The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Magickal / Spiritual Practice Can Look Like

"Magic Circle" by John William Waterhouse 

Good Afternoon My Witchy Reader,

Today I want to touch on a topic that comes up probably more than any other in my line of work, running a witch shop and school for the magickal arts. When I meet people new to the magickal path, they often admit they are hesitant to start casting circles, or casting spells or really doing any magickal practice. That is besides reading books on magick and Wicca and purchasing magickal supplies, tools, and pretty items they enjoy for their home, altar or magickal area.

The reasons are mostly the same, they feel they do not know enough, or are worried they will do something wrong, somehow disappointing the Goddess and God for not doing something properly. Some feel they must have everything memorized to perform a ritual, or they must have all sorts of fancy tools, and supplies, rare incenses or herbs, oils and ingredients. Some feel they must have witchy garb, robes and cloaks, silver pentacles and fancy jewelry.

Let me start at the beginning, first and foremost, if you are working with anyone or reading any book that has made these things absolute requirements, that you must acquire before you can start your practice, before you can call yourself a witch or Pagan or magickal person, lose the book and find better people to hang out with. Now, having said this, and I am serious, .  .  .  now yes, you do need some basic items to cast a proper circle and to have a basic altar. You need a few ingredients to cast a simple spell, but we can cover those, and I have in other discussions that you can search on this site.

My point is, and this is important. Your magickal practice starts inside of your heart and soul. I am not being trite by saying this, it is true. Your magickal practice may be as complex and involved as you desire, it may be saturated with perfumed incense and CD's chanting heavy drumming and Pagan music, an altar the size of a pool table and a coven of 20 cloaked participants should that appeal to you. I respect that and have myself participated in many such coven gatherings through the last 30 years. I have danced around bon-fires in the woods under the full moon, and participated in gatherings as large as 50 or more coven members.

I have also walked alone in the noon time woods, so dense in the middle of winter the day was as dark as twilight, and ducked as a snowy white owl screeched and flew over my head as its out stretched wings almost grazed my head as it glided past me and I felt the spirits of the woods alongside me. I walked along until I found a long forgotten white birch tree larger than any I have ever seen before or since, at least 20 feet around, and I could feel the Goddess near by.

This lone experience along with so many others spent in the forest on my own was as much a spiritual ritual for me as a witch, as any experienced in a circle cast with incense and blessed water. For you, especially for those reading this discussion, who find yourself new and/or learning on the magickal path, know that your magickal experience is totally up to you. Never let anyone tell you, it must be this way, or it has to be that way, especially never let anyone tell you, you are not a real witch or not a magickal person if you do not cast a circle, or conduct a ritual on a full moon, or on a new moon or that you do not read tarot cards, or cast spells etc. etc.  Again, it is all up to you.

Even in my classes, I have students learn various things, such as how to cast a circle and conduct rituals in certain ways, learn proper scientific principles of spell casting and such, so they have a firm basis of learning and understanding to build on, but I expect them to continue to learn  and develop and expand their magickal training with their experience and practice.

Yes, it is helpful to read, and take classes and learn from those who have more experience than you in the beginning, but the time comes when you need to start building upon your knowledge with what you have learned from your mistakes, mess ups and ooopes along the way!

But, please!!!  Do not wait to start practicing. If you wait until you feel you have enough knowledge and experience you will never start. We can be very hard on ourselves and very critical, especially those of us who find ourselves drawn to this path. Start now. Simply, easy. Tonight, light a candle. I know you have one. Even if it is a tea light. Hold it in your hands and say a blessing or prayer. Something simple like for love and happiness to come in to your life. Hold it and close your eyes and see white light energy flow from your hands into the candle. After a few moments, open your eyes and light the candle.

Let it burn and keep it somewhere safe and close where you can see it. Have no candles? Not even one? How about a birthday candle? Yes, even that counts, though it will burn kind of quickly but it will still count.

No candles at all? Can you see the moon as you drive home from work? As you drive home from work, look for just a moment at the moon, and say a blessing of thanks to the Goddess for the blessings in your life and for those in your life. The love, happiness, the friends, health, job, family, whatever you have to be grateful for, be grateful for it. Give a few words of gratitude. This is a ritual in and of itself. It is simple and easy but it is valid and no one can tell you it does not count. If they do tell you this, they are simply not worth listening to.

Our spiritual practice is very much like our grieving practice when we lose a loved one, or how we love those in our lives, it is personal and should not be dictated by others. You yourself should not be too hard on yourself about when and how you should practice. Even if you wish to cast a circle and do not have everything you need, a witch is very resourceful. For instance, if you do not have an altar pentacle because you have yet to find that perfect one, the one that is just right, do not wait. You can draw one on a piece of paper, or I have even used a silver pentacle pendant necklace. If you have a book with a pentagram on the cover, you can place the book in the center of the altar, it will work in a pinch.

I do like to use charcoal briquettes to burn my powdered incense on, and if you do use them, you must use the ones made to be burned inside. They are made to be used in Hookahs, and, no you cannot substitute the charcoal normally used for outdoor grills because they contain poison that will make you sick and can kill you if burned indoors, so that is not an option. But you can use two or three wands of incense or a few cones to make enough incense smoke to cast the circle.

I have a saying I like to use. Many have heard the old adage "Necessity is the Mother of Invention", well I like to add, "If that is so, then Necessity is the name of a witch". If you do not have candles for the watchtower candles for the various elements round the circle, you could use a few stones in the North, a feather in the East, a statue or picture of a dragon for the South and a sea shell or bowl of water for the West.

The best improvisations are the ones the magickal practitioner comes up with and if it makes sense to you, then it makes sense, and the Gods will not mind. It is humans that are  judgmental not the Gods, not our Gods.

So if you have never cast a magick circle, nor cast a spell, or made a potion or worn a cloak and frolicked around Salem, Mass do not worry that you are not a real witch or Pagan or magickal practitioner. If you have ever looked at the full moon and felt the wonder and your breath catch in your chest at it's beauty, if you have held a crystal or stone and could feel it's energy and touched a plant or tree and could feel it's spirit living inside of it, you have done many rituals all respectful of the Goddess.

As Doreen Valiente wrote when she penned "The Charge of the Goddess"  "Let Her worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."

All acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals, and isn't that a lovely way to look at living Life? I do enjoy casting a circle and having a sacred esbat or sabbat, but spending time with my close friends, planting flowers and herbs in the gardens, when I teach a magickal studies class and we get deep into the world of magick and witchcraft, when I spend an hour at singing class, or practice on my own as music has always been spiritual to me, no matter the genre of music I am listening to. Whenever I do anything that I love and that brings me happiness, they are Her rituals and I try to not rush through them, but to take my time, be present and enjoy each moment.

These are all spiritual moments. The path of the Witch, the Craft of the Wise, is not a hobby, or an occasional activity, it is not just something we do at Halloween time, but when you step upon this path it will be there for you always and can eventually become a way of life for you, if you choose for it to be.

If you feel the pull of the magickal world that is all you need. Now follow where it leads. Read more about it, start simple and easy, set aside a special place for you and write down ideas and thoughts of where you would like to go with your spiritual journey, and just be present for each and every moment and enjoy, love and have fun. Trust the rest will fall into place.


Live, Laugh and Always Love, Ms. Faith






© 2010-2017 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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2 comments:

  1. Ms. Faith,
    I totally identify with the diversity of our Magickal Paths! So grateful to be on this journey🖤💫
    Blessed be!
    Ashly

    ReplyDelete