Article

Putting It Into Practice

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

By Fikret Kabay from Pexels

I wish more occultists, magicians, and witches used a bit more occultism, magick, and witchcraft. Or even some basic understanding of energy dynamics and psychology. I don’t mean lighting candles or reciting spells, but integrating these core concepts into their daily lives and interactions with people. I fear that even with great blessings of communication and connectivity from the internet age, we are training a generation of magicians to disregard the basic principles, magnifying all the things we don’t want, and in some cases, becoming them.

I think of the Phillip K. Dick quote quite a lot: “To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox; whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” While it’s deeply important to stand up for what is right, and to step-by-step create the world in which we want to live, how we do it is as important as why we are doing it. Not everything we fight is some Empire; nonetheless, many things we oppose are part and parcel of the malevolent expressions of empire—patriarchy, colonialism, intolerance. Some of us can look at the process of standing up as the difference between power and force. True power creates transformative change while force, often coercion, can make quicker outer changes without the transformation of lasting change. I think in the last few years here in America, we have seen a lot of change by force rather than true power.

In magick, we deal with magickal power, what we perceive as literal currents of energy, subtle yet no less real. We deal in the power of consciousness, and we start with our own. Many learn and apply the principles of consciousness in a systematic way, through a book (or series of books), teachers, mentors, groups, or schools. Others learn in a more haphazard way, from bits of lore from a multitude of sources, and can have some very creative and true interpretations for the new aeon, but also miss out on some core pieces of theory.

For me, my foundation was in the New Thought Hermetics of The Kybalion, often catabolized into the modern Law of Attraction focused on self-fulfillment and consumerism while letting go of some of the key universal points. Many feel The Kybalion is too esoteric and too dated, and they have a point, but I don’t think The Secret is the solution to that critique. True critics of The Kybalion will cite it as a romantic knock-off of the much older work of the Corpus Hermeticum, leaving out as much from the Hermeticum as The Secret leaves out of The Kybalion. And I’m sure in ancient Alexandria, as the Corpus Hermeticum was taking shape, there were those quiet critics who saw it as a rip-off of the true secrets of Egyptian Temple culture for foreign invaders who only cared about themselves. So the more things change in occultism, the more they stay the same.

Some practitioners divide their magickal life from their mundane life and don’t think to apply such principles at work, at home, and in relationships. Some even see it as somehow “unfair.” Others simply don’t give it any thought outside of the Temple and away from the altar. Many love the aesthetics of magick. I do too. But some find it difficult to put it into practice. And by self-identity, many “non-magickal” people are using these principles naturally or as learned from another paradigm—psychology, self help, religion, art. Where I see it woefully misrepresented is online social media, where one can present as an magickal adept one moment and then in the next show no understanding of a magickal paradigm in dealing with their communications and conflicts with others.

Reflect on your intention in a situation or interaction. What is the most skillful use of your magickal consciousness to make that happen? If you don’t have a clear intention, what is it you hope to discover? How do you go about doing that in the way that expresses your magickal will in balance, rather than through force? These are particularly important when we are seemingly in a conflict with another person or group, be it a friendly argument, misunderstanding, or out-and-out conflict. Are we mirroring back what we are complaining about in the first place? Are we magnifying and legitimizing a voice or perspective that we are trying to minimize? Are we trying to honestly change someone’s mind? Are we presenting not to change our “opponent” but for the audience watching? Are we sure? Most importantly for magickal people to ask themselves, what are the unconscious patterns we can forget about in the heat of a heated moment? Are we feeding someone’s ego? Are we feeding our own ego? Are we seeking strength from the agreement of others to legitimize our own feelings and point of view? Are we seeking to delegitimize another view not by merit, but by massive agreement from others?

Resistance is one magickal formula, by definition through opposition. Many rebellious magickal paradigms are born of it. Embodiment is another magickal formula. Become the very thing you seek and embody its principles. Non-duality is another. Each has their merits and drawbacks. Each can be necessary. Things must be built up. Things must be torn down. Things must find a balance. Things must find union. In these increasingly polarized times, a magician can have personal intention, but must step between and beyond to create change. Over-identification with one or the other side of a polarity prevents you from wielding the whole spectrum as a tool.

Any of these intentions is legitimate if you are willful and conscious of them. But when we grow unconscious, we become more easily manipulated by others, even if they don’t realize consciously they are doing it. When we become unconscious, we more easily manipulate without knowing it. We often magnify harm with no clear purpose other than wanting to “win” an argument. We can have honorable reasons on why we want to win, but we have to seek greater and greater clarity as we walk a path of magickal power. Otherwise that power turns on us.

Don’t separate your magickal life, business life, in-person personal life, and even online life. While they are different, they are all a part of your life. Put your practice into practice in every area of your life. Look at every interaction as an opportunity to progress magically. Think of everything you do, everything you say (or type), and everything you think as a potential act of magick…because it is.

written by Karin Ugander

We are in a time of turbulence and strong energies are moving through us, both on a personal and a collective plane. It may feel like the earth is shaking and yet at the same time a feeling of standing still, not moving fast enough. So how could this be? And is there anything that one can do to find some kind of balance and perhaps peace? Well, I believe there is. Let´s take a closer look at the stars at the moment and see if we can find any clues together on how to navigate in our nearest future.

Knowing when to let go

Right now we have many placements in the fixed air sign of Aquarius. We have Saturn (restriction), Mercury (communication), Jupiter (expansion) and Pallas Athene (intellect, strategy). When many different energies are joined or squeezed in together like this, it can be rather confusing. Especially with Jupiter with one foot on the gas pedal and Saturn standing on the breaks right next to it at the same time.

Aquarius is the third air sign in the Zodiac. Being the third and the last of the air signs it is supposed to be the most developed and mature of the air siblings.  But like in other families this may not always be the case. When Aquarius is balanced it is reasonable, intellectual, peaceful and good at diplomacy. When unbalanced it is argumentative, very stubborn and does not know when to let go of the discussion. In this unbalanced state Aquarius can cause conflict and harm instead of reason and joined forces for good.

How important is this fight?

To complicate things further Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter and Pallas Athene is in challenging aspect to Mars (willpower), Uranus (transformation, rebellion), and Lillith Black Moon are all in the earth sign of Taurus. And Taurus just like Aquarius is a fixed sign, not willing to let go and being very stubborn. We can expect this tension and conflict to play out in many ways.

On a personal level it may lead to more discussions leading to actions (Taurus) that you don´t wish for (Lilith black moon) and cannot restrict.

If you find yourself in an escalating conflict at home, with your family or friends stop for a minute and ask yourself, how important is this fight? Will it lead to a transformation that can bring out something good? (Scorpio as the opposite sign of Taurus) or will it only fix our opposing positions even harder? (two fixed signs battling). Sometimes there is a fine balance between upholding family rules and the exercise of power. Something that perhaps every teenage parent learns the hard way.

Sometimes timing is everything and it can be worth the wait to be able to send a crystal arrow of illumination and love at exactly the right moment.

Balance between the heart and the intellect

The sign of Leo is the opposite sign of Aquarius. If we space out in the intellectual world of Aquarius we can find balance within the warm heart of Leo. If we have balance between these two signs we can have an intensive discussion with our opponent and still go out like friends and have a beer afterwards. Leo can help to anchor the very mental world of Aquarius. And when Leo takes things far to personal a balanced Aquarius can help Leo to have perspective and a wider look at things.

We will have many opportunities to practice this balance when also the Sun joins the others in the sign of Aquarius on the 20th of January.

Protection and driving carefully

The sun at  21 degrees in Capricorn is closing in on Pluto at 24 degrees in the same sign. When the Sun is meeting up with Pluto we have reasons to be a bit careful. As the sun, which moves around 1 degree a day, passes by Pluto a lot of energy is released. On the good side it can feel like a relief. Decisions, situations and relationships that has been stagnant can finally find a solution and move forward. On the other hand, the energy is rash and therefore unpredictable. For that reason it is good to be extra careful in traffic. Take your time and be prepared, awakened and focused when driving. Charging crystals and protection bundles for your car is not a bad idea. Challenging connections between the Sun and Pluto in a horoscope is a warning sign for violence and abuse. Keep your eyes open for those who might need assistance. If you are living in a difficult situation do not hesitate to ask for help.

Recharging the ward around your house

The Sun and Pluto aspect in Capricorn is great for doing protection magick and just doing a security check around your house. How is the roof, windows and doors? Is the fire alarm working as it should? Making this protective energy even stronger is the Sun and Pluto making a good trine to the goddess asteroid Vesta (house, home, shelter, priest/ess) in the sign of Virgo. This is a wonderful combination for making  potions, bundles, wards and essences for protection and for the home.

This transit is until around 20 January when the Sun has moved on into the sign of Aquarius. The asteroid Vesta stays in the sign of Virgo until around the 19th of July. Wonderful news for all of us who love practical magick!

Summary

This is a period when we will all be challenged out from our comfort zone. We can be put in situations that we could never imagine happening . This can happen in big collective ways and in small personal ways. When and if this happens, remember to breath and remember your training. Ask for support from the living, the ancestors and spirit.

The road of life is made up from everyday decisions and it can sometimes feel very stressful to make the right decision when under pressure. But If you take your time to make a connection between the head, the heart and the womb. And give yourself time to align the rays of Love, Will and Wisdom you have a great chance of ending up in a very good place.

Blessings! / 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 a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

Photo from Pixabay at Pexels.com

Not that long ago, I was not an advocate of online magick. Classes? Sure. But the actual doing of magick? No.

Despite being a full-time Witch immersed in writing, philosophy, and theology, I have a Bachelor of Music Performance with a minor in Music Business. My early adulthood was filled not only with Witches and occultists, but also musicians, artists, and poets whose work ranged from classical and jazz to glam rock and heavy metal, which is where I honestly fit a bit better. While I sang opera and art songs, I dreamed of rock and roll stardom, as many of my peers did. After graduation, I worked in the business for a few years professionally, more behind the scenes than as a performer. I had an emotional trauma around the end of my band and immersed myself in the business side, not the artistic. And soon I was out of the business altogether and slowly working my way in the realm of metaphysics, something I would have never predicted.

When I looked around years later at my peers, I only needed a few fingers to count those in my graduating class who were still involved full-time in music business, education, or performance. Now that all of us are in our forties, there are even fewer. Some of us joke that nothing kills your love of music like music school. My artist friends will say nothing kills your love of art like art school. And there is some truth to that, but why?

I found music school incredibly challenging. I was amid people who had taken music lessons since they were three, whereas I came to a serious love of musical performance at sixteen. I struggled to read music or sight sing, and I needed practice to get things down. I had never sung in a choir before, and suddenly was doing that four times a week, required. While voice was my instrument, I found myself learning keyboard and conducting. Creative classes were equally challenging. Your art is judged and critiqued with the desire to make it better, but I often disagreed. Sometimes students were challenged to write for a different instrument or in a different style, and explore exercises in creativity that they never would have chosen and found little inspiration doing. I knew what I knew, and I liked what I liked, and found myself challenged by everything else. I had always overcome all challenges in the past, and I did this time, but where math, science, history, and the like were relatively easy for me, music school forced me to explore things that I didn’t instantly or easily master. And I didn’t like it.

Now that I run a Witchcraft school program, I find the same process happening with some students. Why do I run a Witchcraft school? Because every step I’ve taken in service has led me, often by request, to do so. I had my own practice. People wanted to know what I was doing. I started a discussion study group. My own teachers stopped teaching publicly for a bit. People wanted something more formal. I created classes based on what I learned. People graduated that program and wanted more. An advanced study group became an advanced class, and then more people wanted the basics. Graduates wanted community, a chance to gather. People sought an identity, but when they started doing things in my name that I wasn’t comfortable with, I created some guidelines. People at a distance wanted to take the class before the days of online teaching, so I created books. People who had the books wanted direct guidance. I started to widely travel to teach intensives. Graduates of the intensives wanted long-term training and mentorship. I opened a school online, and when it became too big for me to do alone, we formalized a tradition with more teachers and even deeper and diverse classes.

I created what I wanted. I would have loved to have had a school where I could have cohesively learned things with mentorship and community. Putting together the pieces was a different struggle for me, but I’m glad to have done it, and continue to do it. Yet as I offer this, there are always problems. We have conflict, hurt feelings, and all manner of dramas that pop up. I think they are all part of the esoteric teaching process, but I am reminded of music school, and I don’t want to kill anyone’s love of magick.

My first realization is that I had a lot of youthful, naïve expectations around my music school days, and some people come to a Witchcraft school, coven, or teacher in a similar state, as completely unconscious of it as I was in music school. In the “big fish little pond” that was my virtually non-existent high school music scene, I was recognized as being already good. I had that recognition with academics, with art, and with my new depths of music.

But I had no deep mentorship. Things came easy because I was rarely challenged. I had an expectation that this was killing time at college until I would be “discovered” and go onto a trail of fame and fortune for my insightful songs and performances. Everybody had their own version of that dream in school, and most were much better musicians going in than I was. I expected to be praised and have fun because music is fun. I didn’t expect it to be tedious. I didn’t expect critical feedback. I didn’t expect to fail and didn’t always learn from my failures.

I see many people expecting only praise and no challenge in magick. I see many people expecting every moment to be fun, with no effort placed into learning a craft. I see many people expecting study with a “famous” Witch will result in their own fame and fortune, without necessarily doing anything noteworthy. It used to bother me, but I think back to music college. That was me too.

My second realization is that no person or thing “killed” my love of music. I changed. I had experiences in school, but also outside of school, that refocused my priorities. I met my husband. I fought with my bandmates until we broke up rather dramatically. I entered into an unhealthy business filled with wonderfully damaged people with whom I never bonded because I kept really strong boundaries, and my path led me to what I am doing now, which I love. My past experience with academics, art, and music inform my current experience. I had some wonderful, masterful professors, some really eccentric ones, and some bad ones, and each taught me something I carry with me. If I had tried to pursue music full-time professionally, I wouldn’t be where I am.

For some people, life is defined by their music, their art, their dance, their writing. Others by career, family, or religion. Most people are a blend. For me, magick is the blend of many things: the science, art, and religion, as Laurie Cabot teaches. We often have a romantic notion of magick and Witchcraft from books, movies, and television. We fantasize of rich cohesive traditions and wise mentors, vast libraries and schools of learning. I think back when scholars talk about the Druid colleges and the ancient Mystery Schools. I also think about Buddhist temple retreats today, and how we usually don’t have access to something similar. It’s one of the reason stories like Harry Potter are so popular among Witches themselves, not just ordinary readers. We are seeking that. Yet we often find interesting fragments and eccentric people not quite living up to our expectations. And this is good because we should always be challenged to take it to the next step, but we shouldn’t always have to start over from square one, rediscovering it all. I think back to my high school guitar jamming in my bedroom, the excitement of stumbling into a 7th Chord. Little did I realize that if I had only picked up a good book, or stuck with a good guitar teacher, I would have had access to it earlier. In music theory in college, I got an education in understanding all the chords, the types of rhythms and forms, each discovery widening my creative palette.

For me, a Witchcraft school or teaching tradition is a repository for both what has been and what is growing now. Like any student learning operative skills along with philosophical concepts, you’ll be challenged in various ways. It won’t always be easy or affirming or fun, but other times, it will be joyous and magickal and will flow through you. I think of all the tedium of scales that led me to amazing performances on stage that were truly magickal. If you don’t want or need access to structure and training and guidance, or the form is not right for you, or you prefer to hunt down things on your own, that’s great. Do it. But don’t come to a school, group, or teacher with vast unconscious expectations of ego satisfaction and then be upset when it doesn’t happen. Know thyself just a bit, and figure out what approaches are best for you at this time. If something doesn’t work, does it truly not work for you, or are you being challenged in uncomfortable ways? Leaving for either reason is fine, but knowing why is the most important thing.

There is room in my vision of Witchcraft, and hopefully yours, for all eras of the Witch as we forge new futures. Some will be the Temple priestess, others the wild eccentric at the edge. Many will seek deep roots, and others will float about like thistle down. You are all my Witch kin, Witchfolk drawing from the same ancient source, because at various times, I’ve been all of those things. The trick is knowing what I am today and where I want to be tomorrow. I might be in for an unexpected twist and end up someplace completely different than my expectation. I usually do. But that is truly the heart of the path.

written by Karin Ugander

We did it! We have just passed through a massive amount of energy with the solar eclipse in the middle of December, and the big conjunction with Jupiter and Saturn at Midwinter. But, the ride is not over yet. We still have a strong and special full Moon on the 29th of December and a New Year to celebrate. So let´s take a look at what the stars has in store for us this time.

Full Moon in Cancer and longing for family

This full moon will probably feel quite strong. It is the first full moon after very strong shifts in the sky. Cancer is the first of the water signs and it is actually ruled by the moon itself. People who are moon sensitive usually feel the moon extra strong when it is in the sign of Cancer each month. Now we have a full moon in Cancer and can expect a strong wave of energy.

The sign of Cancer is also the ruler of the 4th house in Astrology and there we find things connected to our home and the family that we grew up with. This means that the strong longing for family and our loved ones, may not peak at Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but at the full moon on the 29th. If you have someone close to you going through an extra hard time, this Full moon could be extra important to reach out and say: Hello, you’re not alone!

Difficulties in asking for help

It can be extra hard to ask for help because Mercury (communication, friendship, siblings) is in the sign of Capricorn. And there one can have a strong need to communicate in a strict and correct way. Asking for help could go against ones upbringing. It could feel like exposing a weakness, and Capricorn does not like that.

At this full moon, both the sun and the moon is in a challenging aspect (square) to Chiron in Aries which can bring up strong healing themes on deep levels. To summarise this, people close to you can go through more difficult things than they show, and they can have an extra hard time to talk about it and ask for assistance.

Mercury is in the sign of Capricorn until around the 8th of January when it moves into the sign of Aquarius.

A Sharp Sword cutting in darkness

The Asteroid Pallas Athena is clever, smart and effective. Now as the asteroid has entered into the sign of Aquarius she is also very fast and precise. There she helps us to use our mind to determine the best strategy to use moving ahead. There is a challenge though.

Pallas Athena at 7 deg. in Aquarius is in a challenging aspect to both  Lillith Black Moon (instinct, but also what we cannot see with our eyes) and Uranus in the sign of Taurus (change, transformation). This can create different kinds of situations. It may be that we say things very true and correct, but we may be very blunt. And in this case we risk hurting people in ways we did not intend to.

We may also start a big transformation (Uranus) unintendedly. If you are a public person in some way, you may want to check the things that you post one extra time before posting. It could be a good idea to have someone else read it first, if you are unsure of how it may be perceived.

The other scenario is that we cut away things that are more harmful than we understood at the moment, and by this avoid problems that could manifest further down the road. It could be that we say no to continue doing business with someone and later it shows that they were not honest.

Either way, when you have decisions or statements to make, take it easy. Take a deep breath and be as precise (Pallas Athena) and heart/womb (Lillith Black Moon) connected as you can be. In many shamanic traditions men are also considered to have a womb, a dreaming basket if you may call it that. One of the keys for opening up the wisdom of  Lillith Black Moon is to listen to that dreaming place and it´s guidance.

Pallas Athena and Lillith Black Moon is in challenging aspect to each other until around the 24th of January.

Past Life memories and clearing Karma

The asteroid Vesta at 19 degrees in Virgo, (priest, priestess, dedication) is very active right now. She is in a challenging aspect to Venus and the South node in Sagittarius , North node in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces. Whenever Venus and Vesta are meeting each other, there is something ancient going on. This is amplified with Venus right next to the South node (past lives, karma).

Don´t be surprised if old memories surface. It may be from this life, or it could be from past lives. Love, romance and strong feelings (Venus, Neptune) can be strong themes. Just remember that Neptune is also the planet of illusions. Sometimes we have a tendency to idealise things of the past.

Remembering being a former incarnated Priest/ess of Egypt doesn’t necessarily make you a better person or your magick stronger than what it is today. It does however give you an experience and a history to tap into. If the memory  surfaces it has a message to deliver. Listen and use discernment and good judgement on what to do with the information .

Memories that pops up can be from any time and age, but the theme of Egypt is strong right now with the Asteroid Isis (Egyptian goddess) at 9 deg. in Aquarius, Conjunct Pallas Athena at 7 deg in Aquarius, squaring Uranus and Lillith Black Moon in Taurus as mentioned above.

The Rainbow Oracle for 2021

What is New Year celebrations without some fun game to play? This is a Rainbow Oracle game that you can play with family and friends. It can just as easily be done online with someone taking the role of the Oracle. Things that you need

  • A bag of some sorts
  • Ribbons in different colours. They can be made out of silk, yarn or different pieces of cloth. If you don´t have any of those you can also colour small papers and put in the bag.
  • Put all the ribbons in the bag. Imagine how a magickal rainbow is swirling around in the bag.

How to use the bag:

  • Give it a good shake, ask how the next year will be and pull out a ribbon.

Below you can read suggestions on meanings of the colours. You can make up your own meanings as you wish. Just make sure that you decide the meanings before you start the game and not make them up as you go along! You may also add challenges for the different colours, but this time I have chosen to just have the uplifting side. Personally, after a year like 2020 I´m very open for Good News and things to look forward to!

  • Red- new beginnings, lust, passion.
  • Orange- unexpected changes, success
  • Gold – wisdom, you´ve struck gold!
  • Coral – feminine power, the goddess is watching over you.
  • Yellow- knowledge and education.
  • Lime – new friends and opportunities.
  • Light green – rebirth, new path opens up.
  • Dark green – health and wealth.
  • Turquoise – travels, new career.
  • Light blue – more fun will come into your life.
  • Dark blue – mediumship and clairvoyance.
  • Lilac – fairies are watching over you.
  • Purple – magick and witchcraft.
  • Magenta – angels are watching over you.
  • Pink – love, romance, the birth of something new.
  • Silver- your life will speed up.
  • Rainbow – believe in magick, unicorns are watching over you.

Happy New Year! 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 a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

Dion Fortune and Distance Magick

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

Chalice Well Lion Fountain

Not that long ago, I was not an advocate of online magick. Classes? Sure. But the actual doing of magick? No.

I had a friend who early on was deeply immersed in online rituals with an internet coven, and perhaps my assessment had a lot to do with that particular person, but I didn’t see a lot of evolutionary result there. To be fair, I could say that about a lot of in-person groups and teachings, but I had a larger sample size for them. My online coven sample size was small, so I reached my opinions quickly, and they were not kind.

I teach online, and have done so for a number of years, so it’s not that I doubt the method of transmission for information. When I have taught online classes—and when I have taken them—the audio or video, whether live or recorded, facilitated my own personal experience, but not necessarily the group experience. I do believe in astral temples and dream workings where people can have distant group experiences, but that takes some training and some previous resonance (or so I believed). I didn’t see that in an online format, particularly for ritual. The in-person transmission is so important to me, mouth to ear as they say, that I have spent the better part of the last twenty years traveling and teaching all around the United States, with forays into Canada, Mexico, England, Wales, Sweden, Brazil, and Australia.

Fast forward to the year of Covid-19. Here we enter into a time of intense separation due to mostly self-imposed quarantine or local guidelines. We can’t get together for large events. We often can’t get together for small events. All events suddenly go online, including rituals. I was skeptical, but I did it. I know many felt the same way. And I found something wonderful has happened—amid this difficulty, we created an opportunity for greater community and different community to grow. Now our challenge will be continuing this when things return to whatever “normal” will be and we can gather more easily in person.

My inspiration around this time has been the magician I consider the High Priestess of the new aeon, Dion Fortune. While certainly a product of her time, she was also far ahead of her time in many things. I think to the Magickal Battle of Britain, and how she and her organization, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, circulated letters of guided imagery to link them all at the same time each week, specifically to do magick to prevent the invasion of the Nazis into the UK and ultimately the triumph of the Allies as a force for evolution and enlightenment. She used a mix of Pagan and Christian imagery around the Glastonbury Tor holy site. This was not mere fanciful imagination alone, but a simple and powerful magickal working. People didn’t see each other. They didn’t hear each other’s voices. There was no real time guidance…and yet it worked!

Today we have access to more tools. We could argue they make us lazy in our magickal workings, and there is some truth to that, but those who are not lazy—who also use the tools such as online meetings with shared graphics, music, and synchronized workings in real time—have an ability to connect both psychically and technologically in very real ways. Different? Yes. More exhausting? Sometimes. But nonetheless real. I found myself having to shed the former prejudices I had about online work as I witnessed shared astral temple space, especially one instance where a group of people united in one tradition, current, and egregore came together and produced some real magickal voltage.

As Witches, we use what we have available. We use what works. I’ve found something that does both and is serving for this time. I encourage us all to use the tools we have available and find ways to weave our community together and make the magick in new ways. You won’t regret it.

Temple Astrolog: A December to remember!

written by Karin Ugander

This will most certainly be a December to remember. Not just only because of the pandemic and the fact that we will celebrate the holidays differently, but also because of the special astrological events taking place. A river of energy is about to sweep all over us. The December events will culminate at Midwinter on the 21st of December, when Jupiter and Saturn will conjunct and join each other like one big star in the sky. You can find many interesting posts on the internet on this. My focus in this Astrolog however, will be about how to navigate the energy within ourselves and together with our families and loved ones. It all starts today with a Solar eclipse…

Solar eclipse and new knowledge

Today we have a total Solar Eclipse. It is said that the moon eclipses are a change for the people and the solar eclipses are a change for the leaders. A moon eclipse happens at full moon and at those we usually become aware of how we are influenced by others and the collective energies are felt strong. A solar eclipse happens at a new moon and we usually become aware about how we move in the world and influence others. A new moon signals a new beginning.

This Solar Eclipse is at 23 degrees in Saggitarius (knowledge, teachers, visionaries) and  it is close to the south node (karma, past lives,) and Mercury (communication). If you are a teacher of some kind, or a leader, you may feel that your old mould or clothing is too old, or too tight. You may search for new expressions and ways of teaching.

On a global scale governments and countries may find a need to communicate (Mercury) and educate (Saggitarius) in a new and different way.

Don´t throw away you canvas

The Solar Eclipse is also in a Grand Cross with Neptune (creativity, art) in Pisces and Vesta (fire, motivation, dedication) in the sign of Virgo. This could make your creativity a bit squeezed in, or blocked. Whatever you do, don´t throw away your canvases, paintings, drafts on your book or music recordings. It´s not as bad as it seems. Wait for the blockage to be released. It will come…

Ladies of the Underworld and initiation

At this Solar Eclipse, Venus and Vesta are joined together exactly at 28 degrees in Scorpio. This sign is ruled by Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld. They make a sextile, positive aspect to Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn. We can associate this with the ladies (goddesses) that descended to the underworld like Persefone and Inanna. Venus and Vesta also makes a beautiful trine, positive aspect to Chiron (initiation) in Aries.

If you are a psychic in some way it may suggest an initiation (Chiron) to a new (Jupiter) and beautiful flow of communication with the dead and the underworld (Pluto in Capricorn and Venus, Vesta in Scorpio.) The permanent change is amplified with the aspect to Saturn. In numerology the number 28 is a number for Initiation, passing a test and moving on to a new level. It is the tarot card 2 of Wands.

The December shower of energy continues

As I mentioned above this is just the beginning of the energies coming towards us. Here are some other dates to look out for. The dates can differ somewhat depending on the time zone.

Dec 15th  Venus enters Sagittarius. This helps us to broaden our minds and look more up to the sky. Venus in Scorpio has had a tendency to put relationships under the microscope. Venus moving into the sign of Saggitarius can help us to be more forgiving towards ourselves and our loved ones.

Dec 15th Chiron goes direct. This can feel like a fresh breath of air. Chiron in retrograde in Aries has been a challenge in terms of self-confidence. With Chiron going direct, It will be easier to believe in oneself again.

Dec 17th  Saturn enters Aquarius, December 19th Jupiter enters Aquarius.  These big planets leaving the earthly world of Capricorn and moving into the air world of Aquarius will be felt on many planes. It will be a release of energy. Stagnant energy begins to move. More on this in coming bloggs.

December 20-21 Sun and Mercury enters Capricorn. It´s kind of comforting that the Sun and Mercury holds some anchoring energies at the same time as Jupiter and Saturn’s moves forward away from Capricorn to Aquarius. Imagine that we are shifting from a big anchor in earth (Saturn and Jupiter) to a smaller anchor (the Sun and Mercury)

Standing in a time of change

One of my Spirit teachers describe Universal energies like a big Dragon. When the Dragon moves, everything moves, we move, our position and relationship to everything changes. Our inner dragon energy – Kundalini also wants to move, and our chakras and energy bodies changes position in relationship to the Universe.

Now with these planets changing position one after another the Dragon will change position and even a small movement universally speaking, will be felt on our planes of consciousness.

One small, but very effective thing that we can do on a daily basis,  is to check in with ourselves and our relationship to the Universe by connecting to the elements.

Universal Dragon balancing exercise

  • Take a few breaths and centre yourself.
  • Take contact with the element of Fire (East in the TOW tradition). Has the fire inside me (kundalini) changed? How are my energy bodies doing? How much light is flowing through? Is there any stops, and if so how can I assist myself?
  • Take contact with the element of Air (South). How is my mind doing? Is it focused or easily distracted? Any new thoughts or mental processes going on? Is my mind connected to the collective? Is that good or creating stress? How can I support my mind in the best way?
  • Take contact with the element of Water (West). How is my emotions and flow in life today? Any hindrances? Am I stuck in something? Am I swimming in my own water or other people’s water? How can I assist myself to flow through with ease?
  • Take contact with the element of Earth (North). How is my body doing? Any pain, blockages? How safe do I feel today? Is my body an energy holder for other people’s processes? Is that good or bad? How can I support myself in the best way?
  • Take contact with the Universal energies in the centre. Imagine a breathing Universal Dragon. How is my connection to that energy? Has my relationship to the Universe changed? If yes, then how? Breath and find balance.
  • Move your attention into your Heart. Create a link between your Heart and the Universal Dragon. Ask if there is anything that you need to know about the day and your closest environment? Do you need to prepare for something?
  • Breath, thank the Universal Dragon, the elements and let go of excessive energy.

Be a voice for the Voiceless

As always when there is a lot of energy moving in, people can react in strong ways. The ones that can not change their circumstances in the same way as perhaps you and me, are children, animals and vulnerable people. We are moving towards the Holidays and it is important to remember that not all families are supportive and healthy, even under what is considered normal circumstances. Now there are extra tensions with the Pandemic causing a lot off stress,  and we have strong astrological transits moving massive amounts of energy.

As Witches, Healers and Magickal People we have extra resources to be a voice for the voiceless and assist those in need. An now is an extra important time to use that power.

With this I wish you many Yule Blessings, or as we say in Swedish –

“En riktigt God Jul!” / 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 a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

The Stages of Witchcraft

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

Photo by Rido Alwarno from Pexels

Occultism usually marks development and evolution in a series of stages. Witches and Magicians have degrees of initiation with modern practitioners drawing much of their systems from Freemasons. We have the Descent of the Underworld, the Tree of Life, the Hero’s Journey, astrological cycles, and the stages of alchemy. They occur in both formal initiation rituals and the stuff of life, the one true initiation ever challenging us to go forward.

Yet Witchcraft in full practice, not just theory, is really messy. There are lots of things that don’t show up in the normal stages of initiation systems, and even when they do, poetry often fails to prepare us for the nitty-gritty of life experiences.

I’ve been practicing a long while, involved in community and teaching. I’ve had a privileged perspective of support from lots of elders and have seen a lot of beginners start their path. Being between the two has helped me see my own journey better.

Here are some stages not often talked about and not necessarily flowing in a sequential order. Each of our paths is unique; therefore our initiatory journeys will be unique.

Excitement—Usually near the start of your journey, everything is bright and shiny. Every new idea and experience is wonderful, and all seems possible. Though such feeling can wear off fast, wise is the Witch who can return to this stage again and again between other stages of awareness, rekindling the sense of child-like excitement.

Naivety—Often hand-in-hand with the first phase of excitement, there is a feeling that not only is everything wonderful, but everyone is wonderful as well, at least in the Witchcraft world. You have found family, tribe, acceptance, and love. Compared to the outside world of your past experiences, everyone is spiritual and evolving and mature…until they are not. And then Witches remind you that they too, and you, are still human regardless of psychic abilities and magickal gifts. Neither are signs of enlightenment or general goodness.

Proselytizing—Witches do not proselytize. We don’t seek to convert. Until we do. In the excitement and naivety phase we think, “This is awesome! Why isn’t everyone a Witch!?!” And our over-enthusiasm in sharing what works for us can alienate those close to us who don’t get it or simply know it’s not for them. I can remember the look of horror on some of my Catholic high-school friends’ faces as I told them I was a Witch and explained everything on my altar. They thought I had lost my mind. Years later I remember doing a birthday circle for a student’s 50th birthday celebration as the collection of affluent suburban housewives gave her the same look. When you are excited, you can dismiss the strange looks, but being a Witch changes others’ perception of you, and not being aware of that change is not much different than those religions that go door-to-door.

Resistance to the Witch Word—The flip side of the proselytization phase is resistance. This is all well and good as ideas and art, but Witchcraft? Isn’t that silly? Isn’t that what happens in the movies, all make-believe and pretend and wanna-be cos play? Do you have to dress like that? Is any of this really spiritual? In this phase you must come to terms with what being a Witch means to you, but also be open to how that evolves over time in your life. You also have to decide if there is wisdom and strength in having links to those before us who were called Witches…or not.

Insecurity—Feelings of inadequacy can be a theme throughout our path. Is our opinion on something educated enough? Are we worthy enough? Have we done enough? Are we psychic enough? Are we powerful enough? Are we enough? It can rise and fall over time, but it is a current that many people carry throughout their magickal career, especially when entering new phases and roles. Despite past successes, our confidence can diminish when faced with new challenges, but the key is that even in our insecurity, we must keep moving forward to do our work and magick.

All the Books!—In this phase, we read anything we can get our hands on, often all at once. With relatively easy access to books, websites, articles, and videos, we are in a massive information-consuming phase, much like a hungry caterpillar seeking to fuel metamorphosis.

No Books! (Phase 1)—The stage is usually the immature “I don’t need any books” phase, where we feel we don’t need to listen to anyone, that anything we need is within us. Yes…and no. I have all that I need to do karate inherent in my body, yes, but I need karate instruction to actually do karate. Otherwise I’m just kicking and punching randomly. Likewise technique, folklore, mythology, and history can ground our experiences in the roots of tradition, and from there, we express what is unique within us.

No Books! (Phase 2)—This more mature stage occurs when we have already read a lot, digested a lot, and need to give our mental body a break from consuming and digesting information. We need to let the seeds planted there start to grow, caring for them through a mindful practice instead of planting more seeds of information. We realize if we stay in the All the Books! phase, we’ll just grow distracted and not accomplish anything.

Regurgitation—This occurs when we have been in the All The Books! phase for a while and have taken in a lot of information which we then repeat to those who haven’t read the same things, to appear wise and knowing, or have lots of opinions on what we read and will tell them to anyone who will—or in some cases, won’t—listen to us. The recital and opinions have no weight of experience behind them, and while they can be accurate at times, they are only on the mental level of communication and knowledge.

Digestion—Digestion can come after a phase of book learning or even training, hopefully allowing you to avoid regurgitation, or at least follow regurgitation if a little wisdom and humility is gained. You have digested the material you read, and found ways to live it and integrate it into your experience and worldview. You might have let go of some things that don’t work for you, but you’ll have an informed understanding of why, and you’ll have a clearer sense of what you do know and live, and what you don’t know and haven’t lived or understood, and you won’t feel the need to be an expert in everything.

Synthesis—Synthesis follows digestion, allowing us to take several different digested views and experiences and bring them into new formations and possibility. Here is where our own unique insights and experiences shine forth, though many people never get to this stage.

Hard Work—Hard work, the putting to use what is learned, is interwoven in all of this. It comes though reading and learning and—most importantly—through doing and living. Some people become all work and no fun, with everything becoming deathly serious, so part of the learning is realizing magick should be as joyful as it is serious. You need your Child Self to see the hidden ways.

Selective Reading—Selective Reading often comes after periods of digestion and synthesis, where one stops grabbing anything and everything and instead curates a reading list that includes more wisdom and less bullshit. It is also a time when one goes back from the more modern books to the classics, to academic material, or to works by the “masters” of their craft in their age and time.

Confidence—A sense of confidence grows from progressing in the work and taking honest stock of how far you’ve come and how far you have to go. You are in a phase of getting over insecurity (at least on some level), putting in the work, and developing relationships. You begin to see a separation from some of your peers who may have started around the same time as you, but who have not put the work into their practice.

Overconfidence—Overconfidence is often the overcompensation for insecurity. After a period of confident success, particularly in outer magick and goals, you can grow quite easily into overconfidence and lose perspective of your own abilities. Many magicians at this stage think they are invincible and try foolish things they are not prepared for. Goetic magick, qlipothic exploration, working with higher angelic orders, healing without safety precautions, and running too quickly into invocatory work without proper support or advice can leave one exhausted, psychically injured, or ill. In the outer world, learning that you are not as powerful as you think often requires someone taking advantage of you when you thought you were invincible. Sadly, it usually takes something like this to break the phase of magickal overconfidence too, usually leading to insecurity before true confidence can be built.

True Confidence—True confidence often comes after a bout of overconfidence, returning to a theme, but realizing that hubris can indeed get you. Your awareness comes less from comparing yourself to others and more from comparing yourself to yourself when you started. You have a greater sense of your measure, of what you know (and don’t know), what you have lived, and what you have to do. You also realize more and more how much you don’t know that you know, but take your grounding in the things you do know and have experienced. True confidence is passing through the veil of adepthood and no longer draining yourself deeply with questions of incompetence or imposter syndrome. You know your strengths and weakness and keep working.

First Group, Coven or Tradition—The First Group phase often coincides with Excitement and Naivety. If it’s an equal sharing group, everyone is wonderful and like family. If it’s a more hierarchical teaching coven, everyone above you is wise and deep and truly magickal. Both are true…until they are not. Someone shows their human side. Someone falls off the pedestal they never asked to be on. Or sometimes, someone really does something heinous, though often we believe it’s something heinous because it didn’t conform to our assumptions and expectations. In rare instances, one simply outgrows the group and quietly and peacefully moves on, though sometimes in such cases there is a need, on one or both sides, to create a drama, a reason to leave, so that one will be able to blame the other rather than peacefully make a change. Groups teach us about people, ourselves and teamwork. Everything serves if you are open to the service and open to the lesson.

Second Group, Coven, or Tradition—The Second Group phase follows the first, usually in either immediate reaction to the experiences of the first (often joining whatever group offers safe harbor after an emotional storm) or after some long, thoughtful contemplation on what you are looking for in a group and what you can offer. Second groups might look at your previous experience and place you in a position of responsibility and leadership, and how you all handle that is the mark of a well-run, clear group. Good second groups can be places of healing and gaining confidence, moving through insecurity, but if they go too far or too fast, they can generate overconfidence.

Third Group, Coven or Tradition—If you get to the Third Group phase, you have usually found a sweet spot. Often it’s because you have great clarity of what you want after the first two. Or perhaps you have helped found a group of like-minded individuals who share similar goals. It doesn’t mean there won’t be problems, but there will be synthesis of the lessons learned previously, hopefully to prevent those same problems. You’ll have new ones, but you’ll hopefully have the maturity to handle them with more grace than in the previous groups.

Righteousness Phase 1—The first round of Righteousness comes when we know just enough to dangerous and become outraged at the small slights. Often coinciding with the proselytizing phase, we identify with our Witch-ness, yet feel the weight of its baggage upon us, even if we haven’t yet personally experienced any discrimination or loss. At this stage you are outraged when people mispronounce Samhain as Sam Hain and tell everyone it’s really Sowen and expect the news reporter interviewing the local Witch to know that. You are upset that schools don’t teach the Burning Times in history class, and you advocate for a memorial to Witchcraft victims in your hometown.

Righteousness Phase 2—The second phase of Righteousness is similar to the first, but far less academic and refined and often directed not at the public at large, but mostly toward New Witches and Pagans, especially those who don’t meet your standards or find the things important that you find important right now. Often we are seeking validation or recognition of our struggle with those that are repeating the mistakes we have made. Phase 2 is marked by outrage when someone calls you Wiccan when obviously you are a Traditional Witch. Now you find it ridiculous when you hear a Witch talking seriously high numbers about the Burning Times and will jump into conversations you are not participating in to correct them and be surprised when they don’t thank you for it.

Media Witch—Back in the day, it was the Witch who called all the newspapers to be interviewed at Halloween, though if you were at all public then, you probably got a few of those calls. Today, it is the Witch who needs to be seen, photographed, or have every thought and idea documented online for people to see. Self worth and validity are tied into fame, popularity, and even infamy, and it’s often as much about the aesthetic as it is the practice.

Helpful—The Helpful phase can happen many times. It is marked by genuinely wanting to be of service to others, but in terms of helping other Witches seeking information and advice or helping other people in a ministerial capacity to make the world a better place. Often in the early phases, it is marked by bad boundaries, not always realizing that everyone doesn’t want your help or is capable of accepting it and making changes, leading to frustrations and withdrawal before another bout of helpfulness. Helpful phases can initiate great projects and times of service, but the motives of why one does it, and what expectations they have, should always be carefully examined. An aspect not emphasized in modern Witchcraft is detachment from the fruit of your actions. If you want to be helpful, be helpful, but without attachment or expectation. Don’t tie your own happiness or self-esteem with the process of helping others. Do it because you sincerely wish to be of service, and if you need an exchange for your services, whatever they are, be honest with yourself and others. For those who have never paid for education in magick before, those of us who charge for services observe that most students pay, one way or another, at some point. Financial transactions are often much cleaner than the currency of unvoiced expectations and assumed loyalty. Keep this in mind when you accept help too.

Outer Leadership—Often as a part of our spiritual journey in community, we are put into a position of leadership, or at the very least administration. It can range from leading the team of volunteers to decorate for a sabbat to larger organizational responsibilities for a public event. Some focus on magickal leadership, such as leading a sabbat or class, but behind every public magickal job, there is administrative work by someone making it happen. Not all Witches in community are meant to be public ritualists, teachers, and coven leaders. Some are very good at organization and management. And some are not. Learn the skills you need to work in community and recognize your own shortcomings. Accept when you need more information or training to be effective. Don’t assume that magickal talent results in people or organizational skills.

Anything Goes Eclectic—Many today learn a style that anything you want to call Witchcraft is Witchcraft and go with it. Some learn a very formal style and then reject it for a more curated, personalized magick. There is both truth and falsehood here. Many people dress up other ideas and systems as Witchcraft, and that can cause problems if they export them to others without a greater context. Many people create eclectic practices and don’t share them, so that is fine for them, but when you say to groups of others that the Virgin Mary is Hecate and to pray the rosary every day to her without any words changed from the traditional prayer and call that Neopagan Witchcraft, you leave new people very confused to what Witchcraft is and isn’t, now and historically. If you follow the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and call it Witchcraft, and there is nothing else “witchy” about it, you are creating confusion. If you say this is how Mother Mary or Buddha has informed my Witchcraft, then I might be there with you, but context is key. Others regenerate and synthesize occult ideas from other traditions and apply them to their Witchcraft. If enough people start using them, then those ideas get incorporated into the greater traditions. From the 1950s on, most occult traditions of magick and Witchcraft had the concept of karma on some level, though it may be quite different from Hindu or Buddhist definitions as it made its way deeper into occultism and then popular thought. Today people bring it around again, comparing karma to Western concepts of fate and wyrd. Context is key. Eclectic times are periods of exploration, hopefully heading toward synthesis.

Orthodox—Often in response to Anything Goes Eclecticism, some turn their Paganism and Witchcraft into orthodoxy (that you can believe only certain things to be a valid practitioner) or orthopraxy (that you can do only certain things to be a valid practitioner). That is fine when representing a single tradition and its practices, but sadly, some apply it across the board in zealousness. Orthodoxy is really the desire for some boundaries, clarity, and grounding in a world where there is none. It includes seeking validation through exclusion and superiority. At times in the path, orthodoxy/orthopraxy can be super helpful to keep focused. In other times, they become very detrimental, for the mystic often finds themselves floating, wandering, and exploring, and having too many rigid boundaries puts you in a box.

Superiority—Both Anything Goes Eclecticism and Orthodoxy can lead to superiority complexes in the practitioner. The former feels free and unbound, a state superior to the bound. The latter feels clear and grounded, a state superior to the ungrounded and illusioned. Which feeling is real depends on where you are in your own particular journey, but I have found attitudes of superiority over others—and identifying too deeply with it—does not do anyone any good for evolution.

Go Your Own Way—In ceremonial magick, they say once you have communion with your Holy Guardian Angel, it becomes your primary teacher. And I wholeheartedly agree! Teachings, lessons, metaphysics, and folklore become investigations in your own journey, but your primary guide, carving your own hidden path, is your own deepest wisdom. Everything you need is not necessarily already in you, but that which you need to guide you to what you need is within you, if you’ll listen and learn. This can be a very hard and lonely phase as peers in any group often feel as if you are abandoning them and their work and traditions, but it’s a truly necessary phase to find your own wisdoms. It can also generate a great sense of freedom and clarity for the first time on the path.

Quest Beyond—This stage—which usually occurs during the process of discovering your equivalent of the Holy Guardian Angel—can lead us to asking the question, “Am I leaving Witchcraft?” Various teachings, groups, and people can seem too limiting, and we have to go beyond what we have previously been taught or have personally defined as Witchcraft. Maybe we will return. Maybe we won’t. The basic rituals can be the foundation stones to return. As a priest, it was immensely important to me to keep the sabbats and the esbats, which kept me linked to my coven at the time, even though I felt in many ways more kinship with Theosophical lightworkers, who then led me to herbalists and healers, who led me to core shamanism, which led me back to occultism, then Qabalistic ceremonial magick and the view that to me, it was all Witchcraft.

Satisfied Dissatisfaction—Often paired with True Confidence, this is part and parcel of following—or attempting to follow—that deep, clear inner guidance. We are good, but we know we are not done. We have found a measure of peace and clarity, but we don’t mistake that for enlightenment. There is more to learn, more to do, more to experience, and more to help. But we do it from a new vantage point. We deeply appreciate the work before us.

Bitter, Jaded or Burned Out—When we can’t find Satisfied Dissatisfaction, we usually end up bitter, jaded, or burned out. We have seen too much, said too much, and done too much, yet still have not reached satisfaction. The joy of helping someone new cannot be found as we cannot see things with fresh eyes or beginner’s mind.

Selfless Service—Satisfied Dissatisfaction can lead to outer manifestations of Selfless Service. Working without ego attachment or lust for results, you feel a sense of what you are to do or be in a given moment, and you are doing the right thing at the right time in the right place. We can certainly go through phases of detachment and selflessness, and then find ourselves right back into attachment and tangled in expectations.

Withdrawn to Self—After going through most of these phases, some people withdraw. Some consciously withdraw as a response to some outside stimuli, good or bad, and others make it a gradual process of going up the mountain. Folks will respond when asked, or engage specific people and circumstances, but are less likely to engage externally on the same level as internally. Those who are called to it smoothly and consciously realize their whole life is a ritual of magick and love, and those who withdraw for the wrong reasons, who are not yet finished, are kicked back out again. Some retreat and return in many heartfelt cycles too.

I’m sure there are far more phases, but these are some of the most prominent I’ve observed in others and myself. The problem with any one of these phases is that we often think we are done. This is it. No more. Yet every time we think that, something new eventually comes unless we get so calcified we can no longer change. Witchcraft is the path of change. If we keep our practice on any level, we will continue to change; this is the higher purpose. Each phase has lessons. Each stage can be refined and bring out better and better traits, even the unpleasant ones. Overconfidence can bring humility. Righteousness can bring academic rigor. The stages of evolution are nonlinear, messy, and as long as we are in a body, never-ending. We continue to learn from birth till death on some level. Hopefully we also learn to read the signposts to see where we are, so we can make better informed decisions on what comes next.

Today it is not only a Full moon, but a lunar eclipse as well. It is said that a sun eclipse is a change for the leaders and a moon eclipse is a change for the people. This full moon is in the sign of Gemini, the first air sign and our master communicator. Just like people are more or less influenced by when the moon is full, they can feel the energy more or less from moon and sun eclipses. Even if you are moon sensitive by nature, there are some things that you could do to find more balance. Let´s take a closer look at this moon eclipse and the time that follows after that.

Feeling irritated and frustrated?

Right now we have Venus (love, romance) in opposition and challenging aspect to Uranus (change, unpredictable). This creates a restless and picky energy in relationships. People born with this aspect usually has a hard time to commit to a relationship, and when they do, they have a need for the relationship to be perfect.  If their partner stop living up to their idea of standards, they can lose the attraction. If you have seen the TV-show Friends and the character Chandler, you get the idea. He goes on dates with women, but as soon as they show a sign of not being perfect, he just can´t continue to go out with them. We can joke about this, but for a person with this aspect it can be very frustrating  and involve a lot of hurt and trashed relationships on both sides.

This aspect is many time inherited in the horoscope and because Venus is involved we need to look at the women in the family tree. Many times we find a mother, grandmother or another important female figure that did not have the chance to live out all sides of her womanhood. Perhaps she needed to sacrifice her Venus (love passion) for having a family and taking on responsibilities. Or, she had to give up having the family life that she wanted to make a career or going after love and passion. The solution to this split is realizing that you can have both sides, and that nobody is perfect.

I´m more than just one thing

On a collective plane this means that we all can become frustrated with our partners, our lives and our situation that does not live up to our expectations. With the Corona virus many things has taken unexpected turns and life is not easily navigated.

Many of us spend more time home , people who are not used to spend all this time together are now more or less bound to each other. Flaws and imperfections become more apparent and it is easy to let the frustrations take overhand.

If you have the chance,  it can be good to continue with date night. Make the effort, cook something delicious, get out of the pyjamas and dress up for each other. Be both the home guy and the adventurous guy. Remember to give your and your partners Venus some space to blossom and be passionate.

Venus/Uranus can also manifest the need to give your partner more space. In these times when having a night out with friends isn’t possible , we may need to find other solutions for alone time.

Pretty much the same things that you needed if you went through the tough years of having babies. You need to have the chance to be more than just one thing, or just one archetype. As much as you love being a parent, there is still something inside saying, I´m more than just this! If you repress the passionate (Scorpio) Venus she will feel unseen and may feel the need to stir things up to get attention, which might lead to arguments and fights.

Let´s have a baby!

Another way of working with this energy is to get a baby together. The baby does not need to be a real one. It can be a project, a new hobby together, doing a big puzzle, taking a class together online. This adventure is probably going to be more fun if it is new to both of you and you start with the same conditions for success! If you want to you can involve the whole household. Uranus is doing a good aspect to Ceres (nourishment) in Pisces. This helps to bring energy, healing and nourishment through trying new things.

“Dig where you stand”

In Sweden we have an expression “gräv där du står”. It translates to “dig where you stand”. When we feel the pressure to deliver good, or deliver more, we can become frustrated and start to run around trying to find new things, ideas and resources. In reality, it can be more than enough to keep digging where we stand and continue to dig deeper.

Right now we have many big placements in the sign of Capricorn. We have Pluto, Jupiter, Pallas Athena and Saturn. Together they easily create pressure and performance anxiety. Capricorn is a lot about delivering, to do the work, get the resources, make money and a career.

In Scorpio we have both Mercury (communication, friends) and Juno (relationships, starts and endings) joined together.  On a collective plane they can make us feel a bit uncomfortable and frustrated. Perhaps I should have taken another way in life? Or perhaps I start wanting the success and happiness that others seem to have. This can lead to jealousy and envy. But, here´s one good thing. There is a good aspect right now between the constellation in Capricorn and the Mercury /Juno in Scorpio and this can help you to go deeper and expand your talents.

So instead of thinking too much about what everyone else is doing, and starting digging new holes everywhere around you – dig where you stand. Do your thing, expand your gifts. You got this.

Moon crazy?

Now back to where we started, the full moon and the moon eclipse. Some people love them, some have a really hard time at the eclipses. My advice to you is to tune in beforehand and feel how deep you want to go? Do I want to be alone, or do I want to do ceremony with others?

Tuning in is important when we are dealing with the moon, because she does not like to be ignored. The Moon embody the mother and all aspects of the feminine. And what mother likes being ignored, right? Some full moons and eclipses we feel the call and that we need to go deeper. If this is the case, then prepare yourself for the upcoming energy. Clear space in your calendar so that you can meet up the energy in beauty.

Some moons and eclipses we don´t feel the same surge and then perhaps it is just as good to tune in to the Moon drinking a cup of magickal tea, or soaking in a special herbal bath, or just mentally connecting and making aware that it is a full moon. As long as you acknowledge the Moon and her round belly, she hears you, she feels you. After all she is Mother!

/ 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 a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

The Witch’s Honor, Respect and Loyalty

by Christopher Penczak

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler from Pexels

Among Old World Witches, we talk about Witch’s Honor. I had an occultist friend who said the Witch’s Honor gesture from the popular television show Bewitched was a real thing, at least among the California lines of Craft, before the TV show hit the airwaves. Endora would look you in the eye, then place the index finger of her right hand beneath her right eye and middle finger beneath her left to indicate the Witch’s word is her bond. Some traditions compare Witchcraft to a chivalric code of honor, like the Knights of the Round Table, but in the end we know there are no true rules, only responsibilities and consequences.

Truth and honor are no different to a Witch than anyone else. We are not special just because we put the W word in front of those terms. Yet we hopefully understand the binding power of words and therefore seek clear communication with ourselves and others because we know the universe listens to what we speak aloud. With practice, our voices gain power. We hopefully know the consequences of our actions. I say “hopefully” as I realize so many do not, but if we are truly doing magick, abusing our words is a learning experience. Magick is in every thought we think, every word we say, and every action we take. We must be clear in our actions on the mental, verbal, and physical levels, for all reverberate in magick. Simple acts by an initiate or adept can cause great reverberations in the magickal world, often with unintended consequence. Are we in “right action” on these levels and in the world, even if we cannot predict the magickal, or even personal, ramifications? If we behave our best, our most honorably, in as many moments as we can, then that is all we can do to be in accord with/ what is “right.”

Honor is simply doing the right thing. Pagan and Heathen traditions talk a lot about honor—honoring the ancestors, honoring the gods, and honoring the Earth. All are noble concepts, but we are often divided on what we think are honorable actions. Honor comes from ethical and integral actions, but we can define our ethical systems differently.

In tribal and clannish groups, honor hearkens back to what is good for the group, and dishonor is generated by actions that are bad for the community’s overall good. Helping harvest is an honorable fulfillment of duties. Stealing from the community supply is dishonorable. Bravery and individual heroism can be honorable, particularly in protecting the group, though martyrdom for your own glory is not, for it is selfish. Expressions of skills and talents developed over time bring honor. Inaction when action is necessary is often considered dishonorable.

In many traditions honor is deeply tied to personal and family name. Honor lives on in your descendants, much like “luck” and “fate.” Honor is your reputation, though historically Witches have bad reputations. We are naturally the outsiders. Many of us do not pass on family names, or even carry our own in favor of a chosen name, a magickal act of self-identification and recreation of the self. It is your reputation among other Witches, within the illustrious order of our nameless art, with many faces and no rules. We recognize our own, even the ones we don’t like, but even that too comes into question. And in these days of illusionary media presences and seemingly mutable truth upon a public stage, one could potentially have a wonderful reputation and be a horrible person, or have a horrible reputation and be a very honorable person.

As a dedicant to the goddesses of fate, I do what I believe is necessary. The Witch’s actions can run contrary to mainstream ideas of honor, but are still held tight. Honor is adhering to what is right even when it’s not the easy thing to do. As Witches are often antagonists to normal society, what is right for the Witch’s honor is not always what is expected in community. We often have to do the seemingly opposite thing or offered unexpected and unorthodox paths for ourselves and others. The new and different offer possibilities of regeneration to the whole that could easily get stagnant, orthodox, and ultimately dogmatic. Our communities and lives are living, breathing, organic things that often take unexpected turns, and when we prevent that, we get sick on multiple levels. Standing on the outside, at the edge of the village, can look like dishonor, but it’s also about what we personally bring to the path. I think a lot about the magickal concept of true will, our soul’s purpose, not our personality’s desire and needs.

I think about the Age of Aquarius paradox. Aquarius calls us to social consciousness for the greater good. Aquarius also calls us to be our unique, unorthodox, and rebellious selves. One seems contrary to the other, as rebels are disruptive of society, and we often feel we have to put our own needs down and conform for the greater good. Aquarius says, “No!” It calls us to serve the greater good of society only by being our unique self. Copying someone else won’t do it. Only we can bring our unique part to the greater whole. To follow someone else’s expectation rather than our own soul’s calling will fail. Part of the Witch’s honor is about this, and that can be hard to observe on the outside, for someone going against a community expectation would often be considered dishonorable, so we have to reevaluate the ways we evaluate our own and other people’s honor.

While I am all for our individual sense of honor as dictated by how we interpret our true will and place in the world, a generalization of these themes has led to a sense of permissive “anything goes” in regards to spoken words and actions, and I am disheartened when I see that attitude among the Witchcraft world. Our words and actions still mean things, and while there are always times to reevaluate your commitments and bonds and renegotiate our agreements with ourselves, each other, and the spirits and gods, it has become too easy to disregard commitments and our given word when it becomes too hard for us. When challenged, it becomes easy to cite either self-care or personal sovereignty. Part of self-care is participating in the interconnected web of community. The main (and often missing) aspect of sovereignty is not simple self-determination, but rather being an interface for the land, spirits, and community. The sovereign doesn’t simply do as they desire, but does what is necessary. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, as in the traditional Book of Shadows initiation rite where the initiate is bound and this line is spoken: “Feet neither bound nor free.” The concept of an initiate being neither bound nor free, yet both, is part of the paradox of the mysteries no matter what symbolism you use. Relationship requires a certain level of agreement, exchange, and responsibility. One of the primary messages that spirit workers get from the non-human world is the lack of trust that otherworldly beings have for humanity because the old accords, even unknown to most of us today, have been broken and forgotten. Even though it’s hard to do in modern society, we need to build better trust with each other and then with the spirit world. Then we can truly be honorable. It’s hard to do in modern society. Participating in this work creates impacts everywhere, but dividing ourselves from it prevents any meaningful changes to it. Being honorable is challenging on many levels, which is why many are not, or simply pretend to be.

To honor someone or something is to show them respect. Ideally they are worthy of that honor by the virtue of their actions and what they stand for. Such individuals or group have gained distinction to make them worthy of respect. Sometimes that respect comes with authority, vocation, or age. Others believe a fundamental respect is due all people and then honorable actions can generate more respect and admiration. Personally I’m all for a baseline respect for everyone that then—based upon their actions—grows or diminishes. Respect isn’t limited to people, but can be directed towards divinities, institutions, and even concepts.

Respect often goes hand in hand with admiration. With that admiration can come certain behaviors, arising spontaneously or as dictated by societal custom. Specific greetings—such as bowing or taking off your hat—can be a sign of respect depending on the context. It is through such admiration we are often led to another virtue that causes us problems: loyalty.

Loyalty is faithfulness to someone or something. Such faithfulness can imply that demonstrating faith has requirements, such as support on some level, be it mental, emotional, social or even financial. Some equate loyalty with allegiance and adherence, be it to an ideal, concept, organization, or individual. And it’s there we have the problem.

As an outsider tradition previously practiced in small, secretive groups, Witchcraft can have a familial sense of loyalty. Your initiators are often parent-like, covenmates sibling-like, and we have allegiance to the coven, and beyond that, to the greater family of initiates in a lineage. On one level, it’s deeply personal, and in times past, loyalty was argued to also be a matter of safety for each other, and in preservation of the mysteries. Now that we are not all operating in oath-bound coven-based traditions and are more free to learn as we will and practice as we will, how does this concept of loyalty in Witchcraft play out?

Witchcraft operates on multiple levels, or at least it should. While there is a deeply personal aspect to group work and training, there can and should be an aspect that is beyond the personal, that connects to the greater mythos and body of initiates that transcends any one area, time, or tradition. Our dismantling of factually inaccurate mythos about our origins can disrupt our sense of the sublime timelessness of what we are connected to: a transcendental order, a timeless tradition connecting Witches through time.

While I agree on separating mythos from history, there is a time and place for both. Imagine a Catholic going through the sacraments along with a detailed critique of the lack of historical proof for the Gospels as factual reporting of historic events. While I think all Catholics should have a critical history of the Christian faith, the time to do so is not when they are training to make the commitment to being Christ-like. We need our mythos to connect us to our past so that we may find our future; likewise Witches in this modern era need to seek the sublime overarching mythos in other ways. That is what should guide our sense of loyalty.

Some teachers, not knowing how to operate outside of the tight familial unit, will demand personal oaths of loyalty and service rather than oaths to the gods, higher will, or even the tradition. It’s not always malicious, but it is limiting. You’ll see a tribal, clannish behavior among magickal groups, generating an us-vs-them attitude in an already small overarching community. It makes sense. When we finally find a sense of “where we belong,” we will fiercely defend it, sometimes even irrationally. A Witch has to learn we belong nowhere and we belong everywhere. While we find kinship in groups, we are also beyond groups and are part of a much larger group of the Witch Soul, stretching beyond the bounds of time and space. Our kinship is truly universal, into nature and the unseen realms.

Loyalty is equated with blind loyalty, support of leaders or fellows no matter their behavior or your own questions and disagreement with it. Disagreements erupt into multiple person battles as everyone seeks to be loyal and show support for their side, as if it were a sporting event, but things are often said or done that hold sway in our minds even after the “battle” is over.

True loyalty demands honor and respect, and if someone we are loyal to is asking us to do something we don’t want to do or assuming that we will, it’s our duty to say no and say why. If we think someone is making a mistake, loyalty asks us to speak our truth and heart rather than blindly agree. Kindhearted opposition can be the most loyal move you make. You have to find more effective ways of communicating it, as we live in a culture where this is not the norm and some will not be open to even the most skillful of communication, but this effort is what true, honorable loyalty demands, not just of Witches, but particularly of Witches.

We must learn to transcend the prejudices and irrationality of blind tribalism, for if we stand on the outside and cannot do it, who can? Who will? Each of us must find the part of us that is within the group (whatever it is), the part that stands on the outside of the group, and the part that is of the larger universe. As we look to the three souls, we can see the pattern there. Our tribal lower soul stands in the group, wanting to belong. Our middle soul can use reason and logic to stand outside of tribalism and ask questions. Our higher self is part of the greater timeless tradition of beings, holding it all. As you move through this world, ask yourself if you are behaving with honor, respect, and loyalty in the greatest sense of these words.

“All is fair in love and war”. We have heard this famous quote from Fancis Edward Smedley many times. And right now the planet Venus gives us a reason to think about this a little deeper. Is all really fair in love and war? If there is something that I really want and desire, does it belong more to me than others then?

I know that some would argue the other way around. That if something or someone truly belongs to you, it will find it’s way to you anyway, you don’t have to go to war over it. Right now wants and desires are high. Right and wrong are up for debate. Let’s look a bit closer into the sky and se what it can tell us.

Venus and illusions

The planet Venus is complicated to say the least. On one hand she is love, beauty, art and of course magick. On the other hand she can be vindictive , jealous, stubborn (ruling taurus) and have a hard time letting go. “This belongs to me!”, she says. “No one loves you, this place, this job, more than I do. How could that even be possible?”

Many fairy tales tells us that all the good people and beings are the beautiful ones. They also tell us that  ugly people, the not so perfect, are the villains and the ones that we should avoid. But as grown ups we hopefully have learned that this is not the case. Shiny things and shiny people can be as dangerous as anything else, and the unusual, in other people’s eyes even “defected” can be the most beautiful and precious thing.

As witches we learn this in our bones, through our journeys to other worlds and by meeting different spirits. Some are shining and otherworldly beautiful and others are strange looking.  We learn to go deeper and see beyond what is right in front of our eyes. And as we do that, new perspectives are given to us and we get more options and opportunities to live a full life. True beauty is not always the most obvious beauty. The most obvious path may also not be the most rewarding one in the long run.

Challenged by Venus

If there is something just not going your way right now, it could be that Venus is involved. In fact, you could even experience that a door to what you believe that you want, is being closed right in front of your nose! This could be a surprise for you, something that you did not see coming.

Venus at 23 deg in Libra is making a hard aspect to Pluto (transformation) Jupiter (expansion) Pallas Athene (communication, strategy) and Saturn (boundaries, manifestation) all in the sign of Capricorn. Sometimes Capricorn is called the lord of time, and is connected to karma. Capricorn is not likely to change it´s mind. This could mean that you are struggling against some kind of block or authority.

If this is the case, don´t despair. It could be something even better coming your way further ahead. Venus is making a trine to the North Node (where you are supposed to go) in Gemini. This indicates that there are higher forces in play.

Sometimes we truly believe that what we want right now is the best way to go. But, after time (Saturn) passes by, and some transformation (Pluto) has taken place. The wisdom comes (Pallas Athene) that there was something even better and even luckier (Jupiter) entering into our lives further down the road. We just couldn’t see it at the moment.

The last planet in this constellation that Venus is letting go of is Saturn, around the 24th of November. By then she has also entered into the sign of Scorpio.

Is there another way?

The combination of Venus in Libra in challenging aspect to Pallas Athena in Capricorn can have a really hard time letting go. This is the warrior standing on the battlefield until the bitter end, no matter the costs. Whenever we engage into something we need to look at the costs. This may be time, money, energy or life force. If you have dug your heels deep down in the soil, holding a stand for something with deep conviction and perhaps stubbornness, this may be a good time to lift your perspective and ask yourself, is there another way? Could there be something that I´m not seeing at the moment?

I sometimes tell with my friends half joking, and half not, that “the god and goddess has always taken good care of me, so far!” And I like that idea, that the Universe and it´s powers are conspiring for me, not against me. Think about an important person or event in you life, and think about how many things that needed to happen for you to end up at that place, or with this person. And then think about the choices you made to get there and finally, think about what you needed to let go of, to get there. Pretty cool and brave stuff, right?

As young people we are forced to do new things and embrace the beginners mind all the time growing up and going through school. As we get older we are in danger of losing our flexibility replacing the adventure and open mind for a false sense of security and safety. My friend calls this being a security junkie. You have to be alert not to become that, because it is contagious!

To summarize this you should be careful that you don´t fight just to win, to be right or by sheer stubbornness. Or that you fight or hold on to something just because you fear the unknown.

Venus and Pallas Athena are letting go of each other around the 21st of November.

The adventurous Wizard and Witch

The asteroid Vesta (devotion) is in Virgo. This is very a very happy placement for the practical witch. With Vesta in this sign we all get more inspiration for magickal cooking, crafting and getting our hands dirty in the soil. With Covid many of us are working from home making it a whole lot easier to tune into planetary days and hours for our magickal projects.

One thing to look out for though is when things get a little bit too adventurous. The asteroid Vesta is in good aspect to Uranus in Taurus and then unpredictable things can happen. Don´t forget to label your bottles, put on your glasses and read the fine printed part of the spell! You don´t want to accidently take the war-water instead of lovewater, or take the wrong kind of berries out of the fridge! On the bright side you may invent marvellous recipes and create things of outstanding intelligence and greatness. Just don´t burn the house down in your alchemical enthusiasm. The aspect between Uranus and Vesta is until around 1st of December.

Blessings, and may the Universe conspire for great things on your path ahead!

/ 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 a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

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