The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tarot Readers...

I have been reading Tarot for a rather long time. It was one of the absolute first forms of divination I was introduced to that I had to actually learn. I had some clairsentient/audient/voyant abilities that I had already begun to hone, but Tarot was something very different, it was something I actually had to work at.

I was rather smug about it in the beginning. I thought because I was already a deep intuitive with some serious medium skills that Tarot would be really easy to learn for me, that I would just pick up a card and everything would be made clear. That first deck of cards, Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, was a huge blow to my ego, which I believe, was definitely the intention. It was through this challenge that I really learned a lot about not only my own skills, but what makes a good solid Tarot reader, and Tarot readers in general.

Tarot readers are a really fun bunch of people. You get a number of us in a room together, and we are comparing decks we have, talking about the new ones coming out, enabling each others wish lists, discussing strange clients and readings we have done lately, and even comparing patterns we are seeing to see if this is shared with the other readers. For all of our differences in styles and deck tastes, there are really actually only three different types of Tarot readers.

I refer to the first type of reader as a Technical Tarot Reader. The Technical reader memorizes the meanings of every card and every combination of cards, works with a strictly formatted spread and never deviates from this. Quite a few people start out this way, buy a book or two and a deck of cards, and sit down to study diligently. There is nothing wrong with being a reader like this. I have known a number of readers who are strong competent reader and give decent readings. The only time they really begin to run into problems is in those moments, that come far more often than you think, where the rules need to go out the window, and the reading needs to move beyond the cards.

The second type of reader is on the opposite end of the structured spectrum, one who reads completely through their own intuition. Many people try to start out this way, and I have met a number of extraordinarily talented Intuitive Tarot Readers in my day, people who really are in tune with the universe and generally have the right thing to say when it is needed. These readers can be brilliantly deep and mystifying, as long as their intuition holds out. There is nothing worse than watching an intuitive reader who is having a bad run, where nothing is clicking or coming through the veil, with nothing to fall back on but guess work.

The third type is, in my opinion, really the strongest, most competent type of reader in the spectrum, sitting comfortable right in the middle. This reader is the perfect combination of the previous two readers. They have a wonderful intuitive connection to the universe and a strong working sense of the Tarot. They have studied and come to understand the technical meanings of the cards, how they relate to one another and the advantages of working within a spread, yet they aren’t locked into the technical aspects. They still allow their intuition to take the wheel in their readings; the technical stuff is just a springing off point and a solid back up plan when things go sideways.

Now, I am not saying that technical or intuitive readers are bad readers, as I have met a number of people from both camps that are fantastic readers when they are on their game. But, the key to becoming a competent, well-rounded Tarot reader, something I learned and experienced over the years, is to find that happy center between the two. Intuition is an amazing thing, but some days it really needs some help. And, understanding the technical aspects of Tarot gives your intuition something to jump off of, a key to unlock the information that the sitter is needing to move forward from where they are.

And whether you choose to just pick up a deck and wing it, or pick up a book and study your backside off, the real secret to competent Tarot reading applies to all types of readers. You have to actually practice. Tarot is like any other skill set. If you do not practice it on a reasonably regular basis, everything you are learning will not sink in. You have to practice over and over again to allow the information you have studied sink in, and that pathway between you and your intuitive self to get stronger. I have taught Tarot for a few years now and one of the most frustrating things I see are the people who only open their cards up during class, and cannot figure out why they are not getting it. Tarot is not just a divinatory tool but a complicated skill set that needs to be honed.

For me, I am happily in the middle. I figured out a long time ago that the Crowley system did not work for me, and switched to the Rider Waite System. I studied, practiced and read for anything that wasn’t nailed down, honing both the technical and intuitive aspects of my reading skills. I feel that after 25 years, I am a decent reader. I should probably read more frequently, but I don’t worry as much about it as I used to. I have really hit that comfortable middle ground in Tarot reading, that place where I can sit back and not stress on neither my intuition working nor my memory holding up but just enjoy reading.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Don't Fear the Reiving...

This time of year is my busy season. It starts somewhere around mid to late June, and plows straight through to the end of the year like some calendar driven steam engine, event after event marching into the next year. This means that there are just some things that end up pushed to the side. One of these things is that deep cleaning and clearing thing: picking up the clutter, clearing the dust bunnies, and all those housey things that lend themselves to be put off over and over again.

The downside of this, besides things being messy and dusty, is that it also creates energy issues, that feeling of oppression, a bit of helplessness because you know you need to take care of these things, but you are too tired or simply do not have the time. Stagnant energy can begin to pool in places where energy isn't flowing, and can actually turn nasty. I was lucky enough (ok, sort of forced because the Crone Mobile was in the shop for a few days) to be able to squeak out the time to do something about it.

The way in which I attack this goes beyond just the physical cleaning. I do what is called Reiving. Reiving is the process of cleaning with intent, so you are not just removing the dust bunnies, but are also consciously removing the negative energy as well. As you dust, clear the clutter, vacuum, do the dishes or the laundry, you are also putting forth your intent that these actions are removing the negative energy from the space. There are other aspects that I add as well.

To my dusting and cleaning supplies that I use for reiving, I add an energy cleansing decoction that I have made that includes herbs and essential oils that cleanse space, as well as break hexes (never can be too sure). This decoction is stored in a jar that also includes crystals that also, imbuing the liquid with their energy. and a quartz crystal point to boost the effects of the spray. I also have a small string of crystals on the handle of my vacuum to further help the cleansing process.

Another part of my cleansing process is to make sure all my crystals take a trip outside. Sunlight and moonlight cleanse and recharge crystals, and it doesn’t hurt to blow the dust off as well (I have even let them sit out in the rain to be cleaned, with the exception of my pieces that cannot get wet). This can also apply to any statuary that you may have placed about, even if it is only for a little while. It will help not only blow off the dust, but the negative energy as well.

Clutter can also be a negative energy collector. Piles of stuff that no longer serve a purpose or just have not made it to where it belongs not only creates clutter and personal stress, but it creates a blockage in a home’s energy flow, causing energy to pool and take on an negative aspect. Take the time to put it away or put it out of your home. This will open up the energy flow of your space, and make it feel better by leaps and bounds.

Once you have finished Reiving, finished moving all that negative energy out, you need to actively invite positive energy in. This can be done by walking around with incense or a candle, saying something about asking the universe to fill this space with light, love and prosperity. Or, you can light a small candle in each room saying the same thing. I like using candles that smell warm and homey, like vanilla, or the "Home Sweet Home" candle from Elements of Rejuvenation (love those folks!!). These are warm, positive scents that fill a space with a wonderful feeling.

It is important to remember that all things collect not just dust, but negative energy. Physically cleaning while focusing your intent for not just on the cleaning part, but the cleansing of negative energy as well, will help to clear all that. That is all that Reiving really is, mindful cleaning. Mindful cleaning is energy clearing, which opens the flow of your space for positive energy to come in.


Urban Crone

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Terrorist: Chapter one

I have been writing off and on, have a number of books started on flashdrives. So, I am going to actually start sharing chapters from this book. Not going to tell you what the premis is but let you figure it out for yourself. Here is the first chapter (rough draft) of the first book, "Terrorist":

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?” asked the low, soft female voice at the front of the meeting hall. “Have you accepted God as the one, true God, and Christianity as the one, true faith?”

Phinn stood to the back of the hall, leaning casually against the wall near the door as she watched the small woman at the front of the crowd work the room. And she was small, perhaps even tiny, in her small pink channel suit, tiny glasses perched on a button nose through which peered tiny, almost rat-like blue eyes. The only thing that could be called big about Millicent Smith Hartford was the strange fluffed up and twisted mound of blond hair on top of her head, like someone electrocuted a yellow cat and then set it on her head to recuperate.

Another thing that could be called big about MS. Hartford, a more terrifying and sinister thing, was the number of people who followed her, listened to her, praised her, and drank every last word she had to say like it was sweet tea in the summer. But, though they sounded sweet, her words were poison.

“There is no other God, no other faith,” Hartford continued to the cheers of her audience. “There are those who call themselves Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, Heathens, Pagans and all sorts of other nonsense, but I know what they are. We all here today know what they are. Do you see it? Do you really know? Can you see through their lies and demonic ways what they truly are?”

The crowd was whipped into a frenzy at this point. Shouts of agreement, of anger, of “demons” and “devil-worshipers” and a variety of other words and phrases filled the hall, making the blue walls feel that much darker, stealing the light from the room and making it feel suddenly much closed in on Phinn. She kept her breathing steady, feeling the cold silver of the pentacle hanging under her sweater, between her breasts.

She had been to a number of meetings like this before, even a few which were headed by Hartford. The words were no different, and yet something felt very different this time. Maybe it was because the crowd was larger this time, hovering somewhere around maybe 100 heads. Or perhaps something else. Something was different, though, and Phinn began considering whether or not now would be a good time to slip out of the hall and be on her way.

“They are terrorists,” Hartford proclaimed, really emphasizing the word “terrorists” in a sinister, hissing sort of way that made Phinn’s skin crawl. “Spiritual terrorists bent on destroying our Christian nation, poisoning the minds of our young, defiling even the words of Christ himself and the Holy word of God for their own demonic ends.”

Hartford stopped her pacing across the front of the room and stared hard at the crowd, her beady eyes piercing the souls of those she looked into. Phinn felt her gaze moving across the crown, slowly up the center and towards her. She quickly pulled up her defenses and steeled her mind as the woman’s penetrating glace reached her at the top of the center aisle by the door. Hartford’s gaze lingered on her for a moment, looking the tall, willowy young dark-haired woman up and down to get her measure. She broke her gaze and continued on her diatribe.

“I have given many, many of these talks across several states,” she stated in a low, smooth voice that felt like silk around one’s throat. “I have spoke to many, many people who feel as we do, who are waiting and wondering when these terrorists will be dealt with. They are in our schools, our towns, even some of our homes. If the Taliban had invaded our country as these spiritual terrorists have, we would have had a call to arms, routed them out and destroyed every last one of them. Why have we not?”

Hartford paused for a moment. Phinn could have heard a pin drop at the deep silence in the hall, if it wasn’t for her heart pounding in her chest. She knew she had to stay to the end, or be seen as suspicious, but she wanted to run screaming from the hall.

“We have not,” she continued, “because our government will not declare one true faith so that we can outlaw the others and begin the eradication of these spiritual terrorists. But, that ends soon.”

And then she smiled a big, wide, Cheshire cat sort of grin, like someone who had just been given the key to all things possible. There had been rumors, sure. There have been rumors for years. Phinn’s watch group had been hearing them from fanatics and their groupies for a few years now, but none of the rumors ever panned our, was always just a way to get butts in the seats, money in their coffers and keep their people fired up. But, there was something about the way Hartford looked right now, the width of that smile and a light in her eyes that made Phinn wonder if this was really the day.

“I have been in talks with a large group of legislators on the state and federal level,” Hartford purred, so obviously proud of herself. “ I believe, as do that, that the country is finally ready, that there is finally enough support across the board, to bring a bill to congress declaring Christianity the national, and only, religion in the United State of America.”

It was as if a bomb exploded as the crowd became one roaring, cheering voice of ecstasy. People were hugging, crying, praying and praising together in this melee of happiness. People had rushed the front of the hall, wanting to touch the person who was their salvation from these “spiritual terrorists”, and she, arms wide like some pink, cotton-candy colored messiah accepting and embracing her disciples.

In the pandemonium, no one had noticed that the tall, willowy, dark-haired girl in the back had slipped out the door, racing to the car and her partner waiting outside.

Phinn nearly pulled the handle off the car door in her frenzy to be quit of that place. Trembling and in tears, she sank down in the passenger seat and closed her eyes as they pulled away. She always thought there would be more time, that it would never come to this. She always hated to be proven wrong.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The All-Powerful Love Altar

   With moving, there is the process of unpacking, arranging, rearranging, sorting and purging. It can be an incredibly challenging, almost life altering experience. As I go along, I have been asking myself what it is that I really want in my home. Your home is sort of like a giant Vision Board, a message to the Universe that these are the things that are important to you, these are the things I wish to keep, and to attract more of  into your life.  As I look at my home in this way, one of the most significant things I know that I wish to have in my life is one of the most important things in the Universe: Love.  And, in looking at ways in which I can convey to the Universe that I would like to keep love in my life, keep the love I have strong as well as attract more love into my life, I came to one conclusion: Every home should have a Love altar. What do I mean by this?
   A Love altar is a space in your home, large or small, that celebrates the love you have in your life and tells the Universe that you are open to receiving more. This last part is especially significant to those who are looking for love. How does the Universe really know you are ready to have Love in your life? How do you treat Love? Do you honor it? A Love altar is the solution to your issues.
   For the single person looking for Love, your altar should include things that symbolize what your ideal Love looks like. NOT who the ideal person may be or their physical characteristics. What does true Love look like to you? It could be books of poetry and beautiful paintings of happy couples, sharing an intimate moment or doing something that you would like to do with your beloved (not sex), like having a picnic or hiking. Statues depicting two lovers embracing and sharing an intimate moment (still not sex) can symbolize that deep connection you are seeking. Red (passionate love) and pink (that sweet, romantic love) candles and candle holders can attract Love energies. Rose Quartz (love) and Blue Lace Agate (honest communication) are good stones to place on this altar as well, attracting those energies into your life. Think about what represents true Love for you, the things that come to mind when you think about that perfect Love. Those are the symbols you want on your Love altar because those are the things that will say to the Universe, "I am open to receive Love, and these are what represent Love for me."
   For those already in a relationship, your Love altar is a celebration of your love. On this altar, should be things that represent moments of bliss in your relationship (not sex), like pictures from your wedding or a significant event where you were captured together and happy. If you had a handfasting, this is where your cord should be, displayed as a symbols of your lives bound together until the end of time. Little tokens that you have given each other over the course of your relationship should be on here as well. Not every scrap of paper and dried flower (big no no as they drain energy), but the things that really created a feeling of blissful Love within you when they gave it to you. Statues and pieces of art depicting couples in Love are also great for this space. Gemstones, incense and candles that represent romantic, enduring Love and open communication should also be placed on your Love altar, to keep that energy coming in.
   Your Love altar, according to Feng Shui, should be in the southeast corner of a room. If you are wanting to keep your privacy, you can place it in your bedroom. Otherwise, you can place in any room of your home, except your bathroom, that you spend time in. You should interact with it. Light a red and pink candle at least every new moon as a way of renewing passion and romantic love. Make sure there aren't any cobwebs or unnecessary items cluttering around your altar. Also, recharge the stones on your altar once a month by setting them in the Sun for an hour or so, just to keep the energy fresh.
  Update the altar every so often with a new picture or item, or rotate the items you keep on there from a keepsake box (in which you store only positive things associated with your Love) to the altar and back as a couple, talking about the fond memory as you place the returning item back on your altar. This keeps the energy in motion and shows the Universe that your Love is just as strong and happy as that moment the item captures.
   The size of your Love altar is really dependent on how much space you have. Not too many people have a large enough space to create a giant shrine to their Love in their home. A shelf on a bookcase or small shelf hung on the wall is more than sufficient. Keep in mind that the smaller the altar, the more significant you will have to make sure each item is to your Love. If you can only have one, for whatever reason, I feel one in the bedroom is more significant than one in your living room as your bedroom is the one space in your home where the two of you are not Mom and Dad or whatever, but lovers. A good Love altar can remind you of that, even when times are tough.
   Your Love altar not only serves to show the Universe that you are grateful for Love and open to receive more, but serves as a reminder in the tough time that you Love each other, you have shared wonderful moments of pure, perfect Love that nothing (for the most part) can take away, and that you are a couple, a team in this Universe. In the chaos of every day life, we can sometimes forget these things. A Love altar celebrates your Love, reminds you of the brilliance of your Love, and can serve as a beacon of Light, even in the darkest of moments.
   Every home should have a Love altar. For the couple, it says to the Universe "We honor the gift you have given us and are open to receiving more." To the single person, the Love altar is a beacon, a sign to the Universe that says, "I honor Love and I am open to receive the Love you send my way." In both cases, it is about honoring one of the most important things in the Universe, the one thing that most people strive for over wealth, and that thing that people say makes the world go around: Love.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cosmic Emotional Calamity...

    Venus traipsing across the Sun and the Ecliptic fan dance of the Moon, along with a variety of other Astrological shenanigans have some of us feeling incredibly raw at the moment. The combination of these phenomena have open the proverbial Pandora' box of suppressed emotions from current heartbreak to long lost childhood wounds.
    For some, there is just so much emotional introspection going on that they feel as though they are being turned inside out, left feeling raw, naked and vulnerable. It is so easy to look so deep inside at all the emotional carnage from the past, both immediate and distant past, that we feel like we will fall in and be swallowed whole, lost forever. Many of us have unfinished emotional business we have filed away in the hopes that it will just eventually fade into nothingness.While that may work out for some people, others are like time bombs ready to go off under just the right cosmic allignment and circumstances, eventually forced to deal with all the emotional baggage the had shoved deep into the back of the closet.  
    For others, there is this overwhelming urge to curl up in the fetal position for a nice long hibernation. This is especially true of empaths, like myself. Not only are we dealing with our own emotional wreckage but we are also being bombarded with the emotional slaughter of others. Most empaths have safe-guards against this onslaught, but with the incredibly amount of shifting energies, expanding consciousnesses, and variety of other awesome cosmic goodies, we are having to fine tune and make constant adjustments to our defenses. Not a great time to have things storming the wall when you are having to rearrange the bricks to make them fit. 
    I am not speaking for all empaths. Many are able to manage it all and keep going, while some get knocked off balance from time to time. Everyone is an individual and deal with their emotions in their own way, some not at all. There are things I do to help myself during these times, things that help me keep my sanity as the little birds of the emotions of myself and others twitter about my head. Here are some of these things:
1. Keep the home fires burning:
    In my previous blog post, I talked about creating a "base camp". This is especially vital for anyone who is an empath or does any sort of energy work. You have to have some place where you can decompress, ground and feel safe from all the external emotions and energies coming at you. Even if it is just one room of your home, everyone needs that free air space to breathe in. You should be able to walk into this space and immediately feel it's positive effects. If not, do your home work and make it happen.
2. Know when to say when:
    Humans are innately social creatures, generally wired to gather, mingle and socialize through a variety of events. When you belong to a family, specific group or community, there are expectations to attend events. In order to survive these things without becoming a hermit, you have to learn to prioritize what to attend and what to pass on. There can be a great deal of pressure from family and peers to attend every single event that comes down the pike, but it really is not required. Your well-being is far more significant than attending every birthday party, weekend blow out, barbeque and barmizvah that you are invited to. Look at what things are important to you, what people are really significant in your life. When you get an invite, really look at where it falls in the overall scheme of things. And, those times when you are feeling especially vulnerable, its ok to say no. Better you say no than go and not have fun or be a totally downer for the rest of the crowd.
    This also means knowing when to leave. You go to an event to hang out with your friends and thing are going great. Then, someone or something changes the feel of the energy on the room, not a little change but a huge, brain-splitting change. You have two choices in this situation: sit and suffer in silence or make a polite excuse and leave. If you stay, the people who really know you will know something is wrong. You can't expect to just sit there like a brick and no one will notice this change in your demeanor. Be prepared for well-meaning, though crazy annoying, questions. If you can figure out a graceful way to exit, or if you really just are feeling like crap, it usually is best all the way around to just make an exit.
3. Finally, there is the Capture, Illumination and Release:
    The real key to dealing with anything in the universe is to define it, figure out exactly what the emotion is, what the real underlying issue is, and where it is coming from. It is sort of like having a virus on your computer. The very first thing your tech person will do is to isolate exactly what virus your computer has so that it can properly fix it. By isolating what emotion you are feeling and its souce, you are capturing that paticular emotion, allowing you to narrow your focus and deal with the issue in a more constructive manner. Sometime, you can actually just resolve the issue nice and neat, and be done with it.
    Sometime, you really can't. Your issue may be with someone you are no longer able to talk to, or is part of an event that occurred so long ago that it is just not possible to figure out the exact element that needs to be dealt with. As an empath, we are sometimes gifted with the emotional baggage of others, with no real way to resolve an issue that isn't ours. We may not even know the exact source of these emotions. In these instances, just letting go can be the best solution, allowing you to lighten your emotional load and go about your life.
    Every so often, especially when I am feeling particularly overloaded, I use the part of the lunar cycle to clean emotional house. I spend the 3 days of the Full Moon capturing the emotions that are really weighing on me. I examine them for ways to resolve them, even if it is possible. I call this the process of Illumination, using the light of the Full Moon to really examine what I am dealing with. Once I have looked at it from every angle, I prepare to release it on the first night of the Waning Moon cycle.
    Sometimes, I write my feelings down or draw an image that describes how I feel during the Full Moon cycle, and then burn it for my release ritual, scattering the ashes to the wind or burying them. Other times, I tie knots in an appropriately colored string while focusing on the emotion during the Illumination process so that I can untie them and release the emotion on the Waning Moon night. You can use candle magic as well for this, carving an appropriate symbol or sigil on the appropriate colored candle, and then burning it as part of your release ritual. 
   The possibilities are really endless with this method, creating a something to capture or symbolize the emotional state during the Full Moon phase, and then destroying the item as a means of releasing the unwanted emotions out into the universe during the Waning Moon cycle. Mind you, this is not effective if the emotion is coming as part of a repeat issue you have with a specific person, group or event. These emotional issues will have to be resolved mundanely and completely before they can actually be released properly.
    These are just some of the ways that I deal with these trying emotions. Everyone has their own way of dealing with them, and what works for some may not work for all. The important thing to understand, above all else, is that it is perfectly normal and ok to feel what you feel. Learning to deal with your emotions in a way that works for you is the key to not allowing them to prevent you from really living and enjoying your life.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Base Camp...

    I recently moved into a new place, like a big blank canvas for me to expand in. I didn't particularly like where I was living, for the most part, as it was cramped and felt rather cave-like. There was not enough room for my stuff, nor space enough for me to really work or create in. As such, the energy always felt a bit on the stagnant and opressive side, not allowing for growth, expansion or progress, things I actually saw reflected in my every day life. Why was this?
    Well, we spend a lot of time in our homes. Eating, sleeping, showering and doing whatever it is you do at home. It is your space, your domain, where you go to regroup, recoup and recharge your internal battery. It is also your tiny little "base camp" in this vast universe, where you lay out your life plans and decide what you want to bring into your universe. This is the crucial key, because if you are surrounded by negativity, you are going to unintentionally bring in negativity. I call this the Negative Life Flow.
    Negative Life Flow is when the energy of your Life pattern keeps you away from or even moves away from your desires and goals. This can occur because of road blocks, things pushing you another way, or even negative energy holding you stuck in place, dooming you to a repeated negative cycle that is nothing but toxic to your dreams and goals. Having your base camp in a place that is negative in some way can create this Negative Life Flow, keeping things from manifesting in a way you are wanting or even needing, keeping your Life from moving in a positive direction. What you need is a base camp that instills positive feelings, attracts the energy you need to create a Positive Life Flow in your life. To understand how to do this, you first have to understand the three key components of Positive Life Flow.  
    The first component of Positive Life Flow is attracting positive energy into your life. I once had a friend who was continuously bombarded with crap. What I noticed about them was that it almost seemed like when there was a lull in the action, they would basically stand there acting like they were waiting to recieve the next big pile of crap in the face, like they were inviting it, ordering it with a side of more crap. Crap attracts crap. Stop looking for crap. Your base camp should be a positive space, full of motivating, positive visual, audio and other sensory cues. You should be able to just step into this space and instantly feel the awesomeness coming towards you. Think of Positive Energy as the cool people everyone wants to hang out with. Your base camp has to be a space where the cool positive energy wants to come, hang out and do awesome things for you, like attract prosperity and love.
    Your base camp also needs to be an exclusive club, meaning absolutely no negative energy allowed. This is the second component of Positive Life Flow, keeping the negative out. Negative energy is like that really annoying friend that nobody really likes to hang out with, always bitching and complaining about how much their life sucks, the party sucks and they pretty much suck the life out of everything. How do you get away from them? You don't invite them in. You don't give them a house key. They are persona non grata in your base camp. If they show up at your door like a creepy pizza guy, you deal with them at your door, figuring out exactly what you need to do to deal with them as quickly as possible, all the while not letting them in. That is the key to dealing with negative energy.
    I am not saying you have to be happy and positive every moment of every day because that is not even remotely possible without some serious pharmacology. What I am saying is that when you are smacked in the face with a crap pie, you don't stand there and wear it for a while like a facial treatment. You figure out where the negative energy is coming from, why it is there, and how to disperse, rechannel and just drop kick it out of your space. If you can't figure it out, ask for help. If you don't have time to deal with it, set it aside with the clear and strict intent that you will not deal with it until you have time, and will not dwell on it or wear it around like a freaking crap hat. You will also give a specific time frame because you do not want this stuff just sitting there like roaches, festering, having babies, setting up housekeeping, creating a big fat pile of crap that keeps you from moving forward. The amount of negative crap you will have to shovel out of your path is directly proportionate to the amount of time you let it sit there and grow. Shovel it quick and be done with it so it is not blocking your forward progress.
    This is the third component to Positive Life Flow, keeping this positive life energy moving in a forward direction. This can actually be a tough one, especially if our base camp is full of what if's, if only's, and momentos of loss and regret. They act like pause buttons on your DVD player, holding you hovering in that one spot in time and not allowing you to move forward. There is nothing wrong with tokens and momento of the past in your base camp, but they should inspire you fly, give you comfort and strength to move forward, not act as anchors to hold you fixed to a moment in time. These are the things that should be in your base camp.
   Now, your base camp does not have to be your whole home. I am fortunate enough to where I could probably do that here as the only thing my boyfriend cares about is where he can put his tools and his underwear. Whether you are doing a big space, like a whole house, or a small room, the first thing is to pack away what triggers anything negative. You don't have to throw it away, just put it in a box for now until you can deal with the emotions it brings to the table. When you are finished doing that, look at what is left. How does it make you feel? Move stuff around; add stuff; subtract stuff. At each interval, stop and see how it feels. Leave the room for a while and come back, seeing if you still feel that positive life flow going on.
    Also, look at the space in your base camp and imagine how energy would move through it. Would it be able to flow freely or would it get bogged down? Would it even make it through the door? Positive Life Flow is about moving your life forward towards your goals, so the energy has to be able to move forward. Clutter equals chaos which equals negative movement, so stop it. Weird stuff lingering in your space distracts the energy, makes it stop and say "wtf?", ditch it. Be brutal, be honest. be real.
   And you realisitically cannot just tackle your entire house all at once, so don't beat yourself up or drive yourself insane. Start small. One room, one space. I, luckily, had that blank slate of a new place to work with. We brought just the furniture in and set that up. I had them place the boxes in the garage and started adding pieces in. I also utilized a number of the methods I talked in the blog I wrote back in January called "Magical Living Spaces". It is full of fantatic ideas about how to place things in a way to keep that Positive Life Flow on track.
    The bottom line is that a good base camp will keep that Positive Life Flow energy moving in the right direction. Added benefits are that your base camp is a place of healing, of finding your center when the rest of the world is just crazy, and a place where you honor the Divine within yourself. It doesn't have to be huge. Start by creating a small safe, nurturing and positive base camp in your corner of the universe, and see what happens to your universe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Protective Practices Part Three: Preventative Practices

Preventative Protective Practices
    The best way to do damage control is to do everything you can to prevent psychic hazards before it actually happens. Once they are imbedded in your life, it is not just the magic you are up against, but all of the mundane fall out that may come with it. Financial issues, personal issues, even the loss of a job or relationship and much more can be part of the mundane fall out from a psychic hazard. The purpose of a psychic attack is to really wreak havoc on your life, and undoing that havoc can be ten times worse that undoing the harmful magic that caused it.
My advice is that preventative protective practices should be a part of every witch’s, energy worker’s, reader’s, community leader’s, metaphysical shop owner’s and anyone else’s every day life who is part of or tied to a metaphysical community. I also advise it for anyone else who understands what kind of crappy things people can do to one another and is willing to do a little work to protect themselves.
The following are absolutes when it comes to preventing any psychic attack or danger from wreaking havoc in your life. I will give you some general information and guidance on these, but it is always best if these things are shaped by your own personal traditions and practices as you will be more likely to maintain them.
First, you must physically and spiritually cleanse your space often. This removes any harmful energy that may have collected in your space and works to try and prevent negative energy from being able to collect or take root. Physical cleaning and decluttering creates an important positive energy flow. This means that good energy flows through your space bringing in with it positive things, and will even cycle negative energy out if it should make it into your space. Physical cleansing includes what is called reiving, the practice of physically cleaning with the added intent that you are removing the build up of negative energy yuck. Cleansing and protective herbs and crystals can be added to your cleaning solutions to take your cleansing to an even higher level and enhance the reiving effect. Once this is finished, smudging the space with protective incense, resins or herbs will remove what is left.
Second, you must also actually establish what the boundaries of your space are and set up protective wards. Wards are shields that we put in place to protect a specific location. The first step in warding is to actually set the physical boundary of your space by walking clockwise the boundary of your location with the strong intent in mind of “marking this as my space”. You can also use physical marker to outline the boundary of your space with quartz crystals and other protective stones, or even by sprinkling your boundary with blend of salt and protective herbs.
Once you have established your boundary, set your ward in whatever fashion you feel comfortable using and maintaining. Most traditions will have something about wards as part of their repertoire. I usually recommend using what is part of your tradition because it is something you are going to have to want to maintain regularly, so it should feel comfortable to you, be a compilation of practices you are already familiar with.
The method I use is similar to setting a circle. I walk my boundary, sprinkling an infusion (think strong tea) of salt and protective herbs as I go. I then call on each of the quarters and ask them to protect the space. I do not use invoking pentacles to affix them to the space as I am asking politely that they just keep an eye on things, asking them to linger about without locking them in place. I will then call upon a protective deity of hearth and home to watch over my space. These will be the Deities that are honored and incorporated into my house altar as a sign of respect and gratitude. A house altar is also a great part of your warding, working towards blessing your home, inviting in prosperity and honoring ancestors and the Deities you have incorporated into your warding.
You can also set guards in the form of totems. These can be mythical creatures or animals that you feel deeply connected with. I have known several people who have used images of gargoyles, dragons and fairies as part of their ward for their homes. In my home, I have turtles and owls because these are the totems that I connect with. Each likeness of my totem has been “animated”  with protective energy by way of a small ritual, and are recharged on a regular basis.
 I maintain my wards often, at a minimum of every full moon, making sure to thank the deities I have chosen to guard my space. I will repeat the entire process once a month, or sooner if I feel like there may be something going on or may potentially be a problem. I will also repeat the cleansing and warding process if I have been doing a great deal of magical work.
Other locational protections include Witch bottles. These are forms of warding that redirect negative energy that may be heading towards you. The bottle is buried away from your home and will contain the harmful energy safely where it can’t harm you, slowly neutralizing it with the energy of the surrounding earth. These can take a number of forms, and instructions on their construction are widely available.
Third, you must also cleanse yourself and set personal boundaries in the form of grounding, maintaining a strong sense of center and shielding. The two easiest ways to cleanse your self are to smudge yourself and take a cleansing salt bath. You should realistically smudge yourself as soon as you walk in the door every day to cleanse off any of the day’s residual ick. Arguments, bad traffic, stupid people and daily annoyances can easily attach negative energy to you like gum on your shoe. Incense can remove most of the ick, and a cleansing salt water bath can do the rest. You can also add herbs to your bath if you wish with cleansing properties, tucking them in a piece of panty hose, tying a knot, then tossing it in your bath.
Meditation will help with the mental and emotional cleansing to prevent the dangers we may spin ourselves, like thoughtforms. Grounding is the way in which we can gather energy, but we can also use it to keep our personal energy charged and cleansed. A strong awareness of our personal center keeps track of what is going on in your spiritual and physical body and helps to keep your energy centers functioning properly, like keeping your spiritual immune system up and running. I equate our personal center to the artificial horizon on an airplane’s control panel, used by pilots to keep a plane’s bearings.
Shielding is what some witches can find challenging. Understand that an aura is not a shield but an energy field through which we filter the energies that come our way, how we experience them, and is a reflection of our own personal energy. A good shield will not only protect us but also help to warn us if harmful energy or vampiric intentions are being directed at us so that we can act before it becomes a problem, strengthening our shield or even removing ourselves from the situation. If you use too much of your personal energy for this, you can be left feeling like you are dragging. The remedy I use to is pull Earth energy for my shield. I am always conscious of the energy beneath my feet, which can be tapped to cycle through for my shield. Other people employ other elements, power animals and deities to fuel their shield. Look at your own personal tradition to find a method that you will be most comfortable with. Also, a shield does not have to span out 20 feet in all directions but rather like a second skin or item of clothing. Visualizing your shield is also helpful, seeing it as a suit of armor or protective pajamas with an awesome hood (great way to teach the very young how to shield at large gatherings), even as the Cloak of the Goddess herself, the first method I learned as a very young priestess.    
Amulets are also a great form of protection to be use in addition to wards and shields. An amulet is a pendent or piece of jewelry that we have charged through ritual with protective energy. Unlike talismans, which work to attract something to you, amulets are designed to repel things like bad luck or danger. You can also create an amulet by placing a few protective herbs, stones and symbols, either written on paper or carved into something, in small drawstring bags, charging each item as you place it in with protective energy and then charge the entire bag as well. These can be worn or carried with you in your purse or pocket. You can even create for one for your car to hang from the rear view mirror or place in the glove box. Amulets can also be hung from windows and doors as part of your warding as well. The uses of protective amulets are as endless as your imagination.
Finally, you must learn to be aware of your surroundings and the types of energies you allow into your life. All the protection in the world will amount to naught if you invite and allow negative energy into your personal, spiritual and actual space. Think about how the people you allow into your space make you feel. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Think about the places and events you go to. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This includes thoughts, deeds, other people and the places we go.
I have one final word of warning about all of this. Even the absolute best preventative protective practices cannot stop a bullet. There are real life monsters out there that are flesh and blood. While you can work physical protection into the warding you do for your space, and your own personal shield, you have to understand that it does not make you bulletproof. It can change your path to keep you from going into danger or any number of other things, but these things are not designed to take direct physical hit, and they certainly will not work against stupidity.
Here are a few helpful books on protective magic are:
The Witch's Shield by Christopher Penczak
Practical Protection Magick by Ellen Dugan
I am hoping that this series has been helpful in some way. I am leaving much up to you to research and figure out for yourself as part of practicing magic is putting some work into it rather than having it handed to you. I will be posting an additional blog with some helpful correspondences and tips.
Be safe and Goddess Bless,
Urban Crone.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Protective Practices Part Two: Diagnostics and Damage Control

Seeing the Signs
Now that we have some understanding of what dangers are out there, you may be feeling a little paranoid. That is completely understandable. But, where is that line between being paranoid and there really being something going on? How do we tell? The following are signs that you may be dealing with some kind of psychic hazard:
&  That creepy, crawly kind of feel that leave you feeling just little unnerved, a little on edge, like someone stepped on your grave or is watching you or even close to you, only you can’t quite see them or pin point it. It can be that cold chill and over all feeling that something is way wrong. The key to this is that no matter what you try, you can’t seem to shake that feeling.
&  Spirits, undeparted souls and other celestial critters can cause environmental changes in your space. There may be cold or warm “spots” in a room, or a place that feels oppressive or just wrong somehow.  It may even be a place that small children or animals react to in a peculiar manner.
&  A long chain of chaos in your life, going above and beyond the normal string of bad luck, that seems to just all of the sudden start and continues in a random sort of way. These can be physical accidents, financial and transportational issues, issues with personal relationships, losing personally significant and important items, and other forms of bad luck. The main theme for this chain of events is that these are very random problems that arise where there were none to begin with.
&  Sudden physical illness, that spring up out of no where, without any discernable cause. This can include insomnia, as well as a deep feeling of melancholy and depression, even a feeling of emotional heaviness that can center in the Heart or Root Chakra. A mysterious and sudden onset of a headache at the third eye, or pain located around the chakra centers, can also be a sign. This is especially true in cases where the attack is aimed at one’s spiritual core and sense of being.
&  Reoccurring nightmares or night terrors can be a sign. Brief but disturbing visions or clairaudient episodes that pop up almost on the edge of your consciousness are signs as well, something you just barely hear or see but you know there was something. Sudden sleep walking or losses of periods of time are also signs.
Please note that if any or all of these suddenly manifest right after you receive an item from someone, like a gift or package, immediately deal with the item by either destroying it, or if you really want to keep the item, doing some serious cleansing to the item. One of the easiest ways to psychically attack someone is to attach a curse or hex to any item.
Direct physical contact is another way a curse or hex can be passed on. If any of this begins directly after your contact with one specific person, examine what is going on between the two of you. Make sure you are looking at things from a logical stand point and that you have a legitimate reason to suspect this person may have actually hexed you. Just because someone is angry at you, or a person is knowledgeable about hexes, curses and other forms of magic or seems like the type to cast a hex or a curse, does not necessarily mean that is what they did. Make sure if you choose to confront someone, you have solid, legitimate proof that person has actually done something, or you will be creating a lot of needless drama and chaos for nothing, and looking a little nuts and paranoid to boot.
Also, if you are around someone who may be experiencing these issues, take a moment and ask them if they are ok. A few outward signs to look for are sudden changes in appearance and demeanor, separating from a group and hibernating when they are normally social and active. People do change and go through issues, but if it seems radical, random and very all of the sudden, it isn’t going to hurt to ask if there may be something going on, or at least touch base and say “hey, I am here if you need me”.
We are hard pressed to be able to tell whether we are experiencing a psychic hazard or not. For some, their first instinct is to blow off incidents as part of normal life; others see curses and hexes at every turn. Even when we see all the signs, we sometimes need something outside of ourselves or our experience to show us that something is really wrong.
Divinatory Diagnostics:
If you have not received a gift or item from anyone, or can legitimately tie events to one specific person, and you are still dealing with any or all of these symptoms, the next step is to figure out what is going on using divination. Diagnostic divination is the best way to figure out if what is going on and how to deal with it.
I strongly advise having somebody who does not know much about the situation, or about what is going on in your life, to perform the divination. It is always best to involve someone you trust that you know will give you a clearer perspective on things than you may have yourself. We can also, sometimes, perceive things as much bigger or much worse than they actually are. An impartial reader can guide you in the right direction to solve whatever issue you have going on.
Most divinatory mediums such as Tarot, pendulums, Runes and scrying are great for diagnosing psychic hazards. Pendulums are especially usefully for checking your chakras, and for checking specific items or your actual space for negative energy that may be lingering. Pendulums and spirit boards can be utilized to help narrow down who may be sending you harmful energy as well.
The more information you can gather about what is going on, the better prepared you will be to fix it. Knowledge really is power. Sometimes, just knowing what the issue specifically is starts the process of correcting it on its own. We begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel and start generating positive energy of our own to counteract the harmful energy that has been plaguing your life.
Problem Solving and Damage Control
    Once you have figured out what the issue is, the next step is to deal with it. I have two philosophies on dealing with psychic hazards. My first philosophy is that if you are not sure what to do, ask someone you trust for help. Psychic hazards can wear you down physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually to the point where it is hard enough to just stay functional, let alone figure out how you can fix things. A clear perspective and mind can often see a clear solution, or at least help with finding one.
My second philosophy is to keep your solutions simple. Do not just throw everything that isn’t nailed down at the issue and hope something will work. Not only does this often not work out right, but this can even make the issue bigger than it was to begin with. It is also a huge expenditure and scattering of energy, something you cannot afford to waste when dealing with psychic hazards.
When you are dealing with any sort of psychic hazard, your first response is really damage control, figure out what you can do as quickly as possible to potentially stop things from getting worse and maybe even solve the issue completely. By the time we realize that something is really going on, things have escalated to a serious point, or there is already a pretty sizable, logistical mess. Your way of dealing with these psychic hazards needs to be a simple, well thought-out piece of magic.
One of the simplest solutions to a number of psychic hazards that can sometimes take care of the issue quickly is cleansing your space. We are not talking about just waving some incense around but some serious cleansing of your space. Extreme cleansing should be the absolute first thing you do. Often, the act of extreme cleansing itself can take care of most issues, the effects being felt almost immediately. Extreme cleansing has two steps:
 Reiving: this is defined as physical cleaning with the intent of also removing any and all negative energy, as well as clearing clutter and making sure there is no place for this harmful energy to collect and pool. 
Smudging: this is not just walking around waving incense. Smudging your space involves serious intent, visualizing the removal of any residual harmful energy. Make sure that you are burning herbs or incense that has cleansing properties for this, like frankincense & myrrh or sage. Work in a counter-clockwise motion, moving through the space in such a way to where you can push this negative energy you are gathering out of an outside door or window. Make sure that the smoke reaches the floor, the ceiling and every corner of the space you are working on so nothing is missed.
If, for some reason, you cannot burn incense, there are other options for removing negative energy from a space. The easiest is to obtain an egg and a Ziploc bag. Wash the egg in salt water to purify the egg, and then walk counter clockwise with the egg, visualizing the negative energy being drawn into it. When you are finished, place the egg in the Ziploc. Take it outside and dig a reasonably deep hole, then take the egg out of the bag and place it in the hole. Gently, place all the dirt back into the hole, then you can pat it down with your foot. The idea is that you do not want the egg to break at all until it is surrounded by the earth energy. You can also use small jar of salt to collect the negative energy in, place the lid on the jar and then bury the jar. Earth energy will neutralize the negative energy.
Extreme cleansing will almost always take care of lingering spirits, remove most forms of negative energy, and anything else that may be going on. It should always be immediately followed up with warding the space, which we will discuss in the next section. Keep in mind that you have just emptied the space of all the energy that was in there, creating a void into which anything can nest. Once your warding is set, you can use another round of smudging, using the appropriate incense, in a clockwise direction to fill the space with positive, prosperous energy. 
Undeparted spirits can usually withstand cleansing and smudging unless you specifically say “if there are any lingering uninvited spirits about, please see your way out” or something along those lines. Phrases such as this act as a simple banishing for any undeparted spirit that does not hold a grudge or is rooted to the location.
For more fixed undeparted spirits, there are rituals available that can release them and allow them to move on. Christopher Penzak, in the Witch’s Shield, has a fantastic process for removing the spirits that does work well in a pinch. Mediums and channels can also be ideal as they can communicate directly with the undeparted and help them to transition. Some of these practitioners will sometimes offer this as part of their services.
Thoughtforms are not undeparted spirits, and really require personal responsibility and emotional healing as much as cleansing to remove. Gaining control of your emotional and mental states will prevent these from forming. Ridding yourself of these pests involves not only cleansing of space, but of rechannelling these thoughtforms into positive things like protective entities, positive affirming entities or even entities of prosperity and abundance. This takes time, a great deal work and accepting your role in their creation.
The things that are not of our creation, psychic attacks, are a little tougher to deal with. Doing your homework and trying to figure out where these come from are always a very good start. You may find that someone is unconsciously attacking you because of a misunderstanding or hurt feelings. An honest conversation and sincere apology can be the strongest attack-stopper out there, in some instances. Once the hurt feelings go away, the attacks will usually cease.
Intentional acts of attack in the forms of Hexes, Curses and Folk Magic need to be dealt with in a swift and complete manner. This is where it is important to try and gather as much information as you can, and ask someone you absolutely trust for assistance if you do not feel you can deal with it yourself.
Folk magic can be the toughest to deal with. My advice is to research it and to ask for help from a practitioner of that particular brand of magic. These forms of magic come from time out of mind, and run deep. The same remedies we use for standard hexes and curses can work to dispel folk magic, but cultural remedies will be far more effective in removing the attack completely. This also will usually act as a deterrent for future attacks as counter-curses for folk magic usually have a nasty bite to them.
 Banishings and mirror spells are probably the most effective when dealing with curses and hexes. Banishing severs the connection between you and the person attacking you. Once this person loses the energy connection between you, there is no longer a psychic pathway for them to send their harmful energy through and the release should be immediate. These can also remove the offending person from your life permanently, so it is important that you try as hard as you can to figure out who it is and whether or not this is the right course of action. Banishings are tough to undo once they have been properly done, so some serious forethought is important here.
Mirror spells are just as they sound, reflecting the negative energy back to the sender. This is especially useful when you cannot discern who is attacking you or what has been done. Some witches will include a caveat that the returning energy be multiplied by three. I always thought that getting a face full of your own crap is enough of a wake up call to get the offending witch’s attention and hopefully change their mind in trying anything again (this spell should always be followed up by protective practice that will be discussed later). I have also heard of people using mirror spells to not just reflect the energy back to the offending witch, but to transform it into a positive form and send it back that way, hoping the person who cast the curse will have some magical transforming change of heart. 
Banishing and mirroring will almost always do the trick but they can be seen as harmful magic in their own right. Both of these types of spells send energy in someone else’s direction that may potentially cause that person harm. Because of this, there are people who take issue with their use. It is really a personal choice. My belief is that anyone who makes a conscious decision to use harmful energies against myself and my loved ones are going to get what they deserve. Harm none does not mean that you cannot or should not defend yourself when you are attacked. It means that you should not intentionally go around harming people out of the clear blue. Additionally,  just like any physical attacker, a psychic attacker will often not stop until they have destroyed your life or been stopped in some way. It is your decision how you choose to deal with these people.
There are a number of other ways to deal with psychic attacks, most of which are actually not harmful in any way, either to the person who may be attacking you, or even to yourself if you happen to be the unconscious cause of your problems.
Other methods of dealing with attacks/hazards are:
Swifting: this is the practice of collecting the negative energy being directed towards you and turning it into positive energy towards something you want. This is kind of fun, in a mean way, because the person hexing you is expecting your life to go to hell but, instead, it seems to be improving. Talk about a buzz kill!! Dorothy Morrison has one of the absolute best Swifting rituals in her book, Utterly Wicked.
Poppets and Effigies: you can create your own likeness, complete with DNA matter and as much of yourself as you can put in it, and then it is buried far away from you. The negative energy will follow it away from you and neutralize it through grounding it in the earth. These are often temporary solutions to psychic attacks that can buy you some time to cleanse your space, set your wards and figure out a permanent solution.
Uncrossings: uncrossings unblock energy pathways that may have been blocked intentionally or unintentionally by harmful energy. Our lives progress forward by sending energy out along pathways, attracting those things to us that we need to move from step to step in our life. Being stuck in a rut and not being able to move forward, or even being caught in an endless loop of misfortune and unhappiness, can also be viewed as symptomatic of psychic attacks. A number of great uncrossing oils and rituals can be on the internet and in books. Several local shops may carry uncrossing oils. It never hurts to ask.
These are really all damage control, when you think about it, because they are measures taken after things have already started going all sideways. The next and final installment, Preventative Protective Practices, will cover how to keep these things from possibly occurring in the first place.