Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The 6 Keys to the Embodied: A Synopsis of inward reaching techniques
By Madame X © 2010

Introduction:
Regardless of your individual level of experience you can Open, Discover, Communicate, Develop, and put the Embodied to work with these 6 practices:
1. Introspection
2. Affirmations
3. Visualization
4. Meditation
5. Trance
6. Astral Journey
Tomes have been written on each; my intention is to briefly introduce them as tools to work with the Embodied.

1. Introspection
When reaching within to our Embodied nothing is more important than Introspection. It is important to consider thoughts, words and actions, bringing intuitive responses into a conscious awareness by examining where motivations come from. Stop looking outward for answers, instead turn inward allowing the Embodied to manifest. To face ourselves and the other within – heart, fears, faults and frailties too. To accept and appreciate its ways, our ways; discovering the unique creatures that we are. Our journey is to embrace our true nature, angelic, bestial or demonic, as an intrinsic part of a larger whole claiming our own rightful place in symbiosis. It is through introspection that we make peace with our Embodied becoming one with it.
Journaling is a terrific tool for introspection as we continue self-observation well after memory has forgotten the subtle nuances. We may also try Reverse Introspection, where we begin examining the last occurrence fist.

2. Affirmations
Verbal affirmations are another great tool for personal empowerment, as they enable reaching and developing the Embodied, be it verbally (words / chants), visually or physically. Positive affirmations impress the conscious and the subconscious mind, building confidence, then shaping attitudes and behaviors, as they become belief. Effective affirmations contain elements of certainty, intentions and the positive qualities of our Embodied (this last inclusion is a critical cohesive factor in establishing/sustaining the relationship). Therefore: from affirmation to acceptance, to affection, to cohesive self-esteem.

3. Visualization
Visualization is a simple process, fundamental in most magickal practices and a terrific tool for reaching our Embodied. Visualization begins in The Mind´s Eye as it acts as a magnet drawing to us what we wish, in this case a deeper connection with our Embodied. Visualization is a form of mental enactment or rehearsal, which sharpens the will improving skills, enhancing ability, and refining performance in a variety of areas from sports, to art, to magickal craft. Creative visualization builds mental images in the mind helping focus on the visual qualities of our Embodied while aiming toward any goals and situations we may want to achieve; in itself Visualization is a visual affirmation. The idea is to see and project our Embodied selves at their very best in unity with the Self. Again, it’s as important to visualize what we are certain of as well as our desired intent. Visualizations will help define our Embodied, unite it with the Self through realization and actualization.

Exercise 1: Seeing Beyond Form – Sit or stand, facing a reflective surface, which can be a mirror, a black mirror, a natural water source, a water basin, or another reflective surface, crystal or silver being preferred. There should be a light source strong enough to allow viewing, be it candlelight or a natural source like moonlight. Focus on the reflection intending to connect visually with the embodied and allowing eyes to blink when needed. As vision blurs our reflection begins to reveal what we need to see.

4. Meditation
There are two types of meditative practices. ‘Passive ’ where in stillness a single focus or blank, allows for a connection with the higher self, divinity, or (for our purposes) a connection with The Embodied, and ‘Active’ where we may be engaged in an activity like drumming or dancing allowing our mind to enter a meditative state.
Passive Meditation includes: focused contemplation of auditory or visual stimuli, Yogic sutras, Buddhist or Zen meditation, Pranayama or breath control, etc…

Exercise 2: The Dragon’s Statue – Here we allow the Embodied to surface by achieving inner peace. Getting into a relaxed position, begin with 5 – 15 minutes of complete silence and stillness. Eyes closed, breathing softly with sensory awareness placed on heartbeat, breathing, and inner sounds. The mind should be cleared and thoughts should revert to our primary intent.

Another type is Assisted Passive Meditation where items like: elements, crystals, incense, pyramids, masks, etc… are used to enhance deeper meditative levels. You may want to try incorporating an element or item that resonates with your embodied to further your connection.
Active meditation includes: Reading, looking thru a set of visual images, Shiatsu Massage, repetition of mantras, drumming, flagellation, automatic writing, automatic painting, intoning, chanting, also aerobic exercises like dancing, running, sexual stimulation, etc…
Depending on the individual, there may be a particular activity that triggers a meditative state or connection with the Embodied. Awareness of this is always a great beginning.

5. Trance / Altered States of Consciousness
Voluntarily Altered States of Consciousness can be achieved in a variety of way including: deep meditation via ecstatic dance or drumming, physical pain or sexual ecstasy, as well as journeying or vision questing. Some claim that certain chemicals can open similar doors, but the faster, chemically induced trances are discouraged because they can exceed personal awareness levels, possibly leading to unnecessary physical, mental and emotional damage. During Trance we may obtain sensory experiences, auditory or visual messages and memories that pertain to The Embodied. These can be short simple snapshots, or lengthy visions detailed in complexity.

6. Astralling and Akashic Hall Retrieval
This practice is the culmination of reaching inward. Here we reach onto a different plane where we may interact with the Embodied in unexpected ways. For precautionary grounding purposes, beginners should attempt Astral travel only with a guide or watcher. Voluntary Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), Astral Projection, and Dreaming are forms of Astralling.
Visiting the Astral can help us reach out to astral entities i.e.: elementals, deities, and ancients who may provide information about the Embodied. Here we may also retrieve insight from the Akashic Halls (aka: The Astral Library).
It’s important to differentiate what is truly a message, what we are ‘picking-up’ from the environment, and what is imagination; sometimes the line is fine, whereas not every vision or dream should be interpreted literally.
To further our connection with the Astral tools may be used; to deepen our connection with the embodied, these tools should reflect some aspect of it and may include: Shedding of clothes (skyclad), donning of robes, hoods, masks, runes, jewelry… preparations like baths, unction’s, blessings, and consecrations… using athames, wands, crystals or elements to open portals… Incense, victuals and libations…Affirmations and visualizations … etc…

In conclusion:
Introspection, Affirmation, Visualization, Meditation, Trance and Astral Journey are 6 keys that with dedicated study and practice will assist us to Open, Discover, Communicate, Develop, and put the Embodied to Work!
It is my goal to encourage trial of these practices with focused intent on reaching the embodied and that you share some of your experiences with us.

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Sangomancy

Posted: Sunday, 28 October, 2012 by deacongray in Articles of Interest, Ask the Vampires, Community Articles, Religion
Tags: , , ,

Sangomancy

Postby Aislin Ni MorRhiaghan

Sangomancy
© 2007 Aislin Ni MorRhiaghanSangomancy or blood magick is an ancient arte that has been a part of nearly every path. In the old days blood sacrifices via animals or human were performed to honor the old gods and the sanctity of life. Divine ties between all beings are held within the blood and it is through the blood that the magick of the ages is carried still.While most modern Pagan paths and even some vampyre paths do not condone, endorse, or perform blood sacrifices (in the form of animals or human), some old paths still use ritual sacrifice to honor the old ways. Modern Heathens still attend and perform blots, a ritual that involves the sacrifice and consumption of an animal in the most sacred of ways, with much prayer, forethought, and respect. Usually this animal is one that would normally be consumed (pig, goat, and such), and the blood of the animal is offered to the gods, a way of offering the life back to the source that sustains us all through the flesh of the animal.

Blood magick is not solely a Pagan tradition and early Christians and many Jewish paths also performed blood sacrifices often and in abundance. The sacrificing of oxen, cattle, sheep, and even first born children was utilized to atone for the sins of their tribe. Other tales have blood being used in ancient Egypt to prevent Azrael from imposing death on newborns. In other paths, blood sacrifices were done on a daily basis in droves. The Aztecs and Mayans were the most prolific sacrificers doling out hundreds of them a day.

Blood has been used throughout the ages because it has such potency and power to attract. It is the most intense of sympathetic magicks and among Nightkind the most potent. Blood may be used to shield, to divine the future, to form a barrier, to bind or blind, to ensure that a spell is done in the utmost sincerity, and to seal dedication rituals.

Lunar Blood

Menstrual blood is one of the most potent forms of blood as it is the essence of primal feminine power, the divine ability to create and give life. Its strong tie to the earth (the iron in blood representing earth) and heaven (the lunar association and relation to the divine feminine force) align it with power and strength. In the old days menstruation was hailed with rites, much ceremony, and celebration. It marked the time of change from young girl to womanhood, around the year 13 which is in itself a point of extreme power for young girls. At this point our senses are alive and our spirits begin to awaken to whatever path we embark upon. A primal feminine force indeed this type of blood, once honored and later condemned, is a potent magickal ingredient.

Vampyre lore tells of young women being hidden away during this time, not because they were a detriment to their village, but because vampyres were drawn to menstrual blood for its primal life giving abilities. There are still some who consider this blood potent, although it should be considered unsafe to drink.

In the old days one could purchase menstrual blood or rags used during this time for magick involving healing, fertility, love, impotence, repelling demons, chasing away death, faithlessness, attaining or strengthening marriage, or protection. Menstrual blood was at one time a base ingredient to many spells. Today it is rare to find energy workers who will work during their cycles, much less with it. Part of that has evolved from the belief that we are unclean during our cycles. The other stems from simply not having the energy to work magick during this time.

Fatigue and general muscle discomfort are usually good enough reasons not to try to perform magick, as most of us don’t if we’re not feeling well. However, it is a prime time for harvesting energy for magickal workings. Elemental and ecological harvesting is usually done without much effort. Generally speaking when someone is low in energy, the greater areas of energy in their environment will compensate. Going outside for a few hours a day will recharge you. When you step outside take a deep cleansing breath. Spend a moment sitting on the ground and notice that your palms and feet are tingling. If there is a breeze take it in. Even if it is raining feel the energy coming from it and pull it in. Magick can be worked during this time with great effectiveness. It is a personal choice of whether to work during this time or not.

Blood Shielding

Blood has remarkably potent shielding properties so much so that even blood bonds may be superceded with it. Blood is already charged and a potent form of sympathetic magick. Placing a few drops of your own blood with a mixture of herbs and placing it in mojo bags around your bed, entrances to your home, and even in your car offers a great deal of protection. Generally only a few drops is needed, depending upon whether or not you use herbs with this mixture. Blood without the herbs may also be used.

Blood has been used throughout history to ward evil, disease, and death away from doorsteps, a remarkable feat considering that most diseases and death were caused by blood born pathogens. In various parts of Europe warriors painting their faces in the blood of their enemies or their fallen comrades in an effort to carry some of their power with them back into battle. Menstrual rags were hung to ward off evil spirits as were a virgin’s sheets. The purer the blood the more potent the warding. It’s not a common practice today, but the same effect can be achieved with creating sigils with blood. Choosing a deity that is closely tied with blood (theMorRhiaghan, Baba Yaga, Cailleach Bheur, Kali Durga, Sekmet, etc) create a sigil using their name. Create an ink from a few drops of your blood and India ink. Draw the sigil with this ink and hang it somewhere near the entrance of your home or bury it near your entrance.

Weapons and magickal items (blades, shields, pikes, halberds, etc) were often consecrated and blessed with a drop of blood from the owner. This was to bond the weapon or tool to the owner so that they would act of one accord. If the blade was consecrated to a specific deity, the blood acted as a bond between the owner and the deity. It was also a way of purifying and sanctifying the weapon.

Wearing blood charms can be particularly effective especially at nightside gatherings. A small vial is all that is needed. You can use only blood or a mixture of dragonsblood and alcohol or peroxide with a few drops of your blood. Another formula is ground hematite (a small chip is fine), ground dragonsblood resin (you won’t need much), and blood. You may use a liquid such as peroxide or alcohol to keep it from clotting. The life of blood is relatively short if it’s allowed to dry. It’s only good unrefrigerated for a short time. After that the risk of putrefication is high and it should be discarded.

Should the need arise to ward or shield yourself from someone you share a blood bond with, using your own blood can be extremely effective. A vampyre can trace the energy patterns they are familiar with and especially so if they have engaged in communion with you. The best way to shield…use your own blood. During sanguine communion you exchange energies as well as blood. Normally using your own energy only intensifies the energy print, however using the combined energy is confusing. It can shield you from them or vice versa. I discovered this through an experiment a few months ago.

A newly awakened friend accompanied me to a nightside event where a mutual acquaintance was going to be. I share a bond with him, she does not. He had been pursuing her much to her aggravation. Nonetheless, I prepared a vial charm for her to wear hoping that my blood was strong enough to shield her from unwanted attacks and attention. Alas it worked better than I planned as the gentleman in question walked passed her several times, once even brushing up against her and she didn’t even see him. After a few days of trying to figure out why he was practically invisible to her but plainly visible to everyone else, it occurred that he could not penetrate his own energy field. The bond that we share was still present in the blood and therefore strengthened the shield.

Shielding with blood is not only limited to the physical world but also to the dreaming world as well. I once discovered while being pestered by a particularly aggravating dreamwalker that a simple bite to my wrist and a circle of blood was all I needed to keep him at bay. He simply could not cross the barrier and the rest of the night went by quite peacefully.

Love in Vein

Blood has also been used for creating love filters or potions intended to attract or enthrall a lover. Its intention is to bind someone to you for eternity. Generally this type of sympathetic magick is administered in strongly flavored foods or strong….very strong….drinks.

An old Romany recipe takes a ground devil’s hand root and mixes it with a little menstrual blood (although blood from a finger is every bit as effective as long as the woman is menstruating). The two are ground together and dropped in the unsuspecting gentleman’s dinner. Other variations of this from other parts of the world include adding a single drop of menstrual blood to someone’s food or beverage, mixing it with a dried passionflower and placing it under the pillow of your intended, and wrapping a rag containing menstrual blood around a stick and burying it under their bedroom window. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that specific type of blood as long as it is obtained at that time of the month. The day is also specific as most love spells are best worked on May Eve or Belteane.

While that may be the best time of the year and month to work love spells, regular blood works as well. In the old days blood was much easier to obtain than it is now and so were the organs used to obtain it. Using a cow’s heart or sheep’s heart (if you live on a farm where these animals are routinely slaughtered it’s not a big deal to obtain. Some may be able to get them at butchers that sell organ meats.) for love magick is not unheard of. In the more rural parts of Western Europe it was actually quite common. The heart was stuck with a needle much as a voodoo doll would be stuck these days. The intention was clear, albeit messy.

Folk magick aside, the most typical image of the vampyre is the enthralling, irresistible, ever potent lover. While this is generally a myth, vampyres do indeed have a higher level of pheromones that are greatly enhanced when they are in need of sating their hungers. It would seem that the urge to mate and the urge to feed are closely connected, likely due to the intimacy involved. After all, what is more intimate than our blood? Emotional attachment with those we commune with may well be the strongest form of binding magick as we are bound to them body, mind, and spirit. Until at least the two opt to release each other. But vampyres are not the only ones who drink blood.

The legendary Jim Morrison is noted as claiming to have partaken of blood. Drinking human blood is an old cure for ED as well as other potency and fertility problems. It was so common that in ancient Rome one could purchase bottles of the stuff at market. Warriors would drink it to enhance their fighting skills well into the dark ages. As Christianity took hold the practice became taboo and this old manner of honoring one’s fallen friends and family members ceased. The idea being that when one ingested the blood of their loved ones they were taking in the essence of that person, thus absorbing their strength and vitality allowing them to move on.

Blood and sex magick are a powerful duo. Unlike modern sex magick techniques, ancient practices show sex magick not occurring between people but between a person and a discarnate (an ancient that resides on the other side of the Veil and is not dead but no longer maintains a physical body). Blood is often used to attract these discarnated ancients as they are drawn to the life force within it. During this practice the person enters a trance state and by either placing sigils on their body written in blood, or by placing a vial of blood nearby, they access the astral where these ancients reside. Once contact has been established, they engage in communion which in this case involves some sort of sexual communion. This could be as simple as deep feeding via a kiss or a bite, or through actual intercourse. During communion the discarnate enters the physical body of the person giving them the sensation of pleasure and intimacy while raising the energy level and vibration of the magickian so that magick may be worked via sexual release. The energy raised in one is poured out through the other thus forming a continual circle.

Sacred sexuality among people requires a distinct level of well placed boundaries and even more so when mixed with blood. This can be used through complete sexual contact, partial contact, or contact through flagellation or other fetish behavior. Working through fetish behavior could involve anything that draws blood and raises energy at the same time. Pins or needles could be slid into the skin of the bound person. Intricate lacing with ribbon is then done lacing all of the sharp points together. This is done with much slowness and anticipation so as to raise the energy silently. Both parties should be conscious of the end result which is to release energy towards a specific goal. At the appropriate moment the ribbon is pulled, the pins pulled out, and the blood and energy harvested for ritual use. Flagellation may also be used.

General sex magick could incorporate two to as many people as someone is comfortable working with. The main focus of the work should be toward a specific goal. This process could last for hours, if the people involved are skilled enough to maintain their energy levels that long. In general they should focus on raising as much energy as slowly as possible without achieving orgasm. Blood obtained from this sort of magick is potent as it is filled with life giving chemicals and highly charged with bioelectrical energy. Use the blood obtained as soon as it is harvested as this is when it will be the most potent. Blood obtained from this sort of work may be used for healing, fertility, and bonding.

This form of magickal work is especially effective between those sharing blood bonds as the blood. Warming the blood by first releasing the fire of kundalini energy may be a potent prerequisite. You do not have to be in the same room or near each other for this. It may be achieved by bilocation (physically being in one place and astrally or aetherically being in another), by thought transference (many who share blood bonds share a form of telepathy similar to beacon that allows thoughts to be transferred to the other person), dreamwalking, or using energy fingerprinting. We are known for our smoldering sexuality, in part due to our ability to heat the blood without laying a hand on the recipient. By reaching out to the other person using any of these methods and sending a tendril into the chakra the fire is stoked. Once the energy has begun the transference of thoughts, energies, dreams, or the feeling of being touched is enough to inflame the blood.

Other ways of raising this energy without involving the energy centers at all is to simply raise the temperature of the blood. This should be done with infinite care as too much heat may damage the precious blood and thus the person carrying it. Blood carries energy in its purest form. To raise the temperature by barely a point is enough to cause a kinetic stir. The energy in the blood is stimulated by delicate and steady amounts of influx of energy from the other person. When the temperature is heated it will feel as if it is rushing through the person’s veins. The heart may race a bit, they will become flushed, dizzy, perhaps even a bit warm to the touch. The skin will tingle and they will be very sensitive to the slightest touch.

Blood bonding is one of the most common forms of vampyrecraft. Blood bonds occur when a vampyre engages in sanguine communion with either another vampyre or a latent vampyre with the intention of siring. The initial purpose is to help the younger one on their path and with their skills, with energy balancing, and to create a cohesive bond that will last until they achieve adulthood and hive off to form their own coven or household. Blood bonding between two adult vampyres are usually created to enhance an existing relationship. Blood bonds are created when the more mature vampyre engages in communion with the less mature vampyre. An exchange is made and with it an intentional exchange of energies thus raising the energy level of the younger one. In the case of bonding, the energies that are exchanged leave long term fingerprints and the two people are woven together so that they are completely conscious of each other on many different levels. The old myth that a vampyre can’t come into one’s home without an invitation from the owner is simply a metaphor for this type of bonding. Once you invite someone to share in this primal life force you will likely not be able to un~invite them in the future.

Blood Divination and Juicy Tidbits

Divining using blood is probably not as old as some of the other forms. Nonetheless I thought it deserved an honorable mention. This is done on a full moon, a Blood Moon is best but any of them will do. You will need a black bowl, matte black if possible or a cast iron cauldron. Fill it with water and set it underneath a full moon so that the moon’s reflection is in the water. Concentrate on what you need to know. Prick your finger. Squeeze a drop into the water. Sit patiently and wait. If it drifts to the left your answer is yes. If it drifts to the right your answer is no. If it goes nowhere wait. It is not the right time.

It’s lucky if you happen to get a paper cut while using your tarot. They’ll be more responsive to your use. I received a vampire deck that I had trouble relating to because of all things, it was too colorful and the artwork was actually distracting. It was a brand new deck and as it happened I got a paper cut. It’s now one of the best decks I have. Ironic but true.

Figures may be crafted from blood and clay and used in sympathetic magick. An image of someone may be crafted from red clay and a few drops of blood. Use it for binding or banishing. It is best that it contain something of theirs, hair or nail clippings. If you’re fortunate enough to find something with their blood on it (a razor or paper) even better. Just add the part containing the blood and do away with the rest.

In closing, I’d like to remind everyone reading this that any time you use blood as a medium for any type of magickal or ritual work, you open yourself up to a lot of possibilities. We are vampyres but we are not immortal in the common sense of the word. We can get sick and we can die. Know the people you are involved with and know thyself first and foremost. If you engage in sanguine communion it is best to get tested for bloodborn pathogens on a regular basis. These include a routine VDRL, Hep and AIDS test. If you donate to the Red Cross they will run these tests for you free of charge. Know first aid. Know what to do in case of an emergency and establish safe, effective, and life affirming boundaries prior to any type of communion or blood letting.

Aislin Ni MorRhiaghan
 
 © 2007 Aislin Ni MorRhiaghan

 

  

By Deacon Gray

Graveyard Press Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 24, 2012

 

Facing pressure from Wiccan groups, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Arlington County Court relented yesterday and allowed Literata Hurley to gain the right to perform Wiccan/ Pagan based wedding ceremonies.

 “The Arlington County Court refused to grant me the right to perform marriages in Virginia, apparently on the grounds that my “congregation” does not own a building. I presented my certificate of ordination and documentation of the 501c3 status of the Order of the White Moon, which ordained me. Since my Order is incorporated in California, the secretary asked me if I had a congregation in Virginia; I said yes. She asked me to list the address of the congregation, and I said that we don’t have a building. She asked, “So, what, you just meet in each other’s homes?” I said yes, we meet in each other’s homes, or out of doors.

She left and came back with the Clerk of Court, Paul Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson said that they were not going to approve me. I asked if it was because we don’t have a building. He said, “Yes, you don’t have a building, and there were a few other things.” I asked him if he would give me a written list of the reasons I was being denied. He refused; he offered to show me the relevant section (Sec 20-23) of the Virginia Code. I assured him that I had read the Code, and asked again if he would give me more specific reasons I was being denied. He said that approving these applications was at his “discretion” and that he didn’t “feel” I met the qualifications, but he wouldn’t tell me how. He told me that I could apply to another court in another county but that he thought they would probably give me the same answer.”

In 2006 Arlington faced another such incident when they made international news for not allowing one of our fallen soldiers the right to a grave marker with a Wiccan symbol. This ended in a prolonged battle with the President Bush’s administration.  Eventually with court cases looming, and a large outcry from the soldiers and citizens of this country, the Bush Administration gave ground and allowed the headstones to be allowed in that famous cemetery.

For Literata Hurley the process took nearly as long.  She set about at once to seek help and advice from the ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Lady Liberty League. Then she made a call out to the whole Virginia based pagan community stating “get the word out. The more Pagans pull together, the better our chances of being recognized as “legitimate” in these kinds of situations.”

The response was everything she could have hoped for. “Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the Arlington County Court in support of my application to perform weddings. They are very clear about the situation:

“Your denial of Priestess Hurley’s application violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We ask that you grant the application, as well as any similar applications that you may receive in the future.” – Americans United for Separation of Church and State

“The letter went into great detail about the relevant legal precedents, including details of interpreting and applying the First Amendment and other Constitutional protections. It cites many instances of legal recognition of Wicca as a religion entitled to First Amendment protections, including applications of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and landmark cases for minority religious rights such as Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc v. City of Hialeah. They specifically state:

Your failure to recognize Priestess Hurley as a valid minister constitutes discrimination against the Wiccan faith and its adherents, in violation of three separate provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The letter also addresses the only reason that the Clerk gave me for denying my application, pointing out that denying my application on the basis of not having a fixed address for my ministry is unsupportable based on the relevant sections of the Virginia code and would also discriminate against many other religious groups that meet at members’ homes or otherwise do not have a fixed address.”

Tuesday, Oct 21, she decided to make a go of it again after the court replied to the Americans United letter apologizing for an apparent “miscommunication”. “She { the clerk} had to go get approval from someone else; she said that the person who wrote the reply to Americans United for Separation of Church and State had to review my new application and paperwork. That took a little while, but she came back and said that it was approved, and then it was a matter of paying the fee, taking an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia and to do my duty fairly and impartially, and then I got the official authorization!”

The future outlook still isn’t as rosy as it might be, but this is certainly another step forward for the Wiccan faith, and pagans all over the country. With the fall of the Bush administration moratorium on Wiccan head stones and religious expression with in the armed forces, and now another step with the battle won over who can conduct your marriage, there is a lot yet to hope for.

We cannot win every battle, there are times when we just want to hang our heads, but keep in mind that you are not the only one, and just like Priestess Hurley, we do win some times.

“I am also deeply and sincerely grateful to everyone who supported me, especially Selena Fox, Ivo Dominguez, and my sisters in the Order of the White Moon; my thanks also go out to everyone who put energy into resolving this issue and making a positive difference for Pagan civil rights. The personal and magical support I got was amazing, and it made all the difference in the world. Thank you all.

I would like to particularly thank Americans United for Separation of Church and State, especially Ben Hazelwood, who worked with me directly. They sent the letters that showed the Arlington County Court in no uncertain terms that their actions were legally indefensible and got the court to clarify its requirements so that I could make this reapplication successful.

This is not the first time they have gone to bat for Pagan rights, either, as they were intimately involved with Selena Fox and the Lady Liberty League in bringing the Pentacle Quest to a successful conclusion. I strongly encourage all Pagans to support these organizations that are doing the hard work of defending our rights when we need it most.”

copyright 2012 Deacon Gray and the Graveyard press

Magick

Posted: Sunday, 9 September, 2012 by deacongray in Articles of Interest, Community Articles, Religion

Magic is a very real way of life, indeed magic is life itself. There are two accepted spellings of the word magic. The “k” is commonly added to segregate it from the word magic denoting trickery or illusions. It is used without a k here because magic is just that. It is reaching into the illusion, becoming it even for a brief time and taking care that it does not shred, pulling it gently into the world we acknowledge as real. It is both an extension of ourselves and ourselves, the universe and universal mind manifested as perfect will and intention, a natural occurrence cleverly masquerading as something supernatural.

Magic is the very essence of life, life manifesting itself through the thoughtforms of the Source. The magician carefully weaves their magic as an elaborate tapestry. So were we woven. Along with the mysteries of life we were given the mysteries of the very universe itself. Reaching into ourselves and outside of ourselves, we gingerly touch the fragile Veil of Mysteries and see into the illusion of life and beyond it, pulling our manifestations from the tender strands into the mundane world.

Magic is as natural as breathing and the very breath we take. It is the great I Am as we bring our divinity to the forefront, invoking within ourselves the power of the universe, our Creators, and ourselves. As being a part of the illusion that is everything we believe is reality, we have within us the power to shape our accepted realities, our dreams, and our lives with the release of our passions and intentions. Reaching into ourselves and allowing our spiritual link to the Divine to reach into the ether and connecting with that which is all and with ourselves we become creators.

The illusion of life is held in place by our accepted realities and just as our points of view may be changed as we grow and expand our minds and spirits, so do the veils of illusion slip away and allow us greater possibilities. As we become more aware of the illusion that is our realities and our lives and ourselves, we glean a greater acknowledgement of the connection between our dreams and our physical presence. The ultimate transcendence is the final removal of the physical being and the complete assimilation into the illusion itself. When we perform magic or when we acknowledge ourselves as magical beings, we touch the immortality of the spirit and grow closer to the Divine thus also growing closer to transcending the mundane and becoming the final dream that is the total connection and reunion with the Ancients.

Magic allows us this reunion and is not merely something that is found in circle, in ritual, within tools, or books. A teacher can not instruct a student that does not carry the magic within their soul. No amount of experience can explain the all encompassing presence of Spirit within the life of someone who has opened themselves up to the grand illusion and reached into it becoming a thread within it. It is everything we see and everything we do not see. It is everything that was and everything that is to come. It is the fabric of the Veil of Mysteries and the Mysteries themselves. Magic does not allow us control over others, but rather teaches us control over ourselves as we move forward into claiming our rightful places as wielders of power with humility and grace.

Magic is believing not only in the balance of all things, but in the truth of absolute love and the hope of becoming love and truth as to move into a state of balance with everything and everyone around us. Magic is the essence of our spiritual selves transcending mathematical equations and astronomical evolutions to become our own manifestation of the dream. In short, magic is everything and in everything, and a part of everything. We do not use magic, we become it. We do not access higher powers, we carry it within us. It is the ability to believe the unbelievable and to achieve the imaginable.

Laws of the Magus and Ebay’s Dewitchery

Posted: Sunday, 26 August, 2012 by deacongray in Articles of Interest, Religion

 

Recently Ebay and a few other e-commerce sites opted to close down their metaphysical and witchcraft sections, which up until that point had supplied many many new students and seasoned practitioners alike. Amidst cries of religious discrimination, ebay has maintained it’s decree that there would be no more sections devoted to the study of witchery and metaphysics or rather certain types of items could no longer be sold there. I for one do not see this as an issue of discrimination, rather an end to a lot of wealthy charlatans. Were this an issue of discrimination, ebay would have not allowed them to be listed at all. Yardsellr, for instance, has a Wicca block that itemizes witchcraft and mystical items for sale into this category automatically, however they do not have a section for metaphysical goods listed at all.

One of the most important aspects of studying any sort of metaphysics and occult is the Laws of the Magus, To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Be Silent. None of those tend to applywithin a small range of metaphysical community of online shops and especially not on ebay. I have seen everything on sale there from floating oils guaranteed to lend the ability to levitate items to “haunted” books of shadows, pendants, cloaks, and practically any item you can possibly consider. I for one do not shrink at a little good old fashioned necromancy, really it’s good to play in the dark once in a while, but the concept of trapping the soul of another being inside a pendant or tome, or any other item intended to be imbued with protective, loving, or wise energies is utterly vile to someone who practices and lives a magickal life.

Or so one would think.

For those that sell such items, ebay has been an amazing boost for their personal economy, however not only is this an illegal practice it’s unethical and vile….and it has negatively impacted many other honest, sincere shopkeepers that are offering legitimate goods for mystical and spiritual use. Many many shop owners that have opened spaces on ebay to try and boost their income or business in a lagging economy with handcrafted items and drop shipped goods. Many of them run legitimate storefronts and others choose to work from home exclusively providing wares for that Old Tyme Religion and many other various paths. Unfortunately, the only people this is going to affect are not the ones running the scams…purchasing a pendant for pennies, claiming it is haunted, raising the price 1200% and selling it to the first vulnerable person who believes the fantasy of magick rather than the very mundane reality.

Which brings to the main purpose of this piece.

You see, magick isn’t just love and light, bright and sunny, sabbats and esbats, pointy hats and witches’ balls. It’s steeped in logic, metaphysics (key word there…physics), personal responsibility, and most of all common sense. Enter the Laws of the Magus, To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent. If there were ever a genuine set of realistic magickal and mystical laws to apply to working metaphysics, these are, well, it. The first thing I was taught in magick was to own the energy I create. The next thing was to distinguish where fantasy stopped and reality set in. Now, I started practicing at the ripe old age of 12 after years of reading every book on mythology I could possibly find. There was no “Craft”, no “Angel” no “Charmed’ to segregate one from the other. It was quite literally a lesson in illusion. More than 20 years later it’s not so easy.

From Charmed to Angel to Buffy and countless movies and programs in between, the assumption is that an item may be ensouled and used in a necromantic fashion. Watch an hour of any of these programs and you’ll likely see dozens of items with souls of this creature or that person crammed into tiny little items. The sheer physics of this procedure is in itself unrealistic. The probability very close to zero and the ability of a practitioner to develop the amount of power needed to do such things exceptionally impossible. Of course, many of the people making such claims also claim to be descended from a long line of powerful witches, sometimes even mythological figures, more commonly Morgan Le Fey and Merlin. I’ve even seen Gandalf a time or two.

The first law of the Magus is To Know…or simply Know Thyself. Somewhere deep inside every person is an alarm that is triggered every time something unreal crosses their path. In short, it is the responsibility of every practitioner to not only know their path and know the difference between illusion and reality, but to also know their self. Without knowing these things there is no point in continuing a study in energy work. It not only makes a practitioner dangerous, but it also makes one unreliable. If you don’t know who you are, looking for some one or some thing to give you an identity is utterly foolish, dangerous, and pointless. If you don’t know who you are, how is anyone working with you to know how to work with you and where to begin, slow down, and move forward?

To Dare, the second Law, infers a strength of will to move past the boundaries of the ordinary and step into learning extraordinary abilities. In the old days the “dare” portion would have been much more serious than simply hiding a book or disguising an altar from disagreeable family members or coworkers. It would have meant certain death and definite imprisonment…with or without torture…for not only the individual but very likely for their family members as well. Delving into the art of metaphysics involves not only the prying open of one’s mind, but also the elevation of one’s spirit actively. Breaking away from the norm and engaging a part of us that is highly inclined for spiritual and mental evolution is a process that takes a lifetime and it is also a process that involves a great deal of discomfort as we move from one vibration to the next. Every elevation brings its own discomforts and trials and so it takes a certain amount of tenacity and strength of character to begin the path much less stay on it throughout a lifetime.

Which brings us to the next point, To Will. This third portion of the Law brings the knowledge of self within the first tenet into the second law that reflects initiative and drive to begin the practice. The third law is the law of activation, To Will. This law moves into effect when a student moves beyond the basics and into the point of manifestation of will, when the energy within begins to move outward as well by sheer force of will. A person reaches this point after significant study and practical application.

The last law to move into effect is the command to keep silent. This is actually one of the more to practical aspects of the Law. After reaching a level where magick is intuitive and energy work begins to have results we can see the student reaches the next plateau where the relinquishing of ego is important for the energy to continue to have positive results. To law of “To Be Silent’ is instruction to be ego-less where magickal work is concerned. Silence guarantees that the energy is not tainted and the work is not countered, tainted by others, and affected by ego. The idea of witchcraft is not to control other people but rather to learn to control yourself and your environment with the good of all of humanity involved.

In effect, witches and metaphysicists know that whatever we do to ourselves we inadvertently do to others also because energy does not occur in a vacuum. Rather it ripples out like a wave. So when a witch casts to find a job or to protect his or her family or to heal someone who is ill, the idea is it will occur within the universal laws of return. Everything about the energy work involved is crafted with this in mind. In short you will get back whatever energy you send out and anyone else that is positively or negatively affected will be part of that return. Whatever you send out you own and all the plus or minuses thereof.

Enter the ebay issue. You see throughout history tarot readers, palmists, psychics, healers, people with genuine gifts have had to contend with charlatans. Charlatans are people that make their living by scamming other people, people who are not so aware or who have a narrow concept of what their particular scam is about. For instance laws geared at fortune tellers have a tendency to also impact those who are skilled tarot readers. Or it could be someone who reads palms or sells witchcraft supplies but who also spots a wealthy customer and scams them into believing they have a spell or curse on them and need thousands of dollars worth of supplies in order to be rid of it. In this instance these people target others that have a thin line between illusion ( or in this case absolute fiction) and reality and they are using a legitimate business to do so. Unfortunately, along with the bad there are always the good that get caught up in the wake of removing the bad seeds. Once someone is burned by one of these people they develop a bitter taste for any other form of experiential energy worker. There will be lots of home based businesses struggling to find last minute sites willing to host their wares and services. In the meantime, the bad choices of a few will negatively impact the lives of quite a few as they will lose sales and income during the switchover.

So there really is a bigger picture to this whole ebay ban on selling witchcraft and metaphysical supplies. If this were religiously motivated it would not be an issue. These items would not be sold there to begin with. In fact, up until last Wednesday I was receiving invitations to sell my own wares in an ebay shop. So truthfully I don’t believe this is an issue of genuine religious discrimination. I do believe this is an issue of the few affecting the many and causing many more issues and thus causing the whole to be negatively impacted. A little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of tv witchcraft is a bad thing in some cases. Someone who genuinely studies the craft and realizes the power their words can have and how energy may impact a few or a lot is careful with their intentions and with their actions. This is a prime example of how these laws work with the reality of magick and the laws of return and balance. It’s very difficult for the world to view Wiccans and witches as legitimate members of the spiritual and religious community when things like haunted jewelry, books, boxes or even toys are on display.

So remember little boy and girl witchies, before you pay 348.19 for a 12th century soul of a witch which has been pulled out of their much incarnated shells and stuffed into a 7.00 pendant for your sole use…no pun intended phonetically…, you may consider that it only really happens on Angel. Or Charmed.

Know Thyself.

Religion and the Vampire, Interview Eleven

Posted: Sunday, 1 July, 2012 by deacongray in Religion

****Edited, added after publishing****
(Boy, I was so excited to get this interview published, I skipped a few things! I do hope our readers will forgive me!)

This interview was with long-time community member, Pink Lady. Pink Lady lives in Virginia, is a member of Blue Ridge Vampires and Otherkin (BRAVO), founder of New River Valley Vampires, and also moderates some very awesome Yahoo Elist groups.

**** Done editing! ****

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
SR: I am a blood drinker. I try not to use the word sanguinarian because it has a roleplaying feel to it, trying to make the act (and those who do it) more mysterious than it is or needs to be.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
SR: I am Jewish and I follow the practices of Reform Judaism, aka Jew Lite. I keep somewhat kosher and attend services once or twice a year. I have a tanakh that I read cover-to-cover around Yom Kippur. I have not had a bat mitzvah–my mother, raised Conservative, insisted that I should not–and I don’t plan on getting it as an adult.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
SR: My entire life. Judaism is not an evangelical faith. There are stricter, more Orthodox sects that believe one cannot be converted into the faith, only born into it. I’ve grown more observant over the years. I’m the only member of my family who follows kosher law, fasts for Yom Kippur, and other things.
GYP: Do you think following kosher laws, fasting for Yom Kippur and the other things causes any sort of divide between you and your family members who are not as observant?
SR: My close family takes a lot of my quirky beliefs in stride, and they see my kosher diet and religious fasting as just a few more strange behaviors.

I’ve often thought about coming out as a blood drinker to my family. The maternal side of my family has a sun sensitivity, running from “burns easily” to “sun poisoning.” My mother is (jokingly) nicknamed “the vampire” for her extreme sunlight sensitivity as well as how she can be emotionally draining on others. Psychic vampire or Jewish mother? (One and the same?)

Nearly two years ago now, I had a phone interview with a New York production company with a Jewish woman who was looking to make a vampire reality show or documentary or something, and she tried to write off my blood drinking as a symptom of my kosher diet. (She also gave me the same “quaint ancestral practice” spiel, which I found rather demeaning from a fellow Jew!)

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
SR: The Aaronite priesthood considered the consumption of any blood, human or animal, to be sacrilege, as a being’s nefesh (and I’ve seen that word translated as everything from “divine spark” to “earthly soul”) and therefore too representative of G-d for mortals to consume. (There’s a similar taboo keeping people from eating animal flesh after a sacrifice.) There’s also the concept of pikuach nefesh, where rules set out in the Torah may be broken in order to save a life. I’ve often asked if drinking blood counts. While I can certainly survive without it, I am quite miserable without it.
GYP: When you ask about drinking blood, did you get any flak over it, or did your Rabbi just take in stride?
SR: I’ve never mentioned my blood drinking to a rabbi or anyone else of the faith. Whenever I’ve discussed pikuach nefesh with other Jews, it’s always been hypothetical situations involving blood transfusions, eating raw meat, etc. The overwhelming consensus: proof required. It’s one thing to say that you need something like an addiction, it’s quite another thing to need something for survival. Needing a blood transfusion is obvious. Why would someone need raw or bloody meat specifically for survival, and what proof is there to back up such a claim? Based on such discussions, I’ve often wondered if blood drinking is simply feeding an addiction to the point of unsustainable reliance.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
SR: As far as incorporating vampirism into Judaism and vice versa, I know of no other person, Jewish or scholarly or otherwise, who drinks blood or consumes energy, so I haven’t had the opportunity to share. Just as a personal observation, I believe most people who consider themselves vampires follow a non-Abramaic religion that does not seek to codify day-to-day living for the masses. I consider my situation fairly unique.
GYP: Yes, I believe that your situation might be fairly unique. I imagine that the Christian sects don’t have quite as many religious tenets that must be strictly followed concerning blood. Perhaps a Muslim vampire might have a similar experience. I do not know of one yet.

Hello, dear readers! We here at the GraveYard Press do hope you are enjoying your beautiful Sunday. Or, whatever day it is, if you happen to be in a different hemisphere. Right, that would be Monday then! This week, we are skipping the quotes and getting straight to our interview with Chuck Henderson. We hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
CH: Good morning. My vampirism seems to be a hybrid of both sang and psi, however I refer to myself as a sang vampire.

GYP: Why do you choose one name over the other? Is it just for the clarity of being able to claim a particular feeding style, or is there a deeper reason?
CH: Personally, I choose sang over psi because it is more inclusive of the energy and life force that blood gives. More commonly I choose “hybrid”. The reasoning is relatively basic but does have deeper meaning in my path of study that I have followed in my youth until present.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
CH: I follow the Ecclectic Wiccan faith; Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic belief systems.

GYP: And what led you to these particular belief systems? Is it an issue of your ancestral background, or did they “speak” to you in a way that others did not?
CH: At 8 years old I sought out a belief system that connected the best with my own personal beliefs. Eclectic Wicca most closely fit my own ideas on how to live my life. My ancestry does play a part in my beliefs; I’ve Native American Shamanism and Irish magick running deeply in my family tree. These two belief systems fit with me perfectly as I am a very nature loving individual.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
CH: I do hold regular services for my Coven, when possible, based on the Sabbats and individual schedules.

GYP: And do you hold a particular position within your coven?
CH: I am the founder of Stonehaven Coven and have held the High Priest position for the past 16 years.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
CH: I have followed the Wiccan faith for sixteen years.

GYP: What, if any, religious path were you raised in?
CH: I was raised in a household that went to church for holidays and funerals only. My mother raised my brothers and myself alone. She always told us different myths from Europe and the U.S. and it made me realize that magick is all around us. I started studying Wicca at 8 years old.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
CH: I feel that the teachings of vampire civility, The Black veil for example, and the Wiccan rede are very similar in direction. One must follow a code of conduct as either Wiccan or Vampire for the community to function and progress. “To harm none” is essential in my practice.

GYP: I personally, and many others within the community, feel that the Black Veil is outdated and unnecessary. It has always been my personal stance that as long as we are following the laws of our respective city/county/state/country then we are doing well as a community. Do you feel that the Black Veil is vital for the community to function and progress, or do you think that we could/should all act as the responsible adults we claim to be and that would work just as well?
CH: I do feel that the Black veil fits contemporary and should still be followed but could use some amending. Following laws based on location should also be considered for common sense and the future of the community as a whole.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
CH: The incorporation of vampirism and Wicca together has made for some potent magick and magickal feedings. With the will of the very life force of the body you can strengthen your intent, your focus, banishment, etc. When you feed you can make it as dear and great as the Great Rite itself.