Witch Tip: Anointing Oil Bars

I love to carry power objects like crystals and other tools with me in little pouches as I go about my day. I also love anointing oils, but these can be terribly messy to carry. Even a good, tightly sealed bottle seems to leak as it gets moved about and of course the glass could always break. So I’ve made a simple solution I’d like to share: anointing oil bars.

It’s very easy to make an oil into a solid bar and the result is lovely. You can select any oils, butters and fragrances that you like to create the perfect magical tool for what you need. I should mention that I don’t use available concordances but rather make up my own. So I even experimented with putting things like cinnamon and cocoa into the bars. Any powders or herbs you add will sink to the bottom, but if you’re using this for magic and not necessarily for a moisturizing lotion, it’s all good.

Here’s the recipe, and it’s dead simple:

2 parts oil, or an oil and a butter (think shea butter, etc, not dairy butter…though I like to use tallow)

1 part beeswax (or other wax, but beeswax is to die for)

+fragrance oils or even herbs, whatever your magic work requires

So all you have to do now is melt everything together, then pour it into molds. I love using those flexible ice-cube molds that come in different shapes, very easy to find at thrift stores. But just about anything will do as long as you can pop the bars out when they are cooled and solid.

If you find the bars too oily or too solid, simply melt them down again and add more wax or more oil. They should be a bit oily to the touch, or else they wouldn’t work! Which is why I keep mine in lightweight plastic containers.

Enjoy!

 

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Shamanic Healing, and Curses

I believe that thoughts are forces. This is the centre of my belief in magic. So if you come to me wanting a curse removed, this is what I will tell you: that anyone can do magic, and that you only feed the curse’s power by believing that it is so effective. That is only my opinion, of course, and I respect that others may think differently. But I believe in empowering oneself.

Shamanic healing is, to me, only a spark that helps to initiate a bonfire of one’s own healing. Ultimately we heal ourselves. Thus shamanism requires effort from all parties involved. No one will be healed without some effort of their own, whether it be faith or action.

Shamanic healing is a magical thing, but that doesn’t mean it is instant and saves you the trouble of working things out for yourself. I’m sure that is very disappointing to some, and I understand the desperation of needing to feel better or get out of a tight spot. But one cannot gain strength without being strong enough to carry any weight in the first place. You have to pick yourself up, bit by bit. Shamanic healing is, to me, a guide, an inspiration, and a blessing. But you still have to carry yourself forward.

My aim here is not to criticize or be passive aggressive. Rest assured, I have had wonderful experiences in my spiritual work. However, people coming to me may have very different spiritual opinions, such as on the matter of curses, and occasionally people lash out at me in their fear and pain. So I thought I would put forward my stance.

Love and blessings to all who stop by!

Spring, and Life and Death

Signs of Spring are creeping into the wild. About a week back we left an offering in the woods, and when we came back to check on it a tiny little possum was happily chowing down. Then the other day my partner saw a huge coyote standing on a hill in broad daylight, and got some great photos of it.

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Meanwhile, I sorted out for myself how Spirit and Matter intertwine, dissolving into each other. It sounds crazy but some quantum physicists will suggest that when not being observed, objects are not in matter or particle form, but rather wave functions of possibility. I call that an aspect of Spirit, as I believe that imagination and potential are Spirit. So Land Spirits are the very trees and rocks they embody, simply switching between material and spirit form, being both simultaneously.

It made me wonder how come living things like trees and animals would eventually become spirit only, via death. Then I figured that things that eat or otherwise absorb energy from the universe must eventually become food themselves, giving that energy back. We decompose and disperse our energy because we’ve taken so much energy from the universe temporarily.

It’s not a new idea, but I’m seeing life and death in a whole new light tonight.

Inducing Trance for Shamanic Journeys

The hallmark of a shamanic trance is that it is induced. Consequently, shamanic practitioners and journeyers are very interested in different ways of inducing trance. I’ve tried some different methods myself, one of which I haven’t seen mentioned in this context, so I thought I’d share.

Probably the most common method used by modern North American practitioners is drumming. Live drumming, either performed by oneself or a partner, is excellent, but I’ve always used a drumming track and headphones. Shamanic drumming tracks are readily available and are said to be just as useful as live drumming, though I imagine that drumming for oneself adds to the rhythmic, hypnotic experience. That said, I know I could never keep up drumming and journeying at the same time!

Another method is the use of consciousness-altering chemicals, otherwise known as plant medicine, entheogens, or psychedelics. One needs caution and know-how to go down this path. In addition to research, one ought to speak with the plant spirits themselves as well, otherwise you are doing no more than just taking a drug. What I’ve tried is mild — a so-called flying ointment of my own making — but has produced some good results. Still, I don’t use it often.

Rather, my favourite method for inducing trance is through the act of sweating. I don’t know the physical mechanics of why it works, though I can guess at things like changes in hydration, electrolytes, and body temperature. It’s definitely not a unique idea, but I haven’t seen in mentioned in the wealth of literature available on how to journey. Certainly great physical exertion and exercise would be a great way to sweat and alter your consciousness, but I take an easier route (and perhaps safer one, given that I faint easily). I simply take a very hot (but not uncomfortable) bath. It brings up my heart rate and aids my poor blood circulation for starters. Then, as I begin to sweat more, I find my focus sharpening and the Otherworlds coming within close reach.

Naturally, everyone works differently. I’d be very interested to hear of other ways of inducing trance, or your experiences of what works best. Happy journeying!

Sleep, Dreams and Shamanism

I have always found sleep an easy thing. My wife can tell you that I fall asleep remarkably quickly and usually sleep quite deeply too.  I never thought much of it, even though for the past few years I’ve been experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness too.  I suppose I thought it had to do with my iron deficiency, or not enough coffee in the morning.  It’s hard to believe that for the past six months or more I’ve been falling asleep at work and not thinking much of it at all. The only reason I’m thinking of it now is because when I fall asleep at work, I instantly slip into a dream.

What little I’ve read suggests that such instant dreaming is not entirely normal, and I’m going to talk to my doctor because getting through the workday is becoming excruciating. But I’m interested in the link between my dreamworld and the Other Worlds of shamanism. Perhaps my brain works a little differently and this could actually be beneficial to my journeying. Perhaps I slip into the Other Worlds easily because the dreamworld is always just a moment away. Or is it vice versa? Maybe I should work on lucid dreaming next.

This is fascinating to me, so if any spirit-workers out there have a dream story to tell, please share!

Magic Is Real

I believe in the reality of magic, but there are plenty of times when I act like I don’t. This morning the Universe gave me a huge wake up call.

See, a long time ago, one of my spirit guides (I’ll call her A.) told me to put black peppercorns in the corners of my meditation/piano room for protection. I liked the idea, but procrastinated on actually getting the peppercorns. When I finally did, I didn’t really know what to do with them. So I did nothing. My wife had a good idea about special hanging globes to put them in, and I knew full well it would be a very very long time before we found and bought the appropriate apparatus. Again, I did nothing. Meanwhile A. told me to forget the special hanging things and just put out the pepper in temporary bowls. A few nights ago, I agreed to do it right away. But I didn’t do it. Then the night before last, I promised to do it. I didn’t. Then last night I said I would surely do it.

I didn’t.

So at four in the morning my wife woke up to the sound of running water. We traced it down to a pipe directly above my meditation seat and altars.

We live in a two-storey apartment unit. My mediation room is on the upper floor. Somehow, the water was coming down through the walls and ended up flooding the lower floor. Water poured out the baseboards of my meditation room and along the floor, and water threatened to start pouring through the ceiling where the leak was originating, but it didn’t. Instead, it poured out the ceiling below.

It’s hard to describe, but the result is that miraculously nothing got wet, despite the huge buckets and garbage pails of water that poured through. The water was dangerously close to a lot of things, like my meditation altar and our computers, but nothing got rained on at all. There is a huge sopping wet spot on the ceiling — it covers pretty much the whole living room ceiling, really. And there are now gaping holes in my meditation room ceiling where the plumber finally fixed the leak. But again — nothing was damaged other than that.

I call that magic. A hard lesson, but one I’m not going to forget soon.

 

Free Shamanic Readings: My Process

I’ve been doing shamanic journeys for others for a month now, and it’s been an incredible experience. I get so much out of doing this and I’m grateful to everyone who wrote to me, and anyone who will write in the future. Tonight I thought I should talk a bit about my process and clarify a couple things.

I do offer my readings free of charge, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I can’t imagine myself needing a monetary exchange; people tend to be so appreciative and that alone feels like a proper energy exchange to me. I think that charging for readings would ruin the whole experience for me. I’m not frowning on people who do charge for readings; I actually think my situation is a bit unusual as I have not felt drained or used in any way. Perhaps the Universe or my spirit guides are compensating me for the work. It does feel like a gift and an adventure.

I want to emphasize that I don’t consider myself psychic – I am nothing without my guides. Because of this, I have decided not to continue offering card readings. It is not my strong point at all and I need to do a lot of work around trusting my own intuition. I adore oracle cards and often consult them, having first asked my guides to help me choose meaningful cards. But I feel my interpretations are lacking and I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

So what will you get if you ask me for a shamanic journey? It does vary from person to person. All I need from you is a question or issue that you want me to explore. You can give me as much or as little detail as you like – a simple question is okay, and so is a very complicated one. Then I’ll take your question to the spirit world. Usually I will first ask one of my spirit guides to take me to one of your spirit guides. I believe that people have multiple guides and lots of useful helping spirits, so I may contact a spirit you have not yet worked with. Spirits can come in many forms, too: animals, humans, places, or deities. I may be able to contact a specific spirit or deity if you ask me to, but please understand that it is really up to the spirits themselves as to what happens in a journey.

What kind of questions can’t I deal with? There are a few, though thankfully these kinds of questions have rarely come up. First and foremost, I can’t do any journey that would invade someone’s privacy. That means that I need permission before I journey for someone, and you cannot ask me to journey about another person specifically. Questions such as “What is Mr. Right thinking about me?” seem harmless but I can’t address them without permission from the relevant person. I also can’t delve into matters of health, because I’m not qualified to give medical advice and it’s not smart for me to try. This also means I can’t tell you what will be the result of life-or-death situations.

The best questions to ask are ones concerning your own path, purpose, and development. I haven’t had a truly trivial question yet; people generally want direction for their own growth and that’s fantastic. The spirits are happy to oblige when you are working towards fulfilling your life’s purpose.

Whatever your question is, I will try to get as much specific information as possible by asking your guide a variety of questions. Be aware that knowing more about your situation will help me ask better questions, so feel free to tell me as much as you are comfortable.

After the journey I will write you a report detailing everything I can possibly remember. I’ll tell you a bit about how I entered the Other World, either through trance with a drumming track, through a very hot bath similar to a sweat lodge, or even through the help of an entheogen. If an animal appears in the journey, I will look that animal up in Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak and tell you a bit about the animal’s significance. Sometimes I’ll offer my own interpretation if something in the journey was unclear and I had an intuition about it. You can always ask for clarification about any aspect of the journey. Ultimately though, the messages I receive are for you to interpret; I’m merely the messenger. Sometimes you just won’t get a straight-up answer and I assure you, it drives me crazy too!

I think that about covers it! Please comment if I’ve missed something. And if you think you’d like me to journey for you, please write to me at janicejove(at)gmail.com.