“Take me! I am of great power”, The Illusive Hag Stone

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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.

 

Vote for E. Massey for a witchway magazine award for favorite teacher

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Teaching Children About Cause and Effect in Magick

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In the popular children’s book, “If you give a mouse a cookie” by Laura Numeroff, a little boy’s pet mouse asks for a cookie which starts a chain reaction of wanting more and more, until returning back to the start which suggests that it will begin over again from the cookie.

I use this book in one of my “Little Witch” workshops to highlight the principle of cause and effect in magickal practices.

For those who remember taking physics in High School you will probably remember this: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This idea of cause and effect in physics can also be seen in Magick as well. What is thought or done could possibly create a chain of events for yourself or someone else you have no connection too. This is completely different from the wiccan ideal of the three-fold law.

The BIG question is how do you teach this to children?

As an early childhood educator, teaching the laws of physics can be challenging and the thought of quantum physics is just asking for trouble. There are many things that have perplexed and prevented me from teaching it regularly. From the obvious complexity of the subject to religious and/or cautious parents that have kept me to just keep it to the basic fundamentals. Over the years, I have found that the best way to incorporate quantum physics was with experiments and teachable moments in everyday play. There is no mandate or standard that states that we need or must teach the subject, but I feel it is my duty as an educator to lay the ground work for our future possible mad scientists.

When it comes to Pagan education I feel there is more of an open mind in the teaching of this subject to children and how it could contribute to their spirituality. There are many sources of information in the pagan community that mention and focus on the science of magick and how it pertains to the laws of physics and quantum physics. However, many of them are too complex for a new Witch to understand.

Teaching children about cause and effect is actually easier than you think. Young children are already experimenting with cause and effect on a regular basis. They can cause a ball to roll by placing it on a slanted surface. Whereas, Infants learn that when they shake a rattle, they hear a sound. Children learn that they can “test” toys and people to see what reactions they can create. Through their exploration play, children learn that they can cause things to change or happen in their environment. This is no different on a magickal and spiritual level. However, as magickal teachers we just need to tweak the material to include more than just the five senses.

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Simple Domino Exercise

By using dominos, we can teach children about cause and effect through play. Line up the dominos either in a straight line or in a specific magickal pattern such as a crescent moon. The bigger the better.

Ask the child what will happen if you push the first domino. At this point you can explain that this is called “cause and effect” and it is what happens when we work with magick. How our intention is the first domino and our magick is the pushing of that domino, which can cause all the other dominos to change how they stand. Explain how everything in the universe as well as all magick works under this principle. You can give age appropriate examples to help further the understanding of the principle, for example: When you eat too much candy (cause) you will get a tummy ache(effect). For those in the wiccan traditions, I would consider using a circle pattern and at the point of return express the three-fold law. You and your child can experiment with different shapes and patterns.

Event:Book Signing and Keynote Speaker at The Iron Garden/QXTS 3/30/18

Join me March 30th at The Iron Garden for the last event of my North-East tour. Honored as keynote speaker I will be discussing “The Art of a Magickal Life” and signing books. Come for the event and Stay and celebrate the end of my tour with me at the one and only QXTS.
Event Info:
KEY NOTE SPEAKER:
E. Massey, Artist, Author & Teacher
CONCLAVE:
Chamber of Reflection
ART EXHIBITOR:
Martyr Graff of Wendigo Graphics
MERCHANTS:
. Brujo Creations w/ Magia De Luna Shoppe
. Pagan Goods w/ Olde Thyme Witch
. Psychic Readings w/ Malanie Villari
CEREMONY:
La Commedia Del Sangue – Let us Prey
w/ House Sahjaza Elder Tony Sokol
9:00PM – Doors Open
9:15PM – Conclave (Thematic discussion group)
10:00PM – Presentations / Performances
10:30PM – Announcements
10:45PM – Ceremony (Spell, Meditation or Working)
11PM – DJs, dancing & fun!
The Iron Garden is a New Jersey based organization providing a safe haven for gathering, socialization, education, promotion of the arts, charity-work and fun for the New Jersey Nightkind Community. The Iron Garden is comprised of mature, discrete, intelligent, like-minded folk. The Iron Garden welcomes Houses, Covens, Dens and Ronin Independents who are Pagan, Vampires, Witches, Therians, Otherkin, Black Swans, Life-stylers, Poets and Scholars alike. We ask that our members be over the age of 21, dress appropriately and maintain proper conduct.
​The Iron Garden is a safe haven and neutral ground for fun, pleasure, entertainment, socialization, creative expression, interpersonal growth and networking. Please leave your negativity and hostility outside.
Attendees are required to dress semi-formally or creatively (no jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers). The Iron Garden attendees are required to demonstrate respect and fraternity toward all others in attendance.
The Iron Garden monthly gatherings are held at a private room Downstairs at QXT’s Night Club at 428 Mulberry Street in Newark, NJ.

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Dear Fellow Pagans and Witches, Do you love your Guns, Gods, and Community?

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Nope, this is not a political post, well not in the sense of taking a particular side of recent tragic events. Kudos to those who caught the play on the title. Anyway, after a night of spending what should have been three-hours in a car, no thanks to a snow storm, I planned to use the day to catch up on writing and to relax. As I sat down to type a blog post that I had yet to finish, the previous day’s discussions had surfaced to the forefront of my mind.

At yesterday’s book signing, I spent much of my day talking with the customers and owner of The Cauldrons Flame in Connecticut. Although, the day was exciting and lucrative, it was also eye-opening.

As I drove the three hours to Connecticut my ears were flooded with news and commentaries on the Parkland shooting from the radio. Between this and Facebook I was tired of hearing about who and what was to blame. It’s not that I am insensitive to the event, I am just disgusted with how people chose to react. So, I chose to drive in silence instead. As I came upon just crossing the state line, I passed the exit for Sandy Hook, thinking to myself was this going to be the under tone of the day.

The bulk of the day was filled with normal conversations about my book and the usual Pagan topics. It wasn’t until the end of the event that I had gotten into an interesting conversation. Its topic brought me back to passing the Sandy Hook exit. What had started as just a chat about one’s son had turned into a discussion of the current state of the world we live in. Sadly, and repulsed I had learned that even after Sandy Hook, the state of Connecticut does nothing to help children who are struggling emotionally. This person’s son, who had been dealing with depression and anxiety due to constant bullying since elementary school had been pushed aside. Over the years, many things had happened and nothing was done for him or his family. The local school system and officials ignored and pushed aside every attempt to help this child. Luckily, he had a family that stood beside him along the way to keep him from going over the edge. The most shocking part of the whole story was that even after what had happened a few years before in Connecticut, nothing is still being done to help children and families who are in need of support. I learned that there is a lack of psychologists and therapists for children in the state due to the fear of liability that stemmed from Sandy Hook. I found it disturbing that even the school system would rather sweep things under the rug than have to deal with the fact that the children in their care may not be safe from social pressures and harm. I fear that this may be the norm across the county, in hindsight of the recent events. One question I have among many others is, where is the community involvement? It is very easy for the armchair activists (on both sides) to sit there complaining and posting their views and agendas. But what are we really doing in our community to make things better.

Anyone can post and say that they are “praying or sending love and light to the victims and families of this tragedy” But in all honesty, have they? And what, may I ask are you asking for from your Gods? Is it about your personal ideals on guns and government, and the awakening of the opposing party to these ideals or are you asking for a path to be shown on how you can make a difference in a troubling world, and the ways to get off your armchair and help someone who might be in need. We as Witches and Pagans should be a pillar in our community and not a pillow in front of a computer. As an early childhood educator, I see far too many children that are more in need of an honest, good hug than last year’s hot toy at Christmas time. My work doesn’t end when I walk out the school doors at the end of the day, nor will it end when I finish my teaching career. Many of the children I had when I first began teaching are now entering High School and I still talk to them and their families. Although it’s not directly, I am still a part of their life. I also check in with parents of certain children who I know are having a rough time, or they call me when they need help or just want that escape. This is the path I have chosen through the guidance of my own gods and goddesses.

One of the last conversations I had before I left for a five-hour drive was with Heidi, the owner of The Cauldrons Flame. We were casually discussing what she does for her community and how the store fits into it. She views her store not only as a place of business and resource for a local community, but a center of wellness and comfort for anyone seeking acceptance and knowledge. When she opens her doors daily she also opens her heart to a community in need. Heidi knows firsthand the hidden troubles in her community and she takes charge by providing a safe environment for not only Pagan and Witches but those who just may need a place to escape the outside world.

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This post was not meant to rant or finger point to any one side, but to get us thinking a little more about ourselves and our community in a such a crazy messed up world. When all is said and done with our current world, community maybe be our only resource for survival.

You Want a Time Out! Meditation and Children

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 A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be part of a social-emotional program designed for early education. Its main focus was to help children to be mindful of their own and others emotions through teacher guided activities and meditation. The children were encouraged to practice meditations of body awareness, patience, and relaxation. As teachers, we ourselves were taught not only how to meditate (I was one up on the others there) but also how to encourage children to want to meditate. By using modeling instead of actual lessons, the children were not forced into learning meditation techniques all at once. This method of “teaching” through example provides a stress free and positive outcome for the child and laid the groundwork for later incorporating actual meditation techniques into the classroom.

There are many benefits from meditation for children, not only in the magickal world, but in everyday living as well. Meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, and aggression. It improves concentration, memory, and creativity. Children who meditate show a better sense of awareness, relaxation, and an overall healthier mind and body. It’s also been thought to strengthen the immune system and can lower the risk of future health problems. As an early childhood educator, I have seen these benefits manifest first hand.

When given the opportunity to observe the meditative practices of an adult, children will most likely want to sit alongside you and imitate what you are doing. By giving your little Witch this opportunity to sit with you during your own meditation practices, they will begin to learn themselves. If you do not have a regular meditation practice, this is a great way to grow and experience mindfulness together.

Below is a technique that I have used in the classroom and in my Little Witches workshops.

A Basic Relaxation Technique for Children

I recommend beginning on your own in a quiet setting, choose a time before a meal or before bed, soon after your child will follow. For older children you can explain to them why you are sitting in silence.

Begin by asking your child if they would like to play a relaxing game with you. Continue only if they show interest. If they show no interest one day they may the following day. I recommend doing the technique yourself, the child will become interested after some time.

Sitting in a chair, ask your child to sit with his or her feet flat on the floor and hands on his/her knees. Using a gentle, slow voice, saying or something similar:

“Look for a spot on the wall that you would like to look at.”

This can be any spot the child chooses. Explain to your child to keep their feet flat on the floor and their hands on your knees.

“Breathe in nice and slow and let it out nice and slow. When you feel your body wants to get wiggly, just say in your head, it’s okay that you’re feeling wiggly.”

“Try to keep your eyes on the spot as long as you can.”

Do this for only a minute or two the first time, and expand by one to two minutes each session. A good practice to maintain is to not exceed your child’s age in the number of minutes you spend in a session.

FYI: Having a good meditation practice can help encourage children with self-awareness, to be themselves, and have a greater belief in their own potential.