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Hello! This is the first entry in our series on the natural elements. In this series, we’re going to have short entries on the main cardinal elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. We’ll explore their connections with other aspects of the craft, such as color and direction correspondences.
This series starts with those basic correspondences, then moves on to tools of the craft which are used to represent these elements. We follow that with various activities one can do in relation to the elements and finish off with elemental connections to the Zodiac.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this series, so be sure to leave comments and say ‘Hi!’ on the Facebook page!
Earth and the North
If you’ve ever attended a Wiccan ceremony, you may have noticed that most rituals begin with participants facing the North. This is more common than the Maiden’s Circle tradition of starting in the West. North is the default direction for most navigating tools, so it makes sense that people consider it the “dominant” direction. (The University of California, Santa Barbara has this interesting and short article on why that is.)
Of course, Pagans have a number of different reasons for why we start our rituals in certain, specific ways. For some, it’s simply because that’s what they were taught. For others, we make a connection with the corresponding element. In this case, that element is Earth.
I can’t speak to why other Pagans may associate Earth with the North, but I can tell you why I do.
Earth is Grounding
In ritual, we call elementals or guardians to join us from their associated directions. Guardians of Earth share traits with their element, as you might imagine. And, as one of its names suggests, Earth has a grounding nature.
Grounding, in witchy terms, is the process of connecting metaphysically with the earth’s core. It allows us to stabilize our energy and connect with our fellow practitioners. This is because we associate the earth with a solid foundation. It symbolizes stability, strength, and wholeness.
When we need to ground, we imagine the energy of the planet filling us with the essence of those traits, and it allows us to feel strong and ready to do the tasks ahead of us. Perhaps that is why so many Pagans start rituals in the North, as that grounding energy is necessary for effective spellcraft.
Earth is Cold and Dark
Imagine what it would feel like to be buried deep underground. The heavy soil piled on top of you and blocking out the light. It’s a scary thought, a reminder of life’s harshness, and of the dichotomy between vitality and death.
What does that have to do with the North? That harsh cold can be found at our northernmost peaks. Admittedly, the southernmost peaks have even colder temperatures. But where I’m from, the North is known for its cooler climate and harsher weather.
If you’re wondering why “cold and dark” would be considered a good aspect of Earth, know that it’s simply a matter of perspective. For some, “cold and dark” describes their ideal aesthetics. Personally, it reminds me to be grateful for the warm and bright aspects of life.
It also shows me what I’m capable of withstanding. So, by enduring the harshest of winters, I am made stronger. And I am that much more thankful when the spring comes around.
I Was Just Taught That Way
When I was just a few years into my Pagan study, I had the honor of working with a variety of groups in both high school and college. By that time, most American Pagans knew pretty much the same associations thanks to the torchbearers of our community such as Scott Cunningham and D.J. Conway.
These witches paved the way for writers and Pagans like me with their books, and they established certain connections that many of us still adhere to today. That is, Earth corresponds with the North, Air with the East, and so on.
Whether it’s arbitrary or not, I couldn’t say. All I know is that these associations make sense to me. They just feel right. Sure, that probably sounds a little woo-ey, but look around—this whole blog is woo-ey!
That’s all I have for you today. I’m hoping this series has a bit of a lighter tone than that last one. I spent half the year writing about a pretty serious topic (which I encourage you to read for a more in-depth look at the core beliefs that make up the Maiden’s Circle tradition). Now, I’d like to be just a little less strict for a while.
I hope you enjoyed this start to our new series, and I’ll see you next week for Air and the East.
What other reasons would we associate Earth with the North? Do you associate any other directions with this element in your own practice? Let me know in the comments!
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
Check out our Maiden’s Circle 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.
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!
This is the fifteenth 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 realize that the energy created through worship and rituals manifests as a circular stream of positive energy.”
Back in March of 2018, we posted a blog all about ritual in our Pagan practice. But, as I re-read over that entry, I realize that I missed one crucial reason we Pagans use ritual. In “The Dramatic Witch,” I discuss the physical reasons one may use ritual—it helps us focus; and I mention that we use ritual to connect to the Divine and to mark special occasions.
Still, I neglected to mention the main reason most of us do rituals: to raise energy for a specific purpose. Yes, it is used for all the above, but usually that includes building some energy through ritual acts. Whether that’s energy of healing at a funeral, the energy of celebration at a party, the energy of positive manifestation at a full moon—ritual allows us to stir it up and send said energy out into the universe.
In Wicca, many of our rituals involve chanting, lighting candles, calling corners and, sometimes, even dancing. These acts serve to build energy that, for many, is downright tangible. With the energy built, we are able to send our wills into the ether. That ritual-made energy heightens the likelihood that our request is heeded—whether by Deity, angels, or a vague universal greater consciousness—because it allows us to form a deeper connection through ritualistic focus.
Just as in our post where we touched on the Law of Three (which, as it’s defined, isn’t necessarily something I agree with*), we understand that the energy that’s sent out has its way of boomeranging back at us. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything bad or good that happens to us is a result of our own energy, but it does mean we need to be more aware of what energy we intentionally release into the universe.
Because ritual creates such a boost of power, the things we send to the universe are that much stronger.
Imagine that your thoughts, wishes, or mundane intentions are droplets of water and the “universe” is a full swimming pool. The energy we send out on a regular basis (through thought, wishes, etc.) may create some ripples, but they won’t drastically upset the overall pool.
Now, imagine the energy of ritual creates enough water to fill a large tub. That will certainly make a difference! In fact, if we aren’t careful, we risk the “pool” overflowing and getting soaked. That is, if we don’t shield ourselves and take care what energy we build and release, we will suffer the consequences.
This happy Law isn’t so much about the consequences, as it is about the continuous beauty and positivity ritual can bring into our lives. When we go into a ritual space—when we dance together, sing, worship, and create, either alone or with others—we leave feeling more joyful and content with our lives.
Or, at least, that’s my experience. In the groups I attend, most people express some sort of relief, pleasure, or joy after rituals. Those pleasant sensations travel with us and, with repetition and regular upkeep in our own time, they can transition into every other aspect of our lives creating a truly endless cycle of positive energy.
Like every other Law in this collection, this one cannot be looked at through a universal lens.
There are many practitioners who are not ready for or open to the positive energy that ritual may bring, even though they attend the rituals in search of it. For some reason, they struggle to carry the comfort of ritual into their everyday life.
I have a few theories as to why that is, but the reasons tend to rely on the individual. In group ritual, we’re exposed to other people’s auras. Our energy interacts with theirs, and so those joyful feelings touch us during the ritual. If, however, one is unable to create that positivity within themselves, this group positivity will naturally fade soon after the individual parts from the circle.
That’s why it’s important to practice ritual regularly, including worship of Deity or other beings if our practice calls for it. We can use ritual to cultivate positive energy within ourselves, to create steady growth and access the good that’s available to us. Through frequent solo practice, we can come to know ourselves better and come to understand what it is our souls need to tap into that positive energy inside of us.
Rituals can be solemn and somber, or they can be silly and light. Whatever the mood, regular rituals can be truly life-affecting. They can change things for the better and enhance any magickal or spiritual practice. Someday, I hope we’ll all see how ritual can enrich our lives.
What are your favorite rituals? How often do you perform rituals? Do you work with groups or alone or both? Let me know in the comments!
*Disclaimer: The Law of Three generally states that the energy we send out will return to us threefold. While I do believe that sending it will cause us to receive energy in turn, and the nature of said energy may determine what we get, I think too much reliance on this idea can be dangerous. I don’t believe that everything bad that happens to someone is some reflection of the energy they’re putting out or that they asked for it. That seems unfair and implies that people in war-torn countries, abusive situations, or suffering chronic illness are somehow attracting their suffering.
Some people believe these things because of the Law of Three or the Law of Attraction. I believe the LoA and LoT can be used to improve one’s life, but it is not the end-all of a well-rounded spiritual practice. I’d much rather consider it the Law of Reaction, which falls more in line with the more logical idea that an action creates a reaction, prompting us to ask why a specific “reaction” or event occurred.
With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
This is the fourteenth 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 understand that the ultimate act of spirituality is the act of positive creation through love.”
As a child, before dedicating myself to this faith, I believed I was a Christian. At that time, my church taught us that God was a very specific type of being. God was a man—or at least, a “He.” God loved the people who claimed to love him—regardless of whether they hurt others. They only needed to repent and be forgiven, no matter how many times they repeated their actions. And God loved to punish anyone who questioned him or believed in something different.
To be clear, I’m only speaking of what I gathered from the few Christian communities I was a part of. This is in no way a reflection of every single Christian. It’s just what I was taught. Which was that questioning God or the pastor, questioning one’s “elders”, or questioning the Bible or related stories meant one risked eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell.
Naturally, as evidenced by this blog and my life-to-date, the teachings of my church and others I’d attended didn’t sit well with me. The idea that our worship should be based in fear of a jealous and vengeful deity always seemed ridiculous to me. Even if I do believe that jealousy and anger are characteristics of the Divine (and I do), the idea that those are Her main personality traits never felt right.
At some point, I found the idea that God could be about more than Hellfire and commandments. That I didn’t have to live my life in fear of breaking some arbitrary rules about who I could love or what questions I was allowed to ask was truly a game changer. This was around the time I began looking into Wicca, and I came to the personal conclusion that the God I was taught about as a child wasn’t the true essence of the Divine.
I will always believe that the true essence of God, of divinity, is love.
When I figured that out, it blew my mind. The belief that God is Love became the early foundation for my spiritual practice. I chose to approach my faith with that belief as my guide, and it’s led me to where I am today.
Today, I’m secure in my spiritual beliefs. Even as I regularly evaluate and alter them, my beliefs remain always grounded in the thought that Love is the Divine’s most important gift to us and is Her most prominent aspect. It is her love that leads me through life—in both good and bad times.
This ordain supports that belief for me. I feel closer to the Divine and more in-tune with my spiritual guides when I engage in loving acts. When doing spellwork, meditation, manifestation, and anything else related to my craft, I do it in the name of Love. In fact, in my experience, those things work best when I actively remember to put myself in the headspace that emphasizes the love in my heart.
Sometimes, I do this by simply remembering what makes me happy. Other times, I’ll play with my cat, Brooklyn, or dance to joyful music. I’ll look at pictures of some of my happiest times and sing at the top of my lungs. All these things serve to raise my vibrational energy to that of love, and I’ve found that my craft work is far more effective than when I just jump right into it with no joy-building warm-up.
Often, in online forums and in-person Pagan groups, I hear people complaining about how their spells don’t work or about how they feel negativity around them all the time. Unfortunately, many of those people seem to carry worry or fear or sadness in their hearts. They have trouble finding joy, and therefore trouble feeling the elation that one has when experiencing a surge of Divine love. That, in turn, makes craft work difficult.
Eventually, as you traverse your Pagan path, you’ll no doubt hear about the concept that what you send out will return to you.
Many people seem to think of this in terms of Karma or the Law of Three. Personally, I don’t think Karma affects us in our current lifetime, rather it determines our next life cycle, and I’m not crazy about the Law of Three, either. Instead, the concept that “what you send out will return to you” refers to something that occurs at many levels—not least of which, the energetic level.
When you carry fear, worry, and other negative energy, these are the things you’ll attract. Unlike magnets, when it comes to energy, like attracts like. So, when we make a concerted effort to fuel our everyday thoughts and actions with the energy of love, we invite more love into our lives, along with all of the positive energy that accompanies it.
When we flip the narratives in our own heads and actively inject love into our spiritual work, we may find the experience much more fulfilling and healing much more attainable. Anything we create in the name of Love will be divinely inspired, and so will be more connected to Spirit and our Higher Selves.
How do you imbue your spiritual practice with love? What do you do to raise your energetic vibration before working the craft? If you don’t do that, do you find it affects your magick?
With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
This is the thirteenth 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 lie to yourself for this is the ultimate act of deceit.”
I believe this is a tough one because most of us tell ourselves too many stories to count. Personally, as someone who is pursuing a career in writing fiction, I find that it can be quite easy to build a story in my head and even easier to believe it. The older I get, the more vigilant I have to be about what those stories are.
In the last two or so years, I’ve gone through some pretty big shifts emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And while the core of my belief hasn’t changed, a lot about the way that I practice and the way I think of myself is very different from five years ago.
Five years ago, I moved to New York with my mind set on following a particular path. At that time, I told myself I was being guided by Goddess and, if I didn’t take that exact route, I was a failure. Failure, in my warped mind, was equivalent to badness. So, when I moved here set on a certain course and I couldn’t hack it, that meant that I was bad.
The lie I had told myself was that people chose their path and stuck to it. Anything else was wrong.
It’s taken a few years to overcome those stories, as well as the fear of not living up to them. But I’ve realized that those stories don’t have to be true. When I accepted that, I finally began to feel like myself.
From childhood, I told myself so many stories. I listened to what people said about me,—that I was too quiet, that I was smart, that I was weird—and stepping out of those labels always left me questioning my identity.
But so many of those stories were false beliefs. Because they weren’t true, the part of me that knew that suffered. These lies I told myself led to near-constant confusion, depression, and feelings of worthlessness. They led to self-destructive choices and unhealthy compulsions. Things I’m still facing.
Nowadays, I’ve reached the point where I’m more aware of the things I tell myself. Of course, it takes work to actively try to change the kinds of thoughts that come into one’s mind. Many people knock the idea of positive thought, but it’s part of what’s kept me alive.
With words of affirmation, rephrasing negative thoughts, and reminding myself over and over that I don’t have to believe every thought that crosses my mind, I’ve found that my mindset is a lot more stable than it was a decade ago.
When we lie to ourselves, we’re robbing ourselves of the opportunity to feel peace. We’re stealing happiness from ourselves with dreadful stories.
How many people do you know are struggling to find a job? How often do you hear them say things like, “No one will hire me,” or “I just can’t seem to find a job.”? We lie to ourselves when we engage in bad behavior due to mental illness, but refuse to acknowledge any personal responsibility in the matter. These lies serve to absolve us and to temporarily free us from the hard work it takes to live fulfilled.
The more we believe these lies, the harder it becomes to understand ourselves and to truly feel joy. As we age, it becomes that much harder to find true freedom. That is, the freedom to be our most authentic, joyful, and spiritually-connected selves.
Many people think therapy or medication is the way to finding balance. I believe that those methods have extreme value in one’s healing process, especially therapy. That should be a resource that every person has access to. However, it sometimes feels like people use therapy as a tune-up, while doing little to no maintenance in-between sessions.
They go to a session, suss out their feelings, tell themselves they’re fine for a week, and then start the whole routine over. For whatever reason, many people seem frightened of the deeper, harder work. There’s no questioning of their beliefs and morals, no examination of their daily thoughts, no consideration for what they truly desire.
Instead, they continue on their routine. Work, home, dinner, entertainment, bed. In and out. Then, it’s back to therapy to discuss how they feel like they’re in a rut.
If we don’t work to reach the core of our problems and take the steps to solve them from within, then we can’t come to a place of true healing.
The only way to solve our problems is to face them and be honest about why they’re there. I counsel everyone to do so. The world will be much better for it. No matter how scary that is or how much it hurts, look at yourself with clear eyes. Ask yourself the hard questions, then ask again a month later or whenever you’re feeling unsure of who you are.
This is something I’m still learning. There are still things that I believe or that I tell myself that I know aren’t true. There are moments when I question my motives and my work, but that’s just one story. It doesn’t have to be true, and if I can see the lie for what it is, I can get through it to see the truth.
Have there been times when you knew you were lying to yourself, but kept going with it? Why do you think some of us do such a thing?
With eternal love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings on Youtube! 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 a Maiden’s Circle newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!
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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