Use Your Magic

Here’s another picture-poem I wrote/painted:


The border I painted for a previous picture poem (check it out here) was almost the right magic for the above picture-poem. I just needed to change the background color, and rotate the frame … and I might’ve tweaked a few other things, too … I forget, because it’s been a few weeks.

I’d written both poems around the same time, and consider them part of a larger whole. So I’d wanted almost identical borders.

I worked hard on the border, so it feels satisfying to find more than one appropriate use for it.

I was striving for the look of an old Book of Shadows page, with a personal and modern twist—something that evokes traditional witchcraft, but feels like it is here with me, in the now.

My beloved Faerie witch, stay tuned for one more meme that is part of this mini-series.

(The art work blurred a bit and what-not, when I made the file smaller so the webpage would appear quickly for you.)

Remember your magic. Use your magic. Revel in your magic. Blessed be.


DNA and Ancestral Ritual

DNA Science and magic meet. I won’t choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I’m combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They’ll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.

The lab analysis will determine where my ancestors hail from, based on a science my layperson’s mind can’t understand, no matter how much experts explain it.

Many scientists would be equally puzzled by my ability to uncover historical information by meditating on my blood. I have my expertise, they have theirs. I get to draw on both.

A relationship with my ancestors, in ritual and daily life, is pivotal to me. They lovingly support me. And I tend them. Trance journeys give me a strong intuitive sense of my ancestors. The DNA results can help me know whether my intuitions are correct.

It would be fine to trust my intuition without the DNA results. (Check out my blog about that: Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship.) But corroboration is useful.

Science can support my spirituality in other ways, too.

For one, I come from a European shamanic family tradition. Some of my family history has been lost. I’m hoping DNA will fill in gaps.

For example, I might see how major societal events impacted my family’s past generations to shape the family’s spirituality. That familial story could provide context to better understand my own path.

Luck allowed me to gather a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence about my ancestors. Information from relatives, and from strangers I don’t know but who have my last name, and from other sources, provided enormously convincing material, when looked at as a whole. I believe anecdotal evidence is part of folk culture and one source of the old wise ways. This fecund anecdotal evidence can be augmented with DNA science.

For example, the DNA test might help me gather more anecdotal evidence, if it leads to relatives I hadn’t learned about previously. They might know family history I don’t.

DNA results could also be a jumping off point for more ancestral rituals. I love the wisdom of ancient cultures, and appreciate reenactment whether based in textbooks’ history or intuited history. I revere native and ancestral spiritual practices. These leanings feed my desire for DNA info about my ancestral roots.

I can best explain another reason for wanting a test by telling you a personal story.

A friend of mine was part of a DNA study. Before continuing the story, let me be clear: I’m not part of any study. My test kit is from AncestryDNA. They’re not experimenting on me, and their tests results do not show an ancestral timeline such as you’ll read about in my friend’s tale. I checked out some companies, and AncestryDNA seems to give the most comprehensive results. If you’re interested, their kit is also easy to use.

Back to my story:

My friend phoned me one day, and exclaimed rapturously, “I got the DNA results. My family originated in Egypt!”

Then she added, “My later ancestors migrated to Greece. Guess where else my ancestors migrated to?”

I responded, “Mongolia?”

There was a long pause. Then she said, in a stunned voice, “That’s right! How did you know?”

“It was obvious. Your immense love for Egyptian religions motivated you to become an Egyptian scholar, devoted to reviving ancient Egyptian spiritual practices, which became part of your personal devotions. Later, you seriously worked with Greek Gods. Then, you channeled material that had no geographical basis, as far you knew, but later found out that the material resonated with documented Mongolian traditions.”

I continued, “Your family only told you about your Caucasian Irish lineage. But your earlier ancestors influenced your mystical life. Your spiritual quest this lifetime follows the migration of your ancestors, step by step!”

The point of my story: I want to know if my DNA matches my various spiritual leanings.

There can be valid reasons we’re drawn spiritually to cultures we were not raised in. Our DNA might be one of those reasons. I don’t hold with the idea that you should only use the spiritual tools of your obvious ancestors.

Mind you, I am not okaying co-option. I’m saying legitimate cross cultural shamanism exists.

That legitimacy is hard to come by. It would take a whole book to explain how to pull it off ethically and otherwise, so I won’t get into it here, except to say:

By “cross-cultural shamanism,” I don’t mean “core shamanism,” AKA the idea that shamanism is primarily the same in all cultures. I disagree with the modern standardization of shamanism.

My experience is that shamans individualize according to cultural differences, and way past that, individualizing family by family and person by person.

My personal definition of legitimate cross-cultural shamanism is an ethical, thoughtful blend of earth based mysticism as it manifests in various cultures.

Moving on:

I am a little worried. With adventure, comes fear of the unknown: am I going to like the DNA test results?

But mostly I’m excited about the DNA adventure I am embarking on.

And I feel gratitude for science and magic.

When the DNA results arrive, I’ll post them here, and share how it impacts my mystical journey.
Note: I first posted this blog May 2015 at and post it again here for those of you who tend to read me here.

Cleansing Away Negative Influences

Traditional Purification Spell Adapted for Modern Pagans


This time-honored ritual cleanses you of negative energy that you have accumulated. Even if outright evil’s touched you, this spell can help take care of it.

It is simple: rub a raw egg over your whole body. Do not break the egg; you’re rubbing the unbroken egg, still in the shell, all over yourself.

A modern twist: If you’re concerned about salmonella, hard boil the egg first. Do you have an opinion about whether a hard-boiled egg would be as effective? Let me know. Here’s my opinion:

I prefer the traditional spell. I’d also prefer a world in which salmonella was not even an issue. And I’m not going to give up eggs for breakfast or for magic, just because we live in an imperfect world. That would be letting the negativity of the world get to me.

Magic is a tool to deal with an imperfect world and make it better. This spell helps rid me of the negative influences of this imperfect world. So I adapt the spell.

Also, I think the effort of hard-boiling somewhat compensates for the loss of the vibrance in a raw egg. Your effort is a form of energy, a vibrancy unto itself, which adds to the spell. I don’t mean you have to have any intention of that when you boil the egg. Your effort is simply energy, without you even trying to make it so.

If you feel the need to further compensate, I wrote liturgy for that purpose. Say it right before you rub the egg on yourself: “This egg is part of the circle of life. By this and by the ancient Mysteries which have long empowered this spell for witches, I shall be cleansed.”

Traditionally, you then throw the egg into running water, such as a river or stream. If that’s an insane option—e.g., you can’t reach running water without traveling an unreasonable distance, or winter has frozen the nearby river, here are modern alternatives:

Wherever you dispose of it, be sure it’s far away, where negative energy the egg has taken on does not come into contact with anyone, and where the elements can purify the negativity away.

When I had really good plumbing and lived urban, I’d smash the egg into my toilet bowl and flush it. I figure that constituted running water, LOL. Then clean your toilet, so no egg remains.

But if you have poor plumbing, or a group does this ritual so there is more than one egg to get rid of, you might clog your toilet.

You can bury the eggs, unless e.g., winter has frozen the ground stone hard.

If I was going to do it here, in winter weather, I’d walk to the woods on my property. They’re a fair distance from my house. Then I’d hurl the egg even further away, into the woods.

I wouldn’t compost it usually, because compost tends to be kind of close to the house.

This is a simple but powerful rite. I only use it for big problems. In other words, this imperfect life keeps throwing garbage at us, so we need to keep cleansing it off, instead of letting it get to us. That sort of cleansing is comparable to the usual ongoing cleaning a house gets: You wash the dishes, vacuum the rug, and so on. But occasionally, you shampoo the rug, because a lot of crud accumulated or there was a big spill. It is deep cleaning time! In the same vein as the rug shampooing, the egg rite is really more for bigger problems.

And it is not beneath the most spiritual people. I have two clients who inspire and uplift me with their integrity, beauty, and sheer radiance, but I taught them this ritual recently. No matter how attuned we are, we occasionally let the major yuckiness we meet get under our skin.

I love channeling new spells, but sometimes the oldies are perfect. I’m grateful they’ve been in my repertoire for many years. I’m also grateful the Muse sent me adaptations. Blessed be.