Are Weather Spells Considered Black Magic?


Are weather spells (like a storm spell) considered black magic?

The short answer is… no.

The longer answer is more of… depends on what you are looking to do with it. If you are purposefully trying to be destructive, or cause injury or harm to others via the weather, then yes it could be. In general (and I’m sure I’m like a broken record at this point) magic is colorless – in and of itself it is neither black nor white (or any other color for that matter). It’s what you do with it that really counts.

Keep in mind too though, that even if you aren’t meaning to do harm with weather magic, it can still cause it. Forces of nature are called such for a good reason, and are not something to take on lightly, or without a lot of careful consideration and forethought. The following was originally re-blogged to our Tumblr page via Morgandria, but cross posting here as well, due your question…

Helpful Hint for Witches #6

LEAVE THE WEATHER ALONE.

Unless you have a meteorologist’s level of knowledge about the historical and prevailing conditions of your area, and how systems move in and out of your area, you have NO idea how your witching is going to affect OTHER areas, as well as your own. You are not just affecting yourself. You will be potentially effecting thousands or millions of other people.

You could be starting or encouraging a flood. Or a drought. And you are very likely not the only witch throwing pebbles into the weather pond. One pebble is a ripple – hundreds of pebbles cause a lot more disturbance. Ripples can become waves. Waves from different directions meet and crash – and you don’t want to live where waves meet.

We all love to complain about the weather. We’d all love to change it, sometimes. But it’s not a wise choice.

 

 

Wiccan Exorcism


I am pretty new to Wicca, and I believe there is a negative entity or demon in my house. I’ve looked up exorcisms and found one I’d like to use but I have a few questions I’m hoping you can answer for me. Here is a link to website I got it from.

I have used rituals on this website before and found they worked well, but I’d like to get someone more experienced opinion before I do anything.

  1. Is it safe? And if not exactly how dangerous could it be?
  2. My mother, whom I live with is not Wiccan and does not believe in the craft, or in ghosts or demons. Although she has heard and seen many of the things I have she always comes with something else it could be. Could her disbelief be a problem?
  3. The incantation is in Latin and although I do speak Latin I am not fluent, if I mispronounced something would it mess up the whole exorcism?

If you are an initiated Wiccan, I would suggest speaking to you HP/HPS about potential ways to deal with a malevolent entity. They would be best equipped to instruct someone who is new, and will also know what sort of things to suggest based on their assessment of your current skill level. Outside of Traditional Wicca however, for those that are on a Wicca inspired NeoPagan path, or solitary Witch – I’d be kind of wary of anything that calls itself a Wiccan “exorcism”.

Most Witchcraft traditions work with banishing rituals when they need to rid themselves (or others) of unwanted energies/entities. The term “exorcism” has heavily Christian overtones, and not that it can’t necessarily work – even for a non-Christian, odds are that the wording of the actual “spell”  is going to be geared more towards a Christian mindset than a Pagan one.

So using Google Translate (which obviously isn’t perfect, but will give us a general idea of the text in English)…

Kingdoms of the Earth, Sing unto God, sing ye praises with Cernunnos,
Kingdoms of the Earth, Goddess, sing praises sung of Arad.
God of heaven, earth,
I humbly beg your Majesty
In order that the power from all of the infernal spirits,
The trap, and deception, malice;
Of all deceit, deliver us, O Ruler.
Exorcise you, every unclean spirit
Let every satanic power, every incursion,
That infernal adversary, every legion,
And the gathering together of all sects.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O sovereign Lord,
As Lisle serve your safe to do
We beseech thee to hear us!
Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy of the circle,
We beseech thee to hear us!
The God in his sanctuary,
Cernunnos Himself will have thrust the power of His Own people,
Arad his strength to his people.
Blessed be God, the Father,
Blessed Goddess Mother of the glory!

In this case, the wording is not even remotely appropriate, and it’s pretty clear that someone simply took the original Latin wording of a Christian ritual and added in a few references to a Pagan God, and Goddess. Which if they’d left both of them completely generic, it might not have been so bad, but to name Cernunnos specifically, particularly with the attributes of YHWH still in place, is somewhat laughable at best, and utterly cringe-worthy and insulting (to both YHWH and Cernnunos) at worst. In terms of the Goddess, I’m guessing that Arad is supposed to be an abbreviation of Aradia, but still, unless you are on really good terms with that particular Goddess, I’d want to make sure to use her full name, otherwise it could be seen as a sign of disrespect. Worse, you could end up invoking a completely different Goddess.  I’d advise anyone that was even considering to use it, to leave out any specific God/Goddess names unless you were absolutely sure that the attributes/praises listed were actually apt descriptions of said God/Goddess.

Other issues…

  • With the wording itself – the Devil is a Christian concept. Not that others can’t/don’t necessarily acknowledge his existence, but it’s usually not quite the same as how a Christian would view it. Particularly within a NeoPagan framework, there is the acknowledgement that not everything is love and light or healing and growing, and that in order to maintain that elusive “balance” everyone is so keen on, there is a certain amount of dark and chaos, and destruction that is necessary as well.
  • This whole paragraph here: This method is a good one for two reasons. First, it uses a force so pure that when the demon leaves the body of the victim, it will already be so immersed in this energy that it will be annihilated. Secondly, you do not need to adapt the incantation according to the identity or strength of the evil spirit, since the power of the gods still exceed the power of the demon.”  What force is it using? In a Christian context this would make more sense, given how YHWH is generally described, but in terms of other Pagan Gods not so much. There is an assumption there as well, that all Gods are more powerful than all “demons” (and that word in particular is problematic at best, since things that we often might call “demons” really aren’t, nor are they all inherently evil), which may or may not be true (it’s said to be true in the case of YHWH though, which is what the words are in reference to).
  • Speaking in Latin (or any foreign language one is not fluent in) – first and foremost, if you are going to do any sort of spellwork in another language, it is ALWAYS (can’t stress it enough) advisable to get the text translated first by someone that is reputable/knowledgeable in both languages (not only the text language, but one’s native language as well) so that there is absolutely no chance of any miscommunication, or mis-speaking. Having to go back later and be all… “but that’s not what I meant!!” doesn’t generally go over very well. It’s definitely not a good idea to just take text from a book, or the internet and assume that it means what the author/site publisher says it does.
  • Even once you are sure that the text says exactly what you want it to say, the other issue is actually speaking the words. Again, if you are not fluent, it’s better to just say no, rather than risk mispronouncing something, which could change the meaning of your ritual exponentially, and screw the whole thing up (or make it a lot worse). I generally do not suggest using foreign phrasing unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you are saying it correctly. It’s just too risky.

In terms of “safety”, it’s really hard to say. Really will depend on if it’s an actual entity, or just some lingering icky energy? If it’s just energy, then a decent cleansing ritual should suffice (or several of them if it’s really stubborn) and shouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other normal activity that you might do.

If it’s an actual entity of some kind – is it actually malevolent, or just there and you don’t want it to be? Often entities will work more on a you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you kind of a scale, so if you find yourself poking at it, or engaging it in any way, it may just be a matter of ignoring it and it will go on it’s way once you stop. A lot of times as well, there is a tendency for people to assume that all entities are evil or malicious, when in fact, most are apathetic at best towards humans, and even if they are hanging around a house, they aren’t really any sort of threat. In those cases, sometimes simply asking (firmly, but politely) “please leave” can do wonders. For those that are truly malicious, any sort of banishing spell/ritual could be pretty intense, but not like actual “The Exorcist” (the movie) intense. If you are not comfortable with such things though, then you might want to contact someone who is, just to have the extra support.

As to your mother’s belief/disbelief… as the ritual/spell isn’t directed at her, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if she is going around actively countering your work, either by shooting it down verbally (saying things like… that will never work), or in some other way making you doubt yourself, or your ability to banish the entity – that could affect the outcome. It would be more beneficial to have her working with you, or at the very least not working against you. Other issues that come into play here as well, are if she doesn’t want you doing witchcraft in the house. If that is the case, you should look to other methods of banishing that aren’t overtly witchcraft, as one should always try to respect the rules their parents have set while still living at home.

So… other options. I’m a big fan of actual “cleansing” when doing banishing/cleansing type rituals. If there is a particular place in the house where this entity or energy seems to be concentrated, start there, giving the area a deep cleaning. Open windows, and doors, sweep, dust, vacuum, etc…Make it all sparkle, and sweep the negative energy right out the door/window.

Once you’ve done the manual labor, then you can look to the more spiritual side of it. Burning a protective/purifying/cleansing flavor of incense is a good way to encourage an unwanted entity to leave, or to help whisk away negative energy. Bells and chimes have been used for such as well.

Outside of that, if you want to do a full-on ritual, now would be the time, though I would really suggest writing one yourself, rather than using the Latin one above (there are just way too many things wrong with it). Personally, I would suggest visualizing the cleansing via the Elements (air to push out the entity/energy, fire to burn away any residual negativity, water to purify, and earth to build strong, protected foundation).

You can open by calling on whichever God(s) you personally work with, but I would avoid calling on random deities that you don’t have any particular association with. Working with unfamiliar deities is sometimes a bit hit or miss – they might help, but they might not, so it’s usually better to just raise your own energy, unless you have something really good to offer in return for their assistance. Then simply state your intention to banish the entity/energy, and do the visualizations (mentioned above) to emphasize that intention. When you’re done you can close out your ritual, be sure to give your offerings and/or show your appreciation for any deities that you called on (if you choose to do so).

As mentioned earlier, sometimes it may take more than one cleansing. So if you do it once, and there is still a bit of lingering ick, give it a bit of time and do it again.

Sarduríur’s Academic Sources Guide for the Unversed


Sephira:

Great guide to understanding the different types of source materials, and for helping one to recognize when a source is likely complete BS vs academic quality.

Originally posted on Shadows of the Sun:

Hello once again, gentle readers! It’s your friendly neighborhood Medievalist and former Classical/Near Eastern Studies-ist Sarduríur Freydís Sverresdatter, here with some tips regarding proper sources, academic discernment, and citation. Now in a super-informal colloquial format! Huzzah!

Historical research is a major part of many Polytheist communities. Whether a Revivalist or Reconstructionist, to a lesser or greater degree, we all turn to the written word of History at one point or another. History is the backbone of all we know and understand about ourselves as literate, self-aware creatures. However, many Polytheists have not had formal University training in the professional field of History to any extent. Quite a number of Polytheists, both seasoned practitioners and “newbies” alike, feel lost in the stacks — whether they care to admit it or not — and don’t know where or how to begin to sift through the thousands of publications on any given subject.

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Pagans in the Workplace


I’m currently a student studying radiography and I was wondering if there are other Wiccans in the modern healthcare industry? I have researched this topic but have yet to get an answer so I figured I would ask.

The simple answer is yes – there are Wiccans, Neo-Pagans, Witches, etc… in almost every career sector imaginable. It’s common misconception I think, to view Pagans as fringe-dwellers, who only live off the land, or who only use “traditional” healing methods as they make their daily journey through the seasons of the year. Not saying that this is how you specifically view them, but many often seem to (or at least variations of it).

The fact is (contrary to most typically portrayed stereotypes) Pagans (of all flavors) are just like everyone else. They live, eat and breathe in the modern world – drive cars, use computers/technology, eat fast-food, aren’t always very environmentally friendly, and can be just as mean and hateful as the next person, etc… The only real difference is their religious/spiritual choices are a bit different than what is considered “mainstream”.

Other than that, there is really no way to know exact numbers. Religious affiliation is one of those “not allowed to ask” type questions for employers, so there is really not any sort of concrete data available on that front. Additionally, religion is one of the three big “taboo” subjects (along with sex and politics) in terms of maintaining “healthy” employee/co-worker relations, so it can sometimes make it exponentially more difficult to find out if there are fellow Pagans in the workplace, or if you are the only one for miles around.

Are Crystals Required for Wand Making?


When making a pagan wand is it necessary to use a crystal? I’ve looked everywhere and could not find a answer.

Unless one is a member of a specific tradition which has exacting requirements for how one’s wand should be made, a wand – like most other magical tools, is a personal thing. Yes, they are practical in nature, but in truth you can usually design it however you want to, and include whatever materials you want to (as long as it can still perform it’s intended function) .

Some choose to make a number of different wands, each corresponding to a particular purpose, and others choose to make a single wand that they use for all magical purposes – it’s your choice. In either case though, you would want to use materials that best represent your intended use (whether specific or general), and while using commonly accepted symbols/materials is often a popular choice, as long as you have a reason for including something else (either UPG, lore-based or just because it looks pretty damn spectacular), it’s entirely up to you.

Crystals tend to be used often, because of their inherent properties, not only in terms of correspondences (there is probably a crystal for almost any purpose we could possibly imagine), but also their ability to channel and/or hold magical energy. So if you like crystals… use them, if you don’t, that’s fine too, there are plenty of other items that can serve in their stead. Use whichever ones speak to you.

I know people who have intricately crafted wands, with crystals and carved sigils, and I know people who have store bought toy “fairy-godmother” type wands and people who have ones that are somewhere in between – all use them with pride. In the end is the only real question is… does the wand work for you? As long as the answer is yes, then that’s all that really matters.

Christian Preacher-to-be Finds Home in Paganism… Now What?


I am a pagan hiding in the world of Christianity. When I came to college, a christian university at that, I was planning on being a preacher. But as I went further and further into school the more and more I felt like I was missing something. Then I found magic, and a void was filled for the first time in my life. I have become a dedicated pagan but just still in the broom closet so to speak. But my dilemma is, I was going to be a preacher. That was what I was going to do, but I am not christian anymore. I don’t know what to do now… I am lost and do not know where to go from here.

In terms of whether or not you want to let others know of your change in path, I would suggest reading our previous posts on When Hiding One’s Beliefs May Be The Better Choice and Pagan Coming Out Day… Things to Think About. It’s definitely a monumental decision, especially given your original career choice, so you need to think carefully, and then do what is best for you.

In terms of what your potential options are school/career-wise, the first thing to look at is whether or not your current university has other courses of study that might be relevant to your new path. Depending on if you are interested in a particular culture or pantheon, there might be History majors that would be worth pursuing that would give you a deeper understanding of the lore. Often not very practical though, unless one is looking to go into an academic based career at some point, so another option (if it’s possible) would be to just choose another major that you feel will serve you well in the future, or transfer to another college that has something more relevant to what other subjects you may want to pursue now.

Other than that, if your current course load is more related to pastoral counseling or basic skills in relation to working with people, etc…, then it might not be a bad idea to continue with those at least for a while. Even if you end up not being a Christian preacher, those types of lessons can be invaluable in a variety of careers later on.

If you still want to pursue education related to spiritual counseling, there are a few different options for schools that have Pagan related programs. Cherry Hill Seminary has a number of different programs that would be worth looking into (they are still non-accredited though, so I know that is an issue for some people). Also the University of Florida has a Religion and Nature degree program as well. Other options include looking at schools that have Master of Divinity or Theology degrees (such as the one at Harvard), as often they are broad overviews of multiple world religions, rather than Christian specific. There are also some colleges that allow one to create their own degree path, though that can be a bit difficult if one is just starting out, and unfamiliar on which topics to include for more in-depth study.

Definitely a tough spot to be in, and I would urge you to think carefully, but in the end you need to do what is right for you, even if those around you may not understand why the sudden career/school change. It makes a big difference too if you have a supportive family/community versus unsupportive, so that is something to consider as well.

PS…  something that occurred to me as an afterthought – you said you found “magic” and it filled a void in your life. Magic (and witchcraft in general) is not something that is inherently tied to Paganism. I mean sure… lots of Pagans may practice some form of magic, but you don’t necessarily have to be Pagan to practice it. There are Christian witches, and though it seems like the two would be wildly incompatible, there are those who have somehow managed to combine all into a cohesive and working practice. So if it’s just the magical aspect that has you turning to Paganism, there may be other options that would leave you less “lost”, and if it’s something that you want to pursue, I would suggest checking out ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path by Joyce and River Higginbotham. The following article might be helpful as well.

 

Are There Rules For Black Magic?


I’m the recipient of some pretty bad black Magic. For the past 5yrs, I’ve had scary things appear in my home. From hearing flapping birds in my kitchen, to having cold hands of dark shadows try to pull me out of my body. I’ve been living in fear for so long. I’m wondering what the rules are for the woman who has been terrorizing me? Why is she allowed to do this for so long? I know we have biblical rules to follow. What are the rules for such a person  who practices black magic? And who refuses to leave me alone? This woman I speak of, is my mother in law. I cannot get away from her, as  still married to her son. Any help will ease my mind that one day, she will stop.

Thank you!

 

The short answer, unfortunately, is  - not really.

The longer answer depends quite a bit on what tradition one is a member of, if they are solitary/have an eclectic practice, and in truth either way there really aren’t a whole lot of set “RULES” or “LAWS” in terms of magical workings – or at least none that are universal to every single witch or magical practitioner.  We wrote last year, on Magic: Energy and Cursing/Hexing and that might be worth a read, as it covers some of what you are asking about, at least in general terms.

For your situation specifically, and starting from a mundane (non-magical) perspective -

  • What makes you think that your mother-in-law is out to get you, or is sending these sorts of things your way?
  • Have you talked to your doctor to rule out the possibility of any medical condition that could be causing you to have auditory, or other physical type of hallucinations, anxiety, etc… which could potentially account for what you’ve been experiencing? (this is not meant to be offensive, or to dismiss in any way anything you have been going through – it’s a legit step in evaluating the situation, to determine if there really is something “magical” going on)
  • Is there any potential for resolving whatever differences there are between you and your mother-in-law? Even if you weren’t the one originally in the wrong, for whatever started her anger, sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to be the bigger person and apologize just to stop the situation from continuing to escalate (though to be fair it seems like it’s already past that point, it’s still worth mentioning).
  • Have you tried talking to your husband, to see if it’s something that he can help resolve, or at least get her to back off a bit?
  • As a last resort (and obviously hubby would have to agree), but have you considered moving and ceasing contact with her. It’s harsh, but sometimes necessary to get the point across, when someone is acting in a way that is inappropriate.

Magically (as I mentioned to begin with) there aren’t necessarily any sort of set rules. Even within those traditions that do have particular moral/ethical tenets, often the caveat is that if one feels that an action is justified and is willing to accept the consequences, then any action can be taken. More so, outside of those paths, if someone is just out to be malicious, then they may not have any particular code that they hold to, and feel that they can do whatever they want to.

From an energetic perspective though, magic – particularly strong magic, often requires a lot of hard work. Sustaining that sort of thing over long periods of time, is usually pretty exhausting. Though if there is an anger component to it, then that would go a long way towards “fueling” some of it. Which goes back to some of the mundane suggestions I mentioned earlier, about looking for ways to resolve the underlying issues. Not only in terms of just setting things to right, but it would potentially affect the magical side of things as well.

Other than that, look for ways to cleanse and protect your own space in ways that are in concert with your own faith. Do a deep cleaning of all areas, maybe look for items that your mother-in-law has given as a gift, or “accidentally” left behind that could be helping to amplify, or manifest her magical workings.  Assuming that you are Christian, since you spoke of the Bible, I would also suggest looking for scriptures that speak to protection – 2 Samuel 22:3-4 is a good one…

3. The God of my strength, in whom I trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.

4. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Use it (or another of your choice) as a mantra, particularly when you are feeling that you are under attack. It can help to diffuse the situation.

One other piece of advice, when it comes to curses or malicious magic in general – the more time we spend dwelling on our fears, the more energy we are putting into that sort of thing. If your mother-in-law knows you are living in constant fear, it gives her confidence that her magic is working, and that much more incentive to keep doing it. If you can find a way to show her that you are not afraid of her, or (at the very least) that what she is doing isn’t affecting you, it may shift the “battle” your way, and cause her to eventually give up.

Most bullies like to feed on the negative reactions that they get from others, when we stop giving them the “food” that they like, they have to go elsewhere for nourishment.

Spirit Guides


I’m sorry to trouble you but I wasn’t sure who to ask. I decided to talk to my spiritual guide for the first time to help have a question answered that had been troubling me a for a while. I was able to enter a place of forest, a beautiful place where I met my spiritual guide who helped answer my question. I was so completely calm and at peace with him that I failed to question that he wasn’t human until I came out of my trance like state. It was easy to enter the place and talk to him, but hard to leave. My “spiritual guide” was a man, a strong bold looking man, he had deer antlers on his head. they were of great size. he sat cross legged when we talked, and was very calm but still with a sense of boldness. When I asked for his name he hesitated, and I found the name to be false. after the event I went to look for him because our encounter seems strange. What I found is that, I believe he is the Horned God. the Oak King and the Holly King. Is this strange or am I mistaken? I am very confused if he was the horned god why he would appear as my spiritual guide. Can you help me? I just need an explanation, can gods be spiritual guides? Why did HE appear instead of an actual spirit?

A “spirit guide” can be any type of entity, and especially if you left the request for contact sort of open ended, then it’s possible that any entity could choose to manifest as your “guide”, even potentially a deity.  So that, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily strange if it was a God that came to you – the point is whether or not the information imparted was useful, and/or needed.

Alternatively (again if the request was too open ended, or without a clear focus), there are some entities that might try to take advantage of that sort of situation. So while it may be something benevolent giving whatever advice they think you can handle for now, it could also be something else entirely that is lying to you for it’s own ends. It’s important to be careful about such things.

As far as visual form – the “Horned God” you describe seems to fit with sort of a general accepted image of Cernunnos, or similar type images like what is seen in the Gundestrup cauldron. However, Cernunnos is particularly related to Celtic polytheism (though the name itself was derived from a Gaulish monument dating back to Roman times) , rather than a “horned God” in general, so not entirely sure how/if that relates to your practice or not. Similar figures – antlered and wearing animal skins have also been noted elsewhere, such as the cave paintings at Trois Frères.

The Oak King/Holly King mythos – is something that was documented by Robert Graves in his book “The White Goddess”, and previously by James Frazier in “The Golden Bough” (chapter 28 in particular). It was later picked up by Stewart and Janet Farrar, and incorporated into their practices, as written about in “A Witches’ Bible”. Again, not something that is necessarily related to Cernunnos, or even “horned Gods” in general – even if some “horned Gods” might follow that type of cycle.  

If those are things that fit within your practices, then it could be why your “guide” chose that particular form. But again as to if it was actually deity and/or the Horned God specifically that visited you, it’s hard to say. Could be, definitely not out of the realm of possibilities, but could also be another entity using a guise that fit with something you would more readily recognize and be willing to accept advice from.

Generally when one is in a situation like that, it’s good to ask questions to help test the “validity” (relatively speaking of course) of what is being experienced – but then again, sometimes it’s the advice given that really matters (regardless of the source). It’s easy enough for entities to choose whatever face they want to put on, so sometimes even if you can’t tell if they really are who they say they are, as long as you can get a good sense of the intent behind their visit, and if the advice being given is relevant and helpful (even if it’s not necessarily what you were hoping to hear), then it may be ok to accept the experience at face value, despite not being quite what you were expecting.

 Some other options…

  •  go back into a meditative/trance state and see if you can contact them again, and try to get a better sense of who they are. Ask more questions – they may or may not choose to answer, but it’s still a good way of trying to clarify the experience.
  •  use divination to help to confirm the experience.
  •  independent confirmation from other trusted Pagans who often work with spirit guides, or who might normally have a strong working relationship with said deity.
  •  independent confirmation via a cold reading from others who are trustworthy and experienced in various divination methods.

Keep in mind as well, if you decide to contact this entity again, don’t be afraid to question it. Any new relationship has a getting to know you period and questions and discussion are a part of that.

New Pagan Mentors and Ritual Advice


I’ve been interested in Paganism for a few years, but I’ve gotten more serious about delving into it in the past month. I’ve been doing a ton of research and trying to read as much as I can about different viewpoints and paths within the umbrella term of Paganism. But I’m still so overwhelmed with all that is out there. I have so many questions I’m not finding answers to on the internet. So first of all I’m really wondering where I can find a teacher or mentor. I live in Madison, WI, which is a fairly open minded, liberal city, but I haven’t been able to find any groups that meet. Are there sites online where you can be paired with someone older and wiser, or do you suggest trying to forge a relationship in person.

Working with someone in-person will almost always be the best choice (and in some cases a requirement), when it comes to learning Pagan related material. Particularly if you are interested in any witchcraft or energy-based paths, attempting to learn via books or online can make it a daunting task. In general though, it will probably be somewhat difficult to find a mentor, until you are able to narrow down a particular path that you are interested in. In the meantime you can check places like Witchvox, where you can filter groups by state to see if there is anything near you. Occasionally you can find groups via Pagan Meetup as well.

As far as online resources, forums can be kind of hit or miss, with a lot of them being angsty drama filled areas, rife with misappropriation and misconceptions. So for a beginner it can be hard to navigate especially when you aren’t at a point where you are better able to distinguish good information from the bad. Having said that, I would suggest checking out the eCauldron Paganism for Beginners forum. They’ve been around for years, and seem to have done better than most at keeping it from getting too crazy around there (unlike some other more well known forums). Of course too you can always continue to ask questions here on the blog, or even via our FB page, or Tumblr page.

I tried my first ritual (a very simple one) for Beltane yesterday night, and I don’t feel like I did it “right”. I didn’t really get anything from it, or something?

First time rituals, especially for those who are practicing solitary are often less than spectacular. Part of it, is just because we are nervous and not entirely sure of what we are doing, and constantly wondering if we did it right, or if we have forgotten anything. As well, we have all these huge expectations, from what others have said, or what we’ve seen in movies, etc… and it’s usually not ever the same. Then sometimes, it’s just that “stuff” happens – even if we’ve done everything perfectly, the energy is off and it just wasn’t meant to be. All of which is perfectly normal, and the more often you practice and do ritual work, the easier it will get.

On that note though, if you are unsure of which path/religion you are interested in – what sort of Beltane ritual were you attempting? Not all Pagan paths celebrate Beltane – generally it’s only the Wiccan or NeoPagan related ones that do (though various others may have similar celebrations around that same time), so it could be too that it didn’t feel “right”, because it really wasn’t something that you are ultimately called to celebrate. The same holds if you called on a particular God or Goddess, it could also be that they choose not to respond, or that they are Gods of a path that you aren’t really being called to.

It’s also worth mentioning as well, that ritual workings are not typically an “instant” sort of thing. Especially if you follow a “Wheel of the Year” type model – what we plant in the Spring, we harvest in the Fall, and even outside of that framework, it can still (and often does) take time for energy/magic to manifest. So it may not be that it didn’t work, it’s just taking the appropriate time it needs to come to fruition.  

Also, I’d done it outside, so I’d gathered all the materials together in a bag. I left it carelessly in my room when I got back in, and my mom noticed it in the morning (stuff was sort of falling out) and started looking through it, asking why I had candles and some clay bowls (which I’d borrowed without asking from her). I don’t want to tell her about my interest in Paganism quite yet, as I’m not even sure where I’m going myself. My family isn’t religious, and I know they’d be supportive, but my mom has a tendency to act like she understands when she doesn’t (she has good intentions). But she got really mad that I’d taken her stuff and kept asking why, and I couldn’t really think of an excuse. Should I tell her? I don’t really want to, but now she also thinks I was stealing or planning on selling her bowls. So overall, I’m sort of lost at the moment, but I also feel so happy about the idea of becoming further involved with this spirituality.

If you feel that she would be supportive (or at the very least not react negatively), then you should be honest with her, and explain that you are interested in Paganism, and that you were trying a basic holiday ritual. It’s definitely much better than being thought of as a liar or a thief.

While you are talking to her about it though, just let her know that you are still in the very beginning stages, and that you are still learning the basics. I would also apologize for taking her stuff, and let her know that you won’t do so again without permission (that could be why your ritual didn’t feel right either – if you were using items that didn’t belong to you, and you didn’t have the owner’s permission, it could definitely have affected the energy).

Overall, as mentioned previously – continue to study, and work on figuring out what particular path you are interested in. While there are a myriad of paths out there, as well as the potential to choose an Eclectic path (which requires quite a bit more work than one would think), it can also be fun to learn about the different cultures and practices associated with each one. So don’t stress too much if you start feeling overwhelmed, just take your time and eventually it will work itself out.