Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Preparing for Magick: Centering and Grounding

The art of grounding and centering is necessary to the successful practice of magick. Before approaching this task, it is important to properly cleanse the aura and the chakras. After this has been accomplished, you should center and ground before attempting any magickal work.

How Do You Know if You Need to Center and Ground?

The easy answer to this question is that you always need to center and ground before working magick. But there are signs that centering is especially necessary. If you pay close attention to how you feel on an internal level, you will notice when you begin to feel off-balance, confused, uncertain, or weak. To successfully practice magick, you must be aware of your own inner state.

If you notice that you feel somehow ‘off center,’ take the time to ground and center, even if you will not be performing magick. You’ll both feel and function better as a result.

How to Center the Spiritual Self

The art of centering is really very simple. Start by taking a deep breath and turning your focus inward until you are acutely aware of your inner state of being. Close your eyes and visualize a point of light approximately two inches below your navel. Feel how solid this point is, and the sense of calm that emanates from it.

This point is the center of your own internal universe, the seat of your body’s energy. If you are truly seated in this point, nothing can move you from it. As long as you remain focused on this center, you and your energy are untouchable. Take a deep breath and relax into your center, allowing its peace to fill you. Remain in this state as you open your eyes and proceed with grounding your spiritual self.

How to Ground the Spiritual Self

Grounding your energies takes a little more visualization to accomplish successfully. If you can, take a seat upon the earth. If not, a comfortable position anywhere will suffice. Visualize the root chakra at the very base of your spine. See your backbone as the trunk of a tree, and allow your root chakra to stretch out as ‘roots’ reaching deep into the earth. Feel them as they penetrate the soil.

Inhale and draw the earth’s energy up into yourself. Allow its energy to flow up the roots, into the trunk that is your spine, and permeate your entire body. Feel the earth’s stability, strength, and wisdom fill you. When you are ready, draw you roots back into yourself, sit quietly for a moment, and then proceed with your magickal work.

Grounding and centering, which are really just a form of meditation, are necessary steps for working any magick, Wiccan or otherwise. When done correctly, you should feel energized, calm, and at peace all at the same time. Once centered and grounded, spell casting and rituals can be performed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Preparing for Magick: The Body of Energy

Energy exists within you and around you. It is everywhere. Every living thing both generates energy and uses it. This constant generation and use of energy creates an energy field. This energy field should be strong, bright, and clear for your magick to be at its best.

The Aura of the Physical Body

The energy that powers the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies forms a kind of ethereal body. This energy, sometimes called chi or mana, permeates the entire physical body, and even extends out from the skin. It manifests itself as a glow that is usually invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen by most magicians.

This glow is commonly called the aura. Most people can learn to see it, with just a little training and practice. Some people will see it in black and white, and others have the privilege of seeing it in full color. There are a few who cannot see this aura at all, but these are few and far between. Usually, these people can sense it, rather than see it directly.

The aura reflects both your energy level and your general health, including physical health.

The Energy Centers of the Physical Body

Within the aura are several centers of energy, commonly called chakras. While there are likely hundreds of these scattered throughout the body, most traditions agree that there are seven major chakras.
  • Crown chakra – Represented by the color purple, located at the top of the head, and is the center of divine connection.
  • Third Eye Chakra – Represented by the color dark blue, located between the eyebrows, and is the center of psychic sensitivity.
  • Throat Chakra – Represented by the color light blue, located at the base of the throat, and is the center of communication.
  • Heart Chakra – Represented by the color green, located at the heart, and is the center of emotion.
  • Solar Plexus Chakra – Represented by the color yellow, located beneath the rib cage, and is the center of vitality.
  • Sacral Chakra – Represented by the color orange, located near the navel, and is the center of sexuality and creative energies.
  • Root Chakra – Represented by the color red, located at the base of the spine, and is the center of survival and basic life functions.
The chakras are points of energy located within the body where certain types of energy are concentrated. They can be visualized as spheres of colored light, and reflect the general health of their respective qualities, as indicated above. When an individual is trained to visualize chakras, it's said that you can locate energy imbalances within each point. For example, a dim or murky heart chakra could mean weak or damaging relationships. However, a clear and bright throat chakra may symbolize strong and healthy communication skills.

All magicians should monitor and maintain both their aura and their chakras. If your body of energy becomes dim, weak, or debilitated in some way, you may become both physically and emotionally ill. There are many ways to maintain the body of energy, such as meditation, adherence to the Witches’ Pyramid, and practicing magick ethically. There are also methods for cleansing the body of energy, once it has become contaminated. All of these should be used when necessary.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Preparing for Magick: The Witches' Pyramid

Most rituals and spells would fail dismally if the mind, will, body of energy, and physical body were not properly prepared. One of the ways in which this can be done is with the Witches’ Pyramid. There are several versions of this, but essentially, the Witches’ Pyramid has a base, four sides, and an interior. The base of the Witches’ Pyramid is knowledge; its interior is love. The four sides are:
  • imagination;
  • will;
  • faith; and
  • silence.
The Base of the Witches’ Pyramid – Knowledge

Magickal knowledge can come from so many places. It can come from books. However, books on magick and related topics must be selected carefully. Any book that promises to teach the control or manipulation of others should be discarded. Many books are full of spells and rituals, but some fail to address topics like how magick works, the ethics or hazards of magick, or the principles of magick. It's best to search for books that have detailed information on how to perform magick, and not simply a list of ingredients and steps for spells.

Knowledge can be gained from talented teachers. Look for someone who has used magick to enhance their own life and the lives of others. An ethical teacher will offer spiritual guidance, but will not dominate or control. He or she will never ask for sexual favors, but will expect their students to work hard for what they want. Most ethical teachers will not charge money for apprenticeship, but it is common to charge for public seminars or workshops. It is also not unreasonable for a teacher to expect to be compensated for materials and possibly their time.

The greatest teacher in magick is nature. There is an infinite amount of wisdom to be found on the highest mountains, the bluest oceans, and the greenest glades. For the magician who is open to receiving its message, nature can be the greatest of spiritual teachers.

The First Side of the Witches’ Pyramid – Imagination

In order to manifest something in magick, you must be able to imagine it first, to clearly visualize the end goal with clarity. You must be able to see, taste, smell, hear, and feel all the details of the intended spell or ritual. Moreover, you must be able to see all the steps necessary in completing the spell, both magickally and mundanely.

Being able to do this will require skills in the art of visualization. These can be developed in many ways. Meditation is effective, but it can be even simpler than that. Read a book, and practice visualizing every bit of what is described. Take moments from the past day and recreate them using only visualization. For the creative magician, developing the powers of the imagination presents no problem at all.

The Second Side of the Witches’ Pyramid – Will

When discussing the power of will in a magickal sense, it does not refer to desires or whims. Instead, it is the True Will, what really matters to the Higher Self. It is easier to raise power for something that you feel passionate about, and this is what True Will can identify, for it is fire, heart, and passion. Before true magick can be created, you must know what it is you truly want.

The other side of this coin is what is called the Focused Will. Once the True Will has identified the goal, and it has been visualized to its fullest extent, the Focused Will must pursue it. All of the energy that the Focused Will can muster, which is considerable, must be channeled to this one thing alone. This focus will allow true magick to happen.

The Third Side of the Witches’ Pyramid – Faith

Faith in yourself, in your magick is crucial. For the Focused Will to truly pursue a goal, there must be a foundation of belief that it is possible to work magick in the first place. This belief takes both time and experience to build. Start small, setting goals that are easily accomplished. As these things become a reality, confidence and belief will start to bloom.

The Fourth Side of the Witches’ Pyramid – Silence

The idea of silence in magick can have several meanings. Keeping silent about magickal workings does help avoid needless disbelief and even harassment from others; the true magician has no need to boast about their spells and rituals anyway. Silence, both within and without, is also necessary to become still enough to both sense and use the currents of psychic power that move around you everyday. So silence is an important part of the Witches’ Pyramid in more than one sense.

The Interior of the Witches’ Pyramid – Love

Magick that flows from love is simply more effective than that which flows from hatred. All things are connected, and love honors and cherishes these connections; hatred refuses them. Most everything in magick can be approached from a feeling of love and generosity, if you are simply willing to do so. Setting aside anger and fear is never an easy thing to do, but it will enhance the power and quality of your magicks.

These six things — knowledge, imagination, will, faith, silence, and love — comprise the Witches’ Pyramid. Master these principles and the power of the Pyramid and its qualities will answer to the magick within.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Foundations of Magick: The Dangers of Magick

Magick is not any more or less dangerous than anything else in life. Though there are many dangers relating to magick, and almost all of them are located within the mind of the practitioner. It is so easy to fall into certain dangerous traits, but with a little knowledge and foresight, and an understanding of magickal ethics, these can be avoided.

The Psychological Dangers of Magick

Almost all dangers, at least those relating to magick, are psychological in nature. The most common danger comes with the realization that magick is an extremely powerful tool, one with limitless possibilities. It is not uncommon for the green magician to feel a rush of power than can lead to a sense of omnipotence. When it comes to the practice of magick, believing that you’re infallible can lead to a great many problems.

Some people are prone to paranoia, and magicians are not immune to this. Occasionally, a magician will decide that they are being spied on or even attacked by some black magician who’s out to get them; this is simply not the case. Paranoia has no place in the practice of true magick.

There are also those people who get so wrapped up in something new that they lose touch with reality. This can also happen to magicians. They become enraptured with the possibilities that magick presents, and they lose sight of the necessity of the physical world. Perhaps they even begin to deceive themselves into believing that everything they think is reality. This can be avoided by keeping in touch with the real world, not losing touch with friends and family, and continuing with the more mundane activities of life. Even the most powerful magician needs to remember to cook dinner.

Becoming dependent on magick also happens to a few practitioners. Some people just want to find a magickal solution to everything. While magick may be able to help, it isn’t always the only, or even the best, answer to every problem. This is easily avoidable by simply using magick as a compliment to mundane activities, rather than a possible substitute.

Other Dangers of Magick

The earth will not open up and swallow you whole, but there are some real dangers of magick that every potential magician should be aware of. The most common is an imbalance of energy caused by one of two things: using up too much energy, or having an excess of magickal energy circulating the body.

Using too much of one’s own personal energy reserves can easily leave one feeling drained and exhausted. This should not be an issue, because there is energy everywhere, in every blade of grass and every breath of air. Draw what is needed and ground the excess. If the excess energy from a spell or ritual is not grounded, it remains in the body, and can have some interesting effects. If you feel as if you’ve had too much coffee, you can’t fall asleep, or have an unexplainable headache after a spell or ritual, it’s likely that you have too much excess energy. This can usually be solved by meditation.

Magick, like any other activity, has its risks. However, most agree that these risks are easily minimized and controlled though the application of correct magickal ethics. One should never let the potential risks prevent them from exploring the magick within.