The Bird Guardians of Our Tradition

Posted in General Magickal Practice on November 1, 2017 by nikkisnature

Most magickal practitioners are used to the idea of acknowledging the spiritual energies of animals as important connections to nature, communicators of wisdom, or as magickal allies or guides.  In the Wardwell tradition of American Witchcraft that is really coming into its own amongst the witches of the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick, I have seen all order of animals stand out as guides and messengers for many folks.  Despite the variety of potential harbingers of truth and magick that we seem to encounter, there always seems to be an overabundance of witches in this order who are simply entranced not just by the bird realm in general, but specifically with hawks, eagles, owls and ravens.  Now, you might be saying “Duh, of course.  Those are the coolest birds going.”  Sure, they are certainly among the most badass birds around…though I’m not in any way downplaying heron, falcon, osprey, crow and all the other magnificent flying creatures we encounter.  But I really do notice that not only is my own inner circle of witches specifically smitten with those four birds, but that the birds themselves show up to our members ridiculously often.  This is causing me to consider the possibility that these four specific bird energies or intelligences are special guides or guardians of this order…and going beyond that, I see them as some of our many potential guides of the quarters.  In our tradition, Hawk would easily correlate with air (“they all correlate with air” you say…well yes, of course, but just listen) due to its correlation with keen vision, cleverness, sharpness, and higher thought.  Eagle could correlate with fire as a fierce predator, a symbol of patriotism, freedom, fighting for what is right, and using our will to follow our passions.  Owl could correlate with water as an archetype of mystery, relation with the moon and divination, and reaching into the darkness to extract magick and wisdom.  Raven could correlate with earth due to its association with death, scavenging/cleanup, and darkness.  Even though all birds correspond to the element of air, I enjoy looking at the elemental differences and subtleties in these amazing guides and seeing how they help us to form a complete circle.  Here is an example of some simple quarter calls that could be oriented to these lovely guides:

“I call upon Hawk and the powers of the East and of Air to bring clarity, fresh thought, new beginnings and intellectual stimulation to my circle.”

“I call upon Eagle and the powers of the South and of Fire to bring courage, ambition, victory and passion to my circle.”

“I call upon Owl and the powers of the West and of Water to bring love, intuition, mystery and magick to my circle.”

“I call upon Raven and the powers of the North and of Earth to bring groundedness, loyalty, abundance, and life after death to my circle.”

I am aware that these birds stand for various energies that differ from these, in other traditions.  But in our tradition, these are perfect, well-balanced correlations that make sense, and that help me understand why they have shown up to us as they have.  SWOM witches will know they can be called upon to invoke the quarters, to bring balance, to be watchers and guardians, and I have no doubt that this will happen routinely somehow as this order’s tradition continues to evolve and to be passed from Priestess to student witch to student witch for many years (or lifetimes) to come.  Blessed Be.

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Energetic House Cleansing: A True Story

Posted in Noteworthy Magickal Experiences on October 19, 2017 by nikkisnature

I have done my share of house cleansing and blessings for myself and clients through the years.  This usually involves performing a bunch of energetic actions and ritual words throughout the home, as well as calling upon guides and divine assistance, and listening psychically to the space to determine the nature of the energies present, and what else, if anything, might need to be done.  Normally, it is a pretty intense experience, since I’m so focused and honed in on the needed energy of determination that is required to really command and direct spiritual energy in a space.  I often get messages about the emotions of unseen inhabitants, but the signs and communications I get are normally sensed energetically or seen in the mind’s eye.  I don’t normally encounter the dramatic stuff of movies…until just recently.

I was called to a lovely home (which shall remain completely anonymous for the family’s privacy) because some of the family members were experiencing lots of activity, sightings, footsteps, voices and other things they felt were some kind of haunting, and they were quite fearful about it.  As I parked my car and walked up to the front steps, the home’s two small dogs were barking at me crazily, clamoring around my legs and such.  I didn’t think much of it except that it continued on and on, and the homeowner was surprised as apparently they would normally lose interest in newcomers after a few minutes.  Eventually she penned off a little area for the dogs so they would let me work through the house.  I was into my routine of going through the home with various elements, incantations and projecting energies of cleansing when I heard a loud bang.  I didn’t think much of it, because the homeowner was doing her own thing so I figured it was her.  However, I turned to leave the room I was in and saw her in the hallway with a stunned look on her face-  a window had slammed open on its own.  They are not traditional sash windows, they tilt…so I figured maybe that one was loose or broken so it didn’t stay up as it should…but she didn’t seem to think this should have happened.  I continued on, keeping an increasing air of perseverance, and while wafting a cloud of strong incense from my cauldron toward a window in the room that is the epicenter of the activity in the house, a fan noise started revving very loudly right near me.  I noticed that the fan of a special air filter device had turned on and been cranked to its highest setting.  I asked the homeowner if that was set to go on and off by itself, or would have been activated by my incense but found that it was simply a machine you either turn on or off by depressing a power button.  So the unit turned on by itself.  As I continued the job, another loud bang, and then a little later another, and another.  Completely different windows than the first one, slamming open forcefully.  At one point I also heard the garage door open beneath us.  Again, assuming it was the homeowner, I was startled when we crossed paths and with wide eyes she nervously told me it had activated by itself.

Now, I know this all sounds “The Conjuring” style scary.  It was a little unnerving to have so much blatant activity happening, yet it was all actions that were helpful to the cleansing-  windows opening, door opening, fan turning on.  During the psychic work I did throughout the house, I did come across energies of both human deceased involvement as well as nature and land spirits that were part of the action.  Nothing, however, seemed malevolent toward the family at all-  there were definitely some strong emotions felt, and some territorial energies of the land, but nothing intending this family any harm.  I did a lot of work communicating with these intelligences to work toward the most harmonious state possible for the house at the time.  I helped the homeowner to have a better idea of how to develop a mutually respectful relationship with the energy around her and not to approach it with fear-  this can be tough for people that have natural psychic inclinations but no support system in which to sort them out or learn to use them.  At the end of the job, the two little dogs were let out of their pen and stayed totally quiet, but glued to my side and wanting cuddle me.  It’s almost as if the dogs were alerted to the energies of the house getting riled up when I first arrived, knowing I was going to come in and shift it, and when I was done, they were happy and calm.  They even seemed to stare after me longingly as I pulled out of the driveway.

I am honored to have been able to help this family and will continue to do so in any way they need, whether the house needs follow up help in the future, or they need energy work or teaching to get better at sorting out their spirit sensing experiences.  This would all be a normal part of the ministerial aspect of my work…but the huge outrush of energy from the house causing all of the slamming windows and turning on of electronics…that was something you don’t see everyday.  As they say, the proverbial veil is super thin right now, for whatever that means to you-  may you have a supportive and productive relationship with the spirits around you.  Blessed Be.

The Controversy of the Rule of Three

Posted in General Magickal Practice, Uncategorized on September 30, 2017 by nikkisnature

Lately in the magickal world there have been a lot of heated debates over ethics in magickal works.  I hear a lot of “I don’t believe in karma-  it’s an Eastern concept, not part of my tradition, so I don’t need to worry about that.”  I also hear a lot of “I’m not Wiccan, and I don’t believe in the rule of three.”  So they are saying that they don’t believe the energy of their actions will come back on them threefold.  I don’t necessarily, either, but I do have a large bone to pick with this mindset-  the one that feels that it’s okay to simply do revenge magick, or f–ck someone’s sh-t up because they can, or they think they deserve it.  I am a Witch, who also is not specifically Wiccan by tradition.  I don’t know if what I put out there comes back to me in perfect multiples of three…but I do know that I generally reap what I sow.  Here is the ONE BIG POINT I hope that everyone who has clicked on this article will read, and I hope I state this clearly enough for everyone to consider it:  if you do any magick at all, at some point, you are operating under the assumption that like attracts like.  You choose a honey jar because the sweetness has a similar vibration to what you are trying to create.  You use certain color candles, certain words, certain actions, certain herbs, certain timing, because it vibrationally and energetically lines up with your goal.  You must somewhere believe that like attracts like. This absolutely applies to mindset, maybe above and beyond all else!  So go ahead and do all the revenge work you want, but look at the mindset you are emanating that caused you to want to do this in the first place.  You are projecting the need for revenge out into the universe, and the universe will see that.  Like attracts like over and over again in life, even when it is not done purposefully.  That is the only big thing I want you to consider-  like attracts like.  You will attract life situations with the vibes similar to what you give off, even when you step away from the altar.  I’m not glued to the Eastern view of karma, or the specifics of the three-fold law, but I think I realize why every major spiritual tradition has a moral code…and it’s because like attracts like.  So just see if your emotions, your motivations, your thoughts and your actions would be cool if they did come back to you in some form…because they will.  If you don’t think like attracts like, I am open to hearing the principles on which your magickal workings are based.  Sometimes quotes like “Be the change you wish to see in the world” are super popular because people realize very deeply that they are true.  If you would potentially be fine with other people doing the type of magick to you that you are doing to them, then you are all good.  If this has challenged your beliefs, no offense is meant…just hoping for some contemplation and consideration.  Blessed Be.

The Wardwell Tradition of American Witchcraft

Posted in General Magickal Practice on September 23, 2017 by nikkisnature

Last night (Autumn Equinox 2017) marked a historic moment for the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick as a coven.  September 22, 1692 was the day when Samuel Wardwell, eight-times direct great-grandfather of SWOM founder and High Priestess Nikki Wardwell Sleath, was hanged in Salem, MA on the charges of witchcraft.  The deaths that happened in the Salem and other witch trials were certainly wrong and fear-based, and many people say that the accused were most certainly not witches.  I think what they mean is that the accused were not witches according to the definition of the times, which refers to one who has gained powers by making a deal with the devil.  The thing about Samuel is that when you dig for personal accounts of him, there is a document that references his ability to tell fortunes with cards, and to know the future from dreams.  Pair this with the fact that he and his wife owned one hundred and eighty acres of good land (which by law could be seized when one entered a plea upon accusation) and he was an easy target for the blaming hysteria of the times.

So, here we are, with Autumn Equinox, a time of balance, falling on the exact 325th anniversary of Samuel’s death.  At this time, I, Nikki, happened to have evolved not only to become a formally trained witch myself, but to have formed and grown a large successful coven with its own unique combination of training and rituals.  Not only am I here publicly teaching and practicing witchcraft in a time when I am fortunate enough not to be persecuted for it, but I happen to have precognitive and spiritual dreaming and card reading as two of my more developed magickal talents.  I don’t think there is any coincidence there, and I believe trends and talents like this very well may run in families.  Samuel has come through to myself and other members of the coven in various forms of spirit contact, and seems to be honored that we honor, think of and communicate with him.  It feels as though our actions of being a good influence on the community in the name of witchcraft is helping to slowly right a wrong.  Now, the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick’s style qualifies in general as American Witchcraft, but since it is growing and creating more teachers, it deserves its own subset label to clarify it further within that broad category.  In our large ritual gathering for the Equinox, on the anniversary of the death of Samuel Wardwell, we formally honored him and consecrated the name of our own unique format as the Wardwell tradition.  In the dark of the autumn night, around a ritual bonfire, 40 members of our coven witnessed this official blessing.  We hope that in putting his name on our tradition, that we will continue to spread acceptance and bring balance back for witches and magickal practitioners to come.  We certainly feel that Samuel approves.  From those of us now practicing the Wardwell tradition of American Witchcraft, Blessed Be.

You Might Be A Witch: Author Addendum

Posted in Magickal and Occult Book Reviews, Uncategorized on August 30, 2017 by nikkisnature

My first experience with publishing has been really fun and interesting so far.  It has only been a few weeks since I released my short, introductory book, “You Might Be A Witch”.  My goals in writing this book are 1.  to help the public to better understand what modern day witchcraft is to increase acceptance and religious tolerance and 2.  to help readers look for similar threads and sparks of magick in their own lives, also to help us all relate to one another.  To sum up for those who haven’t heard of it or read it, this is a straightforward and accessible book appropriate for anyone to read, and is written in two parts.  The first part is a comparative memoir where I point out interesting psychic and magickal occurrences from various phases of my life and prompt the reader to consider what similar experiences they may have had.  The second part is a simple, brief and very truncated discussion about what types of things modern day witches actually believe and practice.  There is some discussion of ethical approaches, and then a very light-hearted, just for fun “how witchy are you” quiz at the end.

So far, this little book has been received well, with open minds and appreciation by those around me.  It is already quite often being gifted by witches and pagans to the skeptics in their lives, so that more openness and acceptance can be gained among friends and family that don’t understand this path.  I am also already starting to experience something that I’m sure every author goes through, but I never really thought about before.  As I respond to questions about it, and receive my family’s impressions, I am often being given reminders of additional tidbits about my past that would have been great to include.  This must happen all the time, where writers find themselves saying “that would have been a great thing to include in the book!” after it has already been published.  I suppose this is what originally led to the idea of multiple editions…though that is not currently in my plans.

In discussing the book, my mother went on to tell me about the moment of my birth-  a story I had never heard.  She said that I was born, and the nurses wiped me off and put me on my mom’s chest.  I wasn’t crying, or wriggling, apparently, but it was not for any medical issue or lack of health.  She said she had a very strange feeling as I simply looked at her with a serious and somewhat inquisitive face, holding eye contact right away, for what seemed like quite a while.  I ended up being the oldest of three children, and my mom says that the births of my two younger brothers were very smooth and normal, with the usual crying, wiggling, squinty eyes and nursing that usually happens.  But my mom had forgotten about the stoic baby behavior until reading my book.  She also related to me a story from when I was somewhere in the age of eight to ten years old.  I had put on a long skirt for dress-up.  My mom said I looked to her and breathed a sigh of relief and said very wistfully “Ah, I don’t know what it is, but when I wear long skirts I feel so much more like myself”.  She said it was a very odd moment where she felt a sense that even as a child I had a memory of a past life closer to the surface than normal.

In talking about the book with my Dad, he agreed that he never knew I had any tarot cards, and so that whole era of my habitual setting up of gypsy camp and reading the cards still remains a mystery.  My Dad also told me that he and my mom had purchased the house I grew up in from the family of a 98 year-old woman who had died onsite in the house.  I actually remember having conversations with my mom, asking her “Mom, did the lady who used to live here die here?” and she would tell me no.  I think she just didn’t want me to be scared, but I definitely did have those experiences of hearing voices, and I think I was accurately sensing her presence.  Despite all of these oddities about me, they were isolated incidences from the eyes of most, and so I did not appear to be a weird child, or overly psychic, or anything like that.  All of these little things, as well as the events I describe in the book are things that, in various ways, happen to many people.  I reiterate this to point out that I believe we all have threads of psychic ability, energy sensing, expanded consciousness with respect to other realms, and other magickal experiences and abilities.  If you weave them all together, they sometimes result in taking on a life of enchantment as a source of purpose and inspiration, and I call this being a Witch.  Witchcraft is not the path for everyone, of that I am sure.  But I write about this in the hope that readers can recognize that we are really all the same.  We are humans with the same experiences of mystery, having a wide variety of interactions with various combinations of energy and consciousness.  There are many folks out there who claim that their religious path is the one and only correct one, and I know for sure that that cannot be true.  There are many paths to the same place, and we get to choose.  Choose what inspires you and provides you with a sense of wonder and inspiration.  Every moral spiritual and religious path is equally valid in my eyes, and this is the concept that I hope to illuminate.   Thank you for being you-  Blessed Be.

What It Means To Be A Priest/ess

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2017 by nikkisnature

As a beloved group of my advanced students finishes their course of Pries/tess training in our order, the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick, and undergo their special ceremonial rite of passage into the priesthood officially, I get a little sentimental and contemplative.  Watching others work hard and truly elevate themselves magickally to a new level of spiritual competence and awareness is so very rewarding.  It reminds me of how I, myself have evolved in my own role of Priestess, and it highlights for me some very important things that I’ve learned along the way that I feel are overlooked by the general magickal public.  To understand what it really means to hold this title, you have to look at what our society holds as an archetypal definition for the word “priest”.  A priest is someone who is trained to pass on their religious and spiritual arts, who holds important ceremonies and teachings for others, and who ministers to others.  It saddens me a bit to see people referring to themselves as Priest/esses when they don’t actually do any of the above mentioned things.  In the past I’ve seen too many people get excited about Priest/ess training as an option in my order, and I realize that many times that excitement was not properly motivated.  Attaining the title of Priest/ess should not be done solely to advance one’s own skill, or to feel elite or more empowered.  Does it result in these things?  Yes, of course.  The thing is, to truly minister to others in a way that is effective and high in integrity, you need to be humble.  You often need to give an exhausting amount of yourself to people-  and not just the people you like or want to be around, necessarily.  To me being a real Priest/ess involves helping people work through things even when you don’t really jive energetically with that person, or you feel like they don’t see things the same way you do.  It truly involves an amount of compassion, humility and patience that is rare.  I am not saying that I always have this.  Sometimes, at the end of the day I know that I have really supported others in the best way I can, and sometimes I’m not so sure.  I am human of course, even though as a Priestess I strive to walk the most divine part of myself through this world.  But I think the thing that matters is that I WANT to be in that role-  the role of giving selflessly whenever I can, the role of spreading ritual, and spiritual and magickal inspiration in the world as much as possible.  So, when someone calls themselves a Priest/ess because they feel they are a divine and advanced practitioner of the Craft but they have no responsibility for others, I can’t help but to question it a little.  I am in no way badmouthing those who have formally earned this title and don’t happen to be in practice, by the way, and I am also not badmouthing those who have simply fallen into the role of ministering to others in a caring way and wish to entitle themselves Priest/ess…what I am frowning upon is self-appointed titling of Priest/ess when there is no ministering of any sort being done.  In our order a person who ascends to the title of Priest/ess is not obligated to teach and run a congregation, but they are expected to be generally helpful, good examples in the coven community at the very least.  To sum up, the title Priest/ess reflects what your role is to other people and should not be used as a status symbol.  If you feel like you don’t want to deal with people who irritate you, you probably should not become a Priest/ess.  If you feel you are so empathic that being around others frequently is too much, you also probably should not become a Priest/ess.  Magickal students considering training in a priesthood, therefore, should think about whether they feel they can generally be there for other people or not.  I don’t think I truly understood the extent of this when I first trained to become a Priestess, but I certainly know it now, and thankfully have found that I can step up to the challenge enough to feel rewarded by it.   And of course, for all of those who are using their advanced skills to help others, you know that all of that effort DOES in fact pay off-  you end up gaining unanticipated levels of skill, confidence and connections to deity and Spirit that you would have never dreamed of.  The key is that the payoff doesn’t happen without the generous giving and sacrificing.  To all of those true Priest/esses that I know (and you know who you are), thank you for your service.  To all of you who are walking the walk and holding true, safe space for others in the magickal world, thank you.  Blessed Be.

Your Life is Your Magick

Posted in General Magickal Practice on July 17, 2017 by nikkisnature

As the years go on, and I do more magick, teach more magickal sudents, witness the lives of more people, and become very, very gradually clearer in general about the way things work, I have noticed some clear points about things that make one person better at magick than another.  It is not necessarily someone’s raw power, or their faith in their Gods, or even their strength of will (contrary to popular opinion) that makes someone a powerful magickal practitioner.  It’s actually so simple, it seems non-magickal, which makes this discussion seem contradictory.  Here are important correlations I have noticed:

  1.  People who stick to their goals in their daily routines have better outcomes with magick.    If you set the intention to exercise, or to do a daily morning meditation, or to eat a certain way, or to practice divination or do a daily sacred space opening, you need to do it.  Magick is all about intention-  and not just SAYING that something is your intention, but living that path.  If you normally have intentions that you let slide, this is more likely to also happen with magickal intentions that you set.
  2. People who are able to let negative emotions go and move on not only do better magick but have more inherent psychic protection.  I have noticed that people who complain a lot, people who blame others or outside influences for everything, people who feel a negative bout of emotions and then let it stick with them-  all tend to attract more negative circumstances.  These life habits tend to create spirals in which the person gets stuck and is then often unable to shift things forward.  If you can’t shift yourself out of a funk, or don’t take emotional responsibility for yourself, you won’t be able to make big shifts magickally either.
  3. People who have a strong sense of moral fiber tend to have great magickal results.  The reason magick is being done in the first place is very important to its outcome.  Soooo many people will argue with me on this, but I really believe that if you want an outcome for good, positive reasons, even if the work may be somewhat dark by certain standards, that it has a better chance of succeeding smoothly.  What I mean is-  you need to have moral standards and stick to them.  Behave toward others in the way you would want them to behave toward you.  Don’t do magick simply to get revenge, or to manipulate someone just because you want to.  This will not bode well for you in the long run.  Spiritual traditions the world over all have morality teachings, and this is because the magick of morality affects outcomes.  A lot of people argue and say they don’t believe in the concept of karma…but if you do magick you must at least believe in the concept of energy, and the principle that like attracts like, because this is what all spells are based on, pretty much.  Like attracts like…and if you manipulate others, they will do it to you, and worse.
  4. People who take great care of their health tend to get better magickal results.  A lot of people will argue with me on this too, because they don’t want it to be true, but those of us who practice real magick know that the mind/body/spirit connection is alive and real.  When you tend to the energies in the body, the energy of the mind is sharper and clearer (allowing you to live some of the above principles more easily) and your connection to your spiritual self and guides is clearer and more accessible as well.  This is why, conversely, energy healing can have a positive effect on the health of the body.  If you work out, I feel you will become a better person, and a better magickal practitioner.  You will flush negative energy from your field regularly, and you will push yourself-  holding yourself to a high standard of results.  This transfers over into the results that can be attained in magick.  Eating cleanly and keeping the mind right of course all lend to this as well, and are the basis of any good personal health regime.

There are more traits beyond these that are also important in magick, but I think you are getting my drift.  Essentially the summary of all of this is that the way you live your life is directly reflected in the quality of your magick, and vice versa.  Therefore, if you have the above positive qualities in your lifestyle, you will eventually do less and less small magick to affect individual life circumstances, because you won’t need it.  Your magick will evolve to center around uncovering the mysteries of consciousness, interacting more directly with the Gods for the sake of inspiration, awe and learning, and for realizing your spiritual self in the grand scheme of things.  I hope all of these things for you.  Blessed Be.