Scrying on an iPad

Scrying on an iPad
Using Commonplace Items for Scrying

ScryCalS Fey Witches tend to be resourceful, using what’s on hand, instead of being uber-consumers. In that spirit, here are helpful hints for determining which everyday objects you already own are suitable for scrying, to spare you an unnecessary purchase.

As a reference point, let’s start with items commonly used for scrying:
* crystal ball, either quartz or glass
* polished obsidian ball or egg
* fire in a fireplace, fire pit, or cauldron
* large concave clock face, which has been painted black on one side: if you place the clock face so that it’s like a right-side-up bowl, it would be the bowl’s outside that is painted; then when scrying, you’re looking into the unpainted shiny surface inside the bowl.

Now that you know those traditional objects, you can search your home for something similar. Be creative and you might end up choosing—or adapting—an unexpected object.

When teaching scrying recently, I’d told people to bring scrying tools to the class and that, if they had nothing else, to bring a candle. A lit candle is certainly a traditional scrying tool.

One student had trouble scrying in her candle. A candle flame is one of the more difficult things to scry in, because the flame provides such a small point to focus on. So I asked if she had a large black bowl. Many witches fill a large black bowl with water and peer into that for divination. I do not know if that’s traditional, but it’s definitely an option.

She had no such bowl. Then I got really excited, because I remembered she has an iPad. I grabbed my iPad and looked at it. Sure enough, it was a perfect scrying surface. Take note, I did notice my iPad was grubby with my fingerprints, so would not be good for scrying without a cleaning. You want a smooth reflective surface (although there are exceptions, but that’s a whole other story not relevant to most peoples’ scrying).

TrdWtchPsbltTraditional witchcraft relies on the ever present sacred possibilities that surround us disguised as mundane objects. See what you have on hand. Look around the room and note where your eyes fall.

After suggesting the iPad, I realized—and therefore suggested to the student—she could just take a small piece of clear glass and lay it on a black piece of cloth, then scry into it. In fact, if you had a clear plate or bowl, you could do the same.

In the same vein, use an old picture frame. Paint the back of the glass black. Once the paint’s dried, put the glass back in the frame. I suggest you choose a simple frame and paint the frame black as well. My reason for that will become apparent in the following paragraphs.

Something to keep in mind when choosing or creating a scrying surface is the benefits of simplicity. Recently, I’ve seen scrying mirrors for sale with beautiful elaborate frames. I wonder if those frames might impair one’s scrying when one is first learning. My reasoning is as follows:

In my early scrying days, I placed a crystal ball on a black velvet pillow, not only to hold the ball in place but also to serve as background. Very simple. And if memory serves very traditional.

In the same vein, traditional scrying mirrors I’ve seen are frameless; if set at all, I’ve only seen them set into black velvet boxes. This speaks of a simplicity I believe is conducive to scrying. I have never seen elaborate settings or complex backgrounds in traditional scrying tools.

(I guess one could argue that ancient witches, in using what’s on hand to scry, would not turn their nose up when faced with an elaborate object. But that argument starts caving in when I realize simple things are more available. For example, in ancient times, it was easier to access a dark moonlit lake—or, at least, a dark moonlit puddle—to peer into than it was to approach an elaborate mirror protected in a fortressed palace. Often, witches would only have simpler items on hand.)

Another reason I suggest simplicity: When learning to scry, using a black bowl filled with water required I play with the surrounding light. In other words, I had to try scrying in the bowl to see if it worked better in a fairly dark room or a room with a single candle in it. I decided I needed a candle, but then had to determine its best position in terms of its reflection in the water. Or even whether I wanted it reflecting in the water. Otherwise, the water became less tenable as a scrying medium. I don’t remember what I decided, but my point is I needed utter simplicity.

In fact, I just realized my iPad is black, but some are white. I imagine white ones create a white frame around the black screen. If that’s the case, you’ll have to try it out to see if a white frame is a distraction or other problem.

Perhaps elaborate frames and backgrounds will not be a problem for you. For one thing, my preference for simplicity is based on the particular Faerie scrying modality I know, which entails a relaxed, soft focus that complex backgrounds can mess with. Perhaps there are other scrying methods that do not involve that soft focus.

Plus, my quartz crystal ball has a veil through its middle, and it does not distract me. But I’m not necessarily a good reference point, because I’ve been scrying for decades, so it would take a lot to sidetrack me. I can scry into complex objects. I’m not saying that to brag (we all have our strengths). Instead, it’s relevant to our topic:

I’ve taught a lot of people how to scry. Over the decades, students repeatedly told me scrying has been one of the hardest magics they ever attempted; overall, my students found it so difficult that a large percentage never pursued it past their assignments from me.

The context of this feedback from students is important: a good number of these trainees who could not scry well did fine with almost all other magical techniques I gave them. Even more striking is that they also tended to be comfortable using some divination form other than scrying. And even more striking is the fact that, among the students who could not scry very well were amazingly talented—and advanced!—witches who mastered far more daunting spells from me. They mastered spell after spell I gave them, and magical technique after magical technique, willing to work endlessly to become an adept.

So no point making it hard on yourself with ornate frames and backgrounds, or stones with elaborate mottled patterns, or the like, unless they happen to suit your style.

Another suggestion: different witches seem to do better scrying into different mediums. Some seem to do better in water, some in fire, some in crystal. Keep that in mind, so if one household item you try doesn’t work, it may not show a lack in you but that you chose the wrong item for your particular predisposition.

So those are some considerations when trying to choose—or adapt—something you already own for scrying.

Play around, see what works for you, and let me know how it goes. If you come up with something new, share it below so that others can use it for their own scrying.

Blessed be.
BoSNwsltrSm

Wakening Yourself and the Earth

Wakening Yourself and the Earth
Winter blahs? Or just need a boost any time of year? Let’s use every means possible to be awake and to wake the earth, so we can dance together and with Her, in celebration of our collective wild, honorable beauty.

MyGodsAreArtists1SmMy following 2007 article was originally published in Faerie Nation Mag.

Where I live, many people become depressed around February and March. There’s not a lot of light here in the winter, and the cold and snow keep folks indoors with cabin fever. Moreover, local economic problems that prevail all year round exacerbate any seasonal difficulties.

To combat our February/March ickiness, my friends and I decided to go out together. While we weren’t sure what we’d do, it didn’t matter. The important thing was that getting out of our houses would break the monotony.

MyGodsAreArtists2TinyWhen deciding what our outing would consist of, I also happened to be pondering the local population. A good number of exceptions aside, there seems to be a collective lack of self-worth, accompanied by a general sense that there’s no point in being a dreamer who strives for a better life.

Though economic hardship accounts for some of this, it seemed to me that there must be a hidden additional explanation. The area is filled with natural beauty and power that should be uplifting and motivating people. Why wasn’t it? Or, if it was, why wasn’t it doing so enough? Perhaps, in a town where Christian fundamentalism is the norm, an energy field had been created that squelched the earth’s joy? What if the spiritual power of the land was being repressed?

Mind you, I understand that many Christians feel a spiritual connection to the earth. I’m not implying they don’t. Just about everyone here gardens, which makes them appreciate nature and its gifts. I could add lots more about a real appreciation of the land here, felt by most residents. To some extent, folks are uplifted by the land here. So what I’m addressing here is fundamentalism. It is so stifling and uber-controlling that maybe it doesn’t just affect people’s spirits but also the spirit of the earth here, so that it can’t give everything it wants to give us.

Okay, maybe my words seem like crazy talk, but I decided that doing a ceremony to free the land here from its mystical chains was not only a great idea, it would also be a fun way to shake my friends and me out of our winter doldrums.

I started to write the ceremony below, to wake the land from any lethargy, stupor, and even oblivion that might have been forced on it. Before doing so, I happened to mention my idea to Faerie Nation Mag staff member Ade, and joked, “I’m writing a ritual to wake up the power spot here so that it can overthrow local patriarchy.” We laughed, but then it seemed I had accidentally summed up one of the logical outcomes of my ritual.

Here’s the rite I wrote, shared with you in the hope that if enough people use it, the hopelessness that comes from repressive mentalities everywhere can be better combated. Not that this ritual alone is sufficient. The problem must be attacked from many fronts. However, we who are mystics bring a very specific gift to the mix. In addition, the land is alive with abilities beyond muggle imaginings. Let’s draw on that potential.

In serving the earth, we wake ourselves up from any negativity that we’ve fallen prey to.

If you lead a friend or friends in the ritual, please read them the whole article for context, because it empowers—and is a chalice for—the rite. Also please attribute the article and ritual creation to me. Attribution heals Gaia and ancestors. Lack of attribution makes bad mojo. Blessed be.

PastelSqStep 1. Find the (or a) major power spot in your immediate area. My friend, Kush, suggested finding out what the first building here was, that it was likely put on a power spot. So I called the town’s Visitor’s Bureau and asked what the first building was. I also asked what the first church was, since they are often on native sacred sites. A local historical society might also be a good place to call—that’s who the Visitor’s Bureau referred me to.

If you can’t find a “major power spot,” go to a place that resonates for you. Or just find a square foot of dirt somewhere and go stand on it for the rite. Or sit in your own living room! The earth is all one piece, and it is alive and aware. Wherever you do the ritual, the area you live in will, as a whole, hear you. We did the rite inside a local church.

Step 2. Once in your spot, say out loud or silently,

Wake up
wake up!
Spirit of the earth
we call to you
It is time. You can rise now,
break through the mind-numbing
earth-crushing
desolation,
rise up, wake up,
bring your joy and power up
to the surface of Gaia
and into the company of the earth’s other children—
we humans and other beings who live here.

No longer can brick and board and cement
laid heavily against your urges
suppress you.
NesltrSqTLet this prayer give you the power
to be free again.
Let this prayer give you the power
to be free again.
Let this prayer give you the power
to be free again.

And help us, who live here, have
the power to live free ourselves,
the power to honor your needs,
the power to take care of you,
so that you and we live
in a cycle of keeping each other whole and happy,
back and forth, ‘round and ‘round, again and again.

Wake up,
wake up,
We sing to you.
We sing to you
in love
and fellowship,
in hope
and lunacy,
in gratitude
and freedom.
So be it, So be it, So be it. So be it.

Step 3. Leave two offerings: one of joy and pleasure, the other of food and drink. In other words, the first offering should be fun or beautiful—a handful of dried rose petals strewn on the ground, or a few flowers placed there. Or a sprig of sweet-smelling herbs, a pretty feather, rock, or bead, or whatever else is uplifting. We hung a strand of beads on a tree.

As for food and drink, leave at least one tablespoon of each, any edible and beverage that you feel is appropriate. If you can’t think of anything that seems right, choose randomly so that you at least leave something. This offering can be placed directly on the ground, or in a cup or other container.

Step 4. (Optional) Do something to wake up your own spirit. The first three steps should accomplish this on their own, but you may want to add more. It needn’t be large. Spritz yourself with perfume. Or hug someone. Even a cup of tea can kindle warmth in your soul. It’s wonderful to do big things, but if that’s not possible, better something than nothing.

You needn’t do this ceremony in winter, but instead just when you want to give yourself and the earth a renewal of the spirit. Please try the rite out. It might change you, your town, our world. Many acts are needed to free the human race of its terrible dilemmas and to save Gaia. Let’s use every means possible to be awake and to wake the earth, so that we can dance together and with Her, in celebration of our collective wild, honorable beauty.

By the way, just the act of creating the rite really helped my mood. Then actually doing the ritual with my friends made me feel even better. And we had a ball on our outing.

NwsltrOrTr

Celebrating Our Familiars

Familiar
Once a kitten, cute and shy, but she changed: The familiar comes of age.

I painted the above piece last fall, joyful at my little kitten growing up and coming of age as a familiar.

I also wanted to share that immense happiness about my kitty with you, in the spirit of celebrating all our familiars. Creating a painting seemed a way to do that (but I had no chance to post it til now, LOL).

Animals are far more multifaceted than some people understand, but we who live with familiars know better. Let me share a story about that.

After I painted the piece, I wanted to make a Merry Yule greeting with my kitty in it, just for my personal use. (You might have seen my post of it to wish you Happy Yule 2013.) I thought I’d try to adapt the above already-finished picture. The result surprised me and was interesting: Though the adaptation changed only the cat’s environment and the text, and left the cat itself exactly as is, a completely different facet of her became obvious.

In the original, I see her depth, nobility, and new maturity. But put her in a different surrounding with different text? Check it out below.

image

What a mischievous no-good girl! Such a naughty look in her eyes! None of that was apparent in the original version.

I’m not sharing the story to credit myself as an artist. My point is to credit the complexity of animals, and how you and I both see it in these two pictures, when a lot of people would not.

Here’s to our familiars, the wonderfully complex and mystical beings that are our companions, teachers, co-conspirators, comfort, partners in magic, and all around friends. I honestly do not know what I’d do without them. They play so many important roles for me. I am grateful to recognize their many facets.

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