Is The House Cursed


Hello…I’m really sorry, I feel entirely silly asking this, and I’m not sure it’s the right place at all. I always follow my intuition, always, but there aren’t many chances to do so. My grandmother has been very ill all of my life, I’m sixteen years old. She has COPD and a bunch of other things wrong with her chest. She has been in and out of hospital many times and had many near death experiences due to this. Basically. She was in hospital last week, and she was getting better! I didn’t think anything of it. I talked to my grandad (her husband) about the house they moved out of that we all used to live in, and he told me that when she does eventually die I will I will inherit that house. Of course I don’t care about these things. I love my gran. Just after we had that conversation, it made me feel uneasy, and then we got a call and she suddenly caught an infection and got really bad again. I felt partly guilty. Then later in in the week he gave me a key for that house, so I can have a look around. I went there, and stayed for a couple of hours

I just felt so uneasy being there, and kept thinking of my gran (who was at this stage getting better) a few hours later I got a phone call saying to get to the hospital as soon as I can because my gran was likely going to die. I felt like I should have seen it and that it was my fault. Tonight I was supposed to go back but when I got nearer I just felt really sick and nervous and like I couldn’t go in the gate because my gran was going to deteriorate again or something…

Is there anyway that the house could be cursed since it used to be her house?? I’m so sorry if this is somehow offensive or irrelevant or stupid or something I really do apologize, I just can’t understand it and I need to go to the house at some point but I could never live with the guilt if anything happened. I’m so interested in paganism and wicca and I hope to really embrace everything about the religion one day, but I have no idea how:P but yeah sorry again and thank you in advance!

One thing that I think is very important to note from the beginning, particularly with the elderly, but often with any sort of serious/life threatening illnesses – it is extremely common for someone to appear to be doing much better (in some cases, almost miracle-like) right before they end up passing away. So the fact that your grandmother was seemingly on the mend, but then took a turn for the worse, does not necessarily have anything to do with you or any potential curse (or other magical goings on). In truth, it’s more than likely just the unfortunate nature of how these sorts of things tend to go.

As to curses/negative energy… if the house has been in the family for years and years, there will be plenty of energy – good and bad attached to it. Could there be some sort of curse? Eh…maybe, but in this case, I really don’t think that is the issue. I think that you are worried about your grandmother and you feel a little guilty about benefiting from her eventual death (which is a perfectly normal thing to be feeling). The fact that those emotions seem to manifest more strongly when you are at the house or near it is pretty normal too, given that you will be focused on her when you are at a place that you associate with her.

In the future (hopefully far, far in the future), if you do end up inheriting the house, you can always do a ritual cleansing to help clear out any potential negative energies that may be lingering. For now, I don’t think that you going to the house is causing your grandmother any harm, but if going there is causing you anxiety, then it may be best to avoid it until things have settled down.

Family Gatherings: How to Cope


…here’s my question.  This Thanksgiving I’ll be required to spend the holiday in the company of conservative Catholic and “born again” in-iaws who are very “in-your-face” with their views.  Is there a prayer or meditation I can do to remain sane and calm in this situation?  Also, is there even a spell to keep them at bay? I’d appreciate any help you could offer.

It’s hard when you have to spend time with people who aren’t as tolerant or respectful of others, particularly at the holidays. Rather than anything magical, my personal tried and true method for dealing with such people, especially when I know it’s not worth engaging them in any sort of discussion about the issue, is to just smile and nod, and then try to steer the conversation to another topic if possible.

It depends to on exactly what sort of things they are saying, but in cases where someone is continually offering prayer or blessings – a simple “thank you” works well. Remember that even if it’s not your faith, the fact that someone cares enough about you to petition their higher power on your behalf should mean something. I realize this is really awkward too, if it’s unwanted and, for some people, it really is a huge issue for them (having unwanted Gods “blessing” them), but sometimes, unless we are willing to make a big deal out of it, it’s easier to just take the words as a sign that they care and let it go. It’s important to note too, that sometimes, people don’t actually realize that they are doing these things. Their religion is such a huge part of their lives that a lot of what they say is simply ingrained habit and not done as a conscious effort to annoy others.

For the more condescending stuff or holier than thou type people, avoiding them as much as possible may be the best option. Of course this may not work if it’s a small gathering, but again, actively looking for ways to change the subject can help. If necessary, spend a little bit of time before the gathering to look up some neutral topics and keep them in reserve for when things get really bad.

In terms of mantras, really anything that is comforting should be fine. It’s hard to give something concrete without knowing more about your practice and beliefs, but would suggest just using a simple “God/Goddess give me strength.” (feel free to state a specific God or Goddess if there is one that you have a relationship with or work with frequently). Alternatively, or in addition to that, you can visualize a shield surrounding yourself which absorbs or reflects unwanted and/or negative comments.

Spellwork is a bit trickier. If you are going to their house or the house of someone who you know would not appreciate you using witchcraft, then I highly suggest avoiding doing anything magical in their house or even directed specifically at them. Obviously, they are being disrespectful to you (and possibly others), but being disrespectful back won’t necessarily make the situation any better. (this of course will depend too on how you feel about performing magic on others without their permission – some don’t do this, others have no issues with it, and for others it’s a mix of the two)

If the gathering is at your house, you could do something directed at having a peaceful day. For something super simple, I’d start by cleansing the area and “sweeping” (visually or actually physically sweeping the house as you go) the house of negative energy. Then visualize the house shielded (similar to personal shielding) from negativity. Alternatively, you can also create a spell directed at yourself for helping to maintain calmness in stressful situations. For something more extensive you can use/modify the following, and particularly if you don’t have a lot of extra time, just visualizing the desired intentions into any food that is made can help make a difference.

PART ONE

Items Needed:

– food item (ideally oil or seasonings or something that you know everyone will eat or that can be mixed into a larger dish) that will be used in the upcoming meal
– container to hold the item

Spell:

– Cast your circle/create sacred space, etc… (or however you normally do your spellwork).
– Take a moment to ground and center yourself.
– When you are ready… place both hands around the container, visualize peace and harmony (or whatever other intentions you want to promote) spreading from you into the food item within. Visualize it permeating the item and visualize those feelings transferring to anyone who consumes it. At the same time, see any negativity being blocked.
– Chant (silently or aloud) three times:

Only peace and harmony will be found
As strife and discord this day are bound
We gather today – joy in our heart
This food we consume must play its part.

– take a few extra moments to continue charging the food with positive energy, then, if you have no other ritual activities, you can banish your circle/end the ritual. Be sure to thank any deities (if called upon) for their assistance.

PART TWO

Items Needed:

– Your blessed food item
– Ingredients for the meal you will be cooking (your choice – as long as the food item you used in the previous step can be mixed in)

Cooking:

– If you are cooking before you guests arrive, you may cast a quick circle around your kitchen area (if you feel called to do so). Sacred Space is always nice and adds to the specialness of the meal. Obviously if you will have other people running in and out of the kitchen (or you are going to be going in and out), then this can be skipped.

– Cook your meal with the food item. Visualize as you mix/prepare it, that the dish is taking on the blessings that you have charged the food item with. See the peace and harmony permeating your meal, see everyone gathered together having a good time.

Serving:

– When serving your meal, take a moment to give thanks for those who are gathered and offer blessings, as appropriate to help continue the positive intentions of the spellwork.

_____________

Hopefully, there is something in here that you find helpful. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

🙂

An It Harm None: What To Do When Harm Is Caused?


Okay so my question is since one of the most basic Wiccan morals/ beliefs is the “harm none” concept I was curious about two different things. 1. What should you do other than accept the consequences when harm has been done through one of your actions? 2. What is to be done when another inflicts harm on you? Nothing? Just curious because I haven’t see this clearly stated anywhere.

The thing with “harm none” is that it has been grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented by so many people over the years that, in most cases, what the average person thinks it means is likely vastly different than what it actually is supposed to mean. So we’ll start with that, just to lay out the basics.

First and foremost, at no point (ever), does the Wiccan Rede prohibit one from causing harm, and in fact, it is literally impossible for any of us to go through life without causing harm to someone or something. The Rede, which in full states ‘An it harm none, do what ye will, simply tells us that if it doesn’t cause harm, we can do whatever we want. But nowhere in that statement does it say if it causes harm, don’t do it. The actual point of it all, is for one to carefully consider their actions before taking them, and to be willing to accept the potential consequences of such actions – for good or bad. In the end however, if one feels that a harmful action is justified/necessary, and is willing to accept the consequences, then there is nothing preventing them from taking the action. For more information on the history and meaning of the Wiccan Rede, I suggest reading The Wiccan Rede: A Historical Journey.

To your specific questions…

(1) If the harm was unintentional, we still need to accept the consequences and acknowledge that harm was done. Then we need to look for ways that we can make reparations (if possible). Saying “sorry” often makes us feel better, but in many cases it does nothing for those we have hurt. Taking actual positive action (assuming that there is one that can be taken), is the best choice.

If the harm was intentional, hopefully we thought carefully before taking the action and were able to anticipate the consequences and are prepared for them. If it’s something that we had considered, again – part of that consideration would be pre-planning what to do. Generally though, if those consequences occur in a way that were unanticipated (maybe we didn’t think carefully enough beforehand) or in some other way cause more harm than we were intending, we should refer back to the info on what to do when causing unintentional harm. Otherwise, if we have intentionally harmed someone/something, then there is nothing else to do as we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.

(2) The answer to this one is really going to depend on the individual. Some will look for positive ways to counteract the harm (such as shielding or looking for ways to invoke justice being served, etc…), while others will 100% strike back as hard and fast as they can with every curse and hex available, and some may be a mix of both. Since there is absolutely nothing preventing anyone from defending themselves and protecting others from harm, at least in terms of the Rede, if one feels that they need to take a harmful action in response to something that has been done to them (and again, being willing to accept any consequences) – then they should take it.

Personally, in the rare times that I feel that they may be necessary, I prefer “curses” that are sort of all purpose – like a “may you get everything that’s coming to you” sort of a thing. That way if they don’t do anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about (and it could even send positive things their way if they are doing good), but if they are doing harm to others, then anything negative that bounces back on them will be a result of their own actions. It doesn’t absolve me of dealing with any potential consequences, but it does put a lot more of the onerous on them for instigating it in the first place.

Deciding Between Paths: How To Know When You Are Ready?


I’ve been raised as a Christian my whole life. But about 2 years ago, I realized that it wasn’t my true calling or a place where I felt at home at all. But about a year ago, I fell upon Wicca. To me, it feels true and right and I feel so at home within it, so I just decided to call myself Wiccan. More recently, I realized that that wasn’t any way to follow Wicca and that I’d gone about it in a way that wouldn’t truly benefit me. So now I’m taking the time to learn more about both Christianity and Wicca and I’m so excited to finally choose and follow Wicca as I should’ve done in the first place.

However, going to church every Sunday has made it increasingly difficult to commit myself to Wicca so I’m left feeling unsure whether I was too quick but in Christianity I feel uncomfortable and unsafe and judged so I know it’s not what is right for me. I guess I’m just looking for advice and how to release all this doubt and fear. I truly want to dedicate myself to the God and Goddess but I’m just doubting whether I’m ready or not. At my age and in my ‘situation’ it’s hard to find other Wiccans who I can speak to and learn from and be guided by.

Probably not what you are going to want to hear, but at 14 you have plenty of time to figure which path is right for you. Particularly if you are having doubts, it’s good idea to take as much time as you feel is necessary.

From a traditional standpoint, Wiccan covens will not initiate anyone who is under the age of 18 (sometimes even 21), so there is not any need to rush to anything at this point. If you still feel pulled towards Christianity, keep in mind that, even if you are uncomfortable at your current church, that may not be indicative of all churches, or even all denominations. So it may be worth it to explore other areas of Christianity before making any major decisions.

Once you are sure that Wicca or Wicca-inspired NeoPaganism is more your calling, there is still not any real reason to start dedicating or oathing yourself to anyone at this point. Oaths and vows are something that the Gods take very seriously and doing such during the teen years is just not a good idea (in any way). It’s not always a good idea for some, even when they are older – things change and we think we will always be able to follow through, but that’s not always the case. And trying to take back an oath… it doesn’t always go well and some Gods are less forgiving than others. So patience at this stage is a good thing.

In the meantime, I would suggest lots of reading. We have a couple of previous posts with some recommendations (here and here). This doesn’t mean you can’t practice anything, but it simply means don’t look to settling in just yet. Give yourself plenty of time to explore.

Additionally, if you feel that maybe there are bits of both Paganism and Christianity that call to you, there are things like ChristoPaganism which may be of interest as well. In particular ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path by Joyce and River Higganbotham is a good one. Another book that encompasses multiple views is CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path by Eric and Katrina Rasbold. In terms of going to church, it may also be worth checking out the Unitarian Universalists.

I know that when we are young, it often seems like we need to make a decision about things NOW, but in truth – particularly with the really important things, careful consideration is the better course of action. During our teen years things change rapidly and those things that we feel strongly about one day soon fade, and by the time we reach young adulthood we are often completely different people. Making any sort of decision, particularly involving dedicating oneself to a God (or Gods), is not something to make until one is absolutely sure that one can keep that commitment*. So don’t feel that you need to be doing anything, until you have resolved any lingering doubts are are fully ready to take those next steps.

*worth noting too that for some people, they are never ready to take an oath or dedicate themselves, and that is perfectly ok too. Never feel like you have to do such a thing, even if it said so in a book or on a website, etc… 😉

What Beliefs or Practices Link All Pagans Together?


  • what is the pagans/wicca community belief system?
    and i am a beginner so i do not know much
    thank you
  • Pagan seams to be a very vague term for non main stream religion, but what is it that links these particular religions that are labeled pagan together?

In fact there really isn’t much of anything that links ALL Pagan religions and paths together. At it’s most basic, the term Pagan is an umbrella term that encompasses all “non-Abrahamic” religions, and that’s it. Some paths may share some similarities, but there is nothing else that ALL share as a defining practice or belief. Even when used as a short-hand for the NeoPagan paths that are loosely based on the non-oathbound parts of Wicca, the joke is – ask a hundred people, get a hundred answers. In terms of a label, it works well enough for those who don’t know and don’t care to know the actual differences, but within the community itself, it can be a poor description of what one does. When possible, it is better to look to words which are more specific to one’s own path, as these terms are better at conveying the actual idea of one’s practices and beliefs.

For example: If we are all standing around at a local meet up and everyone introduces themselves, and tacks on at the end “I’m Pagan” – no one has really learned anything about anyone else’s path. But if that same group tacks on “I’m Heathen,” “I’m Celtic Recon,” “I’m Kemetic,” etc… (or other appropriate term), then we have a better idea of what it is that each of them do.

This of course assumes that one has a general idea of what some of the specific Pagan religions entail, but even if one doesn’t, it’s a great way to start discussion and dialogues, which can be used to learn more about those other paths.

As we have gotten a couple different questions on the subject recently, thought it would be a good time to remind everyone that the Paganism FAQ link at the top of the page is there to answer some of this directly and to give a bit of background on some of the more common Pagan traditions.

Of course, if there are specific questions, that are not covered in the FAQ, please feel free to ask! 🙂

Passing On: What To Do With A Wiccan’s Things


I just found out that my Grandmother, who passed away several years ago, was a Wiccan. It was never discussed, and was never brought up in the past. I didn’t come to the realization until recently when my mother had mentioned that she had books on witchcraft in a passing comment. While I don’t practice spellcraft, being more focused on spirituality and meditation, I would like to recover said books as it breaks my heart to think they are gathering dust in some basement. I’m not sure if I will find her grimoire or not, as no one knows if she kept one. Like I said, her being a Wiccan was never discussed, and my mother wasn’t even certain that was her religion. So what I’m getting at here, I’m not sure what to do if I find it. I was hoping you could offer suggestions how to handle this situation. Part of me feels as though I’ll be breaching a boundary of privacy by looking into the grimoire if I find one, another part of me demands that I look inside if I do find one for there were a lot of questions that sprung up around her passing.

The answer really depends on if she was an initiated Wiccan (or similar Witchcraft tradition), which would make much of what was in her BOS likely oathbound, or if she was solitary, eclectic, or other non-oathbound tradition. If there is any way to ascertain this, that would be an important first step.

If she was an initiate of an oathbound tradition, her regular books and things would probably be fine for you to keep (though I would suggest cleansing and re-consecrating before using any tools), however her BOS should be returned to someone else who is of a similar initiated status/lineage. If she was Wiccan (BTW) you can check on Amber and Jet, to find someone who can help, if that is the case. If she was part of some other oathbound tradition, you would need to see if you can contact others from within that tradition for their thoughts on disposing of it. The alternative, in either case, would be to simply burn the book, which seems extreme, but is the best way to ensure that any oathbound information contained within does not fall into the hands of those who are not supposed to have it.

If she was solitary and/or part of a non-oathbound tradition, then it’s really up to you. If you knew your grandmother well enough, you are in a better position to know whether or not she would want someone with similar interests using her things. If you are unsure, I would suggest meditating on the question. Maybe even doing some sort of journeying or communication work, in which you contact her and ask specifically – Do you mind if I do this? Personally, if I passed, I would want my things given to someone who would find them useful, but I know that is not always the case with others.

Also, you mentioned questions about her passing – not sure what that means exactly, but realize too that her beliefs and practices probably had nothing to do with her death. If there are lingering questions, the answers probably won’t be found in her things. If they are just general questions about her life, then I think reading through her things would be a good way to better understand her, and keep her memory alive. The key of course, is making sure that what you are reading is not anything that is supposed to be oathbound.

Wiccan Rede: An It Harm None


I am dating a man who is Wiccan…we are having a very serious disagreement about a spider!  I respect his Wiccan views and beliefs…but I cannot understand his logic regarding this topic.  I am terrified of spiders…it is irrational and logically I know its silly.  However, I cannot control that fear and it truly causes me serious distress.  He has a very large spider living above his front door.  Initially he wanted to bring it inside, but has agreed not to now.  I asked him to relocate the spider because he does not believe in killing them.  His response was no…it would cause the spider harm…and he believes in the first do no harm principle.  Its his belief relocating the spider will directly cause it harm.  Isn’t leaving the spider there causing me harm?  It causes me to have heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, and I cry!  Again, I know my fear is unsubstantiated, but it is real!  I feel he is completely disregarding my feelings and well being by not relocating it…but all he says is do no harm is in his blood and who he is!  Any advice?

I’ll start with straight and to the point. If your boyfriend cares more about potential harm to a spider, than he does about the woman he supposedly loves, then you need to RUN (not walk) to the nearest exit. Dump him.

Regardless of the actual meaning of the Rede itself (which I’ll get to in a moment), there are plenty of ways to humanely move a spider. There is absolutely zero reason for him to put that spider’s well-being above your own – A) because it can be moved without harming it and B) because even if it would cause harm… your life (and physical/mental health) should be a priority to him. If it’s not, then there is something seriously wrong. If he is not willing to put you first in these sorts of situations, he’s not worth your time or energy.

As to “do no harm” – at no point (ever), does the Wiccan Rede prohibit one from causing harm, and in fact, it is literally impossible to go through life without causing harm to someone or something. The Rede, which in full states ‘An it harm none, do what ye will, simply tells us that if it doesn’t cause harm, we can do whatever we want. But nowhere in that statement does it say if it causes harm, don’t do it. The point of it all, is for one to carefully consider their actions before taking them, and to be willing to accept the potential consequences of such actions – for good or bad. In the end however, if one feels that a harmful action is justified, and is willing to accept the consequences, then there is nothing preventing them from taking the action. For more information on the history and meaning of the Wiccan Rede, I suggest reading The Wiccan Rede: A Historical Journey.

It’s unfortunate that there are books and websites which offer misinformation regarding the Rede, which in turn cause people to end up believing that it is a literal prohibition against causing harm. But again as I mentioned to start, if your boyfriend is unwilling (or unable) to see that the harm he is causing to you is more detrimental than the harm moving the spider would cause, then he’s really not someone that you need in your life. It may sound harsh, but this is just a spider (and very easily remedied in a way that could make you both happy, which he is refusing to even consider)… what happens when it’s something more important?

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.