Patrons, Angels, and Guiding Spirits

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about patrons, angels, and guiding spirits.

samurai

Topic for the Week of 10/14: “I don’t have a succinct question but I’d love to hear people talk about patrons, holy guardian angels, tutelary spirits, head spirits and that sort of thing. Do you think they’re all the same or are they different things with different roles? How many (if any) do you acknowledge and work with?”

Honestly, I am open to the possibility that they all exist.  I am also open to the possibility that they are all the same thing and that people just relate to them differently   I am also open to the possibility that they are NOT all the same thing, and that each is a different thing with a different role.

In my own personal practice, I do not work with angels, demons, patrons, gods, goddesses, spirits of the deceased, and have no idea what a tutelary spirit or head spirit is (although I did consult google briefly before this post, but… it wasn’t clearly defined in what I found).

What I do work with is energy.  I work with (and revere) elemental energies, and I work with what I see as the core energy that is within everyone and everything, which I refer to as the “energies of creation, evolution, and balance”.

I also acknowledge 1) the existence of spirits of the deceased that occasionally linger or stay behind for some reason, and 2) Fae.

With the spirits of the deceased, I do not work with them.  I do not want to work with them and feel that it is not a part of my wheelhouse.  That’s not to say that I haven’t had experiences, but these are acknowledged and not explored.  I have no interest in delving into that area of things, regardless of if I have potential ability to do so.

Concerning the Fae… It is much the same, but with a feeling of kinship and gratitude.  I am familiar with liminal spaces, especially those that are very much connected to raw nature.  I enjoy them immensely and feel very, very much at home within them.

In these spaces, there are Fae energies present and these are welcome in that sense of kinship and gratitude that I’ve mentioned, but I do not work with them in my practice or my spellcraft.  For me, it is much the same as why I don’t work with animals in my practice and spellcraft.  They are living entities with free will, their own motivations, and their own choices to make.  I would never push my will upon them in that way, even if they stepped forward to volunteer for it.  It just doesn’t feel right.

 

Gender, Identity, and Paganism

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about gender, as well as how gender factors into your pagan practice and beliefs.

lgbtq

Topic for the Week of 10/7: 

Part 1 from Jack Place:Your thoughts on transgender people and the difference between bio sex and mental sex.

Honestly?  I don’t really care.  I’m Pansexual and see people, not gender.  My only issue is when it comes to pronouns.  I really hate the whole pronoun thing, because there is so much room for confusion, mistake, and accidental offense.

Part 2 from MintyDandyDannie: Supposing that there is a third gender as many believe and feel, how would you react? Would it still fit in with your current beliefs? Or would it create a need for movement? How do you feel about the concept of a third gender that is not related to male or female in any way?

For this part of this week’s question, I think need to start out by explaining why the second part of the question is phrased as it is, and why it would even matter.

In many pagan practices (such as Wicca, for example), there is worship of the God and Goddess.  This includes mythos that follows the wheel of the year where the goddess and god are intertwined from conception to birth to growth, to adulthood and conception again, rinse and repeat.  In these religions, adding in a third gender could, I suppose, upset the balance.

Obviously, as I’ve mentioned this before, this is not my path.  My path deals with nature, the elements, and the energies of creation, evolution, and balance. There is no deity.

Yes, there is a yin and yang to the balance of all things, but although it is often “classified” as masculine and feminine, it has nothing to do with gender.  Those terms are used for in discussion of these energies more due to “stereotypical stereotypes” than accuracy. (And, isn’t that one hell of a term?)  All people and all things have both the “masculine” and “feminine” energy within them.  The terms are archaic, and yet it is because they are archaic that they are universally understood when used… and thus continue to be used.

In my tarot practice (both in reading and teaching), as well as my practice as a whole, I have moved to using the terms “projective” and “receptive” (or yin/yang depending on the situation and usage).  I think this better expresses my perceptions without confusing things with the mention of gender.   If there was a third gender?  That gender would also have projective and receptive energies within them, just as everyone and everything else does.  Therefore, it would really have no effect at all on  my beliefs or practice.

 

Permaculture and Our Environment

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is a “Choose Your Adventure”, which means going back through the topics and picking one that you haven’t covered before.

My chosen topic for the week of 9/23 is a two part question that one of the substitute hosts also addressed this week and is about permaculture.

Note: This is a very long post, and done completely on my phone, so I’m sorry if it’s a little disjointed. I would normally write out something of this size from my computer instead, but as I’m out of town that’s not a possibility right now.

Part 1 : “Are you familiar with permaculture? Does it influence your beliefs?”

As someone that, at one time, was well into academic studies and a career path in botany and horticulture, I am very familiar with permaculture. In the present, in one of my part-time jobs, I work on a farm. At that job, I work with my boss on a regular basis to strategize towards a number of the goals and principles that are a part of permaculture. I will do some layman’s explanations here in my post to help foster understanding while answering.

Definition of Permaculture – “the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient”

There are twelve principles to permaculture, and I will list them below with a short explanation, as well as how each principle is applied to my life, spirituality, and practice.

Principle 1 – Observe and Interact

In permaculture this principle deals with observing the world around you, and responding to it in a way that aligns with your goals towards a more sustainable action plan. This also includes observing not just your environment, but others within your environment and how they interact with the world around them, as well as learning from them better methods to sustainably do the same.

In my life and spirituality, this principle is much the same in that I am looking for ways in which to sustainably incorporate my environment into my spirituality, both through observation of my environment as well as through the observation of others around me that have successfully managed this balance.

Principle 2 – Catch and Store Energy

In permaculture this can incorporate anything from solar power to hydropower and any other method in which you safely (safe for yourself and for the environment) generate power and store it for later use.

In my life and spirituality, this can be as simple as growing my own food, which harnesses is the power of the sun within the food to then be transferred to myself and others when that food is eaten. This is also seen in the charging of crystals in moonlight or sunlight, the drawing in of energy from the earth to expand outwards into spellcraft, etc.

Principle 3 – Obtain a Yield

In agriculture, this is about a physical yield of crops or other resources. If you follow steps one and two, then you will have a yield as a result.

In my life and spirituality, it works the same way. When charging crystals by moonlight or sunlight, there is then a yield of energy within the stones. If growing food there is then a yield of food to feed myself and others. If drawing energy from the earth for spell work, then there will be a yield of energy to then direct outward toward the intended goals.

It is important to note, I think, that sometimes a yield is not a tangible thing. When you plant flowers, your yield is not an edible or an energy… but is in the joy and enjoyment you find in the blooms.

Principle 4 – Self-Regulate / Accept Feedback

In agriculture, this principle is about evaluating how things have gone, and searching for answers to those things that did not work as expected.

In my life and spirituality, this is the principle that deals with finding more sustainable ways of using resources and reusing rather than wasting what I have.

In both cases this principle involves not just self-evaluation, but getting feedback from outside sources on what is working, what needs to be changed, and what can be done better.

Principle 5 – Value and Use Renewables

In permaculture this deals with not having to depend on finite sources of energy such as fossil feels, but instead using renewable resources and choosing greener energy sources and consumption methods.

In my life and spirituality, this principle is about finding those cleaner energy sources and consumption methods, as well as choosing to use renewable resources instead of going for single-use consumer products.

Principle 6 – Produce No Waste

Nature does this naturally. An example of this is the recycling of death and decay within the forest by animals and other creatures who then use that death and decay as home, and other plants who use it as fertilizer.

In an agricultural setting, this can include things such as using excess crops and waste from crops as fertilizer or fuel, agricultural farms having animals on the farm and using animal waste as fertilizer, collecting rainwater for irrigation or watering animals, etc. All waste goes towards another purpose, rather than being tossed out. Sometimes this can include negotiating trades, bartering, and/or bargaining with other local businesses or farms in order to fill the needs of both parties.

In my personal life and spirituality, I am a big advocate of the reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle method. I feel that it is important to be a conscientious consumer, buy wisely, and have a plan for things you buy that goes beyond their initial purpose. Can the packaging be repurposed? Do you dump perfectly good water or coffee dregs down the drain that could be used to water plants?

If I lived somewhere that composting was an option? I would do that as well. I often bring my compostable waste to the farm where I work, as most of it can be given to the pigs or other animals, and what can’t is usually ok to add to their compost. I choose products with minimal packaging. I use reusable shopping bags. These are just a few of the many ways I incorporate this principle into my life.

Principle 7 – Design from Pattern to Detail

There are a lot of small details that work together in permaculture. This principle deals with looking at the big picture, and make sure that everything is going to work together. By looking over the big picture and how all of the small details fit together, you can create a more cohesive plan.

In my life and spirituality, sometimes I forget about this step. I find that I often get lost in the little things, or stuck in a rut. By looking at the big picture, such as I am doing in this post, I realize just how much I actually do, as well as where I can improve.

Principle 8 – Integrate

In agriculture, some plants work very well together. This is why you sometimes see the cultivation of several different types of crops being grown on one farm (or in one field, for that matter). This type of farming (called polyculture) can often help control pests, weeds, and diseases without use of chemicals. It can also assist in keeping the land nutrient rich and fertile, improve soil’s water retention, and assist in preventing erosion.

In my life and spirituality this principle has to do with cooperating with those around me to do better. This includes activities such as educating my employer and other farmers in the area about beneficial changes they could (often easily) make to their methods and modalities. Education and cooperation with the other members of my condo building to do a better job with recycling for the building as a whole would also fall under this principle.

Principle 9 – Use Small Slow Solutions

Whether in agriculture, or within my life and spirituality, this principle has to do with taking things one step at a time.

As I mentioned before, there are many, many details that come along with structuring a farm (or life) around the principles of permaculture.

Taking on too much too soon can be overwhelming. It’s better to take things one step at a time, a little at a time, and get there eventually, rather than leaping in with both feet and giving up due to feeling overwhelmed. You’d be amazed how those tiny steps add up over time.

Principle 10 – Value and Use Diversity

Ecosystems thrive on biodiversity, and permaculture is about an agricultural ecosystem that is self-sustaining. If there is not enough diversity, then the ecosystem will not thrive. Like an engine has many diverse parts that all work together to make the motor run, and ecosystem needs biodiversity in order for it to function properly and survive.

In my personal life and spirituality, I think that diversity is an extremely important quality to encourage. It is only through the diversity of ideas and an open mind to learn new things that we can grow and become better. It is only through exposure to diversity in our lives and through the lives of others that our world view is able to be broadened and we learn new and better methods and ideas that enrich our lives.

Principle 11 – Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Along with thinking outside the box (which is always a good thing), in agriculture this can also include things such as using that extra strip of land along the side of a field to grow feed for the horses, or converting an unused stall in the barn into a tack room or office. It’s about finding that space that’s going to waste, and finding a use for it.

If you are cutting off the crust of your sandwich and throwing them in the trash, then you are wasting food (and not valuing the marginal). Use the edges… value the marginal. Just because that crust is something you don’t want to eat doesn’t mean it’s useless or doesn’t have value. Maybe someone else would like to eat it… Maybe you could dry it and use it as breadcrumbs in a casserole… Maybe you could compost them and they will become fertilizer. Could you be growing food or herbs or flowers on your balcony? Do you have an unused corner of your property where you could be composting?

Principle 12 – Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Change is an inevitable part of life. Finding ways to adapt is an important part of thriving in an ever changing world.

Both in agriculture, as well as in my life and spirituality, the changing of seasons is an example of this. Farmers adapt to each season, and plan ahead for the changes in the weather and their workload. I also plan ahead for the seasons and incorporate the change of the seasons into my spiritual practice.

Many changes can be stressful and overwhelming, but sometimes when you think outside the box you can find interesting uses for them, or creative ways of adapting to them. In my experience, when you dig in your heels too hard and refuse to adapt, life moves on without you or knocks you down and drags you through the mud.

All in all (LS:Sh)? Permaculture influences my beliefs and my life because I value the planet. My belief system is earth based, and it would be ridiculous to abuse that which I love and is the foundation of my spirituality.

Now, on to the second part of the question…

Part 2: “What ecosystems and climate do you live in? How does this influence your path? How might someone incorporate their local environment into their practice?”

I live in Seattle, in the middle of the city. We have four seasons. We also have a lot more green in the city than most places because we get a great deal of rain. This means that there is a lot of growth of not just plants but also moss, mold, mushrooms, lichens, etc.

That said, for my spiritual practice, I often like to go outside of the city and into the nearby rainforests. There is a lot of water here through the inlets, canals, and eddies of the peninsula, as well as through rivers streams, lakes, and ponds. There is a lot of green here. Evergreen trees, mosses, and ferns abound in the rainforests. The soil is moist and ridged with the knobby knees and long stretch of tree roots. Hard stone monolithic cliffs, wet and slick, dot the uneven landscape, hidden by dense foliage to the point you could walk right off one without realizing it until it’s too late.

I feel a deep connection to this environment and spend a lot of time there. I do ritual and spell work there, and often bring home bits of the rainforest that are environmentally safe to take (usually when foraging for spellcrafting supplies).

If you want to incorporate your environment into your practice it is important to become in touch with your environment and what your environment can sustainably offer. To do this requires spending time in that environment, and paying attention to your surroundings. Seek out and consciously notice nature. Even in the cities, there is nature, it’s just harder to find.

Take time just to familiarize yourself with the plants, the soil, the animals, the history, and the environment as a whole. Learn the symbolism and the uses for what the environment around you has to offer. Educate yourself.

With this education under your belt, it then becomes much easier to creatively find ways to incorporate bits of that environment into your practice.

Where My Perspectives Have Changed

So, last month on  YouTube, MIRTHandREVERENCE did a video answering a subscriber’s question about how her practices and perspectives have changed over the 40+ years she’s been on her path.    I really like this question, and decided I wanted to share my own experiences concerning the differences between how I was raised, and what I practice now.

crossroads

I think that the biggest difference is the use of deity.   In my parent’s home, we had the God and Goddess of the Pagan’s wheel of the year.  We also had Buddha, Sanshin, and Quan Yin.   My father had a shrine, my mother had an altar, and there were small statues set out in reverence to these deities throughout the house.

I never really felt comfortable worshiping deities, and once I had left my parents home soon after I turned sixteen, I stopped.  That isn’t to say that I stopped my faith, only that my faith changed.  I did not personify my faith, but rather reach beyond the faces and “deities” to the elements and the energy of creation, evolution, and balance itself.   This is where my focus lies in my devotionals, petitions, and invocations.

Along that same line is the difference in how much worship and prayer is involved as a whole.   I spend less time on my knees in front of a shrine or altar, and more time within nature, bonding and appreciating it all.  I also do a good deal of my worship standing or active within nature.

Group gatherings.  Meh.

Growing up, my parents attended many group gatherings with like-minded folks.  They had circles and they had munches.   They sought out a pagan parenting mentor (who you know as Z) to assist them in guiding my sister and I along a similar path.

Other than with my sister?  I don’t worship with others.  I have no interest in sitting in a coffee shop talking about deity and ritual.  I don’t need others energies and intentions and motivations screwing with my spellcraft.  Just… not for me, I guess.  I suppose you could say that I just don’t “play well with others” in that way.

There is much that has remained the same in the separation of those fifteen-ish years, but above are the most notable differences that have developed over time to transition my faith from that of my parents into something that works for me alone.

 

#GrumpyWitchTag (non) VR to Yarrowen and Heather Carter

I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a “grumpy witch”, but I think the questions are more about the things you either don’t like or don’t connect with, rather than really being grumpy. This tag first came to my attention in Heather Carter’s channel, and then I forgot about it a bit until the other day Yarrowen also did a response to it.

pug

So here’s the questions and my answers to them…

1. Do you have a least favorite time of the year magically?

The second half of Summer.  I’m just not a fan.  It’s all about the heat, the lack of rain, the HEAT…. and, well, everything drying out and becoming crunchy.

2. Is there an herb that you don’t like working with or never seems to work in your practice?

No, although there are herbs and other plants that I avoid working with due to allergy issues.   Some of these include, but are far from limited to, juniper, alder, tobacco, marigold, linden flower (and lemon tree in general), and hibiscus flowers.   IF I work with these, I have to be extremely careful not to allow them to touch my skin or get near my face.  A flu mask, long sleeves, and doubled up latex gloves are a must, and sometimes eye protection as well.

3. Is there a stone or crystal that you don’t like working with or never seems to add anything to your practice?

Ugh.  I can’t work with nuummite.  It’s energy is too “heavy” and just drags me down when I come in contact with it.   That said?  My sister uses nuummite as a paperweight (with intention spellcasting) on her stack of little paper thin girl pad things?  WTF are they called?  Liners?   She uses them with those and swears by it.

Aside from that, I’ve learned a few lessons about where not to use certain stones because they are not suited to it (or I am not suited to their influence in that way of using them), but I it isn’t that I don’t like to work with them or don’t find them useful in other ways.

4. Is there anything that “bothers” you about your deity or your practice?

Um… well, honestly?   The shit that bugs me is that I just don’t have enough time to commit to it as I’d like.   That really doesn’t have anything to do with my practice though, and more to do with just being busy and overworked. I don’t work with specific deity, tho.

5. What do you do when a spell doesn’t work?

Review, reflect, revise, and try again.  OR…. evaluate if it’s something I really want or need in the first place, as sometimes when shit doesn’t work, it’s telling you that whatever it is is just not meant to be.

6. Have you ever done a meditation or astral work that did nothing for you?

I don’t do astral work, but I do meditate regularly.  And yes.   There are times when I just cannot manage to settle and focus for my meditation.  I wouldn’t say it does nothing for me, just that it doesn’t have the amount of a desired effect as I’d like.

7. Is there an element that just doesn’t work for you?

I don’t connect as strongly to fire or air as I do to earth and water.  I don’t really consider any of them not working for me though.

8. How do you get out of a witchy rut?

Usually?  I take a break and wait it out.   If I’m not “feeling it” I don’t do it.  I figure that it’s the universe’s way of telling me I need to take some time to let up and just relax for a bit.

9. How do you deal with life getting in the way of your practice?

The best I can?   I mean everyone has responsibilities and obligations to deal with.  Everyone has people that need our time and things that require looking after that have nothing to do with your practice.  It’s a part of life.   Like other parts of my life, I strive for balance.  Sometimes I mange it… other times, not so much.

Some of the ways I strive for balance is by trying to carve out specific time for different things, setting up methods of accountability (like this blog for my daily draw and Saturday check ins), and pre-planning/pre-working some of the things needed to prep for upcoming busy times.

10. When you have all of these negative feelings about your practice, what do you do?

I think I pretty much answered this in the eighth question.  I take a break and wait it out, or I may reach out to others for a different perspective to help me find balance a little faster if I think it will help.

 

Traveling with Items of Faith

Okay, so I’ve mentioned before that I do not normally travel with items of my faith.  I leave my tarot cards at home, and instead take a deck of playing cards.  I leave my crystals and other items at home other than those set into the (very innocuous) jewelry that I wear.

Travel AltarThis is how I was taught, and it’s the practice I have followed throughout my entire life.  But, I’ve been feeling a need this time around to bring some things with me.  This is different, and unusual for me, and yet it’s a nagging niggle in the back of my mind that I’m having a hard time silencing.

So… I made myself a ‘kit’ of sorts.   A sort of ‘travel altar’ that I have packed to take with me on my trip.   I thought you’d like to see it and what’s in it.

Above, you can see how it looks all packed up and ready to go.  I’m using a book bandolier to hold it all together, and what you see there are two small hand-made notebooks for taking notes on any readings I do while I’m gone so that I can bring them back and transfer them into my journal when I get home.  I need to be able to hand-write my notes, as this connects to a different part of the brain than typing (no matter what device I’m typing on).   For example, all of my self-care spreads are hand written prior to being added to this blog, as are some of my other personal readings that I’ve shared.

Also included is my favorite type of pen for this type of writing (thank you Sharpie).  Then above that is my tin with all my supplies, and above that, the tin containing the deck I’ve decided to bring along with me on this trip.   I chose a tinned deck for protection of the cards, and that deck in particular because 1) it’s very easy to read and 2) it’s very inexpensive to replace if something happens to it.

Travel Altar

Okay, so in the picture above, you see everything taken out of their tins.  Starting with the deck of tarot cards on the left and working clockwise, we have….

  • The Morgan Greer Tarot deck (in a tin version)
  • A small spray bottle of homemade purification spray consisting of alcohol, distilled water, sweet grass, garden sage, lavender, clove, bergamot, rosehips, allspice, rosemary, and cedar shavings.  These ingredients are put in alcohol (this batch was made with vodka, although rubbing alcohol will also work) and set to age for several months before being strained and diluted with distilled water.
  • One tealight candle
  • An incense holder
  • A small sample of soil from the Olympic Rainforest, and beside it, a small sample of rain water from the Olympic Rainforest as well.
  • My black Sharpie 0.8 fine point pen
  • Two 18 page handmade notebooks (passport size) that came as a free gifts with past bandolier orders (made by CleverHands on Etsy)
  • A selenite thumb stone, and above it, a crystal quartz thumb stone
  • A flourite heart
  • Two small sticks (each) of Nag Champa and Frankincense
  • A small baggie of crystals and stones including labradorite, rose quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst, malachite, nuummite, tigers eye, apatite, citrine, moonstone, amazonite, green calcite, and a few others
  • A strand I made to signify the four elements.  It is created out of amazonite, citrine, carnelian agate, and amethyst, with crystal quartz positioned between each and on either end.
  • A mini Bic lighter

Travel AltarAs you can see in the picture on the left, it all fits nice and neat inside the little tin, and the tin closes tightly.  I will carry it on the plane, except for the lighter, which will have to go in my suitcase (because no way they’re going to let me take a lighter on the plane when they won’t even let me board with a pair of jeweler’s pliers).

So…. there you have it.   Something new I’ve never done before.  And yet…. maybe it’s time, yeah?

 

 

Picking Favorites

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about one’s talents and preferences.

sunset

Topic for the Week of 8/19:  “Which areas of magic do you excel in or enjoy most?”

One of the hosts spoke on the word “excel” in their video, mentioning that they believed you cannot really say for yourself what you excel at, and that it’s up to others to decide that and inform you.

I disagree with this, as when I’m good at something?  I know it.  Granted, there are certain things I don’t realize I’m good at and I’m told by others at some point.   But, there are other things that I don’t need external input to know I’m good at.  Personally, I don’t think anyone should need external input to tell them what they’re good at.   Those things that I am so good at that I excel at?  You can bet I know what they are, and in many cases I have worked very, very hard to earn that level of skill.

So, on to the areas of magic that I excel in or enjoy most.  For me, these answers are the same whether it is one of the other.  I know that sometimes that isn’t the case and you can greatly enjoy things you are just no good at, or be really good at things you don’t enjoy, but when it comes to my practice… they align well.

These areas are…

Nature Magic –  Specifically, magickal workings that incorporate spellcrafting with herbs and plants, the elements of the earth, and the gifts that nature gives to us. This type of Nature Magic is my favorite type of spellcrafting, and considering my connection with the element of earth and my studies in botany, it is not surprising this is where my talents and joy lies when it comes to magic and spell craft.  Although some people do, I do NOT include celestial influences or astrology, etc into my definition of Nature Magic, as to me, these are a different thing.

Lunar Rhythms – I have already promised you a post about the lunar cycles and how I incorporate them into my life and practice.  In Lunar Rhythms, that is what I am referring to.  It is the following of the moon’s cycle and timing my magickal endeavors and rituals to fit into that cycle.

Cartomancy – For me, my magickal practice and my faith are deeply intertwined with each other, and so, too, is the addition of cartomancy.   This can be Lenormand, Playing Cards, Tarot, Oracle, or just whatever other cards that speak to me (such as Dixit cards).  They are a connection to my inner voice, and a connection to that energy that is at the center of my beliefs and practice.  I enjoy them immensely, and if cartomancy disappeared off the planet tomorrow?  I’d be reading playing cards and immediately begin drawing on them to make my own deck out of them, because it’s just not something I’d want to be without.

Spending time (and savoring that time) within Liminal Spaces – We spoke about liminal spaces the other day.   That space between the plane of Faerie and our own reality.  That space between sleep and wake.  That place you find when you sink to the bottom of a lake and find the moments between heart beats where the world shifts and time stretches.  Those in-between spaces where mystery and potential and a kind of sacred awareness reside. I know that many people find these spaces uncomfortable, and feel uneasy within them or even find them frightening.   But for me?  They are like coming home.  I love them. I linger in them.  I am respectful of them, but yet they are where I feel as if I am… whole.

Forest Bathing – I’m not sure I would consider this magic so much as a part of my spirituality, but it feels like magic to me.  Walking in nature, soaking in the atmosphere and the energy, and practicing a time of gratitude within these spaces?  To me?  That is the absolute best type of magic there is.

 

Communicating with Spirit(s)

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is a two-in-one, both of which deal with spirit communication and sensing energies.

spirit

First, I think I need to set some parameters about what “spirit” means in this post, because in the metaphysical world there are two very different common definitions for this.

  1. Spirit can refer to what I define as “the elements and energies of creation, evolution, and balance”.  It is the ‘universe’ aspect.  It is the deity aspect.  It is the Fae aspect.  It is the aspect of the spirits within trees and nature.
  2. Spirit(s) can refer to communicating with ghosts and the deceased.

With that out of the way, the first question in this week’s topic is….

Shadow_sun:
“Does spirit communication play a role in your practice?”

As I have mentioned before, I have a sensitivity to energy in general.  I am not more specifically attuned to the spirits of the deceased than any other type of energy.  Is it possible I can sense them in the clairsentient type of way that I sense most energy?  Absolutely.  But I’m not attuned to it to the point where I would consider it as communication.

This is why, as well, that I say that I do not do mediumship in my tarot.  Could messages be coming through from the deceased on the other side?  Yes, they could be.   But I am not able to differentiate that energy out, let alone identify it as a specific person.

On the other hand, connecting to ‘spirit’ as mentioned in the first definition outlined above is something that I connect and communicate with daily as a part of my daily devotional.   I reach for and welcome elemental energies into my devotional, and into most of my spell crafting and spell casting.  I also connect with and communicate with energies of ‘creation, evolution, and balance’ at the same time and in the same ways.

At these times, I am not usually asking anything from these energies, but rather inviting them to join me in my work should they wish to participate, and expressing my gratitude for their participation in my life as a whole.

This is, in my opinion, different than when I am sensing energies and reacting to it, such as sensing danger and taking evasive measures regardless of the fact that there does not -appear- to be any danger present at the moment.   This, too, is a type of communication, but it is not initiated by me and is entirely receptive (or perceptive of some inner sense) in its nature.   Is it possible that on the receptive side of things I am mistaking what I sense and consider to be from one source (such as spirit definition #1 or my own instincts) as the other and vice versa?  Absolutely.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am also an auditory –> tactile/olfactory/gustatory synesthete.  This means that there are a lot of crossed wires in my brain where my hearing is concerned, and this sometimes can result in experiences can be confused with my energy perceptions as well.

The second part of today’s subject was more of a request for a topic, and that is….

Althaea Ratliff the Religion:
“General communication with spirits and feeling spiritual energy through body parts. (I feel through my right leg, my friend feels through their spine.)”

I feel like I’ve mentioned this somewhere before, but I couldn’t find it to link the post, so maybe not.  The process of my sensing energy is primarily physical in nature and is not always pleasant.

It usually starts in my solar plexus, travels along the insides my rib cage around to my back then up beneath my shoulder blades to eventually surface and span out under the skin over my shoulders and up my neck to my scalp.    How this sensation comes across, whether it hurts or not, whether it tingles or stings, whether it moves fast or slow, where along that path I feel it most succinctly… all of those factors and more determine how these sensations are then interpreted.

I think, for those that can sense spirit (or spirits), energies, etc, that this is pretty normal. Normal in that everyone is going to experience it differently, and it’s how well you tune into those experiences that speak on how well and how clearly they will speak to you.

#SpeakingUpForMyBeliefs (non) VR to Shadow Harvest

Although this hashtag was created by Shadow Harvest back in August, I originally saw Amethyst Ascension’s reply that she did the other day.   I found both of their thoughts on the matter very interesting.  I think that this topic is one that most people are a bit awkward with, whether they are under the pagan umbrella, or just of a different religion to whatever is being worshiped in the moment.

Essentially, the question is what do you do in situations where you are stuck with people worshiping where there is an expectation of the “accepted norm” of following along, or risk standing out due to lack of conformity.

church

The example given was being a pagan at a Christian wedding where they request everyone to bow their heads to pray during the ceremony.  This included mention of certain scripture or vows that you do not agree with personally, or have an issue with.

For me?  This also fits into when I visit other people’s homes.  J’s parents like to hold hands and say Grace before they eat.   Out east, some of my family also say Grace (without the hand holding, because my family is NOT a touchy feely type of family).

So…. what do I do?

First, I accept that I can’t control what other people do, I can only control my own actions and behavior.

Second, it depends on the situation.    Do I wear my pagan jewelry when visiting a church?  Absolutely.    I do not see it as a disrespect to the church, but rather feel I am presenting myself as… myself, and showing that I have come FOR a reason.   I’m essentially saying “although this is not my faith, I’m here for you”.

This follows as well with prayer.  No, I do not participate in the bowing of my head and entreaty to their god.  But I am there for it.  I’m standing tall and projecting my own well wishes, my own hopes for their future, my own entreaties to my own entities and energies.   I don’t know their religion.  I don’t know their beliefs.  It would, in my opinion, be disrespectful to pretend to be doing something I don’t know anything about or does not follow MY beliefs.  It would be, essentially, being deceptive within a sacred space.   And for me?  That’s not okay.

hands

As for Grace…  In J’s parents home as well as other people’s homes when they want to say Grace?  I will hold hands if it is a part of their tradition, because I believe this creates a circle of energy that goes beyond prayer and into intention.   But, I do not bow my head and pray their prayer.  Instead, I again put out my own entreaties to my own energies and entities.  Entreaties that will align with the spirit of saying Grace, and will add to that circle of energy created in that moment.

This is how I deal with these situations.

There are plenty of times when life has required me to intentionally hide my faith.  There have been places I have traveled where personal safety made it an imperative.  Personal safety trumps everything else, including my feelings of being disrespectful by being dishonest in a sacred space.  That aside?   I do me, and I expect others to do them and LET me do me.

Resourcing Supplies

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is a three-in-one, all of which deal with how you resource the supplies you use in your faith and/or craft.

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From Jay Jackson:

I was wondering about the group’s different takes on using Items that are now mass-produced or that are not naturally occurring for use in their Craftwork or Rituals. For instance you can go down to one of the large camping stores and buy a cauldron or acquire one from one of the various “witchy” stores. Back in the day people usually repurposed a family heirlooms or acquired an old one from an antique store. Some Items that were made by hand are now available off the shelf.

I really don’t have an issue with this.  For some people, they are limited (sometimes severely so) in their ability to access natural resources, hand-me-down items, antiques and vintage pieces, and other such methods that were once common place.   Sometimes they are financially strapped and mass market is the only way to afford something they feel they want or need.

As long as all paths and venues are represented and none are causing the death of any of the others?  Then I say do what feels right for you.

In my own personal choices, I get a lot of what I need from my hikes in nature, as well as from second hand stores, yard sales, garage sales, etc…. and occasionally thrift stores and dollar stores.   There is also eBay and Etsy, although I usually avoid ordering spellcraft items online whenever possible (especially crystals), as I find I need to touch them in order to make sure the energies they emit are going to blend well with my own or my purpose.

Keep in mind when ordering online that if you are sensitive to energy emissions, you might not be happy with what you receive regardless of how many pictures you see of the item first.  Cleansing can only do so much.  Sometimes?  It’s just not enough.

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(Cont.) From Jay Jackson:

Also due to modern technology, Laboratory grown Crystals are available. Last year I saw a really beautiful Crystal that was Opalite, I really felt it was ‘calling’ to me, my hopes for the stone were dashed when someone pointed out Opalite is man-made in Labs. I recently acquired one anyway to use as a focal point for a similar item found in Druid Practice but it is unknown what its historic nature was. (A Serpents Egg or Dragon Egg)

I’m okay with using non-crystal “crystals” in magical practice.  If the item suits your needs and/or you feel it has the energy and qualities you’re looking for to enhance your practice or crafting?  Go for it.  Crystals aren’t the only things in the world that carry energy, so why not?

I do have a HUGE issue with misrepresentation on the side of crystal suppliers.  Whether this is because they don’t know any better, or because they are intentionally being deceptive?  Not okay.

First?  They should know their shit, and if they don’t they shouldn’t be selling crystals.  So that they don’t know what they’re actually selling is NOT an excuse.

Second? Whether it is “accepted in the industry” or not.  Whether it is something “everyone is doing” or not.  Whether it is legal or not.  I don’t give a fuck.  Deceptive practices are still deceptive practices, regardless of the reasons and/or excuses used to justify their use.   And…. IMO?  Not okay.   This includes baking amethyst to then ‘pass it off’ as citrine.  This includes claiming opalite is a stone (it’s glass).  This includes claiming dyed stones are naturally that color.  All of that is deceptive.  Commonly done, but deceptive.

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From Lea McAlister:

I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts might be in the Sephora Beginner Witch Kits that they [were going to] be selling. It seems like a pretty hot topic with divided opinions everywhere. I would love to know what everyone here thinks. :)”

Cultural Appropriation

noun
  1. the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society

I’m pretty sure that says it all where my opinion is concerned.

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From Shadow_sun:

Favorite budget ideas for spells such as supplies, herbs, or just in general.

I already mentioned a number of them above.  One of my favorite sources is when I go hiking in nature or take a trip to the beach.  You have to be careful that you are sourcing sustainably, though.  Don’t just take whatever you want, as much as you want, and think it’s okay because it’s “free”.  Be certain that you are not harming the environment or those that live within it by what you decide to take away with you.

Second hand stores, yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores, dollar stores, etc.  All of these are really good for things like supplies and in general.  Estate sales can also be a good place to look for things such as crystals and supplies at a steep discount, although that’s not always the case.

For herbs, my biggest suggestion is to learn how to grow what you need.  This is what I do for sage, lavender, rosemary, and a few other herbs.  I grow them, bundle them (when appropriate), and dry them myself (or freeze them if needed).  You’d be amazed at how much you can get out of a single plant.

Other venues for herbs would be the local grocery store, ethnic markets (ie: Chinatown), bulk food stores, etc.

Craft stores often also are a good place.  They will often have coupons online that you can use to get some pretty steep discounts (such as 20% off an entire order, or 40% off a single item, for example).

You’ll notice I don’t mention metaphysical shops.  This is because I’ve found unless they’re having a spectacular sale or liquidating to close down?  They don’t really have good deals for saving money.  Since this question is all about how to SAVE money, I did not include them.

Nor do I mention Amazon, eBay, or Etsy on this question.   I have found that although you can occasionally find some really good deals from online sites, the results of what you get when your order arrives is a “mixed bag” when it comes to getting what you -expect- to receive. For this reason, I prefer to shop for my spellcrafting supplies in person whenever possible.