Category Archives: Spirits

Ghosty

I saw something. I just want to mark it down. So I just want to remember that I saw it.

A pair of see-through boots walking through past the gap between two tables. Lasted few seconds. Then I turned around and saw brother walk in. Scared me half to death.

It’s not a fist time I’ve seen something in this house. It’s more of a feeling and it is weird. Just like the house.

Why I want to mark it down, is because the last two things I remember also happened around the end of November.

First appearance was few years back. We have a window door we use for summer for better airing. It was still on the door, because the November was rather warm. I went into the hall, which is just through the small entry hall in front, when something caught my eye in the garden. Something that looked like a fog figure, standing on the spot where we had to take an old plum tree down. I watched it few seconds, then it turned and walked away, vanishing almost instantly.

The other case was inside the house last year. We have a small room that has 5 doors. It’s an old entry where goods were downloaded and later it was entry to a small village shop and post office. Yeah, the house has some history, but important part is that this little, 7 by 7 feet large room has 5 doors. I had just closed all the doors, because it is important to our work not to keep them open and I went to fetch something. Suddenly I felt like somebody went past me  behind my back. This seriously horrid feeling and goosebumps, but when I flew around, of course nothing was there. Can’t explain it, but it was weird, because despite the 5 doors, you don’t get breeze there and so far I hadn’t felt anything unpleasant either.

So, those boots are a third thing. Sounds mysterious? Well, if you solve this…

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Instincts are off the roof

I am on a weird course. I know the end of the world yadayada is just that – yadayada. But something is different and something has changed. This past few months has been odd experience for me and I now feel I need to write them down.

In January, it was all about shadows. I don’t know what, but I kept seeing something from the corner of my eye or found myself bolting from seat to check something over my shoulder. It’s the sort of feeling when someone past you by and you didn’t notice before they are already out of your eye range. But there never was anyone. Often it was like a last glimpse on a shadow or a flare.  I work in a new house. It is nearly 10 years old, but it’s still relatively new.  I live in an old house, but so far I haven’t seen anything there either. So I know it isn’t anything local, but I couldn’t shrug off the feeling.

This went on nearly a month with 2 to 8 sightings per day and night. At first I thought it was just my brain playing tricks on me, but remembering the last “trick”, I am not at all convinced. Especially when it started happening in the middle of the day too, when I was fully alert and talking with someone. Now the concentration has cooled down and happens once or twice in two days. It’s as if I was witnessing spirits migration. Is there even something like this?

Then I started noticing that if I search for something from documents – because we had to run through a lot of paperwork duo new students – I didn’t search anymore. I just opened the fail and what I wanted was right there. Neat trick, but I thought it was most likely simple coincidence. Well, that neat trick seems to have stuck around. It doesn’t seem to work if I guess something in advance and then try to prove it, but as far as I search something from papers, even cookbooks, I open them up where it is necessary.

It was all topped off by today’s experience. I woke up on alarm clock, like usually when I need to go to work and called Madli from brother’s bead to go out. But when I got to the kitchen, I suddenly felt as if someone was in the room with me and others were looking in from the window. It was horrific sensation, because when I looked around me, I didn’t see anything different from how it was left the night before. Yet I couldn’t brush off the sensation that a stranger is somewhere in the garden. I let the dog out and stayed out in the cold for several minutes, taking in everything in the garden and near the forest front. Sometimes there are animals outside the premise. I already managed to cool off, just a freak nonsense, when Madli went crazy and started barking, too. Right under our living room windows. Thank you, darling! Of course I took a longer walk then and checked the fresh snow and searched signs of intruder. Nothing. Absolutely no footprints that didn’t belong to our animals or to my brother or me from last night. Yet Madli kept yelling and yelling and yelling.  If I’m not nuts yet, I might as well be now! She isn’t the sort of dog to go nuts over something that isn’t there. So if she sparks up, then there is a reason. She wouldn’t even stop when I let her back in. I kept checking the forest line too. The feeling eased a lot when I got away from there.

I don’t know what’s going on, but it is not all to my liking. It’s as if my instincts are on a riot.

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Celebrating harvest festivals

This post is response to Ayslyn’s post on How Should Witches Feel About Halloween? The question is intriguing, especially as we are also the nation on the verge of invading Halloween being celebrated more and more each year, replacing local holidays of the similar manner.

To begin with, I’d like to answer her last question in the post, if the costumes and the concept of “trick or treat” society’s way of dealing with social deviance associated with Wicca? Certainly not. The tradition of Halloween (though under different name) goes back way before anyone even dreamt of such commercialized holiday to take it simply as something society uses to deal with pagan remnant.

Harvest festivals are deep traditional way to simply let loose from usual strict boundaries and finish hard working period with a bang. I can’t think of any society that doesn’t have any sort of harvest festivals, Halloween was just one of them. Understanding that this is also the richest time for farmers, it is obvious that it was good time to celebrate with power. Religion played big part in here, but for most it was simply a reason to party after long hard autumn. I can only tell about the religious behavior here, but what I can tell, it was mostly aimed to continue and increase the harvest for the next year. Yes, there was church in later centuries, but even they (unless in big cities) had to concede to local traditions one way or the other – you blessed the wheat brought to you for good harvest you liked it or not. You didn’t like it, you could be sure they would go somewhere else.

We don’t have Halloween here. Yet. What Halloween is to the rest of the world, has traditionally here been divided between two holidays – St. Martin’s Day and St. Catherin’s Day. Respectfully, they had absolutely no connections to church besides some eager priest renaming the holidays. The similarities to Halloween is that on both days, men on St. Martin’s Day and women on St. Catherin’s Day would go for trick or treating in other villages. In later years it didn’t matter so much what genre you were in, but that Martins were dressed in dark, Catherine were dressed in light colors. And, of course, Martins ran on the eve of the day and Catherine on the right day (which seems to be so “insignificant” fact these days that no one cares to remember – sad punch of city folk!).

St. Martin’s Day (10th of November, so runners go out on 9th) itself has mostly been male oriented holiday. It’s odd to see it still alive, considering that it was mostly about fertility of wheat and initiating young men into manhood. There was certain dressing code that is followed, if you knew it, even today – you had to be dressed like male, covered with fur if possible (if you had furry Martin in your house, you could expect good crop from the sheep) and had to have ugly dark mask. Of course, the rest had to be dark too and you had to have a rod from some tree (which I can’t remember right now) so you could chasten the family and bad kids so they would be vigorous throughout the coming year. It wasn’t any beating, simply few hops on the backside – it was a game.

Game was also the trick and treating part. It wasn’t just cadging for candy, but firsthand you learn proper songs to be let in, you learn to dance or and to ask riddles, then a song to ask for tributes. This was followed by blessing the family and crops and then they would finish it all with proper ending song and left for the next family, where they would repeat the entire show. Yeaah, to get something, you need to do something. Tributes in the turn of 19th century were sausages, cakes, candy, apples, in the end of 20th century it has reduced to candy. But the rest of the tradition is held high by schools. Even if they don’t do the going from family to family thing, in some schools you still do it from class to class, including big parties in the evenings everywhere. Even though the fertility reasons are slowly disappearing, most of the tradition and songs remain. In my family, we always try to have pig’s head or feet for dinner and we bake certain bread and get groatsausages. Some things never change.

St. Catherine’s Day is held on 25th of November. The two holidays are closely related with each other and can’t be separated by traditions, so keep with me. There are many divinations about weather (because old versus new forecasts tends to end with old forecasting methods winning), mostly that on Catherine’s Day the Father Weather would toss cold stone in the sea and warm stone in bonds. In simple explanation the water in the bottom of the sea is colder than the water in the bottom of the bonds. Also things like if it melts on this day, St. Andrew’s Day (30th of November) will freeze, the sort of day you have on Catherine’s Day will also be on Candle’s Day (2nd of February) and so on.

St. Catherine’s Day was women’s holiday. Like Martins, Catherine had their specific songs they used to go through the traditional game. Different was that if Martin brought luck and fertility for crops and outside works, then Catherine brought fertility for household and animals, especially for sheep. For tribute with the usual food you also had to give something wooly or anything related with needle work, weaving or knitting-crocheting. If you had nothing else, you had to give at least one needle. St. Catherine’s Day has always represented the time, when the ancestor spirits come back and it is used often to explain why Catherine are dressed in white. Because they often had traditional spinning wheels with them, they also represented the eternal journey of the Sun and gave promise of the Sun’s return.

It stays true to this day that you had to let the runners in, go through the game and then give them something in return. I don’t think it is so much considered as unlucky, but more like something you do just in case – no one wanted bad luck for the crops, animals or family. Plus if you didn’t let them in, they were full of surprises. It wasn’t uncommon to find wood pile carried in front of your main door or bricks stacked on your driveway. You know the joke, where students carry a car on the roof? In 19th century it was one common joke around Southern region. So it was safer to let them in, clap with them and laugh with them and pay them tribute for the show. One of the tributes was special beer.

Where Halloween is concerned, I think it is gathering popularity in club scene. They have Halloween parties, but they don’t carry the same message as when treated like Sabbath. Here it is viewed still as commercial holiday, but even in that light they resign from buying the stuff sold in the shops during this time, because it simply doesn’t resonate with anyone, who isn’t planning a “social party with a twist”. Personally, I have begun viewing it differently, now that I know the other side’s story as well. I like what it represents in religious sense, the traditional view of it and take time to add some nifty recipe in for the day if I find something interesting. But as far as celebrating or getting hooked up in fight against it being commercialized like it is, I don’t think I care enough. It isn’t local holiday and hasn’t grown out from need. Things that are needed will survive or change according to the time. Halloween around here just doesn’t have such base.

I do mind, however, that it is pushed on us through media as something we ought to do to be more open-minded to other cultures. I’ve realized over the years that even though I love learning about new holidays, as a pagan I think it is important to relate yourself more with the local rhythm than take over from other all the time. I know I’m lucky, because our traditions have survived and are actively celebrated on national level. But I would encourage Wiccans and pagans to search more for what you already have rather than just taking over holidays only because “I initiated myself in this and thus I now MUST follow the wheel!” No you don’t. If you live in Ukraine and you have local pagan holidays – look what you have and compare them with the Sabbaths. You’ll be nicely surprised that you have similar holidays that are celebrated during similar time and for same reasons (Moon calendar ticking through the year, farmer’s calendar). Dig them up and brush the dust off.

There is said nowhere that you must celebrate exactly those holidays given in the Wiccan books. I don’t celebrate Halloween – it doesn’t resonate with me. But I do celebrate the full moon close to Halloween and both St. Martin’s Day and St. Catherine’s Day. Same goes with Mabon, because instead I keep close to heart St. Michael’s Day (29nth of September) from which we traditionally count the winter holidays from and I celebrate the full moon close to Mabon. Also, traditionally this is the date for one of the most important farmers markets, which pretty much has taken over celebrating harvest. For magical work, yes, I keep the middle days in mind, but for holiday’s sake, I don’t follow them. It isn’t nature that needs the celebrations – nature rolls it wheel of the year on just like before nicely without taking second look. Holidays are for humans and we needed them to keep time, to have points in the year that we could follow and know exactly where we are and what should come next.

Thus instead of feeling awkward for not following one holiday by the same name or by the same reasons it would be better to follow the one you feel is necessary for you or works best with your year. They are turning every holiday into media and profit circus. We can’t do much about it. But we can leave it aside and not take part of it by celebrating the holidays by their true value – for the place they hold in the year and the reasons they have found their place there and if possible and asked, explain those reasons to others and follow traditions.

So, trick or treat?

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Damp mornings and foggy shapes

 It’s October and with the descending darkness brings us again closer to spirit world. In Estonia, the “official” spirit time begins with 2nd of November or less known on 28th of October. Officially, because that’s the spot marked in annual state calendars as the All Souls’ Day. The second date marks St. Simon’s Day. Yeah, isn’t it neat? We have it officially in our calendars. “Officially” it lasts until 10th of October (St. Martin’s Day), unofficially until advent and Christmas.

It doesn’t really matter, on which date exactly the time of traveling souls begins, the reality is, on that week most northern calendars begin winter season and with extending darkness, you become more aware of the other world right beside us. To make peace and by tradition, most of us go on cemeteries during this time to pay respect to our ancestors.

Though I respect them, I prefer to be far away from cemeteries, they have Antarctic weather as far as I’m concerned. And that’s me – who I don’t cover up even in minus ten degrees outside! Yet, when I go to cemeteries I am freezing and have goose pumps. Weird part is, I don’t fear death or touching dead outside the gates of eternity, I just seem to have problem with the concentration.

There are certain rules that I think highly of, when dealing with cemeteries. Things that make sure you don’t bring death energy back to the living area. Little simple things, but quite effective:

  • Things you buy keeping the deceased in mind must go to them. So if you buy flowers, thinking of leaving them on the grave, then that’s where they must end up. You don’t rethink on your way that they look too beautiful to leave them there and instead take them home. If you forget something home that you meant to take with you to graveyard (candles, flowers), then better turn back and take them there.
  • Tools you use to clean the grave should be bought and left near the grave not brought back and used for gardening. Same principle – what goes to graveyard, stays in graveyard. Rakes, forks – leave them there or buy the sort you can toss in the trash while you leave. We have lots of conifers in graveyards and you can often see tools hanged on the branches that you can use and then put back.
  • Don’t bring anything back. I know there are things used in some spells that involve coffin nails or graveyard dirt. They are also the sort of spells only those make who really need it. Voodoo makes fortune on them, but unless you are certain you need this spell, I would leave that to experts. Anything you bring back from graveyard carries energy of deceased and destruction – a button, piece of cloth sole or anything else coming from a grave. While leaving, it is good to clap your shoes clean too. You bring destructive energies back to your home otherwise and who needs that in their house? It wasn’t without reason that people have been avoiding undertakers for as long as human history goes. Oh, and just in case this doesn’t make you think – leprosy is highly contagious even after death and it isn’t the only one that you can might get contaminated with.
  • Respect your surroundings. Does it need any elaboration?

 This might seem harsh (or even impossible and pointless) to anyone living in areas of lawn-cemeteries or where you can’t even see soil, but as far as I live in north and get frozen to my bones every time I enter the area, I rather take precautions.

Graveyards aren’t the only places you’d have to respect your ancestors. We still have the tradition to light few candles on windows on 2nd of November so the spirits can find their way back and leave bread, meat and salt on the table. Though some congregations have spoken out against it, I don’t think many around here listen. It is first hand about commemorating the dead and then anything else one wishes to label it.

Spirits going around also means they are easier to communicate with and I know that this time is particularly popular amongst the pagans to do exactly that. Attributes variety is quite big, with often common markers one ought to avoid to let the spirit come in. Those often include removing your cross from the room and not using iron as part of the divination set. Iron is protector, so is praying Our Father. The methods we loved using as children were usually simple ones, but often just as effective, so we learned to use them sparingly. It’s not that we got fearful of ghosts, we just came to understanding that you don’t need to spike their nerves and they won’t spike you in return. Thus I’m not bringing any examples how to call them out. There are plenty of methods described on internet.

Living with ghosts and spirits in the middle of cold dark days of winter brings shivers even to those folk around, whom I know are polytheists from southern areas. I think that’s to blame on all the horror movies that just love using north as the ultimate hideout for ghosts. I love watching them too, but the real thing is what really brings chills. I think it’s better to follow the traditions and just go with the flow when the other world is concerned, no need to call them out to amuse your self or “just to get to see the ghost”.

But it’s rather exiting, isn’t it? To know that the veil is thinner and possibilities are greater. It’s time of myths and interesting encounters, or as it said once in Ghostbusters cartoon- time to get the adrenaline pumping!

P.S. It’s my 222th post – now that IS cool!

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Witches’ compass

 I don’t remember what made me think about instincts today. Every time something isn’t right, I get sick in my stomach. Over the years I’ve learned to understand it and the more I trust it, the more information I get through it. I bet it was the moment, when I realized that my gut feeling told me plainly again that the product of the behind is hitting the fan again.

Why trust something so feral?

I’d say the answer is in the question – we should trust it, because it is one of those rudiments that come from times we weren’t so self-regulated. Times, when we had to put our trust in feelings and sense more than we do today.

I know witches often have stronger instincts than others. When I talked with my Christian friends about it, I was suggested to not to trust instincts and ask God’s guidance instead. Problem with that is I believe the sick stomach in most common situation before it turns sour is God’s way to warn us. It’s still hard to explain devoted Christian that their explanation comes off like a joke:

Man gets in a boat accident and is passed by several, who offer help, but man refuses each and one of them, saying that God will help him out. In the end he drowns and goes to heaven. He asks God, why didn’t he save him and he replies “What do you think the passing boat, helicopter and lifeguard were?”

Instincts are those helicopters and lifeguards that pass us while we drown on our daily problems and guide us to the right track. It’s accepting the knowledge given to us without constantly questioning it’s origin. I don’t think our brain is the best teacher here, because this is the part of brain in action we can’t control. It’s the part that reads and interpreters information from surroundings that we otherwise would miss. Like dog, who can smell the entire medical chart simply by sniffing the excrements of another dog.

I think it is important to trust your instincts and follow them if you are walking on path like ours. I didn’t want to go to work after fire drill exercise one day. I just simply didn’t, because I felt it won’t end well. It didn’t. There was serious fire in one flat and I spent the entire day dressed like a birch tar princess.

On the other time I didn’t want to call grandmother, yet I got very anxious, when I thought of her. Day later mom called me that she was taken to hospital with serious heart condition.

I tend to know when women are pregnant. Go figure. Sometimes it shows in their face, sometimes on images. I asked once to congratulate a friend we both knew for having a child. My friend stared at me for a while and said her friend just came back from Russia and told her she was second month pregnant only days ago. I have no way to explain this, because I remembered her on a FB account with big belly, which, as it turned out was impossible as she didn’t have such picture up. Yet I thought months before that she was already so far to give birth.

To those, who are yet to begin to trust their instincts more – let them go wild and send you the information. Unless you have medical paranoia of any kind, they are surprisingly trustworthy friends. I don’t think there’s a question if one should put more trust in brain and common sense or instinctive sensing – I believe if you learn to understand them, they are equally good partners. You just have to learn to trust them and unfortunately there is no teacher for this part of our training. But you must trust them. You can’t walk the path without trusting yourself and knowing yourself through and through.

Perfect love and perfect trust – that’s how you enter your circle and that’s how you will leave. For witch, following their instincts is just as essential as is to know how to meditate, even more so if you are solitary witch. It’s the witches’ compass that keeps you on track and tells you if something didn’t work, went wrong or in worst cases, will come back to hunt you.

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White figure at the garden

I just want to record it down. On Thursday I saw something. It was a flowing white foggy figure hovering near the flowerbed where we used to have a plum tree. I saw it for a long moment before I looked away, and it was gone again.

I am not thrilled at all. I have seen things like that before, but never at my house. Too close to home, I would say, because it scared me a bit. But just a little, because it didn’t feel so scared as with the black figure. I didn’t go in back yard the entire night, but in daylight I kept staring there, and it was indeed right on top where the plum tree trunk was.

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Little things you can do to make your household more spiritual.

 This is response to TipToeChick video.

I don’t do videos, but I do write, so here it goes.

I practice in a household that is open all sorts of spiritual views, but it is obvious that it is not my own, so I can’t do whatever I want there. No smudging the place up before moving in or such stuff. Right after moving in would be the only time the place would see any smudging anyway, because I’m not into smudging and that I have talked about why and when and all the reasons behind it.

So what can you do if the place is not your own, you live with your parents and animals and tiny kids, whose eyes go wild just seeing the tangles you have around?

Here’s what I’ve done.

  • On my table is a small coconut wood bowl with lots of seeds. It has one seed per each meal for entire year. The idea of this is that you put seeds in a bowl and keep it near. You think or thank deities for having the food on your table each day when moving the seeds around in the bowl, feeling their weight on your hands. This will help to keep you food on the table. It’s simple, yet over the year I’ve had it, it has worked wonders in cases I hadn’t even dreamed of at the beginning of the year.  
    I noticed that after a while it started picking up coins and someone’s tiny toys or some apple seeds were tossed in the punch, sometimes you find that some seeds had gone traveling at some point. I spent quite some time trying to explain my folk that I didn’t want anyone going about the bowl, but after first shock, I realized it didn’t feel like the spell had gone off, it was more like empowering it more. And honestly, no one cared for that warning like they do when I lit candles and the bowl kept collecting whatever someone felt like putting in there. It seems that we all do agree on one thing though – what’s in the bowl, stays in the bowl.
  • I keep one white candle holder and candle with lighter on my shelf. Always. I don’t have problem if I need to light any other candle anywhere in the house, but I keep one there for longer purposes. I think this has helped to get them used with the idea that I do candle spells. Take it as always-on-site things and I think it’s one thing all starting out people can do. Keep a candle, unlit, in one place and if someone asks, what it’s for, you don’t have to have a purpose for it, but you just “like” that it’s there.
    If you do get asked about lighted candle, you should keep one thing in mind – don’t lie about the purpose you have lit the candle for. If you do, you might as well blow it out yourself, because you have messed the spell up. If a friend asked you to light a candle for her, then that’s what you’ll say to your dad. Don’t lie about it – in craft lying doesn’t mix well with spells.
  • I keep pine cones in a bowl next to my writing table. Sometimes I find one or two I like and I add them to there, same with sticks of wood like oak, birch, elm, lime – whatever fancies me. I keep them there for two reasons – for protection, because I feel good to have them around and to have materials near if I feel tempted to do a spell.
  • I have a small Evil Eye pendant with elephants hanging near my working table, just half way to my workplace. It’s not facing the door, but it does create the sort of barrier that no one can come through that have something mean to say. So as far as I know it – it works.
  • If you’re cleaning, then cleaning takes place always in the same direction – towards the front door. To get everything negative out.
  • Clearing my special jewelry energies – I got two necklaces of carnelian pearls. I broke them up in a small wooden box and now every time I need to clear the energies I simply hide the pendants in there.
  • Add drop of lavender, rosemary or any other protective, cleansing essential oil once per week in your washing water. Or after every time you’ve had people around. Makes sleeping in the room much easier for me.
  • Against molding and to brighten the energies – 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 2 cups of water. Mix, spray and smile :).
  • I like an air freshener that consists this: spray bottle full of water, one spoonful of baking soda (against acidy smells), one of lemon juice (against alkalinized scents) + few drops of your favorite essential oil. I like adding green tea essential oil, because it helps creating soothing environment and it smells fresh and wonderful.
  • I never leave dough on counter without making sun cross on top of it or a pentagram. It keeps the evil away. It’s more like a habit, but still, better make it than regret it later.
  • Never leave cut bread with cut facing the front door. The bread luck will leave the house if you do. Also, never clean the crumbs from the table to floor nor do it with your hands or you’ll dust away your bread luck, too.
  • When I know I have meeting coming up that takes place at my place or an evening with friends, I put few drops in oil lamp to set the mood. Sweet orange for friendly conversations, peppermint for business, lime for late night study sessions (or lemongrass), birch before sauna… I don’t use spice oils, because those can be well used in cooking and boost the meeting through this as the aromas fly from the kitchen.
    P.S. The videos that go around in Youtube how people eat cinnamon raw – tannin anyone, courmarin? Already 1 teaspoon of cinnamon consists enough toxin to be poisonous, what on earth are those people thinking?!?
    Moving on.
  • Use few drops of lemon juice on the pooch withers (hump?). It both protects your dog energy wise and it’s a mild thing against flees.
  • Always have salt near by. If you have older wooden table, then one way to kill the bacteria there is to sprinkle it now and then with salt before scrubbing it clean with water. I tend to do it with whatever surface I’m dealing with (except glass – it scratches), because it’s how you clean energies from your altar too and I, like I said, use my kitchen table for it should I need one. Joys of small living space.
  • I do have a house doll I guess? My old  bear, all fixed, sitting on her separated shelf and carrying small bag that holds protection spell for entire household and property. Where I move, it will follow.
  • Keep chestnut in your pocket to bring in money. My pockets tend to be filled with them most of the year and I like keeping 7 nice ones over the year in small bag.

I guess the list could go on quite some time, but these are the ones that I remembered first. I didn’t list here the herbal uses, but it is obvious that I keep them around and we use them extensivly according to our needs.

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