A Long Weekend

It’s a quiet day here in the mountains. The husband slept in and and I had two big cups of coffee. I slept for ten hours last night, after a long and grueling week. I don’t always sleep well at night, so by the end of the week it usually catches up with me. Yesterday I was so exhausted I could hardly keep my eyes open. Thankfully this is a three-day weekend, and I’m going to savor every second of it. I will be planning lots of three-day weekends after July 1st, when my new allotment of PTO (paid time off) goes into effect at the day job.

Last weekend I went to the Spiritual Holistic Expo, which they have twice a year in town. It’s a large expo with many vendors offering tarot readings, aura photos, crystals, herbs and all manner of magical and pagan items. This was the first time I’d gone since the plague hit (and they had cancelled it a couple times). I was a little disappointed this time around because the booksellers weren’t there, and they were one of the main reasons I went. They used to have a book vendor who sold mainly pagan books, hundreds of them, and all at half-price. I found so many wonderful books there over the years. If I had known they weren’t going to be there, I probably would not have gone. I was told recently that this particular vendor is currently having some health problems, which is why they weren’t there. I didn’t buy much this time, only some herbs that I needed for my rituals. Among them were Rue, St. John’s Wort and Vervain. One of my favorite teachers, the late Raven Grimassi (whom I met in person and attended two of his classes) shared that a blend of Rue, Vervain and St. John’s Wort is an Old Ways method of marking the perimeter of a magic circle. This can be used as an alternative to casting with a wand. I will be blending these together after I purchase more herb bottles (the ones I have are all currently full). I also bought some powdered Myrrh and Sandalwood. I use the powders to make incense.

Book writing projects are still on hold. I have the novel all mapped out. Plot, characters, the whole thing. The witchcraft book has been started, but only when I’ve had a spare moment to work on it. I need more time to actually sit down and devote to it. It’s hard to find the time when I also work a full-time job, I have a home and a husband and a dog to attend to, not to mention my long commute to and from the cottage, and there’s my anxiety flare-ups. I’ve had a few of those the past couple of weeks. I’ll have to take time off to do any serious work on writing projects. I’ve been kind of on the fence about these two books. I still want to finish them, but maybe now is not the time. Sometimes I feel as though I should be writing a different sort of book. Something unique and ‘outside the box’ as they say. It sometimes feels like there’s an idea just hovering out there, but it has not yet entered my consciousness.

The husband’s birthday was May 24th, so I made him a sugar-free cake with sugar-free frosting. It’s not as bad as it sounds. He’s diabetic, so we’ve had to get creative with cooking and sweets. They have sugar-free cake mixes that are sweetened with Stevia, and to make them taste better you can use mayonaisse instead of eggs and add a little extra water. For the frosting, I prepare some of the Jello sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix, and then blend it with whipped cream, which is already low in sugar. It has more of a mousse texture but it still works as a cake frosting. It came out perfect, both cake and frosting were light and fluffy. We’ve already eaten the whole thing. FYI, the Jello Cheesecake Pudding is delicious.

Today we went into town so the husband could get a haircut. Only the husband gets haircuts, I’m bald as a doorknob and I shave my own head. This particular salon is gay-owned and the owners are friends of ours. After this we went to a nearby music store where I purchased a used CD from PULP. I’d been wanting this one for awhile, I’ll listen to it later this evening. We then went to a plant nursery, where the husband purchased another plant for the cottage. He is outside at this moment putting it in the ground. Before coming home we stopped at the market to pick up something for dinner tonight (corn dogs!), and then went to a place called Rita’s. It’s a frozen custard shop with a walk up window and outdoor seating. They’re only open during the Spring and Summer. It’s a favorite around these parts. I had a sort of custard shake with Reese’s peanut butter cups and hot fudge. (The husband may be diabetic but I’m certainly not). He had a sugar-free tangerine gelato. After coming home, I put some fresh snake repellent all around the house, since it is getting warmer now and they’ll be out poking around soon. Hopefully it keeps them away. It smells like crushed moth balls.

Pulp CD I bought today. I don’t know what took me so long to get one, I’ve been wanting this for quite awhile.

I hope to do lots of writing this weekend, on at least one of my projects. I’d like to start reading “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” by Howard Pyle at some point as well. I saw a leather-bound copy at Barnes and Noble that is just beautiful. And I plan to watch lots of vintage British comedies, such as Last of the Summer Wine.

So these are my weekend plans. Nothing exciting, no drama, nothing anxiety-inducing. That’s just how I like it.

A Relaxing Weekend

Last weekend I celebrated Beltane in a private ceremony at home. Beltane is an ancient Celtic fire festival during which the Old Ones are called upon for protection and prosperity in the coming year. Some traditions include jumping over the fire and dancing around a maypole. I was planning to attend a public ceremony nearby, but it was cancelled due to rain, so I celebrated at home.

It’s been never a dull moment around here the last couple of weeks, but this weekend I can finally relax without a sense of impending doom. Our new chimney cap was installed on Tuesday and thankfully all the animals had already vacated the chimney by that time. It was cemented on, so now there’s no way anything else can get in. We are thinking about putting a wood-burning stove in the fireplace, and our chimney guy said he would install it for us when that time comes. Winston is much happier now that there are no more noises or odd smells coming from the fireplace. He hadn’t been feeling well the last few days, but he is much better today. We noticed he was drooling more than usual and licking literally everything non-stop. His energy level seemed low and he wasn’t his normal self. We think he may have eaten something toxic. We were getting concerned and I even called the vet to make an appointment, but it looks like he won’t need to go after all. I’ve been doing Reiki treatments on him and he seems back to normal now. I don’t want to spend more money at the vet if we don’t need to. We’ve spent enough already on the car and raccoon nonsense. It’s been like a comedy movie around here with one thing after another.

We did some more planting around the cottage. Foxglove, Lavender, Sage and Firepokers. Very colorful. We put the poisonous plants in areas where we don’t take the dog (he’s always on a leash when outside and we’re always with him). It’s funny how I’m the witch in the family, but the husband is more into plants than I am. He could spend an entire day going to plant nurseries. My interest in plants is mainly for their metaphysical and magical properties. I do like how some of them look, Foxglove and Bleeding Hearts, for example, and I like unusual and exotic plants. We planted some black lilies, but they have yet to bloom. My two most favorite plants, Blackthorn and European Mandrake, are extremely difficult to find here in America.

Last Wednesday when I was taking Winston out for his morning walk, we discovered a baby deer resting in some tall grass by the driveway. We weren’t sure if we should do anything. It was all by itself, it was shaking a little. We didn’t know if it was injured, abandoned, hungry, etc. We waited a few minutes and then it’s mother returned, it got up and they both went on their way. Apparently that’s what they do, the mothers leave the fawns hidden somewhere while they forage for food. We’ve learned a few things since we moved here. Bears dislike the smell of pine, and spraying Pine-Sol or diluted pine essential oil around your property will keep them away. Some folks here in the mountains dip rags in Pine-Sol and hang them on their fences to keep the bears away. Cayenne pepper mixed with hot sauce will keep raccoons away. Snakes dislike strong minty smells. When we first moved here we noticed a lot of mint had been planted around the cottage and now we know why. We still regularly put snake repellant around the cottage as an added measure. The forest is literally right outside our door, so we’ve had to take alot of precautions. The bug guy comes around every few months to spray around the house (and inside) to keep the spiders and insects out. He uses a pet-friendly and environmental-friendly spray, and we’ve had very few problems.

I just finished watching “Robin of Sherwood”, a BBC series filmed in the 1980’s, and I love it. It has many occult and pagan elements. For example, the Robin Hood character frequently encounters ‘Herne The Hunter‘, a mystical forest god who gives him guidance and direction. Robin calls himself a “Son of Herne”. I will watch this series again, hopefully I can get it on BluRay or DVD. I love the Will Scarlet character…he’s quite nice to look at. Interestingly, we happen to live in a private community where all the roads are named after Robin Hood characters. There’s a Robin Hood Drive, Lady Marion Drive, Little John Drive, Sherwood Drive and a Friar Court. I’ve yet to see a Will Scarlet Drive, but there are some other roads I’ve missed. The soundtrack for this series is from the Irish band Clannad, whom I’ve been a fan of for a long time. I’ve had their CD Legend for many years, but I never watched the series until now. There are three seasons.

It’s taken me two days to finish this post. It’s now Sunday morning, dog and husband are still asleep. The husband wants to do more planting today, and wants to go to the local hardware store. Those places bore me to tears, and he could spend hours at Home Depot, so I’ll likely stay home and write. I’m glad the dog is feeling better, that means I can cancel the vet appointment and go to work on Tuesday. The day job has noticed that I’ve been taking alot of unscheduled time off for odd emergencies, but that’s how it is here at our witch cottage in the forest. Things happen and they have to be dealt with. I don’t get my next allotment of paid time off (200+ hours) until July 1st, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that nothing else happens before then.

Next weekend there’s a Spiritual Holistic Expo happening in town, and I’m planning to go. It’s a bit like Diagon Alley, with vendors offering all sorts of magical goodies. Crystals, tarot readings, herbs and plants, incense, alternative healing, aura photos, wands, cauldrons, essential oils and many pagan/occult items for sale. They have these events every Spring and Fall. I’m quite looking forward to it.

Now I think it’s time for more coffee.

Lots Going On (Part Two)

Mercury is definately in retrograde.

Yesterday as I was driving home from work, the car started to feel odd and I heard flapping sounds whenever I accelerated. I pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store and got out to have a look. I had a flat tire. I called AAA, as I don’t know how to change a tire myself, and within an hour my tire was fixed and I was headed home. I will need a new tire, since my spare is only a temporary tire, what they call a “donut”. Anyhow, as I was driving home, the tire light came on again, which meant only one thing. The spare was also leaking air. I’ll probably have to get a new tire this weekend, maybe sooner. Then, as I was driving home, my cellphone rang. It was my husband, and there was another problem…

My husband said that the raccoon in our chimney (as mentioned in my previous post), had pushed a large stone out of the wall and almost got into the house. He happened to be home when he heard a crash, and when he looked at the wall, he saw the hole and the raccoon peering out from the inside. He rushed over and yelled at the raccoon, which backed away as my husband picked up the stone and put it back in the wall. He had to stand there and hold it in place til I got home. We called our chimney guy, who came over and managed to get the raccoon out of the chimney and sealed the stone in place with some kind of industrial strength silicone. We were hoping the babies would follow the raccoon out, but they did not. The chimney guy said they may still be too young to climb out of the chimney. We don’t know how many there are. It sounds like three, at least. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to come back until next Tuesday to get the rest out and put the new chimney cap on. If he can’t get them out through the chimney, he will have to get them out through the fireplace, which means we will have to open the dampener. He said he tries to catch them humanely so they are not harmed, but that other people do worse things to get them out. I slept in the livingroom last night so I could keep my eyes and ears focused on the chimney area and where the stone was sealed. I did hear crying sounds once during the night, but that was it. I’m staying home from work today to make sure everything stays where it’s supposed to. Thank goodness this all happened when somebody was home. The husband just happened to be home early from work yesterday.

I have not yet celebrated Beltane, which on the calendar is usually May 1st, but actual Beltane proper is at the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. This year that occurs on Friday, May 5th, so I will do a ceremony at home on Friday night. It is an Old Ways tradition to do all ceremonies and rituals in the evening, after dark. Beltane is a fire festival, after all. There are two local groups that I sometimes celebrate with, but last weekend was very rainy and those outdoor public rituals were cancelled.

Since I’m home today, I’ll spend alot of time writing. I don’t get much extra time to do that so I will make use of it. I have three projects going right now. One is a book of witchcraft, one is a novel about a family of witches, and one is a book of gay male erotica (not for the prudish!). I’m hoping for an uneventful day.

Now it’s time for another cup of coffee.

Lots Going on Around Here

I love living close to nature, but it’s a little too close at the moment. We think a raccoon has had babies in our chimney. Last week our security cameras caught a large raccoon lurking around the cottage, looking for a way in. We had all the access points around the base of the house sealed last year, so it couldn’t get in that way. Then a few days ago, I heard chitterings, scratching noises and what sounded like crying animals coming from the chimney. Lovely. The dampener was closed, thank goodness. Apparently we did not have a cap on the chimney, so that’s where they are currently. Our dog Winston, has stationed himself in front of the fireplace, because he knows there’s something up the chimney. We’ve been giving him hemp chews (for pets) to keep him calm, but we’re not sure how well they’re working. He is a bit high-strung and anxious himself. We contacted a chimney guy, who warned us in no uncertain terms, DO NOT OPEN THE DAMPENER! Doing so would unleash chaos and destruction inside our house. We have no intention of touching the dampener. It’s really difficult to open anyway. There are two levers you have to pull at the same time, and it takes alot of strength, so I’m pretty sure the raccoons won’t be able to open it either. It’s fairly heavy. The chimney guy said he can clear them out and install a new chimney cap at the same time so nothing can get back in. But… he’s not available until May 9th. So, this is a bit stressful, to say the least. I know they’re nocturnal, so they’re not active during the day, and we’re both up pretty late weeknights. The husband works from home two days a week, but there are a few days when neither of us are here. My anxiety is in overdrive and I haven’t been sleeping well. One of my favorite witchcraft teachers mentioned a plant spirit that can be called upon to drive away unwanted animals from the house. I may be taking that advice.

If the raccoon thing wasn’t aggravating enough, my cellphone battery decided to go on the blink. A couple of days ago I noticed it was charging at a snail’s pace. It would be almost dead by the time I got home, so I would plug it in immediately, and by the next morning it would only be at 40%. I did discover today, though, that it charges much faster when the phone is turned off. I’ll keep doing it this way until I can get a new battery.

The husband’s new job seems to be working out well, and we’re both relieved that it allows him to work from home two days a week. The day he interviewed for this job, we cast an elaborate spell that evening to place him in their favor, and three days later they offered him the position. We believe in magic because we know and have seen that it works.

I have discovered a new singer and songwriter that I am now obsessed with. Her name is Aurora. She is Norwegian, and she writes and performs her own music. Her voice is amazing, and her music is so full of life and creativity. I already have two of her CD’s and just ordered a third one to be delivered tomorrow. I found her on YouTube while I was watching music videos, and then I watched her videos “Runaway” and “Giving In To The Love”, and I was spellbound. There are lots of her videos and live performances on YouTube. In interviews she is very quiet and soft-spoken, but her videos and performances are full of energy and joy. There is a tangible magical energy in her music that I’ve sensed with very few musical artists. There are some singers and bands that have this quality, and they don’t have to be singing specifically about magical topics, but their music has this enchanted quality. Aurora is magical.

Beltane is just around the corner, and there is a celebration this Sunday at a local park about 30 minutes away. This particular park is privately owned, and has many standing stones and a stone circle, which makes it a popular spot for pagan events. This event is happening during the day, which works better for me. The group I used to celebrate with has their celebrations at night (which you’re supposed to do, really), but it’s over an hour away now that we’ve moved. Also, I don’t fancy driving on the freeways after dark.

I haven’t had much time for book writing. I’m so exhausted during the week. Major writing projects will have to wait until I have some extra time to devote to them. I don’t want to rush them, but I have been brainstorming and many things have given me inspiration (ex: Aurora).

I will spend the rest of the evening watching TV, eating cereal and hoping the raccoons keep quiet.

The Magic of Moonstone

Moonstone is a natural stone, formed from the mineral feldspar. The inter-growth of different types of feldspar during gem formation are the source of the moonstone’s shimmer, also known as adularescence. The finest moonstones are found mainly in Sri Lanka and Southern India. Moonstone is linked, of course, to the Moon and to the element of Water. It is used to call upon lunar deities, particularly the Moon Goddess of Old Ways Witchcraft. It is useful with all forms of divination. The powers of the Moonstone help to enhance psychic and intuitive abilities, astral projection, lucid dreaming and shamanic journey practices. It can be in blue, white, peach, pink, rainbow or tan colors. Moonstone helps to stabilize emotional states, and helps to release stress and tension. It helps to lessen mood swings and prevent over-reacting to situations and pressures. Magical practitioners believe it’s powers increase as the moon is Waxing to Full. Moonstone is favored by cats, children and those who are traveling. It is believed to help the growth of plants, and increase the flow of beneficial energies during magical ritual. Moonstone has long been known for its calming, soothing qualities on the emotional body. Its energy is balancing and healing, assisting in the mastery of emotions by bringing them under the control of Higher Will, rather than expressing or repressing them. It also helps identify emotional patterns that are stored in the subconscious, and serves as a guardian to contain explosive passions, and to stimulate confidence and composure. It has a mystical quality that helps witches tap into the subconscious and access the hidden realms. I happen to prefer the peach-colored variety, and hold one in each hand while meditating. I will sometimes place a flat moonstone on my forehead while lying down after a stressful day at work. It’s energies are very calming and soothing.

To Cleanse and Purify The Home


Incense: Frankincense & Myrrh, Dragon’s Blood, Sandalwood

Rose Water

Drum or Bell

First, open all windows and doors. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths until you reach a meditative state. Light incense containing any combination of the scents listed above, ideally in the form of a bundle that will remain lit for awhile. You may have to blow on the bundle periodically to keep it lit. Start at the back of the home, and walk through each room from corner to corner, filling each room with smoke. As you walk, you may repeat “All harmful energies are now banished from this place”. As you finish with each room, maintain your meditative state, and visualize each room filled with white light. You may wish to raise your right hand and project this light out of your hand into each corner of the room. Cleanse your house in this way, from back to front, pushing all harmful energy out the front door. If you have a 2-story home, begin on the upper level first, then continue with the downstairs. If you have a drum, after you have cleansed each room with smoke, bang the drum loudly 9 times in each room. If you use a bell, ring the bell 3 times in each room after cleansing it with smoke.

You may also wish to add 9 drops of Sage or Dragon’s Blood pure essential oils to mop water and clean the floors. This is known as a “Floor Wash” and some witches use this for additional protection in the home. Finally, take a bottle of Rose Water in a spray bottle, and spray all corners and thresholds of each room.

Return To The Old Ways

The snow is falling again here at our mountain cottage. It is still Winter, after all. I am just now beginning to recover from a nasty bout of the flu. I tested negative for Covid, for which the management at the day job will be thankful. I still have a nagging cough, sore throat and runny nose, but I am not as fatigued or physically exhausted as before. The fact that I can sit here at this laptop and write means I am improving. Elderberry syrup, hot green tea and lots of sleep have been my saving grace. I’ll spend this weekend resting, writing and reading. I started reading the Prince Harry book, Spare, and it is absolutely riveting. Very hard to put down. I have such admiration for those two, choosing to live their lives on their own terms. Diana would be proud. I remember that car crash, when the whole world mourned.

Later this afternoon, I will have to give the dog a bath. He’s been scratching more than usual lately. I’m dreading it because he sheds profusely and I’ll need to clean the tub afterwards. A tough job but someone has to do it.

Because of my illness, my book projects were on hold, but today I may be able to dive back in. The novel is a long-term project, one that I am not going to rush. The short-term project, a book of witchcraft for beginners, is an idea that came to me recently and is what I will spend some time on this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about witchcraft and it’s connection to nature, and how so many pagans, particularly younger ones, often do not realize the importance of this connection. There is so much mystery and mysticism tied to witchcraft, and some aspects are not so easily defined or pigeon-holed. Social media has become a chaotic mess of people asserting their ‘adeptness’ or ‘expert knowledge’, each trying to outdo the other and become some kind of rock star in the pagan community. A practice that is largely personal and experiential is being turned into a list of do’s and don’ts, and gatekeeping, and accusations of “cultural appropriation”, and ridiculous demands for references and footnotes and “where are you getting this from”. There are many different kinds of witches, all with varying gifts and abilities, many of which they did not learn in a class or from a book. People seem to have forgotten this. The practice of witchcraft is centuries older than the formal traditions that developed around it. Not everything in witchcraft can be backed up with references and footnotes.

We need to return to the naturalness of it all. The Old Ways. Interpreting the voice of the wind in the trees, or the shapes conjured by incense smoke and the flame of a burning candle. The secrets revealed in tarot cards and images reflected in a crystal ball. The swing of the pendulum and the casting of runes. Nature is the driving force behind witchcraft. It is not how many followers one has or how many books one has sold. Even this website is not for me to put myself on a pedestal, but to share the wisdom that has been shared with me, and offer my services to those who may need them. To be a witch is not just about magic and spells, but also about nature, healing and service.

There are many who seek to dilute the Old Ways with their so-called ‘modern ideas’, putting aside the wisdom of the elders in favor of new concepts and philosophies. Some are even mocking the old knowledge, calling it “outdated” and “no longer relevant”. They do this at their own peril, forgetting that they are where they are because of those who paved the way. Do not disregard the old teachings or cast them aside like rubbish.

I will cling to the Old Ways with all my being and share them with those who will listen.

The Witch’s Book of Shadows

The ‘Book of Shadows’ is shrouded in mystery and mysticism. Nearly every Witch has one, and while many may look similar on the outside, the contents therein are unique and individual to the Witch who owns it. Some say the Book of Shadows is a product of modern Wicca, however there are mentions of handwritten books kept by Witches as far back as the 17th century. There is also some confusion as to the difference between a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire. Many use the two words interchangeably, but there is a slight difference.

A Grimoire is a book (or portion thereof) that contains only spells and rituals. Many Witches have a Grimoire contained within their Book of Shadows. For most modern Witches, when we speak of a Book of Shadows, it is usually assumed that it contains a Grimoire. In my own Book of Shadows, I do have spells and rituals recorded, but they are not kept in a special section labeled “Grimoire”. They are interspersed throughout the book, with other information. There is no hard and fast rule about where to put things, although I prefer to record the herbs and plants all together at the end of the book, which makes them easier to find.

A Book of Shadows may contain a Grimoire, but it can also have other information. Herbs, correspondences, magical studies, meditations, drawings, symbols, lore and legends, personal observations, divination tips or any other info that the Witch has found personally useful in their own practice can be documented in a Book of Shadows.

So where does one find a Book of Shadows? Some simply use a special journal or a notebook, while others have large, elaborate tri-fold books that have 1,000 pages and weigh a ton. There are a few websites where you can purchase handmade Books of Shadows, but they are priced in the hundreds of dollars and take months to produce. If you are willing to invest the money and time, go for it. Or, you can use something a bit smaller, less expensive and more practical. It’s really up to you what you want to use, but I will offer a few suggestions. You may go through several, as I did, before you find the one you really like.

The magical journals of Old World witches were hand-written on parchment paper, using special inks and writing instruments, such as a feather quill. Dragon’s Blood Ink or India Ink are popular choices, as they take longer to break down. On the other hand, if something else works better for you, (or is more affordable), then use it. Some hardcore traditionalists would cringe at the thought of using colored pencils, stencils or rub-ons in their Book of Shadows, but I use them frequently.


  • Look for something that fits your personality. Many seem to want something they have seen in movies or on TV, such as the Charmed Book of Shadows. Don’t fall into the pop culture trap. Find something that represents you.
  • Simple is often best. Instead of going for a mass-produced Book of Shadows covered with symbols or drawings, find something with a blank cover that you can personalize and decorate yourself. I prefer to leave my cover unadorned.
  • Don’t get something too small. Journals and notebooks are great, but eventually they will be full and you’ll have to start another one. I recommend looking at artist sketchbooks in hardcover. You can find them in larger sizes with 200+ pages and they are made specifically for those who paint or draw. There are also some gorgeous leather-bound books of parchment paper, which is what I use. Check your local art stores or look online to get a better variety. Consider your Book of Shadows a sacred object. The contents within are for your eyes only, hidden from public view and away from prying eyes. When not in use, keep it wrapped in a natural fiber.

My own Book of Shadows, which I have named Llyfr o Dewiniaeth (Welsh for ‘Book of Magic’) is a large leather-bound book of parchment pages that have been given an antique appearance. I found this on Amazon, of all places. The pages are quite thick and suitable for writing, drawing or even painting on. It is a rare thing for me to share photos of my sacred book of magic, but here you only get to see the first page with it’s name. This book is one of my most prized possessions.

I want to emphasize again about not getting something too small. It is kind of a drag transferring everything from a smaller book into a larger one, and is very time-consuming. The larger ones are more expensive, but are well worth it in the long run. In my own book, I document the spells, rituals and magical information that I use most often, including information from books and teachers that have been most meaningful in my life and personal path. Do not just put random information in your book, but only that which has the most meaning for you and that which you will use on a regular basis. Your Book of Shadows, or whatever you choose to call it, is meant to be personal and an extension of your magical identity.

When Spells Don’t Work

Magic can be tricky, and there are some things that can make your spells ineffective. Take note of the following list when planning your magical workings.

  • Energy Failure: If energy is not raised properly or is not allowed to reach it’s peak, it is likely your spell will not manifest. Practice different forms of energy raising techniques, such as chanting, dancing or burning parchment with a written intention to discover which works best for you.
  • Doubt: If you do not believe in what you’re doing and you really don’t think it will work, then chances are it will not.
  • Unclear Intention: Know exactly what you want. Be specific. If you are indecisive or unclear, nothing will manifest for you. If you are not specific enough, you may get what you want, but with unpleasant strings attached.
  • Don’t Talk About It: Telling your friends or posting on social media about the spell you cast last night is a sure way of bringing that energy back to you and disabling your spell. Remain silent about your spellcasting. Skeptical friends or outsiders who have negative opinions about spells and magic can bring their harmful energy into the process. Your best bet is to be silent about your magical workings until they have manifested into physical reality.
  • Weak Will: If your will is not strong enough or if you’re really not sure it is what you want, this can also sabotage your spell. Be commanding and know that it is yours.
  • Lack of Follow-Up: If you cast a job spell but you don’t submit any resumes or go on interviews, you can’t expect to get that job. Follow up is important.
  • Scattered Correspondences: If the symbols and energies you use in your spell do not have any association to the outcome, there is a good chance your spell will not manifest. Like attracts like.
  • Mercury Retrograde: It is a matter of debate whether or not it is a good idea to do spellwork while Mercury is in retrograde. A good rule of thumb is, if it bothers you, then don’t do it. If you feel confident enough to cast your spell, and it cannot wait until Mercury goes direct, then cast it. Some practitioners include in their spell “I neutralize the power of Mercury in Retrograde“.
  • Lack of Full Attention: If you are distracted or in a hurry while casting your spell, then it is not likely to have the effects you want. Wait until you can be undisturbed and give the spell all of your attention and focus.
  • Violation of Free Will: This is a rather grey area, as these kinds of spells do work, but with repercussions. Magic that is used to control others or make them do something they would not otherwise do is a dangerous practice. The power of suggestion is real, however, the only way another person can use magic to violate another’s free will is if there is already a weakness or foothold in the area of suggestion. It is very important that those who work with magic constantly examine themselves, We must discipline our minds and work to take control of our fears, anxieties and passions. It is not an easy task.
  • Moon Phases and Planetary Energies: These can work against you if your spell is cast during unfavorable times. Be aware of current moon phases and planetary hours to get more power behind your spells.
  • True Will and the Plan of the Universe: There are times when we may cast a spell that is not for our highest good, and does not fit within the plan of the universe. There may in fact be something even better for us on the horizon, and a particular spell may not be aligned with our true will. It is important to include in our spells an intention of “for the highest good” and an outcome that is “perfect and correct”. It is equally important to focus on the outcome of your spell and not on how it manifests.

The casting of spells is an art and a science. There are many factors that come into play. This is not an exhaustive list of things that can wreck your spell, but they are some important ones. Plan your spells carefully.

The Witch and Activism

The witch has many roles in modern society. As healing facilitators, we work with herbs and plants, and many other alternative therapies to help bring healing to those who come to us. As educators, we show others the truths of witchcraft and paganism, and work to dispel stereotypes and falsehoods about who we are. As seers, we give people encouragement and insight into their lives with the use of tarot cards and other divinatory methods. There is another role of the witch that is equally important: the role of Activist. As witches, it is our duty to be an advocate for others. We have the responsibility to speak for those whose voices are being silenced. Witches are called to speak out against bigotry, racial injustice and inequality. We are called to speak out against gun violence and fascism. We are called to speak out against homophobia and discrimination. As a minority, the pagan community needs to be more understanding of the struggles that other minority groups face. Unfortunately, many witches shy away from activism. When gross injustices occur, such as we have seen on the news in recent months, many remain oddly silent. The illegitimate Supreme Court has outlawed abortion, taking away a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body. They have already stated that they also want to reverse gay marriage, and criminalize contraception and gay relationships. America is careening towards a Christo-Fascist, authoritarian rule. This Supreme Court has made other decisions that will result in environmental harm and endanger the safety of Americans. Extremist Christians want to force their religion on everyone and legislate their beliefs into law. We cannot afford to be silent or stick our heads in the sand. Activism is becoming more important with each passing day.

We are not on this path only for ourselves, but also to be of service to others. While we’re casting spells and enchantments to meet our own needs, it is important that we are also doing magic to help make the world a better place. Some seem to think being a witch is all about wands and spells. The truth is that witchcraft will often take us out of our comfort zone. It is not always comfortable.

Another unfortunate truth is that there are bigots and racists even in the pagan community. Some witches refuse to get political because they’re afraid they’ll lose business. They don’t want to offend any of their followers who might be bigots or racists, so they say nothing on these issues. After all, these followers might stop buying their books or coming to them for readings. For these unethical witches, money and popularity are more important than the people they serve.

I once had another blog with over a thousand followers. I wrote about many subjects related to witchcraft and magic. The blog won two awards and was moderately popular. When I wrote some posts about social issues and speaking out, a few people got upset. “Why are you getting political?”, they asked. “I’m not following you anymore”. They loved reading about the spells, the herbs and crystals, but when I spoke out against government corruption, discrimination against the LGBT community and racial injustice, that was a problem. I was “getting political”. I lost some followers, but I didn’t care. I still don’t. There are far too many witches and pagans who are content to live in their little New Age bubbles. Candles and incense won’t make it all go away. Witches are peacemakers, yes, but maintaining peace sometimes means being a voice and speaking out. Being passive only results in more rights getting taken away.

Activism does not mean you have to stand on the corner with a megaphone. There are many things you can do, and there are different kinds of activism. Join environmental groups like Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace. Support equal rights for the LGBTQ community by getting involved with the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Work with racial equality groups like NAACP and Black Lives Matter. Make a donation to Planned Parenthood and be vocally supportive about a woman’s right to choose. Get involved with animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund. Use social media to raise awareness, and expose bigotry and discrimination wherever you see it. Don’t just be an armchair activist. Go to rallies, participate in protest marches, boycott companies with unethical business practices and also those who donate to hate groups. It is time that we as witches embrace our role as activist. It is our sacred duty to be advocates for others. It may not make us popular, but is that really the point?