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Getting Started

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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:14 pm

STOCKING A WITCH'S SUPPLY CUPBOARD

The most useful mundane tools are often household items you have on hand. Thrift store shopping is a responsible means of recycling and repurposing.

A simple starter kit for an herb-oil-stone collection would include things that have properties of the 3-Ps: protection, prosperity & power. Protection includes both cleansing & banishing functions which often are shared by the same item, while prosperity includes attracting health, love & abundance that often run together. Power is for extra oomph. To cover the bases, choose at least one herb or spice, essential oil & stone that will do one of these 3 tasks. (See the Table of Correspondences, Wicca 101 section). This reduces what you need to start & still get the job done.

It makes sense to choose appealing aromas that you can tolerate so that you can comfortably use them. Pungent scents (like sage or rosemary) pleasantly purify, whereas hot, biting scents that make you draw back (like black pepper or hot paprika) will repel more forcefully. Scent is very useful in determining magical uses.

Incense: frankincense, myrrh, copal and dragons blood are tree sap resins valued for their cleansing and spiritual properties. Resins need to be melted on salte-petre treated coals which need a fire-safe container & heat insulation; these scents are available in stick/cone form as well. The aroma of smoldering incense is used as an offering and to attract the spirit forces you want.

As a general guide, the God is associated with forest and spice scents, and florals & citrus with the Goddess. Resins burn slowly in small amounts as long as the coal lasts up to 2 hours and provide a huge amount of smoke; sticks last about 20-30 minutes, and smudge bundles of sage, cedar & pine, or wood slats of palo santo or cinnamon bark burn only a minute or two.

Color indicates how something will work for magic. The bare minimum of white can be used as all-purpose (& to purify), and red (empower), & black (protect). These 3 are the colors associated with the triple Moon Goddess as maid, mother & crone. Green is associated with the forest God of the Hunt, and the Earth Mother. Spiritual assistance generally comes under purple. The four elements associations are yellow-Air, red-Fire, blue-Water, green/brown-Earth, white/gold/silver-Spirit. Color interpretation is very flexible and adaptable to personal preferences.

LISTS OF MISC STUFF

Altar &' Spells:
Flat surface, table top or tray (fire safety is your first priority)
Matches or lighter (unless you go flameless)
Candles & holders (or flameless substitute)
Incense & holder (or flameless, scented substitute)
Anointing oil (if used)
Corn meal, oat meal or rice for offerings
Bowl/bottle of water and full salt shaker
Your choice of tools: athame, wand, bowl/cup, bell, pentacle &/or stone; Stang, cauldron
Divination method: scrying bowl or crystal, Tarot cards, pendulum, runes, etc.
Colored cords for your Measure or cord magic
Assorted color altar cloths, scarves, bandanas, handkerchiefs (as altar cloths & pouches)
Found bits: bent pins, rusty nails, buttons, thread tangles, heart-shaped & holey-stones
Dirt collected from ancestors graves, significant businesses, home-stead
Quartz stone, raw or polished
Notebook & pen, red pen/cil

Brewing:
Heat source (electric hot pot or kettle, crock pot, kitchen stove, BBQ)
Lite olive oil
Common cooking herbs & spices, Salt
Common tea herbs - mint, chamomile, ginger, rose hip (the easiest brew is a cuppa tea)
Teapot or tea mug with strainer, lidded pot
Spoons for stirring & measuring
Paring knife & cutting board (or use a plate)
Mixing bowl
Mortar & pestle
Storage containers

Specimen Hunt:
Map of nature trails (if applicable)
Plant guide, or use your mobil phone/Internet
Small flashlight, or mobil phone
Carry sack
Folding knife or scissors
Hand trowel for digging roots
Baggies to separate specimens, & marker pen (one droopy plant looks like another at home)
Bottled water, for drinking and offering, or cornmeal
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:16 pm

As you seem to have the fountain of information. How would you go about cutting wood from a tree as part of making an altar? I have a table top that im going to cut to my desired shape. I know how to dry out the wood and treat it with beeswax, but how do you go about actually harvesting the wood directly from the tree to avoid moisture from the ground?

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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:05 pm

SPELL FORMAT

It's a good idea to use a pendulum or some other divination to ask if it is appropriate to do a spell you have in mind. If the response is negative, respect that. If it's OK and good to go, here are some aids.

1. Know your general goal: health, love, prosperity, protection, wisdom

2. What's your purpose? attracting/gain, repelling/release, empowering

3. Moon: attraction/gain works best as the moon grows (waxing moon); repelling/release is best done when the moon diminishes (waning moon). Personal empowerment & success of endeavors is done at Full Moon. Set a time limit so the spell concludes. (Optional).

4. The Elements make up everything that exists. Which of the Elements best serves your goal? They have general properties & symbolism. These are some standard suggestions, and of course there are variations in traditions.

Air - beginnings, thoughts, knowledge, East Quarter, yellow, feathers, sounds, smoke/scent
Fire - vitality, will-power, friendships, South Quarter, red, spice, candle, coals
Water - fertility, psychism, West Quarter, blue, potions, shells, citrus, mist, steam, H2O
Earth - endings, practical changes, North Quarter, green, grains, sod, stones, cords, coins
Spirit - balance, soul travel, mysticism, Center, purple, quartz crystal, sound, bell

5. Like aids like. What do you have on hand that matches the Elemental associations with the goal?These are the spell materials you will charge with your energized intention. Ex: starting a new project has Air connections so choose spell materials with the same associations to strengthen the link to this power. It is traditional to use an odd number of total ingredients, 1-13.

6. Chant or rhyme to recite for drawing power. Rhyme helps focus the will, and repetition strengthens intent.

7. Know your method, & use what you have on hand to hold the spell. Here are 13 examples:
Bottle/jar: holds a potion, herbs, stones infused with intent, can be displayed or hidden
Candle: loaded with willpower and is burned to release the intent while you gaze at the flame
Charm Bag: herb and charm-filled pouch worn next to the skin for luck
Crystal Grids: template layouts of stones to enforce thought forms
Dream Pillow: herb and stone filled pouch to induce dreams, astral travel, or sleep
Knot Charm: cord tied with conjured knots to hold the spell until untied to release the power
Mandalas: concentric circle designs drawn or using items to reinforce intention
Potions: cooking herbs & spices simmered in moon water is sprinkled, dabbed-on or drank
Poppet: cloth, wax, or bread dolly filled with herbs & conjured for intent, buried or shared
Sigils: symbolic signs that artfully combine letters of words stating the goal; display or burn
Stones: psychically charged with intent, will hold the charge until dislodged or cleansed
Talisman: empowered luck piece, worn or carried
Witch's Ladder: string together feathers, twigs, herb bundles, charms, holey-stone for goal

8. It is traditional to not discuss a spell until after it has manifested, lest you deplete and weaken the energy by drawing it back to you.

9. We remain ethericly connected to a spell as long as it is active. Breaking your connection to the spell and disposing of spent materials after the spell is fulfilled and manifested, is as much part of the spell as creating it. Botanicals can be composted or burned. Stones can be reused after cleansing, or returned to earth. Spent candle stubs can be put in the trash. Bottles & jars can be washed & reused. When dis-assembling the spell, use your spoken intent to decommission and end the spell. Remember we clean up after ourselves, dismiss what was summoned, and end what was begun. This important step keeps psychic energy from clinging to us & becoming psychic sludge that attracts negativity & drains our power.

MAGICAL LAWS (paraphrased)

Doctrine of Signatures - The attributes without mirror the qualities within. Nature has left clues to the magical uses of an object through it's shape, texture, color, markings, smell & taste.

Law of Contagion - Once together, always together. Whenever two things touch, they leave connecting strands of energy between them. the longer the contact, the stronger the link. Witches tap into these connections.

Law of Sympathy - The finite mirrors the infinite; or this represents that. In magical use, what is willed, intended, or done to the symbol or image, will also impact the material target. The symbol is as real as the thing itself.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:01 pm

DAYS OF POWER

The days of power vary by traditions. Not all standard 8 Sabbats have to be observed because we all live in environmentally different areas. There's a heap of difference between weather and seasonal patterns in the desert, the tropics, the midlands and mountains, and snow fields. We are free to choose to observe the dates that best suit our location, & not rigidly follow a calendar.

The so-called lesser days are when the seasonal power is beginning. Generally they are of Norse origin. These solar dates are the summer and winter solstices when the Sun appears as if it crosses the Earth's equator, lengthening and shortening daylight hours; and the spring and autumn equinoxes when day and night hours are equal. Sunrise & sunset are the liminal, magical times between one season and the next. Times of transition summon power. It takes a bit over 365 days for the Earth to circle the Sun, so the dates vary from the 20th to 23rd of every December, March, June and September.

The greater days are when the season's energies crest. The names differ by regional languages, and generally are Celtic. The dates are October 31/November 1, February 1-2, April 30/May 1, July 31/August 1. Midnight is the magic hour, the crest of the wave when the natural force breaks free.

Full Moons (Esbats) occur every 29.5 days which is how long it takes the moon to go around the earth, and get out of the Earth's shadow, to reflect the sunlight as full moon. The Moon's pull affects ocean tides, sap rising and falling, female menstrual cycles & male testosterone. It is a very real force. There are 13 full Moon's annually.

CONTINUING YOUR DEVELOPMENT

Okay, that's enough to get an interested person started practicing witchcraft. Your studies are self directed, and guided by your intuition and abilities. You might be called by a specific Deity and want to know them. You can continue with what appeals to you most. Some suggestions: make your own candles; plant an herb garden; learn astrology; explore & experience each Element and it's correspondences; develop divination methods; study hands-on or distant healing; collect rocks; learn herbalism and earn certification, or learn the safe, wild plants in your locale; make a prayer garden; explore necromancy & contact your ancestors; respectfully meet the Fae; learn weather control; learn about your power animals and spirit guides; develop your psychic abilities; learn astral travel; learn Yoga; learn Feng Shui; learn Reiki. Attend classes offered through a witch supply shop or Botanica, the local library, museum, nature center or public garden. Never stop journaling.

In time, you will know your own strengths and special talents. Follow what draws you. Learn what you can do for yourself and keep adding on. It never ends, but we are allowed to rest now and then. We can expect occasional dry seasons when we feel like everything is meaningless. This is normal. Nature is cyclical & we are part of Nature. It just means that one learning cycle has concluded, and the next has not yet begun. It passes in time, and new opportunities arrive.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:18 pm

binxyhollow wrote:As you seem to have the fountain of information. How would you go about cutting wood from a tree as part of making an altar? I have a table top that im going to cut to my desired shape. I know how to dry out the wood and treat it with beeswax, but how do you go about actually harvesting the wood directly from the tree to avoid moisture from the ground?

devon

I'm sorry, but I have no idea. I imagine once a tree is felled it can be cross cut into slabs if you have the proper saw and strength. It's way beyond me. Wouldn't you think wood slabs should be dried under pressure to prevent warping? How you'd do that, I have no idea, or experience but I'd bet a lumber mill can tell you. The ends of 2x4s are stamped with info that the wood was pressure treated when dried. Go to a Home Depo or Lowes and see their set up.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:21 pm

I know how to make it. I mean more blessing the ground or tree, how to give it back what you are taking from that tree

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Re: Getting Started

Postby Hagerman420 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:52 pm

binxyhollow wrote:I know how to make it. I mean more blessing the ground or tree, how to give it back what you are taking from that tree

devon



Maybe plant a seed for new growth of another tree?
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:56 pm

If you were a hunter and killed a deer, how would you honor and give thanks for the gift of it's life force? Cutting down a tree is killing it, taking it's life force, & removing it as a habitat from the forest. Consider how to honor that and provide temporary shelter for the homeless and dispossessed land spirit dwelling within. It needs a place to move into, like a temporary spirit house. The likely place is if a portion of the tree is left intact, probably the roots will remain, but will eventually die. But a bundle of the twigs may be a possibility, or a fairy house.

I'm thinking of the corn dollies, made from the last sheafs of grain in to which the spirit of the harvest has fled. The dolls, like the Yule log, hold the spirit and are over-wintered and then burned and the ashes returned to the field, sort of shoving the spirit out and back into the soil.

A symbolic act is a real act in magic, so fashion a temporary home for the spirit. explain how the tree's sacrifice will be put to use, use up all of the tree eventually, as you would a deer carcass.

If the concept makes you feel foolish, ask yourself why you need to cut the tree down, for an altar of your religion. How will your altar serve the spirit of the tree? And will it serve the Deity with whom you commune? People used to worship trees at one time in history. Can you work with that?

Planting a new seed is a way of providing for the living essence of the tree you cut down.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Hagerman420 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:03 pm

The way the first nation people do it when they kill for food is give thanks to the spirit for allowing for them to take it's life to feed existing life.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:06 pm

Thank you thats a great set of questions. I wouldnt be killing the tree, just taking a small part of it. I dont know my gods or goddess other than arthemis yet but i know nature is integral to me. I do like the idea of making or buying a bird house to place in the tree for which im harvesting the wood from. I would take fallen branches but they get soaked and ruined easily

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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:13 pm

Would the tools in which i prep the tree branch need blessing or consecrating?

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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:18 pm

No, I don't think so. Your intent will honor the life force. But you might wipe the blade down with alcohol so you don't transfer any tree diseases. I do that when pruning roses from bush to bush.

I like your idea of the bird house :mrgreen:

Edit: hmm, I thought about this overnight. I did a head smack as I remembered I had consecrated my gardening tools. But I used them again and again in the same location, as you would use altar tools again and again at the location of your altar. So, I'm gonna fudge out and say it's up to you. Your intent at the occasion of a one-time pruning is sufficient for the purpose.

EDIT: and leave an offering, of course. Doh. Whenever we glean from Nature, leave an offering as apology for disturbing the spirit involved.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:38 pm

Alright thank you for the info, i think il take my time and either wait for a storm and go searching for one or wait til the time feels right to go harvest the wood. Il consecrating my gardening toola anyway as i want to grow some of my own herbs, so trimming or digging them up il need it

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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:45 pm

LAYING THE COMPASS

There are Tradition-by-Region or folkloric but non-Wiccan methods to prepare a liminal area (a place between) in which to work, and I think beginners should have an inkling of multiple ways of doing things. I believe this form comes from Peter Paddon's "Grimoire for Cunning Folk." The long staff (which represents the World Tree) or forked Stang (which represents the Horned God) is used to trace the compass (circle) onto the ground. Walk WIDDERSHINS (counter-clockwise) to stir the earth. The Earth is already sacred.

Hold the staff in the left hand, left being linked to the underworld, and starting at North, drag the staff pressing down lightly as if to plow a furrow into the EARTH. Visualize the plow stirring and waking up the land.

Make a hissing sound, or chant, to induce trance as you walk, deep breathing to hiss AIR.

When you feel the Land forces response, conclude circling where you started, at North and stand the staff as a gateway or move it to the center of the compass to mark the place where the three worlds & cross roads meet.

Rinse your hands and face in some WATER you have prepared.

Light the FIRE in your fire pit, BBQ, cauldron or light a candle or lantern.

The compass is made. The four elements are present. Non-Wiccans generally don't evoke Deity (it's entirely up to you) but might invite a familiar spirit as part of their observance.

Pay a token coin to the Land Spirits for the use of the Sacred Land. Just flip a coin of any denomination over your shoulder and leave it there. (Personally i think The Land would have more use for corn meal.) State the purpose for which you've laid down the compass, state the work to be done. Then proceed with that purpose.

When done, state that the task for which you came is completed and thank the spirits for their aid. If you evoked anything, farewell it. Ground excess energy. Clean up.

The standard tools are Stang (horned god), cup or cauldron (goddess), and your personal Measure or cord. Some also include a hearth stone for the Ancestors. Colors and direction's elemental associations vary by path.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:58 pm

BROOM CLOSET

Many beginners feel a need to keep their practice low key and under wraps. Exploring new beliefs can sometimes be at odds with one's home life. I don't recommend bold face deceitfulness or deception. However, I do support free-thinking & exploring, but decisions are subject to parental authority until we reach legal age. That's just the way it is. You can be discrete without being sneaky. You don't want to create drama that will injure your relationships.

If you are going to be on this Wiccan path, there is no room for "I can't..." thinking. Magical living is all about getting around obstacles and making your goals happen. There is always a way. It's up to you to be up to the challenge and to find it.

You can have an altar if you want, hidden in plain sight by substituting symbolic representations of the Elements & Deity and choosing flameless methods. Feed your altar by spending some time there every day. It's a good place to be to write in your notebook. You can do spells, within a subtle circle. You can do a complete ritual in a cramped space, without the encumbrance of a single tool (see Rituals in Cramped Space, pg. 4).

Any household item can be repurposed for supplies & tools, if you want them. It's fun & it is traditional to use your witchy power to discover magical uses for ordinary items. It's what all witches have done throughout history. Only Priests and Priestesses in religious temples had fancy magical regalia and sacred vessels. The average Crafter made do.

Ordinary things have magical uses:
Bowls, Cups & Saucers - hold incense, candles & offerings, or use as mortar & a spoon as pestle
Coffee Filters - use to strain potions, use as charm bags, decorate with a marking pen
Needles, pins, staples, tape - use as charm bag fasteners if you don't sew
Perfume - subs as incense, represents air
Salt, Pepper, Sugar Packets - use to purify, banish and sweeten situations respectively
String, Yarn - use for cord magic, use saved gift wrap ribbon for extra power from gifting
Tea bags - use as charms in and of themselves, or as sources of spell herbs
Weeds, flowers - roots represent earth, stems-water, leaves-air, flower-fire, seeds-spirit

Shop in Nature. Use beach sand or roadside sand to absorb heat. Make power grids with pebbles, seashells, feathers, flowers, etc. Use any black stones to absorb negativity, white stones to cleanse, and red stones to empower. White Quartz is the most common stone and is all-purpose. Pick a bouquet of weeds. Woven stems, grasses & stalks become wreaths, poppets, God's Eye or Bridget crosses, when woven with magical intent. There's power in everything because it all has natural spirit.

Drawing and coloring paper mandalas with artists templates and sigils in different alphabets can get the creative juices flowing. Wear inscribed papers inside a shoe. Add these sketches to your notebook. Keep a record. This will someday become your Book or grimoire. Your notebook will be your most useful textbook.
Last edited by SpiritTalker on Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:00 pm, edited 43 times in total.
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