Harm None, But Take No Sh*t (Mat Auryn)

One of the most misunderstood ethics found within contemporary witchcraft is what is defined as the “Wiccan Rede”. While space does not allow for me to go into great depths here, it is a topic that I regularly address in all training circles I run and which takes up a full chapter in my forthcoming book Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magickal Life (due for release this year). The following excerpt is from an article by Mat Auryn where touches on this subject through observing the increased interest in cursing. His full article can be found here.

Image Credit: Evgeniia Litovchenko | Standard License

Recently I had the honor of appearing on Madame Pamita’s “Live Magic Q&A.” Madame Pamita is one of my favorite humans ever and I had no idea what kind of questions were going to be asked, so it went into some really interesting topics. One of the topics discussed [referring to a Q&A with Madame Pamita’s “Live Magic Q&A”, an Los Angeles based tarot reader, rootworker, author, and YouTube channel host] related to cursing and hexing. My views on this topic are not as clear cut as that of a lot of other people. Being pro-curse is trendy these days, to the point where it should probably concern any serious magickal practitioner. I think this is in response to decades of having the “three-fold law” and shallow interpretations of “harm none” shoved down our throats. The topic of cursing is something that I think needs a more balanced consideration. The following are some of my thoughts on the topic. How you choose to incorporate or disregard these perspectives is up to you. You do you, Witch.

What particularly concerns me the eagerness that some are ready to curse others over trivial matters. For example, I recently saw someone on social media post about something really rude that a stranger said to them. The immediate response was a flood of people saying that he should curse the person to teach them a lesson. It genuinely makes me wonder if these people actually believe in the power of magick and what it can do, or if they’re completely void of empathy and remorse for other people. I wouldn’t go and stab someone because they hurt my ego or feelings. Sometimes the coin to pay for cursing is watching the curse unfold, which is why I give myself a three-day rule to calm down before I decide to even attempt malefica—to which I 90% of the time decide not to once I’ve calmed down and am thinking a bit more clearly – and think of more strategic ways to solve the problem then running to the magickal equivalent of violence.

One of the examples I gave to illustrate this while talking to Pamita was discussing the movie The Craft, a childhood favorite. I give this example because it’s similar to what I experienced when I was more curse-happy earlier on in my path. In the movie, Rochelle (played by Rachel True) places a curse on her racist school bully where her hair starts falling out. Rochelle’s coin to pay wasn’t going bald herself or anything like that. The coin she pays is shown when she sees the racist bully sobbing in the shower as her hair is falling out and we can see the remorse in Rochelle’s face as she realizes that even for someone like this bully, what she did to this person was cruel.

I do believe that there may be appropriate times to curse, hex, and bind during desperate circumstances—just as there are situations where you would use violence for self-defense when attacked. I am not against aggressive magick if done responsibly and willing to accept the price that action costs. I also think you should be well versed in defensive magick before you even attempt using magick as an offense. That being said, it’s important not to underestimate the power of magick, especially the consequences of cursing. Some will state that there’s no repercussions to performing cursing or binding but that defies everything we know about the world and nature. Everything we do, including mundane acts such as things we say, actions we take, and decisions we make have an effect based on that cause. Why would magick be any different?

This does not mean that our magick is going to come back on us threefold necessarily, but there are consequences to everything we do in life. Unless we think magick is somehow exempt from the way everything else in the universe functions and is seen as a completely un-natural, which I don’t. I often wonder what effect all this cursing and hexing is carrying out in the world through the chain of cause and effect like the butterfly effect. I don’t personally have an answer for that.

Another thing that I bring up with Pamita is my belief that every act of magick we engage in changes us in one way or another. That change either puts us into more alignment with our True Will or it distances ourselves from it. However, True Will is going to differ in what it looks like from person to person. But we aren’t going to discover our True Will if we’re throwing ourselves out of alignment.

I think ethics are personal when it comes to magick, but something we should definitely meditate upon if we want to grow as occultists, humans, and a collective species. Until then, the only moral guidepost I have for myself is what I feel is the occult’s version of the Golden Rule. It’s from the brilliant (though problematic) Aleister Crowley who wrote that “Love is the law, love under Will.” This means that our truest purpose for existence is to carry out our True Will and to have that in alignment with Universal Divine Will. To understand Divine Will, we have to understand that it involves love and a desire for unison. When we curse others out of the mentality of aggression against “otherness”, we’re cursing ourselves on one level because at the core we’re all one and we’re affecting one another, like cells attacking other cells within a body.

“IT IS WRITTEN that ‘Love is the law, love under will.’ Herein is an Arcanum concealed, for in the Greek Language [Agape], Love, is of the same numerical value as [Thelema], Will. By this we understand that the Universal Will is of the nature of Love. Now Love is the enkindling in ecstacy of Two that will to become One. It is thus an Universal formula of High Magick. For see now how all things, being in sorrow caused by dividuality, must of necessity will Oneness as their medicine… Understand now that in yourselves is a certain discontent. Analyse well its nature: at the end is in every case one conclusion. The ill springs from the belief in two things, the Self and the Not-Self, and the conflict between them. This also is a restriction of the Will. He who is sick is in conflict with his own body: he who is poor is at odds with society: and so for the rest. Ultimately, therefore, the problem is how to destroy this perception of duality, to attain to the apprehension of unity.
– Aleister Crowley, “De Lege Libellum

But if that unity is threatened, or the True Will is being restricted, would cursing be acceptable? That’s a question I think every practitioner should meditate on and decide for themselves. Remember that for Arjuna his dharma is to be a warrior and to fight in a war. In that vein, magick is often seen as a tool of the oppressed to balance the playing field towards justice, as we see in the mythopoetic Aradia.

But when do we truly know that we’re just when it comes to personal slights? For example, two lovers who divorce are usually going to vilify the other in their perspective and experience. That’s much harder to judge than say, the marginalization of a group of people using political power to do so. When do we step from oppressed to oppressor and start taking on their tools and inflicting it upon others? When do we become different versions of the monsters that we’re fighting? My opinion is to ask yourself if the magick you are going to cast is justified and going to bring more balance or throw things out of balance in life.

I will be advise more when my book Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magickal Life becomes available.

Intention Isn’t Everything (Mat Auryn)

Making Magick Salts

One of the statements I hear a lot from other witches is the idea that “intention is everything” when it comes to magick. But is it really? As occultists one of our aims is to always better our craft with precision and become better occultists. While intention is an important ingredient in a spell, it shouldn’t be confused with the idea of will, which I feel is more important. Semantics? Totally. As witches we learn to work with the subtle, looking at subtle energies as well as slight differences of concepts to help us fine-tune our workings. As witches we understand the power of words, particularly the power of using the right words. If intention were everything, there would be little point to studying and learning to properly employ magick. We could simply buy a copy of The Secret and have a life full of everything we dreamed of.

The problem with intention is that it is vague. Intention is a ambiguously desired outcome. Intention says “I want you to be happy”, “I want a new job”, “I want a new relationship”. But as the old proverb says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Intention is good because it arouses desire within us and gets our gears in motion. Intention is more of a wish. However, intention can stop right there without will. We may even manifest our desire in a way that makes us more miserable. You could get a new job you hate, an abusive relationship or someone else may find the happiness you intend them to by losing all contact with you. You can intend to bake a cake, that doesn’t mean you’re ever going to bake a cake. It means you mean to, not that you will.

Contrary to intention, will is not a wish but rather a command. While I believe that will is birthed from intention, to will something is to tolerate nothing less than success of the desired goal. Will is a contract with the self. It sets a laser-like focus on what we wish to accomplish and how we are to achieve it. It creates a plan regarding which spirits we will petition, which actions we will take and has an undying persistence about it. Unlike intention, will does not tolerate disbelief of others, self-doubt or other energetic factors which can derail it’s outcome.

Many witches end their workings with the phrase “So mote it be” which I have observed has come to replace the idea of saying “Amen” to a prayer among many witches, but it definitely is not. While “amen” has a similar meaning, it’s often said as just a response without focus on what the word means. “So mote it be” is an anachronistic phrase meaning “so must it be” or “so it is required”. It is a command of will. We don’t end our spellwork with saying “I hope this happens” or “I wish this will come about”. It is through will that we are utilizing the sovereignty of the witch and demanding the universe to bend and shift to our command to fulfill the desire that intention aroused.

Source:
Puck’s Sake (29 April 2017)

Mat’s website: Mat Auryn – Psychic Witch

Visions mark a New Way Forward

As this current calendar year draws to a close, to brings to an end a rather “interesting” (to say the least) year for the Temple of the Dark Moon.

This year saw the first Outer Court training circle in five years commence that delivered more challenges than the initial desired result. As such, the Temple will be taking all of the Southern summer off, instead of commencing at Lughnasadh, as what has been the norm. This will mean that no teaching on the Craft will be offered until April, the end of Autumn, when Gathering Around the Cauldron will commence on Thursday, 2 April 2020 and continue throughout the year on a monthly basis.

Between now and April, there will still be a number of events being offered, including the annual Yemaya: Blessing of the Waters that is held at Grange beach, Adelaide, as well as new practical crafting workshops on Spells, Amulets and Talismans held on Saturday, 15 February 2020 that will provide in-depth information on various highly effective techniques of spell casting as well as the purposes of using an amulet or talisman. Then on Sunday, 2 February 2020, the ever popular Making a Protection Bottle will be held.

April will also see the commencement of a six part exploration of the Tree of Life glyph that is found within ceremonial magick in the Climbing the Tree of Life series from Thursday, 16 April 2020, which will be nicely complimented with a ten part mediation series of corresponding Qabalistic archangels on Thursday evenings from 7 April 2020.

As with all events offered by the Temple of the Dark Moon, save for the Yemaya: Blessing of the Waters, it is essential to book as there are limited places available.

At this current time, there is no desire to recommence the Outer Court training circle. Those attendees who participated in the 2019 Outer Circle are fully aware of what is required of them should they wish to complete this training. My own personal commitments and focus for the new year will initially be on finalising the manuscripts of two books (including the long awaited Encountering the Dark Goddess) ready for publication.

Embracing the Ebbing and Flowing for an Exciting New Direction

Life is all about ebbing and flowing, and this year has been no exception. As the calendar year enters its twilight months, reflection has been given as to what direction the Temple of the Dark Moon will be heading in for the new year.

Already there will be a number of exciting changes ready to be brought into manifestation when the new training year commences around Lughnasadh (end of January) 2020.

Gathering Around the Cauldron is proposed to continue as an open entry however on a more regular monthly basis. This way it will be utilised not only as a means of offering basic ritual and magickal training, but also a gateway to closed or special events and advanced training in the magickal arts.

Free registration for Gathering Around the Cauldron circles through Eventbrite with the attendance cost payable on the night will also continue. This way notifications of relevant themes and what the upcoming circles will consist off are able be provided through Eventbrite’s email message system.

If you are interested in attending a closed or special event, then the requirement is that you will have to have had either completed a previous training course offered by the Temple or attended at least THREE Gathering Around the Cauldron circles to ensure that you have a basic understanding of how the Temple of the Dark Moon conducts its workings. The rituals and magickal workings organised by the Temple are not for bystanders – all attendees will be expected to have a basic degree of understanding and experience when it comes to ritual work and how to conduct themselves within circle.

More about the continuing ebb and flow of the direction which the Temple of the Dark Moon will be taking over the coming months into the future will be made available on the web site.

The Most Powerful Spell (Phoenix LeFae)

Be mindful of what you think because your thoughts become your words. Be mindful of what you say because your words become your actions. Words have power, we Witches and Pagans know that. So I want to share with you the most powerful spell that I have learned. It is simple, but kicks quite a punch. This spells contains just one word. The spell is: No.

Take a moment to practice that one, it can be tricky. Go on, I’ll wait…..no.

How was that? Try it again, let the letters roll around on your tongue. What does it feel like to say that magick word? Is this an easy spell for you or do you find yourself struggling to get it out?

Yes, this post is totally about my stuff, but I’m not alone in my challenge to not do all the things. I love teaching and ritual. I thoroughly enjoy all of my side projects. My work is fulfilling. It is lovely to be invited to go out to an event. Of course, I want to say yes to all that is asked of me. FOMO (fear of missing out) is totally a thing. And it’s so easy to just say yes to all the opportunities that cross my path. It feels good to say yes.

But it’s not healthy.

We might feel called to help out a loved one. You might find yourself giving more than you’re getting. You could even discover that you keep saying yes, when you really want to say no. Perhaps you keep saying yes because you are worried if you say no the opportunities will stop? Saying no can be really hard. It’s a word that holds a lot of power and that power can be a little intimidating, especially if we don’t have practice with it.

You don’t want to disappoint anyone. You don’t want to come across as selfish. Maybe you really really want to do it, but it conflicts with a prior commitment. All of these things are and have been true for me. No can feel like you are burning a bridge or shutting a door forever, but the good news is that’s just not true.

Discernment is our most powerful tool. Combine that tool with the power of the spell of no and you become and unstoppable force!

Saying no is about self care. This is a spell of putting your needs first. When you use this simple magickal spell you empower yourself and take control. I’ve been working on this practice for years. I’m far from perfect, but I’m getting better at it every day.

via The Most Powerful Spell | Phoenix LeFae

The Cleansing Power of Salt Bowls: Removing Negative Energy from the Home (Astrea)

salt bowl plate remove negativity negative energy pagan witchcraft
A salt bowl, with sea salt, juniper berries, sprigs of juniper, peppercorns, and powdered clove. Photo copyrighted by Astrea.

For millennia, all over the world, salt has been considered a protective and cleansing agent, both physically and metaphysically.  A salt bowl in your home can absorb water, emit ions, and kill bacteria.  Some people like to buy fancy salt lamps for this purpose, but a simple bowl filled with salt can do the trick, too.

1. Choose a Bowl

Choose a bowl to use for your salt bowl.  You can go for something plain or fancy — whatever you prefer.  I like to use a black soup bowl for the black-and-white contrast.  You could use a smaller bowl if you’d like to take up less space.

If you’re going to leave the bowl out for more than a couple of days, I recommend using a non-porous bowl (i.e. not wood).  However, if you’re okay with salt penetrating the porous material, and possibly ruining whatever protective cover it has, you can use whatever you wish.

2.  Choose a Salt

I like to use natural sun-evaporated sea salt for my salt bowls.  If you’re feeling fancy, you can buy some black sea salt, pink Himalayan sea salt, kosher diamond crystal salt, Japanese big-flake salt, or any other kind.  If you don’t want to set out a whole dish of that kind of salt, mix the fancy salt with some good old regular sea salt.

juniper berries protective magic herb plant pagan witch salt bowl

3. Add Herbs and Oils, If Desired

Open your cupboards and peruse your spice rack and tea tins.  You can add anything to the salt.  It will add another aspect of cleansing to the dish.

I like to add juniper berries to my salt bowl because juniper is a protective herb.  Add cloves and peppercorns as they are also protective and are known to banish negative energy.  I also like to add a few drops of essential oils, like tea tree, lavender, or thieves blend.

Some people like to add garlic, rosemary, rue, bay leaves, and many other protective herbs.  Other cultures have been known to cut lemons or limes and set them in the salt.

4. Spell Out Your Intentions

I like to mix everything together with my fingers and speak my intention out loud.   I say something like, “May this salt cleanse the energy of my home and protect me from negativity.”  If you can go into an altered state at this point, do so.  Feel yourself become more cleansed, and align your energy with the purpose of the salt bowl.

salt bowl absorb negativity negative energy pagan witch spiritual home

5. Set It Out

Place your beautiful salt bowl somewhere in your home.  Be conscious of the salt bowl.  When you pass by it, use it as a cleanser of your energy.  You can push negative energy into the salt bowl, or touch the salt with your hands to ground any errant energy.

Other people like to place salt bowls in the corners of a room.  You can also sprinkle salt on your windowsills, as long as a pet won’t jump up there, and as long as the windowsills are not metal, which is susceptible to rusting in salty conditions.

To read this article in full, visit here.

Gathering around the Cauldron Meetups

Gathering around the Cauldron meetups are specifically designed for novices to explore the practices and philosophies of magic, ritual and contemporary wytchcraft, as well as providing those who may have read a few books to gain experience by putting this knowledge into practical application.

The underlying emphasis of what will be shared during the Gathering around the Cauldron meetups will be placed on the Southern Hemisphere.

During the meetups, participants will:
:: Gain personal experience in creating a sacred space.
:: Be guided through magickal pathworkings and visualisations.
:: Work in accordance with the seasonal Southern Wheel of the Year.
:: Raise and work with energy.
:: Connect with Deity.
and much more.

Gathering around the Cauldron will be held on Thursday, 8 and 22 August, 12 September, and 14 and 28 November 2019 (7.30pm to 9.30pm).

Bookings are essential as there are limited places available.  Reserve your place free through Eventbrite.

If you have booked a place then for whatever reason cannot attend, it is considered polite to let us know.

Venue: Temple of the Dark Moon covenstead, Parafield Gardens
Cost: $20 per fortnight (payable on the night)

Herodias and the Queen of Witches (Coby Michael Ward)

Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The Witch Queen in Traditional Witchcraft

The concept of a Queen of Witches is not new to modern traditional witchcraft.  When investigating this concept from a historical perspective many common themes begin to arise, and we see the fluid stream of polytheistic syncretism.  Certain names and themes circulate around this concept, shedding light on the transformative nature of pagan deities.  They are not fixed in concrete and steel like the gods of modern society, but ever changing and growing like the roots of a tree, branching out above and below.  For me, the Queen of the Witches is the chthonic aspect of the mother goddess embodied in the fertile earth.  She draws her fertility from the dark rich soil, feeding the lifeforms of the surface.  She is one of the elder gods.  A nameless primal archetype of early humanity who has overtime assumed multiple forms, names and identities based on the people perceiving her.

Within the school of Traditional Witchcraft there are a handful of recurring deities that are linked in the historical procession of the primordial witch goddess; such recurring names as: Diana, Herodias, Habondia, Frau Holda and others help us piece together the etymology of the original goddess.  I am generally focused on those figures found within the folklore of the British Isles and Germany via the Holy Roman Empire.  Within this spectrum the earliest sources are traced back to Greece and Rome from which these themes disseminated originally.  Witchcraft scholars seem particularly interested in the goddess Diana.  Historical sources show that her veneration continued well into the Christian era.  Her origins, like many others begin in ancient Greece before making their way to the Roman pantheon.  It was a Roman custom to create composite deity names for various situations for example the Roman Juno-Lucina began as Hera-Diana in Greece.  It is here that historian Carlo Ginzburg, in his famous Ecstacies, points out that the original nomenclature was written and transcribed as Hera-Diana. The Church seeking to associate goddess worship with diabolism used this as an opportunity to distort the original theme.  Hera-Diana was transcribed as Hero-Diana to associate her with the biblical figure Herodias.  This was reinforced at the ironically named Council of Truer in 1310, which set Herodiana next to Diana to perpetuate this distortion.

Herodias, Erodiade, and Aradia

According to the research of Raven Grimassi; “the appearance of Herodias, as a biblical figure, in connection with a goddess of witchcraft is an intentional displacement of deity figures.” (Herodias in Witchcraft)  Initially it seems as though the close spelling between these two different names is what resulted in the distortion, however it played into the goal of the Church to dismiss the validity and reality of Dianic worship.  This allowed church officials to connect the pagan figure Hera-Diana with the Biblical figure Herodiana or Herodias, and the Italian translation of Erodiade into one cohesive idea.  The story of Herodias begins in the New Testament, much like the Old Testament’s Jezebel another wicked woman of the Bible.  Herodias is known for her role in having John the Baptist beheaded for criticizing her marriage.  She is depicted as one of the Bible’s many wicked women, in association with witches.

This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.
This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.

Erodiade (Herodias) remained part of Italian folklore prior to Charles Godfrey Leland and his popularization of the name Aradia.  According to folklorist Sabina Magliocco, Aradia was a supernatural figure of Italian folklore that was widely known prior to the publication of the Gospel of the Witches, which wasn’t published until 1899.  It seems that it is a common trend for the early Church to graft itself onto local folklore by creating Biblical connections with the intention of converting pagans, however in retrospect it seems that this only insured the survival of these entities by facilitating their transition into the new religious paradigm.  Papal proclamations and decisions made in councils would determine the Church’s official stance on these issues.

Diana, as the Queen of Witches

There are a handful of female deities that most fully embody the power of the mother goddess and the craft of the witch.  Diana, and her many counterparts and consorts are known for leading her followers on the winding path of spiritual discovery and personal power.  The Church also recognized this powerful embodiment in the form of Diana, attesting to her connection to the Unseen.  Their goal, after hundreds of years of polytheistic goddess veneration, was to convince people that Diana was an illusion created by the Devil to lead the unsuspecting away from God.  By introducing the concept of deception, Church officials attempt to dismiss the validity of Dianic worship.  They condemn those who believe in such illusions, however those who believe witchcraft itself is an illusion are even more deceived according to the Church.  Church doctrine at the time explicitly warns of women who follow Satan, fly at night and worship Diana as found in the Canon Episcopi.

The four main points of the Canon Episcopi are outlined in the infamous Witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum. The first and most important of these main points is that there is only one true God and no other should be worshipped except for him.  The second point mentions Diana specifically as the goddess of the pagans; it points out that she is actually the devil in disguise using glamour to deceive people.  The third point continues to discuss the devil’s power of illusion, by making followers think that are flying long distances, it is actually another glamour used by the Devil.  The fourth and final point again mentions Diana by name.  It states that real witches make a pact with the Devil and must obey him in word and deed.  The canon also encompasses all and every act of witchcraft which are many and diverse.  It also states that real witches are doing much more than worshipping Diana and flying at night.  It is suggested that the Canon should be extended because, “witches do much more than these women, and are of a very different kind.”  I believe this quote from the Malleus Maleficarum is an example of the distinction between pagan folk practices and actual witchcraft, which was a common nuance at the time.

Her Majesty

The image of the Queen of Witches has taken many forms over the millennia.  The power to assume these cross-cultural forms is unique to the elder gods of our nameless tradition.  Sects of night flying witches were known to ride with various ancestral goddesses.  As the goddess of life, death, and rebirth; she presides over all aspects of our existence.  She is the primordial mother of the Underworld beckoning the souls of the dead back to her embrace.  According to many traditional witches, the Queen of Elfhame or goddess of witchcraft as she is known, is a counterpart to the Master of the Wild Hunt.(Craft of the Horned Piper, 17-20)  During the winter months from Samhain to Yule the Wild Hunt or Furious Horde led by the Horned One and his Queen, are known across Europe for guiding the souls of the dead across the sky.  Both assuming different aspects during the dark and light halves of the year.

Resources:

“Herodias in Witchcraft” by Raven Grimassi

The Goddess Aradia and other subjects

Wikipedia Entry: Herodias

Win a copy of Dancing the Sacred Wheel

I am delighted to announce that the third edition of Dancing the Sacred Wheel is nearing completed due to the need to change publishing platforms.

Dancing the Sacred Wheel is a journey through the traditional eight seasonal festivals (sabbats) and how they relate to the Southern Hemisphere. Incorporating history and traditional Pagan lore with personal experience and ritual insights, invaluable pointers are included as to how to incorporate the localised elements into something that also provides a “traditional” feel.

While the focus of Dancing the Sacred Wheel is for the Southern Hemispheric practitioner, a challenge is set to the reader, regardless of which hemisphere they reside, to draw inspiration from their local environment, and to create a “Wheel of the Year” that is completely unique for them.

To win your own copy of Dancing the Sacred Wheel (3rd edition) simply like and share the post found on the TDM Publishing Facebook pageh.

The winner will be announced at the end of April 2019.

Some of the Biggest Mistakes when Learning Magick

Magick is a strange interest to have and as such, people are often drawn to it for rather high brow reasons:
:: You want to understand the universe and your place in it.
:: You want answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything – not just second-hand faith in somebody else’s proclamations.
:: You want a heightened sense of personal dignity, integrity and power to achieve the goals that matter to you the most.
:: You want enchantment. You want to live an enchanted life – one in which you can immerse yourself in wonders and mysteries, and experience intensity that people who are checked out in front of their phones or TV screens never will.
:: You want a heightened reality, or even to quest for absolute reality itself.