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Getting Started

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Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:37 pm

First off, welcome - and the obligatory disclaimer :D . These are just suggestions to get a new comer started in their practice. No one can tell you how to "witch". We carve our own path based on our own intuitive relationship with natural forces. Folks here at EUTM like to help. Take a good look around the forum, specifically in the WITCHCRAFT & WICCA 101 Table of Contents for starters.

I really urge you to get a plain, cheap notebook you aren't afraid to blot & scribble in. Jotting things down will help you to organize your thoughts, & sort out the questions that will help you discover your personal path. Your personal journal will teach you more than any published book on the Craft. (See "Journal Prompts" pg. 3). Use it to discover & develop your intuitive awareness. Establish a fairly regular reading, writing/reflecting routine. Make notes about what you feel is workable for your situation.

Nine basic techniques to help start your practice are given below, broken down into three sets, and described further along in the article. The 1st triad is on personal energy. You might want to spend a few minutes grounding, centering & shielding once-a-day, whenever you can make the time. Just about everything you do in ritual or folk magical pursuits will depend on how true to yourself you are in doing these three basic energy workings. If you can call to mind where to find your favorite foods at your regular grocery store, you can visualize. Write about your experiences as you go.

Grounding visualization & physical tips
Centering visualization
Shielding visualization

Once you have established a routine and can comfortably and reliably ground, center and shield, add on the next three-some relating to sacred space. These might be done weekly:

Cleansing space
Raising energy
Creating sacred space

After getting the three personal energy steps of grounding, centering and shielding and adding on the spacial steps of cleansing space, raising energy and creating sacred space, the next step is encoding or programming energy. You might do these as needed. This sets the scene for ritual and spell casting. The first two triads gave you a teasing taste of it. You know how energy feels by this point in the study. (If not, back up & review.) So add on the next set on moving energy:

Directing energy with intent
Psychically charging items
Consecrating tools

Be conscious of the impact your words and actions have on your energy environment.

Meanwhile, in your "spare time" :) write down your current idea on what spiritual development means to you. What do you want from a spiritual practice? Do you want to engage in a form of worship? Or are you seeking an understanding of the Universe? If you know what you are seeking, you can better direct your interests and time.

What attracts you to Wicca/paganism as beliefs?

Can you fit Wicca into your life, or are changes needed? What changes?

Do you want to learn just the craft-side of witchcraft?

What do you think witchcraft is? What does it have to do with your spirituality?

There are no right or wrong responses. You just want to know what you think at this starting point. There are many downloadable e-books on-line. Check the media section for book reviews. And by all means, get a calendar that has moon phases noted on it, or print one. I can recommend any of these 3 books Going from basic to more in depth. Check the reviews on Amazon.com.

Scott Cunningham's "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner"
Gary Cantrell's "Wiccan Beliefs and Practices with Rituals for Solitaries & Covens"
Ray Buckland's "Complete Book of Witchcraft"

At some point in your research, IF you are interested in British Wiccan history, look up Charles Leland, Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente.

In your note book write about why you think Wicca includes a god and goddess, and what you think about them. Again, no right or wrong responses. Just get to know your thoughts at this point as a baseline.

What are your general thoughts on deity?

Do you want to work with a deity personality? Working with a god-form means to immerse yourself in their associated resonance, themes & symbols as a means to self-realization. You don't hand over your life decisions as we are always responsible for our own acts and thoughts within any Wiccan path. So you need to research the god-forms that call to your imagination to know what their associations are.

Do different cultures interest you? Who are their gods? What are they like? You can choose to invite the God/Goddess with their titles or as forces of nature to witness your circle casting. Don't worry about specific names yet. It takes time to know them.

And some tips:

MAKE DAILY PRACTICE ACCESSIBLE. Practice grounding, centering and shielding while doing ordinary activities like standing in line at the grocery store or when you shower. Touch trees, greet the Earth, Sun and Moon. Meditate in short, manageable sessions, using counted breathing. It sets you up to succeed.

KNOW YOUR LOCALE. Know about your geographic location, it's history, and the lay of the land and your neighborhood. Get out and feel Nature. Feel the Earth's energies at dawn, noon, dusk, & midnight.

WHEN EVER YOU'VE RAISED ENERGY, EITHER RELEASE IT TO A REAL GOAL OR GROUND IT WHEN DONE. This protects you from over-flow.

CLOSE WHAT YOU OPEN. Whether it's a gateway, an invitation to spirits or Deity, a spell or circle, finish what you start. Thank and release what you summon or invite. Break the connection - Every. Single. Time. It prevents attracting energy feeders.

CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. Respect the Earth. She is your Mother.

NEVER SUMMON WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DISMISS OR BANISH. You aren't fooling around here. That includes deity, elemental forces, spirits, energies.

KEEP YOUR PERSONAL ENERGY BALANCED. This means be aware of your ups 'n downs, highs and lows, and the elemental forces within your body. If your mouth is dry, you need Water. If you're too warm, you have too much Fire. When you giggle too much or are Air/light-headed and hungry, you need Earthing and food. And when you're down and sluggish, a breath of Air and deep breathing will restore you.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby smogie_michele » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:41 pm

I wish I had this advice when I first started practicing :)
A yawn is a silent scream for coffee.

Feel free to pm me if you have any questions! I am here to help.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Bychan Wulf » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:54 pm

It's awesome that new members can have it all in one place now. :-) It took me a few weeks to discover all these hehe
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Re: Getting Started

Postby moonraingirl » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:57 am

This is a great post, ST. Very informative and simple are the same time
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:45 am

Thanks for your comments.:) I hope newbies will find it helps control the information overload swirling around in their heads so it's more fun.

WHAT DOES ENERGY FEEL LIKE? People feel it different ways, as tingling, heat or warmth, tickling on the skin, a cool touch, or see it visually like mist, light, smoke or sparks. Some people mention hearing it rather like white noise too, or that it smells like ozone, like thunder & lightening. Some folks get jittery. So the physical senses do pick it up.

Scott Cunningham suggests in "Wicca-A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" to rub the hands together, then hold them with palms facing each other. Slowly separate the hands and move them together again. You should feel a subtle resistance. That's the energy of your body. You can play around with it, then push it into your stomach, which is a way to ground it.

WHERE DOES THIS ENERGY COME FROM? It's all around us, emanating from everything that exists and is caused by the relationship between everything. It has many names: prana, manna, chi, & orgone are a few.

HOW DO WE CONNECT WITH THIS FREE ENERGY? We connect with thought, because energy follows thought. We use our force of will, our desire. We think it, we want it. We use the gift of our imagination to visualize it. And we use words, which are the sounds of thoughts, to strengthen the link. Repetition adds strength. We think it, we feel it, we say it.

WHAT ARE ELEMENTS? When we refer to "The 5 Elements", we're talking about the basic states of matter - solid/earth, gas/air, plasma/fire, liquid/water and the etheric/spirit. These comprise everything in our physical world. The elements are the building blocks of Nature. Each state has different features that sets it apart from the others, and has it's own properties and behaviors. All 5 are always present and are respected during magical workings as they support/make up all of Nature.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:59 am

Thank you for this list. Its really helpful, feel like i skipped ahead a little so getting the basics done will really help

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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:15 pm

Thanks. I've got some more...

We hear lots of recommendations to meditate, and beginners may not have a clue what this involves. And how does someone start taming their randomly gyrating thoughts? It starts with breathing The breath carries the will. Since everybody does this, it's not that hard. Honest.

BREATH

The easiest breathing is slow, timed rhythmic in-and-out, at a comfortable level. Inhale counting one-to-four, hold-in four counts, exhale and hold-out, each for the same number of counts. So it's: in-2-3-4, hold-2-3-4, out-2-3-4, hold-2-3-4, repeat. This just quiets a person down. This is done for just a few minutes. Don't strain at it because straining is counter-productive.

THREE BODIES

There are various schools of thought that depict a model of the construction of the body, but most agree on at least 3 components of a dense physical body, inter mingled with a less dense energy body and still lesser dense spirit body. That's the basics, and depending on the source can acknowledge a body for each of the 11 dimensions science thinks there are. Each is connected to the human Consciousness - whatever that is. I don't have a clue how it works, only that it does work. Just as thoughts (desire & intent) fire the nerves that move the muscles that move the physical body, thoughts move the energy and spiritual bodies as well. The way I was taught it (via my trance channeled guide) was that the energy body connects at the belly in our physical body and the spiritual body connects at the 3rd eye (between the eyebrows) & crown (top of the head).

GROUNDING

Grounding is a term that refers to Earthing the energy body to stabilize us. While you're doing the four-count breathing is a good time to be grounding. Visualize your energy along your spine extending from the tail-bone into the Earth like a tap root on a tree, sinking into the ground to absorb nutrients and vitality on the inhales, as well as to carry away distress and anxiety on the exhales. If it's easier to see the roots going down from your feet, then do it. You control your visualization.

Some physical ways to ground are to touch the Earth with your bare feet, or even lay on the ground; hold & stroke a palm-sized stone as you rock your body side-to-side; eat root vegetables raw or roasted, drink dandelion root tea. And the reverse, when you want to relax your ties to your body, drink chamomile tea.

CENTERING

I think of centering as locking in our position in time and space like the GPS, Global Positioning Satellite mapping. Stand facing north, and imagine the vertical line of the energy body extending along the spine, both as high as it is deep. Then imagine a horizontal line intersecting the 1st in front and behind you like a N-S axis. Then add a horizontal line passing through the others going E-W. They all connect at your center and move around with you.

Experiences vary. You might experience your connection at the abdomen or the chest. Women often sense theirs closer to their abdomen, and men, closer to their chest. You are already familiar with the location if you've been startled suddenly and felt like you drop and roll into your gut or feel smashed in the chest, and momentarily have all your senses on alert. That's where your energy body connects to the physical counterpart. In meditation we can work from the same space. When we're not startled we know it as a quiet, still space within the connection area. We naturally pull our power into ourselves when we center.

Within the still, quiet space there are no dimensions, or confinement. We can ask questions and get "knowing" as answers. Concepts rather than words get slotted into our awareness. We can also immediately link to the 3rd eye and spiritual body, and travel as our spiritual body. I actually see this traveling like shooting through a connecting vacuum tube like those used at banks drive-thru windows. Only in this case, the Bank is the Akashic vault.

When I go out of body to a specific place, I'm often inside the vacuum tube and protected. Sometimes the tube morphs into a stream of flowing current & I join with others traveling to the same place. I have not visualized these things this way. It's how they just happened, going back to when I was 3 or 4 years old. That's the way I experienced it. It puts me in mind of prehistoric paths, straight tracks and ley lines. Everybody will have their own variations tailored to their own perceptions and experiences. We all travel in our dreams. And dreams are just another form of consciousness. A lot of witching is changing our consciousness at will by repositioning where we focus our awareness.

BREATHING INTO CENTER

This is a two-part breath work. Inhale into the belly so your lower abdomen inflates, then complete the inhale by breathing into your chest so the upper chest inflates. Then exhale. Use the four-count method again. Keep it comfortable and rhythmic. Counting doesn't have to be perfect, just rhythmic.

Belly-1-2, smoothly move to chest-3-4, hold-2-3-4, exhale-2-3-4, hold-2-3-4.

As long as you get the rhythm and stay comfortable, and focus your attention on your belly, you will get the centering effect. We can use the center as a jumping off point to deeper meditation, prayer, visualization, and connecting to deity, to our higher mind and to other realms because when we center, we are linked from the Mundane Center to the Underworld Center and to the Cosmic Center.

For start-up, i'll use the belly-button as a general location on which to focus, and you can refine it as you feel more awareness. Focus your attention on yours. You want to breath into your belly. Sounds weird, but think of this exercise as building inner sacred space. When we center, we pull our power into ourselves. You know you're "getting it" when you are gently aware of being you, without letting physical/body sensations distract you. You know your body is there but it's not the focus of who you are at the moment.

SHIELDING

Shielding is basic psychic protection from negative thoughts, and energy-sucking people. Ground your tap root. Breath into the belly. Imagine a golden glow radiating out from the belly to completely surround you and out-line your body. Every breath strengthens the shield. It stays in place and reinforces itself as you belly-breathe.

Visualize your aura as you do the hand gestures of see-hear-speak no evil with your hands over your eyes, ears & mouth. This helps clear your personal "space", and the gestures reinforce the thought. Cleansing and sealing are the steps of a home protection spell, and what's closer to home than our own aura? You can push outward from your navel area and shoulder blades to cover front and back. To seal the aura, briefly see it hardened like a fighter jet's plexiglass cockpit canopy, reflecting the sky. Blue is a good spiritual protection color.

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON

In a coven DDTM would be a means of channeling the Goddess. As a solitary it's infusing yourself with the Moon's energy frequencies to develop your psychic faculties and assist your psychic ventures. Two examples are given. Both should be done out doors. When the weather sends you indoors, light a white candle & recite Doreen Valiente's Charge of the Goddess to set the mood.

1. Outdoors, on any moon lit night, regardless of the Moon's phase and even if it's cloudy as the Moon is still present: Stand or sit facing the moon haze. Imagine the Moon's hazy white light is surrounding your head and shoulders as if you wore a hoodie of soft, white Cashmere wool. Imagine this light flows into your energy body, and throughout your whole body. Allow about 10 minutes then just let the excess flow down and out through your feet to ground you.

2. On a clear night, stand outdoors in the direct path of the full Moon's light. Focus your awareness on your own energy-body, which is slightly larger than the physical body-space you occupy. Focus your awareness outward to the edges of your space. Sense the moon light and notice how it feels. Then pull your awareness from the edges of your space along with the moon light, and draw back into your center point. Rest within your center and commune in silence. The Moon is linked to psychic energy and 10 minutes of communing will do. You may experience some dizziness so don't over do it. Ground your energy body when you finish.

STRAY THOUGHTS

Stray thoughts will wander in. Don't make an issue of it. Just return to the breath. You decide if your meditation is worth interrupting to pay attention to the thought or return to breathing focus. Some thoughts are worth following, as in a guided meditation. You flow out on the thought from the belly, and you return through the belly. You'll always find your way back this way. No sweat.

If you want to ponder a specific matter, breath into the belly to center, then ponder from center. Pose a question. Breathe. Wait for a response from within center, and ignore the chatter. That way you aren't wandering off chasing after dreams and irrelevant side issues.

What does it mean if you feel a warm tingle? It means you have allowed your bodily sensations to distract you. Nothing more. Focus on your rhythmic breathing again, and forge onward.

This kind of breathing into an area works elsewhere as well, such as the heart and third eye areas, or crown at the top. Each area has it's usefulness, but that's not the starting place. Returning to the belly keeps us from going topsy-turvey. It pairs with grounding and that stabilizes us. The woo-woo factor is whacky enough, so stability helps a lot to keep our wits about us.
Last edited by SpiritTalker on Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:55 pm, edited 42 times in total.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:37 pm

THE FOUR POWERS OF THE WITCH:

Knowing, with that sense of quiet assurance that a thing is thus/so, is of Air and the Wand/Staff; Will is the single minded determination to see a thing done and stay the course, and of Fire and the flame. Daring is sheer guts, the chutzpah to follow your inner wisdom, and is of Water & the vessel; Silence is inner solitude that let's the inner voice of wisdom be heard, and is of Earth & the offering.


ALTAR

Altars are places of personal interaction with the Divine. The Divine in Nature surrounds us, and many witches don't use altars (it's not a requirement), but will have a working space. And most importantly, don't just follow the prompts like a robot. You should be feeling the energy and sensing how it flows, by noticing how your gaze naturally moves across the space.

Any flat surface will serve. The surface, and the items you put on it, should be cleansed and consecrated when it is set up. The important things would be representations of the Deity or a guardian spirit, & the 4 physical Elements (earth, air, fire, and water, & You represent spirit). Don't fret about dripping candle wax and spilled incense ash. A used altar is never a clean & tidy altar for long.

Also keep in mind the purpose of what you want to do with the altar. If it is to be an image of your path as it grows it'll be different from a place of offering and worship with a deity. And if you are secular, not religious, then approach this as a working table and remove anything that distracts your focus from that project. How big your table is and if it's permanent or set up and taken down each time will effect your options.

The standard altar structure is used to balance the energy for predictable results. Generally a Wiccan altar is divided into 3 sections. The left side is the feminine energy side and anything associated with shaping or receptive energy goes there, like the cup, Earth & Water elements. The right side is the masculine energy side, and anything associated with active or projective energy goes there, like the wand, Air & Fire elements. Then the center is where these interact & where the work is done.

Place an altar in the center of a ritual space if you won't kick it over, or inside the rim if you like to move around. In Wicca, facing either the magnetic pole of your hemisphere, north or south, or facing east with the sunrise is fine.

A bare basic Wiccan altar might use 1 or 2 candles to represent the God and Goddess, which get placed where you won't burn yourself reaching over them. The elements are combined as blessed salt-H2O for Earth/Water, & Air/Fire as smoldering incense. These two combinations will be used to consecrate the circle with both water & fire as well as bring the 4 Elements onto the altar. The Deities (the creative forces) and Elements (the building blocks of Nature) are represented. You can add any personal decor as you choose, as creatively as you like. (See the EUTM Altar Pictures section for inspiration.).

The tools vary by path & personal choice as well. They are elemental symbols, acting as gateways between the mundane & etheric worlds. What they symbolize to you is the best way to select which ones to use. I'll have some suggestions further on in the text, but the standards in Western Occultism are cup, blade, wand, pentacle, censer, bell, cloth covering, cord and a ritual scourge (largely done away with). These tools come from ceremonial magic and were adopted for Gardnerian Wicca.

The cup holds the libation (or water) as an offering; a censer holds incense as an offering; a pentacle is used for protection & to charge/empower; a bell's sound clears and opens ritual space; a simple altar cloth protects a table from spills, whereas a decorated one can convey powerful sigils as well.

The staff is an old sign of authority to command and to travel freely between one realm and another. It's miniature form is the wand which is generally used to direct magical will when the blade would be too aggressive. Some traditions prefer to cut only etheric energy with the blade.

The Measure is a braided cord, plaited by your own hand, and worn around the waist during rituals. It measures from the crown of the brow (3rd eye), down the spine to the heel, plus heel-to-toe. It thus holds the Wiccan's psychic energy signature. It is used to reinforce the will during spells, and for cord magic.

When open flames & smoke are not permitted, substitute battery powered candles to represent Fire and/or Deity. A scented reed diffuser, spicy potpourri or a fragrant yellow rose can serve for elemental Air very nicely. Seashells, sea glass, seaweed can represent Water and use stones, seed pods or grains for Earth.

Here's a bit of " Blonde Logic" on flameless candles...

Flameless candles run on batteries. A battery has a positive and a negative pole, so it gives off a male and a female charge. This dual charge is the same principle as primal God and Goddess power, consistent right down to the elemental action of creating light from fire, even though there is no noticeable heat from the flameless candle. Heat from a live flame candle comes from the consumption of the wick and wax. It's dead matter & is not necessary to the light. Then consider... A star burns at a couple hundred thousand degrees and there are millions of stars in our galaxy alone, yet there is no noticable heat in space. So, why not use flameless candles? :lol:

CLEANSING SPACE

It's helpful to work in an energy cleansed area to reduce psychic conflicts, so we clear our space before casting. The most popular methods appear to be both physical sweeping with a broom to pick up debris, and energy-sweeping in determined gestures with the flat hand or broom to stir up the essence and clear off the counter-productive cooties; spritzing with blessed salt-water or incensing to clear away psychic interference; or fuming with fanned smoke from palo santos sticks, or dried twigs of white sage bush or cedar tree. All cleansing/dispersing/banishing motions are done in a counter-clockwise spiral, working from the center towards the outside boundary, or from east-to-west to flow with the sun.

If (like me) you can't tolerate smoke, (or aren't allowed to burn incense), you can hang a faceted glass sun catcher in a window to distribute rainbows of sun light. Or place energy clearing white stones, like white quartz & selenite, or negativity absorbing black stones like tourmaline & obsidian, in the corners of a room. Or state your intent along with ringing a clear-toned bell.

A regular practice to psychically protect your living space is to sweep, starting at one end & working toward the door you enter and leave from most often, so any bad ju-ju is swept out the door. Place a pinch of salt in all corners and at the doors and on window sills.

While we're on the subject of cleansing, soaking crystals with salt-water can erode some soft stones. Lengthy exposure to sun might fade the colored quartz stones. Placing crystals in full, unobstructed MOONLIGHT is a safe method for cleansing any stone. Kyanite, selenite, shungite are self-cleansing and can also be used to clear other stones, by laying them around the grimy one over night.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:37 pm

RAISING and DIRECTING ENERGY

Energy's all around us, and it's free, abundant, continuously renewing, and able to be channeled by our thoughts; and that's how spells are powered. We can raise energy with breath-work, or by physical exertions like spinning & dancing, & with drumming, clapping and rhythmic noise making. Those are self explanatory, and another way is by visualization.

Ground and center. Imagine the spine's tap root pulling up Earth Light into your belly. Pull up on the soles of your feet by rocking on your heels, to physically reinforce the thought. Then imagine you pull Cosmic Light through the crown at the top of your head and down from the sky. Pull down by dropping your jaw to reinforce the thought. Breathe this light into your belly. Feel the energies pool, swirling together in the belly until it is boiling and ready to burst from the seams. Now-PUSH from the gut, pushing up from the belly and out your arm, through your extended Index & middle fingers. (You should be pointing at the ground for now, as a test run.) Look where you point to focus your thoughts on directing the flow of power. In order to be used, energy must be instructed in a few words to accomplish a desired goal. When it's raised but not used, you should ground it. This protects you from overload & gives it back to Mother Earth.

One use for your practice energy is to do a self-healing by laying your charged hands flat on your body. Always move from lowest-to-highest areas from the groin to the stomach, lungs. and back down the thighs to ground and end the connection. As your hands rest briefly at each area, push and accept the energy into your body. Say to yourself "I welcome health" or use another present-tense affirmation.

You might feel an assortment of mild heat or tingling sensations. You may get light headed or giddy. Ground the energy back down the tap root, and stop pulling. Shake your arms and hands like shaking water droplets off your fingers. Shuffle your feet and break the connection.

Every time you raise energy, either ground it or visualize & release it to a specific target, then end & break the connection. Otherwise you'll be spacey or head-achey. When we get to discussing casting a circle, you can also visualize the energy swirling within your circle, forming a cone of thought energy into which your intentions are fed. Then it is released on command to it's target.

EDIT - if visualization isn't your strong point yet, you can still raise energy with physical activity like clapping. A fun way of clapping uses unique rhythm. Each X is a clap, and each - dash - is a pause:

X X X X - X X - X X,
X X X X - X X - X X,
X X X X - X X X X,
X

Repeat the whole sequence as desired, then make the last & final single clap loud, accompanied by a shout HEY! at the same time you release by pushing out and exhaling to let it go.

CHARGING WITH INTENT

We psychically charge circles & cones, as well as spell materials with our will-power of intention by drawing power to center, and pushing energy through the palms of the hands and our gaze, into the item while visualizing the desired outcome, as though it were already done & accomplished. It's a bit of imagined time travel to the "Ah-Ha!" when you KNOW it is accomplished, & uses the witch's 1st power of just knowing a thing is so. (See the Four Powers of a Witch, above.) We can reinforce the intent with our words. In plain English, think about what you want, feel it in your gut, say it out loud to seal it, and push the thought into something you are using to hold the spell. That can be an object or the circle's cone of power.

If you hold your palms flat and facing away from you, then join your two index fingers together and your two thumbs together, you form a magical window or "triangle of manifestation" to peer through. This focusses your gaze onto the item being charged, and aims the power points in your palms towards the item as well. Or use your wand, if you make one, to empower the Cone.

Rub a bit of olive oil on the item first. A living substance like olive oil will hold a psychic charge better than the naked item because prana or orgone energy is attracted to a living substance. That's one reason why spell herbs and oils are used.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:54 pm

CASTING A CIRCLE & RITUAL

Most Wiccans seem to agree the circle is cast to hold our energy. It will form a base for a Cone of Power. This cone is shaped like a witches hat. The cone is charged with intent In the same way we charge a spell & released-to-target; thus a circle aids our ritual and magical workings. In addition, as sacred space, a circle is set apart from mundane influences, and is a safe place where the Crafter can connect to the Earth's energies. The Crafter should keep all their walking motions in the same direction that they cast the circle, to increase the power. You can use your own words that express your intentions, and rhyming is fun. I also consider circle-casting is like tidying up before guests arrive & clearing enough space for everyone to sit.

The Calling rituals that follow the actual laying of the circle are like a formal invitation to the Powers to request the pleasure of their company. Deity is certainly addressed for all religious celebrations. Whether addressed or not, the elements will always be present or we wouldn't exist.

If you DO work with them, then it's good hospitality to offer your guests food and drink as you would at your home (the ritual meal) as well as to see each guest to the door when the party's ended and release what was evoked.

Candles or lanterns at the four directions provide light to see the boundary, and serve like turning on the porch light so invited guests can find your door. If you are not Calling Quarters, then just work with the altar candles.

To cast a circle:

Ground and center yourself first. Raise energy however you like, by visualizing, chanting, dancing, rhythmic clapping. Usually Wiccans walk the circumference three times clockwise to increase energy with a waxing or full moon (counterclockwise to banish on waning moons) & always ending where you started. Bless the salt-water & incense (see "making holy water").

1. Consecrate by sprinkling salt-water & wafting incense around rim; this intro's 4 elements.
2. Walk the circumference, 2-finger pointing to direct your power & charge the border. You might use Doreen Valiente's words: "Round, round 'n round about. All good in & all bad out. As I walk the circle is cast, guarding all and holding fast."
3. State the work you are going to do.

That is all there is to the casting of a circle. Anything after this is the ritual itself.

SABBAT or ESBAT RITUAL

Most Wiccans combine the circle casting with their ritual of formally calling the deities & four directions' elemental powers to their aid. After the circle is cast, greet do not summon, the Deities from the circle's center, saying "Hail and be welcome here Lady and Lord of Nature."

Then at each direction light a candle & say something like "Hail to Earth" or Air-Fire-Water. "I call to you to guide my rite." while facing each direction individually, thus illuminating & opening a door to an invited guest.

Thereafter, the seasonal celebrations are simply enjoyed if it's a Sabbat or some specific working is done. Reflect on the passing of the season and review its mythology. Write in your journal. At full Moon Esbats, you might channel moon light to cast the circle. Draw Down the Moon, meditate, and do some divinination & spell work. Record in your journal.

If you do a spell (see "Spell Format" below) you will put your own spin on what you do. The basic steps are think it - feel it - say it - release it. Each step is fed into the rising mist of the Cone of Power. This is one use for the circle energy. The circle is the base of the cone. All your magical energy is within the circle you created. When the energy feels ready to burst, it is let go with a step forward, & thrust of the hand or wand upwards, in the direction of the target, to set the Cone free. Trust the system. Then sit and catch your breath afterwards.

After the ritual observance or spelling, the blessing & sharing of the ritual meal is done as thanks giving, to refresh you and to ground your residual energy. Bless with a simple phrase, "In the names of the Lady and Lord of Nature, and with a grateful heart, I bless this offering to bring good cheer."

Note: twice in a year (at Beltane', May 1st and Samhain, Oct 31st) the Great Rite is mimicked, just prior to the ritual blessing of the meal, to honor the life forces. This is a ceremonial union of the male and female symbols, and the wand, (or athame) is lowered into the offering bowl (or cup) with words spoken & then the meal is shared. You would say, "As the wand is to the man, and the bowl is to the woman, let them now be joined for the joy of both and the Great Mystery that is Life." and then the regular meal blessing given above is said.

(Or an alternative, non-gender life-affirming phrase might be used, "I walk the Land that cradles the Sea from which Life came forth, and the Sky encompasses all. With this sound i welcome three times three in joy, wisdom & harmony." And a bell would be rung to emphasize Life. Then the regular meal blessing would be used.)

You must also release and farewell each guest individually at the end, like seeing your guests to the door. Face each direction in reverse order, thus ritually closing the door you had opened. "Our rite is ended. If go thee must, be it with love and trust." Snuff the candles as you go. Deity is the first to come and last to go.

Last, you dissipate the charged circle by walking the circumference in reverse & brushing it away.

A simple circle is quite workable for general meditations, astral travel, & divinations. Some people feel a full formal ritual circle is required for all religious celebrations as well as magical endeavors, and others, not so much. You can make your own decision.

The four cardinal directions of north/Earth, east/air, south/Fire, & west/Water form a cross-road ( X ) meeting at the center where all differences are resolved. All four ways are equal paths to power. While you are in the middle, all is balanced. When you ground and center, you also connect above and below ( | ). It helps to take a few moments to let the directions settle upon you, like a GPS system locking-in your position. Always dissolve the circle when you're finished, and clean up. If you worked out doors it's courteous to leave no sign of your activity behind.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:32 pm

CONSECRATING TOOLS

Consecrating is to reserve and dedicate something for sacred use, such as the altar and tools. The expendable spell materials do not need consecrating because they are transformed when used up. Items should be appropriately cleaned first, then consecrated with Fire and/or Water, then verbally dedicated to a purpose. The tools mentioned with the 4 powers were wand, fire, vessel and offering. In mundane terms, that's a stick, candle, bowl, and bread. For this start-up, just the wand needs consecrating; the candle flame IS the element of Fire & needs no blessing, the bowl & bread will get blessed when a meal is shared.

The wand, for example, might be fumigated with incense smoke (I.e., Air/Fire), then awakened with one's own breath-of-power (breath carries will) infusing life-force into the wood, then held high & introduced to the Four Winds (waft it around). All three methods are also associated with Air, the element assigned to the wand. It can then be energetically charged, while making a statement of what it is to do, such as - "Wand of Wood, you now serve my hand, my heart and my will. So shall you grow in power with each use by my hand alone." If you wish, trace the pentacle on it with a finger dipped in olive oil & bless it "in the name of the Lady and Lord of Nature" (or your choice of belief). Make up your own heart-felt wording.

You could awaken the tool by introducing all five elemental forces & touching the cleansed tool with a bit of each element: fuming with incense/Air, passing it through flame/Fire, dipping it in collected rain/Water, dusting it with soil/Earth from your property, and tracing a pentagram or equal arm cross sign on it with your finger/Spirit.

SOME THOUGHTS ON WHAT TOOLS CAN MEAN

I've chosen the wand, candle-flame, bowl & offering as beginning tools because most people already have them in the house or can find them. I have not included the blade as some beginners might be under legal age, nor the pentacle which could raise some religious objections. A fancy stemmed chalice, or iron cauldron can raise unwanted questions, but bowls can hold little trinkets when not being ritually used.

Magical tools can represent the creative forces of Nature, the active or "male" and the passive or "female" principles. Two symbols of these forces of flux and reflux are the rod/wand which is male & used for directing energy, and the containing vessel/bowl which is female, & used for molding energy. A third creative principle is union, out of the dark void from which the two opposing forces originated. This transforming force can be symbolized by the flame amidst the night darkness. There are certainly more complex ways of thinking of the tools, beyond the purpose of this intro.

Tools serve as symbols to reinforce these creative associations within our minds, and thus stimulate and strengthen the focus of the magical will. Tools are symbols to our minds, and open mental pathways. They act as gateways between the seen and unseen. They have no power in themselves (except what we give them) and you may freely choose not to use them. Tools do not define the witch. The witch defines the tool.

TO MAKE A WAND

Go for a walk after a storm to find a recently fallen branch about as thick as your finger. Leave an offering of a few strands of your hair, or a couple pinches of corn meal. Use a saw to trim your wand to the length of your elbow to finger tips. Snip off any twigs as close to the surface as possible. You can leave the bark on or trim it off with a vegetable peeler if the wood is green, or utility blade if it is older. Sand the surface with a coarse-grade of sand paper, then with a fine-grade. Paint or wood-burn any design you choose. Dab with a small amount of beeswax furniture polish, lemon oil, linseed oil or even olive oil on a cloth to seal & protect the wood.

If you want a live branch, appeal to the tree spirit for permission and wait for the response. If it is not given, move on. Cut in a cold season at dusk/dawn so the sap is not running, or the tree will bleed. Cut cleanly with a pruning saw. Bury an offering of corn meal amidst the roots.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:42 pm

CHARGING MOON WATER

We can make some power-filled water by capturing the Full Moon's reflection in a clear jar or bowl of water. Full Moon empowered drinking water can be used as a base for potions, with appropriate herbs and spices steeped in the hot water like making a cup of tea, or used for cleansing by adding a pinch of sea salt, or dried rosemary. Spell petition papers can be spritzed with the water and dried before inscribing, and then charged as usual.

Some additives might be a few drops of lemon juice, jasmine oil or white rose petals that can be strained out later...or not. Your choice. :D
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:46 pm

MAKING HOLY WATER
(and a word or two about salt)

Holy water is used for cleansing. The salt is known to neutralize psychic energy clinging to things. The churchy-method is to bless the salt, then the water, and add them together. There''s no need to charge it with energy, as the salt will neutralize it. Instead, trace a pentacle sign above it. Words of blessing are spoken with the "boss-voice" of authority, such as:

Creature of Salt, you are a source of purity and life. I bless you in the names of the Earth Mother and of Her son, the Horned Lord of Nature.
Creature of Water, you are life giving and cleansing. I bless you in the name of the Lady of the Moon
.

1-3 pinches of salt is then added to about a cup of water, and stirred (or swirled.)

If you don't work with deities, then substitute Earth and Moon as spiritual forces.

The blessed water can be stored in a lidded jar. The water itself can be tap water, or from a living source. A blessing means you are giving your OK for the cleansing action. It is not charging the water with any power, but is removing obstacles by removing dissent & opposition, which is exactly how you want the blessed water to perform. You are showing it how to behave.

In circles and rituals you can use a similar Lady and Lord blessing for the incense. "Creature of transforming Fire and Air, I bless you in the names of the Lady and the Lord of Nature."

A thanksgiving token meal can likewise be blessed with a simple phrase, "In the names of the Lady and Lord of Nature, and with a grateful heart, I bless this offering to bring good cheer."

If you're a kitchen witch, think about removing the salt shaker from the table if you are going to conjure the meal. It's my personal opinion that salt should be used with awareness, and more responsibility. Land spirits don't like it. If you're outside and want to work with them, don't throw salt-water on the ground. Use plain water to consecrate your circle, and add rosemary to represent earth.

Looking through old books, there are many old time spells that add a pinch of salt to their ingredients. Incantations are said that in effect psychically charge the spell. This has puzzled me. What is over riding salt's neutralizing tendencies? In times past, there was a strong association of salt to preserving life. It preserved valuable meat before refrigeration was invented. And today we know salt possesses chemicals vital to the body. Salt is also a disinfectant. Salt preserves life by neutralizing what does not serve life. Or can it be as simple as the Crafter's intent determines the effect?
Last edited by SpiritTalker on Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:48 pm, edited 29 times in total.
Reason: Typo
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Re: Getting Started

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:05 pm

@binxyhollow...I think I may have gottn a bit carried away...but all for the cause, hey?

That's pretty much the basics, enough to kick start a self-made path in witchcraft. Getting the intuitive sense of it all comes from working with it, over and over. The more practice circles you cast and dissolve,& the more full Moon's you observe, the faster you will learn what your base line energy is and how to use it to fulfill your intentions.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. They teach us. Most of us have set our sleeves or the cat's tail on fire at least once with a candle. Keep a water jug close by for emergencies. Use common sense & don't do what scares you. Stay away from the things that you have doubts about. Don't say words you don't understand.

I have some odds 'n ends to add.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ashrend » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:45 pm

A lot of information but very VERY useful, thank you for all the information.

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