Thursday, February 28, 2013

Protection Magic: Useful Talismans and Passive Shields

Sometimes we need active protection magic in our lives to preserve sacred space. Everyone has the right to sacred space and to practice magic and protection magic may be necessary to insure these rights. This type of protection magic falls under the category of self defense. In daily life, however, we often need passive protection magic against random psychic blasts from people, places or things. We often run into people carrying a lot of angry or negative energy, and by law of contagion we can pick up this energy if we don't have any passive shielding.

Often talismans can be worn as passive protection magic and passive shields. A talisman can be any object that is used for protection or to bring good luck. They are usually objects small enough to wear as a necklace or ring or carry in your pocket. Talismans have been used since ancient times and have been associated with many different religions, organizations, and spiritual societies. The word talisman comes from tilasm (Arabic) meaning "a magical image" and teleo (Greek) which means "to consecrate".

Some people have talismans without really realizing it. A piece of jewelry inherited from a beloved family member, a photograph always carried in the wallet, a lucky penny or rabbit's foot could all be seen as talismans. Native American traditions often use talismans with animal representations to bring in animal totem medicine. The consistent use of a prayer, affirmation or incantation could also be considered a talisman.

Many people choose talismans of strength, such as Thor's shield, as a form of passive protection magic. In our school, we use keyed sun and moon shields. We feel it is important to key the talisman to your own personal and unique energies. Keying is a simple technique that makes a magical connection between the object and the person making it personal and work specifically for that person. Our sun and moon shields come with directions on how to key the shield to work specifically for you as a form of passive protection magic.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed by negative energies in your environment, looking to bring a particular characteristic into your life or in need of protecting your sacred space, magical talismans are a good tool to have. We have many you can browse through in our school store or consult your guides and higher powers for one that would be right for you. 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spirit Guides: Totem Animals

What are totem animals? Many people are familiar with the term totem animals, but do you really understand what they are, how they can help you and how to find out what yours are?

What Are Totem Animals?
Most people associate totem animals with Native American traditions, but many cultures throughout time have accessed the power of totem animals. A totem is a symbol or representation. This could include a talisman, a totem pole, a figurine, a picture or some other physical object that represents an animal. Using animals as totems is a way for man to become one with nature, to become spiritually connected with all of nature, and to show honor and respect for nature. Totem animals can lend guidance and insight as we progress on our spiritual paths. (If you need an animal talisman, check out the school store in the Amulets/Talisman section).

How Do Animal Totems Work?
Many Native American traditions teach that everyone has nine animals that act as guides for them throughout their time on Earth. These animals are connected to the abilities and talents the person has come into this lifetime with. They also are ones that will be needed to face challenges that will come about in this lifetime. These totem animals come and go as needed according to what issues we are facing at any given time.

There is one animal for each of the seven directions that surround us – East, South, West, North, Above, Below and Within. The other two animals are the ones that walk on either side of us throughout our time on earth. Many traditions also believe there is one power animal that is with each person lending guidance throughout his or her life. This totem animal is the main guardian spirit for the person and the one that they can learn the most lessons from. Totem animals are symbols that represent qualities and characteristics of their species that we are seeking or lacking. By being aware of these animals and communicating with them we can learn to bring these characteristics into our own lives.

In working with animal totems, you will find that sometimes they appear to you to give you a message or lend guidance with an issue that you may or may not be aware of and sometimes you will call upon particular ones that you know you need help from. Many times you will become aware of a particular animal showing up a lot and that gives you an opportunity to study the characteristics of that animal and gain enlightenment into a situation that you are dealing with in your life.

How Can You Find Your Animal Totems?
The Medicine Cards and the accompanying book by Jamie Sams and David Carson can be a useful tool when setting out to discover your animal totems. You can use the book to learn how to do a formal reading or spread to discover your totem animals or use the cards less formally by flipping through them looking for qualities you want or spread the cards out and pick one that "calls" to you.

Another less formal way to discover your totem animals is to ask yourself questions such as:
  • What animals have you always been drawn to?
  • What animals do you dream about?
  • What animals appear consistently in your life?
  • What animals do you wonder about whether they are "real" on this planet?
  • What animals have you been fascinated with?
  • What animals are you afraid of? 
  • What animals have you been marked by or have been attacked by?
  • What animals are you drawn to figurines or paintings of?
Working With Totem Animals
Once you find one or more totem animals you wish to have as spirit guides or discover your main 9 totem animals, learning more about them and carrying talismans of your totem animals with you can help you make a connection with them. Remember when looking for totem animals, it doesn't have to be a physical appearance of the animal. It could be represented in other ways such as receiving cards and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or a variety of other ways. Also remember that totem animals are not restricted to mammals. Insects, reptiles, birds and even extinct or what some think of as "fantasy" animals, such as unicorns and dragons, can be totem animals.

When you have discovered your particular totem animals, really get to know them. Animals speak to us in many ways. Watch or research the ways they act in their work, play, interactions with other animals of the same and different species, and how they interact with their environment. You can also gain understanding on characteristics of totem animals from the Medicine Cards book or online sources. Studying the animal's characteristics helps you discover those attributes that you can apply to your own life and gives you a stronger connection to the spirit of the animal.

There are two basic ways to work with totem animals. One is to be aware of when they are talking to you or sending you messages and the other is for you to know which animal could be of help to you and asking them for assistance. Both ways require that you be familiar with what various animals have to offer so getting to know each ones' abilities and characteristics is the key.

If you do have a problem for which you need guidance and don't know which animal to call on, sometimes just asking the Universe can help. Numerous times I have asked the Universe to send me a totem animal spirit to help with a particular problem I am facing that I need help with. Then I watch for an animal to show up and look for the lesson that animal has for me that will apply to the problem I am facing. The results are always amazing and yes truly magical. 

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Magic and Spells: How to Cast Spells for Bad Hair Days

Having a bad hair day? You know one of those days where it seems like nothing is going right, you don't feel in control of your life or your energy just feels "off". Magic and spells can help. Here are 5 simple spells and magical techniques for beginners that can help you get your day back on track.

#1 -  Magic and Spells: Disconnect Litany
This is a way to regain personal power and not bind yourself to any outside power that can affect how you feel. It allows you to disconnect from the stream of consciousness you have been in and step into another.
  • Pause to reflect on your situation, see a picture of what your day is like.
  • Keeping this picture in your mind say this litany aloud:
"I am neither your creature nor your get
to be ruled by your whim nor your let
I will go my own way
by night or by day
to serve my own purposes yet!"
#2 - Magic and Spells: Day Greeting
Starting off the day with a Day Greeting puts you in contact with Sky Father and Earth Mother (and winds of the 4 directions if you include them). It gives you access to the guidance of higher powers and beings. You can include asking these higher powers to be with you through out the day for help on a specific situation you know you will be facing or just to be with you in general for guidance and to share their wisdom. Whether or not you do Day Greetings as a daily ritual, you can always use day greetings to restart your day when it has gotten off to a bad start. Anytime you want to start your day or start it over, just go outside and do one of the following versions.
Simple Version -
  • Stand outside facing to the east, 
  • Raise your arms and hands to towards the sky (making a V shape) and say "Sky Father, I bid you good morning" 
  • Lower your arms and hands, maintaining the V shape, towards the ground and say "And Earth Mother, I bid you good morning".
Long Version –
  • Address all four of the directions by holding your arms out towards the direction you are facing
  • Start with facing East and say, "Winds of Knowledge (or Winds of the East), I bid you good morning"
  • Lower arms and turn to the South, raise arms and say, "Winds of Power (or Winds of the South), I bid you good morning"
  • Lower arms and turn to the West, raise arms and say "Winds of Feeling" (or Winds of the West), I bid you good morning"
  • Lower arms and turn to the North, raise arms and say "Winds of Strength" (or Winds of the North), I bid you good morning"
  • Lower arms and turn to the East again and do as above in simple version with Sky Father and Earth Mother
#3 -  Magic and Spells: Pendulum Spin
Literally spin your problems away with this simple pendulum technique. This is good for
clearing problems or snags in your day.
  • Hold your pendulum in your dominant hand, letting it dangle while you visualize the problem you want to clear.
  • Ask your pendulum, "Can I, May I, Should I, clear this situation?" If you get a yes answer from your pendulum, then move forward. You can use an indicator plate with a circle that has yes on one side and no on the other to get this answer.
  • Begin swinging your pendulum in a counter clockwise direction, asking it to clear the situation. As you do this, "see" the situation resolving in your mind. Be very specific with your request and what you envision as to the situation being resolved. 
  • Continue to focus on clearing the situation until your pendulum stops spinning in the counter clockwise direction. It will then either start moving along a vertical or horizontal axis, stop or start spinning clockwise. When it stops swinging on its own then the problem has been cleared.
  • Once a problem has been cleared you can of course always choose to bring it back. Trust the power of your pendulum and your intent and release the problem from your consciousness. If you find it seeping back into your consciousness throughout the day, change your focus to something else.

#4 - Magic and Spells: Come Back to Present
We often spend time in either the past wondering how we could have done things differently or in the future worrying about things that haven't happened yet. The only time period that has any real power however is the present. Magic exists most strongly in the present and it is indeed the only period in which we have the personal power to make changes. (Remember the magical principle – a small change in the present can make a large change in the future). To get your day back on track, bring yourself back into being fully present in the present. Here's how.
  • Look at yourself in a mirror. Really stare into your eyes and connect with yourself.
  • In a strong voice of command, say to yourself: "Come to present time!" 
  • You may have to repeat this command up to three times, and then you will feel yourself coming back into the "now." In the present, all things are possible.
#5 - Magic and Spells: Getting Higher Guidance
If you are really off track and your day seems chaotic or you feel chaotic inside, you can ask for help from higher powers to help you find inner and outer peace and serenity. Using similar actions to doing the Day Greetings above, turn to each of the four directions and/or Sky Father, Earth Mother and declare your wish for inner and outer peace and serenity today. Start in the east and address each direction by some characteristic it possesses, ie.- East: Winds of Knowledge. Take your time when doing this and extend your perceptions out as far as you can to each direction. Breathe deeply and feel the presence of these higher powers.

Bad days can always be made right through inviting magic into your life. Next time you find yourself having a "bad hair day" just pick one or more of these magical remedies to get yourself headed back to your joy.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cleansing Rituals: A Basic Smudging Ritual

What is smudging? Smudging is the burning of certain herbs and using the resulting smoke to cleanse people, places, or objects. The smoke attracts the negative energy and sends it heavenward, where the negative energy simply becomes fire energy. Any smudging ritual is a form of fire magic, and is one of the most common cleansing rituals. It's a great place for beginners to start practicing cleansing rituals. All you'll need is a smudge stick (we recommend cedar and sage).

Cleansing Rituals: Choosing What to Burn
Whether you are doing a smudging or another type of cleansing ritual using a firebowl or incense, you will need to understand the elemental makeup of various herbs, resins or incense that you will be burning. This will allow you to pick the appropriate one for whatever type of ritual you are performing. Different kinds of incense, herbs or plant resins are chosen to create specific effects. Every type of incense, herb or resin has a particular scent or way of burning that can be classified by element. For instance, general-purpose incenses are usually high in Air and Fire, while incense candles are usually high in Water.

Always test herbs, incenses and resins yourself to determine what elements they represent. Many incense change drastically when they are burned in a firebowl. To test, burn a little piece in your firebowl, then smell the scent and watch the smoke. You can use these guidelines to determine the elemental makeup.

General Purpose Elemental Mix:
Have a good mix of the four elements, usually higher in air and fire. Good for general use and emergencies.
Smoke - Moderate amount of smoke, tending to rise and spread moderately rapidly. Smoke leaves a slight bluish haze.
Scent - Some "edge" or "stickiness" in the scent.

Air Element:
These are often pale in color, containing lots of white or transparent material. Good for studying as they will keep you awake and can be used to remember dreams.
Smoke - Rises quickly and dissipates rapidly, has a very light smoke that leaves the air relatively clear afterward and does not leave a blue haze.
Scent - Delicate, fast-rising scent or no odor.

Fire Element:
Often red, orange, or yellow. Good for studying as it will keep you awake. Can be used on gloomy days to liven up the energy.
Smoke - Light or moderate amount produced that rises quickly, and is red or yellow in color. It spreads rapidly and leaves a slight bluish haze.
Scent - Sharp scent that tends to "bite" the nasal passages and sinuses.

Water Element:
Often pink, blue, dark red or brown material that often feels damp. Useful for meditation, introspection or to remember dreams.
Smoke - Thick smoke that rises and spreads slowly then dissipates slowly.
Scent - Often has a fruit or flower scent or a heavy, sweet, wet, thick and cloying scent that lasts for days.

Earth Element:
Often brown or green and useful for stabilizing an area.
Smoke - Tends not to rise, but to "boil" out and settle to the floor, spreading slowly.
Scent - Heavy, not sweet, not wet, "earthy" scent that can last for days. Also dry with a slight "edge" to the nasal passages and sinuses.

Smudging Ritual
Smudging a person is one of the most important cleansing rituals and a good one for beginners to start with. Here's how to do it.
  • Light your smudge stick and get a good column of smoke coming off it
  • Start at the person's crown and circle the person clockwise 
  • Use your breath or a feather fan to push the smoke toward the person 
  • Anywhere the smoke bounces off, go over the place again until it sticks 
  • Have the person breathe the smoke in lightly at the end
To smoke an object, dangle it in the smoke. Smoke an area such as where you will do a tarot reading, by circling the smudge stick or sweetgrass clockwise over the area. A smudging ritual can be used anytime you need to clear negative energies from yourself or others, such as before rituals, when feeling down, or after a negative encounter with another person. Some people smudge themselves everyday before mediation to prepare themselves to go into their sacred space.

So next time you need to "clean up" or give yourself a lift, grab a smudge stick and do this simple smudging ritual.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spirit Guides: Hire an Unemployed Angel Today

Most people are intrigued with the concept of spirit guides or angel guides. There have been many popular and successful TV shows and movies created around the theme of an angel coming to help people. Many people however see these shows as purely fictional and don't consider using angels and spirit guides in their everyday lives. And yet there are a multitude of unemployed angels just hanging around waiting to be asked to help. With today's economy being in such sorry shape, we don't need any more unemployment right? So, consider hiring an unemployed angel.

Asking For Help
There are angels for every single thing in our lives, and most are not being asked for help. When people do ask for help they tend to ask for help in a vague way, but to really get help you need to ask precisely for a specific angel to help you with a specific act. "Magic is a precision science", which is why so many people don't get the help that they ask for or pray for. Angel guides and helpers, when asked specifically, will always help. It is their purpose to help humans. They have to be asked though as they will not interfere with the affairs of humans if they are not specifically asked to.

Thanking Your Angel
Angels work for gratitude. It is best to thank them in advance and then again after the job is completed. If the job is a long one or all day affair, you can also thank them throughout the day or length of time. When asking for help from angels and spirit guides, you do need to be specific, but not get caught up in too many details on how to make it happen. In other words, turn loose of the control and let the angels do what they do best. Your job is to state specifically what you need help with and their job is to figure out the best way to make it happen.

Hiring Angel Guides
Hiring an angel is a very simple process. Here's all you need to do.
  • Say out loud or in your mind "I'd like to hire an angel specializing in [state your desire]."
  • Wait a few seconds until you feel a presence or just wait a few moments. They don't take long to get there.
  • Make your request, which might go something like this: "Angel of [your desire], I request your help in walking with me through this life transition so that I see all the gifts and beauty that are part of this process. Thank you in advance." or "I would like to request the help of a travel angel. I would like your help on my road trip today in making sure that I arrive at my destination [state where] safely and on time for my 2:00 appointment. Thank you for your help."

It is very important to thank angels so they will be willing to help you later. When you first start working with angels and spirit guides, be sure to start small and always express appreciation in advance. You want to start establishing a relationship and become comfortable with the process. It's better to start out with small things now and be comfortable before you get to an intense situation in which you REALLY need help. Sometimes you may ask for something that you are not physically present to observe. It is OK to ask for signs that the angel has done its work. If you need a sign then you do need to ask for it. Just call to the specific angel that you hired earlier and state that you would like to be shown a sign letting you know that what you have asked for has been accomplished. Then be open and be watching for a sign. The sign could come in a variety of ways. It might be a knowingness or calmness that comes over you, you might "hear" it inside yourself, it may come from outside sources in a conversation, a song on the radio or a line read in a book. If you don't get the sign, ask again and this time ask that it be a sign you can easily see.

It may take a little practice for you to get comfortable working with angel guides and spirit guides. Eventually, temporarily hired angels, if hired frequently, may stick around and become permanent angel guides (for instance, many people have permanent parking angel guides). The first step though is to start establishing those relationships now. Give it a try, hire an angel today and invite the magic of spirit guides and angel guides into your life.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ritual Magic: Daily Rituals of Greeting

Daily rituals of greeting are just what they sound like. These are rituals done every day greeting and acknowledging those spirits above us in the hierarchy that find magic and miracles to be simple. Greeting them daily introduces you to them, and starts you on your way to developing a relationship between you. Once you have a relationship, meaning you have reached out to them and you have felt them make contact with you, you can begin to ask them for help and guidance.

Ritual Magic: The Navajo Beauty Way as a Daily Ritual
The Navajo Beauty Way is a very powerful daily ritual that can be used for greeting and to start you on the way to developing a relationship with higher powers and beings. It is a non-denominational set of exercises that was created in very ancient times and is designed to:
  • restore personal power through developing trust in one's wisdom gained through personal experience
  • enhance creative flow and one's connection to the environment and nature's laws and forces
  • help us learn new skills and use new tools for observing and maintaining harmonious and pro-active inner states
  • develop a practical working relationship with higher powers and beings or natural forces and laws
  • create stability and choice in walking in different realities and worlds
  • being safe and protected without the need to build walls or hide behind masks
  • establish and maintain contact with higher powers and beings or natural forces and laws so as to live in compliance with and gain support in our creative endeavors
  • maintain spiritual integrity for individuals or groups during times of high external change and stress
  • preserve cultural and spiritual identity beyond the efficacy of sociological myths in times of breakdown, and restructuring of communities, tribes or nations
  • restore the balance both internally and externally between the feminine aspect of integration and oneness, and the masculine aspect of separation and duality
That's a lot to get from one simple daily ritual! If I had to pick just one daily ritual to have in my life, the Navajo Beauty Way would be the one. Time and time again, I see the magic, enlightenment, guidance and wisdom this ritual has brought to my life and those of others in my magical circle. There are actually 3 parts to the Navajo Beauty Way: the exit ritual, day greetings and day endings and the walking litany. Our Basic Magic Students are taught this ritual from the very first day of class and continue using it as a daily ritual throughout their studies and beyond. I have personally seen it open doorways through which I was able to see other beings such as animal totems and garden divas and received guidance from higher beings for problems I have faced.

A Personal Experience from Daily Ritual
Just to give you an idea of the power of this daily ritual, here is one instance I will never forget. I was facing a situation in which my reputation was in question and would be attending a meeting that would address the issue the next day. Needless to say I was dreading it. The night before, I went out and did the Exit Ritual and asked for the truth in this situation to come out and for others to be able to see my true self. After I finished the ritual, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look and saw a skunk walking towards me. Not just any skunk mind you, but a skunk that was around 4 feet in height. Obviously a totem!! I ran inside to check the Medicine card book for the interpretation of the skunk and sure enough – reputation. I'm sure you can guess how the meeting the next day went and it was definitely settled in my favor. Not all experiences with the Navajo Beauty Way are this dramatic, but in all the years I have been doing this daily ritual, I have definitely received continuing magical guidance and beauty in my life.

Doing the Beauty Way Exit Ritual
One of the most common forms of the Beauty Way is called the Exit Ritual. You do the Exit Ritual every time you leave an enclosed space, like your car or your house. It takes a little practice to make this a part of your life that comes naturally. For some people there is an embarrassment factor to overcome when they start doing this daily ritual. Others find that they forget to do it each time they exit somewhere. That's all OK, don't stress about it. Just keep doing it and it will come more naturally as time goes on.

So are you ready to dive in and add this powerful daily ritual to your life? Here's how:

1. Once you exit your house or car or other enclosed area, stop and put your focus up into the sky and say aloud, "Sky Above" or "Sky Father." (Note: the reason we extend our focus first is that the exit ritual is a form of asking favor from powers and beings, so it is appropriate that we go to them rather than asking them to come to us. In ritual, when we have carefully prepared sacred space, we can then invite them in and then bid them farewell).

2. Keeping the awareness up above, extend your focus into the earth and say aloud, "And Earth Below" or "And Earth Mother."

3. Then, keeping awareness of both above and below, say aloud, "I Greet You."

4. Wait a moment and see what happens. Be alert for acknowledgement or response in one of these three ways:
  • From within you, such as a realization, a change of attitude or belief, a new awareness.
  • Changes in your environment, such as a sudden breeze, a change in the color of the sky, a bird or animal suddenly appearing, or a tree or shrub suddenly becoming vividly visible or possibly a four foot skunk to come walking by.
  • A response from Sky and/or Earth: a special message for you, an answer to a question, or guidance and new directions.
5. What happens may happen in just that moment, or it may happen throughout the day. It may change the quality of your day, your awareness ... whatever you notice.

6. You may also want to use hand gestures. Arms raised in a upward facing V for "Sky Father" and arms down in a downward facing V for "Earth Mother."

The Exit ritual is also a quick and easy way to get reconnected with your inner peace and serenity. Deep inside, you are always peaceful, happy and serene - sometimes you just don't know how to access that part of yourself. So, if you find yourself getting frustrated, negative or stressed out, go outside and do the Exit Ritual. See what changes this simple daily ritual can make in your life. To learn more about the Navajo Beauty Way and other magical daily rituals, get our Daily Rituals ebook.

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