Quick Link Monday--The Spells of Witches of East End

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

The Witches of East End: Season 1 Spells


While I don't approve of the word order of these spells (being a student of Classical Latin, myself), I did really enjoy the inclusion of Latin in a series about witchcraft.  In a time where the words and the actions of a spell are constantly being called unimportant (they are, in fact, quite important!), it's refreshing to see someone showing a return to fundamentals, even if it is in fiction.

But that return to fundamentals is precisely why we use Latin in magic.  Latin was the root of all Romance languages and much of its grammar and vocabulary have filtered down into English usage.  Over such a long period of time, it has traveled, changed naturally, been corrupted, and added upon until the child is nothing like such a long-lost relative.  When you use an ancient language in your spellwork, you are getting back to the core of language itself, the purity of expression where you can more fully communicate with the world around you.  Again we see that occultists seek to unlock the secrets of nature by working as closely as we can to a level it understands.

The same can be said of the use of Hebrew in spellwork.  The shapes of the Hebrew letters were said to have been taken from the shape of star constellations, making it a celestial language spoken by terrestrial people.  Here mankind reaches up and invokes something greater than himself, the eternity of the universe.  It is no wonder that Hebrew is the language so often found on traditional protection talismans.

Take a moment today to think about the connections you hold between language and magic then try making the next spell you cast be one in an ancient language.  

Celebrate Yule Like There's No Christmas

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

In our extremely proud and self-governed community, Pagans take a range of viewpoints on a holiday dear to us, the one with which we share the most in common with the Christian calender--Yule.  Some choose to quietly reflect on its meaning or hold a ritual in its honor, as they do the other Sabbats.  Others simply remember it as a special time with a lit candle or bit of incense.  With these folks, Yule will always be the preamble to the larger holiday, the one of their youth, the one remembered in song and TV specials--Christmas.  Rarely have I encountered a Pagan who forgoes the date of Christmas and focuses entirely upon our Pagan Sabbat.

It's hard to blame a person for this; Christmas is declared everywhere--in shop windows, lamppost decorations, every form of media, and classrooms across the country.  There's Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Christmas shopping, and Christmas cookies.  We cannot escape the 25th of December as being the date upon which to pin all hopes and dreams, even if our own were fulfilled on the 21st.  But Yule is not just "Christmas Jr."  Whether or not you celebrate the Winter Solstice as the grandest day of the year or just a part of the Christmas season, making it an independent entity is possible, desirable, and easier than you may think.



Bringing Yule into Its Own 

You can create Yule celebrations that are unique, meaningful, and fun for all ages.  "Christmas is for children," as they say, but Yule is for everyone.  The simple methods described here will do just that and in such a way that you can bring them home this year, for this Yule.

Make your Yule it's own distinctive celebration by considering the following:


  • Understand the relationship and separation of Yule and Christmas
  • Highlight your favorite traditions from the usual stuff
  • Play them up in a big way
  • Create new traditions
  • Integrate ritual into the entertainment



Dissecting the Holidays

Decide first which you will celebrate and how much importance you will give to each. Because most of the secular parts of Christmas are shared by Pagan celebrations, you might want to choose one or the other to host the majority of those images.  My goal has always been to show Yule as the premier winter holiday event and to make it the most special and meaningful, far ahead of Christmas.  There are many ways to create separation between them--if only to give each their own space--so feel free to adjust these suggestions to fit with your idea of the perfect holiday.

In my home, we keep Yule as the special day within our home and Christmas is for traveling to visit friends and family who live elsewhere.  This means that the events of Yule are at home, and while visitors are always welcome, we don't leave home for work or school.  Nor do we ever celebrate elsewhere or leave to do things individually.  This keeps the two celebrations separate and allows our day to remain our own special event.  Consider what you can do that will have the same effect in your situation.  What individual options will you take to make it work for your own family?

This can be handled in many ways.  Will you follow the exact Solstice day from year to year (December 20, 21, or 22) or pick a standard date to make planning easier?  Will you arrange to have the day off of school and work for all family members?  Will you accept visitors or keep it private? These choices may change for you after years of celebrating, so allow yourself to stay flexible.  


The Wheat from the Chaff

Separate from the usual stuff your very favorite traditions.  It's simple to remove the religious overtones of Christian theology that goes along with some parts of the holidays--no religious carols, no time spent in church, no passages from the Bible in your cards--but it also goes far beyond that to the aspects that you continue to promote but don't actually enjoy or with which you feel little connection.  You may know right away what this means to you or you may have to take time to contemplate it or journal on the concept.

For me, it was Santa.  I love the idea of his generosity and kindhearted nature, but I wasn't interested in making an entire day in honor of getting presents from a stranger and not our children's hardworking and loving parents.  So our family has only sparse connection with Santa and lets other aspects take the spotlight.


Play Up What You Love

Through this introspection, you will also discover those aspects that you love most of all, those things that speak loudest to you of happiness, togetherness, and festivity.  This is what you should play up in your holiday.  There are a wide array of sights, sounds, scents, and events that coincide with the month of December.  Some are strictly religious, most are secular, and some are only of a seasonal nature.  Don't overthink this part; answer the simple question--what comes to mind when you think of the holidays?  This is your treasure; work with that and do it big.

For example, if you are really moved by holiday music, make Yule a day for music and fill the entire season with it as well.  Gather musicians to entertain during parties.  Play a selection of your favorite carols all day on Yule.  Make a yearly trip to see The Nutcracker or other live theater.  Look in the newspaper for productions of holiday themed musicals in local playhouses or go big and travel to New York City for the Radio City Music Hall show.

If you are a singer or musician yourself, this can be the perfect holiday to show off your talents.  Take part in a show, arrange a small ensemble to play for charity at schools or nursing homes, or gather all your friends for caroling.  I have toyed with the idea for the past few years of getting some fellow Pagans together to offer our services wassailing at the many apple orchards in my area.  Wassailing is a traditional blessing at midwinter for the health of fruit trees and would look beautiful with a group in Victorian dress.  It includes singing and sprinkling the trees with a special infusion of hard apple cider, brandy, and heady spices.  If you know of orchards that host winter events to drum up out-of-season business, this could be a perfect addition.

If you love all things Santa Claus, make a special day of visiting him at the nicest local place available.  Ask around to find a Santa with a real beard, the most plush costume, or who is at place that has other special features like craft sales, wreath making, or free hot chocolate.  There is so much more out there beyond the mall!

Also note that there are many classic movies, songs, and stories about Santa that can play their part in your festivities.  Create a special moment before bed to recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas" in a lavish style.  Many versions of a Pagan rendition of this classic poem can be found online, as well.  Ask a friend to dress up and visit your children or to be available for photos at your party.

You could even organize the main thrust of your day around what you don't want, like cooking.  Host a potluck dinner or take everyone to a favorite restaurant.  If you have a friend who does enjoy cooking, offer to bring the holiday to their house while they are busy cooking.  You will surely be a hero providing tablecloths, candles, centerpiece, music, flowers, and special decorations.


Make Your Own Traditions

Another aspect of orchestrating your Yule is that you can get creative with your own traditions.  Revive the bits and pieces of holiday activities from bygone times that really speak to you and find a way to tie them into your beliefs.  My family and I loved the idea of a Yule Log but it never seemed to be given the attention it deserved beyond being another
decorative element.  So we integrated it into our ritual, lighting one candle for each month of the year in memory of the special things that take place at those times.  It all comes together with the December candle where we focus on celebrating and sharing the good fortunes we have gathered throughout the past year.  This practice gives the Yule Log special focus and also lets it be more meaningful than just another pretty object on a shelf.  
If you are having trouble figuring out what you could base your new tradition upon, take some cues from your family's country of origin or that of your magical tradition.  Mythology and archeology can be great resources for this.  For something more modern--and not culturally specific--look at the huge selection of Christmas and winter crafts and Do It Yourself books.  Adapt what you find to fit with your tastes, timetable, and creativity level.    


Integrate Ritual into the Holiday

Don't think that rituals must be separate from the fun.  The best rituals have an element of fun that is all their own.  Ideally, everyone will be looking forward to the ritual the same way they look forward to other elements of the day, so let your events flow into the rite and then back out of it with interesting things to do before, during, and after.

Timing should be foremost in your planning to assure that everyone can attend and will enjoy the event once they arrive.  With a to-do list a mile long, most people find it difficult to
add a ritual in the midst.  Will you have your rite on the day of Yule to be the most accurate or choose some other day to ease the anxiety of those who are overextended?  My family holds ours the night before Yule.  It's anticipated because we, as I mentioned, light the Yule Log and retell the story of Mother Berchta as a play, which causes a lot of laughter.  No one is tired (as we certainly are the night of Yule itself) and the event sets the tone of everything that is to come in a spiritual, grateful, natural light.  When we are done, it's time for the kids to go to bed--another anticipated event--to rest for the overpacked day that starts early the next morning.  

So what can you add to your rite that will make it something its participants eagerly await?  How can you integrate into it your talents and style?  If there was ever a rite that can sustain a little loosening, it's this one.  The weeks leading up to Yule carry with them a feeling of peacefulness and awareness of the human exchanges and natural world changes going on in the season.  The spirit of the holiday is acknowledged in a variety of small ways over a long period of time.  Let your ritual be a celebration of that, not just a summary of it.

To keep your ritual entertaining and enjoyable, make it something that has recognizable features.  Stimulate all the senses at once with lights and candles, music, incense, colors and textures, and food or drink.  Let these things come together in an active and upbeat way.  Give your participants something to do--especially as a group effort--and keep the different elements moving along, flowing from one part to the next.

The final word on rituals is that they should be somewhat brief.  It is up to you to decide what this will look like for your coven or family, but the event should be long enough to be enjoyable (and worth getting dressed up for!) but short enough that young ones don't become restless.  Give your rite a big finish and then send them on their way.  They will remember a rollicing parade of color and laughter, spice and poetry that can sustain any heart through the long winter.


Starting and Continuing

It was 15 years ago that my husband and I decided that it made more sense to honor the Winter Solstice than Christmas.  We were newlyweds and eager to give our new life its own unique stamp.  I had been Pagan for two years and he was just coming to the path, but we knew that switching could make a much more meaningful celebration for us.  We started that year, wondering if we would notice that we were waking early to exchange presents on a "not Christmas" day.  But on Yule morning, with the milky sun rising through our apartment window, a Bing Crosby record playing loudly, and the two of us sitting under the tree like children, we realized that the dates don't matter.  We were spending the day focusing on love, generosity, and the adoration of our spirituality.  For us, Yule has remained a perfect expression of that ever since.

If you decide to switch, do it completely.  Give yourself over to a new practice and put your all into making it something special for you and those you love.  It can quickly become your favorite holiday for many more reasons than the presents, for Yule is a whole day of good things: time for frivolity and pleasure, the remembrance of friends and family, and the celebration of all the good in your life.  To wake on a day that holds all this in store is surely the greatest present of all.

Happy Yule to you and yours!



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Quick Link Monday--Real Witchcraft in Your Toy Store

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Real Witchcraft in Your Toy Store


This kind of thing simply confounds me to the point of a good chuckle.  I don't take it seriously but I do like to turn it over in my mind.  What kind of a person sees evil in books which make fantasy and history entertaining?  What is their goal in dissuading the rest of us from even picking up such a diabolical item as a decorative book?  Do they really believe that they can remove all traces of other beliefs (even ones that are clearly intended only to entertain, such as books like these) simply by jumping at every shadow?

Most of all, however, I question why they worry over things like this when there are so many books, public events, and groups which do aim to share real witchcraft with children.  My own coven has always been keen to help even the youngest kids get involved in casting spells and discussing magical theory.  Our children have been raised Pagan since birth and have been privy to all kinds of magical work since then.  I have never resorted to books like these for teaching.  Instead, I work with actual witchcraft books.  Makes sense, right?

So whether you're like me and find it only amusing, or if this article makes you bristle, I hope you think about, talk about, and share your thoughts with me and others in the magical community.  After all, that's the real way we teach and learn.

Make It Snow, Make It Snow, Make It Snow!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , , ,

At this time of year, my thoughts quickly turn to the beauty of snow.  Some folks seem utterly baffled by this, but I suppose I just can't seem to join them in lamenting the bother of driving, shoveling, and shivering in it.  Instead, I focus on watching it drift by my window, swirl around me as I walk, and fly by in a torrent as I sled down the hill with my children.  So, to me, snow is absolutely wonderful!

Making it snow is a type of weather magic that I have discovered to be rarely a topic of
objection amongst practitioners.  Contention seems to revolve around rain--making it rain in one place and not another, stopping storms, increasing storms and rerouting weather patterns.  Snow gets largely ignored in the discussion of magic until mid-December and then it is only within specific regions and only for those who, like myself, adore the stuff. Otherwise there is no talk at all about the rights and wrongs of using magic to make it snow.  For the select few of us who are genuinely interested, we bring it down when and wherever we will.

Living all my life in Pennsylvania, I've grown up nearly obsessed with snow.  It's a topic in every conversation from September to nearly March: when it might come, the first snow, the biggest snow, remembering past storms, Snow Days and more to come (oh dear!), hating it, loving it, teasing one another about it.  It being such a major topic makes it  a perfect candidate for magic spells.  Not a lot seem to be in existence so years ago I chose to write my own.

Oddly enough, I only now discovered, in the course of wishing to write this to you, that I have actually made three such spells, each completely distinct from the others.  Somehow this slipped from my memory completely.  Just this past week I used the one that often comes to mind.  I was driving home from work and saw a cold, gray road stretched out before me just asking to be re-imagined into a white and sparkling landscape.  So I chanted and focused (yes, I cast while driving and I don't mind if others do or no not) until I'd had my fill.  By the time it was getting dark, the snow had begun.  When I woke up early the next
morning, everything was covered in heaps of fluffy snow.  I pushed a shovel before me as I to clear a path to my car and then scooped off the accumulation on hood and windshield before I could get inside.  The weather report had evidently called for up to one inch after midnight (though I was unaware that there was even one flake expected at the time) but we ended up with massive snowflakes before, during, and after amounting to about five to six inches.  I was overjoyed, as were our children because the storm caused the first Snow Day of the season!

Whether you're now cheering withe me or gritting your teeth as I'm sure was the case with the many other people around here who slid down the highway beside me that morning, I've decided to share some of my snow magic with you.  Perhaps you will bring a storm home or just leave this information to sit in a book or file awaiting some odd moment in future years when you'll actually want the stuff.  Either way, you are welcome to share in these spells and cast them as you see fit.

The first spell is from 2003.  It was written to replicate a spell I'd done several years prior (circa 1998) but lost in a move.  The original work was, as best as I can remember, very similar to this.  It caused such a massive blizzard that it quite took me by surprise.  The only problem was that it was not an instant thing; I'd cast it the night before Yule, hoping that I would awake to a transformation.  Instead, about a week later (post-Yule and post-Christmas) we got a storm that dumped a tremendous amount of snow on our valley, bringing down trees and knocking out power.

Now, I don't claim that this is a blizzard maker--far from it--only that you should use a regular amount of effort but start early.  My overzealous work did not produce instant snow any more than turning up the heat on an oven will make a cake bake faster.

The page you're seeing alongside this spell is a scan from my BoS of that time.  For some reason, I left the wording the same as in the original (though waiting until the last minute didn't work out so well the first time!) but you can also see that I used it on New Year's as well.  So use this spell when you have lots of time but then, perhaps, give it a shot for those events when you want snow actually falling as well.




Spell to Cause Snow


Go outside with your besom (or a new broom) as in the spell to bring rain.  Stand upon a high point and raise your arms and broom to Divinity.  Say:

I call the ears of my Lord and Lady.
Come to me now, come and please hear me!
I call upon the Snow Fairies--
Come to me now, come and please hear me!
(Yule Eve is upon us
Yule morn comes soon.
I ask of your kindness
A special boon.)

From the North, 
I call the cold.
From the East, 
The winds to blow.
From the South,
The snowflakes form.
From the West,
Send down the storm!

As each of the Quarters are mentioned, sweep the clouds from that direction, drawing them above you.  Then circle the besom above your head deosil and chant:

Churn and blow,
Now falls the snow!

When the power has been raised this way, end with:

I make it so!




This second spell is from about 2005.  The scan is from one of my big four-inch binders in which I keep magical information to be referenced quickly.  A good number of my spells--and classic spells that I've used over and over again--can be found there.  Unfortunately, I didn't add any further instructions for this one.  However, I can remember the specifics of this one and added the further instructions to the spell below.

I've used this spell far more often than the previous one.  It's the very same that came to mind as I drove home last week on a bare road.  The two are clearly different, but I've had about as much success with both of them.  I suggest going with the one that feels most natural to you.

Please note that the third of my snow spells can be found only in "The Book of Brass Mirrors," a manuscript spellbook of unusual magic that I plan to have published.  I hope that, in time, I may share it with you all as I have done these!



To Bring Snow

Upon a foggy window pane or in the open air, draw with one finger the image of a simple snowflake.  Make sure all vertical lines go from bottom to top and horizontal ones left to right.  Make a single snowflake for each stanza of the chant, envisioning a thick fall of snow behind your drawing.  You may say the chant as loud or quiet as you like, but it must be said aloud.

I draw one flake,
One flake of snow.
Father Winter--
Let it grow!  Make it grow!

The sky be white,
The winds to blow.
Father Winter--
Make it so!  Make it so!

It falls to the Earth,
Mountains high, valleys low.
Fill up the land!
Let it snow!  Make it snow!

My one flake becomes millions 
On and on it will go
Until winter's end.
Father Winter--Be It So!




Looking back on the spells I've made in the past is a sort of time capsule; I can discern my influences at that time and the kind of witch I thought most impressive.  With the first spell I notice that it was during the time that my most used spellbook was Dorothy Morrison's "Everyday Magic."  Not only does the set-up retain a nod to her writing style, but the instructions are derived from her spell to make rain.

In the second spell you can see that I've grown a little more frank in my arrangement and plain title, modeling it off of Valerie Worth's Crone books ("Crone's Book of Charms and Spells" and "Crone's Book of Words").  Perhaps that's why I left out instructions, because I couldn't make them rhyme like Ms. Worth's always did?

The third spell was written sometime around 2004 specifically for the book.  I tested it that winter and the story of it is nearly legendary around here.  A friend of ours recently recounted the entire thing as he saw it and I was amazed that he could remember nearly every minute of the day.  That is, for me, one impressive endorsement!

It was an ordinary winter day, our young children playing in the house and a good friend
over to visit.  He had grown up in California and this was to be his first "real" winter.  It had snowed before but not very much and the dusting on the ground wasn't very impressive. The more we talked about the weather, the more I realized we needed more--a lot more!  So I gathered my things and stepped outside to our fenced backyard.  A few pathetic flurries, no more than dust specks, whipped around as I set up.  Holding my manuscript in one hand and the spell components in the other, I began.  Within three minutes I was back inside and cleaning up.  I rejoined the rest of the household in the dining room to catch a glance out the window of massive snowflakes slowly drifting from the sky!  Our friend leapt up and ran outside, our four-year-old daughter hot on his tracks and ready to show him the ropes of playing in the snow.  It was magic in more ways than one.

Whether you are just looking for a winter pick-me-up or you're dreaming of a White Solstice, give these spells a try.  And may your days be merry and bright!



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Quick Link Monday--Magical Affirmations

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Magical Affirmations


Sometimes as we progress as practitioners, we go through a phase where we slow down on casting, get confused or disoriented, and pay more attention to the roadside than the road. That's a normal part of the journey; it won't always be pretty and the traveling won't always be quick.  Right now, I'm the perfect example of a witch who has gotten tangled up in the path.

Between writing books and articles for publication, tending to Quill's Occult Supply, keeping up with my local public practice, and managing a full and busy homelife with husband and children, I've got a lot going on.  And because my itch for magic is scratched in several other ways, I don't often get the chance to cast spells for the things that I want.

But I'm changing that.  I'm going back to basics and back to the core of my practice.  I'm sure I'll be talking about it a lot in upcoming posts, but to get things started on the right foot, this week's link is a page dedicated to magical affirmations.

The affirmation is often maligned as a bit of New Age fluff for readers of "The Secret" who want a newer car.  But magic users know that it's just another part of the magical process.  Our incantations and charms are often little more than rhyming affirmations.  If they're done well, they're so affecting that we don't even notice that they're only really reiterating the things we desire.

So I'm going to start today and go back to my early years when daily affirmations were a must.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.  Watch Twitter for more of my daily work.  You can find me here--@MadamQuill

5 Bad Habits of Spellcasters

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

We all get lax; that's life and it's okay once in a while.  Newcomers are just as guilty of
falling into bad habits as are those who've been with us for several years.  You try something, you hear something; you get tired and just let it run instead of making sure it's right.  It happens.  But the plan is to prevent it wherever possible and stop it once you see it has begun.  Tell me, please, you'll do that if you notice the following bad habits in your practice.

1.  Not Casting Any Spells

This has got to be my number one pet peeve.  So you're a big powerful witch with 20 years of experience.  Well, it's more that you've read books and hung out at festivals for 20 years. Where's your magic?  

I had a lady debate with me once on the topic of exactly why magic works.  Her view was the polar opposite of mine and she defended it with the number of years she had on me. But I backed up my perspective with what I'd seen from my lesser number of years of constant spellcasting.  To this, she admitted that she'd never actually cast a spell, so perhaps I had a point.  How amazing it is to me that a person like that is still welcome to declare herself an expert on spellcasting and not be shouted down immediately.  

If you're new, start casting.  Learn what it's like and where your talents lay.  If you are experienced, don't give up casting.  Keep your abilities fresh.  You don't want to turn into an armchair philosopher.

When spells fall to the back of your mind, theory and study become all that matters.  This can lead to becoming fearful of making a mistake, especially since--as the example I gave here--a practitioner can have a great reputation without ever having to prove it with magic.


2.  Going Too Big Too Fast

You want to reroute a hurricane?  You have the perfect candidate for President?  Hold your horses!  

Don't try to wrangle huge tasks by yourself.  You could have great success or you could fail horribly.  If things go well, you'll think you can do everything.  If they go wrong, you'll think you can't do anything at all. 

Get yourself some proper training, hone your skills, and build your way up to the really big stuff.  If something looks massive, however, gather every practitioner you know and cast the spell together to give it real fuel.


3.  Thinking Small

This is actually much more common--but just as bad a habit--as going big.  

These folks try to convince everyone that magic doesn't actually make any changes in the world--it's all a mind game, a manipulation of your own thoughts and perception.  But here
we are casting carefully timed, association filled spells designed to create real-world effects like changing a person's opinions and emotions or winning at contests.  Why do that if sitting in a quiet room and thinking can do as well?

Well, that's because it can't.  We do the elaborate pieces of magic because they do make actual change in the world.  Of course, your mind and body are essential elements in a spell, but they're not the only forces at play.  You should give due credit to all the natural potency found in plants, stones, metals, words, colors, and symbols; they're working hard for you.  

Don't tell yourself that you can't make things different but only think about them differently. That's not what magic is about.  You have what it takes to create the life you want; don't play small at something that can be such a tremendous boon in your life.


4.  Becoming Cynical

Your time in the magical community should be as profitable as possible, to you and to those with whom you interact.  With the competitiveness amongst occultists, the hopes of being accepted by a inclusive society can quickly be squashed and replaced with heaps of sarcasm and irritability.

The other concern is that this attitude can lead to less work of your own.  An aggressive person will be less likely to cast their own spells for fear that others will give that same kind of harsh criticism.  In fact, this fear might be the original stimulus that caused the cynicism in the first place.  If you are forever on the offense, a defense is not necessary.

I'm here to say that cynicism doesn't help.  Spending all your time in the community with snickering at other people's rituals and spellwork is not the best use of your time.  I know that it can be a harsh world for us, but further dividing will not fix that.


5.  Acting as If You're All Alone

It doesn't matter where you live, what your practice, your age, your gender, your style--you have a community.  As magic practitioners, we have a growing society of people with whom we can connect.  It's not perfect and not evenly spread across the country (and definitely not across the world), but it exists.  You are not alone.

Reach out to anyone you can, to everyone.  Reach out for advice, ideas, support in your bad times, and companionship in your good times.  Your town certainly has other people who are interested in witchcraft and magic.  Find them wherever you can and make plans to get together often.  The Internet is full of websites, blogs (*ahem*), groups, virtual covens, and videos to connect you with the rest of the magical world.  You can find your way into and all around the many aspects of the occult by reading, watching, and talking to others.  Connect in every way that you can.  You are not alone. 



Bad habits aren't the worst possible reality, but once they're recognized, they must be eradicated.  A garden can still be beautiful if it contains "weeds," but it's best if you can identify those unintentional guests and either use them to your advantage or pull them out at the roots.  This is the way, in the garden and in your practice, to make room for further growth.




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Quick Link Monday: Krampus Papercraft

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Papercraft Krampus

I've shared this one a million times, but it deserves to be a million more.

Krampus is, as some call him, the Christmas devil.  He's Santa's more realistic side, doling out the punishment that the "naughty" list so richly deserves.  While Santa rewards the good, Krampus chases, whips, and devours the bad.  Sounds fair to me.

In truth, I've never really been a Santa type of gal.  He's so sacachraine that I couldn't identify with him at all.  My Dad did his best to bring the wonder of the holidays to us as kids, tromping around on the roof and leaving a string of beautiful antique bells hanging on the door as proof that Santa had indeed visited us in the night.  But, even so, while I loved it all, I also felt that Santa--if he could indeed be real--was kind of a chump.

Early in my life as a Pagan, I discovered Mother Berchta.  Here was the no-nonsense spirit I craved.  While so many others denounce her horrible side as Christian propaganda, I loved it.  She was equal measure kind and cruel, delighting and destroying like winter itself.  To this day, my family and I retell her story as a play during our Yule ritual.  Santa is given as a pleasant side-note, but that is all.

So when I learned about Krampus years ago--a cultural connector between my German family and my Pagan beliefs--I took to him instantly.  He and Mother Berchta have their tradition ties and definitely share a world view, which I adore.   Able to see into the truth of your soul without a scrap of prettiness or pretention, Krampus is a fantastic balance to the typical sugar-covered holiday themes.

So perhaps this will be the year that you invite the long-tongued devil to your home and family, risking the switch and the basket.  You won't be disappointed!

In the meantime, enjoy making this papercraft Krampus, adorable and vicious little bugger that he is!   Happy holidays to all!

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: It's Okay to be Wicked

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

All of the occult has an element of the "dark" and yet we are taught to light it up, dismiss it, and--if all that should fail--turn away from it.  Yet the word occult, meaning "that which is hidden", implies this darkness.  We are immersed in the study of the parts of existence which
have not yet been illuminated.  What more could you want to speak in favor of the darkness?

The mystery of magic is part of what drew us all here in the first place.  No one comes to magic and witchcraft because it is the least threatening of all practices.  Some part of us was intrigued.  We saw the door, slightly ajar and with something moving behind it, and wanted to know more.  We knew there was something hidden and went forward full of that most beautiful human trait, curiosity, to discover it.


Don't Be Fooled by Pretty Magical Theory

There are those among us who, with the best of intentions, wish to take the fangs away from the serpent and show witchcraft as totally benign and safe.  They want outsiders to view us as regular people, soccer moms in mini vans, middle aged men with out-of-style pants.  Some of us are just that, of course, but it is their personalities and not their practice which dictate such things.  Inside we are very much a different breed.  Our outlook on life and its trials must certainly be different from the fatalistic viewpoint of the average individual thinking that there is no real influence he can possibly exert upon the world.

Witches are not helpless creatures, nor are we tossed by the idle winds of chance.  We step up and grab the ropes of our ship's sail and guide her home to the port of our choosing. Sometimes such bold gestures interfere with the course, directed or not, of other ships. When that happens--according to this witch, at least--it's just too damn bad.  If I am to be in charge of my own life, others around me will have to take charge of theirs because I might make things messy for them otherwise.  This attitude is called wicked and I embrace it completely.

Witchcraft has always had a side that was wicked: wild and untamed, unadulterated by societal norms because it sits outside of them.  It is not something that manners or wealth or the law can affect.  To be wicked is to work with your own set of morals and your own idea of normal.  No one outside can dictate this to you.  I say to you now that it is okay to be wicked.


The Bold are Rarely the Bullied

Those who speak openly about their practice of magic are the very last ones to receive ridicule for it.  When I was quiet about my magic (many, many years ago), I was rabidly scolded about the peril in which I was placing my immortal soul, the jeopardy I brought to my husband, and the waste of a life that I was leading.  That was when I was meek and
calm and the only announcement I made of my beliefs was the small pentacle around my neck.

But now I am proud.  I clearly speak my thoughts with outsiders as well as other practitioners, explaining my work and why it is the best option for me.  I have no fear of their anger and so they give me none.  I am completely removed from their opinion of me and so I rarely hear them.  This I find especially acute because I sell a wide variety of magical items in my shop, including cursing candles and powders, talismans designed to manipulate the free will of others, and black altar skulls covered in esoteric symbols.  All of these things have been red flags of alarm for occultists and non-occultists alike.  One would expect that if anyone were to receive static about maligning the upright and loving nature of magic, it would be me.

Yet, I have never had a complaint about selling such items, nor have I gotten bad reviews (thus far, at least) because someone's evil magic made evil things happen.  I speak freely on all topics which are posed to me because I believe with certainty that my practice is valid, traditional, and needed within the magical community.  And from the looks of the items that have sold especially well in the past, this is quite true.


We Need the Dark

I don't mean this in a "necessary evil" kind of way.  On the contrary, the dark side of nature is a good thing and one we crave.  Humans are free beings and yet we constantly exert our influence upon one another, in mundane as well as magical ways, that augment that freedom in one another.  The things which restrict are lessons of great value: like the shell which binds the baby chick, we learn to grow strong enough to overpower these ties and break free of them.  We then may go out into the world ready for anything.

Adversaries teach us, as well.  We learn what we are capable of when we are pushed to the brink.  Who are you when no one is looking?  Who are you when things go all wrong, when you have to strike back, when you are alone in the world?  Who are you then?  It will sting, but an adversary will teach you the answers to those questions.

Being the adversary for someone else tells us about human nature and the kinds of impulses which drive our actions.  We get the chance to see who we are when the tables have turned, when we have ultimate power, when we can do whatever we like.  Of course, the secondary part of being one's enemy is that, generally, the target has done something terribly wrong and is being made to pay for it.  I don't understand why it has become an unpopular thought but bad people deserve to be stopped.  Maybe I'm too much a matriarch, but if you mess with those I care about you must prepare to have your ass handed to you. Of course, if we want to look at this in the sense of "tough love," I might just be saving a person from a much worse fate that awaits them by stopping their string of poor choices before it truly gets started.

Because magical belief systems are autonomous we can experience these lessons personally.  We don't absorb the flow of the world through myth or rules or threats about the afterlife; we feel them directly and interact with them.  We are students of nature and teachers of one another.


Delight in All Aspects of Nature, Outside and In

It's been said that nature is cruel.  Things do not get dealt to us fairly.  The good die young while the hateful live on.  Justice is not served with equal measure and force for all crimes.  Some live in suffering and want while others frivolously waste their good fortunes.  But life isn't being mean.  Nature is indifferent.  These things don't have meaning to the natural world.  We are each dealt a lot and we live with it.  That is all.

There is something gutless and dull to my mind about a view of nature in which everyone is cared for and tucked up tight.  Nature is wild and uncivilized and it's best that way.  Within every living thing, ourselves included, is a spark of this untamed element.  It is our darkness, the part of the human soul that is free and unafraid.  It's the part of you which not only connects to the truest essence of the world, it is that essence.  You are a part of the unbound laws of nature.

The system was never intended to be fair.  You're not given "only what you can handle," you're just given something.  We're here to use that inequality to grow and become more than we were at our beginning.  Evil makes us evolve, inequality is the hull upon the seed of our potential.  If you want to put down roots and grow strong to reach the sunlight, you're going to have to break out with all the force you possess.  Your only other option is to rot.

Nature only realizes you're there by the influence you wield.  You needn't attempt to create a life of ease, only that you are able to create the best life possible and use your talents to their greatest effect.  You may discover that the trials of your life have given you a unique
view that would not have been accessible otherwise.  If, however, your woes do nothing to serve you, work now and work earnestly to rid yourself of them.  You are no martyr, you are a wonder worker!


Don't Fear the Dark

The short answer is as follows:  you're a grown up and you can handle to dark.  You're an occultist--the dark is your home.



Related reading includes  What It Feels Like to be in the Broom Closet, How to Get What You Want,  Black Magic Badass: Curses, Coercion, and Collateral Damage

Images from:
wallpaperstock.net
Amazing Science Fiction magazine for August 1973
fedfull.com/?p=144

Organizing Your Life by the Planets

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

The days of the week are named in remembrance of Teutonic Gods and Goddesses and their attendant heavenly bodies.  We've heard that plenty of times already.  Some of us actively use this information to guide our magic, but most of the time we are taught to be driven by a larger wheel--the phases of the moon.  Maybe the days of the week just seems to simplistic a system, or perhaps it's just that planetary days are linked with planetary hours, another plotting method that has fallen out of popular discussion mainly due to the complexity of it.

However, the days of the week are not complex at all.  It's a bit of information we wake up every morning having at hand.  It's simple and easy to access for a host of uses, both magical and mundane.  Each day has its own influences, based on the deity and the planet, and its own strengths, weaknesses, and highest use.  That's what we'll be talking about today.
Despite my usual insistence on keeping the magical world and regular world separate in writing (just watch me lose my mind over witchcraft books that give both medicinal and spellcasting uses of herbs!), this time I thought I'd like to put the two side by side.  Why? Because, in this instance, they inform one another, because we're talking about the rulerships of the planets and how it affects both sides of our lives.  



Having an organized mundane life is something essential and yet so often overlooked. Keeping your world in a regulated state means that you will have more time and energy to devote to your magical work.  A clean environment, an orderly home, a workspace devoted to your art--these are helpful things to cultivate for maintaining an environment free of the energetic clutter that can easily distract you from your potential.  Think about coming home from work, opening the door, and switching on the light to reveal a turbulent mess in your house. You sigh, you wilt, and suddenly, whatever energy you had has totally evaporated. Now imagine you do the same thing, but instead of a disaster, you see only a neat and organized space ready for anything you may wish to accomplish there, even if it's only to curl up in your favorite cozy chair and read a book.  Your emotions, energy levels, and will power have completely changed based on something so small.

Having an organized magical life is a lot the same: you stay on track for accomplishing your goals and you make progress faster and with less effort.  Plus, you feel better because
you're able to make immediate plans to deal with problems as they crop up as well as make the best possible use of planetary correspondences as they occur.  Ever have a big spell planned but realize you just missed the full moon because you were dealing with some unimportant task?  Yep, me too, and it's horribly frustrating.

So on we go to putting things to rights using the planets.  You may wish to create your own list based on what I have here, or use this simply to see how it lines up with your days. Either way, whether you follow the planets as a rule or as an experiment, using such a format for organization will not only help you keep better track of your tasks but also help you achieve a closer connection to the natural world as it progresses throughout the year.

Sunday--the Sun


  • Magical uses: Keep the illumination of the sun in your week by starting strong and looking at the big picture.  Work magic as a good deed, to improve the state your magical--or mundane--community, put efforts toward your life pursuits.
  • Mundane uses: Air out your home, do things that increase the worth of your good name.

Monday--the Moon

  • Magical uses: The moon is a softer leader than the sun.  She is yielding and gentle, but no less powerful.  Do things with an eye toward cooperation and understanding. Work magic for wisdom, dreaming, travel, peace, and dealing with emotions.
  • Mundane uses: Mondays are good for improving your relationships.  Make today a day for calm time without a to-do list.  Spend time with those you love and care about; let things happen organically.  If you're feeling ambitious, do the laundry, mopping, or other watery work.  Add magical tinctures and herbs to the water to increase specific blessings in your home.

Tuesday--Mars

  • Magical uses: Use the strength of Mars to take charge and forge ahead with difficult situations.  Make magic regarding courage, passion, daring, shielding, power, and strength of all kinds.
  • Mundane uses: Check the safety of your home; note the sturdiness of your locks, doors, and windows as well as what repairs will soon be required.   Vacuum and dust your home to knock out all that is standing still; Mars wants action!  Make exercise a priority, especially if you find this challenging.  This planet asks us to do the hard things so that we may become greater than ever before--get out there are take up the challenge!  

Wednesday--Mercury

  • Magical uses: Mercury is changeable, flexible, and fluid.  Don't let anything make you rigid or stubborn today.  Work for change, excitement, communication, travel, cunning, and the arts.
  • Mundane uses: Your creative day--work on a project that is personally important to you.  Plan trips and anything that makes you look to the future with hope and anticipation.  Also, take care of your most valuable methods of transportation: clean out your car and check its fluids; check bike tire pressure and brakes; clean your shoes.

Thursday--Jupiter

  • Magical uses: The major players in your life come to the forefront midweek--your money, your wellness, your happiness.  Take care of these things and guide them with magic for abundance, health, and prosperity.
  • Mundane uses: Jupiter is a bit serious here, but it's for good cause.  If you want prosperity, you first have to manage what you have and then set some plans for where you want to take it. Deal with your finances: balance your checkbook, file paperwork, set a budget, look at savings and investments.  

Friday--Venus

  • Magical uses: Venus loves love!  Work for your relationships, romance, fertility, beauty, and the bonds you have with others.
  • Mundane uses: Dress up on Friday and make an occasion of it.  Decorate yourself, whether or not you are looking for love.  Do it for yourself and for the fun of feeling good about your appearance.  Make your home pretty, too.  Polish furniture, silver, and brass.  Burn incense or oils, light some candles, have a nice dinner.

Saturday--Saturn

  • Magical uses: Saturn like the calm of an orderly life.  Work magic for protection and banishing.  Do your house cleanings on Saturday for the best effects.
  • Mundane uses: Tidy your house or do the major cleaning from roof to floor, at your discretion.  If you have weekend plans, just deal with the clutter spots in your house. Clean the bathrooms to a shine.

You may wish to use these suggestions as a weekly to-do list or as a reminder to always be looking after the various parts of your life and physical surroundings.  In a way, the two sides of your life are not found in separate slots, but are interconnected, intertwined. Arrange your magical tasks and your mundane tasks to work with the ebb and flow of the world around you and you are more likely to accomplish them in good time, good spirits, and to good effect. 

Related reading includes:  Organizing Your Life through Spellcasting


Images from: 
herbalwitchcraft.com/blog
static.flikie.com
apartmenttherapy.com/in-defense-of-organizing-books-by-color

Quick Link Monday: Flaunt-a-Thon!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

Okay, so I'm taking a moment to completely sell myself out in the name of something greater, namely my work as a non-fiction writer.  Bear with me and I hope we can work together to make your Monday at work more bearable by talking witchcraft, community, and the incredible future that awaits us both!

As I mentioned before, I am in the works of my fourth book for publication and really hoping to get this one out to the people as soon as I can.  I would love your help, though--your feedback, your comments, your suggestions, and--most especially--more of your great quotes!

Besides all that, my online presence is something I don't always remember to mention so that you will know all the ways you can see what I do and contact me about it.  So please take a moment to checkout the following links:


Quill's Occult Supply on Etsy

Quill on Facebook

Quill on Twitter

Quill on Pinterest

QuillAndInk@ymail.com


Organizing Your Life Through Spellcasting

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , , ,

Spellcasting is problem solving.  That is the simple truth I learned when I first began.  That became a central theme in my practice because I started out on a different road than most
witches are taught to walk.  I began learning only because I was fascinated with spells and power.  I didn't want to become enlightened, I knew nothing of the Gods, I wasn't seeking a higher plane--I just wanted to make magic.  And so I did.  Because of that I didn't have the rules of many other practitioners, namely that magic should be one's last resort.  I made it my first, and continue to do so to this day.

If we take magic as purely practical, we can easily see the three ways in which it can be used to deal with the hardships of life.

Preventative Magic

Here we have the protections and shields, the harmony and peace spells for home and work.  Keeping things running smoothly is key to effective magic in other parts of our lives. After all, if your job stress is keeping your mind occupied, how will you ever have the focus for a love spell?  Cast spells to keep your life tidy and take care of problems before they erupt.


Immediate Magic

These are the charms, formulas, and tiny works that you can do right away when something goes wrong.  Keep a bag of powder, a vial of potion, a bit of string to tie knots into, and you will have magic at hand all the time.

Immediate magic is all about being small and fast.  For straight-forward problems without any nuance, you can either work with the off-hand forms mentioned above or use the kind of itty-bitty spells that have proliferated the internet.  The standard example of this is the placement of items (putting crystals in the corners of the room, carrying herbs in your pocket, or tucking a slip of paper with a magic symbol in your shoe), but it also includes the little combinations like chanting over a lit candle or dissolving ink from a magic seal in water and drinking it.


Modifying Magic


This is the big stuff.  Here we have the large-scale spells, the major works that that time to organize and require a collection of components.  In this category, too, are the spells that must be regularly recast, the items which are reconsecrated at each moon, the candles lit one upon the other, the jars whose contents are compiled over time.  It's often the kind of

"big magic" that we think of when we're talking about witchcraft, though it's more rare than the other varieties.  

Modifying magic is the long-range works that keep our track clear of obstacles and veering toward all the best attractions.  When you have guarded yourself from danger and distraction (Preventative) and handled the small upsets as they come (Immediate), then you can look to the future to decide where you ultimately wish to be.  This can mean the grand scale of life itself or something more localized, such as work or relationships.


In my own life I've worked quite a few of each of these, but a couple of examples really stand out as meeting, through magic, a specific need which evaded a problem and maintained positive progress.  I suppose that sounds a little business-like for a witch but it is perhaps the clearest way I can describe without frill the mission of a spell.

Organizing your life through magic means:

  • Planning ahead
  • Keeping up with changes
  • Knowing your goals


My Preventative Magic Moment

Years ago, my husband worked at a very dangerous, and not at all safety-conscious, outdoor job.  In a disastrous accident, one coworker was injured and believed the reason for the injury lay with my husband.  This was not entirely surprising based on the instigating attitudes of the other members of the crew, plus the aggressive bosses whose only interest was blame and termination, not prevention and training.

So there we were, a young couple with two small children and for the sake of an accident in an unsafe workplace suddenly on the edge of homelessness.  Nothing had yet happened at this point.  All the workers went home and the injured man went to the hospital.  He said he would decide the next day what he would recommend happen to the person(s) involved and we were terrified.  So I set to work.

My spells revolved around cooling whatever anger he actually had about the accident, ending the influence of those who just want to stir the pot (of which there were many), and finding resolution that injured no one.

That night, several hours after the spells were complete, the phone rang.  It was the coworker.  He'd been released from the hospital and called as soon as he got home to say that he was sorry for how things turned out at work.  We were both shocked at the idea that anyone would apologise for getting hurt!  My husband waved away the apology and they spent the next 30 minutes patching things up and apologising to one another (a symptom of two painfully polite upbringings).  The whole thing blew over and nothing more came of it.  We couldn't have been more relieved!

In this instance, the time to begin working on what might happen was the very first moment I heard about the problem, before opinions could gel into actions.  Preventative magic paid off.


My Immediate Magic Moment

My husband and I were at a big sunny barbecue, a rare outing during the summer of my pregnancy with our second child.  It was in celebration of a job well done for the crew who was responsible for an entire remodel of a local department store.  Everyone was having a great time playing games and enjoying the terrific spread of food when the storm clouds started to roll in.  Whispers and jokes soon turned to sad comments about such a nice party needing to come to an end at its very beginning.  My husband looked at me and we knew what to do.

I used one of the many charms for deflecting a storm.  My husband engaged others in conversation while I stared at the sky.  Breathing out my words, I let them disperse the dark clouds above us, repeating them in an unending string until it felt complete.  In a few minutes time, I noticed a change in the lighting: the sky was already brightening.  The thick roll of storm clouds had broken up and in their place were white tufts and streaming sunshine.  The party was back on!  We celebrated in high style the rest of the day and into the evening.

This is the kind of thing I wish more witches were adept in.  With immediate magic, the problem has already begun and you need to work while everything is in motion.  Being able to shut out the world around you and cast a spell right this moment is both challenging and rewarding beyond what I've felt from carefully timed and prepared works.  It's always great fun to see if you can do it and to what accuracy.  If for no other reason, you should always stay in good practice so that when the situation arises for immediate magic, you will be ready.


My Modifying Magic Moment

This was a big one.  I was seeking a job but had a lot of requirements.  No, I'm not the fussy type who demands a high paying job with zero stress and long vacations.  I am a willing worker and have been all my adult life.  But now I needed work that would be able to fit into my already full schedule.  It wouldn't be easy.

So when that job presented itself, I was overjoyed.  But a single stone in that road was so significant that it may as well have been a concrete blockade--my job was already taken. The person in question was on the way out but not before finding safe landing in new work somewhere else.  Not being a risk-taker meant that it was unlikely for this person to find anything quickly.  Time began to slip away, and with no progress, I grew impatient.  So I went to my workroom and brought out my best spellbooks.

I sought a job similar to the previous one--taking into account the security this person craved--and cast my spells with care.  This was pretty big; not only was I rerouting something in my life that I cared about, I was doing the same in someone else's.  The results were very important to me, so I plotted things slowly.  I made some petitions, too, and laid papers on my altar with descriptions of the soon-to-be empty position with my name across the top.  A short while later I heard the good news that the job was available and I was to start immediately!  The previous employee had found the perfect vacancy and now my own vacancy was secured.

In this situation, the expected outcome was stagnation and impasse.  This could have continued for a very long time without any sign of change.  My only option was to plan
carefully and then direct my work to the specific points that needed it.  Even though there were only a few of us within this situation, it still had the potential to rage out of control in a short amount of time if had I made a misstep, hence my insistence on research and organization.  If anything needs it, it's definitely these long-term spells whose effects are designed to linger.


As you can see, the combination of these 3 methods of casting are problem-solving at its core.  I declare that you should use witchcraft as your first resource for guidance and maintenance.  Magic is a spyglass and with it you can see from a distance the opportunities and pitfalls all along the paths you have chosen.  Cast your spells to deftly navigate them and you will reach your destination without scuffing a knee.




 Related reading includes  Spells You Can Cast Today for Free,  The Secret of Powerful Magic



Images from:
blog.lib.umn.edu/jaku0040
windling.typepad.com/blog
whitemagicwitch.com/basic-preparation-for-casting-spells

Quick Link Monday: Special Request from Quill

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /



ATTN: ALL MAGICAL PRACTITIONERS!  I need your help!

As you know, I've been working on a manuscript about fame in the magical community.  I have profiled the lives of the legendary occultists whom we all know, but I also want to hear from people on their way up.  Do you consider yourself magically ambitious?  Do you have talents that many other practitioners would be interested in?  Have you done something large scale such as hosting a festival, leading workshops/classes, or running your own store?  Do you dream of doing any of these things?  Then I need to hear from you!

You can comment here, on Quill's Occult Supply FB page, or at QuillAndInk@ymail.com

Any additions to the book will be directly credited to you and your credentials listed with your name (such as your tradition/system, coven, etc. and the town you live in).


Here are my sample questions I would like answered:

1)What do you think of famous magic users?  Is it a good or bad thing to be a celebrity witch?

2) What could you do to become famous?  Would you?

3) Whom do you look up to in the magical community?

Quick Link Monday: 25 Most Influential Practitioners-US and Europe

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (American Wing)

25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (European Wing)


In researching magic users of note for a writing project I'm currently engrossed in, I discovered these excellent lists.  They are certainly food for thought.  Even if you do not practice any form of spirituality with your magic (and I am a big advocate of keeping the two quite separate on most occasions), you will certainly have felt the hand of these individuals, be it in the book market, the festival circuit, or on the streets.  These are the visionaries who saw through the haze of how things were to how they ought to be.

Read, ponder, and share, if you like.  What would be your list?  Do you have plans to ever see your name upon it?


Why Do Witches Dress Like They're Going to Ren-Faire?

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Cloaks, bell-sleeves, ruffles, lace, ribbons, and crushed velvet.  Gem tone colors billow in the incense-heavy breeze at a Pagan festival...or fairie festival...or Renaissance Faire.  Who can tell?

The popular dress code for witches and other magical practitioners has become "garb," meaning
modern clothes in the style of the moderately wealthy of the 1500's, i.e. Ren-Faire clothes.  These are the "going out" clothes most often seen when practitioners gather for sabbats, inter-coven meetings, and festivals.  When you see it, you know that everyone involved has put in their best effort to prepare for an important event.

Halloween is another time to view this trend.  It is a common statement that witches enjoy this night most of all because they can dress in their ritual clothes and be seen as "normal." Those clothes, of course, are not rent and worn pauper's dress like the Pagans of eras past, nor are they theatrical witch costumes; they're garb.

But why is this style so popular?  What does it mean to us and why do we connect with it? Especially as it has become an easy target for ridicule, one would naturally assume that either we are immune to the jabs or there must be extremely important reasons to continue. Actually the answer seems to be neither.

Magical folk are largely well aware of the number of eye-rolls that these clothes now garner.  Traditionalists seem the most disapproving, mainly because fancy dress was not a part of what our ancestors would have done.  But, then again, there is a lot that we do differently from the older generations.  That's just part of working within a living tradition.

And, conversely, witches know of very few reasons for the modern practice to continue. Most of us are not practicing magic in a way that deeply resonates with that era and the fabric, cut, and colors of our current clothes have very little to do with what would have been available at the time.  But that is not to say that there is no sense in wearing garb to your next magical celebration.  Here are the real reasons that this trend has lasted so long and why it will go on:


It's fun

Though it may seem obvious, this aspect is easily overlooked.  Fun seems to be the number one reason for Ren-Faire clothes in every Circle.  The look is dressy and festive, showing that one has put effort into getting ready for the event as well as letting others know that they value the event and its participants enough to bring out the special clothes. And with the generous cut, flattering shape, and floaty layers, it's easy to be proud of your reflection no matter your figure.


It's a brand

Of course, this may be an unpopular attitude, but it's a valuable part of the equation.  As a subculture we have the need to build a "look" that is our own.  Clothing is a common identifier for any group and this has become a signature for our people.  When you see a group of folks in this dress, you can reasonably approach them as possible practitioners. Then with a few well-placed words you will know if these are witches or no.  That's more than can be said for a gathering of plain-clothes individuals.

This can be a major factor in the areas where it would be imprudent to wear the shiny pentacle around your neck or one of the tee-shirts with statements like "Yeah, I'm a witch.  Get over it".   The use of garb allows other practitioners to have a contact point without it being too obvious.  This means safety from unwelcome attention and confrontation as well as comfort and approachability for interested newcomers.

In fact, the unifying aspect of this trend can actually make it something more than fashion. When everyone is in similar attire within the Circle, no one is above the other.  Everyone there is joined together, one in appearance and purpose, the same yet unique.  Could this be the timid witch's "skyclad"?

Also of note is the point made at the opening of this post--we share festival circuits with other groups that have nothing to do with magic.  Though you would expect this to make things more difficult it is actually to our benefit.  Events intended strictly for practitioners are usually put on by individual groups or covens and are localized in cities that stand to bring in the largest crowd.  Because of the great expense, time, work, and coordination needed, they are generally held once a year or less.  On top of this is the cost of advertising which means that much of the information is passed by word of mouth and social media--both systems which can unintentionally miss huge numbers of otherwise interested people.  This means that your chances of living within driving distance of such a festival, hearing about it in time, and being available for that one specific period of time are not very good.

But Ren Faire and other historical, fantasy, and bohemian events have corporate sponsors, organized and paid groups of workers, and advertising teams.  So we piggy-back on this and work our own festival inside the larger one.  The newcomer to witchcraft (or those who are interested in becoming one) are especially heartened by this innocent way to dip ones toes into a larger magical ocean.

It's a history we miss

No, I don't think anyone misses the Inquisition, spectral evidence, or Bubonic Plague, but we certainly miss the days when everyone knew witchcraft existed.  With the overwhelming amount of people favoring either a materialistic philosophy or a religious--but no more mystical--view of the world's belts and gears, one is not likely to find the common man believing in, let alone working with, magic.  Some would say this is the work of the rational minds that have taken us from superstition to science, but at what cost?  Have we forsaken the beauty and the fables of antiquity when we said all spells were but wishes, prayers, vain fancy?  Some even call it now by scientific theories of a plastic universe, a receiving and reflecting force in nature that feeds us back our own thoughts.  And that is how a wish is granted, that is how a prayer is fulfilled, a spell works, and even idle dreams become our good or bad reality.  But isn't this all just a gentrified way to say "magic"?

When we gear up in our garb, we can forget for a time that there are swarms of people in every corner waiting to tell you what cannot be done.  It is as though there is something personally at stake for them; they must make you aware that you're living a lie, even if it is one that troubles no one but them.  When we tighten our corsets, we armor ourselves against the useless insistence of common thought.  We lace boots to walk where they fear to tread.  We shrug under wool cloaks to be braced against the storm of a thousand cries of "no," "never," and "impossible."  And sometimes, these storms come from within.  They are the most restless and the most damaging.

We stand in a Circle, we sit by a fire, we walk into the night or do our work at a candlelit table indoors.  We are clothed and prepared.  We have taken preparation seriously and have all our wits available to create something far beyond the physical items before us.  We are great beings and yet no different than thousands, millions of others; we will work our will and it will reorder the world like a doll's house at the hands of a child.  There is nothing silly here and nothing serious.



While not everyone indulges in the wearing of garb, those that choose to do so with good reason and deeply persuasive results. If this describes you, I say proudly don your velvet and lace.



Images from:
pinterest.com
leftlion.co.uk
eartisans.net


Quick Link Monday: Spells for Halloween

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Spells for Halloween Hocus Pocus



While we have just a little time before the biggest night of the magical year, this link features a few Halloween specific spells you may wish to plan.  Naturally, there are many more to be found besides those here.  This is the night of the last harvest, the night we recognize the weight of mortality and the joyful knowledge that we are yet alive and should celebrate while we can.  Any piece of magic which furthers any of these concepts would be appropriate.

Also note that asking your beloved dead for some assistence would be perfect for Halloween.  This is especially true if you have magical ancestors but it can also happen for the rest of us.  Your loved ones want to see you happy, of course, so asking for their well-wishes in one aspect of your life is fair and thoughtful no matter what their beliefs towrd the occult.  Just remember not to call up in ritual those who would be opposed to magic.  Dead or alive, respect is important.

But this witch is much too busy to dawdle.  I wish you all a fair night with the dead on Hallows Eve and lively days leading up to it!

Black Magic Badass: Curses, Coercion, and Collateral Damage

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Many of the non-cursing practitioners I've talked to reject the idea of it stricly out of fear of
the consequences.  Sadly, this means more freedom for the jerks who are trying to ruin
your life.

It is to those innocent and loving folks that I dedicate this article.  I would like to think that even those most mild-mannered, sweethearted casters would consider the many positive aspects of being a dasterdly witch.  So, I offer to you some of my truths on curses and their consequences.


The Curse

  • I'm not afraid of it.  Of all the stuff that makes me nervous, doing what needs done in the security of my home and head is not one of them.  I know we are taught to have a healthy fear of "the dark side," but I've been there often enough to know that those folks there are just like everyone else, only more honest.
  • I'm not ashamed of it.  This shocks some people.  And yet I've met so many mouthy, arrogant, self-important, loose-cannon spellcasters who would never curse because that would make them a bad person.  Listen here--the wickedness you do as a witch is not somehow different from the wickedness you do as a person.  You aren't better than me because you told lies to get a coworker fired while I cast a spell to make my neighbor move.  I have nothing to hide; I'm doing what witches have done for centuries.  But you?  You're just an asshole.
  • It's probably not what you think.  Why does everyone think that curses are cast for no reason?  Like I've got nothing better to do with my time than wreck things?  I've rarely heard a story where someone was cursed who didn't pick the fight.  This is especially true of complicated situations, like family, work, or social settings that make direct confrontation impossible.  For myself, the black magic I've spread was totally justified.  
  • A happy witch does it.  I don't curse because I hate the world, nor because I'm socially ill-adjusted, nor lonely, nor sad.  I do it because I don't like to see good people be treated badly.  I want to treat bad people badly!  And if you're near this situation at all, you may end up enjoying the fruits of my devious labors!  You're welcome.  All kidding aside, spellcasters are the last people in the world who should suffer from large-scale problems, troublemakers, or anxiety stemming from either.  If this describes you, now is the perfect time to get busy cleaning house!  Black magic isn't all hate--it can be a precious tool for love and compassion towards the innocent.  Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to rescue yourself and those around you from evil.


Now that we've cracked the topic and all the insides are running out, I'll tell you what I think about enforcing my will.


Coercion

  • Society has been running on mind tricks since its inception.  Learn about the way advertising works, or salesmanship.  Talk to your mother-in-law (or other master of passive-agressive behavior).  Even innocuous things like art and literature employ tricks to make us feel what we otherwise wouldn't feel.  It's not special and it's not always mean, we just do it because it suits a purpose.  And whether my spell on you is in your favor or not, I'm not going to hate myself for using it if I feel it suits the right purpose.
  • Rude people don't deserve to win against my manners.  Well-placed deviousness can be a powerful ally against a jerk who gets away with their bad behavior because no one wants to make a scene.  And, before you start, this isn't about being weak; we all have seen those powderkegs who are just begging for a spark.  Go ahead and be that spark that makes everything explode--when they're not around anything you love.  
  • Manipulation isn't a bad thing but it is a witch thing.   To manipulate, strictly speaking, is to shape with one's hands.  And witches do this all the time; it's a good example of what it feels like to cast a spell.  But manipulation has become another boogey man for an otherwise powerful caster to fear.  You say you don't change people, only situations?  Well, situations are made of people.  It's their thoughts, goals, and actions that create problems.  If you want to stop a problem, you're stopping a person.  If you want to get a house or a new car, that's one less for another person. Should you feel bad?  Of course not!  There will be other chances for them, other houses, other cars, and other messes they can get themselves into.  You're not ruining their life, just redirecting a tiny part of it.


At last we come to collateral damage, that old terror.  "If you cast a spell to get money, you could find out the next day that someone in your family died and you now have an inheritance!"  What claptrap!

This farfetched tale is used (often!) to illustrate why magic should only be a pathetically small part of what you do to fix a problem.  This puts magic in the ranks of, at worst, a placebo and at best, self-help mind games.  Those are terrible reasons to cast spells, as
well as being lousy at inspiring newcomers to even bother with learning proper technique. What's the point?  It's all the same, right?  Whether you teach people that magic is only a boost to hard work or that it is far too powerful for you to contain, you're doing the same thing--crippling potential.

So what is the actual likelihood of hurting some poor innocent with your spell?  Not very likely at all, it turns out.  I've done many kinds of spells and rarely have they affected others in a negative way.  Even then, it was not life-threatening, only inconvienent or (once or twice) scary.  That's pretty good considering the amount of magic I've used over the years and how much of it has been lobbed at others.

So to get to the basis of this concern let's dig into it with pick and shovel.


Collateral Damage

  • Nothing is guaranteed in magic.  Everything is in motion; there is no such thing as a static situation no matter how slow-moving it may seem.  There may be information you don't have, relationships of which you're not aware.  You must understand and prepare for surprising interactions.  You could be a positive influence or a negative one depending on minute details.
  • Major change is always subjective.   When things shift, there are bound to be people who think it's the end of the world.  But just as many might say it's the reprieve they'd waited years to see.  Know that there will be opinions beyond your own.  You needn't feel like a monster just because one was bad.
  • Keep the gravity of the problem at the forefront.   The worse a problem is, the less you should worry about what little slip-ups may come.  At some point it may come down to greater and lesser evil.
In the end, you should know that even small situations have the potential to create unintentional harm but, no matter what, it's not an exceptional danger.  If being struck by lightning is keeping you from walking in the rain, you're missing out on a fantastic life.

My final word on the matter is that cursing isn't the problem, incompetence is.  It can ruin any form of magic and turn good men into beasts.  Know our craft, how you feel about the risks, and what you'll do if your work goes awry.  Be smart, be safe, be responsible, and do what needs done!


Related reading includes Dreams and Curses,  Gigi's First Big Spell,  How to Tell if You're Cursed


Images from:
www.vanseodesign.com
www.bloodloveandlustspells.com

About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 








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