Teenagers and Witchcraft: Exploring a Magickal Path On Their Own

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I was recently asked to contribute to a project for Denofgeek.com relating to teenagers and teaching them in the magickal arts. As an educator in both the mundane and the spiritual, this topic has been something I have written and talked about for years. I just never really touched it on my blog, however I thought it would make a perfect follow up to my last post and all the hype over the Sephora bullshit.

One of the concerns that a few had with this “Witch Kit” was that it was easily accessible to teens and that it wasn’t teaching them anything. Despite, how much I could write on that whole topic, the kit is a dead issue.

When I was about eleven years old I began my training in the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca and at thirteen years old I found myself standing naked among my coven mates being initiated. Although, this experience was uncomfortable as a teenager, it allowed me to understand its meaning of birthing into a new way of life. Although, I have walked on from my initial Wiccan teachings, I am grateful of their beginnings and having the privilege of being raised in a magickal environment. However, many children and teenagers do not have this same luxury. Even the ones that do, many of their teachers are their parents or a family member, who only follow one tradition. This was the case with me as well. It was my Aunt who had helped me begin my magickal journey. Unfortunately, I was forced to learn only her tradition and was given no room to explore in fear of being removed from the coven. It was this experience that later resulted in writing “The Little Witch’s Curriculum” (Hopefully to be released in 2019). Although, the book is mainly geared toward the parents of young children, the concepts would also work for teenagers. This is all fine and dandy for those already in a magickal household. But, what about those who are not, where do they go to learn, who do they turn to?

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To the surprise of many there is no “Hogwarts” or “Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies”. So, where is a budding teenage Witch go to learn? The truth is “NO WHERE!” well not in the sense of a traditional school or place of learning, Sadly, many teens have to turn to books, and dare I say it …the Internet. Many of the Witchcraft and magickal traditions only offer courses and training that is geared toward adults and in some cases young adults, leaving teens to the hopes that there is a local metaphysical store or center in their neighborhood that they can sneak too now and then. These learners are left with no real hands-on experiences with other like minded Witches and mentors. They have to explore and dabble on their own. Not that that is all bad, many have us had to do it that way. But, that doesn’t mean it’s right and fair. This vital spiritual exploratory age is left out. I feel that one reason that this is, is because this can be an area that many teachers and organizations are afraid of the backlash of consent. Teenagers are still minors, where many of them have to hide their interest from their parents and will have to forgo the idea of a commitment to a curriculum. Then there are also funds, many places that offer spiritual education charge a fee, which leave these magickal explorers on their own. Having to save up birthday money to secretly purchase Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch or Ellen Dugan’s Elements of Witchcraft: Natural Magick for Teens on the families next outing to the mall’s bookstore. Although, these are great books they are missing the element of hands-on learning when not in the presence of a real teacher or group setting.

The only ones who have this opportunity are the children who are being raised in a magickal or open-minded household. Where they are able to participate in home or group rituals and gatherings. However, even in these circumstances, I have found that the children are only taught what the parent knows and follows. They are often not given the means to explore on their own. It’s at no fault of the parent, they can only teach in their own state of knowledge. I have discussed before, here and in my classes, the importance of allowing children to explore their own path of spirituality rather than dictating to them one’s beliefs and paths. Which is why in my “Little Witch” classes I give parents the means to give children opportunities to explore spirituality on their own, while laying down general Pagan and Witchcraft foundations. This of course this has nothing to do with one’s family cultural and traditional “ways of knowning” or belief structure, in these cases I feel it is important to extend that knowledge and linage to child’s education.

So, to any of the well-known schools of magick I employ you to rethink your courses to include teenagers, young adults and even the “Little Witches”. FYI, I have a great curriculum already written. LOL.

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Many children who find themselves in Pagan settings often are not given the opportunity to choose their spiritual upbringing. Just like in many Christian homes, they are predestined to receive a Wiccaning and other rites of tradition. In many cases, these seem to be more for the parents rather than the child and might do more harm than good for one’s personal path of exploration. This is one reason I myself will never perform such rites. I will, however, gladly perform a child blessing or an introduction to the elements and universal energies. These initial ceremonies help the child’s own spirit or higher-self open up to the various energies found in spirituality. They also allow the child to choose their own path of spirituality in the future. In many traditions, earth-based and not, what tends to follow next is certain rites of passage and then later, a type of initiation into the parent’s coven or group. Usually, by then these children have already made up their mind if they are going to follow their parents’ tradition or not. They just don’t voice their choice against their parents’ wishes.

Going back to our teenagers of non-magickal households, these children are left to only self-initiate into a tradition out of a book, seemly one written for adults. The only options out there are for those who have been “fortunate” enough to be born into a Pagan spirituality or are able to get their hands on a book to follow, despite the prying eyes and ears of a concerned parent. We as a community need to be a little more willing to extend ourselves in teaching to those who are exploring a spirituality or magickal tradition. Who are we to question whether or not a teenager’s gateway opened up from watching a movie or a beauty store, we should accept with open arms that no matter how they got there, that it was the universe that has placed these children on their current path.

A Broomstick up the Witch Community’s Butt

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I wasn’t going to post on this whole Sephora thing because so many in the community had already done it so there was no need for me to waste my time and yours. I also like to use my blog to present informative information and not as a ranting soapbox. However, in this case I might do both.  For an entire week I’ve seen different posts that agreed and disagreed with Sephora carrying Pinrose’s “Witch Kit” (Which has been now retracted in a note on their website). The fact of the matter is, who the hell cares! Well, half of the Witch community apparently did. What was more disappointing was the reactions from the Witch community. The one good thing is we got to see that we, as Witches can make changes without the use of magick. Sadly though, if Witches would put more of their energy and words into something more important than fighting over something so trivial.

It should be no secret that companies have been doing this for years. Small stores in the Pagan community have been doing this for years. I’m pretty sure the local village Witch did it centuries before. The biggest outcry was in regards to big companies profiting on Witchcraft. HELLO!! Take a moment and look at Salem, Massachusetts, the whole town thrives off of promoting Witchcraft and making a profit. But yet, I don’t see these self-appointed activists of Witchcraft boycotting a whole town. If you have been there you would know that If you walk into the Salem Witch Museum you will find a product that is a lot more serious than a deck of tarot cards, sage, and a crystal. They sell a prefabricated Witch bottle that includes instructions and a history. Now, the only difference I see in these two products is that the Pinrose “Witch Kit” contains items that better a person’s life without the knowledge of true magic or the need for ceremony to be able to reap the benefits. Putting aside the argument of cultural appropriation, at which I will discuss in a minute. Let’s take the whole sage thing, one of the other urgings is that someone would be using it improperly. Yes, I will agree that they wouldn’t be using it in the way that we would, by adding a ceremony or a magical component. But, let us not forget that on a scientific level, burning white sage produces negative ions which reduces the positive ions in the air. These positive ions can cause stress, depression and many other harmful things that we find in our environment. Hmm, not such a bad thing after all for anyone who chooses to use it with or without the “know how”. Now, let’s talk about cultural appropriation, which is a subject I’ve written an article on before (with regards to the use of the word totem). We could sit here and argue what cultural appropriation is all day. The fact of the matter is that it has happened for generations, even within the Native American community. White sage and its use in ceremony began with the southwest American tribes. However, its use can now be found in almost every tribe across the country. It then can be considered under the cultural appropriation clause of our modern times. The most common stand here is that because it is used by Native Americans, as a whole, it is not cultural appropriation. That conclusion is completely ignorant. Just because we are Native American that doesn’t mean we are all the same and follow the same ideals and beliefs. Every tribe has their own systems within their tribal culture. For instance, in my tribal teachings we use pine in the same way that the Southwest use sage. However, it is common to see sage being used outside of traditional ceremony. I’ve have also seen comments on the use of sacred medicine by non-natives. To this I just wanted to point out that the whole idea of sacred medicine is that it was given to humans to use to better the person, to better the tribe, to better Humanity. No one, not even Native Americans (unless told otherwise by spirit) has rights on what the creator has gifted us. If all these armchair objectors would look at their own practices they would realize that many of their own teachings have been culturally appropriated by people who they consider to be the founders of modern Witchcraft. Truth is we are all a victim of and guilty of cultural appropriation.

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I could get into the inclusion of the tarot deck and rose quartz, but I would just be repeating myself and others. I can agree with the many, in that Witches could have been represented with more respect and not marketed the kit as a “Witch Kit, but that is all you will get from me. What boggles my mind about the whole thing is that one-minute Witches say the world would be a better place if people were enlightened to the ways of the Witch, then the next they’re boycotting a gateway for these people to find said enlightenment. Which is it? All this whole episode of silliness did was prove to me that all communities are the same no matter their creed. These days we all have a stick up our butts about something, difference is ours is a broomstick.  I suggest that if you feel you have fought the fight against this “Witch Kit” and won, please just take a moment and look at your own practices and their origins, they just might surprise you.

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The Modern Witch’s Curriculum Becomes Available Today

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E. Massey’s newest book The Modern Witch’s Curriculum is now available at www. e-massey.com, amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, Lulu.com,  and Facebook.

There comes a time in every Witch’s life when they feel there is nothing left to learn. When all the classes and all the books just cannot satisfy our want to learn more. What if there was a book for all magickal practitioners that went beyond Witchcraft/magick 101, and 102. What if there was a resource that allowed a Witch to grow and learn without the constraints of tradition and at their own pace? “A Modern Witch’s Curriculum” is that resource. Combining history, science,and hands-on activities in an easy to follow calendar format that can be started at any time of the year and on any day of the week. There is no beginning or ending to this book. It can be used over and over again. This curriculum is relevant to anyone of any magickal tradition or spiritual background. Created to guide the reader to areas of study and spiritual knowledge by using any resources that are accessible to them. There are no boundaries or requirements on how the reader can collect the information; it’s all individual choice.

 

 

An Excerpt From “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum”: Daytime Magick

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As the sun began to touch the tip of the mountains the drumming began again, the cries of the sacred drummers seemed to echo around us. I could feel the energy of the day to come pounding through my body. The fire that sent our prayers the night before was still raging in anticipation of the ceremony ahead. At this point I have not slept since we started, but the primal forces running in our camp kept me going. All through the night we prayed, we sang, calling on the spirits of the land. I watched as the poles were chosen, preyed upon, cut, preyed upon again and then placed in the ground. The smoke of burning sage never died away unless it was replaced with the sweet smell of mother earth’s hair. Although, I was not going to have the privilege of being a part in the ceremony or would even be able allowed to watch it as it unfolds. I did get a chance to see the dancers partake in some of their own private preparations. As much as I understood why I could not attend one of the most sacred ceremonies of my tribe, I still felt some disappointment. I held on to the satisfaction in knowing that the knowledge I had received from my elders about the Sundance was unlike any other that I would find anywhere else or by anyone.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to witness many different sun-based ceremonies and rituals, in part or in participation, all have been “spirit” opening and spirit learning. There is something completely different in the energy, the flow, and the meaning when working with the sun. My first ever experience, outside of a Wheel of the Year celebration, was when I was a “little Witch” and attended a Wiccaning that was being held just after the Summer Solstice. It was here that everything I had been taught seemed to be put into question for the first time. This Wiccaning was very different than I had learned about. The focus was on a god and not a goddess and utilized the sun and not the earth. This was the first time I had ever heard about “drawing down the sun” being done in a ritual or even at all. This was one of the first times during my initial training that my “why” brain screamed “whoa! Hold on just a moment?” After learning so much about the Goddess being first in everything, I now saw that there was room for the God to move forward and be the center of attention. It was not until years later that I experienced first-hand and participated in a “drawing down the sun” rite at a Beltaine celebration in New York City. Being part of this circle and learning the structure of the ritual was life changing. We can learn so much from another’s traditions and from experiencing things outside of our own.

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In “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum”, this chapter explores the magick of the Sun and how to work with its energies. Each week deals with a time of day and each day explores a different aspect of Witchcraft in a traditional curriculum style. Whereas each day has activities to foster spiritual growth.

Examples of Daily Activities Found in “The Modern Witch’s curriculum”

Sunday
Make a list of what the sun means to you spiritually and how you feel at sunrise. The sun can mean a lot to different people, memories of summer on a beach, fishing on a lake as a child or the evening sun glistening on a snow-covered tree. The times and memories we associate with the sun excite and vitalize us. Even during the dark days of winter or after a long rainy week we crave the warm rays of the sun, this not just a physical craving, but a spiritual one as well. The sun plays a major role in spirit and our spirituality. Depending on tradition, it can mean more for an individual Witch. Today, write out a list of your own personal and your traditions meaning of the sun. Just as with the moon we can also be affected by the phases of the sun, this week we will track these feelings to access our magickal time of day.
Friday
Study and learn the herbs, oils, and crystals associated with the sun. Create an incense for working with the sun. Planetary correspondences and their magickal properties can be an overwhelming and difficult practice. There are thousands of plants and natural items that are associated with the sun as a planet, as gods, or as a type of energy. Figuring out which is which can discourage any Witch. Some herbs have a connection to the sun because of its color, growth cycle, and so many other factors. To narrow your studies down I recommend looking into the teachings of your tradition or cultural beliefs and practices.

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News: Pre-order “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum” By E. Massey

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Happy Beltane!

The day has finally arrived my newest book “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum” is now available for pre-order. However, they will not be shipped until June 21st,  good news is you will receive the e-book “Casting Creative Magickal Circles” for FREE.

Pre-ordering is only available at www.e-massey.com

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There comes a time in every Witch’s life when they feel there is nothing left to learn. When all the classes and all the books just cannot satisfy our desire to want to learn more. What if there was a book for all magickal practitioners that went beyond Witchcraft and magick 101, and 102. What if there was a resource that allowed a Witch to grow and learn without the constraints of a specific tradition and at their own pace?

“A Modern Witch’s Curriculum” is that resource and will fulfill a Witch’s desire to learn and to grow.

It allows those who are involved in any of the earth-based religions to progress and learn beyond their initial teachings. It provides many hands-on magickal and spiritual activities and experiences that can be started at any time of the year and on any day of the week. In a way this may be the last book you will ever purchase.

“This is the book that never ends”

“A Modern Witch’s Curriculum” combines history, science, and hands-on magickal and spiritual activities and experiences in an easy to follow calendar format. Although, the curriculum begins in October, it can be started at any time of the year and on any day of the week. There is no beginning or ending to this book. It can be used over and over again.

Best of all, the information in this book is relevant to anyone of any magickal tradition or spiritual background, whether they follow a Wiccan, Green or eclectic path, in fact, much of the book will find an audience to those who want to learn more about their own traditions and themselves. Many of the exercises and activities were created to guide the reader to areas of study and spiritual knowledge by using any resources that are accessible to them. These can be books, the Internet, and even individual experiences of the people within a circle or community. There are no boundaries or requirements on how the reader can collect the information for the activities; it’s all individual choice.

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Casting Creative Magickal Circles Tour: A Few Words of Reflection

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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

 

 

 

 

The Art of Living a Magickal Life

(c) The New Art Gallery Walsall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

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