Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June Personal Update: Work, Piano, Familiars

I'm finally over the pneumonia!  It only took me essentially two months but, you know, here I am!  This has been a huge setback in my attempt to get my health back in order and my ability to keep up with the blog.  I had such a nice build-up of pre-scheduled articles.  Now I'm down to just the last few.  I had plans, guys.  Plans.  But there are a million sayings for that.  So let's just dive into what's been going on the past few months.

I've been working my tail feathers off.  Busy season is here to stay and I enjoy it, even if I've been sick for most of it.

I had new business and thank you cards made this past month, and I'm currently getting a sign created that will go on top of my easel!  It'll have interchangeable cards for which agency I'm working for as well as what time I'll be done.  It'll even have a card holder!  I'm very excited.

I've also been teaching caricaturing classes with our local library system.  Tons of locations.  It's been exciting to introduce kids to caricaturing!

I received a package from the UK this month!  Thank you so much to Karen Carter for her little book on the Winter Solstice and the wooden stick!  I appreciate it!

I've also been gifted in my yard a bird wing and a moth that I'm currently preserving!  Thank you, spirits!

I found this gorgeous, GIANT quartz tower at my local thrift store.  Again on my lucky finds!

Along with this hilarious mug!

But on to more serious things...

I'm sure some of you have seen my social media posts about my piano.  Every few years, my mom decides that she's going to "trash my piano unless I get it moved."  It happened back in around 2015 and it happened again this year.  Moving the piano is an endeavor.  Not only is it costly to have it moved but the piano itself is in disrepair.  When my grandfather died, he left it to me in his will.  My parents moved it to my childhood home and had it tuned when I was six.  Since then, it's just... sat there.  Even though I played it frequently as a child and teenager - honestly, it was a huge part of my identity - my parents never maintained it.  It would never be tuned again and would start breaking down.

So, on top of moving costs, I knew I would need to restore it.  Uprights have a negative market value.  More people are looking to get rid of them than people are willing to even just take them for free.  I knew it would be an expensive chore to get this piano back to what it should be.  Was it worth it?

Originally, I told my mom to just go ahead and let it go.  I posted a Facebook status about how much it meant to me and I cried a little.  It was hard.  But when my mom commented on my emotional, grieving Facebook post asking if "Anyone wants it?" my circle became furious.  How could she not see how much this means to me?  They started piling money together to help me get it moved so I could focus on renovating it.  I was in tears.  Particularly after the rough week I had, I couldn't believe they were rallying behind me like this.  This made me actually search for movers and, to my surprise, I found a wonderful company that moved it for a mere $200.  At that point, I couldn't even justify taking my circle's money.  I could afford to move it myself!

So I now have my grandfather's piano in my basement.  I'm having someone come out to tune it and replace the ivories next Thursday.  He's going to let me know what else needs to be done and we'll go from there.

Meanwhile, this whole thing has confirmed something I've known for a while: I need to go to therapy.  I've got too many unresolved issues from my childhood cropping up.  It's time to get it managed.  So I start that next Wednesday.

Of course, in the process of getting my health under control, things don't always go quite as planned.  I went to a rheumatologist this past week in attempt to find a solution for my exhaustion, leg weakness and muscle pain.  I had a massive amount of labs done - so much so that I passed out.  Not kidding.  When I came to, a second nurse I hadn't even seen was holding me upright and I vomited into a bag.  It was... exciting.  I also had to go to our local hospital for x-rays of my joints.  The rheumatologist wants to put me on a permanent immunosuppressant.  The one they're looking at, Humira, is an injectable, so I'm going to have to get over my fear of needles here.

Don't be chronically ill, kids.  It's not worth it.

Other than that, there's not much new to report.  I'll leave you with some adorable pictures of my familiars!

He was not happy that I had to leave for another gig.

Cheeky little thing.

This cat is clearly operating on exactly one-half of a fried brain cell.

He thinks he's hiding?  Yeah.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

[Guest Article: Abby] Do-it-Yourself Low-Budget Scrying Mirror

A note from Witchy Words:  At the beginning of the year, I asked the circle I coordinate, Circle of Fountains, if they'd each like to do a guest article based on a topic that I might not be able to cover.  This is a great effort by my amazing circle to give you information that you might not otherwise encounter here at Witchy Words.  The following article is written not by me but another member of Circle of Fountains, with credit and notes about its author below.  Enjoy!


I wanted to do something a little special this year for my full moon ritual. I also wanted to find a way that the more nontheistic members of the circle could connect and enjoy my ritual as well. Since the full moon is the perfect time for divination, I decided to give the circle members an opportunity to practice one of my favorite types of divination: Mirror scrying.

Anybody who has gone to an occult store or looked online can tell you that scrying mirrors are extremely expensive. With this in mind, I decide to take a page from one of my favorite authors, Deborah Blake, and her book Witchcraft on a Shoestring. It’s all about how you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have amazing magical tools or great spiritual practice. So I decided that not only was I going to be able to provide scrying mirrors to everybody in my circle, but I was going to make them.

Step One

I went to a local thrift store and raided their picture frame selection. I found a lot of really old and gorgeous frames. I made sure I got a lot of options so that everybody in the circle would be able to find something they liked - something that resonated with them.

Step Two

I went to our local big box retail store. I bought foam brushes and cheap acrylic black paint. I also stocked up on the free newspapers because I don’t have a lot of space and I knew this was going to make a mess.

Step Three

I went through every single frame and cleaned the glass, making sure there were no stickers, fingerprints or dust. It wasn't necessarily a lot of fun but it’s very important if you’re going to make your own scrying mirror.

Step Four

I did this assembly-line style because I was making 15 mirrors. I first laid down newspaper and pulled the glass from the picture frames, placing that on the paper.  Using a thick coat of black paint, I covered one entire side of the glass.  After giving it a bit of time to dry, I held the glass up to a light so I could see how opaque the coat was. I did a second coat on almost all of the mirrors. If you need a second coat, make sure you give it time to dry between coats - otherwise you’re just going to smear the paint around.

Step Five

One the paint is completely dry, I put the glass back into the picture frames with the unpainted side facing forward. Some of the older frames don’t hold together as well, but they still look gorgeous. If you need to put it together with a little bit of super glue or something, no one will know.

Not only was I excited that they looked absolutely beautiful, but the best part was the surprise on the faces of all of my circle mates when I was able to give one to each of them! I hope this helps you save yourself quite a bit of money by making your own scrying mirror.


Abby, the Circle Auditor, is currently working in the security field and attending college full time to finish her pre-med degree. She was raised as a hereditary witch by her mother and is currently practicing as an eclectic witch with Celtic and Russian influences. She is interested in learning more about different mythologies and the intersection of magic and science.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

[Part Six] Hermetic Spellcraft: The Principle of Rhythm

"Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right, is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates"

As we know from the first three principles, the world is defined in three planes: The physical, or the world around us; the mental, or the world as we perceive it; and the spiritual or subconscious, the world in a higher state of consciousness.  We understand that everything we experience, everything that exists, is perceived through our mental realm, or "lens," and that these realms are positioned in the same place yet just a degree off, creating a vibration we know as energy. Through the last principle, we learned that dichotomies do not exist and that we must analyse all angles to find the proper intent before we begin altering that vibration.

In this section, we'll learn about the natural laws of the universe and learn how to utilize them as part of our Craft.

The Rhythm of the Natural World

Your heart beats a steady pulse.  You breath in and out, in and out, in and out.  We sleep and we wake.  We live, then we sleep again.  The sun rises and sets, and rises again.  The world grows cold and dim in the winter months, then bright and sunny in the summer, only to return to the cold.  The Principle of Rhythm encapsulates all that moves, noting the natural pattern of mental states, life and the universe.

Newton's First Law comes in to play with this principle, yet again showing the marriage of science and magic.  Stating that "an object in motion stays in motion," we understand that this rhythm is unstoppable.  Night will become day and day will become night.  Life will turn to death and death to life.  These are undisputed facts of the universe.

The continuous swing of the universal pendulum is forever present; the only constant in this world is change.

The Rhythm is Present on All Planes

As the law clearly states, "the pendulum-swing manifests in everything."  On the physical plane, it manifests in the cycles of the season, the rise and fall of the tide, the rhythm of the heartbeat.  On the mental plane, that rhythm exists as the ebb and flow of thoughts and emotions.  And on the subconscious or spiritual, we see it through non-corporeal entities, the opening and closing of the veil and the ethereal pulse of the astral realm.  There is no escaping the pendulum.

This swing of the pendulum manifests on all levels of consciousness - on all planes.  Some Hermeticists would disagree, stating that this rhythm is purely low-vibrational, meaning it's only present on the lower plane.  They state that only the adept magician can "rise above" the pendulum.  Still yet, others claim to "control" the pendulum, the natural order or swing of the world.  Both misunderstand.  The rhythm of the world is the law of physics, the science of our behavior.  We cannot act outside of science any more than we can force the pendulum to stop on any other plane, or escape it altogether.

The reality is that we need to feel the rhythm the universe emits.  We only recognize the extremities of our poles, be it physical, mental or spiritual, by having been there ourselves.  Our return to each side allows us to experience the full range of the universe, from the hot and cold of the planet to the anger and love we emit.  We are human and we are meant to feel these things, not hide them, bury them or attempt to stop the pendulum swing to return to that emotion.  This is how we know we are alive.

And remember: These emotions, these vibrations, are no more opposites than the "good" and "bad" we discussed in the last part of this series.  Dichotomies do not exist but rather are a spectrum from which the pendulum swings about.

The Law of Neutralizaton Requires Awareness - Not Avoidance

When some Hermeticists speak of "rising above" the pendulum or stopping it altogether, they're speaking of the Law of Neutralization. This law states:

Rhythm may be neutralized by an application of the Art of Polarization.

If we're not rising above, or avoiding, the pendulum and we cannot stop it, how does this law apply?  Two major components assist the Hermeticist in their work with the pendulum of the universe.

The first is awareness.  In order to apply the Principle of Polarity as seen in the last section of this series, we have to be aware of the vibrations emitted.  We have to be able to understand the complexity of lower and higher vibrations.  We have to be aware of the swing of the pendulum through each plane and what that means for our own vibrations as well as that of the world around us.  With awareness, we can predict how things might unfold and understand our own internal reactions towards the potential results.

Awareness allows us to react.  We can utilize the Principle of Polarity in two different ways to react to the pendulum swing.  The first is to counteract the direction of the swing by neutralizing its momentum.  If we know the pendulum will swing towards anger, we react in kindness.  We pull in the opposite direction of the forward momentum to slow the roll.  The other option is to change the spectrum the pendulum swings on.  This method is a bit more complicated but achievable.  If we know that the pendulum will swing in an undesired manor and we also know the pendulum swing cannot be changed or stopped, we instead shift the spectrum, transmuting it into something entirely different - almost like an alchemy of the mental or subconscious.  

Of course, this is the method to use if you want to change the outcome of the natural rhythm.  If you're happy with the direction the pendulum swings, then you're fine right where you are!

The Visual Representation: The Pendulum

In the previous section, we defined the way our intent is aimed at the vibration of the three planes - almost like a baseball hurling towards our destination.  In this portion, we identified another component acting as part of the three realms: The pendulum.

Now that we see the pendulum swinging through the three planes, we better understand how to not just aim our spell work, but manipulate it to work in our favor.

In Magic

A pendulum is swinging through any space we choose to aim our spell: Finances, wards, luck, love, curses - the list goes on.  At this point, we have to learn how to work with the rhythm of that pendulum.  If it's swinging away from the aim of our spell, we're in luck.  Magic flows towards the path of least resistance and our spell will likely be successful.  Learning to utilize the natural swing of the pendulum is the easiest and quickest way for results.  If it's swinging towards our aim, however, we will have to counter our spell in some way to protect it against that swing.  This is the Law of Neutralization at work.  Lean the spell in the proper direction or change the spectrum entirely to see your magic flourish.

Part Seven: The Principle of Cause and Effect
Part Eight: The Principle of Gender

Part Nine: Putting it All Together