Friday, September 28, 2012

PBP 23: Spirits 101: Defense for Spiritwalkers (Part 1)


Realized dividing this into parts might make me get on them faster. Part 2 is going to deal more with Sigil magix/defense for the Self and other shit, alright?

So you have a slight ghost problem, but you can't move and you're having trouble keeping annoying things out? Have no fear, I'm compiling a list of things you can do.

In this part of defense for Spirit-Walkers:

Home Consecration/Cleansing!

-Sage Sticks and shit
-Handmade holy waters/ash combinations
-Black salt/homemade salt additives
-Crystal Grids

Home Defense!

-Warding for the Rest of Us

-Energetic alarm systems
-Energetic booby traps
-Sigils for trapping/forcing shit out
-House Spirit/Land Spirit Relationships

So you wanna know how to set up astral alarm systems for your house, eh? Good decision. Beyond basic wards and shit, astral alarm systems can be connected to booby traps and other such more aggresive methods to throw things off your property.

Wards will try to keep things out, but booby traps will react in case something succeeds in getting in. 

{Quick note here: These are all options you can utilize for protection. You don't NEED TO do all of these things at the same time, or at all. You can take what you want and alter them for your own purposes and so they fit with your own path and with your own deities. These are a framework for you to build on, so I'm giving you permission to go ahead and go nuts with 'em, okay? Okay.}


Home Consecration/Cleansing

Before you attempt to ward a property, even if you have a confirmed Spirit-Problem ON the property, cleansing the entirety is usually my step 1.

What can you use for cleansing?

I personally LIKE white sage, blue sage, and rosemary. Rosemary is highly protective and planting it on the property is a good idea.

If you want to dry blue sage or rosemary, clip it in the morning, before the heat of Summer comes on. You clean off the first inch at the bottom of the stalks, and you rubber band the bundles together. I personally dry mine inside plastic bags with the bottoms open to ensure a nice, slow dry and to stave off molds. Make sure they are TOTALLY dry when you bind them. Nothing like coming back a weak later and your shit is mostly mold and not plant.

Here's a good overview of how to bind your own sticks. I personally like to dry the herbs first though, for a better burn and because less air gets to the stick when it's wet so I am over cautious about mold. I also personally think rosemary from my own garden, from my own land is going to have more good vibes so to speak than a store bought thing, because the Land Spirit here knows the shit on my land. But that goes for anything, really.


And a photo of my herbs drying, woohoo.

If you're smoke sensitive or can't handle sage in general (IT'S A LOT OF SMOKE PEOPLE FOR REAL AND IT'S NOT REALLY THAT GREAT TO INHALE IT, BECAUSE IT'S -SMOKE-) there are other things I have done.

I burn things in my cauldron outside, protective shit, and let the smoke peter off. By protective shit I mean you can burn frank and myrrh incense or resins, or sage again if you WANT, (I do it outside so it doesn't bother me this way) but often I do a combo of written sigils on paper and herbs, for extra oomph. Then, I have added water to the ash and made it into a sort of paste with my hands, so I can dip my finger in the grayish paste and annoint doorways, windows, and etc with protective symbols.

The simplest I did was an "x", the most complex I've done was an entire protective sigil. Do what feels good.

So you don't want to do ash either? It's cool. You can make protective salts.

I'm a fan of use what you got. Don't have black salt or sea salt? Fuck it, use plain old salt. Intent is the name of the game, not Class A Witchcraft Materials. You can use salt by itself, to annoint doorways, make circles around the property, or keep on the altar as a drawing mechanism. That's totally fine.

You can add salt to water and use that water to combine with sage-ash or herbs ash to add another layer to the strength of your water-ash concoction too.

You can also take it another step and add things to your salt. I have added dried rosemary to my salt before, because of the protective qualities. You can stick a sigil inside a bowl of salt and let it absorb that energy from your sigil. If you're inclined to you can add bodily fluids to salt you'll scatter around outside the property. I personally don't because bodily fluids trigger my dysphoric body feels, but hey, it's definitely powerful, I won't deny you that.

If you're adding herbs to salt, generally speaking you stick it in a bottle or closed container for 2 weeks to a month to let it absorb the flavor (if you're into that) and energy. You can either leave the salt as it is or put it through a grinder for a very fine, good tasting salt after the 2 weeks/month is up. (Most people do this with Lavender, but it can be done with other herbs if you're not going explicitly for a tasty salt.)

Another generic cleansing method using nothing but rocks is Crystal Gridding. I made two posts on the topic here and here, in which I explain how to set one up, etc. But below I'll show you a grid I just tested/put together that's meant for protection against home invaders. Later when we get to energy alarm systems I'll show you how to test the grid to see if you have weak spots in your alarm system just be sensing your grid.


This particular grid is meant to cycle energy through the space, NOT a defense mechanism to trap or ensnare.

A lesser-known perhaps method is Sound Cleansing. You can use a bell, or a tibetan singing bowl, or chanting, etc to cleanse a space. Rattles, sistrums, these are all valid options. Singing bowls for instance when played produce this almost mind-altering, single note that rises into a single, loud crashing wave of sound. It's powerful stuff.

Alrighty, so at this point you house is all cleansed, amirite? Now you need to build a defensive foundation. This is where my methods get more hardcore than imaging-a-shield-around-your-house-of-light-default methods.

Home Defense

For Warding I'm first going to link you to The Twisted Rope, who I feel has done more warding then me personally, and then I'm going to show you how I tend to ward.

Warding is generally accepted as the process of preventing things from getting in/at you etc. It's like the fence around the property. A ward can be broken easier than a mutil-layered alarm system, if you ask me, but it's still smart just to put one up to insure from privacy.

When I put up basic warding in a place, I tend to bury or hide things at strategic points around the house. For instance, burying a Witch Bottle in the front yard meant to fend off intruders, you could say, is a form of warding. Warding could be likened to Preventative Medicine, you get me?

As you know I'm a Crystal fan. And in my current House I don't have access to all of the rooms to stratetically place things. What I DO have in places are strong wards in my room. Here are photos to explain them.


1. Elemental Sigil over the Mirror

This is a sigil I drew myself a few years ago that I love. In case you didn't realize, Mirrors are giant fucking Spirit-gateways, so if your mirrors are NOT warded, you should fucking do that. You need to control exactly what comes through, and how. I like to have sigils over both windows and mirrors because both of those things can be considered portals.


1a. Celin

This is my Fox skull, Celin. I usually have her right up against the mirror on her box (back to the mirror) because she specializies in neutralizing 'negative' entities and it saves me a lot of work. So in this case I am partnering with an existing Spirit to ward my room.


2. Graveyard Dirt

This was gifted to me. It's freely-given dirt with the Spirits more or less still attached by choice. The moment I put the jars on the altar I felt how much more enclosed my room felt. Like it had been too open and finally shut. This is likely because the one Spirit in particular acts as a protective entity to other, weaker Spirits. So I don't have to do anything, this just works as a ward.


3. Wall Sigil

This is an Astral defense sigil I streamed, called loosely the defense of the thousand eyes. As for what it does...read that name again. But I prefer to have one sigil/ward per wall if I can.


4. Crystal Grid (sometimes)

This is specifically a grid meant to ward off. For a warding grid you might incorporate nails or other not so nice objects to keep shit out.

5. Paper Mache Skulls

I don't have photos of these anymore, but we basically painted skulls like Sugar Skulls before to honor Spirits living in our apartment in Philly. (We made contact with them and they told us they were Hispanic, specifically Mexican, and they were the kindest old couple ever) Anyway the skulls sat facing the door on a little window ledge. They became an accidental ward. Leave a consecrated item alone long enough, and it's going to attract a Spirit. Our Spirits happened to be scary and loved eating weaker entities. Sooo...that worked out.

So even my wards are technically very complex. You can feel the difference when you walk into my room. I have multiple times had friends fall asleep on my carpet floor because the room acts as a relaxing energy pit.

Onward.

Energetic Fences, Alarm Systems & Booby Traps Explained

The part you've probably all been waiting for. How do you set up a fence/energetic alarm system on your property, how do you set up booby traps to default once the alarm system is triggered, and how can you test the system by using only a crystal grid?

Firstly this system should be used in addition to your generic wards/shields, because it's much easier to break a multi-layered defense than just wards.

Below is a diagram of a house, aight?


The x's represent places in which you will set up the alarm system/fence system. Visually what you're doing is creating an energetic invisible dog-fence, that will both repel and trigger shit to let you know something is wrong.

So the first way to set this up is by burying items at your specified points. If you want to get intense about it, buy enough pieces of hematite to bury one at each of your specified points. You can use herb bundles, gris gris bags, or talismans too. Whatever you deem fit. MARK THE POINTS, even with a large rock or something, because you might need to see where this shit is later. You need to do this in the immediate sense because the Fence isn't set up just by you burying shit.

If using different items, I like to make sure the points at North, South, East and West are particularly strong items. If you reference my Crystal Gridding post, these are acting like the frame or anchor because you're creating a giant sigil/field that is larger than your fucking house. Generally speaking you CAN make a fence with just 4 points, but that's minimum. However many you go OVER 4 is your decision.

It is possible to do this completely energetically without using items. The items are for your benefit, to bring you a point of focus to work on your points.

MAKE A MAP OF YOUR POINTS! Even roughly drawn, the map is needed for step two, at which point you can build your indoor grid.

So once your shit is buried and/or you have marked out equidistant points around your property, it's time to actually create the 'posts' of your fence. Imagine that this step is the equivalent to sticking single posts in the ground all around your property. So an incomplete fence. The 'cross bars' or the barked wire elements are added back inside.

This is how you visualize your fence-posts:

1. Ground and center your shit.

2. Stand in front of the North point in your yard/whatever. What I like to do is "feel" my hands around a large post in front of me. I use my hands to help me visualize. This post is unique to you. It can be large and thick like a ring of trees, or cool, square, and industrial like a futurisitc fence around military base. I like to make my posts TALL, as in taller than the roof. This gives me a better feeling generally.

3. "Feel" Energy from the ground/yourself/the astral flooding this single post in front of you. Astrally speaking, this is called "Flooding the boundary."

There are two steps to Astral energy creation: 1, Create a boundary for the energy. Like a blueprint of a shape you hold in your mind. 2, "Flood" the blueprint in your mind with energy. This makes it "Real".

4. Continue to flood this with energy until you feel it like a brick wall. Like it's super fucking solid. In your mind push on it. See how solid it is, how driven into the ground it is. Once you're sure it's to your liking, proceed clockwise around all of your points, creating a post at each point.

5. Once you're done creating posts and they feel very solid, it's time to proceed inside to actually join your posts together into a cohesive fence.

Take the handy map you made and place it in front of you. If you are a person that likes visual aids, you can actually construct for yourself "poles" on top of your paper map. So little train set dowls or something can work for this. You can never have enough visual aids.

I like to take my map and translate it to a crystal grid instead. If you have a place for the map permanently, that's the best. Place it somewhere it won't be disturbed but you can still use it. Practically speaking the map can be very small or large, depending on your needs.

Here's a photo of a hypothetical map I drew out. {The outside circles are for the alarm system later}


Okay so this is my map translated to a Crystal Grid. {Again ignore the outside for now, this step is just the inside circle.}


So you have your poles outside, and your map inside. First you need to "connect" those energies, so your map inside and your map outside are energetically the same. Yes, more visualization again, aren't you EXCITED.

1. You're going to close your eyes, hold your hands over/under your map/fence in whatever form that takes (a paper drawing only, a crystal grid, a tiny model of wooden posts on a map) and mentally see the walls of your house gone. So you're outside, holding this thing, okay?

2. You're going to "see" your map expanding, above your head/below your feet, until it's the exact size of the whole area. In your mind, "see" the map matching perfectly with the things you buried or energetic posts you put up earlier.

3. Spend some time charging this connection to be synchronized. Synchronizing will be important when you set up energtic alarms.

4. When you're ready, open your eyes. The map should be different, more charged now.

Okay, so you've showed your map that it's connected to your outside defensive points.

Now we are going to add the crossbars, and make the fense a real solid fence.

What I like to do is take a crystal point (you can use your finger, a wand, anything to direct energy) and SLOWLY and meticulously draw an energy line between each point of your map.

For those wondering, if you're working on a paper map, YES, you can use a pencil to direct this energy. So you are now playing connect the dots, clockwise, around your circle. You might feel like this is hard to do. It's because you're more or less now moving massive chunks of energy around.

If you can, visualize yourself outside again as you trace each line. "see" a wall of energy start at one point, and join the next. Push it. Feel how solid/springy/sticky it is. When you feel your visualization is really strong, go to the next one.

So:

1. Draw a line (energetically or with a pencil)

2. Visualize the outside fence getting a cross-beam.

3. Do the whole circle this way.

4. Affirm your intent: That the System will keep unsavory, malevolent, or Spirits and People and Beings wishing harm off your land. These two Energy Systems I mention are almost conscious forces. You are programming these Systems like a computer so they will work indefinitely, so you don't have to.

In this way, you're making your posts into a proper fence. As with before, you can "see" it however you want. I prefer a solid fucking wall of energy between each post (think of like a force field from the future, or if dog fences were visible things, you know?)

So once that's done, if you want to check your lines, hold your hand over the line and sense it. This will tell you if shit is in proper order. (This is why I like crystals since they hold somewhat of a charge, you know?)

If you want to "test" your fence, you can go outside and count how many paces it is until you feel weird energy shit. This can be a sudden inclination to turn back, or a weird feeling of thick or heavy air. Things like that. You can physically check the fence for weak points if you want to be very thorough, and patch them.

Also optional for a fence: I sometimes create a "ceiling" for my fence, like a giant spiderweb over the whole house/area. This is as simple as energetically attaching it to each point in your fence.

Creating an Energetic Alarm System

If you set up your astral fence, you already did 95 % of the work for this process.

I still am recommending use of a Crystal grid for this one, but again that's because I'm comfy working with those items.

So, let's start with basics. Say you don't want a fence, just a system. How do you do that?

Cue some more visualization, guys.

I still use a fencepost system for my alarm systems. So set up points in the yard/house you want to use. In this case, though, instead of making a huge impenetrable wall, you're doing the equivalent of stringing cans on a string. Things that will make noise, but aren't going to stop things going through.

I will say my Alarm systems are usually outside my fence. Depends how much space you have. If you can make a second set of fenceposts a foot or two away from your actual fence, do it. The idea is the alarm system lets you know when things are trolling around your outer fence limits, so if they get in you're not surprised.

So you make your fenceposts, and you have your map inside. If you're using both a Fence and Alarm system you can bury two items at each point if you wish. So you can utilize two maps, one for a general shield and one for an alarm system only. (If you want to bury items for an alarm system, you can actually bury noisy things, like a bell if you have one, next to the posts)

So you now have your map in front of you. "Bind it" to the outside like you did during the fence. Then, what I like to do is envision energy cords, like thick strings, going from one post to the next. Then, I envision bells hanging on the strings. So the strings are easy to get around and through, but the bells are not easy to avoid. I like a bell system because I have found using an energetically "noisy" system can alert your companion animals to an intruder. If you want, you can map the bells on your map as well. You can get fancy and put extra bells at the 4 directions if you want. It's all energetic, do whatever you can dream up.

{Map with both systems drawn, with sigils on one half, no crystals.}

Inform the System that, should any Spirit you don't personally know and accept come through the bells, let them ring strong for a long time, and alert you by any means necessary. (All my Chaos magicians, is this sort of creation of a conscious thought construct? You may have caught me, yeah.)

Once you have the map marked, you can go outside and try to feel your alarm system as well. If you have companion animals they can help you test it. If you're clairaudient or have prowess of that sort, try to "hear" that sound. You don't need to be able to hear it to use the system. The idea is the system will alert those that CAN hear it, like your Land and House and Guide Spirits, and they can alert you or take action. The alarm system can benefit everybody.

Speaking of intruders, the interesting part is your energetic alarm system might trigger for ANYBODY physical coming onto your property. So a stranger the Spirits don't know can trigger the system. Yes, this can theoretically work for unsavory individuals with mal intent as well.

What to do now/Maintaining your System

Now the fun part. Say you're chilling one day and you hear one of the bells, or a Spirit tips you off. You can check it from your map.

Using your map, sense each post/bell you marked individually. The one that is triggered will feel different, or potentially multiple bells. You can use this to judge the direction the thing is coming from, which is helpful for you.

Then, you can take your other map, the Fence one, and feel it for weak spots or points at which something might be trying to get in. Check the directional point the bells felt weird first. If you built the wall well nothing short of a powerful thing is going to get in, but say that does happen. That's what the next part is for: energetic traps and booby traps.

But first! You can check your maps on a semi-regular basis for holes or weak spots, again by tracing the lines with your hand. Look for irregularities. You can go outside and do this too, then fill them in with energy. If the walls are attacked enough, they can break down. So maintain your System.

Building energetic Booby-traps and Energy Sinks into your Wall System

So it's one thing to build yourself a giant motherfucking wall. It's another thing to make that wall more or less sentient enough to go ahead and devour shit that tries to bypass that wall.

So if you're keeping track, this is level 3 in security, behind the outer security system, and the inner wall.

So you have your wall-map in front of you right? Cool. So we're going to go over some energetic booby traps.

And it's going to sound JUST LIKE HARRY POTTER. PROCEEDING.

1. Flinging traps
What I like to call THROW SHIT FAR AWAY traps

2. Trap & Hold
What I like to call GRAB SHIT AND RESTRAIN IT TIL I CAN DEAL WITH IT LATER traps

3. Trap & Drain
What I like to call RESTRAIN AND DRAIN OF ENERGY AND DESTROY traps

So those are the three types of traps I have seen used astrally/energetically. As to what you can use to do that? Well that's the chaos magicky fun part because it doesn't matter.

Let me give you my general process for adding booby traps into my walls.

What I like to do is use sigils. So I visualize sticking a giant sigil on one of my wall-spaces.

Then, I like to create an astral room somewhere else. Let's say I create an astral room filled with nasty throny carnivorous vine plants, okay? And let's say I put that sigil on the door to that room.

And let's say I tell the sigil "if something I don't recognize and allow hits you, you are to open that door and let them make friends with my plants". Theoretically by linking the sigil to that room, I have created a simple booby trap.

So in simple terms:

1. Visualize/create an energetic room to do what you need it to. I use plants, you can use shackles or other mechanical shit. If you want it to fling shit away from your wall, why not use a catapault? Or a vacuum that sends it somewhere else? This is chaosy timey wimy shit we're talking about here, Spirits don't really operate on rules and neither do you. You harry potter the fuck out of your room, okay?

2. Visualize a sigil (in whatever form feels right to you) on the door of that room. Visualize or physically draw the same sigil on the map on your wall. "Instruct" the system to open the door to the sigil-room if things try to get through.

3. That's really all there is to it.

As to what you visualize, it depends. What are you warding against? A Deity that is persistent? A room full of shit it really hates. A particular human? Focus on scary shit if you ask me. Something very powerful that isn't going to be "destroyed"? Create a room that saps energy, and it'll leave on its own. Experiment with booby traps.

You can check them on your map the same way as other things. Simple hand sensing.

This is what the map looks like with sigils, both systems, and crystal grid in place on top of it.


So now you're thinking OKAY DUSKEN BUT WHAT IF I JUST WANT BOOBY TRAPS AT SPECIFIC PLACES AROUND MY PROPERTY AND I DON'T WANT TO BOTHER WITH A HUGE WALL AND ALARM SYSTEM SET UP? Yeah, totally fine.

Sigils and Traps for specific points in the house

A word of explanation. All of my recent sigils are mixes of astral shit. I find for warding using symbols most beings haven't seen before buys you extra time and confusion on the part of the being. So as for 'horee shit how do I make sigils', it's up to you. Anything can really work. Really.

What follows are simple house sigils you can appropriate if you want. You don't need to DRAW THESE in plain sight. You can use energy. I like to draw them on paper and stick them up, myself.



1. A sigil meant to trap shit in a box and drain it.

I used this one once before for a strong entity that wouldn't give it up. As for the trapping part, don't attempt that shit by yourself. But this sigil when applied to a box acts as a giant energy sinkhole and will usually force shit out back into the astral when it has nothing left.



2. A sigil meant to deflect from a room or surface.

This is meant to like...electrify shit. So if you touch it you're like OW WTF better not touch it again.



3. A sigil meant to trigger a web that keeps shit trapped inside the room the sigil is placed.

This is like creating a big old sticky spiderwebby gum-circle around a room.

{Sorry I didn't feel like taking more time to make sure the sigils were geometrically sound. I tend to just freehand 'em}

Those are the three main things you're going to need for basic traps.

Meant to be used for doors, windows, etc.

Okay so FINALLY THE LAST PART

House & Land Spirits Relations for Defense

In order to have a strong defense system, it's pretty important you discuss shit with your Land Spirit beforehand.

This can be as simple as sitting outside and meditating and asking to make contact, and maybe bringing a little offering of water or something to start. It can take a while to build this relationship. So proceed with caution and making sure it knows you mean no harm and only wish to honor it.

This relationship is reciprocal. It is not your pet or slave that does shit for you. Provided you can access this Spirit, you can discuss the state of the land, and you can propose an offer.

For instance, a friend of mine went on vacation and contacted the local Spirit for defense reasons while she was gone. He agreed on the premise 2 apples would be buried for him at the base of a large tree in the yard.

You can put an offer on the table, saying if you can make sure shit is okay on a day to day basis, I'll offer you energy or time or do something for you like trim your specific plant or tree or offer you specific foodstuffs.

The Spirit then can choose to accept or not. It's not your decision, and be respectful. There may be very good reasons a Spirit refuses. But provided it accepts, fulfil your end of the bargain, because not doing so is kind of douchey.

If you want there to be a time limit on your Defensive contract, say that. The friend mentioned before only wanted these services for 2 weeks, so at the end of the specified time she buried the apples and they went on their separate ways. I personally keep good relations with my land Spirit because it's good practice, even though we are currently not in a defensive agreement.

In my experience Houses tend to acquire Spirits as well.

I differentiate between House Wights/things around the house and the Spirit of the house itself.

To connect to this Spirit, same idea. Sit, meditate, probably in the hearth of your house, or where you feel like the "heart" of the house is. Ask it to contact you. Wait. Be respectful. Don't be surprised if it takes a while.

(My house spirit is maybe 6 inches tall and adorable. So she's very shy around most people.)

If you do make contact, again, you can put forth a defensive offer. Like, you tell me how shit is and maintain barriers around the house proper, and I'll clean out the fireplace regularly. Or I'll dust that spot I never dust. Things houses like.

Be respectful if the deal is made and keep up your end of the bargain. You don't want a bad rep in terms of spirit deals, trust me. Discernment, as always, applies to Spirit things.

And before you ask, yes you can ask Deities and Guides to patrol for you too. But that's between you and them :)

Related Posts {The Spirits 101 Series}:

1. Spirits 101: Consent for Spirit Walkers
2. Spirits 101: Victim Shaming, YOUR consent & Spirit Walking
3. Spirits 101: Land Spirits & Forest Walking
4. Vocabulary for Spirit-Walkers
5. Discernment

Monday, September 24, 2012

Personal Calenders, part 2: A Search for Narrative

{Picture from here}


So a while ago I decided I wasn't going to follow the Wheel of the Year's narrative ideas, and instead I was going to celebrate the change of the seasons, and things important to ME. I like some of those days because where they fall makes sense to me, and not necessarily its narrative.

Celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi was kind of a step in this direction. A celebration of honor for something I worked with. But here's the thing: I want something that has meaning, to me.

I have a problem. I don't follow any Deity nor existing Path in terms of holidays. Usually I don't work with things near enough to want to honor them with offerings or anything, and when I do it feels hollow. I can't explain it but it feels hollow, somehow. Like I'm half-heartedly believing in this holiday because I want to do SOMETHING.

While I will be celebrating the Equinox here, I am celebrating on the 26th, which is the actual numeric day of equal day and night for my area here in PA. (Some people don't realize the Equinox is usually different than numeric day and night.) I will be writing down things I want to harvest, and burning them on Samhain, the new year.

I think I have been slowly introducing things I want to do during those days, and I didn't realize I was slowly working in a calender.

On the Equinox, I write things to harvest, on Samhain, I burn them. On Yule, I write wishes for the coming year, and on Imbolc, I burn them. I didn't realize until writing this post I have somewhat of a cycle going for my Year, at least in the dark months, so that's something. That's a beginning.

I am going to work through the dark months to develop more. Foods for those holidays, things to do for Spring/Summer. I am somewhat reversed. When Spring hits I die a little. In Summer I am suffering. Summers are horrible for me. When Fall and Winter come I feel alive again, finally, like I am at union with the earth. I want to create a narrative that honors this process in myself, even if it's directly contrary to others.

Graveyarddirt has a narrative centric to herself, around the Virgin/Whore seasonal dichotomy. I really respect this idea of a personal narrative. I want to begin work on creating such a narrative for myself, though obviously not based on fertility. I like Proserpina's Kitchen and her descent narrative honoring Proserpina. I want the feeling of being able to do this and have it be meaningful, without using Deity. I feel like the secular wish/herbalism stuff is part of a process, and that I should integrate Land Spirits or something I DO work with into that process. And now I am wondering how I should do that, because I have no precedent.

What I DO mostly work with is my Spirit Guide and the branches he has to other Astral things. I am beginning to realize my Bast/Anubis centric Shamanic shrine makes no sense anymore. I barely work with either of them for more than a day at a time, and the same for most Deity. They just don't enter my radar because so much of my work is through my Shamanic work and my Guide. So I am considering doing like the rose bell and creating mementos of my Guides, to put on my altar, and structuring my narrative around him as well.

I should mention I actually do not resonate with the descent/rising life/death dichtotomy of the Wheel of the Year and many other systems, and I think what I listed above is why. When Summer comes, I dread it. My allergies kick in during Spring and then the heat comes and I drag myself around, tired all the time and gross and sweaty and I despise it. Fall comes, and with it comes good things for me, and I can breathe and move and have comfortable temperatures and gorgeous leaves again. Winter comes and I bask in the cold, the snow, the dead silent mornings with hot tea. I covet those months, they are my favorites, and I keep them close to my heart.

So maybe I start with that. Maybe I reverse the wheel, and that's the key.

Related Post

1. Creating a Personal Calendar

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

I began work with Ganesh in the beginning of Summer...and though my obstacles WERE removed...I didn't know how much the process was going to change me, irrevocably.

To honor our continual bond, I am celebrating Ganesh Charturthi, popularly known as Ganesh's birthday, more or less. The date changes yearly, but this year it began today. Truth be told I pretty much remembered it around 2 PM today, but when I did I was seized with a desire to honor this holiday.

I went out and bought one of those 7 day candles from the grocery store and affixed a Ganesh image to it. I rearranged the altar. He told me to offer Him coconut milk, so I bought some of that too. I plucked fresh flowers (pretty much all that's necessary for a heartfelt offering to Him is flowers, water, and candles) and arranged them around the altar. I filled a bowl with coconut milk, and I recited the 108 names of Ganesh and the Ganesh mantra (Om Gam) on my Mala as well.

I will be proceeding to celebrate the entire 10 days, which is going to be interesting with the intersection of Mabon. But it felt right. It feels really good. I'm happy to do this for Him.

Anyway, photos.





Dream Work: Progress & Tips for Dream Working


As you can see from the above, I bought myself some Dream Balm as part of my dream work. The Balm contains a lot of relaxant herbs, as well as herbs said to be good for psychic dreaming and dream rememberance. (It's from Rose Mountain, which sells delicious organic bulk herbs if you want.)

I had fallen kind of out of sorts with my dream work. A lot of chaos and emotional upheavel lately has prevented me from doing the proper sleep rituals, visiting Frog and doing the things to insure I remembered the dreams. I was having a hard time remembering them again, and it makes me far less comfortable when I CAN'T remember what went down.

So I had the brilliant idea to charge the dream balm for dream remembrance and astral travel.

And holy shit. Why didn't I think of doing this sooner, because I not only lived through past life memories, I saw some very voodou shit and basically had a new Guide HANDED to me and told WORK WITH THIS.

I'm still not 100 % at the remembering part, but essentially I sifted through memories of being shot. It honestly seemed like mob violence, like 1920s stuff. But apparently I was shot point blank and it happened so fast I didn't realize I was dead. The weird part was my family also treated me like I was alive, so I wonder if they were dead too. But I walked around and did things and followed a routine and never realized I was dead, until I tried to intervene with the mob a second time and a bullet went THROUGH me. I would say it was a metaphor but it felt faaaaar too familiar. So there's a good chance I spent some time as a wandering ghost after that mess. But it's true, you don't really feel the bullet. The next thing you know you're dead. At least for me it was.

Then, later, I came face to face with the 'mob boss' and here is where shit was weird. He had skull face paint a la Bawon in past dreams of the L'wa. Not only that, he had glowing red eyes, and in his nose which was more or less carved into in the shape of the skull nose, he had hundreds of tiny Veves and sigils. I have no idea what that's about, but that's probably SOME SHIT.

In dream 2, which I don't remember much again, Legba turned me into a skunk and told me to fight. I just remember being really pissed off because I couldn't get the skunk body to work, let alone fight, so what was I supposed to do with this? Then, I wake up.

I do this thing while dreaming which proves to me I have at least a modicum of control. If I see important symbols, I can actually feel myself in my mind holding on tightly to the symbol. For instance, I remember thinking to my unconscious self 'this is important' regarding the skunk. I rarely dream of animals in this context so when I do it's likely Shamanic. I also "imported" the past life memories into the second dream, so I woke up remembering both pieces of information. I also found this something I was able to do, so it's very interesting.

So I woke up and looked up Skunk as a Totem/Guide. And then, this.

'I will not tolerate abuse in any form.
I have power!
I will not let others use me.
I am a divine child!
I will sift out friends, keeping the good.
That is my responsibility!
Like the skunk, I will learn when to be disagreeable.
That is my right!'


So turns out Skunk literally is a totem of self respect and fighting/justified defense.

Well-played Legba. I actually can use that.

(Info from linsdomain. Totem dictionaries are the first thing I check before I actually work with the Guide. Don't put all of your stock into totem dictionaries. They are an OK starting point, but not the whole story.)

So I have some shit to sift through. But in the meantime here's some tips I have for dream working.

-------

1. Use a salve or herbal packets in dream work

If you have herbs good for dreaming or have made of salve of them, you can charge it for Dream work. When I charge items I usually use candle energy. So I set up a candle, etch something into the wax, and create a conduit between the candle and my item. I hold the candle and charge it by flooding it with energy from my hands. (Now that I have Reiki I used that.) Once I feel like the candle is vibrating with energy, I burn it and let it charge the stuff for me. You can also directly hold the item and strongly see what you want it to do in your mind's eye, and then flooding it with energy. Really SEE yourself astral traveling, or remembering your dreams, or lucid dreaming. See yourself writing pages of remembrances the next day. Things like that. It's that simple to charge.

If you're looking for some dream herbs, I can recommend some.

Mugwort is known for giving strong, psychic/astral dreams.
Rosemary is protective for the dreamer.
Lavender is a strong relaxant and will facilitate easier sleep.
Valerian Root smells terrible, but is a powerful sedative. When taken in a tea it can more or less knock you out. Be very careful with Valerian because too much pretty much works like a sleeping pill and you can't wake up.
Lemon Balm is also a relaxant and prompts the body to release stress.
Peppermint and Spearmint are said to give dreams of great vision and clarity; sometimes remote viewing.
Skullcap is another herb that is said to induce psychic visions.

My salve has most of these herbs in it, so I'm having noticeable results with it. (From Rose Mountain!)

If you don't have a special salve or herbal packet, you can use regular lotion, honestly. If you have anything for the face that's best. I anoint the sides of my head/temples, and my third eye with my salve. I silently affirm that I will remember my dreams. The affirmation part is the most important part of dream working, because you need to train the subconscious to think the dream is important enough to file away for when you wake up.

2. Create a dream-space to prepare for take off.

Before entering my dream state, part of my ritual is consciously going to the Lake of Stars, where I meet my Frog guide, and preparing for dreams there. You can consciously create an astral/energetic/mental area you can go to before sleep that is meant to facilitate you remembering your dreams.

It can be a huge comfy area with pillows or a giant bed. The important part is that is contains your intent to remember your dreams. Go there and perform mental dream rituals. Light some incense, ask your Deity, or put on special clothes. The idea is to signal the brain that this is important. You might talk to a guide there. I often do, but I usually remember 0 about it the next day. That's okay. What has to get done gets done, whether you remember it or not.

3. Keep a record/dream journal.

Once you start having dreams peppered with symbols and shit you need to know, you're going to want to keep a record. I recently started having precognition dreams and I shat a wall when they came true. You need to know this stuff for records purposes.

Adding the dream journal to your morning ritual will aid in training the brain that this is important, that keeping track and remembering dream travel is important.

4. Optional: Create an object or Crystal Grid to focus the dream work

My subconscious is fucking unruly, so when I really am asking for specfic answers from my dreams, I create a charged focus point.

I have made crystal grids in the past to help focus my dream work, and definitely noticed a difference. You can use an object as a focus point, hung around or above the bed. A symbol or something that has meaning to you is important. Charge the item for whatever you want the answer to, then try putting it under your pillow. I have used Amethyst stones charged for remembering inside my pillow case so I don't lose them. It can be a simple string charm that you braid together with the intent of dream working and hang from your bed frame. Something.

But that's really all you need to do to simply prepare for dream work.

PS I promise the defense post will be out soon. It's extremely photo heavy and full of hard methods to explain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spirits 101: Land-Spirits & Forest-Walking!


TODAY, I went outside. And by outside I mean I drove 15 minutes to one of the many parks close to my house.

I've had the itch to go for a while, since I'm very much a forest type, and as if by divine design my other Pagan friend from the area said she was going to a park today. It's called Silver Lake, btw, and I don't know if I've ever been there before now, so I hauled ass over there.


She was gone by the time I was ready to come, but I came with the intention to connect to the Land Spirit there. Nothing more, just wanted practice talking to new Spirits.

The minute I hit the trails (I was armed with water, first aid, a sweater, 2 sticks of Rose Resin incense and a box full of crystals to make a tiny altar space for the Spirit) I felt the energy of the forest. That's a GOOD sign. If I don't feel high from being there, it's a sign that Spirit is weak or missing, or the forest is not as healthy as it can be as an ecosystem. So I knew I would be able to attempt contact.

I noticed the trails were very Astral and gateway-forming, just by design. The forest borders the large river, so I got to see some swamp life and some giant water loving plants. That was cool.


I began searching out a spot to stick the incense and attempt contact. Usually I happen upon a good place when I ask for one. So I saw a bench along the trail, surrounded by 3 sets of 3 trees each, which seemed like a nice liminal portal space. I sat on the bench and introduced myself to the Spirit, though I didn't know what she was/if she was able to speak yet, and I asked for it to show me where it would like the incense offering made. I explained it was in their honor the offering was made, and I meant no harm, only contact.

During the entire time I was on the bench, the bird life in the area went haywire. The forest was completely alive with sound, which was awesome. You could hear constant tree crackling and everything. So, being bright, I asked for a sign the Forest Spirit was listening.

CRACK! Went a branch almost on my head.

I jolted. Okay, point taken...moving on.

Then I asked for the Spirit to show me, if it could, where to begin the incense offering. A gray squirrel (female I think) came out of nowhere, from down the trail, towards me. It got within 5 feet and stopped, staring. It began to forage along the trail, keeping me in its wary eyes. I told it I meant no harm and bowed, because I saw Spirit in the squirrel. You need to pay attention to strange animal life when you're looking for signs. Every other squirrel on the trail was people-shy, except this one. It got within 3 feet and locked eyes with me for 2 solid minutes. Then, it wandered to a nearby tree to watch me there, and ran away. I stuck the incense in the place the squirrel stood, frozen. It seemed right.


So I get out some stones and my tiny box and incense, and light the incense, again telling the Spirit I wished contact and it was in their honor the sacrifice was made. Then, nothing happened for a while. I listened to the birds, and I watched the smoke. I saw wings, flight, swans, birds, and finally an ocean or a river in the smoke. It split into two lines and mimicked water. I began to think perhaps the Spirit was a bird.

I shut my eyes and tried to "see" the Spirit. it wasn't working. I began to listen closely to the birds, and I began to hear words. It was at this point I was probably tripping, because I heard LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN! LISTEN! in the bird noises. And I was like I AM, I AM, WHAT NEXT.

I stared at the incense smoke some more. I then got the strangest urge to hum. I hummed a song I didn't know over the incense, and suddenly the activity picked up. Oh course, I thought. It's a Bird Spirit. They work in song. Then my Spirit-vision seemed to kick in. Below is a video of me badly humming to the thing.

video

I was sent a vision: become a bird. I got jolted out of my meditation to look behind me, where a male Robin had landed in the clearing, staring at me. It chirped, and moved to a branch nearby, continuting to watch. Okay, Robin it was.

I induced spiritual Shape-shifting. I felt my shoulders go up and back, the bones in my body rearranging. I felt my lips become a hard beak, and my eyes seperate. I felt myself become small, claws gripping the plastic of the bench. Then I saw the Barn Owl as if it was clear as day in the physical world.

She was beautiful, and huge. She was next to me, saying nothing. The Forest Spirit was a barn owl. It somehow made perfect sense.

She flew, and I flew with her. We cleared the trees and flew along the river, North, towards the mountains.

"This is my river," she said, "Follow any river to its source and there seek your answers. All answers begin at the Source."

I asked if she had anything she needed to tell me, any guidance of any sort.

"If you wish to honor the Land Spirits here, you must also follow the river. There are 7 of us, including me, all along this River. Make Offerings to the mud on the side of each section; bury the sacrifice there on the river bed. In this way you can honor each of us, in turn."

Turns out apparently I have to visit 6 more different parks, to honor the Spirit along the river. Theoretically you'd think the first is legitimately in the Mountains. Interesting indeed.

At that point I flew back. I had the feeling she wanted one of my yellow stones. I prepared to offer her one of my Golden Healer Quartz. I felt like I needed to move. I asked if this was right. A feather, a robin feather, fell from the trees right in front of me. Correct. I picked it up and put it in my box.

I felt the Offering spot was not the right place to do this, and she confirmed. She said to follow the Bird calls, because the Offering place would be The Place Where Everything Gathers.

Okay, I said.

I picked up the still-burning incense and the stone, and I carried it with me alone the path. I felt like a herald or a torch-bearer, holding this smoking stick for Spirit. I stopped at a fork in the road. Which way? I asked.


Another robin feather falls, right in my line of sight, on the left-hand path. I pick it up and continue.

Every time I stop at a fork or feel if the spot is right or not, something guides me. A squirrel runs across the correct path. A bird hops. The bird calls switch to the left or right. In this way I was guided. I will say this: I've never had such a firm representation of being guided via animal signs in all my forest visits before now. There was no doubt the Spirit was there with me, watching.

I realized I ended up on a path directly on the banks of the River. Well played, I thought.


I found the offering spot: another circle of trees. A catbird flew out of nowhere and stopped on the spot. I knew it was correct. I put the stone at the base of the trees, and took the incense with me. I felt there was more to the story.

This is where I placed the stone offering: (Yes the rainbow is in every shot, naturally.)



I continued along the path and lo and behold: a path so close to the River you could touch it. I took the incense stick (there was almost none left) and buried it right at the mud-river base, as she had asked. In this way I sealed the pact I had promised her.


It's a strange thing to explain, but if you give something of yourself, like a stone, that is permanent: you somehow establish a connection to that Spirit. It's a concrete evidence of a pact made and honored.

Anyway, it was beginning to get a little dark, and dark forests still tend to spook me, alone.


I reached a clearing right next to the River again, and there was a duck on the bank. Since I was high as a fucking kite on energy and probably tranced the fuck out by now, I went right up to her. I realized she had an injured tail; her feathers were missing. Immediately I went to send her Reiki from 4 feet away, keeping enough distance to make her comfortable. The other 6 ducks came over at this point. I stood there with my hands out and asked Reiki to flow. As I did, one by one the ducks curled up and literally went to sleep right there. Even the duck I focused on, with the injured tail, closed her eyes while standing. I continued for 5 minutes, thanked them and moved on.


I have two side notes here: people who think you can't practice Shamanic and Spirit work stone cold sober, you're fucking idiots, because I can't remember half of my trip due to being so in tune with the Forest Spirit. Secondly, people who think animals can't feel pain: you're also fucking idiots. Okay, moving right along here.

I realize at this point fuck, I am on the totally wrong side of the park to get back to the parking lot, it's getting dark and I have no idea where I am.

THIS IS WHERE IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH A LAND SPIRIT WHEN LOST ON THEIR LAND.

The Forest Spirit told me to keep straight, and told me eventually there would be a left, so take it. The signs backed her up. She was dead on with both left turns, and I ended up right back where I came in, at the parking lot.

Next to my car was a male Robin.

And that's how I ended my forest-walking journey for today.


-----

If you want to connect to your Land Spirit in your local park, I have a few tips/processes like the ones I listed here to do that.

1. Bring Offerings.

If you plan to bring offerings, which you should, THINK FIRST. Don't bring anything that will be markedly toxic to animal or plant life. Don't leave "trash" that will decompose. I bring stones because they are generally from the earth so it's okay to bury them. Usually I bring incense because it leaves ash and I can take the stick home with me, and if I lose the stick the wooden part is just wood. Nothing too horrific. Food is okay if it's not toxic to deer, squirrels or bird life, so do your research. Bird seed is a viable offering, and totally okay. Herbs are an okay offering. Energy is a fine offering. Water is totally fine too. I had water with me, but didn't feel the need to use it.

2. Be respectful.

When entering a Forest I ask permission to enter. Generally I will bow out of respect, and then enter. It works like announcing your presence, and is generally polite.

Don't demand a Spirit come to interact with you. When I set up my incense sticks, I asked for it to commune with me. ASK. Don't demand. If it doesn't come, it doesn't come. It doesn't HAVE to speak to you. I could tell this Spirit was shy and kind of scared by observing how the squirrel I first saw was behaving. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Look for Signs.

The moment you enter a Forest Spirit's realm you're looking for signs. Spirits speak through the natural landscape. Look for behaviors. The birds on the path all flew AWAY from me, so a bird coming close to me on purpose was likely a sign. The squirrels were people shy, but one suddenly comes out of nowhere and stares me down for 2 minutes. You see what I mean? Strange behaviors or occurences.

The robin feathers dropping suddenly in my path were signs, too.

4. Try contact.

As for picking a spot to do offerings, use your gut feelings. I asked for a spot and suddenly saw the bench.

Practically speaking, you're looking for a spot off the trail, preferably where people aren't going to walk the fuck in on you mediating. If using incense MAKE SURE you're there until it burns out. You do NOT want to start a forest fire. For that reason I set incense in gravel or stones, and usually not soil around trees or grasses.

Incense has an advantage in that it's natural bug spray, so if somebody side-eyes you you have an excuse if you need one.

My tiny ceremony is stick offering on the ground, and watch for signs of contact. I'm listening for sounds and Spirit-sounds, visions, or animals in my path. Feathers, rocks, shit snapping...you need to be able to be very aware.

4. Leave the floor open.

If the Spirit comes through, ask if it wants anything done for itself, its name if it chooses to give one, and if it has guidance or wisdom for you. Sometimes it will. Follow instructions given.

5. When leaving the liminal space, show respect again.

Thank the Spirit. I bowed again, and left the floor open for further contact. Make sure Offerings are disposed of properly. Incense put out, things buried, etc.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

7 Chakric Butterflies: Photo Post

Cross-posted this to tumblr.

As you may have realized, I day-job on and off facepainting at a theme park. The upside is I can paint whatever I want on my own face.

So I spent last week after my Reiki attunement painting Chakra themed butterfly designs on my face as the Reiki traveled through my system. Below are all 7 images, from root to crown.

Enjoy :D








Saturday, September 1, 2012

PBP 22: Roasty Toasty: 6 Ways I use Fire in Ritual

(Fire from life123.com)


I wasn't planning to make a real post for a while due to the shit in my life currently, but tonight I burned some shit under the full moon, outside, in my tiny cauldron, and I realized this feels too awesome not to share. So I present to you, 6 ways I have used fire in ritual (that you may not have considered yet, or maybe you have.)

Fire has the unique ability, like many things in nature, to nurture or destroy, at terms. Fire is a truth-seeker, a leveller. It leaves nothing in its path, it razes everything, good or evil, no matter, and eventually fertilizes the land and launches the cycle again. Because of this, fire is both a strong purifier, and a wonderful friend. A destroyer, ruthless and terrible, or an aid to banishing our demons. My uses reflect the myriad visions of Fire as a tool.

1. To Sniff out a Betrayer/Bad Intentions

This ritual is best used if you suspect a frienemy of bad intentions towards you, including lying, backstabbing, or other unsavory things, but you have no evidence.

You need a control to be able to do this right, as in, you need to write somebody down who you KNOW is not currently being an ass to you, so you can observe how the fire burns in general.

What you're going to do is use a candle (I use black, scribed with sigils etc), invoke whatever, and ask the fire to show you who the betrayer is. Ask it to make it very clear.

Take some basic paper and write the names of the people you suspect in red. This isn't aimed to harm or bind them, just to show their true intent. There are other spells for that.

Then, burn a blank piece of paper in the flame, and see how it burns. Fire tends to burn certain paper a certain way. Do that a couple of times, so you really know what's 'normal', etc. Once you have a feel for that, burn the paper with the name of the person you trust and don't suspect. Observe how the fire burns that one. Get a feel for it.

Then, burn the betrayer paper names. What you're looking for is suspicious activity. Suddenly 2 flames, the flame turns weird colors unexpectedly, it burns MUCH faster or slower than the controls, etc. Any of these things are valid. You're looking for beyond a doubt here. Don't look for evidence where there potentially isn't any.

Theoretically, if done right the fire will burn a lot weirder on the true betrayer name.

2. In Basic Divination

Again using fire in divination is a process. You need to work with the fire and figure out what is no, what is yes, what is maybe, etc. There is no set way I've discovered to discern this.

Again I use a candle flame. The method is basically focus on the flame/candle really hard, then when you feel in sync with it, ask it to show you yes, no, etc, like a pendulum. Take careful notes and make sure the answer is clear. YES might be a sudden spike in activity, NO might be a lick to the left or right.

My method for this is the same as a pendulum. Ask questions you know the answer to to ascertain accuracy or if you're reading right, then proceed to questions you don't know the answer to.


3. To Release Cursed Objects

Don't fucking do this unless you know what to do with this. Let me make you an analogy. You free a tiger from the zoo cause you felt bad. You feel good for freeing this. Then you realize you have no way to transport the tiger away or keep it from eating you, because it has instincts and you're delicious. That's the same for releasing cursed objects via fire, okay.

I only burn cursed objects when there is definitely no way I can salvage that shit, which is, thankfully, rarely. But burning cursed tarot decks, papers, etc is an option to forcibly release the curse via destroying the item utterly. The problem is the item was containing the energy, and now you just let it the fuck loose. You best know, if you do this, you need to contain the shit in such a way it doesn't go right back for you again. Ironically releasing a curse outside in a ring of mirrors can confuse the thing and protect you. Also, it could open a portal to the astral and fuck you up. Woops.

If you're gonna do it, do it in a circle of some sort. I even do that and I don't fucking use circles on a regular basis. Or inside a sigil or something, because the minute you release the tiger, it is probably coming after you first. Call in the big guns, whoever you have. And be vigilant about cutting attachments and ties and doing a cycle of purification things for yourself after the thing is complete.

But don't fuck around with burning cursed objects unless you know how. (or know somebody who does)

3a. To release NOT cursed object energies

This is conversely the BEST way to release a binding you did on another or yourself, or a spell you no longer want in effect, or the feelings attached to items you have from a person who moved on, or a spouse who left.

It's really cathartic to burn objects we have strong feelings for if those feelings are no longer helping us, because fire forcibly releases the energy and returns it to the universe. I recommend this. (Outside under the moon is rad by the way. Get a cauldron and go to it.)

Don't be weirded out if you start crying or getting emotional during the burning. It serves as a psychological catalyst to be able to make our pain and memories physical, and then to burn and destroy them. It releases a lot of pent up feelings.

4. To Release Spirits 

If you have Spirit attachments to items, this can forcibly release the Spirits too.

However refer to my consent posts etc and make sure the Spirit wants you to release it from the item, if that's its 'home'. Assuming the Spirit is just a regular joe, not really hurting anybody. If you have a malevolent Thing attached to your shit, again, burning it might just make it easier to get directly at you. Same goes for an item somebody gave you on purpose with an attachment.

An alternative to outright burning said items I have used is burying. You can, conversely, burn AND bury, to keep the thing from getting at you. Again, only use if you know what you're doing, etc.

You might consider cremation a form of releasing a Spirit Attachment to a body via flame.

5. In Shadow Working Rituals

I use fire in Shadow Work often.

If you're like me and have traits or self depreciating attitudes you are working on, here's a simple ritual I plan to use for the next dark moon cycle.

1. Sit down and think about some traits or thoughts you want to change. These can include negative and non-serving thought patterns, like you always think you're too 'fat', or too 'thin', or not 'pretty' enough, or you put yourself down all the time, or you left people walk all over you, or you're constantly getting into bad relationships because you have a lack in yourself. These are all things I consider things to work on via Shadow work.

2. Narrow this list down to 13. (You don't have to, but I like numbers, y'see.)

3. On the third day of the full moon, when the waning cycles begins, annoint yourself in whatever you like and announce your intent to work through some issues for the next cycle. Be aware this can be very emotional and taxing, because you're adding strong magic to shadow work, but that it can also jumpstart very great healing. You can announce this to your deities/guides/ask for help, whatever you feel you need to do.

4. On each day for the moon cycle, all the way until the Dark/New Moon, focus on one of your traits on your list. It doesn't have to be dwelled upon, all day. You can set aside time. I would say after work/obligations, because it's best to rest afterwards. But set aside time in which you create a symbol of your trait, like even writing it on a slip of paper, and then you focus on it. You really remember all the times that trait has occured or brought you down. You remember the good moments and the bad ones. The remembering on purpose is a huge part of shadow work, because we like to forget instead of deal. You might bring up emotions; you might scream or cry or get angry. Channel this energy into the symbol you have, seeing it enter the object.

5. When you feel you have focused enough energy on the symbol, go outside, if possible, and burn the object in a cauldron or other fire proof container. What I have taken to doing is burning paper directly on a bed of loose White Sage. This way I am purifying my object by fire and by vibrations from my herbal incense, in a way. I light the herbs/sage and let it catch the object on fire. I obviously prefer to do this as night under the moon/stars.

6. While the thing burns, say 'By Earth and Fire, I release you.' You can chant the phrase, say it once, whisper, shout, whatever feels right. Watch the object as it burns. Feel the fire burning your attachments, your old patterns. Let the fire take as long as it needs. You might notice very charged items burn a very long time. This is necessary. As for relighting if the flame goes out, do what feels right to you.

7. If possible, keep the ashes. I prefer to dispose of the ashes on the Dark Moon itself, in the trash or similar.

8. Rest. Repeat for every night, and on the Dark Moon get rid of the ashes, anoint and cleanse yourself, and say 'By Earth and Fire I am Reborn.' You should feel lighter, at the end.

6. In Wish Fulfilment Rituals

I do a ritual every Jan 1st where I write down simple wishes for the year on paper, charge them and toss them into my fireplace. I think of this as releasing the energy on my papers to the air, so 'deity' can hear them. It was stupidly simple at first but it's become a serious ritual for me. Try tossing wishes into a fireplace sometime. It's cathartic.

You can tie herbs into bundles with wishes and toss them into a fire too.

Anyway, some things to think about for you all while I get my head back in order.