Interpreting a Tarot Reading


Please help me if you can. I’m new to tarot cards. I decided to do a reading for myself. I asked the cards if I would become pregnant soon?

This are the cards I did a 4 cards spread.

  1. )past: reversed five pentacles
  2. )present: reversed wheel of fortune
  3. )future: reversed devil
  4. )distant future: reversed the tower

If you can, can you please tell me what the cards are trying to say?

Please note… divination is not my thing. I’ve studied it some, but do not use my cards on a regular basis, other than for myself. I make no claims to being any sort of expert, or make any sort of guarantees that what is listed here will in fact come to pass as I’ve described. The following is my two cents for what it’s worth, just based on my initial impressions of the cards. I’ve included links to basic card associations as well, so that you can make your own decisions, as there are always multiple ways for cards to be interpreted.

So, if I had to answer your direct question… “Will I become pregnant soon?” just based on the card reading shown (and without knowing anything else about you), I’d say that the outlook does not seem positive at this time. I don’t think it necessarily means that you won’t ever, but right now, there appear to be a lot of roadblocks in your path. As indicated with the Five of Pentacles – either a matter of overcoming previous health or financial issues, or even potentially a matter of a partner who is not quite ready to commit fully to having a child.

While the Wheel of Fortune card can be positive, particularly if you are wanting change, with it being reversed that tends to indicate that things aren’t necessarily changing in the ways that you them to. Particularly paired with the other two – The Devil and The Tower, it signifies that right now may not be the best timing for your pregnancy to happen.

Breaking it down a bit more, based on basic interpretations found at Learning the Tarot (which is a great site for anyone looking to learn the basics)…

  1. Five of Pentacles(past): refers to having recently been in bad health or suffered hard times. With a reversed card, could indicate that the issue has not fully resolved itself as of yet.
  2. Wheel of Fortune (present): things are changing, either physically or mentally/emotionally. With a reversed card, could indicate that the change will be slow in coming, or not be in the direction that you want.
  3. The Devil (future): situation will not be what you foresee, potentially having to bow to the wants/needs of others. With a reversed card, could indicate that the situation isn’t completely hopeless, but may need to overcome a lot of other obstacles first.
  4. The Tower (distant future): coming to an understanding, gaining insight, having one’s dreams crumble. With a reversed card, again could be that things don’t quite work out how you were expecting, but that in the end you will be ok with it, or at least be able to come to terms with it.

For a slightly different take on the card meanings, you can check out Aeclectic Tarot as well.

On the mundane side of things, getting pregnant is often a matter of the right timing, coupled with taking proper care of yourself. So if you are trying to get pregnant, there are some basic tips you can follow that will help (at least in some ways) smooth the process out a bit. Nothing, obviously, will guarantee pregnancy, but sometimes we all need a little extra help getting it to work out the way we want it to.

If you are already eating healthy, and getting a good amount of exercise daily/weekly, that’s good – if not, now is the time to start making some of those changes. Also it’s a good time to quit any potentially harmful habits (smoking, drinking, etc…) as you will need to quit anyways when you do get pregnant, so might as well get used to it sooner, rather than later.  Additionally, you will want to start tracking your menstrual cycle. If you have a smartphone, there are apps for tracking like Fertility Friend, which can do all sorts of nifty things, or you can just get a pocket-sized calendar and write it all down the old fashioned way. In either case though, knowing when you are most likely ovulating, will give you a better idea of when the best chance of getting pregnant is.

The big thing to remember – don’t get too discouraged if it seems to be taking a while. In movies it always seems to just take one time (and in truth is can definitely only take one time, given the right timing), but the reality is that for many women it can take a while (sometimes years) to get pregnant. If you are concerned though, definitely talk to your ob-gyn and get a check up, both for you and your partner if necessary. This will rule out any sort of underlying conditions that could be making it difficult for you to become pregnant.

Good luck!!

 

  • Additionally, if any of our readers have different interpretations that they’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. Definitely welcome additional insight from those who might work more frequently with tarot and have a different perspective. 🙂

Are Weather Spells Considered Black Magic?


Are weather spells (like a storm spell) considered black magic?

The short answer is… no.

The longer answer is more of… depends on what you are looking to do with it. If you are purposefully trying to be destructive, or cause injury or harm to others via the weather, then yes it could be. In general (and I’m sure I’m like a broken record at this point) magic is colorless – in and of itself it is neither black nor white (or any other color for that matter). It’s what you do with it that really counts.

Keep in mind too though, that even if you aren’t meaning to do harm with weather magic, it can still cause it. Forces of nature are called such for a good reason, and are not something to take on lightly, or without a lot of careful consideration and forethought. The following was originally re-blogged to our Tumblr page via Morgandria, but cross posting here as well, due your question…

Helpful Hint for Witches #6

LEAVE THE WEATHER ALONE.

Unless you have a meteorologist’s level of knowledge about the historical and prevailing conditions of your area, and how systems move in and out of your area, you have NO idea how your witching is going to affect OTHER areas, as well as your own. You are not just affecting yourself. You will be potentially effecting thousands or millions of other people.

You could be starting or encouraging a flood. Or a drought. And you are very likely not the only witch throwing pebbles into the weather pond. One pebble is a ripple – hundreds of pebbles cause a lot more disturbance. Ripples can become waves. Waves from different directions meet and crash – and you don’t want to live where waves meet.

We all love to complain about the weather. We’d all love to change it, sometimes. But it’s not a wise choice.

 

 

Wiccan Exorcism


I am pretty new to Wicca, and I believe there is a negative entity or demon in my house. I’ve looked up exorcisms and found one I’d like to use but I have a few questions I’m hoping you can answer for me. Here is a link to website I got it from.

I have used rituals on this website before and found they worked well, but I’d like to get someone more experienced opinion before I do anything.

  1. Is it safe? And if not exactly how dangerous could it be?
  2. My mother, whom I live with is not Wiccan and does not believe in the craft, or in ghosts or demons. Although she has heard and seen many of the things I have she always comes with something else it could be. Could her disbelief be a problem?
  3. The incantation is in Latin and although I do speak Latin I am not fluent, if I mispronounced something would it mess up the whole exorcism?

If you are an initiated Wiccan, I would suggest speaking to you HP/HPS about potential ways to deal with a malevolent entity. They would be best equipped to instruct someone who is new, and will also know what sort of things to suggest based on their assessment of your current skill level. Outside of Traditional Wicca however, for those that are on a Wicca inspired NeoPagan path, or solitary Witch – I’d be kind of wary of anything that calls itself a Wiccan “exorcism”.

Most Witchcraft traditions work with banishing rituals when they need to rid themselves (or others) of unwanted energies/entities. The term “exorcism” has heavily Christian overtones, and not that it can’t necessarily work – even for a non-Christian, odds are that the wording of the actual “spell”  is going to be geared more towards a Christian mindset than a Pagan one.

So using Google Translate (which obviously isn’t perfect, but will give us a general idea of the text in English)…

Kingdoms of the Earth, Sing unto God, sing ye praises with Cernunnos,
Kingdoms of the Earth, Goddess, sing praises sung of Arad.
God of heaven, earth,
I humbly beg your Majesty
In order that the power from all of the infernal spirits,
The trap, and deception, malice;
Of all deceit, deliver us, O Ruler.
Exorcise you, every unclean spirit
Let every satanic power, every incursion,
That infernal adversary, every legion,
And the gathering together of all sects.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O sovereign Lord,
As Lisle serve your safe to do
We beseech thee to hear us!
Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy of the circle,
We beseech thee to hear us!
The God in his sanctuary,
Cernunnos Himself will have thrust the power of His Own people,
Arad his strength to his people.
Blessed be God, the Father,
Blessed Goddess Mother of the glory!

In this case, the wording is not even remotely appropriate, and it’s pretty clear that someone simply took the original Latin wording of a Christian ritual and added in a few references to a Pagan God, and Goddess. Which if they’d left both of them completely generic, it might not have been so bad, but to name Cernunnos specifically, particularly with the attributes of YHWH still in place, is somewhat laughable at best, and utterly cringe-worthy and insulting (to both YHWH and Cernnunos) at worst. In terms of the Goddess, I’m guessing that Arad is supposed to be an abbreviation of Aradia, but still, unless you are on really good terms with that particular Goddess, I’d want to make sure to use her full name, otherwise it could be seen as a sign of disrespect. Worse, you could end up invoking a completely different Goddess.  I’d advise anyone that was even considering to use it, to leave out any specific God/Goddess names unless you were absolutely sure that the attributes/praises listed were actually apt descriptions of said God/Goddess.

Other issues…

  • With the wording itself – the Devil is a Christian concept. Not that others can’t/don’t necessarily acknowledge his existence, but it’s usually not quite the same as how a Christian would view it. Particularly within a NeoPagan framework, there is the acknowledgement that not everything is love and light or healing and growing, and that in order to maintain that elusive “balance” everyone is so keen on, there is a certain amount of dark and chaos, and destruction that is necessary as well.
  • This whole paragraph here: This method is a good one for two reasons. First, it uses a force so pure that when the demon leaves the body of the victim, it will already be so immersed in this energy that it will be annihilated. Secondly, you do not need to adapt the incantation according to the identity or strength of the evil spirit, since the power of the gods still exceed the power of the demon.”  What force is it using? In a Christian context this would make more sense, given how YHWH is generally described, but in terms of other Pagan Gods not so much. There is an assumption there as well, that all Gods are more powerful than all “demons” (and that word in particular is problematic at best, since things that we often might call “demons” really aren’t, nor are they all inherently evil), which may or may not be true (it’s said to be true in the case of YHWH though, which is what the words are in reference to).
  • Speaking in Latin (or any foreign language one is not fluent in) – first and foremost, if you are going to do any sort of spellwork in another language, it is ALWAYS (can’t stress it enough) advisable to get the text translated first by someone that is reputable/knowledgeable in both languages (not only the text language, but one’s native language as well) so that there is absolutely no chance of any miscommunication, or mis-speaking. Having to go back later and be all… “but that’s not what I meant!!” doesn’t generally go over very well. It’s definitely not a good idea to just take text from a book, or the internet and assume that it means what the author/site publisher says it does.
  • Even once you are sure that the text says exactly what you want it to say, the other issue is actually speaking the words. Again, if you are not fluent, it’s better to just say no, rather than risk mispronouncing something, which could change the meaning of your ritual exponentially, and screw the whole thing up (or make it a lot worse). I generally do not suggest using foreign phrasing unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you are saying it correctly. It’s just too risky.

In terms of “safety”, it’s really hard to say. Really will depend on if it’s an actual entity, or just some lingering icky energy? If it’s just energy, then a decent cleansing ritual should suffice (or several of them if it’s really stubborn) and shouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other normal activity that you might do.

If it’s an actual entity of some kind – is it actually malevolent, or just there and you don’t want it to be? Often entities will work more on a you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you kind of a scale, so if you find yourself poking at it, or engaging it in any way, it may just be a matter of ignoring it and it will go on it’s way once you stop. A lot of times as well, there is a tendency for people to assume that all entities are evil or malicious, when in fact, most are apathetic at best towards humans, and even if they are hanging around a house, they aren’t really any sort of threat. In those cases, sometimes simply asking (firmly, but politely) “please leave” can do wonders. For those that are truly malicious, any sort of banishing spell/ritual could be pretty intense, but not like actual “The Exorcist” (the movie) intense. If you are not comfortable with such things though, then you might want to contact someone who is, just to have the extra support.

As to your mother’s belief/disbelief… as the ritual/spell isn’t directed at her, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if she is going around actively countering your work, either by shooting it down verbally (saying things like… that will never work), or in some other way making you doubt yourself, or your ability to banish the entity – that could affect the outcome. It would be more beneficial to have her working with you, or at the very least not working against you. Other issues that come into play here as well, are if she doesn’t want you doing witchcraft in the house. If that is the case, you should look to other methods of banishing that aren’t overtly witchcraft, as one should always try to respect the rules their parents have set while still living at home.

So… other options. I’m a big fan of actual “cleansing” when doing banishing/cleansing type rituals. If there is a particular place in the house where this entity or energy seems to be concentrated, start there, giving the area a deep cleaning. Open windows, and doors, sweep, dust, vacuum, etc…Make it all sparkle, and sweep the negative energy right out the door/window.

Once you’ve done the manual labor, then you can look to the more spiritual side of it. Burning a protective/purifying/cleansing flavor of incense is a good way to encourage an unwanted entity to leave, or to help whisk away negative energy. Bells and chimes have been used for such as well.

Outside of that, if you want to do a full-on ritual, now would be the time, though I would really suggest writing one yourself, rather than using the Latin one above (there are just way too many things wrong with it). Personally, I would suggest visualizing the cleansing via the Elements (air to push out the entity/energy, fire to burn away any residual negativity, water to purify, and earth to build strong, protected foundation).

You can open by calling on whichever God(s) you personally work with, but I would avoid calling on random deities that you don’t have any particular association with. Working with unfamiliar deities is sometimes a bit hit or miss – they might help, but they might not, so it’s usually better to just raise your own energy, unless you have something really good to offer in return for their assistance. Then simply state your intention to banish the entity/energy, and do the visualizations (mentioned above) to emphasize that intention. When you’re done you can close out your ritual, be sure to give your offerings and/or show your appreciation for any deities that you called on (if you choose to do so).

As mentioned earlier, sometimes it may take more than one cleansing. So if you do it once, and there is still a bit of lingering ick, give it a bit of time and do it again.

Are Crystals Required for Wand Making?


When making a pagan wand is it necessary to use a crystal? I’ve looked everywhere and could not find a answer.

Unless one is a member of a specific tradition which has exacting requirements for how one’s wand should be made, a wand – like most other magical tools, is a personal thing. Yes, they are practical in nature, but in truth you can usually design it however you want to, and include whatever materials you want to (as long as it can still perform it’s intended function) .

Some choose to make a number of different wands, each corresponding to a particular purpose, and others choose to make a single wand that they use for all magical purposes – it’s your choice. In either case though, you would want to use materials that best represent your intended use (whether specific or general), and while using commonly accepted symbols/materials is often a popular choice, as long as you have a reason for including something else (either UPG, lore-based or just because it looks pretty damn spectacular), it’s entirely up to you.

Crystals tend to be used often, because of their inherent properties, not only in terms of correspondences (there is probably a crystal for almost any purpose we could possibly imagine), but also their ability to channel and/or hold magical energy. So if you like crystals… use them, if you don’t, that’s fine too, there are plenty of other items that can serve in their stead. Use whichever ones speak to you.

I know people who have intricately crafted wands, with crystals and carved sigils, and I know people who have store bought toy “fairy-godmother” type wands and people who have ones that are somewhere in between – all use them with pride. In the end is the only real question is… does the wand work for you? As long as the answer is yes, then that’s all that really matters.

Are There Rules For Black Magic?


I’m the recipient of some pretty bad black Magic. For the past 5yrs, I’ve had scary things appear in my home. From hearing flapping birds in my kitchen, to having cold hands of dark shadows try to pull me out of my body. I’ve been living in fear for so long. I’m wondering what the rules are for the woman who has been terrorizing me? Why is she allowed to do this for so long? I know we have biblical rules to follow. What are the rules for such a person  who practices black magic? And who refuses to leave me alone? This woman I speak of, is my mother in law. I cannot get away from her, as  still married to her son. Any help will ease my mind that one day, she will stop.

Thank you!

 

The short answer, unfortunately, is  – not really.

The longer answer depends quite a bit on what tradition one is a member of, if they are solitary/have an eclectic practice, and in truth either way there really aren’t a whole lot of set “RULES” or “LAWS” in terms of magical workings – or at least none that are universal to every single witch or magical practitioner.  We wrote last year, on Magic: Energy and Cursing/Hexing and that might be worth a read, as it covers some of what you are asking about, at least in general terms.

For your situation specifically, and starting from a mundane (non-magical) perspective –

  • What makes you think that your mother-in-law is out to get you, or is sending these sorts of things your way?
  • Have you talked to your doctor to rule out the possibility of any medical condition that could be causing you to have auditory, or other physical type of hallucinations, anxiety, etc… which could potentially account for what you’ve been experiencing? (this is not meant to be offensive, or to dismiss in any way anything you have been going through – it’s a legit step in evaluating the situation, to determine if there really is something “magical” going on)
  • Is there any potential for resolving whatever differences there are between you and your mother-in-law? Even if you weren’t the one originally in the wrong, for whatever started her anger, sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to be the bigger person and apologize just to stop the situation from continuing to escalate (though to be fair it seems like it’s already past that point, it’s still worth mentioning).
  • Have you tried talking to your husband, to see if it’s something that he can help resolve, or at least get her to back off a bit?
  • As a last resort (and obviously hubby would have to agree), but have you considered moving and ceasing contact with her. It’s harsh, but sometimes necessary to get the point across, when someone is acting in a way that is inappropriate.

Magically (as I mentioned to begin with) there aren’t necessarily any sort of set rules. Even within those traditions that do have particular moral/ethical tenets, often the caveat is that if one feels that an action is justified and is willing to accept the consequences, then any action can be taken. More so, outside of those paths, if someone is just out to be malicious, then they may not have any particular code that they hold to, and feel that they can do whatever they want to.

From an energetic perspective though, magic – particularly strong magic, often requires a lot of hard work. Sustaining that sort of thing over long periods of time, is usually pretty exhausting. Though if there is an anger component to it, then that would go a long way towards “fueling” some of it. Which goes back to some of the mundane suggestions I mentioned earlier, about looking for ways to resolve the underlying issues. Not only in terms of just setting things to right, but it would potentially affect the magical side of things as well.

Other than that, look for ways to cleanse and protect your own space in ways that are in concert with your own faith. Do a deep cleaning of all areas, maybe look for items that your mother-in-law has given as a gift, or “accidentally” left behind that could be helping to amplify, or manifest her magical workings.  Assuming that you are Christian, since you spoke of the Bible, I would also suggest looking for scriptures that speak to protection – 2 Samuel 22:3-4 is a good one…

3. The God of my strength, in whom I trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.

4. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Use it (or another of your choice) as a mantra, particularly when you are feeling that you are under attack. It can help to diffuse the situation.

One other piece of advice, when it comes to curses or malicious magic in general – the more time we spend dwelling on our fears, the more energy we are putting into that sort of thing. If your mother-in-law knows you are living in constant fear, it gives her confidence that her magic is working, and that much more incentive to keep doing it. If you can find a way to show her that you are not afraid of her, or (at the very least) that what she is doing isn’t affecting you, it may shift the “battle” your way, and cause her to eventually give up.

Most bullies like to feed on the negative reactions that they get from others, when we stop giving them the “food” that they like, they have to go elsewhere for nourishment.

New Pagan Mentors and Ritual Advice


I’ve been interested in Paganism for a few years, but I’ve gotten more serious about delving into it in the past month. I’ve been doing a ton of research and trying to read as much as I can about different viewpoints and paths within the umbrella term of Paganism. But I’m still so overwhelmed with all that is out there. I have so many questions I’m not finding answers to on the internet. So first of all I’m really wondering where I can find a teacher or mentor. I live in Madison, WI, which is a fairly open minded, liberal city, but I haven’t been able to find any groups that meet. Are there sites online where you can be paired with someone older and wiser, or do you suggest trying to forge a relationship in person.

Working with someone in-person will almost always be the best choice (and in some cases a requirement), when it comes to learning Pagan related material. Particularly if you are interested in any witchcraft or energy-based paths, attempting to learn via books or online can make it a daunting task. In general though, it will probably be somewhat difficult to find a mentor, until you are able to narrow down a particular path that you are interested in. In the meantime you can check places like Witchvox, where you can filter groups by state to see if there is anything near you. Occasionally you can find groups via Pagan Meetup as well.

As far as online resources, forums can be kind of hit or miss, with a lot of them being angsty drama filled areas, rife with misappropriation and misconceptions. So for a beginner it can be hard to navigate especially when you aren’t at a point where you are better able to distinguish good information from the bad. Having said that, I would suggest checking out the eCauldron Paganism for Beginners forum. They’ve been around for years, and seem to have done better than most at keeping it from getting too crazy around there (unlike some other more well known forums). Of course too you can always continue to ask questions here on the blog, or even via our FB page, or Tumblr page.

I tried my first ritual (a very simple one) for Beltane yesterday night, and I don’t feel like I did it “right”. I didn’t really get anything from it, or something?

First time rituals, especially for those who are practicing solitary are often less than spectacular. Part of it, is just because we are nervous and not entirely sure of what we are doing, and constantly wondering if we did it right, or if we have forgotten anything. As well, we have all these huge expectations, from what others have said, or what we’ve seen in movies, etc… and it’s usually not ever the same. Then sometimes, it’s just that “stuff” happens – even if we’ve done everything perfectly, the energy is off and it just wasn’t meant to be. All of which is perfectly normal, and the more often you practice and do ritual work, the easier it will get.

On that note though, if you are unsure of which path/religion you are interested in – what sort of Beltane ritual were you attempting? Not all Pagan paths celebrate Beltane – generally it’s only the Wiccan or NeoPagan related ones that do (though various others may have similar celebrations around that same time), so it could be too that it didn’t feel “right”, because it really wasn’t something that you are ultimately called to celebrate. The same holds if you called on a particular God or Goddess, it could also be that they choose not to respond, or that they are Gods of a path that you aren’t really being called to.

It’s also worth mentioning as well, that ritual workings are not typically an “instant” sort of thing. Especially if you follow a “Wheel of the Year” type model – what we plant in the Spring, we harvest in the Fall, and even outside of that framework, it can still (and often does) take time for energy/magic to manifest. So it may not be that it didn’t work, it’s just taking the appropriate time it needs to come to fruition.  

Also, I’d done it outside, so I’d gathered all the materials together in a bag. I left it carelessly in my room when I got back in, and my mom noticed it in the morning (stuff was sort of falling out) and started looking through it, asking why I had candles and some clay bowls (which I’d borrowed without asking from her). I don’t want to tell her about my interest in Paganism quite yet, as I’m not even sure where I’m going myself. My family isn’t religious, and I know they’d be supportive, but my mom has a tendency to act like she understands when she doesn’t (she has good intentions). But she got really mad that I’d taken her stuff and kept asking why, and I couldn’t really think of an excuse. Should I tell her? I don’t really want to, but now she also thinks I was stealing or planning on selling her bowls. So overall, I’m sort of lost at the moment, but I also feel so happy about the idea of becoming further involved with this spirituality.

If you feel that she would be supportive (or at the very least not react negatively), then you should be honest with her, and explain that you are interested in Paganism, and that you were trying a basic holiday ritual. It’s definitely much better than being thought of as a liar or a thief.

While you are talking to her about it though, just let her know that you are still in the very beginning stages, and that you are still learning the basics. I would also apologize for taking her stuff, and let her know that you won’t do so again without permission (that could be why your ritual didn’t feel right either – if you were using items that didn’t belong to you, and you didn’t have the owner’s permission, it could definitely have affected the energy).

Overall, as mentioned previously – continue to study, and work on figuring out what particular path you are interested in. While there are a myriad of paths out there, as well as the potential to choose an Eclectic path (which requires quite a bit more work than one would think), it can also be fun to learn about the different cultures and practices associated with each one. So don’t stress too much if you start feeling overwhelmed, just take your time and eventually it will work itself out.

 

Magic: Energy and Cursing/Hexing


Hello there!
I was curious about something I have heard of in pop culture as well as many ancient stories from around the globe, the usage of curses or “dark magic.” I have heard from many pagans that dark magic doesn’t exist and from others that it does exist but it is a double edged sword. the ones who say it exists say that if you tried to curse or hex someone you would also curse/hex yourself because the energy gathered to preform the curse/hex would first flow through yourself. The others say that it is impossible to use magic in that way. What are your thoughts?

It never fails… spend enough time browsing around any sort of Witchcraft related book, site, forum, etc…  and eventually you will come across comments that describe magic in terms of color. While there are a variety of shades that might come to mind, the most commonly seen tend to relate to “black” and “white” magic – which of course (more often than not), leads one into the “dark” vs. “light” conversations as well.

While labels are sometimes useful – in that they can help us to understand an idea or concept at a glance; the converse is, that one word rarely conveys everything, which then leads to misinformation or misunderstanding.  In this case, the truth is that assigning color to magic, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of exactly how magic works.

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that this happens, so many books out there are trying desperately to cater to the “rainbows and ponies” world vision when it comes to the Craft. So long as it’s presented with glitter and sparkles, then how could it possibly be wrong, or hurtful? After all, white/light is good, and black/dark is bad – right?  Ehh… not so much, as both are genuinely necessary “forces” in the universe.

At its most basic, magic is simply manifesting a desired goal, or affecting a desired change through force of will. The fundamental lack of understanding that I mentioned above comes in, right about here – magic has almost entirely to do with the intent of the person casting it. This means that a spell which might typically be considered “white”, can absolutely be used to cause harm, while one that could be considered “black” can be used to heal.  A good example of this is magic that can be used when working with someone who has cancer, in which banishment spells (considered “black magic” by many) are often used.

The point in all of this, is that magic is colorless, and if one is going to do magic (be it witchcraft, or any other form that one might choose), then it’s something that we all need to accept. Magic is what it is, and the only thing that really matters at the end of the day, is how we use it. And while there may be many people who will never cast a hex or curse in their life (or even consider the thought), the fact is that there may be times when one is justified, and in most cases there is nothing that prevents anyone from doing so, if they should choose to.

As to energetic issues resulting from cursing/hexing, there is always the potential for backlash (of a sort) if one doesn’t ground properly, but that is true of any magical working. In the same way that magic is colorless, when you are raising energy, it’s just “energy” – it hasn’t been shaped or focused to any particular purpose. When you do purpose it, it’s being directed into (or at) something/someone else, so even though the energy comes from you, or as a result of your actions, you are only the channel for that particular component, not the actual mixing bowl (so to speak). Sort of like baking – you gather up your ingredients, and mix them all in a separate container. So even if the milk comes from a jug, the jug doesn’t get dirty because you’ve poured just the milk you need into the bowl, and then sealed the jug back up to use next time.

Only real instance where such a thing could be plausible, would be if you ask deity/spirit/entities, etc… to work through you, or to use your body as a conduit of a sort – which potentially could leave “residue”. But it’s still more of a grounding/shielding issue, which typically isn’t lasting (unless you somehow manage to screw something up big time). Guess too though, it would depend to what degree (if any) someone holds to the Three-Fold Law, or similar concept. I could see where someone could find themselves regretting a curse/hex, and it probably causing them to feel like they were cursed instead (by the guilt).

Along with that though, if one does hold strongly to a concept like the TFL, (or something like the Eclectic interpretation of “an it harm none“) there could potentially be actual backlash if one verbally incorporates it as an oath in a working. If you always invoke some such as a part of your ritual language, for example, it will become a part of your magical practice that actually has impact. You would then have given this idea power to affect you through your own words and actions.

So… long story short, it really depends on the person, the Tradition/Path involved, and any number of other factors. It’s just not one of those things that is going to be the same for everyone, which is really somewhat typical of many things related to Witchcraft, and even Paganism in general.

Sexual Orientation and Paganism


What does Paganism say about sexual orientation, if anything?

In a technical sense – Paganism, being an umbrella term that encompasses all non-Abrahamic religions – doesn’t really say anything at all, as each of the paths and religions under that umbrella may (or may not) have their own ways of dealing with the issue.

Having said that though, I think it’s fairly safe to say that in a more general sense many Pagans and their associated religions are in some ways more welcoming, or at least more sensitive to the LGBT community, than many of the more mainstream religions might be. However, that is not to say that you won’t find anti-gay, or even downright homophobic individuals or groups within Paganism as a whole.

Some traditions/paths that do have known stances…

  • If you look at recent events at PantheaCon the last couple years, to the controversy surrounding “women” only rituals and the comments and actions of Z Budapest (founder of Dianic Witchcraft).  This is an ongoing case where it is clear that those who are transgender, are particularly not welcome within certain paths.
  • We often hear about racism within some Heathen groups (though it’s important to note that this is not something that is at all condoned by the wider Heathen community), and along with that often comes homophobic sentiments as well. Interestingly in this particular case, it’s something that is not necessarily supported by the lore, as there are definite cases where the Gods – Þórr and Loki in particular, take on gender-opposite roles. In the Þrymskviða, (Poetic Edda) Þórr dresses up as Freyja in order to retrieve Mjölnir, which the jotnar Þrymr has stolen. In the Gylfaginning (Prose Edda), we learn that Loki is actually a mother. Having changed himself into a female mare in order to save Asgard from losing Freyja and the Sun and Moon, and as a result gives birth to Sleipnir. There is some indication though that it may have been considered “unmanly” for a man to do “women’s” work, however that didn’t stop Óðinn from learning Seidh. The following is an interesting read on the topic in general.
  • Within Wicca specifically, though Gardner himself was known to be extremely homophobic, my understanding is that many covens will welcome those who are LGBT. Something to keep in mind though, is that though one’s sexual preference, when one is not working with one’s coven, is generally up to them – due to the nature of the religion (being a fertility cult and all that entails), within ritual work, it all comes down to the plumbing (so to speak). Men take on the traditional male rolls, women take on the traditional female rolls, regardless of one’s normal sexual preference.
  • There are various groups who are completely inclusive, and clearly welcoming to those of all orientations or gender identities, there is Reclaiming, or Feri, and some Traditional Witchcraft paths – though those are more apt to be gender specific, such as the Minoan Brotherhood, or Dianic.


So in general there are many choices if one is looking for LGBT support within the Pagan community. Of course like any where else in life (at least until we can get to a point where one’s sexual preference/gender identity is no longer an issue), it’s matter of finding place that fits us the best.

Labeling One’s Path


I have read through all of your answers and looked through the site and I thought I’d just go ahead and ask since you give wonderful advice and guidance. I am struggling with an identifiable name for my spirtual path because I feel like I am all over the place, reading everything and overwhelmed. I’ve had people tell me to just follow my intuition, which helps for a while but then I’m back to overwhelmed-ville! I basically follow the season, moon phases, and like to feel connected to nature. Maybe I should say ‘I’m on my own personal spiritual path’ and be done with it. On a side note, most recently, I’ve learned how to pick the good info from the bad, after much reading so that helps me to find better information. (Such as this place…so helpful!)

It’s difficult, because there is often this sense that we need to be able to label something in a couple of words or less, in order to define who we are. It’s one of the reasons why some people cling (with an almost death grip) to the term Wicca, when it’s perfectly clear to all involved that it truly doesn’t really fit what they are practicing in any way, shape or form. Labels can be nice, especially if one is trying to give a general idea of what they are doing, without having to go into a lengthy explanation, however in most cases – who we are, and what we do, doesn’t usually fit into neat, and tidy little packages (no matter how much we might wish that they would).

One of the pitfalls of being Eclectic is the lack of a ready made label or name for one’s path, and because of the above mentioned reasons, it’s seems to be something that we often find ourselves dwelling on. Because most of what we do is so hard to define, I generally stick with basic terms, Eclectic NeoPagan, or just NeoPagan. I hesitate to simply say Pagan, just because that truly doesn’t really say much, other than “hey I’m a member of a non-Abrahamic religion”. However it also depends on who I’m talking to as well, sometimes if a vague answer will do, then Pagan will suffice. If I’m talking to people within the Pagan community (who won’t freak out at the mention of witchcraft), I might even go a bit more specific and say Solitary Witch, or Eclectic Witch.

In the end though, it’s really up to you – if you are comfortable without a specific label, then don’t feel like you need to have one. Though it can help give others a better understanding (if they are knowledgeable on the terminology), labels can also serve to pigeonhole us as well. Too often feel that if we are XYZ… then we have to do whatever XYZ is defined as, rather than feeling like we can expand our practices into other areas as well.

Taking the Next Step – Planning Rituals


Hi, I’ve been studying paganism for about 3 years now gathering as much information I can on the subject. I would say I identify as being very eclectic, interested in witchcraft and very nature based, but what next? I feel like I’m stuck in a beginners rut, most of the information I find is aimed at beginners and I’m not progressing. I’m also having trouble putting what I’ve learnt into practice, I want to try ritual but I don’t know where to start, plus moneys an issue for supplies (although I would try where possible to use materials I find out and about) any advice would be greatly appreciated, love and light.

It can be hard taking that next step, but everyone has to start somewhere. We’ve touched previously on some Beyond the 101 tips, which cover the basics. Other than that, and more specifically to your question, I would suggest the book “The Elements of Ritual” by Deborah Lipp. It is very detailed, not only on the “how to” in relation to ritual, but more importantly the “why do we do that” which so many other books leave out. It had several sample rituals as well, that you can try out, so really just start small and go for it.

Another great resource for planning your own ritual is the Ritual Planning Worksheet. Once you have decided on a particular goal/theme for your ritual, you can use the worksheet to plan out the details. You don’t have to include everything that is mentioned, but when you are just starting out, it’s a good way to make sure that you are prepared and have everything you need to make your ritual go smoothly. Keep in mind though that rituals can be as formal or informal as you like. So while the above worksheet is nice, your own ritual does not have to be some sort of lengthy ceremony, full of flowery speech, and particular actions – I mean it can be (and that’s fine), but simple can be just as effective. That’s the beauty of it – if you aren’t in a particular tradition, you can do what works best for you (though if you are working with a specific deity, it’s good to know what sort of things are appropriate for that deity).

I would also suggest the following, if at all possible – find out if there are any groups in your local area that have rituals that are open to the public, and attend at least one. Even if you don’t end up joining the group on a long-term basis, it can really help one’s practice to participate in a ritual with others. If nothing else you can get a general idea of how things flow, and what components you might want to add. Though again, just because they do something one way, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it that way.

As to tools and supplies – while the “bells and whistles” are really nice to have, they are primarily just ways of helping one focus, so in a pinch you can do without if necessary. For tools (such as a ritual blade, or other items for one’s altar), definitely look to what you might already have, or can get relatively inexpensively. You can always save up for something fancier later if you want, but in most cases it’s not about “how cool” something looks, but whether or not it serves the purpose it’s intended for.  For ritual or crafting supplies, while there may be some generally accepted correspondences, in many cases (if you are unable to obtain those particular items) you can substitute for what you might already have on hand, or are more easily able to obtain. If you examine the properties of the item that you are in need of, and consider the purpose for which it is being used – it’s a matter of finding another item that will serve a similar capacity.

On the surface being Eclectic seems easy, but in truth it is one of the hardest paths to do properly. Where someone who is working with a Coven or within a specific Tradition has direct one-on-one guidance, those who are solitary have to rely on their own interpretation of the materials they are given, and are basically left to “figure it out” on their own. But it can be done, and in most cases it’s a matter of just going ahead and jumping in. Start small, and take baby-steps, but as with anything… the more often you practice, the easier it will get. If there is a sample ritual in one of your books that you’ve been interested in trying – go for it. If it’s relative to your path the Fall Equinox is about a week away, you could try putting together a ritual for that, and the Full Moon on the 29th if that is something you are interested in holding a ritual for – or really whatever else you may feel called to. The key is to just go ahead and do it!