Orlando and Healing With Wicca

I have been interested in Wicca and witchcraft for as long as I can remember. You can thank Angela Lansbury for the initial interest, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is one of my favorite movies, but my interest has remained even though I know Wicca does not grant you the ability to turn someone into a rabbit.

I’m not sure why I haven’t studied in earnest. I’m 37, I’ve known about Wicca (as opposed to Hollywood witches like The Sanders Sisters) for two decades.

The reason for not starting sooner is not important though. The reason I’m reaching out to you is. Today I was deeply saddened when I learned that lives of 50 people were snuffed out by one man in one night. My first reaction was how could another mass shooting happen? Why is no one doing anything to prevent this? I argued with a couple of people on Twitter and then I saw other people saying “we should all come together for the victims.” At first I scoffed thinking, “OK right winger let’s not address the problem let’s just send our thoughts and prayers.” and I replied, “I don’t mean to sound ignorant, I honestly want to know, how do we come together for the victims?” And I thought and thought and realized that the problems with our country and the world are partisan based and it isn’t just the politicians, we the people are partisan politics incarnate. I thought hard about this and decided a softer approach was necessary. I discussed it with a likeminded friend who said something that sent me on this path, “At the core of all of this is in my opinion is the denial of love to others and ourselves.”

That made me realize that my request for self love isn’t only for myself. It’s for everyone. I believe that something happening across the world can impact me even if I don’t know about it so inversely I believe that me truly loving myself may spread self-love to others.

While I was thinking and typing I thought of Wicca because it was a wise witch who first really explained the “we are all one” idea to me and I thought, if I were a Wiccan would I be able to send healing to others? Would I be able to share tolerance with others? Could Wiccans heal our country? If so, let’s get together, I’ll buy a plane ticket. If not I will still begin my study of Wicca and learn to heal and love myself and wish for a better world.

Thank you so much for providing this service and for reading this novel.

Traditionally, Wicca is the priesthood of the Lord and Lady, so the things that one learns when joining a coven (both before and after initiation) are typically more focused on what is needed to properly serve them. Also, though all Wiccans are witches (one’s first degree initiation is as a priest/priestess and witch), not all witches are Wiccan. So, in and of itself, if one is simply looking to learn techniques for sending healing energy towards others, Wicca (specifically) is probably not what they are looking for. Using witchcraft, or even going non-magical routes and learning something like Reiki (which incorporates distance healing at level II), would be a better choice.  

In terms of witchcraft, gathering with others who are like minded and creating a large group magical working together can be effective, but individual spellwork can be helpful as well. It’s all a matter of how the spells are constructed and the focus/intent of those involved.

In this particular case, I do think sending healing energy is a good idea, but I also think that in the long term, given the variety of hot button issues that are part and parcel of this tragedy (LGTB issues, hate crimes, gun control, anti-Muslim sentiment, etc…) that we all should consider mundane (non-magical) ways to involve ourselves in making things better, in addition to any magical things that we do. Healing energy for the victims and their families is well appreciated, but taking action (even if it’s just getting yourself and others to write to their legislators) to help ensure that these things are less likely to happen in the future would be even better. Because if we don’t address the actual problem, then things are only going to get worse. 

A few resources that may be helpful…

  • Witchcraft: not sure where you are located, but you may want to see if there is a Reclaiming group near you. Given the things that you are looking to do, they would probably be a good choice. If solitary witchcraft is more your thing, there are a number of books listed here that may be helpful as well.
  • Contacting Members of Congress: you can find your Senators here and Congress reps here.

And finally, we previously wrote a bit on Social Justice and Witchcraft, which may be good to read over before taking any sort of magical action. Also, if we are looking to share love and tolerance with others, the best way to do that is by being loving and tolerant ourselves. Though we want to help those who are currently suffering and in need (and we should), if we each spend some time also working in our own communities, think about how much more we can accomplish.

Healing Spells for an Animal

Hi. I have a pet bird who has grown ill, and I was wondering if you know of any good healing spells for animals?

I know a spell is not a replacement for care from a vet, but our vet has told us there isn’t much we can do to help him, so I decided to try a spell to see if it can do something medicine can’t.

I have done healing spells on people in my family and friends and gotten results, but never a bird, are there major differences between the two? I’ve only found one spell but the moon is not in the right phase, and my bird might not make it until it is. Do you have anything that is not centered around the moon phase?

Any advice you can offer on the subject is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

The short answer is that any spell that you have used successfully on a human should be fine for an animal, unless it’s crafted around a particular illness, or body part/function that is not found on the animal you are looking to help. If you need a better idea of the anatomy and physiology of the bird, in order to better direct the spell, you should be able to find information or diagrams online via a web search.

The longer answer involves thinking carefully about your pet, and the nature of its illness, as well as critically examining whether prolonging its life is in the pet’s best interest. Magic is not a cure-all, and it is unlikely anything you do will completely fix whatever underlying condition the bird has, if even a veterinarian can’t help. You may give your pet enough energy to sustain it for a while longer (months, maybe even years), but at what cost? If the illness is debilitating, or something that gets progressively worse as time goes on, will the bird’s quality of life suffer the longer it lives? No one (animal or human) wants to suffer needlessly, so it’s something to consider when making such a decision. No one wants to lose a treasured pet, but at the same time, it’s necessary to understand when magic might be helpful and when it’s time to let go.

In terms of actual spellwork, we are just past the full moon* and as the waning moon is good for banishing spells, I would suggest seeing if you can modify the one you have to fit. Otherwise, use it as a guide for crafting one with a focus on banishing the illness, or removing the source of the illness. It’s hard to be more specific without knowing the actual nature of the illness, as some healing spells are not appropriate for certain types of illnesses. I’d hate to direct you to something that isn’t right for your situation. For example, many healing spells focus on increasing healing, or other positive properties – the unfortunate downside is that if one has cancer, or another illness where growing/spreading would be severely detrimental, increasing is bad. Which is why knowing the nature of the illness is important when determining which spell would be effective or a better choice.

* (This was written based on that particular moon phase, however the current moon phase may be different depending on when one is reading this page. So if the moon phases are something that factor into one’s magical workings, be sure to verify the correct timing/phase before doing any sort of spell work.)

Solitary Witch – Where Do I Start?

Hello, basically I have known about and been very interested in paganism since I was about 10 years old. I’m just confused as to which path to follow seeing as there seem to be so many! I think I will most likely be a solitary witch and am definitely interested in practicing magik, following the moon, the seasons, following the wiccan rede, healing, all sorts really. I just really need advise on getting stuck in, I mean there’s so much to learn where do you start?! I wish it were easier to find someone to guide me on my path.

It can definitely be confusing when one is first starting out, especially if one is going a more eclectic route, rather than looking to study within a specific tradition. In many ways being eclectic is actually the more difficult path, as you end up having to study a wide variety of cultures and traditions in an in-depth manner, rather than just focusing on one. For some things to consider when forming your eclectic practice, I would suggest reading Eclecticism Within NeoPaganism.

I’m hitting on the points that you brought up, in order, and suggesting resources when necessary – for a lot of it, it may come down to having to study individual components separately, and then finding your own way of putting it all together in a way that works for you. We once tried to define the word witchcraft and found it difficult at best to come up with anything that “everyone” agreed on. So it also may be up to you to define exactly what practices are covered by the term “solitary witch” as well. Once you get to that point, then you may find it a bit easier to know where to start looking for the information that you need.

Also keep in mind that there really isn’t any reason to spell the word “magic” in any special way. Within Thelema, it is spelled “magick”, however that is due to something that is rather specific to that path, having to do with numerology, and isn’t something that is necessary if one is on a different path. A common reason that I hear from others for doing so is to differentiate between “stage” magic and witchcraft, or other spell work. However the truth is that if you are talking (or in this case corresponding via the written word) with others who are like minded, then they will understand what you are referring to, without you having to resort to any convoluted spelling changes.

You didn’t state specifically within your question, if you were interested in any particular Gods or Goddesses, or any particular cultural practices, so it’s a bit harder to point you in a specific direction. However witchcraft in and of itself can be religious/spiritual or a non-religious practice that can be done on its own, or added to almost any other religion. For Witchcraft specific books, I would also suggest starting with Doreen Valiente’s “ABC of Witchcraft” or her “Natural Magic”. I would also suggest reading “A Grimoire of Shadows” by Ed Fitch.

If you are looking to a more Wicca-inspired path, or a ready made NeoPagan path, then Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” and “Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” cover a good working solitary tradition. However it is very important to note that despite the word Wicca being used not only in the title of both works, and extensively throughout the text – practicing what is in the books does not actually make one Wiccan (for more on traditional Wicca, please read this). While Cunningham did receive initiation into a lineaged Wiccan tradition, he left soon after to form his own path (the Standing Stones tradition), which does not contain the oath-bound information that is the core of Wicca. These two books cover the information that his tradition is based on.

If Wicca-based isn’t your style, then I would suggest reading “Evolutionary Witchcraft“, by T. Thorn Coyle which is based more on Feri Trad Witchcraft – as founded by Victor and Cora Anderson.

For additional information on seasonal celebrations I would suggest the following resources… “A NeoPagan Guide To Activities for the Sabbats”  and “The Witches’ Sabbats”. If you can get a copy of the book, then “Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain” by Ronald Hutton is a good place to start as well. As to moon phases there are any number of apps or widgets you can pick up online. There used to be a really awesome one that we all swore by, however it no longer exists, so at this point really any one will do.

As to the “Wiccan Rede” I would direct you to one of our recent posts on the subject. As mentioned there, it is often very misunderstood, so it would be a good idea to take some time to understand exactly what it is (advice vs. strict law), and exactly what you are looking to accomplish by incorporating it into your practice.

As to “healing”, you’ll need to be a lot more specific, as there is a huge number of things that fall under that category – herbal, magical, hands-on energy work, etc…? If you can narrow down your area of interest there, let us know, and we’ll be happy to point you in a good direction. Keep in mind that for some things, you may need to find a face-to-face teacher, as they are very difficult to teach online or to learn simply from a book.

I know this all seems like a lot, so please read through what we’ve given you, and if you have any additional questions feel free to reply. We’ll be more than happy to help explain, clarify or offer up some other resources. There are some online forums and such around, however a lot of them are full of misinformation, so admittedly I’m hesitant to suggest any of them directly. Thinking it may be time to have a chat amongst ourselves and come up with a “go-to” list of people who can help with specific subjects. I’ll update this when we’ve had a chance to put something together.