One of the things that doesn’t get talked about often enough are the fundamentals of any magical practice. What should people be doing or able to do when they first start out? Are there any universal ideas one should bear in mind?
Here’s my take:
One of the things that doesn’t get talked about often enough are the fundamentals of any magical practice. What should people be doing or able to do when they first start out? Are there any universal ideas one should bear in mind?
Here’s my take:
Since I’ve been asked a few times, I wanted to talk a bit more about my Magic & Witchcraft 101 class coming up and who it’s good for.
The internet is a double edged sword. There’s so much info out there and it’s really challenging to know where to start or what to even do. This class is for people who are getting started on their journey but are completely confused on what’s a good source of info, what they want to do, what traditions & practices are out there, and are completely overloaded & overwhelmed with info. My goal is to break it down.
It doesn’t help that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Anyone with a platform is assumed to be knowledgeable and an expert. And there’s so much out there to learn and do. Where to start? If you’re in that boat or know someone who is, you may benefit from my class.
The class breaks down the history of well known Western traditions, defines various terms, and tackles common misconceptions. I even discuss cultural appropriation vs appreciation as well as what to look and watch out for in groups, traditions, and teachers.
Magic & Witchcraft 101 starts Nov 21st, deadline to register is Nov 14th.
More info here: https://riverenodian.com/classes
Today I’m here to cover the hypothetical scenario of doing magic in order to affect political change.
How To Magically Overthrow Fascism: Occult Resistance For The 21st Century: https://patreon.com/posts/68236166
It’s pretty clear at this point that we are at a crossroads of a social revolution, one that is taking us into a direction where the long-held and accepted notions of both gender and sexuality are being questioned and in many cases, outright thrown away. However, it’s nothing new–they’ve been questioned for some time now, but people have gone on willfully ignoring or blowing it off for literally decades, and so the battle continues. Conversations which began years before I was born that were never resolved and ended in blood and tears are still happening. Why? Because people are stubbornly clinging to their security blankets and shields in the form of tradition, religion, and/or philosophy in order to avoid self-examination. And we can’t afford to coddle these individuals anymore, because it’s quite evident that hatred, ignorance, and bigotry mean more to them than the dire need to allow the craft and other magical traditions to evolve, not to mention entire pagan and polytheistic communities.
We can’t pretend it’s all about adhering to the tradition, or the letter of the law. For instance, there is more than enough documentation to demonstrate there were conditions under which Gerald Gardner himself was fine with same sex initiation, and that Alex Sanders himself performed such rites. So we can’t argue that “strict opposite gender initiates always” is core to either lineage. We also know that during their time that the laws and culture surrounding non-heterosexual and non gender conforming people were pretty negative, to say the least. This is increasingly no longer the case. As a result, it would appear to be that the majority opinion within various initiatory Wiccan traditions is finally heading in the direction of acceptance of same sex initiation in addition to recognizing the validity of those who identify as a different gender than the one assigned to them at birth. Even more importantly, people are finally beginning to publicly admit that this is where they stand. This is both huge, and necessary.
And these traditions are not alone in these discussions–far from it. People can point fingers and claim that initiatory Wiccan traditions are the only ones having the gender and sexuality issues and debates, but the reality is that in many if not all pagan and polytheistic communities, there are problems. I’ve regularly had to block homophobes, transphobes, and all sorts bigots in general from the Facebook group I run on Hellenic paganism. Those people whom I blocked and banned included people from white supremacist groups. We cannot pretend, as these screaming bigots want, that the Greek gods were all heterosexual and that homosexuality and bisexuality did not exist among them. Given the countless tales of the gods and their same sex trysts, I don’t think I need to state what an incredibly inaccurate view this is. And I’ve already gotten into some of the genderqueer, non-binary, and genderfluid gods in that pantheon besides in another blog post. Once again, we have an example of narrow-minded, hateful people trying to apply historical revisionism presented as “tradition” and using it as a shield for their bigotry.
I’ve seen similar issues as described above in Thelemic groups, Asatru groups, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn groups, and a ton of other places. In all these communities I have seen people from the alt-right, neo-Nazis, TERFs, and all sorts of hate groups attempt smear their maggot-ridden feces everywhere while they try to twist facts, science, and history to support their bigotry. These groups are also very typically anti-women and filled with internalized misogyny, which surprises no one who is aware of the studies linking misogyny with white supremacy. And the reality is that these movements are painfully in support of nothing but the cis-centric heteronormativity that is anti-women (either cis or trans, they hate them all), anti-non whites, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-anything of the non-binary gender because let’s face it, it’s harder to police what you consider to be women when gender is far, far more complicated than mere genitalia. All of these movements are connected to that concept, which is why in order for all of us to continue to exist let alone evolve, cis-centric heteronormativity must die–and why we need to be suspicious of anyone seeking to strictly preserve that overly rigid, limited narrative. We must stand up to these movements and not tolerate intolerance, so that we may preserve and protect tolerance.
Unfortunately no pagan, polytheistic, or occult community is without its loud, bigoted minority. If you think your community is exempt, think again. The problem is widespread, and we need to own it. We can no longer afford to pretend it does not and will not affect us, and those of us not directly impacted by the beliefs of the loud and hateful few need to learn how to be good allies and stand up on behalf of others in our community. And not enough people are doing that.
We also need to stop being afraid of challenging people who are perceived as leaders when they say or do inappropriate and outright hateful things in regards to large groups of people. Misha Magdalene in their blog sums up the issue with such savage finesse that I will quote from them here:
“(I)f it’s not some ceremonial magick dude managing to simultaneously junk-punch himself and hang himself with his own tongue by clumsily conflating rape and rape culture with BDSM, it’s some Pagan dude bloviating about uppity women, queers, and trans folks getting peanut butter in his Ten Thousand Year Old Book of Cisgender Heterosexual Shadows… or, in the case of the current bee in my bonnet, it’s a Well-Respected Feminist Elder™ running her tattered TERF1 flag up the flagpole to see who salutes.”
I’m honestly not sure why so many Known Names™ are becoming louder than usual in banging their bigot drum, even including those who normally describe themselves as “liberal” or “moderate”. It’s certainly not that they’re secretly hateful people who side with neo-Nazis, as most of them are pretty far from it. But those same self-described liberals and moderates are also painfully oblivious to how their attempt to “see things both ways” is harming people who have considerably less societal advantages than they, and so much of the discourse seems to be very defensive of their own position in society. My theory is that we are seeing the “rage, rage against the dying of the light” from those whose comfort zones have been challenged as they desperately cling to those very societal advantages. But the “dying of the light” is happening, and as a result, we are seeing a much-needed shift in power and dynamics. Challenging the status quo, particularly when it has benefited you, can be very uncomfortable. And these people are not just uncomfortable; they are chafing from the friction of the reality around them against their cushy privileges. They need to realize that they have nothing to lose having others gain vital and necessary civil rights. After all, it isn’t pie; you don’t suddenly have less rights once other people who have been traditionally under heavy societal disadvantages finally get rights too.
It pays to be be self-examining, and realizing your own prejudices due to institutionalized sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so forth requires a great deal of that examination. It also means becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Part of it is realizing that there’s a vast difference between hatred due to bigotry versus ingrained biases that are the basis of prejudice. Truth is, you don’t have to hate a group of people in order to have incorrect judgments and assessments about them. You just have to be raised from birth in a society that sees being different as dangerous, and questioning the status quo doubly so. And unfortunately it is entirely too human to stick groups of people into biased boxes. Once one realizes that having these biases is not a negative judgment on them as a person–and therefore being on the defensive is unnecessary–they will be able to move beyond the constrictions of those prejudices and relearn what they have learned.
For spiritual and/or esoteric movements to have issues challenging societal standards is sadly ironic given how much of what we do and what we believe being so terribly, vastly different from the mainstream. But for those who were raised in strictly religious homes (read: orthodox or even fundamental), taking those ideas with them into a new religious or tradition is all too common. They may be able to take the pagan or polytheist out of strict orthodoxy, but sadly it is often difficult to remove the strict orthodoxy from the pagan or polytheist.
Thankfully, these attitudes which stem from rigid orthodoxy are a part of a minority that is rapidly becoming outnumbered by those around them. And the more of a minority they become, the louder are the cries of discomfort, rage, and belligerence from said minority. Because truth be told, the rest of us are marching into the twenty-first century whether they like it or not. We do not require their consent nor should we desire it. Should they choose to change their minds, they’re more than welcome to join us. But as our march continues, their days are numbered for the old ways must die in order for us to continue to live, let alone thrive. And it’s the essence of the reality of those numbered days which makes them protest, because their world is ending and ours has just begun.
And as I keep mentioning, the future is not just female; it is intersectional.
I’m part of a blog hop for topics concerning financial sorcery! Today I will blog about having learned how to do financial magic right after having learned the absolute hard way how not to do the thing.
Learning how to do magic to boost wealth and finances has been a series of trials and errors. Along the way, I’ve learned a good deal about what you should and should not do if you want to do magic in order to gain money:
I credit money magic with going from being tens of thousands in debt with maxed out credit cards in a terrible job to being in my ideal job, about 70-80% of that debt now gone, and making more than enough to support myself and have a savings account. It took a while and a LOT of trial and error but it’s real and it worked.
Liked this blog post? Check out the others in this blog hop:
Trump Card is available in print:
E-book on Smashwords:
There have been, in my experience, three different forms of magic:
How do you determine which of the following types will suit your needs? To be honest, it depends on the goal. Is this something you will continuously be requiring? Or is this for a particular need-of-the-moment? Or is this something more serious which requires formal attention over a length of time?
I used to struggle with money/financial magic until I realized that I was responding to emergencies as they came up and not dealing with the long term. Most of the magic I’d do was in type #1 and sometimes type #2. Realizing that I needed a constant and more consistent flow I switched to type #3 and suddenly the results came–and stayed. I didn’t just get a job that turned sour later; I got myself what amounted to my dream job and was not only able to stay in it but make it even better. I created a cash box from Jason Miller’s Financial Sorcery book, and take out and put in cash into it regularly. That cash box rests on my money/Jupiter altar in my temple room where I keep my statues of Zeus and HEra. When I do, money comes in. When I don’t, I notice it–and a lot. The results I get are as consistent as my practice.
Some forms of magic require more maintenance and attention than others, but it all comes down to intent. If it’s something that you KNOW you will constantly, constantly need, I recommend creating a particular designed space or an altar for it and do magical work for it regularly. Could be daily or once a week, whatever works for you–but I recommend making the day work for you as well. For instance, if you’re gearing magic towards making and keeping yourself healthy, I recommend picking Sunday for the solar work. For financial concerns, Thursday is the obvious pick. If you’re unable to do it that particular day, use the corresponding nighttime planetary hour instead–that’s the planet of the first hour of that night. For Sunday, that’s Jupiter. If you’re looking to have a solar background to your Jupiter work, that’d be a great backup day/time to do your work. The idea is regular investments on a magical level towards getting what you want, keeping what you want, and getting even more of what you want.
In addition, I definitely recommend tying in your work to a particular deity or daemon, preferably a being you already have a connection to, and appeal to them in your work. I found Jupiter energies extremely difficult to control until I made regular prayers and offerings to Zeus and later on both Zeus and Hera to act as guiding, controlling forces. Prior to that, I found myself creating basement floods and hot water heater breakages–which I obviously don’t recommend. 🙂 If gods aren’t your thing, there are many daemons to pick from who can assist such as angels, saints, etc.
Part of being a magician and/or a witch is being in harmony with your environment and local spirits. You may not always chat with or say hello to your neighbor, but it’s not nice to blare music at 12:30am and if you’re going to have a loud and widely attended party, it’s good to warn them in case they want to be elsewhere. And then there are the sorts whom you do not NOT want to invite because of the fallout which will inevitably occur. So what’s an occultist to do under similar conditions in their practice?
My roots as a pagan and my very first spiritual community was with ADF, a pan-Indo European Druidic organization. It was here that I learned the concept of giving offerings to the “outsiders.” These outsiders could include anything from trickster deities like Eris (who already has a tale about her and what happened when she wasn’t invited to a party) to the fae, whom I think pretty much everyone knows you REALLY don’t want to piss off. By doing this, it was making it clear that these weren’t spirits to be banished or cast out but instead “Hey, we’re doing a private ritual and intend no disrespect, but here’s a token of respect so you can party over here instead”.
Nineveh Shadrach details similar practices with the Djinn in his books such as Magic That Works in which the idea is that you warn the neighboring Djinn that you’re about to do a ritual so if they don’t want to be there to get the hell out. Courtesy again in this case matters, as the Djinn and the fae have similar traditions in dealing with them and pissing either off isn’t something you want to do.
I sometimes wonder how much of “imp” or “trickster” activity in one’s home is instead a manifestation of this: a spirit feels forgotten, left out, wanting attention. Maybe they outright feel snubbed or slighted for whatever reason. What’s an attention-seeking daemon to do? Why, hide your things, of course! If you’re finding that a lot of weird activity is happening within your home or surroundings at any given point in time, it might be helpful to do a divination to determine the identity or type of spirit or just go for broke and leave an offering for the local spirits in whatever form or forms they may be in.
It’s good to save the outright banishing rituals for entities of malicious or evil intent, and cases like this where they just simply happen to live near you instead give them courtesy and respect. Be kind to your neighbors, you never know when they too might decide to have a party or otherwise remember you. Allies are just as good to have as are friends.
This blog post is part of a blog hop. Feel free to check out the rest of the posts in this theme when you’re done with this one. 🙂
This was a blog post I was going to make before the total proverbial shit hit the fan and I had to make a post about that instead. What I am about to discuss is a case of “no one’s wrong, it’s just a matter of different perspectives and words getting in the way of understanding.” It’s a kinder, gentler post, but no less important. So without further adieu….
I posted a link to a blog a week or so ago entitled Magick, Money, & Bullshit: Do the F**cking Work. Literally my only complaint about this post was the need to censor an excellent word such as “fucking”, but I digress. One of the best parts about it was this section here: “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something YOU ARE. How you think. How you live. How you love. How you behave all affect any magickal working you perform.”
When I posted this to Facebook, I was surprised at a few who didn’t seem to understand the spirit of what was being said, namely “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something you are.” One felt the need to point out that magic(k) is a practice while another voiced the idea that once you hit Adepthood, magical practice is something you do less often out of pursuit of other things. Neither of these statements are “wrong”; they just weren’t the point that I felt the deep need to express and celebrate. I also fell short of being able to explain it on Facebook, as the medium really isn’t sufficient for this sort of discussion. Expressing why magic is who you are and not just what you do requires more than it provides.
Magic is a mindset. It’s a mentality. There is no separation between your “mundane” life and your “magical” life, and when you live out your life in a way that expresses that, all of the barriers towards manifestation come tumbling down. It’s not just something you do when you’re lighting that candle, casting that spell, doing that working, this invocation, robing up and entering your temple room, or spending all of your hard earned money over at Wolf & Goat.
Yes Virginia, you ARE magic. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself, get your physical needs met, and don’t neglect any part of your life. If there’s an area where you’re struggling to manifest something take a good look at why. Maybe it’s your approach, maybe it’s something you haven’t quite digested yet, or maybe you’ve been treating it as something you’re not yet worthy of. Maybe you’ve only done it when you desperately needed to as opposed to making it something you do on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth. Perhaps it’s a fear of failure o the belief that magic is somehow limited to certain things. It’s time to put all of that away and set aside the notion that you’re not deserving. Yes, you ARE worthy. You don’t need to feel guilty or make excuses as to why you can’t do money/job/career magic or any sort of magic; you are the vessel from which the power of the gods flow. You are a magical being, and with every step you take to perfect both the person whom you are and what you put forth into the world, you can make the world around you more in touch with the very essence of magic.
I’ve always found that magicians who quote the statement “As above, so below” and yet draw lines in the sand on their spiritual/personal and “mundane” lives to be demonstrating a sad cognitive dissonance. Repeat after me: it’s all the same. There are no lines, no boundaries, no differences between them. You cannot keep your altars tidy and not extend that into the rest of your life, and while doing one can help to improve the other it’s not enough. Take action, get it done.
One of my magical teachers once said to me that magic is about making a connection. And it’s true. We need to make connections between all of the bits of our lives, and if it’s the physical world we’re struggling with we cannot continue to divorce ourselves from it. Ultimately it’s about striving for what is termed in my faith as areté: excellence in all things and living up to one’s full potential.
Don’t just do magic, be magic.
I’m tackling this as a blog post because it needs to be said, someone needs to say it who does not identify as a male given the gendered nature of some of what has been said, and so it might as well be me. Given the subject matter I want to make a few disclaimers utterly crystal clear before I begin so that there is no misunderstanding:
A particular blog post has been making the rounds in the occult communities entitled Forging the body of a witch. While I agree with a number of points this post attempted to make, there are a few things in it which are decidedly problematic. I won’t get into the health points as they’ve been covered to death elsewhere, but I’d like to discuss one which was covered towards the end, namely that women need to submit in a ritual BDSM setting in order to have any power as a witch. To be fair Grey adds the disclaimer that “The kind of witchcraft (he) discuss(es) can be used as an excuse for abuse. For power over the aspirant rather than liberation. For sexual exploitation rather than liberation. That does not make the techniques anathema.”
No, it does not. But let me vehemently disagree on the following points:
The thing is this: you can add all of the disclaimers to the post that you want, but the implications are clear, and they are fairly disturbing. Of course sex can be abused. Of course BDSM can be done by people looking to abuse. Hells, I myself was raped by a “dom” and can speak volumes about that alone. But as always, I’m not saying that BDSM is abuse or that sex or sex magic is bad. What I am saying is that implying that they are expected, necessary, or required is bad, and does open the door wide open for abuse no matter what you may claim.
And do I really need to get into why a man suggesting a woman must submit, be sexual and submissive in order to fulfill his requirements of what he considers to be a witch is a serious problem? I’ll leave this comment here, no more need be said.
Then there’s the issue of sexuality. As someone who is on the asexual spectrum, I have no need nor desire to be sexual. Nor should anyone feel that it is required or a requirement of being a witch. Even if someone who identifies as pansexual was engaged in witchcraft or any sort of ritual or initiation, their consensual participation in such acts of sex or BDSM should not be assumed or required either. Having a ritual scourge, symbolic or otherwise is one thing, but what was described in this blog post was something else entirely. If people want to have such things in their rites, fine. Do we really need it? No. Can we do just fine without it? Yes. Am I still a witch if I don’t? Absolutely.
I had to deal recently within my own communities a few months back with a similar argument due to a very problematic situation which arose, and it became clear that there were people who felt that if you attended the ritual that you were open to being sexual and you were consenting to this. Had these ideas been clearly communicated and in advance, this would not have been a problem. The problem which arose was that no communication occurred, consent was just assumed. This presumptuous attitude which denies the opportunity to consent and consent knowingly needs to be discussed and at great length, and to ignore it is abuse.
Ultimately this is what makes Grey’s post problematic: the implication that we must all have sex magic and BDSM in our rites to be witches or otherwise have power. I don’t need to be beaten, tied up, or whipped in order to be a witch or have power. I don’t need to have sex or be sexual either, and I find it incredibly disturbing that this is even a subject for debate. It’s not just a matter of “safe spaces”; it’s a matter of not supporting what has been described elsewhere quite accurately as rape culture. Consent should never be required or assumed; it should be given freely, with perfect love and perfect trust.
Without that, your magic is in vain, and you have no right to call yourself a proper person let alone a witch.