My dear friend, Corbie Mitleid (also branded as INTERNATIONAL PSYCHIC AND MEDIUM, CORBIE MITLEID) and I started a new You Tube Live Streaming broadcast called “Tea and Crones.” The concept is not complicated. She’s old. I’m old. We sit there on camera and drink tea and talk about Crone things. Our first topic was the role of the elder in the modern spiritual landscape. Our most recent broadcast covered the first five (each) misconceptions people have about what we do, she as a psychic and Tarot reader and me as a Professional Witch.
We will present the next five (each) on our upcoming broadcast. We go live every Sunday at 5pm Pacific Time/8pm Eastern Time. To get the link to our YouTube channel, see archived broadcasts, and check out our next topic go to www.teaandcrones.com.
Now as my late mother would have said, “I told you that to tell you this…”
Here are the five misperceptions I covered on last week’s broadcast about me as a Witch, plus a sneak peak into the five I will cover on our next episode of our broadcast. To be clear, these are misperceptions about MY practice… not about Witchcraft or magical practice in general. The opinions stated in this post may not represent the opinions of Patheos Pagan or anyone else here. They are just mine.
Most Pagans and Witches are savvy enough to know that Satan is a Christian concept and usually does not fall into our pantheonic landscape. Telling a Witch that they are working with Satan registers the same as if you tell them they are working with Krampus or a Yeti. This comment is meant as no sort of denigration of anyone who does work with Satan. Rock on. It’s just not what I do and not what the typical Witch does.
Most insulting is when someone looks at a Witch, winces in a squishy fashion, and suggests they just too feather-headed to really get that Satan has beguiled them into working with him. It usually involves a sympathetic head tilt. The most ingenious thing Krampus ever did was convincing people he does not exist.
The inverse of this is that I somehow hate God, or specifically, the Christian God. God, Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and I get along famously and fabulously. It’s their followers who tend to kick over the apple cart of joyful companionship for me. Ah, the frailties of humans.
It’s a reasonable jump given the bar none, top notch marketing job Wicca did in the 1970s and 1980s of commandeering the “Witchcraft” label for their own, despite the unfathomable amount of time people worked as Witches before there was ever Wicca. If you look globally, Wicca is still a small fraction of what falls under the Witchcraft umbrella, and yet many people come into my store convinced that because I am a Witch, I am also a Wiccan.
One more time for the sound bite: Most Wiccans are Witches, but a whole lot of Witches are not Wiccan. It’s like Protestants and Baptists. I love Wicca and was Wiccan for a couple of decades. I even still teach Wicca, but I am not Wiccan.
A fascinating thing happens when you reveal to someone that you are a Witch but not a Wiccan. Suddenly, you and your magic are suspect. If you don’t have redes and dogma to guide you, what keeps you from casting spells willy nilly however you want? …um… nothing… except that I am not an asshole (although this is open to debate).
Nor am I Wiccan, one of which is not really related to the other.
#3 – That a person needs expensive herbs and tools to work magic
The essence of folk magic is to use what you have on hand, in your cupboards and whenever possible, to use herbs that grow locally so that the land spirits are familiar within your magical work. Don’t have a fancy abalone shell to put your sage stick into? Use an old coffee mug. Don’t have an intricate incense burner? Put some sand into a pretty bowl, pop that stick in and you’re done.
An elder woman came into my store recently and told me that a guy at another metaphysical store in town told her that for protection work, she had to get an expensive herb (that he could order for her!) from England. She was in Sacramento where rosemary – arguably one of the most protective herbs on the planet – grows wild. Take your scissors and a sandwich back to downtown Sac and go discreetly wild – hypothetically, in theory. I’m not trying to incite people to steal Governor Gavin’s rosemary. I am just making a point.
Nope. I used to believe that if someone came to me for help, God/dess had sent them to me and I should do all I could. Maturity and experience have taught me that sometimes, people are divinely led to me so that they can learn how to graciously accept “no” as an answer.
I only teach (one-on-one) a very select few and I do spellwork for people on a case by case basis. Just because someone orders work from me on our website doesn’t mean I will do it. It means that you can email me to discuss it and you may or may not get a refund.
When someone chooses to take you on as a student, that is a privilege, not an entitlement. If a person agrees to work a spell for you, it means they are willing to invest their own time and energy into your cause. In any of these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the teacher or spell worker to use discernment about their involvement.
“As it harms none, do what thy wilt” is a Wiccan concept and not one I follow. I have written volumes on how that is an unachievable goal that sets people up to fail and feel bad about themselves. I prefer to pursue more reasonably attainable standards.
“Karma” is an Eastern philosophy and not directly a part of my spiritual system. I believe we put energy out into the world with our thoughts and actions and people, and the Universe in general, will respond. I believe for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes, a reflect and return spell blowing your ass back a bit is part of that equal and opposite reaction.
Several times a week, people in my shop asking me if I think they will get a “karmic backlash” for working this spell or that one. This is usually after going on at length about the justification for why they want to do the spell in the first place. For one, if you are having a conversation in your head that involves concern about karmic backlash, then your spirit is already telling you that you know you shouldn’t be working that spell. For another, will you have karmic backlash as and a run of bad luck for a justified spell? No, probably not. Are you accountable for your actions, magical or otherwise? Absolutely.
Three-fold law permeates many spiritual paths, not just Wicca. Personally, I have not seen evidence to convince me that we do comes back to us in triple force. I believe that what we put out there affects us on three levels: mind, body, and spirit. That’s about as far as I am willing to go on that one.
Some, and I would even say most people who come to me to commission spell work believe that I can solve their problem by burning one candle. While I appreciate their faith in me as a Witch, rarely is this the case. When we construct a goal we want to address through magical work, that goal has its own minimum energy load we have to hit for success. The trick is that we do not know what that minimum energy load is. Many factors influence the energy load, such as the free will of other people, the impact this goal will have on the client’s overall manifest destiny, and how invested the client actually is in the outcome. Those are just three of the thousand or so considerations that bring the desired outcome closer or push it further away.
A candle, or any other spell, for that matter, has a specific level of energy output. Rarely does burning one candle hit that minimum energy load to achieve your goal. If it does, it means conditions were absolutely perfect and there was no resistance at all to your desires. In short, it was probably already in the works.
The fact is that when you come to me with a big goal, you will likely need to settle down for the long haul. I have had clients patiently burn twenty or more candles, one after another, to keep the energy flowing smoothly and steadily toward their desired outcome. Imagine that your goal is a refrigerator that you need to power up. Your spell work is a series of batteries that will eventually hit the needed energy load to make that little light come on and the ice maker run.
Most spell work people bring to me involves the client wanting to force someone to do what they do not want to do. Convexly, it might involve forcing them to stop doing what they do want to do. While people would love to believe you can light a candle (just one, see #6) and compel your ex return to you full of love and promises, it just doesn’t work that way.
Spell work responds to resistance and people do not like to be compelled by spellwork. Inherently, their spirits reject this sort of magic, which increases any naturally existing resistance to the work. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means it will not likely last very long. In the case of a love spell, for instance, you can compel someone to dig deep into any ember of romantic feelings they have and maximize that. You can compel them to overcome feelings of resistance and act on an attraction you create or that is there naturally. Eventually, however, their own organic feelings will again take charge, usually sooner rather than later. This means you have to continue the compelling work forever, or at least until you get tired of doing it.
Want someone to get a job? Your spell work will have to pack an energy load that is stronger than their desire not to work. Then you have to maintain that level of dominance. Want someone to stop spreading gossip about you? You are going to have to stay well on top of that magic because people love to gossip and their natural desire to do so will ultimately win out. Malevolent gossip? Oh, they really want to spread that.
Spell work is always about supplying sufficient energy to overcome whatever resistance exists between you and your goal… and maintaining that level. Also, when in doubt: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. (Not everyone will get that and that’s OK).
Every week, I have an army of eggs in jars that I have used to pull curses, crossings, and hexes off of people. Click here for gratuitous book plug. Of those, very few times did someone stir a cauldron, hammer nails into a cow tongue, or jab a poppet with pins to make it happen. In most cases, concentrated negative thoughts centered on the victim by another person causes the curse. That does not mean the sender intentionally waged an aggressive magical attack. It means they had some intense, ugly feelings about the victim that grew legs and became not quite sentient, but working independently of the sender, likely without the sender’s knowledge.
Victims usually pick up a curse, crossing, or hex incidentally. Since none of us likely lives in an isolated bubble devoid of contact with other people, this is a common. This is also why you do not wait until you are in full blown distress to have a spiritual cleansing. Like getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist, this is good spiritual hygiene everyone needs to follow, especially people who live in the line of fire. Social workers, retail employees, energy workers, teachers, medical professionals… imagine all the ways that people come in contact others who are going through the worst day of their life. That energy bleeds out, especially if the receiver is particularly empathic. Brush your spiritual teeth, but also have your spiritual teeth cleaned on the regular, especially if you live a life that is at high risk for direct or secondary contamination.
I will just leave that label up there on its own. Basically, there is nothing called “black magic.” That is a muggle word for types of spell work that cause some people to feel uncomfortable. What is black magic to one person is reasonable defense to another. People enjoy thinking about “the dark arts” (invariably pronounced, “Tha dawk ahts”) but this is a concept that is subjective to the point a spectrum is hardly even possible.
There is spell work. There is magic. Does the spell work makes you uncomfortable? Then don’t do it. If you wouldn’t do it, don’t ask a Witch to do it for you. If someone else is comfortable doing it, don’t be a judgey Witch about what they do unless it involves you in some way.
Many of my clients believe – at least until I correct them – that if they ask me to do spell work for them, they can just kick back and reap the benefits. The idea of “As above, so below” is solid. When we send energy out into the ether to work for us, we must be willing to do the leg work required in the mundane world to make that happen. The more you back up your magical energy with physical behaviors, paving the road for the energy to follow, the faster you will get results.
Want to get a good job? You have to fill out the applications as well as light the job candle. Do you want to connect with a lover from the past? Shoot them a message on social media after we light the Come to Me candle. Want to win the lottery? You have to buy that ticket.
The more a client does to put energy toward their goal on the mundane level, the better and faster my magic will work to get them to where they want to be. Spell work is one of the tools in your tool box to clear the roads and hasten things along. If it has to bear all the weight, your results will take longer to achieve. Don’t try to make your life better with magic because you are do lazy to do it on your own. Instead, use magic to maximize the results you get from your own efforts.
And now a Witch says goodbye and wishes you a wonderful week
And interestingly enough, that about as far as this week’s blog post goes. Next week, I will be back with the next five biggest misperceptions about what I do as a professional, working Witch.
Want to watch the broadcast and also hear Corbie’s first five misconceptions? You can watch it here.