Witch Tip--Unpleasant Truths: Our Community's Mental Health Issues

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I realize that this is a difficult topic to breach for anyone, let alone the magical community where so many of us found acceptance after being shunned by the world outside.  To many, many practitioners, this is a safe and comforting place where we can be ourselves without judgment.

On the mundane side of things is the simple fact that a dangerous number of individuals with mental health issues are not coming forward or being properly diagnosed.  The stigma of needing help to balance one's mental landscape is too great for a lot of people to bear, so they hide their issues as best they can.  Others cannot afford doctors and treatment.  Still more have been on medication in the past and have chosen to go unmedicated for as long as possible, believing the drugs change them and that without such "unnatural" help, they are, in fact, their true selves.

The occult is all about seeing the world with an inner eye, delving boldly into the underlying beauty and terror of the universe, reaching for the pinnacle of human understanding.  But what if what you're seeing is really just a dangerous hallucination?  What if those guiding omens were delusion?  How can you tell if you are indeed powerful and important or just experiencing symptoms of unaddressed inner turmoil?

It's been my experience that the magical world contains a stunning number of people with Bi-polar Disorder, and of those I've met, none were currently on their medication.  They said that the doctors gave them drugs to keep them from being creative, from having visions, and to stifle their magic.  You can imagine how difficult it was to come up with a response that wouldn't be pushed aside as just more of the same "mundane" thinking they believed was ruining witchcraft.

But that isn't witchcraft, people, it's dangerous.  Magic is something you can and should do with all your wits about you.  You don't need to have mental imbalances to see visions or speak with spirits.  In fact, I'd prefer if that were the case.

Here's a little story.  Many years ago, I met a young man--in a very mundane way--while grocery shopping.  He, amazingly, picked me out immediately as a witch.  I wasn't wearing anything that would make the average person suppose it, but somehow he figured me out.  He was eccentric, but I didn't see any harm in him while he talked rapidly and happily about his journeys into spirit conjuration.  I replied with more reserve than him, but didn't try to calm his fervor.  After all, he was in his early 20's and thrilled to meet another practitioner.  Who wouldn't throw caution to the wind and share magical experiences with abandon?  I gave him my phone number so we could talk more later.

You might suppose that giving him my number was the mistake.  In fact, letting him carry on was probably where I should have corrected myself.  Because I gave him the unspoken acceptance of the tales he spun in person, on the phone he opened up even further.  Demons regularly visited him.  He once killed a Goddess to punish a former friend.  His past life continually intruded on his current life, causing black outs and showing him long periods of that time in a dreamlike state.  The Devil himself wanted to talk to him.  And after all that, he needed me to ask around the Catholic church for any priests available for performing an exorcism on him.  

All of this was amusing at first but when put together, it became troubling, then terrifying.  He told me finally about the meds and how he only pretends to take them.  He was diagnosed as Bi-polar, but he knew better; he was special and would someday be the savior of the world.  I didn't believe he was Bi-polar, either--it looked much more like Schizophrenia.  I ran.

After that, I no longer answered the phone and he eventually stopped calling.  But what if he had known where I lived?  What if we were related or worked together?  To what extent could these delusions have taken him, a vain but seemingly unprepared actor in a movie under someone else's direction?  At what point would the average person have shut this down, and how much sooner than an occultist?

I'm no stranger to interesting magical tales.  I've listen with rapt attention to the conjurations of others, witnessed--and personally experienced--powerful deity possessions, made incredible things happen with spells.  I've seen with my own eyes fairies, sprites, and gnomes with others present to verify it.  So I know what it's like to see and do things that no one else would get.  But we're talking about something altogether different here.

This is the fatal flaw in the magical community; just because someone tells rich and detailed stories about their magical work doesn't make them true.  In our eagerness to be accepting and non-judgmental, we let in dangerous thinking without even a moment's hesitation.  We say "everyone's experience is different" rather than identifying patterns and beliefs that could point to mental problems.  We don't want to be like other groups, so we bring in all those who were both unjustly and justly removed from them.

If you know someone who seems a little off, do some research into the most common types of mental illness.  When they talk, stick to the big picture and stop them from trying to make their delusions real for you.  This sounds mean, but it could cost you something far worse than your time.  

Quick Link--Non-Wiccan Witchcraft

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Traditional Witchcraft Articles and Information

The occult community in the modern day has much to thank Wicca for.  And yet, it was an imperfect announcement that the Wiccan tradition made to mundane society, and because of that, Wicca will forever be linked in the minds of many people with the "authentic" practice to which all others aspire.  That is definitely not the case.

The world of magic is vast and varied, with many traditions veering off into their own space and bearing almost no resemblance to others in the same area.  There is definitely no "one true way" when it comes to magic.

Traditional Witchcraft is one of the many paths taken pre-Wicca--as well as post--and it's particulars are unique and rich.

If you've ever been expected to conform to rules that work for Wiccan practitioners but no one else, you will certainly enjoy this elucidating read!

Let's Talk About: Being Witchy with Mundane People

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

It's been overstated how little occultists are interested in converting others and understated how important personal expression really is.  Speaking our minds and trying to modify those of others are not the same thing.

It's true, generally magic users don't dream of everyone in the world becoming one too.  And if they did, we really wouldn't care; we're very much a "to each his own" crowd.  However, being this disconnected has created another problem, an assumption that magic folk shouldn't--or can't--talk about their practice with outsiders.  I'd like to say right away that this isn't so, and may even be hindering your progress.

My early years as a practitioner were fun for me because I didn't have any limits.  I kept staunch secrecy (even to the guy I was dating at the time who was a dabbler and very open about it!) so no one questioned me--my decisions, the books I chose to read, the spells I cast, all of it was up to my own inspiration.  No one condemned me.

But that meant that no one challenged me, either.

No one made me examine those decisions and really work through the processes in my head.  I was happy not to have anyone's influence, but it would have been helpful to have their insight.

And then there was the time, many years later, when I was standing among a group of new acquaintances--who did not yet know I practiced--as they bonded over their mutual distaste for a co-worker who was Wiccan.  Their mockery of him was based on his general awkwardness coupled with what little they knew of his beliefs.  It displayed more about them being pointlessly aggressive and elitist than showing anything negative about Wicca.  That could have been a perfect time for me to chime in and clear up some misconceptions, as well as shut down what could be considered hate speech.

But I was not in a position that I felt was strong enough to speak up.  When the perfect moment had passed, I realized how important a moment it was, not because I needed to correct these women or because I wanted to make the guy better liked, but because we deserve a strong defense.

As you can see, I completely understand the kinds of thoughts that prevent the magical community from being open to outsider discussions.  Besides the assumption that we should remain an insular group, there are some really unappealing images that many of us fear we project when speaking up.  Rather than try to dissuade you from thinking that way, let's bring those images out in the light.

Street Corner Preacher

You open your mouth to spread a bit of enlightenment but in your head you must certainly be screaming through a bullhorn and wearing a sandwich sign.  It's okay, you're (probably) not actually doing that.

Combat it with:

  • Short, clear statements
  • Terms we all understand--don't say things like "paradigm shift" 
  • If you're asked a question, answer only that.  Don't complicate things

Rebellious Teen

Many of us started out our occult careers as teenagers (I certainly did), but that doesn't mean we want to be written off as bored and rejected kids who crave attention.   If that's not what you're doing, then don't let that be what you're saying.  

Combat it with:
  • Not trash talking other practises
  • Separate information--your viewpoint is important, just make sure you're clear about it being an opinion
  • Your message must be about what you do, not what others think of you

Flower Child

When you're the first actual spellcaster someone has met--and don't laugh, that has happened to me several times--you might be surprised to find out what they're expecting to see.  It's okay not to normalize witchcraft; it is indeed special and different.  Plus, you'll probably have no choice but to describe certain topics in a fanciful way, but that doesn't mean you'll lose cred doing so.

Combat it with:

  • Be authentic. Show the side of your personality that comes out most with magic
  • Remember how it felt when this was new to you and speak in a way that is reminiscent of that
  • Be descriptive, liken one thing to another, explain and express.  Paint an emotional picture.  It's okay to wax a bit poetic if the conversation is going deep
  • Project a balanced, realistic image.  Magic doesn't send you off into other realms; it's for the here and now

The Pretentious Nonconformist

I know, there's a bit of pretention that will probably come out around some folks no matter what you do to fight it.  Any time I find myself caught in conversation with someone who says "Yuck!  I hate to read!" or "When I'm not at work, I pretty much just watch tv until it's time to go back to work," unless I catch myself I feel my eyes start to roll and a give snobby sniff from my upturned nose.  We all have our limits.

But you're not really a snob and neither am I.  I think that most of us do our best to find a point of connection with others, and when talking about something that is so close to our hearts, maybe we put even more into that connection.

Combat it with:

  • Focus on the personal stories.  It's these things that are most interesting to outsiders and what makes your viewpoints the most human
  • Don't fight against pop culture references.  There are little pieces of what we do in familiar things like Harry Potter and Charmed.  Talk about what's real and what's inspirational; they know you don't actually ride a broom
  • Remember to note the little things that non-practitioners can identify with: mementos from loved ones as protective objects, actions and circumstances that bring good luck, even dream interpretation
  • Share your experiences as casually as others do.  If you're asked what you did over the weekend and you spent it at a festival or celebrated the Sabbat, say that.  It's just another part of who you are.  If they want to know more, they'll ask; if not, they'll move on

We can be as open about our beliefs and practices as anyone else.  We don't have to fear appearing like a bland stereotype when the truth is so rich and complex.  When we open up we give the people in our lives a glimpse of what is most important to us, but we also open them up for tolerance and understanding in a corner of society that easily suffers from a lack of both.  All it takes for outsiders to see it is a willingness to share one little piece at a time.


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Quick Link--Free Natal Charts

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Free Natal Chart Generator

Whether you normally follow the course of your stars or not, having a natal chart cast for you is a deeply meaningful and useful method of bringing awareness to the influences of the very underpinnings of your personality and lifeline.

If all this seems overly complex, it's because it is, in a general way.  There are many calculations that must be made to create the chart, a good deal of information that one must have about the intended person's birth, plus books, lists, and time.

The reason that astrologers undergo such effort is because either they A) are simply in love with facts and figures, or B) in the past have had a successful chart of their own.   To become one of the second group, look no further than today's link!  Here you can have a computer-generated chart of your own to chart your course today.

Spells that Make Life Beautiful

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

With our standard spellwork to get better jobs, protect loved ones from danger, find romance, and make that Becky at work back the **** off, we often forget that life and witchcraft are best enjoyed through the simple appreciation of beauty.

What is beautiful to you?  What makes your heart swell with joy to see, to hear, to experience?  Magic can bring that to you, if you're trying for it.  Maybe you seek beautiful surroundings, enriching company, stimulating travel, experiences that make your memories like lovely picture postcards for you to sort through slowly again and again.  Think carefully on what your own concepts are of a life filled with loveliness.

Of course, everyone has to have a starting point.  Here are a few non-essential but utterly needful spells to cast right away for a beautiful life.

To Make the Hair Grow Long 

 Grind dried peach pits and steep this in vinegar.  Strain and use it to rinse your hair and scalp to make your hair grow thick and fast.

(from The Anglo-Saxon Charms, Felix Grendon, 1909)

To Understand the Language of Birds

Any girl who touches the petals of the Marigold with her bare feet will hear the songs of birds and understand what they say to one another.

(from Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham 1985)

Acorn Charm for a Fulfilling Life

Carrying 3 acorns in your pocket, tied in a lock of your own hair, will give you the gifts of youth, beauty, and achievement of your desires in life.

(from Garden Spells, Claire Nahmad, 1994)

To Improve Your Sex Life

Tuck a few Magnolia leaves under your mattress and watch the sparks fly!

Add an infusion of Thyme to your bathwater to become more attractive.

Some Sampson root carried on your person will make you more virile.

(from The Complete Book of Spells, Curses, and Magical Recipes, Dr. Leonard Ashley, 2010)

Daily Elixir for Positive Change

At noon, stand in full light of the sun and dip out a spoonful of honey, letting the rays of the sun shine through it.  Eat 3 spoonfuls this way, then say aloud:

Sun charge me,
Gold serve me,
Alchemy change me,
Honey preserve me.

(from Crone's Book of Magical Words, Valerie Worth, 1971)

To Remove Bores

Slip outside without your unwanted company noticing.  Sweep the front doorstep and threshold to your home with your kitchen broom and say the following 3 times:

From my home
I bid you gone,
Tarry not
But return anon.

Post the broom outside the door with the brush pointing up.  Your guests will cut short their visit and leave.

(from Book of Spells, Marc de Pascale, 1971)

What can you add to this list?  Is there something that you feel makes life a pleasant experience and not just a successful one?  Set out to find spells for that.  

If you don't find them, write them.


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Witch Tip--Charm: To Conjure the Weather

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Dealing in weather magic is often a tricky matter.  First, though we know that there really is no such thing as a day without weather, we only really recognize weather systems.  This means that the build up to a rainstorm could go unnoticed and the after effects of hail might seem more important in our minds than the hail storm itself.  These details can make weather magic difficult because we're emphasizing the wrong phases where actual change can be made.

Second, there are a good deal of casters who feel strongly against any work designed to change or postpone weather systems.  Keep in mind that the organization of wind and water work as a constant swirl around the globe; nothing ever actually stops, it only dissipates to other areas or changes path altogether.  You can, and sometimes should, make this happen.  I was part of a group work to protect the East Coast from the category 4 Hurricane Irene in 2011.  By the time we had completed our spells, what was initally feared to be the "worst storm in a lifetime" was being given a progressively lower rating, and when it finally touched land, it had been downgraded to a "Tropical Storm."  Success!  So much was preserved by rerouting that huge system through the use of magic.  I don't regret my hand in it at all.

The charm I offer here, however, is much smaller and more localized.  If you have an event that must be spared from inclement conditions or necessary travel during a threatening season, this little work from Valerie Worth is your ideal spell.

To Conjure the Weather

Say this to the morning sky when you first awake:

Sun, Rain, Cloud, Snow,
I rise up
And over you go--
To bend my way
To serve my day.

Quick Link--New Spellcaster? Here's Help!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Advice for Beginner Spellcasters

The period of "beginner" actually lasts quite a bit longer than most witches will admit.  Indeed, moving beyond it requires study and careful practice that might take years to achieve.  If you know just what to do when a problem arises and where to find the ideal spell to combat it, then you have managed this.  Otherwise, take a long look at today's link and receive some guidance to that which you didn't know you didn't know.

About Me

My photo

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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