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Welcome to Ask-A-Witch. Please feel free to explore our previous answers and advice, but we are no longer answering new questions. We hope you enjoy the information provided and wish you all a very witchy day!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Xena from Hamilton, Ontario

I am transgender. Does that exclude me from being a witch or practicing it?


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Dear Xena,

Of course not!!!!! Embrace becoming a witch and practice all you can!

Witch

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Kelly from Philadelphia, PA

Hello, I am just starting on my path of self-discovery, and I am very confused about how to use intention, candles, crystals, etc. I have several intentions that I would like to send out and I am working on meditation. I would also like to connect with my goddess (I have a triple goddess tattoo) and I am not sure where to begin. Can you help?


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Dear Kelly,

Use candles by holding them in the palms of your hands, then thinking/meditating on them with your intention. This is called charging an object with your intent. If there's a specific goddess you're connecting with, find out what her favorite colors, gemstones, herbs, and symbols are and incorporate those on your altar and in your magickal workings. Communicate with her by speaking out loud, meditating, telling her how you feel and what qualities she has that you respect or need in your own life.

Witch

Saturday, November 28, 2015

James from Fort Worth, TX

Do you know how I can open my third eye? I know what to expect when it is open and what to do, but I don't know how to open my third eye.


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Dear James,

You can work with blue topaz, which is well known for opening the third eye. Also, meditate on seeing the third eye, which is located between the eyebrows on the forehead, and visualize that energy center opening. Word of caution: you want to open a little at a time. You don't want to open it all at once and become overwhelmed.

Witch

Friday, November 27, 2015

Peter from Ireland

I've tried getting into witchcraft, but I find it very complex and I have never cast a spell before. But what I really want to ask is, how can I use magic to fight off thugs without having to be an actual witch and without having to do any of those rituals? I can't really fight, so magic might be the best thing to use when I'm attacked.


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Dear Peter,

Who is attacking you that you would need to ask that question? If you're not a witch, don't use rituals a witch would use. Embrace and call upon the deity of whatever religion you practice. Half of spell and ritual work is the belief in what you're doing. If you don't believe, it's not going to work.

Witch

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vanessa from St. Louis, MO

I have a burning question that I feel is urgent to be answered. I've tried to find a place to get answers my whole life, and this is the closest I've come to finding a source for this kind of thing.

I'm 20 years old. I'm clairaudient and clairsentient. Up until I was 5, I could see and interact with spirit. I can no longer see them, with the exception of seeing my father's spirit the day he died, back in October.

My whole life, I've been drawn to magick. It has such a pull on me. It's like...I never TRIED to find it. It found me. And being of the Christian faith, I almost feel guilty at times for not being able to gravitate away from magick. I just can't. And won't.

But HERE'S my question. When my mother was pregnant with me, three pagans cast a spell/curse/blessing (we don't know what, exactly) on ME, in utero. My mother did not consent to this. From what she has told me, she has no recollection of what was said/performed. She only knows it happened. I do NOT know what the men intended, whether it be from the dark or the light side of magick.

I'm just wondering if there are any known spells that are cast on female babies while they are still in the mother's womb, and if so, what are the possibilities?

I'm very curious to know if my gifts come from this incident. I mean, everyone I come across calls me a very wise old soul, because I have a tendency to KNOW a lot of things, without having an explanation as to how I know. I can hear and sense spirit energy. My speaking voice and singing voice are extremely beautiful, soothing, and almost siren-like. Also, keep in mind I am Gypsy by blood. I speak the language and everything. Yes, it's actually an ethnicity.

Does any of this make sense? I just want to know what was cast on me before I was born, and if it has any connection to these traits I possess.

Any kind of help would be much, much appreciated! Blessings.

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Dear Vanessa,

Individual people of any faith may be evil, but Pagans as a whole are not evil.
Pagans believe in the sanctity of life. If three pagan men surrounded your mother, they were probably blessing you with health, happiness, and love.

Witch

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Emma from Bali, Indonesia

Hi, I recently visited my spiritual center and the girl there said that I have a strong ability, and that's being a witch. I was also wondering if you could give me some spells I should practice? Thank you.


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Dear Emma,

I'm not sure what the girl at your spiritual center meant when she said you had a strong ability and that it was being a witch. Did she mean you were psychic? Did she mention what type of psychic?


What types of spells are you needing to practice? Healing? Prosperity? Strength? Courage?

I need more information from you, honey, in order to give you a good answer ;-)

Witch

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yolanda from England

Hello, I am hoping you may be able to help me because I think I may have been cursed.

When I moved into my current home, I knew it didn't feel exactly right but tried to ignore the feeling because I was desperate to move away from the last place I had been living. Things in my life had been going well, so I thought, until around 2002/3 when I seemed to suddenly lose all my friends, my health, and my job. I never knew why.

Suddenly, nobody wanted to know me anymore. I had strangers literally come up to me and stare at me blankly; they didn't say anything, just stared! Just before I lost my job, a friend had done it whilst sitting opposite me in the cafe. It was so obvious and weird that a woman I didn't really know who was seated with us told her to stop it. It was freaky.

Over these many years I have been struck by severe depression, horrible aches and pains, stomach problems, and looked ill in a way that one might think I was hooked on drugs even though I have never done drugs. I went from being a slim size UK 6 to 8, to a 14 to 16 in a very short period of time and have never been able to shift it, no matter how much exercise I have done. After working all my life and always being highly recommended by my employers, I was unable to find ANY type of work for two years. Even now, I am only managing to work part-time in a job that allows me no work life balance and isolates me from everyone. Nobody else wanted the unsociable hours and working conditions; that is the only reason I have it. It pays so little that it is very hard for me to survive. I have been trying to find other suitable work and outside interests/clubs/volunteering, but everything I seem to do gets trashed, undone or plain doesn't work out in some way, shape, or form. My family has also seemingly turned against me even though I have done them no harm.

Something I would like to mention is that years ago, I had a dream where a girl or young woman was laid on my bed in a white nightgown, and what looked like monks surrounded the bed in a circle. I could not see faces as their hoods were up and it was night, but I could see their outlines. I do not know what color the habits/robes were, although I could see they were not white. I did not feel afraid, but confused. The person on the bed I think may have been meant to be me, but it did not look like me.

Many strange things have happened in the house, but to be honest, things started to go bad before I moved there. I have truly been living in a state of resignation and stagnation now for years, unable to achieve anything. I no longer have motivation or belief in myself. Is there anything you might suggest I could do to help my situation, please? I really do not know where to turn. I used to be a fighting spirit, but now there's no fight left in me. Thank you.

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Dear Yolanda,

I'm so sorry to hear of all the troubles you've experienced throughout your lifetime. If you truly feel you've been cursed, please read our recent response to Mercedes to remove the curse.


If you believe you have depression, please read our article on depression and when to seek professional help. 

Life is hard and people can suck, but don't give up on finding a way to get your fighting spirit back! Please send us an update a few weeks after performing the curse removal ritual.

Witch

Monday, November 23, 2015

John from South Lyon, MI

I want a strong spell to make a woman I love fall in love with me. Does it exist? What is it and what do I need? Can you provide materials? I want her with everything in me. If you can help, please, I need her.

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Dear John,

13 Magickal Moons does, in fact, sell a love spell kit which has had some extremely positive results! 

One of the more than 20 spell kits available at 13 Magickal Moons
When you perform this spell, make sure your neediness and begging are not part of the energy you send out because that will make your spell fail.

Witch

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Maria from Lakewood, NJ

I recently had a number of spells cast for me. Over the past week, I have been stricken with my yearly seasonal allergies, ie: sinus condition, sneezing, and coughing. It seems a little too early in the season for this to happen now. Is it possible my body is reacting to the spells, and I should see this as a good sign the spells are taking effect? Or should I just keep supporting Kleenex?

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Dear Maria,

Keep supporting Kleenex, LOL. With all the climate changes we've been experiencing, seasonal allergies have been hitting earlier each season.


P.S. Stop having people cast spells for you. If you want something done, do it yourself!

Witch

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fire Sign from Chicago, IL

I'll try to make a very long story short.

I fell in love with a guy I know is a player. However, I felt entranced by him. I couldn't get him off of my mind. My every thought was consumed by him, and I couldn't function without him.

I decided to do a honey jar spell on him. I felt like something beyond me was enticing me to do the spell, almost like I was possessed. I created the jar and put maple syrup, roses, cinnamon, honey, a crystal that I had used to balance his chakras, a note that had a sentence that said HIS NAME loves MY NAME in a circle around his name written nine times with my name written covering his name, smeared with my menstrual blood, and a tissue that had our sex fluids on it. I set it in my windowsill and let it charge by the moon. Then I lit a red candle and said a rhyme about him loving me. After about two weeks or so, I saw no results. As a matter of fact, it was like he pulled away from me more. So I decided to empty the jar. But when I pulled the note out, it had turned rock hard, solid, like a brick. It took me two days to get it apart. Then I burned the paper hoping to break the energy. (Still no response from him.)

I was still feeling like I was going crazy over this guy, so I called a psychic. She told me that this guy channels demons, participates in orgies, and channeled a demon while we were having sex! She also said that this guy was going to attack me. She told me to tell him I had a dream that my mother warned me to stop dating him.

I sent him an email telling him that I had a dream. I also told him I knew about the sex magic and demons. He responded by telling me not to send him any more emails like this. That was that two days ago and I haven't heard from him since.

Was the ritual spell I cast broken and have I seen the last of him? How can I tell if he's gone or is he still going to attack me?


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Dear Fire Sign,

It sounds like the spell is in fact broken, and I sincerely hope you never hear from that nutjob again. If you're really worried about him attacking you, I would suggest you make haste to do a protective ritual for you and your home. Try modifying this spell to meet your needs.

Witch

Friday, November 20, 2015

Daughter Mary from Canada

Back in February, my mother had a horrible car accident. She was driving down the highway and rolled the SUV she was driving. She came out with minor injuries (concussion and sore all over). Anyway, since then she's had a few close calls and two other minor accidents. Most recently, she has been having some trouble with an ex of her's driving around our neighbourhood and other places he knows she might be. He's gone as far as actually stopping his car and trying to get her to go with him. We have already spoken to the authorities about it, and they did all they could (which was giving us a number to call in case he shows up again), but I am still worried, not just for my mother but for my sister (15) and grandmother as well. Nothing serious has happened yet, but I would feel a little better about my family's situation if I could give them all an extra little bit of protection. I would really like to make them a protection charm. I went camping on a beach over the summer, and as I walked along the beach I came across some beautiful rocks that just spoke to me. I had to take them home. I would really like to use them for the charm. What I was wondering is, is making protection charms possible? I saw some online that people can buy, but I would much rather make them myself. I haven't been able to find a ritual to give them the protective power; is there one? If so, what tools will I need? Which day would work best? Is there a specific moon phase that would work best?

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Dear Daughter Mary,

This is a great idea, and of course you can make a charm for you and your family members incorporating rocks you found at the beach. One of the easiest things to make would be a mojo bag.


Buy small bags in the favorite color of each person you're making them for. Add the stones from the beach. You can also add black tourmaline, which will create a protective barrier around them, and bloodstone, which would absorb any negative energy. Finally, add a piece of rose quartz, which represents your love of them. When you have all the mojo bags put together, hold them in the palms of your hands, visualize a protective barrier around them, and pour as much love as you can into these bags. Once you feel the energy stop moving, the bags have been charged and are ready to give out as gifts.

Any moon phase is appropriate for this, however, we have a full moon coming up on November 25, which would be a great time to add a little something extra to your spell.

Witch

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Deb from Herndon, VA

Dear Witch,

First - thank you for your no-nonsense and yet generally understanding approach to the many questions you get. More than once I've found myself smiling.

I was just catching up on your blog when I came across a question on 27 February from Bisrat when she asked if a person can be a Christian Witch.

You responded that a person cannot be a Christian Wiccan and I believe this is probably true. However, a person can most certainly be a Christian Witch. Which I know because I am one and I am not alone.

Gnostic and "New Testament" Christians consider themselves just as "Christian" as those that come from the Orthodox, Roman, Catholic and protestant practices. Some don't practice magic at all. Some practice magic without calling themselves witches. Some of us, particularly those of Celtic bloodlines, are perfectly happy self-identifying as witches. We honor the observances and rituals of our fellow witches, and we happily participate when invited. If it feeds our spirituality, supports our magic, and deepens our connection to the creation, it is a good thing.

It is true that most Christians are taught that the practice of witchcraft is of the devil and not compatible with Christianity. That is the result of 2,000 years of organized religion referred to as "The Church". A witch doesn't have to agree. We can own our own truth and worship our deities - specifically The Creator (The Father) and the Holy Spirit (The Mother) with the equality that many believe was there before Roman power corrupted the practice. But I know that I walk with both the Mother and the Father. And I believe I walk as Christ originally intended us to walk. That said, I don't argue with Christians about all of it either. That's just a waste of good energy.

But when our Christian brethren feel the pull of something beyond the traditional walls of the Christian Church, I believe we should be there to willingly help them explore without judgment. We are no more the keepers of all things witch than the church is *actually* the keeper of all things Christian.


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Dear Deb,

You've made a great point! You've opened our eyes to the difference between a practicing Christian Witch and someone who claims to practice Christian Wicca. We appreciate you taking the time to send in that response. Again, thank you for the clarification.

Witch

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Light a Candle Tonight

Dear Readers,

Most of you are going to read this post in the safety of your home, surrounded by your family, safe and secure and wondering what is happening in the world today. We would like to ask you to please light a candle for all of those who have been lost in senseless terrorist attacks to include the most recent ones in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad. We hope their families can find comfort and their killers are brought to justice.

Last night I tucked in my two beautiful, innocent boys, kissed their little foreheads, made them smile and giggle, and went downstairs with the thought that none of us are safe. Nothing is guaranteed in this life. Not another year, month, week, day, hour, or minute. Terrorists around the world are making sure we go to bed every single night remembering that. They want to breed fear and hate.

After the Paris attacks, I started seeing hateful, bigoted posts on social media saying "all Muslims are evil", "this is Islam's fault", "Syrian refugees were a part of this", and "close all our borders". The Muslim religion is not ISIS. ISIS is not the Muslim religion. Over 1.6 billion people in the world practice Islam, people just like you and me who fall in love, get married, worry about their kids, go to work every day, struggle with money problems, and pray for the strength and wisdom to do the right thing. They just happen to practice a different religion than we do.


For those of you who know me personally, you know I am not a fluffy bunny person. I am not about poofy clouds and "all is wonderful with the world if we just learn to love and accept everybody." But I am not so jaded -- and certainly not so cold-hearted -- that I would wish the genocide of millions of people simply because they don't share my beliefs. That is exactly what the terrorists wish for.

Some might argue we need to be aggressive about keeping ourselves safe, and I agree. Open your eyes to things around you. Pay attention to what's going on. Be vigilant. But don't turn your fear into hate and bigotry. Blame who is to blame: all those involved in the senseless, violent acts of extreme religious bigotry, not those who happen to share a religion, culture, or skin color with people who have perpetrated evil.

quranicquotes.com
So please join me in lighting a candle tonight to pray for lives senselessly lost, comfort to the suffering, and love and understanding to our hearts.

Samantha

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dawn from United States

I'm planning my very first ritual for my small coven and I really don't know what to do. Do you have any advice?

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Dear Dawn,

Keep three things in mind when you are writing a ritual for a small group:


1. Let the Divine guide you throughout the entire process. The rituals we perform are in honor of our Lord and Lady and, therefore, Their guidance is key to its success.

2. Keep ALL participants in mind when you are writing the ritual. Think about each person and ask yourself...what do we all need right now?

3. Keep it simple and don't demand perfection from any member of your group, especially yourself. It's very easy to get caught up in the "actions" of a ritual and lose the "emotions" which are supposed to come from it.

Other than that... relax, breathe, and embrace your role.

Much luck and many blessings to all of you!

Witch

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kimberly from Carbondale, PA

How do I know if someone has placed a spell on me?

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Dear Kimberly,

You neglected to state what type of spell you believe may have been cast on you. But I guess one way to sense if a spell has been placed on you would be to see if there are any areas in your life where you have had an unexplainable turn around in thought or emotion.


Let me give you an example. Carl cast a love spell on Julie. Julie was kinda into Carl, but not enough to actually date him. Then one day she wakes up and thinks to herself...I think I'm going to date Carl now.

Make sense?

If you feel you have been cursed, please read my response to Mercedez from Unknown for signs.

Witch

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kasey from Charlotte, NC

I've been cursed. As a fetus, my mother promised to sell my soul with my biological father then backed out. I was born with difficulties, but okay. I was then sexually abused from 7 years old to 13 by my stepfather. I am still suffering from mistakes I've made with peers I've encountered in my life, causing me to believe I have several curses on me. What should I do, please?


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Dear Kasey,

The witches behind AAW all agree...this hurts our hearts!


Speaking from personal experience, sometimes it's easier to believe our life has been cursed than to believe that shitty people do shitty things...like sexually abusing an innocent 7-year-old.

For more information on curses and how to break them, please read my response to Mercedez from Unknown.

There is a Hindu Goddess, Kali, who would be such a powerful protectress for you. Kali has been with me my whole life and it's only because of Her that I found the strength to move past who I was and become who I was always meant to be.  Here is a ritual I've used many times:

Kali Ritual For Gathering Strength

Items needed:
  • Red Goddess candle
  • A fireproof container or cauldron (for burning incense)
  • Charcoal block
  • Jasmine dried herb
  • Matches

Light the red Kali Goddess candle.
Purify yourself.
Cast the Circle.
Call the Elements:

Hail to the Spirit of Earth:
For beauty and abundance in my home and hearth
I ask that you join me in my sacred space
Be with me now at this time and this place

Hail to the Spirit of Air:
For creativity and awareness in all that I dare
I ask that you join me in my sacred space
Be with me now at this time and this place

Hail to the Spirit of Fire:
For strength and courage for passion and desire
I ask that you join me in my sacred space
Be with me now at this time and this place

Hail to the Spirit of Water:
Bring intuition and cleansing to me your daughter
I ask that you join me in my sacred space
Be with me now at this time and this place

Invoke Kali:
Great Kali, Goddess of Strength and Power
Be with me now in my darkest hour
Your courage and hope are what I need
Bring your passions here to me

Purpose of the Ritual:

The purpose of this ritual is to gather strength from Kali in a time of need, to use her strength and passion through the difficult phases in our lives.

Body of the Ritual:
  • Light the charcoal block.
  • While the block is heating up, concentrate on the areas in your life in which you need strength.
  • Once the block has heated, take a pinch of the jasmine and throw it on top of the charcoal.
  • As you watch the flowers burn, inhale the smoke, gathering Kali's power into yourself.
  • Do this for each aspect you require strength.

For extra added power, once the ashes have cooled completely down, gather them together in a spill proof container and carry them with you wherever you go.

Thanking Kali:

Great Kali, Goddess of change and transformation
Goddess of destruction and all creation
Keep me protected in all I do
Today, tomorrow, my whole life through
Farewell and blessed be

Release the Elements:

Thank you Spirit of Water
For bringing intuition and cleansing to me your daughter
Hail and farewell

Thank you Spirit of Fire
For bringing strength and courage for passion and desire
Hail and farewell

Thank you Spirit of Air
For bringing creativity and awareness in all that I dare
Hail and farewell

Thank you Spirit of Earth
For bringing beauty and abundance in my home and hearth
Hail and farewell

Open the Circle:

The circle is open but unbroken.
May the strength and passion of Kali remain with me.
Merry meet and merry part till we merry meet again.
So mote it be.

Please keep us up-to-date on how you're doing.

Witch

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stefaniya from Australia

I feel very short all the time. My sister, who's two years younger than me, is way taller than me. I'm 15 and 5 foot 1. I really wanna grow taller. I'm taller than my mom by about an inch, so that's a little. I'm worried that I'm stuck with this height forever.

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Dear Stefaniya,

You will not be stuck at 5'1" for the rest of your life. You have a few growth spurts coming your way for the next 10 years.


And besides...don't you know the best things come in little packages?!

Witch

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lucy from England

So for a while now, maybe a year, I have been really confused about myself and if I'm a witch and whether witches even exist. I'm 15 and I can extinguish a candle just by staring at it. I have been able to do this for a little while without fail. I also have senses, like I can feel certain energies, like from people and in homes. My grandmother always had these senses and said they developed at my age. Personally, I just assumed nothing of it, but I sort of fear it now because I believe her and I can relate to what she described. I'm a very open-minded person, but is there anything I can do to confirm if I am a witch or something? And do you have any advice on what to do because I'm pretty shaken, thinking about it? It all sounds so silly, but I don't know.

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Dear Lucy,

A witch is a person who acknowledges, appreciates, and works with energies which reside all around and within us. 


Being a witch and being psychic are two different things. Most people are born with varying degrees of psychic abilities. Just like most people are born with the abilities to draw. Some people draw stick figures and some people draw amazing masterpieces. Your grandmother is talking about your psychic abilites,not about you being a witch.

Starting carrying a notebook with you. Whenever you have a thought or feeling about something (anything) write it down immediately. It doesn't matter how off the wall or crazy you think it might be, write it down. Once a week, sit down and go through your thoughts and ideas (aka predictions) and highlight the ones that came true. 

It might take some time to get used to doing this, but soon enough you'll see that your gifts (and yes... they are gifts) are accurate. The more accurate you are, the more confident you'll feel!

Embrace this gift!

Witch

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hopeful Child from Kentucky

My wife and I have embarked on our spiritual journey together and have discovered that we practice differently, maybe practicing different traditions altogether. My question is, can our magicks overlap in bad ways? If she does a cleansing on the house and I do a cleansing on the house and they are very different, does it have the potential to "break" or undo each others attempts??? Or would it really just be doubling down? We don't practice opposing systems, I just focus on Shamanic/Ancestor worship/petitioning and she is much more a Dianic Wiccan. Curiously anxious. Thank you.

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Dear Hopeful Child,

Not at all! Your magick will swirl, embrace, and enhance her magick. Practicing two different spiritualities has the possibility to bring you two closer together as long as you both remain respectful of the other's chosen path.


Enjoy!

Witch

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dustin from Seattle, WA

I am reading a book on Wicca and it describes how to cleanse and consecrate, but it does not talk about how you cast a circle before your tools are cleansed and consecrated. So my question is how do you cast a circle when you are just starting out and so you can cleanse and consecrate your tools properly?


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Dear Dustin,

"Casting the circle" is where you focus the energy inside of you and project it outward to create a sphere around you. You can use the pointer finger on your dominant hand to cast the circle...no tools are really needed.

Witch

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Morgan from California

So my practices have brought me to a halt. I am confused about why people are taught about mercury retrograde, when if you're a witch, your magick can be performed anytime. I do not understand why it's even spoken about. It's not that big of a thing. However, many people I am coming into contact with are constantly talking about this. Are you a believer as well?

My next question is....Why is it I am finding more and more people saying they follow light laws and that our souls are not connected to the divine? I thought as a witch you connect automatically with the source. Do you speak Satanticism or ANA? Does it matter if you practice light laws to have a connection with the divine? Why is it that others claiming to be witches have the ability to down me? I do not practice with a coven; is that supposed to be? I have been learning since I was 18 on my own, and am now turning 30. I am finding that the deeper I go with this topic, the more weird people I find. Does that mean I am wrong?

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Dear Morgan,


I am certainly a believer in Mercury retrograde and its effects. But that doesn’t mean I’m worried about it when I do spellwork.

Let me explain. A lot of people who know a little bit about astrology positively freak out when they hear that Mercury retrograde is coming. But it comes three to four times a year and we’re all still here. In other words, it doesn’t always live up to the hype.

Unless my spell directly has to do with a Mercury-ruled topic, like enhancing my ability to speak or write, I’m not all that worried. There are other retrograde planets that concern me a lot more for spells, such as Mars or Venus retrograde, and for different reasons.

More than any other astrological factor, however, is the Void of Course (VOC) Moon. It’s the time from when the Moon makes her last aspect (astrological contact) with another planet until the time she enters a new sign of the zodiac, about once every three days or so. The 13 Magickal Moons Datebook, for example, lists the VOC for your convenience, as do a number of other magickal almanacs and astrological resources. I would absolutely NOT cast a spell during the VOC Moon, which can last from a few hours to half a day or more sometimes.

In other words, Mercury retrograde shouldn’t generally keep you from casting spells for the five to six weeks it’s occurring. But I would give the same advice I would for any spell: Write it out carefully, plan it with lots of details, take the time to prepare, and be very clear on your intent and your desired outcome, as misunderstandings occur much more frequently during these periods.

In short, don’t let Merc retro stop you from casting spells, and don’t let others playing Chicken Little every four months keep you from doing so, either. 

As for question your second question, practice what feels right to you and screw everyone and their opinions! Like you, I have found more and more "pagans" getting caught up on the ego train and acting as if their way is the only way. To them, I say nothing because I don't feel the need to justify my beliefs to anyone. Our connection to the Lord and Lady is a solitary experience whether you are part of a coven or not. Keep doing what you're doing!

Witch