Connecting With Something More

This week’s Pagan post is again from a question on one of the spirituality Discord servers that I’m a member of rather than from the Pagan Perspective prompts on YouTube.  No real reason this week for the deviation from the PP prompts other than I just really liked the question.

Question for the week of April 6th:  If spirits or deities aren’t part of your practice, talk about how you connect to energy/the elements/a plant/whatever you connect to.

nature

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up in a Wiccan/Buddhist household, but I never connected with the concept of deity, so once I was out on my own it was the first thing that I discarded from my practice in the process of transitioning into something that worked better for me.

At that time, I first stepped into working with the energies of the elements and the forest, which felt comfortable and right. As time moved in, I had a good deal of time to think in depth about the concept of divinity, though, and over time I began incorporating a different scope of energy into my practice.  I now still work with the four elements combined with the energies and entities of the forest, but the foundation of my path beneath that is based off of the energies of creation, evolution, and balance.

For me, the energies just… feel right. Fit better than deity ever did.  That said, these energies are incorporated into my spellcraft and ritual in similar ways to how Wiccans incorporate the God/Goddess aspect. That is to say that these energies are called upon to add their blessing and their strength to the ritual or workings taking place.

I feel these energies of creation, evolution, and balance around me all day every day… all the time. Same with the energies of the elements and my very strong connection to damp earth and the forest. That connection to these energies is incorporated in everything I do, as it is something I am conscious of every moment of every day.

forest

As for spirits…. I had a mediumship experience back last fall, and I realized after some contemplation that (for reasons of discomfort) I’ve been ignoring an ability that I’d now like to explore.

But, I want to do that safely, which I feel means I need a closer (and more conscious) relationship with my guides to accomplish. So, I’ve begun working on transitioning to a more conscious relationship with my guides primarily through meditation and a bit through some tarot experimentation.

I never really “connected” with my guides growing up or through the years since.  I understand that they’re there (although I have no idea what kind of guides they are whether they be ghosts or other entities of some sort).  I’ve always just sort of ignored their presence and let them “do their thing”… to wit I understand that they have probably been using the signals of my intuition (which communicates with me on a very physical level) and possibly also the tarot, to guide me without my awareness of their hand in things.

Honestly, I’m not even really sure what a more conscious and aware relationship with my guides might look like, but I feel that it is needed for safety if I want to explore the mediumship ability that let itself be known last autumn.

Wands… and Their Place On My Path

So I wanted to try and get back into my Friday paganism posts.  I’ve sort of been slacking off on those a bit since the new year and I think it’s time to get back on track.

Since the Pagan Perspective channel on YouTube is talking about a subject that I’m completely clueless about this week (that would be starseeds), I decided to pick up a question from one of the pagan servers I’m a member of on Discord.

Question for the week of March 30th:  Let’s talk about wands today! Who has a wand? What does it look like? How do you use it? If you made it, how did you make it??

sticks

I don’t really use wands in my practice all that often.  At least not in the traditional “wands are used to direct energy” sort of way.  I find that my hands do this just as well if not better in most cases.

In my practice, if I feel the need to use a wand, I most commonly use tree-fall sticks for wands when I need them, and then return them to the earth with an expression of gratitude when I’m done with them.

Outside of that, I have the following….

My Wands

(Click Image for Larger View)

Left Photo: An amethyst crowned antler with the Inguz rune carved into it.  This piece was originally a pendant included in one of my Witches’ Moon boxes a few months ago.  I wear specific jewelry, though, and it just isn’t something I would wear.

I loved the amethyst setting, and the fact that it was made out of genuine antler, though.   So I chose to set it on my altar as an offering to the energies of creation, evolution, and balance.  I feel with the combination of the antler, amethyst and inguz rune (which stands for fertility and is the epitome of the phrase “life finds a way”) it is a perfect fit as an offering to those energies.

Center Photo: Selenite (the white stone) and Nuummite (the black stone) wands.  Selenite is a high vibration stone used for cleansing and dispelling negative energies.  It is one of few purification crystals out there that does not require cleansing or re-charging, and can also amplify the power of other crystals.  This selenite wand sits in a dish among a collection of my other crystals to help keeping their energies cleansed and balanced.  I also sometimes use this wand in energy purification in certain holiday rituals.

Nuummite is (to me) an extremely heavy stone.  Not in weight, but in its energies.  It is very powerful in assisting in grounding, which is not something that I need any assistance in (which is probably why I find its energy so heavy). Because of the overkill of grounding this stone can produce for me, it’s dangerous to my mental health to remain in contact with it for too long.  It is also a very useful as a protection stone, and I primarily use it for this purpose.

Right Photo: The “wand” in this picture is my father’s kila, which I inherited when he passed.  A kila is (in the most basic of explanations) a ritual item used in certain Buddhist traditions to dispel evil and protect against negative energies.

I personally do not use the kila in this way.  Instead, this kila sits upon my altar as a representation of my ancestors along with a deck of canasta playing cards that once belonged to my great-great-grandmother and were used for divination purposes.

 

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?

 

 

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.

pp01

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.

pp02

(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.

pp04

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.

pp03

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.