The Happy Yule Gnome brings in greenery and carries out the B.S.!
Let’s face it, the holiday season can be difficult for Pagans, Wiccans and Polytheists. We might enjoy the idea of Thanksgiving and Christmas – the notion of good cheer, family togetherness, a wholesome dinner, and merry tidings of joy. We may even like certain aspects of the celebrations, such as the decorations, the shopping, the music, and the food. However, we might dislike the “Christmas fever” that overtakes American society, which seems to begin earlier every year. This year, it seemed as if the minute the pumpkins came down, the plastic trees and ornaments went up. The commercialism may be bothersome. The religious overtones might be hard to digest. Some of us might be facing economic troubles, and can’t afford to buy everyone presents or purchase a fifty-pound turkey. We don’t all have a great relationship with our biological families. There may be political, ideological, and religious differences between us and our kinfolk, which can cause arguments during a prolonged visit. We might even have serious emotional wounds left over from abusive childhoods. While this article cannot replace psychological counseling, it may be able to offer some help and advice for coping during the mainstream holidays.
Before we begin, think of five things you like about the holiday season, and five things that are problematic for you. Some of us may truly enjoy watching parades or football games, others might find it excruciating. We might want to cut a live tree, while others can only think of the death of the environment. Others might really like Christmas carols on the radio, while for some, it’s auditory torture. What events can we participate in that bring us pleasure? Baking cookies, going ice skating, watching movies on TV, driving around and looking at light displays are activities that are “religious neutral” and fun. What holiday things that we dislike can we avoid? And what must we participate in, and how can we make the best of a bad situation? We may have to attend the obligatory office party, but we can duck out of the neighborhood gossip fest. Or we can bring our own traditions to the gathering – see if you can engage your co-workers in Wassailing the Trees or creating handmade ornaments. Suggest alternatives that work for everyone – how about a cooking party? Attending a concert with a neutral holiday theme, such as “The Nutcracker Suite”, or a restaurant, or walking through a decorated park, might be much more enjoyable for everyone concerned.
Those of us with children may have to compromise – allowing the young ones to watch three pre-selected Christmas specials on T.V., finding programs that emphasize our own values, such as tolerance and sharing. One mother was appalled by a cartoon that showed a “good” kid receiving lots of presents from Santa, when her family was financially strapped and unable to afford more than one pair of mittens and one small toy per child. We may have to explain that rewards aren’t always material. Others may feel overwhelmed by images of baby Jesus and songs that proclaim “He is the king” and “He rules the world”. During Thanksgiving, we might be upset by revisionist history that shows Indians eating happily with tolerant Puritans, when we really want to participate in the First Nations’ “Day of Mourning”. We may have to simply turn off the television and radio and play DVDs of our favorite movies. Or take out a wheelbarrow-load of library books. If we can’t avoid it – attending the annual school Christmas program, where your child is the lead reindeer – we can try to make the best of it. Sing songs with traditional meaning, such as “Deck the Halls” or something without religious overtones, like “Frosty the Snowman” and sit stoically through “Silent Night”. Or hide your earbuds under your hat and listen to Pagan music or your favorite podcast. Learn about another culture’s harvest holidays, or if you can afford it, go to a place like Chinatown, or stay in a motel owned by a Hindu family – someplace where Christmas doesn’t exist. Our family has gone to Skokie, IL and hid out for a weekend. Many theaters show movies on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, where you can escape the holiday hassle for a couple of hours.
Then there’s family visits, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas presents around the tree, a dinner with your entire clan. All of them. Even Uncle Ralph, who might be a closet racist. If these scenarios make you grit your teeth, just thinking about them, you might want to propose some activity that is much less stressful. How about holding Thanksgiving at a favorite family restaurant, where everyone chips in for the bill? Or a Thanksgiving potluck on neutral ground?
On Christmas, you may be expected to come to an extended family get-together. This can be difficult if your loved ones are in denial about your sexual orientation, angry about your religion or lifestyle, or disappointed about some other expectations that they feel are unmet.
You may need to propose a compromise here, as well. Tell your family members that there are certain topics that you will not discuss, and ignore any attempt to draw you in. Remind yourself that your life is one that you chose and recall the reasons that it makes you happy. And also, remind yourself that your family is entitled to their opinions, and you are not responsible for their choices. Release karma. Perform shielding and grounding rituals to magickally protect yourself from baneful glares and hurtful words. Go to your family’s Christmas extravaganza for a few hours, bring the materials to bake a Yule log or homemade cookies together. Bring crafts items to construct nut cups that resemble turkeys, or make construction-paper chains with the younger relatives. Go outdoors and create snowmen, dance in the piles of leaves, make snow fairies, or just go for a walk. Volunteer to haul youngsters around the block on their sleds. Help the teens to hang lights or do other activities that take you out of the house, away from the relentless holiday spirit.
Or, don’t go. That’s right, do not go to your family’s celebration, if you’d really rather not. So often, we hear people say that they “Have To” go home for the holidays. Grown adults do not “have to” do anything but pay taxes and breathe. It is your choice. If returning to your family household for the holidays is going to send you into therapy, you do not “have to” do it. You do not have to subject yourself to verbal abuse or painful situations. You may be able to communicate by phone, or Facebook, or write a nice non-religious holiday greeting… or not communicate at all.
Some Pagan traditions might go over bettter than others, LOL.
You might want to do some research -- watch You Tube videos about ancient traditions like Wassailing, Mumming, the Mari Lwyd, the Stag Hunt, gift-giving, decorating with greenery, and so forth. Share the info with loved ones.
Krampus is optional.
Okay, so your family isn’t really all that bad, just mildly annoying. Your grandma insists that when you just met the right girl, you’ll decide not to be Gay. Or your mom really wants you to raise your children as Episcopalians, if you’d just get over this “witchcraft phase”. You may have to establish certain ground rules, by phone or email before visiting your family. “I am bringing my significant other, and you will be nice to him throughout the day.” “Sally and I cannot afford presents for everyone this year. You know that I am laid off. Let’s pull names out of a hat, or make presents, or have a spending limit of ten dollars.” “Mom, I know your religious traditions are important to you, but the kids and I are not going to church for Christmas Eve services. How about you explain to your grandkids about the Christmas story?” You can prompt your children in advance that some people believe XXX, and other people believe YYY, and that you believe in the Goddess and magick. “Every path is wonderful and has validity, but Grandma’s way doesn’t work for me. How about you listen to her, and learn about her religion?” Hopefully, compromises can be reached.
Younger people in college or working a seasonal job might not have any choice about going home for the holidays. Or you may live at home, for whatever reason. If you’re somehow dependent on your family – economically, or for living conditions, or emotionally… you truly want to maintain a good relationship without upsetting them over your religious or social life – then you may have to put up with their well-intentioned yet irritating holiday celebrations for a few days.
Think about what is worth a confrontation and what is not… can you tuck your religious jewelry under your shirt, or will this make you feel emotionally uncomfortable or dishonest? Can you endure a prayer over dinner? Can you keep silent while certain topics of discussion are brought up? Can you re-direct conversations so as to avoid an argument? Consider ways to balance your religious needs with your family life. Will offering your own libation cause a fight, and if so, can you do it later, in silence?
It may help to make your needs known beforehand. “Mom, I’m a vegetarian. Gravy contains meat juices, so please don’t put any gravy on my mashed potatoes.” “Dad, I really appreciate the presents that you buy, but please don’t purchase anything from that company, because their products are made by slave labor.” They might have perfectly legitimate requests of you, as well. Try to reach an understanding.
You may want to sit down with your loved ones, tell them that they are meaningful to you, but that you do not share the same religious views, and therefore, you do not wish to attend Mass or light the Menorah or sit through another church meeting where the preacher shouts that non-believers are going to hell. If they remain unyielding, you may have to bite the bullet, attend the religious services, and count light bulbs or red panels in the stained glass. Silently say prayers to your own Gods. Touch the wooden church pews and invoke the tree spirits laying dormant within.
Remember to ground, center and shield yourself. Or you might suggest alternatives, such as staying home and cleaning the house, shoveling snow, or participating in a charitable event, instead. Dad probably has a good point if you’re sleeping in until three and playing video games throughout the holiday week, when he’d rather you go to church. It may be more difficult for parents to argue in favor of religious rites if you’re spending Christmas morning serving breakfast at a soup kitchen or delivering presents to needy children. And pray. Pray to your Gods for tolerance, fortitude, and patience.
Below: Gerald B. Gardner, founder of modern Wicca
More differences between Wicca, Traditional British Witchcraft & folk magick
This is not to denigrate nor edify any particular tradition. I’m just pointing out that there are some fundamental differences between modern Wicca, Traditional British Isles Witchcraft, and British Isles folk magick and folkloric traditions.
Of course, these customs have borrowed from one another, some of the systems have merged, others have been changed to adapt to modern times.
Lord & Lady, part 1:
Modern Wicca often considers deities to be different aspects, or forms, of one universal God and the singular Great Goddess. They are usually portrayed in this binary fashion, male and female. They are expressed in the age / life stage forms of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and Youth, Father, and Grandfather / Sage.
Sometimes, in Wicca and in Brit Trad W’craft, the deities have dark and light aspects. For example, the goddess Ceileach is viewed as the darker, wintery aspect of Brighid / Bridget, and the Buca / Cernunnos has a dark, chthonic, autumn and winter personae: Buca Ddu, and the bright, fertile, springtime, celebratory aspect: the Buca Gwydyn. This sometimes occurs in folklore, as well – the two examples listed here are from Irish and Cornish legend, respectively.
Yet us folkies often see the deities as belonging to pantheons, families, or even as our own ancestors. Donia / Danu / Dôn is always a mother. Others can change form with the seasons or with their aspects – fertile Cernunnos / Buca is young, as a huntsman and provider he’s a father, and in his underground / wealth mode, he’s elderly and balding. He is killed by the Sacred Hunt and revived as his own offspring. Yes our gods can die – but they come back – as everything does. Rhiannon is a maiden in springtime, then descends to the Underworld with her bridegroom, Arawn, then becomes a mother.
Folklore doesn’t always have binary or sexually “fertile” deities, either – Gofannon can be viewed as Gay, Loki is often non-binary, Cerridwen is impregnated by swallowing one corn of barley, the Angau is pretty much asexual, and Pan bangs anything that moves. Roman deities that came to Britain were originally youthful and immortal, but while in the islands, they sometimes assumed the trifecta of youth – parent – elder. An example is the Hecate triplicate statuette in the British Museum that shows the Goddess as young and slim, then more matronly, then elderly, double-chinned, with drooping breasts, below.
Lord & Lady, part 2:
Many Wiccan priests / priestesses represent a gendered deity while in ritual, taking on that aspect. They call themselves by a “craft name”, often the moniker of a God or Goddess, sometimes a name with magickal significance. Gerald Gardner and his priestess (Dorothy Clutterbuck?) called themselves Scire and Dafo. Many use the honorific “Lord” or “Lady” during ritual. You’ll find a lot of Lady Cerridwens and Lord Pans in modern Wicca. This is done to honor the deities, to connect with them and take on their personae in ritual, but also to gain respect for Witchcraft within general society – the “Overculture”. After all, many Catholic priests or nuns call themselves Father Thomas or Sister Assumpta after Biblical figures or events. Historically, changing one’s name may have been a way to escape persecution. It also helps to put people in the mindset to perform a magickal rite, setting aside their mundane personae to be able to work magick.
However, I never heard of this custom before encountering Wiccans. Since Cymri (Welsh) people had lots of negative run-ins with royalty and nobility, we don’t often use the terms “Lord” or “Lady” for our clergy. Not many oldline witches in the witch trial transcripts called themselves either one. Back in the day, the word was “goodwife” or “mister” or the name of one’s profession, like Sion the Taylor, or Taylor Sion… but many Cymri people did not have last names until emigrating. We were Clem from Carmarthen or Polly ap Rhys – names that reflect location or lineage. Nowadays, we use the average titles for ourselves – Mr. or Mrs. – and often just our first names.
I’ve heard that some Ceremonial Magicians call themselves Magister or Magistra, or Frater and Mater. Yet those still utilize binary terms.*
Lord Solinox SilverStar of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church uses the non-binary term “Priestex” to define themself. I’m told that Wiccan ministers are seeking a non-binary title of office for clergy to possibly replace “Lord” or “Lady”. They state: "Being the first nonbinary third-degree that I know of in my tradition and running my coven the way I do...I feel sometimes like I'm blazing a trail, but more like I'm bringing things into alignment with the world as it is in reality. The binary is just a symbol, just as the elements are. Real life is wibbly wobbly, spectrums of blending, flows of energy swirling."
I recall my offspring, Rhiannon, avataring (taking on the aspect, channeling, being possessed by) the death god Arawn, who presents as male. But they also avatared Mawb, the folkloric hunt goddess and early-modern Queen of the Fae, who is quite feminine and motherly.
*Speaking of Binary:
A horned Lord and a Goddess of either winter or the stars. Pretty!
Gerald Gardner was very much into the idea of polarity, or a binary form of magick. Raising energy was done in the same way as a battery works, by a duality of positive and negative, also male and female, or light and dark, or summer and winter. Energy was raised by putting the two states in contrast or opposition to one another (or conjunction, or connection). For example, the Great Rite using the chalice to represent female and the athame to represent male was performed by a guy Priest and a girl Priestess. Joining the two states together creates a magickal “spark” of fertile energy. This idea may have come from Hermeticism / Ceremonial Magick, as well.
Some Witchcraft traditions have males teaching females and vice versa. Gentlemen may initiate ladies, and vice versa. In ritual circles, men and women stood in a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern. Males aspected (channeled, avatared) male deities and females summoned or avatared female beings. God and Goddess together create fertility. We folk magick folks had some of those customs, too, including male-female couples doing sexual activities outdoors in springtime to increase the yields of the crops, gardens, and the farm animals’ fertility. I don’t know if Gay sex has the same result, having never tried it as a ritual thing. It might work – it could be just the joy and power that any sexual energy contributes toward making really big abundant tomatoes.
There’s some debate about the function of polarity magick in some modern Wicca and Witchcraft covens and groups. Some insist on maintaining the traditional male-female boundaries. Others are working to be inclusive of various gender expressions. Nowadays there are a lot more acknowledged gender expressions than there were back when Gardner was exploring British Witchcraft and world systems of magick. There is a greater acceptance of different forms of sexuality and biology. And that’s a blessing.
We folk magick practitioners mostly did the gender thing when it was women teaching girls the menarche rites about menstruation, breast-feeding, armpit hair, and all of that, and men teaching their sons about whatever they do – it probably involves football. Usually, women attended childbirth. Mostly men did agriculture and harvest games. But that was often due to proximity – women nursed babies, so they mostly stayed in the home; men were physically stronger, so they worked in the fields. There were and are a few gender-based tasks, but hey, there’s female blacksmiths, like Goddess Bridget, female hunters, like Mawb, and male entities in charge of home care, like the Bwbach. Art throughout the ages portrays females doing agricultural labor. We now know, from archeology and anthropology studies, that females helped bring in the harvest and hunted in pre-historic times. Gay men often guarded the women and children while most of the men were away at war. Otherwise, there wasn’t much differentiation in magick according to gender or biological sex. Cunning folk and herbalists were of all genders.
I have a kinda funny, kinda grumpy story: We named our legal Pagan church / group after specific deities, the Welsh / Cymric God Llew (craftsman, trickster, solar deity, father of CuCullain, conflated w/ Lugh, Lucas, Lugas, sometimes Lyr) and the Goddess Donia, (mother, land, nurturer, conflated with Dôn, Denea, Danu, et al. Wiccan folks changed the name of the group to "House of Goddess and God" in English. Then other Wiccan people told me that the Cymraeg words for God is "Duw" and Goddess is "Dduwes" -- so my translation was wrong, and that there wasn't just one God and one Goddess in the Cymric / Welsh pantheon. Well, duh!
OK, done being crabby now. :)
Elements / Directions:
This past Samhain / Nos Calan Gaeaf, I attended a wonderful workshop given by Silver Phoenix at the Beyond the Gate gathering. It was about incorporating the elements and elementals into one’s own personal life, called “Elemental Energy Balancing”. Of course, it utilized the traditional Wiccan and Ceremonial Magick model of four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It was a lovely experience, allowing participants to commune with symbols of the elements and bring their power into themselves.
Silver Phoenix discussed Fire, and how it is an alchemical reaction, changing material such as wood into another form, such as ash, in the meantime releasing energy. And that was an unusual thing for me to consider. When folkies work with the Directions or Elements at all, it’s more about their forms in Nature. Again, not a value judgment – just commentary on the various approaches to magick.
We people of Celtic origins don’t really have directions such as Earth = North, either. Earth is down, the ground, the land, the Underworld, the material plane. Air is up, and breathing, and thought and memory, and voiced things like poetry and song. Water is over there somewhere – rivers, lakes, wellsprings, rain, cleansing and quenching. All of these conditions are needed to grow food and to sustain life.
However, we really don’t consider fire as an element, as a conscious being, as a living thing in the same manner as the other three are considered as intelligent. The earth, air (sky) and water are represented by deities and entities and are personified. Yet fire usually is not. Fire is often a man-made condition, and requires earth (wood or coal) and air to survive. A force brings it into being – striking a flint and steel or a match, or sometimes lightning. Water removes fire, so it’s the opposite. Fire has power, but we don’t view it as a being, particularly.
I’m told that some of these concepts may have come to Wicca through the Hermetic practices of Ceremonial Magick. Or perhaps Gerald Gardner brought them to Witchcraft after visiting Native Americans’ rites on his trip to the USA. The First Nations honor four directions with four elements, and four colors that represent them. Ceremonies begin in the east, where the sun rises.
Anyway. Wiccans and most British Traditional Witches base much of their praxes upon interaction with the elements and elemental beings. For example, fire represents change, ambition, courage, passion, sexual love, electrical connections, and action. It is viewed as dwelling in the South, and its corresponding magickal entity is salamanders or dragons. Wiccan people strive to attain balance between the elements and to have a working partnership with the elementals (from what I can see – my experiences, not necessarily “THE truth”.) They and Ceremonial Magicians call upon the elements in ceremonies, they utilize symbols for them, the elements align with planets and astrological signs – for example, Taurus is Earthy, Pisces is Watery.
Wiccans, Witches, and Ceremonial Magicians do these things because they work.
After 30-some years of practicing with Wiccans and other Pagans, I’ve come to an understanding with several of these concepts – one universal Goddess and God, working with elements, and so forth. But I’m nowhere near proficient. The beauty of magickal practice is time and work can help one to improve and to develop an affinity with different beings and folkways.
Tonight is not just a full Beaver Moon, (in Taurus), not just a full moon eclipse, it’s also astronomical Samhain / Nos Calan Gaeaf. It’s truly a magickal time. The moon begins eclipsing at 3:14 AM here in SW Michigan (Eastern Daylight Time), and will be fully hidden around 5 AM. The cycle will be complete after sunrise, so it may not be visible here'bouts.
A moon eclipse can be viewed with the naked eye – not like the solar eclipses where you have to wear welding goggles. It’s reflected light. The eclipse occurs when the Earth is positioned between the moon and the sun, occluding the solar light. It’s also a conjunction, when planets appear to line up in a row, giving the strength of the combined heavenly bodies.
Earth, Moon, and Sun correspond with Donia, Arianrhod or Rhiannon, and Llew in our southern Cymraeg tradition. Call upon deities to be with you during this auspicious time.
This is a period of incredible power. It’s a beneficial time to make moon water for spells and workings, to set out talismans and ritual tools to be cleansed under the moonlight – then darkness – then light. When the moon turns red from atmospheric particles, it’s a wonderful time to do blood magick. Rid yourself of old attachments. Complete projects. Empower yourself. Cut off unwanted ties. Ready yourself to accept new blessings. Drink in the power of moon and earth and sun. Honor our beloved deities and folk entities.
Astronomical Samhain / Nos Calan Gaeaf occurs when the stars of the Pleiades are fixed at their highest point in the sky at midnight. The sun reaches 15 degrees in the constellation of Scorpio. It’s the cross quarter (in Wicca and some Witchcraft traditions) and a quarter-day in Celtic traditions. This event marks the exact midpoint between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice.
The meaning of astronomical Samhain is the same as the meaning of Halloween. Honor ancestors and the beloved dead. Perform divination. Fix intention. Prepare yourself for the coming winter months – storm windows, warm clothing, filling the propane tank, getting out the snow shovels, find a long-term indoor project to last through the nights of cold. Thank deities and ancestors for the blessings they’ve given. Make offerings to the Fae.
This is will be the last lunar eclipse until 2025, so make the most of it!
(images swiped from NASA)
I’m sure you’ve all heard the term “psychic vampire”, which is a person who drains your personal energy like a vampire drains blood.
I’m not talking about taking leftover power from an event, energy that’s just lingering around there without a purpose. Churches, music concerts, political rallies and holiday parades often generate this kind of free-flowing power that has no outlet, and using that power is a type of chaos magick. And that’s perfectly acceptable. Nor am I talking about willingly sharing energy. Children sometimes swipe energy from parents, who can either accept it – giving permission to sustain the child – or gently teach them not to take others’ stuff. Lovers often willingly exchange power.
Rather, an energy vampire intentionally drains others’ personal life force for their own benefit – without consent. It’s stealing. Energy vampires are thieves. An energy vampire is a grown adult with some psychic awareness who deliberately appropriates others’ power, sucks away their positive emotions, robs them of their strength without replacing it with anything. They hover around powerful folks, making them feel tired, depressed, and worn-out. And I don’t see the point, because cultivating your own personal energy is just as easy as taking it from someone else.
Don’t be “that guy”. Raise your own damn energy! Dance, sing, light a candle, appreciate a beautiful sunset, tap into the forces of earth, sea, and sky, and merge with deity or psychic entities (however you see deity). Eat healthy food, stay hydrated, use sexual energy with consent, exercise, find meaningful hobbies and pass-times, enhance your mind and spirit. Do some drumming! There are plenty of methods of finding and using the power of the beneficent universe, of which we’re all a part.
A hyena is even worse than a psychic vampire. Like the African canines that follow herds of antelope or buffalo, hoping for a chance to attack the weak or the sick, a human hyena is a creature that steals energy from those who are already fragile. They might seek out an empowered person, and try to find a friend or relative of theirs, someone who is experiencing physical weakness or mental challenges. They might look for a person who is at a low point in their lives, such as the recently divorced. We’ve all heard of guys who browse Tinder, attempting to find a partner with low self-esteem, then building them up with false compliments, so they can be “groomed” to use sexually. Well, a hyena does the same thing in Real Life. They seek out people who are suffering physically, say, recovering from cancer. They find lonely women. They look for folks who are undergoing depression or anxiety, and sometimes, they’ll try to make it worse. A hyena will gaslight and poke holes in one’s psyche. Or they’ll give a lot of fake compliments, and then home in for the kill.
And then, the human hyena will feed on the weakened individual’s personal spiritual energy. Just like an animal hyena feeds on the weakest calf in the herd.
How can you spot this? Is there someone in your circle of acquaintances who is perfectly healthy, but makes you feel tired, sick, weak, anxious, or depressed, every time you encounter them? Do you feel drained after talking with them? Do you dream about them, and the dreams are not good? Do you have a loved one who struggles with mental health, who experiences a downturn after you’ve encountered a particular person? Do you have pets who were perfectly healthy, but now have become ill? Are you experiencing a lot of setbacks, when previously, you were thriving?
If someone in your peer group always has fantastic luck, but the rest of you can’t seem to catch a break, that person might be a psychic hyena. Or if a person is always flush with cash, although they have no visible means of support – and they’re always asking for stuff and money. You and your partner might argue in this person’s presence, when normally your relationship is stable. A person may be “Lady Bountiful” when others are enduring the loss of a loved one or suffering from an illness, but they’re really not giving support or comfort, they’re just swallowing the emotions of sadness and pain. If you are psychically sensitive, and you can feel, sense, perceive that an individual is using you, stealing your energy, you’ll know it. You might deny it at first. Divination and meditation can help you to discover the hyenas in your midst.
How can you prevent the hyena from hyena-ing? Personal shielding and psychic self-defense. Wear amulets that have been charged on a holy day (sabbat) or under the light of a full moon, with the intent of personal safety. Home protection, using talismans, prayer, and calling upon ancestors, deities, or other entities. Place railroad spikes or big iron nails around the perimeter of your home, your bedroom, or your workspace – points facing inward. Doing fortification rites for loved ones who might be in a weakened state. Empower them! “Smudging” or smoke-cleansing persons and your personal spaces. Casting black salt around your spaces. Identifying the hyena-person, and cutting any hidden psychic cords they have linked to you.
And of course, beef up your own energy. Start with an aural body “sweep”. In your mind’s eye, envision your psychic body. Scrutinize it from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Don’t forget your back, your genitalia, inside your ears. Look for things that resemble blisters full of stale blood or pus (sorry, gross, but that’s what they resemble to me). Those might be “feeding” sites for a psychic vampire. Remove them using a magickal “weapon” such as an athame. Consciously, intentionally focus on healing these places. Check for attachments that you did not consent to.
Envision the culprit, using your psychic capabilities or divination tools. You might want to ask an impartial reader for help. If you have a suspicion, mentally look to see if they have some type of “stash” of other people’s energy, like a closet, a chest, a bank vault. When I did this, I saw shelves neatly labeled with names of individuals, and ceramic jars with portions of their energy contained inside. It’d been so polluted that it was not viable, so I opened the jars (in my mind’s eye) and returned them to the earth – much like composting rotten food. The Earth can heal, and restore, and turn bacteria-laden mulch into rich brown soil for cultivation. So can the Earth transform baleful energy into something positive. If you can’t find the culprit, just do a generalized sweep around you. Look for psychic cords that might resemble chains or ropes or even green slimy strings of mucous (again, sorry, gross). See if you can find their source. Use an athame or other magickal weapon and cut those cords.
Strengthen yourself, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Connect to Spirit. Look for positive situations in life, simple things, such as beautiful landscapes and birds and Nature, children’s laughter, funny memes, silly comedies, bad puns. Do good deeds, which ramps up your own emotional shields – really, it does! Ground and center on a daily basis. Journal about events that made you happy. Use mindful gratitude. Yeah, all of this sounds like New Age drivel, but trust me, it WORKS.
Avoid the psychic hyena if you can, but sometimes that’s not possible. If it’s your stepfather who lives with you, or your boss or co-worker at your job, or a teacher at school, you can’t get fully away from them. You CAN do prayers, spell-workings, and brief chants to protect yourself. Wear an amulet that stores power or connects you to Spirit. Cast a circle or draw a compass around your bed, your desk, your cubicle. Carry crystals that have protective aspects, such as hematite, jasper, tiger-eye, amethyst, and black tourmaline. Use words of power (if at work or school, chant them silently in your head, or write them down). “Curses, hexes, sorcery, attempts to disempower me, are incapable of harming me, and also my family, remove any bane from me, ground it in the earth and wash it in the sea, as my will so mote it be!” I’m sure you can come up with a better poem. And of course, keep that pipeline to Spirit, to the powers of the bountiful abundant universe, your ancestors, your deities.
However tempted you may be, do NOT attempt to attack the hyena and cause it harm. They usually do themselves in, anyway. Or the Gods give them a thump, because, well, they do that – look at folktales for examples. But you really should concentrate your energy and your conscious thought on empowering yourself and your loved ones. This is sooo much more effective than trying to punish. Pretty soon, you will be so mentally strong and capable that the hyenas can’t touch you, any more than wild hyenas will attack the lead bull of the herd.
Very pleased and stoked to announce some new events and classes sponsored by Witches of West Michigan! Since its inception less than a year ago, the group has grown enormously. They've presented several divination events, holiday celebrations and workshops, and a presentation at Grand Rapids Pagan Pride including the Witches' Broom Dance,
There have been numerous coffee-house meetups in several cities, called of course "Witches' Brew", including the one that I'm facilitating in Kalamazoo. Ours will be on the second Friday of each month, beginning on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 pm at Water Street Coffee Joint on Oakland Drive in K'zoo. There'll be WoWM merch there to help fund events and holiday celebrations.
Starting in January, there will be beginning and intermediate Belly Dancing facilitated by Nicki, a Witch choir, and mine and Dave's DRUMMING CIRCLE on the first Sunday of the Month at DAAC in Grand Rapids, and also a folkplay class, with performances at various venues. Folkplays are an older British Isles custom, also called guizing, mumming, ritual theater, skits, and "singing for your supper". They're a terrific way to raise energy, meet others, and have fun.
More Info from Katrina, Witches of West Michigan facilitator:
We're finally able to announce that we've contracted with The DAAC to host monthly performance workshops and collectives, starting January 2023!
We'll start the month (and the year! We start on January 1st) off with a first Sunday Drumming Circle led by A.C. Fisher-Aldag! https://www.facebook.com/.../62919334198.../629193371981070/
And immediately following, The Michigan Muses, directed by Willow Wren, will host their monthly Choir rehearsal! https://www.facebook.com/.../42979743256.../429797462566924/
On second Sundays, A.C. will be hosting monthly Folkplay Workshops, focusing on pagan ritual theater traditions from the British Isles! https://www.facebook.com/.../1840507636.../1840507656294806/
And on fourth Sundays, Nikki Hardenburgh- Ashendorf is reviving The Mystik Dancers for belly dancing classes! You can join the beginner class - https://www.facebook.com/.../45479621663.../454796226635088/
Or the intermediate class, for those with a beledi background - https://www.facebook.com/.../65087169308.../650871703084480/
ALL of these classes are open to the public. Yes, you can bring your husband! You can also bring your non-witch friends!
For the drum circle, folkplay workshops, and choir rehearsals, we're asking for a $5 love offering to cover the space rental. The belly dancing classes will be $11 each.
And there will be performances at our sabbat events!
I hope to see you all there!
This is an update for those who've been following the saga of itty bitty Ghost Kitty.
Ghost was found in the rain around Sept. 25, 2022 at about 2 weeks old, far too early to separate from her mom. Dave looks after a feral colony which lives in our outbuildings. We can't really do medical care for them, because of the expense, but also because most of the cats run away whenever humans walk near. So Dave feeds & waters 'em, but that's about it. Anyway, I put Ghost back inside the tumbledown building, and that was that... until Dave found her snuggling up to her dead litter-mates, no parents in sight. He took pity on her, and brought her into the house. She was covered in fleas, her eyes were glued shut with mucous, she had ear mites, and she was unable to eat on her own. Ghost was about the size of Dave's palm.
We picked literally hundreds of fleas off of poor the little tyke's body, and fed her kitten milk replacer with a syringe. Five hundred bucks later, Ghost was de-flea'd, de-wormed, had been given antibiotics, ear mite medicine and special growth kitten food. She slept in our bed, and had to be fed and helped to "eliminate" every couple of hours. I'm glad I'm not a mother cat, and have to do that with my tongue. Yuck!
We'd just adopted a tortoise-shell female from Al-Van Humane Society, and didn't want any more consarned felines. But the gods had other ideas! Cassie the tortie has been helping to take care of Ghost.
We took Ghost everywhere with us, including to a cabin near Lake Michigan, to the Ancestor Supper in Detroit (don't tell the Best Western Hotel) and to Witches of West Michigan Divination and Drag. She likes to ride in the car and in Dave's pocket. During the trip to GR, Ghost got very ill, She was walking like a drunken sailor, holding her head to the side in a weird position. She became very lethargic, had trouble breathing, and we worried that we would lose her. But a dozen witches doing "onlays" or laying-on of hands, spell workings, prayers, and blessings really helped. Magick WORKS! The vet told us the illness was caused by her upper respiratory infection and the ear mites. Dr. Carl of Bangor Veterinary Clinic provided us with kitten parasite remover and more antibiotics. Acting in accord with magick!
This whole thing is kinda strange to me because in our culture, WHITE is the color of DEATH, and so white animals are viewed as spirit beings. GThe image to the right is of the Lady Wen, a ghost-like figure in Cymric mythology. She leads unwary travelers to their doom. But Ghost will tell you that she, herself, is very good luck.
Here is Ghost, much larger and healthier at 7 weeks, giving Daddy Dave a much-needed bath. She goes to the vet again today because she's now big enough to get her normal round of vaccinations. Likes: Dad, the wet food with the chunks of chicken and fish, playing with toys, tormenting the adult cats, magick, Dislikes: Paper towel, having her face washed, yucky medicine.
Common Magick from Llewellyn Worldwide
Witches & Pagans # 38 & # 39 from BBI
Llewellyn's Witches' Companion 2022 & 2023 from Llewellyn Worldwide