Crafting your own tools

Autumn really brings out craftiness! Perhaps the colours and seeing all the cobwebs with the spiders make me creative.

When I started researching Wicca, I was overwhelmed by the requirements. You have to dedicate yourself, you can only be Wiccan if you’re in a coven and you really need all the tools. I got the impression everything was really strict, and perhaps in traditional Wicca it is, but when learning more about paganism, I realized it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you can choose to do a self-dedication or to join a group, but you don’t have to.

Tools especially I find interesting. I’ve found that you actually only need yourself. You are the vessel of power, you can influence the world by focusing, exerting your will and projecting your intent. Of course, tools can help you focus, raise and guide energy, but a characteristic of a tool is that you can do without. Tools merely make it easier.

The wand, for me, is the the tool that speaks to my imagination. In all fantasy stories, it is the essential tool of wizards and witches such as Harry and Hermione. And I decided I wanted one. A couple of months ago I found a perfect branch outside, and as I was feeling crafty, today I crafted my wand. I kept it real simple and just stripped most of the bark away. I still have to consecrate it, but I love how it looks and feels! Can’t wait to work with it.

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So tools aren’t really necessary, though they can help in your practice. Should you want tools, I advise you to make them yourself. You’ll use natural material, it costs less, is fun to do and most importantly: the energy you put in will help you in using it, as you feel more connected to it. Just try it!

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How ‘Sweep’ changed my life

When I turned 11, I was extremely disappointed when I didn’t get a letter from Hogwarts. Many of you have probably had the same 😉 I grew up with Harry Potter, and believed fervently in the magical world existing next to ours. Magic just had to be real. Waving my self-made wand, I tried to levitate objects, I tried brewing potions and tried to spot magical creatures. But when it turned out I was really a Muggle, I gave up on getting into this world.

Still, magic just had to be real! ‘So you want to be a wizard‘ allowed my dreaming to start again. In the same way Nita had found a book with instructions on how to use magic, I hoped my reading book would change overnight to an instruction book on magic. Wizards protect Life itself, listening to nature and using both natural and man-made objects in their magic. Seemed like the best and worthiest occupation, protecting Life, which is why the Wizard’s Oath is so serious and solemn. Only after speaking it out and keeping to it can one really be a wizard. So, naturally, I tried to speak out the wizard’s vow, hoping that would do it… With no avail.

That’s when I discovered ‘Sweep‘. A more realistic story about magic nowadays, in a religious system honouring both a God and a Goddess. It deals with attuning to nature, self-discovery and good vs evil. After reading the first novel, a whole new world opened up. Magic is real, witches actually do exist! Immediately I ran to the library, finding every book on Wicca and witchcraft they had. In grammar school and pre-university college, I learned mythological stories from polytheistic religions. I searched the internet (and realized most of the book was very much fiction, but that’s perfectly OK). I found so incredibly much!

Though I do hold on to certain elements of Wicca, it is not my path. But reading about it in ‘Sweep’ opened up so much and really changed my spiritual life. I am learning to attune to nature by celebrating sabbats and growing plants. I’ve renewed my interest in folklore and mythology from around the world, which is a journey that will never end. Properties, both healing and magical, of plants, gems, stones, colours and what not. Divination, dreaming, self-exploration. And of course, what I was searching for so long: magic. The simple magic of making intentions, focusing attention and working on it. Less spectacular than Harry Potter, perhaps, but at the same time so much more spectacular because all you need is yourself. Yes, the road I follow since reading ‘Sweep’ really has transformed me.

“Song of the earth” book review

Het lied van de aardeSong of the Earth (Het lied van de aarde) by Flemish writer Anne-Marie T’sas (unfortunately only available in Dutch) tells the story of a young theologist, Myra, going to a symposium about christianity and holistic spirituality, but finding nobody when she arrives at the castle the symposium is supposedly held. Curious, she enters the building on her own and finds that, somehow, she does learn about experiencing energies and how she might relate that to the christian religion.

I found the writing style not quite to my taste, it was a bit to much turned inward and.. vague. Normally I enjoy magical realism, but the style did’t quite allow that. But the subjects, wow! I can imagine Myra struggling to combine them with her western spirituality. The existence of chakras and auras, working with the energy for holistic healing and divination, the power of the earth and of rocks as energetic things (for a loss of a better word), even energetic beings. Realizing that even our thoughts and feelings carry energy and can transform the world. It resonated greatly with me. I believe everything is energy, including simple mass. The gods and goddesses are manifestations of specific energies, with which they are often associated (Freya as a goddess of love, for example, and Mars of war). God, the christian God, that is, is associated with unconditional love here. When we practice magic, it works because our intentions and emotions are energy, they carry power. This is also why you might get a different result than what you anticipated if you perform magic angry.

It really is a pity the book is only available in Dutch. With the things Myra goes through, you can nearly imagine it to be an initiation, a shamanic way of learning by experience as I’ve also come across in some books about druidry and shamans. Some things I might adapt to use myself… For one thing, I’ve enrolled myself for the crash chakra e-course from About.com, to start learning more about this from of energy. I’m looking forward to it!

Your personal correspondences for spell-work

On YouTube I recently started to watch the videos of CharmingPixieFlora, mainly about paganism, and I was caught by this video.

Thinking back of my own limited experience with spells, I remember feeling so awkward following the instructions from a book, learning that spells involving love have to be done on Friday, preferably with the moon nearing full, lighting a pink or red candle whilst invoking these specific deities… And I didn’t know anything about it or felt that it was appropriate. Feeling that way, I don’t think any of my early spells worked. As Flora says, if you don’t believe what you do will work, why bother? If you can’t perform the spell wholeheartedly, it won’t work.

So basically, when you want to do spell-work or want to use some sort of symbolism, you have to find the symbols that resonate with you. Find out what you feel when looking at red, blue, yellow and the other colours. Thinking of earth, water, fire and wind, what symbols come in your head? Do you want to incorporate the chakra system in your workings, do you want to work with specific deities or pantheons etc. So many choices to make. Obviously, the correspondences with colours have been based on what people feel when seeing those colours, so chances are they are also quite similar to your personal correspondences. But find out what YOU want to work with, what YOU feel comfortable with and use only that 🙂

Raising power (a poem)

I see the moon
I see the stars
I feel the power glowing
I raise my voice
I lift my arms
I feel the power flowing
I beat the drum
I start to dance
I feel the power soaring
I spin around
I shout it out
I feel the power roaring

And that’s when I know
It’s time to let go