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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 Their views about the world are old and outdated today.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 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

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! Want to chat with other like-minded witchfolk? Check out our online community HERE! 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!

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 Magickal Fire (Of Motivation)

As is common during the first weeks of a new year, the air is laden with the energy of forward motion. Many of us resolve to use this time to start new habits and break old ones. For example, you may resolve to meditate once a day and to spend less time watching Netflix. Often, we stick to these resolutions for a few days or weeks before we slip back into our usual behaviors.

We may blame it on “life getting in the way” or an increased work schedule following a holiday lull. Whatever the reasons, many of us give up on our resolutions within the first three months of a new year. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. So even though we start out full of fervor and vim, the odds are stacked against us.

How do we hold on to that spark for the rest of the year? The spark that inspired us to want to change our lives for the better? In order to answer that, it’s important to understand why so many of us don’t succeed with our New Year goals in the first place.

One of the reasons we don’t succeed is because we don’t choose the right goals. Oftentimes, we offer vague resolutions, such as meditating more, but make no actionable plans to follow through. We hope to figure it out as we go.

Continuing with meditation as our example, let’s take a moment to imagine how a typical year might pass for some of us:

In the beginning, we’re excited and make our lofty resolution. We stand around with loved ones—or retreat into ourselves for personal reflection—and decide, “I’m going to meditate more often this year.”

For the first two weeks, we do it daily. Five minutes after we wake up. Half an hour during our workday commute. In the final moments before sleeping. For those two weeks, we feel amazing and we know that—this time—we’ll stick to it.

But then we reach week three. It’s mid-winter and business has picked up. We come home a little more tired than usual, because it gets dark so early and kind of throws off our rhythm. All we want to do when we get in is crash on the couch and catch up on our favorite shows.

The little voice in the back of our mind whispers something about how we forgot to meditate that morning. That’s okay; we wave it off, promising to do it in the five minutes before bed. We have dinner, watch our shows, and then it’s time for bed. We go through our nightly routine and lie down, and it’s not till morning that we realize we skipped a day.

Maybe we maintain it for a few more days, but the winter blues hits and another day is skipped. By summer, we’re stressed about not meditating. We spend hours complaining to our friends that, because of said stress, we can’t focus enough to meditate and have locked ourselves into a vicious cycle.

We turn our heads when asked how the meditating is going, disappointed in ourselves. We avoid the Halloween party we always go to because we know all of our meditating friends will be there. (That’s probably unlikely, but bear with me…this is the metaphor I chose, and I’m sticking with it.)

Just after Christmas, we admit that maybe we didn’t do so well. But, you know, we’ll definitely do it in the New Year. This time we mean it. For real. Like seriously.

Whether or not your goal is to meditate more, get more exercise, be more patient, make more money, or anything else—it is extremely easy to fall short when you don’t have a real, actionable plan in mind.

As you can see by now, this isn’t a strictly Pagan post. I feel this topic is valuable to people from all walks of life. Since my practice is so integral to who I am and how I live my life, it seemed appropriate to speak on the topic of motivation here.

I’d like to offer you some of the ways I have used in the past and some I’m implementing this year to keep and track my goals for 2018.

1. Bullet Journaling –

I began bullet journaling in July, and it’s changed the way I think. I’ve never been good at journaling, nor have I ever actually used a planner for more than a few weeks. The beauty of bullet journaling, for me, is the freedom to do it however the heck I want. I want to track how much water I drink? Put it in the journal. Need a simple calendar? Easy as pie.

In 2017, I kept it simple and practical. In the front was the year at a glance, a few pages with holidays, birthdays, and a 12-month calendar. Immediately following was the month in overview, my tasks for the month, followed by short, daily diary-style entries; later I added a section for the Tarot card I pull each day.

This year, I’m doing many of the same things, but using different methods. I’ve also added some personal trackers for things like savings and my mood. There’s even a page for my goals. Bullet journaling is the main tool I’ve used to better organize my life in the last six months, and almost all of the methods below can be added your own journal. It’s definitely a habit I’d recommend to anyone wanting to live on their own terms.

2. Daily Goals and Tasks –

In my bullet journal, I still have a dailies section, but instead of a feelings diary (for which I now use a simple mood chart), it is my guide for each day. Sometime before bed, I prepare a list of the next day’s tasks and goals. I leave space for the card I pull, and for anything new in my life. I try to keep the goals simple, to ensure that I can get them done with as little stress as possible.

One thing that motivates me is previous success. So, if I have three or four tasks that I can do within the first hour of waking up—for instance, meditating to pull a Tarot card, doing squats, and drinking a full glass of water—then it sets the tone for the rest of my day. Each time I check off a task, it sends a message to my brain that tells me I’m being productive and rewards me with a dose of dopamine.

According to Entrepreneur.com, we actually learn best through success—not through failure. Failure can be an excellent teacher, but our brains are naturally more attracted to success. This means that if we’re trying to create a new habit, we’re more likely to succeed if we have smaller goals towards our ultimate desire.

3. Accountability Buddies –

One of the best ways I find to stick to my goals is having someone other than myself to hold me accountable. This other person doesn’t always have to be someone I know. They don’t even have to be real.

I have no idea if anyone is actually reading this blog, but I choose to believe you’re there. In my head, you’re sitting at your computer or on your Monday morning commute, and you’re coming here every week. So, I’ve got to show up for you.

If you partner with a friend, make sure you’re both on the same level. You want to motivate one another, so it’s crucial that you’re both committed to your respective goals. This means that both of you are taking the steps necessary to achieve them, are in similar places in your journeys, and can offer each other support as you travel your paths.

When someone else is counting on you, you’re more likely to step up and follow through. First, decide what your goals are. Decide the milestones you’ll need to reach to get there. Then find someone in a similar place, with goals and the steps they need to take, and keep each other going. Be there for one another during the slumps and cheer each other on during the good times. You’re far more likely to succeed when you have someone to share your journey.

4. Choose the Right Goals –

The last thing I want to mention isn’t exactly a method for success throughout the year, so much as it is the key factor behind lasting goals. Choosing the right resolutions could mean the difference between an abundant, successful year and a year of disappointments.

Do you pick goals because they seem like the right thing to do? Did you decide to meditate more because you want to fit in with all of your meditating friends (the ones from the party), instead of pursuing something that’s true to you?

In order to triumph over procrastination, fear, and anything else that may come between us and our goals, we have to choose ones that are aligned with what we truly need and desire.

 

What are your goals this year? How do you plan to achieve them? Let me know in the comments and be sure to like our Facebook page! (If you don’t already…)

May you succeed in gaining all you seek, so be it in love.

With all my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

I’m tepid towards the “listicle” format, so I’ll definitely be returning to the more intimate style. But would you folks hate it if I did these every now and then? Let me know in the comments!