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The beliefs and practices of A Witch

Alice Lucinda Bront

Part 1 Oh My Goddess Part 2 Magic and Morals Part 3 Ritual and Spell-craft Part 4 Pagan Poetry Part 5 Kitchen Magic Part 6 Further Reading

Part 1 Oh My Goddess
I met her once in a vision. If youve never had a vision, its like having a vivid dream whilst being wide awake. She was a beautiful blonde in black robes. I asked her Are you Hecate? She laughed the prettiest laugh and replied I have many names. I believe that Gods and Goddesses are personifications of the Divine that make it easier for us to relate to the Divine, as in its purest form it is perhaps nothing like us. This means that Gods and Goddesses are a combination of divine energy/purpose and human ideas/perceptions. There is no one true path/religion as they all (well nearly all) contain truths and they all inevitably get things wrong. We are like children to the Gods? They don't expect us to get it right (but they probably want us to try). After all they know how we work, they made us. There is no eternal reward nor punishment I think, but small rewards and punishments to guide and nurture us. We are here to learn and grow as people and to provide them with entertainment. We are like toys to the Gods? There is no such thing as (no evidence for) an all loving God but if we show a God/Goddess respect/worship they are more likely to favour us, dont you think? What is the Universe to a God, a model train-set perhaps, a board game?

What is the Universe? Physics + Evolution is like a computer programme written by the Divine. If you understand the programme, you know what to put in at the start, to get out what you want at the end. How much the Divine cares about the end result is open to debate but they are certainly capable of pre-determining it, if they wished. Religion shouldnt deny science, it should embrace it. Beliefs shouldnt be written in stone they should adapt to fit what is known. Unlike a lot of Pagans I dont believe in reincarnation of the soul. I think therefore I am. Thusly, mind and soul are the same thing. If I dont remember doing it, was it really me? So what about people with Alzheimer's? I think that part of their mind has moved on already. With death we become whole again. Our brains are the wombs from which our minds are born. Of course I could be wrong. There is I believe, an afterlife but its nature remains unknown. I think rather than being a perfect heaven or a perfect hell, it will be a 'level 2' with its own challenges and rewards. I believe in ghosts, in that I believe the dead go to a spirit world and I believe that spirit world is close enough to our own that we may gain glimpses whilst still on this side of the veil. I think belief in a spirit world is essential to a belief in magic.

Part 2 Magic and Morals

Magic exists. Not in the Wizards throwing fireballs way. Real magic doesn't break the rules of physics it works with or around them, in ways as yet unknown to science. An extreme example of this would be: if person a) curses person b), person b) doesn't turn into a frog but they might get hit by a bus a few days later or contract a nasty disease. There are plenty of things in this Universe that science has not yet observed nor knows for certain. What is dark matter? What is dark energy? The spirit world, maybe. Spells aren't that much different from prayers, they are both asking the universe for something. Prayers are just polite spells. Obviously this is ignoring the prayers that simply say thank you. A belief in magic requires a belief in the spirit world (or at least something outside of known reality). Magic works by affecting the spirit world which in turn affects this world. There are many ways to do this. We affect the spirit world all the time in our everyday lives but spells are deliberate attempts to manipulate things in a particular way. Magic works. It doesnt always work how we want it to, nor to the time scale we desire but it works. The only way to prove this to your-self is to start casting spells. Keep a book of shadows (a journal of your spells) and tick them off when they come true. Remember the laws of Science (impossible spells like gold from dust dont work) and remember that if you do things in the material world to facilitate, the spell is more likely to come true. If you cast a spell to get a job but dont apply for any,

good luck with that. Most people are not 100% successful with their spells even if they are sensible about them but once youve figured out what works for you, in terms of spell-craft and you have belief/conviction in your magic, youll find it works more often than not. I enjoy around 70% success rate and Im not always the most sensible Witch. Lets talk now about those times when spells work but not how or when you wanted. Sometimes you get exactly what you asked for and wish you hadnt bothered. Something is teaching you a lesson. The Goddess wants us to learn. Theres a lot of responsibility in being a Witch. When you (I say when because most of you will at some point) misuse your powers (powers that everyone has but only a few of us learn to use), chances are something will bite you on the arse. I dont believe in Karma as such and the rule of 3 is a fairy story told to scare Wiccan children but there are eyes in the spirit world that see what you do. Karma suggests that every negative action has a negative consequence and every positive action a reward but in the real world we see that people can get away with murder and good deeds can go unrewarded. Even within spell-casting there are no guarantees that evil spells will be punished and good spells rewarded but they will be witnessed. What might witness a spell? A God or Goddess, spirits of the dead, other spirits (elementals, the fey and so on). If you Hex someone and their dead Granny finds out, what do you think will happen? How do we know that something is evil? It really depends on what our parents, our grandparents, our teachers, our peers and society in general has taught us. I would say that as an adult doing anything that makes you feel guilt, is doing evil. As a Pagan I follow a nature religion and there is no big epic battle between good and evil in nature. If I do something 'evil' I'm not choosing Lucifer over Jehovah. I'm choosing myself over some other life form. Any guilt I feel is empathy with that other life form (rather than my spider-sense telling me I'm going to hell). Evil is one of those words that each individual has to define for him or herself. For example I think killing anything is evil. That doesn't mean I won't squash a bug or eat a sausage. When I do those things I choose to be evil. Evil is simply putting your-self first. Is breaking the law evil? The sane amongst us would agree that things such as murder and rape are evil but when it comes to some of the more minor crimes like internet piracy or smoking weed, opinions are divided. When a person breaks the law they might be thinking "I know it's very wrong but I want to do it anyway." in which case they are committing an act of evil. However they might honestly think "this stupid law shouldn't exist because everyone does it" or "this law shouldn't exist because breaking it doesn't hurt anyone" or "I can see why some people need this law but I'm an exception because... and it shouldn't apply to me under these circumstances." Evil and illegal are two different things. Judges and Politicians and public opinion decide what is illegal. We make our own individual decisions about what is evil. Maybe some divine being will make a final judgement, maybe they won't. My definition of evil can be broken down into the equation: Evil = Choice + Harm + Empathy

With that in mind you can better consider the implications of the following: "An' it harm none do what thou wilt." Doreen Valiente Its important to read the above correctly: Do what you like, it wont hurt anyone. Do what you like if it wont hurt anyone/anything. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." - Aleister Crowley What he meant was that we should learn to choose to do good because it is the better choice and not because we are compelled to by some law. Whilst Aleister may be more right, Doreen is clearly more useful when it comes to instructing/raising the young. So exactly how does magic work? No-one knows for sure but my theory is this: When you cast a spell spirits take notice and make things happen for you, either because they want to or because they are compelled to (not all spirits think like we do). So how do we make them take notice?

Part 3 Ritual and Spell-craft

In the diagrams above: In the triangle I have replaced the more traditional spirit with mind. This is because I believe that the spirit world like this one, is made of mind, energy and matter and our minds are the souls that we take from one world into the next. When we die our physical bodies are replaced? with spirit bodies but those spirit bodies are made out of some kind of matter that we cant see (dark matter?) and powered by some kind of energy. With the compass I have replaced the more traditional Earth, Air, Fire, Water with Solid, Vapor (Gas), Energy, Liquid. This is to make things a little more scientific whilst still performing Magic in a tried and tested manner. With the pentagram/pentacle again Earth, Air and Water are replaced by Solid, Vapor and Liquid. This time Energy is seperated into Lightning and Fire. Drawn like this the pentagram/pentacle more closely matches the compass points when drawn on the ground. Spirit/Mind is absent from the pentagram/pentacle diagram but the Witchs mind will be somewhere within the circle. Minds of the elements will be at their various points. The God and Goddess will be where-ever they want to be. All other spirits will be somewhere random outside the circle. So there is really no point in my opinion in having a point of the pentagram for spirit/mind.

Before casting any spells it is important to cast a protective circle. This isnt so much a circle as a bubble with you (and your coven if you have one) inside it. You should visualise the protective bubble as being made out of blue energy, whilst you call the Watchtowers. If you imagine a Watchtower to be like a castle gate, the Guardian decides who and what is allowed in through that gate. Each compass point has its own Watchtower and each Watchtower, its own Guardian. At each compass point you should draw the invoking pentagram in the air with your athame, finger or wand like so:

Whilst drawing the pentagrams and visualising the circle you should speak the proper invocation for each Guardian/Watchtower. Now you can if you wish write your own invocation. However here for your convenience is my version. Face North then turn to face the east and whilst drawing the invoking the pentagram say: Spirits of the East Spirits of Air and Vapor I do summon stir and call you up from Gorias To witness our rites and to guard the circle. Eurus hear us!

Turn to the south and then say whilst again drawing the invoking pentagram: Spirits of the South Spirits of Fire, Lightning and Energy I do summon stir and call you up from Finias To witness our rites and to guard the circle. Notus hear us!

Then turn to the west and say, again drawing the invoking pentagram: Spirits of the West Spirits of Water and Liquid I do summon stir and call you up from Murias To witness our rites and to guard the circle. Zephyrus hear us!

Then turn to the North, once more drawing the invoking pentagram and say: Spirits of the North Spirits of Earth and Solid I do summon stir and call you up from Falias To witness our rites and to guard the circle. Boreas hear us!

I draw the invoking pentagram 3 times at each point during the invocations and after casting the circle once, I turn 360o another two times whilst focusing on the energy bubble. This strengthens the circle and it easier to visualise the blue bubble when you are not distracting yourself with words and waving an athame. Cast the Circle thrice about. This isnt actually in reference to turning 360o 3 times, thats just my preference. The thrice about is physically, verbally and mentally. The verbally is the words (see above), the mentally is the visualisation of the circle (protective bubble). So what of the physically? Well there are several ways you can do this. You could draw a circle on the ground with chalk or salt or salt water. You can place items to represent the elements at the appropriate compass points. For example; Incense or oil to the east, a candle to the south, a chalice containing water (or salt water)

to the west and a rock or crystal to the north. Or you can use symbols or colours or well the choices are pretty endless. I usually go for the representitive items option when in doors. Outside I might throw/pour some salt water around too but its really up to you.

Once the circle is cast you should welcome (invite) God and/or Goddess into it. I tend to speak from the heart when doing this so thus the words are a little different every time.

It is also important to properly banish the circle after your ritual is completed, in order to release the built up energy. Banishing is a similar procedure to invoking. You imagine/visualise the bubble disipating rather than forming, you draw the banishing pentagram (see below) and the words are a bit different. Also unlike with the invoking I only turn 360o once when banishing.

Facing East: Spirits of the East Spirits of Air and Vapor I do thank you for attending our rites And ere ye depart to Gorias Hail and farewell Eurus Hail and farewell.

Facing South: Spirits of the South Spirits of Fire, Lightning and Energy I do thank you for attending our rites And ere ye depart to Finias Hail and farewell Notus Hail and farewell.

Facing West: Spirits of the West Spirits of Water and Liquid I do thank you for attending our rites And ere ye depart to Murias Hail and farewell Zephyrus Hail and farewell.

Facing North: Spirits of the North Spirits of Earth and Solid I do thank you for attending our rites And ere ye depart to Falias Hail and farewell Boreas Hail and farewell.

At the end of the Banishing you should say Blessed Be out of respect for the Guardians and their elements. I banish the same way I invoke, deosil (clockwise). Some people prefer to banish widdershins (anti-clockwise) the choice is entirely your own.

There are lots of questions you may have about magic circles and I will try to answer some of the more common ones now: Why cast a magic circle? Imagine if you will, that you are trying to bake a cake in a glass room with 4 doors and each door is manned by a bouncer who works for you. Imagine the room is in the middle of a busy street. Lots of people are curious as to what you are doing. Some may want to get into the room but the bouncers will only let those in, who are of use to you. For example those bringing you ingredients. Now imagine that the cake is a spell, the room is a circle, the curious people are spirits and the bouncers are Guardians. With no bouncers and no glass room, random people may ruin your cake. They may steal ingredients or change the temperature on the oven or mix things before they should be mixed. Another reason some people give is that of building the spell before releasing it. A bit like blowing into a balloon and then letting go. If you imagine the circle as the balloon, then without it your spell is just a lot of hot air. The circle allows the power to build before it is released. Why a sphere and not some other shape? Traditionally a magic circle is spherical in shape and the reason is simply physics. If you push on a sphere from the outside it has no weak spots. Other shapes have strong points and weak points and the smarter malicious spirits will attack the weak spots. However a sphere isnt always the most practical shape. Recently whilst at home I made a magic circle that was the shape of my flat because it was the most useful shape of protective bubble for what I doing and for the space I was working in. Are the Guardians elementals?

With regards the elements, the Guardians can perhaps be thought of as Kings. So for example Notus is king of the element of fire. He is smarter, closer to being human and more powerful than the rest of his kin (the other fire elementals/spirits). So it isn't technically wrong to say that the Guardians are elementals, just as it isn't technically wrong to say that the Queen of England is an animal. Humans are animals. Guardians are elementals but they are special. Right now that the circle is cast we can get on with the business of spell-craft. There are many ways to cast a spell. We make Magic all the time without even meaning to. A spell however is a deliberate attempt at making Magic, directing the energy towards our goals. Obviously I cant tell you every technique for spell-craft, for one thing theres plenty I dont know, for another how big would this book have to be? So Im going to focus on my favoured technique, coloured candle magic and build upon that with Runes and oils and more. All you need for Magic is your mind but its easier with a few tools. For one thing you feel more like you are doing something if you light a candle or whatever and that helps with your faith in the spell. For another you attract more attention from the spirits that may aid you. Magic is all about association. Red is for love because of hearts and roses. So for a spell to bring new love into your life you might use a red candle. Or you could use some rose petals or no lets not go there. Obviously the first thing you need for colour candle magic is a candle of a colour appropriate to your spell. The following are the associations I use for each of the colours. You may have your own associations that differ from these and thats fine. Use what works for you. RED love, passion, anger, FIRE ORANGE creativity, energy, FIRE YELLOW luck, happiness, AIR, FIRE GREEN money, the Fey, EARTH, WATER, AIR BLUE physical healing, defence, masculine energy, WATER PURPLE psychological healing, psychic abilities, dreams, WATER, FIRE PINK friendship, feminine energy, FIRE, AIR BROWN grounding, basic needs, the home, EARTH GREY invisibility (doing things in secret), confusion, impartiality, AIR BLACK cursing, banishing, binding, Goddess, EARTH, WATER WHITE purification, God, AIR, FIRE

Once you have picked a candle (or several candles in some cases) you might want to carve some sigils/symbols into it. I usually opt for the Norse Runes:

FEHU English equivalent: F Meanings - Nourishment, possessions, wealth, material gain. Reversed Meanings - Money could be a problem, loss, hardship.

URUZ English equivalent: U Meanings - Strength, speed, skill, power. Reversed - Impotence, lack of what you need to succeed.

THURISAZ English equivalent: Th Meanings - Bad omen, lust. Reversed - Removal of a burden, Quelling of a destructive obsession.

ANSUZ English equivalent: A Meaning - You will be shown the right path. Reversed The Gods are against your desires and thus you will have a hard time of it.

RAIDHO English equivalent: R Meanings Journey, communication. Reversed Stuck when you need to be moving, lack of communication.

KENAZ English equivalent: K or C Meanings Illness, revelation. Reversed Good health, things remain hidden, No news is good news.

GEBO English equivalent: G Meaning - Gift

WUNJO English equivalent: W or V Meaning Joy Reversed Hardship that if overcome will lead to bliss, a locked door.

HAGALAZ English equivalent: H Meanings A destructive force, a series of problems, disruption.

NAUDHIZ English equivalent: N Meanings What you need is what is fated, look to your needs not your wants, you will be given what you require.

ISA English equivalent: I Meanings A slippery path, standstill, a cliff edge.

JERA English equivalent: J Meanings Harvest, fertility.

EIHWAZ English equivalent: Z Meanings The necessary tools.

PERTHRO English equivalent: P Meanings A female, fun times, an initiation, the powers of nature, something hidden. Reversed A distraction.

ELHAZ English equivalent: Y Meanings Defence, protection, feel safe. Reversed - Violation

SOWILO English equivalent: S Meanings Light, success, nourishment, wholeness.

TIWAZ English equivalent: T Meanings Victory, no turning back, energy. Reversed - Lethargy, a fight you cannot win.

BERKANO English equivalent: B Meanings Beauty, youth, sexual pleasure, fertility. Reversed Ugliness, barrenness, aged.

EHWAZ English equivalent: E Meanings A means of transport, energy, progress. Reversed Sloth, standstill.

MANNAZ English equivalent: M Meaning Focus on yourself. Reversed Focus on others, seek help from others.

LAGUZ English equivalent: L Meaning Flow Reversed Blockage, Change of course/direction.

INGWAZ English equivalent: ing Meanings A male, carnal pleasures, achievement, fertility.

DAGAZ English equivalent: D Meaning Opportunity, the right conditions.

OTHALA English equivalent: O Meanings Inheritance, transformation, change. Reversed - Loss

So youve got your candle or candles and youve carved a rune or runes into it/them, now what? Well you could add some essential oils, I use an oil burner these days but you can chose to directly anoint the candle with them or use incense if you prefer.

Magical Association Love Truth Luck Protection

Herbs/Oils Rose, Lavender, Violet, Cherry, Geranium Bluebell, White Birch Lemon, Nutmeg, Lime, Daisy, Violet Chives, Ginger, Garlic, Dill, Frankincense, Myrrh, Chili, Clove, Cumin, Pine, Sandalwood Healing Garlic, Chili, Eucalyptus, Geranium Banishment/Exorcism Frankincense, Juniper Berries, Basil, Clove, Mint Money Cedar, Dill, Jasmine, Mint, Pine, Vetivert Psychic Power Opium, Dandelion, Jasmine, Camphor, Rue Beauty Fenugreek, Bluebell, Licorice, Nettle Magical Energy (adds a boost to any spell) Ginger, Cinnamon Purification Lemon, Fennel, Iris, Tea Tree, Thyme Of course there are many more herbs out there and no two Witches have quite the same ideas about magical associations but you get the idea.

You can really make a spell as simple or as complicated as you want, you can add crystals, you can wait for the right phase of the moon and so on or you can, not do those things. It just depends what works for you and you wont know that until you try a few things. Ill just say a little bit about moon phases in magic: The waxing moon is the best time for spells regarding new beginnings. The waning moon is best for banishment spells. The full moon provides the most power for spells of all types. Some Witches avoid doing spells on the new/dark moon but its certainly a good choice for spells regarding matters that you want kept secret. So back to our example; youve got your candle, youve carved a few runes into it and anointed it with an essential oil and maybe youve put a few crystals round it Now what do you do? You could just light the candle and visualise what you want and then put the candle out (There is much debate about whether a candle should be blown out or snuffed out or allowed to burn until it goes out by itself. I really dont care what method you choose.) However you might want to add some words before, after or during your visualisation. These can be written in advance or thought up on the spot, they can rhyme or not. It is traditional to say So mote it be at the end of a spell but you could come up with your own verbal ending.

Part 4 Pagan Poetry

I just want to add a few Pagan themed poems I wrote:

Wicca me this Wicca me that With eye of newt And wing of bat Cauldron bubble Candle ignite Incantations in the night In the light Of gibbous moon Spread the tarot Cast the rune Evoke the spirit Invoke Goddess With athame Enchant and bless.


Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone Younger than laughter Older than stone Maker of mountain Sculptor of sea Igniter of stars Creator of me The beauty of nature Reflecting your own Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone Younger than laughter Older than stone Powerful beyond compare Graceful, elegant and fair Playful, youthful Aged and wise Mistress of both truth and lies

Writer of the very fates Gives potency And castrates!

Queen Mabs Revenge

Dont speak of Merlin The Wizard betrayed us Dont speak of the Christians Who spread like a plague Dont speak of the armies Who came to invade us I made Britain Pagan And so it remains I am, Goddess Queen of the Fey I am, The Morrigan Worthy of praise I am Mab I bring the old ways And Ill be, lonely At the end of all days Lonely because I only remain Angry because My World is in pain Rise up my children Im woken again Follow me Follow me Through tempest I reign Defy if you wish to be Ruthlessly slain Crows circle about me Rooks cry out my name And the Tower of London Roosts the birds of my fame For I never left you I've only been sleeping And now that Im woken My rage begins reaping

Some say the boy Arthur Will return for his throne Let him come Let him come With his sword From the stone Yet wait That blades broken And so will he be For hes a mere mortal And Im only ME Excalibur rusts In a lake with no Lady Human polution Has chased her away With Arthur abandoned Who will stand 'gainst me? I am The Morrigan They'll rue the day Follow me Follow me Into the fray I am The Morrigan Don't be my prey!

Part 5 Kitchen Magic

Kitchen Magic isnt really magic at all. Its understanding herbology and harnessing the powers of nature in your home. Using herbs for practical uses gives you a greater understanding of their magical uses. It can also help you to attune to nature. So here are a couple of ideas to get you started on natures path.

Kitchen cleaner spray: 1 spray bottle A quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (use half a teaspoon in larger spray bottles) A few drops of lemon oil A few drops of lime oil or blood orange oil or both. Fill the rest of the bottle with water, screw the top on, shake, spray on your sink and kitchen surfaces & wipe off with a cloth.

Bathroom cleaner spray: 1 spray bottle A quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (use half a teaspoon in larger spray bottles) A few drops of thyme oil 1 drop of tea tree oil A few drops of lemon oil A few drops of pine oil A few drops of peppermint oil (This is added purely for scent as I think it goes well with the pine. You can omit it or replace it with another essential oil if you prefer.) Fill the rest of the bottle with water, screw the top on and shake. Then spray on your bathroom sink, bath and toilet and wipe off with a cloth. Then rinse the sink and bath with cold water.

Part 6 Further Reading

Hedge Witch Rae Beth A Witches Bible Janet and Stewart Farrar Witchcraft for Tomorrow Doreen Valiente The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews Scott Cunningham Advanced Candle Magick Raymond Buckland The Crystal Bible Judy Hall Way of the Runes Bernard King Creating Magickal Entities David Michael Cunningham