Spirit Destinations: Valley of the Witch Seer

Valley of the Witch Seer is a massive valley filled with a vast forest surrounded by tall mountains and a wide ocean. It has a wide, white sand beach that’s excellent for lounging on. Ruled by a well-known spirit seer, this area is largely peaceful and friendly.

This is my go-to area when entering the astral. It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and people let you do what you want without bothering you so long as you aren’t cruel. War is kept to a minimum too which is always a bonus.

Names

Something to know is that “Valley of the Witch Seer” isn’t actually the real name of this area. It’s also known as “Valley of the King Seer”, “Valley of the Seer King”, “Witch Seer’s Kingdom”, and similar combinations. The king here sometimes calls it “Myrdin” or “Myridin” and various approximations of that but that’s fairly rare. Largely, it’s just left unnamed. Before it was known as the Golden Tree Valley or Deep Forest. The beach and ocean area wasn’t part of the original territory either and had a wide-variety of names that have been largely forgotten since the ruler left the forest and conquered the beach.

These cliffs are known as the Hanging Cliffs or the Golden Cliffs. The mountains to the far left (straight across when passing by the Hanging Cliffs) are  known as the Aerie locally. Elsewhere, they’re known as the Diamond Cut Mountains, or the Waves of the Earth.

The ocean is known as the Ocean of Fallen Tears, Sea of the Giant’s Tears, Sunlight-Glances-Off-This-Body-of-Water-and-Dances-Across-the-Sands-to-Scatter-on-the-Sea-Glass- Castle-and-Dies-at-Sea. Locally, it’s known as the King’s Sea or Dragon Sea or Mermaid Cove.

 

Directions

You’ll have to travel past a modern-appearing city known as Raika or  Toreeh City. This city is really great for commerce or dance clubs. The modern roads go right to the edge of a cliff where it switches to dirt. Asking directions from this location usually gets you into the valley fairly easily.

Following the road  as it winds around the bottom of the large bluff and cliffs known as the Hanging Cliffs or the Golden Cliffs. This road dumps you into the huge forested valley.

Sometimes the road’s called “The King’s Road” but it’s mostly only called that by the locals.

When asking for directions, you’ll probably do best by asking directions to the witch seer (king). The king is largely implied for this particular ruler but most people will be able to fathom out which seer you’re asking about. Information brokers and certain fox spirit clans in particular are good sources of information. The kingdom is very large so it’s a popular destination, despite the sparse population.

 

Climate and infrastructure

Infrastructure in this area isn’t terribly well-built. Homes and villages are constructed with wood, stone, and magic but some residents live in trees or burrows. There are a few scattered buildings but the most noteworthy building is the ruler’s castle. It is made of sea glass and sand, towering up like the mountains it mirrors on the right of the beach. It half sits on the water. The is a modern-appearing city on the other side of the cliffs before entering the valley.

Trade is flourishing in this area and the villages tend to be friendly. The port attached to the castle especially is a current focus. If you need a place to stay, you may be able to find room & board in the villages or even in the castle. You can also camp out in the wilderness.

Roads do exist in this area but there isn’t a road to the castle. Instead, roads lead in and out of the valley and to villages or the mountains. Water is extremely common in this area and you can follow most streams and rivers  to villages or right to the beach itself.

Temperature wise, this area is temperate with a late summer-early autumn season. It does snow, on occasion but that largely depends on the ruler’s moods. This realm is largely stable, topographically speaking, but the weather fluxes to the ruler’s moods. The sky is usually very blue and the forest near the entryway will be golden and red birches fading into your “average” green forest trees.

There will be tall mountains will be in the distance on all side of the forest, save for the road you’re on and the sea. The mountains are very hard to climb and tower so high they are cloaked by clouds. The ones right of the castle are known as the Taira Mountains. In the mountains and cliffs there’s an aerie city of griffins. There’s other beings living in those mountains so it can be pretty fierce at times. Clan members of the fox guards also live at the base of the mountains by the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean so be wary of hurting any of them. This fox clan tends to hold a grudge.

The ocean in the distance is very blue and cool. The sand is bright, white, and clean. It smells slightly floral, from the local beach flowers along the edges. the beach is framed by low cliffs on the left and right sides. The ruler’s castle sits to the right on the beach.

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Spending the afternoon on the lake.

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Friendliness of the locals and how to identify yourself

Identify yourself as a “dreamer” or “spirit walker” if you don’t specifically have a name or title you want to be known by.

This region is extremely welcoming to humans so don’t be afraid to say hi to people. Even the king themselves is rather friendly. The king’s court is large but often has time for visitors.

If you run into trouble or are attacked, you can informed the king. Whether they address the issue or not depends on the situation but they’ll take care of problematic people.

 

People to know in the area: 

The spirit ruler is very powerful both personally and politically. So long as you don’t cause a fuss or incite violence, they won’t concern themselves with you. Don’t cross them though and don’t hurt their people. They’re vicious when necessary and they might not use violence to get back at you. They may just smear your name for all to hear or to block you from the astral.

Many guards are fox spirits so they make tricks or try to bribe you – you do not need to pay to gain entry into the kingdom or the palace. They also don’t appear human so prepare yourself mentally. Much of the staff is like this.

There’s a lot of staff that’s willing to help out but we’ll get into that in a future post.

 

Sights and things of note in this area:

That castle has a pool and waterfall of cleansing water. Visitors and staff can bathe in the lower public part of the castle to cleanse themselves spiritually and receive minor healing. There’s another part of the pool in the ruler’s audience hall which is worth seeing because it’s beautiful but they’ll gut you like a fish for trying to use it.

The spirit king here uses magic, especially in combat often leads battles. It’s kind of like watching a video game or anime so they’re worth watching from a safe distance if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

Warnings and things to be wary of: 

Be careful around the beach. There’s a very large sea dragon that likes to bask in the sun there. The dragon’s pretty ambivalent in general towards most things and won’t like being bothered with questions.

Merfolk also like to sun themselves on the beach, near the rocks, but they might try to drown you for the fun of it. The ruler and/or their staff will probably stop them but it’s better safe than sorry. The dragon, however, won’t help.

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Another image from the lake yesterday.

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Honestly, this is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a less modern and less populated area. The folks are friendly and helpful but it’s sometimes a journey to get here. But, if you want a good place to start your astral exploring, this is a good beginner area.

 


I’ll add to this post when there’s a new information to add so check back often.

Does some of this sound familiar? This location and people have been mentioned here, here, and here. Been here before? Drop a line and let me know if I need to add information.

5 Differences Between Your Imagination and Astral Travel

I think one of the number one questions I get about astral travel is how to know if you’re actually astral travelling or if you’re imagining it.

Here’s the secret – there isn’t a way to know, for sure, that you’re not imagining things.

But there is a difference, to some degree. You see, imagination is something you’re creating for yourself whereas the astral and spirit realms exist without us. That being said, dreams and your imagination are somewhat connected to the spirit and astral realms. Your spirit is somewhat connected, after all. You can affect those realms and we can create changes within those realms. It only follows that we can even create those realms with our minds.

We’re more powerful than we know, after all.

But there are ways to make sure that what you’re experiencing isn’t merely made up in your head.

  1. Is everything centric to you? We tend to play hero in our own heads. So a good way to tell if you’re making things up is to do a Mary Sue check. Does everyone love you? Does everyone hate you? Do you always succeed? Can you never be hurt or are your injuries easily remedied but seem super serious at the time? You might be making things up if this is true.
  2. Can you change form? In the astral and spirit realms, you can shape-shift but it’s fairly rare in your imagination to picture yourself as something else. Oh, it’s extremely common to imagine yourself more (or less) beautiful than you are. The change I’m referring to is turning yourself into a frog or something. Can you do that? Then you’re probably not making things up.
  3. Do the people around you live their lives without any thought to you? Spirits have lives of their own to attend to. It’s kind of unusual to daydream yourself in a crowd with no one acknowledging you unless that’s the specific things you’re intending to imagine. Spirits may acknowledge you the same way you acknowledge someone walking by you on the street. That should be the same. If that’s not the case, such as no one paying attention to you no matter what you do or everyone paying attention to you, then you’re probably making it up.
  4. Check gravity and physics. Things in the spirit and astral realms don’t operate according to physics and gravity. It’s fairly uncommon to run into this in your imagination without it being purposeful.
  5. Are you experiencing time skips? I find that time in the astral and spirit realms is fairly useless. You can live an entire day in the spirit realms but only a few minutes in the physical realm. Conversely, you can sit down to dinner with friends in the spirit realm and find that you’ve lost several hours rather than the twenty minutes you might have expected. That doesn’t happen usually with daydreams.

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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Bonus: consistency is sometimes hit or miss. With your imagination, you might dream up new and better ways to accomplish the core of the daydream. But with the spirit realms, that probably won’t happen. Things will stay the same. That being said, you can affect the spirit and astral realms, so you might find that things change quickly. It’s very YMMV.

It’s going to be hard to tell the difference at first but with practice, you should be able to pick up on the differences fairly easily after a while. Be patient and good luck!

Spirit Destinations: How to Find Your Way in the Astral

Treading the spirit realms can be really difficult. It’s like going to another country: you don’t know the language and the culture’s a bit weird. You make stupid mistakes, and probably end up in a not-great neighborhood at some point.

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From our friend's dock while visiting yesterday.

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Getting directions to anywhere in the astral is complication. Super complicated. I’ll explain. The spirit realms are always in flux. There’s always some conflict to avoid, some danger to be wary of. The topography and land itself changes at the whims of residents in the world. Wars and battles cause lots of detours. When a new ruler takes over, the entire land can shift and change. The very land itself can morph to suit the whims and personality of the ruler. The rulers become, in part, land spirits, protecting their territory from harm. It’s not unlike the story of the Fisher King. Even if the land doesn’t adjust to the ruler, there are dangers in the environment to watch for. Then there’s the people. Look at our own world. Look at all the cultures, all the taboos, all the knowledge and secrets that exist in it. Look at the hate and love we have. And we’re all humans, a single species with that much diversity. That diversity exist in every species, without fail. There are uncountable numbers of species and races in the spirit realms. You may be able to make some generalizations but most of the time, you’re a fish out of water. Add onto that each person’s own free will and individuality and you have a mess to deal with. Everyone has agendas of their own. People – and they are people – have , jobs, obligations, families, and lives to attend to. After all, how often do you pause to give strangers directions? The residents here might not pause their lives for you either. And that’s OK. We’re all people and have busy lives. Some folks will help and some won’t. Some people are nice and others are cruel. Variety makes the worlds wonderful, after all. But with all of that variety and flexibility comes a massive problem: how do you to find anything in a world that changes so much?

 

Asking directions can be a chore in and of itself. You may have to barter something just to get some complex set of instructions. Those directions might not even be accurate. Things change so often that halfway through the trip, there’s usually some change. Even if you get directions that are accurate, the names for things aren’t the same. For example, I live by an ocean when in the spirit realms. It has a lot of names: Ocean of Fallen Tears, Sea of the Giant’s Tears, Sunlight-Glances-Off-This-Body-of-Water-and-Dances-Across-the-Sands-to-Scatter-on-the-Sea-Glass- Castle-and-Dies-at-Sea (yeah, really). And that’s just the three I know. I’ve heard it called other things. The valley I live in itself doesn’t even have a name. The ruler’s been stable for years but hasn’t come up with a name yet for it. How do you give directions to a place with no name? Directions aren’t like google maps either. There often isn’t a “Take a left at exit 64 and travel 6.4 miles to veer right onto Main Street”. Instead it’s more like this: “Go to the Forest of Dean (but not that Forest of Dean, no, not that one either, that one) and talk to the fox spirit there. He’s going to try and eat you but once you deal with that, give him this ball of magic black ooze. He’ll tell you where to go next. He’s going to lie to you at first but wait a few minutes and he’ll give you your next destination.” That’s a lot of work just to get a new pair of shoes or something.

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Alleyway near Jackson Square

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See? Lots and lots of complications. But, never fear. It’s not all that daunting when you have an adventurous spirit. Here’s some tips on how to somewhere in the astral.

  • Get the right directions. Ask around and see what directions people give. Spirit allies can probably provide help, if necessary. Seeking out an information broker is a good alternative. Information brokers tend to avoid giving bad directions. Their reputations rely on them go doing their jobs successfully. When in doubt, go to a trusted information broker. Just expect to pay an arm and a leg.
  • Check in often to determine your true location and get local news. Inns are specifically designed for this but roadside restaurants are surprisingly excellent too. Detour if necessary but try to stick to your directions. If you detour too much, you’ll end up somewhere else entirely usually with more trouble than you need.
  • Don’t tell everyone where you’re going. Instead, pick a location nearby where you’re heading. For example, if I was going to see the ruler of the territory, I might ask directions to the forest the ruler lives in. Save yourself trouble by being cautious with your business.
  • If you’re told not to stop, don’t stop. The best example of this in direction is from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. “Go to the main road outside of the city and follow it away from the mountains,” said the frog. “After a while, you will come to a small pavilion made of gold, surrounded by trees made of silver with emerald leaves. Go straight past it without stopping, and don’t answer if anyone calls out to you from the pavilion. Keep on until you reach a hovel. Walk straight up to the door and knock three times, then snap your fingers and go inside. You’ll find some people there who can help you out of your difficulties if you’re polite about asking and they’re in the right mood. And that’s all.” (Page 11)
  • Landmarks aren’t always landmarks. Sometimes you’re given directions that include people as a landmark, like the fox example above.
  • Travel in groups. Traveling together will allow for more interpretations of the directions. Extremely useful when the directions are hard to fathom.
  • Hire out a means of travel. Hiring a car, ship, horse, chariot, carriage, may be expensive but worth it.  You may even hop on the bus or spirit subway to make things much faster.
  • Think in alternative means of travel. You might walk everywhere but discover that you need to fly to get over a ravine. So sprout some wings,  hover, or ask for aid as necessary.
  • Remember that the spirit worlds are intertwined with this one. It is the strangest feeling to realize that you’ve been in this subway station before in the astral.  You’ll also want to remember that the spirit world isn’t always an accurate representation of this world. Sometimes walls are missing or there’s extra doors or a staircase to nowhere. In these sorts of liminal places, you can easily slip into the spirit realms. Those with second sight can see a merging of worlds in these places as well.
  • Sometimes you can just appear there. Teleporting in the astral is totally doable. You can also slip back into you body and re-enter the astral in your destination. This is a bit like cheating when you’re suppose to be on an epic journey but it can certainly make things easier. Please note it’s rude to appear in someone’s living room so aim for a backyard or something instead.

So that’s it! That’s how you get directions in the astral. It may be really complicated but that’s the fun of it. Now get out there and explore!

Introducing a New Series: Spirit Destinations

The astral and spirit realms are immensely vast. Possibly too vast to even understand. This is an amazing place full of adventure, dangers, and wonder.

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Scenes from Gettysburg

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Everyone has the capability to astral travel. It takes practice to be able to slid out of your body, to ignore the physical feeling of your body, and cast your mind elsewhere. Even the most established practitioners have trouble with it at times, depending on their own spiritual turmoil and stress. There are hundreds of names for this journey and thousands of ways to do it. Research, experimenting, time, and practice will help you determine which methods are best for you.

The crossing to these lands is described as the most difficult part. But that’s not necessarily true. Knowing where to go is. Once you have a means of travel the destination becomes the question. When dreamers or spirit walkers arrive in the realms they either in an entirely strange place or somewhere familiar. (If they’re not aiming for a particular destination, that is.)

Finding a safe place to land and explore can be extremely difficult. Even if you do find a place, it can be hard to find it a second time. Asking directions in the astral is nearly impossible. The worlds and very topography change with the whims of the residents and rulers of the territories.

The best way for beginners to start is to know where they’re going and to know that place is safe and welcoming.

So, I’m launching a new series called “Spirit Destinations” that detail as much as possible where to go in the astral and spirit realms and what to find while you’re there. I will be personally vetting each location so you’ll know what and who to avoid along the way.

I’m really excited to share these places with you and I hope to see you in the astral!

Tips for Crossing Over, Being Safe and Coming Back (tumblr repost)

Breathing life into an old post. Tips for Crossing Over, Being Safe and Coming Back  is one of my more popular (and important) posts I wrote about two years ago. So here it is again.

ruiner85 asked: My bestie (thesecretlifeofpyris) recommended asking you about a reliable and safe way to contact spirit guides, I’m hoping to start out slowly & build a rapport so that I can go with my eyes open before even attempting anything astral. I’ve looked on-line and saw a lot about getting to the astral, but very little on staying safe or getting back. We’re currently researching formal rituals for contact and would appreciate any information or guidance you may be able to provide. Thanks

Hi! This is long and rambly. Hope your research is going well and sorry for the wait.

Unpopular opinion time! I don’t use spirit guides. I never have and, not to sound like an asshole, never saw the point in them. I still don’t. Logically I get it but…, eh, not really. To be honest, I don’t trust spirit guides. I don’t trust anyone who says they’ll helping someone just because they can. That sounds like a load of bullshit and I’ve NEVER met a spirit that’s acted like that. Ever. Even spirit guides get something by dealing with you, even if you don’t know what you’re giving them.

You don’t need them. Exploring the astral is like going to a large foreign city. You might speak some of the language but not all. It’s a weird culture and you don’t want to offend people so you’re super cautious because ajfdjalsj you don’t want to be an asshole but you also don’t want to be taken advantage of. Actually, I’m going to quote Doctor Who, since it’s always relevant on my witch blog:

“You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers – or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it”

– Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who, Episode 7, The Long Game.

All of that being said, the other side is a dangerous place and you have to be willing to accept that danger by going into it. Prepping yourself for it is a BRILLIANT IDEA THAT EVERYONE SHOULD TRY TO FOLLOW.

How to Stay Safe:

  • Remember that the astral/other side/spirit realms/faery land/whatever the fuck you call it IS DANGEROUS. IS NOT SAFE. IT IS DANGEROUS. I literally cannot stress this enough. It is not a playground.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. You were planning on heading towards a wheat field but ended up in a desert? Roll with it.
  • Don’t be aggressive (unless necessary). That’s pretty much asking for a brawl.
  • You have the right to defend yourself. And sometimes the best defense is offense. And running away is almost always an option, even if it isn’t the best option.
  • Remain vigilant and doubt everything. This sounds like a terrible way to live and it is. But this had saved my ass more times than I care to tell you.
  • Train yourself. Your body over there doesn’t have to be the same way here. Some people change shape depending on their mood, location, or job. I’ve met a few folks who never stop shifting, always moving. Others become their true selves. And more still just have little subtle changes in how they best reflect themselves. With this new ‘body’ you can do whatever you like. I recommend training your body to be respond yourself best. Maybe even train yourself with a weapon if you notice yourself getting into trouble.
  • Don’t get caught up on deciding what’s a spirit, fae, demon, god, etc. The lines get blurred. And really, what does it matter? They’ll either let you know or you can figure it out via context. And if you can’t, then it’s probably not important to know anyway.
  • If you’re paranoid then come up with a way to banish each and every being you meet.Seriously. If you’re that concerned about it, take the precautionary step. But if you are that concerned then you may wish to reconsider traveling to begin with. It’s not necessary. You can do witchcraft without it.
  • Don’t eat anything. This should be obvious. Sometimes you wander into faerie realms without knowing it. Accepting food offered (or eating random shit you find) is unwise and best and can get you seriously fucked up at worst.
  • Assume everyone’s out to get something. I have never met a spirit that isn’t looking for something. I know they might not say anything and maybe they’re acting really nice and generally are, but they ARE getting something. Maybe they’re studying humans. Or maybe they’re leeching energy off you or selling information about you to someone. You don’t know.
  • They are not human. Do not forget that. [UPG Alert!] I’m of the belief that many spirits don’t think the same way we do. They don’t hold things to the same level of importance, they certainly don’t seem to value the same things or have the same morals or ethics. You can’t expect them to act a certain way or do something in a particular fashion. It’s like expecting an alien from Pluto to be able to know all the intricacies and eccentricities of your culture.
  • Avoid politics. Politics is a game no matter who is playing it or what field it is on. A deadly, horrible, necessary game. Try to avoid it if possible. If you can’t (as many constant travelers cannot) at least keep your wits about you.
  • Know who’s top dog. There are a lot of spirits out there that  have territory. Some of those spirits are just holding that territory for someone bigger and badder than they are. And some of those territories have land that translates into a place on the physical realm. Yeah, you can literally walk into a spirit’s territory here by accident and have to deal with it over there.
  • You are not at home. Stop acting like it. You’re traveling. Tra-vel-ing. No one owes you a thing (unless they do) and acting like they owe you secrets and knowledge is a great way of getting no where fast and pissing everyone off. And ruining the party for everyone else.
  • You can get hurt. Spirit wounds happen. All the time. Sometimes it’s bruises, scratches, or random aches and pains that shouldn’t be there. I’ve woken up with visible six fingerprint and one thumb-sized bruises on each ankle even though I was in the house alone except for the cat and slept only three hours. I’ve noticed these tend to appear overnight and will last for much longer than normal, despite any treatment towards it (although, spells do seem to soften them). Hint: treat the wound on the spiritual realm as well as the physical.
  • Prepare yourself for the morning after. Using the assumption that you intend to travel at night, prepare your morning as you would if you expected a hangover. A hearty breakfast, lots of fluids, headache and nausea remedy. Sometime the herbals used to cross over will you give a hangover type feeling. This occurs even if the herbal is consumed via oil, ointment, or smoke. If it does occur, keep records and test it. Some people react to certain herbs that way, others discover it’s because they gave themselves too much or combined it with something.
  • Keep records. As mentioned above and previously, keeping records is highly important. I don’t even note in my records what I do (although that’s a personal preference). I just note that I crossed over at what time, what I took with the dosages (leaving a sample aside nearby my notes in case something goes wrong), and when I return what time I did that. This is also useful if you find yourself crossing over at random. Some folks get triggered by shit. It’s best to keep the records so you learn from it all. Do as you will. Most people keep everything in a journal. I keep mind in a binder and have a form I fill out each time, similar to a lab report. Ugh, paperwork but brilliant at the same time.
  • Your UPG is as valid and true as everyone else’s. UPG [unverified personal gnosis or some form thereof] means that what you’ve experienced is real to you. It’s valid and true if you say it is. No one should be able to deny your experiences (if they do then call them out although if you’re operating on historical or mythological fallacies someone will call you out on that.) That being said, your UPG does not have to match anyone else’s UPG. Sometimes they match up and that’s awesome. Others times you’re all by yourself. That’s awesome too. Just remember that just because you’ve experienced something and someone else experienced something else entirely, does not mean both of you aren’t correct. Treat other people’s UPGs as you’d like yours to be treated.
  • Spirits lie. They’re also assholes. All the time. Some they lie about who or what they are. They do it for reasons you can’t understand, for their own personal agenda, just for laughs, or to fuck with you. Gods are not exempt from this.

Getting back depends on how you got there in the first place. A lot of just ride it out till they come back. Others have a series of techniques like the ones below. It’s a good idea to keep trips short until you can find your way back without trying to (although, some people never get to that kind of familiarity with this so YMMV).

How to Get Back:

  • Return phrase. Some people have trained themselves to return to their senses when they utter a particular word or phrase. (Likewise, some people have trained themselves to cross over with a different word or phrase)
  • Alarms. If you travel while asleep or fall asleep while traveling, setting an alarm will shock you out of whatever realm you’re in, most of the time. This isn’t exactly recommended because it’s really disorienting. It’s best to use an alarm that starts softly and gains volumes as it goes. (You can usually find a digital one in a department store for around $12 USD, last I checked.) You can likewise try to use an mp3 that starts soft and gets loud to do the same thing if that works better for you.
  • Tether yourself. If you can, when you first cross over, try to extend yourself back and feel where your body is. Keep that feeling in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to find it again. You can make a “physical” reminder of this by wearing a rubber band or bracelet, ring, whatever, to remind yourself. Ensure that you appear on the other side with it.
  • If you travel with a spirit, that spirit can shove you back. (It should be noted that other spirits can do this too and will sometimes do it to be assholes). In non-allies, it’s a dominance play. Also known as a dick move.
  • Have someone sit by and wake you at a certain time. Switch out who watches who to make things even. And give that watcher something to do. It’s boring watching a sleeping or meditating person most of the time.
  • Have a start zone. Find a place where you will always first visit when you cross. If you appear anywhere else first, go directly to the start zone. This way, you will feel best connected to that spot and will feel most closely connected to reality there. Then you can jump back and forth as much as you’d like.
  • Food. This is going to sound weird. Traveling is draining to many people and I always recommend prepping a carb-filled or grounding food for yourself for after. If you eat the same thing after each trip (like ritual bread or whatever), remembering that smell, taste, texture, sight, etc can bring you back.
  • Keep records. As stated above. Not a way to get back but something to keep in mind.

I rambled a bit there and sounded a bit like a arse but I hope this helps!

[Originally posted here.]

Aggression cleansed at the crossroads

I glance at my phone in surprise because the person calling can’t have left my house more than a minute ago, if that. I answer with a smile in my voice, thinking they had forgotten something. Instead I get this:

“When I was coming out of your house and passed through the gate is slammed a bunch of times and I heard footsteps follow behind me to my car. Then I saw a face in the mirror standing outside my car by the headlights.”

I pause, taking it in. “I’m sorry.” I say immediately because it is a serious issue for a guest to be harassed when leaving my home. I may live on the crossroads but my guests should always feel safe coming to my home.

“Don’t apologize. I just thought you should know.”

I swallow down a second apology and after a few more minutes we end the conversation. I glance towards my window and extended my senses. Yes, something was there, something new that hadn’t been there this afternoon when I dealt with a different, friendly spirit that afternoon. This new thing was aggressive, tumultuous and dark, filled with a confusion of emotions. Not one of mine.

My brother and I are both practitioners. Both of us are mediums and channel spirits at will, we both see them and sense them as naturally as breathing. I have always preferred the non-human spirits but my brother’s craft is that of a necromancer. He works almost exclusively with the dead. Our home is located at the top of hill between two crossroads, one of which is a corpse road. We live directly behind a funeral home and down the street from a swamp. Since we both share a household we split the duties of dual crossroad keepers. I care for the non-humans and tend to the cleansing of the crossroads and keeping the household wards, as well as serving as seer and vigil as needed. He keeps the human spirits, of which we have a great many passing through and serves as backup and exorcist when needed. It suits us and our practices.

Since this aggressive spirit wasn’t one of mine, I climbed up the stairs and tapped on his door. “Test the boundaries.”

“What?”

I repeated my friend’s story to him. He sighs and has me fetch out his equipment since I was closer. He shifts around his violin and murmurs to himself, checking. He sighs again.

“It’s one of yours, isn’t it?” I asked. “We can’t have it attacking guests. That’s just rude.”

“I don’t know. I think some of my friends could use a spiritual kick in the ass.”

I laugh, because he’s not wrong. We negotiate a price for him taking care of the problem I noticed (rather than me doing it myself) and he gets ready to go cleanse the crossroads and chase the spirit away while I set about doing the dishes. The spirit was being tricky. It kept moving between the front and back of the house, causing my brother to have to cross the house twice to find it. During that time, I dropped my active barriers, offering one room of my house as refuge for the spirits that would be cleansed from the crossroads.  I felt the house flood with new energy but the spirit my brother hunted was too distracted to take advantage. Other spirits didn’t take up the offer, including the one spirit I warned my brother against sending away.

Finally my brother stepped outside. I felt him issue a spiritual challenge of sorts followed by a dull response. Then two pulses of energy and the crossroads were cleared. My brother came in and announced it was done. I nodded, thanked him, and we set about making dinner.

A while later I returned to my flat downstairs. Many spirits had slipped back through the hole in the wards to return to the crossroads, to go about their business now that we’re not interrupting them. Others hid. I bent over and glanced under my bed where a small, fat spirit with a large face quivered, just under the blankets.

“Is he gone?” The spirit asks.

I smile kindly, voice soft, non-threatening, and very fond. “Yes he’s done. He’s not that scary. We just needed to get rid of that aggressive guy.”

The spirit understands and I straighten as the spirit comes out. Others move from corners and make their presence fully known. The room plunges into the cold but I ignore it and turn towards the affected crossroad.

“Hm, he did empty it, didn’t he?” I reached out and pushed my energy out towards the crossroad. The cold, empty feeling of the crossroad warms significantly and the spirits begin to move towards it, pleased. No one thanks me but the feeling of gratitude is there. I didn’t expect anything else. The crossroad’s reset and now it’s filled with energy and life, the way it should be.

“You really are a good [redacted].”

I whip around as a different spirit than I expected stood behind me. It was of the same class, so to speak, as the one from this afternoon and the one I told my brother not to cleanse. I drew myself up and nodded.

“I do my best.”

“It’s good enough.” It says and moves towards the busy crossroad. There was a finality to its voice, a hint that I was examined and passed a test, even if I didn’t personally cleanse the crossroads. This was going to be a new thing, clearly. This class of spirits has taken an interest in me. Internally I sighed and sit down to eat my pizza.

[Another episode of living at the crossroads. Commentary paraphrased and certain names and titles redacted but the events and essence of conversation was real.]

Where to Start?

“Where do I start if I want to practice witchcraft/magic?” I get that question all the time, especially over on tumblr.

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Behind the scenes: Witch at work.

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My first questions to them are as follow:

  • What are you looking for?
  • What are you interested in?
  • Are you looking for a religion?
  • Are you looking for a path to follow?
  • Are you looking for guidance?
  • Are you looking to affect the world around you?
  • What do you believe?
  • Do you want to work with others or in a group?
  • Do you want to make up things yourself or would you prefer to follow someone else’s lead?
  • How much academic studying do you want to do?
  • Are you looking for something with historical precedent or something more modern?

The last question is especially important. Knowing, or at least exploring, how the world works and how you believe the world works is incredibly important to to establishing UPG – unverified personal gnosis. Now UPG is commonly misused within the community. Most people take it as UPE – unverified personal experience. The mistake is easy to make but the difference is incredibly important: gnosis refers to something that is a foundation belief, something critical to your worldview. An example would be the knowledge that your deity is masculine rather than feminine. I use knowledge because UPG is often a knowledge, absolute faith. You KNOW that the UPG is true. It is the very basis of your world-view. It’s canon to you. UPE is you have this experience that you’re certain is real and happened but it’s not essential to you. [1]

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Might need to touch up the sign a bit, hm?

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Now that’s a lot of technical jargon that boils down to this: you don’t have to know what it is that you believe but you almost certainly believe something and you need to be willing to explore that.

Now I believe in magic. I KNOW it to be real. I’ve seen it work, I’ve used it. I’ts part of the heart of my UPG. What magic is, precisely, is an entirely different topic I won’t get into, primarily because we don’t know. My answer is different than others and their answer is different too. Various paths define it somewhat differently. [2]

All of the above isn’t the point and most certainly isn’t exactly what you’re here for. You’re here for a how to of where to start and what “rules” there are for it. And here they are:

“Rules” or the stuff you need to know about before you begin:

  • Practicing magic or witchcraft is a personal choice.
  • There are NO qualifying markers to decide who is an isn’t a witch or who is or isn’t practicing magic. If you define your practice as such, then it is. Similarly, do NOT label someone a title such as witch unless they identify as one. It’s rude at least and deeply offensive at worst. [3]
  • You have NO right to information. You have NO right to appropriate from native cultures or religions, especially if those cultures or religions have requested otherwise.
  • Cultural appropriation is a thing and you should know about it. [4]
  • Sexism, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, agism, predators, pedophiles, rapists, crepes, criminals, and sex offenders absolutely DOES exist in the community. They exist in ALL communities. Ignoring the issues because you want to promote a good image is negligent at best and criminal at worst.
  • Critical thinking is absolutely critical. So is critical reading. For many practices and paths, research and proper research is important and even necessary. Don’t trust everything you read and question everything. [5, 6, 7]
  • There is no Pope of witchcraft or magic. There are NO rules. There is no ONE deity or pantheon “we” must follow.
  • The Rede and Karma does not work the way you probably think it does. And they are not universal but specific to traditional Wiccan and Hinduism, respectively.
  • Wicca does not equal witchcraft and witchcraft does not equal Wicca. Witchcraft is an art, science, and technical skill of a witch while Wicca is a religion. One necessitates a religious foundation and and the other is entirely secular from it. Witchcraft can be added to most, if not all, religious practices. Witchcraft and magic are not nature-religions. They can be incorporated into a nature religion, however.
  • Books on history, superstitions, folklore, mythology, and anthropology are often keystones to many researchers. Those people who write those accessible 101 books? Those topics are the ones they gleam their information from.
  • Many practitioners takes years to develop their practice, some even take decades. Others can develop their practice in a few months. Progress as fast as you need to.
  • Remember while you may have a divine, known UPG truth of the world, it is RELATIVE. Your truth is not my truth and thus you don’t get to force your beliefs on others.

That’s the basic information you’ll want to know before you begin. This is the basis of how we generate conversation and how to start separating the bullshit from the good stuff.

Now, got that covered? Here’s what you need to do to start practicing witchcraft or magic:

  • Ask questions. Even if you have a stupid sounding one, ask it. Ask it to different people. Ask it of yourself.
  • Read everything. Well, not everything but go ahead and read topics that interest you and articles that are in opposition of what you believe. It can at least let you know what other people are talking about and at most will inspire you to new things.
  • Explore. Do you like the ocean? Ask sea witches what they do and read fisherman’s superstitions. Like cooking? Explore kitchen magic. You don’t need to focus on one thing. Witchcraft can very much be defined into separate categories like sea witchery or kitchen magic but it doesn’t have to be (and, likewise, you can absolutely just focus on one aspect and ignore everything else.)
  • If you want rules, restrictions, or a specific THING to follow, try a define tradition such as Wicca or another religion.
  • You can absolutely make up your own path. I’ve been doing it for close to twenty years.
  • Be afraid to make mistakes. Misspeaking a word in a spell will 99.9999999999% of the time result is absolutely no changes from the original intent.
  • Gods, spirits, guides, and people lie. They can be malicious. They can hurt you. And they can do it just for the fun of it. Don’t trust anyone just because they say they have your best interest at heart. They almost certainly have a game plan. Also, you don’t need them to practice witchcraft or magic and you can worship deities without magic or writchcraft.
  • Don’t buy things in one go. Witch kits are often useful but I’ve seen far too many practitioners going into stores with lists of things and you end up not needing half of it. Start small and cheap and pick up things as you go. In addition to being gentler on the wallet, each new piece added to you practice will mean that much more to you. You don’t need an altar or a work space or tools, but many find them useful or important to their practice.
  • Find a teacher. There are absolutely people out there that teach witchcraft or magic. i’m one of them. Most often they require payment of some kind or another in return for their time. This isn’t an option for everyone and sometimes not one you’ll want. I, for example, never wanted a teacher. I wanted to learn and hone my craft myself.
  • Find a coven, community, or group. This, again, might not be for everyone but it could be for some. You can learn things from one another and can always leave if you don’t like it.
  • Go ahead and jump right in. You don’t have to be serious business about it all right now. Just try your hand at it and see what happens.

Yeah, yeah, but that’s not STUFF. That’s not spells and shit. There’s no magic there.

Here’s the magic how to:

  • Starting with a protection spell is probably the safest way to start… but money spells are the way to go to prove it works. Do both and enjoy the outcome!
  • Energy manipulation is an easy way to learn a lot about what people talk about with energy.
  • Offerings of water, clear alcohol like vodka, incense, bread, or honey are good for a basic offering to any deity or spirit.

That’s it? Yeah, that’s it. If you want to do spells, just jump the hell in. There’s more background information to be known than anything else.


Other things you really should read that will help (besides my resources)

Now, as mentioned in a previous post, I am working on getting up online classes for witchcraft. It’s a slow process as I’m a rather spontaneous teacher that prefers to adapt to a singular student rather than a unknown group but it’s still happening. Also, beginners can always ask me question here or on any media form I’m in.

Sources:

  1. What does UPG mean? http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/56115685958/what-does-upg-mean-ive-never-heard-the-term-except-on
  2. Rambling on This Crooked Crown’s personal belief on what magic is: http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/67771760381/what-would-you-say-makes-spells-work-youve-said-its
  3. Scroll down to read my breakdown of this post: http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/26522396392/deep-within-your-belly-come-all-witches-be-one
  4. Rant on Cultural Appropriation: http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/18294572929/a-pseudo-rant-on-appropriation-in-paganism-and-research (check the notes).
  5. On critical thinking and reading: http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/39901394182/okay-this-may-sound-really-really-dumb-but-how-do
  6. Hellboundwitch’s how to read a fucking book: http://blog.hellboundwitch.com/post/27502384651/how-to-read-a-fucking-book-i-cant-teach-you-how-to
  7. Spiritscraft’s how to read a 101 pagan book: http://spiritscraft.tumblr.com/post/27508266438/how-to-read-a-101-pagan-wicca-witchcraft-book

The Spirits That Serve and Busy Times

Radio silence was brought about by the busyness of my schedule (which I’ve added to the right menu, I believe). For the moment, I have a reprieve as this is the week of my birthday (June 6th) so much of my time is visiting with friends and family as well as renewing personal protections and goals.

I’m not going to talk about that much. Instead, I’m going to introduce three sets of spirits that work with me. (Also, congrats to me for making 50 posts. For those who caught it this morning, I made and deleted a test post for something that was technically the 50th post. I had to write a real 50th quick post to make up for it).

First, quick information. These spirits work alongside me. They’re not guides in the traditional sense although I suppose they could technically be termed that. They work for me and they get something in return. It’s a pact, not something done because they like me. (Well, they wouldn’t hang around me if they didn’t like me but you get what I mean.) A lot of this is wrapped up in my position on the other side and complicated with secrets and spoilers but essentially, I’m in a position to get them what they want so they work both for me and alongside me for my goals, whichever those may be at the time. I call them allies, vassals, or when I’m being snarky minions (but only if one remember the original etymology of minion being “dear one” and combining it with the common usage of “lackey”).

The Maidens – I have the least control over these spirits. There’s four to five of them, agender although they tend to appear as beautiful maidens for the most part to me. They aren’t hived minded but they think similarly enough, I believe, to be able to know what each other is thinking which gives the appearance of sharing a mind. They’re matchmaking spirits. It’s their thing. They enjoy messing about in the realms of love and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to do it. Patient and impatient, they have an Agenda and Plans and those Plans tend to muck up everyone else’s plans. They’re more focused on romance than sex however and that should be remembered. (Not that they don’t also have influence over sex, it’s just not a focus.) They also influence beauty, which is so closely tied to romance. They truly get people which makes them fabulous in other areas of life, like fashion. Honestly, they’re a bit catty but I love them for it. They are fierce entities who champion romance above all else.

Serrah – Serrah’s snarky and is what I’d call a crossroad merchant spirit. This is a spirit that parks itself at the crossroad and either sells wares or gathers and/or sells information at crossroads. They derive their energy from these crossroads and the energy of those passing through the crossroads. Nearly ubiquitous, they have a tendency to come off as slimy car salesmen most of the time. Serrah’s not oozing yet but he can be very smug unnecessarily. Still, he’s (and that’s just the pronouns he picked, he sometimes appears as a woman) very good for folks who owns a business as he can offer advice – for a price. Be sure to check the fine print and watch your words as he’ll use loopholes and mistakes against you far quicker than most spirits that double as guides. You may also want to check for a knife in your back, just in case betrayal is a thing.

The Warrior – Probably the most mellow-tempered and reasonable, the Warrior is just as he sounds: a warrior. Highly skilled, he was originally a human spirit who became something else. These spirits are the best to deal with for beginners as they’re easier to understand. While they aren’t human any longer, they tend to retain enough of their humanity to make it easy to work with. The Warrior in particular beat out several dozen other warrior-eque spirits for his current position. He (definitely prefers male form and pronouns) tends to variate in appearance but is mostly ghostly, which is somewhat odd in my experience.

Fox Guard House – An entire family clan of a spirits. Rather fox-like (hence the name), they are golden and are very similar to light or fire. They appear as bipedal foxes, a little shorter than five feet tall, and nearly identical to one another. Incredibly cunning. Take extreme caution when dealing with them. For a personal example, we made a deal and they were planning, as a whole, to murder me to get a better position, so to speak. I outmaneuvered them, reminded them why I am who I am on the other side, and then raised my original offer alongside the original pact. I fully expect them to attempt assassination again but it’s not a huge priority for them right now. Other lives to destroy elsewhere, for the moment.

So what do I do with these spirits? Since they’re in my employ, they do what I hired them to do. Serrah’s busy building up a port town in the astral, for example. The Warrior checks over battlements and ensures that the Fox Guard House doesn’t put their original plans of murdering me into effect. The Maidens just sit around and cause havoc in the name of love which is actually what I hired them to do. (Yeah, on purpose. It’s a long story) The Fox Guard House does what they can to connive others and be a general pain in the ass for other spirits. (Yes, this was also planned.)

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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The thing with working alongside spirits is they have plans and agenda to see to. They have desires and goals and because they have those things, they can be worked with like any other being. Just be very careful because cultures are different and that can, of course, cause issue. When making a deal or pact with a spirit, be certain of the terms of exchange. Know what you’re expected to give up and what you’re getting. Know what ways that spirit can backstab you and take off with whatever you were to trade and what you came to get.  Working with spirits is absolute fascination and a lot of fun – there’s so many different things to see, learn, and talk about. I know I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Vigils at the Crossroads

I don’t mention it much but I live at the intersection of several crossroads and some of those roads are corpse roads. My house sits on the corner of four streets, which may sound like a regular crossroad but isn’t.

Corpse roads are roads used to transport the dead to their final resting place. Traditionally they’re old dirt roads or paths. Sometimes these roads were only used for transporting the dead, depending on local tradition and superstition. Most of the traditional corpse roads have been lost to time but new ones are around. I live behind a funeral home and one of the streets my home is situated on is a shortcut to and from the highway.

Legends surrounding these corpse roads are numerous among a lot of different cultures. I recently read several Russian fairy tales along the same vein but it is common in cultures that transport their dead, especially for burial. Vigils next to the dead are also very common, usually so spirits won’t possess the deceased’s body.

When I say four streets I mean four SEPARATE streets

This is the best I could get of the crossroads ridiculousness I speak of. The white and brick house with the pink and green trees is my actual house so you can see how convoluted the streets are. There’s the street the house faces and the street to the right of it. The street on the right splits at my driveway into two other streets (behind my house and where the blue bin is). The funeral home is on the same side of the street the photo was taken on.

In the past I served as a medium to spirits and deities. I don’t do this much anymore for a wide variety of reasons but I still have the knowledge and capability to do so. However, I thoroughly enjoyed doing the works so I continue it privately now and my family home is perfectly situated for this.

Since I live at crossroads and corpse roads, it’s pretty spiritually active around here. There’s a lot of energy given our proximity to running water (two blocks away), the ocean (.8 miles), schools (three of them within two blocks), a main thoroughfare (top of the street), plus the funeral home (in front of my house) and a social club (end of the street). There’s a huge sewer network under my house (which is why it floods so much), plus we’re on the top of a hill. In fact, the roads are so ridiculous around my house, to back out of my driveway you need to back into an intersection.  It’s a busy road for not being a major road, both spiritually and physically. Spiritually, we get a lot of paranormal events from ghosts to non-human spirits. These beings are always transients and I guess we’re something of an inn. I tend to deal with the non-humans and my brother, the Necromancer, takes on the humans.

However, the crossroads and corpse roads are also a place for beings to linger. Lost or simply unwilling to move on, these spirits hang around and drain at the energy. Children, already more susceptible to possession and influences by spirits (however rare it may be), are especially fine targets. To protect and preserve the clarity of the energy and land, I hold vigils at the crossroads every so often.

There’s typically four or five a year on various dates (often in the spring where funerals are most common as burying the dead was not feasible in the winter in ye days of old). During the vigils I put myself into a state of being that allows for easier spiritual communication. Sometimes that’s fasting, other times it’s using entheogens, or hours of meditation. The method depends on my mood at the moment so it’s not something that’s specific. I meet with the spirits that linger and attempt to get them to move on – whether that’s to pass from this land into the next to just to go haunt some other location depends on the spirit themselves. I’m not one to force a spirit, human or otherwise, to do something they don’t want. If a human spirit understands that they are dead and they’re still not ready to move on, I’m not going to force the issue unless they start hurting people or other spirits. Then I turn into a dragon and start destroying things, so to speak. I’m protective, what can I say?

These vigils last typically twenty-four hours and can be very boring. Bound to not leave the area, I tend to amuse myself (and those I’m keeping vigil for) by singing, dancing, reading out loud, or telling stories. Most often, I listen, pour drinks of purified water and clear alcohol, and lay out offerings of coins and snacks. Divination is also incredibly common, since some spirits have difficulties in speaking through a medium.

At the end of the vigil, I “reset” the area, not exactly cleansing the area but more of dispersing negative energy clumps or untangling clogged energy to get it moving better. It makes the area feel better, safer, and more exhilarating for the spirit.

I really enjoy these vigils not only as a service to my community but also as a way of connecting to spirits around me. It’s one of the rituals I’ve developed that I intend to continue no matter where I live or what the future may hold for me.

 

Astral Travel 101

Astral travel…. It’s a huge thing in many people’s practices, a way to deal with spirits on their level, in their world, to learn new things, and explore possibilities outside of what this physical realm can offer. People astral travel for different reasons but my intent in this post is to give basic information along with tips, tricks, and safety advice.

For those of you who follow my tumblr blog, you’ll probably have seen much of this information before.

First, what is astral travel?

Astral travel is an out of body experience where one’s spirit or consciousness leaves their body through astral projection and crosses beyond this realm into another. Often, astral travel will occur in places of spirits, deities, or other places but some claim to be able to travel to places like Tolkein’s Middle Earth. There is much debate on whether these places exist, how they exist, whether they’re physical or incorporeal, and how time works there. Sometimes, the world of dreams is also combined in the astral and they can be seen, by some people, as one and the same.

Astral projection, as an aside, is an out of body experience. I feel and define astral projection as leaving your body but not traveling beyond this realm. With astral projection, one can travel the world and experiences things they may not be able to experience else-wise here.

Other terms you might have heard brandying about are: spirit walking, projection, out of body experiences, astral journeying, spirit journeying, O.B.E., crossing over, going to the Other Side, across the hedge, crossing the hedge, cross the (fill with your term of choice). There is some debate of minutia of meaning in these terms but in general they mean the same thing.

In my experience, everyone experiences the astral differently, although they sometimes align in interesting ways. I’ve met someone in the astral before and a year later met them again online. The astral realms are flexible, wide and vast.  Perception may have something to do with what’s available to you in the astral, although that’s a topic for debate. Perhaps it is that the individual mind can only be stretch so far beyond the realm of belief and thus what’s possible can only exist within the realm. The realms spoke of the most often are called spirit realms, Other Side, Fae realms, faeryland, and so on.

Achieving astral projection can occur in a variety of ways but almost always requires two things: an alternative state of consciousness and leaving your body. This is something I find most distressing within the community is the lack of stress on this point. For the most part you should be leaving your body. Some people have a partial removal of consciousness, their attention and focus being elsewhere but there usually is an accompanying feeling of leaving your body. Some techniques may not have this happen to you but one should take care in these instances to separate traveling and daydreaming as they’re usually different. An alternative state of consciousness is almost always required as it gets your consciousness to a point to leave your body. Some people have an easy time of this and others find it most difficult. Many techniques have been developed to assist with this from the extreme of entheogens and flying ointments, hanging upside down in a bag from a tree, and pain to the mild of sex, meditation, and trancing.

People can travel together in the astral. People can be forced to astral travel. These are things that can be done but are  a topic for another time. I do have to say this: consent is essential. It is beyond rude and potentially dangerous to pull someone over to the other side without their permission. Likewise, it is beyond rude and potentially dangerous for someone to pull you over to the other side and you should express your anger when this is done. Deities have a tendency to do this although spirits do as well. They don’t have the right to do that to you without permission. The only way that it might be OK is if you asked their assistance.

When people astral travel, they often speak about spirit guides. A spirit guide is a spirit that’s meant to guide or assist you in some way. I, by and large, do not trust spirit guides and do not use them. I don’t see the point in them personally. I do understand that some people need to have a sense of guidance or to be assisted in some way. I get it, logically. However, I don’t trust spirit guides. I don’t trust anyone who says they’ll helping someone just because they can. That sounds like a load of bullshit and I’ve NEVER met a spirit that’s acted like that. Ever. Even spirit guides get something by dealing with you, even if you don’t know what you’re giving them. And you don’t need a spirit guide. Almost every 101 book out there tells you that you need a spirit guide. I’m telling you that you don’t. You can, of course, have one if you so desire or end up having one by accident but you don’t need to seek one out. I find that it’s easier to be deceived if you’re looking for something as you’re willing to overlook little warning signs and issues telling you to stay away.

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From our friend's dock while visiting yesterday.

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So what does it feel like? Off, dreamy, and I find that a large portion of astral travelers actually seen themselves in the third person, as if they’re looking over their shoulder. Some others are face to face with themselves and more still are in first person as if they’re there. It’s fun, exhilarating, and freeing.

To me, exploring the astral is like going to a large foreign city. You might speak some of the language but not all. It’s a weird culture and you don’t want to offend people so you’re super cautious but you also don’t want to be taken advantage of. And the best way to learn about a new culture is to jump right in. That being said, there are some basic tips and advice that one should think about. Half of any type of travel is acknowledging the danger thereof and prepping yourself for trouble. That’s true whether you’re flying to Moscow, road tripping to Quebec, sailing to Sydney, or traveling in the astral.

“You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers – or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it.”

– Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who, Episode 7, The Long Game.

I strongly believe that anyone attempting to cross over should have some basic knowledge on how to protect and defend themselves. I am constantly and consistently hearing stories on how people get over there and they die – this can be a nothing event or it can be traumatic. I’m constantly hearing stories on how people get their asses kicked by spirits or deities. You should know what to do when that situation arises. Trusting everyone should not be an option. Protecting yourself, defending yourself should be. You might not win and you may still get your ass kicked but at least you can say you tried and you’ll know what to do the next time. So protection technique A didn’t work but it you change X, Y, and Z components and you’ll get protection technique B which does work.

Do people cross over and travel around without learning protection first and have no issues? Sure. But just because some people can do it doesn’t mean you or others can. Some people can spend their entire lives drunk driving and never getting caught or having an accident but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that their drinking buddies will be able to do the same.

As an aside, I’d also like to remind everyone that astral travel is NOT necessary. It may be necessary in some practices but it is not a requirement of most.

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Burn baby burn

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It’s ALWAYS good to remember that nine times out of ten you’re going to be dealing with non-humans and these beings have their own culture, beliefs, systems of justice, and habits. They’re not indebted to helping you (no one is) so expecting the first spirit you see to become your ‘spirit guide’ is potentially foolish and dangerous. Remember that spirits, like people, probably want something and don’t tend to do something for nothing. Are there some that do? Sure, but like how not everyone is a philanthropist, not everyone on the other side is willing to help you.

Also remember your readings for folklore and fairy tales: spirits lie, they deceive and they can hurt you. Physically hurt you and they can cause harm to you here. I’ve stunted nail growth from a ghost slamming a locker door on my hand and breaking my finger. I’ve cuts on my body from six months ago that should have healed with no apparent cause on how those cuts got there – even though cuts and wounds from mundane sources since then have healed. I’ve gotten hand print shaped bruises on my legs and ankles, even on days where I’ve stayed in bed, alone, and read all day long.These things happen, even if nothing followed me home. Sometimes wounds from the other side carry over here. I injured my knee two months ago by being hurled, shaken, and ragdolled by the leg by a troll in the astral. When I woke up, the knee was and still is injured here, in the physical realm, with no cause at all (in fact, at the time, I hadn’t even climbed a set of stairs in days, forget about having injured it in some way). It still hurts. If I get up from where I’m sitting, it’s not likely to hold my weight right away. I can’t sit in certain positions for long without it aching. It’s not swollen. it’s not bruised. It’s not damaged. I’ve had medical professionals look at it and I’m going to take it for an x-ray as soon as I get an appointment to do so. I want to rule out the mundane despite knowing that I did nothing to injure it here and there’s no apparent cause for it except having been injured in the astral. So yes, you can be hurt and that’s why I recommend that people should learn protection techniques first. I injured my knee while playing distraction so others could get to safety and take it down – I knew what could happen and I paid the price, willingly. It may not be that easy for others.

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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Preparation:

  • Check your home and personal protections. You should already have personal and home protections up. This may be something like wearing a crucifix or it might be an elaborate network of witch balls and witches’ ladders.
  • Use a magic circle. I don’t do this and many don’t but it may help protect your body while you’re away.
  • Prepare yourself for the morning after. Using the assumption that you intend to travel at night, prepare your morning as you would if you expected a hangover. A hearty breakfast, lots of fluids, headache and nausea remedy. Sometime the herbals used to cross over will you give a hangover type feeling. This occurs even if the herbal is consumed via oil, ointment, or smoke. If it does occur, keep records and test it. Some people react to certain herbs that way, others discover it’s because they gave themselves too much or combined it with something.
  • Beef up your protections if you’re going somewhere dangerous. This is especially true if you’re dealing in new territory or with particular tricky or shady folk.

How to Stay Safe:

  • Remember that the astral/other side/spirit realms/faery land/etc IS DANGEROUS. IS NOT SAFE. IT IS DANGEROUS. I literally cannot stress this enough. It is not a playground. It can be perfectly safe and nice but it is not going to be safe for everyone.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. You were planning on heading towards a wheat field but ended up in a desert? Roll with it.
  • Don’t be aggressive (unless necessary). That’s pretty much asking for a brawl.
  • You have the right to defend yourself. And sometimes the best defense is offense. And running away is almost always an option, even if it isn’t the best option.
  • Remain vigilant and doubt everything. This sounds like a terrible way to live and it is. But this had saved my ass more times than I care to tell you.
  • Train yourself. Your body over there doesn’t have to be the same way here. Some people change shape depending on their mood, location, or job. I’ve met a few folks who never stop shifting, always moving. Others become their true selves. And more still just have little subtle changes in how they best reflect themselves. With this new ‘body’ you can do whatever you like. I recommend training your body to be more responsive. Maybe even train yourself with a weapon if you notice yourself getting into trouble.
  • Don’t get caught up on deciding what’s a spirit, fae, demon, god, etc. The lines get blurred. And really, what does it matter? They’ll either let you know or you can figure it out via context. And if you can’t, then it’s probably not important to know anyway.
  • Assume someone is dangerous until proven otherwise. It’s a great rule of thumb, especially if you don’t know exactly with whom you’re talking to.
  • Spirits lie, deceive, cheat, and kill. Sometimes spirits are just assholes. Some they lie about who or what they are. They do it for reasons you can’t understand, for their own personal agenda, just for laughs, because they’re hungry, or to fuck with you. Gods are not exempt from this.
  • Spirits can take the form or glamour of another being. This is standard folklore stuff. They might be able to appear as your mother but they might also appear as a deity. Why they’d do this depends but usually it’s for kicks.
  • If you’re paranoid then come up with a way to banish each and every being you meet. Seriously. If you’re that concerned about it, take the precautionary step. But if you are that concerned then you may wish to reconsider traveling to begin with. It’s not necessary. You can do witchcraft without it.
  • Don’t eat anything. This should be obvious. Accepting food offered (or eating random shit you find) is unwise and best and can get you seriously fucked up at worst.
  • Assume everyone’s out to get something. I have never met a spirit that isn’t looking for something. I know they might not say anything and maybe they’re acting really nice and generally are, but they ARE getting something. Maybe they’re studying humans. Or maybe they’re leeching energy off you or selling information about you to someone. You don’t know.
  • They are not human. Do not forget that. [UPG Alert!] I’m of the belief that many spirits don’t think the same way we do. They don’t hold things to the same level of importance, they certainly don’t seem to value the same things or have the same morals or ethics. You can’t expect them to act a certain way or do something in a particular fashion. It’s like expecting an alien from Pluto to be able to know all the intricacies and eccentricities of your culture.
  • Avoid politics. Politics is a game no matter who is playing it or what field it is on. A deadly, horrible, necessary game. Try to avoid it if possible. If you can’t (as many constant travelers cannot) at least keep your wits about you.
  • Know who’s top dog. There are a lot of spirits out there that  have territory. Some of those spirits are just holding that territory for someone bigger and badder than they are. And some of those territories have land that translates into a place on the physical realm. Yeah, you can literally walk into a spirit’s territory here by accident and have to deal with it over there.
  • You are not at home. Stop acting like it. You’re traveling. Tra-vel-ing. No one owes you a thing (unless they do) and acting like they owe you secrets and knowledge is a great way of getting no where fast and pissing everyone off. And ruining the party for everyone else.
  • You can get hurt. Spirit wounds happen. All the time. Sometimes it’s bruises, scratches, or random aches and pains that shouldn’t be there. I’ve woken up with visible six fingerprint and one thumb-sized bruises on each ankle even though I was in the house alone except for the cat and slept only three hours. I’ve noticed these tend to appear overnight and will last for much longer than normal, despite any treatment towards it (although, spells do seem to soften them). Hint: treat the wound on the spiritual realm as well as the physical. Keep in mind that sometimes these wounds heal in the astral but not in the physical.
  • Keep records. As mentioned above and previously, keeping records is highly important. I don’t even note in my records what I do (although that’s a personal preference). I just note that I crossed over at what time, what I took with the dosages (leaving a sample aside nearby my notes in case something goes wrong), and when I return what time I did that. This is also useful if you find yourself crossing over at random. Some folks get triggered by shit. It’s best to keep the records so you learn from it all. Do as you will. Most people keep everything in a journal. I keep mind in a binder and have a form I fill out each time, similar to a lab report. Ugh, paperwork but brilliant at the same time. You can also write down the information from your travels themselves. This is great for memory exercises.
  • Your UPG is as valid and true as everyone else’s. UPG [unverified personal gnosis or some form thereof] means that what you’ve experienced is real to you. It’s valid and true if you say it is. No one should be able to deny your experiences (if they do then call them out although if you’re operating on historical or mythological fallacies someone will call you out on that.) That being said, your UPG does not have to match anyone else’s UPG. Sometimes they match up and that’s awesome. Others times you’re all by yourself. That’s awesome too. Just remember that just because you’ve experienced something and someone else experienced something else entirely, does not mean both of you aren’t correct. Treat other people’s UPGs as you’d like yours to be treated.

Getting back depends on how you got there in the first place. A lot of just ride it out till they come back. Others have a series of techniques like the ones below. It’s a good idea to keep trips short until you can find your way back without trying to (although, some people never get to that kind of familiarity with this so YMMV).

How to Get Back:

  • Return phrase. Some people have trained themselves to return to their senses when they utter a particular word or phrase. (Likewise, some people have trained themselves to cross over with a different word or phrase)
  • Alarms. If you travel while asleep or fall asleep while traveling, setting an alarm will shock you out of whatever realm you’re in, most of the time. This isn’t exactly recommended because it’s really disorienting. It’s best to use an alarm that starts softly and gains volumes as it goes. (You can usually find a digital one in a department store for around $12 USD, last I checked.) You can likewise try to use an mp3 that starts soft and gets loud to do the same thing if that works better for you.
  • Tether yourself. If you can, when you first cross over, try to extend yourself back and feel where your body is. Keep that feeling in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to find it again. You can make a “physical” reminder of this by wearing a rubber band or bracelet, ring, whatever, to remind yourself. Ensure that you appear on the other side with it.
  • If you travel with a spirit, that spirit can shove you back. (It should be noted that other spirits can do this too and will sometimes do it to be assholes). In non-allies, it’s a dominance play. Also known as a dick move.
  • Have someone sit by and wake you at a certain time. Switch out who watches who to make things even. And give that watcher something to do. It’s boring watching a sleeping or meditating person most of the time.
  • Have a start zone. Find a place where you will always first visit when you cross. If you appear anywhere else first, go directly to the start zone. This way, you will feel best connected to that spot and will feel most closely connected to reality there. Then you can jump back and forth as much as you’d like.
  • Food. This is going to sound weird. Traveling is draining to many people and I always recommend prepping a carb-filled or grounding food for yourself for after. If you eat the same thing after each trip (like ritual bread or whatever), remembering that smell, taste, texture, sight, etc can bring you back.
  • Keep records. As stated above. Not a way to get back but something to keep in mind.

If you can’t travel, keep trying. It takes time. Try different techniques as safely as possible to get your goal. Sometimes people have blocks they need to work through to travel, whether that’s personal or imposed.

Sources:

http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/37206570121/ruiner85-asked-my-bestie-thesecretlifeofpyris

http://thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com/post/75796505617/how-can-you-protect-your-home-and-whatnot-when