Daily Stuff 8-14-20 Burry Man

Hi, folks!

Featured photo by Cayla Ripley. The shop is open, limited hours, 1-5pm, Thursday through Monday.

Wow…. that heat forecast for the weekend…and fire warning and…. <gleep>

Red Flag Warning issued August 13 at 2:​26​PM PDT until August 15 at 11:​00​PM PDT by NWS Portland – WARM AND DRY FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS…
* Affected Area…In Oregon…Fire Weather Zone 601 North Oregon Coast…Fire Weather Zone 602 North Oregon Coast Range and Fire Weather Zone 612 Central Oregon Coast. In Washington…
Fire Weather Zone 664 South Washington Coast and West Willapa Hills and Fire Weather Zone 665 East Willapa Hills.
* Winds…On Saturday northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Light and variable winds on Sunday.
* Timing…Afternoon into evening.
* Relative Humidity…Minimum humidities between 20 and 25 percent. Humidities a bit higher in valleys closer to the coast.
Poor to fair overnight recoveries expected on the mid slopes Saturday night.
* Temperatures…Between 85 to 95, closer to 100 near the Willamette Valley.
* Haines Index…5 to 6.
* Impacts…Conditions may be favorable for rapid spread on any new or existing fires. Extreme fire behavior is possible.
Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Wow…. Clear 50F, winds are calm, AQI39, UV7. 0% chance of rain today and 10% tonight. The highest temp we’re likely to see by the water is mid-60’s today, and we should get some breeze. Tomorrow is likely to be around 70 and still. Sunday’s high should be 67 at most and then clouds will be coming back for the rest of the 10-day, so mid-60’s at worst from there on out. ….inland, though….. and dry out here. *Please* be careful about sparks and flame and warn people!

Yesterday I got up 11-ish and wrote for a couple of hours. By the time we were supposed to be opening I was falling asleep again. <sigh> Once we had the shop open I was able to keep going for awhile, doing paperwork, but I started packaging masks for sale and bounced my head off the work table a couple of times. <sigh> Tempus cut business cards and headers, but we need to finish up on the headers, getting them onto the stones. I’ll get to start on herbs today.

We had only a few people in during the early part of the day and then a few in during the late afternoon. There wasn’t even a lot of traffic on the highway.

I needed to keep going because of the phone appointment, but he was running late. We finally got the consult done and I have some medication changes, but nothing awful. Tempus made me a sandwich after and I curled up in back, figuring if I rested that was good, if I fell asleep, ok….

So, I fell asleep. When I woke Tempus was making supper and had closed, already. I got my stuff together for the evening and we headed out. I read, braided and packaged masks, mostly. He called from the store, as usual, right in the middle of the bulk route. I actually put this together in the early evening, rather than waiting. I was pretty sleepy, so I figured to snooze and then just publish, later.

Today we’ll be open on time. I’m not sure whether Tempus is going to go do laundry today or not, but we have more headers to do, from my printing yesterday. …and definitely plants to water, both inside and out.

8/12/18 – Good Morning Waldport! by Cayla Ripley, posted on Facebook ‎in Waldport Community

800px-Queensferry_BurrymanToday’s Feast is from the Ferry Fair in  South Queensferry area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The Burry Man walks through and around the town for one day right around this time. No one’s really sure where the custom originated, but it may be a scapegoat custom, as in some places it is done when harvests or fish runs are poor. The Burry Man wears a costume of local plants, mostly burs, which stick together and are prickly and uncomfortable. It takes around 11,000 burs to cover him up! He’s usually exhausted at the end of the day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burryman

plant herb kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos-uva-ursiToday’s plant is KinnikinnickArctostaphylos uva-ursi. It is used medicinally for urinary tract complaints, as a “poverty food”, and as a smoking herb, known for giving visions. Magickally it is used for ceremonies. Add to sachets designed to increase psychic power. Full article here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctostaphylos_uva-ursi More inhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearberry

The shop is open, limited hours, 1-5pm, Thursday through Monday. Need something? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at ancientlight@peak.org

Love & Light,


Today’s Astro & Calendar

Waning Moon MagickFrom the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 8/18 at 7:42pm. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 8/14 at 10:42am. Hecate’s Brooch 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone – Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends at the Dark on 8/17 at 10:42am. 

Jupiter on June 22, 2020, imaged by Christopher Go using video-frame stacking with a 14-inch telescope and advanced processing. Among other things, his video sequences in three separate colors totaled 8 minutes as the planet turned, but the images were de-rotated to align for 19:23 UT. At that time the System II longitude on the central meridian was 333°. South is up.
“This image shows a very rare treat,” writes Go. “Callisto is in transit with the Great Red Spot. That dark spot is Callisto, not a shadow! I have not imaged a Callisto transit in years.” Callisto has the darkest surface of Jupiter’s major moons, and that’s been enhanced by the boosted contrast here. But even visually, Callisto in transit is easy to mistake for a satellite’s shadow.
Go continues, “The Great Red Spot looks very interesting today. … The wake of the GRS shows very complex turbulence. The ‘chimney’ north of the GRS [just below it and bending left in this south-up image] is now open. SE [upper right] of the GRS is the area of Clyde’s spot. Oval BA can be seen rising.” That’s the large gray-white spot near the upper-right limb. “Its dark ring is well resolved. The North Equatorial Belt still looks very strange, especially the light NEBn.”

As darkness falls following sunset, swing your scope to Jupiter, hanging above the southeastern horizon in the constellation Sagittarius. The planet shines at magnitude –2.7 and should be easy to spot, with magnitude 0.2 Saturn just 8° to its east. Both will stay in the south all night, setting in the southwest in the early morning hours before sunrise on the 15th.
Double shadow on Jupiter. By dusk, Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, is in the middle of a trek across the face of the planet, finally slipping off the disk at 10:51 P.M. EDT. Following the moon is its dark shadow, which slips onto the planet just before Ganymede exits and takes about three hours to cross. At 11:24 P.M. EDT, Io slides in front of Jupiter’s eastern limb; the smaller moon is much closer to the planet and its shadow follows just 44 minutes later, when Ganymede’s shadow is merely halfway across. And, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot should cross the planet’s central meridian around 11:26 p.m. EDT. If you happen to miss the moons’ trek across Jupiter, don’t worry — you’ll have another chance later this month to watch them take a similar journey overnight on August 21/22.
Look east in early dawn Saturday morning for Venus paired beautifully with the waning crescent Moon. They’re only 3° or 4° apart for the Americas. They shine in the feet of Gemini >>> . If you’re in the world’s mid-northern latitudes, look for Orion to their right or lower right. Castor and Pollux are to their lower left.
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Aries) is well up in the east by 1 a.m. daylight-saving time, nearly 20° to the celestial east of Mars.
Neptune (magnitude 7.8, in Aquarius) is high in the southeast at that time, more than 30° west of Mars. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.

Old Farmer’s Almanac August Sky Map – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-august-perseid-meteors-milky-way
Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5
Celtic Tree Month of Coll/Hazel, Aug 5 – Sep 1
Runic half-month of Ansuz/ As /Os/
, 8-13-8/29 – This time is sacred to the god/desses of Asgard and contains the time of the Ordeal of Odin and the festival of the Runes. This time is also referring to Yggdrasil, the Tree that give order to the Worlds. This is a time of stability and divine order visible in the world. 

Sun in Leo
Moon in Gemini enters Cancer at 4:35pm.
Jupiter (9/12), Saturn (9/29), Pluto (10/4), Neptune (11/28), Chiron (12/12) Retrograde
Color: Coral;

Harvest 8/12-14

©2020 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright


from Wikimedia commons

Celtic Tree Month of Coll/Hazel, Aug 5 – Sep 1, Coll (CULL), hazel – The hazel (Corylus avellana L) is the source of hazelnuts. It forms a shrub up to 6 m (20 feet) tall, inhabiting open woodlands and scrubs, hedgerows, and the edges of forests. The filbert nut in North American groceries is Corylus maxima, a related species. The European hazelnut is cultivated in North America, primarily as an ornamental. Hazelnuts are in the Birch family (Betulaceae).

Coll – Hazel Ogam letter correspondences
Month: July
Color: Brown
Class: Chieftain
Letter: C, K
Meaning: Creative energies for work or projects.


Tides for Alsea Bay

F   14      Low   3:54 AM     0.6   6:19 AM    Rise  1:32 AM      30
~    14     High  10:31 AM     4.9   8:22 PM     Set  5:24 PM
~    14      Low   3:22 PM     3.4
~    14     High   9:23 PM     7.0


Affirmation/Thought for the Day – It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.


Journal Prompt – Expository – What trait do you most deplore in yourself?



~   An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. – Thomas Stearnes Eliot (1888-1965) US writer
~   Remember how small the world was before I came along. I brought it all to life: I moved the whole world onto a 20-foot screen. – DW Griffith
~   I can never remember being afraid of an audience. If the audience could do better, they’d be up here on stage and I’d be out there watching them. – Ethel Merman
~   We’re afraid, it’s because we don’t know enough. If we understood enough, we would never be afraid. – E. Nightingale

Eruptive lightnings flutter to and fro
Above the heights of immemorial hills;
Thirst-stricken air, dumb-throated, in its woe
Limply down-sagging, its limp body spills
Upon the earth. A panting silence fills
The empty vault of Night with shimmering bars
Of sullen silver, where the lake distils
Its misered bounty.—Hark! No whisper mars
The utter silence of the untranslated stars. – E.E. Cummings (1894–1962)


Magick – That Old Black Magic – Getting Specific about Magical Ethics
Sometimes a cliche just wears out. It loses meaning, or worse, begins to say things we never meant. I think it’s time to retire the phrase “black magic.”

Saying “black” when we mean “evil” is nasty nonsense. In the first place, it reinforces the racist stereotypes that corrupt our society. And that’s not all. Whenever we say “black” instead of “bad,” we repeat again the big lie that darkness is wrong. It isn’t, as people who profess to love Nature should know.

Darkness can mean the inside of the womb, and the seed germinating within the Earth, and the chaos that gives rise to all truly new beginnings. In our myths, the one who goes down to the underworld returns with the treasure. Even death, to the Wiccan understanding, is well-earned rest and comfort, and a preparation for new birth. Using “black” to mean “bad” is a blasphemy against the Crone.

But even if we no longer speak of magic as “black” or “white,” we still need to think and speak about the ethics of magic. Although black is not evil, some actions are evil. It simply is not true that anything a person is strong enough or skilled enough to do is OK, nor should doing what we will ever be the whole of the law for us. We need a clear and specific vocabulary that enables us to choose wisely what we will do.

We need to replace the word “black,” not simply to drop it. Some Pagans have tried using “negative” as their substitute, but that turned out to be confusing. For some people, “negative” means any spell to diminish or banish anything. Some things – tumors, depression, bigotry – are harmful. There’s nothing wrong with a working to get rid of bad stuff. “Left-handed” is another common term for wrongful practice, very traditional, but just as ignorant, superstitious and potentially harmful as the phrase “black magic” itself. So in Proteus we tried using the word “unethical.” That’s a lot better – free of extraneous and false implications – but still too vague.

Gradually, I began to wonder whether using any one word, “black” or “unethical” or whatever, might just be too general and too subjective. Perhaps all I really tell a student that way is “I don’t like that.”

I won’t settle for blind obedience. If ethical principles are going to survive the twin tests of time and temptation, people need to understand just what to avoid, and why. Even more important, they need a basis for figuring out what to do instead. Especially when it comes to projective magic.

Projective magic means active workings, the kind in which we project our will out into the world to make some kind of change. This is what most people think of when they use the word magic at all. Quite clearly, magic that may affect other people is magic that can harm. This is the basis of the proverb “a Witch who can’t hex can’t heal.” Either you can raise and direct power, or you can’t. Your strength and skill can be used for blessing or for bane. The choice – and the karma – are yours.

Just as some people feel that strength and skill are their own justification, others feel that any projective magic is always wrong – that it is a distraction from our one true goal of union with the Divine or a willful avoidance of the judgments of Karma. I think these attitudes are equally inconsistent with basic Wiccan philosophy.

We are taught that we will find the Lady within ourselves or not at all, that the Mother of All has been with us from the beginning. We can’t now establish a union that was always there. All we can do, all we need to do, is become aware. Knowing what it feels like to heal and empower, again and again till you can’t dismiss it as coincidence, is one of the most powerful methods for awakening that awareness. It makes no sense to say that the direct experience and exercise of our indwelling divinity distracts from the Great Work.

Indeed, it is this intimate connection between our magic and our self-realization that our ethics protect. Wrongful use of magic will choke the channel. No short term gain could ever compensate for that.

The karmic argument against practical workings seems to me to arise from a paranoid and defeatist world view. Even if we assume that the hardships in this life were put there by the Gods for a reason, how can we be so sure that the reason was punishment? Perhaps instead of penance to be endured, our difficulties are challenges to be met. Coping and dealing with our problems, learning magical and mundane skills, changing ourselves and our world for the better – in short, growing up – is that not what the Gods of joy and freedom want from us?

One of the most radically different things about a polytheistic belief system is that each one of us has the right, and the need, to choose which God/desses will be the focus of our worship. We make these choices knowing that whatever energies we invoke most often in ritual will shape our own further growth. Spiritual practices are a means of self-programming. So we are responsible for what we worship in a way that people who take their One God as a given are not.

Think about this: what kind of Power actively wants us to submit and suffer, and objects when we develop skills to improve our own lives? Not a Being I’d want to invite around too often!

So it will not work for us to rule out projective magic completely; nor should we. Total prohibitions are as thoughtless as total permissiveness or blind obedience. Ethical and spiritual adults ought to be able to make distinctions and well-reasoned choices. I offer here a start toward analyzing what kinds of magic are not ethical for us.

Baneful magic is magic done for the explicit purpose of causing harm to another person. Usually the reason for it is revenge, and the rationalization is justice. People who defend the practice of baneful magic often ask “but wouldn’t you join in cursing another Hitler?”

For adults there is no rule without exceptions. If you think you would never torture somebody, consider this scenario: in just half an hour the bomb will go off, killing everybody in the city, and this terrorist knows where it is hidden…

It’s a bad mistake to base your ethics on wildly unlikely cases, since none of us honestly knows how we would react in that kind of extreme. Reasonable ethical statements are statements about the behaviors we expect of ourselves under normally predictable circumstances.

We all get really angry on occasion, and sometimes with good cause. Then revenge can seem like no more than simple justice. The anger is a normal, healthy human reaction, and should not be repressed. But there’s no more need to act it out in magic than in physical violence. Instead of going for revenge – and invoking the karmic consequences of baneful magic – identify what you really need. For example, if your anger comes from a feeling that you have been attacked or violated, what you need is protection and safe space. Work for the positive goal, it’s both more effective and safer.

The consequences of baneful magic are simply the logical, natural and inevitable psychological effects. Even in that rare and extreme  situation when you may decide you really do have to use magic to give Hitler a heart attack, it means you are choosing by the same choice to accept the act’s karma. Magical attack hurts the attacker first.  The only way I know how to do magic is by use of my imagination, by visualizing or otherwise actively imagining the end I want, and then projecting that goal with the energy of emotional/physiological arousal. All the techniques I know either help me to imagine more specifically or to project more strongly. So the only way I can send out harm is by first experiencing that harm within my own imagination. Instant and absolute karma – the natural, logical and inevitable outcomes of our own choices.

I would think, also, that somebody dumb enough to do such workings often would soon lose the ability to imagine specifically, as their  sensitivity dulled in sheer self-defense. That callusing effect is the reality behind the pious proverb that says “if you abuse it, She’ll take it away.”

But not every other magician is ethical. Psychic attacks do happen. Should we not defend ourselves? Of course we should. Leaving ourselves open to psychic attack is no good example of the autonomy and assertiveness our chosen Gods expect. But first, how can we be sure what we are experiencing really is psychic attack?

The fantasy of psychic attack is often a convenient excuse that allows us to avoid looking at our own shortcomings. When lack of rest or improper nutrition is the cause of illness, or a project isn’t completed on time because of distraction, it’s a real temptation to put the blame outside ourselves. Doing this too easily betrays our autonomy just as badly as meek submission to attack does. Then, to compound matters, projected blame becomes an excuse for unjust revenge — and that is baneful magic without excuse.

Once in a rare while, some fool really does try to throw a whammy. It’s hard to predict when you might be targeted. Passive shields are always a good idea. Like a mirror, these are totally inactive until somebody sends unwelcome energy. Then a shield will protect you completely and bounce back whatever is being thrown. You may not even know consciously when your shield is working, but the result is perfect justice.

Perfect justice; elegant and efficient. You won’t hurt anybody out of paranoia or by mistake. And perfect protection, even though we do not have perfect knowledge.

Bindings, according to some, are completely defensive. They do not harm, only restrain. But imagine yourself being bound – perhaps by someone who believes themselves justified – and notice the feeling of impotence and frustration. Binding is bane from the viewpoint of the bound.

Even if restraint were truly not harm, bindings are just plain poor protection. They target a particular person or group. What if you suspect the wrong person? Somebody harmless is bound and your actual attacker is not bound. Shields, which cover you, not your supposed enemy, will cover you against any enemy, known or unknown.

So, baneful magic, besides being painful in the short run and crippling in the long run, is never necessary. There are better ways of self-protection, and retribution is the business of the Gods.

Coercive magic is magic that targets another person to make them give us something we want or need. When most people think of the “Magic Power of Witchcraft,” this is what they have in mind.

The spell to make the teacher give you a good grade, or the supervisor give you a good evaluation, the spell to make the personnel officer or renting agent choose you, the spell to attract that cute guy, all are examples of coercive magic.

So, what’s wrong with high grades, a good job, a raise, a nice apartment and a sexy lover? There’s nothing at all wrong with those goals. An it harm none, do what ye will. As long as nobody is hurt, go for it! But don’t strive toward good ends by coercive means.

Although there is no deliberate intent to do harm or cause pain in coercive workings, other people are treated as pawns. Their autonomy and their interests are ignored.

For Pagans, to do this is total hypocrisy. We profess to follow a religion of immanence, one that places ultimate meaning and value in this life on this Earth, here and now. We claim to see every living thing, humans included, as a sacred manifestation. To do honor to this indwelling divinity, we place great value on our own personal autonomy. How can we then justify treating other people as objects for our use?

Nor is it harmless. Forcing the will, controlling the independent judgment of another human being, is harm. Once again, empathy leads to understanding. Just imagine you are the person whose will and judgment is being externally controlled. How does puppethood feel? From the viewpoint of the target, the harm is palpable.

The Pagan and Wiccan community as a whole is also hurt by coercive magic. One of the main reasons people fear and hate Witches is our reputation for controlling others. This is an old, dirty lie, created by the invading religion in an attempt to discredit the indigenous competition. Today, that reputation is mostly perpetuated by people who claim to be “our own,” who teach unethical coercive magic by mail order to strangers whose ethical sensitivity cannot be evaluated long distance. May the Gods preserve the Craft!

People who are connected to the situation, but invisible to us, may also be seriously hurt: the cute guy’s fiancee, the other applicant for that job. What you think of as a working designed only to bring good to yourself can bring serious harm to innocent third parties, and the karma of their pain will be on you.

That isn’t the only way an incomplete view of the situation can backfire. There’s a traditional saying that goes, “be careful about what you ask for, because that’s exactly what you will get.” What if he is gorgeous, but abusive? What if the apartment house is structurally unsound? Better to state your legitimate needs (love in my life, a nice place to live) and let the Gods deal with the details.

Finally, remember this: asking specifically limits us to what we now know or what we can now imagine. But I remember a time when I could not have imagined being a priestess. What if the cute guy in the office is perfectly OK, but your absolutely perfect soul-mate will be in the A+P next Wednesday? The more specifically targeted your magic is, the more you limit yourself to a life of tautology and missed chances.

And beyond all the scenario spinning lies the instant karma, the natural, logical and inevitable consequence of the act. It’s more subtle than in the case of baneful magic, since you are not trying to imagine and project pain, but the damage is still real.

Every time you treat another human being as a thing to be pushed and pulled around for your convenience and pleasure, you are reinforcing your own alienation. The attitude of being removed from and superior to other people takes you out of community. As the attitude strengthens, so will the behavior it engenders. The long term result of coercive magic, as with mundane forms of coercion, is isolation and loneliness.

Are you beginning to think that magic is useless? Did I just rule out all the good stuff: love charms, job magic, spells for good grades? Not at all. It is not only ethical but good for you to do lots of magic to improve your own life. Whenever it works you will get more than you asked for – because along with whatever you asked for comes one more experience of your own effectiveness, your power-from-within.

Work on yourself and your own needs and desires without targeting other people. Then feel free! Ask for what you want. Visualize it and raise power for it and act in accordance on the material plane. “I need a caring and horny lover with a good sense of humor.” “I want an affordable apartment near where my coven meets with a tree outside my window.” “I need to be at my best when I take that exam next week.” Fulfill your dreams, and sometimes let the Gods surprise you with gifts beyond your dreams.

Manipulative magic is magic that targets another person for what we think is “their own good,” without regard for their opinions in the matter. In the general culture around us, this is normal. As you read this, you may have some friend or relative praying for you to be “saved” from your evil Pagan ways and returned to the fold of their preference. These people mean you well. By their own lights, they are attempting to heal you. We work from a very different thealogical base.

As polytheists, we affirm the diversity of the divine and the divinity of diversity. If there is no one, true, right and only way in general, do we dare to assume that there is one obvious right choice for a person in any given situation? If more than one choice may be “right,” how can one person presume they know what another person would want without asking them first?

No life situation ever looks the same from outside as it does to the person who is experiencing it. Are you sure you even have all the facts? Are you fully aware of all the emotional entanglements involved? Perhaps that illness is the only way they have of getting rest or getting attention. Perhaps they stay in that dead end job because it leaves them more energy to concentrate on their music. How do you know till you ask?

And, to further complicate the analysis, it’s possible that the person you are trying to help would agree with you about the most desirable outcome, but fears and hates the very idea of magic. They have as much of a right to keep magic out of their own life, as you have to make it part of yours!

Our religion teaches that the sacred lives within each person, that we can hear the Lady’s voice for ourselves if we only learn to listen. “…If that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.” In behavioral terms, when you take another person’s opinion about their own life seriously, you are reinforcing them in thinking and choosing for themselves. The more you do this, the more you encourage them to listen for the sacred inner voice.

Conversely, whenever you ignore or override a person’s feelings about their own life, you are discounting those feelings and discouraging the kind of internal attention that can keep the channels to wisdom open. Although well-intentioned meddling may actually help somebody in the short run, in the longer run it trains them to dependency and indecision. Few intentional banes damage as severely. This is especially true because even the untrained and unaware will instinctively resist overt ill-will, but in our culture we are trained to receive “expert” interference with gratitude.

Check by asking yourself, “who’s in charge here?” The answer to that will tell you whether you are basically empowering or undermining the person you intend to help.

And, as usual, the effects go both ways. The same uninvited intervention that fosters passivity in the recipient will foster arrogance in the “rescuer.” It’s control and ego-inflation masked as generosity. It’s very seductive.

If you make this a habit, you will come to believe that other people are incompetent and powerless. Then what happens when you need help? Your contempt will make it impossible for you to see what resources surround you. Manipulative magic is ultimately just as alienating as coercive magic – and it’s a much prettier trap!

The way to avoid the trap is to do no working affecting another person without that person’s explicit permission. Proteans are pledged to this, and I think it’s a good idea for anybody. (But that is another story! ~GrannyMoon)

You don’t need to wait passively for the person to ask. It’s perfectly all right to offer, as long as you are willing to sometimes accept “no” for your answer. For the person who believes s/he is unworthy or who is simply too shy, offering help is itself a gift. Taking their opinion seriously is an even greater gift: respect.

The rule is that whenever it is in any way physically possible to ask, you must ask. If it’s not important enough to pay long distance charges, it certainly isn’t important enough to violate a friend’s autonomy. If asking is literally not possible, then and only then, here are a few exceptions:

Sometimes an illness or injury happens very suddenly, and the person is unconscious or in a coma before you could possibly ask them. If you know that this person is generally comfortable with magic, you may do workings to keep their basic body systems working and allow the normal healing process the time it needs. If they are opposed to magic, for whatever reason, back off!

Traditionally, an unconscious person is understood to be temporarily out of their body. Maintaining their body in habitable condition is preserving their option, not choosing for them. Doing maintenance magic requires a lot of sensitivity. At some point, the time may come when you should stop and let the person go on. Be sure to use some kind of divination to help you stay aware.

This is a hard road. It may be your lover, your child, lying there helpless. Any normal human being would be tempted to drag them back, to force them to stay regardless of what is truly best for them, regardless of what they want. Don’t repress these feelings, they do no harm, even though your actions might. It takes great strength and non-possessive love to recognize that your loved one knows their own need. You may be calling them back to a crippled body, to a life of pain. You may be calling them back from the ecstasy of the Goddess. And this is no more your right than it would be to murder them.

If a person is temporarily not reachable, you may charge up a physical object, such as an appropriate talisman or some incense. When you present it to them, give them a full explanation. It is their choice whether to keep or use your gift. By interposing an object between the magic and the target in this way, you can work the magic in Circle, with the coven’s power to draw on, and still get the person’s permission before the magic is triggered.

With all these rules about permission, perhaps it would be safer to work only on ourselves? Safer, yes, but not nearly as good. If you have permission, you may do any working for another person that you might do for yourself. Coercive magic is just as unacceptable when somebody else asks for it, and you may not do manipulative magic on your friend’s mother, even at your friend’s request. The permission must come from the magic’s intended target and from nobody else. With proper permission, working magic for others is good for all concerned.

Every act of magic has two effects. One is the direct effect, the healing or prosperity working or whatever was intended. The other is a minute change in the mind and the heart of the person who does the working. Everything we experience, and especially everything that we do in a wholehearted and focused way – the only way effective magic can be done – changes us. Each experience leaves its tiny trace, but the traces are cumulative. They mold the person we will become. Our karma is our choice.

Instant karma can also be good karma. Logical, natural and inevitable outcomes can be desirable. When you send out good, what you send it with is love. Love is the driving force. When you let love flow freely, the channel down to love’s wellspring stays clear and open. When you send out good, you direct it along the web of person-to-person connection, and awareness of that web is reinforced. The totality of that web is the basis of community.

When you send out good it feels good. In the same way that sending out bane requires imagining pain, sending out blessing requires imagining pleasure, strongly and specifically. And, when you send out good, just the same as when you call it to yourself, you reinforce your sense of effectiveness in the world. Blessings grow in the fertile ground of mutuality, to the benefit of all.

A pattern is becoming visible. In baneful magic, the magician intends to harm the target. In coercive magic, the intent toward the target is neutral. In manipulative magic, the magician actually means the target well. But no matter how different the intent may be, in all three cases magic is done to affect another person without that person’s permission. In all three cases, the target, the practitioner and ultimately the community are all hurt. And in all three cases, there are safer and more effective ways to reach the valid goals that we mean to aim for.

So, perhaps there is a descriptive word that covers all wrongful magical workings after all. How about “non-consensual” or “invasive” magic?

There’s one thing left to examine: the paradox of making rules to protect personal autonomy.

If we make some of our choices as a community, by discussing things together and arriving at a common understanding about what magical behaviors are acceptable among us, then we choose and shape the kind of community we become.

Or we could give up our right to choose, because we feel we shouldn’t tell each other what to do. Some people believe that a refusal to set community standards promotes personal autonomy. It never has before.

Appeals to individual rights can be real seductive. None of us wants Big Brother looking over our shoulders, telling us what to do “for our own good.” For Witches in particular – members of a religious minority with bad image problems – this is a very legitimate fear. But make sure when somebody talks about “rights” without specifying something like “religious practice rights” or “the right to consensual sex,” that you find out just what “rights” they mean.

Rhetoric about “rugged individualism” has been used in recent history to fast talk us into letting the rich or strong dominate all our lives. Without anything to stop them, they can destroy the forestland, or deny jobs or apartments to “cultists.” Personal autonomy for most of us is diminished when we allow that.

Magic can be used for dominance, just the same as muscle or money. There is no difference, ethically, between the magical and the mundane. We are not obligated to tolerate power trippers among us. We are not obligated to run our own community by the slogans and ground rules of the dominator culture.

Thinking about “rights,” or about “laws” for that matter, in the abstract leads to “all or nothing” thinking – immature and slogan driven. I don’t think we should ever “just say” anything. We need a deeper and more mature analysis. We need to ask questions like “right to do what?” and “law against what?” We need to get away from absolutes and to look in practical terms at the advantages or disadvantages of our choices.

Once more, our religion itself shows us the way to steer between the false choices. “An it harm none, do what you will.” What a person does that affects only herself – magical or mundane – is truly nobody’s business but her own. For example, consensual sexual behavior affects only the participants. But toxic waste dumping affects everybody in the watershed.

As long as we look at behavior in terms of private choices or individual will, we obscure the distinction that really makes a difference. If we’re serious about wanting to give each of us the most possible control over our own lives, then decisions should be made by all the people affected by the behavior – not just by the people acting.

As soon as another person is magically targeted, that other person is affected. If we allow such targeting without consent, we are not supporting personal autonomy, we are subverting it!

When the behavior begins to affect us all – for example when real estate development threatens the salt marshes, and ultimately the air supply – or, very specifically, when invasive magic erodes the trust we need to work together – then we have a right to protect ourselves as a community. No ideology should turn us into passive victims when something we hold precious stands to be destroyed.

Invasive magic hurts the target first, and soon the actor, but in the long run it hurts all of us. It’s been so long since we’ve been able to meet together, share our knowledge, help one another in need. Pagan community is very new, and still very fragile. It can only grow in safe space.



Silliness – Adult Cereals

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