My Morning Prayer

In a lot of the beginners books on Wicca there is an emphasis on creating a daily practice, and I always brushed it off as something I would work on down the line. A daily practice wasn’t something I wanted to focus on right now, I just didn’t have the time, I’m to inexperienced; were my excuses. Its surprising now to think I didn’t really have to “work at” adding prayer to my morning. I clock in at 7 am five mornings out of the week and find myself four stories up looking at Camelback and the Papago Mountains between 8 and 10 am.18342211_10155333921268417_6852586912892122644_nMost practitioners prefer to ground on solid ground but seeing the largest representations of earth for my region above the building is very humbling to me. It is hear where I focus my breath and release all that will not serve me though out my day. Then with my head down and eyes closed I send my attention to the four cardinal directions, calling the elements in my minds voice as I go. Once I have a circle I call the Goddess and God to help me though my day. Normally asking for attributes I feel I need for that day or their protection. Then I thank the spirits of the land I live on for nourishment, ending with a chant of “may the summer be short” repeated once.15941431_10154943040248417_8857899218113315545_nI then close my circle and go about my day. This practice does not take long and does not effect my work, but it is quickly becoming not enough. I have only been unable to complete this practice at work once and it has become such an important part of my day when I don’t work I feel like my day got off on the wrong foot. Sadly I have only ever noticed this is the cause of the feeling until evening and not the time for a day starting prayer. Also, before starting my prayer every morning I think to myself that I should also be doing a end of day prayer to thank the Goddess and God for their gifts but the memory to do so does not stick. I hope to expand this practice in these ways. I actually feel more focused and clear after my prayer and would like that feeling to wash over to days I do not work and before bed.

 

Do you have a daily practice? Do prayers or devotions? How would you like to expand on these?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Back and Ready to Write

Hi All,

Sorry for the long absence. Between my life getting busier and the ever changing political environment writing seemed harder and harder, but I’m ready to start posting again. I have been in a stand still with my magickal practice as well. My work scheduled has made it difficult for me to go to ritual, I was stuck in one book for almost two months, and my book club has been woefully neglected. You could say this witch has fallen off her path. Well its time to dust off my pointy hat and get back on the broom. I know I don’t tend to post personal stories but coming out and clean about my absence is how I see myself restarting. I hope you don’t mind!

I personally feel a type of spiritual practice is necessary for our mental health and when you let it fall from the level you are happiest at it leads to downfalls in other areas of life. So hear I am taking the rains back and saying I’m in-charge! Who’s with me? Coming up you can expect from the IronWolf Circle a look into the American legal battles and what protections they granted Pagans, how I incorporate the “Harm None” clause into my daily life, and Initiation. Please feel free to contact me hear or though email.

Blessed Bee,

Autumn Wolfe

autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

High and Low Magick

At my first Pagan gathering I was sitting around the sacred fire with the High Priestess of my coven and few others who, like me, were unwilling to move from the warmth of the blaze. When, a class just happened to be scheduled for that location began; the class was Magick 101. Since I was already there I decided to stay in my seat and listen politely to the instructor. The first thing the instructor did was ask each of the people around the fire their level of knowledge. Some people where members of different covens, others were solitary, and I was honest about being new to my coven and serious study. The next thing the instructor did was ask “What is the difference between High and Low Magick?”

Que me slinking farther in to my blankets and hoodie, it was going to be a long class discussing the same information I just wrote a three paragraph essay on for the woman equity buried in microfiber beside me. The instructor looked around the circle, and the second answer he received is one I remember shaking my head to. The High Priest of I don’t remember coddled his answer in the form of a story with an ending moral of High Magic was when you impose your will on someone else. I guess I was to noticeably surprised, or disused by the implications of his answer since I felt two pairs of eyes on me. My High Priestess wanted me to speak up and the instructor wanted the “new girl” to give a go. I untangled my moth from my cave of fuzzy materials to be heard and gave a short one sentence answer, before like a grumpy dragon retreating to her cave gave the instructor the floor to continue. I will not be giving you readers just the one sentence answer I spewed on that 19°F October afternoon. Instead lets brake down these forms of magick to understand better what they are.

Low Magick also referred to as Nature Magick, is any magick performed using tools of nature to incite change on this plane of existence. High Magick is ceremonial magick intended to bring the practitioner closer to deity. Normally very strict in performance or done on the astral plane. So, as you can see the high/low is not in reference to a hierarchy but the plane in which the magick is intended to affect. Almost all magick a witch performs can be considered Low Magick.

Historically speaking Low Magick was preformed by the healers and cunning folk of the village. You needed your crops blessed, your child healed, the pests out of your home; the magick preformed was to affect your plane of existence and preformed by someone of similar social standing as you. So, another way to look at why they are distinguished in High and Low is noticeable. High Magick took training and time, everything had to be preformed perfectly, and the magician was of high stature. Not to be bothered with issues of the common folk but communing with the Gods for King and State.

The first book Gerald Gardner published on Wicca was “High Magic’s Aid”. Published at the time as fiction, Gardner’s book divulged methods of Magick he learned from his time with the Golden Dawn, and how modern pagans open and release circle can be traced to High Magickal practices. So, where the distinction of high and low is not an indication of strength or one being better then the other, it does assist the practitioner in understanding the differences in both practices.

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

 

 

Recycling as an Act of Devotion

When I lived in apartments in North Georgia recycling was next to impossible. My complex did not participate in any program or pick up and the closest plant was an hour’s drive away. I hated the amount of wast we were generating as a two person family, but I personally was unable to do anything about it on a regular basis. Moving out to Phoenix there was a large difference in the acceptability of recycling resources. Now living in a three person household we may generate a bag of waste a week and up to two bags of recyclables.

Why did not being able to recycle bother me so much? As Pagans we practice an earth-based religion, and if so then what happens to our scared space should be a major influence on our practice. Look at other religions that hold sacred space in buildings and special places. Do they leave these “houses” of their deities dirty and neglected? No, so why is the earth, our sacred space any different? Taking care of the earth is an act in its self of devotion to our home and to the Gods when placed into this context. But, your thinking, recycling is a no brainier due in part to the large recycling movement of the ’90s; however according to US Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) 66% of the materials we throw into landfills could be recycled.

That means all that talk in the ’90s and early 2000s didn’t really make that large of an impact. I don’t think I know a single person who would not say recycling is important, but how many of these people recycle on a regular base? When Earth Day rolled around the company I was working for made a big fuse about how green and energy efficient the buildings were, but the free cups in the brake rooms were styrofoam and there were no air driers in the bathrooms. As you can see above, one strofoam cup takes 50 years to decompose and a paper towel 3 or 4. So, a large company that has over 500 employees at one campus; witch an average of each employee using up to three cups per day and six paper towels. . . I should see some astonished faces.

So, not only are we not recycling what can be recycled; we are not making simple changes to recyclable or earth friendly materials. Why? cost. Styrofoam is cheep, people prefer patter towels because driers are loud and unreliable, its hard to remember reusable shopping bags, and so on. Are you taking part in recycling in your home and office? Is your neighborhood and work place recycle friendly? If you said no to any of these, then what are you doing about it? There are a ton of resources out their on the internet for learning how to recycle in your city so I implore you as a Pagan, show gratitude to your Gods for such a beautiful earth and keep it that way.

If you live in the Phoenix area please see this link to understand the recycling program hear: http://www.recyclecleanphoenix.org/faq/

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

The Ethics of Hex and Curses

There has been a lot of talk on and offline lately about hexing and cursing, especially around the Brock Turner rape conviction; and I felt like adding my two cents in. To lay out my biases I am a criminologist and Wiccan. My degree work heavily focused on understanding violent crime and American Criminal Law. I also use magick as a last resort measure, generally waiting for a dire need to ask outside forces for formal assistance. Most importantly, I am on the fence about using hex and curse magick myself. So, when my friends were bringing in books on “Gray Witch Craft” and the internet was a buzz with hexing a known rapist I decided I wanted to explore the ethics of hex magick and what other options are out there for Witches.

The word Hex comes from the German word hexen “to practice sorcery”. In modern witchcraft the word hex is more commonly used to describe a spell cast to cause pain or ill will on an individual or group. Curse, believed to come from Old English crus “a prayer that is evil or harmful” or “to swear profanely”. Today there is some debate that hex and curse can be used interchangeable, but what I found as a more interesting use is describing hex as a verb and cures as the effect. For the sake of this post I will being using hex to describe a spell with ill intent directed at a person, group, or culture.
As I have mentioned in the post on The Threefold Law a large majority of Wiccans believe in a rule of return. The Threefold Law along with the Wiccan Rede; “an do what yhe will, harm none” (more on that in a later post) maintains for all that believe in it, there will be consistences to knowingly causing harm to another. Because of this, a large percentage of magick practitioners do not use hexes in their practice. However, even in the Wiccan community there is a growing amendment to the Rede to include “harm none, but take no shit”. Adding an argument for using magick to fight back or as self defense. There is also, in the grater pagan community those who do not follow the Rede, or believe in the Threefold Law. Some of these witches do not hex due to personal morality, but what stops or encourages witches that do not have such convictions?
To understand the use of hex magick today one would have to look at what brought about hexing in first place. Byron Ballard described in episode 53 of Down at the Crossroads, hex magick was used by the poor and those outside of the justice system. I believe this was said in a European Middle Ages context, but can be seen to explain different places and times. Such as, the use of hexs in Hoodoo or Voodoo. This statement a lines very well with the witches who are wielding hexs at Turner’s defense of since justice was not done in the courts their magick will bring about a more preferable punishment.
Since the discussion on hex magic has become so heated recently many elders have spoken out againts the use of negative magick. Such as Raymond Buckland, though a Facebook post Uncle Bucky stated his disappointment in the use of negative magick and how the public use of hexing is destroying all the pioneers of Wicca’s work on changing the perspective of modern witchcraft in the eyes of the larger culture. Uncle Bucky underlined the importance of spreading healing and love though magick. So, an alternative to hexing Turner has been to bless the two gentleman who found and caught Turner, or to send healing to the victim. I personally find sending blessings to the people who fight for the rights of victims and help heal the world a more constructive use of my magick then to hex and send anger out to those who tare the world apart.

In conclusion I urge all magickal practitioners to think before doing any magick, good or bad. To remember that it is your responsibility what you do with the power you send out and to be prepared to take what ever comes back. Even if you do not believe in a Threefold Return you should be prepared and understand all of the possibilities your magick could create. After reaching in myself I feel I could not cast a hex, but that should not limit or stop someone who can.

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Sources cited in this post include:

Orapello, Chris: Down at the Crossroads, Episode 53 Willful Bane: The Joy of Hex with Byron Ballard.

Buckland, Raymond: Facebook Post June 13th 2016

The Witches’ Pyramid

The Witches’ Pyramid is a philosophical foundation to magickal practices. There are many different ways to describe, visualize and understand this necessary thought process to effective magic, and no one way is right or better. In this post I will be describing the Pyramid in the way I feel it is easiest to understand for a new witch. As a seeker of a magickal practice please note it takes time and personal exploration to fully invoke these ideals in everyday life but once you do, you will see an extreme improvement to your magick.

The Pyramid is constructed from four statements; To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent. Like the elements called into a circle you must invoke these ideals and their corresponding directions while preparing a magical working. These four statement when working together help build the necessary mindset that is needed for effective magic. I will explain what these statements mean, how to work with them, and how they make your magick work.

pyramid
The Witches Pyramid

 

To Know

The base of our Pyramid and the first ideal needed to creating effective magic. To Know corresponds with the East and the element of air. To use magick effectively you must first know yourself. I tell anyone about to do magick to first know yourself and what you want. Explore what you want from the magick you are about to do on all levels, such as spiritual, emotional, and physically. How can the magick do what you want if you don’t know what that is? Don’t forget the revers of this, know also what you don’t want.

You must also know your craft. I have complained in the past about “Pinterest Spells” or spells you find online and in some books that tell you what to do but not why. If you don’t understand what you are doing, how are you sure it will bring about what you want. The worst part of this is you lose the ability to learn from these simple step by step spells. Ok, you used Basil why? How will you use it in the future? Why did the spell call for fresh instead of dry? You don’t know! These spells if done without more research have robbed you of the ability To Know.

To Will

The next step on the Pyramid corresponds to the South. Like the element of fire To Will is to is the burn to believe.  At the end of a lot of spells you will see the line “As I will, so mote it be.” The will is the strength and the push for magick to work. You know who you are, want you want the magick to do, and the magick that needs to be done; but do you really want it? Do you see yourself with it? The motivation and  determination to do what ever is necessary mundane or magickal is the will to have it so.

To Dare

After you know and have a will for your desire you must dare to get it. Corresponding to the west  To Dare is to commit to the magick without fear. You must let go of fears that you are not good enough, worthy, it won’t work, or you don’t have all of the tools. Like Nike just do it! To dare is to push forward with out fear into the future because what you want is worth it.

shh

To Keep Silent

The tip top of the Pyramid is To Keep Silent. Corresponding to the Earth, north, and winter after you have completed your magick, your lips should be sealed with ice. Less all the strength and  mystery of your working slip between them. Much like the belief of not to barter for magical items a witch does not boast about what magic they have done. You could say this is a precision in case it doesn’t work much like you don’t tell everyone you got a new job before you have had the interview but it is also more then that. The universe works in mysteries ways and you don’t know how your spell is going to manifest. Blabbering about it demotes your respect for the working.

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Wiccan vs Witch

What is the difference?

Yes, this is the topic I decide to tackle as my first blog post and if you groaned at the title maybe I’m not the blogger you are looking for. I decided to take on the task of explaining the difference between a Wiccan and a Witch as my first post not because it is so over done but so my readers get a good first taste on how I view our world. I know this topic is breached in every beginners book on the New Age shelf today, and there are a tone of Wicca beginners books out there. There is a reason for this, you have to start somewhere! I’m not writing a book but I do have to out line some of the basics. If not because there maybe one newbie reading my posts, but for thous of us who already know how we feel about this topic and need to be on the same page going forward.

I am one who believes Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. These words can not be interchanged, and for the life of this blog I will be diligent in not using one in place of the other. With that promise being slapped to my forehead on day one lets get down to defining Wicca vs Witchcraft. Starting with the easier of the two. Wicca has been defined by every author to ever write just a little bit differently. To sum up all these different definitions in to the one that I use, Wicca is a religion that respects the earth as not just the third planet from the sun, but a living and breathing source of life. Deity is imitate, meaning present in all things, and thus all things are sacred. Wiccans believe that to tap into the sacred or communion with Deity they can use magick. Since deity is present in all things and all things are sacred, the power of magick comes from within.

If your still following, Witchcraft, or simply the craft, is the system and practice of magick. Now your wondering why after three sentences Wicca was easier to define. Sit back for me and think of all the instances you have heard the word witch. Take all these preconceive notions of what a witch is and go back to that sentence “Witchcraft is the system and practice of magick”. Simple, no worship of evil, no green skin, or contract with an all evil source required. Just the want to work with the forces inside of yourself and all around you. Yeah sure every little witch wishes they could just wiggle their nose and everything falls into place but we understand that magick (not magic) doesn’t work like that.

Now your wondering, if Wicca is a religion that believes to tap into the sacred they can use magick, and the craft is the system and practice of magick; how is Wicca and Witchcraft not the same? Simple, just because Wiccans hold a belief about magick does not mean they have to practice magick; furthermore Witchcraft has no concept of deity and belief other then magic is real and can be used. So a Wiccan does not need to be a witch to fulfill their religious needs and a witch can easily have any religious belief they want and practice their craft.

These words get so mixed up because most Wiccans also practice the craft. You will hear many Wiccans describe the craft as how they practice there religion. They will also tell you how mainstream religion didn’t fit their needs. Wicca in conjunction with the craft put the power back in their hands and made them feel empowered. However, there are just as many Witches that hold other religious beliefs or none at all. In fact there is a growing movement with craft practitioners who feel the craft is fulfilling in of its self and  consider it their religion. This is how we get Catholic Witches and Wiccans who have never performed a spell.

So, how I define myself is I am first a Wiccan, who practices Witchcraft. I will call myself a witch but to tend to ascribe to Wiccan more strongly. This is not to distance myself from the negative stereotypes, or to legitimize my religion over the practice of other. I make this distinction because I practice magick and am a witch as a consequence of being an active Wiccan. I don’t use consequence in a negative way, I am a witch because the working of magick deepens my spirituality and assists me in communing with my deities. This is a good thing. A blessed thing to be able to learn and grow spiritually and magickly at the same time. Yes, my description of this blog in One Witch. I am describing myself as a witch up there because this is a blog for all pagans and magick users. Where I will have plenty of posts about Wicca, I will mostly speak from a overall pagan standpoint.                                                                    The better to include everyone my dear.

In the end, I define Wicca and Witchcraft as two very different labels one can use to describe where they fall in Paganism. One does not mean the other, and both can thrive separate of each other. It is up to the individual to decide what works best for them. So as my reader I implore you to decide if you agree with my explanation and flesh out what you prefer to call yourself. If you have any topic request feel free to suggest them!

This week I suggest reading:                                                                                         The Complete Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft                                               by Denise Zimmerman and Katherine A. Gleason

Blessed Be,                                                                                                                 Autumn Wolfe