By Wise Droid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Witches’ Tools: Meditation as a Tool

In witchcraft, meditation has been rising in prominence, over the past few decades, especially. Meditation serves many purposes. It is a way to soothe the spirit, enhance the circumstance of living, and decrease the overall load of stress, as well as learning to harness the individual peculiarities of the person’s mind, train it to be still, become aware of itself and how it functions, in order to strengthen it. Meditation is used to improve the lives of those who practice this ancient art in many different ways. Meditation can enhance and calm the spirit, during times of trial. Meditation can lead to better mental, emotional, and even physical health. Meditation can be used to train the mind, body, spirit connections to achieve a greater cooperation to work together as one.

Meditation may be used in a more passive, contemplative manner while sitting, or lying still. Sometimes it is used for allowing thoughts and emotions to rise in the mind as the person explores them, each in turn, understanding them without trying to control them, or have a conscious effect on them. This allows the person greater insight into themselves, their thought processes, their emotions, how things link together in their mind, as they explore the stream of thoughts and emotions that their mind presents to them without being guided.

Once this process is mastered, learning to focus on a single thought, exploring it, manipulating it within the mind to see all sides, explore possibilities, consider it from various angles in relation to other thoughts and ideas, is an excellent way to advance the understanding of the mind. The same exploration toward each emotion is helpful in learning to control emotions as it relates to magickal practice. When casting a spell to promote a specific intent, the witch must be able to control their mind, to harness it with the specific intent, without the mind wandering, to make the spell cast as strong as possible. Without the proper focus and intent behind the spell, the power of the witch is pointless. It serves no purpose other than the wasting of valuable time. Without control of focus, a wandering mind can cause a spell to fail, at the very least, or have unintended consequences toward the focus of the spell, the witch, or even innocent bystanders, for good or ill. As any long- time practicing witch can tell you, the intent behind the spell and focus on this intent from the witch are two crucial elements that cannot be out of sync if the spell is to be a success.

Another form of meditation a person may choose to use is a more active manner when performing daily activities. They may progress through any number of daily activities and carefully take note of the feelings each activity brings, the way their mind reacts to the activity, the emotions and responses (mental, emotion and even physical) which their mind links to the activity. This can greatly assist people who meditate in understanding their own motivations, their strengths, their weaknesses, how to approach things differently in order to experience them differently. When using an active focus of meditation, a mindfulness of action, the same action can be taken day after day, with a different focus, or lens, being used daily to see it from various perspectives. This process exposes much about the person that otherwise they might never know about themselves.

This practice can come in very handy when performing rituals or casting spells as well. At times, many witches will find themselves helping out a friend, a friend of a friend, a family member, or even a stranger to whom they may feel anything from a mild fondness to outright disgust for as a person. It is only the strength of their mind and the control of purpose over their emotions which will allow them to perform the magick without losing control of the situation. Magick should be exacting when cast and there is no room for errors in the casting of spells. As such, meditation is an essential way to learn the control and focus of the mind before undertaking the physical practice of using magick.

Meditation can be an amazing tool to improve one’s life and understanding of oneself. As such, it is something that should be explored by every witch, in my opinion, as a way of improving their knowledge and understanding of how their mind works. As I see it, a witch without experience in meditation will not be as fluent in the practice of their magick.

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Witchery: Programmed Dreaming

Every witch I have ever met is curious about and actively seeking ways to control their magick to a greater extent than previously possible. Programmed dreaming is a way to do exactly that. It is the ability to harness the subconscious mind and put it to work for you. With programmed dreaming, any witch can harness the energy of their dreams and have them work toward solving their problems, manifesting power for use in waking hours, communicating with spirit guides and totem animals in an easier format, healing illness as they sleep, or connecting to the collective consciousness to do spell work while in a sleep state.

Several steps need to work in order for the witch to use this unique tool to its best advantage. Initially, the witch needs the ability to remember their dreams after waking. Using a dream journal is an excellent way of training the mind to begin to remember all dreams. Even if they cannot remember their dream(s) when you first awaken, write in the journal anyway. A simple line, such as: I did not remember my dream(s) today, but I will begin to remember them. Just make certain that as soon as you wake, you write down as much of your dream(s) as you can remember. At first, it may be only a single sentence, or a broad theme you can barely remember, however, with practice you will begin to remember the dreams in greater detail. You will recall specific emotions or situations experienced and you may even find that specific portions of dialogue from your dream state will begin to stay with you upon waking.

Once this is a common occurrence, start working on lucid dreaming. That is the ability to realize that you are in the dream state while dreaming and the ability to affect the dream itself. This may be as simple as changing a frightening nightmare to a more pleasant dream. It may be as complex as finding yourself in a situation in your dream which mirrors a problem you need to work on in your waking life and trying to exert your will during the dream to finding a solution to the problem you can use once you awaken. It is not a simple process and may take some time to master. We will discuss lucid dreaming in depth, later.

Visualization is another extremely important factor in programmed dreaming because you have to be able to focus your mind and energy as you are falling asleep into creating the situation you want or need to dream. This may be achieved by repetitively writing lines before you fall asleep. (I.e. I will dream about a spell for achieving goal “X”.) It may be achieved by writing a paragraph about the situation you want to dream about before sleeping that describes the situation and the solution you are seeking, write any details that you know and feel my be helpful in the dream. For some people it is helpful to focus on the issue as you are falling asleep, thinking about the problem specifics and possible solutions you want to consider, etc. It varies for each person, so find what works best for you.

Remember that during any form of dreaming, you are in touch with external entities. Your personal abilities, and unique creative abilities, which may not be as easily accessible during waking hours are fully open to you at that point. Your mind is less aware of your body and its surroundings and physical processes when in your subconscious mind so more energy directs beyond yourself than while you are in your conscious mind. The realities you experience in your dream states are completely controlled within yourself and may be altered by yourself, unlike the many things in the physical world, which may not be changed, are immutable, controlled by others or in concert with others.

Using your will power and your intent, you will access ideas and thoughts that may not spring to mind during consciousness. As with spell work, you control everything in the programmed dreaming, you decide what occurs, what and who has input into the dream. If elements you did not invite and do not want try to invade your thoughts during the dream state, you have the power to banish them completely and irrevocably.

If you experience difficulties, try aligning your chakras, meditating, abstaining from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, or any other substances that may affect your control. Remember that as you are drifting off into sleep, as with any other practice, you should be in a comfortable position and breathe deeply with intention to calm your nerves, bringing oxygen deeply in to aid in the rigorous work you have your brain working toward and to aid your mind’s ability to focus.

I would suggest starting small. Decide a simple subject that pleases, something you that you would enjoy dreaming about for a night. Maybe a trip to a new place you always wanted to see, have a conversation with someone you admire but have never met. Once you begin to master the process of programmed dreaming and are able to self-direct the focus for your dreams on a regular basis, it is time to start to focus on converting your dreams from the somewhat random events that most people experience, to specifically targeted dreams to improve your life. As when awake, your thoughts in dreams have power. Send out, during your dream time, spells, questions, etc. that you need to work on. Use this time to explore your creativity and try things that you might not normally consider. Just as with astral travel, you may find that you can achieve things in dreams that you cannot achieve when awake due to physical boundaries.

Programmed dreaming is a great tool for witches to use. It is still a relatively new science and there are many groups striving to learn exactly how it works. As such, there are a great many resources out there to learn from and gather ideas from, so do not waste any time diving into the deep end and discovering for yourself, if programmed dreaming is another tool you can add to your own personal witches bag of tricks.

specter, spectre, ghost, apparition, spirit

Witchery: The Dark Specter

The house I grew up in was small for the number of people it housed. When my parents moved us to the small town of Saginaw, Texas, in the early 60s, my eldest brother was three months from thirteen, my eldest sister almost twelve and a half, the middle brother almost ten, middle sister almost 9, my youngest brother was a few months from six and I was a whooping two months old. As such, with only three bedrooms, I lived in my parents’ room for a time before being lumped in with the rest of the girls.

As we were growing up, many things happened in the house that should not have occurred. I blame much of it on the dark specter that resided in the room set aside for my brothers. He seemed to be able to affect the males much more than most of the girls, from what I could tell at that age and from the stories, I heard after growing up. My brothers fought a lot between themselves and with the older sisters. As the “baby”, I was mostly left on my own. When I say fight, I mean “ball up your fist and slug them in the face,” type fighting, not the type of fighting my sons do, where snippy tone of voice and rude comments occasionally come into play. In my family, there was a lot of violence and abuse behind closed doors.

My parents did not have a happy marriage to begin with, due in great part to the alcoholism my dad spoke of suffering during the first two decades of marriage. However, even after the alcohol was gone, his violent outbursts toward the elder children and my mother remained. My mom hid from life inside her books, soap operas, and puzzles. She did not want to “get involved” with the problems. As such, neither parent really paid much attention to what went on between the children, themselves.

In today’s society we would have been removed from the home, but back them, we thought what we were going through was normal, so none of us ever bothered to talk about it to anyone. It was not until I was in my mid twenties that something happened to trigger a discussion with most of us kids. We got together and compared notes. I guess as the baby of the family I was spared from most of what went on, I had few horror stories of my own comparatively, and the ones I had infuriated my eldest sister as she blamed herself for going off to college and leaving me “alone” in the house. “Unprotected” was the way she phrased it as she cried, but I reminded her that both of my parents were in the house and responsible for bringing me to this life, while she was absolutely not responsible.

The specter lived in the room that the boys shared from the earliest time I can remember to the day I left the house after I turned 18 and left high school. I could see it, and worse, feel it every time I went into the room. It scared me to think about going into the room. I never wanted to unless someone else was in there to protect me. Sadly, on occasion, that did not work as well as intended. Instead, the specter sometimes used the other person against me, physically, instead. It seemed drawn to my father, one brother, and one sister in particular, though I could feel that it wanted to use us all.

It was not until I was 9 ½ years old, that I got to live in a room without other people being there. That summer, my middle brother and middle sister were graduating from high school and they both had weddings planned about one month apart. My sister married her high school sweetheart first and went to live with her new husband in the house he picked out for them, several blocks up the street in the same small town. My brother was marrying a high school sweetheart, whose own abusive parents had thrown her away and she ended up moving into the house with us for a couple of years or so prior. That last month it was just her and me in the “girls” bedroom. She kept telling me that she and my brother were moving out soon, too.

It seemed exciting, though I knew I was really going to miss my brother. I was never that close to my sisters, the eldest had been more like a mom, but moved out when I was graduated first grade, so she could to go to college. The middle sister was the one affected by the specter, along with our eldest brother, so I was never too comfortable around her. As the specter affected her, she told others that I was “too young” to remember things she did, but I was not. I have always remembered. That left my two younger brothers. The youngest was my closest friend while growing up. The elder, who lives with me now, was always my hero; (in many ways he still is today) so losing him was going to be devastating. However, I was going to get a whole room to myself, he kept explaining, so I should be happy. I was a little bit happy, until the day of the marriage when I found out that my youngest elder brother wanted the room that I thought was going to be mine, and I was going to have the “specter” room.

The day came and I was inconsolable. Not only was my hero leaving, but also my bed had been moved to my “new” room. The specter room. I remember lying in bed that night and crying, begging my bigger brother to not leave me there, to take me with him. He was so gentle and wonderful, telling me I could come and visit him as much as I liked in his new place, which was only a few blocks and around a corner from the sister who had just married.

It started immediately, I could feel the specter pushing and taunting. I never wanted to enter the room, but was always being sent to my room as my parents believed strongly in the old adage that “children should be seen and not heard” and enforced that rule all the time. As such, over the years I grew accustomed to the specter. I became used to the feeling of being watched constantly and poked at mentally. This was when my lifelong fight with insomnia began. Sometimes I listened to him talking in my head, but most often, I tried to tune him out. I was not always successful.

When I was around 11 or 12 years old, I got my first hand-me-down stereo and discovered that if I used my parents’ old headphones and kept the music loud enough, I could feel him watching me, but he could not get into my head to poke at me anymore. After that, I still dreaded entering my room when I got home from school, but once I was in there and had the music going at full blast, I did not mind him so much. I still felt him watching me and I could feel the tightness in my head, but I learned to sleep with the headphones on and that helped. I kept this up all through high school and through my first job until I had enough money saved up to move in with my first roommate.

To this day, I do not know whose specter was in the house or why he was there. I do not know if he was there when we moved in, followed us from the city I was born it, or joined the family at some point after we had moved in. All I know is that he was there by the time I became aware of other people around the age of three or four. I can recall seeing it for years before my eldest brother joined the Navy in the late 60s. Its handiwork had already been abusing us, by then.

I researched in my preteens and early teens and discovered what it was, but never whom. I think its presence in my family’s life is one of the things that drew me to study witchcraft and the occult. I needed to understand what was affecting my family and only in studying witches, the occult, and specters did I find the answers I needed.

He was not present when I returned in my mid-thirties with my own three small children for 10 weeks while I searched for a job and a house after Az crossed over unexpectedly. Only one spirit was in the house with us at that point and that one was one I needed. For that, I am thankful, as I never wanted my children to meet him, ever! I do not know if he was trapped in the rebuilding after the tornado, or perhaps, knowing I was now a full grown witch and knew enough about him to send him away, he left voluntarily, or involuntarily. I only know that he was mercifully, absent when this witch returned with her “spawn” to the house and for that, I am grateful!