Article

Magick in Mundane: A Twist of Thread

by Erica Sittler

We’ve come to the end of our course here in W1. If I was a good student, I would be studying for our test. You know, the one you have to pass in order to initiate? Pass with a 100%. It’s an open book test, so everyone should pass, right? Yet, I am the student who could easily not do that. I hope there are bonus questions. Or maybe we get extra credit for good behavior….

…instead of studying, I’ve been working with my red cord. Just a simply woven cord, made with intention by my teacher, so cherished by me and my fellow classmates. It will be our little “badge of honor” so to speak and recognizes the time, effort and devotion put toward our magickal practice. So, I’m very fond of this cord even though I haven’t quite earned it yet. W1 is all about the Inner Fire. Hence the color red. Earlier this week, as I was holding my cord, I realized what I needed to do, and I set to work with needle and thread and some little stones then I wove them into the threads of the cord itself. When starting, there was a thought of roughly how I was going to go about it. But that is not at all how it turned out.

Now, you see, handwork, or fine detailed sewing skills is not one of my strengths. Neither is math. Seriously. Do not ask me to do something complicated that involves math. You will really wish you hadn’t. But that was hardly a deterrent to my vision for this cord. So, I gathered and folded and counted and sorted and got busy with my needle and thread. Hours and hours and hours later, my cord looked nothing like I thought it would. It had sprouted a life of its own.

Where I thought a pattern of six was to go, the cord required nine sets, symbolically for the nine of us classmates who made it through the year. Where I thought a line of five was meant to go, a snake appeared, complete with tiny rattles and a pointy head. Where I envisioned a soft gleam of moonstone, a skull face with fiery red hair came forth. Days went by and I gave up on what I thought was happening and just let the cord instruct my fingers which by now had been pierced more times than I could count. Lava rock beads showed up and oils, but only certain oils. Other oils refused to open their caps and add a drop to the collective infusion of lava. After three attempts with three different bottles, it fully dawned on me that I could play along if I wished, but what my cord actually wanted was for me to simply be the conduit for it to become its full self.

Amulets and talismans appeared. Symbols of liminal spaces and reminders of allegiances and allies fused themselves to the cord, stitch after stitch. As it finished itself, I realized I had my math wrong and what I thought was the back was  now somewhere else completely. It did not matter. Obviously, it was exactly where it was supposed to be. I kept quiet while sewing, working hard to not overthink the process, but just let it happen and enjoy it. Coral hag stones gathered with my grown son on a liminal stretch of shoreline one sunset joined the collective. Tiny strings of tiny beads and seeds like feathers added adornment. And then quite firmly the intuition to “set the needle down”. Ummm, we are just going to stop? There are more beads and this stone only has this small bit added? Should there be more? Can I add this tiny bell? I’m mentally bargaining with the cord, knowing full well by now that if it doesn’t want it, there will be no keeping it there, no matter how many knots I tie. I add it. It stays.

Lo and behold, a magickal cord. Where did that come from? How did that happen? Why did that happen? What does it mean? What can it do?

Fairytales are full of ordinary things that hold extraordinary power and can do amazing things at certain times and in certain places with certain people. A doll, a key, a carpet, a bean… the simplest of things, transformed into more. How? Sometimes, it’s just fate or luck. Other times, it’s through little rituals, like feeding the dolly or bathing in the river seven times. What makes my little twist of thread so special? Absolutely nothing. It is made of commonplace materials and you can find much prettier ones…

But…

But, I have a very visceral, tactile relationship with this particular twist of thread and its bits and snips. Utterly unique and not replicable, for did you walk the rough shoreline at sunset with me and my son that day, so that every time you see and feel them you call to memory a day you walked a liminal space where earth water and sky conjoined with such crashing beauty it took your breath away and you wanted to melt into the  coral rocks and be a part of that beauty for eternity. And that tiny yellow shell with its pinprick of a hole? That? Why that was your gift from the merfolk. You had wandered another stretch of ocean. Ocean where salt hung heavy in the stiff breeze. A long, rough wooden pier where men were fishing for sharks and you, completely out of place, were making peace and an offer of friendship to creatures unseen, but felt and acknowledged. That tiny shell has as much value to me as any pirate’s golden trove. And those magnolia seeds. Why who knew when pierced they released a perfume as sweet as the flowers they originated from? And those stones? And that particular arrangement? Do you see me as a young child visiting an esoteric shop much to my father’s chagrin. Do you see me tenderly picking out a tiger’s eye stone like it was the most beloved of friends long out of site? Or there, again as a poor, scraggly, abused kid looking through the Sears catalog and finding rings made of my birthstone, garnets, and thinking they must be the most precious of all stones, to have earned the position of January’s stone. On and on and on in the working.

Herein is the magick. With every stitch there is a memory, an association, a smell, a symbol, a meaning: a something to make it matter. Dearly matter, if to no one else but myself. I have woven and rubbed and snipped and gathered all the best I learned in this W1 course. Certainly we learned fancier words to describe such things in class. Words like correspondences and sympathetic workings. Words I now can say with certainty I know what those words mean, for I have gathered and worked and bled here upon this long and beautiful scrap and now pulsating cord for days. Why? Because my life is far richer when it matters. When the things I surround myself with matter. When the nature of my work matters. That, Beloved, is at the heart of all good magick: it all matters.

Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Temple Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.

Mystery Plays, Schools and Magickal Classes

Photo by Johannes Plenio via Pexels.com

Photo by Johannes Plenio via Pexels.com

by Christopher Penczak, Edited by Tina Whittle

I am enamored by the mysteries! On all levels, they embody the essence of the magickal journey because all things have their mystery, from the most philosophical to the seemingly mundane, for one mystery teaching is that nothing is mundane. But you have to have the experience of that mystery to truly understand it.

Preserve the mysteries. Reveal them often. These have been mantras for me. Not that I wish to profane the holy before those who would disrespect it, but the preservation and revelation come with my full realization that those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear will do so, and for those who don’t, the mysteries will remain occulted. But sometimes the very exposure to them through art, word, and music will trigger something deep and catalyze a change, making someone into a seeker and potential initiate.

Because I’m so enamored by the mysteries, I think a lot about how the mysteries have been transmitted in the past, in the present, and how it will happen in the future. I talk to many others involved in this work and do a fair amount of practical application of the ideas, adjusting and adapting as time goes on to see how best to serve the mysteries.

One of the things I have found helpful in the context of a teacher in the Temple of Witchcraft is to define the purpose of a Mystery School over other forms of magickal experience and education. Sometimes people join with expectations, and when the reality is different, they have some problems, no matter how much we might try to prepare people for the reality.

Ancient Mysteries

In the ancient world—and I think carried on in some forms of seasonal community today—we find the concept of the mysteries as a profound celebration. A powerful example influencing modern Witchcraft is the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece, devoted to Persephone and Demeter. Initiates were sworn to secrecy, and that secrecy has held, so we have only outer understandings and our best guesses to the meaning of the experiences. It’s not the only form, as we have it in Mithras, Orpheus, and Dionysus, as well as various mystery cults to goddesses and gods of Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, and likely versions across the world.

In such mystery traditions, there was usually a focus on a deity and their story as the central expression to the mystery. There would be lesser and greater mysteries, overt and deeper meanings and experiences, if not a grade system. Experiences would include travel through holy pilgrimage, cleanings, special diets often leading to fasting, challenges and ordeals to test determination and will, sacramental drinks and food, and some form of ritualistic art experience to transmit the gnosis of the mystery. The mystery play is believed to be a way to transmit the mysteries to the entire group, showing the mystery rather than relying on the poetry or actions alone. Words and symbols were conveyed while the audience members were in a trance state, allowing them reach the deep levels of being. Such a medium helps when the community is not necessarily receiving special philosophical training or might not possess even basic literacy (in the Eleusinian Mysteries, for example, one need only speak Greek and not be a murderer to enter). Otherwise, all genders, social statuses, and races were welcome. During the ritual, one experienced a revelation on the nature of reality, often the immortality of consciousness, and the process served in creating a map to the afterlife for the initiate, sharing specialized knowledge. This transformed death from a fearful to often joyous experience, creating a permanent change in perspective. Initiates of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, for example, were said to never fear death again.

Such mystery traditions could gather at regular intervals, again like those of Eleusus, or be attached to a more regularly meeting society with additional roles and responsibilities for initiates, like modern masonic orders and akin to modern covens in Witchcraft, or be attached to a philosophical school, with the preparatory lectures, learning, and exercises like an actual school, creating a fundamental change in life and lifestyle. Those who simply attend seasonal festivals and what traditional covens often call the Outer Court trainings are participating in the pre-mysteries, or even in some cases, the lesser mysteries of the yearly cycles.

A Mystery School

As a founder of a modern mystery school, I try to provide the information, experience, support, and context that both continues what I received and takes it to the next level in the development of community. While I technically learned through continued academic-esque classes alongside formal and informal coven experiences, I didn’t attend a fully realized school. My ethos is to create, write, or do the thing you wished you’d had so it will be formed for the next generation, and they can do the next step rather than reinvent from scratch as we often are forced to do. One of my key understandings in diving deeper into magick is that magickal study can magnify anything. You become more of whatever you are. If you are physically balanced and healthy, you truly become amazing. If you are spiritually unbalanced, or even harmful, it often magnifies that imbalance, so like ancient mysteries, we go through a cleansing, an inventory of self, and then a greater foundation to make ourselves aware and conscious of what we are magnifying and what we are healing. Otherwise, we can easily enter into magickal delusion.

Since magick, energy, and consciousness are not really talked about or broadly taught in our society, starting in a school, getting through the basics, and building a foundation can feel remedial at times. Older systems had an approach of breaking you down and building you back up again, which has its own problems. Modern ones often don’t, but having to start at the beginning can create resentment in more advanced students with previous study or self-study. Soon the wise see that not everyone has the same idea of what is foundational, and many “advanced” students have holes in their education. A good school closes the gaps and gives the necessary information and experiences so that students may more safely enter into mystery and magick. This can also be a self-correcting mechanism, as when the experiences and forces stop someone from getting to dangerous things because the necessary prerequisites can’t be met.

Some of the basics a mystery school will teach, show, and open experience to include:

Awareness of Other Reality—A living awareness and experience of a non-ordinary reality is key, and from that first point, much of the work is learning to deepen and make readily available this level of reality to the student.

Philosophical Foundation—We can’t live in this other reality 24/7, so we need context to be able to understand it intellectually and the skills to move back and forth through various levels of the “ordinary” and “non-ordinary” without going crazy, until such distinction no longer matters. Entering into the mysteries can break the rational mind without context, and many self explorers go crazy for a time, and can even shut down because of lack of context. That context can include the history of those in your lineage, those similar to you, and those different, furthering the understanding that it’s something as natural to us as any other aspect of life.

Energetic Well Being—Magickal training ideally includes levels of evaluation of personal energy, a cleansing of energy from thoughts and feelings that are unresolved as well as toxic influences from the environment, family, and past lives, freeing that psychic voltage for personal well-being and evolution. We begin to notice the unhealthy flows and patterns of energy that lead to harmful decisions and actions. Unhealthy patterns need to be dismantled and new healthy patterns established. We learn to seal the leaks to our energy and attention and build a stronger vessel, and learn to store life force for future magickal actions. Sometimes our energetic circuitry needs repair and eventual upgrade, and to do that, we have to learn how to consciously work with the flow of our energy, and how to tap into other sources of energy.

Change of Consciousness—Change of consciousness is ultimately about making a permanent change in perspective, integrating that otherworldly reality and being able to function within it, but also changing the baseline level of awareness into something more clear and distinct. It starts with learning things such as basic focus and concentration, developing a meditative mind. Disciplines are balanced with intuition, control, and flow until we understand the state of effortless effort and surrender to divine providence. That paradox is a deep part of all mystery training. Fused with changes from energetic well-being, we can see this as a form of soul crafting. New skills provide a foundation for leaps of consciousness into more expansive realms of awareness.

New Skills—Training will often be in occult forms of meditation, ritual, and psychic abilities, learning to apply the abilities to shift consciousness and manage vital energy. Through these skill sets, one can gain access to new nonlinear information, inspiration, spiritual entities, and dimensions of reality not normally accessed. Often it starts with items aligned with the lower rungs of a hierarchy of needs—the magick for everyday concerns and wants, simple healing. Some learn tricks and find power in impressing others, but all the smaller things lead to the greater magicks of evolution and insight, rather than parlor tricks. The skills work in tandem with everything else, providing framework to apply what is learned in practical, and mystical, ways. The secret societies and trades that influence and inspire Witches today were originally about passing skills—healers, blacksmiths, millers, horsemen, and masons.

Community—There is a bond that forms when people go through the same patterns of change. While everyone responds to it differently, successfully navigating it and graduating provides a link. We see it in all branches of the military, as well as college fraternities and sororities and secret societies. In a mystery school there can then be the sense of duty to the community, or a sense of service to pass on the things that helped you come to realization, understanding it takes those who have gone through it to pass it on to others to keep the learning and growing as a cycle that does not end after one generation.

We could add a lot more steps and details, but these are some of the basic points showing how a mystical school can approach things, as opposed to other settings of learning magick or experiencing the mysteries.

Classes, Workshops, and Intensives

In a general magick class, the intentions are much less intense, though there can be a lot of points that overlap, depending on the class. Today, magickal classes and workshops can include simply sharing techniques in a formal way or an informal way. Often we hold space and share an experience and our own stories and ideas. Teachers can have a formal class plan and syllabus of topics to cover, or be more freeform in the group. Some classes have a practicum experience part, and others just have conversation. Some magick teachers I know highly object to leading others through an experience or ritual publicly, because there is not the same bond, and safety, as with someone who has made a formal commitment to study with that teacher. Not having that taboo when I started, I never thought about it until much further along on the path, and the cat was out of the bag at that point, and I found ways to do deep workings with new people safely and effectively. It was all about process and setting space and intention. Having many years of experience with my share of mistakes doesn’t hurt now either. Those who attend classes often have a sense of bonding and community, but it’s more temporary than initiatory mystery experience. Weekend intensives can have an initiatory quality, but if they are not held by a tradition, school, or established custom, they can fizzle. I can’t tell you how many weekend intensives and festivals I’ve attended, and led, where the participants bonded deeply, feeling they had found family and “tribe” and then slowly drifted, as the one weekend wasn’t quite the bond they thought it was, even though it was stronger than most things previous to their experience. It can slowly fade or end in drama, which in its own way, too, can be initiatory.

People can enter a formal mystery tradition from those experiences and feel that the held traditions and customs are too stifling, preferring the freedom and flexibility of a weekend, often not realizing the drawback to that. Neither is better or worse, depending on what you want, but you can’t expect the commitment of a formal community without making that same level of commitment yourself. Many people, assuming the evening and weekend magickal class is all that modern magick has to offer these days, leave Paganism and Witchcraft and seek a deeper mystery and community in Buddhism, Hinduism, and African Traditional Religions. Though held unbroken much longer, they offer a different perspective of the mysteries. I look to the regeneration of the Pagan, Goddess, and Witchcraft mysteries where I am, with the growing communities I experience.

In the end, it’s always good to ask yourself, and others, what you are getting into and why, and reflect upon the answers. If you seek the mysteries with a true heart, even outside of anything formal or traditional, you will find the mysteries. Some will have support. Some will not. Some will have context. Others will make their own context. And this, too, is part of the mysteries. Preserve the mysteries. Reveal them—and experience them—often!

 

by Claire du Nord

In keeping with one of my favorite mottos – “Rescue, Reuse, Repurpose” – the Tannenbaum from this past Yule presented me with several new opportunities to do just that – knowing that in a short while it would be time to celebrate Imbolc, the next Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year. Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition.

The whole Tannenbaum couldn’t stay in my little apartment forever as it was, of course, but it could still “live on” in several new “Repurposed” ways. The first idea that came to mind was to make an Imbolc Besom to use in my Imbolc Household Purification efforts. The Pine Besom would serve as an energetic Pine Cleaner, just as vacuuming up all the pine needles that had become strewn about the living room served as a Yuletide Carpet Freshener that filled the air with the wonderful, unmistakable Yule season scent.

I began to prune the Tannenbaum from the bottom up, using my roommate’s garden loppers. In the process of removing the branches, I found the perfect branch to serve as the first set of bristles for the besom:

Then, I began to add more pieces with a similar shape until the bristle part of the besom was full, at which point I found the largest branch on the Tannenbaum to serve as the handle of the besom. I used some green and white cording to attach the handle to the bristles, wrapping the cording around at the base of the bristles, pulling tightly as I wrapped around each time:

And here is the finished Imbolc Besom!

The next “Repurpose” happened quite suddenly, when the next longest branch I found “insisted” on becoming a wand – “I want to be a wand! I want to be a wand! I want to be a wand!”

I trimmed and trimmed until most of the branches had been removed. What I wound up with was sort of a besom shape from what remained of the Tannenbaum. I thought about hanging it on the wall as a sort of “witchy” decoration, but it was a bit too heavy for me to figure out how to do that. I was about to remove the last of the branches to make a sort of staff, when the third and final “Repurpose” made itself known.

I remembered the Celtic tradition of tying strips of cloth onto the branches of trees near springs, by the names of “Clootie Springs” and “Clootie Trees”. And although I had already trimmed off most of the branches, it could still work as a sort of “Maypole-Clootie Tree”! So, I got some strips of cloth from my fabric box, made some wishes, and tied them onto the “Clootie Tree” part.

I thought about the ribbons for the “Maypole” part, and the idea to make it into an “Elemental Maypole” popped into my head. So, I got some ribbons in the corresponding colors- White, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue. And then, I remembered the miniature elemental colored water bottles from Article #1 and thought it might look nice to attach those to the ribbons. I didn’t wind the ribbons around the “Maypole” part – that will be for another day. Rather, I tied bows in the elemental colors, with the matching tiny bottles.

So, here is the “Maypole” part:

Here is the “Clootie Tree” part:

And here is the whole thing, being held up in the same Tannenbaum base, (after being emptied of water, cleaned out and dried):

After looking at the result, I guess it turned out to be a besom after all. Or maybe just a conversation piece! (Insert smiley face here. . .)

For the Imbolc refreshments, I decided to make some Nut & Seed Crackers with Cream Cheese. First, the nuts and seeds were ground in a food processor, and then other ingredients were added to make the Nut & Seed Cracker “dough”.

Here are my Sun and Moon cookie cutters, (using the Sun one, which is really a biscuit cutter), for Imbolc:

Out of the oven and cooled, I must admit, they could pass for hamburgers!

Here are the Nut & Seed Crackers, with Cream Cheese on top:

For the Imbolc tablecloth, I used two fabric colors – one lavender, and the other a sort of tie-dyed pastel combination of colors:

And here is the Imbolc Table, including a carafe of milk and a bowl of Almonds and Sunflower seeds:

I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time –

Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!

Imbolc Blessings,
Claire du Nord

Temple Numerology for 2024

44/8: The Master Number for 2024 & your personal numerology 

The year of 2024 has just started. The first month has just passed and many are already asking themselves, what is going on? It feels so intense! All I can say is, welcome to the Master Number Year of 44/8!  We are all in for a ride this year and we can expect life to become intense. But, if there is a lot of energy in movement, there is also a lot of possibilities to grow in wisdom, understanding and power as well.

In the end of this article, you can calculate and read about your personal numerological energies together with the master number of 44/8 ruling this year. The number that rules the year for everyone is called The Universal Year. 

So let’s grab a cup of tea or coffee and see how we can manifest this energy in the best way possible.

44/8 – A Master builder

When we take the Universal Year of 2024 and add the numbers, we get 44/8. (20+24=44), (4+4= 8). The double numbers in Numerology are Master Numbers. Other Master Numbers are: 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99. 

The Master Numbers are extra powerful. They come with great challenges, but the reward is great once you have learned the lessons that they try to teach us.

44/8 is the master builder. We can imagine two squares together, 4+4 = 8. The squares being foundations or building blocks. We can also look at the master number 11 symbolizing a pillar of light. If we put the light of number 11 in four corners, we have 11+11+11+11 = 44/8. Seen this way 44/8 is a house, or a foundation of light. (The house of God, however, is 72/9.)

People born with the number 44/8

People born with the number 44/8 as a personal number in their numerology chart are great builders in the physical world. They are often interested in architecture, art, archaeology, mathematics. They are strong leaders and often the big boss of a company or organization. As a 44/8 you are a natural boss. They think and build big. Nothing is impossible. They many times say, “if you can imagine it, you can manifest it and build it”.

Despite this strong mental foundation and leadership quality, the life of a person with 44/8 also brings periods of surprise and chaos. The number 8 is the infinity symbol if you lay it on the side.

If we believe in karma, we might say that everything eventually turns back to us, or if we believe in cause and effect, we might say that everything we believe, say, or do has an impact, great or small, in the world that we live in. That seems truer for people born with the number 8, and even more so with the 44/8. It is as if the Universe has a closer look at what the 44/8 person is up to, and the effect or Karma comes sooner back to the number 44/8 person than it does for other people.

44/8 is the leader of a big company with a lot of money who suddenly lost it all but has the power to rebuild it again. Or the successful man or woman who suddenly gave up everything to become a monk or nun in a monastery, only to return ten years later back in the outer world to become once again successful.

With this in mind, we can truly say that the 44/8 person is a very spiritual person. Even if they don’t start their lives as one, life seems to teach them there are other forces active in life and creation, beyond what we can see with our physical eyes. 

44/8 as a Universal year

What can we expect on a global collective level with this number? With 44/8 as a Universal year, we can expect countries and organizations to make big and daring plays. Under the influence of 44/8, no one wants to be small, feel like the little guy, or feel left out. This can make smaller countries or states team-up with others to get more power or assurance. In this perspective we can expect bigger partnerships and alliances to take form. The challenge with this could be greater polarization between political parties, countries, and parts of the world. But it can also in some cases create stability when it is clear what team everyone belongs to.

And let’s not forget about the unexpected quality of the number 8 and especially the number 44/8. Even such a big energy as 44/8 can be tipped to the side and  forced to face the consequences of its actions. This could mean public figures, companies, banks, or the like that have been seen as untouchable now no longer are. It is wise for everyone to follow the news and to be updated on what’s going on in the world. Before you know it, the changes can affect your own back yard. 

Your Personal Life Lesson Number

Your personal life lesson number can tell a great deal about you and your life. It is a basic calculation used for many other calculations in your personal numerology chart. However, we are not going into detail about that right now. But, we are going to use your personal life lesson number to look at how you are likely to respond to the energies of the Universal year of 44/8. Let’s begin. 

How to calculate your personal life lesson number

To calculate your life lesson number, begin by adding the numbers of your birth year. Then you continue to add your birth month + your birthday. Let’s take Tom as an example: 

Tom was born October 5th, 1972

Birth year: 1972, you add 1 + 9 + 7 + 2 = 19

Birth month + birthday = 10 + 05 = 15 

Adding them together = 19 + 15 = 34, then 34 becomes 3 + 4 = 7 

Toms’ life lesson number is 34/7

If you are born the year of 2000, or after, the calculation is different. After 2000 you add it like this:  20 + 00 = 20. Then it becomes like this 2001 = 20 + 01 = 21, or 2012 = 20 + 12 = 32. This is to get a higher number and to give us more information in other calculations. 

Lina was born June 23rd, 2013

Birth year: 2013 = 20 + 13 = 33

Birth month + birthday = 06 + 23 = 29

Adding them together 33 + 29 = 62, 6 + 2 = 8

Lina’s life lesson number is 62/8

How your life lesson is likely to respond to the Universal Year of 44/8

Now that you have calculated your personal life lesson, we can look at how you are likely to respond to the Universal year of 2024 and the Master Number of 44/8. Bear in mind that this is an indicator, to get the fuller picture we would need to look at your whole numerological chart. 

Life lesson number 1. You are a leader and very creative, a driven and mentally-active person. With the year of 44/8 you get a lot of ideas that you want to manifest. You may become frustrated by how long it takes from your idea to the goal and a tangible result. You may feel that regulations and laws hinder your creativity and what you want to do. You need to learn how to work within the framework this year, instead of against it. If you do so, you may achieve many things this year. 

Life lesson number 2. People and relationships are very important to you. You are a diplomat and love when things run smoothly. You make long term plans and the 44/8 can help you with that. You may become frustrated by what you have built in your life and wonder if you have made the right choices or not. Try not to think so much about what others think or what they are doing. Keep doing your own thing and enjoy your life, just the way that you do it.

Life lesson number 3. You are a people person (when you are around the right kind of people) and very social, even if you were shy as a kid. You love to learn and to create beautiful things. The heaviness of 44/8 and the situation in the world can dim your light if you allow it to. Despite your sunny attitude on the outside the energies from others can sometimes be a bit too much. Make sure that you recharge your sunshine regularly and remember that it is not your responsibility to make everyone happy. The structure of 44/8 could help you to get your life (and economy) in some more order and through that make the practical side of life easier. Just give it some time, Rome was not built in a day. 

Life lesson number 4. You are a natural builder and very practical. You learn by doing things and figuring out how they work. You love when things add up or come together: figures, numbers or building blocks. With 44/8 you get help to make your dreams into reality. Perhaps you dream about renovating, moving, investing, or starting your own company. Make sure  you don’t overwork, remember the people around you and why you are doing things. If you feel like you are hitting an energetic wall and that none of your plans are working, don’t hit your head against the wall.  This may be the time to redirect your life and start something completely new. 

Life lesson number 5. You enjoy life and your life is somewhat adventurous. You love to learn new things and it is important to you to not get stuck in a rut. The energy of 44/8 can feel heavy for you and the world may seem to have turned from a colorful place into a world filled with gray. On the other hand, the 44/8 may surprise you as it may help you to think bigger and in longer terms of time. Don’t forget who you are and that happiness, a smile, and a good sense of humor is good medicine, and that the world is much better with you in it. Sometimes people underestimate you and believe you are just living in the moment. But there’s a lot going on behind that happy face and, together with 44/8, you can make powerful changes for yourself and others this year. 

Life lesson number 6. You are very responsible, and you expect others to be as well. You are a lover of beauty, good food, and the pleasures of life. Family and friends turn to you when they have problems, and you love to be needed. The energy of 44/8 can be overwhelming for you, and you may need to take a time-out from the world now and then this year. Remember that sometimes things happen for a reason even if we can’t see it now. Sometimes when we cannot solve someone else’s problems, we are not supposed to. Perhaps it is their karma, perhaps it is part of a bigger scenery. The energy of 44/8 can help you to manifest some of your creations and artistic brilliance. Believe in yourself and know that your talent expands beyond your ability to take care of others. 

Life lesson number 7. You are an intuitive activator. Your freedom is very important to you, and you have a great intuition. There is so much more going on inside you than what you show to the world. The demands of the physical world can sometimes be a challenge. With the energy of 44/8 you need to have a plan, and then you need to have a plan B as well, as this can make you calmer. Be careful this year that you do not get yourself caught up in something (a job, relationship) that you believe that you must do, or stay with when you don’t. A change of plans is okay, even during a 44/8 year. Don’t compromise your integrity.

Life lesson number 8. You are a builder and a natural boss. With this Universal year being the same number as your life lesson number a lot of energy is entering your life. This is a good time to think about what you want: What do you want to manifest? How are your plans in relationship to your soul and your higher self? Take time before making any bigger decisions. Remember that the number 8 always lands on its feet, it is just a matter of time. This is an important year for everyone, but especially for you. Remember to ask for assistance when needed and remember that you are never alone. 

Life lesson number 9.  You are a dreamer but surprisingly practical when you need to be. You love when things flow around you and you are a natural teacher. Sometimes you need to shield yourself from the environment and that can make others believe that you are cold and distant, but you are not. The energy of 44/8 can surprisingly flow well with you because number 9 is somewhat of a master number itself and its universal energy can understand the bigger movements of 44/8. When others are surprised by what is happening, you say “I knew it!”. Be careful not to sit on the bench this year just watching how things unfold and what others decide. It is more beneficial for you to make choices and act. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong decision, feel the power of the universe in your back and trust in your intuition.

I wish you a great 2024 with great things coming your way.

Blessed Be!
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is an ordained high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program. Her work can be found on Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial and she can be reached at [email protected].



Magick in Mundane: My Crooked Path With Nature

by Erica Sittler

They call it “the crooked path” for good reason, and my journey into witchcraft has been as simultaneously mundane and extraordinary as many folks. Like many of us, I was born into a Christian construct. Mine was the early versions of what is now alt-right religious extremism. Televangelists were our heroes. Beatings on an almost daily basis with rods and straps were proof that my parents were godly and “containing the wild ungodliness” of their offspring. Swimming in a caustic stew of religious and toxic emotional fervor alongside Bible-verse thumping zealots was my horrific “normal”.

…and yet, nature saved me in those years between then and now when my primal thought was to survive.

… nature saved me in the form of goose grass fairy mounds, where I spent hours crafting little homes that even as a young girl, I intuited were portals to another world far beyond mine. In birdsong and clouds where my eyes and ears would always perk up and pay attention, listening for stories and also looking for them in the clouds. I was transported. Gone. Alone with the earth holding me and the sky alight and in full motion, learning the language of birds.

… nature saved me in the form of the oak and magnolia trees and overgrown shrubbery where I would hide and climb and disappear for lifetimes on end.

…nature saved me in the form of a wild horse, I was charged “to break,” yet I could not tame that creature. Instead I rode her like the Wind she was, and subsequently was thrown off her more times than I can count. Through it, I learned to become one with an animal and become a part of that animal’s essence. Together the pair of us would ride full gallop for endless hours, panting and sweating, thrilled to be free. We would reach the edge of Perdido Bay (Lost Bay) and plunge in, swimming with sea creatures in the brackish waters, bronzed by the sun, dozing, blissful and mutually content.

…nature saved me: in the form of my children. And many herbs, chickens, and the growing things I tended. And even those pesky geese who refused to leave and poop everywhere! They too became my friends and teachers. Through more oak and cedar trees who refused to move when they “blocked my view” and I maliciously tried to salt and poison them. For simply existing. I get to bear the shame of that unnatural behavior as a reminder scar of my great folly every day when I go out and bless those self same trees. For those oaks I now see as a holy grove. As such, they are treated with great reverence. As a necessary means of passage to the liminal realm of the water’s edge beyond them.

…nature saved me through astrology, for there the stars became more than scientific observations with my grandfather’s telescope, but instead immortal ones with whom I could build a relationship: and in so doing better understand myself.

… nature saved me when my tidy little world exploded yet again. Teaching me that “normal” is relative and “broken” is too often a weaponized word and that to be broken is a needful thing.

Nature brought me here, to the Temple of Witchcraft, and to the Mystery School where even the commonest of rocks are revealed to hold power of such intensity that my hands now tremble in the mere holding of them.

Nature, through this course, saved me by bursting me wide open, heart, mind and soul and saying, “Yes, I will open your eyes to my mysteries, come and learn of me.” In that sundering of myself, a deeper melding with all the animate forces in this universe occurred. I am humbled, awestruck, and deliriously in love with: Nature.

Be I just a dust mote, or the atom inside an egg … I soar and bound through the heavens, for this is what this level one Mystery School has taught me: I am one with this beauty, this terror, this living, pulsing, vibrant force that fills everything, even the mailboxes with their clanking mouths. I and we are of this same visceral, living essence.

Perhaps, a therapist would say, I used nature to disassociate myself for the actual trauma of my day-to-day life. They could say that, I suppose. I choose to believe that when I look back on my life from childhood onwards, it was nature that kept me alive. Nature that would not let that spark of the “wild one” extinguish. That gave me the inner strength at age 14 to put up an aural shield of iron around myself that in the spirit realm broke my father’s hand and made it impossible for him to strike me again. Defiantly, I rose from my parent’s bed and went out the side door and went out into my true home: into Nature.

And so, here I am wrapping up level 1 of the Mystery School: the art, science, and religion of magick. The threshold. It is in the everyday mundane aspects of life that Nature saves me and I learned that here.

Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Temple Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.

For Broom Closet Witches: Yule: A Broom Closet Witch’s Celebration

by Claire DuNord

This Yule Season’s magick was ushered in, quite literally, when this six feet tall live Tannenbaum came floating through the front door, followed by my equally tall roommate. He had just found it – would you believe – standing next to our apartment complex’s dumpsters! Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition, with the fourteenth article in our “For Broom Closet Witches” series.

“Tannenbaum” is the German word for “fir tree”. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers’ families were from Germany, (hence the emphasis on the Tannenbaum).

Here it is after its arrival:

Part of my plan for this Yule’s celebration was to sing the song, “O, Tannenbaum”, a German song sung at this time of year, which has come to be known as “Oh, Christmas Tree” in English. The song’s lyrics speak about the long winter’s darkness and the constant green color of the fir needles as a faithful sign that brings hope, relief and the promise of warmer days. As I understand the development of the song as we have it today, it was published in 1824 by Ernst Anschutz, who had based it on a 16th century folk song, (which wasn’t originally a song referring to a Christmas tree), by Melchior Franck. But first I would need to get one, otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense to sing the song. And then, Boom! It appeared! (Why anyone would have thrown away a perfectly good Tannenbaum before Yule was beyond me, but that dumpster has amazed me on more than one occasion.) As a matter of fact, the environs of that dumpster have provided me with a lot of my apartment’s furnishings. One of my many mottos is “Rescue, Reuse, Repurpose”.

Here is the Tannenbaum all “dressed up”:

For this Yule, I sewed a “God Jul” banner, using two of my mother’s tree ornaments. “God Jul” means “Good Yule” in Norwegian. I have spoken about her father’s Norwegian parents in other articles. My mother passed away in 1999, and this past Samhain I had a dream about her. As she was born a few days before the Winter Solstice, it “felt right” to incorporate the two ornaments of hers into my Yule/Jul creation.

First, I drew and cut out the letters:

Then, I pinned and cut them out from red fabric. I sewed the letters onto green fabric, and I sewed the figurines onto the top, making a slot for a dowel to be threaded through the top, adding some red and white cord across the top and another piece for hanging the banner on a hook.

Here is the “God Jul” banner:

For the dining room table decorations, I used my mother’s Holly tablecloth and her gold-painted triangular dish. Also, there were some lower branches that had to be trimmed from the trunk of the Tannenbaum for it to fit into the tree stand. They became a bouquet for the table. I cut a strip of red fabric to make a bow for the vase.

I also used my mother’s tins for Sandbakelse/Sandbakkels and her Spritz press to make the traditional Norwegian and Swedish cookies that she always made at this time of year.

Sandbakkel Tins

Spritz Press

Here are pictures of them after baking:

Sandbakkels

Spritz

I also baked a loaf of German Stollen, a bread with candied fruits inside and either frosted with icing drizzled on top, (like I knew it to be, growing up as a child), or with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Here are some pictures of the Stollen. (It is folded over on purpose.):

And here is the table, with everything on it:

My Wheel of the Year Sabbat celebrations are continually growing and evolving as I grow and evolve. (That is my hope, at least.) And it is comforting to know that in many cases, the same traditions that I grew up with in another context are completely appropriate for many of the Sabbat celebrations that I now observe in a new context as a Broom Closet Witch.

I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time…

Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!

Samhain Blessings,
Claire du Nord

Temple Astrolog: Yule and an “Intergalactic Snowstorm”

The holidays are coming and for many of us this means spending more time with family and friends. This year the stars in the sky tell us there will be even more than usual focus on our relationships and where we are heading in life. Things can get a bit complicated, but there are still things you can do if you are prepared. So let’s grab a cup of tea or coffee and see what we can find in the stars to make the best of it.

Not the Same Celebration This Year

The goddess asteroid Juno (relationships) is now in Virgo (practical things) making good aspect to Uranus (change). Juno is interesting for many reasons. One of them is that she is often very activated in the sky and in our natal charts when changes are happening. These changes do not have to be of our own making. Many times they are connected to something happening around us that makes things different. A situation or an event that triggers us to choose our next step or a new direction in life. Because of this, Juno can be challenging even if she is making a good aspect in the chart and even if the Juno transit will leads us towards something good in the end. Changes and new perspectives can many times be uncomfortable in the beginning.

One example may be that your older parents decide to divorce. Suddenly everything changes. All the holidays will be spent differently in the future. And the children will not have their grandparents at the same place and time, and so on. Even if it is your parents who are divorcing, you have to change and the family situation will be different from now on.

Juno is often also active when we change jobs, deciding to leave something or someone. But also when we start a new important relationship or partnership. Juno is involved in the first menstruation, first time having sex, giving birth, getting married, getting a divorce, children moving out, start of menopause and, last but not least, receiving an initiation. Juno may not be the most obvious or loudest of the goddess asteroids in the chart, but when you start to track her movements against big life changes, it becomes obvious she has indeed been there.

Good Time for Negotiations

Now when Juno in Virgo is making a trine to Uranus in Taurus things have changed or is about to. With this energy shift I encourage you to be active and not to be afraid of negotiations. Is your landlord selling the property? Negotiate on the terms of your lease and if or when you need to leave.

Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and try to make the best deal you can, no matter the issue. Does your ex want all the fun holidays but to skip driving the kids to their activities? Negotiate, make lists (Virgo the planner) and make things clear for everyone involved. After the work has been done you may be surprised by how good it finally gets. Personally I believe that the best deals are when everyone walks away with something that they want even if it is not everything that they want. On a global level we can hope that this transition helps the world leaders make decisions that are good for the planet.

  • Juno trines Uranus until the 3rd of March.

Tricky and Sensitive Communication

Mercury is the planet of communication. Right now Mercury is about to go into retrograde movement in the sign of Capricorn. Communication does not always flow easily for Capricorn. It needs to think a bit and digest before speaking. And when Capricorn finally speaks, it is usually with authority and power.

Right now Mercury is in opposition (challenging aspect) to Vesta (priest and priestess, fire) in the sign of Cancer (family, friends). That can make you very protective about your family and friends, perhaps even over-protective? You may also become extra hard against the people that you love, especially about how they behave and how they communicate. A good advice during this period is to be careful with what you are saying and especially how you say it.

It may also be good to be generous about giving and accepting apologies. This becomes extra strong because Lilith Black Moon is in Virgo, ruled by no other than Mercury. This makes communication blurry at best and completely off target at worst. So, remember that a “I´m sorry” can go a very long way. On a global plane this will affect countries, organisations and big companies for whom it will be very wise to apologise to the public when needed to.

On a magickal level Mercury (communication) in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn skilled in manifestation) is good for commanding energies and manifesting things with your words. Just make sure that your words speak of what you want to manifest.

  • Mercury is in retrograde in Capricorn from the 13th of December (Lucia in Sweden) until the 23rd of December when Mercury moves into the sign of Sagittarius.
  • The retrograde period ends the 1st of January 2024. Mercury travels through Capricorn again from the 13 th of January until the 5th of February.
  • Lilith Black Moon is in Virgo until the end of June 2024

What Do You Want?

The goddess asteroid Ceres (nourishment, fulfilment) is right now in the sign of Sagittarius. This is an energy that is looking towards the future. Sagittarius loves to learn, travel and explore. It does not want to be held back by others in any way. It is a freedom lover. When Ceres is in Sagittarius it becomes a bit complicated and you may be thorn between wanting the security from your loved ones and what is known on one hand, and on the other hand wanting freedom to do whatever you want and just jump into the unknown future.

Now the question is: What do you want?

The answer to this question is extra hard to answer right now. Ceres is making a challenging aspect to Lilith Black moon (blind spot, difficult to see) in Virgo (planning, strategy, practical things) making it difficult to see and feel what you want for your future (Sagittarius). It is also difficult to see what is possible or not? This inner and outer confusion can complicate relationships more than usual. Accepting that all the answers are not available at the moment can help both you and your relationships. A good sign is that Lilith Black Moon is also making a good aspect to Jupiter (the planet of luck) in Taurus (manifestation). That could also indicate good things and hidden gifts that you did not see coming.

  • Ceres is in challenging aspect to Lilith Balack moon until the 30th of December.
  • Ceres is in Sagittarius until the 7th of February 2024 when it moves into the sign of Capricorn.

A Very Strong Midwinter

The energies are very strong this Midwinter, especially if you are doing ceremony and healing work. Neptune (intuition) in Pisces (healing, soul work) is in a challenging aspect to the Sun in Sagittarius and Vesta (priest, priestess, devotion) in Gemini (communication).

This makes trance work, channelling and prophecies both strong and unpredictable. If you are doing a Völva ceremony or the like, make sure to take good care of the Völva, Oracle, Medium or Channeler. The energies passing through are strong and it may be difficult to come back to the body. This is amplified by Chiron (the healer) in Aires making a good aspect to Mars. Together they are fast and intensive, which can be challenging for the nervous system when doing healing and magickal work. On the good side this indicates a strong and fast channel for healing and transformation when doing spiritual and magical work.

Turbulence at Christmas

At Christmas, December 24–26, Mercury is moving up right next to Mars in Sagittarius. That can make communication intensive and at worst abusive. They also make a challenging aspect to Vesta (fire) in Gemini (communication) and to Neptune (drugs, alcohol) in Pisces (escaping).

With these aspects it can easily become too much of anything. A good approach to having a good celebration is to stop before things gets too far. Change conversation if it gets to intense, do another activity, say goodnight and break up the celebration when it is time to do so. Basically it is good to think that less is more. Remember that children and animals cannot choose their environment the same way as adults can. As healers and magickal people we can do healing and ceremony for Peace in the Home and protection for those who are vulnerable and exposed to harmful situations or people.

Happy New Year

At New Years eve the relationship confusion and the communication difficulties continues. Now we also have Venus (romance) in Sagittarius making a challenging aspect to Saturn (blockages) in Pisces and to Lilith Black Moon in Virgo, all adding to the confusion and risk of misunderstandings. Listen to your inner guidance and your spiritual guides. If something feels off, change plans and follow your intuition. This is an evening when it is extra important to be surrounded by people that you trust and are comfortable with.

Summary

Despite the turbulence and confusion about the future that many may experience this passage I believe that it is possible to find some relaxation during the Holidays. Remember to breath, to do your spiritual practices and to not carry the responsibility for everyone’s happiness on your shoulders.

On a higher level I would call this passage an Intergalactic Snowstorm. For those I recommend spending time in your pajamas, reading books and generous cups of hot chocolate. I will end this last Astrology blog for the year by quoting my husband Niklas Ugander: “It is as it is, until it is no longer so”.

God Jul och Gott Nytt År!
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is an ordained high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program. Her work can be found on Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial and she can be reached at [email protected].

Magick in Mundane: The Reluctant Journaler

by Erica Sittler

Let’s all heave a collective sigh regarding the discipline of daily journaling. Some of you may be doing a sigh of contentment and deep peace. Note: you are in the minority. You have my respect. I; however, do not fall into that category, despite my collection of partially-filled scrawls in prettily-bound books.

Yet here I am a Witchcraft I Mystery School student and the very first lesson, and the constant part of every homework assignment, is “daily journaling”. Not just a page, but the mystical, magickal three pages a day!

Seriously, my life is far too boring for three pages a day, every day. It brings about a feeling of a hairball stuck in my throat. Even with the wonderful journal prompts, I’m just not feeling it most days.

I have the genetic facts to prove my ineptitude at journaling. I have the rare good fortune to possess several slim notebooks, about the size of a deck of cards, of my great-great-great something-or-other grandfather’s journals that he kept over his short life, including during part of the Civil War.

He was a merchant up in Maine, but before that, he was an adventurer, an actual California gold rush ‘49er. That adventure broke his health and he returned to Maine to run what appears to have been a rather modest general store. His journal entries were mostly commenting on the weather and the trade and usually took up less than three lines. He talks about a cow he purchased that died five days later. A batch of potatoes that netted him a healthy profit. He writes about the Battle of New Orleans and how his brother’s ship was lost in a storm. My grandsire died at age 37, leaving behind his wife and their only child, a boy aged seven. Such a thin, fragile string that holds us all together.

Even so, for this past year, with dogged determination, I have been attempting to write in my journal and failing quite miserably. Days go by without a jot. How do you catch up on the events that happen, even in a most ordinary life? The truth is, you can’t. Forget memoirs! I can’t even patch together a week, much less a longer string of days. But I kept picking up the pen, scrawling out whatever would come to mind: there was the week of page after page of affirmations or the patchy weeks of all food I ate and how much I weighed each morning and how much I wanted to be thin again and still eat cake.

I took my journal to Templefest, not out of love for journaling, but because my roommate was a Witchcraft IV student and goodness knows I’ve watched her journal for what seems like hours on end and I didn’t want her to think I didn’t take my craft seriously.

Because all true practitioners have a disciple of journaling, right?

Ack!

Then a bit of a crisis happened in my personal life. Something that shattered my soul and broke my heart. I was drowning internally in a sea of emotions with no safe place to put them. So, yeah, I wrote them down in my journal. I lost count of the pages and grabbed another journal and kept writing. Rage, fury, heartbreak, fantasy, self pity, need, desire, want, fear, terror… over and over… none of it fit to print, and most of it possibly incoherent. And no, it wasn’t every day, but it was almost every day. Week after week and month after month, I wrote. I also saw my therapist who mainly tried to understand the firehose of emotions pouring out of me. He tried. But when you see your therapist once every three years…. Bless his heart. I reached out to dear friends. I met with my ToW priestess and got her insight. I did dream work with very specific questions and got very specific answers back. All of these were well and good and needful, but the most persistent thing I did was write. And the more honest I got with myself, the more the journal stayed within arm’s reach, hidden in my purse or in view, but untouchable to anyone save myself.

One day, for some random reason, I pulled out my tarot deck and knocked, breathed on the cards, and asked only one question: “What is my unconscious trying to tell me?” One card only and then I’d write. And I’d thank the wisdom of the cards and move on. There was no more trying to make my boring life sound glamorous. There was only trying to understand myself and this situation I found myself in. Day after day. Knock knock knock. Blow and breathe my prayer into the cards, “show me what it is I need to focus on that has remained hidden”. And suddenly one day, all the cards became reversals. Why? I suspect because at this point I was writing with brutal honesty about myself. Good and bad. My gaze was inward looking for solutions and understanding. I nodded and said to the cards, “Ok. Let’s go there then.”

And so I did. In the process, I encountered lots of the ugly bits of myself and I wrote l about them frankly and unashamedly. Those that were harmful, I wrote realistic solutions I could do to begin to implement change in small, daily, non-threatening steps. “Today, I will focus on this and work on this.” Jolting, toddler steps. Imperfect, but moving.

For example, I have serious issues around food. Always have. And though this wasn’t the “crux of my crisis” it definitely has a role in all my issues. So, through journaling, I decided to implement a few “non threatening” steps strictly for my peace of mind as it revolves around food. Those steps are: I will pause between bites of food, denying myself nothing, but allowing my body extra moments to enjoy the taste and feel of each bite. In that pausing, I will listen to my body for when it has had enough. Finally, I will allow myself the freedom to leave food on my plate. There is no diet here. No deprivation. Just the smallest of changes that I can live with and be at peace with. The number on the scale doesn’t have to change. Being slim again was someone else’s goal for me, never mine. Not deep down in the core of my being. So, I can let that go now and just do those invisible, personal changes that actually increase the level of pleasure in my life with every savored bite.

This morning, I wrote the last pages in this particularly chunky journal. Page one started with the words, “There are times when putting something down on paper makes it all the more terrible because now it is recorded…” As I was writing today, I realized I had come to the completion of this particular event’s cycle. There was no more pain. No more angst. I had written, talked, dreamed, meditated, and used every tool in my little toolkit we’ve been taught in W1 so far. But more than anything, I wrote. I journaled out everything imaginable and the process worked. It actually, freakin’ worked. And as I closed the journal out, I was writing from a grateful heart the things I had learned through the process these four months. Was it magick or discipline or just time passing?

The card pulled this morning was a Five of Swords, reversed. I chuckled and tapped the card and whispered, “I see what you did there.”

Does it have to be tarot? Heck no! Tarot, of which I know practically nothing, was merely the means for me asking for guidance. Through this beginner level course of witchcraft that I have embarked on with my fellow classmates, I believe and have been taught that the universe, the divine, our guides, our higher self, will use whatever device(s) we allow to be a tool for communication. Be those tools cards, bones, clouds, tea leaves, Bible verses, dreams, or smoke. For your highest good, harming none: use whatever that tool is for you personally to help you journal.

No, I’m not in the minority of contented sighs when it comes to journaling. I would rather be doing a dozen other things. There are still plenty of days it simply doesn’t happen. Give me a couple of years; however, and I might just surprise you and me both!

Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Temple Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.

No One Expects the Pagan Inquisition

Photo by Them Snapshots on Unsplash

by Christopher Penczak, Edited by Tina Whittle

There was a time when those in their birth society who were the most educated, engaged, and morally-minded embraced doctrines and actions that we consider repugnant today. They were some of the great thinkers of their time, believing they were right and just, spiritual and correct, as they supported inquisitions, crusades, and doctrines of expansion. They believed they were ultimately doing good, just as modern proselytizing Christians adamant about their religion consider their actions ultimately good since, in their belief system, they are “saving” you from the pain of eternal damnation. They feel it is their moral duty. If you share their worldview, all is good, but if you don’t, their beliefs and actions can range from the offensive to the ridiculous.

I think about that often when I have a fervor for anything that requires participation, agreement, and change from another rather than solely involving my own actions and beliefs. When does my passion transform into something more dangerous? When do I cross the line from thoughtful discussion to unreasonable demand? When am I motivated by good intentions from my paradigm, but behaving in ways that would be offensive or ridiculous to others? If someone disagrees or opposes, am I dehumanizing them, even in an effort to uplift those I feel are more in need or more worthy? When I’ve made someone my enemy or accepted that I am theirs, am I giving up all hope of reconciliation and healing? When is my taking a stand a sign of valor and when is it an unconscious opportunity to be superior, “right,” stubborn, or more valid than others? When am I being just, and when do I think I’m being just, with ego being my real motivation?

For me, it’s often when I’m telling you what to do, rather than simply modeling what to do by my actions. It’s when I’m using words, but don’t have actions and experiences to back them up. At such times, I try to forego the short, pithy quips of social media and off-hand remarks and take longer forms, like this, to work from my community experiences with those willing to discuss the complexities of our current situations with nuance and context beyond the current moment.

I often wonder if we will look back on the things we wished to passionately change—specifically the ways we went about that change—and realize how much comparison can be made to tragedies of the past, as often we don’t realize the tragedies of the present until they are fully underway. I wonder about that in Witchcraft, magick, queer community, and all my sub-cultures and communities where participation is a choice versus the overculture where there is no feasible alternative, and the differences in requirements and behaviors to make change.

In overculture, a baseline acceptable to the majority has to be established, and from that baseline we push for changes. The dynamic can be different in a voluntary subculture. When I treat them as the same, and require agreement in all things, I risk the aspects that do bring us together and increase the fracturing, leading to more and seemingly irreparable fracturing in the overculture.

The key for me is identifying when something is forced or demanded in a place where agreement is needed versus when something based on a long-standing precedent of agreement requires enforcement in the greater overculture. To use an obvious example, murder is bad. Enforcing a no-murder policy in the overculture is necessary, and when such a death happens and an investigation determines it to be murder and not accident or self-defense, the perpetrator is punished to prevent it from happening again by that specific murderer and to encourage others to avoid murdering. Sadly, many get away with murder today with no punishment, but there is still a general agreement that murder is bad and should be stopped.

Requiring someone to use specific terminology is a gray area. In general, having the choice about what to say is considered free speech. In a workplace, there can be agreement about what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable language, but as anyone who has been in any type of workplace culture knows, it’s quite hard to make major changes without greater education and collective shift. This can lead to both overt and subtle social consciousness agreements between everyone working there. Trying to force something by decree does not work. A rule doesn’t change speech patterns or thought patterns.

In modern Witchcraft, there is not one set of established rules, values, or techniques. There are patterns established by groups and traditions, but even in such groups, wide variation exists. Change comes, but it comes organically over time. Change that is imposed through demand or requirement rarely makes a true cultural change. Change by administrative policy can change exoteric behaviors, but not the inner paradigm because the source of the change is external rather than through an inner realization.

Even in the relatively short time I’ve been involved in magick, I’ve noticed that when we think of time in the arc of traditions and movements, there have been tremendous changes from the 1990s to the 2020s. At one point, most people identifying as Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch agreed with the ethos of the Rede: “And it harm none, do as you will.” There was an understanding that a rede is advice and not an ironclad directive or commandment, and that societal justice is not harm, but revenge is. Soon there were informal schisms of thought regarding such things, perhaps revealing divisions that were always there, with many holding an inflexible interpretation of “no harm” and others indulging in personal petty cursing, which became popular (and for some, a norm). The truth of that teaching is actually quite subtle when you try to define harm.

Along with the Rede, there is the Law of Three, which is equally dismissed now, often due to the perceived mathematical imprecision or lack of immediate personal evidence. The core concept, however, the bedrock of occultism, is that actions have consequences and that these forces (results and consequences) eventually return to their source. The simple lighting of a green candle can result in the energies returning to you as money. Our bodies come from the materials of the Earth and return to the Earth. The cosmos emanated from a divine source, and our spiritual longing is part of the quest to return, but with a complex experience of manifestation. To distance themselves from Wicca, other Crafters would say that one must “pay the coin” in their magick, but it’s a poetic form of saying actions, magickal or otherwise, have consequences.

I still hold to the ethos of harm none and do as you will, live and let live, and generally treat others as you wish to be treated. And this includes the ways in which you approach community change, consensus, and control. I believe, based on my experiences and understanding that my actions have consequences, that patterns repeat, and things return to their overall origin. This ethos sets one up for personal responsibility and internal change in a subculture setting. Lack of it encourages the zeal of the “converted.” I think these simple ideals were the initial reasons why Paganism and Witchcraft appealed to so many seeking to escape religious dogma. The simplicity of these two core ideas gets us to a bedrock that has been lost by most, even in the traditions where the foundation is based on loving thy neighbor as yourself and loving the creator.

As we become more recognized as a religion in the world, participating in interfaith—and now intra-faith—work, we must keep in mind that the meaning of “religious” that most of us were raised with is not the same as the Pagan religious view. It’s hard to break the Abrahamic mold. It’s easy to apply Pagan symbols to, say, Christian theology and call it Paganism, Heathenry, or Witchcraft. Sadly I see Pagan groups becoming more “churchy” in the sense of recruiting others and preaching belief or morals. And I say this as someone who has co-founded a Witchcraft 501c3 nonprofit church to gain the same religious protections and rights as those more traditionally accepted religions in the Abrahamic model. We often get the critique of being too churchy, and sometimes I’m the one making the critique. It’s a fine line.

To me, we have always been a mystery religion of direct experience and experimentation, not a prophetic religion of belief. We have not necessarily been about a collection of values and the declaration of them to the world at large. We are naturally scientists and explorers plumbing the unseen mysteries of nature and spirit firsthand. While some see us as tribal, harkening back to the archaic human civilization as our roots, we transcend tribalism, while firmly inheriting the spiritual currents of the Western occult tradition.

There has been a disturbing trend in Pagan traditions to define things in terms of beliefs, morals, and values. We share a technical and philosophical lexicon of terms, but we define them all differently between us. We rarely reach a universal consensus of meaning. Ask anyone who teaches magick frequently and they will tell you that you have to define terms as you use them because groups use the same word in different ways. Sometimes the difference is subtle, and other times more overt.

I remember Raven Grimassi teaching me that when I was public speaking to say things like, “Take your athame, a double-edged, dark-handled knife, and use it to draw a circle…” because you could not assume—not even in a group of self-professed Witches—that we all mean the same thing for “athame.” Now try to get the same agreement in such subtle terms that describe beliefs, values, and morals. Even when we agree in meaning, that doesn’t mean that such meaning and specific language is agreeable to everyone in a group/organization/tradition. Trying to codify such beliefs leads to a potential Pagan Council of Nicaea, and that is a place I have no intention of going, for I think such a thing would be detrimental to our magickal culture. I think, despite the confusion, that individual interpretation can be a good thing. I love how the American Council of Witches came together in 1973 to address specific issues of harm in the community, drafted some common points, and then disbanded in 1974, not seeking to become a body to control all Witchcraft traditions. We should remember that always!

Yet those looking for a sermon, looking for “churchy” religion while still identifying as Pagan, are seeking the simplicity of being told what to believe, what to think, and how to act, rather than exploring those questions for themselves. There are those seeking a community of Paganism, but not actually the life or practice of it. There are those seeking the aesthetic, happy to go along with whatever. And there are well-meaning segments of our magickal community that are happy to tell you what you should think, how you should speak, and what you should do, rather than offer an idea or model their way. You can see the difference in social media posts from spiritual teachers telling you how it is rather than inviting you to explore a concept. They could, however, share with you how they came to such conclusions as a Witch, Pagan, or magician. As magicians, we must discover our own True Will rather than have a will imposed upon us by another. Thankfully, while the Pagan philosophers wrote and taught a lot on virtue, by the very nature of it, one must explore the meaning of virtue personally as the laws of society could not impose the divine virtues. If they could, the world would be a very different place.

Techniques in training are fine, but not required adherence for all time, as properly-learned techniques ultimately encourage experimentation once the initial training is complete. From this experimentation comes new growth, and if it sustains and is accepted, the new growth organically enters into the body of tradition as a new practice.

As we grow as a spiritual tradition and expand our diversity of voices and magickal cultures, there are the areas I think we need to be mindful of and transmute:

Proselytization—Witchcraft and Paganism are ideally traditions that do not proselytize, meaning we do not seek converts. Ideally, we do not believe our way is for everyone, and while I’d like to see a broader Pagan ethos in the mainstream overculture, what I really want to see are humanism and environmental ideals centered in the overculture, not belief in godforms or the magick of occultism. I had a priestess involved in social justice within our community tell others that we should be on the street corners telling folks about Witchcraft being a better religious choice, competing for the hearts and minds of the public. But if we did so, it would be a huge break with the ethos of both the modern occult revival and the greater Neopagan movement. You as a seeker must approach the threshold. We can put a sign over the door. We can open the door, but you must approach and enter. Entry into the Mysteries as an act of Will is critical. Otherwise nothing will take root and teaching becomes indoctrination rather than exploring and training in direct experience. Being a seeker is a necessary step. I think of the occult traditions that require you to ask three times to make sure you are really certain you want to join. We don’t believe our way is superior for all. Those not interested often have their reasons—intellectually, culturally, and most importantly, spiritually and karmically—as to why they are involved in the traditions they are involved in, if any at all. Even those born into a Pagan household have to ask to seek the training of priesthood and magickal initiation. The household magick can consist of the folklore, the holidays, the spells, and the concepts, but there is a deeper level to explore. We can’t assume our children want it, and I’ve seen the problems when one follows such a path to simply comply with the wishes of a parent, rather than have true interest and in-depth involvement. Pressuring someone to walk an initiatory path is a form of abuse , as you are forcing someone to confront things in the psyche and soul that they have not freely chosen to confront. In an effort to diversify and widen the demographics of our traditions to be more welcoming and supportive, there can be a desire to lean into proselytizing techniques to entice new people, and this would ultimately undo what makes the magickal traditions special. Can they and should they be open and available to any who knock on the door desiring to learn and experience? Absolutely, though the nature of some teachings and groups are more public and others less so. But something goes wrong when we seek to entice, seduce, or even drag people through the door. The quest is a part of the initiatory process. The seeker does not have the answer handed to them. Failure to recognize this short-circuits a necessary magickal process.

Coercion—We are a highly individualistic tradition, in any form of group gathering from coven to nonprofit organization, and even when we agree on the ideal, we disagree on specifics of language, symbol, and emphasis. When one person or a small group makes statements not on behalf of themselves as individuals, but for the whole group, large or small, even as leaders of a group, we create a great tension in the group mind of the magickal work. When we say anything that starts with “we believe” or “we are dedicated to” or “we endorse” and not everyone believes or is dedicated to it, we create dissonance in the group. If you join an organization or tradition under one set of simple principles—or really none at all beyond common technique and myth, as we are not a tradition that has a creed or statement of belief that one must say or agree to, to explore, experience or join—and then new things are stated as absolute belief without education and discussion, there can be a sense of unfairness or even betrayal, even when we agree with the overall ethos. To our minds and ears, the language may be too strong or not strong enough, but when we are not consulted in the process, there is a problem. When suddenly there is something new, and you didn’t get a vote in it—or even if you did and you disagree with the result, but the organization didn’t have a previous history of such changes—suddenly you have to ask, am I in harmony with this tradition anymore? If not, do I leave? Or do I create a bigger group within it to disagree with the first, win the new “vote,” and dominate the conversation? Suddenly it’s all politics not of the polis, of the people, but of winning to get your way. If the statements fall outside of the original parameters of the group, it plays havoc with the spirit and energy of the group, where perhaps the solution would be to form a different group for such goals and inter-group support. The desire to keep it together fails and ultimately forms schisms of thought, social structures, and theology. Being attached to technique rather than theology, it’s something that Witches hope to avoid, but as we grow in theological terminology and social presence, we probably cannot. So we must be wise in picking these debates and how we handle them.

Performance Statements—Building upon the problems of group coercion, even when you agree upon an ideal or stance, there is a difference between declaring something and acting upon it. Ideally, the two should go hand-in-hand, because if you are truly enacting something, the less you will have to tell people you are doing it. They can see it. When you spend more time announcing something than doing it, it creates a dynamic of hypocrisy, even when the intention is to do it. It’s the follow-through that matters. If it’s a new and necessary policy, simply inform and then enact it. We live in a world where religions, organizations, and individuals speak loudly of their ideals, but fail to follow it up with anything meaningful. The difference in dynamic—not telling you what to believe, what values you should specifically have, or what to do—is the draw of magickal traditions, even those with complex esotericism and rituals. In terms of organizations, one can easily find themselves in the position of having to make policy statements on every situation that arises in the community and in the world, even when it falls outside of the mission statement of such a group. Soon the mission becomes writing statements everyone can agree on, a task worthy of Sisyphus, and the original intention, a magickal spirituality, is lost in favor of administration and public relations. Ideally, the work should lead to personal realizations, and those realizations lead to actions, individually and collectively. But the work of one Witch’s realization is not necessarily the work for all the Witches in their group, even if they support the ideal.

Privacy—Occultism is a private matter historically. Individuals and small groups worked the material. In some groups in times past, you wouldn’t even know other people’s legal names or addresses, just Craft names. Many would have no socializing outside of the magickal setting, for both safety and some magickal training reasons. Times have changed. People are free to share as they like, and gather as they like, but no one is required to do so. In our extended trainings, we now ask some pointed questions about mental health support once we realized it was a mistake not to ask such things, that we needed to have everyone properly prepared. But otherwise if we don’t need to know something, we don’t ask. Organizations focused on tracking more and more details of members can easily lose track of the magick and the individual while getting lost in the minutiae of demographics and their evaluation. This lack of information can admittedly cause some shocks. When you find a fellow initiate in a group holds widely diverse political opinions, it’s quite jarring. They have the option to not share, as you do. In some groups in times less polarized than today, it was required to never share such information due to the impact it had upon group consciousness. Yet some groups naturally fall to one end of the spectrum over the other, and our views can change over time. During its heyday, Theosophy was considered a bastion for liberal ideals on gender and individual freedom, but today is reviled by many modern practitioners for not being liberal enough. Often one is not looking at current policies, but the literature of the late 1800s and early 1900s. All the metaphysical giants of ages past had clay feet, just as we will to future generations no matter how progressive we are today. When the expectation is deflation of private ideals, identities, and views, we can tend to impose an ever-shifting litmus test upon others. We see political motivations and messaging as well as identity requirements in mainstream religions. It’s part of what turns off people and can close the door to true and helpful change. Yet we are seeking to connect to those of “like mind” and will make conscious and unconscious litmus tests. And I admit I’m tempted myself, but it’s the ever-shifting nature of such tests that stops me. If we believe magick is change and that one studying and practicing magick can grow and change, do we kick out those who do not conform to our ideal at this moment? Or do we give them space to change, as we change? Are these teachings a school for the soul? I’ve had amazing conversations with quite a few deeply conservative members of our community and been a small part of their choice to change towards things I think are more helpful, but writing them off would have created great harm and conflict with my own role in the community. I simply approached them with the statement that such support directly harms people, looking at harm as the start of the conversation. How are we to be in a spiritual community together if you are espousing views that harm people in your community? Some people approach a magickal spirituality for different reasons, and while you might deeply disagree with one aspect of their life, they might be there to first heal childhood wounding. A review of sociopolitical identities could come later. Are you going to deny them their focus by requiring disclosure of ultimately private matters? If they reveal something and purposely pick fights with members, that is another circumstance entirely, but if they are quiet and private, where do we draw a line in respecting privacy and being engaged in their personal life? Over time, situations can arise, and addressing them in the container of community can lead to healing. As you delve deeper into the mysteries, you learn more and more how impersonal it becomes while still being so deeply personal.

Metaphysics—Proposed changes to a metaphysical system require adaptations that soundly fit the metaphysical paradigm of the group. If it works on a totally different paradigm, it might be like two different computer languages unable to communicate, creating a metaphysical schism. If it’s based on ideology alone, it most likely won’t fit the metaphysics. In magickal spiritual traditions, every thought you think, every word you say, and every action you take is invested with symbol, energy, and intention. Someone strongly recommended all our rituals and events begin with not just acknowledgement, but ritual specifically involving the ancestors of indigenous people of our geographic area. While a separate ritual for honoring might work well, I questioned the wisdom of this. Local lore includes thundering sky heroes whose enemies are the horned serpents. We work with the land spirits often in the form of horned serpents. The egregore of our tradition often takes the form of a horned serpent. Local indigenous lore defines Witches as harmful, as enemies. We identify as Witches. Our rituals may have sensual, sexual, or confrontational imagery that would not be in harmony with these land ancestors who had very different rituals despite also being seasonal based. When you say something in sacred space, if you know what you are doing, spirits respond. When living in a metaphysical reality, speaking is not just functional or performative, but it creates change. Calling them to rites that would be foreign or even offensive to their context, in which they would have no purpose other than to witness, would probably not be good neighborly etiquette to our spiritual ancestral neighbors. If we were a different group or on different land, perhaps it would be appropriate, but as we are all now, probably not. More subdued, separate, and specifically honoring ceremonies of recognition, healing, and gratitude would be more appropriate. Whenever we get exposed to new information, there is a tendency to want to immediately add it to our whole, but when working in a community we need to ask ourselves if something functions well in what we are doing and consider the short-term and long-term consequences of these changes metaphysically.

Culture—Along with strictly metaphysical considerations, the science of our craft is as important as the art of our craft. While the modern revival of occultism (depending on when you choose to start counting) is relatively young in terms of traditions, if you start in the late 1800s or the 1950s, you can see an evolving culture with terms, symbols, language, structure, and historical context. It’s the duty of each generation to add to it, but it is also the duty of each generation to learn what has come before and consider that history and context before creating too much change. We inherit a legacy and a burden from the previous generation, a vertical download of information from the past to the present, often but not always with an initiatory current. We also receive and share information horizontally with peers on the path in different traditions, philosophies, and cultures, as does everyone. We then determine over a period of time and practice how and where the warp and weft is woven. With each generation it becomes harder as there is more to learn, along with new avenues to enter that often bypass tradition, be it the solitary initiation rituals starting in the 70s and popularized in the publishing world of the ‘80s and ‘90s, or the TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Patreon content, graphics, and infomercial videos of today. Many bypass the deeper education, not even knowing it’s there to explore until much later. In a desire to modernize, simplify, make accessible, or seemingly decolonize, subtle lessons couched in metaphor, poetry, rhythm, and symbol are lost. A desire for neutral language to encompass all things results in no thing, neutralizing it all, like adding all the colors of paint at the same time and getting nothing but a dark shade of gray. Cultural history and pioneers are no longer in print, their work forgotten or deemed unimportant when remembered. Major aspects organically grown into the mix over decades are disrespectfully pulled out, and we lack the multi-century level of tradition as found in Hinduism or Buddhism that would allow us to say such changes are misappropriation and disrespectful of the Western occult tradition. Deep study of such long-standing traditions would reveal their multi-regional and cultural influences. Our main difference from them is the length of time existing in an unbroken line and our immediate access to the internet to dissect it rather than experience it from teacher to student as a living thing.

Our challenge of the Aquarian Aeon is the interplay of the individual and the collective, and how we continually manage the balance. These six factors will not have any easy resolution, but will continue to be a part of finding that balance. We will be tempted to “save” the community by imposing our ideas, values, and beliefs, much like a good a Christian might try to save you from hell. Both have good motivations, and both are wrong. We know the proverb that the road to Christian Hell is paved with good intentions. The key to the paradox of individual freedom and collective good is encouraging patterns that explore the virtues of things, the nature of consciousness, the awareness that art and education can bring, and let those realizations lead us from internal transformation to external community shift. It’s slow and hard and imposing oneself on others can seem easier and faster when despairing for the world and wanting to rescue others, but the short-term solution can bring long-term harm. In our passion and zeal for a better world, we must contemplate, divine, and reflect on the results of our actions today as they manifest into the future.

Magick in Mundane: The Rotting Wound and the Magickal Surgeon

by Erica Sittler

I certainly wasn’t expecting to stumble onto holy ground… where a doctor’s standard examination room suddenly became a lesson in auric fields and communication with an illness. But here we were, two thousand miles from home and my husband with an open surgical wound smelling putrid. 

Auras have been a recent lesson in class and so I turned my mind’s eye to the wound’s auric field as I sat to the side while my husband and surgeon discussed the situation. Slowing down my breathing and gently closing my eyes while keeping one ear on the conversation, I heard the surgeon sit down and speak to the wound itself. He asked it pointedly and openly as he gazed at it, “What do you want me to do?” He then studied the hot puss-filled mess intently. I felt him with his thoughts say to the wound, “Guide my hands” and he began to work. 

I focused on the harsh red, painful light of the throbbing wound, with its black rotted edges and exposed bone. It smelled of acrid heat. Soft blue violet light emanated from the surgeon and his knife, much like a small wand, as it slowly changed the light around the wound to pale green. The surgeon was like a borealis of greens, blues, violets that glowed brighter as the work went on. Tendrils that spread from him and his tool. Up and around the walls, filling in all the spaces of the room, cooling the air and sweetening it. Golden, calming light emanated around my husband and the surgeon. “Ah ha!” I thought. “I see the shield he has put up around the two of them.” Peaceful. Muted. The cosmos condensed to just that room and our quiet voices as we spoke and listened.

Three realizations came to me in the space and time that followed: 

  • First, I was witnessing a true healer, aligned and fully in tune with his craft. 
  • Second, I was aware that he was aware that I was observing him with my psyche and that he was allowing me to be there in that realm and watch him work. 
  • Third, as we left he looked at me and said, “You are doing a good job”. I intuited that he was not simply referring to caring for my husband’s physical wound. He was also referring to my craft.

It was then with crashing realization I understood that he had allowed my psychic presence inside his shield as an observer and instantly understood why. He was also watching me. Not with judgement, but as a healer who could see beyond the realm of flesh and blood. In our earlier conversation, this surgeon made clear to point out that there were no “wrong” or “right” schools of thought regarding the best methods of healing. Only different ones that each performed in various ways and effected sometimes similar, sometimes vastly different results.

I found his statement mesmerizing and comforting. As witches, mages, sorcerers, wizards, or whatever terms we use to describe our magickal practices, we are taught to suspend judgment both of ourselves and of others as well. Apparently, this is not a novel approach in other fields of science as well. This surgeon, for example, was taking his many years of technical and practical training and layering it with his understanding of traditional medicine, and to that was adding a further, higher layer of asking the actual wound itself what it felt that it needed to heal properly. His healing modality was ever evolving. By letting me observe his process, he was, in fact, showing me an additional, alchemical skill that can be used when confronting stubborn wounds. To layer this concept of healing and introspection to the disciplines we learn in the Temple of Witchcraft’s Mystery School.

For the physical wound that my husband is recovering from, cancer is the root cause. Yet there were also other underlying things that affected this particular situation as well. Similarly, we each have our own particulars to our own specific, individual internal wounds. These wounds/traumas may also show some generalities as well. As such, like traditional medicine, they can have a protocol for healing. A “start here” suggestion. 

Witnessing this holistic view: combining the best known scientific practices with ancient traditional medicine’s school of thought, alongside input from the trauma itself was a paradigm shifting experience. On a psychic level, this surgeon had seen my own deep internal wounds and given me an insight of some additional work that I could do with those wounds… in partnership together… to effect a deeper healing experience.

To me the phrase, “Physician, heal yourself” was always a bit harsh. Today, I learned one of the ways that is done.

Blessed be.

It should be fully noted that this article is not suggesting avoidance of professional medical care or traditional therapy with trained doctors. No such advice is intended or implied.

Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Witchcraft I Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.

Temple of Witchcraft