Ancestor Work

Ancestor Work:
Mom’s Holiday China

HlidyPttrnThe above plate is in the pattern with which my mom set holiday tables during my childhood. I forget our day-to-day pattern, but this one stuck in my mind.

As a child, I thought the dish pattern was tacky, but it remained a nice memory. Mom acquired complete settings for at least 10 people, obtaining the pieces one at a time by going to the movies. I love that Toni went to such lengths to add beauty to our home, not letting lack of income thwart her.

One of my brothers got the dish set when Toni died. I would not have used it.

But recently, I searched online until I found one dish in the pattern—just one in her memory and in reminiscence of her passion, amazing kitchen skills, and elegance—elegance I now see in this plate to some degree, and that showed immensely elsewhere.

Rest in peace, Toni. You were a model of exuberance, devotion, otherworldly flight, and competence both culinary and professional. You were also a true lady, in every positive way I use the word lady, including how the Goddess infused your spirit and your magic. Thank you for being a living example for all parts of my day, including my kitchen witchery.

… Later: The more I use the plate, the more beauty, elegance, and grace I find in it. I don’t know if that is objective. E.g., perhaps the grace I notice is a projection of my mother’s gracious maneuvering amidst the immense challenges of her life. She found reason to laugh and give, no matter what.

In any case, to snap the above photo, I had to wash the dish, since I’d eaten lunch from it. Handling the dish with soapy hands, I experienced more of its elegance, this time on a tactile level; the china felt so nicely made despite being a movie giveaway. I wonder if my mother loved handling it.

BYABar4

A Beautiful Goddess and a Dirty Spoon

Remains

A Beautiful Goddess and a Dirty Spoon:
Kitchen Magic

Even the remains of breakfast—egg shells, tangerine peels, a dirty dish and spoon—are blessings on me.

A blessing: the remains of this meal flooded by sunlight pleases my eyes.

A blessing: to eat today and nourish my body is beautiful—such a gift!

For me, to be a kitchen witch means to acknowledge and appreciate the immensity of the harvests given me by my beautiful Goddess and to gift others in kind.

Today I will make a donation to feed a hungry child.

A blessing: to have some money to help someone in one of the most important ways—food.

To be able to give is such a gift. Were I to instead view giving as magnanimous on my part, it would imply that I was bending down from on high to help someone less worthy. I’d be denying who they are by turning them into a character in a story I’d written to pump up my ego. Instead, we are all in this together. Farming communities have long understood that it is by having each others’ backs that we all survive and thrive. It is a lie perpetuated by the American upper class that the best way to “make it” is on our own, climbing over the backs of others.

Getting to give is a gift. It is part of the cycle of life, a gate into the sacred circle, a consecration of the four directions, and one of the great mysteries. Giving is a chance to be a human being—such a gift! Giving is a chance to be with another human being (even if you never meet them because you’re donating to an organization that serves them)—such a gift!

BYABar4

 

Upcoming Event: the Old Ones

Starts November 28

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Some individuals interested in The Love-Witch (a two-month Faerie ceremony I’m currently leading) can’t attend its meetings and asked for an alternative. I felt my Gods were talking through them.

So I worked out something that has some of The Love-Witch ceremony’s energy but does not require meetings. Here’s what I’ve set up for them and you:

Receive three yummy magics:

1) Long-distance direct spiritual transmissions for two months! The transmissions help you center into your love, gentleness, compassion, playfulness, pleasure, and beauty. They are supple, unconquerable magics that help you:

* Reach goals your heart longs for.

* Make the world a better place.

* Enjoy wonderful self-care.

Over the two months, the more you’re centered into those magics, the more they’ll automatically align you with the enchantments that surround you every moment. Those enchantments are Divine Love, the most potent magic of all, and it takes care of you even when you’re not doing spells.

The transmissions also help you:

* Give yourself all the loving care, compassion, and joy you readily give everyone else.

* Be immune to cynics, greedy people, and others who fight Love. Protect yourself, make boundaries, and, undeterred by discouragers, move powerfully through the world as an agent of love.

* Be happy and free, as your spiritual beauty radiates to illuminate your life and the world.

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You receive the direct spiritual transmissions three days a week, for two months! You don’t have to do anything for the transmissions to work. I do the work for you.

2) Centering emails: I call someone a “Love-Witch” if they believe love, gentleness, compassion, playfulness, pleasure, and beauty are magic. Every other week, you receive an email that supports the Love-Witch in you. The emails discuss some of the issues I mentioned the direct spiritual transmissions focusing on.

3) Both months, you receive a different full-color digital talisman I intuitively choose for your unique goals, strengths, and challenges as a Love-Witch. The talismans are my original art painted in trance, and I magically activate them. You receive yours as a JPEG by email. (I retain full copyright of my art. Commercial use of the piece is available at additional cost.)

Here is one of the talismans, called “Silly Dragon Hiding.” Its detail is blurred a bit by this site’s download process. Your talisman will be clearer:
sillydragonsmI will email you a description of your talisman’s specific powers, along with instructions to receive the symbol’s blessings almost effortlessly.

Individually, cost of these three services would add up to $380. I reduced your price to $300.

Pay securely with PayPal. Two options:

Use the Pay Now button to send me the $300. You don’t need a PayPal account.





Or use the Subscribe button to make two automatic monthly payments of $150. Payments appear on the credit card associated with your PayPal account. This option is available if you have a PayPal account.





For more info, or to discuss scholarship, partial scholarship, or trade, call 814-337-2490. I do not discuss this work by email. Refunds unavailable.

No experience needed. But adepts are deeply impacted.

Again, spiritual transmissions start November 28, so register now.

Love Witches can be considered the Old Ones. Here is my poem We Are the Old Ones:

We’re the Old Ones—ancient as forests—born into Gaia again
to continue our work and our joy.

We’re dreamers wanting to make a positive difference
by bringing love—and more love—everywhere
our free spirits wander.

We’re the Fey children of Mother Earth
who believe magic infuses
every aspect of Her being and all Her children.

We know Her gentle magics
are as powerful as flashy, overt magics.
We embrace both.

We know a flower found by the roadside
can be a transformative gift to a friend.

We’re the ones who defend
Gaia’s children from being harmed.

We’re the ones who speak up
to protect the defenseless.

We try to make our thoughts and actions
reflect the Goddess’ love.

We take care of people around us,
both those we know well
and those who pass through our lives.

We might do the above things poorly sometimes,
but they’re central to our lives:
we bring love, gentleness, and compassion to the world.
So mote it be.

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Using Scorpio Energy Regardless of Your Sign

faerierlmwetwpnk2smThe days from October 23 to November 21 are governed by the astrological sign of Scorpio, making Scorpionic powers easily accessed throughout that period. Here are some ways to draw on that energy to improve your life.

The Phoenix, symbol of rebirth, also represents Scorpio, which is the sign of death coupled with regeneration. I think that’s one reason many people find fall weather so energizing and renewing.

However, renewal usually requires effort. We might be loath to do that work if we lose hope that positive change is possible. A personal, joyous, spectacular Phoenix rebirth I had a few years back proved to me we can reach happiness and victory if we grow from rough times.

I mean, I had an immense financial, emotional, and physical renewal after a nightmarish time. If you need belief that change for the better is possible, check out my post about that rebirth, my friend: http://stardrenched.com/2014/02/05/phoenix-resurrection/ (I did both its Phoenix paintings.)

scorpioHere’s yet another way to build hope. Scorpios tend to go through many renewals in their lifetimes. That Scorpionic sense of renewal flows through the natural world strongly right now so, if you want to trust renewal is possible, take a walk in the fall weather; it might inspire you.

Scorpio deals with deeply hidden parts of life and self. Scorpios are often intuitive, insightful, and good spiritual healers. (So no surprise that this is considered a witchy time of year.) Part of being empowered by this scorpionic time, at least for me, is affirming and celebrating my intuition, psychic abilities, and spiritual healing. These traits are often invalidated in this culture. So it’s good to affirm and celebrate them now and again.

William Blake said, “If the Sun and Moon should doubt, they would immediately go out.” So instead of doubting your magic, intuitiveness, and other hidden wonders, try the following celebration. It only takes a minute or two: Notice the vigor of fall and the peacefully darkening weather. You might feel how they reflect and affirm the witch in you. Whether you feel that or not, say the following affirmation a few times: “Blessed be the hidden beauty in me and my efforts to see it.” Yep, it’s a simple ritual, and it works.

Preparing for the upcoming Pagan harvest festival Samhain, I’m dwelling on how wonderfully suitable Scorpio themes are for Samhain rites. So during a ritual I’m creating to celebrate a Faerie Samhain, I will lead attendees through a process to draw on Scorpionic energy to empower themselves.

Scorpios like to indulge (I should know, I’m a triple-Scorpio.) Much as I like the ideas I’ve offered in this post, I want to take the Scorpio energy a lot further during the Samhain rite, full-tilt celebrating our beautiful, beautiful witchiness and the dazzling magic that surrounds us every day.

You’re invited to attend. The ritual is a free event, via group phone call, and is open to all. My enewsletter will have full details. Subscribe by clicking here: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Book of Shadows

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My Fey kin,

Announcing a two-volume Third Road Book of Shadows:

* consisting of two PDF ebooks,

* every page ornamented by my full color shamanic art.

SmBanrFull price for this two-volume Faerie Book of Shadows is $50. Buy it at the special price of $43.

This is easy traditional witchery with substance: Pagan liturgy, inspirational contemplations, prayer,
mystical musings, and other straightforward magics help you live free and create your destiny.

The books aren’t like my texts that require committing to a training. You can think of some of these Book of Shadows entries as relaxed strolls through Fey landscapes. Entries vary in length. Some are a few words, like a quick visit I hope makes you smile … or even giggle mischievously.

I believe these otherworldly moments, which access Third Road shamanism, add beauty, inspiration, and enchantment to the reader’s life.

This project is a deeply personal sharing—intimate glimpses into both my private Faerie journey and my day as a shamanic guide.

Total pages of the two PDFs is 191 pages. My original shamanic art blesses every page, so mote it be!

Book I is The Third Road: a Faerie Shaman’s Book of Shadows. Its magic overflows into Book II: Trickster, with more Third Road Book of Shadows entries, including my pivotal 4000 word essay about trickster energy.

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Trickster is usually portrayed as a conniving deity or person who perpetuates cruel jokes for our own good. The essay details how this is an erroneous view that squelches freedom.

I have an unusual view of trickster. The essay introduces you to the Trickster who’s neither cruel nor conniving. In a kind manner, she opens the door to freedom and joy. This trickster energy betters my private Fey life and work as a shamanic guide in ways not generally considered the sacred clown’s role, even in modern Pagan culture.

You meet the innocent—and often Divine Feminine—Faerie Trickster from whom all powers and joys spring. Divine Feminine Trickster is explicitly discussed in the essay a tiny bit and is implied in all its words.

I share this previously unpublished Trickster material after so many years because it’s pivotal to the immensely effective magic and enchanted Fey qualities people experience in the Third Road tradition of witchcraft.

Below is a sample page. It is not crisp and clear like the actual e-books because this website blurs images. Ditto the books’ covers.

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I set a low price for high value, because I want you able to acquire an enchanted treasure.

If you cannot afford the set: I’m exploring options for low-income folks. More about that in a newsletter.

This set is two digital ebooks: PDFs with all original art by the author. Available only from the author here:
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I decided against selling my last few books on Amazon. This is challenging, but some texts need independence. I sell them directly to my beautiful readers and fulfill orders personally.

From my Fey heart to yours,
Francesca De Grandis aka Outlaw Bunny

Upcoming Seven-Week Ritual

Witch Power, Ancestors, and Past Lives:
A Seven-Week Faerie Ceremony to Strengthen Our Magic and Our Hearts
This group will meet by teleseminar aka a group meeting by phone.

Our DNA is made of stardust, so magic fills every cell of our bodies. In our veins, ancestors’ blood flows, coursing back to the fiery explosion that created all existence. That dynamic creative power to manifest anything is within us. It is the Old Magic.

MyWebmaster2012SmIn this ritual, we will:

* Heal ancestors and be aligned with them, making our witchcraft and mundane acts powerful. (If you have reasons to avoid ancestors in your specific lineage, there are still ways to do this part of the rite.)

* Heal from centuries of stardust DNA being refuted and suppressed.

* Claim our stardust DNA, casting off confused doubt about our fey essence and gaining confident clarity about being innately magical.

* Heal trauma from past lives.

* Regain the enchanted power and beauty of past lives.

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The above photo is of my mom, may she rest in peace. Her witch blood flows in me, telling me I’m a Goddess. We’re each a God, descendant of the Faerie race. This ritual helps us access our Divine power. The Old Ways can be fully embraced.

This ritual empowers both novices and adepts.

This event is a Faerie Druid rite and a prerequisite for advanced Third Road Druidic training.

Nuts and Bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* Class meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm EST, starting Thursday September 15.
* Reserve Nov 3, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. Your usual long-distance charges apply, and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Enroll securely using PayPal. Sign up for “Special Event” at http://www.outlawbunny.com/special-events-registration/
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me at 814-337-2490. No refunds.

ScrollBarHThe Old Gods promise freedom:
we have the right to
an enchanted, fulfilling life,
ease in our steps,
wildness in our hearts,
health in our bodies,
and trust of our beautiful fey souls.
This is a witch’s freedom.
Find it,
celebrate it,
live it: click here to attend the Witch Power ceremony.

Spinning Happy Magic

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I’m experiencing excitement and serenity simultaneously, from being so close to publication of my two volume Book of Shadows.

Self-publishing is difficult but gratifying. My sense of accomplishment has me almost dizzy, I’m happily spinning.

Spinning! Heh, once I sent galleys to the kind folks who are proofing them, I worked part-time over the course of a few days to restore my energy. I learned to spin yarn, to celebrate being so close to releasing the project.

SmBanr Spinning! Headlong. I spun and spun. Think of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, headfirst and shouting, “Whheeeeeeee, I love this!” She lands where the Red Queen is actually nice, the rabbit doesn’t run away but frolics alongside her on the weighted end of a drop spindle, and the caterpillar—who spins silk and blessings—teaches her the exact magic she needs.

My gratitude, happiness, and sense of accomplishment about the books flow through my day, twisting along the silk and wool fibers I spin. As is often the case with gratitude, mine turns a celebration about one part of my life—the upcoming books—into a celebration of life itself. I’m a witch who experiences a flow through all things, a flow connecting everything, as the cosmos spins. I twirl within the cosmos’ twirl. The cosmos is happy about my books.

They’re a two volume Third Road Book of Shadows, every page ornamented by my shamanic art. So mote it be!

Once I correct any mistakes the proofers catch, the books are done. Like most authors, I’ll be one of the proofers but needed a few days away from the pages, so I could see them with fresh eyes.

These books are like visits in magical, inspiring landscapes. I’m gratefully spinning my day because soon I get to share something I love dearly—some of my deeply personal otherworldly realms—with readers. I’m grateful for these Fey places that add beauty and enchantment to our lives.

Everything is connected, spinning together like fibers joining on a drop spindle, the value added to my dear reader’s life adds value to mine. We are all one.

Spinning in celebration of the books becomes spinning in celebration of life. Spinning gratitude becomes spinning magic to bless my day.

Doing the writing, art, layout, cover designs, and the enormous self-publishing process is a lot, but I’m always trying to pull off huge things. It works. My ownership of the process, spinning it all together, allowed me to create exactly what I wanted to share with my readers—my fellow seekers, fellow spinners of magic and happiness.

Been too busy with the books to make a webpage about them yet, but today had time to make small versions of the book-covers for you to see. Volume I’s cover is above and here is Volume II’s cover, but neither is as clear and sharp as the actual covers are, or this page would’ve taken forever for you to load:

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Once the set’s released, I want to figure out options for low income folks who can’t afford the set. This makes me happy, adds momentum to my spinning, to the cosmos’ spinning.

This Book of Shadows consists of two full-color PDFs. Current combined page count is 191 pages, but it might end up a bit more or less.

The book set costs $50 but right now presales are $43. (Update: the book set has been released, and is still $43. If you want more info on the books, their official page is up. Go here: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/ )

These Faerie books will be available only from their Faerie author … spinning it all together … spinning happiness from my heart to yours. Keep spinning, my fellow seeker.

PrchsBanr1

Pagan Trends, Absolute Truths, and Trusting Yourself

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Trends change rapidly in the Pagan community. We often see “an indisputable fact” ricochet to its exact opposite within years. These “truths” cause immense discord. How can we navigate these treacherous waters without disavowing our own personal wisdoms? We all find our way of doing it. If I share mine, perhaps that might make finding yours easier.

So, a story:

Way back when, most American Pagans insisted traditional craft was nonexistent. People became downright nasty in their disdainful insistence there is no traditional witchcraft. Nowadays, many Pagans discuss traditional craft, what it is, how to do it, and where to learn it.

The party line back then was that anyone who claimed a traditional craft lineage was a liar. The person in question might be completely discredited.

To the best of my understanding back then: a big name Pagan dishonestly validated the material he taught by saying he’d gotten it from his grandmother, a traditional witch, but he lied about her being a witch.

People just decided, if he was lying, everybody else must be. Good grief!

Ok, let me continue this tale by adding how it affected me personally:

I was raised in a longstanding European-based shamanic family tradition. This was hardly a secret to some of the Pagans I knew. But, in case it’s useful context for the rest of my story, I didn’t have a best selling book yet, so the number of people who knew anything about me were far far fewer than later became the case.

You can imagine, amidst all the vitriol and possibility of being totally discredited, I was thoughtful about when to mention my traditional witchery to a Pagan. I wanted to avoid the near certainty of being branded liar in the larger Pagan community.

Close friends knew my family background, and I’d tell others when it was important. In fact, when the bestseller did come out, its back cover mentioned my mom was a Sicilian witch. To do otherwise would’ve insulted her and all my witch ancestors. But I also used discretion. For example, skirting my family history in casual conversation.

What I’m saying is: navigating the dangerous seas of trending “absolute truths” was challenging—for one thing, it can be frightening to buck popular opinion—but I found ways to maintain integrity while also guarding my emotional equilibrium. We can keeps our spirits whole. Here are two navigation skills that worked for me:

One is knowing it is vital to trust your own beliefs and respect the value of your own experiences, despite people who try to hit you over the head with trends to make you feel ignorant or otherwise not as “authentic” a Pagan as they are.

The second navigation skill is discretion. I want to practice discretion about whether to say something.

Nowadays, most people use the word discretion to mean holding silence. But discretion can also mean wisely considering the best course of action, judging each situation according to its specific circumstances. I’m using the latter definition here. So, in terms of our topic, discretion might lead one to speak—to good purpose—or to remain appropriately mum.

It’s vital to speak up for your beliefs when there’s good reason. Losing self-respect does not constitute successful navigation of treacherous waters.

As to choosing silence, let’s start with the example of avoiding arguments with people who aren’t going to listen.

Back when mentioning a family tradition might completely discredit you with many people, I was at a dinner party where someone who was constantly on power trips declared, in a high and mighty tone, that as a scholar she was devoted to naysaying the possibility of a family tradition. She did not know I came from one. I didn’t tell her. (A friend in the know did surreptitiously wink at me. That was lovely support.)

Most people who jump on trending absolutes will neither listen nor engage in a courteous, informative exchange of ideas, because they’ll rush to prop up wobbly egos with pseudo-knowledge. They’ll just try to browbeat you into feeling you’re wrong, though that may not be their conscious motivation, bless them. Wasting your time in a verbal entanglement amounts to letting someone’s pseudo-truth get the better of you. Your time is sacred.

Yet if she had been honestly interested, and merely misinformed about whether traditional witchcraft existed, I might have discussed my family.

Important aside: Though I avoided an argument at the dinner party, I admit my record’s not perfect with that sort of thing. Luckily, seeing how it depleted and upset me helps me not repeat the mistake any more. A hard won lesson, but one that frees me from other people’s opinionated insistences.

This blog is long but the following feels vital. Another example of discretion and silence:

(Please note, I’m going to use traditional witchery as an example in this essay again. That’s a coincidence. The examples have no relation. So don’t think you need to connect the dots between examples.)

More than once, a segment of the Pagan community inflated their position to one of dominance by stating “superior” pseudo-truths, and I could have deflated their posturing by disclosing a bit of traditional witchcraft’s sacred lore.

I stayed mute about the lore. I was blessed to have received it, so would not disclose it merely to prove a point to people who would not have viewed it as precious information but who would have pawed it.

They’d have greedily grabbed at it as mere words—exploited it as verbal fodder they could parrot to appear in-the-know and first string. (Heh, at least I got to feel smug about keeping my mouth shut. … Ok, I admit, feeling superior wasn’t good for me.)

Had I said anything authentic, nobody would have cared. The agenda on their table was to show how important and “wise” you were. That was not an agenda I wanted to be part of, even though telling them traditional material would’ve moved me to the top of the food chain. But climbing up would have actually, as the old expression goes, dragged me down to their level. … Goddess, I was tempted anyway. … Maybe smugness about my silence was my solace.

My story about being silent is relevant to discretion stopping fake truths from derailing your personal hard-won beliefs, in the following ways:

Opening my mouth would have been my ego reacting to theirs, as well as meeting their attempt to move up in a hierarchy with a similar attempt of my own. Both of those would have betrayed my personal belief in not living in ego or falling prey to power struggles.

It also would have wasted my time and life force, instead of me going about my merry business, living happily according to my own ecstatic truths.

Responding to someone’s power play with one of our own can be incredibly tempting, but also incredibly damaging to ourselves. Ego-driven magic and power-hungry grabs put someone on the slippery slope of chasing chimera more and more, less and less living joyously in the beautiful world the Goddess created for us.

Had I shared the lore for the purposes of my ego, I also would have debased that material. Reduced to mere words in order to feed my ego, the power of that beautiful material would’ve been lost to me, crumbled into dust like Faerie gold.

There’s one more way someone’s pseudo-truth would’ve gotten the better of me if I’d blabbed sacred knowledge for the sake of ego and dominance. I would’ve betrayed my following personal truth: I hold my religion sacred by only using it for honorable purposes. To do otherwise, I would truly have failed navigating the rocky seas of community-enforced pseudo-truths and sunk to the depths.

When magic and spirituality become tools to create unhealthy hierarchy—aka dominate others—they go sour. So does the spirit of the practitioner in question. His soiled shamanic path is handed down to his students, its very essence feeding their worst aspects, perhaps subtly but thoroughly. A nightmare for the community.

When magic and spirituality remain tools to serve, in respect for our differences, those tools become more powerful and capable. So do our spirits. Free of contentious opinions and excess verbiage, our innate magic fills each day, often silently. We become blessed by—and a blessing for—community.

I hope some of my above opinions are useful to you.

I teach traditional craft. My Gods bless me with wise students: They are wise in so many ways, but one is that we all respect each other. Honoring our differing views as assets allows each of us to uniquely contribute to the group’s magic and well-being. This in turn allows each of us to benefit from all the participants’ strengths.

If you’d like to join us, I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Have a magical day.

Traditional Witchcraft, Spirituality, and Ethics

FDG2016TphatCurrently, it is a prevalent opinion among Pagans that traditional witchcraft was strictly magical, lacking theology or moral aspects. While I can respect that theory, it is not congruent with my own experiences. I suspect whether traditional witchery had sacred or ethical aspects varied by locale or by family tradition.

I never argue with anybody’s experience, only their theory. Theory is ever-changing. I’d never want to invalidate anyone’s experience, including my own. I’ll share mine below.

My experiences lead to conclusions that differ from the aforementioned current popular Pagan position. I hope to add to the Pagan dialogue on the topic, and provide support for those who, like me, have an unpopular point of view.

Growing up in a family tradition, I learned magic and a mystical worldview con leche. Therefore magic and mysticism were a given, as much a part of life as the air I was breathing. In the process, a religious and ethical worldview was deeply ingrained in my cells.

Note I say “my cells,” not “my brain.” It took my entire childhood and adolescence to imbibe the tradition’s basics, because cellular lessons take time.

The understandings of the tradition were so deeply imbedded in our home life that much of the family tradition was taken for granted, not out and out spoken, but more implied and lived. This includes the theist or moral aspects.

In fact, calling it an understanding in the above paragraph is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not so much an understanding as a way of being.

In any case, a lifestyle with many of its important aspects being subtle or unspoken seems an earmark of many traditional witches I have met.

When I got older, I saw that this subtlety sometimes causes people who were viewing the family tradition from the outside to not see the tradition’s deep religious and ethical roots, only the more overt—and perhaps less core—trappings. When I participated in family traditions in Europe, I usually found deep religious and ethical roots in them.

Observers are not engaged in the family culture. They are standing outside it, watching. Only by being part of a shamanic family culture over a long period of time can one can really understand the culture. The notion that to watch something is to fully understand it is a fairly current concept of scholarship. As I said above, learning the traditional witchcraft of my family required an experiential, long term lesson.

It has become almost de rigeur to insist traditional craft never had sacred or principled aspects. This makes it important to me to write this post about my family tradition, because I feel I’m speaking up for my Gods, for my witch ancestors, and for others who feel as I do.

I do not like it when a theory ceases to be a theory and becomes a mandated belief—in other words, when someone is mouthing somebody else’s words to, consciously or not, invalidate other seekers. Unfortunately, the concept that traditional witchcraft had neither ethical nor theological base has become yet another Pagan rote declaration, usually said—or written—in an intimidating tone of I-know-better-than-you-so-whatever-you-think-is-stupid.

I can admire people who authentically believe other than I do. An informed and friendly exchange of ideas about traditional craft, spirituality, and ethics could be a lovely thing. Healthy debate is a wonderfully educational process for everyone involved. A supportive, respectful, and thoughtful exchange of ideas can do wonders.

But debate is not the same as trying to legitimize and define one’s path by invalidating someone else’s. That hurtfully invalidates a lot of newbies who already feel insecure about their belief system. This can crush a newcomer’s spirit.

Coming to our community, hoping to finally find fellowship, but instead encountering someone just as invalidating as mainstream society, can be doubly heartbreaking, because they thought they had finally entered a safe space. So they often never participate in our community again, and end up without support in their Pagan explorations.

People who need to squash others in order to validate their own power have less power than they think, and more mere bluster than they realize.

Thus, I felt impelled to write this post to support invalidated Pagans.

A last thought on traditional witches and ethics: perhaps in some cases, a lack of morality had less to do with any tradition and more to do with human nature. Some people just take anything, even that which is moral and sacred to begin with, strip it of those roots, and use it for their own selfish—or even evil—goals.

I hope this post is a useful contribution to Pagan dialogue about traditional craft.

If you want experiential lessons in traditional craft, I teach The Third Road, a tradition I channel, informed by the magic of my ancestors and my mom. (Channeling teachings is part of traditional craft.) I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Here’s the link to subscribe to my newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Bless you.

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