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The Ordains 22: Follow the Rules or Be Banished From Earth

This is the final 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, Aleister Crowley, and more. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
Read to the end for a special note!

“A Witch who knowingly breaks the Law (Ordains) will not be permitted to incarnate on Earth again.”

I can already hear the collective groans. The notion that breaking a certain list of rules will lead to some sort of cosmic punishment is reminiscent of certain dogmatic religions. Because of my upbringing, the first to come to my mind is Christianity, but there are tons of religions that uphold a similar concept.

Don’t fret, witchlings. Even though the intro for each entry has stated that the Ordains in their current form represent our core beliefs, this one doesn’t actually fit that mold. This last Ordain won’t be found in the Maiden’s Circle Book of Shadows. It was included in this series to demonstrate how everything must evolve with time, including religion.

Personally, I believe that, without change, there can be no growth.

Rules change and, while most of the Ordains are essential to my own practice, this one reminds me to accept those changes. They’re not only inevitable, but they’re necessary for us to fulfill our various paths throughout our lifetimes.

The men who created most of our laws lived in a different era. Their views about the world are old and outdated today. Even in their time, people were already beginning to question these kinds of ideas. And the idea of a witch simply deciding these Laws aren’t for them leads to their soul being forced into some arbitrary quarantine from Earth—well, that idea has no place here.

In my own practice, I believe that a soul will reincarnate if it needs or wants to, regardless of what choices were made in its previous life cycle. Of course, if it chooses to, I believe they may need to face karmic consequences. This leads into the second reason we’re including this Ordain in our series.

It makes us question what really happens after life ends, and what the consequences may exist for breaking the main Law of “Harm None.” No one alive can say for sure what happens after we die, though plenty will tell us their theories. Whether it’s ascension into some netherworld, reincarnation, or oblivion, everyone has some belief concerning the afterlife (or lack thereof). I shared some of mine above.

This old law is just one belief, representing the mindset of a man from another time.

Throughout this series, I hope I’ve demonstrated how no law is 100% all the time. I believe that goes for all laws, especially those of men. Occasionally, this puts us in a grey area. Who decides which laws are to be followed and when? I feel that, if we follow the most important one, “An ye harm none,” and if we let ourselves be guided in love, we might make the right choices. If we try to live in a way that helps other people and is good for our planet, breaking the Ordains or other written laws isn’t going to lead to any sort of punishment—at least not spiritually.

(I am in no way suggesting anyone engages in illegal activity, just to be clear.)

What I believe in is the freedom to choose. No spiritual law written by humans can dictate what our souls are called to do. The only law that must be honored in the Maiden’s Circle tradition is that you harm none, save for in defense of yourself or others who request your aid. Naturally, though, it’s up to each of us individually to decide what that means for us.

What do you think of this or any of the past Ordains? Do you believe we face punishment or banishment from Earth if we break this or other spiritual laws? If so, why? Is there something we must do to be allowed to incarnate again? Do you believe in reincarnation?

P.S. This is the end of our series on the Ordains. This has been such an interesting journey, and I sincerely hope it was educational and entertaining for you. Stick around. Next week, we’ll have a brief update before moving into our next series. See you there!

P.P.S.

Please forgive me for posting this so late in the week and missing last week’s post altogether. For the last month or so, I’ve been considering closing the blog. I have posts planned until next year, but in two years, I just haven’t seen the growth I’d hoped for. I love writing about Pagan things and feeling like I’m providing a service to my community. Over these last two years, however, I’ve added so much to my life—all of it I adore. Some things just take a little more out of me than others, and I’m searching for the best way to manage it all while still taking care of myself.
In any case, I’ve decided to continue this blog for as long as I have ideas. That’s how I feel for now, anyway. Sure, there may be only about three of you out there who read it, but all three of you are appreciated! And in the future, I know it’s going to be a valuable resource for the Covenpath students. Plus, writing this blog is good for my practice. It forces me to routinely check in with myself, which I believe is a good thing.
So, I’ll have to ask you to forgive me when the blog is occasionally late. I tend to take days off to care for myself when I notice stress or depression creeping up, and that’s not likely to change. It’s the best way I know to keep stable. But I will make sure you get something from me every week. If not a full blog entry, I’ll drop in with something.
Thank you so much to those of you who are here, and who encouraged me to keep going. And thank you to those who’ve been here all along, lurking in the shadows.
I love you and blessed be.

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Check out our forums and say hi! 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 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!

#NotAllPaganTeachers

This post is a bit of a warning.

There’s a group on Facebook that claims to be a teaching group for witches (Witchy Witch Teaching Circle). It’s a pretty normal group most of the time. The admin, however, was found giving bad advice. When questioned about it, she blocked at least 4 people from commenting or posting in the group. Possibly more at this point. I think this is a dangerous response for someone who claims to be a Pagan teacher, to resist any kind of disagreement.

I also think it’s important to explain the situation. She posted a screenshot of a conversation in which she told a man that he couldn’t be a witch because he was Taoist, Buddhist, and/or Hindu. She said “being a witch means having only witchcraft as a belief system.” This post is in an effort to avoid that kind of misinformation.

What’s wrong with that?

Being a witch requires 2 things 1] the practice of witchcraft and 2] the choice to be called a witch. That’s it. I may not agree totally with the idea of a Christian witch, but I wouldn’t tell them they *can’t* be a witch if they so choose.

There is no such rule that states a witch isn’t allowed to follow different belief systems. Furthermore, witchcraft is a practice. Yes, it is based on a type of faith, but in and of itself, it is not its own “belief system.” And it isn’t an exclusionary practice.

Naturally, this was pointed out to the admin in question by multiple people. Her response, instead of considering that maybe she’d given some bad advice, was to block and ban every person who commented along those lines. Every one.

Petty and dangerous

To make such a claim as “being a witch means having only witchcraft as a belief system” is harmful, misleading, and a sign of dangerous leadership. To deny any questioning of a claimed religious teacher is borderline cult behavior.

This did not sit well with me at all. As someone who strives to be a Pagan teacher, who wishes to help and guide witches in need, I’m always on the lookout for dangerous and controlling behaviors. The Pagan community deals with enough misunderstanding and negative representation. We don’t need more.

It’s okay to ask and even correct a teacher

Keep your eyes open, Witchlings. Not every witch who claims to be a teacher wants to help you. Some just want to be religious leaders, to have followers, to never be questioned.

But I urge you to question. I urge you to speak out when information rings untrue, when something seems harmful, or just because it’s confusing. Speak up and question anyone who claims to be a religious teacher. The right teacher won’t mind.

Blessed be.

Lady Morgana Brighid, HP MCCA

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

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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!

How To Be A Healthy Heathen

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably guessed that health is an important subject here at Maiden’s Circle. I believe that if one intends to serve in any way, one must be well in all aspects. That means spiritually, mentally, and physically.

The internet is host to tons of websites about having a healthy body. You can find anything from diet plans to entire wellness agendas. Looking for that kind of information is how I came across bullet journaling. And we all know how I feel about that.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love hunting for ways to incorporate my spiritual practice into literally every aspect of my life. That includes my health and fitness routine. So, today I want to talk about the Pagan things I do to stay balanced and healthy.

Here in New York, it’s easy to feel bogged down by the energy of such a dense population. If you are someone who’s sensitive to those energies, it can affect both your mood and body. This could lead to bouts of depression or irritability, and even to physical illness.

It’s important that we make cleansing and shielding part of our daily routine—or at least something we do whenever we go out. The easiest method I have found for this is to incorporate a short visualization in with my morning drink of water. Drinking water is something I have to do every morning to function like a person. Since it’s going to happen daily, it’s easy to see the water as a purifying, expanding light source. As I drink, I am cleansed and balanced.

If I’m going out, I will often do a shielding meditation during my morning commute. In fact, you can add meditation to anything you do. It’s the perfect way to add a little spirituality to your mundane life.

Like the need to regularly cleanse and protect our bodies, mental health is imperative to living a well-grounded, Pagan lifestyle. As someone living with a mood disorder, I have always been interested in mindset “hacks.”

My favorite method of altering a negative mindset is to use affirmations. Affirmations, for those who don’t know, are statements meant to support and empower by repeated use.

I use a number of affirmations that keep my mind from going dark, such as “I am naturally healthy” or “I am strong in mind, body, and spirit.” Speaking the words every day, or even just once a week, has drastically improved my outlook and energy levels.

To further keep my mood up (and keep track of it when it isn’t), I set daily intentions. Each night before bed, I decide how I want to spend the following day and note it in my bullet journal. I include any physical exercise I want to do, along with the energy I’d like to rule my day.

This all leads to me starting my day with intention. When I wake up with goals, I generally feel better. Why this is, I’m not 100% sure, but it may have something to do with having a sense of purpose. When we have that sense of purpose, it’s a lot easier to care about our own well-being.

Of course, visualizations and affirmations aren’t necessarily Pagan methods. One definite Pagan health tool is the use of spells. Spells can be cast for just about anything, so why not for better health? In fact, spells for health are among the top three most requested spell types in the Pagan community—including spells for love and spells for money.

Because I practice daily activities towards healthy living, I don’t need to cast health spells all that often. Still, there are times when my usual meditations could use a boost, and then I work a little magick.

Coincidently, I’m in the process of writing a book of spells for a healthy Pagan lifestyle. It’s a lot more well-organized and in-depth than any blog post could cover. It contains a handful of spells and a bit of bonus material that cover all aspects of healthy living.

I suppose this is the first “official” announcement of 10 Spells for the Healthy Witch. So, woohoo! The book will be available in the fall and should be available for pre-order in late Summer.

In 10 Spells for the Healthy Witch, I offer spells for sleep, for breaking bad habits, for dealing with anxiety, and so much more. I am so excited to share this with you and I know you’re going to love it!

There you have it. These are just a few of the methods I use to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I focused on mental and spiritual health because I believe those are necessary for physical health.

On top of that, there are a million sources with information on how to be physically healthy. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for finding spiritual balance nor for incorporating your spiritual “self” with your physical and mental “selves.”

Yes, we have a lot more Pagan health resources now than we did just ten years ago, but it’s still far from adequate. It’s necessary to work towards health and balance on all levels of being if we are to fulfill our purpose in this lifetime.

It’s likely that this topic will be revisited in the future, because there’s so much more I could say. I’m still in the process of healing and learning the best way to care for myself.

I still have some unhealthy habits I’m working on—like staying up way too late. As I type this, it’s a quarter to four in the morning. Nights like these are rather common for me, and they used to be a huge problem.

Now, I work in the afternoon, and so I get to sleep in—but there was a time when my bad sleeping habits affected my school and my jobs. During that time, I wrote a spell to help myself sleep at night.

I think it’s appropriate to share that with you here now. If you’re a night owl like me, take this spell and sleep with the brightest of blessings. May you awake refreshed and ready to start a successful new day!

Sleep come easy,
Sleep be sweet.
Goddess hold me,
From head to feet.
When night should fall,
Before morning comes.
By midnight play
The Sandman’s song.
To dream through night,
To wake with ease.
As I will it,
So shall it be.

What do you do to stay healthy and incorporate your spiritual practice in your health routine? What’s most important to you when it comes to being healthy?

Send me your responses in the comments!

With love,
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.
**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 Dramatic Witch (All About Ritual)

What is Ritual?

We engage in ritual every day. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a ritual is “a set of actions or words performed in a regular way, often as part of a religious ceremony.”  This includes the series of tasks we take every morning or at night before bed and certain acts we do without even thinking about them. Of course, this is a Wiccan-leaning Pagan blog, and so I’ll stick to that in this post.

In Wicca, one can find rituals for just about anything. We have rituals for each of our holidays, called Sabbats, as well as to celebrate the full moon, which we call Esbats. Most Wiccan rituals include some form of Grounding and Centering, as well as Calling the Quarters—but they can be as simple or complex as we desire.

 

Why do we perform Ritual?

Ritual allows us to focus our intentions and provides a source of comfort in the familiar. The repetitive actions form a sort of anchor that’s important when performing any kind of magick work. This anchor frees us from distractions so that we can work in a relatively “pure” space.

The reasons differ for every ritual, but they are almost always meant to mark a specific occasion as a special one. Whether it’s to celebrate a commitment to our partner or to prepare for a big presentation, rituals remind us that we are entering a unique phase and that we should remain aware. They allow us to focus deeply on our goals, strengthening the power of our intentions.

Pagan rituals come in hundreds of variations, depending on the practitioner/s and their tradition. We use ritual to connect with nature, with our Higher Selves, and with Deity. We use ritual to celebrate joyous events and to recognize solemn events with a show of respect. Many of us even imbue our mundane, morning routine with a little magick, making it yet another ritual that helps us connect with the Divine.

 

What’s a Dramatic Ritual?

One of my favorite types of ritual is also one I have yet to try. That is the Dramatic ritual—a ritual that is performed in the style of a play. Most Pagan rituals have a certain level of drama to them, with our candles and robes and intricate altar tools. But the Dramatic ritual is a full-on performance—with stage directions, lines, and actors.

What makes this different from a normal play is the content of the story being told, the worship-based activities, and the participation of everyone in attendance. These plays tend to feature coven-members and often have some form of trance/meditation for all involved as part of the performance.

Personally, I’ve always felt a sort of magick when performing, so the idea of bringing that into my personal practice just rings a bell for me. It seems like an ideal and fun way to worship. It also seems like an amazing bonding exercise for coven members. The Dramatic ritual is certainly at the top of my ritual bucket list, along with many others.

 

Whatever kind of ritual you prefer, I think every Pagan can agree that ritual is an important and beautiful part of our various practices. Ritual can be found in just about every tradition, because it speaks to a basic human need. It allows us not only to connect with the Divine, but with others as well in group ritual. It gives us community experience and a trigger to deepen our focus.

What, if any, rituals do you do every day? Is ritual an important part of your practice? If not, why not? What do you do to stay connected to the Divine/your spiritual self?

Send me your responses or comments!

 

With love,

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 reach out through the contact page with your questions and topic ideas!