The ability to achieve an altered state of consciousness is a fundamental skill in witchcraft. It facilitates the use of psychic abilities as well as the application of magick. It is also a critical component of awareness and paying attention -the most important skill one can develop as a witch. However, the term altered states is frequently discussed in a manner that makes it seem as if achieving an altered state of consciousness is difficult to accomplish or that it requires the use of hallucinogenic or toxic plant material. In reality, however, this simply isn’t the case.
We stepped lightly, feet sinking into the soft sand that lay beside the creek. The air was heavy with the recent storm, the desert air saturated with wetness, and the undeniable feeling of Other. The babyman demanded we walk, pointing to the creek and providing the sweetest little grunts as encouragement. This he did, again, now, pointing at the birds that lay just ahead on the trail.
The oldest two girls followed closely, listening, feeling. This was to be an awareness walk, an exercise in extending the witch sight, in developing awareness of one’s surroundings and of the Unseen. Lessons in functionality begin early in our family, with emphasis placed not on the idea of having skills but in the development and use of those skills. This was a perfect opportunity to stretch awareness and cultivate that skill.
Committing oneself to adventure and living life on one’s own terms almost requires that the unexpected is to be expected. The plans that one has for themselves are frequently found to be tossed into the wind, with Fate taking, rearranging, and replacing the pieces at will. It necessitates a need for internal calm and adaptability, for stubbornly trying to adhere to that which can no longer work will only make one miserably frustrated. That sort of stress, while to be expected on some occasion, will cripple an adventure and leave one questioning all the choices they’ve made, stretching back through the years to before the adventure ever began. That, for what I hope are obvious reasons, accomplishes nothing but to further one’s misery and prevent one from rising up, pushing through the current challenge, and continuing forward with a life heralded by freedom.
I’ve been negligent here.
Life is very full right now, poised on the brink of adventure. The last few months, the children and I have been paused, waiting, biding our time. But now… everything is falling into place and the remaining details are being worked out.
The road calls, the wilderness beckons.
The baby is nearly 9 months old now. The resulting hormonal changes have left me spread thin. I am here, and there, and also over there. Watching, feeling, seeing… A foot in both worlds; some days are easier than others. Easier to be functional, easier to handle the high energy of the children, easier to handle the emotional rollercoaster of doing the deep work, easier to handle the heavy weight of waiting.
I’m sick of waiting.
There’s so much to do and so little time to do it, yet there’s always enough time to toss out a misquote that borders on cliché.
Scattered thin and pulled in so many directions. The promise of reclusion, of solitude, of quiet, of no other people around for miles …it’s enticing, intoxicating, my mental-caffeine (as it were) right now. It is this goal and coming future that are keeping me going right now, keeping me breathing and pushing away the garbage that only serves as a distraction.
Why are there always so many distractions?
Pulled so far, so thin… signs and omens are compounding, spirit whisperings are growing louder, binds that are being unraveled and cut are fighting back, winding tighter. But the force they once held is gone, burned by the brilliance of a future that rests strongly upon nothing more than daring, nothing more than the strength to say no.
Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t be afraid to do the irrational and adventurous things that your soul demands you do. Don’t allow other people’s fear and refusal to act keep you in place, keep you afraid, keep you waiting.
The Spring holds promise. That’s only metaphorical if you choose to allow it to be so. I choose for that promise to be adventure. What do you choose for that promise to be?
The Dark Moon holds an interesting place within witchcraft. Far more poetic and filled with mystery, just the name alone conjures thoughts of the unknown and makes it seem more plausible that truly nefarious acts are being done beneath its shadow than at any other point in the Lunar cycle. After all, just the name Dark Moon means that this night belongs to those of a more misunderstood bent, those who more comfortably dwell in night, alone, with naught but starlight and candle flame to light their way, right?
Not so much. While it may seem tempting to buy into ideas that dark and light have some sort of actual meaning within witchcraft, they don’t. Especially when you look at witchcraft from a historical and/or modern Pagan approach. Dark and light with any sort of implied connotation of good and evil is childish at best, and purposely ignorant at worst. The Dark Moon is just one of eight points within the Lunar cycle and there is nothing intrinsically good, bad, or adhering to a misunderstood teenage witchcraft aesthetic about it or any other Lunar phase.
But, Dark Moon magick is a different sort of beast than that of Full Moon magick. The energy of the Dark Moon has a different effect upon us, pulling us deep within ourselves. And what lays inside can be scary.
If you've been following my blog throughout it's sporadic posting these past six years, you will have noticed that I have a penchant for how-to's and lots of words. Writing is one of those things that I can't keep myself from doing and as has been an integral part of who I am as a person for far longer than I've ever been aware of it.
With that said, I'm finally taking action to do more writing, and not just on this blog (though that is, indeed, part of it) and I've a rather big (for me) announcement to that end.
A witch is someone who practices witchcraft: there are no other qualifiers. But when you don’t have any major needs that call for flexing those magickal muscles, it can be difficult to find ways to practice witchcraft every single day, let alone even once a week. To that end, here are 15 simple and highly practical ways that you can use witchcraft every day.
Regular practice, even with simple exercises like these, is crucial in keeping your skills up and building ability. It’s the one thing that you can do that will make you be a better witch, no matter how old you are, what books you’ve read, or how many shinies and skulls you have littered across your workbench.
So, if you claim to be a witch then back that shit up with some regular and consistent witchcraft practice. Let these ideas be a springboard to help you develop the mindset to where you can see the magickal potential of nearly every activity in your life.
For a while now, I've flirted with the idea of beginning a newsletter. But... the hyper promotional "buy now," "OMG I have a sale!!" "you need to do this or you're doing EVERYTHING WRONG!!!!1!!" feel of many newsletters is just gross.
I knew that if I were to put out anything for you lovely people that it would have to be something that I would not only love to put together, but that I would love to receive. Time is too precious to all of us and I don't have time to waste writing words that none of you want to read.
Conversations with a few dear friends on twitter guided my thoughts and in the end the idea coalesced into something that is nostalgic (especially for you 90's witches,) wistful, and potentially inspiring at times. It's also about as un-newslettery as a newsletter can be -while still providing you, dear readers, with something of value.
Every Dark Moon, I'm going to write you a letter. It will be filled with musings, tales of my latest adventures (did I mention I'm traveling about the country again?) and filled with practical, experienced based witchcraft that you can put to use now. None of that sparkly-crystals-light-a-candle-and-think-happy-thoughts shit (because we all know I could only fake that for half a paragraph) but pragmatic witchery that I've used effectively and want to pass on to you because I know it works. Plus, I want to babble to you all about random witchcraft centered things that are perhaps too intimate for a blog post and too convoluted for social media. And, because I love you, there will be offers for free bone readings every now and then, too.
Consider me your penpal you never have to write back to (though I'd love it if you ever do!) If a once a Dark Moon letter from a witch-friend sounds good, you can subscribe here. Of course, as someone who tends to be reclusive more often than not, your privacy is respected and email addresses will never be used for anything other than this Dark Moon Newsletter.
First newsletter comes out this next Monday, November 28!
The road crawled lazily across a landscape rich in texture and dominated by hues of burnt yellow and dusty browns. It was easy going, a gentle road over gentle hills. In the distance no more than 20 yards from the edge of the road, something caught my eye.
A tree stood, solitary. It was a gnarled beast, growing out in two directions rather than up. A contradiction to itself, one side was vibrant, a kaleidoscope of Autumn colors; the side closest to the road was dry, dead, the bark peeled away by the relentless wind let bone white wood shine through.
From that bone dry branch hung a body. Its face, swollen with the early stages of decomposition, bulged above the length of rope wound about its neck and flung over the tree branch. The body hung heavily, as swollen rotting bodies are wont to do, but managed to find the desire to swing with a breeze that didn’t touch any of the surrounding vegetation.
It should come as no surprise that often times, well laid plans must be amended. So, too, it should come as no surprise that sometimes those plans amend themselves back to the originally intended route, leaving you floundering, out of breath, and thoroughly unprepared. It cannot be stated strongly enough that as much as the Universe may have a hand in our lives, it definitely does so with a sense of humor as it pushes us forward to become better and stronger than we currently are.
My middle son (9 years old) and I have been discussing the purpose of life lately. It’s been an interesting discussion that has brought many things to mind for me, especially with the way that life has been going lately. We determined that the purpose of life, in the most general sense, is to go forward. To keep going forward. There’s a lot of implications in that and there’s a part of me that wants to defer to a Pixar movie and start singing “just keep swimming” but I digress…
Throwing the Bones
Whether you're struggling with something spiritually or in everyday life, bone divination can highlight areas where focus is needed and identify alternative ways forward.
· Dark Moon vs New Moon -What's the Difference?
· Solitary Full Moon Ritual
· Setting up an Altar
· 8 Consequences to Practicing Witchcraft (that no one ever talks about, shhh...)
· Be a Local Witch: Working with Witch Grass
· Guide to Ethical Wildcrafting