The Power of Language

Having worked over 60 hours for the last couple of weeks, I find myself with the rarity of having a free weekend, resulting in finally catching up with emails, blog postings and other outstanding projections, including finalising the upcoming Encountering the Dark Goddess month long “sadhana” (spiritual journey) that will be commencing on 6 June 2020.

One of the blog posting that took interest was John Beckett’s The Power of Language and the Dangers of its Misuse. To know what you are doing (which includes the use of language) is one of the four powers of the sphinx which are taught within the Temple of the Dark Moon’s Outer Court training. As Beckett points out in his blog, “there is power in ritual language”, yet increasingly people often mistake what may be foreign to them as being “inherently deep and meaningful” without thinking about what they’re doing.

From a devotional perspective, there tends to be a difference in opinion as to whether you should communicate with deity in their cultural language, ie addressing prayers to Greek Gods in Greek, or mantras to Hindu deities in Sanskrit. While this maybe possible in some cases, as language is a human invention as a means of communication, many have evolved over time so would a devotee address Demeter, Hermes or Zeus in ancient or modern Greek? Surely being divine beings, deity (in whatever guise we mortals attach to them), have the ability to transcend language. Beckett offers examples of his experience as an American devotee of the Celtic God Cernunnos in his aforementioned blog.

Probably one of the more important comments Beckett makes is the reminder that there IS POWER in ritual language, especially if you are using something that taps into the collective unconscious that has been built up since its initial use. For example, the Latin Mass or the Islamic Call to Prayer. At the end of the day, ritual language does not need to be foreign or archaic, but you should know what the words means and when spoken, that your intent is appropriate. If you are going to use non-English words in your rituals, then put some effort into pronouncing them correctly.

Within contemporary witchcraft there is one such chant that debate still ensues today as to its meaning, and that is what is often referred to as “The Bagabi Incantation”:

Bagahi laca bachahé,
Lamac cahi achabahé,

Karrelyos.
Lamac lamec bachalyos,
Cabahagi sabalyos,

Baryolas.
Lagozatha cabyolas,
Samahac et famyolas,

Harrahya.

In the 1970s Michael Harrison allegedly examined the etymology and concluded that the words derived from the old Basque language, and was in effect some kind of witch rallying cry to gather for the work of the slaughter and harvest before feasting. Harrison provided a possible English interpretation:

Kill (or the Feast) in November; kill!
I shall transport thee there myself,
and without the aid of a sieve,
to scour the plates and dishes with sand:
work (which must be done) with those plates and dishes.
(We shall meet our friends) ready for the drinking-cup
if they shall go (to the Feast), their bellies full with
quaffing from the drinking-cup.
O Sons (of the Master) with your Families (shout His praises with the cry)’.
‘HURRAHYA’!

More recently, Sorita d’Este and David Rankine concluded that the Bagabi incantation had no actual linguistic equivalent in any language, barbarous version in grimoires, or old magickal papyri, and as such, “considering the villain in the original tale of Theophilus is a Jewish Magician, it is possible that the Bagabi is in fact a corrupted Hebrew Chant.”

Alternatively, it may have originated from a 13th century French religious drama, Le Miracle de Théophile by the Trouvère Rutebeuf that “refers to the legendary history of St Theophilus of Adana, who according to traditional saints’ legends made a pact with the Devil and repented of it … This play is the original source of an influential invocation to the Devil (in an unknown language) … given to the character Salatin … labelled a sorcerer.” The words that Salatin used to invoke the devil are those of the Bagabi incantation.

For those contemporary witchcraft practitioners who have used the Bagabi incantation in their rites, experiences similar to the Thelemic concept of the Barbarous Names of Power have been recorded. Aleister Crowley advised that “the most potent conjurations are those in an ancient and perhaps forgotten language, or even those couched in a corrupt and possibly meaningless jargon.” When used in evocation, barbarous names serve the purpose of exalting the mind from the vulgar world through a release from rational, discursive thought. They are used as a mechanism for provoking ecstatic consciousness, and therefore further indicating the power that language has within magical ritual.

The Anatomy of the Soul in Nordic Traditions (Dr Hawk)

The parts of the construct we call the “self” in Norse traditions are actually very advanced and complex, difficult to translate into modern English . Our language is very cold and rigid, theirs was full of feeling and conviction, but also with an odd fluidity where words related to many other words and the collective concepts all had something to do with one another. This later facet is seen in what the Nords called “kennings” and is the basis of much rune lore and galdr magick, but that is a whole other subject. This article taken from Dr Hawk’s Conjure Kitchen explains some of the more advanced concepts behind the various parts of what makes us human from the Old Norse perspective.

The accepted parts of the human in Norse tradition are Líkamr and Hamr, Hugr and Munr, The Fylgja, and The Hamingja.

Ǫnd, óð, lá, læti and litr are all part of the likamr. These roughly translate to “breath”, “inspiration”, “form”, “movement” and “health” respectively and are listed as the gifts of Odin (and his brothers) when He (they) created the first humans out of an ash and an elm tree. Of course, these too are more complex concepts. Ond, for instance, is probably best described as equivalent to the Hindu concept of Prana. it is both the physical breath and the life-force of the universe as transmitted through breath while óð (also written odhr) is strangely translated as both “sense” and “madness” depending on context and is probably better described with the Welsh word awen or the Old Irish Imbas and refers to the Divine Will as transmitted from God through mankind.

Lá, læti and litr link the Likamr with the Hamr. Lá is the actual physical form or shape, læti is movement and force or energy as transferred via the body, and litr is the vital essence which gives the color and “spark” of life to living flesh. These combined manifest the Hamr which is the personal sphere of existence, the “analog” if you will between the self and the world around you. The interesting thing about Hamr is that while it is generally regarded as the physical body, it is very much a changeable thing. Hamr can be thought of as how others perceive you and, through certain spiritual and physical disciplines, can be altered so that one is perceived in different ways. The ancient notion of “shape-shifting” is rooted in this discipline. Modern witches may refer to it as “glamour” or a form of telepathic suggestion wherein another perceives what one wills them to perceive.

Hugr and Munr are best known through the names of Odin’s ravens “Hugn” and “Munin” or “thought” and “memory” which is satisfactory, but still falls short. Hugr is the analytical part of the brain, the rational, reasoning, logical form of thought. Munr is the artistic, emotional, and intuitive side of the mind, which is seen to be rooted in past experiences, but also in connection with Divine Will. As such, it is translated as “memory” but it is also the bridge which connects the mind and spirit by way of the óð, thus linking past, present and future through thoughts, memories and actions. The Fylgja and The Hamingja are the most esoteric.

The Fylgja is often modernized as “fetch” and is seen as a sort of “familiar” or “totem” when it is perhaps best described as the astral body… yet, still, this is not completely accurate. Fylgja is sometimes translated as “follower” though, more often than not, it precedes the physical body. I often think of the scene in “Donnie Darkko” when the eponymous character sees the odd orb of viscous, shimmery, substance which leads him through the house to his father’s gun. Fylgja is the outer manifestation of will before it comes into formation. It is the “quantum observer” if you will, that which influences the outcome as an extension of what is expected. There is another word, “Mægen” commonly translated as “might” but is really the active force or collective power of an individual and all their various parts as discussed herein. Mægen is that which connects the Fylgja and the Hamr. It is the collective energies of all the other parts of the self which the Fylgja then seeks out the best match for. Mægen is therefore translated into “might” because the more all of those energies are in alignment, the more focused and potent the Fylgja which, in turn, makes the will all the more difficult to overcome. A Fylgja with potent Mægen is practically an unstoppable force.

Then there is the Hamingja. It is commonly described as “luck” though, in reality, it is more likely that what we call “luck” is more a byproduct of the Hamingja and Fylgja. Hamingja is connected with the ancestors, their collective deeds, as well as your own. Hamingja can be made stronger or weaker by way of right or wrong actions and mindfulness. It is embodied in the rune “ēðel” or “othila” which is translated as “estate” which itself is the physical embodiment of the legacy of a family and its name. Hamingja, therefore, is sometimes regarded as a sort of guardian spirit which hovers over and guides the individual in life. Like the Fylgja, it could be regarded as having a mind of its own, but it is important to remember it is not exactly conscious. Like a computer program, its actions are determined by the energies or “code” put into it. If there is a lot of “bad juju” in your family history, it then falls to you to balance out and contribute good energy to your Hamingja and to overcome that which guides you down the same paths as your ancestors. In this way, Hamingja is somewhat linked with the concept of “karma” which the Norse also have some interesting concepts for.

Wyrd and Ørlög make up what we might call “karma” and, like everything else discussed here, are unique to Norse ontology. Both can be described as “fate” but Wyrd is the fate that you weave through words and deeds while Ørlög is the predetermined and inescapable product of natural law. To draw a parallel with Hinduism they would be like karma and dharma respectively, but, again, they are not exactly the same. Everything you do and say affects your Wyrd, which in turn affects your luck and the ongoing flow of your life. Ørlög is more primal, less defined, and less changeable. Ørlög extends quite a lot from your Hamingja while Wyrd can be seen more as an extension of Hamr. The relationship between the words “Hamingja” and “Hamr” is apparent and Wyrd and Ørlög are the bridges between them and between the energetic world of the Divine with the physical world of mundane life. If Hamr is the self in the current form and Hamingja the self, or selves, which manifest this current form, then wyrd is the fate shaped by this form and Ørlög the fate shaped by the other.

In later day traditions there is a sort of “demon” or spirit called “Loke” who can be appealed to in various ways to influence luck as evidenced by a variety of later day staves or sigils designed to bring luck in various ways such as at market or fishing. The spirit is associated in many ways with “shimmering” things, light, fire, etc. There is every likelihood that this spirit is Derrived from the “trickster” God, and Odin’s blood-brother, Loki. It is also interesting that the descriptions and etymologies of various words related to “Loke” bear a striking resemblance to those of the name “Lucifer” the fallen angel and erstwhile God of various denominations and lineages of traditional, old-world, witchcraft. It may be that when one must overcome their Hamingja, or perhaps attempt to influence their Ørlög, that this is the spirit to which one must appeal.

How to Be a Better Beginner (Thorn Mooney)

A new year has commenced and while I am taking a bit of time away from the coven to finalise a number of outstanding writing projects, I came across the following article by Thorn Mooney which really struck a cord, considering the less than satisfactory outcome from last year’s Outer Court training. This resulted in a considerable amount of contemplation around future training structures, not only of the particular tradition of contemporary witchcraft that the Temple of the Dark Moon is aligned with, but indeed providing any degree of training in general when it comes to witchcraft in this Instragram image driven modern world where anyone tends to classify themselves as a “witch”.

A result of the contemplation undertaken is to offer training via a new format, Gathering around the Cauldron, where the focus will be a balance between the practical and theory. Should there be enough genuine seekers, then The Wytch’s Circle may be held at a later stage.

Back to Thorn’s article where she addresses the issue of how a seeker can simply be a good beginner! Her entire article can be found here.

We’re living in a moment—and I’m turning into my father as I say this—where a lot of people want things done for them. It’s not really our fault (I’m including myself in this, because let’s be real, my father was talking to me, too). Culturally, we’ve become accustomed to being able to just Google answers, to download an app for whatever our problem is, and to receive twenty-four hour customer service, whatever sort of customer we are.

I see similar patterns in many of the spaces occupied by beginners in Pagan and witch communities. People don’t want to read multiple books, they want to read one perfect one. Lots of people don’t even want to do that: why read a book when you can just DM [direct message] an author and ask them to explain what witchcraft is? Even using Google is too much to ask. When the going gets tough, the tough abandon ship and then complain that there aren’t any good resources available.

Beyond books, this applies to my own experiences with inquiries to my coven. These days, my group’s exclusivity has less to do with our tradition and more to do with the reality that people are just less willing to travel more than 15 miles, to compromise their personal schedules, or to do the work they’ve asked for (reading, contemplating, working ritual, attending coven meetings, etc.). I want to be clear: there’s a very important conversation here about inclusivity and ableism that’s ongoing in many magical communities (including my own coven), but I’m not talking about people who need consideration. I’m talking about people who are just entitled and lazy, or at least unaccustomed to putting forth the individual effort required for anything beyond mediocrity (who then complain as though the fault for their mediocrity lies elsewhere).

How do you not become one of these people? Well, the good news is that if you’re worried about it, you almost surely aren’t. But just in case:

1. Read everything, regardless of what the Internet says. Go to a library, use interlibrary loan, and get your hands on as much text as possible. Then actually read and think about the material critically. No book is perfect. No author knows everything, no matter how solid their bio sounds or how many social media followers they have.  Do some comparison! Does this text largely agree with other texts on the same subject? If they’re saying something bananas, look for confirmation elsewhere! And remember that just because something is repeated often, that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

2. Ask better questions. My ninth grade geometry teacher told us on the first day that there were, in fact, stupid questions. A while ago, I wrote a blog that mentioned the failing utility of the question, “Is this book any good,” but there are others I’ll address here.

Broad questions and questions that reveal you haven’t done any legwork on your own are the main culprits. The one that plagues my inbox personally is, “What’s a traditional Wiccan?” Here’s why that question is frustrating: first, I literally wrote a book about what that means. I run a website about it. I write a blog about it and make videos about it. Most of these things are available for free. A ten second Google search will turn up, not only an answer to that question, but my answer to that question. If you can answer it with a Google search, do that first.

“But Thorn, you know Google isn’t always reliable! How can you tell people to rely on Google?” Thanks for pointing that out—yes, you’re correct. And I’m not. We’ll use the unreliability of Google to craft better questions. Like so: “I read on Google about traditional Wicca. Is true?” This is a much better question. It’s more specific, and it demonstrates you’ve put forth an effort. It requires less time to answer, and is therefore more likely to receive a response. This isn’t just me being weird and picky, this is true for most people who find themselves in the position of answering questions (see, Steve O’Keefe). Here’s another good one: “What does traditional Wicca mean to you?” A very similar question, but with the nuance that you understand you’re talking to one person and that mileage will vary. You can improve practically any question with some variation on, “But what do you think?”

If you learn to ask more specific, thoughtful questions, you will get better answers.

3. Get uncomfortable. I’m not saying throw out your personal boundaries or disregard your safety, but any time you’re doing something new you’re going to be dealing with a learning curve. You’ll hit a wall at some point and progress will get slow. It’ll happen. Sometimes the wall is running out of low-hanging fruit and suddenly having to seek out more advanced material, or new people who can guide you. Sometimes the wall is conflicts with other parts of your life, which you can either ignore or work through. Ignoring inconsistencies, conflicts, or other uncomfortable places will result in the wall not moving, and in no progress happening either way. You’ll sit right where you are. When you choose to work through something, you may still decide that the thing is wrong, irresolvable, or worth walking away over, but at least you’ll come by those conclusion honestly and on your own terms. When things become difficult, keep going. That’s usually means you’re making progress.

4. Be okay with being a beginner. In fact, rejoice in it. You know what I find exhausting? Social media accounts and blogs run by beginners that purport to be resources for others, when really they’re just plagiarized from books or other websites. Everyone wants to set themselves up as an expert as quickly as possible. Aside from things being exciting and new, there are resources everywhere, lots of people who want to help you, and every damn day can feel like a discovery of something magical. There’s nothing sillier than watching beginners fight online over who’s right, what’s authoritative, what terms really mean. Enjoy the learning process, and take advantage of this time where people expect you to not know. Don’t try to bullshit people, have some modesty, be kind, and do more listening than talking.

5. Take action. Reading and hoarding information is all well and good, but you have to do something with it. It’s true that witchcraft and magic are serious arts, and it’s also true that you can do foolish things and get hurt along the way. Let’s be real: someone who just read their first book and has never worked ritual magic is disproportionately unlikely to successfully invoke something genuinely harmful or to successfully pull off a working that is truly destructive. More than likely, nothing at all will happen, except for whatever internal emotional experience results. Witchcraft isn’t skydiving. A beginner and an expert skydiver both jump out of a plane, and they both have to equally deal with the fact that they’re falling. In magic, however, things don’t work just because you say the words and do the motions. You’re not just jumping and falling. There’s effort, intention, connection, and skill behind it. Those things develop in time, with work. For most people, success rates increase with time and practice. So start!

6. Don’t hang your hat on any one teacher, and don’t pick a hill to die on. I have my favorite writers and teachers, as well as religious narratives, traditions, and perspectives that are dear to me. However, I try not to model my practice after any one of those exclusively. Witchcraft isn’t a cult of personality, and it’s also not static. Don’t pin yourself to any one person or perspective, especially in an era when so many of our heroes and ideas seem to be made of straw. Community leaders are ousted, change their minds, convert, retract their positions, and are human just like everyone else. At the very least, they’re going to die eventually. If your practice is all about someone else, where will you be when that person isn’t there anymore? The same is true for ideas. Witches who began practicing in the 60s and 70s (and earlier) had to watch while their understanding of history was ruthlessly dismantled by scholars in the 90s and later. Witches who began their practice before social media had to readjust with the development of the Internet, and all of the changes that brought. In the last decade, some of our most cherished teachers have revealed themselves to be bigots, sex-offenders, and plenty else besides. Life gets messy and history keeps moving, without much care for your feelings. Explore, be open. You have to keep enough distance so that when it’s time to let something go, you can.

7. Do the work you say you want. If you say you want to be psychic, and every book and teacher out there says similar, core things about how to develop your psychic abilities, and you don’t do them because they’re time consuming or difficult, you don’t then get to complain about not progressing as a psychic. Magic, spiritual development, witchcraft, tarot reading, group leadership, and pretty much anything else worthwhile you can name requires actual work. That means time, commitment, effort, reflection, and repeated failure (after which you get up and try again). If you want to do the thing, and especially if you ask for help to do the thing, then you have to actually do that work that you said you wanted to do. Buying a book is not the same thing as reading a book, and it’s definitely not the same thing as doing the exercises in the book. So how badly do you want it? Prove it.

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)