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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

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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.

Evocation of Hekate

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This is one of my earlier evocations when I began writing rituals. This particular evocation I wrote for Hekate for the Night of Hekate, which is celebrated on November 16. This was included in the first public ritual I led. It was a very powerful and humbling experience that introduced me to Hekate in Crone form.

 

Evocation of Hekate

Great Goddess, Hekate,

We evoke thee and invite thee

to join our circle this evening.

We come to you in humility

to celebrate your greatness

this dark night.

Hekate, Goddess of Three,

Gentle Maiden, Holy Mother, Wise Crone,

hear us this evening.

As we walk between the worlds

into the depth of self discovery,

guide us.

Great Mother

Great Teacher

Great Goddess

We thank the

and welcome thee into our Circle.

Hail, and welcome!

So Mote It Be.

(November 16, 2012)

Photo Credit: “Hekate” by mari-na on DeviantArt

My Experience with Full Possession

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This is an essay I wrote on my Facebook page for Arachnia’s Web a couple of years ago. I thought I would share it here. I cleaned it up a little and made sure the details were correct. I learned a lot through this experience, and hope you find it useful too. Here is my story about the first time that I was fully possessed by force:

Cold rainy days seems to trigger memories more so than “happy” sunny days. This is not a bad thing; I just go more inward, thinking more about where I am at and how my experiences shaped me. This morning I lit the “Goddess” incense for Neith, my Matron, when I had a memory of my first full possession.

Possession has been forefront in my mind lately because there seems to be a rash of entity problems in my town lately – more than usual. True, it is near Samhain – Halloween – but it is becoming more of a problem. It is almost an infestation. This has inspired me to write a series of articles regarding possessions, while outlining a small handbook. Both the articles and book will be available later this year.

I could not, unfortunately, find the journal I kept the original experience of my possession. This is from my memory, which still impacts my practices to this day:

Back in 2012 I was working in a Wiccan temple. Part of my training included opening myself up to psychic experiences through the use of the candle void meditation. It’s relatively simple, you draw a circle for protection and call upon whoever you are working with; at this time my High Priest suggested I work with the titles of The Lord and Lady. I would say a prayer of gratitude and protection to the Lord and Lady, then proceed with the meditation for 15-40 minutes, depending on my concentration. At this time I had still suffered decades of insomnia, so I would do my meditations around in the late evening around 11 p.m., or early morning around 3 a.m., or 5 a.m.

This particular morning I did the usual; I made a cup of tea to drink after the ritual for calming, set up the simple altar of a blessed white candle, Indian Temple incense, and my notebook with my prayer written in it.

I drew a circle with my finger, since it was a simple meditation. Then I called on the Lord and Lady:

“Lord and Lady,

I humbly come before you

to ask for balance;

I seek stability in my life.

I shall hold up truth; not deception.

I shall show compassion; not judgment.

I shall show generosity; not avarice.

I shall be unpretentious; not prideful.

I will love myself, not out of vanity

But because I am your creation,

made of your love.

I shall respect myself,

And I shall respect others.

Thank you for your blessings, Lord and Lady.

Blessed Be.”

After saying the prayer, I lit the candle and stared at the flame. I allowed my thoughts of the moment to enter and leave my head, without dwelling on them. I did this until I could concentrate fully on the flame. After several minutes of staring at the flame is usually when the mind begins to drift, or become tired. At this point I either begin to fall asleep, or feel my body vibrate.

This time I felt my body vibrate, but I concentrated on the candle, not allowing myself to become disconnected from my body. I became more calm, while my body became heavier and my mind clearer.

I was facing South this particular night, with a white candle. As I became more relaxed, a sudden pressure came into my body, starting from my head. As it descended along my spine and into my feet, I tried repeatedly to take a breath, but my lungs were like iron and immovable. I was fully paralyzed, though I could see straight ahead at the blank wall and was fully aware.

I was beginning to panic several seconds later when I realized I couldn’t move my head, along with the loss of breath. It was like time within my body had stopped. I wanted to call out, but couldn’t. That’s when I heard a voice – deep, yet feminine. She spoke like a thousand beings simultaneously vocalizing. It was frightening, not because it was malevolent, but because it felt old and vast. The voice triggered images of stars and darkness; a Divine chorus of Gods.

“I am Neith. You are to make your dedication to me on the next Full Moon.”

It felt like eternity, but the goddess left my body. Slowly I regained use of my muscles and could breathe again. I counted back from ten, as I realized I was in a type of trance and needed to wake up, even though I felt awake.

I have since then dedicated myself and worked with Neith. Though I have been possessed on several other occasions, I have never experienced such a complete, alien, and terrifying possession as that one. There are some things in this world that we have no control over, and it is wise to learn and accept the responsibilities that come with learning magic and meditation.

-Arachnia Stoneskull

September 14, 2016

Photo Credit: Seeking artist for credit.

Cognitive Dissonance and the Spiritual Path

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The first time I received any true information regarding my current belief system, I became broken. I had just found out that Samael and Abrasax, as a Mormon, were the gods I cried out to for help. Though it had been nearly a year since I met Them, and They were helpful, I thought they were separate beings from the Christian God. I had, up until that time, blamed all my problems as a child and throughout most of my adulthood on YVWH. I felt like my world was falling apart, and it was hard to come to the terms with all the times I really needed someone, but heard only silence. The times where I was in situations that They could have prevented. It didn’t make any sense, and I needed to make sense of it. I couldn’t believe with how nice They had been to me that they were involved in my perception of Them being an uncaring God.

This type of feeling and situation is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when you are presented with new information that contradicts previous information – and as a result causes the mind to resist new information. This resistance is a type of protection, because for some people all they have is their worldview. This is why religious people are so resistant to new information, once they accept wholly what they believe. It upsets everything they know, and they do not have the ability to keep an open mind.

This goes into the saying that if you have a full cup, you can’t fill it – meaning you don’t have the ability to learn anything new if you have solid preconceptions of information presented. Sometimes, we need to empty that cup and keep an open mind.

So, how does this effect us in magic? It effects us greatly, especially if we are searching for answers and truths. We cannot find either if we have concrete beliefs. There are beliefs that fall under ethical and moral compasses, which are subjective, but I am talking about ultimate truths.

For example, one of these truths is that everything is dynamic, not static. Everything is moving as a cycle only to recycle and begin again. This is a truth that may help with cognitive dissonance. Keeping an open mind and looking for clues, which may lead back to the beginning with even greater understanding. This seems to be a theme in my life, and in many others. I think that is why we have a hard time “breaking karma”. Once we understand what our lesson is, it goes in deeper. For example, one of my lessons is boundaries; I attract people that seem to like me, but in reality are only using me because I have a generous heart. My lesson now, because I have closed up, is to open up to being generous again – but this time have boundaries and know who is really my friend.

It has been harrowing, and full of sorrows, the path that I have taken. There has been a lot of cognitive dissonance, especially since I work with “poisonous” entities such as Samael and Sutekh (Set). Spiritual poison may transform or destroy, and that poison is the root of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is asking us to review our thoughts and beliefs. This can lead to periods of despondency and feeling hollow. While those are some of the negative effects, they are healing – it allows for our cup to empty before becoming full again. The trick is to realize you are in a slump, and choose a direction. It is in choosing the direction, and carrying out actions to go in that direction, that is difficult. It is easier to wallow in self pity and just see what happens, but this is also detrimental spiritually.

Along any path, especially when dealing with magic and the occult, you will have these feelings. It is natural to have cognitive dissonance, especially when breaking down old values to add new ones.

Cognitive Dissonance Symptoms

There are many feelings and events that happen when you have cognitive dissonance, especially in a spiritual sense. Here are few things you may experience.

  1. You may hear something and automatically dismiss it, not because you know it from experience, but because you believed something you were told, or that you read. This happens a lot, especially if there is a religious aspect. I consider religion a set of rules and beliefs that deal with your spiritual life; essentially dogma. Whether most people want to admit it, or not, dogma is in almost every practice, even atheistic cults.
  2. You feel torn, or at war, with yourself regarding any of your beliefs. You beliefs become your identity, and that is problem. You can still have a foundation of self, and have several identities working together. I call these labels and titles. It is how we, and other people, perceive ourselves as. Drop the labels and get to know yourself. We all have contradictions, whether through societal programming, biology, or mental health. It’s okay to admit this and reconcile with your whole self.
  3. You feel personally attacked every time someone mentions you or your beliefs in a negative light. It isn’t about you when someone expresses their opinion. Learn to take things less personally, if you have this problem.
  4. Everything seems dull. You feel lost and don’t know where you stand. You have conflicting emotions on what to do. These are common feelings of many people. This is where you need to choose something, anything, to start living again. It doesn’t even have to be big. You can start any type of project, and it should facilitate a purpose in your life. The key is to keep going. If you finish a project and don’t feel fulfilled, try another project. It’s difficult, but it does help in the long run.

There are other symptoms, but these are some of the most common.

There is no real relief from cognitive dissonance. Most people either suppress it, even if it is constant, or avoid anything that causes the problem. I suggest avoidance only until you are ready to face it, but not complete avoidance. That can eventually lead to a mental breakdown, especially if the information keeps presenting itself.

Cognitive dissonance can be a great tool to see where you are at in your development, and even help to open new avenues of thinking. This could include enhancing empathy, too. You just need to be aware in this state that sometimes things are not as they seem.

Remember that one of the biggest lessons and skills on the Left Hand Path is to take charge of your life, which cognitive dissonance teaches us how to do. Though it may seem difficult, you have the strength to carry on. The human spirit can become indomitable through adversity.

May your path be illuminated through the darkness. Hail Thyself!

-Arachnia Stoneskull

Photo Credit: Found at https://www.boredpanda.com/depression-through-art/

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