Upcoming Event

Gentle Heart, Palm Up: A Seven-Week Class

Learn shamanic tools to overcome life’s challenges, whether an “everyday problem” or traumatizing devastation. These very same tools also build magical strength you can draw on to manifest whatever you choose in any area of your life.

The last thing any of us need is a class that’s going to be hard.

This witchcraft is gentle, peaceful, and powerful.

Gentle rituals can be more effective than overtly strong rites. Sometimes, only gentleness can access our wildness and help us live free. Learn a witchy fluidity that makes you unstoppable.

Click here to enroll.

Lessons are core Faerie shamanism. Overcoming your current challenges, great or small, mundane or spiritual, is actually the traditional path to gaining shamanic power.

We’ll walk this path together. You’ll experience how the process of gaining mystic power to conquer your immediate problems creates the magical strengths, methods, and exact mental shifts needed to overcome all of life’s difficulties and fulfill all your other desires.

This material healed me and my life from the trauma of becoming crippled overnight in 2001 and the traumas that can domino from major illness. I was so depleted that, when channeling these lessons, I was too ill to type or even hand-write them. I dictated them to someone. Because of these lessons, I rose like the phoenix. At age 67, I’m healthier than I was in 2001, my finances recovered, and my spirit is whole.

You can’t find these lessons elsewhere. I’m utterly grateful the Goddess whispered them to me.

This teleseminar is multi-leveled, suitable to beginners and adepts and provides easy access to power at the whatever level your spirit and magic require.

Self-Portrait, Francesca De Grandis, 2012Starts Thursday September 7, 6:00 pm, EST.

Classes are group meetings by phone: just dial the phone to participate.

We meet seven consecutive Thursdays, 6:00 to 7:00 pm EST, starting September 7. Reserve Thursday Oct 26 same time, for a makeup session, in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned meetings.

Tuition is $250. If you’ve taken this class before, repeat it at half-price. Your particular carrier may charge you for the calls.

To enroll, go here or click the butterfly below.

Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved. You receive event phone #, etc., by email. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.

Gentle Heart Palm Up is a prerequisite for Third Road advanced shamanic training.

This training saves you time. You’ll move through roadblocks faster and serenely, instead of wandering around stymied and anxious.

Conquer your own life peacefully.

Enroll now.

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What Sort of Witch Are You?

For some individuals, witchcraft is a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy.

This post was on Witches and Pagan in 2016, at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html

Have you seen the popular lists of different types of witches—e.g., traditional witch, Gardnerian witch, Faerie witch, eclectic witch, hedge witch—with precise definitions for each category? These charts help some beginners. Learning you fit a certain style can be validating and reassuring. It also makes some newcomers feel they belong.

But this post is for beginners who find the categories make things really difficult. Everyone else, I’m not naysaying what works for you; this entire post is simply ideas and methods that work for me, in case they’re useful to someone. I don’t want the charts thrown out. They’re great for some people. And with that:

There are individuals whose witchcraft entails a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy. Being new to Pagan community and being told there are specific witch types, each with very specific definitions, can box these folks in, lead them to think they won’t fit anywhere in the Pagan community, and ill-legitimize personal self-discoveries that transcend the categories.

What if you come from a traditional witch family, talk to fairies, and enjoy practicing Gardnerian magic occasionally? Sure, that might classify you as an “eclectic witch,” but that term is redundant historically speaking; it was once a given that witches were eclectic, because witches understand the connectivity of all things. To me, the term “eclectic witch” robs me of my heritage. My witchy heritage fuels spells, making them powerful.

As to connectivity, the Old Gods unite me with the enchantment that flows through the entire universe. That current carries me, its sweep making me joyful, as it bears me toward even more joy. But “eclectic witch” implies magic is not in everything around me and thus denies what’s inherent to many folks’ witchcraft.

In the same vein, I see witches as wild creatures, transcending every limit. I’m a child of the Gods. Their infinite powers are mine. Mind you, I’m not suggesting I can successfully cast every spell anyone else can cast. I believe witches can have specialties.

In any case, categorizing keeps some people from developing specialties. These are folks whose process demands they look not at definitions but into their own selves and, despite how scary it might be, journey into seeming formlessness until it becomes recognizable as their special gift—their specialty.
WildCreaturesI love—and use—the different terms for types of witches. They’re great jumping off points, e.g., for connecting with like-minded individuals.

They also can be pointers. But I use the terms the old way: to evoke—lyric speaking to our wild witch hearts and whispering of the undefinable and unlimited—rather than as part of quantitative charts, mapping magic out so exactly as to be … boringly limited for some folks.

I love magic so much it makes me sad to realize charts might crush certain people’s magic.

Also, poor scholarship defines witch types incorrectly. For example, it’s sadly a current given that Gardnerian Wicca bears little resemblance to traditional witchcraft. I lived in a Gardnerian household in England with one of Gerald Gardner’s students and, as a traditional witch, I can tell you people living in that house practiced old-fashioned witchery. Furthermore, I met members of the family tradition that greatly influenced Gerald.

Lack of scholarship also portrays traditional witchcraft as consistently the same. It varied, village to village and family to family.

And many a scholar will say “eclectic witch” makes no historical sense. Global travel is not a modern occurrence. Various ancient cultures shared their rituals constantly.

Are you dismayed by witch categories because they make you feel the magical Art has been divided up like slices of a pie … and you feel like the whole pie? Be the whole enchanted pie.

If you’re a fledging witch who resonates with what I’ve written, I support you not by giving you categories to validate you, but by validating who you already are. Like most of us when we come into Pagan community, you’ve always had Paganism in your heart and life, perhaps without having named it as such. So trust what you already know and build on it. You have the intelligence and insightfulness needed to do so.

Enjoy the names for all the different types of witches, or use none of them. But claim your path as valid.

By “valid,” I’m not saying everything you do currently as a witch is always safe and effective. No one is perfect. Also, some spellcrafting requires substantial training. Get a teacher if you want. But don’t worry about what “type” of witch a prospective teacher is. Choose someone whose spirit calls you and who honors your spirit in turn, whether or not you know how to describe your path. Witches used to work together in all their differences and likenesses, getting along just fine, learning just fine.

I teach. Classes are mostly via group phone calls (aka telesminars): you don’t need a computer or any special technology to attend; just dial the phone. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which gives details about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

What sort of witch are you? You’re you! So mote it be.

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.

Cleansing Away Negative Influences

Traditional Purification Spell Adapted for Modern Pagans

EggWLvs

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.

NewsPrpl

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers

The following was a post I made on the Faerie Nation Yahoo group in 2008. I’m blogging it now because the problems it addresses keep on happening, I recently heard instances of it that broke my heart. And they did not all happen to a newbie! I hope my thoughts helps someone.

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers
Francesca De Grandis, May 5, 2008

For hundreds of years, fairy glimmers in the woods have beckoned, reflecting our secret longings, illuminating our honest needs. Puritanical moralists caution us about the evils of the fey. But we know better than that: The good folk can help free us from repressive religions and absurd social strictures. In addition, when we are barraged by a logic that denies magic and miracles, that fairy glimmer reassures us, telling us that mysticism is real, and that the wondrous is possible.
 
But not all the realms of fairy have beneficent dwellers. There is an Unseelie Court. And not all fey-touched magicians can be trusted, whether they call themselves fey, faerie, feri, fairy, or faery. (To define Unseelie in an oversimplified manner: Just as the Faerie Queen and her Seelie court might help us, so the Unseelie Queen and her followers are more likely to malevolently perpetuate great tragedy for humans.)

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, Francesca De Grandis. For info about a limited first edition print of this painting, click on it

Sate your hunger for luminous mystery and faerie mysticism, and for the fellowship thereof. But don’t let that ferocious appetite, authentic though it is, blind you to the following fact. Some people with immense glamour and fey power are pawns of the Unseelie Court. Perhaps this happens because power has made them so haughty that they are unwitting dupes for the forces of evil. Or perhaps they themselves become outright evil. Whatever the reason, it does happen.

Silence allows it to continue. I might sound strident but: I will not tolerate Fey practitioners who participate in molestation of children, sexual harassment of students, disregard for magical safety, and flashy curriculums lacking a moral compass that withstands the rigors of daily life. I am available by phone (814-337-2490) if you’re concerned about yourself or a friend when it comes to such people. Newbies to the community are vulnerable, and I post this warning for them and for anyone else who needs support around these issues.

While many cautions against the fey realms can be rightly interpreted as disguised attempts to suppress us, and to make us milquetoast, there are valid cautions. Dark mysteries needn’t be an excuse for a teacher to dominate. Wild hearts don’t mean that a teacher can ignore your sexual boundaries. Powerful magic needn’t lack caution. The quest for utter fulfillment needn’t lead to hollow longings or addiction.
 
There are dark mysteries that are wholesome, wildness that is authentic, satiation that is both attainable and ethically possible. Powerful magic can safe. Fey fellowship, wild lovers, and powerful teachers can be both otherworldly and good. Find them all!

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

So mote it be.

In Her service,
Francesca De Grandis

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Here is another blog by a woman named Mae that also addresses this issue. (It also says very kind things about me. Mae, thank you again.)

 

 

 

Paper Cutting and Candle Magic

Papercutting, Horned God, FDG, 1994

I find folk art intrinsically magical. And I find the art of papercutting wondrous in and of itself: I am amazed that something as humble as an old piece of paper can be recycled—using nothing more than a pair of scissors—into an object of beauty. I just can’t get enough of it.

I may not always be good at it, but I love doing it. I’ve filled my home—and that of my friends’—with paper cuttings since the 70s, if not earlier.

I also came up with a way paper cutting can augment the power of candle magic. Here it is:

1) Choose a magical goal—e.g. love, money, confidence.

2) Choose a simple symbol or symbols of your magical goal. E.g. a heart for a love spell. I often like to do more than one spell on a candle at a time. The house blessing candle below is also in remembrance of my mom; she read playing cards; so, in addition to symbols that represent houseblessing for me, I also chose the shapes of the suits in her honor.

A House Blessing

Optional: Also add symbols you find powerful, just to add more “juice” to the spell. For example, in the cutting to the left, I added a seven pointed star.

3) Cut the symbol(s) into a piece of paper that will wrap around the glass container of a seven-day candle. Use fancy paper, plain paper, newspaper, a pretty page from a mag, whatever.

When doing this kind of papercutting, I usually am not concerned about making it fancy or artistically “right.” I might make a quick rough cutting, instead of the more laborious precise efforts I made for the above Horned God cutting. I can be a perfectionist when making that sort of cutting but, when cutting for candle magic, I usually prefer ease—to just have fun, keep it simple, unless I feel like taking time on making it ornate and “just so” visually.

4) Wrap your glass container, fastening the ends of the paper together with a bit of tape.

Be safe: Do not let the paper wrapping extend even to the lip of the glass container; do not wrap paper directly around a candle itself; do not leave a candle burning unattended.

4) Light your candle as you make a wish for your goal. That’s it! Simple, fun, powerful, and a chance to be creative.

Another example: For a money spell, I cut the word “cash” into paper. Here is the paper cutting before I wrapped it around the candle.

Below is the paper cutting for my above house blessing, laid out flat. (It is the reverse side so, being a magazine page, has entirely different print on it.)

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I hope you like my idea! If you do, please share a link to it—that would be lovely and needed support. Do not lift my idea wholesale onto your site without my permission. Play fair. Power to the people means the right to choose what is done with the fruits of your labor. And the contents of this site are under copyright. Thank you so much!