Category Archives: methods

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.

5 reasons not work with local spirits

Recently I came across this post

My post is not a rebuttal, but an ad joiner to the possible undesired experience that come from seeking connection with local spirits.

5) Just because a spirit is there, doesn’t mean it wants to “work” with you.

For one thing, let me clarify a term. In conversations I have had with other spiritualist minded folks and people who get into trying to chat up spirits, there is a difference between veneration and “working”. Veneration can be very simple, is pretty much devotional, and doesn’t expect much between the two parties except for a simple exchange of “pleasantries” and expressions of good will. Of course, if you get a negative feedback, it maybe because you have offended said local spirit, but we’ll get to that later. Generally veneration is just a way to say “hi” and “thanks for all that you do” and “lets be friendly and polite with each other”. Venerating ancestors, venerating local spirits, venerating Gods, and heroes and every thing else. It’s all just a way of making nice. This niceness can lead to “working” and help build relationships that can be quite beneficial in the future, and possibly even buy you a Free pass when you make a mistake, but don’t always count on it.

“Working” indicates that there is a request being made of a specific variety and purpose to a specific end for your benefit. Whether it is protection, wealth, love, knowledge etc…, what makes it different is the specificness and that you are making a specific request for something you want accomplished. Often it will entail behavior on your part that reciprocates to the spirit that you are willing to work for them. A number of spiritual beings are known to be workers, who are quite open to requests for things. Gods, Saints, Angels, Demons etc… and there are books quite busting at the seems with them. But local spirits, you’ll notice, don’t seem to function that way universally, for everyone in the same way that say, St. Expedite can for so many people. One person can have a great relationship with a local spirit, and another person may get bubkis. That’s just the way it seems to go. Just because you are aware of spirit that is tied to a certain local, doesn’t mean it wants to work with you, and it will often make that perfectly clear as soon as you attempt to connect with it.

4) Just because a spirit is there, doesn’t mean it’s going to know a lot of about anything in the area.

Or for that matter, be able to communicate it in a useful or intelligible way. A spirit of the tree is mostly going to know about Tree things, and if it notices if someone stole your bike or not, will have more to do with if that bike thief happened to interact with the tree shortly before or after. If you happened to have your bike chained to the tree, it’s only thought maybe “heavy earth thing was leaning against me and now it’s not” and that’s about it. Of course a larger local spirit (say of the park) might notice, but unless your bike was important to it for some reason, why should it even care. Unless you interact with a local spirit that has vested interest in human affairs and a reasonably intelligible way to understand and communicate it, you’re really not going to get much. It is for this reason that you’ll notice a lot of cultures often have a greater spirit of a particular thing (plants, animals minerals etc…) that is often more understanding of humanity and better able to connect with it. Most people, in my experience, are usually connecting with the larger overarching spirit then the much more limited spirit of the specific object, plant, mineral, animal or place and those spirits are not “local” per se.

3) Most local spirits could give about two cents to you and your issues

this of course, ties in nicely with my last point. While the various local spirits might be quite appreciate of offerings, veneration and devotions done to them, and thus you might get them to be more favorable inclined to you, which could generally make your going about in the locale easier over all, when it comes to specifics (theft, health, wealth, love, etc..) you know, all those things that humans value in interacting with other humans, local spirits quite literally don’t understand, or for some of the larger ones, don’t care. If there is some kind of human pandemic experience going around, it might peak some of the larger more understandings ones interests (like high murder or suicide rate, or a larger number of clinically depressed) because being that we are part of their environment that they govern that might be somewhat invested in it being harmonious for everyone, but the local tree spirit, rock spirit, spirit in the park, is going to be completely uncaring to your issues, if they understand them at all. If they are even open to working with you, they might still not understand something, unless you explain it in as naturalistic terms as possible (literally think birds and bees and pollen and trees people) otherwise, you’re going to get a kind of shoulder shrug, if anything at all.

2) They have needs that you can never provide for.

Do you know how to pollinate a flower? Probably not. Even if you do know, do you have the time and patience to do it for every flower during a 3 month period? I’m guessing not. What about trees? Or, the local watering hole? Maybe you could organize a community event to help clean it up if it was dirty or only barely polluted with trash, but if the spirit is telling you it wants to flow over there, and not there, I think you’re going to have a problem convincing those people in their nice homes to make way for the creek you feel ought to build. Generally, if you’re getting a quite possibly impossible request from a local spirit, it’s politely telling you to Go away! Because it doesn’t have time for your nonsense, human.

1) Just because a spirit is tied to specific locale doesn’t mean it’s smaller.

There is such a thing as Local Gods. These being are Gods, Divine beings in their own right, who don’t need to be worshiped or venerated because their divinity comes from their locale. Perhaps a shrine might exist to them (like in Japan, or China or places that have long standing animistic spiritualist traditions) but generally there won’t be one, and they don’t really need it. You might be able to identify it with some dowsing, but it could very well be very hard to reach, and the local god may not want you to reach it in the first place. So, they being a local God can really make things miserable for you if you offend them, much like any god, and more then likely, they will be much more easier to offend and will stay offended longer then a more transcendent Divine being that is not tied to specific location. The Spirit of the The City you live in, the spirit of your neighborhood, even the spirit of your building (which in very large apartment buildings can be quite powerful) and of course, there could be more natural spirits of ecosystems and environments that are quite mighty and powerful. If you ever notice that when you enter into some areas that you get lost easier, seem to have ongoing problems with minor nuisances (insects, muddy puddles, bumps in the road, tripping over roots) is probably because the local spirits find something about you vaguely offensive. You could try to clear it up, make an offering and appease them, and can work, but some people just don’t like some people no matter what. You just plain smell bad to them, and they will never like you and they have no compunctions about making their dislike and displeasure known. You may not experience this if you only visit, especially to a major city or tourist area, but if you try to stay and settle in, is when the problems start to occur.

Of course, there are other smaller beings, but they are often in league with the larger beings of the area, and will tend to take directions from the “top” on down. They might be willing to work with at first, but after some time, will be less friendly and sociable if your general essence is just not compatible with the local area. If that is the case, you’re probably better off moving, then trying to make a go at it. Good luck explaining that to your friends and family who moved with you, or the cost of the move in the first place.

It is also my experience that smaller spirits are far more dramatic and showy then the non-time space fixed transcendent beings. Most hauntings are caused by smaller spirits, not by gods and actual major demons (despite the name they toss around). To make a ready and known comparison, think of a Midsummer’s night dream. Oberon doesn’t do the dirty work himself, he sends Puck, a servant, to do it for him. A similar situation will apply in naturalistic settings. Most major local spirits won’t do something directly if they can avoid it. They will send a representative to do it for them. Of course, if you enter into an actual working relationship with one, you may very well end up being that representative from time to time as part of your deal in desire fulfillment.

Finally, for some people, in some situations, none of this, both helpful or harmful will hold true. Some people are, as I like to call it, Unicorns. Gifted mediums who are favorably received by all spirits. People gifted with spiritual authority, that allows them to work better with spirits, and perhaps from time to time, command them when needed. Others are favored by the land, or the Gods, or a God and in certain situations that favor will manifest things for that that others will never receive within the Land, or Gods, or God. Your mileage may vary.

H is for Herbs and spices


I love herbs. My mom is a gardener and growing up with a garden with plants growing and herbs all around has always been interesting to me, although spading and working the soil was not my favorite thing as a kid. When I discovered the magic of herbs, I jumped at it, and one of my first entries in my magical workbook was several pages about herb lore. Although it would be a while before I really started doing a lot with herbs, when I started cooking regularly, they also become a favorite way to give flavor, depth and interest to dishes.

Herbs (which for me cover everything like seeds, barks, roots, petals, flowers, stamens and leaves) have a multitude of means of putting them to work in practical sorcery While I don’t always think about magical relationships with herbs while cooking, sometimes the symbolism I find can be quite potent. An apple pie with cinnamon or clove can be clever and tasty way to deliver a love spell. A good marinara sauce seasoned with basil, rosemary and sage can help to promote peace and blessings among the inhabitants of a home. Make a protection soup with white mustard, black pepper and that ubiquitous pinch of salt, which can both be magical and flavorful. A cup of chamomile tea can be soothing and relaxing, but also help bring luck, especially with money.

Of course, there are more ritualized methods of working with herbs as well, that are not so subtle. Making a herbal blend which you then boil or steep in hot water to make a magical bath. For cleansing I have a preference for sage (the garden variety) hyssop and eucalyptus leaves. For love, Rose petals, lavender buds, and some rosemary make for a gentle love drawing bath that smells quite green and floral. For something a bit more spicy, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom made into a strong tea and then bathed in can also bring a bit for physical enjoyment. You can also just simmer the above spices, or a pumpkin spice blend in a pot of water to get the scent to fill the home before an amour comes over to visit. Similarly a bath in cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice can help to draw wealth and good fortune. You can also bath in chamomile tea, which creates a bath of golden water, a very striking image of as you are bathing in gold.

While not as commonly used by many people, powders are a good way to apply magic. A practice that comes mainly from African American folk traditions, it is often overlooked by people outside of tha tradition, except for well known powders like Hotfoot Powder or Goofer Dust, two powders used to curse people, either to drive them away, or to potentially kill them. You can also use simple powdered herbs for their effects. Putting a pinch of ground black pepper and then a pinch of salt in your shoes can help to protect you from harm, shielding you from curses that have been laid down where you walk. The first time I did this, I almost jumped when I put my shoes on, because I immediately felt this surge of power go through, as though some residual negative energy have been cast out from me. Of course, there are other powdered herbs. You should take a pink of powdered cinnamon and lay it down underneath your door mat, to bring wealth to your home, a good practice if you also have a home business. Laying powdered herbs down that relate to your intention in the 4 corners of your home or property is a good way to reinforce magic performed on that area to help establish protection, blessings, or good fortune in the home or property. You can also use powdered herbs in rituals, using them to lay down symbols that connect to the herbs powers, which are serve to further reinforce your intention and focus. The most recognized one would be a circle of protective herbs, perhaps mixed together, which then marks a boundary for a ring of candles that surround a single candle, used in a spell for protection. When the candles have all burned out, collect the powder again, and carry it with you for protection, or sprinkle it around your home or the place to be protected.

There is a multitude of ways of using herbs, and I hope I have laid out some less commented upon methods here to inspire your imagination when working with herbs in magic.

F is for Fascination

Fascination. Glamor. Enchantment. The art of making friends and influencing people or rather The Art of making friends and influencing people. One of the most common bases of magic practices, and well attested to in pop culture, but also in the accumulated knowledge of esoteric traditions around the world. While in a certain sense all magic is about influencing something or someone, it is the magic of Fascination that deals with that influence specifically and directly.

I specifically like the world Fascination. There is a certain ring to it that just tickles the forces within and around me. To fascinate another and make yourself into the sparkling, glittering being or object that cannot be resisted. To magically improve your charisma, wit, or subtle appearance that people are drawn to you, either with love, with trust, or loyalty, or any other emotion that draws people together into various bonds and commitments. That is the means of fascination.

How do you fascinate people? There are many ways. Some of the most mundane ways begin with simple things. Dress nicely. Smell nice. Stand up straight with good posture. Speak clearly. Make a point of remembering people’s names, even if you have to come up with some kind of sleight of mind trick to do it. Present yourself with grace, wit and ease, even when it would seem impossible in a certain situations. Fake it till you make it.
Some more complicated mundane tricks can also be used. Things like NLP aka Neuro Linguistic Programming. Social Proof. Books like The Game as well as the endless titles of books for women on how to catch men, that introduce various tactics and methods and even specialize with certain types of men. A lot of the sociology, psychology and just plain subtle manipulation that is taught in these books walks a very fine line of being nearly magical in the results that they produce.

The archives of magic are also filled with endless ways to enchant, glamor and fascinate people. The most simplest of ways relies upon personal effects. Bathing in dew collected on Midsummer morning collected from plants. Washing yourself in an herbal tea that is said to make you eloquent, or draw romantic partners to you, or even reunite you with a straying lover. Many a love oil can be used to fascinate people or persons, to find the desired partner, whether it’s for a lasting relationship or short fling.

Some more complex methods involve the manipulation of energy. Learning to project your personal energy by your eyes is probably the most obvious form of fascination, where literally your gaze charms and enchants the target(s) as you draw them to you. This would then be followed by surrounding them with your breath (hopefully pleasantly smelling) and then perhaps sealing it with a kiss or touch that is also a means to deliver further enchanting forces. Although, once you’re close, you could turn to more heavy handed techniques where you gain the personal effects of the target, from hair to bodily fluids, which are then used in spells to bring influence, love, or control and domination, depending upon what you are desires or needs are. If you cannot gain their personal effects, then you instead leave enchanted items for them to walk over, on, or through or under or consume, that will cast the spell upon them. From powders laid secretly down for the target(s) to walk through, to feeding them foods magic with magical herbs, perhaps with a bit of your own personal effects mixed in for extra measure. This breaks the separation between you, uniting you and your target together, and filling their being your essence.

More spiritual methods are also available. You could literally call on a wide range of spirits, from pagan Gods to spirit allies that you encounter, to help you influence people. You could also influence them spiritually by visiting the target(s) in dreams, and through the sleeping or subconscious mind plant what you desire into their being, to bring about the influences and results you desire.

One way that I find interesting I learned from the Crystal Silence League. It is known as developing the sexual force, another name for animal magnetism. By developing this force, which is inherent in all people, to a healthy and vital level, not only will it support your health and vitality, but it also attract desired or healthy partners for sex and romance to you, but also friendships, even working relationships. Because that animal magnetism goes beyond just sex and love, but into all aspects of life. To work with this sexual force, you need to find it’s source, a power that slumbers in the subtle body, located in the general area of your sex IE your genitals. Find that source and feed it with pleasure, with breathing exercises, with understanding your sexual nature and it’s healthy and natural expression that is personal to you. Use these things like throwing fuel onto a fire. Start small, with kindling, and when it begins to grow stronger, you can feed it more and more, until it becomes a might blaze that will then surge through your channels and centers of your body. Work with that energy. Listen to it intuitively. What does it tell you about yourself? How does it want to influence and attract people? What makes you feel like a precious jewel, that is desired by all? Who does it attract you to and who does it push you away from? Follow this intuitive push and see where it leads you.

The art of fascination can take many forms, some of which will work better for some people then others. Find which parts tick for you and work well. Enchantment is a subtle and demanding art, because if used to roughly and bluntly, people often will realize that they have been or are attempted to being manipulated, which often creates the opposite of the desired reaction. Remember that one of the major keys to Fascination is empathy. Know how to relate to people, if you really want to enchant them. It is also what turns you into a controlling robot, who is jerk, and into a sensitive human being, who knows how to relate to other human beings.

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.


Rune Wights and Spirit Work

Recently, I have been reading Secrets of the Magical Grimoires by Aaron Leitch. It was a book I acquired a while ago, and read it through once cover to cover. It’s fairly dense, and the author covers a lot of ground. This re-read had me thinking about Runes, and about the galdrbok, which shows how Northern European magic style became infused with Southern European magic style, as exemplified by the grimoires, and the medieval Christianity cosmology and philosophy. The main point of interest for me is that in relation to theurgy, which is divine magic based upon the working relationship of the sorcerer with the Angels. From this book, the author indicates and argues strongly for his case that it was through the relationship of the Angels, whose aid is gained by mankind’s relationship to God, that other lesser spirits are controlled, compelled and made obedient to the practitioner. The Angels themselves are never compelled, but are more of worked with, and have deals made, and in some cases (like the Abramelin procedure) a special angel is connected with, and in the process these angels instruct you in the procedures and methods and tools of communicating with other angels, and commanding the earthbound and infernal spirits.
This led me to wondering, as the Runes as spirits, represent fairly powerful spiritual entities. Powerful enough that they cannot be compelled or controlled, but not so powerful that they can demand service, like a deity can. In a certain sense, the Rune Wights and the Angels of the grimoires have a lot in common. While their natures are radically different, they could be worked with to the same ends, namely calling up the rune wights, after working with them and entering into a relationship with them, so that they can aid you in mastering lesser spirits and wights. It is, after all, the lesser spirits that can be commanded to fulfill the desires of the practitioner, and put to work.
It is part of Aaron Leitch’s work that explores the “shamanic” nature of the grimoires, with some of their ‘un-Christian” actions (some suggest animal sacrifice). From a spirit-worker stand point, offerings and sacrifices is what is needed to feed the spirits, to draw them, gain their aid, or end their hostilities, such as the kind brought by spirits of disease. In the grimoires, that is often what is sought from the earthbound spirits, gaining their aid, or possibly ending their hostilities (as most of the grimoires were probably penned by lay clergy, who were most likely exorcists, and so it became common practice for them to command spirits, not only to help people, but also to help themselves). The spirit-worker, who works with the runes, would also be able to get their aid in controlling lesser spirits, and also gaining the knowledge needed to draw spirits, gain other spirits aids, and also end hostility brought on by other spirits. It encourages me to search for means of how to do that. From the saga lore, there is already the implication of methods, or that such knowledge was gained. A clear example of the indication of runes being used to control land spirits, is of course the nyth-stav, used to curse a king and queen out of Denmark.
Possible images that could work, in terms of further symbolic pattern, is the Aegishjalmur, mentioned in the galdrbok. Other continental books of magic show increasing complex symbols, while other symbols seem to be more inspired, derived from ecstatic states of mind from a practitioner that have been handed down, or created whole cloth by the writer of the text. You could also adopt more southern methods, including geometrical shapes derived from Pythagorean traditions, like the triangle, or circle, although circles are fairly ubiquitous in most common western pagan practice. In another book a description of a necromantic rite is given, where the practitioner lit a fire, which he surrounded with a square, with the corners of the square pointing in the four directions. On each side of the square, he drew 9 smaller squares on the edges of the large square, and then sat in the larger square before the fire. After a while, the dead appeared, mainly to reveal the cause of death through their appearance, which proved the sole survivors deception (who had killed the other two survivors, to keep the rest of the spoils they had rescued from the floundering ship).
From lore surrounded practitioners of seidh, there is the 9-square platform. From one example I read, a platform would be built on the top of the seidh practitioner’s house. This platform would be made of nine squares, arranged in a square. The practitioners would sit up there, often in the center, practice their art from there. Already there seems to be two examples of nine squares being used, although in two fairly different layouts, but with fairly similar goals (as seidh was often a way of communicating with spiritual entities). As most northern European spiritual types know, nine is one of the more common numbers that are often figured in the sagas, and the cosmology, and is seen as one of the spiritually significant numbers.