Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 3 Count Down to Funky 55

Funky fashion today is all about the hair. Not only do I love fascinators, miniature hats, head bands, and hats as wardrobe accessories, for me hair itself is an accessory.  So, yes, I like to do wigs. Funky fun wigs!  If they're not fun and funky, why bother? I already have *regular hair*. 

In all the Day 3 photos, I am sporting pale blue hair. It's a nice *little ole' lady* color that isn't a shocking leap from my natural gray and yet it does add a nice spice to life.  Ah, but not to worry, rich, wild colors are on the horizon in future funky fashion photos. I promise. 

In this photo I am sitting in my favorite chair with my skull scarf wrapped around me. The hair was new and I just HAD to have a photo. So, this photo was not a public appearance which I sort of feel has to happen to qualify as a Funky 55 fashion photo. So, scroll on down for the hair complete with outfit IN PUBLIC. :)

Here I was out on a midday luncheon with hubby. He is the photographer that captures these wonders for us -- I call the photos *wonders* because I figure people look at them and *wonder* what I think I am doing. LOL Well, it's simple -- I am being ME! Here I have on one of my tank style summer dresses that has the  rounded hemline.  I figured out that made them perfect to layer over a coordinating under skirt. Add a belt and scarf and this is what you get. The belt is left over from my Ren Faire days when I portrayed a character called Lady Dalyndra, Celtic Queen of Dal Riada. It's a very handy accessory in my day to day wardrobing.

 And let's not forget shoes. They are such an important accessory. I used to be all about *cute* when it came to shoes. I still am BUT *comfort* trumps *cute* in my elder years and my feet thank me dearly. Gone are the days I am willing to totter around on *cute* shoes all day with feet in agony and nursing blisters and aching feet and leg muscles later. What I'm wearing here are leather wedge heels strappy sandals. Very, very, very comfortable.

 Almost forgot the jewelry. GAK! What was I thinking. The jewelry in this outfit is made of labradorite and is one of my very favorite sets. I ware it a lot. The pendant is actual just a hunk of thin stone that was polished on one side and raw on the other. The artisan was creative in affixing jewelry mounts to it so that it could serve as a pendant. Bless her, bless her for her works.

And that wraps up funky fashion for Day 3 Count Down to Funky 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 2 Count Down to Funky 55

And here is my funky fashion for Day 2 of the Count Down to Funky 55.  I'm out for a late night snack at Wendys.

Here I am wearing three wardrobe pieces I have had for a long while but had never put the three of them together before.  The vest was something I found for $5 at thrift shop in Tulsa quite a few years back.  In fact, when I first got it, even with the laces completely tight, I was able to pull it over my head and fit it into place.  For the longest time I didn't realize it had a zipper on the side!  Now, the laces are fully out, and the zipper most definitely has to be used to get me in and out of the vest -- but I manage.  It will be a sad day when my elder bloom blossoms hopelessly beyond its girth.  It is a beautiful gold, brown and black tapestry print.  I paired it with the skirt because they both had the same colors.

The skirt is something I ordered from Chadwicks catalog.  You know, I don't know if they even exist anymore.  I loved their stuff for a while.  The shirt was something I bought off a sale rack somewhere -- not sure where.  But in pulling all three of them together, they seemed to do well.  I finished off the look with my boots that hubs bought me this past winter.

Of course, no outfit is complete without jewelry.  The necklace is a piece that I bought at a local resale shop.  It is a chunky medalion that also was the right colors and went perfectly with the medieval flair of the vest.  The earrings are just some fun dangles I picked up somewhere for cheap.

All in all, I think Day 2 funky fashion went well.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 1 Count Down to Funky 55

Well, here is the first photo of the Funky 55 countdown. Here I am wearing a long blazer type sweater with fringe. I LOVE this sweater. It is light weight so it is perfect when there is a bit of chill.  The shirt is tank top with bright colors and a butterfly tale.  The pants are just a pair of dark navy pedal pushers -- at least that is what they were called back in the day. LOL  Perhaps the proper term today is crop pants?

Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 2 of Count Down to Funky 55.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Counting down to Funky 55

I like to celebrate big milestones.  The older I get the more I realize that opportunities in life are waning so I better make the most of them.  On my 50th birthday, I decided to have some real fun with my hair.  I went beyond the typical hair colors of black or red and went bleached blonde.  Well, at least that was the plan.  Because of the cheap black die in my hair it didn't lift out entirely and left behind shades of orange and yellow.  But you know what?  I ran with with it.  I called it and raised the ante -- I added bright punk colors to the front. I was styling! Or so I thought.  In the streets, person after person complimented me on my hair and wanted to know who did it. I was always happy to say I did it myself.  However, if I went in a beauty shop for hair supplies, the professional hair girls would gasp and slip me cards and say things like "honey, I can fix that for you, here's my card, give me a call."  It was really funny.  At a younger age I might that might have given me a complex but when I was strolling down Bourbon Street in New Orleans and two drag queens came up and began going on about my hair, well, I was really proud of it then because to me drag queens really know their stuff when it comes to make up, hair and costuming.

After this I decided to get a bit bolder and tint it purple. I was going for a vibrant neon sort of thing but I got a deep dark purple instead. I was stunned but thought, hey, I will make myself roll with this. I can do this.  And so I did for all of three days or so until the military police followed me on base all the way up to my garage and then sat and glared at me.

Apparently, such shocking displays of hair color is not considered in good taste in the military and so, to save face for my husband, I lifted the purple back out of it. I stuck with the blondish orange with tweaks of colored bangs up until my father's final days preceding his death and funeral.  When last I saw him he wasn't amused with my teen antics he called it. Good old Dad.  But he sure was glad to see me. I will always remember him jumping up and shuffling across the room to hug me in a bear grip and him burying his face in my shoulder and telling me he thought he would never see me again.  It should have registered to me right then that he had accepted that his battle with cancer was lost.  He died less than 90 days later with most of that time being bed ridden as his appetite waned and his body wasted to nothing more than a shell.  I certainly wasn't ready for the shell of a man that he was when they called me home to say my goodbyes.

In tribute to life and daring and boldness, I am doing a count down of 55 days of Funky until my 55th birthday.  I will be taking my clothes and putting them together in new and fun ways.  I definitely am not a wall flower and don't mind standing out in a crowd.  I will post a photo daily of me and my funky fashion.  I hope you enjoy my journey to age 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yesterways Blog is sporting Beltane bling!

Ostara and Easter is behind so it was time to dress the blog in Beltane bling. Looks pretty cute. Beltane is fast approaching so it won't last long. It's fun decorating the blog for the seasons.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

The wall after a bit of drying

And here is a quick update on how the wall looks now after a bit of drying. All it needs now is a coat of polyurethane to seal it. Then two more walls and it is done!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bathroom Makeover at Yesterways Cottage with Brown Craft Paper

I have been itching to try the brown craft paper technique on something.  Two different projects came to mind -- one small and one larger. Starting with the small one seemed more prudent. It would allow me to get the hang of it and quickly finish something so I could feel good about it. Cheesy reason I know, but hey, it works.

We have only one bathroom and the former occupant of the house painted around the sink with purple but did the remaining walls in terra cotta.  The shower curtain was the only thing that made it make sense because it was a butterfly print that had both colors. However, having formerly had a patriotic themed bathroom with whimsical country decorations, the purple just wasn't jiving for us.  In the photo above, you can see the original color and the first piece of brown craft paper in place.

In the above two photos, you can see one whole wall has been layered with brown craft paper. It was quite fun fitting the pieces together like a puzzle. Although there is no photo to show it, I did use a paint brush to smooth out the glue mixture to an even application. And now we wait for it all to dry and see what we have. 

One thing is for sure, we won't have purple walls anymore.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Monday, April 21, 2014

Journey to Wicca...

I had a discussion today with someone regarding transitioning from Christianity to Wicca and how hard that can be.  While many people know instinctively that Christianity isn't a good fit for them, they have many years of background with it and are still immersed in a predominantly Christian environment. There can be a lot of emotional conflict and anxiety during the switch over.  It is a shedding process of the old beliefs that can take a long period of time to leave behind for some while for others it may be as simple as flipping a switch.  For those who suffer anxiety, they may be fearful of hell and damnation, still caught up in the devil and demons, fearing the anti-christ and looking to angels as guardians. So, the transition to Wicca may be a very bumpy one for some. Add to that the pressures of family and friends who are still Christian, still believe you are Christian, and the natural instinct to hide your interests and decisions until you have it all sorted out and feel strong enough to tell others, and you have beginning Wiccans in a literal hot bed of coals.

In my own journey to Wicca, I was raised in a Christian environment. However, I was blessed that my parents didn't have an affinity for *organized religion*.  They were firm believers that church attendance was not a requirement of Christianity and they firmly held that one could pray directly to God without clergy to intervene. Also, my parents believed in personal choice -- they believed that we children had the right to choose for ourselves what we wanted to do.  If we wanted to go to Church, they would see that we got there as long as they were certain we were attending for the *right* reasons. For instance, as young tweens, we attended a week long youth revival at the urging of peers and the *reward* was to go out for ice cream at the end of the week. Our parents let us go all week long but on ice cream reward night, they were there as usual to pick us up and when we explained it was ice cream night, my parents firmly held we could not go because we were not to be bribed into church attendance and being at church should be reward enough. We didn't go any more after that for a very long time.

Oddly enough, at the early age of 6 years old, I announced that I was a Witch after getting a Witch Halloween costume that year. I wanted to wear the dress and hat constantly and had magickal friends with powers. Of course it was deemed a child's fantasy and I was eventually told that it was okay to be a Witch for Halloween but that it was only pretend and that I couldn't be a Witch all the time because God didn't like them. I thought that was strange because my concept of God at that young age was that God loved everyone and every thing so that didn't ring true with me. But to stay out of trouble, I was a Witch every Halloween for the rest of my childhood and openly professed being a Witch during that time since it was acceptable and the rest of the time, I quietly considered myself a Witch year round.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What to Wear as a Wiccan

In most of the movies, Wiccans and Witches are portrayed dressed all in black sporting huge pentacles, garish makeup and hair in total disarray. That may be good for the horror shows and helps portray the concept they have in the movie, but that doesn't translate into the real world.  Wiccans aren't wicked witches from the West or any where else -- they are real people with personal preferences.

Although a quick internet search for Wiccan clothing will get you some styles that are commonly accepted as Wiccan wear, it's important to stress there is no particular way to dress as a Wiccan.  How a person expresses themselves in clothing, jewelry and other accessories is a very personal choice and is as diverse as the individuals themselves.

Some Wiccans do like to dress all in black, I often do, but that isn't a mandate by any means. It is a choice.  Some dress much like the hippies of the 60s in free flowing clothing. Then there is the ever popular Ren Faire style clothing. And of course there is good old comfy t-shirt and jeans with shoes of choice.  Wiccans come from all walks of life and therefore have wide and varying tastes in apparel. We're talking business people in suits, clerical workers, new age shop owners, tarot readers, soccer moms, PTA members, and on and on. Dress in whatever way makes you feel good.

And just like any other people, Wiccans may choose to dress different ways for different occasions.  For instance, every day street wear may differ from what they wear to ritual, or what they wear to school or the office may differ from what they wear after hours and on weekends.  It all depends on the person, their personal taste, and lifestyle.

If you are dressing to raise eyebrows or be shocking, you might want to ask yourself why you feel the need to do that, because Wicca isn't about shocking the world.  Wicca is about living a peaceful life in harmony with nature and its seasons.

In short, it doesn't really matter how you dress, other than it is something that YOU like.  Here are a couple of photos depicting typical ways I like to dress.  But honestly, I have a love of clothes and costuming so I'm all over the board from all black to bright and wild, flowing things, Victorian and Steampunk styles, and plain old t-shirt and jeans. I can blend in with the herd or stick out bright and wild. I just enjoy being me!

Watch for my 55 Days of Funky as I count down to my 55th birthday wearing clothes that I find fun.

So go forth spread your Wiccan wings and wear what you like!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

A Video to help tell others you are Wiccan

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Earth Spirit Soul: Measuring Success - Are Failures Really Failures?

I wrote this article a while back on the Earth Spirit Soul blog.  It is something to really ponder.

Earth Spirit Soul: Measuring Success - Are Failures Really Failures?: As humans we tend to be obsessed with measuring things and being successful, and most importantly, measuring success. What happens when all ...

The Nuances of Harm None

While all Wiccans agree upon following Harm None, they are not all in agreement on what it means.  For some it is very literal meaning that absolutely no creature must be harmed no matter how great or small.  That means everything in life, the fur, the finned, the winged ones, the four legged, two legged and no legged - absolutely everything living and breathing has a right to life and should never be taken.  It goes without saying that followers of this vein of Harm None would not uphold the death penalty no matter how heinous a crime the perpetrator had committed.  And more than likely they would not be eaters of flesh and well versed in vegetarian or vegan living.  Self defense for these Wiccans would be of the simplest variety of shielding in the magickal world and avoidance in the real world.

Other Wiccans believe that Harm None is an ideal that should be strived for but in actuality is an impossibility to follow literally.  These Wiccans may be hunters and eaters of flesh.  Likewise they believe in the right to protect self and loved ones and even their property when pushed to do so.  They are not agressors but neither are they door mats.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taking Students

Total Lunar Eclipse on April 15, 2014

A wonderful event happens on April 15, 2014 -- a total lunar eclipse.  And even more wonderous, it is the first of four in a row.  Watch the video below for details.  Also, see this article:

Total Lunar Eclipse Will Darken the Moon Next Week

Peculiar Children

It isn't often that I allow myself the luxury of reading for entertainment - 1) because I love learning and focus most of my attention on that; and 2) if I get hooked on a *for fun* book I go down the rabbit hole until it is done so it takes me out of life for the two or three days that it takes to read it.  Well, today I do believe I have stepped in it.  I found an author that has written not one but TWO intriguing books: "Home for Peculiar Children" and "Hollow City."  Both are about Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children.  I knew I was hooked when I read this in the blurb of Hollow City: "Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters.  And only one person can help them -- but she is trapped in the body of a bird."  Inside the book were the most eerie vintage photos ever. (An interview with the author included in the back of the book indicates the photos are from his vintage photograph collection of real children. From that collection his stories were born.)   I knew I wanted to read it so I latched on to it.  But then I saw that there was a book that preceded it so the hunt was on! I had to have it and start this whole mess at the beginning.

(photo source is linked from Wikipedia)

The exciting thing about finding the first book was reading a blip inside of it that said "'s no wonder Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox."  That led me to think there is a movie on the horizon.

In jumping around searching for info on the movie deal, I found on good old Wikipedia article regarding the first book that Tim Burton will be the director of the movie.  That certainly sounds like a good fit for the books.

I will definitely have to watch for the movies.  By then, I should have both books well under my belt and ready.  Don't disappoint me Mr. Burton.  Somehow I doubt that you will....

I'm off on my reading adventure now...

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Winning Name for My Cottage is....

YESTERWAYS COTTAGE!  I guess really that should have been pretty obvious.  Funny how sometimes we have to have some things pointed out by others when all along it was there in front of us.

So, Yesterways Cottage is now the name of my home.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be from Yesterways Cottage,
Rayven Michaels

Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca Group on Facebook

Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca has a group on Facebook.  Become a member and join the fun.

Want to learn about WiseCraft Wicca? Have no one nearby or afraid to reach out to strangers? Can't expose your leanings for fear of retaliation? Just plain want privacy to learn? The Wiccan Witch of the Midwest can help you with that...pull up a chair, sit a spell and start reading. Feel free to comment and ask questions -- I'll get back to you, I promise, Witch's honor.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels

Sol Full Living: New Kindle book A Path to Happiness

Sol Ess of Sol Full Living has released his new book "A Path to Happiness."  I am happy to say he gave me the privilege of writing the forward.  It's available in Kindle format through Amazon.  And don't forget to skip on over to his blog and see how he is living a "simple life / rich rewards."

Available at: and

Sol Full Living: New Kindle book A Path to Happiness: Our new book on kindle A Path to Happiness is now on amazon -  This is a small and simple book sharing a path to happiness which I decided t...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Proselytizing and Wicca

What is *proselytizing*?  It means to convert or attempt to convert someone to join a religion, group or cause.  Most generally we associate this term with Christian evangelizing door to door in an attempt to save and redeem sinners and bring them into God's fold.  It can also be a door knocking campaign to solicit a vote for a candidate or a proposition.  Whatever, the reason for the proselytizing, I know these acts can be found annoying when we don't desire the interaction.  It makes a person feel put upon and forced or coerced.  People who make this a practice will respond with if I saw a friend stepping out in front of a car would I just let the car strike them? NO! I would intervene.  But choice of religion or politics and stepping in front of a car are two very different things.

Proselytizing is incorporated into some religions that have a belief they should share *the word*.  And so they do, going door to door, passing out pamphlets and forcing dialogue to get people talking.  I used to get peeved and cranky, irritated and such -- but that is a waste of time.  What I have vowed to do in my older years is be polite and let the well wishers know I am okay just the way I am.  I don't engage them in talks about my faith because quite honestly I have no reason to believe they would even listen. Perhaps that is something I should contemplate going forward, but for now, I am quite happy to be polite, take the pamphlet if they're offering one and wish them a good day and close my door.  I don't think that is an act of cowardice on my part.  I figure it helps out both sides, they get to do the work their religion requires of them, I get peace since my house will be scratched off the list for a while and I get a pamphlet to contemplate if I settle down long enough to read it.  You never know when some wise nugget of truth comes wandering your way in disguise.

What is the Wiccan position on proselytizing? Generally it is a *no-no*.  We believe that a seeker should seek. Why? Because a seeker is an open mind hunting for the message, willing to learn, ready to hear.  If you go and accost strangers because they are on your designated route of the day, or are hapless souls trying to enter the store for milk, bread and eggs, they won't be very receptive to any message that is wildly thrown at them.

In Wicca, we honor that every one has their own spiritual journey that is unique to the individual.  Only that individual can chart the course of their journey.  As they tour along, they will determine their destinations and the ports where they take shelter.  It is not our place to run out and *save* them.  There is a saying I see floating around the internet a lot - "Just because I have wandered off the beaten path does not mean I am lost."  How very true.  Therefore, unless someone is asking for direction, they should be left to their journey.  The time to speak of religion with another is when questions are asked.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

The Meaning of Wicca - The Meaning of Life

The title of this post *The Meaning of Wicca - The Meaning of Life* is not intended to suggest that Wicca is the meaning of life -- although that might be true for some out there.  These are two questions that I get asked a lot.  First off, I will say those questions are something that no one else can decide for you -- they have to be things that you determine for yourself based on your knowledge and experiences.  However, I will try to share some thoughts I have on both for you to ponder and do with as you will.

Wicca is a religion but bigger than that, it is a way of life.  The danger with anything that we do on a daily basis is getting so routine about it that we lose the meaning and purpose of it.  This pitfall happens when we cling to tradition for the sake of tradition without any sense of deep meaning like when something is passed to you that you weren't in on the beginning.  Sometimes *traditions* don't have a deeper meaning for you until you lose someone that you shared them with and then suddenly those traditions have memories caught up in them regarding the person you did them with.  This is how I now feel about viewing all the lights during the Christmas/Yule holiday.  My parents would take us on a drive to look at the lights around the neighborhoods before we returned home and opened gifts.  So now, viewing lights bring back very pleasant memories of a time when me and my brothers were innocent and my family was whole and the holidays were filled with magick and wonder for us.  Are they filled with magic and wonder for me now?  Sort of but not in the way they were back then so I guess the answer is same but different.  The point is, I now have a tradition of going on a car ride to see the holiday lights because it brings family close together to enjoy something together.  It brings back previous memories of my childhood while building new memories with my daughter and now with my grandchildren.  For my father and mother, it was an inexpensive activity that we could do as a family and have great joy doing it.  They began the tradition so, I guess I was in on the beginning of this one.  Will my grandchildren carry it forward?  Only if they feel moved to do so.  Who knows what wonders are in the years ahead that may revert such activities to a long ago tale.  But that is ok because they will build *traditions* that speak to them and the ones they love.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wicca & Health -- Artificial Sweeteners & Aspartame's New Name

You don't have to be Wiccan to care about having good health since taking care of your body should be part and parcel of anyone's life. However, in keeping with Harm None of the Wiccan Rede and desires to be as close to nature in lifestyle, I strive hard (and I need to strive even harder) to eat wholesome and healthy foods.  Sometimes, though, even when we try our very best, we find out that things that we thought were good for us actually aren't. Take artificial sweeteners for instance.

Artificial sweeteners were never intended to be part of our daily lives. In fact, they were created most specifically for diabetics and others that couldn't handle sugar due to insulin issues.  But, in the name of capitalism and desiring to expand the market of their product, artificial sweeteners made the leap into almost everything edible and drinkable out there. The problem is, it creates something called *insulin resistance* which is why we roller coaster in energy levels, have hunger cravings and weight gain, sometimes to the point of obesity.  And there are additional hidden issues that we would never guess.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Protection with Witch Bottles

In times passed, a person might have protected their home with a Witch Bottle.  It would have been either pottery or glass, filled with nails, pins, needles, broken glass, and other sharp objects, then oddly enough, filled with urine.  The bottle would be sealed and then hidden either buried by the front door, hidden in the hearth or even sealed up in walls.  It was believed that the bottle would protect against evil spirits and magical attack, and counteract spells cast by witches. Being a counter-magical device, its purpose was to draw in and trap harmful intentions directed at their owners.  These Witch Bottles wouldn't have been a pretty sight and readily recognizable for what they were.

Today, Witch Bottles can be much more beautiful. They can be a decorative bottle, vase or jar. The contents can be protective herbs such as rosemary and the bottle filled with wine, salt water or vinegar instead of the urine of old days.  Other content items could include earth, shells, feathers, stones or pebbles, bits of glass, wood, twigs or bone.  For the *taglock* to connect it to you, slip in a strand of your hair or a fingernail clipping.

To seal the bottle, use a cork or melted wax, or the accompanying lid to the jar if it had one.  For a really cool look, stick a taper candle in the top and let it burn down so that the wax drips along the sides of the bottle.

Once your Witch Bottle is complete, you can hide in the traditional ways of old, or hide it plain sight as a thing of beauty.

Witch Bottles can also be purchased ready made from various shops.  Check out this Witch Bottle from the Etsy shop of WhiteMagickAlchemy.

Whether you choose to make your own Witch Bottles or purchase them, comment and share pictures of your beauties.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who are the Gods?

I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher Penczak while I was living in New Orleans.  He is a fantastic author and very wise person. I was thrilled to be able to have him sign his books for me. He is the author of over twenty books -- I don't have them all... yet. LOL  Check out his website: Christopher Penczak.

On his website he has a three part series of articles he wrote about "Who Are the Gods?."  They are wonderfully written as would be expected and extremely informative. If you are new to Wicca and trying to wrap your head around the concept of multiple Gods, Christopher lays it out pretty clearly for you.




Enjoy the reading.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Rayven Michaels: Meet Your Spirit Guide

Some time ago, I wrote a series of posts on working with Spirit Guides. Here is one of them. :)

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

~~ )0(~~

Rayven Michaels: Meet Your Spirit Guide: I get a lot of messages and questions from frustrated folks that try so hard to meet their Guides and don't ever get validation that the...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spellcraft - Write Your Own? Or Use Spells from Others?

With Solitaries there is often a big scramble to get straight to spellcraft.  And with that hurry comes scouring books and the internet for spells to lift and use.  Presto bamo, instant Witchery!  NOT GOOD!  The most important thing about spellcraft is intent and the best way to know the intent behind a spell is to write it yourself.  That way you know exactly why each and every thing in the spell is there.

When teaching students I take them through a process of learning correspondences of colors, herbs, stones, oils, days of the week, candle colors, phases of the moon, its timing and more so that they build a foundation of knowledge from which to draw for spell work.  Students are also taught that before doing the spell, to make a list on exactly WHY they are doing the spell and to explore whether there are mundane ways of reaching the desired goal, and to assess whether the spell will actually accomplish the desired outcome. They are taught that mixed emotions or purpose can compromise spell working, and therefore they must be very clear of mind why they believe a spell will achieve the result they require. They are also taught that it is not the elaborateness of the spell or the number of ingredients that make it work.  It is actually the intent behind the spell and the clarity of purpose.  So with all these factors as part of crafting a spell, is it really any wonder that I would say lifting spells from a book or the internet isn't good?  There is obviously a lot that goes into spellcrafting.

Good Terms to Know and Understand

When a person is self learning Wicca there is plenty of information available in books and on the internet that provide the basics.  However, something that might be missing from all your research on Gods, Goddess, Wheel of the Year, Esbats and Sabbats are definitions of words that could very much effect how you choose to walk your path.  Or to understand how others walk a different path.

I would encourage you to look up and make a genuine effort to understand the following terms:

hard polytheism
soft polytheism


Priests, Priestesses, Degrees, Covens and Study Groups in Wicca

When researching Wicca, you will likely see a lot of references to Witches being "first degree", "second degree", and "third degree" Priests or Priestesses.  Generally, all Wiccans are considered to be either a Priest or Priestess depending on gender identification and collectively or individually referred to as Witches.  (Hopefully that isn't too confusing.)

Degrees are used in Covens to measure the  training and experience of its Priests and Priestesses. Upon leaving the Coven, degreed status is lost.  Furthermore, when a Witch enters a new Coven, they are very likely faced with a mandate to begin with First Degree training regardless of perhaps having been as high as Third Degree in a prior Coven.

Being a Good Student

So now that you have successfully found or know how to find a suitable authority to be your teacher, let's talk about being a good student.  Below is a list of dos and don'ts for students in the WiseCraft Wicca tradition which could easily apply to almost any student/teacher situation:
  1. Respect the student/teacher relationship. While you should have a good rapport with your teacher of choice, don't take advantage of the friendship that develops and most definitely don't blur the boundaries by trying to twist it into a relationship.  Teachers should already know to keep relationships and teaching separate so that it doesn't look like they prey on their students. It is a very poor reflection on a teacher when they repeatedly have relationships with their students. If you have a teacher that blurs these boundaries, break ties.  Likewise, you don't want to be turned out of your mentoring because you have made the interaction awkward with overtures.

Words to Live By - Do You Know What Yours Are?

When a person follows a pre-constructed religious path, all the tenants of faith are laid out for them and they have but to apply them to th...