Of Garbage and Rebirth

All my life I’ve known some form of magick. Even though I had no idea what that meant. Things I overheard while at the kitchen table helping the adults make Puerto Rican dishes every weekend. From family involved in Santeria; a Shaman maternal great grandfather, a powerful paternal grandmother (who tried to kill me at the age of 5), my Mami who read people from toe-to-head, never the other way around. My childhood was filled with magick. And yet I struggled from early on for the recognition of Elders in Santeria. I wanted that moment of acknowledgement to confirm for myself and others that I was indeed, gifted in ways I couldn’t even begin to explain. There are memories that live inside me that are such a mystery, I’ve given up trying to figure them out and simply accepted them.

I was never initiated into anything my family was a part of. Mami wouldn’t allow it, telling me I had plenty of time to decide my path. So it was to her that I would tell my prophetic dreams to, but not the endless nightmares. It was her that I would tell who would be dying soon when the acrid smell and taste of death permeated the air and my food. It was her that I would tell the secrets the Orisha statues would tell me. But I would also listen to the advice she would tell those who came to her and kept a mental Book of Shadows written in my Mami’s voice, which I still hear even now, five years after her passing.

I would write things down in pencil on small pieces of brown paper torn from the bodega paper bags and stuff them in my shoes. Forgetting about them for as long as I had the shoes. I played with candles, I created spells, I played with fire – a lot of fire; called to the wind and the birds. I watched my Mami do workings for others, always listening intently to her warnings and instructions. I read all of my Papi’s books on symbolism and numbers in dreams, my Mami’s books on numerology, palmistry, even her book on Nostradamus. She taught me to read the Spanish tarot cards. And yet, I still longed for what would make me different but mostly, accepted. Truthfully and perhaps selfishly, I wanted to be honored, heard, and loved.

I often look back on my life, especially after learning about past lives and how they can affect our current life, and I’ve seen some patterns repeat over and over but none so much as suffering and loneliness. I’ve searched for the remedy to both to no avail. It was only after meeting the man I decided would become my Godfather in Santeria, that I learned of my path; I’m a daughter of Oshun, which surprised me, and one of the avatars of her path is called, Oshun Ibu Kole. He told me it was the path of the vulture goddess and to research it. He explained how this particular avatar was one of a beautiful Oshun who had the ear of Olodumare and other Orishas and yet fell so far down that she was often seen rolling around in the mud; dirty and in misery. She sacrificed herself for humanity and was left to pick up what she could to survive. He compared it to what I’d been through in life; I gave and gave and was always the one left behind to suffer and pick from what was leftover. This Oshun was powerful and honored because of her sacrifice. The vultures were her messengers. There’s also a story I’ve heard since finding out about this path, that says if one is ever out and gets lost in the wilderness or the desert and sees vultures looming and gathering overhead ready to pick at the carcass, they are to shake their arms or dance so that the vultures know they aren’t dead yet.

No one wants suffering and loneliness.

No one wants to struggle and feel as though they are alone in this world and on this path.

And yet I see the path of where I’ve been so clearly now.

The cycle of garbage and rebirth.

And maybe that’s why I’ve always danced.

Lessons in Magick: Simplicity is Key

Tasha Marie

Image: Tasha Marie

“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.”

Natalie Babbitt

I am contacted with questions about Magick a lot, most times it is case specific and has to do with something going on in that person’s life and they simply need another Witch’s eyes, and intuition. I am more than happy to oblige such requests as I do not believe we should hold back knowledge from each other or avoid assisting our Sisters and Brothers; I also do not believe that we should ever pass up the opportunity to teach, in turn learning ourselves.

I also receive the usual spam messages saying things like “teach me black Magick” or “how do I sell my Soul to the Devil”, those get completely ignored.

The rest are questions about the practical side of Magick and as someone who observes, and analyzes, I have realized that in general people overcomplicate Magick as humans tend to overcomplicate everything else.

Magick is never stagnant, it is never still, and if you have reached a point in your Magickal career where you are no longer asking questions, or perplexed by certain aspects, then you are doing it wrong. Your Craft should always challenge you and have you on your toes and you should be prepared to handle anything that is thrown at you; at least build the coping mechanisms to deal with unexplained occurrences with a level head while you figure out a solution.

Magick isn’t necessarily hard, though, either.

It certainly takes discipline, dedication, and a thirst for more, but other than those 3 things, and some talent paired with a strong Will—you should be able to move with relative ease among the Magickal Spectrum.

I wholeheartedly believe in Adepts and Magi of the Craft and/or people who have Mastered aspects of their Craft, but I do not believe we ever stop learning. It seems, though, that people stop once they have reached a plateau, or what they deem to be their “personal best”.

Why stop there?

If I have learned anything in my years of practice it is that there is *always* more. Always.

In the past I have given tips for the Modern Witch, and I am going to do so again today. I give these tips because, again, I don’t think we should hold knowledge from each other, but also to help prove my point of how simple practical Magick can be.

Simple does not mean less powerful, and somewhere along the way that is what our community has come to believe. It seems we are more about show, tools, status, titles, and a need to throw around “power” than actual Witchcraft.

I say leave your pettiness at the door and allow your mind to open and see that it really isn’t that complicated, and we really aren’t that different.

In previous posts I talked about the importance of Grounding. I also talked about how crystals, scents, and meditation can greatly transform your life; both Magick and Mundane. Here is another blog of mine you may find of interest on the art of Protection.

This time around I am going to give a few more Practical tips that anyone can do. For most Witches it seems easier for the Spell to feel completed and firm if tools are used; it also seems easier for the mind to feel “like it has done something” if tools are present; this is not to say that we should become reliant on tools though.

Here are some easy tricks of the trade.

  1. Bay Leaves- I know people usually think of burning bay leaves when wanting to manifest prosperity or burn away negativity, but burning bay is not the only way that you can use this wonderful plant. Bay has a protective property to it, and it should be placed in all thresholds, and windowsills of your home to help ward from ‘evil’ and intruders who wish you harm. The leaves must be dried; you can buy them at your local grocery store already dried, or you can buy it fresh and hang dry it yourself, depends on personal preference.

Once the leaves are dried set your intentions simply by holding them between your palms, place them (point of the leaf facing out, stem facing in) in your doorways, windows, or any other place in your home that you wish to dispel negative energy. You can check the bay leaf for signs of damage, if an attack has been attempted it will turn black or dark brown. You should replace the leaves along with a sage cleansing ritual every 3 months or so. Regular Sage cleansing should be done more often than three months.

Another great use for Bay is that it can be placed upon an Altar for prosperity. I add 1, or 2 green candles (money, also associated with your heart Chakra which will open you up to receive the prosperity), a yellow candle (prosperity and money in Hoodoo) and a white candle (spiritual blessings in Hoodoo). You may also add crystals that help promote prosperity such as Sunstone, Citrine, Ruby in Fuschite, Garnet and Green Aventurine.

  1. Plants- This is not new by any means and the Witches of days past have long known about this. It is said that by keeping many plants around your home, you are not only connecting with Nature, but you are helping to set up early detection for Magick attack, or negative energy. When plants suddenly die, or become diseased, it can be a sign that someone/something has tried, or successfully achieved an attack on you and/or your home. I am not suggesting that every plant that dies in your home is because of a Magickal attack, but if you have a lot of healthy plants and suddenly they start dying (and there is no obvious sign of disease, or furbabies eating them) then you probably should look deeper into the situation.

A Witch’s home is like no other place on Earth, remember that. Always use logic, of course, but sometimes the path we walk and the results that follow are illogical.

  1. Bells and/or Chimes- This again is not something new but is a very effective form of warding your home. Bells and Chimes can also be a way for Spirits to communicate with you. There are bells called Witch’s Bells but yours do not have to be fancy, or labeled anything official to be proficient. Me personally, I use a set of brass bells I picked up at a local Witch Shop. They have 3 pieces of Green Jade, and Ganesha on it; not “Witchy” but personal to me, powerful for me, and useful. Wind chimes can be used as well; you can buy them from the store, cleanse them with sage, set your intentions and hang them up. You may place them in windows, or small bells in doorways. I put mine close to my bed to ward off attacks at night, or to wake me if anything gets too close. Again, it goes back to personal preference and what your gut is telling you. Your intuition will guide you to the weak points in your home, or the necessary points for warning systems. Trust that inner voice.
  1. A Working Altar- Now before anyone gets in a tizzy that I am saying “working altar” let me explain myself. I know that not everyone incorporates ritual, ceremony or offerings into their practice but a working altar or focus point is, in my opinion, necessary. The altar itself does not have to be fancy, ornate, or large, it simply is a place that you can focus your energy for work and discipline, and a meeting point for your Spirits.

I find it is much easier to commune, evoke, and control Spirits when there is one specific place for them to go. Note: When I say control the Spirit I simply mean that I evoke some rather unruly energies at times, and before we establish a firm working relationship they are confined to a small area of my home so that the possibility of an infestation, or leftover residual energy is decreased. I do not believe that Spirits are my pets, or toys and they are to be controlled or manipulated. I do NOT want anyone to misinterpret that because I have seen some horrific treatment of Spirits of late.

  1. Candle Magick- This is a simple and effective part of the craft that so many people overlook! Colors are associated with different desires, manifestations, and energy.

They can be used by simply lighting the candle associated with your desire and meditating in front of it. You may anoint the candle with oils, menstrual blood or sexual fluids, depending on the need. You can also roll the candle in bits of money (prosperity). Cutting up money is illegal, and I would never suggest such a thing. Ha. You can also roll the candle in specific herbs associated with your desire.

Here are some examples of candles and their associated use. I practice Hoodoo primarily, and the colors I use are from that tradition of the Craft.

White: Spiritual Blessings, Purity, Healing, Peace, Attracting Love

Pink: Attraction, Romance, Clean Living, Reconciliation

Red: Love, Affection, Sexual Passion (Sacral Chakra), Body Vigor (Chi, Life Force, Pranic energy, etc) Luck and Energy

Orange: Changing Plans, Opening the Way, New Roads, Prophetic Dreams

Yellow: Devotion, Prayer, Rewards, Happiness

Green: Money, Gambling Luck, Business Success, Good Harvest, Steady Employment

Blue: Peace, Harmony, Marital Fidelity, Joy, Healing

Purple: Mastery, Power, Ambition, Success, Control

Brown: Court Cases, Mediations, Neutrality, The Natural World and Animals

Black: Repulsion, Dark Thoughts, Sorrow, Evil, Harm, Hurt, Curses. I know in many other Pagan traditions burning a black candle will dispel negative energy, or is burned for protection. I use it for both purposes: to protect, and to harm.

You may also use multi colored candles, or burn two at once for different desires.

Red and Black: Love-unjinxing, Returning Evil to Sender

White and Black: Spiritual Healing, Returning Evil to Sender

Green and Black: Money-unjinxing, to get money owed

Black OVER Red: Return every kind of evil to the sender. This is also a very potent mix, and should be approached with caution. Your intentions will only amplify this.

Your candles can be beeswax, or just regular wax—use what is available, don’t stress out that they have to be something particular. You can use taper candles, tealights or votives. You may also use Candles in the shape of deities, or objects to add more power.

Baphomet, Penis, Vulva, Nude Male, Nude Woman, Gargoyle, Black Cat with its tail up, and Horned God (Devil) are some examples of popular candle shapes used in Hoodoo.

Magick does not have to be hard, it does not have to be neat; in fact, I encourage you to get messy with it.

Magick should be personal to you, do not be pressured by other people, or feel overwhelmed that you do not have the same fancy tools, or expensive books that they do. Magick isn’t about show, it’s about being wild, archane, and without inhibitions.

All the knowledge you will ever need is right inside of you, you just have to know where to look.

So, until you find it, I will continue to pass along the knowledge that I have acquired in hopes that it ignites your own inner Divine spark.

Magick is real, and it’s simple; don’t overcomplicate it.

Blessed Are The Witches.