Archive for the General Magickal Practice Category

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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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.

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.

The Magickal Pull of the Divine

Posted in General Magickal Practice on June 28, 2017 by nikkisnature

This morning on my routine cemetery jaunt I found both hawk and turkey feathers.  It instantly struck me as a beautiful combination of balanced energies-  those of a high, soaring vantage point as well as energies of the ground and of abundance.  To me, it was a beautiful  moment of feeling fully connected to both earth and sky, and knowing another true, quick glimpse of the “as above, so below” philosophy that is so important in magickal practice.  This short beautiful reminder  got me to thinking about paying attention to signs and spiritual energies, especially those that stand out, and how they can be such clear reminders of the enchanted and divine nature of all things.  Musing philosophically even further, as I am wont to do, i got to thinking about my tendency to see the influence of specific deities and guides in people all the time.  Lately, I have been struck by  a couple of clear concepts related to human-deity relationships.

One thing I really feel is true (and that “American Gods” has nailed) is that belief creates reality.  I honestly do feel (and obviously this is the dreaded UPG-  unverifiable personal gnosis) that an individual person’s deep belief in the presence of or relationship with a deity or guide makes it completely real.  The deep magick that I experience by connecting with my guides and Goddesses is something I never would have thought possible through this physical reality.  Along these lines, if a person never clarifies for themselves what they believe, they negate any chance of such profound magickal opportunities.  And I fully believe in the intelligence of individual spirits and deities and in their desire to have physical humans believe in them so that their energies and their stories are more fully infused in the physical plane.  This motivation on their part, to be kept alive through us, is part of what nurtures relationships with specific people.

The other thing that I have noticed is that there seem to be a couple of clear deity to person relationships that naturally happen.  The first type relates to what I was saying above about a deity wanting to be kept alive, or their presence energized by certain fit humans, by way of these human’s beliefs and actions.  This is the type of relationship where a you develop a relationship with a God/dess because the deity calls to you.  You don’t necessarily need them, you just naturally love that God/dess.  The deity makes themselves known, over and over again, and points out how the two of you are alike.  The deity helps you to become immersed in his/her stories, and to really understand his/her nature until you feel it fully in yourself.  The deity empowers you so that you will actually be a walking example of their energy, their teachings, their particular strengths and talents.  The God/dess CHOOSES you because you will not let them down.  You will do the work, and this is the type of deity relationship that often turns into devotional practice-  dedicating life actions and goals to a God/dess to honor their continually felt presence, and keep it alive and strong in the world.

The other type of human to divine relationship is the kind where a person seeks out a particular guide, or God/dess.  They read stories and learn about magick in general and the person decides that they want a relationship with a particular energy.  How can you tell which is the case for you, you ask?  Here is how:  when you aspire to, or NEED the strengths of that God/dess to help you develop, or to help you gain successes in your life, you are seeking them.  If you feel like you only speak with them when you need help, then you are seeking them.  When you already embody the traits you see described in a deity but you feel a devotional pull to them,  or you realize that you, yourself are not separate from that God/dess in any way because you are walking in each other’s shoes, it is likely that they have sought you.  Neither case is better than the other-  we each are where we are.  Seeking is necessary.  I know both of these types of relationships in my spiritual practice.  When I relate to The Morrigan, I simply feel her working through me.  We are energetically and completely downloaded into one another, and I am proud to be one of her walking embodiments.  However, I seek when it comes to the divine masculine-  I look to nurture relationships with Odin, the Dagda and others because I need to understand and integrate their ways in my life where I have not yet done so.  These relationships I would not yet categorize as devotional, either, unlike with The Morrigan, where I know it is for life, like a marriage.

If you have polytheistic tendencies like I do (I tend to sway pantheistic as well), I hope that you get to experience both of these types of spiritual relationships in your magickal travels.  I also hope that you will share some of your experiences here to expand upon this conversation that I have started, as there are probably an infinite number of other iterations that I have not described.  All I do know is that it is an immense honor to have the privilege of physical life while feeling infused with the divine.  Blessed Be.

Read This Even if You Think You Already Know About Moon Phases and Manifestation!

Posted in General Magickal Practice, Uncategorized on March 28, 2017 by nikkisnature

Okay, we need to get some things straight.  For a lot of years now, I’ve been seeing people post backward information about the moon’s phases.  What you think you know about doing manifestation work or intention setting in conjunction with the moon’s energy may be all wrong-  could explain a lot, eh?  I am continually seeing people write about setting intentions for what they want to bring into their life at the new moon.  This is wrong.  (And those who know me know that I don’t say that lightly.  Whenever I teach about an opinion I have on something magickal I always make sure to acknowledge that I’m teaching in a specific tradition and that I respect the alternative perspectives that exist in other traditions.  But the moon is the moon regardless of tradition, and its cycle has a very obvious energetic pattern.) Now I will explain why intention setting at the new moon is wrong.  The 28 day lunar cycle is an exact mirror of the female menstrual cycle.  The new moon is when the moon is dark (Dark Moon and New Moon are synonymous terms) and not visible from earth, and at its most yin point.  After its darkest point, we move into the period called the waxing moon, when the crescent slowly starts to be visible again, increasing a bit daily for two weeks.  During the waxing moon, you can add an energy of increase, or building up, to your magickal or manifestation work.  The waxing moon is equivalent to the uterine lining building up and preparing to be fully fluffed with healthy cells that would allow an egg to implant. The full moon is when the moon is a bright, round, fully lit orb that is visible from earth-  this is the moon’s most yang point in the cycle.  Yang energy is emanating, vital and creative.  The full moon, like the white round egg, signifies ovulation.  It is at the time of ovulation that ideas can be fertilized and put into play effectively.  At the full moon we charge tools and stones, we charge ideas and ask that our intentions be put into action.  Once the moon passes peak fullness, it begins waning, or decreasing in lightness and visibility.  The waning moon phase is equivalent to the aging, quieting of the uterine wall.  There is no longer a ready egg, and the cells are no longer ripe to support creation.  It is an energy of lessening, and it is a good time to be lowering stress, getting rid of negativity, or lessening of blockages.  When we get to the new moon again, that period of lunar darkness, we need to remember that this phase is equivalent to the actual period!  This is the shedding time.  This is when you clean house, banish, and complete any removing processes that may have started during the two week period of the waning moon.  So in the current day, the terms new moon and dark moon are synonymous.  I believe that in older times, the term New Moon may have been used to denote the time when the moon once again became visible as a crescent, validating to the naked eye here on earth that the cycle had miraculously begun again.  But you need to remember that this is actually the waxing phase, when the moon is already in a pattern of increase.  When you set intentions during the dark/new moon, you are in the shedding/period time, so you are fighting against the current.  Now, once you can actually see the waxing crescent, if that is what you prefer to call new moon, it wouldn’t be wrong to get your intention focus building at that point, but your peak manifestation moment is always going to be the full moon.  I hope that you can clearly envision and understand the cycle in its entirety as I have explained it here.  You can feel free to ask me questions about this-  there are many, many people who have this skewed, even some of the websites that come up first in the list upon googling “moon phases in magick”.  Anyone who likes to study the metaphysical, or actively engages in manifestation needs to know this.  After mental focus, timing in accordance with moon phase is probably the most important ingredient in any type of magickal work.  I’m tired of seeing people who are trying to lead or set an example for others disseminate wrong information about this incredibly universal energy.  Don’t fight it folks-  line up with the ebb and flow and you may be amazed with the results.  So mote it be!

Lady Nikki, High Priestess, Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick

Using Feathers in Magick

Posted in General Magickal Practice on September 7, 2016 by nikkisnature

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This article is, in a sense, the sequel to my previous entry on feather finding.  So maybe you, like myself, have had a great spring and summer season of feather finding.  What now, will you do with all of your amazing finds?  There really are a lot of options.

  1.  Smudge feather fans:  This one may seem obvious because it is a very common way to use feathers.  If you have a large feather with a strong central spine such as a turkey, goose or vulture wing feather, you can use it for smudging even just by itself.  I like being able to use the feather pretty vigorously to waft sage or incense smoke, and to draw symbols or pentagrams in the smoke in the air. Even less hearty feathers though, such as gull or crow, or tail feathers of many birds, can be grouped together in small bunches and attached to a handle to create very decorative and sturdy fans for smudging.  If you’ve never had another person exorcise you using feathers prior to a sacred ceremony, I highly recommend you try it!
  2. As an additional aid to spell releasing:  Many times a magickal practitioner will go out into nature or by a body of water to release ashes or herbs from a spell in order to allow the vibration to spread out into the world.  As an air sign person myself, I realized that this process carried an extra energetic boost if I also brought a handful of my small, fluffy feathers, and after releasing the spell, blew the feathers up into the air off of my hand (as if making a wish) to punctuate my final point of focus.  (Don’t wish though…simply manifest by clearly seeing the intended outcome as though it is already happening)  It is also very beautiful to watch the feathers float through the air, especially if you do this over water and let them land and float away, bringing the ideas you have focused on out into nature with them.  Don’t forget that the element of air (to which feathers belong) corresponds to the realm of thought!
  3. To augment your Book of Shadows:  A Book of Shadows is your personal grimoire- a special journal where you document magickal experiences, words, recipes and spells for your own future use, and hopefully for posterity as well.  Mine is a lovely huge leather job with linen-like pages that looks like something straight out of Hogwarts.  I take great pride and care in crafting the pages so that they beautifully convey the energy of the magickal act of which they speak.  Taking small feathers, even the little fluffy ones, and gluing them in a grimoire adds an amazing energetic and aesthetic touch to your book.  This is especially poignant on pages where air factored into a spell you did, or you wrote an invocation to an air-oriented spirit or deity, or if, like me, you, yourself are a creature of air and it factors into all the magick you do!
  4. Creating decorations, shrines and altar pieces:  Bird feathers can easily be incorporated into frames, mounted on wall hangings, stood up in vases as though they are flowers, and glued to prints that make your sacred space more magickal.  It’s nice to figure out if any of your favored deities or guides are related to specific birds, and use those feathers to decorate the area around a statue or picture of that God/dess.  I always feel honored to receive feathers that are connected to my primary Goddesses, and I am sure to show them and let them know.
  5. Used as charms or protectors:  If you love the feathered nation or have any bird guides or deities/spirit guides with bird associations, a feather is a great item to include in protection charms. Birds are watchful and aware and have the best vantage point to see things coming, and can then give you fair warning.   I always tie some special feathers into a sprig of goldenrod that I dry and use annually for a home protection spell.  Also, if you are ever burying spell contents that you need to keep on lockdown, placing a special feather on top of the buried box can act as a symbolic and energetic guardian over the process on your behalf.
  6. Use it as a quill:  I’ll admit I don’t do this often, but you can, of course, use a large feather with a sturdy spine to write with in ink, just like in the good old days. This is a super cool way to write your spells on parchment.  I don’t know if I trust myself enough to write in liquid ink in my special grimoire though!
  7. Feather finding for divination:  This doesn’t apply to the use of feathers you already have, but I use the actual act of feather finding as a means of divination many times.  It is one of the purest forms of divination I do, because there is no room for personal interpretation to interfere in the message at all.  To do this, I like to walk in a quiet place like a trail or a cemetery alone, and ask a yes or no question.  When I set out to do this, my rule is that if I find a feather before I circle back around to where I started, then that is a “yes” answer to my question.  Don’t perform this unless you are prepared to accept that the answer might be no!  And don’t change your route or walk all day long until you find a feather just because you want the answer to work out to your advantage!  It works very well for me, and with super clear and later validated results.  Also, sometimes when I wasn’t even intending to do divination, but I find a feather that feels very auspicious, I will halt my thinking so I can stop and be clear about what was going through my mind right as I found the feather-  it is usually a validation of some deep truth in that particular thought process.

These are just the feather uses that seem most obvious to me right now!  I’m quite sure there are as many more potential fun and magickal uses as there are birds and practitioners of magick.  Please feel free to share your ideas here in the comments as well. Have a bright and magickal day!