Monday, September 24, 2018

Ghosted!

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? I came up with this idea because until yesterday I hadn't written a blog entry in weeks. I felt bad because essentially I ghosted my lovely readers. I promise it was not on purpose! My business, Magical Musings Writing Services has gotten off to a lovely start! I'm an art columnist for Spiral Nature Magazine, and I'm working with another client on a BIG project. As soon as I can tell you guys about it, trust me I will! I'm very excited to be working with this individual, and the project we are working on is incredible. But anyways, ghosting my blog gave me the idea to write about ghosts! So here we go!


Mabon is around the corner, and then comes Samhain. I don't know about you guys, but I can already sense the Veil starting to thin. It's like the air is charged with static electricity. In light of this transition period, I thought I'd tell you about Spirits today! I'll share my personal ghost stories, which range from boring to freaky, and then will talk about Genius Loci, which have had more influence on my life than I realized. The closer we get to fall the more I notice them. I think because the Veil is thinning, my psychic senses are heightened, so I'm noticing everything. (BTW-Subscribe to Spiral Nature Magazine so you'll be notified when my article about Dumb Suppers is posted!)

Ghostly Encounters

I saw my first ghost when I was about 14. My mother, brother, mother and step dad and I moved into this house when I was 9, and I had never had any issues before. I found out years later that my mom heard music playing every night, but could never find the source. I would keep my door locked (I never had a door with a lock before and liked being able to keep my brother out) but never paid much attention to how my tv would turn off, or on in the middle of the night - same with my stereo. I started noticing when I was a teenager and saw who was turning my electronics on and off. I knew that my room used to belong to the previous owners daughter, and that the previous owners wife had died in a horrible freak accident. When I saw the ghost, I knew it was her. I woke up one morning, and saw a woman that couldn't have been more than 5'3 or 4". She had long blonde hair, was wearing a yellow coat and light blue jeans. She was just watching me, serenely. I rubbed my eyes to make sure it wasn't a dream lagging into my waking consciousness, but she was still there. I didn't really know what to do. I didn't want to turn my back to her, but I wasn't really frightened either. Since her legs disappeared into nothingness, I knew she wasn't a real person. I found out years later that she was not an intelligent spirit. That is, she was stuck on repeat or a time loop. She died so instantly that it's possible that she didn't even know she died. I'm sure at night her daughter would leave her radio playing, so she would go up and turn it off. Even though she was watching me I think I saw her spirit when she would watch her daughter sleep. 

The next encounter I had was in the same house, almost ten years later. This was a series of incidents, and it was not the same spirit. It actually wasn't a ghost at all but a poltergeist. Poltergeist means noisy ghost, but the entity is actually negative energy that was created by a surly teenager. I moved back in because my step dad had his hips replaced and my sister younger sister was 13 and was in need of a woman role model. (Our mother had moved out years before and lived about 5 hours away). The disturbances started out small - squeaks and creaks that could have been attributed to an old house settling. The sound of footsteps on the stairs - again my step dad blamed the house settling. After a while I started hearing footsteps every night. One night I was particularly restless, and put on the tv in defeat. I heard my sister's door open and heard her go downstairs, so I went out to call down to her to ask her to bring me a glass of water. When I got to the balcony (the upstairs was loft style so there was a guard rail that overlooked the downstairs living room), she was no where in sight. I whispered her name - if she was in the kitchen she would have heard. Nothing. I opened her bedroom door and looked in. She was sound asleep, curled up in bed. Hmm.. ok. I went back to my room, closed my door, and got back in bed. Only minutes later I hear her door open again, and footsteps on the stairs. I jumped out of bed and yanked open my door. NOTHING. What the heck was going on?! I closed my door, went back to bed. Minutes later I heard her door again. I ignored it. Then I heard my sister and my stepdads voices - I couldn't make out what they were saying but it was their voices. I went out to the hall to ask them why they were up chitchatting at 3 am. No one was out there. I was starting to feel spooked. I went back to bed, and put on some home improvement show -the least scary thing ever. A few minutes passed and dammit that door opened again! or sounded like it. And footsteps again! But not on the stairs...in the hall...towards my room. They stopped right in front of my door. I heard my sister's voice say my name. I jumped out of bed and yanked the door open. NO ONE WAS THERE. I was done. I slammed the door, locked it, got under my covers and called my best friend. I was 24 years old and scared shitless. She calmed me down, and reminded me that this was just picking on me because it can, and to tell it to leave me alone. And try to help my sister work through whatever shit was making her create this thing. 

The last ghost story I've got is short but freaky. It was last summer, I went to the White Mountains with my step mother and my son. He was sleeping in his playpen at the end of my bed, but against the wall so there was enough room for me to stand between my bed and his playpen. My bed was closer to the wall, and my step mom had the bed by the door. The first night nothing happened, but the second night once everyone else went to sleep, and I just started to doze off, it felt like someone bumped into my bed. I woke up, looked around and shrugged it off. I pulled out my phone and put on some Netflix show to watch until I fell back to sleep, and felt another bump. I asked my step mom if she had gotten up, or maybe threw a pillow or something. She was asleep, and didn't answer. I shrugged it off, turned back towards the wall where I had my phone propped against the other pillow and saw it: a middle aged man laying next to me in bed. He had blonde hair, striped pajamas and made a 30 year old woman sneak in bed with her step mom because she was so scared haha. Silly, I know but would you want to sleep with a strange ghost in your bed!?


Types of Hauntings

Thanks to TAPS coming to my college back in 2008 (or 07? or 09? IDK exactly, but around that time), I learned that there are three types of hauntings: Intelligent, Residual, Poltergeist. 


Intelligent: An intelligent haunting is when the soul of the deceased person is, well, intelligent. They know they've died, they know where they are, they know what is going on around them in the present time. Some are nice, others, well, not so much. If your home or place of work has an intelligent haunting there are a few things you could do. The first is you can just let them be - if they aren't hurting you, and aren't causing any damage, then why bother them? Their soul is there because they were not ready to cross over, so if they aren't interfering with your life other than the occasional awkward encounters in the hall way then leave them to try to resolve their shit. The other option is to help them resolve their shit by communicating with them and finding out what it is they need to do in order to cross over. If they are mean then you could try communicating with them that you are the new owner of the home/office/location, and that they are not welcome. That could work, or it could blow up in your face. I would recommend getting ahold of some experts if the ghost is really nasty. Find a psychic medium or a paranormal research team - the TAPS team advises that you not hire anyone that charges you money to help. I'm a psychic medium, and I may ask for gas money if you live 3 hours away but I'm not going to charge someone to help. (Please don't ask me to get rid of your ghost though, I don't have enough experience). Cleansing your home with sage and putting up protective measures could solve the problem too. I sage my home every couple weeks, but I sage the rooms my altars are in every couple days. Places where you do magic generate a lot of energy,  which could attract spirits like a flame attracts a moth. I also have a crystal grid protecting my home, I have mirrors facing every entrance and most windows, and I use Hecate black salt over the thresholds. The last place I lived in had such negative vibes, I always had nightmares, and I didn't want to chance it with this new place. My new home feels light, and clear. I have not had a single creepy experience here, and its' because I protect it, cleanse it, and keep it clean. (Cluttered homes tend to attract nasty entities too, because clutter = chaos and they thrive on that shit). 

Residual: A residual haunting is energy from a traumatic event is trapped in an object at the location, and the energy replays a certain aspect of the traumatic event. I think this type of haunting could occur when someone dies suddenly and doesn't realize it, or if the energy is trapped in the home itself. The spirit I encountered when I was a kid did the same thing over and over again. She could have been tied to an object in the basement, where some things the previous owners left behind were stored, but I don't know for sure. This entity will not interact with you. They do the same thing like they're on a time loop. For example, the spirit always walks up and down the stairs and then it sounds like they turn on the shower. The shower will not actually turn on, it's just the sound. If you remodel your home and the stairs are moved or changed into a slide (silly IK but I couldn't think of another for instance so shush) you will still hear the sound of someone climbing stairs. The spirit doesn't know that the stair case has changed, they don't think or know anything - that we know of anyways. It's just energy that's stuck. The TAPS team says to resolve this type of haunting you must remove the object that the energy is tied to. So if you buy an antique rocking chair, and shit starts getting weird then put the chair on the curb with a "Free but haunted" sign. Someone will pick it up. 



Poltergeist: Not actually a ghost, but an energy mass created by the human subconscious- most commonly created by adolescents- usually kids that are starting puberty, are struggling with emotional traumas or depression, and all of that plus crazy hormones results in the type of freaky shit I told you about above. The person does not realize they are the reason for the disturbance. Also, poltergeist may not bother the whole family. They often 'choose' one person to 'pick on'. The events are sporadic, you may have a bunch of activity one afternoon (or in the middle of the night), and then hear/see nothing out of the ordinary for weeks to months. The only way to resolve this type of haunting is to get the person into counseling. I wouldn't tell the kid they are emitting such intense energy they've created an entity that's scaring the shit out of the family BTW. That won't help their situation, life is all sorts of messed up for them already. 

Genius Loci



Genius Loci are not ghosts, per say. They're hard to define. I will be honest, I spent hours researching this, because my experiences aren't enough to summarize them as a whole. Genius Loci translates to "protective spirits of place". This could mean spirits that were once human, but they aren't lost souls. Their spirits are dedicated to protecting the land. If you guys have read my blogs you'll know Stephanie Woodfield is my favorite author, and I had the honor and pleasure of "meeting" her online. I asked her about them, and she told me that they see the land as it was hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, and see humans as temporary beings on earth. We haven't been around long, and who knows how long we will be here. The sense that I get when I connect to the Genius Loci in my home - which isn't easy. This was something else Stephanie told me, and I knew already. As a medium, I'm used to spirits coming to me. I had to spend time working on gaining their trust. I planted a garden, I picked up litter, I spent time admiring the beauty of the land. That was finally when I connected. The Genius Loci of my home were human, I believe. They appear to be Native Americans, but we didn't discuss that. We didn't talk at all actually. It was one man, and he just made himself known as the protector of the land. He doesn't like having a big apartment complex plopped on his land, but he appreciates those who spend time outside making it beautiful with flowers and those that tend the grass and feed the birds and squirrels. There is a faery tribe (two actually but one is on the other side of the field behind my house and they made it clear they have no interest for humans, and that the row of trees is the border, so I never let my son venture past there.) Stephanie and I talked about whether faeries are genius loci, and it's a debated topic. I think they could be protective of their land, but they aren't specifically Genius Loci. I will leave the determination up to you guys though. When I don't know enough about something I will be honest with y'all!

If you try connecting to Genius Loci and feel resistance, negativity or anything else that makes you uncomfortable, then stop the session. Don't push it. My advice is the best way to win over a Genius Loci is to take care of the land. Pick up litter, water the plants, etc. Sometimes people never win over the Genius Loci of their property, and sometimes they are forced to move because the Genius Loci make them feel depressed, isolated, unwelcome and oppressed. That was how I felt at my last apartment, but at my new home, only 1000 feet away, I feel creative and strong and inspired.




If you would like to share your own ghost stories, share them with me on Twitter! @Deebaby709 #Ghosted!






Don't miss a post! I've got some really fun, Samhain inspired articles planned! Know the moment they're published by subscribing!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Blessed Mabon!

Blessed Mabon My Lovely Readers!

I'm super sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything! I've been super busy with Magical Musings Writing Services! I am so thankful my new business is going well, but I need to work out my schedule so I have time to write for my beloved blog too! Today is Mabon, so what better night to make this plan! 

All About Balance on Witch's Thanksgiving

Mabon is often called the Witch's Thanksgiving, because we celebrate and give thanks for what we have. That doesn't necessarily mean materialistic things - even though I think we should appreciate what we have in that regard - but what we have accomplished as far as lessons learned, spiritual break throughs, and discovering what we must learn in the days to come. I will be giving thanks for healthy and happy son, my home, my furniture, my electronics (especially my computer), and more importantly, I will be giving thanks for the growth I've achieved spiritually over the past year. A year ago I had spent Mabon declaring my decision to become Pagan, and was giving thanks for my new way of life. I have learned so much since then- have experienced so much since then! After my ritual I will be going over my grimoires/journals, to see what I've done and learned. I will spend some time meditating, to find out where the Goddess is leading me this year.

Today day and night are balanced, and as above so below which means it's a day for us to find balance in our magickal and mundane lives. It's the second harvest festival in the Celtic year, so we should give thanks for what we have. Our Celtic ancestors would preserve the harvest and store it away for winter. The last sheaf of the harvest was made to represent the Great Goddess as the Queen of the Harvest. They would place Her on the mantle to encourage her blessings upon their lives.

Mabon Magick⬳

A Spell for Balance

I found this spell on PaganSquare. It is an article by Deborah Blake, from 9/22/2014 called A Mabon Spell for Balance. It's a short and simple spell, but I have found that those are often the most successful - your focus remains intense, and your visualization remains clear, versus a long complicated spell where your mind could wander. That's my experience anyways, it could be the opposite for you! Anyways, you set up your altar so it is balanced. I had it divided into four equal spaces, and had something representing each element in each section (rock, incense, cauldron of water, and a tealight, with the black and white candles exactly in the middle). You are to visualize what is imbalanced in your life, and then see them balance out. So if you are overworked, you see that you get an assistant or something and you start spending more time at home, are resting more, and are happier. If your life is a total mess, Blake suggests opening up to whatever the gods send in response to your prayer. 
Light the dark and light candles, see what you need, or feel yourself releasing your fate to the gods, and say: 
Earth and Air, Water and Fire
Grant to me my heart’s desire
Balance now my troubled life
Wash away confusion’s strife
Even out the high and low
Gently soothe the ebb and flow
Dark and light in balance be
From extremes please set me free
Calm, serene and peaceful I
With ease and grace my days will fly
As above and so below
Balance to my life bestow
Spend some time meditating and write down any messages you receive. When I cast my balance spell, I did it during my solo ritual this evening. I've included the ritual below :-)

Macha Equinox Rite

For my ritual, I personalized the "Macha Equinox Rite I found in Stephanie Woodfield's Celtic Lore and Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan. If you are interested in learning more about the Morrigan, or if you are a devotee of Her, I highly recommend this book! I don't think I've read any book that has as much information as this one, and Stephanie includes guided meditations, rituals and spells for each chapter. (Plus Stephanie Woodfield is super friendly and down to earth, and a very kind and caring person, which reassures me that her suggestions and advice throughout the book are sincere).

What You'll Need:
  • Sword
  • Macha Herbal Blend:Oats, Dried apple peel, Vervain, Coltsfoot, Mullein, Honeysuckle flowers, Eyebright, Jasmine flowers (p. 65, Woodfield)                                                                             (I didn't have all of these so I went with my intuition and used meadowsweet, vervain, mugwort, juniper berries, and dried apple peel)
  • Crow feather (I used a black feather I got at a craft store)
  • Salt
  • Cauldron of water
  • 3 acorns or hazelnuts (I made mine out of clay because I couldn't find any acorns or hazelnuts)
  • Green marker
  • 1 apple Chalice of wine or apple cider

Cast the circle using the sword, saying:
I mark the boundaries of this sacred space
As Macha marked the boundaries
Of Emain Macha with her broach
In Macha’s name this circle is sealed!
Light the herbal blend as incense and circle it three times with the crow feather, saying:
Winged one, Crow woman
Bless this circle with the cleansing power of air! 
Walk around the circle clockwise with the incense. Return to the altar, use the crow feather to waft some of the incense over the altar, then perform a self-blessing by wafting the incense over your body with the feather. Put three pinches of salt in the water and stir it with your athame, saying:
Salt and water
Blood and body of the Goddess
Bring your blessings to this place
In Macha’s name, I call you purified!
Go around the circle clockwise, sprinkling the salt water around the circle with your fingers. Then sprinkle some of the water on the altar, saying:
Here is the altar of Macha
Lady of the brilliant sun
Horse Goddess
Crow woman and faery seeress
In her name may this place be blessed
Hail Macha
Know that you are honored here! 
Go to the east and draw an invoking pentagram with your sword, saying:
Crow Goddess
Black feathers gliding upon the wind
Swift-footed mare
Untamable, wild, and free
Macha, now hear me
Macha, be near me this day! 
South:
Macha of the red tresses
Sun of womanhood
Fierce and cunning Queen
Riding upon your chariot, spear in hand
Macha, now hear me
Macha, be near me this day! 
West:
Seeress, Lady of visions and far-reaching sight
Mistress of realms seen and unseen
Between the worlds you walk
Macha, now hear me
Macha, be near me this day!
North:
Lady of the Masts
Of the ripe and fertile plain
Marking the boundaries of your realm in earth and stone
Macha, now hear me
Macha, be near me this day! 
Take the crow feather and circle the cauldron three times in a clockwise motion, saying:
Hail Macha
Mare Mother
Crow Goddess
Mother, Warrior, Queen
Sun of Womanhood
Lady who blesses and keeps the land
Great Queen of Battle
I give you honor, as the men of Ulster would not do, 
On this day of balance between night and day
When light stands equal with dark
Come now, O mighty Queen
Who holds sovereignty over the land
Macha, now hear me
Macha, be near me this day!
Perform any additional spellwork or pathwork. When you are ready, pass the acorns or nuts through the incense. Use the marker to draw symbols representing something you wish to manifest. Hold the nuts in your hands and visualize your desire manifesting. When the image is clear in your mind, say: 
Masts of Macha
Forest harvest
Seeds of the earth
Bring form and shape to my desire
In Macha’s name, manifest!
Place the acorns in your cauldron. Circle the apple with the feather three times, then cut it in half with your athame, saying:
I honor you Macha
For the bounty that you bring
Harvest Queen
May your blessing of prosperity flow unending! 
Take a bite from one of the apple halves and place the other in the offering bowl.
Then circle the chalice of wine with the crow feather three times and hold it above the altar, saying:
Fiery Macha
Lady of the sun
Unbridled, untamable
In the end all warriors must give you your due
Macha, I give you honor, as the men of Ulster would not do! 
Take a sip of the wine, then pour the remaining liquid in your libation
bowl or put it aside to be poured outside after the ritual.
When you are ready to close the ritual, go to each of the quarters and draw a banishing pentagram, saying:
Depart in peace, powers of the east/south/west/north 
Open the circle by cutting it with your sword, saying:
Macha’s circle is now unbound. 
Bury the acorn or nuts on your property.

Woodfield, Stephanie. Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan (pp. 365-369). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Rise of Fall: Sensing the Seasons Shifting


Fall is my favorite season, and it's coming soon! Within a couple weeks if I had to guess. I can smell it in the air, I can see it in the sky. Sure, the calendar says that Autumn doesn't start until the end of September, but the calendar can't control the seasons. The weather is a wild thing - it reminds me of a rebellious 17-year-old girl. She is so close to adulthood she thinks she knows everything, and so she does whatever the hell she wants. The calendar says we have another three weeks of summer, but I think Autumn started taking over ever since that full moon looked like a pumpkin in the sky. Is it odd that I have a better gauge of seasons by characteristics of the night? In the summer time, the air is warm and even stale at times. The crickets chirp lazily, and the frogs sing in chorus. The moon is brilliant white or red, and the wind at night often carries with it the smell of rain, as humid summer days brings a lot of rain. Ever since the last full moon the world around me has started to change, and at an exponential rate. I've had to dig out my closed toed shoes and my son's fleece jacket. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night to close windows in bedroom, and while I used to set the air conditioner to keep the living room at a nice 69 ℉,  I've been shutting it off completely - one morning of walking downstairs and freezing my ass off is one too many. (It's ironic that I love fall when I hate being cold, and anyone in New England knows that fall can bring some pretty chilly weather). The days are still hot as hell of course, but once the sun starts to fall, so does the temperature. It  hit me that fall was right around the corner just this evening when I had to cut my son's playground time short because it was getting too cold. 

I never used to give it much thought - sensing the shift of the seasons. But then I read an article by Stephanie Woodfield (who could have guessed - she's only my favorite author and mentioned in almost every blog entry I've posted). She has an article in the Llewellyn's 2019 Magical Almanac called Rethinking the Wheel of the Year, and in it she talks about establishing your own Wheel of the Year based on the world aruond you. She moved from Connecticut to Florida, and was at a ritual celebrating Beltane. The leaders of the ritual were talking about "welcoming warm weather once again" and all she could think was how ridiculous this was.  She was in central Florida, where warm weather stayed year round. The priestess talking about how the land was dormant and would grow fruitful once again was pretty much the opposite of the truth - it is during the winter months that fruits and vegetables grow the best because they aren't cooked by the sun, and now that the weather was growing warm and dry the harvesting was done for the year. They were celebrating Beltane how they were "supposed" to - they were doing what all of the books and experts instructed them to. But why should they follow those rituals and say those words and celebrate those events when it doesn't apply to them directly? She goes on to explain how you can celebrate whatever you want to during these times. And speaking of times, that was another thing she said was just regurgatated by Pagans simply because it was in print. But the Pagans of old didnt' adhere to a strict calendar - they celebrated the holy days based on the phases of the moon, or the blooming of certain plants, or the shadows of the sun. She made the very reasonable point that we are told to make witchcraft our own but then mindlessly follow the same rituals that were designed for those living in the same climate as Britain and Ireland. 

So I started paying attention to the weather - more than the temperature so I knew how to dress my kid. I started focusing on smells and sounds as well as what I saw. When I saw that great big orange moon the other night all i could think of was Autumn. That raised my suspisions that the seasons were starting to shift and I was right. Why should I believe that it's still summer time just because it's printed on a calendar? If it smells like fall, looks like fall, feels like fall, then it's not summer! I know this isnt' exactly what Stephanie was tlaking about but it follows along the same lesson: Pay attention to the world around you, and follow your intuition over what is written in a book. Since this week has been dramatically different from the weeks past, I have started shifting my subjects in my paintings to fall and Halloween themed things - pumpkins, dark reds and browns, trees with multicolored leaves. My mother had said smething like "a little early for autumn deco isnt' it?" Well mom, no, not according to the weather. 



Start thinking about the world around you, and key characteristics of the different seasons, followed by the themes of the Sabbats. Many of the Sabbats talk about either planting crops or harvesting them, but this doesn't apply to me - I'm not a farmer. I could never be a farmer - the work is incredibly hard, and I don't have even a hint of a green thumb. (My flower garden did grow beautifully but I am sure it's because I had given the local Faeries a number of offerings so they would care for my garden. I barely remembered to water them, I never weeded them, and only once they hit jungle status do I prune them. But they never became overrun by weeds and the soil always managed to stay moist. If that isn't Fae at work I don't know what is!)

Sorry, got a little side tracked. Where was I? Oh yea - pay attention! To the smells, sights, sounds, even how the air feels on your skin. If you start paying attention now, you will know the instant there is a shift. TBH, I will probably continue to celebrate the Sabbats on their calendarical day, but never again will I celebrate what I'm told to. I will reflect on how the season past went, and what my aspirations are for the season to come. I will read the myths associated with them, and draw my own conclusions on what they are about. This is what witchcraft is all about people! It's about creating your own world through sheer will! That doesn't always mean spells and charms and potions. Sure they are fun and certainly come in handy, but they are not the main focus of being a Witch. It is magickal to take control of your life, and it is even stronger magick when you transform your lfe to reflect who you are and what you truly desire. It is hard to do what you're told all the time, but it is couragesous to say No, I'm going to do my life like this because it's what I want. You will piss people off by doing this - trust me I know first hand - but there is something freeing about not giving a shit anymore. When you used to care so deeply about what others thought and then when you disappoint them for the umteenth time and for the first time you do not give a flying flock of pigeons. 

What does autumn look like in your part of the world? What kind of magick do you associate with that time of year? Is there anything you don't like about autumn? What is your favorite part? I'd love to hear from you - my readers! please comment or email me! I have learned more from talking to people than I have ever learned in books, and my mind is always ravenous for knowledge.

Following Fun Contest Closed

We have a winner! I've notified the winner, and contacted them to find out what they would like the jar to be made to do - the jar...