I am so Honored and in awe for being nominated for “Favorite Witch Teacher” in the Witch Ways magazine Awards. This nomination was decided by the Witch community at large, which is what makes it truly an honor. The funny thing is, is that I feel that I just do what I do, It’s a part of being a Witch and belonging to a community.
Check out the links below to vote and find out more information on the Awards and the Witch Ways Magazine. Thank you for your Support and Vote.
In my twenty plus years of being a Witch I have never found a hag stone. However, my roommate who is also a practicing Witch has found more than she can count. What makes these stones show up more for one person and not another? To find out I started looking more into what they are and their history.
A Hag Stone is a stone with a natural hole through it and are believed to be magickal. These stones are believed to ward against spirits, bad luck, “Witchcraft”, sickness, and nightmares. They are also known to be windows or doorways to see “otherworlds”, such as the fairy realm. These magickal stones have as many names as they do powers and seem to have originated by their folk-lore and use in a particular region. Sometimes referred to as hex stones, serpent’s eggs, snake’s eggs, and Druids’ glass. However, the more common names other than hag stones are Witch stones, (holy) holey stones, and adder stones.
Two origin stories of adder stones say that the stones are the hardened saliva of many serpents together in one area and the hole is caused by their tongues. The second claims that an adder stone is made by the sting of an adder. Some sources say that these stories hail from the Druids of Ancient Wales and Britain, while others say they are European. As these are just folk stories and superstitions, I then turned to their numerous uses in cultures and traditions.
It seems that in certain parts of Europe, this stone kept the “hag” spirit away in order to prevent her from stealing horses and children. While in others It was also used as a talisman to dispel the evil eye and many people still hang this stone in bedrooms. In the UK, both fishermen and farmers also adopted this holey stone as protective charm against unwanted forces and storms and still use it today.
Peculiarly, out of all the information I found, I saw no mention of the Blackfoot custom of the “Buffalo Stone”. Although, these stones do not usually have a hole, some of the “magickal” ideals behind them are the same. Now of these stones, I have many, some have been in my family for years, but none have a hole or resemble the traditional hag stone.
The Buffalo Stone, or Iniskim, is a sacred medicine stone, typically a fossil of some sort, that can be in the shape of an animal, mainly that of a buffalo. Although, they can be any stone that seems to be out-of-place of its surroundings or contain natural anomalies, such as a hole. Similar to some of the hag stone’s uses, Iniskim medicine helps have a successful life and grants luck and prosperity to its owner. However, the origin behind them is of a completely different nature.
A summarized popular version of this legend is that long ago, the buffalo suddenly disappeared and the people began to starve. Among them was a woman, who one day while gathering wood for the fire, she thought she heard someone singing a song. The song seemed quite close, but when she looked around, she saw no one. Following the sound and looking closely, she found a small rock that was singing, “Take me! I am of great power. Take me! I am of great power.” When the woman picked up the rock, it told her what to do and taught her a special song. She told her husband her experience and then said, “Call all the men together and ask them to sing this song that will call the buffalo back. Ever since then, the people took good care of a buffalo stone and prayed to it, for they knew that it had much power.
Whether you call them hag stones, adder stones or buffalo stones, they all hold a story behind the magick of what they can do or how they are found. I may not have ever found a traditional holey stone of my own, but I have found the magick in knowing that these illusive stones find you, rather than you finding them.
Now that I have finished up my first-ever book signing tour for Casting Creative Magickal Circles, I can reflect on what I have learned. I wanted to share the highlights and some of the experiences I had with everyone.
The Print release of Casting Creative Magickal Circles was the beginning of a journey that was a complete surprise to me. The book was never intended to be released in print format. The plan was to create an e-book, offer it for free for a month, just to see how I as a writer and the book was going to be received by the community. To my astonishment with in the first month it was downloaded way over goal of one hundred. Once It went to cost, it continued to sell reaching over two hundred in two months. By the end of the tour I have reached over 300 copies of my original goal. It is now in 15 stores around the country and available almost everywhere on-line. I could be wrong but that’s not bad for a new little independent Witch author in a huge community.
My first stop on the tour was in Staten Island NY, with my good friends Mark and Richie of Practical Magick, who also graciously wrote the Foreword for the book. This is where I had my first live interview as an author and as small as it was I learned that it’s not as easy as it looks.
The Cauldron and the Cupboard in Point Pleasant NJ was by far my favorite place to watch shop owners do their thing. Angela and her mom have created an amazing store that screams Traditional Witchcraft. Although, I didn’t do well in book sales I did learn something. Beach communities are dead in winter, especially on a rainy day. Trust me, I will be back to see these ladies in the Summer.
If you have read my Blog post “Dear Fellow Pagans and Witches, Do you love your Guns, Gods, and Community?” Then you will know that this portion of my tour was very educational on my part. Take a look if you haven’t read it yet. Still shaking my head “What a world, what a world”
At two months into the tour, I had learned so much about myself as an author and the work it goes into selling books on your own. I also got to experience the retail aspects of the Pagan community first hand. I had visited stores that have been around for years, like NJ’s Soul Journey and PA’s Celtic, Myth, and Moonlight. While stores like Spirit Cove and The Cat’s Meow are beacons in their own communies.
I ended my tour at Iron Garden (you can read my post on this too), which was at QXTS, a “dark alternative” nightclub in NJ. I used to frequent this club back in my days of partying. I was able to celebrate the end of a successful tour with old and new friends. It was here I learned that I need to set time for myself and have fun, even when I have tons of things I am working on.
The whole process of this book has been more than eye-opening. I have met a lot of amazing people who were store owners, solitary witches, and Pagan community leaders. Best of all I grew as an author and as a Witch. Thank you all for an amazing tour!!!!!! May your circles always be magickal.
The Modern Witch’s Curriculum will be available for pre-order in late May.
Nominate Author, E. Massey Witch Way Magizine Awards
Recently, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at Iron Garden. For those who don’t know who or what the Iron Garden is, it is an eclectic night-kind community found in NJ. I highly recommend checking out their website. This blog post is based of the speech I wrote for their event.
At first, I was a little reluctant about being a keynote speaker, not because of the atmosphere that Iron Garden employs, but because I had no idea what I was going to talk about. Of course, talking about the typical Witchcraft and Magickal topics would have been easy, but after looking at Iron Garden’s past events, I knew It had to be something special and different. it turned out that the very thing that brought me to this point, would also bring me to my topic. I like to consider myself a Witch, and an Artist by choice and intention, and an Author by divine persuasion and to my own astonishment. I’ve studied and worked hard in becoming a Witch and an Artist because this was the path I chose to follow. it’s what I wanted to do. Of course, I have had my teachers and guidance along the way, but It was all due to my intention.
Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would be or even wanted to be an author, let alone being asked to be a keynote speaker. The idea of writing books was never a life goal for me, it was my guides who thought otherwise. I truly thought they were out of their Divine minds, me, writing books. I was an artist not an author. Fast forward 3 years later, I have written three books, magazine articles, and maintain a blog. All while still creating art, although that has also taking a surprising spiritual turn as well.
I have a very busy and magickal life. There is not a second that goes by that doesn’t have a magickal component to my life. Even in my classroom when I am wiping snotty noses, I am connected to the magick of the universe. Maintaining this magickal life has become an art all its own. I can attribute everything I am and do to being aware and listening to my intuition, my deities, my ancestors, and who and whatever else decides to throw their mystical two cents in.
What does it mean to live a magickal life?
Living a magickal life means being constantly in tune with the spiritual world around you, it’s about listening and being open to your intuition and to the messages from your spiritual guides. It happens twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Does this mean you need to run around shouting “Love and Light to all” of course not, that’s crazy. So instead I talk to the dead and spirits of animals.
The image most people have of those living a magical life is often of a robed priest or priestess, dancing around a bonfire, under the full moon, or mixing exotic herbs in a mortar and pestle. While this can seem very exciting and theatrical, alas we are not Laurie Cabot.
Actually, most of the time life can seem pretty daunting and un-magickal, between caring for our families, going to work, going to school, cleaning the house, running around stubbing our toe on that box we have meaning to put away since January. However, all it takes is a shift in perspective to see how the mundane can become magickal. Magick can be incorporated into your daily life simply just by being mindful and putting a little extra effort into your everyday life. You don’t have to perform an elaborate ritual every day to be connected. It’s about being aware of the simple things around you.
One way is by paying attention to the natural world, the seasons, the phases of the moon and how the world around you affect the way you feel or how it may correspond to aspects of your life. By doing this you are actually tuning in to the energies of the universe, which can give insight to how life will be during those times.
Secondly, Take the time to get in touch with nature and the land you live on. Even if you live in a big city, there is nature all around you. Just take a second and connect with that weed growing in a crack of the sidewalk. He may feel just as lonely as you do or he may have advice on how to deal with that loneliness.
Another way is to listen to your gut, your intuition. This takes a little practice but once you understand the feelings, life changes for the better. In most cases your intuition is your first thought or feeling, the first thing that pops into your mind and trust me it’s usually not the most logical of thoughts.
Lastly, when you are doing something mundane, think about how you can use it in a magickal application. For example, when you’re baking cookies, consider what sort of magickal working you can incorporate into the recipe. There is nothing wrong with adding a little passion magick to a meal you make for a lover.
Another way I found that helps is to keep a sort of magickal schedule and routine. It’s about dedicating yourself to doing one magickal act every day of the week. I believe so much in this practice that I created an entire curriculum around its use. In my second book, A Modern Witch’s curriculum, which will be released in June that is based on a weekly schedule, whereas each day, week, and month has a theme.
Of course, as with anything, this schedule can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it and not only will it keep you connected but can open the doors to learning about your path and yourself as well.
There are also a few other practices that you can incorporate into your daily magickal life, such as regularly openly communicating with your deities and spiritual guides. Through daily meditation and devotions with your deities and guides you keep the lines of communication open. This is by far is more complex of the methods of spiritual guidance there is. It doesn’t happen overnight.
One practice that I find the most rewarding is working with your ancestors. By building a relationship with your ancestors you can inherit valuable information about almost anything. Who better to get advice from then someone who has lived through it.
There are many ways we can reconnect with our ancestors, some of which you probably already do.
Some of the most common ways to connect with them is with use of:
Relics: these are personal belongings of the deceased, photos, written items by that person, even the cremated remains of loved ones.
Altars and shrines: Altars are a place to hold your collection of relics and to give offerings and whereas shrines are usually dedicated to one person and temporary at the time of death until they are moved to your altar. However, both are a place to honor and communicate with them.
Offerings: are how we feed the dead, we are not physically feeding them, we are feeding the link between us and the physical world and the spirit world.
Communication: conversations are a form of offering. At first this may seem a little strange, but once you do it after a few times it becomes easier. When starting out openly speaking to the dead I recommend you do this just before bed. You may find that you may receive answers to your conversations in your dreams
By connecting or reconnecting with our ancestors we bring the past and present together and bridge the gap between generations. They are and will become a foundation to your magickal life.
One of the most asked about of my practices is with working with animal spirits. Of course, this could be an entire blog post on its on as there is so much information. But what I will say is, if an animal spirit has something to say it will show up over and over again until it is heard. One rule of thumb that I follow is, if it shows up three times consecutively it has something to say.
Another question I am often asked is, how do you know if it’s a message or if it’s your imagination? There is two ways to answer this question.
1. Ask for validation. It’s ok to ask the spirits to validate your thoughts and questionings.
2. Be aware of possible causes. If you are constantly seeing a deer on your way home from work, is it because it’s in the evening when they come down out of the mountains to graze, or maybe it is hunting season when deer seem to be running amok?
I know of an acquaintance that swore up and down, backwards and sideways that her spirit animal was the red tail hawk and that they follow her everywhere and even circle her home. Ok, yes, she lives off a mountain where red tails frequent, however, they do not regularly circle, especially in multiples. Although, I had a feeling I knew what these birds were, I just left it alone. Until, one day we were together at an event, and she pointed out “her” hawks. I looked up and what do you think I saw circling above…. Yep, turkey vultures! Nope not a sign, just normal animal behavior.
Whether you are working with deities, the dead or animal spirits, the simplest way to connect to them is sending out your intentions to make contact.
And Although, these practices can take a little more work than the previous, they can be very helpful in making your life magickal.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try. If you open yourself up to the endless possibilities, the possibilities for yourself could be endless.
Living a magickal life really is an art, it’s about being able to balance the mundane and the magickal. it’s living consciously and subconsciously, in harmony with the worlds around us and to the best of your ability. It’s about acquiring knowledge, not only about magickal practices, but about yourself and your own life.
The Modern Witch’s Curriculum will be available for pre-order in late May.
Nominate Author, E. Massey for a Witch Way Magazine Award