Dream Meaning: Shadow Figure


I had a dream where a shadow figure was after my mum. the moment I saw it in my dream I was scared, it was outside tried to grab my mum head (we were on the deck) & it came inside my house & tried to get to my mum but I stopped it, then it went down the hallway & that’s when I woke up. Even though I was scared it didn’t come,after me even though I was right in front of it at one point. Does anyone know what this dream means?

We’ve touched on some general information about dream meanings here and here, so I’ll only briefly reiterate the following which is typically the most relevant question to ask for any attempt to interpret a particular dream… What do you think it means?

There will always be general symbolism for certain things, but in the end, exact meanings are very dependent on our own experiences – the culture we are from, how we were raised, and/or other influences that we are exposed to on a regular basis. What one person may view as negative, may be positive to someone else and vice-versa. So, there is no single “this is what it means” when it comes to our dreams, and of course, just as importantly, sometimes a dream really is just a dream.

General Interpretation

The short answer… sounds like you are worried about your mother, and/or maybe feel that she needs your help with something, but you don’t know what that something is (hence the shadow figure). It’s not coming after you, because it’s not your something – you are just willing to step up and help make whatever it is go away. Could be a literal person, or a stressful situation – maybe your mom is overwhelmed with work, or a financial issue, etc… and you want to help with it, but it means taking on more responsibility yourself, which can be scary. Or you may also just be scared that whatever you do might not be enough. Given that it was both outside and inside the house, odds are it’s something that weighs on her, no matter where she is.

The longer answer would involve studying and researching the various components of your dream and then analyzing them based on your own personal context, suggest looking up basic components here. A few examples -

  • Shadows typically symbolize the unknown – ask yourself if there is a particular “unknown” person, or situation that you are concerned about (in relation to your mother).
  • The fact that you went from outside to inside your house could signify taking control of the situation. It depends too though, on what sort of emotions or feelings the idea of “home” invokes for you. Happy homes are often a protective symbol, whereas someone from a dysfunctional/abusive family may find the idea of being inside their own house terrifying.
  • Attacking someone, in this case, seems pretty straightforward – a matter of protecting your mother. Ask yourself if there is a particular person or situation that you feel your mother needs your help with.
  • Hallways can symbolize transitions – so the fact that your dream ended in the hallway, may just be signifying that you were ready to wake up, or could be that the solution to the issue involves starting something new, or change of some sort (both of which can be scary).

 

As always – if any readers have additional relevant insight, please feel free to comment back. We’d love to hear from you.

On the Nature of Magic & Change: Fixing a Broken Spell


I’m trying to figure out how to fix a broken pendant spell. But so far I haven’t found much luck on finding anything that could help me. I desperately want it fixed because it means a lot to someone I care about dearly,but don’t know how to fix it. PLEASE HELP!!!

How is it broken exactly, or what exactly needs fixing?

Magic isn’t like Harry Potter… we don’t wave a wand while saying “reparo” and suddenly make it all better. So if it’s a chain, or other physical part of the pendant that is broken, the only way to fix it would be to take it to a reputable jeweler and see if they have someone on staff that does metal working and/or jewelry repair. Other options would be if you know anyone who does jewelry making that is proficient in wire wrapping or, at the very least, has the tools/supplies to fix the chain (if that is indeed what it is).

Outside of physical aspects, without knowing how it’s broken (in a magical sense), it’s nearly impossible to direct you to the right spell (assuming that such exists). Of course in most cases it’s better to write your own anyways, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to see what others have written to use a guideline if it’s something that is unfamiliar to you.

Some sort of general things that you can try are cleansing and recharging if it’s a matter of the pendant not seeming to hold the same properties that it once had, but again without knowing specifics it’s really hard to give any sort of really concrete, advice.

The charm’s spell was based off of the first time my significant other and I gave ourselves to each other physically. But once we briefly broke up,the spell was broken when I gave myself to another. I’m sorry if this is tmi but I desperately want to fix it now that I’m back with my ex. Nobody else has been willing to help or I couldn’t find anything to help. Please keep in mind that I only would like to use white magic for this.

Unfortunately, there’s really not any way to fix it. The energy the original magic was fueled by has changed, as the nature of your relationship has changed. Typically the way to fix something like that is to recharge it, but there’s not a way to get a “first time” back. So there is not a way to recharge that specific energy.

Having said that though – if you broke up, but are now back together, you can still recharge it in a similar ritual. The key being, to base it on the renewed relationship and the stronger bonds that you have formed by going through some rough waters, and overcoming those challenges to renew your love, despite it all. There is powerful magic in that as well, and it signifies the changes you both have been through (apart and then together again).

It won’t be the same as it was (as with life, there are just some things that we simply can’t get back once they are gone), but it doesn’t mean that what we are left with can’t be as sacred or as meaningful. Life is a fluid thing, it moves and changes, twists and turns, even when we may not want it to (and in ways we may not want it to). When it does, sometimes we just have to make the best of what we are given.

Your relationship is not the same as it was, and never will be – nor will the magic of the pendant, but that doesn’t make what you have now any less than it was, only different. It’s time to make some new magic. ;)

Rituals: Thank-you Gifts for Hosts


what does one give to the host of the mabon celebration as a thank you? is there a proper way to say thank you for when one comes to another’s home for rituals?

A lot will depend on how well you know your host/hostess, and of course how much of a budget you have to work with. Additionally, it is important to consider how much effort was involved in hosting the gathering – just a simple hour or two get-together with a plate of cookies, or a full-blown day (or longer) celebration which required extensive planning and/or other costs (monetary or otherwise) provided by those hosting. Though both types of gatherings can be just as meaningful, you don’t want to over or under do it when deciding on an appropriate gift.

With a host that you do not know very well, or if it was an open gathering (more informal) sort of a situation, usually a small gift basket, with some baked goodies or a variety of teas would be appreciated. Even if it ends up being something that they personally can’t use, if they host such things on a regular basis, they will have it for others when necessary. If you know whether or not the person drinks alcohol, maybe even a nice bottle of wine might be appropriate. Decorative items can often be a good choice as well, especially something that symbolizes the theme of the gathering. Another choice would be a potted plant, maybe an herb or other flowering variety that can be used for culinary or witchcrafting purposes.

If you are well acquainted with the host, or know someone who is (and you can ask them for ideas), then you can look for more personalized items. Maybe you know they’ve been looking at a certain statue or ritual tool, or maybe they’ve been in need of extra crafting supplies for spells or other rituals. Particularly if the ritual was fairly involved and required a lot of resources (and you’ve the budget for it), it might be nice to get a gift card to a place that offers a bit of pampering, or just a night out without having to cook, so that the hosts can relax after expending so much time and energy.

In the end, really almost anything will do, if you put thought and careful consideration into it. You don’t want to be too extravagant, but at the same time a gift from the heart will show that you care and that you appreciate the effort they put into giving you a magical night to celebrate the turning of the Wheel.

 

Consequences of Suicide within Pagan Religions


TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of suicide

NOTE: If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please, please get help. If you have a trusted friend or family member, counselor, teacher, etc… that you can talk to, do so. Otherwise (in the US) you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  1-800-273-8255 or chat online with someone who can help via IMAlive or CrisisChat. For international assistance you can check the International Suicide Prevention wiki for resources. No matter how bad things may seem right now, they will eventually get better. Taking your own life is not the best solution, and there are people out there who can help.

~*~

Hello, I’ve had this question for a few months now and I’m still trying to find the right way to ask about it. I’ve been looking up people to ask, but it never seems to work. When I found you, I got excited. If you commit Suicide, will you not be welcomed in by the Great Mother and Great Father? I’ve been told that if you commit suicide out of Deep Depression, you wont be loved or forgiven by the divine. I’m sorry if the question makes you feel uncomfortable, but I had to ask.

Thank you.

 

Within Abrahamic religions (and potentially others as well) the main issue that many will cite in terms of “forgiveness” is that you have to, not only ask for it directly, but also be truly repentant – neither of which one can do if they have already passed beyond the mortal/physical world. However others feel that in the end, it is one’s actions during their life (outside of that final moment), which will better determine whether or not there is love and forgiveness when they are received by God.

As many have come to Paganism from an Abrahamic religion, they will often carry over some of these beliefs, even if they are not necessarily relevant to their current path. The more relevant issue within Paganism though, is which Pagan religion? As, not all believe the same things, or may even have a particular stance on suicide. In general, in terms of NeoPaganism, you will probably find a very wide variety of personal opinions on the subject – ranging from it’s your life, do what you want, to extremely strict interpretations of the “rede” which equate an it harm none to mean don’t harm anything ever (including yourself).

Keep in mind too though that Wicca, and those paths that are inspired by Wicca are often about taking responsibility for one’s actions in the “here and now”, rather than preaching the concepts of “Hell” or divine retribution. So what we do on Earth, during our life (including ending such life), has little bearing on the afterlife. For those who believe in reincarnation – it may set the course for additional lessons that one may need to “learn” in a future life (if one believes in such things).

Within other Pagan traditions, again it varies. For example, Norse lore offers multiple examples of suicides occurring, and typically those who committed such would go to Helheim in the afterlife. As this is where most of the dead would go (outside of those killed in battle – who went with Odinn and Freyja), it was clearly not any sort of punishment or lack of love/forgiveness that got one sent there. Within Kemeticism, when one dies, their heart is weighed against Ma’at’s feather, and those who are found unworthy would stay in Duat, while the others would move onto the afterlife in Aaru. There are no specific prohibitions against suicide within the lore though, and again it’s more about having lived a virtuous life in general. Within Greek and Roman traditions, suicide was generally only condemned if done for petty reasons. Keep in mind too that for thousands of years some cultures upheld the practice of Sati, in which it was perfectly acceptable (or even encouraged/forced) for wives to kill themselves via immolation when their husbands died.

In the end (literally and figuratively), it’s really going to depend on your own beliefs on the subject. There is no clear rule or opinion, and even within the same traditions if you ask 20 people, you’ll probably get 20 different answers. My personal thoughts on the subject are this – any God or Goddess that one is devoted to, or has spent time serving or honoring, is not going to forget that devotion. So unless one spends their final days/hours completely repudiating said God/Goddess, when the time comes they will be welcoming. It’s entirely possible that they may express disappointment, if they don’t agree with the choice, but I do not think that they would withhold love because of it. The Gods know what is in our hearts, and particularly in the case of someone who has struggled with severe depression, or other mental illness for many years, it doesn’t follow they would punish someone for losing that battle.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Suicide has been a hot topic the last few weeks in the wake of Robin Williams’ death. This question was actually submitted a day or so before that tragic event and I had been in the process of writing it up when I saw the news. The original intention, when we’d gotten the question, was to post the reply immediately, however with the flood of suicide and depression/bipolar related commentary that was suddenly going around, we felt that it would be better to wait (at least a little bit). It was an emotional time for many people, and this would give everyone a chance to process their grief and/or any feelings on the topic of suicide, without bombarding one more thing on top of it all. However, we also don’t want to let too much time pass, as it is a timely topic and for some people an important one. It’s also a sensitive subject for many though, so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

If anyone knows of more specific myths or lore which directly speak to the topic, relating to a particular culture or religion, please feel free to comment as well so that we can add it.

And again if you need help, never hesitate to ask for it. Particularly when one is depressed, it can often seem like there is no one who cares, but this is often just a symptom of the illness. There are people that care, and who can help. You are not alone.

 

TIP: Social Justice and Witchcraft


There is a lot going on in the world these days that can quickly raise the public’s collective ire, affecting not only our hearts, but our minds as well. One only has to turn on the news, or check our tweets, tumblr pages, Facebook or other social media to see these stories and with such insta-access to information, it can sometimes be extremely easy to rush to judgement, and/or rush to action before all facts are known. Even at times when it might seem like we have all the right information, the situation can change just a short time later, and we find that erroneous news was posted, or of course there are always situations where trolls or other malicious individuals (or groups) choose to purposefully post misinformation for a variety of reasons.

In these cases, there is often a quick call for “justice”, or a call to “take action” to right the wrongs being done, or to curse those who are perpetuating such wrongs, etc… In other cases, general calls may be put out for people to “do something”… anything to help make the situation better. There is nothing inherently wrong with this – wrongs should be righted, people who are in need should be helped, and curses can be effective in situations where other options have failed. The key in all of these, however, is to stop first and think carefully before taking any action.

Emotions, particularly such as the sadness and anger that are often present in times of harsh injustice, make for powerfully energetic fuel for spellwork, and it is reasonable to want to use those emotions when they are raw, and their peak for better effectiveness. The issue with that though, is that when our emotions are running high, we are less likely to be thinking clearly, which can:

  • cause us to make decisions which may or may not be the best choices (or most helpful overall) to make
  • cause us to act erratically and/or less focused, which can affect our spellwork in a number of ways as well
  • cause us to do something that we may regret later when we’ve had time to cool down

Additionally, if we rush to action, without allowing sufficient time for all the correct facts on a situation to come to light, we run the risk of taking the wrong action, making the situation worse (even if we were trying to help), or particularly in the case of cursing – risk targeting the wrong person/group of people (in the case where an initial person names may or may not actually be the one(s) responsible). For example: with the on-going issues regarding the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, MO, posts were circulating within a day or two purportedly stating the name of the officer involved. These later were determined to be erroneous, when the police finally released the officer’s actual name. So in those cases if someone took immediate action based on the initial posts, more harm than good could have come from that action.

Another issue is focus. When a large group of people take a variety of different actions, often spellwork may end up working at cross-purposes. Not only that, there may be cases where those working a spell aren’t being specific enough. Using the water situation in Detroit as an example: rather than doing a ritual focused on ensuring that the water of those in Detroit, whose water had been shut off, was restored to them (which is what should have been done – or something similar), potentially there were people just generally working with the intention that the people of Detroit have enough water, or just have water (or something equally vague). And I’m not saying this is what actually happened, but I found it really odd that with the situation that was going on – people not having water – suddenly Detroit was flooded with record breaking rainfall. Just something that really made me think about magic and focus, and the consequences of not properly phrasing one’s spells. The old adage seems appropriate… be careful what you wish for.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t take action. Absolutely we should, and with every tool available to us – witchcraft being one of those tools. The point is that we have to think carefully before we do. Don’t join in with the “mob” mentality, grabbing our torches and pitchforks before critically examining the situation ourselves, and researching all available facts and evidence. Just because you see a post circulating on your dashboard, does not make it true – don’t let your emotions get the best of you, when it comes to making sound judgements and crafting your spells.

Interpreting a Tarot Reading


Please help me if you can. I’m new to tarot cards. I decided to do a reading for myself. I asked the cards if I would become pregnant soon?

This are the cards I did a 4 cards spread.

  1. )past: reversed five pentacles
  2. )present: reversed wheel of fortune
  3. )future: reversed devil
  4. )distant future: reversed the tower

If you can, can you please tell me what the cards are trying to say?

Please note… divination is not my thing. I’ve studied it some, but do not use my cards on a regular basis, other than for myself. I make no claims to being any sort of expert, or make any sort of guarantees that what is listed here will in fact come to pass as I’ve described. The following is my two cents for what it’s worth, just based on my initial impressions of the cards. I’ve included links to basic card associations as well, so that you can make your own decisions, as there are always multiple ways for cards to be interpreted.

So, if I had to answer your direct question… “Will I become pregnant soon?” just based on the card reading shown (and without knowing anything else about you), I’d say that the outlook does not seem positive at this time. I don’t think it necessarily means that you won’t ever, but right now, there appear to be a lot of roadblocks in your path. As indicated with the Five of Pentacles – either a matter of overcoming previous health or financial issues, or even potentially a matter of a partner who is not quite ready to commit fully to having a child.

While the Wheel of Fortune card can be positive, particularly if you are wanting change, with it being reversed that tends to indicate that things aren’t necessarily changing in the ways that you them to. Particularly paired with the other two – The Devil and The Tower, it signifies that right now may not be the best timing for your pregnancy to happen.

Breaking it down a bit more, based on basic interpretations found at Learning the Tarot (which is a great site for anyone looking to learn the basics)…

  1. Five of Pentacles(past): refers to having recently been in bad health or suffered hard times. With a reversed card, could indicate that the issue has not fully resolved itself as of yet.
  2. Wheel of Fortune (present): things are changing, either physically or mentally/emotionally. With a reversed card, could indicate that the change will be slow in coming, or not be in the direction that you want.
  3. The Devil (future): situation will not be what you foresee, potentially having to bow to the wants/needs of others. With a reversed card, could indicate that the situation isn’t completely hopeless, but may need to overcome a lot of other obstacles first.
  4. The Tower (distant future): coming to an understanding, gaining insight, having one’s dreams crumble. With a reversed card, again could be that things don’t quite work out how you were expecting, but that in the end you will be ok with it, or at least be able to come to terms with it.

For a slightly different take on the card meanings, you can check out Aeclectic Tarot as well.

On the mundane side of things, getting pregnant is often a matter of the right timing, coupled with taking proper care of yourself. So if you are trying to get pregnant, there are some basic tips you can follow that will help (at least in some ways) smooth the process out a bit. Nothing, obviously, will guarantee pregnancy, but sometimes we all need a little extra help getting it to work out the way we want it to.

If you are already eating healthy, and getting a good amount of exercise daily/weekly, that’s good – if not, now is the time to start making some of those changes. Also it’s a good time to quit any potentially harmful habits (smoking, drinking, etc…) as you will need to quit anyways when you do get pregnant, so might as well get used to it sooner, rather than later.  Additionally, you will want to start tracking your menstrual cycle. If you have a smartphone, there are apps for tracking like Fertility Friend, which can do all sorts of nifty things, or you can just get a pocket-sized calendar and write it all down the old fashioned way. In either case though, knowing when you are most likely ovulating, will give you a better idea of when the best chance of getting pregnant is.

The big thing to remember – don’t get too discouraged if it seems to be taking a while. In movies it always seems to just take one time (and in truth is can definitely only take one time, given the right timing), but the reality is that for many women it can take a while (sometimes years) to get pregnant. If you are concerned though, definitely talk to your ob-gyn and get a check up, both for you and your partner if necessary. This will rule out any sort of underlying conditions that could be making it difficult for you to become pregnant.

Good luck!!

 

  • Additionally, if any of our readers have different interpretations that they’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. Definitely welcome additional insight from those who might work more frequently with tarot and have a different perspective. :)

Paganism Without Gods


Hello, I have a question about paganism without gods. Is it possible? What does worshiping the triple goddess or the horned god achieve, if instead you’d prefer to appreciate the world around you. Are they simply figureheads, ritual shorthand, for the traits they represent? Would love some recommended reading and some helpful words. Thank you  :)

While there are some NeoPagans who simply see Gods and Goddesses as archetypes, rather than actual beings, personally I think that the better choice would be to find a path that does not involve them at all. Not that there aren’t plenty who do make it work, but it seems strange to go through the motions of working with the Gods – even just for the symbolism, if one doesn’t actually believe in them. Especially when there are other options available that can be just as rewarding, and probably even more suited to one’s beliefs.

In terms of those other paths, particularly for someone who is more interested in appreciating the world in general, Pantheism would be a good place to start. Might want to check the following… Elements of Pantheism: A Spirituality of Nature and the Universe

Outside of that, the next step would be to ask yourself exactly what aspects of “Paganism” call to you? There are literally hundreds of different paths one can take, and other than Wicca and Wicca-inspired NeoPaganism, most do not involve a Triple Goddess or a Horned God. Along with that, I would venture to say as well, that if one does not believe in deity (in any sense of the word), then anything “Wicca” (Trad or otherwise) would probably not be the right fit

If it’s just the witchcraft and the “nature-based” parts, then again it may not be Wicca that you are seeking, as traditionally Wicca is fertility-based (focused on the continued cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth), rather than “nature” as a whole.

To the issue of deities though, Wicca (even in an Eclectic NeoPagan sense of the word) is about polarity between a God and Goddess, or (in a non-traditional sense) aspects of such. All rituals are centered around them – the Sabbats relate particularly to the God’s journey through the Wheel of the Year, and the Esbats are the Goddess’ journey. If one is not looking to incorporate that, then another path would be a better choice.

If one is looking more towards a witchcraft based spiritual tradition, then I’d focus on that, rather than trying fit what interests you into a NeoPagan mold. Paganism has a vast wealth of traditions to choose from (including the ability to create one’s own path), there’s bound to be something that is a much better fit. It’s just a matter of finding the right resources (which admittedly can be very difficult sometimes).

A few other resources that might be helpful…

  •  T. Thorn Coyle’s Crafting A Daily Practice or possibly even her Evolutionary Witchcraft though that might be somewhat deity centered as well, but there are probably some good things that can be taken away for a practice separate of them as well.
  • Another that might be worth looking at, and though they do talk about about deity in the following, it’s also set up in a way that the word encompasses, not only God(s), but other entities, the Universe, etc… so it’s very open-ended in terms of creating a cohesive practice, that is somewhat Wicca-inspired (still based on the Wheel of the Year and similar concepts), but also more for those who are eclectic in nature – Katrina and Eric Rasbold’s CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path

 

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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