Week 8 of PBP: For my second D post I was going to follow a few trends – but decided against it. I could have written volumes about depression – how it affects my spirituality, my belief, even the Gods and Goddesses I honor are somewhat related to my experiences with depression and self-destruction. However, I’m not sure I could be as eloquent as some other posts. (See Hippy Jersey Devil) Additionally, Saturday the 18th was the birthday of my best friend who died four and a half years ago – I considered writing about death in a way to honor her. I suppose I could also again here talk about self-destruction in general on that one… but I decide to save the that for another day. Instead, I thought perhaps a lighter topic may be better. So, I give you… defensive magick and a rant about my own experiences with local pagan communities and drama. (My apologies for anyone offended by the D-word, I like alliteration.)
Sometimes the Pagan community has a certain reputation for being full of drama. I wish I could say this has not been my experience, but it describes my experience in Pagan communities. When I was younger, I belonged to a local group for about two years and then it imploded – over drama. However this drama turned into a “witch war.” Yes, people actually cast spells to harm each other over basically, some rumors. I was burned on pagan communities.
I did join another group, this time a loosely organized paranormal investigative group. Well let me explain, the Husband joined the group, I did not. I did however take part in the family things and support him. That’s how I ended up going to their convention: which I’m going to call Dramacon. Immediately upon arrival, we discovered drama was afoot with the leader. Despite some less than flattering first impressions, I tried to be friendly with her for the sake of the Husband. However, once things got moving the first order on her agenda was to badmouth a leader of another group coming from a few hours away. Next, unbeknownst to me, was an agenda to “expose” a local respected pagan leader as sleazy kind of guy. She suggestively baited him, then twisted what happened into a slightly rape-y story she repeated to anyone who would listen. This was just the beginning, less than twelve hours in. I have zero tolerance for drama. I cannot allow myself to be around this kind of behavior and I refuse to be a part of it. Unfortunately, I was there supporting the Husband and being a good cheerleader. I did not leave because I did not want to be seen as a “bad wife” who can’t “be there for her man.” I stayed and held my tongue. We left together when he had his fill of being taken advantage of and the bad vibes throughly soured his impression of the occult community.
Not all witches and pagans are drama queens – but I do think we have more than our fair share. So Drama seems tied to pagan communities and I hate it. I think this is an unacceptable way for grown adults to act, not to mention outright unprofessional in a con setting. My yoga practice is important to me, but this is one time I am most grateful for it. I started studying yoga around the same time as I began to learn about paganism and I have always seamlessly blended the Eightfold Path into my spirituality. When I witness drama like this I am constantly reminded of right thoughts, right words, and right actions and how they relate to honor. As a pagan I feel I am on a somewhat honor-bound path. My gods and goddess are not going to punish me for every infraction, and they do not have the time or inclination to police my behavior. That is MY responsibility and only I will be the one who cares about it. My thoughts, words and actions create my destiny – not the gods. My deities are only as involved in this as guides. So, for me, the drama pervasive in pagan communities is especially troubling. I want relationships with other pagans but I cannot be comfortable in this kind of hostile environment. I don’t want that kind of Karma or Wyrd, whichever term you prefer. If I associate with all the drama queens, I am making it my Wyrd.
Mind your thoughts, they become words.
Mind your words, they become actions.
Mind your actions, they become habits.
Mind your habits, they become your character.
Mind your character, it becomes your destiny.
That’s where defensive magick comes in. While the BEST defense is to not tolerate this kind of behavior, sometimes things happen. I know the Wiccans out there are thinking “but the rede says harm none,” this is where I point out, I’m not Wiccan. I do not practice Wicca, I practice a more traditional and sometimes darker, crooked path. I do what I must or to quote Crowley “Do what thou will.” Now, when I met the already called out drama queen, one of the biggest red flags that immediately went up was a story she told about a man flirting with her at the local pagan pride day and how he cast something against her because she wouldn’t go out with him; so she cast something in retaliation. Red flag! This kind of thing almost always makes me think I don’t want to be involved or even friends with someone, but the Husband didn’t have the same reaction. At the time I told her in no uncertain terms I did not agree with that practice: I do not cast spells against others. I think casting against someone who didn’t date you or in retaliation for something is foolish and not honorable at all. Later, when the Husband voiced my concerns about the way she conducted herself at Dramacon, she led both of us to believe she was going to try to cast something against me. To “protect” herself from me. In times like these, you may need to use defensive magick. (Like I said I don’t condone or want to encourage casting against others. In real life though, I do what’s necessary.)
No matter what your moral and ethical standards are, there will always be foolish or outright bad people. A good defense is always the best offense, and I would recommend everyone in the magical communities learn to properly shield yourself. For those who are especially sensitive, it may help to have a protection amulet or charged item on your person for protection. A few traditional routes are sprigs of rue, charged amulets, and rune carvings. These can be worn or carried for protection. Also some useful stones for protection are rubies, garnets, jet, and my personal favorite is lapis (this is a personal thing for me I think though). Another stone I find particularly protective and powerful, especially in these situations, is the sapphire. Sapphires are my birthstones and most birthstones are at least somewhat protective and defensive for those under their alignment. When you make an amulet or charm, be sure to use correct intention and charge this object as you would any other spell, just because you (or a loved one) will carry this item doesn’t mean you should be lax in charging it. A well-made amulet can be passed from one person to another without losing any potency.
Another good defensive action is warding and shielding your personal space. You can do this many ways, but I’m going to talk about my personal favorite. I find strategically placed witches bottles to be effective in guarding my house from negative energies. I often keep witch bottles for general protection near doorways (it is possible to make them attractive enough to slip seamlessly into any decor). In addition to general protection bottles, I keep a special witch bottle on my vanity or in my closet for my own personal protection as well: your closet, which holds your clothes, represents how others see you. The witch bottle I have formulated for my closet protects my reputation and how others see me as well. In times like the ones I have described, you may what to make a witch bottle specifically for defensive and karmic-return. Such a witch bottle would be best to keep near your bed or in an area that you are often un-guarded like a bedroom.
Defensive Witch Bottle:
First, find a pretty bottle – perhaps one you might not mind sitting out in the open or you always may hide it. Be sure you throughly clean the bottle and any objects you are putting it – both physically to avoid strange molds and ickiness and energetically. I recommend salt water or fire/smoke purification.
Second, find and charge a stone or crystal: for karmic retribution and defense I like to use rubies and jet. I always place the stones at the bottom of the bottle. Next, place herbs or other items (maybe a personal item or hair) in the bottle to align it to a certain person if desired. Then fill bottle with herbs or other objects. If you are using a charged oil, I always fill the oil last. Herbs and other items to use in a defensive witch bottle:
shreds of broken glass (to catch spirits or fetches and tear them, also sparkles are supposed to distract negative spirits)
Iron nails (traditionally used as protection from spirits and fetches)
Aconite or Wolfsbane (handle with care – I am not recommending a novice herbalist handle this the other two will work more than fine)
Dog hair (taken from his brush, my dog is extremely protective of me and I wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t have an energetic or magickal relationship with the animal)
When you have finished charging and assembling the bottle, I usually do this during a dark moon to bring out hidden energies and hidden threats, you can cork or seal the bottle with wax. I usually use wax and carve or stamp a protective sign into the wax. You may also adore your bottle with symbols of protect and runes if you so wish. Make it yours, the more energy and thought you put into it the more powerful it will be. This is the same process if you want to make a small bottle amulet to wear.