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Author Topic: The Craft - Getting over uneasiness?  (Read 3846 times)
Ryan
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« Topic Start: March 09, 2009, 10:46:40 pm »

Newbie to the craft, and all that sort. Just a bit of curiosity. How does working with magic make each of you as an individual feel? Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants? I've never worked with magic, and I don't exactly have the privacy I'd like to have, but I would imagine that I would feel a bit.. strange when I worked my first spell. How did each of you feel the first time you cast something? If you did feel uneasy, how did you overcome those feelings?

Thanks!
Good health!
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« Reply #1: March 09, 2009, 11:23:55 pm »

Oh, and while I'm at it, another question came to mind.

In most cases, spell casting calls for objects. Candles, herbs, knives, all sorts of items. Why is it that one needs objects in order to worship? Are they catalysts to help move energy and thoughts? What is their purpose and how do they affect spell casting?
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« Reply #2: March 10, 2009, 01:06:53 am »

Oh, and while I'm at it, another question came to mind.

In most cases, spell casting calls for objects. Candles, herbs, knives, all sorts of items. Why is it that one needs objects in order to worship? Are they catalysts to help move energy and thoughts? What is their purpose and how do they affect spell casting?

It would help to know if you are speaking from a Wiccan perspective when you ask about "the Craft" - because I'm assuming that a Wiccan might do things quite differently from me, and have a different understanding of the meaning and use of tools. I practice low magick only, which tends to be very relaxed and comes naturally as I go about my day. It's just woven right in. I don't cast circles, call corners, no watchtowers are involved. I will answer anyway in case something might be useful to you.

I started with very simple things, involving objects I already used and tasks I already did. I think my first spell was when I ironed my husband's uniform - I ironed in a spell of protection and safety. Every time I iron his clothes, that is my ritual. I sweep the floor as part of a spell for banishing (corn flakes *and* bad energy/spirits LOL). When I make dinner for my family, I might choose a particular herb not only for it's flavor, but for it's healthful or magickal properties. I stir in spells for health, or well-being, or for peacefulness (whatever) into my food. I stir one way for banishing, and the other way for drawing. I might sprinkle salt at the doorway with a spell of protection.  It is fairly informal and unceremonial. Honestly NO ONE would know that I do any of these things as spellwork - even if they watched me - if they weren't informed. I think low magick is an excellent choice for those who are nervous about getting started or aren't able to be open about doing spells.

My tools are whatever is handy and seems appropriate, common household items. (Besom, wooden spoon, candles.) I think the idea of them being catalysts is pretty accurate; they help with focus, to channel the intent into the physical realm. Particularly when you have a specific tool or two that are very often used in spellwork, an automatic association grows over time - each time I hold the wooden spoon that I often use in my kitchen witchery, it helps me to get into the mental space more easily, because of the association with the other times it has been used for magic. (And perhaps it does hold the energy of that intent, and that is being accessed each time. Could be.) I believe (could be off a little or a lot) that in Wicca, it is thought that the tools are imbued with certain energies, and that that is integral to the practice - the ceremonial tools are intentionally charged with energies for their purpose, and if they are protected and not cleansed of that energy they will hold on to it, for future use.  They are very important for raising the energy of the circle.

Because my magic is so intertwined with my regular, mundane life, and not really something separate, it feels very natural and comfortable to me. I think if I were to ever do high magick, the first few times I'd feel silly - it seems to me that that is probably fairly common, particularly if you are practicing alone and not able to learn directly from more experienced people. Do you feel simply awkward, or do you feel fear that you might do something incorrectly and that there will be a bad outcome because of that? I'm sure that's also a common fear with the ceremonial magick where a large part of it seems to be raising and directing energies in a very powerful way. While I can't say how to overcome it, I can say it sounds quite normal.
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« Reply #3: March 10, 2009, 01:14:15 am »

Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants?

Yes and yes.  For me, I didn't have a teacher until I was about 15 or so. I wasn't sure if what I was doing was right. If I messed up did I have to redo the whole thing. It was mainly confidence in knowing and understanding what I was doing. Even though I had read and memorized everything well I still fumbled. And chanting... I still feel a little silly hearing my own voice. I don't think I'll ever get use to that.

With experience came a calmness and type of serenity within myself. I understood more of what I was doing and why. This helped me grow stronger and the uneasiness started to go away.
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« Reply #4: March 10, 2009, 06:45:05 am »

Oh, and while I'm at it, another question came to mind.

In most cases, spell casting calls for objects. Candles, herbs, knives, all sorts of items. Why is it that one needs objects in order to worship? Are they catalysts to help move energy and thoughts? What is their purpose and how do they affect spell casting?

Spells have nothing to do with worship, so no you don't need objects or tools in order to do so.  Spellcraft and worship are typically two unrelated things.
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« Reply #5: March 10, 2009, 08:47:16 am »

Spells have nothing to do with worship, so no you don't need objects or tools in order to do so.  Spellcraft and worship are typically two unrelated things.

Many magical traditions that are not part of a religion use tools of some type -- often some of the same tools religious witchcraft uses for religious purposes.
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« Reply #6: March 10, 2009, 08:09:25 pm »

Newbie to the craft, and all that sort. Just a bit of curiosity. How does working with magic make each of you as an individual feel? Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants?

Personally, the first time or times I do something often feels a little odd - doesn't matter if it's a magical technique, a new recipe, a new art or crafting skill, walking into a new role in a job. It's the combination of not really knowing exactly what you're doing, and being very self-aware of what's going on.

The things that help me:
- being really clear on what I'm doing, and what it's supposed to do.
What's a successful outcome? What's a failed one? What are the most risky failure modes? What can I do to to avoid those? (For example, when cooking, 'food is totally unpalatable' is a very different failure mode that 'cut self badly with knife'. Guess which one I'd rather avoid.)

- doing my homework - making sure I have all the necessary precursor skills to do whatever it is I want to do thoughtfully and safely, when that's necessary.
If I'm doing ritual, do I know how to ground and center, and how to construct the ritual space I want? If I'm knitting, do I know how to select the right yarn, and how to cast on and do the stitches I need? If I'm cooking, do I have the right tools. If I'm working with any open flame (including the gas stove in my kitchen!), do I have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use them? And so on.

- what related skills do I have?
When I start to do something new, it doesn't mean *everything* is new. If I'm using a new ritual method, what do I know about similar ritual methods? If I'm taking on a new task at work, what do I know about either similar tasks, or about how *I* take on new tasks well? If I'm doing something like considering working with a group, what do I know about groups I've worked well in the past?

The combination of all three of those usually helps me deal with the new thing better - and help figure out how to make the 'nervous and uncertain' bits less lengthy.
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« Reply #7: March 10, 2009, 08:21:22 pm »


My tools are whatever is handy and seems appropriate, common household items. (Besom, wooden spoon, candles.) I think the idea of them being catalysts is pretty accurate; they help with focus, to channel the intent into the physical realm. Particularly when you have a specific tool or two that are very often used in spellwork, an automatic association grows over time - each time I hold the wooden spoon that I often use in my kitchen witchery, it helps me to get into the mental space more easily, because of the association with the other times it has been used for magic. (And perhaps it does hold the energy of that intent, and that is being accessed each time. Could be.) I believe (could be off a little or a lot) that in Wicca, it is thought that the tools are imbued with certain energies, and that that is integral to the practice - the ceremonial tools are intentionally charged with energies for their purpose, and if they are protected and not cleansed of that energy they will hold on to it, for future use.  They are very important for raising the energy of the circle.

I think it depends on what type of wicca you're doing... there's so many types. lol I consider myself wiccan, and I use a bit of what you're saying and the ceremonial stuff. The authors I've read mostly tend to think that ceremonial magic helps concentrate, and there may be magical contents to herbs/stones/incense, but mostly it's as you described (at least in the kind I practice). The tools really have little power on their own. It's what helps you put your energy into things. I'd have to say this is the view I hold. While I like spells sometimes because they assist me in energy raising and give meaning, the type of magic you describe is just as valid, I think.

Most of the magical properties that are supposed of stones, etc. are really just a bunch of trial and error, so maybe they have some power (in my opinion), but I personally think that energy is really highest in willpower and then just existent throughout the universe, able to be tapped into, and perhaps more of one type of energy in some things due to buildup over time (maybe what people have put into it, maybe what has accumulated by other means)...

Quote from: Ryan on March 09, 2009, 09:46:40 pm
Newbie to the craft, and all that sort. Just a bit of curiosity. How does working with magic make each of you as an individual feel? Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants?

So I'd say, sometimes it can just feel weird to be doing stuff where no one can see. That can easily be surpassed. But if it's that it doesn't seem right, or doesn't work, my view is that you can raise the energy just as easy yourself, as Collinsky said, and if you're talking specifically about wicca, there are wiccan authors that hold this view. It all depends on what works for you.
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« Reply #8: March 10, 2009, 09:41:01 pm »

I can't exactly call myself Wiccan, or anything in particular. I suppose my wording wasn't clear enough. I'm only asking about people's personal feelings when they first began spell casting, whether very involved and detailed or simple, like Collinsky put it. And as far as my question concerning the use of tools, I believe that was also answered, thank you very much.
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« Reply #9: March 10, 2009, 09:55:30 pm »

I can't exactly call myself Wiccan, or anything in particular. I suppose my wording wasn't clear enough. I'm only asking about people's personal feelings when they first began spell casting, whether very involved and detailed or simple, like Collinsky put it. And as far as my question concerning the use of tools, I believe that was also answered, thank you very much.

I wouldn't worry about the tools really. Tools are used to increase your focus, to help you stay in the right mind set. They are not needed, they don't really serve any other purpose. If you have good focus and visualization skills, I don't think you ever need any tools. It really up to the person whether or not you want to use tools. Hope this helps.  Smiley
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« Reply #10: March 11, 2009, 12:38:58 am »

Why is it that one needs objects in order to worship? Are they catalysts to help move energy and thoughts?
Between Jenett and Collinsky, most of what I might have to say here has been covered, but I'd like to note that I like the "catalyst" phrasing much better than the common "focus" phrasing - the latter is too easily interpreted as "they're just to get you in the right mindset", and there's more to it than that.  Collinsky's surmises about the Wiccan/Wiccish approach sum it up fairly well - in Wicca/Wiccanesque religious Witchcraft, the tools are indeed dedicated to their particular purpose and carry relevant energies; many of the magical acts necessary to the religious practice can be done adequately without the tools, but there are nuances lacking that I'd rather not do without except in a pinch.

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« Reply #11: March 11, 2009, 02:51:50 pm »

Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants?

I've found that the more complicated the ritual is, the more foolish I feel - I lose my tempo, my voice cracks, my arms move stiltedly, and basically I feel like a kid playing dress-up. It's worse if I'm in a group setting and there are other people who are clearly getting more out of the ritual than I am, because then I start feeling like I'm really doing something wrong to not be experiencing whatever it is they are.

I've also found that familiarity eases those feelings; after doing one type of full moon ritual over the course of a year, I was finally at ease enough with what I was doing to sense the energy raised and collected. I stopped struggling to remember each step and I learned to enter a mental state that allows me to 'forget' that the aspects of ritual, taken out of context, can sometimes look silly and goofy.

Feeling goofy, though, can distract you from the fact that what you're doing actually works. I will never forget the first circle I cast, reading aloud from a book as I walked 'round my room. I felt a little foolish doing it, but the sense of uncharacteristic calm that I experienced once I stood in the center of the circle could not be denied. I remember being torn by the sheer absurdity of the silly playacting, and the very real sense of peace I felt.
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« Reply #12: March 14, 2009, 12:02:33 pm »

I've also found that familiarity eases those feelings; after doing one type of full moon ritual over the course of a year, I was finally at ease enough with what I was doing to sense the energy raised and collected. I stopped struggling to remember each step and I learned to enter a mental state that allows me to 'forget' that the aspects of ritual, taken out of context, can sometimes look silly and goofy.

Doesn't anything feel silly or unfamiliar when you first try it? I think that's true for me. experimentation's description made me think of my horse back riding: when I started, I had to think about the placement of my hands, my heels, my legs...Now some of those things have gotten easier. It's just muscle memory.

This definitely happened to me during my first ritual. I didn't know what to do with myself, or what was supposed to be happening. It's definitely eased, and I feel comfortable with myself. You just have to convinve yourself that it's worth working through the awkward period.
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« Reply #13: March 14, 2009, 01:04:38 pm »

Doesn't anything feel silly or unfamiliar when you first try it?

Not really, actually. It may feel a little unfamiliar to try cooking a new dish, or learning a new job, or calling a credit card company to dispute a charge, but I rarely feel as silly trying something new as I did with my first few rituals. That may be due in part to the difference between knowing I'll have concrete results one way or another (a bad dish, a good first day, the charge removed etc) and having no clue if anyone's listening while I go through the motions of the ritual.
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« Reply #14: March 23, 2009, 07:59:47 am »

Newbie to the craft, and all that sort. Just a bit of curiosity. How does working with magic make each of you as an individual feel? Do you ever feel uneasy, or silly, when you work with tools, and chants? I've never worked with magic, and I don't exactly have the privacy I'd like to have, but I would imagine that I would feel a bit.. strange when I worked my first spell. How did each of you feel the first time you cast something? If you did feel uneasy, how did you overcome those feelings?

Thanks!
Good health!

Thank you very much for this question - as someone who feels slightly embarassed singing in the bath even when there's no one else in the house, this had crossed my mind also. I'm still some way from my first ritual, but I've started to think about elements I might incorporate - and I'm beginning to think maybe going for ritual nudity, just to go all the way with embarassment in an attempt to, peveresly, make it go away. I'll feel a lot less self-conscious about waving around wands and repeating chants (which I would at the moment) if I was busy feeling self conscious about not wearing anything.
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