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5 Witchy Things To Do After A Vacation

Merry meet, Witchlings!

It’s been nearly a month since our last post, so I want to share a brief life update with you. We’ll get back to the Elements series in our next post, but I figured a personal update or something different every now and then couldn’t hurt.

First the Update

My partner and I returned home a few days ago from a lovely two-week vacation to the UK. Life got very busy leading up to our departure, and most of my writing took a backseat to other tasks and entertainments. We’d planned and saved for this trip for over a year, and with how busy this last year got, it was so very needed.

I read so much!

Being able to read for enjoyment has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but I haven’t been able to binge-read in years. The last four weeks or so, leading up to and during the trip, allowed me to read the first full series I’ve read since my teen years (and only the second full series in my life). It reminded me a lot of why I write and why I adore certain stories.

Now that I’m back, I’m more excited and motivated than ever to continue the variety of projects I’ve got in store for you. Still, even after a refreshing break, I always need a little time after a long vacation to get back into the dance of my everyday life. In addition to time, there are a few things I need to do to settle back into my home space after being away for so long.

If you’ve ever left home for a few days, you may have noticed that it feels different when you return. Whether the place is empty or occupied by a cat-sitter, the energy of our apartment shifts when we’re gone. To get our place’s vibes back into balance after a long separation, here are some of the things I like to do within 24 hours of getting home.

Five Witchy Things I Must Do After Vacation To Reconnect To My Home

Shower
Image by Fifaliana Joy from Pixabay

It may not sound witchy right off the bat, but showering is a well-known tool for spiritual cleansing. Of course, for me, I’m usually more concerned of getting the grime of travel off of my skin. Whether it’s eighteen hours on a Greyhound bus or ten on a plane, the recycled air filled with the respirations of a hundred other people always leaves me feeling sticky. It’s typically my first thought upon getting home.
In addition to body cleaning, there’s something very grounding about showering in your own home. Using my own tub, knowing the perfect position to turn the knob for my preferred temperature—it all serves to reconnect me with my sacred space. It’s a step I can never skip, and I tend to do it within an hour of getting home.

Express Gratitude
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Once the grunge of travel is off of me, I begin to assess the moment. Either immediately after my shower or during it, I start thinking about all the things I’m grateful for to further ground myself.
I’ll typically say thanks for getting home safely (especially since flying kind of freaks me out), and I’ll give thanks for having a place to rest, for my pet, my books, my friends, and all the things that remind me of the best parts of my life.

So, even though I may feel a longing to go back to the freedom and adventure of a trip abroad, it’s easy to feel joy for all the good stuff I’m returning to. We may already be planning our next trip a year and a half away, but I can focus on all the things I’m grateful and excited for in the meantime.

Clean (Both Physically and Spiritually)
Image by annca from Pixabay

I typically try to clean our apartment just before we leave, so that I have less to do when we get back. Sometimes, though, we have a cat sitter stay at our place to avoid upsetting our fluffy girl, Brooklyn, too much. While they don’t go “hog-wild”, most people I know aren’t nearly as particular about cleanliness as I am. Because of this, I tend to go into deep-clean mode after anyone else has stayed at my place.
Having a physically clean living space settles my mind, while the activity itself tends to bring me down to earth. If I mix up a batch of enchanted cleaning spray, I’m able to put magic into the actual structure with each spritz. Simply put, cleaning up after a trip plops me squarely back into the reality of my life.

After a physical clean, I need to clear the energy in the air. Depending on my mood, this can be done with smoke from a sage or mugwort bundle, cleansing mists sprayed throughout the room, a boiling potion allowed to evaporate into the air, or any other method that strikes my fancy. Whatever methods I use, the goal is to clear any stagnant or negative energy that may have settled in my home when I wasn’t there to do my usual spiritual upkeep.

Light Candles and Incense

Once all that old energy is cleared, it needs to be replaced with something positive and healing. To do that, I usually light a long-burning candle after blessing it with a prayer and dressing it in ritual oil. The candle burns down and, as it does, I go about my day, occasionally imagining its firelight filling the place with positive energy.

I basically follow the same concept with incense, letting it burn and visualizing the smoke spreading my whispered blessings through the air. While the incense tends to burn out quickly, the candle can last most of the night, often remaining alight until just before I go to bed sometime around sunrise.

Meditate
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Finally, once my body and home are cleansed and we’re both filled with positive energy, I can take the time to actively meditate. I say actively because, throughout the whole process, from shower onward, I will typically be in a meditative state.

But, I think it’s important to sit down and focus entirely on meditating when all those other tasks are complete. The meditation can last from two minutes to half an hour, depending on my mood at the time. I usually focus on grounding and visualize my personal, internal light bonding with that of my cleansed and blessed space, as well as with the light of the planet and cosmos.

Bonus: Stare At My Pet

Of course, as I do all of these other things, I take frequent and long breaks to do one of the most relaxing things known to mankind: stare at my cat, Brooklyn. She’s a perfect grey Tabby with perfect ears who smells like pure magick. I honestly don’t know how I ever felt at home anywhere before I had her to come home to.

Traveling has always been a dream of mine, but leaving her makes each trip a little harder, and having her makes coming home a thousand times more exciting. She makes me feel like I’m “home sweet home” more than anything else.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

These few things not only help me settle in after being away for a while, but they help me to realign spiritually. Seeing as I can’t bring my entire sacred space with me, my practice is temporarily altered whenever I go anywhere for long.

These things bring me back to me. They bring me back to the path, to my work, and to the things that bring me a sense of fulfillment. As much as I love to travel, I love my work and feeling like I have a purpose even more. Maiden’s Circle, writing, card reading, and all the things I hope to accomplish drive me every day and fill me with passion. And I wouldn’t give that up for a million dollars.

What sorts of things do you need to do to reconnect to your living space after an extended absence? How do you realign your energy after being away from home? Let me know in the comments!

Be blessed,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

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The Ordains: Part 21 – Don’t Share Your Secrets With Fools

This is the twenty-first entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Witches use common sense and do not share their mysteries with fools.”

If you’re a Wiccan, this Ordain might ring sort of familiar to you. In fact, the Christian Bible has two proverbs that speak to the same topic of avoiding fools. In the long version of the Wiccan Rede, we find a similar line in the sixth quartet.

No Season Spend

The idea of avoiding the fool is certainly intriguing. It’s especially so when we consider the Tarot. For me, the Fool represents forging one’s own path. It speaks to individuality, leaps of faith, and trusting one’s self. Contradictorily, when most people hear the word “fool,” they imagine an imbecile—someone who doesn’t think before they act or holds too tightly to ignorance. Indeed, there are times when the card speaks to that sort of energy, as well. In either case, the Fool offers a lesson that aids in the growth of whoever receives the reading.

In that same light, I think we learn a lot from the foolish people in our lives. Now, some of you might be asking who gets to decide whether someone is a fool or not. Shouldn’t we all just live and let live? Well, of course, we should understand that people will make their own choices. Their lives are not our lives, and only they can decide what path those lives will take.

However, if another person is doing things that’s bringing harm on themselves, we can and must acknowledge it. Perhaps not always to that person, but we should acknowledge their behavior to ourselves, learn from it, and probably distance ourselves. That’s where this Ordain comes in. If we’re able to recognize that a person is behaving foolishly, we’re more discerning about what we tell them and how much time we spend with them.

We’ve all done it.

Many of us have known a person who seemed nice, but something about them simply didn’t click with us. Maybe they lived a life filled with violence and drugs, or perhaps their moral views directly conflicted with our own. Those of us with a calling to heal most likely tried to offer guidance only to be met with derision. Whatever the reasons, we’ve all had to let someone go at some point. We knew that we could no longer spend time with them and, even if we never said it, we saw them as a fool in our lives.

These situations can often cause guilt, but if we live by this Law, that guilt is lessened. This tenet reminds us that it’s our duty to protect the sacred wisdom given to those of us on this spiritual path. To do so means being aware of the foolishness of people and acting in a way which keeps us and that wisdom safe. Sometimes, that means biting our tongue and walking away when our relative makes choices that put them in danger. Even if we feel helpless and want to guide them away from their current path, it isn’t our job.

We use common sense to know when some arguments just aren’t worth having. When we learn to cultivate our common sense, it can tell us whether a person is interested in learning from us or not. Once we’re able to know that, we stop wasting our breath on those who aren’t interested. We stop trying to share with people who don’t want what we’re offering.

When we shift our focus to helping those who seek it, we find ourselves far more fulfilled. If we offer guidance, sacred wisdom, or our own secrets, let it be to the ones who are receptive to it. Otherwise, we’re just asking for a headache.

What do you think makes a person a fool? Do you find yourself locked in useless arguments with people who have no interest in hearing you out? How do you deal with those situations?

From a fool at heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

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The Ordains: Part 19 – Safe Within The Magick Circle

This is the nineteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“A Witch uses the magickal circle as a physical and non-physical representation of a temple on the earth plane.”

This isn’t really something one might have a lot of opinions on. It’s pretty straightforward in meaning and, I believe, most witches would be hard-pressed to disagree. Our Circle is sacred, and we all acknowledge that simple fact, no matter how a Circle is constructed.

I’d be overstepping it if I said that every witch in the world casts the magickal circle, but all of the witches I’ve met have done so at some point in their lives. It’s safe to say this is a common practice. If you’re reading this, then you probably already know what the magickal circle is. For those of you who don’t, I’ll gladly explain.

First, to keep things clear, I use “magickal circle” and “Circle” interchangeably, with “Circle” capitalized to denote its spiritual importance to me. We witches use the Circle to create a sacred space where we can safely practice magick and worship the Divine.

Image by RD LH from Pixabay
To create a magickal circle, one needs little more than intent.

That said, most of us do prefer to use certain tools that allow us to physically mark the space as sacred alongside our spiritual efforts. This serves in not only giving our minds a type of anchor, so that we’re grounded and focused on the task at hand, but it brings together our earthly world and the spiritual one.

Witches use a variety of methods to create their Circle; some even use different methods for different occasions! Here at Maiden’s Circle, we have a basic Circle-building structure that we feel is useful in all occasions. The full method is taught in our upcoming Covenpath course, but I’ll go over the basics here.

Generally, all of our Circles start with an activity to help participants ground themselves and focus on the upcoming ritual. This could be anything from a few deep breaths to a full on meditation to singing and dancing—anything that gets us grounded in the space and within our bodies.

Once we’re grounded and our intentions are focused on our purpose—whatever reason we’ve chosen to create the Circle—then we’re ready to erect our Circle. This usually means calling to the four cardinal corners of the earth (North, East, South, and West) and asking their spiritual guardians to protect us while we work. In our practice, these guardians are represented by four major elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.

We would then hold an object that represents each element in its corresponding direction and call upon those guardians to join our Circle and protect it. Many witches also call upon a deity or two, often a feminine and masculine pair.

Lastly, we would visualize an orb of light growing around us, covering our space and solidifying it as sacred.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
This is our temple. This is our church. It exists where we choose to create it.

Of course, once we’ve completed our Circle, it’s important to respect the space we’ve built. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t do it in a public church, you shouldn’t do it in your own Circle. Naturally, there are many exceptions, since public churches tend to have a very different idea of what’s appropriate.

But, what I mean is if it would be disrespectful to a spiritual space, you might want to avoid it. For example, you wouldn’t want someone coming into your Circle and starting fights. You wouldn’t want someone to enter your Circle with cheesy or greasy fingers and then proceed to touch all of your ritual tools. So, don’t do it to yourself or to anyone else’s Circle. In general, when you’re in another person’s sacred space, you’ll follow their lead for how the space should be treated.

Over time, we all figure out what works best for us in Circle. Even people in covens have their individual methods in addition to the coven’s style. Like most things in witchcraft and Wicca, we have the benefit of being able to cast a magickal circle in whichever way suits us.

However we create our Circle, I believe it’s a useful practice for every witch. The Circle allows us to have a sacred space anywhere we choose, it protects us from any ephemeral beings that are up to no good, connects our mundane lives with the Divine, and enhances the magickal energy of all of our workings. We are truly safe within the sacred Circle.

Do you cast a magickal circle? Do you cast it for every work or only during certain rituals? Is it an important part of your practice? Share your responses in the comments!

With many blessings,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

The Ordains: Part 18 – Don’t Ask Them To Pay

This is the eighteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Do not set a price on your magickal work.”

This one is complicated. I’ve always had mixed feelings about money in general, and this law didn’t help. As early as ten years old, I learned the necessity of money. I also learned how discussions about money made people uncomfortable and therefore needed to be avoided. This created a confusion and uneasiness around money that I struggle with today.

My rocky relationship with money made it easy to accept this law into my practice at a young age. In fact, I held to the belief that it was unethical to charge for magickal work throughout the majority of my Wiccan life. In recent years, however, my viewpoint has taken a natural shift. The more I’ve come to understand just how unhealthy my views on money have been, the more I question this old adage.

After all, it was written in a time when society was structured differently.

No matter how “enlightened” Gerald Gardner might seem to us today, he was still a product of his time and, as such, his views on money reflected a rejection of mainstream society. Whereas a musician who made a lot of money was considered a “sell-out,” a witch who received pay for magickal work was cheapening the practice. This was also a time when many people believed that money was the root of all evil, so it stands to reason that Gardner would have had some hang-ups.

Nowadays, most Pagans have a different idea of how money works. Many of us see it as one of a million methods of transferring energy. I struggled with this concept for years before coming to accept it. Intellectually, it made some sense. If you exchange money that you earned for goods, how is that different from exchanging time or efforts for goods? You’ve just added a physical representation of your effort.

Of course, that would be true in an ideal world where money wasn’t used as a means for control and separation amongst the people. In reality, there are some issues with money that I believe everyone who hasn’t always had it can sympathize with. In our country, it’s used as a weapon and a method of hierarchical control for certain unsavory sorts.

Still, as a simplified concept, I can see money as an energetic exchange.

This shifting of opinions has helped me to feel a little less squirmy about making money through spiritual pursuits. I realize now that, if I am to follow this path, I need to be healthy. I need to make sure I have food, a safe place to call home, and the freedom to create; only then am I able to fulfill the purpose I believe Goddess has for me. And, in our current society, money is the tool that allows me to have those things.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many witches who agree that this “Law” is old-fashioned. If we’re to thrive in the current systems and still do our spiritual work, we need to be able to pay our bills.

Someday, we’ll have a world in which everyone is guaranteed a home, food, security, and healthcare without having to worry if they miss one paycheck. A world where people are free to pursue their true cause in life.

For now, we witches need to adapt to survive.

There are limits, of course. While I’m fine with charging for tarot, spell kits, teaching magick, and the like, I’m a little less comfortable with the idea of doing actual spells for other people—especially if those people aren’t there in person to lend their energy to the work. I firmly believe that magick comes from within each of us; and if we have no personal ties to the subject of a spell, it’s not likely to do anything.

Some witches may feel it’s perfectly fine to cast spells for others in exchange for some sort of payment, but I’ve never felt good about that. Even so, I try not to look down upon those who do make money that way. Like I said, we’ve all got to eat and live. So, as long as a witch is behaving ethically and not taking advantage of others, I choose to withhold judgment.

In my eyes, this law speaks to those who would manipulate and lie to coerce people into paying them for magickal workings. This is utterly disgusting, predatory behavior and, unfortunately, we see it all the time. It’s impossible to walk through Manhattan on a Saturday without some street-side “psychic” telling you that you’re carrying a dark shadow. People like that are part of the reason legitimate readers and healers aren’t taken seriously.

Unfortunately, those folks probably aren’t going anywhere.

It’s up to the rest of us to act with honesty and to treat our craft and those who come seeking it ethically. I don’t believe a witch or an artist or teacher or anyone should have to forgo the basic necessities for living a healthy, balanced life—nor do I believe one should have to choose between doing spiritual work or taking some arbitrary “day job” to make due. If a person is drawn to spiritual work, they should be able to do so without the fear of not meeting their basic needs.

What do you think? Should people charge for any spiritual work? Should we find other means of making money while still doing spiritual work? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Abundant blessings to you and yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

The Ordains: Part 17 – Practice Only What You Know

This is the seventeenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Never practice a magickal system that you don’t fully understand.”

The idea that one should practice a particular type of magick only if they fully understand it exists for a good reason. The nature of magick is such that dabbling can prove dangerous. If you practice something you don’t quite understand—for example hoodoo, curses, or advanced spellwork—but you don’t really know where the symbols or words you’re using originate, whether they’re in your language or translated, then you’re at a disadvantage.

Using any particular magickal system with no study of or background in that system means you won’t be as prepared as you could be if something were to go wrong. If you’re performing an Egyptian money spell and the spell requires calling to Montu (the god of grain) or Renenet (a goddess of fortune), but you possess no knowledge of those deities, they’re not likely to respond to you and so your work is bound to be less effective.

It’s wise to spend some time learning about the elements of your magickal practice. That said, I don’t believe you must be an expert in any magickal system to practice it. This law might naturally rub some people the wrong way. Some people see this and feel they’re being told not to practice any magick at all unless they’ve perfected it.

That’s not the case.

I believe this tenet to be admonishing the act of “dabbling,” which is when a witch finds some new spell or practice and immediately decides that they’re going to do it. However, they’ve done no research, they understand nothing about the history of the practice, and they’re not interested in being taught how to work that system. On the surface, this law is for them.

For the rest of us, we understand that, like every one of these Ordains, there are nuances. Many of us, upon seeing something like this, would ask how we’re supposed to learn a magickal system without practicing it. Magick is something you do, it’s something you create. Magick is an action. So, it seems impossible to learn a magickal system thoroughly enough without actively participating in said system.

In this case I believe it’s important to build a working foundation before one dives into true magick work. This means spending time doing your research and listening to people who have been there before or been in the practice longer. I’ve seen a lot of newer practitioners dismiss the wisdom of those who came before us and it’s disheartening. Older generations hold a wealth of knowledge, and those practicing for decades can offer invaluable guidance.

So many new Pagans, especially Wiccans, seem disinterested in building a firm knowledge base before jumping into Magick. And that’s where they falter.

These are the people you see in witchy groups crying because their money spell seems to have backfired. When asked what the spell consisted of or where they got it, they’ll tell you it came from some questionable website or that they used elements or tools which had nothing to do with growing finances. They make it pretty clear they did little research and just searched a spell, lit a few candles, said a few words, and expected a fortune.

At Maiden’s Circle, we stress the importance of having all the knowledge you need before you ever step into magickal work. At the very least, we expect our Seekers to understand what magick is and how it works in general before doing spell craft. The Covenpath course gives Seekers a wealth of historic, deeply researched information before offering lessons on working witchcraft. (Though, we’ve got a lot in that department, too!) While you don’t need to be an expert, it’s necessary to “know” your craft.

What’s your opinion? Is it better to learn as much as possible before practicing witchcraft, or should witches just jump right in and do it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Blessed be,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

Was I Born A Witch?

I’m in a lot of Pagan Facebook groups where Pagans of all traditions can come together to celebrate, grow, and learn. A question that pops up time and time again in these groups is something along the lines of How do I know if I was born a witch?

If you’ve wondered this yourself, you might have gotten some pretty varied responses. Well-meaning websites list anything from marks on your palm to just not giving a damn in general as “signs” that you’re born a witch.

Those erroneous articles aside, most practitioners know the truth: no one is born a witch. It’s true that some witches are born with certain spiritual gifts. You may have always “known” things beyond what you’ve been exposed to. You could even have been born into a family with a long-practiced witchcraft tradition. However, while anyone can be born with spiritual gifts—that doesn’t make one a witch.

What does make someone a witch is choice. You choose to practice witchcraft, to learn what it has to offer, and to make it a part of your life. No one else can tell you whether you are. No special marks or gifts. You choose to be a witch, and it’s as simple as that.

For most of us, it’s a lifestyle and endless journey. Sure, there are those who call themselves “dabblers,” but most witches have spent a significant amount of time learning our craft and incorporating it into our daily lives.

In the beginning of my own practice, I asked this very same question. Was I born a witch? I had many gifts and didn’t fit in with anyone, instead choosing to drift through social groups, mainly in shadow. I knew things others didn’t and saw the world differently from just about everyone around me. There are quite a few in online communities who’d claim those are signs I was a witch at birth.

I believe that I was born with the potential to become a witch. There are spirits, deities, and such varied otherworldly beings who interact with us on the earthly realm all the time. Whether in this realm or another, it’s possible for these beings to become attached to others. They may choose to guide and protect certain people, much in the way we might choose to help and protect our friends and family.

That’s why it might seem like witchery has been “calling” you. In a way, it has been. Some people are more inherently tuned into the spiritual realm and are therefore more likely to pursue a Pagan practice. Still, you are not a witch until you take on that mantle.

No one is born a witch, but most of us are born with the potential to become one. If you feel you’re guided to this path, I encourage you to pursue it for at least a year before deciding one way or another. Remember that no one else can decide for you whether or not you’re a witch—not relatives, not other witches, and certainly not strangers on the internet.

So, what are some of the signs you saw or experienced growing up that lead you to this Pagan path? How did you discover your connection with witchcraft? Let’s discuss in the comments!

 

With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

 

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Reflection and the Future of Maiden’s Circle

You may have noticed that I skipped the last update. I had begun two separate blog entries, but neither felt ‘right.’ Both entries focused on topics I’ve had lined up for months, so you’d think they would be easier to write. That has not been the case.

The truth is, I’ve always had some difficulty writing this blog. Non-fiction has never come quite as easily to me as fiction writing. Due to the specificity of this blog, I’ve also realized just how much I’ve had to limit my writing here. Somewhere in the search for appropriate topics, the seeming necessity for a broader reader-base, and my desire to be easily accessible while still providing useful information—this blog became somewhat of a chore.

Recently, I read something along the lines of, ‘in order to have a successful blog, you have to first and foremost know what you want to say.’ That struck a chord and forced me to reevaluate the purpose of this blog. This is a Pagan blog, yes; but what do I want to say here?

While I’ve got plenty of topics lined up, I haven’t given myself plenty of reasons. Yes, all of the topics are things I like talking about. But are they helpful? Does each entry somehow feed into this blog’s original purpose? Do the readers even know what that original purpose is?

In the beginning, this blog’s sole purpose was to aid the growth of Maiden’s Circle Coven and to draw in students for the Academy. However, I didn’t want to just talk about Maiden’s Circle. The practice behind Maiden’s Circle is one of growth and eclectic Pagan practices, so that’s what I chose to write about.

Instead of focusing on the coven itself, I aimed my energy on discussing witchy issues, history, and spiritual beliefs—topics I’d hoped would spur some sort of conversation. I figured, the more people who join that conversation, the further reach Maiden’s Circle would have, and that would mean I could share the gift of healing on a larger scale.

However, in the pursuit of that larger scale, I feel my writing has lost some of its meaning. The last few topics have been on my list since the birth of this blog, and I do believe to be important, but I’m not sure similar posts can’t be found elsewhere. That’s not to say I want to be the only person who knows something, but I do want my content to be relatively unique and to add something of value to the Pagan community.

In addition, because I diverted so much energy away from the actual Coven and have focused on more general Pagan things—on top of building my fiction writing career—Maiden’s Circle has been in a nearly standstill state. The course is no closer to being complete than it was at the end of 2017*, and I’m considering outsourcing its structure and administration to lessen my workload.

I’m hesitant, though. Having someone build the structure and put everything into place is one thing. But, it doesn’t seem proper to have someone who isn’t a member of Maiden’s Circle administrate a program that is integral to this Coven’s existence.

So, again, I am searching for beta students to take the course. This time, however, taking the course gives you the opportunity to actually join Maiden’s Circle Coven. In this case, you would not only be able to take part in MCCA’s inner-workings, but we’d meet up regularly to celebrate Sabbats and Esbats.

Becoming an official member is only open to New York and New Jersey residents (or other close states, so long as you can make a meeting once a month). There are other forms of membership, however, which have no location restrictions. I’ll be updating you on all of this within a couple of weeks.

One thing I know now is that I do want to continue writing for you. The desire to inspire conversation, to reach out to the community and touch hearts—that desire is still here and still strong. I’d like it if you joined the discussion, but I won’t pressure you. I’ll just keep writing until you feel ready share your journey.

Who’s to say what the future holds? For Maiden’s Circle? For me or you? This blog might change a hundred times over the years. I’m happy as long as it keeps a Pagan heart. I’m happy if it helps just one person.

More attention is going to be given to the Coven as an organization in the future. I will still use some of the pre-planned topics (because I think they’re pretty interesting!) but I do want to recenter the focus on this blog’s original purpose. I do hope you’ll stick with me through the changes.

Other than the aforementioned topics, what would you like to learn more of from Maiden’s Circle?

Remember that I love you,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Come see Maiden Circle’s Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday!
**PLUS** I’ve decided to start a new MCCA newsletter so that you can be updated whenever there’s a new blog post, as well as on any other MCCA matters. Don’t worry, I won’t spam your inbox! Sign up now!

*After some reflection, I realize this isn’t entirely true. All of the lessons have been written. I’ve just been unable to choose a proper format for delivery—one that allows us to connect as a community. So, it’s closer yet simultaneously…not.

Are All Wiccans Witches?

Today’s topic came sometime last summer. A friend and I were discussing our different practices—she’s Norse-centered, I lean toward the Celtic, British, and American traditions—and she asked me, “Aren’t all Wiccans witches?”

Isn’t that a fun question? It’s one we’ve all probably heard at some point. I’ve briefly touched on this subject in the past, but thought I should take some time to discuss deeper the differences between Wicca and Witchcraft.

In order to discuss the differences, it’s important to make sure that we first understand what Wicca is. In Wicca Done Wrong, I offered my opinion on what makes a person Wiccan. That would be anyone who practices a “pure” form of Wicca—including Gardnerian, Dianic, and Alexandrian Wicca. That doesn’t really tell us what Wicca is, though, does it?

Another thing we’re bound to hear is that Wicca is a religion based on the idea of “if you harm none, do as you will.” While this is mostly true, it’s important to remember that there are more rules to Wicca that make it the religion it is. Both Gerald Gardner and Scott Cunningham included a section of “Laws” in their Books of Shadows which let us know the rules of their particular tradition.

Because Wicca is such a personal religion, there are likely hundreds of different traditions in the world. Despite that, Wiccans are held together by a few things. Of course, there’s the aforementioned “harm none,” which is a line from the Wiccan Rede. (This is also a line in the Witches’ Creed, which is not a strictly Wiccan text.) In addition, traditional Wiccans recognize Deity as a God and Goddess, and we tune in with that Deity through nature, meditation, and ritual.

While Wicca uses older practices and there is a focus on ancient knowledge, the religion itself is relatively new. Wicca became “famous” thanks to Gerald Gardner in the 1950s, and most of its modern practices date only as far back as the early 1900s.

Witchcraft, however, has been around much longer. Witchcraft is less religion and more of a practice that pretty much anyone can do. As in the name, witchcraft is a learnable skill.

I have often said that Wicca is a witchcraft religion. What that means is that Wicca the religion was born from a collection of various old craft practices mingled with modern magick.

What we call witchcraft today includes practices that date back to ancient civilization. Communing with ancient gods we’ve now revived—working with sun and moon—healing through nature. All these practices which are older than our minds can actually conceive are elements of the craft, and we still follow them today.

My friend’s question has a complicated answer. Yes, Wicca is a witchcraft religion. So by its nature, shouldn’t that mean that all Wiccans are witches?

Personally, I think it’s a choice. I think of it like the invention of pie. All pies are pies. They all have a pretty basic shape, similar ingredients, and can all be recognized as pie. However, a person who loves chicken pot pie doesn’t have to eat cherry pie. In a similar vein, a person who loves Wicca doesn’t have to love any other witchcraft practice.

It’s true that we practice magick by merit of being Wiccan, but if you aren’t making the active choice to practice and learn witchcraft, you’re not a witch. That’s my opinion, of course, and you’re bound to find plenty of people who don’t agree.

But tell me what you think? Does being a Wiccan automatically mean someone is a witch?

Let me know in the comments!

With infinite love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Come see Maiden Circle’s weekly Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday!
**PLUS** I’ve decided to start a new MCCA newsletter so that you can be updated whenever there’s a new blog post, as well as on any other MCCA matters. Don’t worry, I won’t spam your inbox! Sign up now!

How To Relax For Maximum Magickal Effect

In the last entry, we discussed the dangers of aiming for perfection and the need to just relax. Of course, that’s easier said than done. This week, I’d like to talk about some of the different ways to aid in relaxation that allow us to be the most effective in our Pagan works.

These are a few of the methods I’ve used in times of high stress or when I need more focus. Some of these methods have become such integral parts of my personal routine that going a day without leaves me feeling imbalanced and anxious.

You can tweak these anyway you’d like to best suit your practice. None of these techniques are strictly Pagan, but incorporating them into your Pagan practice will help you find a deeper connection by achieving a more relaxed state.

1. Reading

Pagans love books. Visit any of your Pagan friends and you’re bound to find a variety of spell-books, how-to manuals, “beginner” books, and more. We read a lot, but our reading material tends to skew towards non-fiction.

Make sure that, along with gathering knowledge, you’re setting time aside to read for entertainment. It could be fiction or narrative non-fiction, but it’s important that you allow yourself to be taken away by stories.

Whether it’s witchy-themed, a heart-racing thriller, or a cozy kid’s tale, getting lost in a story will improve your imagination and soothe your mind. An especially good story will make you feel things—joy, hope, sadness, excitement, and so much more.

It’s necessary to connect with these emotions and expand your imagination not only for an improved Pagan practice, but to live a fulfilled life.

2. Coloring

Did I mention that Pagans love books? Coloring books included. If you think you’re too old for coloring books, you’re sorely missing out.

Connect with your inner child and get yourself a spiritual or nature-based coloring book. Let yourself be drawn into the images and change your vibrations.

Color magick is old school, so this is the perfect relaxation method to bring into your spiritual practice.

3. Exercise

It might sound counter-intuitive, but pushing yourself to do short bursts of exercise is a great way to relax. If you’re feeling unfocused or unable to settle down, brief, vigorous exercise allows you to funnel any anxious energy out of your body. This, in turn, allows you to chill out.

Each day when you wake up and each night before bed, take about five minutes to engage in some sort of physical activity. This could be anything from jumping jacks to walking up and down stairs to doing seated triceps dips.

Not everyone is capable of such physical exertion, but if you are, this is an ideal way to relax and improve your overall health.

4. Aromatherapy

The human brain is uniquely connected to scent in a way that makes aromatherapy a rather powerful tool. Aroma is one of the fastest ways to human emotions, so it’s a perfect tool to relax.

You can use essential oils, incense, scented candles, and many other methods of aromatherapy. One of the most used and beloved scents in the witchy community is lavender, so do yourself a favor and pick up a vial of the essential oil today.

5. Bathing

Baths have been a source of relaxation for centuries and that hasn’t changed. Sure, nowadays many of us tend to think of baths as people soup. Ick.

However, a spiritual cleansing bath is imperative for any Pagan practitioner. It allows you to cleanse your aura, to release anything that may be holding you down or causing you discomfort, and clear your head.

I highly recommend taking at least a monthly spiritual bath. Make it part of your New or Full Moon ritual. By adding this simple practice to your routine, you’re sure to find all of your witchy workings improved, along with a lightening of your overall mood.

6. Meditation

I recommend meditation for just about everything. That’s because it is so amazing. Meditation is one of the best methods we have of connecting body, mind, and spirit.

If you aren’t meditating daily, then you should start. Having a base of meditation will make every working that much easier to get into. It helps your brain to focus faster, calms your body, and allows you to tap into other realms.

Meditation is my number one method for relaxation and is possibly the most important aspect of my spiritual practice. It’s important that you find a style or system of meditation that works best for you and put in the effort to maintain a regular practice.

7. Walking

More specifically, I mean walking away from whatever is causing anxiety. If you’re having trouble relaxing and getting focused for magickal work, then don’t do the work!

It’s important to remember that mindset plays a huge part in manifesting, and sometimes it’s better to just walk away from the work than to try to push through our anxiety.

Stepping away from the problem allows us to see it in a different light, so when we come back to it, we may be better equipped to move forward. So if you’re having trouble relaxing enough to do magick, walk away and try out one of the other methods above.

Those are just some of the ways I currently use to calm my mind and aid me in achieving my best form for magickal workings.

What do you do to relax? How do you prepare for magickal work? What’s your favorite method?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

With all my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Did you folks know I do weekly Tarot readings? Check out the videos here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday. Be sure to check out my other works HERE
**PLUS** I’ve decided to start a new MCCA newsletter so that you can be updated whenever there’s a new blog post, as well as on any other MCCA matters. Don’t worry, I won’t spam your inbox! Sign up now!

The Perfect Pagan

Back in the early days of this blog, we mentioned a beta version of our Covenpath course. The course is structured for those who have committed to a Pagan faith, but are relatively new to the practice of Wicca.

When testing the beta version of the course, it was important to have a wide variety of students. In order to get a more rounded viewpoint of what needed fixing, what worked, and what could be expanded upon, we needed both newbies and crones.

The range of experience helped immensely, but it also allowed for some interesting observations. A few students felt that they had an unfair advantage over other students and were eager to push ahead. Others seemed to feel they needed to push through the tasks quickly to “keep up” with their fellow betas.

We didn’t expect or intend to create this competitive energy, especially considering that the Covenpath is all about personal growth. The result of that energy was that students weren’t getting as much from this course as we’d hoped.

The time spent worrying about where other students were in the course made the whole thing a bit less enjoyable for everyone. The betas put so much stress on themselves to be the perfect student that they seemed to forget the purpose of the Covenpath course.

Later this year, the course will be launched publicly on the Maiden’s Circle website. We’ve taken some steps to prevent a repeat of the competitiveness, and it seemed prudent to discuss the subject of toxic perfectionism.

Chasing perfection is an endless quest

Perfect doesn’t exist. It’s an unhealthy and unreachable ideal. We’ve created a society in which people are always striving for some idealized version of themselves. When we imagine our Perfect Self, it makes us that much more aware of our perceived flaws.

What often ends up happening is we start to see that Perfect Self as a separate entity—much in the way that some people see the soul as separate from the body. Creating a mental separation between our True Self and our Perfect Self often causes a cognitive dissonance, leaving us unsure of who we are.

Striving for that unattainable Perfect Self leads to the constant feeling that we’re never good enough. We feel like impostors, regardless of our own legitimate experiences.

This can happen to anyone. Even doctors at the top of their field still face this self-doubt created by the need to be the best. It doesn’t help that we as a society tend to assume that someone in that position is perfect—at least when it comes to their expertise.

This is unfair to professionals and it’s unfair to ourselves. We’re all people. We’re humans trying our best to live happy, fulfilling lives. Trying to be perfect to the point of distracting and making ourselves feel bad is in direct conflict with that.

Chasing perfection makes it harder to enjoy stuff

Life should be enjoyed. Being on a constant quest towards perfection makes that harder. In our case, it makes the practice of Wicca much less fun. Yes, our faith is very real and serious, but it is built on love.

Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess is a Wiccan text that is spoken in the perspective of the Goddess. It states:

Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices,
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

It’s important to remember that most of us chose Wicca because of the way it makes us feel. Shouldn’t we want to feel good during our practice? Not to ignore the darker sides of our work, but to balance it with love and joy.

Chasing perfection distracts from Pagan work

It could be argued that striving to be a perfect Pagan is the best way to be a bad one. If we’re so focused on perfection, we risk being distracted, and it may even close us off energetically, making all of our spiritual work that much more difficult. It could even make our works entirely ineffective.

During spellwork, it’s important that we’re relaxed and focused on our goal. The same goes for certain meditations and activities used in the Covenpath course. If we’re paying more attention to what we’re doing “right” and “wrong,” then we won’t benefit from the work we’re doing.

Especially when it comes to the course, our goal should be to learn as we go. That means embracing the mistakes and loving the mishaps. In all my years of practice, I’ve never attended a group ritual where everything went exactly as planned. And that’s okay.

Life isn’t perfect and, again, neither are we. We’ve just got to roll with the changes and try to enjoy the ride.

Just Be You

When the Covenpath course launches, along with some other MCCA goodies, we want to make it clear that this path is both a communal and a very personal one. We share it with one another, but our connection with the Goddess has to be forged within us.

We are not in competition to see who’s the better Pagan. We do not invite witch wars or offer degrees and rankings. There is a hierarchy in the structure of Maiden’s Circle to keep things running smoothly, but no one witch stands higher than another.

The High Priestess position is a position of service. It’s an office that requires the most dedication to the highest good of the Coven. A High Priestess cannot and should not run a coven alone, and so Maiden’s Circle is structured with a small council of Handmaidens to help.

No one who holds these positions is perfect. We don’t expect those who come into the Coven later to be perfect, either. We just expect you to be you, whoever that is.

Do you have any hang-ups or doubts that keep you from moving forward? How do you deal with moments of self-doubt and the desire for perfection?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

With love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Did you know I do weekly Tarot readings on Youtube? Check out the videos here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday.
**PLUS** I’ve decided to start a new MCCA newsletter so that you can be updated whenever there’s a new blog post, as well as on any other MCCA matters. Don’t worry, I won’t spam your inbox! Sign up now!