Are You Hurting Fellow Pagans Without Even Knowing It?

Serious Issue in Our Community That Most People Ignore.

If we were at a ritual together, and I put out my tools, would you take them without permission? Would you let someone else take them?

I’m guessing the vast majority of you would answer ‘no’.

For the most part, the Pagan community is made up of good, honest people who strive to do the right thing. I think it is safe to say that, overall, we are a caring and compassionate community. We consider ourselves people who care about the world, about societies and individuals. We want to save the environment and protect natural resources. We want to prevent things like suffering—not just of people, but of animals and even plants. We want to eliminate horrible things like poverty, war and oppression. We want to stop people from being exploited and taken advantage of.

Amirite? I really don’t think I’m too optimistic here; in general, I’m proud of our community, and I think most people come to it wanting to help make themselves better people, and the world a better place.

And yet, many Pagans are — unknowingly — hurting others in our community.

And even worse: some are hurting others deliberately and without caring.

So back to the question, if you would not steal (or let others steal) my altar supplies – my physical property—why would you steal my intellectual property? In some ways, it hurts even more.

Yes, It Is a Big Deal

Please click to check out the classes I am offering this month.

Many of us think, “Oh, what’s the big deal about a copy & paste? It’s out there on the internet anyway. It’s being offered for free. It’s not like real stealing, it’s only a copy.”

And sometimes it’s not a big deal at all. Usually it’s great to share… but it should not be a free for all. If some people don’t know if something is okay to take, they could be hurting another person. And if some people are grabbing greedily, it can be a serious problem.

It can hurt individuals in our community.

I’m one of those people being hurt. Some are being hurt a whole lot worse.

The Reality of Trying to Make a Living As an Artist

I work about 60 hours per week, and I make my full-time income from my writing and teaching.  Here is the breakdown:

Notice the discrepancy?

Now I wish it could be something like one of these (the last being the dream).

And non-Pagans tell me that if I were smart, I should do this:

They tell me that religious non-fiction writings and teaching spiritual arts will never earn enough for one to make a living.

And they’re right– if I stopped writing and teaching about spirituality, and just focused on clients and their needs for 60 hours per week, I’d close to double my salary, and have the highest earnings of my life. Sadly I still wouldn’t be wealthy, but even so… it’d be big for me.

But life is not just about money — I love what I do. That said, I just can’t afford to work for free. And if I left it all to my spare time, as a hobby, well…I’d almost never get anything done.

So I try, but here’s the vicious cycle:

And I’m one of the lucky ones; most creative Pagans will never be able to quit their day jobs and earn even a bare bones income. I make a modest living and am able to support my family—but only because I write more for others than for my labor of love.

It is amazing how many Pagans support causes like raising minimum wage for grunt jobs, or closing the gender wage gap, but think it’s okay if what a creative person nets from their work breaks down to about $2 per hour compensation.

Again, most Pagans are not out to hurt others intentionally by copying articles or images, it’s usually done out of lack of awareness. But some do it deliberately knowing they will usually get away with it, so it’s important to raise awareness.

How’s a writer supposed to make a living?

How You Can Help Make Things More Fair

So we can all benefit from creative people being more Productive while also being able to sustain themselves and respecting their intellectual property, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow.

You can avoid unintentionally hurting creative members of the Pagan community by remembering a few things:

 

Things There for you to look at for free are NOT there to take for free

Someone offering free content to view is not offering you free content to reprint.  Without permission, you’re not only possibly hurting someone, but you can get sued, have your webpage shut down or lose your Google Adsense account Without permission, you’re not only possibly hurting someone, but you can get sued, have your webpage shut down or lose your Google Adsense account

Even if you give proper attribution, you’re still infringing on copyright if you did not get permission 

A lot of people seem to think, “Hey, I will make a website, and I will browse articles, and copy and paste all the good articles and pictures! And I will give them credit, so I can’t get into trouble! Free content for me, weeee!”

WRONG. Just a warning– this is a shitty thing to do. And illegal. You don’t get off the hook by stealing something and telling people who you stole it from. All the attributions in the world don’t make it okay to reprint without permission.

If you DO want to reprint something… simply ask.

 A lot of times, authors/artists are happy to let you do that because it helps spread the word, and it makes you feel good when people like your work that much. Other times, it can hurt them. Let them make the decision… it’s their work.

Remember copyright protections extend to private distribution as well

Some people try to hide copyright infringement by posting privately rather than publicly. And to an extent, that’s not really bad (sending one or two friends an article, for example, in private e-mail).

But it’s equally wrong and equally illegal to distribute copyrighted materials without permission through mass emails, subscription-only newsletters, private groups and such.

If you can’t or don’t want to get permission, don’t reprint the whole article.

Just include the title/a paragraph, then add a link (for images, just use a link)

Don’t try to hide behind ‘Fair Use’ Clauses

Remember, fair use is when you quote A REASONABLE PORTION… for non-profit educational or for the purpose of reviewing the work. A REASONABLE PORTION is not half, most of, or the whole thing. 

NEVER, EVER remove identifying information

Always give credit where credit is due, even if it’s just a quote. By-lines, signatures, watermarks, links, etc. are there for a reason… to not credit the source is plagiarism.

Plagiarizing Adds Insult to Injury

It’s a seriously scummy thing to do. Bylines, watermarks, artist signatures, etc. there for a reason. If someone is removing all identifying information and reprinting someone’s work, they’re not just infringing on someone’s copyright — they’re plagiarizing. 

  • I have caught bloggers vaguely masking one of my articles (changing a word or two, adding a phrase of their own), and posting it as if they put in all the hard work to gather and present the pertinent information.
  • I have found a few self-published e-books in which authors just lifted up my articles, or parts of them, and pasted it into their book– then publish it as though it is their own work.
  • There are people who sell ‘Books of Shadows’ with 1,000 or 5,000 items– images, prayers, chants, spells, etc. Guess where they get them? Yes, the vast majority are stolen.
  • I have been warned by some of my faithful readers that they were checking out someone’s classes, workshop, tutorials, only to find my online lessons– word for word– being offered by some other person, as if they made the lesson themselves.

The last one is particularly sad, because it’s double deception.The plagiarist is not only scamming the original creator, but he’s fooling all his students/followers into thinking he’s some great mentor. He’s some wanna-be guru trying to get credit for being so knowledgeable and wise, but he’s actually just some sleazy thief and con artist parroting someone else. He’s either too lazy, or simply not capable, of doing the work himself, and is not worthy of people’s trust or admiration.

What You Can Do To Stop Plagiarism

Spotting possible plagiarism:

  • If someone seems to have starkly different writing styles from one piece to another in a body of work
  • If someone publishes so prolifically that you think it’s impossible for one person to write that much
  • You’ve spotted a work published in more than one place, under different names (or with no names/attributions)

Now this doesn’t automatically mean plagiarism. It could be the publisher has permission, purchased rights, or is, in fact, the original author (and is the one being plagiarized). But you can always check if you care.

What to do if you suspect plagiarism:

  • Copy & paste a few lines of an article from the blogger, webmaster or PDF file’s text into a search bar
  • See if the article comes up elsewhere
  • See if you can find the earliest publication date

If you think you’ve found the true creator of a work, you can always do that person a favor by sending them an email with a link so they can file the appropriate documents against the plagiarizer.

 If someone fails to grasp simple ethics and morals, they’re not the elder, high priest/priestess, mentor, teacher or spiritual leader that you want to follow.

Bottom Line

A link is always appreciated.

If you’ve been following a website, blog, artist, author, etc. who is stealing and reprinting other people’s work without permission, or — worse — they have been lying and implying that it’s their own work, don’t give them an audience or a customer. Don’t give them praise. Don’t give them your money. Spread the word and help protect the actual creative people in our community.

It’s only fair… no one can argue fairness. When you take what does not belong to you without permission, especially for your own personal, selfish gain or to inflate your own ego, it’s not fair.

Share This:

Mailbag: Ask Sage (17)

Two pieces of great news:

  1. There’s still spaces in the Magic For Prosperity Online Workshop, so if you haven’t signed up yet, sign up today!
  2. This is the last of the backlogged Mailbags! I’ll be getting to other topics now!

There’s always a reason. Off the top of my head, I would guess some possibilities are:

– The liquid/gas inside expanded and popped the lid.

– You didn’t tighten it well enough.

– You goofed in the spell (contradictory, muddled intent, etc.)

– Your friend is going about her intentions the wrong way.

– It’s not the best time for your friend to have what she wants.

– The person she’s targeting just doesn’t want to be with her, and that person’s will/protection is stronger than your spell.

It’s really hard to guess what happened, you might want to try some divination to figure it out.

Hi there; first let me say I’m sorry for your losses, and the impact they’ve had on your life. And second, let me say, you’re never too old to start following the path you’re drawn to.

Now, in my beliefs, religion is a choice. I don’t believe in ‘meant to be’ because I believe in the opposite: free will. I do believe, though, that we know deep down– and our Gods know, and our spirit guides know, and our higher self knows, etc.– what path would be most beneficial for us or most fulfilling, make us at our most productive and happiest. Not because we were designed to be on it, but because it suits who we truly are inside.

This is why we are naturally drawn to certain things. Some one very drawn to Asian decor and languages and culture, etc., might find Buddhism is their best path; some drawn to extremely conservative values, traditions and causes, etc. might find Christianity is his path; etc. So all this means is that you have clearly been attracted to a certain world view for a while– Paganism– and nothing is holding you back from pursuing that path except for you.

I think it’s natural for us to be nervous about our lives taking a turn… and we hope there is someone who is around to tell us that this is the right turn we’re ‘supposed to’ make. We want to believe that that life is already pre-destined and promises great things. But there is no ‘supposed to’… it is all your choice, to walk that path or not. And it is all going to be up to you to make something of it; there are no guarantees.

Now if a path truly resonates with you, it is most likely going to be a good thing for you; it’ll help you grow and find peace. But it’s all up to you, and there are no age limits.

Oh I’m so sorry for the difficulties.

I know I snipped out a lot about your mom and your mentor; having powers from your family line that you’re trying to unleash and juggling energy balls are not really up my alley. I believe magic is rooted in nature and psychology; in my experience, anyone has access to it, they just have to learn to use it. It is a literal skill and the effort is what really counts. And I believe it’s more practical in nature, or at least that’s the kind of magic I concern myself with: goal-oriented magic that helps one grow as a person, achieve their goals, and help others. Day to day stuff, that makes life better. Somehow I’m getting that this isn’t what you mean, and you’re looking for something a little more grandiose than I can offer.

I will say it sounds to me like you need to kind of work on your spiritual side first, nurturing it and healing a bit from the traumas. If you don’t have a regular meditation regime, you should definitely get started on one. You might even want to create an altar area/temple where you can go for spiritual healing and nourishment. Cleanse the chakras, strengthen the shields, etc. Rebuild the foundation, basically.

Hope that helps :o)

 

Hello; personally I believe black and white magic all operate on the same principles. Kind of like if you know how to light a fire to cook your food on a campfire, you also know how to light it for burning someone’s house down. The ability to build a fire isn’t black or white, it’s just a skill. Same like magic– you can use it to help or to harm. It’s not a different type, just a choice on how to use it.

Which is why every Witch or magician of any sort will do best to work on dealing with those kinds of issues that you mentioned.  A lot of would-be Witches want to get straight to the spells, they think the spells will make them powerful and give them what they want; they want to skip over all the intense work on the self, which is what really makes the difference between a true Witch and a dabbler in the Craft.

It’s very wise of you to recognize your destructive impulses are not healthy and that they could, if you’re not careful, end up with you bringing problems on yourself. With such negative emotions having a grip on you, self-transformation is the best thing you can do for yourself.

In my humble opinion, it’s generally a good idea to start with the physical self. Get a check-up for your physical and mental health. There could be a chemical imbalance, a nutrient deficiency or hidden allergy at play here.

For the spiritual efforts, I think it’s a good idea to start with general cleansings and purifications: you might want to do an uncrossing ritual (there may be some negativity clinging to you or entity feeding off you). Make sure your chakras aren’t blocked– clean and align them. Cleanse your space, physically to get rid of any trapped lower entities or unpleasant energies that tend to be attracted to dirt, clutter, disorganization, etc. Then clean it spiritually (salt/water, fuming, blessing oils, etc.) to get rid of those things and purify the space.

Such actions will release the grip of any influential energies/entities that might be contributing to your problem.

Then comes the hard part: reprogramming the subconscious. The best way to accomplish this is with meditations, daily affirmations and pathworking. Pathworking will really help you figure out the ‘source’ of these negative feeling, and if they’re due to subconscious programming, the affirmations will help reprogram it. Trance work will help you meet the ‘guardian at the gate’, so to speak, accept challenges and prove you’re worthy to pass on to the next phase of your journey.

After that, you also might want to work on depolarizing yourself, such as practicing some version of the Middle Pillar ritual to help you find balance and help you get control over those darker impulses, helping you channel that energy toward more productive goals. This energy isn’t in itself bad; it’s more about how you channel it/use it. Finding balance with your energies will help you make better choices about that, and improve your self-control over impulses.

I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful! Best of luck!

Never a bother, that’s what I’m here for :o)

As I’ve said in some of my other mailbag answers, the addiction spell is for a person to  do on themselves. It’s a whole ‘nother ball game when you’re trying to work on another person, and I’m currently trying to work on an article about that. Unfortunately, with a busy life right now, it’s slow-going.

But as to your question about the age of a Witch– there is no special age you have to wait to in order to start learning. Kids who grow up in magical families are trained in some things from the time their babies– but it’s more training to give them the right attitude and the right world view, such as introducing them to nature’s abundant energies, and showing them how they have the ability to manipulate those energies. You try to teach them to think in a way that is conducive to magic– whereas most people coming to the Craft as adults have to undergo a lot of deprogramming, lol, to get rid of the self-imposing limits.

For formal study, it’s usually going to be difficult at a younger age. In some ways magic is very natural, because it’s always in us and around us and we can learn to utilize it intuitively. But learning to be highly adept can be very complex, there is a lot of study and mental discipline involved. A lot of reading of difficult issues. I am a college graduate and there have been some books I had to read 5 times, with a dictionary on hand and copious note-taking and side research just to understand things, and it takes a while to ‘sink in’.

So no, 10 is not too young to start learning Witchcraft; ideally they would have someone in their family able to help them. If not, it is best to remember to go slow, and that you have many years of learning ahead of you. So exercise caution. Your best bet is to work on the internal stuff– meditation, attuning with the natural world, etc. than worrying about spellwork straight away.

And that brings this mailbag to a close!

Share This:

Mailbag: Ask Sage (16)

I’ve prepared some new long-awaited online ONLINE WORKSHOPS for this month and next month! Check them out!

Having reviewed my year, getting my schedule in order for work, family, etc, I’m now looking forward to my labor of love: all my spiritual writing, teaching, videos, etc. I got the new workshops up, got some HubPages coming up soon because there are a couple of topics I want to address. I also want to get another Freaky Friday video out this week on YouTube.

In the meantime, let’s see what the mailbag has brought today.

It sounds like you’ve been doing some working on yourself and growing; that’s a great thing. The description of what’s going on here is very vague, so all I can really say is that you’re trying to control some ability that is psychic or magical in nature, you can’t go wrong with slowing down and working on your mental discipline. Start a good meditation regime if you don’t have one. The better you train your mind, the better you’ll get at training any ability. Best of luck!

Good question– and it really depends on what you’re focusing on in the spell. If you’re focused on the intent of  ‘drawing good health’, encouraging the body to begin to heal, for treatments to take effect, for strength and vitality to return or something to that effect, then I personally would dress it in the direction to attract.

If you’re trying to get rid of a disease or something, trying to remove an illness, kill unhealthy cells, etc., then I would do it in the direction to repel.

If I were binding someone, I’d draw it in, because I am trying to draw restraint to my spell target. But these are one of the things you have to go with your own vibe on the energy, too, so take it as merely my opinion and ultimately do what you feel works with your intent.

Oh hon, I am so sorry… it sounds like you’ve been through the ringer. If you feel on the breaking point literally like you want to hurt her and yourself, I urge you not to start trying to figure out spells at this point– that takes time and mental discipline. I urge you to call a mental health clinic and seek help. They may be able to turn you on to agencies that help you get employment. I’m sure someone out there will hire you, and help you get away from your mother so you can find some peace and work on healing yourself.

You’re looking for a hex or spell… nothing is going to poof away the pain. Spells can be a great asset but they don’t clear the slate. I understand being in a really bad place (been there, I was impoverished, I was abused, I dropped out of high school at 15, etc.) but there’s ways to begin reversing that and turn your life around. I’m not going to lie and say there is an easy way out, there is not.

But you don’t need a Witch right now if you’re this deep in; you need a better lifeline than that– please seek a counselor, call one of these numbers:

Helps to find emergency resources you need (including jobs, mental health counseling, place to live, etc): dial 2-1-1 OR go to http://www.211.org/

suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Hotline: 1-800-hit-home

National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663

I wish I could say a wave of a wand can fix everything; things can be fixed but even with magic (real magic, not the fantasy stuff), it’s going to be a complex thing piecing a life and a heart back together. Please get help, you can get through this and move on. When you’re ready to work on rebuilding please let me know if you need help with anything else.

Yeah, definitely sounds like your neighbor is trying to curse you. I can’t imagine living with that kind of misery for 15 years; that’s rough. Honesty it sounds like she might even think you’re doing something to her and she’s acting in self-defense.

There are ways you can protect yourself. I would recommend trying some of the following:

  • sprinkle black salt around the perimeter of your property for protection. I’d replenish this every 3 months or so.
  • people you think she’s cursed should do a 7 day uncrossing ritual (at least), which is essentially a cleansing bath/candle magic to break any curses/hexes/negativity (you can find MANY versions online); if you don’t want to do the candle part, at least do the bath part for 7 days in a row (each person, separately)
  • use part of the bath water from the uncrossing bath to wash the floors. Wash walls as well if you like, or put some in a spray bottle and spray it around on furniture, rugs, etc.
  • anoint the people infected with an uncrossing oil (Lucky Mojo makes a good one at luckymojo.com or you can find recipes online)
  • Get a sage stick and cleanse the house as well to clear out negativity. This will also help for anyone unwilling to do the bath. Fume it good.
  • Get a mirror and imbue it via visualization with your intent for it to send back any curses, hexes or negativity sent your way. Burn a black candle in front of the mirror so the mirror reflects it. Then set the mirror in a window facing your neighbor’s home.
  • Sprinkle white salt around your home to keep it purified and protected (I generally sprinkle it around the baseboards so the salt gets brushed under them, trapped between the floor & baseboard).
  • To reverse some things she’s done, write the problem down on paper, put it in a jar, fill the jar halfway with ammonia, close it tightly and bury it upside-down on your property

Other things you can do is cast spells for her to move (doesn’t even have to be malicious; cast a spell for her to get a better home or something), or if you wanted you could counter-curse her but honestly I’d save that as a last resort.

Best of luck to you with this.

Share This: