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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Epipremnum Aureum (Devil's Ivy)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Epipremnum Aureum is a shockingly common plant. We see them at offices, shopping malls, and private homes. Known as Devil's Ivy, Golden Pothos, Hunter's Robe, Silver Vine, or Money Plant, this houseplant is one of the easiest ones to care for and has a lot of benefits as well. Devil's Ivy is a plant that some care should be taken in how it is placed. It is known to be toxic to pets. I can only assume that it would be toxic to humans, more so if you're a young child.

Devil's Ivy comes from the tropics of southern Asia. In its native habitat, Epipremnum Aureum can grow to be twenty feet in length. It does climb up nearby trees. It will also root where the trailing vines lay on the ground. An evergreen plant, Devil's Ivy is a popular houseplant because of how easy they are to grow. They are surprisingly forgiving if you forget to water them for a week or two. If overwatered, they will 'cry' out the excess water along the leaves.*

It is among the plants that root easily given a bit of water and a sunny spot on the windowsill. But, Devil's Ivy can tolerate the relatively low light conditions that come with an interior room lit only by household lighting. Indeed, this plant can suffer from being in full sun with the leaves turning bright yellow under those conditions. It is recommended to be place where it receives indirect light most of the day and direct light for only a few hours. They are well suited to being grown in a hanging pot or upon a high spot with the vines allowed to hang down. With its heart shaped leaves, Epipremunm Aureum is occasionally misidentified as Philodendrom. (I've seen this most frequently with the ones you can purchase from the big box stores.)

Devil's Ivy is known as such because of the problems it presents as an invasive species. It will flourish and take over areas when grown outdoors in a tropical or subtropical zone. This is especially a problem in places such as Northern Australia. The name Golden Pothos refers to the yellow zones in the leaves. It also, like the name Silver Vine, is a direct nod to the folklore that declares this to be a plant that will bring prosperity. This folklore is the reason why it is one of several plants known as money plant. I have been unable to determine where the name Hunter's Robe is from and how this plant received it.

Magically, Devil's Ivy is a plant that is exceptional for prosperity magic. It's hardiness, ease of propagation, and a robust tendency to become expansive are all great properties to infuse into your prosperity magic. Devil's Ivy can be given as a housewarming present to new residents to ensure prosperity in their homes. It can be kept at the workplace to draw in greater resources and financial stability. It also can be the focus of spells for drawing magic.

At the same time, Devil's Ivy can be a good plant to employ in binding spells or spells designed to hinder another's activities. This is by virtue of how it will grow over other plants, such as trees, or up buildings in the proper environment. Drawing upon the negative aspects of this plant, it is possible to create spells that will delay another's actions, cause frustrations, or the loss of resources.

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* Overwatering houseplants can be a problem. If you have watered your plant so much that the soil does not dry out or there is water continuing to stand, or overflow, from the cache pot after a few minutes, it will be necessary to take measures to resolve the problem. The plant's 'crying' is only effective after the excess water present in the soil is resolved, as this is the elimination of excess water within the plant. It is helpful in the event of a minor case of overwatering a plant.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Psychic Self Defense 101: Active Defense Techniques IV

Sometimes a talisman and focused attention to one's established psychic defenses is not entirely sufficient to repel a psychic attack. When a high level psychic attack is underway, the defender may show symptoms of having been cursed. This is not outside of the range of psychic attacks, because most basic curses are based in the projection of personal psychic energy alone. In the event of a high level psychic attack, the defense techniques from earlier will have limited success.

This is a case where spell craft is employed. One may ask, what does the role of prayer play in this case? Prayer can be considered theurgy of the religious variation. It is something that can be highly effective in the event of a psychic attack. By calling upon one's deity(s), spiritual allies, and ancestors, it is possible to acquire reinforcements to support your defense or for the defense to be completely taken over by those whom you have invoked. In general, spirit allies and ancestors will act as reinforcements or additional defenders against the attacker. When a deity is invoked, there is a measure of unpredictability for how their assistance will manifest.

It can be as simple as the deity banishing the psychic attack, completely nullifying it. Or, it can be as complex as the deity providing the defender tools with a ritual to repel the attack. I have personally had instances where deities I have invoked for assistance have poured energy into me, replenishing what I had spent in the defense and providing additional resources to use. And there have been times where I received instructions for what to do with said energy and others where I just have a whole heap of energy from the gods. Of the two experiences, honestly, receiving instruction with the energy was less nerve wracking.

The use of a hex breaking spell is generally sufficient to remove the effect of a severe psychic attack. Most attacks are singular in nature, even the severe ones. When the attack is nullified, the matter is generally concluded. There are times, however, where additional attacks will follow after the first. In these instances, one has the option to cast a stronger hex breaking spell or use a counter curse. Additionally, it is possible to confuse the attacker and diffuse the spell.

In the next post, I will be discussing counter-curses.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cartomancy: Playing Cards

Cartomancy is defined as the practice of reading cards for divination purposes. Pretty much any kind of cards can be used. There is so many different divination decks that I really am at a loss for how to describe them all. I am, however, going to talk about the forms of Cartomancy that I am most familiar with. Today's discussion focuses on the use of a standard French deck of playing cards. This is the playing cards that you typically use for card games such as Crazy 8s and Poker.

I
In the picture above, I have more than just a winning hand in Five Card Stud. I have the most basic tool for cartomancy that you can find on the market. Most people assume that a pack of playing cards is only good for playing games. They are, however, an excellent tool for giving readings on a wide range of matters. The French deck of playing cards is derived from the Tarot. It is essentially the pip cards of a Tarot deck with the Fool added in. Most decks have two Jokers, which are usually used as wildcards in games. When reading with a playing card deck, however, you can choose to either discard one of the Jokers or use one for a generic placeholder for the card that describes the querent. In some decks, a male and a female Joker are presented. These make good placeholders for the querent's card.

Before I go too far, I should explain what the term querent means. Querent literally means 'questioner'. It is used to indicate for whom a reading is being done. The person who is providing the reading is referred to as either the 'reader' or the 'medium.' The term medium in the past was used as a general term for people who provide psychic services. Now, it refers more often to persons who provide psychic services that focus upon contact with the dead. That, however, is a topic for another day.

With playing cards, you can use any spread for Tarot except for the ones that use the Trump cards. The most common Tarot spread used is known as the Celtic Cross. The origins of the Celtic Cross are lost in antiquity. The thing that can be determined, however, is that it is not a spread derived from the British Celts in any fashion. It is most likely one that was developed by someone in the French or Italian region, where Tarot reading was most popular in continental Europe. I will cover the history of Tarot in the post I will have discussing Tarot specifically. The playing card deck that we have today is known as the French deck. It was developed by card players in France for games that they played. From what my research has shown me, it was developed in the 18th Century, not long after the Tarot deck was developed in the Italian peninsula.

The Celtic Cross is a good general purpose spread. It provides a fairly wide range of information in a rather concise format. It is a ten card spread. Some people choose to use an additional card for the querent, making it an eleven card spread. This additional card, however, is optional. Usually, it is picked from the court cards with the queens typically for women and the kings for men. The jacks are reserved for young people, regardless of gender. These, however, are not hard and fast rules for reading these cards.

[celtic cross pic]

The layout above is the Celtic cross. This layout consists of two major portions. The first is the cross which is on the left. The second is the staff, which is on the right. My numbering of cards begins with the vertical central card, then proceed to the card covering that. I then move to the left most card of the cross and go counter clockwise about it. The cross completed, I then number from the bottom of the staff to the top.

Cross:
Position 1 - This is the card that represents the querent as they are at the time of the query. If a card has been picked out by the querent to represent themselves out of the court cards, it is placed beneath this card as an additional descriptor. The querent card may describe the querent's emotional, mental, or physical state at this time.

Position 2 - This card represents the present situation surrounding the querent. It is typically one that describes the situation with respect to the query made. It can, however, cover all aspects of the querent's present situation.

Position 3 - The deep past card often presents information about how the situation began. It also can describe past events anywhere between six months prior to years into the past. Sometimes, it will describe past life events.

Position 4 - This card describes the moderate deep past. It presents information between three to six months prior to the present day. It also presents information as to how the situation came to manifest.

Position 5 - The recent past card covers the time frame anywhere between the moments prior to the reading to three months in the past. It gives a picture of what occurred immediately prior to the present situation. It also can present information as to the most recent developments contributing to the present situation.

Position 6 - This card presents the information about the immediate future if nothing is changed. The time frame on this card, in my experience, varies between within a week of the reading to six months after the reading. It also can present the next stage of the situation's development.

Staff:

Position 7 - This position is known as the Hopes and Fears. The card placed here presents information regarding the querent's hopes and fears surrounding the query.

Position 8 - Known as House and Home, this card shows the impact of the querent's environment upon future developments with respect to the query. This may include people that the querent presently is interacting with or will be in the future.

Position 9 - This card is known by some readers as the Hand of God. I refer to it as the Hand of Fate. This card will present information on what interaction the universe/fate/deity will have upon the situation in the future. This card can present some unexpected details that may seem strange. In my history of reading cards, this is the position that will present some of the weirdest things. But, I have had clients come back to me and tell me how the weirdness of that position manifested in a manner that made total sense in the future developments after their reading.

Position 10 - This card is the outcome of the reading. It gives the answer to the querent's query and what the long term future developments are. This card is not dependent upon what action the querent will or will not take. It simply shows the most likely future outcome given the present situation. This is often different from the card at position six because it includes future actions of the querent, where as position six only covers the immediate present's next development with out any change upon the querent's behalf.

Interpreting the meanings of the playing cards is the same as those of the pip cards from a Tarot deck. While the level of detail that you get out of the playing cards is not as high as you will from a Tarot deck, a pack of playing cards is a great beginner's tool. They're easily accessible, covers the cards you will see most in a Tarot reading, and the cost of purchase is incredibly low compared to that of a standard Tarot deck. I confess, I have something of a soft spot for reading with a pack of playing cards because this was where I was first introduced to cartomancy.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Godspousery: Is it a legitimate practice?

Godspousery has been in the news and a hot button topic in the blogosphere and social media. Some people argue that it is wishful thinking at best, or delusional deception at worst. The idea that godspousery is a modern thing, however, is something that really should be put aside. Additionally, the idea of something being a modern development being some how less legitimate compared to ancient practices in religion is a perception bias that should be dropped. I could talk more about the perception bias but it isn't the focus of my post. I may revisit it, however at a later date.

Godspousery is an ancient practice that was largely forgotten by Protestant Christianity influenced people. Many people assume that the practice of marrying a deity is signs of serious mental illness, conveniently ignoring that it is a practice that has been engaged in consistently by members of the Catholic Christian church for multiple millennia and for an indeterminate time prior to the establishment of formal orders of nuns. There are records of godspousery happening within other faiths around the world for equally as long, if not longer. Indeed, in the Heathen community, we can point to the period around Roman expansion north to find records of godspousery in the Continental Heathens.

If we look for legitimacy of practice on the basis of historical precedent, there is a lot of evidence supporting it. The modern practice of godspousery is most likely quite different from the ancient practices. At the same time, we live in a world that is vastly different from what it was like in antiquity with very different emphasizes for the individual's life. In both cases, however, the vow of marriage between a worshiper and a deity is a central focus of the practice. Ancient godspousery may have overlapped with priesthood, but it is not fully conclusive this was the case. There may have been more incidences of godspousery practiced independently of priesthood than what has been recorded.

Modern godspousery varies widely in its manifestations. There are some who are in monogamous relationships with deity. There are some who are in polyamorous relationships with deity. These polyamorous relationships may include another person who is wholly human, a spirit, or another deity. Much like the human varieties of these relationships, the spouse has responsibilities in the relationship and receives some sort of benefit out of the relationship. What is forgotten by many is that the deity in the relationship also has responsibilities and benefits out of the relationship.

The intimate details of a godspouse's relationship with the deity(s) is a private matter that should be respected. Just as it is grossly inappropriate to ask a married human couple for the intimate details of their relationship, so is true for a godspouse's relationship. Even if they are married to a god, a godspouse is not obligated to serve the people. Some have confused godspousery with clergy, much to the vexation of the godspouses caught in this mess and the frustration of the person seeking the assistance of clergy.

While there is clergy who are also godspouses, not all godspouses are clergy nor are all clergy godspouses. The godspouse is a vital part of the cultus of a deity. While their activities and relationship with the deity may not be for the public to know, the godspouse is meeting a need of the deity and engaged in an (ideally) mutually fulfilling relationship. And, just like relationships between humans, the relationship between the godspouse and the deity will cycle through pleasant times and unpleasant ones.

Also, there are times where the marital relationship is dissolved on the basis of irreconcilable differences. In these instances, the relationship can be ended by either party. There are people who were once espoused to a deity and no longer are because the deity decided it was time to end the relationship. There are also people who decided to divorce the deity. Just like a terrestrial divorce, there are going to be some consequences from it. Some of them may be pleasant and some may be unpleasant. And these divorces may happen with one party willing and the other party unwilling.

Some people assume, however, that acting against a deity's will equals an automatic smite. This is not necessarily the case. The consequences of acting against a deity's will vary with respect to the relationship, circumstances, and the personality of the deity involved. Ultimately, however, the godspouse has free will to decide if they will remain wedded to said deity. There are people who are engaged in a relationship that exchanges a great deal of that freedom. Godslaves do exist. That relationship dynamic is quite different from godspousery, though it shares several elements with it.

Godspousery is a practice that has been engaged in since antiquity. It is becoming more prominent within the pagan community. This, I believe, is a good thing because it shows people that are involved in such a relationship with their deity that they're not stark raving mad. It also allows for them to network with other godspouses and receive support in their spiritual journey.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I recommend this: reading edition.

Cara Freyasdaughter has an excellent blog she runs on Wordpress. There is a special vibrancy to her posting that I really admire. She is someone who is actively living their faith. I find that something to be admired and emulated. She also is a regular contributor on Patheos. Her most recent post on Patheos is really good.

She provides a lot of fantastic information about Heathenry. With a solid background in lore and scholarship, Cara Freyasdaughter presents many fascinating details about her faith. She has a very accessible writing style and a delightful personality. On Freya:The Gold Thread, she presents a combination of accounts of her personal experiences with the gods, interesting instructional material, and wonderful spiritual information. I highly recommend the series of posts entitled Love Notes from Freya. While it is currently not having more added to it by Ms. Freyasdaughter, there is enough posted there from past posts that it is still a very full and uplifting experience. (Ms. Laine Delaney is jumping in to help continue the posts on her blog, Pagan Church Lady at Wordpress. Another blog that I can not recommend highly enough.)

If you are interested in Heathenry and are looking for information about the experience of practicing this faith and more information, Ms. Freyasdaughter's work is a truly excellent place to begin.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Video Messages!

video

Hi everybody!

Exclusive to the original Veiled Witch blog, I am going to start posting video messages on a weekly basis. Today's message is just a quick little pep talk. Please forgive if there are errors or I sound a little bit silly. This is literally the first time I've ever posted a video on the internet.

Next Thursday, I will be talking a little bit about divination and showing off one of my favorite tools. It is my hope that my videos will help you get to know me a little better and that they will entertain as well as inform and uplift you. There is so much negativity in the world and in media, I want to do my part to inject a little happiness and pleasantry into it.

In case you are wondering, my veil style today is known as a headrail. They were predominant in the middle ages of Europe and are still worn around the world under different names. I used a white, light weight pashmina that I picked up at Walmart last summer. (Earlier, I was using a green silk scarf but I got chilly.) I will note what veil style I am wearing in that day's post and give you links on how to achieve that style yourself (or possibly explain it on here).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Psychic Self Defense 101: Active Defense Techniques III

In my previous two posts, I discussed the merits of an active defense and how to mount a counter attack. The basic active defense of turning away an attack is similar to the use of a shield in so much that it uses the attack's momentum to move it away from the defender. While a shield's primary use is to absorb a blow, they do work to redirect the flow of the attack. In either case, these forms of defense have a limitation that I wanted to express on its own. In all three forms of defense, but especially in the case of counter attack, the defender is required to maintain mental focus upon their defense.

Psychic attacks, however, do not happen only when we have the resources to put towards our defense. A shield will remain in place but not be as effective as it is with the active thought process and mental focus that comes with deliberately applying them. The question arises as to how a defender might retain the effectiveness of an actively maintained defense with out the effort of doing so. This is where protective talismans come into play. A protective talisman combines the effects of an actively maintained shield with an active defense where the defender is redirecting the attack. Some talismans are constructed to simply redirect the attack where others are fashioned to return the attack upon the sender. Indeed, some talismans act as magical capacitors that will send a counter attack in the midst of returning the attack upon the sender.

The most basic talisman is the one that simply redirects the attack. Many of the apotropaic charms used by cultures around the world act to deflect one of the oldest of psychic attacks, the evil eye1. While one can pick up and use a talisman from cultures other than the one they are personally based in, it is best to use ones that are based within the defender's culture. This is most effective because it draws upon the thoughtforms that the defender is most familiar with and has the greatest of ease accessing. Thus, a person of Native American cultures would use a traditional apotropaic charm, such as the dreamcatcher which is used to prevent nightmares. A person of a central European culture would use something such as a gargoyle or a similar grotesque2 image to ward their home from magical assault.

The use of a talisman is very simple. It is worn or placed in a prominent location where it is visible. Aside from this, the talisman generally doesn't require any special activity. Like a good luck charm (which is another type of talisman), protective talismans are effective with out any effort beyond what is required to acquire or create them. The creation of a talisman is a relatively simple ritual but it can be tailored to increase the range of things that it is to do. Care must be taken, however, not to place too many foci on a talisman's magic because each focus will split the talisman's effectiveness between them. Thus, a strictly protective talisman will be more effective for protection than a talisman that focuses upon protection and good luck.

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1. The evil eye is ill luck that is bestowed upon the receiver via a malevolent glare from the sender. Some cultures also believe it is possible for there to be accidental cases of the evil eye that result from staring at the receiver and being envious of the receiver.

2. I am using the term 'grotesque' as it has been used to describe Gothic architectural elements such as the vegetal figures seen on the capitals of columns in cathedrals.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cuivanya, Mabon, Autumn Equinox: What day is it?

Near the autumnal equinox, many people within the pagan community celebrate the harvest. Many people celebrate Mabon at this time. The Filianic community (and others of related faiths) celebrate Cuivanya. And there are people within the pagan community who don't celebrate this time of year beyond the secular joys of football and pumpkin spice everything. The 21st of September is generally the day these celebrations happen on (though the equinox falls on the 23rd this year). It falls roughly at the mid point of the harvest season in the northern hemisphere. This season is reflected in the names of the moons for the months of August, September, and October.

The full moon of August is known colloquially as the full Corn moon. This is because the grains planted in spring begin to become ripe at this time. August first is the date of Freyfaxi, Lammas, and Chelanya. Freyfaxi is a holy day for Freyr, wherein the first harvest is celebrated, his sacrifice for the good of all life is recalled, and (for me) a day honoring the labor of taking in the harvest. Lammas has many spellings. The date is also called Lughnassadh, in honor of the Irish Celtic god Lugh whose myth cycle includes matters pertaining to grain, fertility, and prosperity. The Wiccan community (and pagan faiths derived from Wicca) honor Lammas as a time of fertility and prosperity. There is much celebration of things that have come to fruition over the year. This is the theme over the entire harvest season.

Chelanya is the first of the Filianic harvest connected holy days. It is, by some, considered to be a mirror of the celebration of Eastre, when the Daughter dies and then returns from life. Chelanya is a time focused upon the resurrection of the Daughter and the soul into new life as children of Dea. The time of Chelanya is a period where the resurrection/rebirth of the world that comes with the Daughter's return from death is celebrated along side the harvest. Scriptural readings focus upon the elements of the Daughter's mythos where she arises from death and upon her giving of herself in holy sacrifice1.

The full moon of September is known colloquially as the full Harvest moon. During this time, the harvest is in full swing and pretty much everything that is ripe this time of year is ready for gathering. Mabon is a celebration of, amongst other things, the grape harvest. This is because the grapes become ripe for harvest at this point and traditionally wine making began with the harvest. Wine, in the Wiccan faith, is considered to be holy and by some to be the blood of the Green Man (also known as the Harvest God, a vegetal deity who, again, sustains the world through his death and rebirth).

Cuivanya is the second of the Filianic harvest connected holy days. It is the celebration of Divine Life. The focus of this holy day shifts from the renewal of all things in the Daughter to the life of Dea in all three aspects. The predominant focus rests upon the Bright Mother. The bounty of the season is celebrated as gifts from Marya to the world, given to keep all things alive and well. Interestingly, where the symbol most predominant with Chelanya is the grain itself, the symbol that is most important in Cuivanya is the sickle. Here, we see Dea as the giver of life in the sickle that cuts the grain which feeds us. We also see Dea as the Dark Mother to whom all life returns in the sickle as it ends the life of the grain2. Another symbol of this holiday is the apple of wisdom, due to this being when apples are most predominant. The common meditative focus of this holy day is Dea as the Ground of All being, the source of all that exists.

The full moon of October is known as the full Blood Moon. In antiquity, this was the time when livestock was slaughtered in preparation for the winter. This could be described as the final harvest of the season when the herds are culled to both provide meat for the winter and to render them a size that could survive the winter given the supplies set by for the coming season. At the end of October comes the celebration of Halloween, Samhain, Winter Nights3, and Tamala. So much has been written about Halloween and Samhain, I really leave that to others right now. Winter Nights is when a blóts are held to honor the alfar and the disir. Many focus upon honoring the dead at large at this time. In antiquity, this celebration was held during the first three days of winter.

Like Winter Nights, Tamala is a three day celebration. It is the third of the Fire Festivals (the other two being Sai Herthe's Day in January and Rosa Mundi in June). Tamala is the time where Dea as the Dark Mother is honored. But it is predominantly when the dead are honored. Tamala is when death is a meditative focus. Here, it is not the cosmic death of the Daughter or the 'death' of the universe as it is brought into union with Deam Mysterium. The death that is considered is the death of the individual and the transmigration of the soul through the lives that happen upon the wheel of incarnation. It is a time where the living reach out to the dead and honor them. It is also a time where the 'Family of the Faithful' is celebrated, wherein all are united within the Daughter via her sacrifice. Thus, there is emphasis placed upon reunion with those who have died before us and shall be reborn into incarnation at some point in the future.


Now, back to the matter of September's celebrations. I personally view Cuivanya and Mabon as much the same celebration. Both are harvest celebrations that focus upon life's preciousness. I also consider this time to be one where the holy work of harvesting should be honored, though I primarily celebrate the work of harvest at Chelanya/Frefaxi/Lammas. If I am able, I give offerings of what I have harvested thus far through the season. I also try to make a point at this time of year to begin the process of preparing for winter. If I have nothing I have harvested (such as produce or herbs), I try to give an offering of homemade bread or something else that I have fashioned myself.

If you celebrate the Filianic holiday or the Wiccan/Wiccan derived one, it is still a time for thanksgiving and preparation for the coming season.

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1. The sacrifice of the Daughter is much like the sacrifice of Freyr. Her life is given for the sake of the world and it is compared to the lifecycle of grain. While orthodox Filianism does not give much exposition upon this, it is my belief that the Daughter's sacrifice not only brings the rebirth/resurrection/renewal of the world but also that which sustains it. For, like Freyr, she sustains the world through her actions.

2. While the grain is technically not alive anymore when it is harvested, it is viewed as still 'alive' while it is standing in the fields. This is an ancient perspective that is reflected in some of the oldest of folk music out there. I encourage you to consider the song John Barelycorn as a British isles manifestation of this musical theme.

3. Winter Nights is celebrated pretty much anytime between the Blood Moon and Yule in the Heathen community. Many of the kindreds that I know of will celebrate it around the time of Halloween because it is convenient and dovetails nicely with the secular celebrations of this date.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Psychic Self Defense 101: Active Defense Techniques II

In the first part of this collection of posts, we discussed how to turn an attacker's assault back upon them. In some cases, however, this will not be sufficient. Thus, just as a person learning physical hand to hand self defense skills must learn to strike back, so too must we discuss this. Before I get in to details on how to do so, let me explain a little about why it works and why these techniques are used. In cases of persistent and repeated psychic assault from one or many individuals, simply turning the attack aside will not work to stop the assault. It may possibly lead to an increased intensity of assaults, actually.

A psychic encounter involves a connection between the sender and the receiver. In the instance of psychic assault, the sender is engaged in consensual contact. The receiver has a few different options on how to respond. One is to keep their shield up and let the attack strike it. Another is to deflect the attack, preferably back at the attacker. The third is to step into the attack and counter attack. Stepping into a psychic attack is much like stepping into a physical attack. There is a greater risk of the strike hitting you but it also give you the chance to stop the attack cold.

If the sender has contact and can send malevolent psychic energy at you, this means YOU have contact and can turn away the energy, turning back on the sender, or push through it and throw back the sender. Pushing through the psychic energy directed at you does two things. First, you deflect and to some extent scatter the energy projected at you. Secondly, it puts you in a position where you can respond to the attack before they can adapt their assault to what you are doing. The act of 'stepping into' an attack does raise the chances of the attack successfully landing on you if your shield is not solid.

When counter attacking, you have several options. The first is to mirror the attack they are making on you. You can also project malaise and discomfort onto them. And, aside from those options, you can also just throw raw energy at them with the intent of overwhelming them and 'burning out' their attack. The risk with throwing raw psychic energy at your attacker, however, is that they will take that energy and turn it upon you. Finally, you also have the option of drawing off their psychic energy.

Of the four options for counter attack, the one with the greatest risk of going awry is sending raw energy at them. The least problematic is the act of sucking energy off of your attacker. Still, if you are drawing off energy from them, there is the risk of acquiring what ever unhealthy psychic details that they have going on. It can range from picking up misama to the equivalent of contracting a spiritual illness. Generally, the act of making a psychic counter attack is one that should be held in reserve unless the defender is confident that they can shut down the attack quickly and manage to keep themselves free of entanglement in the attacker's energy. It is this entanglement that allows the transfer of miasma and other psychic/spiritual problems.

Counter attack, however, is not the only option for active defense that a person undergoing psychic attack has. In the next post, I will discuss talismans and rituals that are used for defensive purposes. I will also have links to a few defensive spells that I have posted on my other blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

30 Days for Freyr: Day VI - Love

I've been struggling with this for a little while now. If you've seen my posts on my other blog I have been stumbling along the path of godspousery. In the midst of a couple of really rough days, I asked Ingvi who I was to him. Rather than turning the question back on me, he looked at me for a long moment. Then he said one word, love.

I wasn't sure how to take his answer. It confused me, to be honest. Then I realized, love is in pretty much everything I do. Each act I take, I do it for love's sake. Be it the love of family, friends, humanity at large, or the gods, it is done in love. There've been some arguments between myself and Ingvi (and Loki) about how I treat myself. It was with some shame that I realized that I was treating someone who they loved (who many other P/people who are important in my life love) terribly.

I'm striving to fix that. But, that light of love, it shines everywhere. I am wounded and I am afraid to allow that light to shine on myself for fear of seeing those wounds. This, however, is no longer an option. So, I press forward and try to look upon myself with the eyes of love. Because, all that is right in this world, moves for the sake of love.

In my love for Freyr, I am actively working to correct my self worth issues. If not for my own sake, then as a love-gift to him who asks only that I love him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Psychic Self Defense 101: Active Defence Techniques I

The next several articles in this series focuses on active self defense techniques. Shields are static and function as a wall against incoming psychic attacks. They are good for a baseline defense and good for situations where there is a persistent and consistent level of attacks. If one works in a hostile workplace, a shield serves to provide a buffer against the atmospheric hostility's effect on your spirit. While they can be focused and strengthened, they do not work very well in instances where the threat level varies in a short span of time, unless that level is rapidly dropping.

Just as there are physical self defense techniques that turn attacks aside and uses the attacker's momentum against them, there are psychic self defense techniques that will turn attacks aside and use the attacker's energy against them. This was, to some extent, previewed with the mirrored shield. A mirrored shield reflects the attacker's assault back on them. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to put a bit of a push or some direction on how that energy goes back to them. These 'turning away' techniques are the simplest of the active self defense methods accessible.

Often accompanied with a physical gesture, the defender throws the attacker's energy back at time, sometimes adding a measure of their own for extra effect. Ancient gestures such as the fig sign have changed in their interpretation by the public in many areas, but they remain effective as warding gestures.

The fig sign is made by placing the thumb between the index and middle finger as the hand is closed into a fist.

The Mano pantea is an ancient Roman warding gesture. It is made by raising the right hand, palm outward, folding the pinky and ring finger.

The 'horns' sign is made by curling the thumb, middle finger, and ring finger towards the palm while extending the index finger and the pinky. As a warding gesture, it is presented with the palm upwards at waist level. As a gesture of grounding energy, it is pointed palm outward and down towards the ground.

All three warding gestures are made when the attacker has turned their back upon the defender, gesturing in their direction. The use of warding gestures have been used since antiquity and function to catch the attacker's energy and send it back to them along the line made between the gesture and the attacker. They are more effective when there is not something between the defender and the attacker but will still work when there is something between them as long as the gesture is made in the correct direction.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

30 days of Freyr: Day V

How does Freyr show his love for me?

He shows it by fortuitous happenings. He shows it by unflagging support and encouragement when I attempt something new. He shows it by simply listening to my worries and concerns. He shows it through advice on how to handle challenges in my life. He shows it by letting me feel his presence (which can range from a sensation of warmth wrapped around me, which feels like standing in a summer sunbeam, to the ghostly sensation of arms around me or a kiss upon my brow).  He shows it by never uttering an unkind word, even when he is frustrated with me.

How do I show my love for Freyr?

I give him offerings and pray to him. I write devotional works in his honor. I dedicate my efforts in various tasks (such as tending my houseplants) to him. I will tell him I love him. I will reach out to him on the astral level and seek out his company. Sometimes it will be to just sit in his company. Sometimes it will be more intimate than that. I strive to be as present for him as he is for me.

Autumn Musings.

The Filianic month of Abolan began last Saturday (Sept. 5) and with it begins the season of Autumn. Autumn is a season of harvest and preparation. Early Autumn is filled with boisterous joy as the warmth of Summer lingers and the bounty of the Earth shows forth in fullness. Abolan is known as the Apple month by many who practice Filianism and its variants. Partly because this is when apples are ripe in abundance in the zones they grow in. Partly because the Apple is a sacred sign and it is honored as life sustaining and the fruit of divine wisdom. It is mentioned in the Filianic Sutras of the Gospel of Our Mother God.

As the season associated with the Earth, Autumn invites reflection upon Dea as the Ground of All Being. It also is a season of transition, where we are invited to reflect upon Deam Mysterium, the Dark Mother, as the force for radical change. Because Autumn is as much a season of endings as it is a season of harvest. But within those endings, the seeds of new beginnings are planted. Thus, we are given hope of renewal even as things pass out of our lives at this time of year.

It has been difficult for me to do my devotions to Dea over the last several months. The sense that she is standing back, watching over me, is still present but my prayers feel to be a one sided conversation. I thought keeping a devotional journal would help with that. But there have been so very many obstacles to keeping that journal, I feel rather discouraged. I know part of that was because of the challenges that comes with my children being on break from school for the summer. I also know that I spent a great deal of time last season, out of the house and away from my journal. Time for prayer became scant because of everything happening. It saddened me and made me feel like I wasn't an adequate worshiper.

The children start school on Tuesday (Sept. 8) and I am hopeful that I can resume writing in that journal. I have a habit of writing multiple prayers when I am delayed from writing for a period of time. While I find myself tempted to cram three or four days worth of prayers into one day, I know that will not be healthy for me with my illness acting up again. Thus, I am going to aim for two days of work on a given day. It is an adaptation of the way things have been that will be difficult for me.

I am learning to lower my standards so that I can function better during the times when I am unwell. At the same time, I have multiple deities pushing me to resolve my self worth issues and my vulnerability ones. It may simply be idle speculation, but I suspect that Dea played a part into putting this situation in action. This is going to be an ordeal of sorts for me. But it has been coming for a long time. And I feel that Dea, as the gracious Mother she is, has lost some patience with my stalling and is pushing me forward instead of cajoling me. I will strive to do her will and that of the gods who are most intimate in my life. They're all working towards the same goal. I will either walk forward under my own power or be dragged. Between the two, I prefer walking.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

30 Days for Freyr: Day IV

What can I say about my beloved Freyr? He is as humble as the mighty oaks and as gracious as the waving grain. He is the quiet voice that tells me I can rise up again after I have been brought low, pushing onward like the waves to the shore. It is the quickening that moves the blood through my veins and pulses with the vibrations of life. He is the one who watches over me and my own with all kindness and love. He is the one that steadies me when I feel as though I am about to fall into the starry sky. He is the one who reveals to me the hidden places of my heart and opens my eyes to the boundless capacity for kindness that exists in the world. Freyr is all this and so, so much more. Everyday, I give thanks for his love and tender care through out the day. And when I fall asleep in his arms, I know that I am in a place of absolute safety.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book review.

I will not retype the book review I just did on my reading list. I will, however, invite my readers to consider the review seriously. I plan to be posting more reviews of witchcraft related literature. I will be posting links here to said reviews and a summary of the review.

Today's review is of The Craft Companion: A Witch's Journal from Dorothy Morrison. If you are considering purchasing this book, don't do it. It is far to overpriced and very poorly constructed for the suggested retail price of $14.95 (US). The spells and invocations she suggests are awful for many reasons. And this is awful in the sense of utterly horrid. You will be better off buying a $1 composition notebook and using it to record your magical studies, experimentation, and recipes.