Mailbag: Ask Sage (18)

Before I begin, I want to let you to the NEW WORKSHOPS FOR SAMHAIN in Sep. and October. I have a feeling spaces for these are going to go quickly!

Meantime, it’s time to do a little catching up on the old mailbag, so let’s have at it.

History is actually fuzzy for Witchcraft… for the most part, it was, until about the 19th/20th century, only associated with malevolent magic. Even for Pagans, ‘Witches’ were feared, loathed and persecuted because the word ‘witch’ was associated with doing evil.

Of course, there were benevolent magic users as well; but they wouldn’t have called themselves Witches. And they would have worshipped their indigenous Gods, following the local culture/religion. So it’s best to pick a culture in which you’re interested, and start exploring the roots of magic and spirituality in it.

Witches were never a people, or a religion, or a unified group of any sort… the Old Religion theories have been debunked for a long time now. Much of Witchcraft as we know it today was an explosion out of the Pagan revival and occult movement. Ronald Hutton’s book, Triumph of the Moon, is actually an excellent resource.

But as for the challenges and benefits of Witchcraft, those I can talk about because I have experience with them. The challenges for me have been learning– getting past the B.S. and getting down to the nitty-gritty of what is going on. Not just with how magic works, but internally. To learn the Craft, you really have to go in and examine your true self, face your ‘demons’ (so to speak), and test what you’re made of. You need to be disciplined and patient. It’s a big self-transformation, and it’s an ongoing effort. I wish it was as easy as muttering a few words, but there’s just so much more to it than that.

But, I’ve felt the journey worthwhile, because the benefits have been plentiful: self-fulfillment, embracing my own power to control my life, the ability to achieve my goals and work to build my future, a fascinating journey full of excitement. The list goes on and one.

Hope that helps!

The foundation of just about everything in magic and Witchcraft is learning is discipline of the mind. Being able to focus, altering states of consciousness at will, getting into the right state that is conducive to energy work, etc. are all things learned through meditation. So you might want to take some time to focus on that.

A lot of people get most tripped up because they have the wrong idea of what meditation is, so you might want to start studying that for a while. The problem a lot of people have with meditation is that they are trying to turn off their mind… not only is that not necessary, but it’s not really possible. You’re not supposed to be in a state of ‘thoughtlessness’ when meditating with a completely blank mind; you’re supposed to be in a state of relaxed awareness, and not let your thoughts distract you or carry you away. Thoughts pop up, and you let them go. You don’t try to force yourself into this state; you learn how to ease yourself into it, and hold yourself there. And, if necessary, return yourself to it if you start drifting.

A good way to do this is by using your breath as an anchor… when thoughts pop up (and they will), simply acknowledge them objectively, consciously let go of them, and return your focus to your breath.

Most important thing is to meditate consistently– a few minutes daily is better than an hour once per week or every couple of weeks. You can start off for even 2 minutes at a time, and expand on it as you are able to comfortably hold yourself in a meditative state.

As for when you can classify yourself as a Witch– I’d say whenever you’re studying and practicing the Craft. I don’t think there is any set time; when it’s more than dabbling, I guess, and it’s something you’re truly pursuing.

And for your final questions, about what magic can really do… I hate to place limits on it. I will say it doesn’t work like in rumor and fiction. I wouldn’t expect it to work outside the bounds of nature. I would say it works more within those bounds.

You’ve probably experienced magic plenty of times without making an effort. You think about a song you haven’t heard in years, and start humming it all day… then it pops up on the radio. You thought of someone, they called you. You focused on your need for something, and someone offers you something. That’s magic… you sent the energy for a goal in motion, and somehow it found a way to channel back to you. To the untrained eye, it looks like mere coincidence, and that’s because real magic works within nature, not against it. Everyone uses it… the only difference between the Witch and the non-Witch is that Witches learn to do it better, deliberately.

Depends… usually I like to keep jar spells that I am using to continuously draw something on hand, giving them a boost occasionally with candle magic over them. Jars for protection or to repel something, I usually hide or bury. This is one of those times to use your instincts.

Oh, hon, I’m so sorry. A spiritual psychic/healer might be your best bet, though, for a complete reading and diagnosis of the issue, if he’s open to it. That’s not something anyone like me can do over the internet for him, he has to work with someone personally who can really dig into the problems.

Mental illness and hauntings often go hand in hand, because some dark entities can be drawn by a mentally unstable/struggling mind. So I would encourage you to help him remain in treatment and continue with meds, therapy, etc. This is of the utmost importance because it sounds to me as if a lowly entity is feeding off of him, which is only going to risk making him worse if he’s not getting treatment.

It’d be idea if someone could start cleaning/cleansing his apartment– smudging it, banishing negativity, sprinkling black salt as a barrier, etc. Either him or a friend if you can’t be there. Cleansing and purification baths, chakra cleansing, etc. can also help alleviate some of the pressure. If you practice the Craft, you can certainly make him some charms or cast some protection spells on him. This should all help; but working with a psychic/spiritualist would probably at this point be his best bet to really unravel the problem.

I’m also getting a bit of a message, so let me just pass it on: I don’t know him or his life, but I have an urge to say, if he’s been involved in something kind of ‘dark’– not necessarily magical but something unethical or destructive, this could have been a catalyst for dark entities feeding off him, which is taking any predisposition he has to a chemical imbalance and making it worse. I’m not accusing him of anything or of being a bad guy (it might not even be him, it could be someone around him- family, roommate), I don’t even know what might be going on…  there’s something unhealthy, some root cause that he needs to get away from.

Hope that helps.

Hmmm that can be tricky. One way to bury a jar spell surreptitiously is to put it in a flower pot. Cover it with dirt or sand, and put a plant over it, or stick fake flowers into it an make it a decoration in your room.

Sometimes the best way to hide something is in plain sight. Consider getting a pretty, decorative jar or container. For example, go to some country store and pick up one of those really adorable decorative preserve jars. Or go to a dollar store or thrift shop and pick up a fancy-looking container with a tight-sealing lid, and hot glue it closed.Do the jar spell in it, and keep it on a shelf.

Say it was a gift from a friend, and it has sentimental value. Make no big deal about it. No one has to know.

 

I have a few more mailbag installments coming up this week so be on the lookout for them. For now, go check out those workshops!

 

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