Genius Loci Profile Plans

Image

(photo by ShelbyMelissa aka Me)

Sarah Lawless, Witch of Forest Grove, wrote about creating a genius loci profile in a bog post from a few years ago. You can view the post here. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines genius loci as “1. the pervading spirit of a place” and “2. a tutelary deity of a place” [x]. The purpose of the profile is to research and learn about the local land, plants, animals, spirits, etc in order to better know and work with the genius loci [x]. This will also be my goal, but at the very least I will have information on plants and animals for use in witchcraft and a general better knowledge about the land around me.

The plans are for me to keep a binder and fill it with research and information as I come across it. Before any of the tabs will be a small map of my area. I am also going to look at the area around where my boyfriend lives; he lives about thirty or so minutes from me so I don’t think that the area will be too much different. The tabs will then be for plants, animals, info about the land and ecosystems, folklore and native lore, etc. I am not sure if this will be the order I use or for how long, but it will give me a start.

I plan to post some of the information on the blog. It will also help me keep track of information as well as open up the information I have to comments.

Research and New Ideas

I have been working on a lot of things recently- a new shop, looking at my practice, reworking things, and thinking about religious/spiritual ideas. I work retail and the holiday season is around the corner here, so I have more hours, keeping me quite busy. And of course I make time for my boyfriend. Thus, I have let myself slack with this blog. I am still on tumblr freuently so feel free to contact me there in the mean time!

Finding Your Witchcraft

This post reflects my opinions, not the opinions of others. This post is taken from one I did on Tumblr by the same name, and has been updated.

*~~~~~~~*

This is something that I think should take some time in the forms of researching and practicing/experimenting. Critical thinking skills are helpful in this venture. Critical thinking is purposefully taking time and thinking about something to decide if it is right, or true, or to decide on a course of action based on given information and one’s experience and knowledge. Of course definitions vary.

I believe research is important because it gives you many ideas to work with and places to draw ideas from, but it also gives you an idea of what comes from closed cultures. (Cultural appropriation from closed cultures is a big No-No. If you are not a part of these cultures and practices, do not use their practices.) Read, listen, watch, and think. Academic databases can be great resources. If you don’t have access to them, there is still a lot to learn from Google and academic books. Be careful though of what Google presents you with. Some websites will be more credible than others. (There are many posts about how to search using Google and how to evaluate a source. Some of it involves what sort of site it is, .com vs .org vs .gov. I am sure you could even google how to more efficiently use Google as well!) I consider Tumblr to be a good place to read about how others do witchcraft and what works for them. Sometimes it can be helpful to listen to others. Like with websites, some people are more credible sources than others. What is their expertise? Do they use sources? What are their sources? Look at different spells and how they are written. Does that work for you? Do you have different associations for the ingredients or parts used? Inspiration for your witchcraft can come from anywhere though. You could even base it off of Harry Potter if you wanted to!

I also believe that practicing and experimenting are important. Some things may seem like they would work for you in theory, but may not work out when implemented. Maybe you like grand rituals for spellwork but in reality they take up more time than you are able to commit. That is okay. You may just have to tweak things so you can find something that works for you and that you are happy with. A good way to experiment, in my opinion, is to try a spell as written and then evaluate how it felt, the results, amount of time it took, etc. Then tweak the spell a little and try it again. Evaluate the tweaked spell and compare.

Some things to think about:

  • What are your interests? Cooking? Art? Dreams? The home? Pop Culture? Animals? Plants?
  • What does witchcraft mean to you?
  • What does being a witch mean to you?
  • How could you incorporate your interests into spells, magic, etc?
  • What are you comfortable with? Simple? Complex? Inside? Outside?
  • What are your beliefs?
  • What are your morals and values?

I recommend keeping a notebook, journal, or binder to help you write out your thoughts. You could type it out or record your thoughts with videos or audio tracks. For me, it is helpful to write things out. I can then cross things out, easily re-read things previously written, debate with myself, and follow my train of thought.

What are you researching? Where are you getting your information?

Egg Shells and Witchcraft

Powdering egg shells, in process

Powdering egg shells, in process

Eggs are fairly common household items, as they are common in desert and baking recipes, and if your household is anything like mine, you probably have tossed the shells before without any thought. Save them! You can use those shells for witchcraft!

To me, egg shells are protective. They shield the growing embryos of baby birds. They can also be strong. When placed precisely, you can balance bricks on them without breaking the egg! Because eggs are typically used in cooking, you could associate them with the nourishment and joy of food, and the warmth of the hearth. If you don’t like eggs at all, the shells could represent illness and disgust. They can also be a symbol of growth and nurturing because they are able to sustain and allow life to grow within them. Depending on the type of shell you use, chicken, duck, goose, etc, the shell can contain the properties and symbols of that animal.

I tend to powder the egg shells using a mortar and pestle and then use the powder in protection bottles of all sorts. You can mix the powder with finely powdered salt and use it to make boundaries for wards.

If you use egg shells in your witchcraft, how do you use them? If you don’t, can you think of any other ways you could use them?

Understanding Witchcraft: What is it to me?

This post is a spin on a post I did for tumblr- “Understanding Witchcraft: What is it?” This post will be more about what it means to me. These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.

What is Witchcraft?
Dictionary.com defines witchcraft as “the art or practices of a witch; sorcery; magic” and as “magical influence; witchery” (x). I feel that this definition could be expanded upon to be a little more definitive and inclusive.

Witchcraft is the secular art (craft, practice) of magic, spellwork, witchery, sorcery, etc.

This is the definition I use for witchcraft.

Secular? What is that?
Dictionary.com defines secular as “not pertaining to or connected with religion” (x). This is the definition of secular that I am using in the definition of witchcraft. Because it is a craft or art, like painting, it is secular in nature, but can be mixed with religion or religious beliefs. Two of the most common religions that commonly use witchcraft are Wicca and Paganism. They are so commonly found together (Paganism+Witchcraft), that people tend to use them synonymous, and thus incorrectly. Witchcraft =/= (does not equal) Wicca or Paganism. You can have witchcraft with or without the lens of religion. Just like you can paint religious pictures or you can just paint.

This is the type of witchcraft I practice. I do not hold rituals involving prayers to deities and in my spells I do not ask for their aid. Do I sometimes feel a bit of envy when I see some of the close relationships people have with their deities? Sure. But I am still glad to be without the things those relationships bring.

Now, I see working with spirits, and working with deities through their religion to be different things. And of course you can work with the deities not through the religion involving them, if it is an open culture and open religion. I still simply choose not to.

Spellwork, Witchery, Sorcery? What is all of this?

These are common title that people give their practices or that are used instead of “magic.” Just like people paint differently, people practice witchcraft differently and thus give what some call “magic” other names. And that is perfectly okay, as long as the name or practice itself isn’t taken from a closed culture they are not a part of nor have permission to use.

I usually just call what I do: magic, witchcraft, spells, spellwork. For me, these terms are basic and can encompass many of the things I do and people generally have an idea of what they mean.

Can anyone practice witchcraft?
Of course! Because witchcraft is a craft like painting or masonry, anyone can learn and practice witchcraft. Some may have more of a talent for it than others, just like anything else, but anyone can learn and practice.

There are certain traditions that involve initiation and thus not just anyone can join up or claim to be a part of them. There are also closed cultural traditions that are not open to outsiders at all. But anyone can learn or practice general witchcraft.

But isn’t it evil?
Well, witchcraft by nature, is neither good nor bad. It is like a tool for your intentions, just like any other tool: knives, saws, cleaning agents, etc. When you want to use the tool, you filter your intentions, the tool itself, and possible outcomes through your moral filter. That is why you have to use your morals to decide for yourself where you draw the line in your practice. Others draw their own lines. They are not subject to yours, and you are not subject to theirs.

How do I get started?
I recommend reading what is available to you and using your critical thinking skills. Does it confuse witchcraft and Wicca? Does it use racists slurs or involve cultural appropriation? Does it tell you that you can only practice witchcraft their way and that their way is the only legitimate right way to practice? Where does their information come from? Do they cite their sources?
Online blogs by witches can also be a great resource, or they can be a really bad source. Again, I highly recommend using your critical thinking skills. Even if the source is great, think about what it means to you, how it changes your views or doesn’t change your views.
Do research, but don’t forget to practice too!

I started with research then started practicing. It took a few years for me to break the mold I was given and try experimenting with different things. I highly recommend you experiment to find out what works for you. Try a spell one way. Then change it and try it again. How do the effects compare? How do the desired results compare? It is basically like science class all over again but with magic.