Monday, October 31, 2016

Update in Scenes, Happy Halloween

A Halloween party: people gathered round and being silly. Beautiful candied apples and cupcakes galore. A fire in the hearth, a black poison punch... spilled in my crotch. I mean like really in my crotch. Intimately in my crotch. Shower and back to the party. Giggling and feasting, high energy, overwhelmed moments, sneaking away to play Panda Pop. Also I made leeches. Word to the wise, don't put gummy worms in a punch if you ever want to enjoy gummy worms again. Of the parties we've had this year, this group was the smallest. We felt no need to play party games. No Ouija and no Vampire. But the party did not suffer for it. Late night with friends and sleeping in the next day. A great introduction to the intensity of Halloween 2016.

Had a pajama day yesterday at work . Late paper protocol - could do this in my sleep. A bit crazy but still hanging in there. I was excited for tomorrow for Halloween at work. And excited for Halloween tomorrow night and then for tarot and Ouija in the first week of November to celebrate the cross-quarters. We are celebrating Saturday night with friends.

A few things that happened yesterday: I drove home behind a large black truck that had a ton of fallen and crisp pretty leaves in the bed. As we drove along an unending stream of autumn confetti drifted in gorgeous figure eights and whirls all around me. I grew a beautiful pumpkin, perfectly orange flesh and symmetrical, and today we discovered that it has been stolen. Of the three pumpkins I grew to fruition, my father and mother have the itty bitty one and I have the misshapen greenish monster (which I love very much), leaving the super model pumpkin in the hands of a thief. I'm telling myself it was a child who was seduced by the pumpkin's beauty and has now lovingly carved it into further perfection. That will be the truth.

I haven't kept up on my spells. But even in the few I've managed to offer up in this blog I've learned a great deal and continue to learn. I'm out of touch with my Book of Shadows. I'm out of touch - or feeling a bit out of touch - with the divine and the energies around me. So I'm learning. I'm learning to get past this, whatever this is. 

A myriad of dead and dying bugs fell on me after I stepped off the bus the other day. It was disorienting and upsetting and they clung to my jacket and my face. White fuzzy bodies, almost like fluff, wings veined and minuscule, legs kicking in death and suddenly my black clothes are dotted with puffs of passing. 

Went to Creepy Hallow two nights ago. Drank coffee-cocoa and walked through an Insane Asylum in the woods. Lots to look at, hard to see it. So dark. The best part was hearing shrill screams and maniacal laughter echoing through the trees, mixing with woodland mist and the ghosts of my breath. A tall ghoul clown came up to me. He sniffed me and I sniffed him back. He was wearing a cologne that made me hot. Wish I had asked him what it was. Almost like Armani Code but not as sweet. Ghoul musk. He followed me creepily. I was scared and excited. He touched my hair, gently letting locks drip through his fingers. I kind of hoped he would follow me through the whole forest. I'm taken and all but Halloween is a time for thrills and chills and he was doing a pretty decent job of both. Made it through the forest! Sprained my ankle on the way to the car. Figures. 

Didn't buy these the other day, but really wanted to. Any food with Vampire in the name sounds amazing. Even kale chips.

Last night I made a water mosaic. That's what I'm going to call it. I filled a punch bowl with water and Rowan berries, fallen Maple leaves, other leaves, two mini pumpkins, and the shell from my Golden Apple snail. Tonight we'll consecrate the water by adding moon charged water: the water is rain water from the roof terrace of my work, gathered in the dark morning hours after a full blood moon. 

Not sure exactly what mysterious fun awaits us for tonight. A ritual perhaps? Some meditation on the dead? Divination and Ouija? We'll find out later. For now I'm just doing my best to stay awake and alert. Tonight is the night when the world waits together for transformation, unveiling, and dark beauty. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Spooky Office and Seeing Red

The last two days of work have been really neat and really different. I've been able to spend a lot of time off the phones (a special treat to be sure) decorating the customer service quarter for Halloween. it makes me so happy to see all the spiderwebs and ghosts and bats. And a coworker has set up a witch's altar right in the entryway. Yeah, I'm pretty fucking stoked. When not decorating I've been working with my bosses to figure out my new schedule as well as helping with an outreach project that combined my bubbly phone skills and my writing skills. I got to speak to notable members of the community to ask them for quotable opinions about the paper. It was kind of nerve-wracking and kind of a blast.

Also a gentleman from Seattle sent some copies of a paper from 1889! They were from way back before the Spokesman-Review was actually the Spokesman-Review. Before it was the Spokesman and the Chronicle. This paper was titled Spokane Falls Review and even though we are pretty sure these are special reprints (still really cool even if they are) there is some debate as to whether or not they could possibly be originals! 

On my way home from work today... well let me start with the fact that due to construction my bus stop is two blocks down from where it normally is so I was already thrown a bit off as I made my way. I missed the bus. Saw it drive off while I was too many steps away to try and stop it. No worries though because there was another coming shortly. While I waited I called Hannah and before it was due, there came the bus, but I was seated in front of the financial building and too far away to hail it.

As I walked dumbfounded toward the now departing bus, I missed a step off the terrace and did the thing that no fat girl ever wants to do in public ever. I fell flat on my face. Scraped up my left knee (which was already injured by way of a strained IT-band) and twisted my right leg a little. Mostly though it was my pride that hurt. Did I mention I was wearing a skirt? I also had on red underwear. But I hardly need to tell you that since my skirt flopped up and onto my back and gave the entire world a lovely view of my panties. I'm on my period too. Thank the gods I was wearing red panties. 

Anyway, no sooner had I stood back up, lying in my assurances to passersby that I was "fine, fine, I'm really fine," did the tears start pouring. I was still on the phone with Hannah. Through all of it I had managed to hold onto my phone and keep the call. So I whimpered to her, "I just fell. Hard. And I'm really not okay." All of this was said through tiny hiccups and sniffles and sobs. Hannah said she'd come get me. I'm really thankful she offered. The last thing I wanted in that moment was to wait for the next bus to drive off without me.

I told her I didn't want her to hit the construction so I started down Sprague. I was so angry/embarrassed that I walked all the way to the Starbucks at the corner of Division and Second. It was over a mile which (for a fat girl who just skinned her knee and executed her pride) was a decent jaunt. I walk to the bus stop in the mornings most days but even that is only three quarters of a mile. So I was proud despite my resonating utter horror. Red panties. Just... red panties. Shocking that I'm so upset really considering what an exhibitionist I am. 

On the way to the meeting place I did find some solace in our city's art. I've seen these things hundreds of times but today I felt the need to document them. Both of them are on Sprague as you go east toward Division. Giant marmot and River Park Square Michelangelo (as I have dubbed them.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Circles! And a refreshing view of Ouija Boards

So I am planning on doing some Ouija Board sessions during the month of October and so have purchased (thank you Amazon) a board of my own with a circular lay out. I am a huge fan of circles. My favorite shape. But not even for the obvious reasons (Witches be loving them circles, yo!) I have just always been attracted to circle shapes and spirals. They are my jam. Anyhow, so I am purchasing this circular style board which, according to the reviews does not come with "instructions." Not that instructions are needed, but it's nice to do some research before trying something new and "oh so very" controversial. I found a myriad of sites all proclaiming that there way was best. But the site I actually found helpful (The Museum of Talking Boards) came at the topic of Ouija with honesty and the tone of "it's up to YOU to decide what's best concerning usage and attitude." And that suits me very well. One of the articles I found on the Museum of Talking Boards site states: 
Opening and closing rituals are neither essential nor necessarily traditional but they might enhance your Ouija experience, particularly if you enjoy ceremony. Regardless of what you may have heard, there is no "one true way" to ritualize. Your "own true way" is best. Recite poems, speak power words, intone spirit invocations, or sing songs that are meaningful to you. Surround yourself with candles if you're so inclined. Above all, "personalize" your session. If you want to cover your board with amulets to protect yourself from the "unfriendlies," go ahead and do it. There are no rules to the contrary. Do whatever gets you in the mood.
I have only ever utilized a Ouija Board once before. It was on Halloween with a group of grade school friends. We ate tons of sugary treats, drank sodas, and watched Children of the Corn and other scary movies. Then someone brought out a Ouija Board and we gathered around. The planchette moved and I don't remember the question but I know at one point the planchette spelled out: AMANDA BAD. I felt that someone might be moving the piece on purpose to get at me or maybe there was a message there that we didn't finish like: AMANDA BAD AT SAXOPHONE or AMANDA BAD-ASS. But at the time I was just pretty flushed and upset. I didn't figure that I was bad (I admit I probably felt a little guilty since I was a good Catholic girl playing Ouija... who also knew how to masturbate, but....) either it was a friend being a jerk or perhaps it really was a spirit and it was being pesky. Moving right along now, I've been super curious to get back at a board and try for a serious and insightful session. If it says "Amanda bad" again I'm definitely going to ask for clarification because I may be a little bit "bad," but I'm damn "good" at it!

Halloween, Handfasting, and Spell 3: Holding it together!

With Halloween fast approaching Hannah and I have been filling the house with spooky fun. We've been watching goth vloggers Goblin Queen and It's Black Friday on YouTube as well as decorating the house and getting ready for Halloween treats, rituals, and parties. In researching an alcohol free punch for the work Halloween party I stumbled upon this fantastic site: My Scary Halloween. There is so much win on this site. I found a few links that are broken but all in all this is a fantastic place to go for ideas, nostalgia, and good old fashioned Halloween fun. And speaking of ideas:

Hannah and I have been doing some serious work on the Handfasting front. We have a few granges around town that we're going to check out after I get paid this next week and we also have a dinner plan in the works. The food will be a 'hearty feast,' meaning turkey and ham and rolls and mashed potatoes and everything else yummy! As for decorative and overall theme we are sticking with gothic fantasy forest. Depending on where we decide to have the wedding we may well have our work cut out for us with decorating. Also we've been working on the guest list and already trying to think about where we are going to house some of our out-of-towner friends. A few people may have to stay in hotels, but I think we'll figure it out. We'll make sure any hotels that we use are nearby so that we can all be close together during the insanity of the wedding. 

And in light of all the planning and the chaos my third spell is going to be a spell for an empowerment talisman. Use this talisman (hold it, rub it, stick it in your bra, make it into a necklace or bracelet) when things are a bit too much to handle and you need a moment to just say "gods and goddesses this shit is real and I need a hand." My inspiration and basis for this spell comes from The Witch's Spellbook Tumblr blog

Five candles (any colors that represent strength for you)
Toothpick (or something equivalent for purpose of carving wax)
A piece of paper
Red marker or pen
A small object, wearable is preferable (pendant, stone, hair clip, pin, etc.)

First, play some power music for yourself and meditate a moment on the lyrics. While energizing yourself and rocking out, take the candles and carve power symbols into them. If you are using chime candles you can put the symbol wherever you like, but if you are using tapers you might want to put it near the top so that the symbol burns/melts during the spell casting. For power symbols you can use whatever makes you feel strong. Use the symbol for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince if you desire, or use a rune, or just a really exaggerated smiley face. The point is: whatever makes you confident and strong, that is what you want on these candles. You can tie a hair around the candle too if you would like. I might take hair from my parents and from my significant other and from close friends. All people who empower me with their love. I think you get the idea. 

Next: using the red marker draw a pentagram on the piece of paper and place your empowerment candles at each star point. Place your chosen object into the middle of the pentagram. Make sure the symbols you've drawn on the candles face inward toward the object (unless you've covered the candle in symbols in which case, rock on!). 

Light the candles starting with the one furthest away from you and continue clockwise. If you still have music going at this point, I might recommend using something instrumental. Perhaps some good old Two Steps from Hell (see video below). While the candles burn, focus on the object in the middle. It is going to be a very potent reminder for you in times when you need to tap into your own courage and power. Chant something to invite energy into the object. I've been waiting to post this blog for about four days because I was waiting for some chant to come to me that would showcase my intention. What I'm learning so far in this challenge is that spells might come to you when you want them to, but more often they come to you when you need them to.

To finish this spell, I would chant or say words of power to imbue the item and then let the candles surrounding it burn all the way down. When all five candles are gone, you can remove the item and use it as necessary to help you when you feel powerless or when you forget how amazing you are. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Witchcraft by the Book - Some Thoughts

So I've been studying some good old fashioned Witchcraft via "The Inner Temple of Witchcraft" by Christopher Penczak. I am one chapter in and I have a few things to say: 1) I'm not sure I agree with him that you have to study and have understanding of the basics of why and how before you can actually write, perform, and truly feel rituals and spells; 2) I love the idea that the term "witch" does not trap you or pigeonhole you, but instead opens you up to an infinite number of possibilities of spiritual and vocational roles; 3) at the end of chapter 1 he invites us to define witch for ourselves and I would like to share that now. 

Witch, for me, is anyone who actively works with nature and the archetypes of the divine to sow healing and wisdom into the world. I fully expect my definition to change over time. In fact, it may change by the end of the second chapter. But for now that is how I define the term of witch and I think it does its part in waylaying of our society's skewed perception of the word. The thing is, a great many people are witches who would never call themselves 'witch' and that is perfectly fine. But it should also be perfectly fine for anyone who is a witch to be able to call themselves that. As it stands now, we will never have a witch for President (not that most witches would want to be, but you never know), and we'll never have a witch at the Head of the Department of Education. Or at least we'll never have an outed witch in these roles, but considering what a witch is... wouldn't it be lovely to have one running the county? I certainly think so. But I digress. 

As for the first thing I mentioned from the reading: I do not believe you have to have a core understanding of the logistics, terms, and meanings in order to be successful in writing spells and rituals. And I certainly don't believe you have to 'know' about witchcraft in order to benefit greatly from attending a ritual. Yes, the more we know the better. But the first few times I attended ritual with the IEPG I didn't know anything about any of it. I knew the term Wicca and I knew that Wiccans didn't believe in the Judea-Christian Satan figure. That would be the extent of what I thought I knew. And even that was wrong... because it's not a matter of 'believing in' or 'not believing in.' Eclectic witches, who may or may not be Wiccan, may or may not utilize the archetype of Devil (for example: the Devil card in tarot) in their practices. Or in the case of myself, I enjoy the Judeo-Christian myths and archetypes as part of the global mythos of the world I inhabit. So, essentially, (Socrates moment here) I really didn't know anything. And I still don't. Knowing is different from knowledge and knowledge is different from wisdom all of that is very different from feeling. I had a very profound experience the first few rituals I attended and the intensity of discovery continued during New Moon discussions and other discussions/classes through the IEPG. I learned that I wanted to learn more but even without delving too deep into the etymology of words, the 'how' behind spell crafting, and the 'traditions' of ritual working, I was already up and running. I feel that a great deal of my personal growth has come from learning on my own. Yes I ask questions and yes I go to my trusted witchy friends for extra guidance and help but I never let me lack of knowledge of the basics hold me back. I do not know if my experience is a unique one or if many people come at their path with blind faith and a running start. But I know that for me I didn't need to know a lot about ritual to know that I wanted... needed... to lead some. 

I will add a caveat here. Perhaps I did have all the traditional learning and 'basics' knowledge necessary through my Catholic upbringing. Catholicism is just a hop away from mysticism and just a god/dess short of paganism. I learned about ritual and 'spell' working through Catholic mass. I learned about conjuring/incantations during the transubstantiation of the bread into flesh and the wine into blood. I came to learn of Holy days and also developed an understanding of cross pollination of religion as my Catholic congregation took great pains to pay homage to the Jewish Passover ritual every year around Easter time. So perhaps I was lucky in that I did have a knowledge of the basics necessary to have a profound experience during my first Pagan rituals. But regardless, I believe that a feeling (or a calling) toward rituals and spells comes from the collective subsconscious of humanity. While we may not know the terms for what we are doing and we may not know the reasons we do them in this way, many of us are performing witchcraft just fine. 

That is one of the reasons I wanted to do the spell challenge for this month. The best way for me to learn and grow is through coupling book learning with hands on trial and error. Some of these spells are going to suck, let's just face that. But I think that as I continue to work through my fifteen, I will learn invaluable lessons that I can apply to not only spell writing but to other aspects of witchcraft and daily life.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spell 2: Tarot Attunement

Spells can take many shapes and serve a myriad of purposes. They are small (or large) sessions of spiritual therapy and growth. Since a rather large interest for me, spiritually and psychologically, is tarot, I've decided that today I want to work on a spell that features my relationship with tarot. As I've mentioned before, I believe that inanimate and 'non-living' things respond to and manipulate energy. For example: places and objects can be 'haunted.' And water, flash frozen, reveals emotional ice crystals based on the energies presented to it. So it only makes sense that to really get the most out of your tarot/oracle deck or other various divination tools, you should work on your relationship with them. You should attune.

I use tarot quite a bit and like to spend time with the decks I use the most. I often carry a deck with me to work or shuffle though cards before bed. Now, it is generally understood that to get a good reading from tarot you want to cleanse it of energies before use. I don't worry so much about cleansing. I shuffle and hold them to my chest and I feel that helps prepare myself and the cards for the reading about to commence. But overall, whether bursting with energy or stagnant and sitting, the cards do have a sort of life and personality of their own. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.

For this spell you will need one tarot deck (pick one you're pretty excited out). The aim here is to attune to the deck to help you have an easier time understanding what the deck is trying to tell you in readings. You might also say that attuning with this instrument will help you understand what the divine has in mind for you as well. So here goes:

Take your tarot deck and place it beneath your pillow before bed. Say these words:
"I am open to receive. I am open to understanding. I will never abuse the information you share with me. I respect your sacred mission to aid me on my path and in turn you have my trust."
The next morning, bring the tarot with you wherever you go that day. Keep the deck in your purse, pocket, or even held in your hands. That evening, as the sun sets, or as the night draws on, honor the tarot in this way: Gather a cup, an athame (or sword if you prefer), a small coin (a penny will do), and a small branch/twig to be the wand.

Lay out the deck before you, touch each and every card. With the deck laid out, lift the cup and say:
"I'm ready to journey with you beneath the moon's reflection on the water of my soul."
Return the cup. Lift the wand and say:
"I'm ready to journey with you and embrace the fiery passions that flourish within my heart."
Return the wand. Lift the coin and say:
"I'm ready to journey with you to and explore the sensuous secrets of the body."
Return the coin. Lift the athame and say:
"I'm ready to journey with you above the mire of confusion, to clarity of mind."
Return the athame and laid your hands on the cards. Say once more:
"I am open to receive. I am open to understanding. I will never abuse the information you share with me. I respect your sacred mission to aid me on my path and in turn you have my trust."
You are done with the spell/attunement at this point. I don't know for sure if this qualifies as a spell, per se, but I am eager to try it and get to know a few tarot decks better. I don't know if I would try this with more than one deck at a time since the purpose is to really open yourself up to a deck and get it to trust you in return. Perhaps this is a one deck at a time thing. Like a date. Or friendly one on one time. For me, a deck is a friend. It may be that the very deck itself is your friend or it is a phone, instant messenger, or post-it note board that helps you communicate with your friend (i.e. the divine). But just like a friend I like to play with the cards. When I say play, I do not mean that I take divination to be a joke. Play is the word I use when I want a relationship and I think after performing this attument spell, I'll be able to play even better with my dear decks. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Spell 1: Protection

What is a spell. This is going to be my own opinion and I know that other people may view spells differently but here goes: a spell is a set of words (sometimes rhyming, sometimes unspoken), often accompanied by a set of tasks (spreading salt, stirring a potion, etc.) that channel intention and energy toward a specific or generic goal. In essence I would say that these spells are mini rituals and as such can involve tools, ingredients, and any number of physical symbols to aid in raising energy for the success of the spell. 

Since I've been thinking about this spell project for the past several weeks I've, naturally, been looking up various spells and formats and talking to friends about their own experiences with spells. Some websites that I've perused:, and The truth is there are hundreds of ways to create and cast a spell. I'm only going to create and cast fifteen spells during this month and I will barely touch on the expanse of creative potential that comes along with spell work. But to get us started I'm going to write out and cast a protection spell. (The writing part is today and the casting part is tomorrow). 

Just a note: if anyone wants to try these spells please do! And if you wish to change them up a bit to better incorporate your particular needs or path, that is perfectly all right. If anyone does try one of my spells throughout this month (and if you are willing to share your experience) I would love to hear about it in the comments section or private message. That being said here we go!

Fresh sage (or powdered and consecrated sage from the kitchen)
Magic Salt (or consecrated salt)
A bowl of Shrine water (or consecrated water, or moon charged water)
Smudge stick
A white candle (or whatever color best represents protection for you)

The plan: find a quiet space with little distraction. Create a small circle with the leaves of the sage. Place a cup of shrine water as well as a white candle within the circle. Light the candle and take a moment to ground. When you're ready, sprinkle salt into the water while saying these words:

"Great Lord and Lady, Faeries and Sprites, 
Creatures of Magick, and all of our Wights,
All spirits within, all spirits without,
Help keep us safe, beyond shadow of doubt."

Hold the smudge stick in your hands. Close your eyes and envision a white glow all around you that extends to the boundaries of your home (to the car in the parking lot, to the pumpkin patch out back and maybe even along the walk ways around your apartment). Speak these words:

"Shield of love, O perfect light,
Keep me safe both day and night,
Protect us from harm, protect us from wrong,
Protect kith and kin and all who belong."

Light the smudge stick from the candle. Walk the house and smudge all corners of every room. Continue to chant "Shield of love" if you wish or just envision the light spreading and flooding your home. When you are finished return to the circle of sage. Extinguish the smudge stick (if you wish you can dip it into the cup of shrine water or you can extinguish it with a shell). Take the cup of shrine water and go to the front door and wet the threshold with about half of the cup's contents. Speak out loud that you welcome those who mean you no harm and that you cast out and reject all things of ill-will. Go to the back door and repeat this. Return to the sage circle once again repeat what you said at the beginning: "Great Lord and Lady..." Thank the gods and the good spirits around you for helping your spell. Extinguish the white candle. You are done.