Category Archives: ethics

Attention “trad craft”

You’re “trad” isn’t any older then Wicca. “Trad Craft” is not ancient. It is as much an invention of the early 20th century as Gardnerian Wicca.
Only the Golden Dawn, and the OTO and related traditions are relatively new, although, they are older then Gardnerian and “Trad Craft” having started in the late 19th century.
The Grimoires, the 3 books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa, The books of Astrological magic and thought written by various authors, the Picatrix, and other classics of Hermetic Philosophy, are older then “Trad Craft” The PGM is older then “Trad Craft.” The roots of Hermeticism in Mediterranean Antiquity are older then “Trad Craft.” The Vedas, various Sutras, Mahabharata is older then “Trad Craft.” The Chaldean Oracles are older the “Trad Craft.” Actual Folk Magic of actual specific cultures from around Europe, and in the United States is older then “Trad Craft” and some of them are living traditions that are practiced to this day.

But, None of this matters, In my day to day life, and interactions with spiritual workers of all types, I rarely if ever need to mention it, because I don’t need the the claims of “antiquity” or “Tradition” or “Old” to feel good about my spiritual practice. I’m fine with it being modern, because it works for me. But I also like to be informed about whatever everyone else is doing, has done, and is thinking about doing, because it keeps me from thinking I’ve invented the wheel, when everyone around me is already driving cars.

Stop thinking you’ve invented the wheel “trad craft.” We’re all driving in cars, while you’re excited that you can roll something along.

E is for Empowerment

First some ideas

I like the concept of Empowerment. While it has a more social and political and cultural implications in the west, I also like it’s understanding in the terms that come from Vajrayana. I also found empowerment plays it’s role in modern American neo paganism, both in a social context and in an esoteric way. What I find is that one seems to fuel other, in it’s searching and it’s steps of slowly gaining it.

Of course, esoteric Empowerment has a different name, that is probably much better known, and much shorter. Initiation. Initiation is something that seems to be absent from a lot of contemporary spiritual practice, although it is making a come back. Some people gain it from traditions. P re-exisiting orders, Lineage, passed down from the founder. People seek in it various ways. Other methods of initiation are personal and unique. From the spirits themselves, you can be initiated, by Gods, by Angels, by the Fae, many beings. Some initiations are specific to the spirit giving it. Others might be deep, and require time and many challenges. The major initiation in modern western esoteric orders is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Nothing could be more personal, even though the practice of it well documented and worked on by many. I think this practice also shows how Initiation is also an empowerment. It is just access to special club, or the specific rituals, but it is the power, the current of that tradition, those spirits. From the power gained from the initiation, they may be able to move mountains, metaphorically speaking. They have been empowered and so they acted with that power to change things to make them better.

In the USA, Empowerment’s twin streams very much run side by side. In the beginning of alternative spirituality movement it attracted a people of a variety of different groups. This dates back to the late 19th century. While there was plenty of men who were involved in alternative spirituality and occultism, there are also quite a few very famous women. Madame Blavatsky is a key figure that comes to mind. At a time when women had few rights and were very much limited, she worked to create a movement, a movement that continues on to this day, and has influenced much of Western occultism and alternative spirituality. Her books are still published and sold today. She very much demonstrates a power, being empowered through her spiritual aspirations she did more then many other women of her day.

With the second occult flowering in the USA in the 60’s, which brought with it the spread of Wicca, it then also picked up more of the cultural empowerment. Many minorities found the idea of Wicca, witchcraft and alternative spirituality as means to find their own empowerment, to pursue their goals of empowering themselves socially, culturally, and politically. Some minorities have always had their spiritual means of getting one up on the Man. The role of conjure doctors and spiritual workers in African American communities was often not only spiritual, but also physical, as they cared for clients physical needs with their knowledge, helping them when they were sick, not only from being hoodooed but also from colds, illnesses and injuries. The same for Appalachian folk magic, and Pennsylvania pow-wow practitioners. The Mexican curandera or curandero would be consulted for herbal knowledge for sickness just as much spiritual ailments. While not all of them are minorities, in a sense, they are often limited to specific communities, and often derided by outsiders for their “backwards superstitions” by others.

Among the gay civil rights movement, there were quite a few people and groups that embraced alternative spirituality to gain empowerment both spiritually and also to help them in their fight to gain temporal empowerment. One figure was Eddy Buczynski, the founder of quite a few American witchcraft traditions including the Minoan Brotherhood. At a time when gay men were standing up and going out, he created one of the first spiritual traditions for gay men. A magical practitioner and gay man who was also a major activist was Leo Martello, who founded a Witchcraft Anti Defamation League and Alternative Religions Education Network, who was also very active with Gay liberation during the time of Stonewall. Another significant figure was Arthur Scott Evans, writer of “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture” in which he asserted that the Witch mania of Europe also targeted people who may have been accused of engaging in homosexual acts. All of these people in some way found the empowerment of alternative spirituality and practices, which gave them the force and power to pursue empowerment in the physical world.

As I watch and read the events of the day, and the responses of people, and the responses of the wide neo pagan community in the USA, I feel I notice how spiritual empowerment helps to give fuel to the physical empowerment that people pursue. There is great inequality still existing in the world. Women, people of color, GLBT people and others. Yet I am aware of many of these minorities finding power for themselves, what some might call “power within” to work to make changes, to empower others like them, and work to create a planet where we can all live together, with justice, with liberty, with equality and maybe as a global family.


Love Magic vs. Controlling Magic

Recently it seems in some new literary acquisitions that there is this returning theme of condemning love magic, specifically love magic directed towards a specific person. The arguments about ethics and morality, and the metaphysics behind the differing authors’ statements were, while worded different, pretty much the same thing. It’s about “karma” (and I don’t mean Hindu cosmology, but rather the very popular notion that immorality gets punished by the universe) and controlling people, or rather “removing a person’s free will.”

A love spell is exactly that, a spell that conjures forth love. Much like the proverbial rabbit out of the hat however, it can only conjure up love that is present. If rabbits didn’t exist, there would be no rabbit. If that love is not there, then said person will not love you. Thus why love spells cannot make a person gay or straight. This is why witches don’t have the most popular or favorite celebrity on their arm. This is why sorcerers aren’t walking around dating super models. If love spells were as all powerful as the morality and karma crew seems to paint them, then this would be the case more often, which it is not. It’s much easier to paint some metaphysical schlep reason as to why they don’t work or not do them, then face the cold hard facts that a total stranger who you have at best only the most tenuous connection to, or a familiar acquaintance that you have shyly eyeing from a distance, might not being interested in a romantic, sexual, and/or lasting relationship with you. It’s called rejection, it’s something you need to deal with and get over it, because it happens. A love spell doesn’t remove free will; it doesn’t force someone’s actions where they become near mindless automatons, or emotional sycophants who go pining after someone uncontrollably. All of those images are fictional portrayals of spells, and it is much more to give the reader a thrill then it is an accurate depiction of what really happens in a person specific love spell

All of this is different from controlling magic or compel/command/dominate spells. These operate in various intensities, with the mildest being having an influence where the target or targets favor you, to getting someone to follow through with actions that they have sworn to, to outright commanding people or dominating them. While I can’t say that I have exact percentages, but most people can be influenced to one way or another, and slightly less then that can be compelled to follow through on their sworn actions, not everyone can be commanded or dominated. It just doesn’t always work. When a person is more susceptible to that, even then, it doesn’t work forever, (although it can operate for a long time, depending upon the situation). Humanity just does not take to being made a slave in anyway for an extended period of time. Eventually something inside us rebels against the bondage and restriction, and we fight for our liberty and freedom

I have not been in a position where I would want to dominate someone for that length of time, but I have heard many stories told by first hand witnesses where the domination spell used to make someone’s actions to enter into a relationship went fine, until after a few years, the person needed to do it again, because the target was resisting. Then, a year later, they started resisting again, and so the repeated the spell. Then, 9 months, 6 months, 3 months, every month, and then week, after week, after week, then every few days, then every day. Eventually the person performing the spell gets sick. A cold, the flu, something and they can’t perform the spell for a day, two days, and a week. The person they were dominating shows signs of coming around more and more, and next thing, their relationship is over, a nasty break-up follows, and the person who cast the spell is spiritually and physically exhausted after all that has occurred. They use domination and controlling magic to force someone (who could be forced) into a relationship. It’s not a love spell, it’s a spell of control and they are completely different, although some of the curios used in them might be similar, often their methodologies of deployment, and the words used with them(i.e. incantations, prayers, spells, etc..) are completely different or different enough in language that it can be easily understood to be different.

Most “general love spells” are not actually a love spell at all, but rather a spell of control, aimed only at influencing people around you favorably, mainly to notice you and be attracted to you. Anything that comes from that is more of an example of ones one personal skill at persuasion and influence, through presentation, and social graces. It doesn’t really conjure up love, just attraction or favor, which is different from love

I have felt the influence of a general love spell once, and while I was fond of the person, I don’t think I was actually loved that person in any significant way. It was weird how, after I came across this person, I found my mind could not stop thinking about them, which is very unusual, and when they told me they had cast such a spell, I went about breaking its influence over me, which quickly ended the influence. She called it a “general love spell” but the feelings I felt were not love, just notice, a non-sexual attraction, and an almost obsessed focus on my friend until I broke the spell and ended the influence. It was from that experience that I later realized the difference between a love spell and a controlling spell.

The thing is with love spells and controlling spells is that they can work well together, when used with skill. Influence can be used to attract people to you, while the love spell can then be worked in follow up, if you really feel there is something there. That is when the controlling spell is put away, to see if the love manifests fully. If you keep the control spell going, then you might find yourself in a loveless situation, which can be equally unhappy for both parties.