Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ritual Magic: A Daily Ritual of Fire Magic to Release the Unwanted

If the New Year has brought about awareness of something you would like to release from your life (something that's been bothering you or something no longer needed), a simple daily ritual of fire magic can help.

Ritual Magic: Finding a Firebowl
First you will need a firebowl and firebowl ingredients. When choosing a firebowl, look for one that is made of brass, cast-iron, ceramic or a hard hardwood. It should be 4-6 inches in diameter and 4-5 inches deep. It should also be a shape that is easily held with one or both hands and light enough to carry in one hand if necessary. Make sure your firebowl is of a shape that will be stable when placed on a flat surface. The shape of the bowl should also be curved-in and flared back out at the top rim to promote "columning" of incense or smoke.

Ritual Magic: Firebowl Ingredients
Fire Clay
To use your firebowl you will need to fill it with ground fire clay or clean, fine sand. Non-scented cat litter (which is ground clay) works well as long as it does not have chemicals or deodorants in it. Put 1-2 inches in the bottom of your firebowl as an insulator to protect the firebowl itself, your hands and any surfaces from the heat.

Charcoal Disks
You will also need some self-starting charcoal disks. These can be purchased from religious supply stores or online (we have them in our school store too). Round charcoals with bowl-shaped depressions in the middle are the best to use. There is a kind with pie shaped depressions, but we find these do not work as well.

Matches
You will need wooden or paper matches to light your charcoal. The scent and energetic side-bands associated with butane and other petroleum products change the fire-band you are working with so don't use lighters to light the charcoal disk.

Other Ingredients
You will need to collect or purchase pine resin to burn on the charcoal disk as well as finely ground or rubbed sage. If you collect sage, you can grind it in a blender or coffee grinder. You also need to collect some finely chopped or shaved wood chips or tree bark. This is used to insulate the charcoal from the pine resin or incense that you burn in the firebowl and to facilitate the burning of the materials you use in your firebowl. You will sprinkle the shavings on the charcoal and then put the pine resin and sage on top of it. The last thing you will need for this exercise is a Sun Yellow utility candle. Make sure it is pure sun yellow  colored without any orange tones to it. An unscented candle is best to use.

Ritual Magic: Charging the Firebowl
Charging your firebowl programs it for a specific purpose. Since magic is a precision science, charging your firebowl for certain operations makes it more effective by stating the intended purpose and programming that into the tool. Charging is not an invocation or prayer to spirit-beings or deities, just a program. Here is how to charge your firebowl.

1. Stand or sit in the South facing North with your firebowl and materials in front of you.

2. Light your Sun Yellow utility candle with a wooden or paper match.

3. Light another wooden or paper match from your candle flame and use this to light the charcoal disk. The disk will begin to spark within seconds. If the charcoal is old or damp, you may need to use metal tongs to hold it over the flame for several minutes or light the top of it in the center of the bowl-shaped depression. Most of you will realize that once the disk is lit, you don't touch it with your hands, but for beginners who have never used one before we like to add this word of caution – It is hot, just like a charcoal on a BBQ grill.

4. Once the charcoal sitting in your firebowl is lit, pull Sun Yellow energy from your utility candle into yourself and blow it out onto the disk.

5. Add the wood shavings onto the charcoal, then the pine resin and finally the sage.

6. Wait for it to produce a good column of smoke and add more sage or resin if needed.

7. A voice of command should be used when saying the charge verse. The verse will vary according to what you are programming the firebowl for. Here is a basic firebowl charge verse (used for a house cleansing) and then some substitutions you may want to use in creating a verse specifically for this exercise depending on what you are releasing from your life.
"Fire and Air where you are cast,
Let no spell nor adverse purpose last,
Not in accord with me!
Cleanse these walls and cleanse this space,
Far from here send baneful trace!
Thus my will, so it be!"
This charge verse is obviously for doing a cleansing of a room, house, ritual magic circle or some other space. Some substitutions you can make to suit your purpose include:
  • Cleanse these tools and cleanse their space (instead of Cleanse these walls...)
  • Cleanse these people and cleanse their space (when clearing negative energy from yourself or others)
  • In place of "spell" or "adverse" or "baneful" you can substitute anger, grief, trauma or any other applicable term. For example lines could be changed to "Let no fear nor sickness last" or "Far from here send cancerous trace". Just be sure when applying substitutions of words that you do not disturb the rhythm of the original verse.
Ritual Magic: Fire Magic Daily Ritual
Now that you have your firebowl and know how to charge it, you are ready to begin the fire magic daily ritual to release what it is that is bothering you or that you find no longer serves you. Everyday write on a small piece of paper what you want to release. Charge the firebowl, and then burn the paper in the firebowl. This works because "Thoughts are things and words have wings." In other words, writing things down makes them more material, more real. Burning the paper changes the unwanted item into simple fire magic, fire energy, with no negative charge. Sometimes you may have to repeat this ritual for 3, 7, or 11 days before you see change. Be sure to record results in your Book of Shadows to ensure you notice any changes. Magic often happens but we sometimes fail to see the changes.

The firebowl is just one of the magical tools that can help you bring ritual magic into your life for a variety of purposes. You can learn more about using magical tools in our online Basic Magic Class or specifically more uses for the firebowl in our Firebowl - Cleansing Tool Ebook.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Protection Magic: A Simple Protection Spell or Three

When you start practicing magic, you may find that you will have the need for protection magic. This quote by author Clarissa Pinkola Estes is very appropriate in the practice of magic - "If you have beauty in your life, know that it will attract the dark as well as the light. Don't be surprised. Be prepared." There are several factors that can occur with the practicing magic that make this statement true and will require the use of protection magic.

Protection Magic: Defending Yourself
When you practice magic you inevitably begin attracting the attention of magical beings. Most of the beings you encounter will fall into a category of benevolent and/or non-threatening. There are beings however that are of a more threatening nature and your increased energy and force can attract their unwanted attention. You may also attract beings on different levels that while are not necessarily threatening, do seek to interfere with your path in some way or other. Since everyone has the right to sacred space and to practice magic, protection magic may be necessary and falls within your rights according to laws of magical practice. According to Western magical practice, "You have a right to be here and follow your own path so long as you hinder no one else in doing likewise." This foundational principle asserts our right to exist and follow our own path and by extension, our right to defend ourselves against those who might seek to prevent us from walking our path.

Protection Magic: Self Defense Rules
In many spiritual systems, it is actually considered a crime to not defend yourself appropriately. In doing so, you are enabling the perpetrator to NOT learn spiritually appropriate behavior; therefore, prolonging his or her lack of growth. Generally speaking, any infringement on your sacred psychic or emotional space gives you the right to defend yourself with protection magic. More specifically a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to self-defense or protection magic is:

"In cases of direct and violent personal harm you are entitled to defend yourself by any means available provided you did nothing to encourage or provoke the attack."

"Direct" specifically means anything that is upon your body, mind or spirit which would include attempts by any outside force or influence to draining your energy or impose their will upon you. "Violent" more specifically refers to anything that's damaging to your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well being.

3 Simple Protection Spells
Protection magic covers a vast variety of magical techniques from using amulets or talismans to constructing fire shields or omnils. Here are 3 very simple techniques for using protection magic.

1. Sun Candle – this technique helps clear your space of unwanted, junky or negative energies. It can also create sacred space for you. You will need a Sun Yellow candle (a bright yellow candle that has no orange overtones) and paper or wooden matches. To create sacred space with the Sun Candle, you will need to "charge" it, or program it to do so. To charge the candle:
  • Stand or sit in the South facing North with the Sun Candle in front of you
  • Light the candle using wooden or paper matches (do NOT use a lighter)
  • Wait until the candle flame is steady and tall
  • Hold your hands up to and around the flame, focusing your attention on the candle and flame.
  • Say the charge verse below in a voice of command (a strong, powerful voice)
"Child of Wonder,
Child of Flame,
Nourish My Spirit,
And Protect My Aim!"
Leave the candle burning in the room for at least 30 minutes (be sure the candle is on a protected surface such as a plate and is not a fire hazard). At the end of 30 minutes or when you feel ready, blow out the flame (don't snuff it out).

2. Walking litany – This is a technique that is part of the Navajo Beauty Way and actually a spell in motion. It can create sacred space around you and move with you creating sacred space as you go. There is a long form of the litany and a short form. The particular attribute (power in the example below) in the litany changes according to what you are working on or wish to accomplish. The litany should be said aloud or sub-vocally, but not just mentally. Here's how you do the short version of the Walking Litany in protection magic.
  • pick a distance of at least 2 city blocks to walk
  • say the following out loud or sub-vocally. Just saying them mentally does not work.
"With Power Around me, I walk in the world.
With Power Within me, I walk in the world.
This One walks in Power,
This One carries Power."
  • walk to the rhythm of the litany lines and when you get to the end, go back and start them over. 
  • keep repeating the litany-sequence until you have walked the required distance.

3. Hiring an angel – this technique can be used as protection magic for yourself or others or even to take care of your property when you are gone. There are angels for everything. Let's take the example of hiring an angel to protect your property while you are away on a trip. Here's how that would work.
  • say out loud or in your mind, "I would like to a request (or hire) a protection angel"
  • wait a few moments until you feel a presence, or, just wait a few moments. They don't take long to get there. say:
"Protection angel, I would like to request your help protecting my house, property and belongings there for [name specific dates] while I am away on my trip [specify where and when]. Thank you in advance for your help." 
  • Once you return from the trip and find everything which you have asked for has occurred, thank the angel again. It is VERY IMPORTANT to thank angels so they will be willing to help you later.

These 3 protection spells will help get you started on creating and protecting your sacred and magical space. You can learn many other spells, rituals and magical techniques for protection, healing, communicating with other beings and a wide variety of other topics in our courses, ebooks and our free resources.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spirit Guides: What is a Spirit Guide and Where Are Yours?

Are you in contact and take guidance from your spirit guides and do you even know what is a Spirit Guide? We are all planetary citizens with multiple past lives, and as such we all have spirit guides. Spirit Guides may take on many forms, including angels, animal totems, loved ones from our past, and forms not recognized on this planet. Should you be worried if you don't seem to have any? Nope, you do, you just may not have made contact with them yet.

Spirit Guides: Making Contact
How do you achieve spirit guide contact? An easy way is to start each day with a simple 5 minute meditation. Get comfortable, sit quietly and breathe. When your mind is quiet:

1. Say out loud or in your mind, your wish that you want spirit guide contact. 

2. State that the contact should be achieved in a way that you can easily recognize and handle.

3. Thank your spirit guide in advance. This is a very important step in making a connection with your guide.

Now just go about your day and look for signs. These could come in the form of a conversation you overhear or are part of, animal appearances, a sign in any book you open, thoughts in your head, odd sights and sounds, or various other ways during the day. Be alert and open to a sign that will have meaning to you. If you get to the end of the day and have not seen a sign, just ask again and this time ask for clarification. Don't get discouraged or frustrated if it takes a few tries. If you haven't had contact with your guides before, it may take a little more time to establish a communication link or for you to become accustomed to the type of communications to expect. Also, it is easy to get distracted by everyday life tasks and miss a sign. Keep asking and you will finally recognize the signs at some point. When you do, you will find it was totally worth the wait and that your guides will be there to help you with a multitude of situations.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ritual Magic: How to Learn Magic Through Daily Rituals

There are many paths for how to learn magic, and doing daily rituals is among the best and easiest paths. Why? For one thing, daily rituals give you daily feedback as to results. You will see magic starting to work in your life pretty quickly with daily rituals. For example, if you do a daily ritual for pain relief, you will very quickly find your pain alleviated or have an idea of what else you need to do to alleviate it. With daily rituals you can see fast progress as opposed to other practices like long-acting spells where you have to wait to see results. Daily rituals are also a great way of how to learn magic in that you may get many chances during the day or week to practice the ritual. This not only increases your skill at performing the ritual, but also gives you a more consistent connection to higher powers.

Ritual Magic: Daily Rituals Needs Consistency
You do want to make sure that once you have a daily ritual, you practice it with as much consistency as possible. In spiritual circles, people have discovered that the consistency of doing a ritual at the same time every time increases the level and quality of the connection with the higher. Consistency is a key principle to success in many areas of life and one that most people find difficult to maintain. At the moment of setting a goal we usually have a high level of energy or excitement and are convinced of our ability to achieve the goal. Then life happens and we get busy in our mundane level lives and realize we have not paid any attention to our goal. It can take 40 days to break one habit and put another in its place. Doing daily rituals consistently can help you create the "habit" of making magic an integral part of your life.

Ritual Magic: Active vs. Passive Daily Rituals
Daily rituals can be an active process as opposed to more passive practices like meditation. Whereas you may use meditation as a daily ritual, those rituals that have a more active component give you a participatory role in the ritual and can lead to more personal relationships with higher powers and being. Allies will show up in daily rituals to help you out on a short-term basis, and some may stay with you permanently as spirit guides. Instead of doing the regular sitting type meditation, walking meditations can add an active component to this type of daily ritual.

Ritual Magic: Keeping Daily Rituals Fresh
Finally, daily rituals give you enough variety to keep you interested and prevent you from getting mechanical. Even though you may be doing the same ritual everyday, the focus of it may change according to what is happening in your life or according to how you feel at the time. The results you see may vary and give you various perspectives that lead to insights about yourself and others that you hadn't seen before. Just doing a ritual because you have told yourself you will do it everyday will not work. Going about a ritual in a mechanical way does not open you to all the magical possibilities of it.

The key to using rituals as a doorway to the higher is to keep them simple and do them daily. Rituals that are too complex won't make it onto our daily schedules, and rituals that we don't do often won't have as much effect as daily ones. If you don't already have a ritual to use as a daily ritual, you can find plenty in our Daily Rituals for Attracting What You Want in Life ebook.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Magic Spells: What is a Magic Spell?

Exactly what is a magic spell in real magic terms? No, we don't wave magic wands, say some words and turn our enemies into toads. There is actually an art and a science to performing magic and spells in particular. A magic spell is any psychic or magical operation that combines a number of elements (air, fire, water and earth) and/or program factors that produce a particular result over a period of time. You could also call it a formalized intention that is carried out over time until completion. This definition would include chants, litanies, sonics, directors and limiters and even prayers.

How A Magic Spell Works
Spells are energy matrices programmed to build momentum and overcome obstacles until the end goal is manifested. Magic and spells in particular tend to take the path of least resistance to reach the goal. This is why directors and limiters are used in a magic spell. Without the use of directors and limiters, the path the spell takes could be very destructive and possibly break the Rules of the Road. There have been many cases of spells asking for money or a debt paid off in which the practitioner does not specify in the directors and limiters that no harm must come to any person or being from the spell, only to have the money come to them through the inheritance of someone passing away that they did not intend. If those type of events and conditions are not specified and the Universe sees it as the path of least resistance to the goal, it can happen just that way. Therefore it is a good idea to practice spellwork with tried and true spells that are proven safe before embarking to create your own. You need to have a clear understanding of the use of directors and limiters, basic magical operational laws and the terminology involved with spellwork before creating and launching magic spells of your own.

Types of Spells
There are different types of spells that can be used and different ones are more appropriate to use in one situation over another. Here are some basics and brief descriptions.

Litanies and Chants – A chant is any set of verbal commands or instructions to create a magical effect on the environment. A litany is a chant that is used to affect the person saying the litany. All spells and prayers are either litanies or chants. The verses used to charge the firebowl and chalice are chants.


Sonics in Spellwork – Sound energies affect both the material and spiritual levels at the same time, regardless of the elemental makeup of the sounds. When launching a spell you must be able to use voices of command and words of power effectively when reciting the litanies and/or chants in the spell to ensure that the energies are consistent with the aim of the spell. For example if you speak a chant for an Air and Fire oriented spell in a watery voice, you may create unintended side effects.

Directors and Limiters – These specify the what, how and when factors of a spell. Directors and limiters always need to be specified for candle and tarot spells. They list what you want the spell to achieve and the areas or conditions you want to avoid. They also address the purpose of the spell, elements and energies to be used, safeguards, and when the spell will start and stop.

Candle Spells – This type of spell programs one or more candles to act in accord with a spell's purpose, directors and limiters and verses. The candles energize, activate and feed the spell as well as assist in programming the spell. The candle translates the verses and directors and limiters into an actual energy matrix that has force in the world.

Tarot Spells – The modern Tarot as revised by the Order of the Golden Dawn is designed to use for spellwork. Readings with a Tarot deck form the basis for this type of spell and various cards can actually show spells that have been performed in the past or present lines. Before undertaking a Tarot spell, the practitioner needs to understand the Tarot and be experienced in doing 12-card readings with a Tarot deck. Tarot and other divination methods can also be used to test the potential success of any spell.

Simulacra Spells – These types of spells use a simulacrum or likeness of a person or thing to perform a magical operation on. When the object used as the simulacrum is keyed to a person or thing, whatever you do magically or otherwise to the object also happens to the person or thing it is keyed to. This is a type of water and earth element spellwork.

Real magic and spells can be enormously effective if performed correctly. Remember though that altered procedures create altered results. Think each step of the spell through carefully and get some instruction from an experienced practitioner before taking on your own spells. Our Basic Magic Class is offered online and spellwork is covered toward the end this course. If you're ready to get serious about becoming a magical practitioner, check it out.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ritual Magic: The Importance of Daily Rituals and Ritual Magic Throughout the Year

Why Do Daily Rituals?
With our crazy, busy lives, daily rituals of magic keep us grounded, at peace, and connected to higher powers and beings who can help us get what we want in life. It is not as important what the ritual is as it is that it is done consistently. Daily rituals create a channel for us to connect with our inner guidance, totem spirits, angels and other powers and beings. When we go about rushing through life we are not able to hear the quiet voices of higher guidance. These higher beings are willing and eager to help us manifest what we want in life, but we can't hear them over all the noise of cell phones, radio, TV, video games, gossip and our own mind chatter. I'm not saying you have to give up your job, social life and family and go sit at the top of a mountain. What I am saying is that we all need to set aside some sacred time everyday and daily rituals are a way to do just that. Whatever you pick to do as a daily ritual, going for a walk and tuning into the nature around you, meditation, yoga, hug a tree, the Consistency Exercise, the Navajo Beauty Way...., just take Nike's advice and just do it.

Ritual Magic for Change of Season
It's also important to do ritual magic throughout the year, such as during the change of seasons. Tribal people have always done this as a way to release the energy of the previous season and prepare appropriate energy for the coming season. In modern cultures, we simply get ill or at most do mundane world level tasks such as "spring cleaning". But what about an energetic cleaning or spiritual cleaning? This is even more important for the health of your mind, body and spirit. So maybe the next time you start a "spring cleaning" of your house, you also include doing a 4 element cleansing. For anyone not familiar with a 4 element cleansing of your house, here's how.

Four Element Cleansing
First, you will need a charged firebowl to cover the air and fire elements and a keyed and charged chalice for the water and earth elements.

In the firebowl you will be burning sage and pine resin on a charcoal disc. In the chalice will be spring water and a pinch of sea salt. Stand in the south facing north to do the charging. The charge verses for a cleansing are:

Firebowl Charge Verse:
"Fire and Air where you are cast, Let no spell nor adverse purpose last, Not in accord with me. Cleanse these walls and cleanse this space, Far from here send baneful trace. Thus my will, so it be."

Chalice Charge Verse:
"Water and Earth where you are cast, Let no spell nor adverse purpose last, Not in accord with me. Cleanse these walls and cleanse this space, Far from here send baneful trace. Thus my will, so it be."

(You can learn more about keying, charging and using the firebowl and chalice in the ebooks Firebowl-Cleansing Tool and Chalice – Water Tool.) http://ow.ly/gOhuI

Then:
  • Start with your firebowl on the east most wall of the east most room in your house. Start on the lowest level of the house.
     
  • Draw a lemniscent (sideways figure 8) with the smoke at your starting location.
     
  • Walk slowly along the wall letting the smoke of the firebowl flow into the wall.
     
  • About every 2 feet use the firebowl smoke to draw a lemniscent (sideways figure 8) on the wall. Do this also on any windows, mirrors, or reflective glass/black glossy surfaces.
     
  • Continue walking along the walls in the house in an uninterrupted manor until you have gone completely around all the walls in your house and return to the exact same place you started. Then make an ending lemniscent over the one you made when you started.

Walk the same pattern along the walls again with the charged chalice, dipping your fingers into the salt water and spritzing some on the walls every 2-3 feet until you again return to the place you started. (Be sure you have put your firebowl in a safe place while you do this especially if it is still burning for fire safety reasons).

A Four Element Cleansing is good for removing psychic imprints from walls, objects and people. It can clear out negative energies or influences and any psychic residue left by any type of beings. We all come into contact with negative energies daily, so taking the time to clear these energies out of your living space will add to your peace of mind and being.

Special Ritual Magic
Other important times for rituals include birthdays, naming days, new moon, full moon, and change of life (such as transition from adult to wise crone). I participated in the naming ritual for the grandson of a dear friend when he was 3 months old. It was a very formal magical ritual done in a full cast circle, for a wonderfully magical child. The child sat totally quiet throughout the entire ritual (not a usual state for him) that lasted about an hour and a half as he received his shamanic name, "Shining Antelope" and watched the various parts of the ritual unfold. It is a very special memory for me still 10 years later and for his family.

Doing special magical events throughout the year is a way of acknowledging higher powers and beings that are at work in your life everyday, acknowledging life transitions and inviting those powers to participate with you. Whether you do a magical ritual in full cast circle, a simple ceremony or just take a longer time than usual to do your daily ritual and connect with higher beings, it is a way to show our gratitude for their presence in our lives and strengthen our connection with them.

If you need ideas for daily rituals you can get started on, check out our Daily Rituals for Attracting What You Want in Life ebook. Get started on introducing ritual magic into your life and you'll be amazed at the changes it can bring to your life.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Magic Spells: How to Learn Magic

We quite often get emails asking how to learn magic. In this day and time it seems that we have seen an increase in these types of emails. It is exciting to hear that for whatever reasons, more people are seeking out magical knowledge and a different way of life. Whether you are seriously interested in studying magic, just out to see for yourself if it is real or want to dabble in some magical practices, we have lots of resources at the Esoteric School of Shamanism and Magic for you.

Can I Do Magic?
First off we like to make clear that we work on the premise in everything we teach that nothing is taken as true or real until you experience it for yourself and KNOW for yourself that it is true. A magician must experience and verify everything for him or herself to avoid the trap of dogma. That means you have hands on exercises throughout that you can practice and see results from. Many real magic techniques are not instant however and you do need to be willing to put in some time and practice. Some people have natural gifts and may see results sooner and others will need to practice a bit more. Everyone however can do magic. It is actually the "normal" way of life, but we have just lost access to it.

Magic Is a Precision Science
Our approach to magic and spells is that of a scientist since after all magicians and shamans are technicians of the sacred. One of the first things students learn in our Basic Magic Class is that we teach magic as a precision science. That is because magic is the science of:
  • deliberate creation 
  • effective prayer 
  • of manifesting Higher Will on the energetic and material planes 
  • of heightened awareness, selective perception and dynamic, harmonious relationships
Magical techniques are taught in such a way that they can be duplicated and replicated if directions are followed. Students do have to follow directions as given since altered procedures produce altered results as many students over the years have found out for themselves.

Rules of the Road
Having said all this, what we respond to those asking how to learn magic is that they should start with basic spells and rituals offered in our free online resources. They also need to become familiar with the Rules of the Road which are the ethics of magic. These Universal laws govern magical practice and are in effect whether you know them or not, believe in them or not or agree with them or not. Practicing magic without knowledge of these governing laws can result in disaster.

Free Resources To Get You Started
In our free resources section of our website, we have access to a wide variety of simple and safe magic and spells for beginners. We also have a newsletter that comes out twice a month you can subscribe to by email, a blog with informational articles and a platform where you can ask questions, as well as our Facebook community you can join in on. Whatever method works best for you, the main thing is to get started exploring the world of magic for yourself. Here are some links to simple, but powerful spells and rituals to get you started:
When you're ready for more just go to our Resources section and Is Magic Real page. And remember to have fun and enjoy your journey into magic and spells.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ritual Magic: Spells and Rituals for the New Year

Here it is a new year already and while most people are making New Year's Resolutions, magical practitioners make yearly aims as a great way to practice ritual magic all year long. Did you know that 45% of Americans usually make New Year's Resolutions and that only 8% of them actually are successful at achieving their resolutions? A great percentage of those who make resolutions keep them in the first week, 75% in fact. But by the time 6 months have passed that number dwindles down to only 46% still sticking to their resolutions. As you can see the statistics aren't very encouraging for making and keeping a New Year's resolution.

A Yearly Aim
A yearly aim for magical practitioners is a bit different. With the yearly aim the goal is to learn, experience, discover, and bring magic into your life. This yearly aim can change form with each month or with each season, with accompanying daily rituals as exercises. This cuts down on the redundancy and brings new life to the aim. It is important to pause daily or weekly to record results and reflections, noting and appreciating the changes and the magic.

Picking a Yearly Aim
To get started with a magical yearly aim, do some reflection on where you are magically. If you have not taken magic seriously before or are just starting out exploring a magical path, the aim could be answering the question "Is Magic Real" for yourself. You can also ask for guidance from higher powers and beings for some direction on picking an aim. You want to have an aim that is something you can observe progress on, but leave it open enough to explore it in a variety of ways. Give some thought to the wording of your aim as it can make an enormous difference.

One of our students felt she was always tense and stressed and although she had tried numerous practices to reduce the stress, still felt it in her body. She decided to set an aim that would help her find where the tension and stress came from, where it lived in her body and how to deal with it through magical means. Unfortunately, she worded her aim that year as "To observe and explore my tensions and stresses". That year was consequently a very stressful year. The Universe definitely gave her plenty of opportunity to observe and explore stress, which after all is what she asked for. The next year, having learned a valuable lesson, her aim was "I want to observe freedom in my life and practice feeling free". That made a much more enjoyable year for her. The following year was even better as her aim for that year was "To observe and explore the abundances in my life and the ease with which they come." As you can well imagine that year brought about many wonderful things with very little effort. Think carefully about the exact wording of your aim before settling on the final one.

Planning for Successful Aim
After you have picked your yearly aim, it is time to get a plan for specifically what magic spells and rituals or resources you will explore to achieve your aim. Take the example of "Is Magic Real". Here are some examples of the exercises you could pick from each month that would lead you to explore this question.
These are just a few examples to get you started. Pick something each month that you can experiment with and explore that will lead you to answer the question "Is Magic Real?" Throughout the process, you want to be sure to take the time to record your observations, reflections and results in your Book of Shadows. This helps you look back over the year, see where you started, what you have achieved and help form an aim for the next year.

Whether you adopt daily rituals into your life, strengthen your use of ritual magic, explore other magical realms, gain a greater understanding of yourself or prove that magic is indeed real to yourself, the main goal with a yearly aim is to invite magic into your life, make it a part of your daily life and to learn to appreciate the process.


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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Want to REALLY Learn the Tarot? Wear the Cards Around ....

The word Tarot is a disguised word. Originally it was spelled "Rota" meaning wheel. This came about because the Tarot card deck represents all phenomenal experience, the wheel of life. The Tarot is used as a living form tied into the existing Universe which makes it like a simulacrum of the Universe.

The Modern Tarot
The underlying symbology and concepts in the Tarot go back thousands of years. The modern Tarot was revised by the Order of the Golden Dawn for the purpose of working more intimately with the Tree of Life and for spell work. The modern Tarot was created by people who were members of the Order of the Golden Dawn. They designed the Waite-Rider, Morgan-Greer and Thoth decks. The tarot cards that we use at the Esoteric School are the Waite-Rider deck. This deck was created by Arthur Edward Waite with the artwork by Pamela Smith. All three of these decks however were created by magicians for magic. They can be used for:
  • Straight divination
  • Spellwork
  • Working the Tree of Life (for doing a great work)
Other decks may serve one of these functions, but only these 3 decks were designed to do all three.

Minor and Major Arcana
The Tarot is made up of Minor Arcana cards in 4 suits and Major Arcana cards which are not in suits. The 4 suits of the Minor Arcana are Wands, Swords, Cups and Plates (or Discs). These match the 4 elemental tools. These cards are also numbered in each suit from Ace to 10 plus the court cards of Page, Knight, Queen and King. Major Arcana cards represent principles, concepts or ideals while Minor Arcana cards represent the many ways those principles manifest in the mundane world.

Wearing the Cards
Whatever you have learned about the Tarot from books and other sources may not be useful when working with the Tarot because the meanings are in the cards themselves. Don't try to memorize meanings of the cards. The Tarot originally was an oral tradition so the writing down of the meanings in some ways defies the tradition. Looking at written down meanings can be useful as a place to start, but you also need to strive to see the meaning of the cards as they pertain to specific readings. One way to practice this is to "wear" the cards. In other words take a card, possibly one per day, and really explore it and get in tune with it. Here's an exercise to get started:
  1. Pick a card out of the deck. Spend a few minutes really looking at the card. 
  2. Notice the symbols the card contains, the pictures in it and the number of each. Compare what you know about the 4 elements and what symbols show up in the card associated with a particular element. For example, if you see cups in the card, you know to associate that with the element of water and that water is the element dealing with emotions and feelings. 
  3. Really focus all your intention on the card. Listen for the card to "speak" to you. You may see or feel it "come to life", see movement in it, hear words in your mind associated with it or notice changes in the brightness of the colors.
  4. Absorb the energies of the card and carry this energy around with you for a day. 
  5. At the end of the day note your observations as to how it affected your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and interactions.
This simple exercise will give you a more personal experience of the cards and their meanings and help you establish a relationship with them. You will find that creating an understanding of the cards in this way will allow you to see far more and deeper meanings when you do a reading instead of being stuck with a memorized definition and trying to make it fit into the reading. With a little practice and experience in doing readings you will find the Tarot magically come alive for you and through you.

Ready to learn more about the magical uses of the Tarot? Check out our Tarot Homestudy Course.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tarot: Should You Use the Lovers or 2 Cups When Reading on Relationships?

One of the uses for Tarot cards is to throw a reading for Tarot divination purposes. Divination is a means of obtaining information by psychic or magical means not readily available to the body's five senses. The major purpose of divination is to discover the influences, energies and probability lines that are active in our lives. Having this information allows us to exert control in our lives. When looking at the future through divination means such as Tarot card readings, there are 2 factors you need to understand:
  • The future is not set or pre-destined. It may be changed at any time before it happens.
  • Divinations concerning the future are only probabilities based on assuming that current influences continue unchanged. Any change in the present will change the future.
So when doing a Tarot card reading, if you find an unwanted future event, you can research to find out what events lead to it and change those events. That will cause the unwanted event to either not happen or happen differently than what you found in your reading.

Signifiers
When doing a Tarot card reading, a signifier is used. This is a card or cards that represent the someone or something the reading is being done on and/or the question we want answered. Different traditions use signifiers in different ways and some people doing Tarot readings today do not use signifiers at all. We find that using a signifier and keying it to the person and specific issues and questions give a more exact reading. When doing a Tarot reading the signifier is very important to getting the exact information you want. Results will vary according to which signifier you use. Therefore it is important to make sure you use the right signifier for the information you are seeking.

Lovers versus Two of Cups
Consider the meanings of the cards Lovers and Two of Cups. When doing a reading on relationships, many people think the Lovers card in the Major Arcana would be the natural choice and many Tarot books say this is the card to use. This is not accurate however if you are doing a reading on intimate personal relationships. The Lovers card is more for looking at higher spiritual relationships, karmic relationships, destined relationships or soul mates. This card indicates primarily a spiritual relationship that we planned when coming into this lifetime or strong spiritual ties and connections we have from other lifetimes. It could also be used as a signifier for relationship and balance to the overall higher aspect of community. It is a higher octave than the Two of Cups.

The Two of Cups is a better choice for intimate personal relationships. As a signifier it looks at emotional involvement of partnerships and is the love card. It also signifies reuniting, coming together and one on one intimate emotional sharing. This is the card to use in a Tarot reading as a signifier when looking for information on intimate emotional or passionate couple relationships of the mundane or worldly existence.

As you can see you would get different results according to which of these 2 signifiers you chose to use in your Tarot reading. As with all magical procedures, just think it through and pick a signifier that will give you the results to what you are seeking.

What are your favorite signifiers to use for certain subjects when doing a Tarot reading? We'd love for you to share yours in our magical communities either on Facebook or our blog. Share your favorite signifier and what situation you use it for and we'll send you a discount code to use on purchasing our Tarot Homestudy course.

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