PAY ATTENTION, WITCH: 3 Pitfalls of Witchcraft

Water 2

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
Mary Oliver

There is so much that I love about the Witch community, but there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved, too. In an ideal world I would like to see more unity, and less divisiveness but that doesn’t look like it will resolve itself anytime soon; mostly because that’s a human issue, not solely a Witch issue.

I am not naïve enough to believe we will attain some kumbaya status, but there, at the very least, should be respect for other’s traditions, experiences, and practices.

I have been guilty in the past of making fun of Wiccans, for example, mostly in a light-hearted way because I was being attacked from every direction by superiority police whom happened to be Wiccan.

I’m not saying all Wiccans are like this, but all the people who felt the need to judge my way of life and practice have been Wiccan.

It was hard at first to make the distinction, so I lumped them all together; in a very similar fashion they seemed to lump me in with the LHP, Luciferian and Occult communities.

I try to take a more diplomatic stance on “the shit I talk” because everyone is entitled to *their* experience; if they decide to become self-righteous, then I will handle it how I see fit.

Otherwise, live and let live.

Rolling your eyes when necessary helps, too.

I also try hard to educate when and where I can, it’s imperative as a public figure to not feed the fire *all the time*.

Sometimes, we must learn to neutralize the fire and save our energy for bigger fights.

This blog is one way I hope to combat some of the main issues plaguing our community.

Do I believe I am the solution? Not at all.

Do I believe this blog will suddenly solve the problems in our community? Nope.

I do believe this will start an important conversation, debate and reflection.

Which is a win I will take.

I have compiled a very abbreviated list of the main issues I have observed playing out within our community, and in many cases, the Spiritual community at large.

Blind

Spiritual Bypassing: This is the idea that you use Spiritual ideas to avoid handling/healing/confronting emotional wounds, trauma and conflict. A clear example of this is the love and light only crew; this is a group of people who completely deny the existence and necessity of the darkness, or Shadows.

Conversely, there is a large group of people that are darkness only, and they completely avoid the higher vibrations of love and light.

Yes, there are many people who are so accustomed to their pain that they fear being happy; they don’t know who they are without their trauma.

Ebonee 2

image source

I know this to be true because I used to be one of those people; you don’t get to know the dark as intimately as I do without having immersed your mind, body and soul in it while dismissing all aspects of light/perceived light.

Spiritual bypassing also takes the form of denying ego—something we all have, and an aspect of ourselves that should be fed, not starved; a starved animal is dangerous.

Anyone who teaches their way as being the only way to attain (insert Spiritual promise here) is lying to you.

There are a million different roads that all lead to the destination of Spiritual Enlightenment and the reason so many roads exist is because we must pave our own way, using those who came before us as guidance.

This isn’t a contest, this isn’t a race; this is a winding journey that will take you to highs and lows you never imagined possible, and a reward you never knew existed.

Remember, the essence of the Spiritual journey comes from within, not without; while people and our outer world are great teachers, they are not and should not be our compass.

Our intuition is our compass, use it freely.

Angela

You need a Coven: This is probably one of the most annoying pitfalls within the community, and it trips a lot of people up. The idea that one needs a Coven to be taken seriously is not new, and if you choose to get into a debate with someone over it, I bet it will turn heated rather quickly.

Not only does this effect the Witch community, but it effects the Occultist community, too.

I have met people who introduce themselves by their name, and then the list of secret societies/organizations they are part of or worked with and by the time they are done listing their pretentious titles I have lost interest because honestly, who the fuck cares?

I mean, of course I care but not when I meet you.

You should be proud of your accomplishments and accolades, but to lead with that?

To have that be your introduction?

It’s arrogant as fuck.

You know that saying that wealth is quiet? And, how I have said in the past that truth is quiet because it’s truth and there is no need to boast?

Power is quiet, too.

Real power, real Magick is quiet because it knows the strength it wields, it respects itself enough to know the damage it can do.

We should be like that.

We should respect ourselves, our Power and our Magick enough to shut up occasionally and let them do the talking for us without using any words.

Covens can be an amazing tool, and asset but in my experience, they are often lead by power hungry individuals who do not see their fellow members as equals but almost like slaves.

I have seen disastrous Witch Wars come from Coven fallouts, and most of the time all because they denied their ego. The irony? Their ego is what killed them.

And, yes, there are people out there who genuinely get something from being in a Coven, and yes there are even a few Covens in existence not plagued by ego, power struggle and hierarchies, but they are few and far between, and they do not define you.

THEY DO NOT DEFINE YOU.

You define you; the company you keep can be an indicator but not a definition.

COVENS DO NOT HOLD ALL THE POWER.

You hold the power.

You decide how to use it.

Make sure to use it wisely, or it will use you.

Stormy

Your expertise is based on the number of followers you have: This is real ya’ll.

THIS IS REAL!

This obviously pertains more so to those like me, who are in the public eye, but it’s important to address all the same.

It’s probably one of the biggest issues in our community right now.

In the age of Social Media, and Instagram Witches we are being judged by the number of followers we have; we are not taken seriously unless, across all platforms we have a huge following.

I have been all but snubbed in the Instagram arena because the following I have on Fb doesn’t translate over; mostly because I wasn’t and still am not super active on Instagram.

The heavy hitters on that platform won’t support baby pages like mine, and honestly?

It makes me fucking laugh.

Their worth is put into numbers and an algorithm.

What happens if IG were to disappear tomorrow? Or Fb for that matter?

What would they do then?

I have a Shop, Courses, Published Books and a blog where my heart and Soul live outside my body.

What do they have when it’s all gone? When the filters fade? When the pretty pictures are no longer considered pretty?

I have missed opportunities with Magazines because of this; only for them to see my Fb and blog and suddenly they come back with, “Oh, sorry, we didn’t know your reach as an influencer. We would love to have you!”

That’s an actual quote.

And, this happened not once, but TWICE.

I have been dismissed by some people in the community, only to be given a stamp of approval later because someone, considered more prominent, gave me a shout out.

What a herd mentality.

The numbers on Social Media are essentially arbitrary; meaning, you can’t do anything with them.

You can’t live off them, you can’t cash them in at a bank, you can’t put them on a resume.

They have meaning in the sense that (in my case) 45 thousand people have resonated with my work, and what I share, and they have chosen to include me on their journey; to use me as inspiration and motivation to keep going.

They have chosen to learn from me and my experiences, and that’s a great honor.

I will carry that with me forever.

At the end of the day, I do this because it’s needed; because the Soul cry deep within tells me that people need to hear my voice.

So, in that regard the numbers have meaning on so many emotional levels, but not in the real world.

Even still, we are judged because of them.

Another way we are judged is who we are friends with.

It’s like, in a professional sense, if you are not friends with other high caliber public figures, then you aren’t taken seriously.

For this reason alone, it makes me want to keep to myself even more than I already do.

Don’t judge me based on who I am friends with. Don’t judge me based on numbers on a screen.

Don’t judge me based on anything other than the words I write, and who I am as a person.

I do not seek approval. I do not beg to be seen. I do not need to be loud.

I am who I am, and you either take it or leave it.

Numbers don’t define me, or my power because truth is quiet, and I am truth.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: People Don’t Owe You Sh*t

Sh 2

image source

“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”

Criss Jami

We live in a “give me” society, so is it shouldn’t be surprising that this mentality has seeped over into the Magickal community.

Yet, here I am shocked and dismayed at what I have been witnessing lately.

Don’t get me wrong, freeloaders are not new to the Craft, but it does seem like their numbers have increased.

Add in the fact that a lot of newbies don’t want to put in the work; they want the title of Witch, they want the (often stereotypical) aesthetic of a Witch, but they don’t understand the verb Witchcraft (thanks Nikki for putting that so eloquently).

It’s true.

Witchcraft IS a practice.

Sure, it looks different for everyone, but this path requires work.

Your path requires you to put in the work.

You can read, and read and read, collecting all the information you can find (ie. Armchair Occultist);

You can ride on the coattails of someone else, and their experiences;

You can bounce from practitioner to practitioner presenting them with some sob story and asking them to do your bidding for you;

But, eventually, the Laws of Magick will force your hand, and you either shit or get off the pot.

You either put into practice the art of Magick, or you back the fuck away slowly and don’t try to make Sacred traditions trendy ever again.

I am obviously wound up writing this post and it’s because I am seeing a lot of entitlement lately.

On top of that, I have been witnessing paranoid people claiming every unpleasant event in life is Magickally related. I have also seen people asking for energy/thoughts/good vibes/assistance on a regular basis.

I want to address these topics.

Throughout my writing career I have expressed my opinions on these subjects individually, but there is a need for this to be said in one place.

This is one of my pieces where it could be received in a few ways, and I am sure I will ruffle some feathers; I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t.

Remember, if anything I say offends you, ask yourself, “Why am I offended?”

Your feelings have everything to do with you, and nothing to do with me.

I am but a reflection.

Hand

image source

First thing first, Witchcraft is a lifestyle.

For some people it’s a look, too, but at the core it’s a practice that we live, and breathe.

Philosophy varies from person to person, our Craft will as well, but the one thing that Witches have in common across the board is that they put in work to create the outcomes they want.

We play with the web of Wyrd.

We manipulate energy and bend it to our Will.

We are powerful, formidable creatures.

Knowing how much power we wield, it drives me nuts to see Witches who refuse to put in work. Not only do they refuse to put in work (for whatever reason) when work is required, they run to another Witch, and expect them to do their bidding.

We now are dealing with entitled, lazy Witches.

I absolutely love to help others, and I love to share my knowledge, but I will not, in fact, I refuse to do anyone else’s work for them.

I will help when needed, I will offer tricks and tips, but your path is yours to walk and the work is yours to do.

Stop looking for handouts.

Nobody owes you anything; not the world, not your job, not your fellow Witches.

Stop expecting Magickal work to be free.

You pay for services on your car, your home, your body, but when it comes to services for your Soul, you turn your nose up at it.

Or, you try and pull the “well, Witches of old never charged.”

We are not Witches of old, we are Modern Mystics and we have bills to pay.

Stop expecting results with no effort; that’s like expecting a reaction (outcome) with no action (intention).

You’re smarter than that.

Stop expecting Magick itself to be free.

Nothing is free.

Stop playing the victim.

You are only a victim if that’s how you write your narrative.

Own your shit. Face your shit. Transmute your shit. Level up.

It’s what the rest of us are doing.

You can’t take and take and take from people with zero regard for their well-being, and their own struggles.

We all have our battles to fight.

Don’t get so high on your horse that you believe yours are more important.

Ripple 2

image source

Secondly, life sucks. I am a professional pessimist, but even if I wasn’t, life would still suck. This is a fact that we must accept.

There are countless variables in play all around us at any given moment, to think we can or do have control over it all is insane.

Sometimes shit happens.

There is no profound lesson.

There is no Magickal attack.

There is no villain.

There is no “Karma”.

Life sucks.

Life is also crazy beautiful and amazing and should be enjoyed but if you think that every bump you hit in life is somehow Magickally related, you are going to be a paranoid, frantic, no energy having wreck.

Everything we do is Magick, but not everything done to us is.

So, take a deep breath, go with the flow.

Accept what is, don’t dwell on what isn’t.

Believe in yourself.

And, trust the process.

Rootsimage source

Third, I have been noticing people in groups I am, even people on my friend list who are constantly asking for energy of some sort. Whether it is good vibes, Magickal assistance, thoughts or whatever, their life is always in turmoil and they always need help.

I have an unpopular opinion that every single one of us is an energy Vampyr in one way or another, and if you look closely at the people around you, you will see what I mean.

I mean, *everything* is an energy exchange.

Like I mentioned above, I have no problem helping someone out—if I have seen they have put the work in.

I prefer people who need my help to approach me with nothing but brutal honesty, and transparency.

However, if it becomes a trend, or a common occurrence, it raises concern.

Why do you constantly need help and/or energy?

Why is your life constantly in turmoil?

Getting energy is as easy as walking outside and standing in the sun. I mean, it isn’t considered the Pranic center in Ayurverdic tradition for no reason; it’s a battery.

Use it.

We all need help occasionally and I am not knocking that AT ALL, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing. I shouldn’t be signing onto fb and seeing the same 10 people asking for energy because of *insert overly dramatic huge life event*.

Meanwhile, myself and everyone else I know have their own shit going on.

We are all trying to navigate the waters of life, and more times than not I am drowning right alongside some of the people I help.

So, I help where I can and feel the need to, I draw boundaries when it seems suspicious.

I separate genuine from the fake.

The people who have given up completely, or the ones who feel too entitled to get their hands dirty are the ones I can’t and don’t assist.

Refusing to get your hands dirty is worse than giving up because it means you won’t even try.

I am the first to admit that my life is chaotic, and messy, but so are the lives of everyone I know. For this reason I try to show compassion and empathy at all times.

We all have overflowing plates;

Life is about learning to balance it all.

Tips for the Modern Witch

luis cardenas

Image: Luis Cardenas

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

Natalie Babbitt


I have been receiving messages asking me about how formal Magick should be, and what my opinion is on formalities when dealing with my personal craft. I think the question is an interesting one, but I also think the question is a personal one. For me, I have learned the most about my own Philosophy and practice/craft from others. I like to tweak things a bit and make them my own, but I think we can learn a ton from each other. The greatest gift that we can give each other besides respect, is knowledge. We don’t have to agree, but planting the seed of thought alone can blossom into another branch of thought.

I want you to know that Magick is supposed to be personal, and yes formal Magick with rituals, drum circles, and fires are a beautiful sight but not all of us have ways to practice like this. I have seen other Witches feel down on themselves because they can’t practice with elaborate formalities.

I think it’s wrong, and I think the issue needs to be addressed.

First of all, we cannot compare ourselves to anyone, especially other Witches. Some of us were blessed to live in the woods, and have the gifts of nature and the freedom to dance under the moon light sky clad. While others were blessed to live in an urban jungle where we are forced to practice in cramped apartments, using our ingenuity. Some of us were blessed with having a deep rooted Pagan/Witch family, and are brought up in the craft. Some of us were blessed with having deep connections to Brothers and Sisters of Magick, and have found comfort, unity, and stability with a Coven.

None of these options are better, or worse than the other, we are all blessed, and we are all Witches. There should be no competition, no jealousy, and no betrayal within our community, the outside world has let us down enough.

So, with that said, my Magick is extremely informal, and it is 50% intuition, and 50% skill I have learned in my years of practice. I think sometimes my ancestors are rolling their eyes on the other side at just how informal my Magick is, I am sure I get a few eye rolls from the deities I work with, too.

My Magick has never been about ritual, just like my Philosophy has never been about worship. I do not necessarily wait for a Moon Phase if I need to cast, if the spell can wait until a particular phase that would be suited for my needs, I will wait, but if it is something that needs to be handled: a person, situation, binding, manifesting, whatever it may be, I will go by my own will, my own heart and my own senses.

I do not cast a traditional circle, and I do use Spirits in almost all of my workings. But, I do not need protection from deities to practice, I use them because it makes me feel better at times when they are there. It is my opinion that if you can only cast under the protection of guardians, or guides then you shouldn’t be practicing Magick at all.

I do not have a bunch of fancy tools, I have what I am drawn to. So, let me give you some examples of the items I personally always have on hand.

I like to represent life, and death. I have plants in my room to represent life, and I have dried flowers, feathers from birds (living and dead), nails from a coffin (circa the 1800’s) both rusty and in good condition (rusty nails are a prime ingredient for War Water)–rusty nails from a coffin are an even better option for this water.

So, for that simple fact alone, I keep them handy. All of these items represent an aspect of death. I also have bones, and a pair of antlers on the way.

Moon water is also always on hand, this is water that has been charged by moonlight. You add coarse sea salt to it, I like pink Himalayan salt better, personally. I also have a few vials that have rose petals inside, and others with specific herbs for specific purposes. I think Moon water aka Witches Holy Water is a great tool, and you can even put it inside of a spray bottle, and use it as a way to cleanse a space. Works great for kids, or a modern Witch who doesn’t like fuss.

Herbs are a another simple, and easy tool to have. When I started working with herbs, it was a slow process; I now grow my own, and even forage at times, or I will buy locally.

At first though, to get the herbs I needed for my Magickal stock I went to the grocery store, and a farmer’s market. Most grocery stores sell rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, lavender and many others right in the produce section, just make sure it is labeled ‘certified organic’.

When you bring it home, tie a piece of thread or yarn at the base of the stems, and hang them upside down for a few days so that they can dry out. I store my dried herbs in mason jars; some are antique mason jars, but some are from Target, they are 2 for $1 there. Can’t beat a bargain.

Another thing I always have on hand is resin, and incense. I am new to burning resin, but nothing has cleared my home better. I like frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, damaru pattu, and benzoin. With these particular resin’s it is easy to create my own, too.

As for incense sticks, Nag Champa is a necessity, but it must be the blue box, anything else is overwhelming, and like a strong, obnoxious perfume.

Some other random tools I like to always have on hand are dragon’s blood ink, essential oils, a mirror for scrying, along with multiple pendulum’s, multiple tarot decks, mortar and pestle, sage: both loose, and in stick form, sea shells, candles: white and black, and a few colors: red, pink, yellow, green, and orange, flying ointments, banishing salt, a broom (mine is a small besom) Witches Ball, Witch bells and of course crystals.

I think crystals are my favorite part of my Magick. I enchant each of the pieces I wear, so along with the metaphysical properties of the crystal, I have my own Power amplifying the energy. I have crystals throughout my home, and bedroom, too. Some even have sigils draw on them, simple yet effective.

Some of my personal favorites are Jet, Labradorite, Yellow Jasper, Black Tourmaline, Selenite, Moonstone, Citrine, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Amethyst, Apache Tear, Obsidian (all kinds, really), Celestite, Emerald, Garnet, Kyanite, Nuummite, Smoky and Tourmilinated Quartz.

Crystals are a great tool, and can be worn on the body, put in your purse/man bag, put in your car, under your pet’s bed (as long as you know they will not eat it). I mean, the possibilities are endless with crystals and for me, nothing makes me feel safer than an enchanted piece of jewelry.

I do suggest starting with some easier to handle stones than the ones I mentioned, and I also would suggest The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. I personally have both of her bibles, but you really only need the first. It will tell you what crystals do what, and how to cleanse and care for them. It also goes over geodes, tumbled, and raw, and what the differences are. I highly recommend this book for any, and all crystal lovers, newbie or advanced.

I do not have formal rituals robes, a huge ornate altar, or a place I can go be one with nature; I live in an urban jungle, I must adapt to my surroundings, bring the Magick to me, and look for the little gifts from nature like sticks, flowers, and rocks that present themselves to me.

Magick is its most potent, most powerful when it is personal, true, and real to YOU.

Don’t compare, and don’t conform.

Blessed are the Witches.