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Samhain: Ancestor Altars and Silent Suppers

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Fall is once again upon us, and the Veil thins as we draw ever closer to Samhain. This season is a time of reflection – on ourself and those who came before us. This time allows us to meditate on the past year, and reaffirm or rearrange our goals as needed. It also allows us to remember those who died before us that have helped to shape the lives we live today.

I generally see October, and even November, as a time to remember our ancestors and the dead. A time to honor those who’s choices shaped our family line, and to honor our own choices that are currently shaping our family line. By honoring ourselves, with our ancestors, we become an important part of our family line and are more aware of our own actions.

There are many ways to honor your ancestors and the dead. My two favorite ways are ancestor altars and a Dumb Supper.

Ancestor Altar

Ancestor altars are a specific place where you honor or worship the dead, especially your family line – whether biological or adopted. You may keep them up all year, or only put out an altar for certain occasions like deaths, birthdays, and Samhain. Ancestor altars are very versatile. Though it may vary from each tradition, there are is no wrong way to set up a place of remembrance. Here are a few suggestions for both permanent and temporary altars:

  1. Food and Drink. One of the most common offerings to ancestors is food and drink. This also includes tobacco products. A lot of people leave out candy or even make the deceased’s favorite dish. I usually bless what I put on my altars, but to a lot of practitioners feel it is already understood what the offering is for and is already blessed.
  2. Keepsakes. Many ancestor altars contain a picture, or even items that the deceased owned. During the Victorian era, it was even common to keep locks of the deceased’s hair or make wreaths and jewelry out of them. (See an example and learn more about hair wreaths here). Some people keep clippings of nails or clothing. I have a pocket watch that my grandfather received from a company he was working at before he became disabled. I keep that and some things my grandmother gave me on my altar.
  3. Altar and Ritual Items. You can also add the basic altar and ritual items to your ancestor altar. These may include candles, incense, offering plates, a chalice, and other decorations. I usually bring out my skull that acts a mediator with Anubis and dead, as the attachment in it serves as a way to communicate and keep the dead in line.

Respect and care for these altars are important. It is the same as keeping an altar for a beloved deity. You’re only limited to your imagination on how you choose to honor the dead.

Dumb Supper

During this time of year I prefer to forego parties and trick-or-treating, and choose to do a dumb supper instead. A dumb supper is a way of honoring the dead, and reflecting on our own lives. To be dumb means to not speak – the whole dinner is done in silence. It represents the silence of death and the barrier of the Veil.

The purpose of the supper to is to honor and commune with the dead. For some people there is just silence throughout the meal, for others they may receive a message or overwhelming emotions.

The components of a dumb supper are quite simple. I choose to do it ritualistically, but you may do a regular supper in their honor (though I wouldn’t call on ancestors or the dead without a ritual).

The first part of the ritual consists of preparation. All the food, silverware, plates, cups, etc., are to be set out before hand. You will have one set of dishware for yourself, and another one for your ancestors. When I do this with a group, we have smaller plates and shot glasses for our ancestors. You may also set up your mini altars on the table, whether it’s Samhain decorations honoring the dead, an item that belonged to the deceased, or picture. I prefer to also place candles on the table, so that we can light those instead of using artificial light.

After preparing your space, then it is time to start the ritual. At this time the guests may stand up or sit down (according to your tradition) while casting the circle, calling in deity (if you choose), and inviting in the dead. It is common to invite those that have died within the last year to the supper, and help them move on if they can’t. You may invite family, friends, and those you loved to join in the supper. Make sure to express gratitude in your ritual when calling upon ancestors.

You will first serve any deities that you invited a portion of the food and drink before serving your ancestors or yourself. Remember to serve your ancestors food and drink before serving yourself, too.   During the whole dinner everyone is silent while eating. When the last person is finished, you may end the ritual.

It is a very simple, but powerful ritual. It can evoke a lot of pent up feelings, and it’s okay to mourn the dead at this time. I’ve cried myself, and it was very cathartic. In this way, it is also a release for the living.

Some tips: You may want to turn off your outside lights and leave a note on your door not to knock or ring the doorbell. If you want to participate in trick-or-treating, then leave a bowl of candy outside. You may also want to have several candles in place around the dining area, instead of artificial lighting. Remember to keep a bucket of water, or fire extinguisher ready, in case of emergencies. Everything should be prepared before hand, so that guests can place what they need on their plate without fussing. This includes cutting up meat and vegetables before hand, and opening wine bottles before the ceremony. Place napkins, salt and pepper shakers, condiments, and other commonly used items on the table, so the guests don’t have to leave their seat once they sit down. This will cause less commotion and create a calmer atmosphere. Don’t wear clothing or use cloths that easily catch on fire. Have each guest ready their area before the ritual. That way there is no confusion of where the guests are sitting and their personal altars are already set up.

It is up to you if you wish to allow children at your event. Some are very quiet and respectful, and others are disruptive. Small children and babies should not attend. You may also want to consider that children do see the dead more readily, and it may not be an event you want your child to witness.

There are other ways to honor the dead, too. You may also want to look into other traditions and their beliefs to expand your practices.

Stay safe this spooky season while hailing your ancestors.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Seeking Credit

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Beings of False Light

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Beings of Light have been recorded throughout human history. They are usually associated with the Sun, Love, Divinity, and Knowledge. These traits, which many consider only belonging to the Light, are ingrained in our culture as desirable outcomes in our lives both here and in the hereafter.

In a world that is full of hatred and desolation, it is sometimes hard to continue without feeling there must be a purpose to life. The world can seem bleak and lonely, and many people silently slip into despair. Unfortunately, this is quite common. This is why I am writing about Beings of False Light – They convince you that only They are ultimately in control and can grant favors, leading a person to believe enlightenment is only through Them. This can be quite dangerous when you consider it promotes closed and concrete thinking, instead of being open to new ideas and information.

I am going to define these beings of False Light as any entity that uses deception to further their own agenda while putting their target at risk. These may actually be Light or Dark beings. The feeling and assignment of energy type has no moral attachment. It is this belief, that everything has a sense of morality as you personally view the world, that is used to manipulate a person.

There are many different reasons that an entity may appear to be a “Light being”. The most common reasons for deception, I have found, is for power and to feed off a person’s energy. Sometimes they appear to influence a person into manifesting another’s desire on the entity’s behalf in order to prove a point to a different practitioner. I have had the latter done to and for me. Influence and manipulation are a great tool for many beings’ agendas.

I’m not going to name any beings that have recently seemed to appear, more often than usual, as beings of Light – but aren’t. I decided that detailing a few truths and critical thinking techniques will help you determine this yourself.

The first time I encountered one of these being that greatly influenced my way of thinking was in 2015. I was studying mainly with Samael and Lucifer at the time. Though They are not fond of each other, They would work with me as a team, usually at different times. I was being groomed to open up publicly at about what I do, and possibly start a coven. I was still very concerned at the time that I was not doing the right thing for my spiritual path, or even in my personal life. I wasn’t convinced my anger was necessary, or my grief was justified. I felt lost, and questioned even the loyalty of the beings who showed me nothing but support during my darkest times.

One evening Samael told me that he wanted me to meet someone. I was, at the time, learning to trust myself and I was trying to trust Him. I agreed, and He had me go into a trance. What appeared before me was a bright sphere radiating out rays of light. I felt awe, terrified, and what I thought was unconditional love. It was overwhelming.

I nicknamed this being Mr. White. What it was I don’t know, even to this day. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever met. I listened to what it had to say to me. It claimed it could set me free, and correct my path to the True Way. It claimed to be the Source and the All – the One True God. It said I was being led astray by some of the beings that I had pacts with and had let into my life. Mr. White preyed on my fear and doubt. It convinced me that what I was doing was wrong, and if I returned to the Light then It would guide me – and all would be right in my world.

I asked It to release me from any pacts where I was being deliberately led astray and from any beings that were effecting my True Path. I made sure to add that those that fell within these parameters could not contact me again. The only two beings that didn’t leave immediately were Lucifer and Samael; one my spiritual teacher, the other my spiritual guide. I disassembled all my altars and threw out thousands of dollars of jewelry, altar pieces, gifts to my Guardians, and most items that had to do with current path I was on. It hurt me, but I did it because I was in fear of my soul and how my spiritual practices were effecting my family.

An interesting thing started to happened. I had a glow to my face. I did start attracting more people that considered themselves Lightworkers. My life didn’t change at all, but I felt better about it. Sounds great, right? From my other articles you know that some beings feed off love, ecstasy, and devotion. I soon found out Mr. White was no exception when it came to feeding off positive emotions.

Soon after, my grandmother started to have complications so I went to the hospital to be with her. One of my Guardians, who was a Watcher, showed up. He was very business like and insisted that he was going in with me. I told him that he was banished, and I didn’t understand why he was able to show up. He asked me, “Do you think even the gods could keep me away from you?”

I saw another Guardian that I also assumed was banished, reluctantly showed up immediately after the Watcher’s words were spoken. She was very angry and felt that I had forsaken Her, but said she wasn’t leaving either. I didn’t understand how this was possible at the time. It never occurred to me that they did not meet the guidelines for banishment I had set. I thought They were just being stubborn.

It took me a few more weeks, but I finally caught on that the being Samael introduced to me was not a being of Light, and certainly not Love. Mr. White was used to test my convictions, my Will, and my loyalty. The reason my Guardians were still ‘allowed’ to come in times of need is because They couldn’t be banished – They didn’t even meet the parameters of the release. They left to prove a point – that I needed to learn who was really on my side and dig deeper to find my True Self. It was a relief when I realized this, as I knew They proved Themselves to be loyal and have my best interests in mind.

This lesson, while embarrassing, has been very valuable to me. I have been able to observe and create boundaries based on this experience, and the experience of others who have had the same problem. In fact, some of these people I was able to help them get back their agency so they could say, “No, more. I am not your puppet.”

I decided to list the top three warning signs that you may be dealing with a Being of False Light, even though I originally wrote pages of warning signs. I wanted this to be brief, and I also think it’s important to learn how to trust your own intuition and instincts.

How to Identify Beings of False Light

These are three ways to identify that you are being fooled into believing something is Light and has your best interests, when it really does not. My personal advice for when this happens would be to find a way to politely disengage, but become aggressive if it doesn’t leave. Most of these False Light beings are not even deities, so you can call on a deity of choice to help get rid of them. I prefer Anubis, Michael, or Samael depending on what I am banishing.

  1. Claiming to be The Source. This is probably the most telling of signs that you are dealing with a being of False Light. I’m going to tell you a secret, but one that I think is important to reveal publicly – if there is a True Source, it’s so far removed that even the gods above the gods, above the gods don’t know where It truly resides or what It really is. Our dimension is relatively young, and we are nowhere near where a Source would be. If you believe it to be like light, which generally travels in one direction if not interrupted, then it would have a starting point, which we are no where near. It is closer to think of It like the Big Bang  – everything is expanding from that source. These so-called Light beings usually claim to be the All, the Divine, the One Creator, The Ineffable, etc. These beings are trying to make you feel insignificant without Them. They are using shock and awe to turn your own biases of Light and Dark against you. It is nice to have a clean, simple explanation for everything, but life is complicated. If anything tells you it knows everything, created everything, or can cure everything, then immediately banish it.
  2. Wish Giver. Many entities, deities or not, like to appear as if they are benign or benevolent. If you look on this plane, and know about the different dimensions, you know that an exchange for anything being done is a general rule. So, anything that is trying to convince you that they are doing something extravagant out of the kindness of their heart, isn’t telling you the whole truth. They may promise wealth, love, a successful career, or even a new car. They claim it is a gift. Usually after the ‘love bombing’ the person effected becomes very devoted to the entity, even claiming that it is the only entity that truly can ‘get things done’. What is interesting is that this usually doesn’t last, but the person is convinced that it is something else – even other practitioners – stopping the ‘blessings’. I see this especially in those that have asked for power of some kind. The power eventually dwindles and leaves the person paranoid. This is why when something is given, or offered, I will make a direct exchange at the time so I don’t owe anything to the entity. Alternatively, I will decline the offer. This is because they can come and collect payment, whether you agreed to it or not, if you accept their gifts. The best advice is to live by the rule that nothing is free.
  3. Vagueness. You may notice that many accounts with so-called Light beings are quite vague in both description and sometimes even titles. This is a misdirection, usually feeding off a person’s presumptions – and it is quite effective. You remember when I described Mr. White as being a bright orb radiating rays of Light? That is a vague appearance. These beings of False Light will ‘blind’ by appearing as pillars of light, orbs, humanoid shapes (sometimes with wings) that are ‘pure light’, and even as light itself filling up a room. This is a cloak to hide their true intent and features. Any being that is interested in building trust, will be dampen their “light aura” and allow you to see detailed features. If they are trying to deceive you, they will refuse to become more detailed. Some of them even flair up and become brighter. They may tell you that you can not understand what they are, or it would destroy your mortal body if they show you. If they were truly powerful, they could appear to you however they want – or however you would be able to understand them the best. If it was truly powerful, or a creator, it would understand how to best communicate with you in a way that builds trust, too. The same misdirection goes for titles like Satan, Gatekeeper, Yahweh, Director, Commander, the All, Mother/Father, etc. In the latter situation, you can ask entities you trust if they can determine titles from names, too.

As with all beings, including humans, it is best to exercise caution and boundaries. Critical thinking and common sense come into play during spirit communication.

Ask yourself these questions when dealing with ANY being:

  • Is a specific name given? If so, do all the accounts with the name (if there are any) match what is being told?
  • Is the being really all powerful? Can it instantly make anything happen? Alternatively, if it is all powerful then why is the world not perfect according to every living person?
  • Can the being make themselves known to you without infantilizing or insulting you for asking?
  • Essentially, what limitations does this being put on itself? If it was all powerful it would be able to do anything you ask, and not redirect your attention elsewhere.

Remember that it is you who have power over yourself, no matter the situation. You have the ability to decide what you wish to do with the situations presented, not some godly presence. Any being who tries to take away your free agency, and wants you to submit to them, is not interested in your growth but your servitude to them.

Stay strong and keep growing.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Seeking Credit

Angelic Scents for Incense and Oils

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Angels are very versatile beings to call on. For example, you may call for protection, emotional regulation, and favors. Some of these scents are traditional, while others are requests I’ve had through various angels. These are general scents for all angels, including Archangels and the Fallen. You may create them through incense, oils, and herbs. You may use the oils for anointing, or use in a diffuser instead of incense. Regarding herbs, you may boil them or burn them in an incense bowl. There are various ways to use these scents, too. You may use them to summon angels, as an offering, a healing ointment, etc. If you are applying oils to your skin, use high quality oils and check to make sure the oil is safe to use as a topical ointment. They prefer almond oil as a carrier, but if you are allergic to a carrier oil, use one that works for you. I’ve also used alcohol with herbs and oils to make anointing oils.

Remember when dealing with angels, they deserve respect, and don’t answer to your demands if it is against their nature.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

 

Follow Me At These Sites!

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Join me at the sites listed above in the picture. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Arachnia Stoneskull

Lughnasadh/Lammas: The Wheat Harvest (First of the Three Harvests)

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The Wheel of the Year is turning and we’re enjoying the last of the Summer before Fall happens upon us. It is now time to celebrate the hard work of our labors expressed in the three Harvest Festivals. For those of you that celebrate Wiccan based holidays, Lughnasadh a Greater Sabbat. It is held when the sun is fifteen degrees in Leo, which is August 1st or 2nd.

This is one of the four Greater Sabbats; Samhain, Imbolc and Beltaine being the other four. (The solstices and equinoxes are know as Lesser Sabbats because they were added later on.) Lughnasadh (to give in marriage to Lugh), is also called popularly called Lammas (half-mass). Lugh is the Celtic god who is celebrated traditionally for stopping beings of the Underworld from stealing the harvest. At this time there were usually sports (similar to the Olympics) that were held in his name. It is also said this was a time when people came together to trade and hold faires. Other accounts tell of how this is a time of marriage and handfasting.

It should be noted that there is a historical difference between Lughnasadh and Lammas. Lughnasadh is a day dedicated to the Lugh, while Lammas is a commoner’s harvest festival from the medieval era. In modern celebrations they have become interchangeable.

In some Wiccan traditions this corresponds to the different phases in life. This phase of the year is said to relate to Lugh’s death and sacrifice, which is symbolized by the cutting of the grain. The other two harvests represent the God’s burial and then His descent into the Underworld. Other Wiccan traditions says this is the day representing the marriage of the Goddess and the God (as Lugh).

This is the first harvest festival in the Wheel of the Year, and is known as the Grain Harvest. This is a great time to get together with friends and family, and celebrate the abundance you have in your life. The main foods related to this holiday are grain centered food, like bread. Corn is also an acceptable food. Anything that can be harvested around this time is great for feasting.

Here are some other ideas for Lughnasadh:

  1. Corn Dolly. Corn dollies are a fun project, especially for children. This is great way to teach how to use not just the edible part of a plant, but also the rest of the plant. Waste not, want not is a good lesson. You can find the history of corn dollies in the reference section.
  2. Johnny Barelycorn. Johnny Barelycorn represents the harvest of barley through the death and sacrifice of this figure. It is a metaphor for the cycles that barley crops go through. It is said he is based off a British folk song, but some historians think the tradition is older. A common modern practice is to make a man out of barley or corn stalks, though I was in a coven that simply used branches due to availability. Next you build a bonfire to burn the effigy while dancing around the fire. Some people make bread in the shape of the man and eat it in symbolism of the death and sacrifice of Johnny Barleycorn. The year that I participated in the burning of Johnny Barleycorn we also tied our wishes to him, so they would be carried to the gods. I think this was just our own tradition, and not very common.
  3. Bread Man. You may create a bread man to represent Johnny Barleycorn, or Lugh. It is essentially the same symbolism – sacrifice and death for the betterment of the whole. Eating the bread is a sacrament with the God.

Common Correspondences

Here are some common correspondences for Lughnasadh:

  1. Gods/Goddesses: Lugh, Demeter, Persephone, Osiris, Dumuzi, and Tammuz. Any god or goddess associated with the harvest.
  2. Colors: Gold, yellow, green, orange, bronze and brown. In some traditions purple is acceptable.
  3. Food: Bread, potatoes, summer harvest vegetables (summer squash and zucchini), corn – anything that can be harvested this time of year.
  4. Activities: Feasting, faire/festival, marriage and handfasting, sports, creating crafts related to the harvest and legends surrounding the harvest, storytelling, getting prepared for the winter months.

There are many articles out there that are more in depth about this Pagan holiday, and rituals used to celebrate it. This overview should give you a taste of what Lughnassadh/Lammas is, and how it is important to the Pagan community. Blessed Lughnasadh/Lammas.

-Arachnia

Photo Credit: https://suwalls.com/photography/wheat-at-sunset-35108/

References:

“Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows” by Silver Ravenwolf

Check out the Sources at the Bottom and link within the articles:

Lughnasadh:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lughnasadh

Lammas:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lammas

Johnny Barleycorn:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Barleycorn

Corn Dolly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_dolly

More on Lughnassa/Lammas and how to make a corn doll:

seriphimiaknight.blogspot.com/p/lammas_august_eve.html

Bread man (wheat bread recipe, then shape into a man):

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6773/simple-whole-wheat-bread

Zucchini Bread (I like to add in chocolate chips):

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6698/moms-zucchini-bread

Magickal Backlash: Prevention and Tips (Part 2)

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The previous article that I wrote, Magickal Backlash: What Causes It , addressed the different types of backlash that one may experience. This piece will focus on how you can prevent backlashes.

How to Prevent Backlash

One of the necessary techniques in your workings is going to be preventing the magical backlash that may occur. Here are some things you can do to prevent backlash, or chaos.

  1. Circle. The purpose of creating a circle is threefold; protection, amplification, and creating a bridge between worlds. There are some practitioners that don’t use circles when summoning. I think that this should only be attempted by adepts that deeply understand how summoning works, and has experience with the beings they are calling. Without this experience, you may have problems such as infestation of entities, or even a possession. Some people can deal with reversing this, while others actually make peace with it.
  2. Breaking the Circle. Once, in a spiritual group, we decided not to release our circle just to see what would happen. We didn’t meet for about three weeks, and everyone’s life was messed up. We had the worst luck. When we released the circle at our next meeting, everything returned back to normal. This happened too when I watched a video on a ritual for Lucifer and the magician did not open the circle; the video just stopped at the end of the body of the ritual. I had to release the circle myself, but I had mistaken a deity that I called in before watching the video as the same one in the actual ritual. I had the other deity cause trouble for me for about a year until I figure out who They were.
  3. Correct Titles. Titles, which are type of correspondence, can be very tricky – especially if there are many deities/entities that share the same title. For example, there are many Ba’als, Lucifers, Esophorous’s, Satans, and Queens of the Dead. It is better to call on a specific deity, or learn the proper correspondence for a particular deity/entity. You don’t want to call on the wrong deity and have different results than you expect. You can also make clear your intentions and ask that They forward your request to the correct deity/entity if necessary.
  4. Linguistics. Knowing the root and history of a word can be vital for your ritual to work well. Some deities/entities use the original meaning of a word, instead of the current evolution or slang of the word. These entities do usually know what they are doing, so they get the better end of the bargain. It also helps if you know more archaic words that have more specific meaning than current vocabulary. There are some deities and entities that are in the know about slang and will still be cooperative when called in vernacular language. However, there are some that have a more serious personality and prefer archaic words. I think this is why original material and texts for research on a being are important. I also think it is important to word things carefully, as some words have evolved to have opposite meanings and an entity/deity will take advantage of that. I would suggest www.dictionary.com, which also includes a link to a thesaurus.
  5. Naming the Right Target. Naming a target can be crucial in some spellwork, especially in healing. However, there are times, even when we’re absolutely sure that someone sent a curse, or did us wrong – it is not them. I always advise that in situations where the backlash will be especially painful, to just set the parameters of a spell for anyone that hits it. I also suggest if you do this, to ask for a sign that someone has done something against you. This way you know the truth. I have found out people I wouldn’t ever suspect of hurting me were not true friends, and were actually working against me.
  6. Judge the Target’s Magick Ability. I can not stress this enough, but THERE ARE BIGGER FISH IN THE SEA THAN YOU. It’s why I try not get involved in witch wars or drama. I have seen a lot of people say they can command an army of demons, or are the most powerful beings in the universe, but are braggarts and liars. It is not a contest to see who is stronger, though many witches try that tactic to see how powerful you are. I would assess the person by their knowledge, who they know, and looking at their third-eye. You would be surprised how many people don’t actually have an ounce of magick in them, but people believe they do. Usually those that are powerful do not brag about it, and usually prefer to avoid drama. They also tend to put up a shield that renders their abilities nearly invisible. You may also want to consider if the person belongs in a coven, then get to know how powerful each member is. They may or may not be more powerful than you, but they can still cause inconveniences for some practitioners when a coven brings their talents together.
  7. Personal Shields. This is very useful. In doing this, you are taking the initiative in preventing anything from hurting you. Personally I prefer a neutralizing shield that completely stops any energy or spells thrown at me. You can learn more HERE.
  8. Neutralizing Circle. I like to shield my house, too. I treat my house as a temple, as such I don’t want anything dirty or negative in it – but especially, I do not want anything working against me in my house. I would suggest that you try a neutralizing circle around your house (though technically it is a sphere). This way the energy does not effect anyone else. If you like, you may “capture” the energy for later use after it has been neutralized.
  9. Set Parameters in Workings. You may use this technique to draw something or someone to you. You may also use it as protection both defensively and offensively. What you may do is only limited by your imagination. Setting spells with a set of instructions will prevent and protect you and those you care about.
  10. Learn Correct Correspondences. In the other article I touched on this and gave some examples. This is important. If you use the wrong correspondence your working may not be as powerful, or it may not happen at all. Some entities and deities get offended by the wrong correspondence, too. There are many correspondence books out there. Beware that some are not good, and others are outstanding. You may ask for recommendations from other practitioners, as more experienced practitioners know which books are good for ritual.
  11. Learn Your Deity. There are a lot of people that mix up deities, or try to stretch the similarities of a word or foreign deity to fit in their way of thinking. I warn against this. There are some deities that seem similar, but are two different beings. An example would be Babalon and Lilith – they are two very different beings. I also found that the Greek gods that are mashed together with foreign deities are very testy and not very cooperative. They sometimes tend to cause problems. I have surmised that this may be because the original deities were two very different beings, such as Athena-Neith. I would also find out which deities get along, and which ones don’t. It’s not going to be productive if the two deities are warring. To find more mythology from the original source try www.sacred-texts.com.
  12. Consider Alternatives. Instead of cursing, maybe bind or consider a Magickal No Contact Order. You may also consider healing what is making the person toxic, versus doing a karmic spell. It’s thinking outside the box  that prevents any nasty backlash.
  13. Don’t Start Drama. This is one that I see a lot. We’ve all been in a situation where we start drama. In fact, I would say our magick community sometimes thrives on drama. This drama seems to escalate and curses are thrown. Instead of taking the bait just ignore or find a way to cut off the person/s. By not getting involved, you don’t have to worry about the instability of many practitioners.
  14. Ignoring. The best way to avoid situations and taking the bait is to ignore a person. Many people are looking for admiration or competition. I find that ignoring such people diminishes their power and vampirism. In this case, as in the case of drama, I would see about getting protection through a law oriented deity. You just have to keep your nose clean and not start anything that isn’t deserved. It’s some of the best protection that you can get.
  15. Remember Your Obligations. When you have an obligation to a deity or entity, they tend to get annoyed when you don’t fulfill it. Whether it is keeping altars, or honoring them on their days, there are many ways that we are asked to fulfill our obligations. There is usually some understanding when there is illness or an emergency, but they will collect their energy exchange regarding obligations.This also includes obligations to a coven, another witch, or anyone that you have made a promise to in some fashion.

This general overview should help when making decisions and going forward with your workings. Critical thinking is always the most important aspect of our practices, along with careful review. I am leaving some resources that have helped when casting spells. Hail Thyself and Thy Intelligence.

Resources:

www.dictionary.com

www.thesaurus.com

www.sacred-texts.com

www.wikipedia.com (You can usually find sources at the bottom of the page for more in depth research)

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Seeking credit

Magickal Backlash: What Causes It? (Part 1)

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Magickal backlash is a common event for many practitioners, and can cause problems in one’s daily life.

Sometimes it needs to happen in order for us to get what we need, other times it is something that can be avoided with the right techniques. This article will focus on what is necessary blowback and what is not. I will give you some tips for better rituals to help with backlashes in the next article.

Necessary Backlash

There are times that we have unexpected events from ritual. It may be good or bad. I don’t believe that Karma and the Rule of Three is applied at these times. I believe in action and consequences, and feel that a practitioner must accept the consequences of whatever magic, summoning, or energy that is sent out during a ritual. We can’t always know what the action of these consequences are until they happen. For example, you may send out a spell to destroy a person – it may work, but in the end the person cursed may become better for it, and eventually thrive.

Here’s a list of things that can count as necessary or typical backlash that may happen when doing ritual.

  1. Justice. There are certain beings that their price to work with you is to do a type of cleansing. This may require that if you did similar things as the person you are asking for retribution against, then you may experience the same curse until your “karma” has burned off. The curse may not work if you have the wrong person, or they are found innocent. One being who will do this is Hekate. The deities/entities that are representatives of Eternal Law must follow it, in return you must accept this.
  2. Growth. Many practitioners ask for a better life, a better partner, a better job, etc. Sometimes when we ask for things to be better, we are introduced to troubles and mayhem in our life. Usually this feels like a curse. Some people lose their job, home, or even their family. This is to help your growth, and usually your life will right it self for the better. If you resist though, there is a possibility that things may go wrong until you allow for certain events to happen and you take control of your life and situation.
  3. Making Room. Similar to growth, it may cause chaos in your life until you accept it.  It’s similar to clearing junk out of your house. This may happen if you banish, bind, or cut cords with a person – chaos in your life is going to rearrange your relationships before settling down.
  4. Payment. Despite the belief that many people don’t owe anything to the deities or entities that they work with, there is always an energy exchange of some kind. While incense, cakes, wine, even blood may entice a deity/entity to be summoned, this is not the final payment. They may require more worship by working with them more often, have you tell others of them (spreading their “fame”), but more likely than not they want you to do a favor for them. These are all types of an energy exchange. I have learned that it is easier to find out the details before agreeing on a payment. They all require an equal exchange of what you are asking. Whoever you are working with will acquire their payment, even if it is later on. Your life may be in chaos until the payment is made.
  5. Wording – You Get What You Asked For. This is a difficult one, because it is similar to a preventable backlash – except you do get what you ask for. For example, I told Hekate that I didn’t want Her help, because I wanted to stand on my own two feet and didn’t want to use Her. This did not sit well with Her. I lost my friends, family, and community – even my Guardians were not allowed to help in a lot of areas in my life. I have since then apologized, and told Her I do need community and help. I meant well, and received exactly what I wanted, but it was not the intended outcome. It taught me a lesson in humility and the need for community – but it also taught me my strengths and weaknesses. This was an unexpected outcome, but I did get what I asked for.
  6. A Deity/Entity/Energy is Already Involved in the Situation. There are situations where a person either asked for something, or has cast a spell, and wants it reversed. While there are safe ways to reverse certain spells, some need to run their course. When we interfere with workings that need to run their course, we can sometimes receive a backlash . This especially happens if we cast another spell that is doing the opposite of the original ritual without reversing or dispersing the first working. Be aware that some people have cursed themselves, or are cursed from another person, or even a deity. This is a lesson for everyone involved, and is something that is not preventable. If you become involved and make a decision to do whatever it takes to reverse a spell that needs to run its course, you need to accept the consequences. It is possible to reverse these types of spells, but to do it prematurely can take great sacrifice. From personal experience, I can tell you it is rarely worth it. This is because the person didn’t learn their lesson; they will be ungrateful and even start blaming you for all their woes. My best advice is once you realize what is going on to walk away, even if it is friends or family. The spell will run its course, and when the specifications are met the spell then it will disperse.

Preventable Backlash

There is backlash that can be avoided. Here are some types of backlash that may be avoided.

  1. Wording. Wording is very important. Sometimes how you word a spell will effect it differently than you expected. For example, you may ask for a car that runs and will be low maintenance. What you may end up getting may not be a new car, but a junky looking car with all the specifications. The same goes for love spells; if you ask for a handsome lover that has passion and money, you may get a man that has other women on the side. Or it may be short lived. You just never know, so I would suggest being more specific.

    Also, there are some words that mean something different in the past than what we use now. You may want to look in a dictionary or thesaurus for the history of a word. The linguistics of a word can make all the difference in your spell, especially if the deity/entity was from a certain time period.

  2. Romantic/Sexual Spells. This one can be tricky, and why I don’t do sex and love spells on a specific person. There are many things that can happen. It can be successful and both parties are satisfied with each other, or it may end in disaster where one party doesn’t want to be in a relationship any more and the other partner does. It can be either the spellcaster or the other person that does not want to break off the relationship. There is a possibility that it may lead to stalking or abuse on the partner that doesn’t want the relationship. When you cast a love spell, you may cast it on yourself – especially if it something you strongly desire. We all can cast the spell of love on ourself when we really want it.
  3. Wrong Target. Sometimes you may use the wrong target in your ritual. Depending on if you called a being related of law, or a justice, they may not choose to help and even collect retribution on the practitioner calling them. Also, some people have such beings working with them, so they have protection or warnings from these beings. This has happened to me when a coven asked Samael for unwarranted retribution, and they ended up with the consequences. This is also why I would check out a person’s motive, and consult with my guides, before joining in on a spell.
  4. Return to Sender. There are people that know there is a curse put on them, or they may do regular banishing. One way to banish things is to return it to the person that sent the curse or the entity. It is unfortunate that many people mistake a return to sender as an attack on them, when it is an actual an attack on theirself. One way you can identify a return to sender is that like events that you have placed on another person begin happening to you. Some people can detect another’s personal signature, and may mistakenly believe that the other person has cursed them in return. There is a possibility that both parties do a return to sender to each other multiple times, and may end up building up and creating backlash for not just the practitioners involved, but also those around them.
  5. Using the Wrong Correspondence. There are certain correspondences that have gained power through belief. Depending on what tradition you belong to, or what type of spells you are doing, there are correspondences that work better than others for whatever you are doing. A popular correspondence is candle colors. For example, the color black is traditionally seen as evil, but black itself is the absence of color. Because it is absent of color, it makes for a great candle color to banish or exorcise entities. However, black in the Western philosophies is evil and denotes death (note that death is white in Eastern philosophy). If you are using Western magick , then black candles can be used to open gates to Cthonic planes, including the Underworld and the Abyss. This is also a popular candle color for general summoning of Cthonic deities (like Hekate, Samael, Azrael), demons (Asmodeus, Beelzebub, and Ba’al), and the dead. (Note: These deities and entities do have specific colors, but that is for you to find out. Black, while used for summoning, is a basic color and is a lot more effective with other specific colors to the deity/entity.)

    Sometimes we do the wrong the correspondences. For example, I found that even using the wrong incense can call up different deities if they share titles. One such mistake is the calling on the Archangel/Deity of Lucifer with Jupiter incense. This will bring a whole another entity that I call Jupiter-Lucifer – the god Jupiter/Zeus. If you want to call in the rebel Archangel Lucifer, you would use Frankincense. I have also seen many people describe Lucifer with long white hair, blue eyes, and even a lightening bolt on the forehead, come to them as a lover or guide – this is actually Jupiter/Zeus (remember He loves to trick people into loving him, or for sex). Here is the only mention I have seen of Jupiter being called Lucifer before Venus (I am still looking for more substantial evidence), which helped me when I dealt with the wrong entity that created chaos on in my life: https://gnosticwarrior.com/morning-star.html

  6. Unexpected Results from Intentions. Intention is very important. Like wording and details, it directs our Will in ritual and life. However, sometimes the result of our intentions, even if they are well meaning, may backfire. For example, I helped a woman send a healing spell to her son in prison. He was not receiving the healthcare he needed for an infection. After the spell, both of us were very ill for a few days. I knew that she had asked Hekate for justice and to punish whoever had set up her son for being charged with a felony. I found out later that even though she did not believe her son did it, that he was in reality guilty. The backlash came because she asked Hekate to punish whoever did the crime, and we were essentially going against the spell she cast by trying to heal him. This is also why I interview people now that want a curse removed, an entity banished, or an exorcism. Sometimes people get what they deserve, and it is not our place to help them, but let them learn.

I cannot express enough that no matter the outcome, we must take responsibility for our own actions. I have tried to reverse spells that I set with very strong parameters, or I have seen my curses actually benefit people that I despise. I have since then learned to accept the consequences of my actions. However, it has been a good learning experience. As the saying goes, “Practice safe hex!”

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: https://thewallpaper.co/artistic-d-contrast-fracture-explosion-digital-shine-broken-comics-psychedeliccg-light-silhouette-dark-widescreen-backgroundstock-images-art/

Birthdays: The Highest Holiday

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The highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birth. Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one.” -Anton Szandor LaVey

Today is my birthday. I turn forty today, which is pretty amazing considering all I have gone through. I have been thinking about the past thirty-nine years this last year, but this year I decided to try something different – I am looking forward.

I really feel that I have lived in the past a lot of my life, and this has held me back. Though looking back the past five years, I can honestly say I have started to live my life more and I am proud of myself. I have overcome hardships such as homelessness, leaving an abusive relationship, and beginning down my personal path to power. However, it is time to move on to bigger and better things in my life.

I still have a lot of small goals that I need to fulfill, but are a lifetime commitment. This is mainly because they deal with the mental illness and other traumatic events. These don’t go away, but on some level they can be controlled. My biggest goal regarding this is trying to see if I can change the way my brain thinks – enough that all the negativity in my life will be deprogrammed. I am taking notes, so I can share with others when this happens.

My other life goals are more simple and more for me. Love; a happy and healthy family; getting healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally; being able to fully understand my spiritual path and helping others on their path are the major goals I plan on focusing on the rest of this lifetime.

I do have plans of teaching more, opening a temple, and even doing a few workshops. I have the ambitious plan of trying to unite all the local area Pagans, so we can network and build a community. These are some of my more ambitious and harder pursuits. I want to see all these come to fruition.

Though I am not a Satanist, I am a Dark Pagan, I do agree with Anton LaVey’s view of birthdays. We are our highest priority, even if we choose to give ourself to others. You are important. Only you have the ability to make your dreams transform into reality. You are the god of your own world. Take pride in yourself and celebrate yourself every day. This will bring you the joy and passion that you need to fulfill your goals.

Hail Thyself and stay true to Self!

Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Seeking Credit

Curses, Hexes, and Jinxes: How to Prevent Them and Protect Yourself

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I admit that I am pretty amused when I see hexes and curses thrown around on the internet like confetti. Most people have no real power in sustaining a decent curse and it starves itself. Occasionally, there is the all out witch war. These are worrisome, and can spill over onto people that have nothing to do with the argument, but even then these wars seems to dissipate pretty quickly.

I have done several things to protect myself from these things. I won’t be discussing my more advanced magical practices, but thought I would share a few tips when it comes to curses and hexes.

What is a curse? It is something that is created to destabilize a person’s well-being magically and physically. Curses can come from anywhere, including our self. Yes, we can curse our self. This is why I don’t always recommend a “return to sender”. Double cursing one’s self is very unpleasant.

Here are some very simple ways to deflect and banish curses, jinxes, and hexes.

  1. Black Candle. When banishing energies that are created not only by emotions, but thought forms, I like to use the black candle method. You may dress the candle with anointing oils/herbs and scratch wards/sigils into the candle. If you are not that advanced, hold the candle in your hand, imagining the type of energy and intention you wish to instill in the candle. I like to place the candle in a central room with a lot of traffic, such as a living or dining room. After blessing the candle with intention, light it stating its purpose to banish. Then allow for it to burn completely out. Small candles work just as well as large ones, depending on how much negative energy has accrued in the house.
  2. Saging, Incense, Diffuser. Certain scents can “chase” away negative energy. Using any of these tools will help with neutralizing energy, but will not rid your house of entities or some thought forms.
  3. Sheilds and Grounding. The most useful techniques to know is how to shield and ground. Grounding helps with the emotional aspect of your body, while the sheilding protects you from being bombarded by thought forms and curses. My favorite types of shields include those that neutralize any energy that hit the shield, or those that have the curse roll off like teflon.
  4. Tinctures. These are potions and drinks that you can make to either take internally, pour, or spray to protect your space. I have used Florida Water, Entity Mace, and other tinctures for protection on the body, too. You can also use tinctures to enhance wards.
  5. Wards. These are symbols and sigils that can be used as protection and defense. There are many kinds of wards. There are wards for banishing, exorcisms, to keep away bad health, etc. I suggest doing wards on all portals. This includes doors, windows, toilets, drains, doorjambs/doorways, etc.
  6. Blessing. Blessing yourself, your house, and those you love can be a powerful protector against the common magician/witch. When you do a blessing, name the qualities you wish to bring into the blessing.
  7. Magical/Blessed/Consecrated Items. Many witches and magicians use consecrated and blessed jewelry or clothing for protection. This can include pendants, brooches, rings, bracelets, jackets, piercings, etc. Even tattoos can be consecrated for protection.
  8. Incantations/Rhymes/Mantras. This can be a very effective way to rid one’s self of curses and hexes, especially one’s we put on our self. I’ve known people that have had silly rhymes that were just as effective as a large ritual. This is because it is based on belief, will, and intent.

Armed with these basic techniques, you should be able to ward and defend yourself from curses and most other attacks. It is often said, where I come from, that the best offense is a good defense. This holds true even in magic. Remember to use magic responsibly and stay safe.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

 

Photo Credit: Seeking credit for artist.

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