Archive for the ‘witchcraft’ Tag

Episode 21- Samhain and loving the darkness 11/01 by Jessica Ann | Spirituality Podcasts   Leave a comment

Episode 21- Samhain and loving the darkness 11/01 by Jessica Ann | Spirituality Podcasts.


Posted November 1, 2013 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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The In-Between (Episode 6)- Getting it Done 04/24 by Jessica Ann | Blog Talk Radio   Leave a comment

Episode 6- Getting it Done 04/24 by Jessica Ann | Blog Talk Radio.

How do you make time for your magical and devotional practice?  Is it difficult sometimes for you?  It is for me!  In this episode we talk about that issue, what some of us try to do about it and shifting our expectations about what is magical, what is special and how to make it happen.  I also introduce the “Four Quarter Challenge” in which I invite others to join me in making room for at least four magical/devotional/spiritual activities (of our own definition and tradition) during the next four lunar quarters.  Will you join me?  It could be fun!


Posted April 24, 2012 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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Flying Cards   2 comments

It has been forever since I posted on here and I have missed it but I guess in the giant horse race between the factors in my life, this horse went to the back of the pack.  I just didn’t feel like I had much to say, or what I had to say was not nice, or perhaps I didn’t have much time to say it.

Regardless, I have been beating my head against a wall trying to figure out something that happened to me (twice) and everyone around home looks at me like I have two heads when I bring it up.  I figured my blog friends may have some input!  In this posting is a picture of a card very close to the Hierophant of my own tarot deck.   Mine is called Legend: The Arthurian Tarot.   I think the card I pictured below is from Caitlin Matthews and mine is not.  My card is slightly different but similar concept.  Both decks have Taliesin as the Hierophant.  Other decks call this card the Pope card.

A couple weeks ago, we began fighting a mouse incursion of great and impressive proportions.  This included a lot of mouse poison cleverly hidden from children and the dog.  In the process of the rodent wars, those little crap heads attacked the dish of hard candies that I had placed on my altar for the beloved dead for grandma.  Some of you may recall that my sacred space is in my closet because it is the only place safe (somewhat) from my toddler.  Within a short period of time, the mice had gotten after the candy and it was all stuck to everything in there which just agitated me to no end.  I took it all apart, cleaned everything and put it all back together.  It felt good.

A couple days later, I found two tarot cards from a loose “back up” deck on a shelf in the closet area, on the floor.  It was the Hierophant and the King of Cups (not pictured).  Though it was days later and I knew better, my logical mind chalked it up to the big cleaning fest I had in there.  I paused when I saw the cards but I figured I must have disturbed the shelf in my cleaning.  I may be a witch but I don’t quickly or easily believe in phenomena.  I put the Hierophant back on the shelf, shoved the whole spare deck back farther behind some books and left the King of Cups out on a whim.  I wanted to look at it later.  The image on my King of Cups card is The Fisher King from Arthurian legend.

Two days later, the Hierophant was back in the middle of my floor again.  And lest I forget my King of Cups, my husband and the boys had a surprise for me.  They took me to a park on the river that was positively lined with fishermen.  About 45 Fisher Kings all in a row.  What the??  Okay.  So why are the Hierophant and the King of Cups throwing themselves into my attention ?

Being the pragmatist that I am, I tried a million ways to get more of the cards to fall off the shelf.  I shook it.  I waved fabric around it to make a breeze.  There is no window (it’s a closet). The deck is against a wall behind books.   Can’t walk past it and bump it.  They made their way to my floor for a reason.  I just don’t know what it is.

When it comes to messages from Spirit, I would rather get a memo.  Or a voice mail.  Something clear and hopefully with caller ID so I know who’s talking 🙂

I am working with a women’s group I was wondering if I would have to give up because I am swamped and busy and tired, but then the Hierophant makes me think no, I’m not supposed to.  King of Cups?  Who fricking knows.

Spirit is probably saying “I threw the cards on the floor for you for crying out loud!  I lined up 45 damn fisherman on the banks of the river for you.  What more do you want, a memo?”

Posted October 20, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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My baby girl’s first magic charm   3 comments

I had such a nice day today.  The boys are at grandma’s but baby Livvie stayed home, so we took her to the Pow Wow nearby, which happens over here at the park along the river every year in June.  It’s really beautiful, the dancers from all of the Michigan tribes, and the drumming and singing and then the vendors which are fun to look at.  I bought some handmade soap, which I always enjoy and this year, I got a tiny little soft white leather medicine bag for the baby.  It already had some tobacco and sage and cedar in it.  I added some more herbs from my more European background: lavender, blessed thistle, mugwort and a dash of sea salt.   I placed a tiny tiger’s eye turtle inside.  Turtle is one of her animals, I know, because I became obsessed with them when I was pregnant.  There are more reasons I will save for a post some other day.  Then I added a tiny amethyst, a tiny moonstone (of course!) a small, colorful stone from Lake Superior.  I sealed it up and let her hold it for a while.  Because of its long tether, she will not be able to wear it.  It’s too dangerous for an infant.  But it will hang over her crib until she is older and can be safe with such things.  I have not done enough of this with my sons, but I have this daughter now and I feel driven to raise her with magic and the pulsing life of the land and the mystical gift of being female.  This is a picture of my peanut with her little bag.  She has it wrapped in her little hands right now as she sleeps, and I’m letting her hold it just another minute before I hang it up.

Just getting started….   2 comments

There’s so much I don’t know, it’s ridiculous, after all these years.

My tradition has always talked about venerating the ancestors, and so I do, in my way.  However, only through exploring other cultures and traditions have I realized that not only can one venerate the ancestors, one can actually work with their spirits and other spirits too, for that matter.  However, this requires some relationship building.

I have, for my own reasons, somewhat avoided working with the dead.  This is partially because I have not been on board with my own grief and healing process for my dad, and I lost him a long time ago.  Like…18 years ago.  I have carefully avoided the concept of the dead, life after death and whatever else. This is absurd, of course, and I know that.  It probably also has limited me in a lot of ways.

So I have now set up my first “ancestor altar” though I don’t like that term so much.  It feels like I’m trying to reach into hallowed antiquity or something.  So I am calling it my altar to the spirits.  I have a small film strip of me as a baby, with dad.  I have his class ring.  I have other things on there that he would have liked, like driftwood from Lake Michigan and Petoskey stones and Michigan iron ore and anything from local nature.  My dad was an outdoorsman. I added a glass of water and a candle, which I am told is pretty standard for these sorts of altars.

There is a Saint Jude candle on here in this picture because I was asking Dad for some help with someone who meets the definition of “lost cause.”  My dad would probably find that amusing.

I have recently added the favorite costume jewelry of another of the family’s beloved dead; someone I didn’t know but who was close to my husband.  I want to bring her into our home.

So I have no idea if this is even how it’s supposed to work!  Just trying…clueless…but with good intentions.

Posted June 4, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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Doing it Right   1 comment

I am pondering the idea of ritual design today as I posted a lesson yesterday on my group’s learning site.  Each of them is to design a personal lunar ritual for each moon phase.  I purposely gave almost no instructions whatsoever, and this was not my obtuse attempt to be the elitist keeper of all wisdom and knowledge, or a smug attempt to make those lovely women feel like “oh crap, I don’t know how to do this right.”  On the contrary, it is because it is my purest, truest belief that the only way to do personal ritual “right” is to do it one’s own way and I am doing people a disservice by allowing them to believe that anything other than their instincts and heart can give them the answers on this one.   I am aware that this makes some people crazy.  It makes some of the newer people crazy because they are not convinced they are doing it right and they are very worried about this.  It makes some of the experienced people crazy because they find comfort in routine and I am constantly challenging the idea that the routine is required.  I never said it wasn’t okay, it just isn’t required, unless personally directed by one’s spirits or gods.  Until I get a personal memo from some ethereal being with hard core universe cred, I am not going to change my mind on this one.  

A month ago, our group met for Beltane.  It was windy and my candles around the bonfire wouldn’t stay lit, which pissed me off because I had planned a very pretty outdoor altar for this event.  The world didn’t implode.  I had to get over it.  There was discord in the circle this time around, and it was hard to concentrate.  I forgot two readings I had really wanted to do.  I couldn’t finish sentences.  It was a peculiar event and somewhat frustrating as far as holding the traditional structure in place.  There are lots of reasons for this, but we got through it.   Anyway, during the course of this ritual, inside a cast circle with invoked deities and elemental spirits and the entire nine yards, we made assorted natural decorations to hang from trees above the nearby creek, in the tradition of dressing the sacred springs or holy wells in the Celtic lands.  The energy didn’t settle and flow right in our circle  until we plunked ourselves on the ground to build our little crafts.   We created our precious ribbons and yarn strands with shells and bells and stones and feathers, tied them with long strips of cloth for our prayers and traipsed our happy behinds over hill and vale to the creek.  (Actually, it wasn’t a very long hike, but it was very hilly with much underbrush and assorted mud.)  By definition, our group exodus out of the circle basically opened the circle by default.  One woman stayed behind for fear of twisting a recently fractured ankle, and I am pretty sure she had a cigarette while she was at it, and enjoyed the weather.  I don’t get in a hink about this.  Beltane is supposed to be for enjoyment.

We hung our pretty treasures over the creek with our intentions and then hiked our behinds back to the ritual area.  When I arrived, it seemed quite clear that the circle had managed to uncast itself and any invited elemental spirits and deities had either come along with us and then gone on their way or were sticking around the fire, as they wished.  It’s not like the universe was holding its breath waiting for us to get back.  The group felt it too, for they had not naturally come back to the center.  Everyone was wandering about, collecting stuff from the altar and heading inside for the food (the really important part!) and I wasn’t worried about it.  I offered my silent thanks to our spirit friends for spending time with us.   Then someone says, “So and so says you forgot to open the circle and dismiss the God and Goddess and elements.”  I don’t even remember who it was.  But it was true.  I hadn’t followed the traditional formula, (which I have a tendency not to do.)  So as a few of us went back outside, it was mentioned to me again, “We forgot to dismiss the elements and the god and goddess.”

“Yes,” I said, “we didn’t do that.  It seemed to pretty much take care of itself when we tromped over to the creek.”  There was a general wave of possible disapproval from one direction, general confusion from another.  Others nodded, helped pick things up and didn’t seem too concerned.

“How does it feel?” I asked.  “Does it feel incomplete?  Do you feel something is left undone?  When you breathe in the wind, does anything feel trapped, broken or out of harmony here?”

The woman who had stayed behind near the fire said, “The minute you all left, it got windier again and it got cool. All the heat went away.  I put my jacket back on.  The energy flowed out.”  This particular lovely lady is new to the whole pagan “thing”, has not read all of the books and doesn’t seem compelled to do so.  She does what I call “practicing by heart.”

I asked if anyone felt the need to re-gather everyone into the circle and do all the formal closing steps.  The general consensus was no.  No one seemed upset.  I realized that the wave of possible disapproval had been coming from myself.  It was a function of my own insecurity.  I was challenging myself on not doing it “right”, after all these years.  Then I had a moment of envisioning the past, farther back than my modern brain can properly imagine, watching people gather at festival and then disperse, coming in and going out, like the tide.  No one told them to gather.  No one told them to go home.  They didn’t stand in a circle and make an announcement.  No one tells the ocean to come in.  No one tells it to go out.  No one tells the wind to sweep east or to sweep west.  Likewise, the opening and closing routines for our group rituals may be comforting and give our brains a sense of structure, and that’s okay, but I still don’t think that our spirits need them for it to be “right.”

Posted June 1, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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Sorcerer Seuss   2 comments

I was just thinking recently about when this whole Witch thing began for me.   I so much wanted to do it “right” and read a boat load of 101 books, most of which agreed on stuff that I didn’t need to know that much, and disagreed on the things I really wanted help on.  Ahh, books.

Anyway, to this day, I don’t read a lot of spell books for my magic.  Or, to clarify, I like to scan through them sometimes for inspiration and to see if I can find anything at all with some history behind it, something old, something passed on for longer than the last 20 years, something really arcane and wicked cool.  Usually, I am looking for anything at all that was NOT written by the most famous of the pagan authors because I’ve read them.  Anyway, I like to read or at least scan a few books and then jump from there but I find I can almost never use people’s words that they want recited.  First of all, I don’t like to read from a paper when doing serious magical work.  Second of all, if there is a lot of memorization involved, I will be wrecking my trance by utilizing my rational mind to try to remember what the frick came next in the incantation.  Some of these things are 8 stanzas long.  What are we going for here, the next Witchy Laureate award?  I can’t handle that.  Not to mention, I tend to work silent and repeat certain phrases over and over in my head, or I let myself just feel with no words at all.  I hardly ever say them out loud.  I sometimes find myself whispering something urgently.

Anyway, back to being a newbie witch.  (Oh and back then I was resistant to the title “witch”.  So much has changed!) Anyway, I read in the book (doesn’t matter which one, they’re all the same) that using rhyming spells helps you to remember them. Okie dokie then.  My first spell type was candle magic and to this day, I happen to use candles often in one way or another.  The book says to use this rhyme:

“Candle of power, candle of might

create my desires here on this night.

Power stream from this candle’s fire

Bring to me my heart’s desire: (name desire here)”

I can do this, I figure.  I can remember something so short.  So then I tried doing it  the first several times because the book said I should and I was new and I certainly didn’t have any better ideas anyway.  Then I found out that a four line rhyme if you are doing it automatically and not concentrating, can still get screwed up.  I would get it out of order or repeat things by accident.  Plus, I started to feel a little silly.  I felt like at any moment, it was going to turn out like:

“Candle of power, candle of might

create my desires here on this night

I do not like green eggs and ham

I do not like them, Sam I Am.”

I just don’t do rhyming spells.  I hate to even verbalize while I work, so when I am with my women’s group it almost kills me to invoke deities with these big formal recitations that I know they all think should be said for it to be a REAL ritual  (they have read the books……) so I do the best I can.

I just try hard not to slip into

“We call to our Goddess, from whom we are sent

for whom all the flowers give forth their scent

I meant what I said and I said what I meant;

an Elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”

Posted May 26, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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