My subject header today is a line from one of two really good movies that I had the pleasure of watching this weekend. I highly (and i mean *highly*) recommend them to magicians, spirit-workers, or anyone else who customarily engages with otherworldly beings. Both are low budget films, extremely well written, and both give some of the best representations of what it's like to deal with spirits that I've ever seen in film.
The first movie is called "Lo." It's hilarious. OMG. Anyone contemplating summoning and revocatory work needs to watch this. Just ignore the references to heaven/hell. I didn't particularly care for the very ending, but this movie gives one of the best indications of what it's like dealing with a certain cadre of spirits. A trailer for "Lo" can be found here: http://youtu.be/XhFsK7e8wUo
The second movie is called "Ink." This one stayed with me for quite awhile after watching. I'm not going to say anymore, but if you have a spirit worker in your life, or you habitually deal in some way with the spirit world, watch this movie. It has its own self-contained cosmology and it's really brilliantly done. The trailer is here: http://youtu.be/ZBGeErufQdY (the full movie is also on youtube).
Both movies are available on netflix instant demand.
I don't often watch or recommend movies but these were too good not to share.
(this is rough…it's something i'm working on and working out).
I grow weary of students who seek to make everything as complicated as possible. Firstly, I find the need usually arises out of pure ego, the desire to make oneself seem like hot shit; and secondly, magic isn't really all that complicated. If you need to make it excessively complex, dependent on any number of material items, you're doing it wrong.
Part of the problem arises, I believe, because novices don't have the experience that would allow for purely theoretical instruction combined with praxis. Instead, of necessity, emphasis is put on various tools and equations, charms, and mantras.These focus the mind, open up the energy channels, and, if used correctly, help develop the necessary psi-talents for sensing/seeing and interacting with the planes of power. That takes time, however, and it's all too easy to become fixated on the tools themselves. You see this with many ceremonialists who must have the perfect ring, or a breast plate that is just so, or this robe, or that crystal. that isn't magic. Magic isn't worked by way of any of those things. They are at best tools and conduits of the will and they can be helpful in focusing the mind.
I've yet to come up with an effective way of teaching magic without going through a phase where one uses all the tools. It just takes time to learn to see, interact with and effect the magical plane. it's a hard leap for a student to make. For most, the tools are meant to bridge that gap and siphon off some of the mental strain. It's way, way too easy, however, to become overly tied to these tools and fancy ceremonies and i haven't come up with a way to avoid that in students. But I digress. I want to turn for a moment to what magic really is, the why of it, and where it's worked.
All magic is about negative space. It's about the space between things. Science teaches us that everything is energy in motion, whirling atoms. Everything is in flux and flow. Magic affects the flow. It alters and shifts the space between realities, between things, the place where a thing rests. We're used to focusing on the concrete physicality of objects and this corporeal bias gets carried over naturally, into our magical practice as well. It's very limiting. To truly affect the flux and flow of power, to cause a thing to happen, or block a thing from occurring, to create opportunities or take them way and any number of other actions, all one has to do is work with the negative space. It takes much less raw power and much, much more focused skill.
Basically, it's about attractions: of one thing to another, of a thing to its shape, energy to its path, the relation and inter-relation of things. Attraction is all about covalent bonds. Magic has the power to affect the bonds. It can shift the rhythm of a thing. One need not have a tremendous degree of power to do this. There's a lovely quote by Balzac that i learned long ago: "Power is not revealed by striking hard, or striking often, but in striking true." This is absolutely the case with magic. What it does take is an understanding of the power of negative space and a developed ability to see and work within it. it's not the thing itself that's important. what's important is how it's connected to every other thing, and the spaces around it where it is not every other thing. What's important are its weak spots, and how easily they can be influenced. A magician must know where one is able to push the hardest for best effect with least amount of resistance and effort. Basically, don't focus on affecting the person or thing, focus on affecting everything around that person or thing: every relationship, every bit of space, every connection. Do that and you own the situation. You can do what you like. It's all about that shift in focus, of where to focus.
Magic is all about how things react to each other. The magician is a chemist, bringing about specific reactions. It's not about affecting a thing itself, but about affecting the way it's connected to every other thing. Essentially, magic is a combination of quantum physics and string theory (my teacher looked at string theory and dryly commented that science had finally discovered wyrd). When training, first a magician must accept and know that this is possible, that the negative spaces are there; then with training he or she learns to sense or see those connections and negative space, the flows of power. Finally, with training and lots and lots of practice (and usually a good percentage of trial and error too), the magician learns to manipulate them. the hardest hurdle is often accepting that we are not at all limited by what we think of reality. Physicality is only one means of engaging with the world. There is so much more that we do not see…like the negative space.
Think on the spaces between the physical world and all the others. That's where power flows and where it can be accessed to best effect. It's all chemistry and physics. The magician has to know those spaces are there, has to be able to tap into them, and then, having established that awareness and connection, has to be able to animate it. Half the point of magical training is becoming a person on the planes of power. Power is the coin of those realms and we are judged by how neatly and well we are able to wield it. That is worth remembering, before cracking open the first book on evocation.
I love being a magician. I really do. There's a unique joy in puttering around preparing for workings, studying, and in actually working magic. It's a vocation, an art, a craft and engaging in it is like coming home, doing exactly what I'm meant to be doing. Even when it's exhausting, there is that innate joy. I don't often talk or write publicly about this aspect of practice but it is one of the most satisfying endeavors of which I am capable.
That being said, my moment of emotional self-disclosure over (yes, i'm being sarcastic at my own expense lol), tonight I was putting together a portable cleansing kit. Sometimes I putter around with things like this because I'm often called upon to go cleanse people, places, and things. If i had to pick two things that I prefer never to be without, one would be my divination kit and the other would be my cleansing kit. Of course I"ve also been trying to pare down what I carry with me because after awhile, it can get out of hand; so tonight, I was redoing my kit.
I've had lots of queries recently from friends and colleagues, students, and random readers of my blog about what I put in my kit. Someone just emailed me this past weekend so I will tell you what i have in my two portable kits mentioned above, because while I"m always kind of surprised when people ask me about things like that, I realize that before I decided on what to keep in my working bag 'o stuff, I was also terribly curious about what other magicians do.
Also, I"m having a rare relaxing couple of days. All my deadlines (save one, which is percolating in my brain and will be dealt with over the weekend) are met, so I am feeling particularly self-indulgent, sitting here listening to music, and…puttering. It's very strange having free time. ^___^
So, of everything that I keep in my kit, two parts of it are things that I always like to have with me. Because of that, and because I really like to travel light, I try to condense and keep them as small as possible.
in a small zippered pouch about the size of a box of greeting cards, I have a set of runes, a set of tarot, and two other types of divination systems (I'm not giving away all my tools and secrets on my blog). It fits neatly in my purse.
I keep this in a box about half the size of a cigar box. It's a pretty thing that I found on sale at a local craft shop and has a clasp. In it i keep the following:
*a small bottle of florida water
*four cubes of camphor
*a tube of dragonsblood incense (sometimes I make my own banishing incenses and use one of those instead, though I like dragonsblood by itself. it's an old standby).
*a small pill box of excedrin.
*a piece of chalk
*a tea light and lighter
*two charcoal pieces
*a bar of dragonsblood soap a friend made for me
*a small stick of mugwort or juniper
* white scarf---when I do certain types of workings (including calling upon archangels) I cover my head. It's a habit I picked up from my teacher. Plus it can double as an altar cloth if need be.
*a small knife
*red ochre and white kaolin clay
*2 protective amulets
It sounds like a lot but packed correctly, it fits in a small box and while it's a bit much to keep in my purse, it's not that difficult to toss in a larger tote. That's generally all I need and all I carry. If i need more than that, I'm getting sloppy. Why? Because it's not about "stuff." Magic is about using a trained and disciplined will to bring about specific changes and achieve specific goals in the everyday world. All the stuff is tangential to that. Still, it does occasionally make life easier!
Every so often I go through my kit and change it all up, switch what I carry, add, subtract…it's something that serves my needs so i'm not wedded to any particular set of things. I caution all my students though: keep it simple, as simple as possible because it's never good to rely on things.
I've been thinking a lot about magic lately and the changes that the active practice of magic make in the magician. i am glad i'm not apprenticing now. I see the garbage that's out there, the feel good pabulum presenting itself as knowledge. I don't know how I would have fared were I coming up in the Art these days. I was really lucky: my training was old fashioned and severe. I was never allowed to forget for one moment what magic was: the application of power. I hated it at the time but i could sense, smell, the threads of power there; every so often i tasted the glory of its revelation and that was enough to keep me going until i realized my teachers were right. The discipline was essential.
It's a truism amongst us that magic changes as person. The one who began learning is not the same person in any way, shape, or form, as the one who reaches adept level. I see a lot of bullshit being touted as magic on the market today, most of it written to cater to the New Age market, suffering from an excess of WASP ethics. Forget all of that. Magic is power and it is the application of power to take care of oneself and one's people. Period. To be really good at it, a magician must seek power as avidly as an addict seeks his next fix, as consistently as the average person seeks love and pleasure, or success, or money, well being or whatever it is the average person seeks. I wouldn't know. Those things too go up very early on in the altar of one's training and if the discipline is not there in training magic doesn't just change a person, it eats them up, spits them out: it destroys them.
Ironically though, insofar as those "good things" in life are concerned, one acquires them in time, if one is a competent magician. They come because one has learned to order one's life both physically and esoterically in ways that encourage them, in ways that allow abundance to flow, in ways that summon it. By the time one can do that, however, one's priorities may have radically changed. One's relationship with those things might be very different because there is a ruthlessness about high level magic, real magic. there has to be.
One of the first exercises an aspiring magician should learn (and these basics are shared across various disciplines not just magic) is grounding and centering. The usual analog is for the student to be told to imagine a tree. This is a good analog. In Norse magic, in Kabbalah, in several other systems too the image of the World Tree is a powerful one in esoteric lore. We work and work for years to learn how to ground and center properly, how to send energy down into the earth, and into otherworldly places, and we learn how to draw it up and channel it into the physical world. Thus passes the first several years of training.
What no one ever talks about though is the work that comes after that, after the roots of the tree are established. Then one works on the branches, on reaching out, making connections with the sepiroth, with the various worlds, with the places of power with which one will work, making connections, alliances, and learning to link into all of them at once. The magician stands in place of the Tree, connected above and below to realms of power and he or she learns to maintain those connections and to allow those lines, those rushing flood-tide rivers of power to flow into her and then --without any apology or hesitation--opens up and wields them on the human world at large. That's magic. The magician is the lens through which massive lines of power are focused, and it is the magician's will that's doing the focusing.
Much of the severity of training is designed to ready the student over a period of years to endure that. Discipline is essential. I just laugh when the average New Ager, fruit of the hippy womb comes up to me babbling about "Magick" and yet they have no physical endurance to any discomfort, and their emotional resiliency is nil. They are committed and loyal to nothing. They do what makes them feel good and avoid any challenge. No. I don't think so. It is sometimes hard not to play with such people but they are so earnest in their errors. I have long ago disciplined myself in such cases to be kind, usually.
Let me give a better, more accurate exactly of how a magician thinks. A good magician calculates the potential value of every person he or she meets. A good magician is always aware of power dynamics and where he or she sits within them. A good magician is generally calculating several steps ahead on how he or she may acquire better positioning or at least avoid inconvenience. Power games grow tiring after awhile and after a certain point in one's work, are no longer necessary but the awareness of it is always there.
If all of this sounds quite ruthless it is and let's not pretend that modern ethics and morals have any use in magic. The sooner a student can be eased away from them the better. That is not to say a magician should be without morals. I think that would be a very, very dangerous thing indeed. Rather I think a magician's moral code evolves out of the magic he or she studies and therefore it is necessary and good to balance such training with devotional practice, with piety, with the structure of a strong, supportive House. I had that, early on and I learned that magic has a cost, that nothing's free, and that a House takes care of its own.
Since I began to advance in magic, I have been quite often referred to as cold---not by other magicians mind you, not by my House and my friends, spouse, and teachers, not by those who have gained entry into my inner circle of friends and loved ones and who know me well, but by those outside that, who see only my professional facade. I can be. I save my commitments for my own. I may feel a thing deeply but dependent upon my commitments those feelings may not motivate action. I may be capable of tremendous passion but i channel it in very specific ways. emotions and emotional attachments are sources of power or loss of power and need to be approached as such. One should not squander and waste power. For women who come into the Art, this is often a steep hurdle to overcome (though it was not, in my case).
Even amongst traditionally trained magicians --who are not immune to the culture in which they were raised no more than anyone is immune---it is sometimes difficult for them to see a woman wielding power ruthlessly and without apology. This is usually where a cultural disconnect happens. I have a good friend who is a priest and grows continually weary of people expecting her to be nurturing and motherly. She is not and am not. Neither of us give any indication that we are or will be and yet people insist in their own minds that because we are female this will be the result. They build up expectations that have no bearing in reality and become upset when we prove quite, quite different. As women, there is a cultural expectation that we will cater to others needs. This is occasionally problematic for female magicians and it complicates training: there are powerful barriers of social conditioning that must be overcome; and make no mistake: they must be dispensed with sooner rather than later.
Quite recently I was discussing case studies with a friend, who is also a magician similarly trained as I. She'd recently had a client consult her about a love affair gone wrong. There had been a bad break up and it was largely due to the man's inability to keep it zipped. The client wanted ..well, she wouldn't say precisely what she wanted. She came to my friend wanting to know her options yet she was almost incapable of admitting that she was even angry at the guy. She wanted, let me tell you, retribution but she wanted it without taking culpability for either the desire, the attendant anger, or the results. She simply would not admit she was angry. My friend called her on it, and then told her the options of course. Neither of us has time for bullshit, but both of us see this type of thing more often than I can count.
this is incomprehensible to any well trained magician. One: admit your emotions and deal with them. Two: decide what you want to do and do it. If you want vengeance, fine but don't hedge. Own your emotions, own your desires and stop worrying about being a "good little girl." It's a huge cognitive leap for way too many people.
Now, my general rule of thumb in going about my day is simple: don't be an asshole. Being a magician doesn't give anyone an excuse to act like a total jerk. Courtesy and kindness are not misplaced actions, but they're decisions, choices, conscious behaviors. They are useful disciplines in and of themselves. Lack of control after all in any venue is not a virtue in magic and there are more important things than the acquisition of power. This article however, is specifically about the inner nature and mindset of a good magician….i'm not talking about piety or relationships or how one should behave as a decent human being. I'm talking about a very specific area of one's life, a very specific avocation taken out of the context of a greater community life.
With that being said, what qualities are the most usual, perhaps even necessarily in a student of magic? Well, being nice doesn't make the list. One should be bright. It's not enough just to be willing either. One should have a measurable degree of a psi-gift---it doesn't really matter which one though empathy and sight are the easiest to work with. If you don't have a high level of psi-talent, develop it. the basic exercises are useful for doing so. There is nothing more tiresome and irritating than someone well meaning who is both dim and almost head-blind, but who insists they're magicians. It's not my job to challenge anyone on their self-definition of choice (unless that person comes to me as a student then it becomes my job) so I'm inclined to give people who come to me the benefit of the doubt. But when I have someone who is convinced he or she is a spirit-worker or a magician (two different things, i might add) but then, in the midst of a conversation about oh i don't know, say energetic taint asks "well how do you know it's there?" when to anyone with a decent level of psi ability it's glaringly obvious,…well, that shit gets old mighty quick and it just seems to rude to say "you're way out of your pay grade, honey."
Part of the problem I suspect is the idea that this Art is accessible to anyone. It's not. It's not even always accessible to those of us who want it badly and who are willing to make the requisite personal sacrifices…no more than musical virtuosity or mathematical genius might be. Like any other craft of value, it takes a tremendous amount of work and most of that is not in spells and exercises, it's in honing the will and carving out a character worthy of enduring without breaking, without becoming corrupt, without becoming mad; and that is not something that's going to be found in the latest feel good tidbit of new age philosophy.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to post anything here, but after a conversation I had with a colleague this weekend, I just can’t help myself. I’m going to be talking about what in hoodoo are referred to as “personal concerns” and why they’re so important. I never thought that a post like this would be necessary, but apparently for folks who are not working within their indigenous traditions, who haven’t adapted to and reclaimed that mindset (as my friend G. would phrase it), it’s necessary to lay it out.
What prompted this today? Well, I was meeting with a couple of colleagues this past weekend to assist with an issue and during the necessary divination, I got a very strong push to mention to the lead spiritworker “tell X (our client) about personal concerns.” Neither she nor I could figure out why this would be necessary but she took the lead and broke it down for our client and to our horror, we realized that this was new information for X. Since neither my friend nor I can remember when we didn’t know about the hazards of personal concerns, we were shocked and I resolved right then and there to write something, however brief, on it.
I actually wish, in retrospect, that I’d covered this more in depth in my book (“Spiritual Protection”). It’s such an ingrained thing, such an integral part of the awareness that one develops working within a traditional House or within a magical system like hoodoo that I think many of us just assume that it’s common knowledge. I certainly did. I guess it just goes to show that the old adage holds true: don’t assume. You make an ass out of U and an ass out of ME. gah.
I suppose I should start by clearly defining what exactly personal concerns are. I break them down into first tier and second tier.
First tier personal concerns include blood, menstrual blood, semen, hair, pubic hair, spit, snot, and nail clippings.
Second tier personal concerns include foot track dust, signatures, writing, even articles of clothing.
Jewelry that is commonly worn, to my mind, lies somewhere between the two.
Guard these things with your life. Literally. There is a law of magic called the “Law of Contagion.” In short it states that what was once part of you remains part of you. That means that items like this create a powerful link to you. In the hands of even a mediocre magic user this can be devastating. If one gets his or her hands on your personal concerns, especially first tier personal concerns, essentially, to be quite idiomatic, that person can make you their bitch. They can own you. They can hurt you. They can damage your health, relationships, and your luck. They can make you absolutely ill and miserable. It’s not unthinkable, given some of the traditional uses of personal concerns, that this could even lead to death. …in the hands of a *very* skilled worker. A link forged in this way is extremely difficult to break or counter.
The solution? Don’t leave your personal concerns lying around. Here’s an example for the women reading this. When I travel to a friend or colleague’s house and I happen to be menstruating, unless I am 110% that I’m in absolutely safe space, I take a bag with me and I bring my used sanitary pads home to dispose of – and I may do it anyway even if I AM in safe space. I don’t leave them in random trash cans. Why? Because some practitioners are not averse to picking them up and storing them away just in case one needs to do a magical smack down on a person in the future. I’ve done this. I’ve also randomly collected hair from the hair brush of a person who was being particularly vexing. I just asked to use the toilet and when I was there, took a bit from her brush. Did I use it? No, but I took it and kept it tucked safely away just in case I had need to do so in the future. I also keep several of my partner’s used condoms on ice in my freezer. Consider it old time life insurance.
I don’t do this with any malicious intent, mind you. I do it as a matter of course. Because life is uncertain and my tradition is a practical one. I will probably never, ever need to use this (though it could be used in consensual fertility or health workings too), but I’m pragmatic. This is not unusual. This is the way many of us (maybe even most of us) in traditional Houses think. It’s automatic and deeply ingrained. The rules and expectations are very, very different once you get rid of the new age bullshit.
I remember many, many years ago attending a Heathen gathering…a weekend gathering wherein we were celebrating the Summer solstice. I had a friend with me who had been raised in one of the ATRs. She came and got me a few hours after we arrived and had settled in and she was very, very agitated. She took me to the kitchen where there was food out, groceries, etc. No one was guarding the kitchen. She was appalled: in an ATR House, the kitchen is never, EVER left unguarded. Why? Oh honey, the things I can do with food and a bit of my own personal concerns. It’s one of the most basic ways to bring someone under your control.
The upshot of all of this is MIND YOUR JUNK! I’ve noticed more than once that the average Pagan tends to be all over the place. I’ve seen it with colleagues and students time and time again: they’re unmindful of personal concerns. They leave bits of themselves, clothing, used tissues, hair ties, etc. etc. all over the place heedlessly. Combine this with the unconscious attitude of cultural superiority and white privilege that one also so often sees with Neo-Pagans and there’s a huge potential for a world of hurt when these folks start engaging with proper indigenous Houses, or with old-school magic users.
I find this is one of the most difficult things to hammer into students. It’s not a cultural awareness with which we grow up. This is one of those areas where one has to become fluent in new cultural mores because once upon a time, these were our cultural mores too – I have no doubt that old school pre-Christian Heathen vitki and saed-workers were every bit as …pragmatic; in fact, check out some of the AS charms. They’re suspiciously like some of the stuff you’ll find in Southern hoodoo. What it comes down to in the end is what I’ve said in my book repeatedly: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Really. Especially when personal concerns are involved. Of everything one could learn about magic, to my mind, this is the most important. Be aware of yourself, your junk, every bit of what is connected to you. Guard your territory and that begins with yourself.
I just finished teaching a couple of my students and the topics of dominance and will came up as we were discussing their magical lessons. It’s a pertinent bit of theory and because of this I was moved to write it down. Now I’m going to share it with all of you. This isn’t going to be a long article—I don’t have the time right now to put such a thing together. Rather this will be a brief observation. Make of it what you will.
Magic is, at its heart, about territoriality. It’s the active expression of will, the use of power, the owning of a space –be it a room, a position, the pattern of one’s fate, one’s every day life. It is about ownership and exerting one’s dominance within a chosen territory over all others, driving out and blocking that which does not belong. By doing so, any possibility of manifestation in opposition to your own will simply cannot exist. It has nothing upon which to feed, no soil in which to root itself. I was taught long ago that magic is the skill of creating and arranging possibilities and potentialities, overlapping and manipulating them via one’s Work, until no other course of manifestation exists save that upon which the magus has decided. It’s much like tossing a rock into a pond after calculating -- based on velocity and weight -- where the ripples will go, then observing that and tossing a second rock to get another clearly calculated effect. The only effective way to do any of this (this thing called magic) is to claim, own, and hold one’s territory again and again and again. That ownership, that dominance must be bone and marrow deep. There can be no question in the magician’s mind as to his or her rightful claim.
The pre-requisites to this are easily extrapolated: one must be centered, grounded, and in complete control of oneself and one’s impulses. There’s a wonderful site on dog training that I found, while chatting with a friend about the possibility of buying a dog. I was suggesting some sites as I have owned several dogs in the past. One of the pages discussed dominance training for dogs and I was particularly taken with advice offered to owners whose dogs jump up on them, or who are in some other way physically aggressive. The human response is to step back and cede space. The dominant’s response is to step forward and claim it. That latter is also the action of a magician (as well as a good dog owner, who should be the alpha of the dog’s “pack”).
Where there is a vacuum, something is going to rush in to fill it. Don’t allow a vacuum to form. Most especially, don’t allow anyone else to have one iota of dominant energy within your chosen sphere of space. Magic is about control. It starts with control of oneself and one’s impulses and expands out from there in concentric energetic circles.
Most of all, the magician must not only understand hierarchy and the patterns of power (dominance/submission which exists in all relationships whether we acknowledge it or not) but be comfortable embracing them. The magician afraid to own power, to name and claim his or her place in that hierarchy is no magician at all.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, I have been reading many articles on love magic and how it’s done and suggestions for “spells” and different ways to bring love into one’s life. Each year this happens and each year it annoys the crap out of me.
Firstly, I hate Valentine’s Day. I hate it with a passion. Why? I see way too many of my female co-workers depressed and devastated around this time. (This year, to counteract this, my husband and I sent flowers to every woman in our offices anonymously. What so many people don’t understand is that it’s not the romance so much as the sign that one is remembered, that someone cares). All too often, there’s a sense of being forgotten, overlooked, not good enough. Walk into any workplace in America on Valentine’s day and the tension is so thick you can almost, as the saying goes, cut it with a knife. The social and cultural pressure for women to be in a relationship and/or married is tremendous, even now. At no time does it come to the forefront like Valentine’s Day. That’s ironic too because the day is very much an invented one. Apparently we have Chaucer to blame for creating an association between St. Valentine and romantic love.(1) The sentimentalizing and commercializing of the day came later, in the early nineteenth century and by the middle of the century the sending of valentines had become cultural convention.(2) Apparently, within Paganism, this is also a day not only to send valentines, but also to talk about love charms.
Now, let me preface what I’m about to say by stating bluntly that love is a precious gift. Whether it’s romantic love, friendship (maybe especially friendship), filial, platonic, in all its forms, it is a very precious gift from the Gods. It’s something I never, ever take for granted and I give thanks for those loves big and small in my life every day. I’ve been very blessed. That being said, what the f*ck is wrong with people? Love spells? Really? As a magician every time I encounter this fetish for love magic I’m alarmed. Consider this:
I’m no white-lighter, in fact I’m probably far more on the left-hand path than most magicians would be comfortable admitting. Still, there are limits even for me. Love magic is one of those limits (perhaps it comes as a result of having been a rape crisis counselor for too many years. Some things should not be forced). Moreover, I’ve had the occasional client come to me when a specifically focused love spell backfired and the result is obsession. Either the target becomes hostile and dangerously obsessed or, more likely and frequently, the person casting the spell becomes entangled in their own magic and becomes gravely and unhealthily obsessed with the original target of the charm. It’s very, very ugly when it happens and it can cause a lot of unnecessary pain.
Can love magic be done ethically? Yes. I believe it can. If someone came to me wanting to know how to do a love spell, I would counsel that person to work a spell to open him or herself up to love, or to welcome love into one’s life. If one is in a relationship, one might, with consent of all parties involved, work a spell to enhance the love and/or passion that is already there, or to strengthen it. But really, those are about the *only* cases that I could think of where love magic isn’t an appalling violation with its goal a type of mental and emotional slavery.
Better yet, take the day and do a ritual or honor one of the Gods one loves. There are several traditional Pagan holidays at this time including the Greek Gamelion (dedicated to the marriage of Zeus and Hera) and the Roman Lupercalia, which also included February 13th -14th as a day sacred to Juno the Purifier. Take the day and make offerings to Juno or Hera and ask for help in properly maintaining one’s love relationships. It’s not easy, you know, and no amount of magic will make that truism disappear.
Is it possible to have more than one spirit animal?
Absolutely. I find that many people have more than one. I’ve also seen animals come and go as teachers throughout one’s life, though there’s usually one or two that are fairly permanent. Some people inherit them too, in addition to having personal spirit animals, there may be a family totemic animal too.
(Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have about magic or spiritual/psychic protection. I'll be happy to answer them as time permits.)
Question: How can runes be incorporated into a home protection spell?
Answer: Um, I actually wouldn’t, unless you are skilled at working with the runes and have a solid relationship with them. Of course, one can mark individual runes on vulnerable points of the house like mirrors and windows and derive some benefit from their latent power, but to truly reap full benefit of everything that the runes are capable of in defense of a home, one has to be experienced at interacting with them and navigating the endless push/pull, give/take of that relationship. Relying overmuch on them without that relationship already established can actually be rather risky. I was taught by a very, very skilled rune-master and even I won’t use them randomly in spells. It costs too much.
Why do I caution against the use of runes in a house charm, you might ask? Because if you are passively or incorrectly using the runes (i.e., if you are not feeding them in the way that they like but are expecting or demanding their protection, or power in fueling wards), and a rune worker comes a long who is willing to feed them, and moreover who has been feeding them regularly and therefore who has a tight working relationship with them, he or she can call them away. This means that if your house shields are dependent primarily on runes, and you’re not in active right relationship with them ( as my teacher once defined it to me), a rival magician can make an offering to them, call them away, and the mercenary little bastards might just abandon you leaving the shields to collapse. After all, they’re good independent contractors: why should they work where they’re not being paid?
So….unless you are an experienced rune worker, at most, I’d only use them passively to augment already solid house shields and protections. I might incorporate them into a door ward, or a mirror ward, but I would not use them as my primary method of defense. If you are an experienced rune worker, then you don’t need me to answer this question!