (previously discussed) elements of magical study.

The major component to how magical efforts work upon the psyche is hypnosis. Generally, it is some form of self-hypnosis. The induction of trance has many different methods, which will be discussed in greater detail in their own post, and the goal is to enter into an altered psychological state which renders one's waking self more pliant to suggestion. Once in this altered state, one is able to implant commands for oneself to execute in a given setting, access intuitive spiritual knowledge, or focus their thoughts intently upon a magical goal.

The most common use of the hypnotic state in magical studies is the third focus. In solitary witchcraft, the process is quite similar to implantation of commands. When one is engaged in practicing witchcraft with a coven, the person who is leading the ritual (in most Wiccan covens, this is the High Priestess or High Priest) pays close attention to the spiritual energy level of the group and their depth of trance. When all has arrived at the correct intensity and depth, the person leading the spell gives a signal for the coven members to direct their spiritual energy and thoughts towards their goal.

A large amount of magical study has been focused upon how one becomes more integrated in their personality, heal psychological wounds, and to bring about a general sense of health and well being in one's life. It is highly advisable for one who is engaged in this sort of magical undertaking to acquire a basic knowledge of psychology. It is also exceptionally important for one to be brutally honest with themselves. Self deception serve to undermine one's magical efforts and will either result in no progress made or harmful developments.

Some witches find that practicing alone is easiest and provides the most efficient way to address questions of one's psychological well being. It is rare to find one who engages in such work and does so with out any external supports. These supports can come from not only the witchcraft community (as happens with most coven work) but also from professionals in the health community, well meaning associates, and a great deal of research into one's own psychological state. To be trite, knowledge is power.

The power that comes from the basic knowledge of psychology is the ability to use trance more effectively, circumvent self deception, and to have a working understanding of how the mind operates. This can lead to more effective self-regulation of mood and mental state. It can also lead to improved communication with others. If one finds themselves in the position of providing spiritual or emotional assistance to another, this not only helps to make one more effective at doing so, it also makes it easier for one to determine when the situation is beyond their expertise.

The secondary psychological component that is behind successful magic is accurate assessment of one's psychological strengths and weaknesses. This type of self knowledge enables one to tailor their spell craft to work with their unique personality. Spell craft that is designed to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the spell caster is far more effective then something that is crafted for any general user. (This is why personalized spells are preferred as a general rule.) It is the equivalent of having a tool that is designed to fit your hand versus one that is just off the shelf for any person to use. It enhances the effectiveness of the tool and make the tool more comfortable to use.

The third element to be considered is the suspension of disbelief. In our daily lives, we are regularly encouraged to focus upon what is only perceivable by the classical 5 senses (sight, taste, touch, sound, and hearing). To have any sort of publicly espoused belief in some alternate senses is to find oneself in a most uncomfortable position scrutiny and scorn. As such, disbelief in any possible psychic talent that one may have become habitual and a self-fulfilling prophecy in extreme cases. In the case of people who have latent psychic talent, the continual message that they are living in a fantasy, mad, or acting childish is detrimental to their health and well being. Indeed, such things can be enough to render said psychic person blind to their own talents.

The suspension of disbelief in things ranging from ones' psychic talents to spiritual beings (ie fairies, dragons, or angels) gives one permission to use these abilities and to access their spiritual nature. This, in turn, helps one to align their thoughts and will into greater focus upon their goal. Thus, proving to have a higher magical success rate.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magical Studies: The Physics of Magic II

We must take a moment to step aside from discussing magic to take a look at physics. This is a branch of 'hard*' science that is devoted to the study of matter and its movement through space and time. This also includes related concepts of energy and force. Physics can be described as having three major divisions. These are:
  1. Molecular and subatomic physics (also known as the physics of the very small)
  2. Newtonian physics (the physics of 'normal sized stuff')
  3. Astronomical and cosmological physics (also known as the physics of the very large)
The division of physics that we are most familiar with is that of Newtonian physics. This is the study of things like what happens when you drop an apple. It is what we use to do everything from drive a car to eating food. While the world can be described with a great deal of mathematics in this branch of physics, it is very easy to demonstrate the principles observed. A great example is the law of motion that relates that objects at rest will remain at rest until an outside force acts upon them. We intuitively understand that a box sitting on the floor will not move unless you push it.

The branch of physics that is most frequently is the news is the astronomical branch (and by extension cosmological). When you read a news story talking about black holes being discovered, discoveries on the mars missions, or about comets, you are reading about this branch of physics. Astronomy is a dramatic field filled with a great many stunning wonders. A quick review of the photos taken with the Hubble Telescope shows a breathtaking sampling of a tiny part of what is up in the night sky.

Stories about how stars die and are born are often accompanied by vivid artistic renderings. It is something beautiful but confusing to many people. Often, folks are quite contented to look at the pretty pictures and know that something amazing is going on out in space that we can study. It is in many ways a feel good science for the armchair scientists. Astronomy has a reputation for attracting highly intelligent people and having even a smattering of that knowledge is viewed by many to lend you some of that luster.

Molecular and subatomic physics is a baffling thing to most people. It is hard to envision how these tiny particles make up all that we see, let alone how they interact with each other. Most people can quite easily accept that when you press your hand against the wall it is a solid object. Tell them that the apparent solidness of the wall is but an illusion constructed by intricate subatomic forces and you are either given a look of confusion or they will laugh at the premise. It is, however, these subtle and intricate forces that govern how magic operates.

While I can go into greater detail as to the mechanics of this activity, I believe a simple explanation may serve our purposes best. (If one has questions, please reply via comments and I will do my best to answer them or direct you to a source of good information.) The human brain has a vast amount of electrical activity that happens with in it at all times. These electro-chemical impulses are what forms our thoughts. It is our thoughts, when organized and focused, that begin the chain reaction of changing reality as per the function of magic.

By suitably focusing one's mind and aligning it with their will, it is possible to create a sufficient directed influence of the electrical impulses of the brain to affect a tiny change in the world about them. This change happens upon the subatomic level. It is a very subtle change but it will move to create other subtle changes until it finds it's way back to the practitioner who set this chain of action into motion. The success of a spell is determined by how well one has aligned their thoughts.

One must also recognize that magic does not manifest as we precisely envision it. The chaotic path that it takes through the universe before it returns to us changes the energy subtly. As such, a spell to bring one additional money may result in one buying the winning lotto ticket, but it far more likely that it comes by way of getting overtime at work, finding a lost $20 bill in the couch, or discovering that your bills for the month are less then they usually are.

Many people get hung up on trying to force the results of their magic to manifest in one specific way. They, to use our earlier example, want to be the one with that winning lotto ticket. This, however, is attempting to force magic to move upon a specific path. There may be forces at play in the universe that run contrary to that path of manifestation. As such, manifestation will not happen because the energy is blocked into that proverbial channel that has been carved through the flux of the universe. It is far better to focus upon a general result then a specific because you get a higher rate of return in this fashion.

When one is employing magic for a specific purpose, it is necessary to maintain the mental focus of the initial spell craft until the time of manifestation. This gives the energy the additional push it needs to carve out a specific channel towards that manifestation. In many ways, it is pitting your will against the nature of the universe. This is an exhausting thing, but it can be done. It comes, however, at a higher price in the way of mental effort. Here, it is helpful to gain the assistance of others (such as a witches' coven) to put greater energy behind the 'push' for that goal. This requires great coordination and focus by all parties.

* Hard versus soft science is a distinction between the branches of science based in how rigid the methodology used and (by some) as a distinction of legitimacy.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Following Beltaine, I will be updating the material posted. I also would like a bit of user input. I have three questions. Your replies would be immensely helpful in determining the next major topic that I address. Here are the questions for you to consider:

  1. Should I do a detailed discussion of Elemental forces?
  2. Should I discuss the construction, history, and use of ritual tools?
  3.  Should I give a comparative discussion of the difference between Hard and Soft Polytheism?

Please post your choice in the comments by noting which question you support. Any additional questions or concerns would always be appreciated. This blog is as much about you as it is about me.

Blessings to you and yours.