Greater Self: The whole of our soul or spirit. The complete entity which is the I and Me inside. Not all of our understanding or experience can be accommodated by the physical brain of the physical plane of existence therefore we are narrowed while conscious by the physical form we currently inhabit. There is a Greater Self that exists outside of this plane which is the store of all we are learning through our incarnations.
Metaphysics of the Dark: The exploration of the power and energy in night, darkness and the deeper aspects of our spirits and psyches for magical and personal growth, understanding and empowerment.
Shadow/Shadow Self: Carl Jung writes the Shadow contains the “darker” aspects of our character (those that are deemed negative or lesser by society, religion and peer pressure) that have remained undeveloped because they have not been given expression.
What Are Otherkin?: Though living now in a human form, the spirit within is not purely human in identity. Shapeshifters/Animalkin/Therian are the best way to demonstrate this. These, in the most basic explanation, are animal spirits, previously an animal now in a human incarnation but still very close to the animal experience or life. That is of course extremely simplistic but The origin and nature of each Kin is far too complex for this spot.
Forms of Magic and Tools of Magic (note: not all forms of magic nor all tools work equally well or even at all for everyone, learn what feels right to you)
*Forms of Magic
In all magic, it is the intent of the one utilizing the tool not the tool itself that determines the nature of the work. Unprovoked intent to harm another, or extreme response to a lesser slight is the product of inner pain that is lashing out. Take the bold move to be in balance within before attempting to affect anything without.
Animal Totems: Animals, real or imagined, whose attributes you see in yourself or would like to internalize. The term refers to the animals themselves and the representations that the person creates, wears or otherwise has near themselves or their living spaces.
Astral Projection: See Tools of Magic
Astrology: The origin of the term is astro, stars and logos, word from the Greek.(1325–75; Middle English < Latin astrologia) Literally “the word of the stars”, the study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mayan, Chinese, etc all have had interpretations of the movements of the night sky. This is, like Geomancy, a discipline that has undergone many changes and reinterpretations over the ages. Though known in Western cultures as the study of the Zodiac and its influence, originally what is now called astronomy was included in astrology. The ancients looked to understand the movement of “heavenly bodies” and interpret what they meant to Earthly events. These included understanding the portents at the time of birth for an individual, predicting the weather, divination and looking for communications from deities. In the end of the 17th century astronomy, meteorology, and medicine separated from the umbrella of astrology and alchemy split into chemistry and alchemy. Astrology and alchemy came to be called “pseudosciences” by intellectuals in an effort to distance science from superstition. Modern astrology has all shades of practice from simply knowing your “birth sign” to those who study in depth the movements of the planets, sun and moon in conjunction with the Houses of the Zodiac.
Aura Work: This field includes Subtle bodies, Astral bodies and astral projection, Etheric bodies, chakra works to a certain degree, and radionics. In parapsychology and many forms of spiritual practice, an aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object (like the halo or aureola in religious art). The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or holiness. Sometimes, however, it is said that all living things (including humans) and all objects manifest such an aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian spirituality. Various writers associate various personality traits with the colours of different layers of the aura. It has also been described as a map of the thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.
Blood Magic: This form of magic uses the power inherent in blood to fuel spellcasting. Despite Hollywood’s love for excess in visuals, it does not require a lot of blood to add power to the ritual, just a drop or two is sufficient. Blood given freely and especially the magician’s own is more powerful. The intent of the magic is infused in the blood. The term sanguimancy is inaccurate. There are some that use this term to refer to blood magic where blood is used, and some use the term to refer to “calling the blood” i.e.: magic that uses the energy of a bloodline, or the combining of the will of those of the same bloodline.
Demonology/Daemons/Personal Demon Work: First the most elementary definition. Demon: An evil spirit. A fallen angel or Satanic divinity; anything with malevolent effects. Also, modernly, the dark nature or hidden part of an individual. Daemon: The original Greek and Roman meanings often employ synonyms or the variant spellings daimon or daemon to differentiate them from the more common ecclesiastical sense. The protective spirit or godling of a place, household, or individual. Personal demon work is the practice of finding one’s inner strengths, or understanding one’s inner saboteur. The definition of a demon is a very personal journey and everyone has the right to interpret this term to their understanding.
Divination: (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be inspired by a god”, related to divinus, divine) The attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occult, standardized process or ritual. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency. Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. For the most part divination and fortune telling are interchangeable terms. If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic element in some cultures and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion. Common forms of divination are tarot and oracle cards, spirit boards (Ouija is a brand name owned by Parker Brothers) smoke, embers, flames, water, mirrors, bones, shells, sticks with markings, entrails, and the movement of bees, ants or birds. Even to old game of “S/he loves me, S/he loves me not” on flower petals is a form of divination.
Dream Work: Reclaiming your dream-life is essential. Through dreams we work on problem solving, understanding, and, in the deeper states, a deeper understanding of where we are in our learning cycle. Dreams can bring omens and precognition. Dreams can guide us to see what is harming us and toward what will help us heal. There is much power and wisdom in the dreamscape.
Gemstone Magic: This is the practice of using gems, stones and some natural substances like amber and pearls in magical workings. Gems etc can be used to channel energy, ground energy, affect auras and energy fields, purify energy flow or block it. The most common use of gemstone magic is in conjunction with other forms of magic.
Geomancy: (Greek: γεωμαντεία, “earth divination”) The word geomancy means divination, or foresight by earth. Basically, it is the art of using various tools to access the hidden knowledge one is seeking; most often by connecting to the energy of earth. Originally it was a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand. The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations.
Modern geomancy is the study of the earth itself . Finding, mapping, and using ley lines, magnetic and gravitational fields, topography of the region, and position of the earth, the time of year being the earth‘s position relative to the sun.
Feng shui is sometimes called a geomantic art, or a form of geomancy, this is true. Vastu Shastra, the most well-known and popular feng shui counterpart, is also considered a geomantic art, and so is dowsing. There are many disciplines that have their roots in geomancy, such as astrology, for example. The I Ching is a well-known work of divination by geomancy.
Harmonics: This is the art of tones and vibrational work in magic. Sound and wave creating vibrations that can harmonize energy fields or disperse them. This work often connects back to the Ancient concept of The Music of the Spheres. The astronomers of old believed that the Universe had an overarching harmony that human beings could not hear which aligned the planets, the sun, the moon, the stars and all other heavenly bodies. Modern concepts are that the ancient astronomers were on the right track but their limited view of the Universe, that being that everything revolved around the earth, made it impossible for them to comprehend the very phenomena they conceived of. Modern astronomers believe that there is a harmonic balance to the workings of the Universe but possibly at level that we have yet to penetrate.
Herbal Magic: This can be as simple as ginger root for stomach issues to more complex forms used in sympathetic magic and incense. It is basically the use of the chemical compounds in plants for their properties and effects on the system or the energy inherent in the plants to boost ritual work.
Light Magic (use of coloured light): This works on several levels, the idea that the vibration of certain colours can affect the energy and well-being of a person or subtly influence the moods or reactions of a person or group of people and employing coloured lights to deliver the desired effect, such as in theatrical productions.
Moon Magic: This is magic that is associated with the moon, its phases, influence and cycles. There is a belief common to many cultures that working rituals at the time of different phases of the moon can bring about physical or psychological change or transformation. These rituals have historically occurred on or around the full moon and the new moon.
Necromancy: (Ancient Greek νεκρός (nekrós), “dead body”, and μαντεία (manteía), “prophecy or divination) This is a form of magic involving communication with the deceased – either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily – for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge. Any form of connection with the dead can be classified as necromancy, from contacting spirits of the deceased to the ritual use of graveyard materials or the objects from the dead bodies or the bodies in whole or in part for magical purposes. In the present day, necromancy is more generally used as a term to describe the pretense of manipulation of death and the dead (there is a lot of fakery out there), often facilitated through the use of ritual magic or some other kind of occult ceremony. Contemporary séances, channeling and Spiritualism verge on necromancy when supposedly invoked spirits are asked to reveal future events or secret information. Necromancy may also be presented as sciomancy (From Ancient Greek σκιά (skiá, “shadow”) and from Ancient Greek μαντεία (manteia, “divination”, divination using shadows, divination using ghosts or spirits.), a branch of theurgic magic.
Sex Magic: A term for various types of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic, or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result. A premise of sex magic is the concept that sexual energy is a potent force that can be harnessed to transcend one’s normally perceived reality
Spirit Guides: These are any entities or personalities that exist on the spiritual plane who communicate to help guide you and protect you in your journey through this physical incarnation. They can be ancestors, relatives who have passed, animal spirits, elementals, or those farther along the evolution of the soul (this includes deities, loa, angels etc.) They can take many forms and use many methods to communicate. How you perceive them is not necessarily their complete nature but an aspect or filter to facilitate interaction.
Sympathetic Magic: There are four main forms of sympathetic magic; Similarity, Contagion, Imitation, and Correspondence. Similarity is like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause. The magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it in a ritual enactment. Contagion is that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed from the se the magician believes whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of their body or not. Imitation involves using effigies, fetishes or poppets to affect the environment of people, or occasionally people themselves. Voodoo dolls are an example of fetishes used in this way. Correspondence is based on the idea that one can influence something based on its relationship or resemblance to another thing. Many popular beliefs regarding properties of plants, fruits and vegetables have evolved in the folk-medicine of different societies owing to sympathetic magic. This include beliefs that certain herbs with yellow sap can cure jaundice, that walnuts could strengthen the brain because of the nuts’ resemblance to brain, that red beet-juice is good for the blood, that phallic-shaped roots will cure male impotence, etc
Theurgy: From Ancient Greek θεός (theós, “god”) + ἔργον (ergon, “work”, plural theurgies) A supernatural intervention in human affairs. The performance of miracles. The technique of persuading a god/dess; the procuring of miracles by such persuasion.
Thoughtforms: This is the most commonly used form of magic and often the least understood. Everybody uses this type of magic in their lives without realizing what they are doing, therefore it is also the most dangerous form of magic. A thoughtform is an energy creature created by an individual or group to carry out certain specific commands or functions. You can make a personal protector, you can send one along with your resume to attract attention and favorable impressions or you can inadvertently send one to undo your work, fulfill your worst fears and orchestrate your worst case scenario. It all depends on how much you focus on the event or situation happening, and how much you visualize and project that desire.
*Tools of Magic
With any tool, as in all magic, it is the intent of the one utilizing the tool not the tool itself that determines the nature of the work. Unprovoked intent to harm another, or extreme response to a lesser slight is the product of inner pain that is lashing out. Take the bold move to be in balance within before attempting to affect anything without.
Altar Cloth: Any cloth of any design significant to the practitioner or the ritual used to drape over what is being used as a base for the altar of the ritual or ceremony.
Astral Projection: This is, in the most basic definition, what it is called when our spirit or soul expands beyond the confines of our limited, physical brain and taps into our Greater Self. It is a state we all enter into every time we have a cycle of deep sleep. Between dreams that process the day’s experience and the freeing fantasy films our minds compose, we connect with our full consciousness. It is a check in and download time where many things occur in regards to what we have experienced, where this is on our overall goal arc, and what past experience has to offer. Many are taught not to remember this, along with not remembering dreams but it is not lost, just not remembered.
Athame: A ceremonial blade used mostly for ritual purposes. It can be used to call directions or elements when opening a ceremonial circle or for symbolically circumscribing the ritual space. Some believe they are to be used ceremonially only but others believe that they can also be used to cut cords, herbs, photos, incense etc, used in the magic working. Athame can be used in the same way one would use a wand. The blade is a key element of the Athame, therefore its use is tied to the cutting edge, real or implied. For those who are uncomfortable with this aspect they should substitute a wand.
Bells/Rattles/Singing Bowls and Chimes: The most basic use of these items is to cause a sound vibration that clears the air and space for the ceremony or ritual. They can be used to summon energies or spirits in some disciplines or to announce your presence. Like music, these items can also harmonize a group and align their concentration on the ritual’s intention. Some of these items, depending on their tone, can be used for a calming effect to aid meditation.
Candles and Colours: Candles are another tool with many uses. They can be as simple as ambient light to set the mood or as complex as the center piece of the ceremony or ritual. Candles can be scented with oils and perfumes and made in many colours to reflect the intention of the ceremony or ritual. Colours have a variety of meanings differing by culture, discipline and personal interpretation. They can be incorporated in everything from the candles and altar cloth, to the clothing of those participating and the décor of the room or space itself.
Cauldron: Another tool that has many uses from purely ceremonial to absolutely practical. One ritual use is to combine items in the cauldron symbolic of what you wish to manifest in your spell. They can be used to contain written spells that are burned, smudge work or even to actually cook up potions in. The cauldron is also visually iconic for West European magic.
Clothing/Jewelry: In the most basic sense, your clothing and accoutrements should make you feel strong, powerful and centered. For some ritual colours are important, in others you may wish to represent the spirit/deity/element you are working with, and of course there is always the Wiccan sky clad.
Compass: A very useful tool for establishing direction. If you wish to align with North, West, South and/or East this is the quickest, most accurate way to be sure that you are actually facing the right direction! The compass used for Feng Shui is a simple compass on a board that contains the various other alignments used in the practice.
Dark Portal: This is a tool of Dark practitioners and Night magic practitioners. It can be a black or smoky mirror, a black stone, obsidian, or even a back circle or shape on paper, wood, etc. This is used to open the darkness or shadow side, enter into the void of all possibility, open your mind to the vastness of the cosmos, etc. Very useful for personal discovery work mimicking the journey through the Underworld of many myths.
Element/Directional Representations: These can be coloured stones to represent the directions or elements, tiles, or other art work but many use items that represent the elements or directions. Most commonly Air: a feather or incense, Water: a cup or bowl of water or a seashell, Fire: a candle or ashes (though some use incense here), Earth: a rock, a jar or bowl of soil, a plant. For the directions, no two disciplines can completely agree on what each represents so follow what you feel makes sense to you or feels right.
Images/Icons: Obviously the first thing that comes to mind are representations of the spirits or deities you wish to work with. You can also use imagery to help with visualizations and to sharpen your focus or to create a mood or atmosphere.
Incense Burner/Censer/Charcoal/Smudging and Scents: Like candles these tools have many uses. Some use them as symbolic of Air if using elemental work, or to set the mood for the ceremony or ritual. Different ones are sometimes associated with certain spirits or deities so will be used to invoke their aid or to call them forth. Those who work in herbal disciplines use burning or smudging to release the healing properties and energies of substances.
Items to aid Invocations: I have included this here to explain that there is no absolute right or wrong way to approach what these items should be. The core of all magical work is your energy investment and concentration. ANYTHING that aids this is acceptable. As long as you are not on purpose and unprovoked harming anyone else.
Mirrors: Also with multiple uses, mirrors can be used for scrying, visualization, portal work and in sympathetic magic. Different types of mirrors lend themselves to interpretation by the practitioner, colours, materials even frames and stands add to the desired effect.
Music: The most important use for music is to set the mood for the work. The right music can lift the energy work to greater levels and help focus the attention of the individual and unite the focus of a group. Another very important use of music (though not always talked about) is to block out outside noise and random interference of the world outside.
Pentacle, what is it?: Hoo boy, here we go. Everybody has an opinion and there are many, many uses and meanings behind this symbol. according to the Online Oxford English Dictionary the words pentacle and pentagram (a five-point unicursal star) are essentially synonymous in modern usage. Tracing the etymology through Old French, Middle French and Italian back to Latin, the word “pentacle” was used to refer to any talisman. In an extended use, many magical authors treat pentacle and pentagram as referring to two separate tools.. In many tarot decks and in some forms of modern magic, spell craft, and witchcraft, pentacles often prominently incorporate a pentagram in their design. The modern word pentacle comes from the Middle French pentacle: ‘a talisman, most often in the form of a five-pointed star’. This in turn comes from the post-classical Latin pentaculum, from penta- (‘fivefold’) + -culum (diminutive suffix) Pentacles, despite the base “pent”, often had no connotation of “five” in the old magical texts, but were, rather, magical talismans inscribed with any symbol or character. In many old grimoires, including the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy (c. 1565) in dealing with magical evocation, the pentacle is described as being hung about the neck, providing protection and authority to the magician. Johannes Trithemius (1462 – 1516), instructs the magician to don the pentacle just before casting the protective circle. As I keep repeating, magic is in the Will and intent of the practitioner so you are free to research this and decide your personal interpretation.
Pentagram, What is it?: The word pentagram comes from the Greek word πεντάγραμμον (pentagrammon), a noun form of πεντάγραμμος (pentagrammos) or πεντέγραμμος (pentegrammos), a word meaning roughly “five-lined” or “five lines”, from πέντε (pente), “five”+ γραμμή (grammē), “line”. The pentagram has been used throughout the ages with literally too many different interpretations to list here. The “point up” vs. “point down” issue is also greatly varied in interpretation. Never assume that what you think it means is the same as the next person, like many symbols and tools the meaning here is for you to research and determine for yourself. (The Greeks who give us the word, themselves did not differentiate.)
Scrying Tools: Objects or elements used to focus your attention on and unfocus your eyes in order to receive signs or images in divination and predictions. Common objects or elements used are tarot and oracle cards, spirit boards (Ouija is a brand name owned by Parker Brothers) smoke, embers, flames, water, mirrors, bones, shells, sticks with markings, entrails, and the movement of bees, ants or birds.
Spirit Boards: Like tarot and oracle decks, these are printed or painted on their backing and vary greatly in artistic interpretation and reader’s impressions. Commonly containing an alphabet and numbers plus aiding words such as yes, no, hello, goodbye, they can be very simple or extremely elaborate with many words, symbols and pictures to aid reading. Attention: Ouija is a brand name owned by the game company Parker Brothers, there is no such thing as spirit boards being, as a tool overall, anything like evil, dangerous or harmful. As with all tools, it is the intent of the one using the tool not the tool itself. (See Forms of Magic: thoughtforms)
Tarot/Oracle Decks: Any set of printed or self drawn cards with images to aid in the act of divination, help focus energy readings and clarify fortune-telling. Every deck has a unique personality and the reader brings their own individual perspective to the reading. Classic decks have certain basic meanings to each card that the artist and reader expand upon, personally drawn decks are obviously quite personal and all oracle decks vary on the artist’s intent and the reader’s interpretation. Most likely the most common tool of divination in Western practices.
Wand: This tool can be made of any material, wood, metal, stone, ceramic, resin, the possibilities are legion! The main purpose of the wand is to focus and channel the energy of the magical practitioner. Like the Athame, it can be used to call directions, elements etc to open a ceremonial circle, circumscribe the ritual space and also to point and direct energy toward a target or draw energy in from a source. The material and form of the wand is a personal matter.
Yin/Yang symbol: There are whole books and many articles on the expansive interpretations of this ancient symbol, far too much to summarize here. The basic explanations often given, on the other extreme, are far too simplistic. Middle ground. The symbol is the representation of balance in life, the white trails off at the largest part of the black and vice versa. Each contains the element of the other within itself (the “eyes”) so that neither is 100%. The concept that there is within any element the presence of that element’s counterbalance, and overall the cycle from one to the other is an ever rotating circle never resolved and never in conflict.