Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
You will also notice that the list is sectioned off by "beginner", "advanced" and "reference". My reasoning for this is that there are some books that are great, just not right for someone first starting their path. And, there are some books that should be read by all beginners so that they understand what they are getting themselves into.
There are two books in particular, one by Marion Green and one by Isaac Bonewits, that I label as one to be read first and second. These books really give not only a fantastic overview of Wicca and Witchcraft, but a realistic one. It is not uncommon for beginners to read a book full of light, glitter and fluff, and expect for Wicca to be just that. These books prevent that misconception, and put one's feet heading in a good direction.
There is nothing wrong, by the way, with buying used books from places like Halfprice Books, Alibris.com, Discountnewagebook.com and the like. These are books people don't want anymore and you are not only doing them a favor by taking them off of someone's hands (at a nice price), but you are doing your share for the environment. Ebooks are way cool as well, as long as you get them from a reputable site that has the author's permission. Pirated copies of books are like stealing because you are not compensating the author for their time and effort.
Finally, these books are like me giving my opinion. I am suggesting these. I am not saying that every Wiccan or Pagan should read these books or they suck. When people come to me and ask me for reading material, these are the books I point them to. I hope they help you on your spiritual journey.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
These are my notes from the “Magical Living Space” Meetup that was held for September 2011. I did not intend to create a workshop out of this so please keep that in mind as you read through. I only had notes and an outline with me that evening when I presented this. I will try to fill in as much information as I can for you. I did change how I handled “center” since I found a better picture and a bit more information to share (More on that further in).
This process is how I go about setting up my own personal space where I live. It makes a huge difference because it really works to create a positive environment and invites positive things into your life. I can also really tell when things are not set up right as things tend to shift within my life. Another benefit is that when I have it in place, I do not have to cleanse my space as much, it keeps me in the habit of keeping things picked up and in order, and makes it a lot easier to pull up a circle whenever I choose.
This is not something that can be done overnight or even just in one whole day. It is a process that is more emotionally complicated than it is anything else, as you will see. I hope this is helpful to all of those who have requested this.
Sacred space is not just reserved for the Circle. It is possible to turn your home into a sort of sacred space as a whole, not only for the purpose of protection but actually turn your home into a Magical Energy Machine, pulling positive energy in while filtering and processing negative energy out. This is about creating a positive, consistent flow of energy as well as making it so negative vibrations have no place to take root.
Unblock the Flow:
The first step in creating your magical sacred space is to clear the air. This is done by:
1. Go room by room, moving counter-clockwise, and smudge, imagining the dark, negative energy dissipating and positive light filling the space.
2. You may use whatever you like to smudge, be it sage, or any other purifying or cleansing incense blend.
3. Make sure you are stopping at every corner and allow the smoke to rise up all the way to the ceiling.
4. Once you have finished, you can light a white candle in each room as you go and ask for light, love and guidance in cleansing and clearing your space, or you can move clockwise through each room with more sage or incense that creates a positive vibe, inviting light and love into the space. Move from bottom floor to top in a clockwise fashion.
** If you cannot burn any incense or use any type of scented oil or anything of the like:
Go from room to room, moving counter-clockwise, with a broom or feather duster. Imagine you are gathering all the dark, negative energy with your broom/duster as you move. You can either open the window and “push” the energy out the window, or move the energy with you and “push” it out the door. This is sort of a very simplified form of Swifting, the purposeful moving of energy as a means of cleansing, and takes quite a bit of focus to do. I suggest moving floor by floor, starting on the top most floors and moving counter-clockwise downwards, opening a window or door in each room or on each floor to push the energy out. You will need to be complete focused so do it alone and turn off your phone.
When you have finished this, set your tools outside (they will need to be cleansed by sunlight or moonlight afterwards). Then, you can light an unscented white candle in each room and invite light, love and guidance back in, or move from room to room in a clockwise motion to “pull” light and love through the space, from the bottom floor upward.
The next step in creating your magical sacred space is to declutter. Part of creating a magical living space is creating a space in which energy flows freely and in a positive manner. Magical energy is like electricity. A current must run from its source to its destination in an uninterrupted flow. If the flow is interrupted, there will be no power where it needs to be. The exact same thing holds true for positive magical energy. What is worse, a cluttered environment is a breeding ground for negative vibrations to gather and “nest”.
In order to create your magical space, you are going to need to:
Go through Papers:
Papers create an amazing amount of clutter in our lives. We have tons of it coming into our house every single day.
a) Should be dealt with as soon as it comes inside.
b) Throw out junk mail,
c) File any important information (bank statements, tax forms, insurance information etc…) in files specifically created for them.
d) Throw out bills that have already been paid.
2. School papers:
a) Newsletters should be read immediately, important dates noted on a Family Calendar and then thrown out.
b) Save a few key pieces for each child in a large tote with their name on it and throw out the rest. You really do not have to save everything. This way, you will have one tote full of things that are special and meaningful, like an amazing test or essay and a wonderful piece of artwork, instead of a huge pile of junk.
3. Read the Newspaper and then recycle it. Do not let them stack up!! Better still, cancel your subscription and read online newspapers. They save trees and don’t stack up!
a) Read it.
b) Cut out or copy any recipes into a cookbook (loose leaf binders are great for this).
c) Cut out any articles that inspire you, or you find useful (another binder as well)
d) There really is no longer a need to save magazines (with the internet) unless they depict monumental occasions, like the death of an icon or like the election of President Obama. In this case, have one tote devoted to all of these very special magazines (not separated by subject but all in one) and be done with it.
e) then, either pass it on or recycle it. Some magazines have on line websites now that are just as good as the magazine. Local libraries also have copies of some magazines as well. Both of these options can save you clutter and money!
a) Look for duplicates and donate those you have extra copies of to a local lending library or goodwill.
b) Look for books that share similar ideas and information. Some authors write books repeating the same information in different ways over and over again. Figure out the best version and pass on the other copies.
c) Get rid of books that you will never read, or you read and thought they were crap. Pass them on.
d) Recycle books with missing pages.
e) Make sure you have shelf space for the books you have. You can use more than one bookshelf but make sure you have someplace to put all of them.
f) While they do not have to be in alphabetical order or anything like that, bookshelves should at least be neat. I try and section my books out by what they are (Fiction, Wicca, Herbs,
Go Through Clothes and Shoes:
We have a strange habit of holding on to things we can no longer wear. Letting go of these things can allow us to let go of the negative energy we may attach to them as well as inviting the possibility of new positive things into our lives. This process applies to all members of the household, not just you, and goes for shoes, coats, clothes and anything else that is worn.
1. If it does not fit, get rid of it. Do not torture yourself by saving tiny clothes you may never get back into. It only serves as a reminder that you are not what you think you should be. Get rid of it and get something that reflects liking who you are.
2. Kids clothes that are in good shape should be passed on to a younger sibling, cousin, friend, or to a local charity. NEVER pass on shoes as it can affect a child’s foot growth and walking pattern.
3. Only save baby clothes if you plan on having a baby with the next year or so. Otherwise, save a few cute things and pass it on! This goes for other baby items as well except for cribs, which are a huge expense.
4. Shoes should not become so numerous that they get out of hand. I know people like shoes but they don’t need them by the hundreds. Be reasonable and practical about what you keep and what you can pass on.
5. All winter/summer apparel should be examined prior to packing it away for the season, and only pack it away if it is going to be useable next year. Create large totes with lids for each family member and store all of it neatly in bottom closet or in the basement/attic of your place. Hats, scarves and gloves should be stored neatly in totes as well. Winter coats can be stored hanging in coat bags or large trash bags.
6. Dress clothing should only be kept if it will be worn again. This includes bridesmaid and dresses for dances like prom or homecoming. There are plenty of consignment shops that will resell your items for you if you would like to recoup some of your investment, as well as Craig’s List. Otherwise, donate it and let someone else enjoy it.
The Dreaded Toys
Whether you are a child or an adult, there are things in your life that you accumulate that give you happiness and pleasure only without serving some really practical purpose. These things are called Toys, and they need to be dealt with.
1. Children’s Toys:
a) Make sure each child has one large bin and one small bookshelf to put their stuff away in/on.
b) Sort toys at least twice a year, throwing out all broken toys. I liked doing this like in May and just before Christmas.
c) Create a “goodbye” bin in a secret place. Slip toys into this bin that you notice your child no longer plays with or has left lying around a lot, without telling the child. If the child doesn’t ask for it within a few weeks, it would be safe to pass it on to charity.
d) Game systems (Game cubes, Nintendo’s, Play stations, etc) should be stored neatly and the games kept in their cases or in a cd case to prevent damage. Games, controllers and systems that no longer work should be discarded.
2. Grown-up toys:
Grown-up toys are things we buy for ourselves that we do not need and offer no practical value to our universes.
a) Electronic that do not work, including TV’s, MP3 players, Stereos,
b) Look through your
c) If you have an MP3 player, download you favorite CD’s and pack away the rest. The only reason I say not to get rid of them completely (unless they are damaged) is that older ones can be hard to replace.
d) If you never use your workout equipment and it is just too large for your space, sell it. You can always join a gym so you can work out with friends. Large workout equipment is only practical if you have a room you can dedicate it to. Otherwise, it is clutter.
e) Sports equipment that you never use needs to be donated to someone who will use it or sold.
The Miscellaneous Stuff:
Look around your space and see what is there, sitting on tables, bookcases, shelves, etc. what do these things say about who you are? Is this the message you want to put out to the universe? Do these things invite the things into your life that you want? Why do you have these things?
The things around you should create positive emotions and vibrations, therefore inviting positive energy into your life and keeping that flowing. Too many things, too much clutter can cause not only blockages of energy, as discussed earlier, but can also breed negative energy and vibrations. Think carefully through it. If you get stuck, light a candle and ask the Divine Spirit for guidance in sorting through all of it.
1. Anything that is broken should be repaired or discarded, including furniture and home décor. Broken things represent broken and negative energy.
2. If the item is small and holds sentimental value to you, create a tote that you can pack it away in. You should really not have more than one tote of sentimental things per member of the household (school stuff is separate). These totes can hold photos, items, baby clothes, etc that have special meaning.
3. Dead plants and dried flowers have to go because they drain energy. If you have a sentimental item, like a dried flower or wedding bouquet, put it in a glass jar and place it in your sentimental tote or someplace that would be appropriate with the meaning behind the item (more on that later).
4. Pictures of people who carry or give off negative emotion or energy need to be put up or discarded. Items associated with negative emotions need to be discarded or put up as well.
5. Seasonal stuff is actually seasonal stuff. As Pagans, we sometimes like to think that gives us an excuse to have Halloween stuff out year round. It really doesn’t. Christmas lights can be kinds cool on rare occasions but those really don’t happen too often. Pack this stuff in totes labeled for the season (spring, summer, winter, fall) then pick a day each season (like solstices and equinoxes) where you pack up the stuff from the last season and bring out the stuff for the new one. This does not just apply to holiday items but even knick knacks. Some pieces may be more spring like than winter, etc. It will be like redecorating every couple of months. And, rather than going just hog wild, make each piece something meaningful.
6. Pack it away. If you can’t figure out what it says or why you have it, pack it away. You can always rotate decorations in and out as the mood strikes you or seasons change (see above). If you haven’t missed it in a few months time, feel free to get rid of it. The key is that you should not have a ton of clutter, and the things you do have visible in your home should be things that truly invite into your life the energy you want.
A word about Spiritual Clutter:
Spiritual Clutter is the overwhelming presence of spiritual items. Spiritual devotion is in the heart and mind, not a giant crucifix on the wall that just freaks the bejesus out of people every time they walk in. There is nothing wrong with expressing your faith by displaying a few symbols of it around your home. Another idea is the use of a “house altar”, an altar that is as small or as large as you would like it to be or have room for, and that expresses the spiritual beliefs held in the house hold. In ancient times, people had altars in their house to honor their household gods. This is the same principle.
It can be a small table or shelf, divided in half with a divine masculine on the right and divine feminine on the left in whatever guise you feel comfortable displaying along with any other symbols of elements or faith you wish to put on it. You should include at least 2 candles on here so that you can light them as a form of devotion or in asking for blessings or guidance.
You can also do a simple set up with just one candle representing the divine spirit as a whole. It is really your choice and can be as elaborate as you wish to make it. I usually locate my house altar in the Northwestern area of my living room, for reasons I will explain in a bit. These can also be places in the northwestern corner of your bedroom or spare room if you wish to keep them private.
Cleaning and Cleansing through Reiving:
Going through and decluttering your space goes a long way to removing negative energy and unblocking the flow of positive energy. The next step in this process gets rid of the other things that create negative energy, dirt, dust and any residual negative energy.
Reiving utilizes mundane cleaning methods and a cleansing process similar to Swifting to cleanse your space. This includes vacuuming, dusting, mopping. You need to be cleaning windows, air vents, ceiling fans, lamp and light fixtures, and anything else that has collected dust and dirt. As you do this, imagine that you are removing not only the dirt and dust but the negative energy build up around your home.
You can also use a decoction (create a tea bag of these herbs using a coffee filter and steep in some water for like 15-20 minutes; let cool then use) of herbs in your cleaning solution to heighten your cleansing power. Any herbs that purify, break hexes and curses, and protect are ideal for this, such as Agrimony, Mugwort, Sage, Clove and Cinnamon. You can also add in herbs that bring positive energy and luck into your space as well.
Once you have Reived your space, you will now go through and smudge one more time, this time in a clockwise motion, inviting love and light into your space.
Now that we have cleaned, cleansed and decluttered your space, and the energy flow has been unblocked, let us look at a technique to keep that energy moving the right way and inviting an abundance of auspicious (lucky) and positive energy in.
Feng Shui the Easy Way
I am not a Feng Shui master at all nor can I afford to hire one to come in and work their magic. I am also one of those people who get confused when you start throwing a bunch of complicated stuff at me. I really liked the concept of Feng Shui though, so I did some research and found a less complex way of making it work.
Feng Shui means wind and water. It is a system of incorporating the laws of nature and our place in it. Creating and living within an environment that we are in harmony with attracts positive, auspicious energy, referred to as Chi. The key this system are the five elements of Feng Shui and where we place these things in our environment. The five elements of Feng Shui are:
Wood, the element of growth, nurturing and versatility. You can use wooden objects to promote motivation, inspiration and passion without overwhelming your space. Its colors are greens and browns.
Fire, the element of happiness, energy, passion, honor and aggression. Its colors are reds, bright yellows, orange, pink and purple.
Earth, the element of instinct, stability, permanence, home, and wisdom. It can add a grounding, stabilizing energy to an area that is too busy or full of chaos. Its colors are light yellow, sandy/earthy tones, and light browns.
Metal, the element of communication, justice and generating energy. Too much metal can attract too much energy to an area of your home and invite disaster. Its colors are white and grey.
Water, the element of creativity emotion, networking, communication, professional opportunities and wealth. Wasted water can actually symbolize a loss of money or poor health, so leaking faucets and what not should be dealt with. Its colors are blue and black.
Now that we understand the elements, let us look at the easiest way to utilize them and Feng Shui to maximize the Chi of your space.
The simplest way is to get a compass and use it to divide your house and each room up into nine sections. Here is a chart of these sections and what each section represents: North
Each square on the layout can be referred to as a “corner”. My advice is to start with one room or even just one corner and go from there as it can be a daunting task. Here is some information on each corner to help you along:
Wisdom and knowledge (front left)
Colors: black, blues and greens
♀ Wisdom, learning, study, educational pursuits
♀ Bookcases are well placed here
♀ Pictures of people you have learned from or who inspire you
♀ Place for meditation or reading
Career (front middle)
Colors: blues, black and brown
♀ Affirmations of things you hope to accomplish under a pyramid
♀ Images or symbols of things that represent where you want your career to go
♀ Symbols of success
Helpful People/Mentors and Travel (front right)
Colors: white, grays, and black
♀ Images and symbols of places you would like to visit
♀ People unrelated to you who can help you
♀ People who have touched your life and bring you knowledge
♀ Phone, phone books and business cards are well placed here
Health and Family (middle left)
Colors: blues and greens
♀ Family, friends, coworkers and distant relatives you want to stay connected with
♀ Hang happy family pictures and memories on the wall in this corner
♀ Physical and emotional health
♀ Workout equipment, if you have room.
Spiritual Health and Overall Well Being (center)
Colors: yellows and earth tones
♀ This area is the culmination of all the other areas as those areas do effect your spiritual and overall well being.
♀ If you have the space for this, you can create a center space with symbols that represent where you want to be spiritually.
♀ If you do not have the space for this, a lead crystal hanging from the ceiling or a ceiling fan in the center of the room can work to activate the energy here.
Creativity and Children (middle right)
Colors: white and pastels
♀ This area affects the development of current and future projects and creative endeavors
♀ Articles, photos relating to current projects
♀ Ideas for future projects
♀ Photos of children you are directly connect to will bring auspicious energy to this area
♀ Musical instruments, sewing machines, pianos or any creative medium is placed well here
♀ The place to display your own artwork
Wealth and Prosperity (far left/southeast)
Colors: blues, purples, greens and gold
♀ Money, prosperity, abundance
♀ Keep clean and uncluttered!!
♀ Plants, lighting, crystals and aquariums help activate auspicious energy (no dead stuff!!)
♀ Citrine, aventurine and malachite crystals for correct energy
♀ Check all these corners in your home to make sure that any toilets in these corners are covered and fireplaces are dealt with (more on that in a bit)
Fame and Reputation (far middle)
Colors: reds, oranges, and bright yellows
♀ Represents how the world sees you, the image you want to project
♀ Records of achievements like awards, trophies, new clippings can be places here
Love and Relationships (far right/southwest)
Colors: reds, pinks, and white
♀ This corner in your house and every room of it represents your love life and intimate relationships
♀ They should all be clean and free of clutter
♀ Any heart shaped stone and rose quartz
♀ Faceted lead crystals work well here
♀ Counteract toilets and fireplaces in these corners
♀ Red or pink candle lit on the new moon will activate this energy
♀ Any symbols of love and marriage work in this corner
Dealing with fireplaces and toilets:
Fireplaces and toilets are two things that will drain positive, auspicious energy out of your space. You need to:
♀ Keep toilet lids down.
♀ Counteract fireplaces with citrine, quartz cluster and actual fireplace doors.
♀ Should be uncluttered, comfortable and relaxing
♀ Rose quartz and small altar to your love relationship in your love corner
♀ Mirrors and TV’s should not face the bed (invites 3rd person into your relationship)
♀ No plants as they will pull energy away from you
♀ No aquariums as they will pull energy away from you
Other tips and tricks:
Plants can activate energy in any corner and should be well cared for.
♀ Can attract or repel energy
♀ Should not be placed opposite doors, toilets, staircases, windows, beds or other mirrors
♀ Should be hung so that the tallest person in the house does not have head cut off.
♀ If you move or place a mirror and feel a negative change in the energy flow, rethink where you placed it.
♀ Research uses to activate desired energy
♀ Should be cleansed and programmed
♀ Choose the appropriate color and scent to attract the desired type of energy
♀ Should be cleansed and charged
Incense and Oils should be chosen by the type of energy or desired effect.
♀ Figure out your sun sign to start with.
♀ Each sign has correspondences like crystals, incense, colors, and such that can help to activate the positive energies of each sign or off set the short comings.
♀ Once you become more comfortable working with astrology, you can look at what signs are in the houses of your chart that correspond to each Feng Shui corner and use that information to heighten your personal energy in each one of those corners.
I hope that this was helpful. As I said at the start of this, I had not intended on typing this up as a handout for a workshop. These are my notes and information from my own personal experience in creating my own magical living space. This really takes time and patience to make this work. Once you get it in place, though, it will be just a matter of maintaining it and smudging or Swifting on occasion to keep things in order.
The book that I recommend for creating your magical living space as an amazing reference guide is House Magic by Ariana (isbn# 0-7607-3321-x). When I first decided to Feng Shui my space, I looked at a number of books and internet sights that just confused the heck out of my. House Magic incorporates not just Feng Shui but other systems of magic to create a positive living environment. It is one of my all time favorite book and I really feel like it is a must have.