THE NATURE OF SPELLCRAFT
Be careful what you wish for. As you have been previously warned of in the article Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair - a warning not to hex nor conjure love spells, you must be careful of what you wish and cast on in this life. I'm even incredibly careful about the wishes I make in my head, for even in the most simple psychological sense, you can turn those wishes into your reality by subconsciously working towards them whether they're for your greater good or not. What you want could affect the lives of others, and that is why, when I cast spells, that I make sure that my workings not only benefit myself but others. That is literally taking the threefold law into my own hands, and I would encourage any other magickal worker to do so. For example, if I were to cast a spell to heal myself or a self love spell to add more self love, worth and respect to my life - that would be affecting others by making myself an example for a healthy, balanced and gracious attitude. A happy person forgets that they can make such a difference to someone else's day by projecting their good feeling onto others, possibly complimenting others more as a give and take relationship starts, even on the most basic level.
Magick is powerful, potent and not to be toyed with. Your magick is a contribution to the world, not just a vain raising of energies for your own good. You cannot work against someone's will or harm anyone.
INTUITIVE VS. DEVISED
My magick, now in my 2nd degree, is a mixture of both intuitive and devised magick. The difference? Intuituve magick is when you have a great deal of energy within you for magick and you plain and simply - with some knowledge of the moon cycle already in the back of your mind - cast circle and just go for it. That is when you often progress as a practitioner. Devised magick is carefully written down in your book of shadows, where you have more time to write down a blessing, what tools you will use, what star sign the moon is in etc. in order to send off your spell into the ether in a poetic and calculated manner.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
Wicca is seen as a 'Mystery Religion' in that you cannot know how it works just by picking up one book from a teacher - it has to be practiced, implemented and experienced. It opens itself up to you over time as you regularly meditate, work low magick (spells to 'get what you want' or push towards a finite outcome) and high magick (which brings you closer to your deity and what they can teach you to become a more balanced practitioner). Magick is often read about in books, and you can spend hours upon hours reading, but unless you actually get to it and practice, you will never get anywhere. I had spent a great deal of time in my late teens worrying about the fact that I didn't have every single essential oil, candle, resin and tool available to me. Essentially these tools are here to help you reach an induced state, but tools are actually very unnecessary. It is great to have an altar, but it need not be expensive nor should you really need one at all. After time, you can practice magick anywhere - it's just nice to have the formalities of the 'right' incense or candle to push you along. Magick is in the heart and pumps through your veins.
GETTING OUT AMONGST NATURE
I am very much an urban witch and feel that I need my time out amongst nature in order to balance myself. What is the point of worshipping nature unless you get out there and get amongst it?! I have bought myself a tent and other bits and pieces to camp, bushwalk and protect myself in the sun. It is amongst nature that I can really feel at peace and work with nature's gentle energy. It is hard to plan outings with friends to camp out, and it's still on the cards!
MIXING DISCIPLINES - ART, BODY, MIND & SOUL
After some time, you realise that magick starts to spread into other aspects of your life. I've now taken up bellydancing and have left the gym to take up exercise that works with dance, which celebrates life. I've taken up a range of things to keep myself occupied - which clearly, I couldn't all fit into one week: zumba, kundalini yoga, yoga, pilates, power walking and tribal bellydance. Being fit is really important to keep your energies balanced, and I find that the two forms of yoga fit in beautifully with my meditation which helps to balance my mind.
The above is not particularly expressive, so I also have my artwork as well as playing music on occasion to celebrate life. My artwork takes two routes: automatic painting & drawing as well as depictions of the images I see during trance.
I keep my eye on religious debate, crossing from the opinions of atheists such as Derren Brown & Richard Dawkins, the issues with New Age faiths & fraudulent behaviour, faith healing for psychological use, hypnotism - you name it! If a witch's aim is to constantly learn, then it's important for them to be open-minded & consider how science merges with our beliefs. How much of what we do is based on intention & why is it that we are able to develop this sense of transcendence? Those questions should not be left out of our faith in the 21st century.
Just as I'd left you with Scott Cunningham's 'regular practices' in Day 1, I'd like to give you the list that Edain McCoy provides in her book 'Advanced Witchcraft':
"An advanced witch:
- Picks his battles with care
- Knows when to keep silent
- Knows when to speak up
- Lives out of the broom closet, but doesn't fly her faith in the face of others
- Appreciates group work and its power
- Appreciates solitude and its power
- Has the courage of his convictions
- Is confident of her skills, but not arrogant
- Is confident of his skills, but knnows there is always more to learn
- Knows she is a capable teacher, and that she must always be a willing student
- Lives by the rede of 'harm none'
- Observes the sabbats, esbats, and any other festivals of his chosen tradition and uses them for spiritual growth as well as for fellowshop and to honor his deities
- Serves her community
- Sees the divinity in all life and respects all life for the divine spark that dewlls within, even when that being's thoughts and actions are not easily respectable
- Builds bridges and not walls
- Asks rather than demands
- Questions more than he anwers
There is still a lot for me to master in that list!