Shape Shifting

When I was a child, I used to like to play pretend. You remember this game, right? You would pick an animal, a character, or a roll and then pretend to be them. My favorites were creatures like squirrels, otters, wolves, dinosaurs, and mermaids.

As I grew up and stopped playing children’s games, I lost a bit of that wonder that you get from becoming a different creature. What I didn’t know as a child was that I was practicing an elementary form of shapeshifting. That is, allowing the spirit of the creature you are challenging to join with you and you take on aspects of that creature.

This is different from spending time with a spirit animal during a journey session. If you have any experience with shape shifting, than you know that when you choose to merge with an animal energy, you bring certain aspects of that animal into your physical and emotional being. For example, if you wish to bring better sight for seeing in the dark, you might call upon the energy of an owl. If you want to be more playful, you might call upon the otter to help you loosen up.

You don’t need to pick animals, you can choose things like dragons, unicorns, and griffins. Keep in mind that what you want to get out of these creatures will depend on what you perceive their energies to be. If you associate dragons with danger, then you will bring that energy into your being but if you perceive dragons to be beings of infinite wisdom, then that’s the energy you will bring into yourself.

You don’t have to be a master of shamanic arts in order to bring small aspects of shapeshifting into your everyday life. All you need to do is go back to your practice of sympathetic magic. Set your intention and then bring physical objects to help you pull out the energy you want to bring into yourself.

Here’s a few ways you can do this:

  • Find a piece of jewellery that represents the spirit you want to hone the energies of
  • Wear an outfit that reminds you of the spirit you want to embody
  • Keep a picture, statute, or some object that represents the spirit on your altar
  • Do a ritual where you can evoke the spirit or invoke the spirit into you

You can use any spiritual being you feel a connection with. This can be an animal, a god or goddess, a mythical creature, or an archetype. Sometimes, I like to take on energies from fictional characters that I like to embody. If you are wanting adventure, you might want to call upon Bilbo Baggins or Jack Sparrow or if you want to take on a strong, independent women, you might want to take on Scarlett O’Hara or Elizabeth Bennet.

I will get more into what invoking rituals in the future and the benefits to them. I have touched upon it in the past with my evoking vs. invoking article but this is a subject that needs a deeper level of discussion. You might say that shape shifting is an introduction to invoking.

Blessed Be,

~Priestess Spiritsong

Out of the Broom Closet

There are still people out there that fear witches. I would say without any real good reason but it’s enough that some witches and pagans feel the need to hide their beliefs and practices from their friends, family, and coworkers. It’s what we in the community call, “Staying in the broom closet.”

I am most definitely out of the broom closet. I have have been since I was in college. At first, it was just with friends and immediate family but over time, I became more public about it. With the changes in technology and the adaption of social media, it is easier to be “out” as a witch then ever before. I have been writing pagan blogs for a few years now and been part of a few public pagan organizations in my community. I have no problems talking about my beliefs and practices with the public or being a public face for witches and pagans.

I can understand why some people would want to stay out of the public with their beliefs. I remember a friend who once told me that I was going to hell because of my witchcraft. I remember being really hurt by that because I don’t actually believe in a “hell” or the concept of “sin”, I believe in morality & ethics, not sin & damnation. However, that does not stop others from forcing their beliefs upon me. That being said, I know now that my friend was coming from a place of love, even if a little misdirected. One should never come to any religion or belief out of fear because fear only begets more fear. Since that time, I have come to just say, “Thank you for your thoughts of concern,” to those who attack me for my beliefs. I can tell you, it’s only happened once in the last ten year from a guy who came to Jesus out of his fear of damnation. I guess he figured just by being close to pagans, he would be damn to Hell (I always ask, is that one “L” or two?). Fun fact, the words “God” and “Hell” both come from old Norse and they refer to Odin, ruler of the Norse Gods, and Hel, the place where the dishonored go when they die.

I remain public with my pagan practice because I want to create a world where everyone can practice their spirituality without fear. I do not live in any kind of fear of what someone will try to do to me because I know that I have the laws of my country on my side. That and the confidence that most people don’t actually care what I believe and practice.

If you are still waiting to come out as a witch or pagan, take your time. There’s no rushing these things but when you do, know that there are others out there like you and will be there to support you.

Blessed be!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

First Week of the 28 Days of the Walking the Path of the Goddess

This week has been awesome for me. I have really enjoyed setting aside time to sing my mantra on my mala beads, sit in silence with the Goddess, practice yoga, and write in my journal.

This week has been awesome for me. I have really enjoyed setting aside time to sing my mantra on my mala beads, sit in silence with the Goddess, practice yoga, and write in my journal.

To start my devotional practice, I do some yoga. It’s usually about 10-15 minutes of a practice. Then I sit on my meditation set and do my 108 mala mantra ring. Then I sit in silence with the Goddess and allow her to be present with me. At the end, I pull out my journal and write about my day, my thoughts, and my feelings. The practice tends to take me anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour depending on what I end up doing in my yoga practice or my silent time.

I think that I picked a really good time to start this practice. My life has been moving in all sorts of directions I had not anticipated in the last few months. I am on a pause from teaching yoga, I am single again, I just about lost a close friend to depression, and my job is no longer challenging me and I have no growth aspirations within in.

While doing this practice, I realized that it’s time for me to move forward with my life. I decided to start the ball rolling with getting my teaching degree. I had a meeting with an academic adviser and we discussed what I would need to do to apply and what I should do while I am saving up the funds to return to school for upgrading. I have been advised to contact the administration of the local schools to offer up my services as a volunteer in the schools. I didn’t even know that this was something I could do but apparently it’s very common to have prospective students of the teaching program do this.

I also need to add a few missing courses and upgrade my GPA. I will be enrolling in the human kinetics courses and the Okanagan Collage in order to get the 24 credits I need to specialize in teaching physical education along with history.  I am really excited about this because it will not only be helpful when looking for teaching jobs but it will also help my yoga teaching by gaining a better understanding of how the body works and memorization of human anatomy.

I expect to enroll at the Okanagan Collage in 2019 to start the upgrading process. It will likely take me about two years to upgrade the 10 classes that I need but hopefully by then, I will know for certain that teaching is what I would like to do. Volunteering in the high schools around town will give me the opportunity to do that. I have been very resistant to returning to school because I do not wish to go back into debt, so this time, I will be paying for all of the courses myself and I am giving myself time to save up to do it.

I am not giving up on being a yoga teacher though. I have been making sure to attend a yoga class once a week for the last few. It’s been good for me to just be in class again. I have missed learning and being in a class setting. I am learning about how the flow of the classes at Tandava work so that when I get the email about upcoming fill ins are posted, I can volunteer to help out.

In conclusion, this week has been very good for moving energy in my life to the places that I need it. I can’t wait to see what shifts in the three weeks left.

Blessed Be,

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

 

 

How I Came to Being a Pagan

I have always been a child of nature. I have the luxury of growing up close to the wild outdoors and spending a lot of time exploring. When I was kid, I used to pretend I was a witch like the ones in Hocus Pocus (just not evil like they are).

It was the spring of 1998 and I was 15 years old, my mom and I visited a new metaphysical store in Salmon Arm called, “Spirit Quest: Books & Gifts”. This was the first metaphysical store I could remember being in and on the shelf there was a whole section of Wicca & Witchcraft books. I had been watching a lot of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had learned about Wicca from doing some online searches. The internet was so new to me that I didn’t really know what to look for. So, my mom let me get a copy of Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca for a Solitary Practitioner”.

From there, I learned the basics of meditation, altar set up, the spirituality of the Horned God & Moon Goddess, the Wheel of the Year, and ritual magic work. I kept a book of shadows, I created my first wand from a branch in the woods, and used a pocket knife as my first athame. I spent many hours in meditation and contemplation of the Goddess and God. I created my first spells, mostly for love like many teenage girls do.

I was mostly private about my practices during my years in high school. I had a few friends who were interested but no one really wanted to start a coven. It wasn’t until I was in university when I started seeking out other witches and pagans. I met some of the local priesthood and various other practitioners through Witches Vox and yahoo groups but I still kept mostly to myself.

There was a brief time where I was exploring other paths like Christianity, Buddhism, and Shinto. I almost converted to Christianity but at the end of the day, I knew that I was pagan. I could not get on board with a religion that was so unforgiving to women and other beliefs.

I reached a point in 2013 where I wanted to deepen my experience with my practice, so I joined up with a teaching coven out of Vernon, BC. I learned more about the Wiccan ritual format for coven work, esbats, and sabbats. Eventually, I reached a point where I wanted something less formal in my practice and less hierarchical with my group work.

I ended up leaving that Wiccan tradition in the fall of 2015 and started a new tradition with two other pagan friends who also wanted to start coven work but under our own terms. Since that time, we have been working forming our own style of ritual work, learning shamanic practices, and playing with our own spell work. We are in our second year of work and we are just getting our style down.

Today, I have a strange mix of Wiccan, Druid, Norse, and Hindu beliefs. I am a certified yoga teacher and I have been bringing elements of that into my pagan practice. They go so well with European pagan traditions that it’s not hard to weave them together. I am what most would call an eclectic witch and pagan.

Merry Met!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

What is happening to BTW?

British Traditional Witchcraft (BTW) is dying. You have been hearing it for the better part of the last decade. Young witches are turning to newer, less dogmatic sources of pagan practices. They are turning shamanism, yoga, and music festival culture to get their fix for a deeper connection to the Earth, the Universe, and everything else. They are turning away from BTW because of the hierarchy system, the wishy-washy system of degrees, and simply the generational gap in values between the elders and the younger general.

I have always been a child of nature and I came to Wicca when I was 15 years old. I had to learn from books and what I could find on the internet. I had figure out what was the proper way to practice witchcraft. Eventually, I met a coven and started to learn more about how a Wiccan tradition works. That’s when I started to feel like there was something missing from the practice. Eventually, I left that coven and spent some time finding a new path.

I think there are some solid bones in BTW, like the ritual format, the wheel of the year, and the story of the Goddess and Horned God. I actually got my foundation in Wicca as a solitary and I still use many of these elements in my personal practice. It’s the hierarchy system for Coven work that turns me off of it.

There are three degrees to coven work for most BTW traditions. The first degree is your initiation into the tradition. The second degree is learning to assist the High Priestess, call the quarters, and facing your shadow self. There’s no secret about what you have to do to complete your third degree, you and a high priest (or priestess) have to be embodied with the spirits of the Goddess and God respectively and complete the sacred union (sexually). In theory, you should be in, “perfect love and perfect trust,” with your respective member of the high priesthood of your coven but I have to say, most of the members of the high priesthood in the tradition I was initiated into are getting up there in age and if I am not sexually attracted to someone, I am not going to be able to complete this sacred union to my fullest. As it stands now, if I were to invoke the spirit of the Goddess into myself and complete the secret union, I would rather do it with a partner who is also sexually attracted to me and is spiritually inclined to invoke the spirit of the Horned God into themselves.

This brings me back to my first point about the lack of younger people wishing to follow the BTW traditions. If I were a similar age to the high priest in my former coven, then I might have been able to move past it. I have found that most of the elders in the Wiccan community are between the ages of 40 and 60 and most of the newer pagans are between the ages of 20 and 35. It’s basically the difference between late baby boomers/Generation X and the Millennials. The previous generation puts more focus on structure and hierarchy and the newer generations put more focus on personal growth and community. I could go on at length about the differences here but for the time being, I will keep the focus on Wicca.

My point of conflict with the hierarchy system is the actual degrees themselves. It creates a structure where in someone who hasn’t received their third degree is considered to be less important. For me, I ran into some major conflict with this when the Wiccan tradition I was in was blowing up. There had been a power struggle between members of the high priesthood as to who should be the leader of the coven. The current high priestess had been named the high priestess until she choose to pass it on. The problem was, she was neglecting some of her duties since she was very busy and other high priestesses were wishing to take up the mental. Instead of having a group conversation about it, they pulled a coup and removed her administrative abilities from the main Facebook group that the Wiccan tradition used to communicate with members. When those of us who were of lesser degrees tried to voice our concerns and opinions about the issue, we were basically told to shut up because we were not “elders”. This made me really upset so I figured that I needed to just leave to tradition all together. I had gained enough knowledge about how a coven works that I figured, I could just find people to work with and start a new tradition.

For the last three years, I have been working with a couple other pagan friends of a similar Wiccan background as I to form a new tradition. We all have eclectic pagans who have backgrounds in Wicca, Druidism, and Heathenism but we consider ourselves to be hedge witches. We keep a circle casting system, call the elements of Earth, Sea, and Sky, and summon the Goddess and God. We don’t have the designation of High Priestess or High Priest, we tend to have the person leading the ritual summon the elements and gods. However, sometimes we call them all together as a group and that’s really powerful.

I still do my own solitary work when I have need of it. Lately, I have been working a lot of ritual on my own because I have had my whole life tipped upside down and flipped back up. I am basically putting things back into their place. I started with my physical environment by turning my bedroom into my sacred space where I practice yoga, meditate, and do my rituals. I would like to have a whole room dedicated to this but I share living space with a roommate.

My suggestion for those who wish to practice Wicca but don’t wish to become involved with a hierarchy system, is to stay solitary and develop your own practice. Then, when you are ready to practice with other, find people who are of a similar mind and practice to you and then work together to blend your Wiccan practice and form your own tradition! I will do another post about working with a coven at a later time and some of the best practices for that.

If you are already in a BTW Wiccan tradition and you are seeing a drop in new members and youth looking for a different experience, you might want to consider dropping your hierarchy system and more towards more of a cooperative structure. Keep your traditions but change them to accommodate new points of view. It’s like the old saying goes, “That which does not change, dies.”

If you have any comments about BTW Wiccan either for or against what I have written here, I would love to hear your thoughts and concerns.

Blessed Be~

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Witchcraft & Magic

Witchcraft is the practice of working magic in your life. Whether you are working internal magic to effect external change or external magic to effect internal change.

Now, this is not your Harry Potter kind of magic, although, it would be cool if it worked like that. The kind of magic we work in witchcraft is sympathetic magic also known as imitative magi. It is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence. It is ritual using objects or actions resembling or symbolically associated with the event or person over which influence is sought.

I want to make one thing very clear, not all those who practice witchcraft are pagan and not all pagans practice witchcraft. In fact, you can go your entire pagan life, never once casting a single circle or weaving a spell.

Spellcraft and ritual magic are very much the passion of some pagans and non-pagans alike. I have been more on the side of the lifestyle pagan most of my life but I have learned the ways of witchcraft and I do practice. To me, witchcraft is more of the act of using tools to help me focus my energy so that I can make changes in my life and the world around me. I have made some of the most significant changes in my life with the use of ritual and witchcraft.

Yes, I do call myself a Witch along with the title of Priestess and they are not mutually exclusive. The High Priestess in a Wiccan coven is often the most experienced witch in the group. I don’t use the title “High Priestess” because in my coven’s tradition, we don’t have ranks. Each member of the coven is a Priestess or Priest in their own right as they embody the spirit of what it means to be priestly. Each of us is able to call circle, invoke the elements, and summon the gods. Sometimes, that is all one needs to do in a ritual and if they want, they can use that time in circle when the energies are raised, do a little witchcraft and work little magic.

Here’s an example of a little magic you can work in your life at anytime, I call my “Sparkler Spell”.

Sparkler Spell

You will need the following item:

1 – Dollar Store pack of Sparklers
1 – Lighter or match

To perform this spell, take one of the Sparklers and hold it in your hand. Imagine all the negative thoughts, feelings, or aspects of your life that want to get rid of. Imagine them infusing into the shaft of the magnesium on the Sparkler.

Then light the Sparkler and say, “May all my negativity be burned away and replaced with light!”

Repeat as necessary, or just light more for fun!

Blessed Be!

~ Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

The Path of the Priestess

A while back, maybe a year or so, I had a conversation with myself about my spiritual path. It was right around the same time that I felt like my relationship with the man in my life at that time was starting to fall apart. I told myself that if I was to find myself on my own once more, that I would taking my path as a priestess more seriously.

What I mean by more seriously is diving deeper into the women’s mysteries. For the most past, I have not done a lot of exploration into the feminine divine or my role within it. While I have been on a pagan path for almost twenty years now, I have only scratched the surface of the women’s mysteries.

Now that I have more space in my life to cultivate my practice and studies, I plan to deepen my relationship with my Goddess and I can’t wait to share that experience with you.

Starting this Sunday, on the full Buck Moon, July 9th, I will be doing the following every single day for the 28 days till the next full moon:

Morning devotionals & affirmations
Meditation & Yoga practices
Nature walks & observations
Journaling my experiences

Each day, I will contemplate a different aspect of the feminine divine and my role within it. I will be posting on my Instagram and Facebook account as I go with pictures about the Goddess and the feminine divine.

At the end of each week, I will share with you some of the discoveries and insights I have made during the week.

Blessed be~ Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver