On Defining my Magick

What is my magick? I used to do a lot of spells when I was younger. Spells for love and happiness and money. But the older I  would get, the less spells I would do. Magick become less about what I could attain. Magick became about my connection with nature. I wanted mystical relationships. Marriage to the sun and moon. An affair with the waters. A deep secret friendship with the air. The earth as a my protector. Old, grumpy and wise earth. I wanted to understand how everything worked. And how I was apart of it. I did not want to create magic, I wanted to discover that I was indeed magic.

Surprise. As I got older still, magic took on a new meaning. I wanted to heal. Not with spells. They seemed too easy and fleeting. I wanted to heal people.  Heal the inner pains with hard work. By helping them see into their own hearts and minds. Helping them to see their own wisdom. Help them see they are also magic.

I wanted to heal the human relationships. I wanted to heal our relationships with nature. With creation.  I wanted to teach that we all were married to each other. Interdependent. We were all the sun, moon, earth, water.  And then I grew older and came down to earth. I wanted to  experienced the true magic of family and friends. I wanted to heal my own wounds and disconnection from loved  ones. I wanted to feel not the sun or reach the stars. I wanted to dig through the earth, pull up the dirt and find the bones, the bodies, the skeletons of my ancestors. I wanted to discover my roots.  How could I know magic if I don’t know where I come from, and  who I am.? Magic is now honoring the past, the spirits and ancestors. Seeing and receiving their healing messages. Passing on what I learn.  So that many other people can take this journey into magic too.

Tarot History: Well Kinda

In my pursuit of relearning how to interpret tarot , I decided to read up on the history of tarot. This turned out to be an exhausting and somewhat fruitless endeavor.  As there are not many known facts about the history and origins of tarot. Most of what is written is debated theories. Of course, history is always filled with more stories, opinions than fact especially when we are dealing with ancient and medieval times. What is also debatable is whether learning about tarot history is needed for  becoming a great tarot reader. The argument for researching tarot  history is that one can develop more understanding of its symbolism, message and purpose.  For myself, I have decided to simply touch the surface  of the background of tarot in hopes of enhancing my understanding and connection to the cards.

The origins of Tarot

Theories around the origins of Tarot are highly debatable, sometimes controversial, sometimes eurocentric and even racist. Some English speaking scholars and writers focus on when Tarot and playing cards first appear in European history. While, some attribute Tarot in Europe  to “ G**psies travelers. These writers are clearly unaware that G**** is an ethnic slur. But pushing away, eurocentrism. The leading theory of the origins of Tarot in the west is  they were evolution from playing cards. There are some theories that tarot appeared before playing cards ( brought in by Romani people or other migrations into Europe). However, legal documents around illegal gambling insert playing cards into Europe  history well before the first mention of tarot.  According to historical documentation, playing cards appeared in Europe in” 1370-1380″. (wopc.com) While  divination cards were not mentioned until “ the second half of the 19th century.” (tarothermit.com)  So we can at least concluded that Tarot cards grew from playing cards that turned into divination tools.

Scholars and Tarot enthusiasts  believe that playing cards originated in Egypt, China or India and was then brought to the West from immigrants from one of these countries. It is entirely possible, considering the age and sophistication of these civilizations that playing cards and various divination systems were created by all of them. Furthermore, it is not unusual for inventions to be made around the same time by various peoples. I would guess, that playing cards were introduced into the West by many groups.

Tarot Symbolism origins

While many believe that Tarot came to the West already infused with symbolism of Arabic culture, Egyptian, Indian or Chinese symbolism. Others believe Tarot in West fully formed out of Italian Catholic culture. “ The Tarot deck was invented in Italy around 1440, based on the existing card decks of the time (not the other way around, as popular legend has it). The idea that G*psies introduced cards to Europe is contradicted by the fact that cards were known in Europe for about 40 years before the first appearance of G**sies.” (G-Slur censured  ( http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/seaan-cardhist.html))  Theories of the origins of Tarot do influence how scholars and reader interpret the symbolism of cards. Some believe that the common symbolism derives from Egyptian or Arabic culture including the name “ tarot.” While others see the symbolism as Italian Catholicism.  Either way, Modern western Tarot invokes the symbolism of the church and the  biblical messages of Italian artists who created the oldest “ known” decks but it also has been greatly influenced by African, Jewish, and Asian culture.

Many modern and older  artists have focused on specific culture in creating their own interpretation or rendering of the cards.One of the oldest recorded decks was commissioned by  The Duke of Milan,Filippo Maria Visconti  as celebration of his only heirs’ birth, shows the symbols of the Italian renaissance, journey of Christ and the religious message of the bible. Yet, there are now many decks that  now focus on Non-Christian religious and philosophical journeys.

Attributes of Tarot:

Tarot originally started as Trumps deck only featuring the only major arcana. Then  the minor arcana was added on later. Perhaps the major arcana is  an unique invention but the minor arcana most likely stems for playing cards. A modern deck consists of 78 cards. Tarot cards are most used for  divination through the use of spreads. Spreads are a layout of pulled tarot cards that help answer a question or offer guidance in some way. Tarot cards can also be used to do meditation, rituals, spells and aid in various forms of spiritual growth.

Regardless of original culture influence, Tarot involves various symbolism from astrology, numerology, color theory and various religious symbols include the tree of life from Judaism. Modern decks will often emphasize one or more symbols. For example there  are astrology decks, religious decks, cultural decks, etc.

It would see that modern Tarot incorporates all of its supposed and actual early influences. Further study into any of  these school of thoughts, cultures and religions can only serve to help advance one’s reading skills. The most important task is finding a deck that symbols speaks to one’s own intuition, culture and path.

Sources:

Introduction to Iconology of the early tarot: The origin of Tarot Cards by Robert Oneill.http://www.tarot.com/tarot/robert-oneill/iconology-of-the-early-tarot-introduction ( according to Oneill, tarot was created in 15th century Italy, using the artistic expression of Italian to deliver the deeper meaning behind the Church ’s message.)

http://tarothermit.com/tarot/tarokarten (overview of tarot history and use readers intrepet based on symbolism, subconscious and concertnation)

http://www.tarotpassages.com/mkgtimeline.htm ( timeline)

http://www.wopc.co.uk/history/earlyrefs.html ( orgins of playing cards)

http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/seaan-cardhist.html

http://l-pollett.tripod.com/cards3.htm

The Everything Tarot Book (Alexander, Skye)

http://trionfi.com/0/b/

Happy Ostara: Correspondences

Image

 

Here is just a quick list of Correspondences:

Other  related or close holidays: Easter, St. Patrick’s day, Passover

Aspects and symbols: fertility, birth, new life, balance,light ,becoming  warmer, rebirth, renewal, new ideas, good fortune

Gods: Eostre/Ostara, Ariadne, Athena, Minerva, Persephone, Attis, Cernunnos

Animals and Mystical beings: chicks, bunnies,  magical hare, hawk, sparrow, snake and Merpeople

Myths: “ magical hare and magical eggs” and resurrection of various God/desses.

Foods: chocolate, eggs, green foods, seeds, salads and “Spring foods”

Activities: spring cleaning, egg hunt, egg art, gardening, new projects.

Flowers, Trees, Plants: ash, birch, maple, daffodil, lily, rose, violet, honeysuckle,lavender, tulips, lilac

 Stones and gems: moonstone, clear quartz,rose, garnet, agate

 Zodiac: Aries

Other symbols: flowers, vines, seeds

Direction: East

Tarot: Chariot, 7, Magician, eight of wands

Resources and Further reading:

Towards a Wiccan Circle:A Practical Introduction to the Principles of Wicca by Sorita d’Este 

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes

Tarot for all seasons: celebrating the days & nights of Power by Christine Jette

What is Sin? One Wiccan perspective

The question of sin was a heated conversation in my religious studies classes. We were Buddhists, yogis and a Wiccan who did not believe in a God outside of creation ( or did not believe in God at all), who did not believe in punishment or damnation.

Sometimes, the aversion to the concept of sin would make  it difficult to relate to Christian text. Eventually, it became clear  that we had to think differently about sin in order to really engage the texts.  We began to think about what sin meant from our own religious perspectives.

In my case, I had already lessened my anger around the term. It happened when I was introduced to the idea that sin was “whatever takes you away from God”*. Boom. It was a miracle. That one phrase was like poetry to me because it took out all the damnation and punishment. It also made rejecting sin sound  like a daily practice. You do what brings you closer to God to avoid sin. It was also so much more relatable. While someone Christian might take that to mean do not have sex before marriage because it takes you away from God. I could relate it to when I am not doing practices that bring me closer to the Goddess.

When we substitute God for divinity or sacredness, then sin holds a whole other notion of personal responsibility and wisdom. In the Buddhist tradition, we can likely “sin” to what leads you away from enlightenment, service to others or a healthy mind. An example of  this would be virtuous or non-virtuous  karma. These are not a good/bad reward system. They are not a punishment system. Instead, non-virtuous Karma is what is created by  and leads to unhealthy emotion patterns (Kleshas). Kleshas stand in our way of  having a healthy mind (somewhat like that sin that keep us from God).

In Wicca,  God is Divine Immanence. God is and is in nature. God is in us and all creation. So what would be sinful in Wicca. To me,  Wiccan “sin” would be  whatever causes imbalance in nature and whatever makes us experience disconnection from  The Goddess, The Divine, Nature and Humanity.  If I did a spell that causes an imbalance or was against nature or if I was cruel to an innocent human, I would see that as “sinful.”

With all that said, Christianity, Buddhism and Wicca are not completely comparable if at all. Also, sin is unique to certain religions like Christianity. The theology of sin does not really work in religions like Wicca. However, it is so helpful to ponder religious concepts that challenge us, to translate into our religious words. In this case, the concept of sin can be a doorway into to thinking about what is important in our Wiccan practices. And what makes us have regret, fear or imbalances. What do we “punish’ ourselves for. And what can we do to be closer to The Goddess and Nature.

* I do not remember where I first heard this but it seems to be a 
   take on " Sin separates us from God" (Isaiah 59:2).

Do I believe in reincarnation? One Wiccan View

Wicca thea/theology confirms reincarnation and afterlife though its fascination with seasonal changes, life and death cycle, and communication with Spirit realms. With that said, Wiccans do not agree on the particulars of reincarnation or after life.

For me, Wiccan practice and theology is not so much about what happens next.  It is about how we treat ourselves, each other, and the Natural World in the here and now.  It is about how we connect with our Ancestors, Higher Self, Spirits and the Divine in every present moment.

Unlike some religions that focus on what can we do in order to ensure a better time after this earthly life, Wiccans are usually pretty in love with our earthly existence.  We tend to not be considered with ensuring a perfect next reincarnation, in ending reincarnations or getting into “heaven”.

Even when Wiccans do Spirit communication, we are talking to them in the here and now. They are not in so far off place. We are simply pushing away the veil between two realities. To the Wiccan, Spirits are all around us and a part of our current lives. We are simply not always open to seeing and experiencing them.

Now, some Wiccans may choose to do past life regression or delve deeper into what reincarnation is. I, on the other hand, only experience the idea of reincarnation through watching the turning of the seasons, or in conversations with my Spirit Guide. My Spirit Guide has at least once been incarnate as my husband. I have had some visions of our past life.

Really, all this tells me is that reincarnation happens. Nothing about the ends and outs.

On that matter, I would have to guess.  My idea would be that there is either a waiting period between incarnations or  that one’s spirit could be simultaneously existed in multiple realities and times. This seems a big possible since one can communicate with one’s higher self. It would serve to reason, that we can communicate with our Ancestors’ higher selves even if they have reincarnated.

I am  borderline on whether I believe humans can reincarnated as everything. Can we be rocks? or insects? I am not sure. I figure once you experience one form of life, you would reincarnate into something else. I see reincarnation as an opportunity for growth. So, I doubt one goes from a human to an ant.

I do not believe that reincarnation is bad or good. That ones does something bad and therefore has a lower birth. I think we choose our reincarnations based on what we need for spiritual growth.

I think that there is no end to reincarnation.  Again, Wiccan theology poses reincarnation as a natural recurrence like the changing of seasons. It is not the same as  religions that  see reincarnation as  negative. Regardless of how spiritually realized you are, I think change is the natural state of things. I think we are always reincarnating even in one earthly life.  Reincarnation is the merely a process of impermanence.

With that said, I  do not think about it often. There are far too many mysteries in this current life, for me to be too considered about  what happens next.  I am more of a journey not the destination type.

How to incorporate Meditation into Wiccan practice

First, I would say, that Wicca practice already uses meditation. Ritual ( like yoga) is really meditation in movement. If one is really connecting to the ritual, to the invocations and to magic casting, this is meditation. When a person is fully in tune with the Goddess then this meditation. Or when we casting a circle and have that single object and single intention focus, this is also a form a meditation.

Think about when you are lost in any creative project. Where the project moves you into present moment. Where you are ” in flow” to the point where you move/ create automatically  We feel like someone else is guiding us because it is so effortlessly pouring out. In those moments of creativity, you are not worry about bills, or thinking about the future ( unless this is divination). You are completely in the project. This is mindfulness. This is meditation. And we have these moments all the time in Wiccan rituals.

These moments do not always happen.  Sometimes, we do a ritual and we can only go with the motions. We are  speaking, moving and acting but not connecting. We are not growing from the experience. Or we do a spell and our thoughts are all over the place.  It seems impossible to  send our intention into the universe.

This is why having a daily or weekly meditation practice can help Wiccans. By developing you meditation skills, you will likely find that you are able to focus and ground yourself  better before, during and after a ritual.

So here are a few ways to introduce meditation to your Wiccan practice.

First off, any of these techniques can be used before or after a ritual for grounding or by itself for a daily practice.

1: Doing mindfulness meditation. In this type of  meditation ( from  Tibetan Buddhism), you place a gentle focus on your outward breath and relax during the inward breath. or focus on both the in and out breath. See which technique is a better fit for you. When you have a thought, label it thinking without judgement and return to the breath.

2: Do visualizations:

A great visualization for Wiccans is working with  trying to project one’s own energy. An example of projecting your own energy is to imagining a beam of light coming from the middle of  your hand. Imagining  that you can move that light around. You can also imagine a beam of light coming out of each of your chakras or important body centers. These sort of energy meditations are great for strengthening ones’  energy body and projection abilities to aid in spell work.

3: Chanting/ Affirmation meditation.

You can do a traditional chant such as ” Om”. If you do a traditional chant from traditions such as African spirituality,  Buddhism or Yoga, you are benefitting from energies that have been tried and tested. They are energies that are connected to the vibration of earth and spirit and  create  healthy vibrations in your own body.

However, you should know enough about/ have access to the tradition, culture or chant ( though some chants have no literal meaning) before doing so. You don’t want to invoke things that are not meant for you. ” Om” however is  a good safe start.

You can also create your own affirmations to repeat. In this case, you can  do affirmations that are connected with a recurring goal, a spell  or ritual you will do  or something that creates a feeling that you  want such as relaxation.

Chants should not be more than a sentence, probably no more than five words. But can be as little as one.

Always remember the effects of meditation take a while. At least try a certain practice for a month before reflecting on the benefits and cons. Hopefully you will notice meditation or contemplation has a good effect on your rituals, spells and  mental well-being.

Heteronormative In Wicca: Rethinking The God and Goddess

When people assume that Wicca  has to be heteronormative it is often because of the pairing of The Goddess/ The God. While, I will not argue that these terms can be problematic and I’m totally in favor of people making adjustments that fit them better. And perhaps, Wicca would be better off without those terms. Still, there are  many reasons why Wicca does Not have to be practiced in a heteronomative way.

Here are just some things to think about as far as heterosexism , Wicca and the God/Goddess combo:

1: The Goddess and God are not just lovers. The Goddess and God are portrayed as Mother and Son. There are also myths of two Gods.  Such as the Gods who highlight the dark and light halves of the year. The God and Goddess are not just some literal heterosexual couple.

2: Symbolism: Both the God, Goddess and their relationship often symbolize aspects of nature, seasons, human existence, spiritual journey, etc. Wiccans who have overly focus on there being some power in an hetero-union are sadly missing all the symbolism.Over focus on literalism is often an avenue to oppressive religious ideals

3: The Goddess represents everything including all gender, sexual and nonbinary expressions. The Goddess can be seen as ultimately all genders or genderless or both.

4: The God and Goddess represent all Gods and Goddesses including Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Gods.

5: There are Wiccans and Wiccan groups who do not use the ” God/Goddess language”. Some use just God or Goddess for example.

6: Sex and fertility rituals usually are symbolic or have a symbolic layer. But they can be alter, changed or left out . In Gay Witchcraft, Chris Penczak offers suggestions on exploring one’s sexuality and gender expression in ritual by taking on different parts in ritual such as a male being the Goddess.

7: There are LGTBQ Wiccan groups who created non-heteronomative covens, rituals and theology.

This is not to say Wiccan community does not have tons of problems as far as heterosexism and cissexism. More that, there are plenty of ways to look at the philosophy/theology and practice in a non-heteronormative/Cissexist way. Plenty of religions fight with oppressive ideas, Wicca is not any different or uniquely doomed.