Favorite Foods + Drinks Before a Ritual

I’m very much a spontaneous kind of spell caster. I rarely plan out full rituals, but when I do, prep is an important step.

One of the steps that’s easy to forget to do is eating before the ritual. Truthfully, if you’re going to be using your own energy for a ritual (rather than channeling fully from elsewhere) you should be eating something both before and after the ritual. So you have a lot of energy to start with and to restore the energy you consumed during the ritual.

So an hour or so before the ritual, these are what I reach for:

  • Fresh fruit, such as strawberries, apples, oranges, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and grapes
  • Fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes (yes, yes technically a fruit), carrots, broccoli, radishes, and celery.
  • Fresh salad, usually with lots of variation but not as much salad dressing, cheese, meat, or croutons as I might normally like.
  • Seeds and nuts, like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, honeyed peanuts. I try to keep the amount I eat on the smaller side here, as sometimes too many nuts and seeds can feel heavy.
  • A small sandwich or wrap, heavily on the vegetables and flavors. Think afternoon tea sandwich size.
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Fruit juice, often watered down
  • Sweet alcohol, fruit-based alcohol
  • Wine or harsher spirits. I usually go with this when I need to jump directly into some sort of alternative stage of consciousness or drop inhibitions (ie feeling self-conscious) as quickly as possible.

As you can see, I tend to reach for fresh foods before a ritual, usually light on meat and bread. I’m not particular when it comes to my diet – the only thing I really steer away from is organ meat and diary – but I like to go with a light meal usually paired with tea or sweet alcohol before a ritual.

I find this helps keep the energy up and still allows me to move freely during a ritual – very important with how I tend to cast rituals – and not weigh me down. They also can usually be consumed while I go over my ritual notes or do other prep work before the ritual.

This isn’t to say that you MUST eat one of these foods before a ritual. It really does depend on a person and their personal taste. Let your body guide you to the best choices for you.

It should be noted that, for some rituals, I will intentionally skip this step. I won’t eat before vigils for example where I need to do a lot of spirit work and often do trances during that time. I will often skip food beforehand when I perform oracles or medium work. I personally find that I work better that way, but it’s not something I recommend without knowing exactly how to fast safely.

That being said, I do recommend to try and ensure that you’re taking care of yourself before your rituals as much as afterwards and consider trying different food combinations to see what gives you the best results with your magical and spiritual work.


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Astral Destinations: The Grief Place

There’s a place somewhere between the realm of dreams and spirits that is for release of grief emotions.

Perhaps you’ve been there. A place where sorrow is understood and, despite the beings moving around you living their lives, you feel comfortable to be in your grief.

It starts at a sandy altar. A table-style of sandstone, about mid-chest to waist high on an adult. Incense burns here, billowing individual trails of smoke coalescing into a wind of fragrant prayers. The altar is in a courtyard with a blue open sky above, but shadowed by the surrounding pale sandstone walls. Awnings of hand-dyed fabric hang high over the altar, protecting it from rain.

In the dream or astral visit, you start here. Most often you’re at the altar and light incense, shakily pray, or simply try to say goodbye through a pinched, watery smile. Some people linger here, wrapping themselves in black homespun fabric and tucking themselves into corners to cry. Sometimes, people are with you, other times they are not. Who? They could be family, friends, lovers, or strangers that could have been more. Sometimes, its just you.

Who is there depends on what you’re mourning. Mourning a family member, a loved one? You may have loved ones alongside you, family to support you, friends to carry you, lovers to hold you, pets to comfort you. If you’re mourning an event that could have been, a situation you might have had or was in, or just losing a piece of yourself, you’re usually alone.

Either way, there you remain. Until finally, you’re ready to move on. You place your final piece of incense on the altar, say a final goodbye that feels like a loss all on its own, a goodbye that isn’t quite as shaky, a smile that isn’t quite as heatbreaking, and you slip through the archway to the left of the altar.

People move here, work here. It’s a dyer’s marketplace. Baskets of little ornaments, flowers and florals, bolts of fabric, and pocket charms sit on sun-bleached tables. You cannot see the sun though. The entire space has flapping cloth awnings on tall pole, protecting the workers from the heat of the sun, protecting you. More fabric hangs, little banners and flag, swatches of material in all manner of hand-dyed goodness. Blues, greens, reds, oranges, purples, and pinks. Natural linen color dominates with a rainbow of tucked away color. In the distance, you may hear chatter, soft and indistinct. A weaver’s loom works, but it’s comforting. the passage between these stalls, with gently smiling people sharing actual kindness, is narrow. People do not get in your way. As you move, they seem to never be in your way or make you slow down or stop unless you want to stop. They don’t readily acknowledge you either, unless you glance at them first. A smile, a pat on the arm, maybe soft murmuring that’s meant only to be comforting, supporting. Then they move on.

The passage is like a C, but there are other corridors that lead elsewhere to the marketplace. You can even sometimes glimpse where the fabric awnings break into brilliantly, unbelievable blue sky.

In time, you do weave your way through, following a course that you only seem to know in your head. Sometimes you find yourself with dried flowers or charms pressed into your hands. A long string of beads around your wrist, a shawl of soft mauve around your shoulders.

At the end, you come out to of the space with nothing before you. More sandstone buildings are to your left, but the doorway is hidden in the depths of that fabric maze. Beyond the buildings and marketplace is nothing but endless white plains and blue, blue sky. Sometimes family and loved ones stands before you, waiting for you. They may even have a car ready to go. Sometimes its just you.

The dream or astral visit ends there. I’ve been to this place several times, each time mourning different things or people. And it is always the same altar, the same sky, the same place, the same twisting, fabric passage.

What happens during that time varies. Once I came out with a long length of wooden beads around my wrist, neither a mala or rosary. Another time I came out of that comforting place with a bunch of tiny purple and blue flowers in my hands. It varies.

This place, a place of letting go of your grief, should be sad. Instead, I’d say its more comforting than anything. Like finally being able to catch your breath or how much better you feel after crying. You’re still miserable, but there’s a feeling of releasing, letting things go. It’s a somber place, but one of profound peace and change.

Have you been here? Does this place sound familiar? I honestly can’t tell you how to get here. I think you just arrive when you need to be there. I hope that introducing people to this special place will encourage more visitors.

As to whether its a dream or an actual astral destination… I think it’s both. I think a place can be both a dream and astral. The astral is connected to dreams. It can be influenced by dreams. And dreams can slip into astral travel. I think its both.

Are New Homes Less Protected From Spirits?

I’ve been catching up on some reading and magical research of my own recently and a thought occurred to me. Are our homes less protected from spirits and outside forces than homes were historically?

The short answer is yes, of course they are. Historically speaking, it was culturally relevant to place simple household protections in the home, even if you weren’t superstitious. Parents and family would gift good luck charms to newlyweds setting up a new house and houses were built with supernatural protections in mind.

That’s what really switched me onto this line of thinking. The building of the home. In the past, there were many things people would do, worldwide, to strengthen and magically protect a new building. It’s an universally seen phenomena. Some of those things truly are done merely for supernatural protection and others were done for some middling ground of supernatural protection and mundane protections.

Here’s a few folkloric bits that come to mind specifically.

Walls need to be painted to keep ghosts away.

Walls had to be painted so ghosts couldn’t enter. Any color would do, but the paint should be put up as soon as possible.

I believe I read this in Scott Cunningham and David Harrington’s book The Magical Household, but I’m also 80% sure I’ve read this elsewhere too.

I think this stems from the idea that the house is “unfinished” when it isn’t painted. And, historically, that’s true. Paint helps preserve wood, especially when the paint is continually (even ritually) reapplied regularly. This is true even today. So a house may be considered unfinished if it wasn’t painted. I think even painted wood with a sealer, like linseed oil, probably also counts.

Burying things in the foundation or walls will strengthen the home.

This is a recorded thing. You almost certainly have heard this folklore, in some way, shape, or form before. Essentially, you bury or place an object or corpse while building the home as a sacrifice. Sometimes, it’s even a living sacrifice.

Most often, these objects are hidden by or under the hearth, threshold, corners of the home, floors, walls, and attic. What is buried varies, but it’s often animals or material objects. Snakes, frogs, rabbits, cats, dogs, horses, cattle, and even humans have all been buried ritually. Other objects are witch bottles, shoes, coins, tools, weapons (like arrows), and paper talismans (sigils) have also been found.

I would also link this behavior to witch bottles. Modern witches often joke that witches love jars and much of our solid evidence for historical witchcraft stems from witch bottles being discovered. It’s the same idea and some witch bottles were made as sacrifices, so to speak, to the household foundations.

I will admit that there is one major flaw with this: we have few ways of knowing whether something was trapped inside the foundations or put there intentionally. Some are found with gifts or coffins, indicating intentions in a clear way. Others are discovered in places where it’s difficult to imagine the item would get there naturally. But a letter or coins can fall through a floorboard. A snake may crawl up through some mouse hole and curl up under the hearth for warmth in the winter and die.

Another consideration is the smell of decay. Any living or corpse sacrifice would rot. You would have to deal with the decay (and the smell of it and the maggots/flies) that come from decay. It would have to be worthwhile. Yet we know that some of these sacrifices were made with fresh or still living animals. It makes you think.

Nevertheless, it’s actually quite easy to stick a witch jar on a crossbar in the interior of the wall. I’ve done it myself. I store several witch bottles in this manner in a side room, tucked out of sight but easy to access without the wall-boards in the way. When my home was remodeled, I drew protection symbols on the wood framing and I enchanted the sealant I used on the wood working.

Mostly, this behavior is recorded in western Europe. It’s noted especially in the UK, but it’s been seen elsewhere such as Finland, France, Iceland, and New England. (I know some other places too, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head.)

To be fair, not every single thing buried in the walls, floors, or attic is for protection. Protection is, widely, the number one reason, but it can also be for fertility, luck, to curse someone, for health prosperity, abundance, repelling pests, and so on.

The anthology book Hidden Charms – A conference held at Norwich Castle April 2nd, 2016  by editors John Billingsley, Jeremy Harte, Brian Hoggard gives plenty of evidence to this end in the papers presented inside the book. It’s not an easy text to track down, but if you can find it, it’s worth the read.

Materials matter

You already know this. People have always picked materials for certain magical or spiritual properties as much as they are selected from prettiness or strength.

This is especially true though on how it affects modern houses vs old houses. Modern houses tend to be built with concrete, pine wood, and Sheetrock wall boards. We use linoleum, vinyl, and plastic. All ingredients can be magical, but these aren’t typically thought of as magical and are often scorned. Older homes have more handmade or crafter built items in it, so the artisan’s energy also plays into the household’s protection. Just like how an artist can pass on a message through their artwork, an artisan of any kind can do the same.

We can, of course, remodel and add our own selection to the house. You can put new flooring down. You can add furniture of a particular material to balance out the house. All these things can be done to balance out and protect the home.

Planting certain plants for protection.

If you work with plants or herbs, even in the very slightest, then you’ve already seen what magically selecting the right plants can do for magical protections. Planting trees, bushes, flowers, and more in various (and sometimes extremely specific) locations on the property can protect a home. Sometimes not planting an item can do the same.

Some of this is for agricultural reasons – a nut producing tree can provide food and shade. Some for less noticeable reasons – hydrangeas planted by the door was said to make women living there spinsters because the flowers were more stunning then the women. Lavender by the door was said to keep away witches. Oak and rowan are great protectors but elder is nothing but bad news.

Of course, items made from these things also need to be taken into account. So oak flooring might have been used over pine, for example, not just for the sturdiness of it, but also for magical merit.

These days the easiest way to help balance out a home’s protection is relatively the same if you use plants. Plant a protective plant where folklore indicates you should and call it a day. Be sure to check local ordinances, as some places are pretty specific on what can and can’t be planted and where those plants can go.

You can also hang a bunch of drying protection herbs over the door (beside your lucky horseshoe) for protection. This was and still is really well known folklore witches use today.

It may have been a normal part of house building to make adjustments or pauses in work to add in these magical protections. They may have been viewed as superstitions, but chances are people still upheld them as a matter of cultural rote, even if they weren’t superstitious by nature.

That’s why I think that our newer houses may, by their very nature, be less protected. They don’t have the years of people hoping their house is safe and full of good life (wishes can be powerful spells too, after all). They probably don’t have people who go out of their way to ensure that the house is built facing the best direction for some magical reason or allow time to place items in the wall. How many of you can dig up your hearth or move a hearthstone to put something under it? Not many I wager. Newer homes have less problems (if they’re well-built), because they’re new, but I think we also put ourselves into a lot of supernatural trouble because houses aren’t as well protected by years and years of wishes, belief, faith, and magic.

As magical practitioners, we found ourselves at a disadvantage and know that we’re at a disadvantage. I also think that normal people are also victims here. It may be that people are more susceptible to ghosts or hauntings because there’s less magical intentions and protections built into the house. I mean, that stuff all still happened, but you find more old stories that spirits in the house were invited first, then caused trouble, and that most spirits couldn’t enter the house. Once popular opinion and thinking switched to more scientific thinking, people shed those superstitious actions they might have done by rote, and thus we have more hauntings and ghosts.

(Did I just give a possible reason why we see more spirits from the 1800s than earlier? Yes, yes I did, but I think there are other reasons for that this trend too. That’s a different topic for a different day.)

Anyway, since I haven’t yet run into any construction crews that build with magical intentions in mind, then we have to take steps ourselves to build in those protections. Trace a symbol in a corner close to the floor in paint before layering on paint when repainting a room. (I recommend this because you can and will pick up the symbol under paint layers, if you’re only putting a layer or two on.) Add a protection symbol to a newly poured cement walkway (hey, people but their hand-prints and dates on that stuff all the time!) Enchant the water you wash your floors, windows, and walls with. Add witch jars to the corners of your house. These are things we can still do, but are often pushed aside for more exciting protection methods. I like the idea of setting up multiple protections in a house, so that you’re covered from many, many angles.

Don’t get me wrong. Modern houses are just as good as old houses.

I love old houses because of the history and detail in these places are amazing, but often there’s a lot of weirdness that happens as buildings age and different people use if for different things. Homes get remodeled, rooms added or removed, doorways and whole apartments added or removed. New piping, old piping, and more. It can be a mighty task to keep up an older home. New homes will have less maintenance (except the standard maintenance of course), but often don’t have the fine details or history attached to it. Shoddy workmanship is also a factor when it comes to modern homes, because they haven’t withstood the test of time. I love new homes because there’s can be so much cleverness and purpose built into new ones, especially when combining with technology today.

There are pros and cons to each of these homes that need to be considered when moving into or purchasing one of them. There’s a lot of factors that need to be considered and this may be one that you should keep tucked in the back of your mind.

What do you all think? Have you heard of something magically done while building a house? Do you know someone who constructs, remodels, or designs homes with magical intentions in mind?

3 Ways to Magically Reclaim Yourself

Ever been lost in the sea of yourself? You just feel restless and confused and sad. Hopeless yet desperate to move forward. Hoping to find something that will help you keep your head above water yet finding yourself anchored with no where to go.

It’s a crappy feeling. When you spend several weeks, months, or years with barren fields, so to speak, it’s called a fallow time. This can happen to anyone about anything. It happens to artisans (writer’s block, anyone?). It happens to businesses. It happens to spiritual paths. It just happens. Sometimes you need to let your live be boring and kind of crap so you can sow new seeds for a better future for yourself.

This can be exceptionally difficult however, when you’re dealing with spirituality or magic. How do you know you’ve even going the right way? You don’t and that’s extremely difficult to come to terms with when you just want direction.

So here’s a few ways to reclaim yourself and your path magically.

Find a quiet place that feels like home

This one is pretty simple. If there’s a place that you resonate with entirely, the ocean, the mountains, a park, your kitchen, your bed, then schedule yourself time to be there. You should make that location as ideal as possible and make sure that you aren’t disturbed for several hours.

Setting up the ideal situation may require some planning ahead. You may wish to aim for a day where the beach won’t be too crowded so you can enjoy swimming in the ocean without worrying about a beach ball bouncing off your head. Maybe you feel most happy with a batch of delicious bread baking and soup bubbling on the stove. You might need to wash all your bed linens and pull out some extra comfy ones you don’t normally use for this session. Essentially, what you’re doing is setting up as close to a perfect scenario as possible. You may need to clean up the space before you set up (so clear out the stack of crap that accumulated on your kitchen table), but it depends on what place is your happy place.

Distractions should be entirely limited. This means turn off your phone, computer, TV, and so on. Just turn them off. If you’ve never unplugged before, this can be extremely difficult to do. But try it for at least an hour. You may wish to play some music, and if so, make sure that it’s relatively inconvenient for you to scroll through instagram or facebook chat someone. Place the device out of range, with the notifications on silent, and just sink into the relative quiet.

Once you’ve gotten set up, just exist in that space for the time you’ve set aside. Read a book that feels inspiring to you (maybe it’s a big thinking kind of book or maybe you hauled out your Harry Potter to remind you why you love magic.) Swim in the ocean, lay in the grass and watch the clouds. People watch, read through family recipes, hike through the forests, slowly boat across a lake… you get the idea. Just exist in that space in a way that makes you feel relaxed and happy. Let your mind drift (it will) and soon you’ll find you may start connecting spiritually to the place, remembering why it feels so special to you. Recall what’s magically about that place and you may rediscover what’s magical about you.

Cutting the threads

This is spell work that asks you to have a fairly open space and time to set up the spell.

First, clear a space. If you’re casting the spell in the living room, you may need to put things on top of your coffee table away and move that side table you always trip on anyway out of the way entirely. You’re going to need space to move and you don’t want to be tripping on things when you don’t need to. You’ll want at least a five foot clear space, but I like to have a few feet extra all around for wiggle room.

Next, write out all the things that are holding you back. What things pull on you, weight you down, whispering unwanted things to you? What makes you feel muddy, sour, mundane, and dumb? Write all of that down on slips of paper (post its are perfect for this). Scatter these slips of paper across your casting space. It’s really ideal to place the paper on or near objects that symbolism or remind you of the words on the paper. (So if looking at your exercise bike makes you feel sloppy and guilty for not using it as often, put that piece of paper on the bike).

Get a ball of string. This can be any color you like, so use color symbolism. Tie a loop around your dominant wrist. It doesn’t need to be tight. Gently, go to each place you put the paper and wrap or tie the string around or near it as best you can and move onto the next paper.

I recommend doing this is the order of the things that come to mind. If you really dislike your job, that might be first, but your second item is you feel poorly whenever you see your aunt, then she might be next even if the photo of her with the slip of paper is all the way across the room.

Things will become a jumbled mess. That’s OK. It’s kind of meant to be. Just keep going until you’ve tagged all the pieces of paper. Once you do, gently tie your non-dominant wrist with the string.

Now grab a sharp pair of scissors or a knife and cut the strings that attach you to the items. You might need to make several cuts so that the string drops to the ground. Keep doing this until all the string is cut and CAREFULLY cut the string free of your wrists.

An alternative way to do the spell is to tie the string to your wrist, then to the object or paper, then back to your wrist, but this can become quite tight and painful in larger spaces as you tug the strings across the room with you. I think it kind of works better this way, because it feels more freeing and thus more powerful, but it’s more painful and tends to break at least one random glass thing you forgot you owned.

Either way, take the strings and burn them in a fire-safe vessel and call it a day.

Ask for a journey or trial

You can always as a spirit for advice. Usually people tap their spirit guides for this, but sometimes you need a stranger to give you advice. Other times they just keep telling you what you already know. Ask them again anyway.

If you don’t have a spirit guide or don’t want to use them, you can go find someone who can help. I wrote about spirits who can help, spirits I can personally vouch for as friendly and helpful. I like and visit these spirits often and the space is still considered quite safe for travelers and dreamers (ie, you) to wander through. The spirit ruler in particular is good for requesting a journey or trial, as they tend to be fully aware of just how much is lost between the astral and the physical realms when it comes to memory.

I know you’re thinking. That’s just getting advice. Well, the reason I make the above suggestion is because if you’re going to ask for a trial, you want it to be from someone who will give you a task that will give you the result you want: reclaiming yourself.

The trial may be something classic: “go here and get this item for me and you’ll be rewarded” but the actual reward is discovering yourself. It could be a battle scenario or dedicating yourself to their service. It depends. You don’t have to say yes to the suggested trial or journey. If it sounds sketchy, then don’t do it. But this gives you a chance for you to have an adventure that will help you find you again. Find yourself and your will once more without all the baggage that comes with living.

Those are just some of the ways to magically reclaim yourself. As always, I recommend cleansing yourself (and cleaning your space) when you’re struggling spiritually as sometimes the mere act of cleansing and cleaning can dissolve the spiritual gunk.

Good luck!

What Makes a Crossroads a Crossroads?

What Makes a Crossroads a Crossroads

Have you ever looked at a spell and it says something like “leave the object at a crossroads”? Many, many spells end this way and for good reason. Leaving an item at a crossroads magically and energetically disperses the energy. It’s good when you’re leaving a general offering for spirits. It’s great when you’re trying to cast a non-targeted spell.

Leaving spell work in specific places is usually because you don’t want it around. As said, sometimes it’s for safety’s sake (ie curses or spirits), but other times it’s for things like healing spells.

If you used a rock to remove a disease from somebody while healing them, you don’t want to keep that disease-ridden rock. So put it at a crossroad where it’s away from you.

Some witches leave things at the crossroads so others can pick it up and a curse can be passed that way. And some witches use it to bless those in the same manner.

It’s also commonly used in getting rid of spirits and curses. Capture a spirit and release it in a crossroads far away from your home. Toss the remains of the curse you’ve casted or the dregs of whatever uncrossing spell you’ve done to rid yourself of a curse. Both instances ask you to visit a crossroads far away from you home.

A third usage is an energy reset. This usually is used by a practitioner that does a lot of land-based or local magic or works with a lot of spirits. Sometimes, you just need to cleanse the energy lines and the space.

 

All of those things can be done at a crossroads. But what makes a crossroads a crossroads? What are the unspoken rules about crossroads? And why are there unspoken rules at all?

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Scenes from Gettysburg

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First, let’s establish what a crossroads is.

It’s an intersection. Or, rather, a crossroad is where two or more streets intersect or cross one another.

Properly, it should be any intersection where four streets meet and none of the roads are a dead end or cul-de-sac. However, train-tracks and roads, bridges, and so are are also crossroads and can be used, even if they are literal streets.

Plus, dead ends and cul-de-sacs can be useful in crossroad including spells – want to stop energy from spreading? Want to make a boundary within your neighborhood? Those kinds of spells could benefit from streets that end abruptly.

Similarly, a corpse road is a road that traditionally refers to the pathways or roads the dead were carried on from the church to the graveyards. Often, corpse roads were separate paths with gateways because of fear that the dead linger on such roads. Now-a-days, any road used to carry the dead from one place to another could be considered a corpse road.

I like to combine the two. My home, the Crossroads House, sits between two crossroads (literally two intersections) and is behind a funeral home. So my crossroads are corpse roads. However, if you don’t work with spirits, perhaps selecting crossroads that are not corpse roads is more beneficial to you. Weigh your choices carefully.

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Alleyway near Jackson Square

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When it comes to symology and magical purposes, crossroads are well-known world-wide. I’ll quote from The Complete Dictionary of Symbols edited by Jack Tressider (pg 128-129):

The unknown – hazard, choice, destiny, supernatural powers. The important attached to intersecting ways in most ancient cultures is remarkable. The fact that they were natural stops for wayfarers only partially accounts for the number of shrines, altars, standing stones, chapels, or Calvaries sited there. In Peru and elsewhere pyramids were sometimes built up over years by travellers adding votive stones as they passed through crossroads. Spirits were thought to haunt them, hence they were sites for divination and sacrifice – and, by extension, places of the execution or burial or people or things of which society wished to be rid. Many African tribes dumped rubbish things there so that any residual harm might be adsorbed. Roman crossroads in the time of Augustus were protected by two lares campitales (tutelary deities of place). Offerings were made to them or to the god Janus and other protective divinities, who could look in all directions, such as Hermes, to whom three-headed statues were placed at Greek crossroads. Hekate, as a death goddess, was a more sinister presence, as was the supreme Toltec god, Tezcatlipoca, who challenged warriors at crossroads. Some version of the Oedipus myth placed his faithful encounters with his unknown father, and the Sphinx at crossroads – an analogy for destiny. Jung saw the crossroads as a maternal symbol of the union of opposites. More often, they seem an image of human fears and hopes at a moment of choice.

That’s a lot of words so I’ll break it down.

Crossroads have and will always be a symbol of choice. In the past (and even today) travel by the roads is pretty much the only way to go. In the past it was safer because other travelers can band together to protect one another. Today, property laws say you can’t trespass making roads pretty much the only way to travel.

Because people traveled on them shrines, altars, and holy places were erected at intersections. Sometimes even notes were left by signs. It was also a great place to meet people coming and going.

It was and is also a place where spirits dwell. Part of that is from the shrines, others is because of the executions. I see crossroads a bit like a spiritual water cooler. Spirits seem to collect there because of all the different energies coming from different directions (and be carried by different people and things).

Additionally, if you believe that energy travels via roads (whether naturally or through people passing on those roads), then crossroads are very magically powerful.

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Protective tree entrance to historical cemetery.

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Because of the spiritual symbolism behind them, especially in regards to actual spirits, there’s a lot of unspoken rules about crossroads. Here’s a few of them.

Never use the same route home

This means if you came up the eastern road, you should use the western, southern, or northern route home. Don’t use the eastern. This is because a spirit or energy could follow you home through the circuit you’ve made. Instead, take a different way home, which should spiritually or energetically get them of your trail.

Never respond to voices at the crossroads

Sometimes, you’re at a crossroads and you may here people talking. Logically, this is because crossroads tend to be open spaces and voices travel. However, it may also be spirits or faeries. In any case, don’t respond to the voices you’ve heard. Just go about your business and be on your way.

Do not make deals at the crossroads

This follows the above rule a bit further. If you go to the crossroads and see another person there, then keep on going. Don’t stop to talk with them, don’t stop to do your work, and don’t turn around and go back the way you came. Don’t meet their eyes and, above all, do not make deals. Simply put, there’s a strong belief that if you meet another person at the crossroads, it’s probably going to be a faerie, spirit, demon, or even the Devil, depending on who you ask. It’s Bad News. Skip the drama and don’t even stop.

Never leave items with your address or name at the crossroads

This is not only for spiritual safety, but your physical safety. Someone could simply google you and cause all sorts of problems. Spiritually, offering your real name to spirits, other practitioners, etc is often questionable. Your name is a piece of you. Guard it.

Try to leave environmentally safe items at the crossroads

This isn’t a rule, but it should be. Often times, we leave leftovers of spell work and other things at the crossroads. Typically speaking, it gets cleaned up when the city comes by or neighbors. But animals and the less fortunate also use or consume what they find at the crossroads. So if you’re going to leave an item that is not for consumption (like sugary bread baked with glass for a curse) then bury it at the crossroads. You may need to search for a crossroads that you can discreetly dig at, but it’s worth the trouble to keep animals or people from consuming unsafe things. This is also true for jar spells. Consider, does it really need to be in a glass jar?

 

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Walk along the water with me?

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

I use crossroads fairly extensively in my craft, when it calls for it. But I’ve been asked what a crossroad is about a dozen times a year, so it was time to type up my thoughts about it.

Crossroads certainly have their place in magical practices. It has it’s place in folklore. It’s certainly a symbolic feature and we use it often in media to describe being torn or in many places. Remembering this folklore and symbolism is important, but you’ll also want to take into account your own practices to see if crossroads fit your practice.

 


Post includes an original tumblr post.

79 Tips, Tricks, & Spells for Halloween 2017 + Sale!

Bonfire by This Crooked Crown

Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain!

I hope you have some amazing plans this Halloween! I don’t personally celebrate Samhain but Halloween is my household’s favorite holiday, hands down. We have as much stuff to decorate for Halloween as we do Yule and it’s not enough.

I’m having a pretty low-key holiday myself. A fabulous witchy dress and hat, of course, but otherwise it’ll be filled with baking, some woo stuff, and passing out candy. It’s sort of a relief to have a quiet holiday. It’s been a crazy couple months and I just got back from a work vacation this weekend. I’m actually super happy to simply have electricity as many people nearby don’t.

Side story: I thank the dead for the fact that I usually have power when my neighborhood doesn’t. My house is, for some reason, on the same power grid as the funeral home across the street and no one else is? So while our power flickered, we didn’t lose it despite the massive storm that took out power for a good portion of our city.

Anyway, what I love about blogging around this time is EVERYONE is posting about spirits. It’s great. I can pick up all sorts of new tips and folklore that way. It’s also prime time for magical rituals and spells. This roundup guide offers tips, tricks, and links on what you can do to to make your night a little more magical.

 

Halloween 2017 Pin

Before you start

Before you get started with your spooky or woo related shenanigans, there’s probably some steps you need to take. My top seven tips and tricks for making contact or dealing with serious spell casting follow.

  1. Make a snack or meal to consume after your working. Carb-y food or sugar-y food is ideal. I typically grab a thick slice of hearty bread or some pasta when I need carbs and a big bowl of fruit and chocolate bits when I need sugar. Make both ahead of time.
  2. Drink water on hand. Getting thirsty during a working is the worst, especially if you’re chanting. Be well-hydrated before you start and make sure you hydrate afterwards. If you’re using alcohol to induce a trance, make sure you have water on hand after your session to hydrate.
  3. If it gets weird, get out. If you’re ghost hunting, contacting a spirit, or any other activity, you can probably leave right away. Thank any spirits for their attention and get out. If you’re in the middle of a spell, quickly but thoroughly finish it and leave the area immediately. Drink some water, take a bath, cleanse yourself, then go do something totally and completely mundane.
  4. Trance safely. Before you use any entheogens, psychedelics, or other trancing method, make sure that you write down what you’re taking and how much. Write down why you’re taking it. Leave a small sample of the consumable along with these notes. This allows emergency medical services to treat you quickly and accordingly if something goes wrong. It also allows you to recreate the circumstances again if you have a good experience that you want to replicate.
  5. Don’t go alone. If you’re doing an outside ritual, traveling, or ghost hunting, go with someone else. Bring a friend who can chill while you do your thing nearby if they’re not willing to lend a hand. Solitude more of your thing? Then make sure to text a friend where you’re going or when you’ve left. There’s a lot of people out there on Halloween and accidents are very common. Be safe.
  6. Practice fire safety. Candle magic is incredibly popular and common. However, practitioners can get carried away. Make sure that you’re practicing fire safety. If you have more than 5-7 candles going at once, keep a fire extinguisher or similar items on hand.
  7. Keep pets indoors. This is more of a Halloween-centric tip than a general one but with so many people out and about on Halloween, it’s a really good idea to keep your pets indoors during this time. I recommend keeping pets inside during outdoor rituals anyway – a dog barking during your chant can really break the mood.

Following those tips can help you out immensely, especially if things get weird and/or powerful. Another good idea is to go armed with lots of information. Here’s a bunch of posts that can help. I’ve also added some posts geared towards “new year” because for some people, they start or end their magical year on Samhain.

 

 

Hearth by This Crooked Crown

Constant vigilance!

Protecting yourself from dangers while cast spells or contacting spirits is important – but it can also be a hindrance. If you’re protected from spirits, then spirits will have a more difficult time communicating with you.

I do recommend protection spells but it’s not a requirement. I don’t use them on myself personally 99% of the time and never when I’m working with spirits or casting spells unless I feel like I’m in danger from something. But, uh, I’m reckless so it’s probably best to not be me and to cast some protection spells before you go out and about with your shenanigans tonight.

Candle Smoke

Getting in touch with a spirit

Getting in touch with spirits can be difficult, especially if you’re not use to it. Samhain often is said to be a thinning of the veil between the spirit realms and the physical world. While the veil between the worlds happens multiple times a year, this one’s pretty consistent.

The following posts should give you some tips to make contact to a wide variety of spirits and beings. They’ll also help you have a good experience and offer some pretty good advice too.

 

Spell and Herb Candle by This Crooked Crown

Spells to cast

You can cast any spell you want any time you want, according to my practice. Here’s a good long list of spells you can give a try.

 

For All Sorts of Money Powder by This Crooked Crown

Cleansing time!

Cleansing yourself after powerful magic or spirit contact is recommended but, again, not a requirement. I often recommend it especially if you’re dealing with multiple energies, like doing group tarot card readings or going to a haunted place with many spirits. It’s also just a good idea in general.

A Cleansing Ritual For House & Home (Spell Saturday #35) – A walking cleansing ritual for your house and physical spaces.

The Curse & Blessing of the Sun (Spell Saturday #49) – A spell that can be used as a curse or as a blessing, using the power of the sun.

 

Cleansing & Cleaning 101 – Because cleaning is a form of cleansing too!

Cleansing Yourself – Post on various methods to cleanse yourself from baneful energy, static energy, or other unwanted things.

Crown’s “Fuck All the Things!” Cleansing and Banishment [tumblr repost] (Spell Saturday #14) – Two spell variations used for cleansing and banishing both spirits and humans.

Simple Water Glass Cleansing for the Witch on the Run – A very simple but effective way to calm and cleanse the self with just a glass of water.

Uncrossing Oneself – Sometimes we repeat baneful or static patterns that are harmful to ourselves. Uncrossing is breaking that cycle.

 

Wheel of the Year wikipedia

Whew! That was a lot of links. I should be back to regular blogging in November. My burn out has abated so I’m back to writing, full-steam ahead. Which is good because NaNoWriMo is less than 24 hours away.

Speaking of writing, if you haven’t, go pick up my novel Spirit Walker. It’s about astral travel and revenge.

One last thing before I let you get back to your candy and binge-watching Hocus PocusThis Crooked Crown is having a 10% off flash sale. Today (10/31) only. All readings and items in the shop are on sale, including the new reading Taming Your Inner Demons.

Happy Halloween & Samhain!

 

 

 

 

How to Create a Deity (Pop Culture Paganism)

How to Create a Deity by This Crooked Crown

 

A few years ago there was quite a kerfuffle about pop culture paganism. Okay, I’m totally downplaying it. It was pretty much a knock-out drag-down fight where people from all over were weighing in on their private blogs and tumblrs. It was a thing for at least a week.

It’s a weird thing to debate to me because I’ve always been using pop culture and non-magical media as inspiration for my magic. I developed my system of energy manipulation through a children’s fantasy book when I was ten. I taught myself scrying from an adult fantasy book not long after that. There is a book series that I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have survived high school or college without. I read it daily and it helped shaped me in troubled times. I always had a few copies of the books on me, and it got to the point where a friend had copies in her bag in case I forgot mine.

People find hope and faith in all sorts of places. It seems really weird to me that people would disparage anything that others find faith in. Who cares who or what someone else worships? Their worship doesn’t disgrace your deity or deities. If you feel that it does, then it’s something that’s off in your thinking, not the other way around. I mean, there are plenty of faiths that want to have one deity above them all but… uh, that deity’s existence doesn’t necessarily mean other deities don’t exist?

Plus, historically, there are a lot of deities we recognize now that were sort of adapted or merged from other deities. Some of this is due to our historical understanding and some of it was due to regionalism. This is basic, Wikipedia-level knowledge.

Creating deities isn’t new. And worshiping non-deities isn’t new either. It just isn’t. After all, some traditions invoke the elements into their circles, and they aren’t typically considered deities. Sacred, yes, but not deities. Ancestor worship is a world-wide phenomenon and those ancestors aren’t considered gods. Pop culture paganism isn’t just interested in pop culture based pantheons but all aspects of paganism. So pop culture based spells, sacred entities, and so on.

And why not now? Why not now when there’s so much else in the world then there was back then? Who cares if someone you know online worships a god of coffee or a goddess of procrastination? Who cares if they are following the Outsider from Dishonored or are serious about the Elven pantheon from Dragon Age? Who cares if Link and the Legend of Zelda is their source material? What difference does it make if they live by the Jedi codes? So what if they have a shrine to the deity of quantum mechanics? That entity gives them hope, faith, courage, and strength. It makes them stronger. It’s one of the major reasons why people become involved in religions to begin with.

Anyway, there is no proper list of requirements or a checkbox one must fill in to become a deity. There is no list. There is absolutely no such thing as a proper deity because any deity is a proper deity. This is a personal thing. You’re going to have to make up your rules or what is and isn’t a deity yourself.

I could tell you each deity needs attributes or associations, but that’s not strictly true. What each deity usually has is a sphere of influence.

A sphere of influence is the things the deity influences around them. Let’s take Hermes. Hermes is the god of boundaries and thresholds; doorways. This means he crosses between worlds. In fact, except for a few rare occasions, he’s the only deity that can cross between the realm of the dead (as he’s conductor of the dead and an emissary), the mortal realm, and the realm of the gods. This means he has influence in all three locations. Let’s go further. He’s a god of traveling, of journeys (since he’s a god of doorways). He’s also a god of transition, movement: again, traveling, change, etc. This means he’s key and ideal for anyone who’s livelihood relies on traveling. He’s a messenger, right? An emissary. He passes knowledge and information onto others, especially the masses. This means he’s key for any knowledge, wisdom, speechcrafting, or works of art or literature. He’s passing that information on, giving up that culture to others. He’s even a bit of a trickster in some myths, which plays well with his cleverness and previously discussed influences. These are the things he is: we know this because of the source material, the literature we have on him.

So, Hermes is a god of herdsman (travelers), heraldry (messenger), omens (messenger), trade (travelers, messengers and bringing things to the home), travel, luck (because you’d bloody well need it with traveling and hoping someone doesn’t kill the messenger), the dead (again, emissary of the dead), thievery (literally within his mythos), language, education, the arts, literature (again, communication via messenger), athletics (you do that much traveling and you’d be in shape too), and finally the home.

Now the home is interesting here isn’t it? He’s a god of travel but he’s also a god of doorways. Your doorways. To your home. Why the hell wouldn’t you ask such a god to guard your doorways from trespassers? Why wouldn’t you ask for luck and grace as you pass under his doorway each and everyday? You return the same way as well.

That’s all in his sphere of influence. And it goes further. Hermes is associated with rams, due to mythology. So rams are in his sphere of influence. So are certain types of trees, symbols (winged hat, shoes, and staff anyone?). Hermai are a specific symbol that appear over doorways, crossroads, and regular roads as a mini shrine to Hermes himself. And that’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure someone out there has a whole huge list of what he’s associated with, all information gathered through mythology and historical, cultural research.

That’s his sphere of influence. Now, how does this relate?

Hearth by This Crooked Crown

Each deity there is can be broken into spheres of influence. Anything from the smallest fae to the greatest deity. All can be broken down into their associations, into their spheres of influence. As a creator of your own deities, you have to create your own mythology and spheres of influence for each of your deities. How detailed they are is up to you. You’ll find it’ll grow through associations humans make with objects.

I’ll take an example from one of my fictional novels-in-progress.

Deandr is a god of death, luck, intoxicants, war, and madness. He shares madness with two other godesses, the goddess of love and passion and the goddess of music, tricksters, and inspiration. Because Deandr’s a god of death and war, he’s worshiped by warriors. He’s a god of fighting (see: death)  and intoxicants so he’d be popular among brawlers and drunkards. He’s a god of luck so gamblers and thieves would find him irresistible. He’s also a god of madness – madness from drinking, from the throes of winning and losing, of adrenaline, blood lust, grief, despair, death, etc. He’s a god of a lot of things. Carrion birds, flesh-eating animals, animals used in combat (like horses), animals considered lucky (rare animals, like albinos, or two headed snakes) would all be part of his sphere of influence. Any plan used to make alcohol or intoxicants would be in his sphere of influence. Lesser attached but still considered would be children born of illicit drunken affairs, prizes from war, money and commerce, crafting, brewing, games. These are things that are attached to him simply by association, even if they strictly aren’t in his sphere of influence.

Now, obviously, spheres of influence can overlap with deities – this is true of all mythology, again, using Hermes as an example, he shares his status as a god of messengers with Iris and he shares his status as a god of the home with Hera and Hestia, depending on the home.

Spell and Herb Candle by This Crooked Crown

 

So the answer is there is no list. You have to decide what each god is in control of and from there let the associations grow. What does that god influence?

I’ll use a pop culture example. Let’s go with Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale. He’s the Voice of Night Vale – so speaking is his thing. But he’s also a messenger of news and plays music residents might not otherwise hear. So he’s the the bringing of new things, changes. He’s ruler of words, carefully crafted. But it goes deeper than that. He’s charismatic. He has influence and can dominate over people. He can sway public opinion, for good or bad. It goes, again, further. He’d also be great at self-deception, love at first sight, and living or creating his own world. He’s a big part of his community and clearly loves it so he’d be great for worship within a community.

For our purposes, this means he’s skilled with all chants and word spells, he’s mesmerizing so he’d be great with influencing and dominating others. As a radio host he’d had a radio personality – meaning he’s partially an illusion. He’d definitely be the entity you’d want to call upon if you had to make a public speech, need to convince someone to do something for you, or send a secret message. Associations would be music, words, voice recordings, any type of broadcasting equipment, broadcasting towers, cats, Carlos, and various other things he’s mentioned as a personal interest. All that from a character who’s physical appearance and off-radio personality we don’t even know.

Bonfire by This Crooked Crown

 

So when you create your deities, sit and really think about them. If they’re a god of water then what does water effect? Well, there’s animals living within it, there’s atmospheres of the sea, there’s darkness and light. There’s stillness and movement. It creates life and can kill. It’s literally a whole world. It can partially suspend gravity (as shit can float on water). And that’s just the beginning. That doesn’t even get into the composition of the water itself or how humans use it. It doesn’t get into that we’re made up of water. Water comes from the sky as well, can be both solid, semi-solid, and liquid (transforming much?). And it goes a ton further than that.

All of that before you get to the setting up of the altar, shrines, or holy spaces. All of that before offerings, rituals, and invocations. Can you skip those steps, sure. But you’ll find that you’ll connect much easier on a rational level when you have things laid out. You’ll find people will take you more seriously (and you’ll take yourself more seriously) when you have it all laid out.

This is a long-term, deeply personal project for each person. It will require quite a lot of thinking and researching the source material. It’ll require you to decide which source materials to follow when you have conflicting information. It’ll require you to think and really connect with this entity as you develop your practice. No two people approach the same entity in the same way – that’s true in any religion. It’s true in pop culture paganism too.

Good luck to those starting this endeavor. I hope this helps provide some thoughts on your path. I’m happy to be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, if you’re stuck! Just drop me an email. Best wishes!

[Updated and adapted from my original post here.]

Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Review

GaSTR (4)

Ghost and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Status: Currently reading with it

Best for: Questions involving spirits, this is a very spirit oriented deck. This is also a great deck for people who love folklore and supernatural or the macabre.

Favorite cards: Page of Pentacles, Two of Cups, Justice

Acquired from and date: 2015. A gift from the lovely from The Lantern Collective. My eternal thanks.

 

GaSTR (3)

 

This is a lovely yet complicated deck. This isn’t really the kind of deck that you can simply pick up and use. You’ll need to study it. You’ll need to research it. You’ll need to keep the Little White Book handy. And you’ll probably need to break out a magnifying glass. But it is a lovely deck that can give some truly deep answers – if you’re willing to deal with the various voices that come from it.

It’s also a varied deck. It has lots of cards with soft, pastel colors and yet somber cards with dark blues, greens, or browns. The yellow-cream border is thin but frames the movement in the cards nicely. The detailed cards has so many lovely colors and that might suggest a gentle tone but in reality, the subject matter and cards themselves are somewhat macabre. This isn’t a deck cobbled together of Casper the Friendly Ghost but pulls stories from mythology, folklore, and even literature.

 

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by  Lisa Hunt and US Games

 

There’s a lot going on in all these cards. The art is gorgeous, heavily detailed and yet simplistic in a way. The cards’ imagery isn’t as complicated as they might seem at first glance. This is largely because the art style has a lot of movement in it. It all looks very windswept or as if you’re looking through a veil. That’s likely on purpose, by the way, but it also comes across as the artist’s style.

So breaking out the magnifying glass may be necessary for some cards but you probably won’t miss an important detail if you don’t. Which is good because there’s so much more you need to be keeping an eye on in this deck.

Each card in the deck tells a different story. The Tower card speaks of the Fall of the House of Usher. The Chariot is the Wild Hunt. The Magician is a Psychopomp. The High Priestess is the Sibyl / Enchantress. The Lovers is the Spectral Bridegroom and the Emperor is the Hawaiian Mo-o (Dragon Ghost-Gods). The featured ghosts and spirits are wildly varied. But this also works against the deck because without the Little White Book, you have absolutely no idea what story is being indicated. And if you’re not well-read on all the spirits, you may not understand what nuances are being shared within the card-story combination.  I almost think this may have been better as an oracle deck simply because it would be easier to related to rather than trying to figure out if you should read the cards based on the entities selected, the cards themselves, or some combination thereof.

 

GaSTR (6)

 

I’m very excited by a deck that has lots of POC or varied content like this. But I think a lot of the POC get washed out in this deck mostly because the color palette or motion within the cards. The figures within these cards often appear small compared to the complex, dreamy backgrounds so if you’re not paying attention, you may miss that the Knight of Wands actually features the Hawaiian demigod hero Hiku. Again, I cannot believe this is not intentional as most of the cards have a lot going on but it’s worth mentioning.

There is one card change and that’s to the Devil card. It’s now the Chains card as represented by Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol. I’m kind of on the fence about this change because while I love the idea of the Devil as Chains but while Ebenezer Scrooge has the ‘ lots of obsession and addiction until destruction’ theme in spades, Jacob Marley is, ultimately, the catalyst to save Scrooge. The Devil card doesn’t actually promise this. The Devil card can serve as a wake up call but I don’t typically see it used this way? Maybe that’s just me but I think it highlights a major concern for this deck: do the stories actually fit the cards?

Yes, they do but they do it in a way that you might not use the cards as. The subjects of the cards were chosen to represent a specific feature of the cards. Likewise, the spirits and stories are also seen from a specific point of view. Not all the stories are all-encompassing and I believe there are nuances that can be derived from knowing the folklore and stories behind each spirit or subject of the cards. Essentially, you can derive a LOT of meaning just from the card subject as much as you can the card itself. It really depends on how you connect to the cards.

 

GaSTR (5)

 

This deck would hugely benefit from a guidebook. The Little White Book doesn’t go into why the author chose each spirit for the cards. You can only try and guess to which story was selected. I have no idea how well Lisa Hunt understands each of the featured stories so how deeply do you look when it comes to the ghosts and spirits’ stories? How far down that rabbit hole do you need to go? I find myself assigning my own spirit or associations to some of the cards and adding another layer of nuance to work with that’s easier for me to understand or works better with the card selected.

Another quirk of this deck is the lettering. The deck as a fluid script for titling the cards and I almost find it distracting. I’m not super fond of fluid script fonts anyway – I find them sometimes hard to concentrate on or read – so this may be my bias acting up but I also cannot see what other font could be used. I think maybe no lettering at all and working out some other means to tell the cards from one another would be easier. Again this would be easier to do if the deck was an oracle rather than a tarot. Or, maybe it’s the yellow of the border that throws it off. I almost think that it would be better white? Nit picky, sure, but it’s one of the things that stands out to me.

A third quirk is the deck back. It’s simplistic compared to the rest of the deck. Three ghosts in a circle. It’s almost odd and quirky compared to the deck. Luckily, the deck back is reversible so that’s a point in its favor.

It has a wide amount of voices. What I mean is that some decks have a unified voice. They all speak together and send a singular message but instead, this deck is like listening to a crowded room. There’s a lot to hear and some days seem “louder” than others to me.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but something to keep in mind.

 

Ghost and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

 

LWB inside

 

Aside from the above, the deck works well. It shuffles as well as any US Games deck. I find the card stock on the thin side but it still feels sturdy. It has held up well over the years I’ve owned it. Sheen and size compare to all other US Games decks – the size is good for shuffling and still keeping that classic tarot shape and the sheen will wear down over time and use. Not a bad thing at all.

The box it came in is your average thin cardboard box for cards. I believe mine became unglued soon after receiving it so I just ended up crocheting a deck bag for it. As said, the Little White Book is a fairly standard LWB but do not throw it away! It is your ONLY guide to what stories or spirits are featured in the cards. In fact, I wrote the stories and spirits down in my tarot journal just because I feared losing it. I took photos too and saved them in a cloud. You can probably get a replacement copy of the LWB online but I sometimes find it difficult to narrow down the stories or spirits represented by the images alone.

 

 

 

Chariot from the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

 

I don’t really think this is a great deck for beginners or people who use their cards on the go. There’s just too much deviation to be a standard RWS deck for most beginners to get a handle on. That’s not a bad thing but if you’re trying to use memorized keywords for your readings, you may find that you’ll struggle. There’s also a lot of detail so some folks who have trouble with decks like Fairy Lights or Shadowscapes may struggle here too.

Overall, do I like this deck? Yes. I like it quite a bit and I regularly use it for spirit based questions. I feel that in order to really get this deck, I’d have to devote some serious time to researching the stories and spirits included in the deck and meditate with each card. Some decks require this kind of time and others don’t. I don’t mind that. I would definitely buy it again.


Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt © US Games Systems

Spirit Destinations: When Spirit Worlds Connect to the Physical World

The astral worlds are not a free-for-all. Not all of them at least. Anyone who has dealt with the fae are definitely aware of this but many other places outside of fairylands have rulers that hold territory. Knowing you’re in someone’s territory can be tricky and knowing where those territories begin and end, especially because they change all the time, is a full time job. My best advice is to assume you’re trespassing and be polite as possible if confronted (and run away if you need to).

But there’s another territory to think about. Another weird thing that can happen. Sometimes the astral spirit worlds and the physical worlds mesh together.

Sometimes you step into a place here in the physical world and you think, “oh crap, this is connected to the spirit worlds, somewhere”. You might even feel unsafe and need to hightail it out of there. And other times it’s the best place ever to meditate and be safe.

This is one of things that you’ll know if you’ve experienced it because it’s often a defining moment for you. One you’ll remember. It’s also similar to fairy tales and legends of wild hunts and faerie proceedings.

 

When Spirit Worlds Connect to the Physical World by This Crooked Crown

 

What are the signs?

There are numerous signs that indicate that a particular area is experiencing a merging or an overlap. Some of the signs appear for other things like a psychic attack so be aware of that possibility and look for multiple indications that the spirit world is overlapping into the physical world.

As always, if you feel like you’re being hunted, stalked, or in danger, leave the area immediately and go to a safe place where you can calm down, ground and center yourself, and get something re-energizing to eat.

  • A weird energy signature
  • An immensely powerful energy
  • Feeling yourself being drained of energy
  • Feeling your energy hum
  • Feeling an increase in energy, like adrenaline, but is likely difficult to control
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Pressure in your head or body, especially forehead
  • Surge of emotions, images, sounds, or smells out of nowhere that are not your own
  • Hearing voices or music or sounds without a discernible source
  • Smelling scents that are out of place and without a discernible source
  • A sense of flightiness or lack of control like intoxication
  • A feeling of dream-like fog
  • Feeling of being small or in front of something large
  • Being overwhelmed emotionally or spiritually, like a wave overtaking you
  • A feeling of open-ness in a small that should not feel that open
  • A feeling of disconnect, like watching yourself do something outside of your body
  • Feeling watched or not alone
  • The feeling of immediate danger
  • Time is working too slowly, too quickly, or you seem to be out of time
  • Becoming lost in the physical space
  • Objects, pathways, walls, and other things seem to move or become blocked when they weren’t moments before

 

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Walk along the water with me?

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

 

What triggers these connections? 

Spirit worlds connecting to physical worlds can happen in any number of ways. These connections are not permanent and some will disappear even a few hours after it appears. You can remove a connection with enough time, effort, and energy but it would be a hard-won fight.

Anywhere can be connected at any point in time to the spirit worlds but it often happens when no where is there and therefore there isn’t conflicting energy. Or they are areas with lots of potential but nothing happened. Or they’re areas of high energy. Liminal places, like crossroads, rest stops, buildings with lots of empty hallways (schools, offices, abandoned buildings), and bridges are common targets as well. Any place you’d expect spirit activity is particular susceptible to this kind of phenomena.

These are a few ways that the spirit worlds and physical world can become connected. Keep in mind, these aren’t the only ways and not every method will works for every area. Some places seem more susceptible to certain methods than others, likely due to energy reasons.

  • A land spirit makes the connection or holds significant power in that place
  • It’s a height of power and energy for some reason and thus easily accessible to spirits
  • A human dreams or recreates that space in the spirit world
  • They are so similar of places in looks, energy, or history that they merge for unknown reasons
  • Spirits gather there for unknown or multitude of reasons, thus making the physical world more like a spirit world.
  • A practitioner connects them for easy access to the spirit world
  • A practitioner has cast a lot of energy or spells recently or invoked a spirit, opening the way for this sort of thing
  • There’s been a wild hunt style procession recently through that area
  • Construction, death, powerful emotions, trauma, or other events can cause havoc, not unlike ghosts getting riled up during a home remodeling.

 

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Twilight cherry blossoms

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What to do

What you can do with an area that is connected to the spirit worlds is up to you. I recommend leave it alone. It’s probably not hurting anyone (except you might see a rise of headaches and emotions in that place) and it will often go away on it’s own. As mentioned above, you can try to get rid of the area but you must be very sure of yourself and your ability to manipulate the spirit energy in order to do this properly. You can patrol or guard the area, making it sacred, and thus keeping outsiders from going into it.

Most of the time, if you leave the area (and spirits inside the area) alone, they’ll leave you alone. They’re essentially just visiting.  However, if the spirits begin to get aggressive, you may want to step up and remind them that while the area IS theirs, most humans cannot see or sense them and therefore do not know to stay away. You could even banish them from this realm, leaving the territory connected or go ahead and sever the connection. Whether you do not this or not is up you. It’s personal choice.

As for myself, I typically leave spirit connected areas alone. I might go and remind aggressive spirits to play nice or I’ll have do something about them but most often, I leave them alone. So long as they’re not actively hunting humans, I have no problems with them. I find such areas a delight to visit because I truly love the spirit worlds and knowing I can connect to them here in the physical world at times is something I find absolutely amazing.

 

Money in the Spirit World – Astral Currency & Trade

Money in the Spirit World

 

Here’s some real talk: shit costs money. This is true with your spirit dealings as well.

Historically, money has been used in multiple cultures as offerings to spirits. (Also, historically paying the people who dealt with spirits, such as practitioners, was and still is a thing.)

However, it’s not always about the amount of cash you can put out. Trading expensive goods is also something that’s often used. Are you giving that expensive alcohol as a gift – or a bribe? Or is it really for services rendered on your behalf?

Offerings are made for a lot of reasons. They can be made from a place of love or fear. As a perfunctory action to something you’re excited to share. There’s lots of reasons to give offerings. It’s not necessarily part of a commerce-based action. You can simply do it to please the spirit or deity you’re with.

But, what about commerce? What about actions made that are not an offering? How do you trade with spirits? How does money work in the astral? To be honest, it’s not that much different with how money works here.

 

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My payment for services rendered today. Iron and brass.

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Commerce isn’t always going to be based on coins or paper money. In fact, most of the time, it isn’t. If you’re operating in a territory controlled by a specific ruler, that territory may offer currency, like any country would. But that currency will probably be worthless outside of that territory.

Trading services or items is probably one of the easiest ways to get something. Can you draw? Suggest that. Can you cast a spell or create a magical item? Did you find a pretty astral stone or grow a particular herb in your astral home’s garden? Try that as a means of trade.

Of course, you can always trade information. Information is, almost always, the most appreciated sort of currency. Tell someone where to a particular river, give directions to someone, mention where you last saw a particular spirit. Even gossip and rumors have their own weight and merit. Best of all, you can use the same information gained with different people and some people will pay very highly for information. The more desperate they are for that information, the more you can charge. It’s a very good idea to keep an eye on what kind of information you have to share and how much that’s worth to some people.

 

Another option is to get a job. This probably is the least liked option but is certainly going to get you what you want. If you do take on a job for someone, be sure that your terms are agreed upon in a very plain fashion. You will do X for Y and that’s it. Courier is a very popular job for dreamers and spirit walkers like us.  You can also be a freelancer of any skill you’re good at or even a mercenary. The tie-less kind of jobs are quite suitable for us as we aren’t consistently able to access the astral.

 

 

If you have you own territory or home, you can grow, make, rent, or create something there to sustain yourself. Maybe you’ll grow herbs or you have the only water for miles. You could be the only person in the area that can heal or has light or a safe place to sleep at night. Trade for these commodities and go from there.

You can also see if a local spirit has work for you to do. Working under the service of a spirit ruler or any spirit will be like working in you regular day job. The only exception is the work will probably be different and there probably isn’t a lot of rules in place. Make sure that you know your rights and how to get out of the job if you no longer want it. You can even make agreements to when your job ends if you don’t want it with the person that hires you right off the bat. Help yourself and make these demands and agreements at the start so you don’t have to worry about it later.

You can also make agreements to do something in the physical realm for the spirit. This works very well for us and it’s utterly unique to use dreamers and spirit walkers. Spirits can’t do this for one another usually so it gives us a unique advantage. However, I’ve found that the more you pay attention to a spirit while in this realm, the more control they have over this realm. For example, if a spirit asks you to make them a shrine in the woods and some kids find that shrine, it may give that spirit more power here because more people believe in them. It’s hit or miss as some spirits don’t work in the manner.

There’s pros and cons to each of these methods. You’ll have to talk to people and have a good grasp of people in order to trade information. Working under a spirit ruler may gain you some enemies because of your association but you’ll probably also be under their protection. Grow herbs to sell and you’ll have to actually, you know, grow them. Weigh your options before you decide what to do.

 

 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to make trades and arrangements in front of a third neutral party. There are even mediator spirits you can hire for this specific purpose. But, anyone can serve as a third part. These third parties will verify the agreement of the trade (or whatever) and if one side of it is broken, then actions can be taken.

There are also spirits that work like money lenders or even currency exchange. These spirits will vary wildly in temperament so you might wind up dealing with a very nasty spirit or someone who is a complete sweetheart. Currency exchange will usually have a direct price – you bring 8 X and get 5 Y. The spirit making the exchange will take a small percentage of the trade for their own payment.

Keep in mind that breaking promises or agreements is considered extremely bad. Note, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a loophole to your advantage. Faeries are really the experts at this – they won’t do something outright against the agreement but they will find every loophole ever and use it instead.

Theft is an additional problem to remember. Items, even those in the astral, have energy and some people – even some practitioners – can track that energy like a bloodhound. So if you steal something and someone is skilled in tracking energy, they could hunt you down.

 

 

Not everything you can trade or do will be useful so cultivating many skills or keeping items around like some pack-rat RPG hero can help you figure out exactly what to offer at the time.

It’s tricky to get the hang of so don’t be surprised if you get up getting proverbially robbed during a deal. It happens. Live and learn. Like in real life, it takes time and practice to develop a good system of deal-making.

Why should you jump through all these hoops? Well, not everyone can create everything in the astral. And some items require knowledge to create that you don’t have. It also fosters relationships within the community. Plus, some things are just easier to buy than make.

The astral is a truly fantastic place and spirits of all kinds exist there. Some will have wildly different ideas of what’s useful or worth currency. Ask questions politely and you’ll probably do just fine.