MUSINGS OF A MODERN MYSTIC: Conquering Depression With Your Tarot Deck

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is written by Fiona Tate, The Depression Muse. It is published under Jaclyn while Fiona figures some technical difficulties out.

What you may not be aware of, is just how powerful the tarot can be if you live with Depression or other mental illness. I’ve been working with Tarot since my late teens and I’ve been living with Depression since childhood. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here’s a brief introduction.

I’m Fiona, AKA The Depression Muse. 

Image: Fiona Tate, The Depression Muse

I’m a Lilithian Witch, a writer, a mental health mentor, a tarot reader, a wife and a butler to 2 dogs and 1 cat. We live in a house bus in NZ and you can usually find me chained to my computer, just like I am now.

Oh, and if you’re into qualifications, I hold a BA in Psychology, and have over 25 years of work experience in mental health, alcohol and other drug use. But really, the best education I’ve ever had was managing to deal with Depression since childhood.

Now, it’s not all bad. I don’t want you to think that I’ve spent most of my 52 years on this planet being stone cold miserable because I haven’t. But I have spent most of those years fighting a constant battle with the thing in my head that I call the demon Depression.

But no, not anymore. .

No, I haven’t been cured. In fact, I firmly believe that you can’t cure Depression. Sure, there are people out there who have one bout of Depression and then never have another one. But, they’re few and far between. The majority of us that experience a major Depressive episode are going to have another one.

Instead, I’ve reached a point where I feel like my Depression is a gift. It has made me who I am today. And I like who I am today. I’ve survived a lot and I know I can cope with anything. I’m more empathetic, more tolerant of others, and a lot kinder to myself than I have been in the past.

Now. Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. I wanted to tell you about using the Tarot as a way to help you manage your Depression. There’s a bit more to it than picking a card of the day, but that’s also an important part of it.

Each card in the tarot deck has something to teach you about your symptoms, about how to manage those symptoms, and about how to find some joy in your life. 

Yes, I said joy. 

I don’t care how depressed you are, somewhere deep down inside you still have the capacity to feel joy. It’s just that the demon that is Depression often makes us forget that.

The tarot reminds us of who we are, who we want to be and how far we’ve come already.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some of my insights into tarot. Each week, I’ll discuss one, sometimes two, of the cards in the standard Rider Waite Colman Smith Tarot Deck. Although they might be similar, these won’t be your regular tarot card meanings. These will be my interpretation through the eyes of someone who manages Depression on a daily basis.

It’s my hope that by showing you how I use the tarot to improve my mental health, you’ll find your own system to use them in the same way. After saying that, I’m more than happy for you to use my interpretation.

I can’t take all the credit though. I read the cards intuitively with the support of my guides, and Lilith who I work closely with every day. It’s a team effort folks!

So, join me next week and we’ll kick off with the major arcana.

Fiona Tate, AKA the Depression Muse, is a Lilithian Witch, Writer, and Mental Health Mentor. She helps people with Depression use it as a superpower and turn it into a creature of beauty. She can be found at depressionmuse.com and is currently looking for people to join her new Black Orchid Alchemy group: Using Depression to build a fulfilling life.

A-dress me, Witches

Freepik

As some of you may or may not know, my favourite gothic dress recently disappeared from the shared accommodation in which I live.
And many of you might be asking, why should we care about that?
Well, spiritual seekers, let me spin you a tale of Witchcraft and empowerment, the infusion of heart and soul into fabric, and the absolute violation when something is just… gone.

Before we begin, let us acknowledge that the world of fast fashion is a blight on our world.
In a world which excuses the horrendous actions of companies because they get cheap bargains, we, as those who understand the impact of energetic vibration (and hopefully care about other people in the world), must open our awareness to the suffering selfishness can create. We can shop smarter, locally, from small independent sellers with higher ethical standards.

All that being said… it began with a dress.

A long black gothic maxi dress with white occult symbols all over it, slit up one side, with a caduceus painted up the front.
The caduceus was very special to me – I was born under the month, day, and hour of Mercury, so my attachment to that symbol as a part of my identity was profound – it became one of my Priestess dresses that symbolized healing and divine messages. I wore it to several important events in my priestess training at Glastonbury, and in Goddess circles. I, like one of the snakes on the chest, became intertwined with it, for as with many magical items – the specialness to their owner creates a magical imprint, and that belonging weaves magic into the fabric.

Growing up I had never rebelled, because it was not safe to do so. I grew up in an environment of abuse, and though I adored the gothic styles, I never quite dared to step outside of the box of safety I had created.
Inviting my mother’s attention for any reason was a bad plan.
So later in life, I experimented with the more gothic styles available – anything that I felt celebrated my Witchy self. It was part of the process of undoing the conditioning that had destroyed me with fear as a young woman. I stepped into my power – mine.
Constantly copied by my youngest sister (the golden child to the narcissist,) anything that used to be mine was taken. Given away or stolen. My boundaries were constantly violated.

Moreover, my Priestess dress became a kind of armour.
Later I had gotten myself into a toxic relationship where my looks and weight were under constant attack. The male in question tried to tell me that ‘bad things happened’ whenever I wore my dress.
He knew it was my favourite, and he knew I looked (and felt) good in that fabric – its unusual cut flattering my natural hourglass figure, and he sought to ruin that for me.
But it didn’t work.
My dress helped me rally that ember of resistance, that steely grit that I had forgotten how to access, and inwardly begin to whisper, ‘fuck off.’
My dress was no longer just a part of my spiritual expression, it had become armour.
The occult symbols were no longer just marks on fabric; they were alive, thrumming with purpose and magick – when I wore it, I was protected. I was totally and completely myself like a second skin.

This brings to mind the stories of Selkie Women and something I wrote about them for one of my Songs of Shades books:

Selkie

“I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I have learnt

From my mistakes,

It took a life time or two,

I swam to shore,

Gave it my all,

The reason being you.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

I was burnt

My actions blurred

Naked and alone

I gave up to much

Against the rocks

My nimble body thrown.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

The tears I wept

The blood I spilt

My essence rough and dry

I longed for love,

And scaled the depths

Reaching for the sky.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.

Now I steal away

In the dead of night

My skin clasped, oh so tight,

I leap the cliff

Into my waves, knowing,

I will be alright.

I am no longer inviting in,

Those who wish to wear my skin.”

Much like the tales of the Selkie women, my second skin was suddenly gone. Missing. I knew it had not left the house by my hand, and I rummaged through my wardrobe, under the bed, anywhere and everywhere for days and days on end.
It was nowhere. It was just… gone.

Freepik

The emotions that I cycled through because of this (and continue to do so) are very real. That dress was a part of me. My life. I had earnt the money to buy it, I had worked magic in it. I had honoured the Goddesses of my spiral walking in it. I had stood discussing sisterhood and what it meant. It was a part of my magical self. Infused down to the stitch. The violation in it being simply gone (without rhyme or reason,) was a cold stab in the heart.
At the time I had also thought it irreplaceable because this dress was a few years old and no longer sold – but the universe sent me a beautiful soul who found a second hand one online, and I cried as I purchased it.
Many other beautiful shining examples of sisterhood rallied around me and told me that they understood why I felt such pain.
This touched my heart, and opened up further understanding.

Throughout history, the creation of clothes has, historically, fallen to the women. Our ancestors weaved and dyed and created magic into their clothing, sewing protective symbols and chanting songs into their stitches. The skill and the witchcraft there was profound – and that memory still reverberates within us through the spiritual ecosystem.
We are connected to that practice. It is a part of sisterhood throughout history, and so when something we value so deeply is gone, it betrays what sisterhood stands for in our hearts, or our connection to the matriarchal spirits who watch over us.
Something precious that mattered to us is simply absent – and the heartbreak that follows is very real.
When people copy or steal from us, they are infringing on our personal sovereignty, our essence, our expression of self.
This is not the same by the way as taking elements of inspiration and weaving it into our stories – for that is a thread, not a garment.
Weaving together is respectful, the energy has a reverence instead of blatant disregard and self-centred violation.

And so we weave a spell, Starlets.
We remind that which was our second skin of our love for it, and how it belongs to us, a beautiful rose with which we adorned our body, and how too it may have thorns should such a violation of its purpose have taken place.

Travel well through the Otherworlds, Starlets

Joey Morris

Musings of a Modern Mystic: Quiet Observations

I’ve never considered myself a torchbearer or of anyone with great importance.

I’m more like a wallflower, hiding behind the vines so I’m not seen. I’ve spent a lifetime living in the shadows, diagnosed young with ADHD, diagnosed in my early 30s as being on the autistic spectrum. And all together struggling to be understood and to communicate in a way that makes sense to the outside world. My thoughts are often jumbled and my words are a storm of confusion to the uninitiated.

I’ve always seen the world differently, heard the wind through the trees differently, the harsh notes of the world always ring strangely to me. But I suppose that is neither here nor there. There is nothing particularly special about me. I’ve never been good with divination. Because of my trauma, my intuition really doesn’t work all that well, but to be a witch, you’ve got to be good at those two things. I’m not and I don’t feel like I need to be in order to follow the path set before me.

I think my gift is seeing what no one else wants to speak about and I’ve spent a long time being afraid of speaking that. What I see is communities in trouble, what I see is safe spaces being turned into boxes to be checked. If you don’t feel or think the same way about blank, then you do not belong. Art that is supposed to be subjective is no longer subjective.

You’ve got to think and feel the same way about it. And before you say that isn’t true… I’m here to tell you it is because it’s happened to me. I was told I was wrong for not feeling the same way about a movie. What’s the big deal you may ask? The big deal is we can’t discuss things anymore without being told we’re toxic and wrong for having different thoughts about things. I’m not even talking about the big things like transphobia, sexism, racism, bigotry… we can’t even feel differently about small things without someone being offended.

The very people who told us we could be individuals are the same people gatekeeping what is allowed and what isn’t. I’m part of many different communities and this problem is in all of them. No one is talking about how unbelievably toxic these spaces are becoming. You are free to be who you wish as long as you fit into certain boxes and you check off certain tallies. No one is talking about how dystopian we are becoming as a society. How can no one be alarmed about this? How can no one see the storm coming beyond the horizon? If we can’t even discuss the little things, how can we discuss the big things?

I’ve seen all sides dehumanize one another, insult each other like children, and overall just be completely hateful and none of it changes anything. You cannot educate through hate. I don’t think a single person gives much thought to someone’s point if it’s filled with any of those things. So if it doesn’t work on you… why would it work on them?

If everyone is unwilling to budge, then how does anything change? All sides trying to silence each other by being louder don’t seem to be working and I feel like we’re running out of time. I don’t know the answers, but I know if we don’t figure out what the answers are together.

We will all fall together.

Musings of a Spider Witch: Rekindling Our Magick

As the waxing moon radiates brilliance over my veiled head, The Badb beckons me into her moss painted woodland.

“Walk with me, Witch. Follow me through this spider laced thicket. Let your spider allies fuse their silken mastery with your lifeblood once more. Let them remind you of what you are, and of that which you have forgotten. Remember the powerful alchemy they bring to you. For they are of you, and you are of them.”

I follow carefully behind her, my beloved Goddess Badb, allowing the Araneus Quadratus weavers to burst into life and devour my dulled senses.

They chitter eerily as they scurry across every goosebump on my skin, swarming in unison to discard the banal detritus that has consumed me for too long.

They cover me in silk, and I slowly feel my soul change shape.
My eight feet bejewelled with lichen and labyrinth.
My eight eyes glistening with fate and prediction.

“You’ve allowed too much, Witch.” Badb scowls at me. “Too much has been taken by the mundane. Too much witchery has been extinguished. Too much vision blinded. Now you will feel again! Now you will see again! For you are Weaver, and you must never lose your magic!”

“Now, reborn and renewed, bring your dreams to me, little on.
We shall weave them like no other.
For you are a tapestry,
And we must spin your greatest yarn.”

This Spider Witch has been revived!

But after she releases me from my purge. I wonder…..

How many of us reach this point? How many of us sacrifice our magic because we are forced into societal prisons full of conditions and stress. How many of us slowly lose our light as we become more and more filtered down?
And it’s hard, right! It’s hard to keep your craft fully charged when your battery is constantly drained by forced routine. So very hard!

So today, make time for your spirit and your spiritual. Don’t allow your flame to be extinguished.

We are torches! We are healers! We are witches!
And we are needed!

Lyndsey x

©Badb’s Cauldron

Babalon Temple Meditation Vision

vision submerged

I entered the temple quietly and slowly. Each step with purpose. Slow as to feel each step with my feet,  cold stone and dirt ground,  and watch the quality of light change as I entered. I hear the water in the pool and give offerings.

A large statue of her stands erect in the middle arms up and open. I sit and empty myself as usual. I ask why I have been feeling so off. I’ve never felt shame in her presence but I have felt inadequate in some way.

She spoke to me and showed me that it’s not a deity I’ve ever felt shame in or inadequacy. It’s amongst other humans Don’t you recognize how at ease you are in meditation and spellwork? That this work and other work I’m doing although it seems separate will come together and make sense in the end…

She was a vision as always, tonight her body was marble white immersed in black liquid.

‘My joy is in your joy’… So simple, it seems. But what for the girl who has forgotten how? Who’s joy gets trampled by the eyes sick souls of others that cannot see the inherent beauty or is made meaningless by feelings of her own inadequacy.

What for the girl who haunts her own space?

Yet you call and beckon and writhe so she will remember. My joy is in your joy, my joy is in your joy, my joy is in your joy…

 

Nova

Homegrown Shamanism: Ponderings of a British Bloodline

Ok so I’m going to say this nice and clearly upfront! There is absolutely no intention here to gatekeep or attack any British person who uses the term I am about to discuss, to describe either themselves or their work. Please read the entire document before you attempt to burn me! This is merely my search for authenticity and it is fully open to discussion.

Here goes…….

Shaman – I’ve always had such a problem with the use of this word within my country, as do many other British folk. Quite basically because it’s not ours! Not our word, not our language, not our culture. Yet it’s thrown around carelessly by us Brits as we tread our spiritual pathways. It’s cultural appropration on its largest scale! Or is it?

According to Britannica.com “The term Shamanism/Shaman comes from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman. The noun is formed from the verb ša- ‘to know’; thus, a Shaman is literally “one who knows.” The Shamans recorded in historical ethnographies have included women, men, and transgender individuals of every age from middle childhood onward.”

And Greentara.ie says “Europeans first acquired the term for Shaman from Russia in the 1690s. During the mid-to-late 17th century, Russian-Cossack explorers and conquerors heard and recorded the word ‘saman’ from the Evanki tribe, a Tungus-speaking people of Siberian Russia.”

So as a British (English) woman, I have never been able to use that word to describe myself, even though I do the same work. Shamanic practitioner? Yes. Call myself a Shaman? Hell no! It always felt wrong. But let’s look into it more deeply.

England’s ancient countrymen would have done the same work as the Evanki Shaman within their tribes. Not the watered down, modern day version that myself and others like me do. I’m talking looking for visions in animal entrails here (sorry animal lovers, but it did happen). And when I say England, I mean Albion. **Albion being my land before the Celts, the Picts, the Romans, the Saxons, and the Norse ever arrived. The Ancient Celtic ‘Druid’ seems to be the word that fits the most as a stand-in, but again, I’m talking pre-Celtic history on our lands so that word doesn’t quite fit.

Other than the word Druid, we British folk don’t have a word for the work a Shaman does. Witch? Witches certainly do the same workings as Shamans, but as we all know, the word Witch has such an abused history that it’s seen as being a slur rather than an honoured path within a community or tribe. And the word Witch comes from Old English (wicce) which would make it Anglo Saxon. So I’m talking much earlier than that word too.

Little is known about pre-Celtic history in Britain. Nothing was every really written down until the Romans came. So when someone like me comes along and tries to find a root to what it is they do and connect with, it’s pretty impossible. And due to that lack of information, I’ve found myself forging my own path.

I call it Homegrown Shamanism, and it’s something that I was guided to by my beloved Goddess Morrigan (with a further push from Elen of the Ways). The Morrigan has always tried to move me away from labelling and boxing myself too much as it’s very restrictive to growth. So both She and Elen plugged me into my natural surroundings instead. And it works! If you consider what you see everyday, what energy touches you, what animals and plant life surround you…..those are your absolute closest allies. That is the purest, rawest energy you can connect with. The most unfiltered, deep down in the dirt, unprocessed, natural, freshest, cyclic connection you can forge. The Morrigan even brought me surprising animal spirit allies. Boars and brown bears! What?! They aren’t British! Oh but they were once. And my land holds many memories of those animals within it.

So let’s go a step further here.

Let’s discuss Elen of The Ways. Some cite her with the birth of British Shamanism! Is that possibly true? At the end of the ice age, Britain was still attached to Northern Europe. A vast continental land known as Doggerland, made it possible to walk from Norway, across what is now Denmark, to the Eastern side of Britain. The ‘suggestion’ is that the Northern tribes of Denmark and Norway, crossed Doggerland, following their Reindeer herds, looking for greener lands. And they brought with them their great reverance for Reindeer, and an Ancient Antlered Goddess. It’s fun to note that in the original northern Saami dialect, the word for a reindeer herd is ‘eallun’, pronounced Elun. Go figure! https://www.laits.utexas.edu/sami/diehtu/siida/reindeer/glossary.htm

Map of Doggerland sourced from https://www.dw.com/en/doggerland-how-did-the-atlantis-of-the-north-sea-sink/a-55960379

So when Elen is cited as the birth (or Mother) of British Shamanism, is it true? Is Elen our original connection to the shamanic path? Is the word Shaman actually a part of Britain’s oldest history? Can we safely use it without stepping into the big black pit of cultural appropriation? Of course, we’ll never know for sure. Very little is fact! But I do like the possibility that us Brits aren’t just Roman engineered conquerors who chose to ‘acquire’ countries that didn’t belong to us when we felt like it!

Whatever the answer to this whole conundrum may be, I’ll still walk my own path. I’ll still work with my closest energies and nature. I’ll still practice my ‘Homegrown Shamanism’. Because sometimes, overly searching for a label, a culture, or a tradition to fit into takes you away from the deepest root of all…..our connection to what is under our feet…..Mother Earth.

Food for thought my loves. Food for thought.

Lyndsey x

**Albion is the oldest name that I could find for England, but there is very little written to prove that it is indeed, England’s oldest name.**

©Badb’s Cauldron

Musings of a Modern Mystic: Witchcraft is Political

 

It has been one year, two months and 20 days since I have sat down to write a blog.

I have not stopped writing; I write posts on my personal page, and the NR fb page. I have also worked on some writing projects.

The blog felt like it needed to rest.

Like it needed to be in chrysalis as badly as I did.

Emerging is scary, emerging in a new form, scarier still.

But here I am with my first blog in an awfully long time to talk about a topic that is much overdue.

A topic I have discussed many times in comments, or a few sentences here and there on the page.

As I move and shift this space to a Collective of writers, instead of just myself, I am inspired more than ever to push the limits. I am inspired to talk about what nobody wants to talk about, or topics that will surely get me trolled.

Bring it on, I say.

I am not here to make you comfortable, and I am done trying to have comfortable conversations.

Comfort gets us nowhere; it will only bring stagnation.

So, what is it exactly that I have to say that is going to get everyone in a tizzy?

I don’t often make generalized or absolute statements, there are simply too many variables and moving parts to any equation in this vast universe that I am careful what I say and how I say it.

This, however, needs to be spoken as an absolute.

Here it goes:

Witchcraft is political.

Witchcraft. Is. Political.

WITCHCRAFT IS POLITICAL.

I can hear it now, the cries and whimpers like, and I am using direct past quotes that have been said to me:

“Don’t bring politics into my Craft!”

“I don’t read your work to read about politics and social issues. Please don’t become *that*.”

“Witchcraft is not political, humans are. We don’t need politics here.”

Privilege.

P R I V I L E G E.

It’s privilege to be a Witch and say that you are not political, to ignore injustices because they “don’t affect you”.

Witchcraft is now and will always be political.

When I use the word political, I am not talking about democracy, per se. Nor am I talking about the United States’ 2 party system that has f*cked us all. This is not Democrat and Republican.

I am talking about what being a Witch, calling oneself a Witch means.

It is truly Revolutionary to call yourself a Witch.

We stand for the marginalized, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the misfits, and the weirdos.

AND WE ALWAYS HAVE!

Activism, Social Issues, Human & Civil Rights, Allyship, Anti-racism, Anti-ableism (and more!) are all pre-requisites to being a Witch.

“You are gatekeeping! How dare you tell me how to be a Witch!”

Is asking you, or telling you, rather, to be a decent human being gatekeeping?

Is it REALLY?!

 

I want you to think about that long and hard if your immediate reaction was/is that I am gatekeeping.

Ask yourself why you feel the way you do?

Is requesting human decency gatekeeping?

If you answer yes, then your issue is far deeper and greater than I can address here.

So, as they say, “not my circus, not my monkeys”.

Witches may have been hidden in history—even hid ourselves and moved in silence, but we got sh*t done.

We weren’t afraid to get our hands dirty.

Some of us still aren’t.

It was the Wise Woman, Man and Person who lived on the edge of the forest communing with nature and plant Spirits, carrying deep rooted herbal and plant knowledge that were Healers in days past.

It was the Healer who was shunned for knowing too much about plants that would help a Woman/Femme deal with unwanted pregnancy in a safer manner than some of her/their other options. Or help heal a Soldier’s war wounds, or gout.

It was the unsuspecting Granny who went to Church every Sunday, who knew Psalms like the back of her hand and whipped up the most glorious Kitchen Magick you ever had seen. Her prayers worked like she had a direct line to God.

To deny the power and role of the Witch is to douse our history in toxic positivity.

Many of us found our way to the Craft because we were met with injustice and/or adversity of some kind, and we needed to take our power back.

To be a Witch is to be Sovereign, without a doubt.

Then I think about this Tweet (one that I have shared on the page before) and I am left wondering:

Are we meant to be Sovereign AND in Service (to Magick)  at the same time?

Why else would we have or collect all this knowledge, and even though I hate the word power?

Why not use it for the greater good?

It is time we decolonized the Craft.

There are too many people who call themselves Witch and turn the other cheek when they see oppression and continue to benefit from systems put in place long ago instead of smashing said system.

We first need equality, then we need equity and finally we will find liberation.

We have a silent oath to uphold when walking this path.

We have an obligation to fight deep in the trenches so that the systems harming us can be destroyed.

If you are not willing to pushback against the status quo, what are you even doing here?

Are you even a Witch, or are you a WINO (Witch In Name Only)?

Witchcraft requires action, to be a Witch requires action; just like the Magick we cast.

Your intentions may be well and good, but unless you act on them, they mean nothing.

Silence is compliance.

Nobody said this would be easy, but it is worth it.

The freedom, strength and courage I have found through Witchcraft and living my life as a Witch cannot be put into words for, they do it no justice.

Blessed Are the Witches, the Oathkeepers, the Torchbearers and the Balancers of Scales.

Lux in Tenebris Lucet

REVIEW: The Power of Hex: Spells, Incantations and Rituals

 

Pexels

It has been a long time since I sat down to write.

There is an odd comfort, like a warm embrace from a past lover, laced with a foreign feeling of no longer knowing who they are as intimately as you once did. The passion? Oh, the fierce passion is still there though.

My fire, my torch, my words are all still here, right where I set them down.

I have been forced into silence, hibernation, reflection.

Many of us have.

Admittedly, on my part, some of it is pure escapism.

Some of it is the sheer surrealism of our current reality.

This year, oy, this year! 2020 has seriously been a year for the record books.

Between everything that has been happening on the world stage; political, social, and economical and with how that has affected each of us individually

ALONG WITH

Everything that has happened to each of us individually in our personal lives/worlds (I do not know a single person having a “great” year),

we are burnt tf out.

It is like the collective is holding their breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As an individual with CPTSD, this is such a familiar space and feeling for me; not that it makes it any better or easier for myself, or the rest of the world.

We are held up in our homes, and even though we may be understanding, it does not change how we may feel.

Like many of my readership I did not have to make many drastic life changes when the pandemic started because, well, introvert for life!

I was, however, infected with CoViD in March (as was my Mother) and have since been through the ringer regarding my health.

Currently, I have Lyme disease and a broken foot and toe from an accident at home.

The message from the universe has been clear—slow down, work smarter not harder, make your work work for you, and most importantly, turn to Witchcraft and your Spiritual practices NOW more than EVER.

Pexels

With all that said, here is the reason I am sitting down to write today:

I figured it is the perfect time to introduce a new feature to my blog: book reviews.

For transparency, some of the books on the roster to be reviewed have been because I was approached by Publicists.

I *do not get paid* to promote books, nor do I personally get anything out of it besides a copy of a book here or there.

The opinions expressed are my own.

If you have any books that you would like to be featured, please send me a message.

One of the main reasons that people reach out to me and seek advice is to ask for book recommendations.

I love to read, and I have been diving back into study since the Universe wants me to rest.

So, this is a happy medium, for me. I am still a Creative, after all, and create I must.

Today’s book is ‘The Power of Hex: Spells, Incantations and Rituals’ by Shawn Engel

You can find her on IG here 

You can find her Publisher here

You can purchase her book here

If you know my work, you know that I am not against Hexing, or any kinds of Baneful Magick.

I believe it should be done ethically (I know, this can be debated as being subjective but, I digress..)

I also know, you’re probably thinking, “what the fuck, Jac? You’re literally hexing someone. How can that be ethical?”

Well, my reply would be, we have all met “hex happy” Witches who think that every little thing requires some jinx, cross, curse, or hex and I am just like…

So, before I get into my review of content let me say that aesthetically, this book is otherworldly! It is hardcover, easy to read, with beautiful illustrations and text throughout.

I admit at first, I thought this book was going to be a hot mess; not because of Shawn personally, whom I have been following on IG for a while, but because of the topic.

How could this topic be approached from a non-colonial perspective, as so many Witchcraft topics often are laced with undertones of Patriarchy, Capitalism, Misogyny and White Supremacy? How could ALL forms of this Magick (hexing) be covered, or attempt to be covered? How could this Author ARM WITCHES with knowledge and practical methods without giving *too much*?

Yes, there is such a thing as too much, and that line must be crossed by the individual Practitioner through their practice, not through a book. The journey into the Void is the most personal journey we take as Occult Practitioners.

However, this book can, and will, aid you in knowing what to do when that leap into the Void happens and/or you are faced with adversity.

This is a book that should be in all Witches’ libraries

Shawn has covered every single base in these 128 pages.

She goes over history, from many traditions.

She covers ETHICAL HEXING; when, how, why.

She talks about HEXING AS ACTIVISM: fuck yes.

This book is rich with information, spells, and it is one of those that you can grab, and because it is written like a Grimoire, you can just open to the page you want, and your spell is right there.

I do not want to give away too much because, duh, I want to support Authors and I want you to go buy this!

But all of the boxes have been checked in this book.

I have read it three times through so that my review could be honest, and I mean *really honest* even if vague.

Image: Jaclyn Cherie

Here is an excerpt courtesy of Shawn Engel and Chicago Review Press, copyright 2020.

‘To Hex or Not?’

“Whether a hex is necessary is something that you will feel in your gut, but there should always be a cooling off period before you perform the hex. Taking an example from everyday life to illustrate this, consider some of the gun laws in the USA: a seven-day waiting period is imposed between the time you buy the gun and when you actually own it. This is intended to curb the potential for crimes of passion. Hexing calls for a similar self-imposed waiting period. I know it may seem dramatic to compare hexing to gun ownership, but I can’t stress enough how powerful the act of focused intention can be when it is backed up by rage. So, if you’re a lover scorned who was just cheated on by her ex, take a break before you hex.

To make issue as clear as possible: when you are deciding whether or not to hex, consider the environment in which a hex may be appropriate. The approach should help you distinguish between actual oppression and merely something bad that has happened to you. It will take some dedication and forethought, but this approach should help clear away any confusion around whether the subject of your hex deserves to be locked away or is just a human being who acted unfavorably.

When deciding to hex, it can be helpful to ask yourself some basic questions. Did this person hurt you or others? And, if so, did they do so with malicious intent? Did this person continuously harm you or others? And, if so, did they do so with malicious intent? The key here is to define intention and willingness to change, and then you should be able to decide if it is worth hexing that person.”

Image: Jaclyn Cherie

Within the pages of this book, Shawn empowers her readers to safely hex, and to use this taboo form of Magick as both defensive and offensive Magick which is an imperative lesson.

This is the perfect book for personal and collective change in these tumultuous times.

Magick is activism.

Hexing is activism.

Witchcraft is activism.

I’m here for it.

Go support a fellow Witch and buy this book.

You will not be disappointed.

Blessed Are The Witches.

 

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: TikTok Witches & Gatekeeping

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I have not written in a while. I guess, like the rest of the world I am observing, and trying to figure out what is happening, what is being revealed, what is falling away, what is resisting imminent death.

Systems are crumbling, rebellions are rising, and a virus has held us hostage for months now.

While I have a list of topics to write about, political, mundane, and obviously Magickal, this is the one that seems most pressing today.

First let me say, loudly:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
ARREST BREONNA TAYLOR’S MURDERERS
AND
WEAR A MASK
If you have a problem with these messages, unfollow the blog because I have news for you:
WITCRAFT IS POLITICAL
Now, carrying on…

I really tried to stay out of this TikTok/Witchtok bullshit, but it’s literally everywhere, and people are asking my opinion; instead of replying to 50 messages, and risk getting myself wrapped up in a conversation *nervous introvert laugh*—I decided writing a blog was the best way to address my opinion, and hit on some points I don’t think folks are understanding or willing to see.

I have watched many videos, read article after article, consulted with folks on all sides and here are the facts as we know them.

A few days ago, a group of “baby Witches” on TikTok decided that they were going to “hex the Fae”.

Yes, you read that correctly.

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Okay, sidebar before we get into the juicy parts of this I gotta say:

Can we stop using the term Baby Witch? I know that it seems innocent enough, but not only is it patronizing as fuck, it’s being used as an insult and a way to further close off our community to new blood.

Why do new Witches bother established, practicing Witches so much?

You were not new before?

How about you just stay in your lane, and let the new Witches create theirs.

What is the issue?

Personally? I like waves being created, I mean, HELLO, have you read my work?

Also, we are not giving these young Adults and Adults enough credit.

These are not children we are speaking of, and in the case of children and Witchcraft, that is an entirely different topic.

“Baby Witches” are often given a free pass, and nah.

Nah.

Nope.

Not happening.

Discernment is key when dealing with all Magickal and Occult Traditions.

Whether you are 18, or 42, in most cases you are of sound mind and able to make educated decisions for yourself.

If you, as an adult, choose to make a poor decision, that is on you.

Those consequences are yours, and nobody else’s.

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Is it someone’s job to step in and say, “you might not want to do that?”

Nope.

  1. That’s gatekeeping.
  2. My number one rule in life: you can’t tell people about themselves.
  3. These are Adults.

Back to my point:

Obviously, hexing the Fae is ridiculous to even think about.

Why would you attack a group of Spirits for no reason? It doesn’t affect me, and so I am able to shrug it off, roll my eyes, and keep it moving.

But, seriously, do you not know who the Fae are and what they are capable of? Seelie, Unseelie or otherwise? Like….why?

We, as experienced Witches, must allow the new ones to fuck up and make mistakes.

We all have made mistakes, we still (hopefully) make mistakes because that is how we LEARN; that is how we continue to evolve on our path and as people.

Getting mad and making fun of these “TikTok Witches” is yet another form of gatekeeping.

I want to give Jason Miller a shoutout for his initial post that inspired me and gave me the courage to write this. His post stated:

“Dear TikTok Witches: Hex, the moon, the fae, or whatever the hell you want. Don’t let anyone police your practice. However it shakes out, and make no mistake some of it will end badly: learn from it.

I have no idea what you are doing or even trying to do, but am excited that young people are doing stuff that makes us roll our eyes. I think its dumb as heck, but that’s half that fun.”

There were rumors that these same Witches were going to hex the Moon and Sun as well.

I have since learned that it was initially started by a TikTok troll, see video below:

You hexed the Fae, the Moon, the Sun and angered Ancient Ones?

Weird flex, but okay.

I am not here to tell anyone how to practice, unless they are coming to me directly for advice and even then, there are so many variables that determine the kind of help they receive.

Here are two key points in all of my rambling that I really want to get out into the world:

Everyone and anyone CAN practice Magick, but often SHOULD is overlooked.

There is no wrong way to do a hex, but there is a right way.

Allow me to elaborate, as I can hear the collective gasp even before this is published.

I don’t care what kind of Witch you are, your initiations or titles (though I will always congratulate and applaud)—the fact remains, everyone and anyone CAN practice Magick.

I said what I said.

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There are a lot of Witches who do not agree with this statement, “Well I am a third generation Witch, High Priestess, Initiate and I am telling you that real Witches….”

Everyone gets tuned out as soon as they say, “real Witch”.

Nobody speaks for all Witches because WITCHES ARE SOVEREIGN BEINGS.

And all Witches are real Witches.

So, miss me with that bullshit.

What is this should I refer to, you ask?

Well folks, should is discernment.

Just because you can do something does not mean you should, or even have to.

There is no manual or advice that can truly be given regarding “should they practice” because that is a decision only the Practitioner can make, and if they hurt themselves then that is on them.

We cannot be both savior and gatekeeper.

Read it again, put it on a t-shirt, write it on your mirror.

We can’t be both.

My second point, you are probably thinking I am off my rocker, but I assure I am not.

There is no wrong way to hex.

I have seen some of the most non-Magickal folks EVERRR throw the nastiest Evil Eye.

I have seen non-Magick folk channel their emotion with enough power and intent that they threw Malefica towards another.

Hexes do not all look like ceremonial glitz, candle Magick, or blood and bone in the woods.

Hexes can be as simple as a look, a whisper in the wind, or a thought.

In fact, that’s often-what hexes were throughout history.

But you are not ready for that conversation.

Now, there is a right way to do a hex, and what I mean by this is: there is a formula for all Magickal workings to allow their outcomes to serve us best.

It is for this reason that many of us pay attention to not only the Moon but Astrological forecasts, days of the week and correspondences and the potential kick back of the Magick we are about to throw; a well thought out hex can produce little kick back if done properly. I am being vague on purpose as I believe Malefica to be a topic that deserves respect and can’t be summarized in a paragraph, or two.

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Allow new Witches to make mistakes, allow them to make us uncomfortable.

Roll your eyes and laugh it off!

We were young and dumb once too, and I know this may hit some of you hard but, we might be able to learn a thing or two from fresh eyes.

Witchcraft is a tradition, a path that has been walked by the marginalized, the downtrodden, the misfits, the outcasts since the beginning of time and we have the audacity to continue gatekeeping?

Witchcraft is also a tradition, a path of powerful individuals who are living and seeking their truth in a world who tells them not to and we have the audacity to box them in and kill their fire?

We are healers. We are teachers. We are students. We are Keepers of the Old Ways.

It is okay to spice Sacred up with a little modern fun, I promise.

Witchcraft can evolve, and should, as all things from nature must grow.

Blessed Are The Witches.

 

 

 

 

 

SERPENTINE WISDOM: Kundalini Awakening & Rising

***NOTE: This photo series is by Monika Ottehenning and I do not own the rights. This imagery fits beautifully.***


“When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity.”

Carl Jung


A Kundalini Awakening happens to about 24% of the population and most of the time it is written off as a physical condition, instead of a spiritual condition that is manifesting in the physical.

The word Kundalini (Sanskrit) means ‘coiled like a snake’ which seems appropriate since it is the life force energy that sits at the base of the spine, bound, and awaits for the awakening.

Kundalini, being feminine itself, is often associated with Shakti, the feminine life force, or sexual energy.

An awakening can happen intentionally through Kundalini Yoga, or other various Yoga poses, but it can also be unintentional, say a back injury, a fall or extreme emotional distress. Some experts say that child birth, meditative practices, and celibacy may also contribute to the awakening. In my case it was a mixture of celibacy and yoga practices; when I had my spiritual awakening, I knew I needed to focus on myself and that meant I had to cut off sexual encounters; the best decision I have ever made.

Before my awakening I would not have shown such restraint.

Celibacy is a personal choice, and one that not many understand. I consider myself to be an extremely sexual, and sensual being and am often told it oozes from my Soul, but I don’t need to be actively engaging in sexual encounters with no depth to be considered sexual; just one of the many lessons my awakening has shown me.

In the past, I didn’t know my worth and I would freely give my sexual energy away.

When your Kundalini energy decides to awaken, it is a sudden pulsating surge that moves up the spine like a serpent and as it moves it blasts open your chakras, one by one.

Most people stay at one level of consciousness for long periods of time, what the Kundalini does is it rips open your third eye, and brings to light any emotions, or wounds you are hiding in the depths of your chakras.

Here is an excerpt from a great book on the topic called Psychotherapy and Spirit:

“As each chakra opens, new levels of consciousness are revealed. Since the consciousness of most people is fairly restricted, the opening of the chakras is accompanied by consciousness expansion and purification of the limitations or impurities that correspond to each chakra.” -Brant Cortright, Ph.D.

I can attest that it is probably the most painful experience one can have, because you are being attacked, for lack of a better word, on a spiritual, physical and emotional level but it is yourself who is the attacker.

Often times Spiritual folk want to make this awakening out to be a beautiful experience, and for some it might be, but the Serpent is notorious for it’s powerful and unforgiving transformative powers.

How do you know if you are experiencing an awakening?

You will usually feel a tingly, pressure from your tailbone up your spine and through the crown chakra; I am known to have blockages in between my shoulder blades, that is where my emotionally chaotic energy is stored when I have not meditated in a while.

Some of the physical symptoms of this awakening are: sensations of heat, tremors, involuntary laughing or crying, talking in tongues, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, rigidity or limpness, animal-like movements and sounds.

The Kundalini energy is a yogi philosophic form of Shatki. If you are not familiar with the term Shatki, it is the female principle of Divine energy, especially when personified as the supreme deity, Durga.

Since the Kundalini energy is feminine, even though both sexes carry it, it makes sense to refer to Kundalini as a form of Shatki.

A side effect that I have heard many women experiencing during this specific awakening is they become prone to yeast infections. The vagina, Sacral and Root Chakras are considered the Feminine Shatki centers in our body; when that is out of whack, it triggers all types of physical manifestations, even though it is a spiritual issue.

So, please listen to your body and treat it accordingly.

I am going to give some tips that have helped me get through this process, one that I still have good days and bad days with.

The number one thing that has helped me is my piece of Jet. There is a property within this specific crystal that when it is worn between the breasts (on a male or female) it takes the Kundalini energy and allows it to be released through the crown chakra. This can cause a slight light headed feeling, a flood of memories, or even tired feeling, but you must release the energy if you do not have time to sit and meditate to get control of it.

Secondly, meditation is paramount. While in your meditative state you must find your snake, in most cases you will see a field of snakes, but you must single yours out; allow the snake to come to you then you must take control of her, and allow her to coil her energy around your left hand. Let her know that you are in control, but pay respect to this Divine feminine energy while doing so.

Also, yoga or some kind of stretching is essential to the Kundalini process. As a beginner yogi I realize that Yoga is hard for many, but there are some poses that everyone can do to some degree that will benefit the release of built up energy in your spine. Such as, child’s pose, downward dog, and Kundalini Yoga itself (which is fairly simple as it focuses on stretch more so than strength, and resistance).

The next tip I suggest is to find a creative outlet, for me it’s my writing, and divination. I fell in love hard with divining because I had to focus my thoughts on something, anything, to get my mind off the pain.

Find something that challenges your mind so that you are not continuously checking back in on the pain.

The last tip I suggest is eating a healthy diet, and stay hydrated! I am all for water and tea; I keep it simple. Try to be aware of the processed foods you are eating, stay away from foods that are too fatty, try to eat as natural, and organic as you can.

Try adding in spices, too because your taste buds will change during this awakening.

Stay away from harmful substances during your awakening such as hard drugs and alcohol in large amounts.

Alcohol intake can increase the pain and makes you dehydrated, which makes the spinal pain worse. When the body is dehydrated the discs that connect your vertebrae become less flexible, and “dry”.

I am a Cannabis Advocate, btw.

I know from personal experience that this can truly be a devastating awakening, but the reward is like nothing else in this world.

My advice is to take care of self, listen to self, love self, honor self and the rest will work itself out.

You must be patient, do not rush the process.

Please do not go out of your way bending, and contorting to awaken this energy, either; if it is meant to happen to you, it will.

If you wake her up and she is not ready to be awakened, prepare for a wrath like no other.

The Kundalini rising is just another way that the Serpent gives us knowledge.

Embrace it.


Further study:

http://yogananda.com.au/pyr/pyr_kundalini1.html