This is one the hardest posts that I have ever had to write. My heart is breaking, my soul aches and my emotions are just about drained. My eyes are read and puffy from the hours of crying. I know the spirit world well, but the physical loss of someone important to you still makes your heart bleed.
It was the early 2000’s and I was 19. Having never fit it in with people, I was striving to find my spiritual place in the world. I finished High School where I was made fun of a lot for being “the weird girl with weird books” and “weird jewelry”---you know the usual: pentagram rings, bat necklaces, Scott Cunningham’s “WICCA For the Solitary Practitioner”—those “weird things. I was free from the conforms of High School hell and was searching for a place where I could find “like minded” people. More importantly, wanted to LEARN. I wanted someone to teach me. I needed a teacher or mentor. It seemed every group I met with was “its our way or the highway” or were strict about who they let in (in other words, established cliques!).
With the feeling of lost hope of ever finding a teacher, I discovered Our Lady of Enchantment. It was a “church” based in New Hampshire run by Lady Sabrina. The best part-- Lady Sabrina offered mail order classes (yes boys and girls---MAIL ORDER CLASSES—before the time of online classes you had to stamp and mail away your course work!!). I signed up for my Herbology and Metaphysics and passed, happily hanging my certificates on the wall in my tiny apartment I rented from my grandmother.
However, you know when they say that a teacher will find you when you are ready. Well, it’s true. One day while I was on AOL Instant Messenger (you 90’s adults get the feels), I got a message from a guy with the screen name Balaam. Turned out that he knew and studied and was initiated by Lady Sabrina herself! He said that he ran an eclectic group/coven (I use coven here only to mean a group of magickal folk that practice alternative religions). His group was in West Roxbury (like 5 minutes from my house!) and wanted to know if I wanted to meet and discuss the group to see if I would fit in.
(Ok……reflectively looking back on that as an adult—I am thinking “Wow Z, what a great way to get yourself murdered. Meeting a strange guy on the internet who has a “group” in his “home” …. But hey, I was like 19 so fuck caution!)
Well, Balaam and Tinuviel (my screen name at the time) decided to meet at Deno’s sub shop in West Roxbury (pretty much the place I would be eating after ritual for the next 10 years!). Its only a short 5-minute drive from my house, so I figured it was safe. I mean, who is going to kill someone in a sub shop?? Besides my intuition was not giving off alarm bells, so I figured I was safe. It was February 1st, 2003. I remember it well because it was the date that the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded. As I walked into the sub shop, shaking off the snow from my boots, I began to look for a guy matching the description that Balaam had given me. And there waiting in a booth at the front was a curmudgeonesque motorcycle gang kind of looking man with a grey Fu-Manchu moustache. Yep. Balaam.
We chatted a long time. Let him know what I was seeking, and his group sounded just like what I was looking for: eclectic, met regularly, hierarchy, the chance to be initiated. It was perfect. He then offered to take me to his home to show me the Temple.
(Ok ok…. yes, I know. “For fucks sake Z---you could have been killed! Going to a strange house with a strange man” --- again I was like 19 remember?? You do dumb shit at 19!).
During this entire meeting, my intuition never gave me a single that something was wrong. I felt comfortable and of course said yes. Balaam and I walked to his house and he brought me up the attic steps to an amazing Temple space. Candelabras, candles for the Quarters, giant altar, statues, a circle taped out on the floor, the most amazing smell of frankincense resin still hovering in the air. It was surreal. Like walking onto some old movie set with Vincent Price playing a sorcerer. The candles flickering on the altar from the night before. It was perfect.
I officially started attending ritual and it forever changed me. The Temple of the Seekers was partially a study group and partially a ritual group. While we did honor the Wheel and the moon phases, we also did rituals for various Gods/Goddesses. When I say eclectic—I mean it was eclectic! It was also where I learned about Ceremonial Magick. I had heard of it, but never really understood it. But over the years that I attended ritual and worked with Balaam, everything clicked. I could draw sigils and put up the LBRP in no time.
The Temple of the Seekers was made up of the best people you could find from all backgrounds. It was just how a coven/group should be. Black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight. It didn’t matter. And people came and went. But the group was open minded and non-judgmental. It was what I wished the world would be like. Everyone getting a long and not having to worry about being judged. We were like an extended family. The Temple of the Seekers became my home. I finally found a place to fit in.
One night after ritual, Balaam approached me and asked if I wanted to work with him privately for study. How could I say no! We would meet on off Temple weeks and have topics to discuss. I learned a lot from him. He taught me about the different types of pentagrams, how to draw them. How to do invocations and evocations. How to read the tarot cards correctly. I was an apprentice, and it was amazing.
After a year in the group, I decide to be dedicated. After my dedication ceremony I felt even stronger roots. I was growing not just magically, but spiritually. Being apart of the Temple of the Seekers helped to broaden my mind and I began studying other non-traditional religions and beliefs. It was like a door had been open for me to places I never thought I would go.
Balaam was more than just a High Priest; he was a good friend. I could talk to him about anything. When I said that I wanted to get a tattoo (my first mind you), Balaam told me he would take me to get my first “tramp stamp”- (he was not very subtle with words- but that is why he was great!). On a cold rainy fall day, we drove to Alston, MA and I got my first tat at Sting Ray. Balaam of course peaked in on my session many times, mostly because I think he just wanted to see if I could handle the pain.
Balaam was the kind of person who emanated wisdom and knowledge, and yet a had a big personality, swearing profusely and making dirty jokes. A real-life version of Baron Samedi! I remember I was his secret Santa one Yule. I found him a shirt that said, “All I Want for Christmas is Santa’s Naughty List.” It was an appropriate gift. Balaam introduced me to sushi and shumai and Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley, Egyptian ushabtis and most importantly the Goddess Lilith.
In 2005, when my friend Melissa died, Balaam made sure that the Temple did a death ritual to honor her spirit. It was a surprise for me. I had no idea that we were doing that until after our regular ritual, Balaam handed out the death ritual to all us. It was those little things that made him even more special. How I wish I had a copy of that so I could perform it now for him.
In 2004, I decided I wanted to be Initiated. It’s a big deal in the magickal community to be initiated. Its like a rebirth. I will never forget that night! It was in November. November 21st, I believe. I had been on a strict diet for a month in preparation for initiation. And on the day of my initiation I was fasting. As a duty prior to the ritual, I had to clean the Temple. I love cleaning; but not when I have been fasting all day! The amount of dirt and dust from the candles and incense was like cleaning tar off a road. It took me six long hours and very dirty feet to get that room sparkling! Eventually, the High Priestess of the Temple called me down for a ritual bath. During the bath, the electricity went out. The whole block, it seemed, had gone into darkness (I’d like to think it was just for me!). With that said, my initiation was quite amazing. There wasn’t the soft music of Gerald Jay Markoes “Meditations Music of Ancient Egypt” playing the background as it did at all rituals. There was just me, bare ass necked, blind folded and bound. And trust me, if there was anyone who could bind your hands and feet so you were completely vulnerable--it was Balaam! Being spun around by Balaam and Zephyr. I remember the words, the oaths I took at the tip of a sword aimed at my heart, the ritual. And most of all, I remember Balaams booming voice saying, “From now forth, she will be known as Zehara.”
I was reborn. Zehara.
There was an awakening after my initiation. I felt like a stronger minded individual. There was something that ignited me. And once Zehara entered the world—there was nothing I could not dream or do. It was shortly after I was initiated that I started officially taking belly dance classes. And then…I started performing…. Then I started performing with snakes…so I added the Hebrew word “Nachash” to the end of my name. I was now the Bright Serpent. Everyone knew me only by Zehara. And even after years of performing and teaching, I will never be known to others under any other name but Zehara.
Balaam had given me a binder with all the rituals, rules and information I needed to continue my journey. I added to it often, when he would give me spells and rituals from his own collection. Since then I have added to it throughout the years with various information that I have received from my other studies. The small binder Balaam gave me, is now a huge binder going into its second edition. Its my Book of Shadows.
Balaam always told me how happy he was that I went on to teach magick. It was what he wanted me to do. Teach others. I thought about starting my own Temple many times, but I still have never met the right people nor the right place to teach everything Balaam taught me. For now, it’s just workshop snippets here and there. Someday, maybe, I can do what he really wanted me to.
Balaam was a friend and spiritual father to me. When the Temple no longer existed, I felt a loss. I lost my family and my friends. I lost my home. Yet, somehow, I knew that Balaam was always around, and I could just send him a quick message and get an answer. When he opened SEEK BOOKS, I donated a bunch of my personal collection to the store. It was his dream to open a book shop. He taught me to follow my dreams. He was important to me. He was single handedly the most influential person in my life. I still have the robe from Temple and the red cord that Balaam handed me after initiation, which means even more to me now than it did years ago. Balaam taught me that we are all seekers in this world. Seeking to find out who we are and what our place is in this world. “Gnothi Se Auton,” --Know Thyself. He would say that when he placed the oil on our foreheads and entered the Temple for ritual. We are always seeking to know who we are.
While I understand death more than anyone ever needs to, and while I hold strong to the belief that there is life after death, the physical loss of my teacher and my friend hurts. In a strange way, I feel orphaned. I know I have all the knowledge and wisdom he parted on me, but knowing he is no longer here physically hurts me. It is the human part of me that is pained. My spirit knows he has only transitioned to another place.
Before ritual, myself and another initiate would have to go and set up Temple. One of the things we did was to honor the ancestors by lighting candles and reciting: “I light the light that they have made, may darkness flee this temple. I light the path that they have set, may I follow it in their wisdom.” Since the time I first uttered those words until today, I never stopped to doing that. Even now, as a Voodoo practitioner, I light my altar candles and repeat the exact same words. It was hard today to do that, as a I mumbled through tears, my voice cracking as I lit the candles. Balaam lit the path, and I only hope that I can follow it in his wisdom.
My spirituality changed and shifted since I was a seeker in the Temple. I found Voodoo, a religious practice that feels right to me, and still allows me to integrate everything I learned from Balaam into it. I understand death more. I understand the spirit world more.
I knew his time was getting close, and I needed him to know how much he meant to me. Last month, I sent him a card telling him how important he is to me. How much of an impact that he has had on me. He sent me a sweet and short message back: “You're a big part of my life too. Stay well.” I feel lucky that I was able to let him know that before he passed away.
In Voodoo, there is no concept of Heaven or Hell. There is only the land of the Ancestors. And the Ancestors, they never leave us. As difficult and hard as it is losing my mentor, I know in my heart and spirit that he is with the Ancestors, willing to continue to be a source of wisdom for me on the other side.
We all strive to leave our mark. We all want to be remembered for something. Balaam left an indelible mark on me that I will cherish until I too, enter the world of the Ancestors.
To my friend and teacher, Balaam: I love you. I miss you. Thank you.
May you seek no more.
P.S. I named my new python Psyche :) I remember all the stories you told me about your boa Psyche. The name felt right.
In 2015 I was put in a precarious situation that caused my complete uprooting from the only life I had ever known. After 33 years in Boston, a long successful dance career, a little wellness business...and a host of other things; my little rag tag team of my then boyfriend, 2 cats, 5 snakes and a bearded dragon loaded everything we had and moved in two weeks to Arizona. I literally had to leave behind everything that I believed defined me. Boston was home...I was born there, raised there, lived there, had friends there, family there...My Baba was there......and in two quick weeks it was all gone. Our little U-Haul and my Ford Escape were heading out to the South West.
People always ask me, "Why Arizona?"- Honestly, when I was younger, I always wanted a road trip to the South West. To see the Grand Canyon. After we had traveled to Sedona for my 32nd birthday--- I thought, well, since we were forced to leave, let’s just go to Arizona. I mean, we literally had 2 fucking weeks to get out of our current living situation due to...well....let’s just say that sometimes certain "family" can be toxic...And while I don’t like toxic-- I like hexing and cursing (just saying!).
We made it to Flagstaff, AZ on May 1st, 2015. I thought well hell--- I am resilient I can just set up shop and just reclaim what I had left behind. The Universe, its chaos. And when you think "ah I am going to continue teaching dance to empower women and save mankind through Reiki"-- The Universe likes to kick you in the ass (sometimes several times!) until you realize-- that what you thought was your life blood and who you thought you were--was just a small portion of your existence. So, after several failed attempts to restart my dance career and wellness practice-- I realized, it wasn’t going to happen.
After two years we moved to Tucson, AZ, hoping that we would make sense of our lives. And again, I was so focused on who I used to be, that I never took the chance to see what I was meant to be.
Well, welcome to my grand year and half existential crisis. WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH MY LIFE!? WHAT IS MY PASSION!? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?! Yeah….it was bad. Then, one day I read a quote, “Find your passion, find your purpose.”
HOLY SHIT! What was my passion? Certainly, not healthcare. 18 years in that business and I was burnt out. I love dance, but not enough that it would be my purpose in life. Then one day, watching the umpteenth episode of Forensic Files—it all clicked. I LOVE DEATH! I LOVE SCIENCE! I LOVE WORKING WITH BONES! I LOVE FORENSICS! I LOVE FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY!!
Prior to us moving to Tucson, I had enrolled in a Forensic certification course at a local community college. I had to drop out because I was having chronic migraines. Once I realized that my love and fascination with death, bones and using science to solve crime….it was all done. I FOUND MY PURPOSE! I took the first step (for real this time-nothing stopping me) and just signed up for one semester of an Admin of Justice course at Pima Community College. Once I realized that hell, this adulting in college thing works for me…. I just started searching for schools…
I found Keiser University in Tampa, Florida via the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (I was also going to apply to the University of Virginia—but who wants to deal with snow!?). I got accepted into the Forensic Science program with a focus on Crime Scene Investigation—got financial aid---and hell…. I am working on my Bachelors! And planning on getting my master’s in forensic anthropology from the University of Florida.
My point in this entire post is that, I found myself here in Arizona. Being stripped away to just an empty shell---I was able to find my place in this world. Yeah 37 years old and I am finally finding my purpose in my passion, but you know what, fuck it. You are never to old to find yourself. The past four years in Arizona, I learned about who I truly am---my authentic self. Was it easy? Hell no. Would I do it all over again? Yes. I learned about what I am willing to give up, what I am willing to take, how resilient I really am and most of all, I learned about things that do really matter in life.
I found myself here in the desert. Found me. My true authentic morbidly fascinated odd little soul.
Now the third chapter starts in this wild journey of life
….in Tampa, Florida
—Class of 2021.
I found my passion which led me to my purpose….I found me.
There is a little strip of road near our current apartment in Tucson, AZ. However, this little strip of land carries some dark and strange energy. There have been multiple car accidents on this little patch of road, and multiple deaths. Just Google "ACCIDENTS ON SPEEDWAY AND GREASEWOOD".....and you will see a lot pop up.
I am not sure if there has ever been any true paranormal research done on that area, but they many times that I have driven on that road, the indication that the spirits are restless and need to reach out is evident.
Truth is, over that little strip of road, there is a dark mist that hovers over it. Its dark and its there and it feeds of the weak. I am not saying that the victims were weak, but, they were in vunerable states of mind; alcohol, drugs and youth.
I have seen these mists before, mostly on empty patches of land, near haunted and abandoned homes and on roads. Its not like the energy that Shadow People send out. Shadow People most often focus on inviduals and attach themselves to the person. The mists on the otherhand, feed off the energy of the land and revive themeselves by finding those who are in weak states of mind -- and driving. They cause accidents, they cause distorted vision, they cause the driver to be in the state of almost a dream state.
So what are these black mists? I do not believe that they are spirits, I believe that they are creatures of the Earth. While the energies of the planet are often peaceful and calm, there are entities that are negative - after all, you cannot have positive energy without negative!
How do you keep yourself safe? For starters, do not drink, do drugs and drive! It sounds obvious, but if you are in a vunerable state- its easy for you to be a victim. Another tip! Make yourself a little gris gris bag for protection! It can also function as a air freshner! Find yourself some cloth or material that you like. Add a little bit of cotton inside, this will help absorb the oils. Fill the bag with protection herbs, such as agrimony, patchouli and basil. Add a few drops of protection oil, tie or sew the bag and decorate it if you wish. My bag has a little key and a little skull- as these are parts of my spiritual practice. Sew it up and hang it over your rear view mirror! Not only will it protect you from the negative energies, but will also serve as a great air freshner!
I recently got married (yes it finally happened!) and our honeymoon was in Charleston, South Carolina. Everyone that knew where we were going for our honeymoon kept telling me how much I was going to love Charleston. One person even said, “It has that NOLA vibe.” I couldn’t wait.
When I began looking for places to visit while in Charleston, old plantations and plantation houses kept popping up. I knew slavery roots were dug deep there—in fact, as the African American Heritage Site of Charleston says:
“South Carolina's Lowcountry holds a major place of importance in African-American history for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly as a port of entry for people of African descent. According to several historians, anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the Africans who were brought to America during the slave trade entered through ports in the Lowcountry.” (http://www.africanamericancharleston.com/lowcountry.html)
Yeah. I am Northerner. I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and most of my ancestors lived in New England and most, were against slavery. So, visiting—let alone vacationing—in a place that was the entry port for human beings to become property--- didn’t quite sit well with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the South. We are hoping to eventually buy a house and permanently stay there in the future; but I know its longstanding history with African Americans, and while many of my kinsfolk in the North fought against it--- you can’t just ignore that part of the immorality that occurred in the South during the 1700’s to the 1800’s. It happened. You can’t erase it.
I felt extremely compelled to visit slavery sites and cemeteries when I was there. For two reasons. One, being raised in the North, we were taught about slavery. We were taught the history of it and the abolishment of it--- but I don’t think any of us really understood what it was to be a slave. A great quote that comes from a “Woman of North Carolina”:
“Northerners know nothing at all about Slavery. They think it is perpetual bondage only. They have no concept of the depth of degradation involved in that word, SLAVERY; if they had, they would never cease in their efforts until so horrible a system was overthrown.”
Yes. She is correct. We didn’t know and still perhaps, do not. After visiting Charleston, I learned how naïve even I was. We were never taught the WHOLE depravity of slavery. Reading and watching about slavery—it’s not the same until you stand in a place where people were sold as household items.
The second, and the most personal reason that I had to visit slavery sites, is because I am a white woman who practices Vodou; a religion that was brought over from Benin in Africa to the Americas via the slave trade. Now before I go on, let me just say this. I understand cultural appropriation and why there are many who find it hard when a non-person of color is practicing a religion that has its roots in Africa--- I did to. I was called multiple times by the Lwa to serve, and I always ignored Their call. I repeatedly told myself I could not practice Vodou because I was white. But for six years the Lwa kept calling—and I eventually decided that they were not going to stop until I listened. So, I did. I became a part of a Vodou House (my Mambo is also white and was born into a family who practiced Vodou. She has also undergone initiation in Haiti). I traveled to New Orleans to learn more about Vodou and to meet Sallie Ann Glassman, a highly respected Mambo who has done amazing work for both the community and Vodou itself. I will always and forever be a servant of the Lwa and I will always be a student—there is so much to learn!
Yes, I am a white woman who practices Vodou--- and let me say this: I NEVER FORGET HOW THAT SPIRITUALITY ENTERED AMERICA. I always acknowledge those who came from Africa—lived through hell—and are still fighting for their equality and freedom. I light a special candle for them on one of my altars- “I light the light that they have made. I light the path they have set; may I follow it in their wisdom.”
When our plane finally began its decent into Charleston, my first thought was “a land built by the hands of slaves.” Its all I could think about. And as a medium and empath, I could feel a lot of unsettled and sometimes angry spirit energy. I told my husband that I was not sure how I was going to like it there and was having thoughts that maybe we picked the wrong place for our honeymoon. But alas, we always heard good things about it and had family there—so I just kept my thoughts to myself.
Now, most people who know me know that I am a huge history fanatic. And while ancient history and anthropology are my favorites--- I love Civil War history. I spent one-year absorbing everything I could about the Civil War. Funny thing was…. most books…most documentaries—gloss over slavery. They’ll mention it in passing, but then it always reverts to the white history and the battles— “There were Africans forced into bondage and servitude—but what about that major battle!” Additionally, I have visited a lot of Civil War sites and most of them—they never really acknowledge the history of the black people who were bought and sold and traded like cattle. It’s almost like, they don’t want to really look at the dirty and degrading part of history which, ironically, was a major part of the Civil War and all those famous battles.
On our second day there, I was surprised to learn, Charleston doesn’t sweep it away --- it’s there—front and center. They make no attempts to hide it. I began to learn about the Gullah—Sierra Leoneans who were brought specifically to work in rice fields. About those who escaped to Florida. And…… about that slave market.
I stood in a spot where public auctions were held outside for the purchase of slaves. They were held outside until some people started to complain that it made the city look bad--- not because you know, they were selling kidnaped Africans like material items--- but because having half dressed men and women up for sale made the city look bad. The auctions needed to be inside now—so auction houses were created. That was when we visit the Old Slave Market on Chalmers Street. One of the major auction houses for slaves to be purchased.
At one point, there were 40 auctions houses on a 4-6 block stretch of city street. Ok, let me remind you—we are talking about auctioning off PEOPLE--- not antique furniture. I can not tell you the swell of emotions that emanated from me being inside a building where human beings sold other human beings as property. Where human beings were locked up in the same stocks as the cows and horses until they were ready to go up for sale. Where human beings would be chained and locked up until they were auctioned off. Where mothers would be purchased, and their children bought by different masters or traders and never to be held in the arms of their mother again. Families torn apart—and maybe, if they were lucky—they could buy their children back if they were good servants. Buy your own children back??? What the actual fuck?!
To see with your own eyes the chains and whips that were used to hurt human beings just because they disobeyed or because the master tied one on at ye old pub and had some aggression he needed to take out; where these HUMAN BEINGS were forced to work 16-18-hour days with maybe one or two days off a year. I felt so much standing there. I felt anger, sadness and a whirlwind of other emotions swirling around that I can not put into words.
Yes, Northerners and white folk will never understand what was involved in SLAVERY. My experience being in Charleston left me numb. My heart broke for all those souls who were treated so disgustingly; who were taken from their homeland, separated from their families and then sold off like cattle.
And I believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this is the reason racism still exists--- because so many whites want to erase- sweep under the rug and mostly IGNORE what happened to African Americans. I often wonder what the worlds reaction would have been if Germany did the same after the holocaust?? We get angry and roll our eyes at holocaust deniers-- we know and acknowledge what happened there. It’s easy to acknowledge that horrible part of history- and yet it’s so easy to discount the 12.5 million slaves that were stolen (10 million survived the Middle Passage) and forced into a life of slavery. Why is that?
Thankfully, I did learn that Gullah were able to maintain their African heritage and thrive in a small community in the low country of South Carolina. And that there is a small Yoruba village in Sheldon, South Carolina—Oyotunjii (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbb4SeX6f-g) which works to maintain African culture and history.
And while most people by little chachkies on vacation- I bought books. Books written by former slaves and books about being a slave; and books about trying to attain some freedom and dignity in the face of pure evil.
I study African Dance, serve the Lwa, practice African American Folk Magic—and have many black friends—but I will never know nor experience what they go through daily in a world still full of racism--- nor what their ancestors had to do to fight for a very simple and yet powerful cause---Freedom and Equality. Two words that seem so obvious as a human right—and yet are so easily taken away.
This link has the names of some of the slaves that were sold into slavery in Charleston.
I will admit, when I heard that Netflix was going to have Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a series---I was a wee bit excited. I remember watching the old series with Melissa Joan Hart and loving it. I was 15 years old when the original TV show came out and was 3 years into my Wiccan journey. Of course I adored it!
And I knew.....when I saw the previews for the Netflix reboot- it wasnt going to be the cute fluffy joy that it was when I first watched it in '96. I was actually excited about that! I have grown into the occult- I moved away from Wicca -Since my early teens- I have since studied Ceremonial Magick, Necromancy, Daemonolgy, Hermeticsm, Thelema. My spirituality grew and changed until I found the right path for me which was Vodou. So when I saw the previews for the Netflix show--I was like "fuck yeah! Sabrina's grown to!"
And its easy to see the stereotypes of what a "witch" is just pop up all over the place. The Satan worship, the pseudo orgies, the dark magick--I get why modern witches were upset. At first it was hard to swallow myself. The imagery that witches, pagans and occultists have had to deal with for centuries was tossed all over the show. But then, the more I watched it-- the more I loved it. Why?? Every single non-traditional religion had a stereotype represented in the show! Not just Wicca (although the after school girls group W.I.C.C.A?? REALLY?).
For example: SATAN. Yes, I understand why witches want to be free of the horned demon. But......There really is no such thing as actual Satan worship. Anton Levay, the founder of Levayan Satanism, created the "religion" which is more a philosphy than anything else and is a practice of individalism. Satanists reject the idea of suerpnatural beings and follow the philosphical dualities of body and soul and life after death. Satanists do not even believe that Satan exists and they do not even worship him! They see him as an archtype that represents pride, enlightmentment, carnality. Satanists dont do black magick because they dont believe in magick at all!
And as for the lovely Goat Headed Baphoment---he was originally a deity of the Knights Templar-- and when Eliphas Levi got a hold of him, he became the symbol of Hermetiscm, mysticism and the occult. Baphomet needs some love to!
Evil spells? Black Magick? Ok. I know this is a touchy subject. Yes, Wiccans do not perform these--- so of course this was stereotyped in the show. But, there are many other practices that do perform darker aspects of magick. Hoodoo for example contains workings for crossing, cursing, jinxing and hexing enemies. Is Hoodoo evil? No. Its a form of folk magick.
Ahh yes....and the Vodou dolls. Sticking pins into dollies to hurt someone. Firstly, Vodou dolls have no place in either Hatian or New Orleans Vodou. In fact, the doll doesnt even come from Africa at all-- but rather Europe! The cunning folk in Britain were jabbing dolls way before there were Africans in Haiti! Vodou only got thrown in the picture when the white folks needed to demonize and demoralize the religious ideology of Afro-Carribeans.
Look, I could go on about all the stereotypes in the show. They are boundless. But, regardless of how many interviews modern day witches do, or how many Mambos need to go on the record about Vodou --- the stereotypes arent going away. Does it suck? Fuck yea! But its all apart from being part of a non-traditional religion. Even if you worship a rock-- traditional religion will find someway of making you out to be evil and wrong. Its just how it is. And I dont see any of the Abrahamic religions fading anytime soon.
The one thing we can all do, instead of moaning about "whythefuckdotheyalwaysdothis!"- just do your thing! Its a TV show. Its meant to be entertaining. If you cant laugh at yourself, then you are going to be pissy everytime a pentagram is shown. Just do you. Whenever I see a show where Vodou is supposed to be represented-- and its obviously not represented clearly- I laugh. Its because I realize the "normies" have no clue. And you can argue till your blue- aint gonna change a damn thing.
When it comes to us non traditional religious folk- you gotta stop getting upset over things people do that are out of your control. Unfortunately, dark - evil- sexy shit sells way better than wholesome. It is what is is. Educate people on your own. If you have a tat of a pentagram or a veve- and someone sees it-- or gives you a weird look-- explain to them what it is. You have to remember that most of the people in the world have zero idea what Wicca, Satanism, Hermetiscm, Vodou, Santeria etc. even is. Just dont get all upset when a new TV program comes on and you feel insulted. Just watch it, laugh at how badly and silly they represent your religion and keep doing you....
And just for fun...here is a cute baby Baphomet!
I watch A TON of horror movies...it’s just a known fact that when you get invited over for a movie night—a horror movie is on the menu! Of course, my favorites are the ones where people get possessed by demons- I always love how the characters over act to make themselves look like unnatural beings. And I always love how Satan is always the possessor- or of course one of minions.
Then I am most always asked--- "do you believe in demonic possession?"
Before I tell you my take on it, let me just say that demons and possession play differently in everyone's religious or spiritual beliefs. And in almost all religious practices, there is always some type of possession.
Now... for my answer.
No. I do not think you can be possessed by demons. Now don’t get me wrong, I 100% believe in possession; I do after all practice Vodou. I know that spirits can take over your body, but do I believe demonic energy can- no. To me a "demon" is something that can attach itself to you and drain your energy. But, this something can only attach itself to you if you are already possessed by something else that is not good for you: a bad relationship, drugs, alcohol. Those things that feed whatever it is that you cannot release yourself from. That is when negative energy can "possess" you.
I always think of negative energy possession as a virus. You are already sick with an illness (and yes drug abuse and alcohol abuse are an illness). Since you already sick, your susceptible to other viruses- negative energy. The negative energy already sees you like a wounded animal- and it goes at you like carrion. Then you start to feel more burnt out, more darkness and more out of control. This to me is a negative possession.
So, what is negative energy and what does it look like? As someone who works closely with the land of spirit, whenever I see negative energy around a person or even in a place, it forms itself into a dark dense floating mass. Its an energy being as I like to call them. It just floats around until it finds something or someone to feed off.
Sometimes people have these floating masses of energy around them and when they see another person to feed off, a part of it attaches it to that person. Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? A toxic friendship? When you couldn’t figure out why you were feeling so shitty even though these relationships made you feel “good” … It’s that dark mass of energy interlinking you to those people. It is often why you can’t break away. Why you stay in a relationship that you know is not good for you.
The next question is-how do you get rid of it? For starters you need to look at the root of the virus. What is making you feel physically ill? Once you break from that you can start to get rid of the possession.
I highly recommend Cut and Clear oil and bath crystals (from a reputably root worker of course!). Make yourself a nice bath, add the crystals and soak. As you are soaking imagine whatever your holding on to is washing away. Pull the drain and visualize yourself breaking free of whatever was holding you down.
Get a figure candle and anoint with the cut and clear oil. As you do this, say: “all negative energies holding me down is now gone. As this candle burns, so you diminish,” and light the candle.
When the candle is finally burned down, take the wax and bury it in a place where most people do not walk. This is you burying the negative energy. Walk away and do not look back.
You may need to do this several times until you feel yourself free from the energy!
I always find it ironic that people who fear snakes come in contact with snake symbology daily. One of the most prominent of images are on ambulances, hospitals and lab coats.
One image is the cadceus; the traditional symbol of Hermes Trismegistus and features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. Hermes was not only considered a great healer, but also a great magician. The myths speak of Hermes breaking up a fight between two snakes, who then entwined themselves around his wand and stayed there- keeping balance of energies.
The second image is a rod with a single snake which is the rod of Asclepius- the Greek God of healing. In this myth, Asclepius adopted the power of the snake after watching a serpent bring another back to life.
In the Bible, Moses carried a golden rod with a snake entwined around it. If anyone was bitten by a snake, they only needed to look at the rod to be healed.
When most people think of snakes---the last thing they think of is healing. But there are many myths from ancient time in which snakes worked as healers. Today, snake venom is collected and used to create anti-venom to help those heal from snake bites!
Channeling snake energy for healing if also found in the yoga practice of Kundalini. Kindalini, which is essentially the essence and energy of life, is depicted as a white serpent coiled at the base of our tailbones. Our chakras awaken as the serpent slithers his way up our spine.
Here is a little spell I have created using SHED snake skin to assist in healing.
You will need a muslin bag with strings
Herbs: peppermint, rosemary, lavender and chamomile
1-2 pieces of shed snake skin
This should be done on the night of the full moon.
Place all the items into the muslin bag and draw yourself a nice warm (or hot) bath. Drop the bag into the bath water and let it sit there for a few minutes before you enter. Once you are in the bath-- relax and imagine all illness being removed from your body (or someone elses if you are doing this work on behalf of someone else).
After the bath, take the muslin bag and wipe your body downward saying:
"All illness is gone. All sickness will travel. I heal with the dawn. All evil unravels."
After this is done, take some of the bath water and the muslin bag and go outside. Throw the water over your left shoulder (do not look back!) and bury the muslin bag.
As someone who has worked with snakes for almost 20 years now, I can safely say that I have accumulated a lot of shed skin over the years. I never thrown away a shed. I have used in my art work and of course, my spell work.
In this blog series I will be covering all the magickal workings you can do with shed snake skin!!
This week, I am doing to discuss Binding magick using shed skin. A binding spell can be either positive or negative. Its a way of symbolically binding a target by restricting actions..
A positive binding brings things together. A negative bindingis something that takes something a way, typically someone power. You can also use binding spells on yourself to break a habit. You can use binding for love. You can use it to stop someone from harrassing/harming you.
As most of my readers and clients know, I am a K.I.S.S. person - Keep It Simple & Sweet-- I like spells that are powerful and strong but do not require days up on days of workings. Most of the magick I do is short and simple-- but very strong!
I typically use binding magick to stop people from gossip or to bind a negative situation (although I also do binding magick for clients on all things-especially love!).
As with all types of magick, remember like attracts like. For binding magick I use shed skin from non-venomous snakes; primarily boas and pythons. Boas and pythons kill their prey by suffocation. To me this represents a clear representation of a binding!
To bind a person or person from gossip and harm, I will take the snake skin and lightly coat it in binding oil. While I am waiting for it to dry, I will take a small peice of paper (shed skin can be fragile so you want to keep things small!) and write down the person(s) or situation that I want to bind. I will roll it up into a little tube shape and slowly slide it into the shed skin. For extra binding, I will tie the skin up with a small string making several knots will reciting who or what I am binding. Since the skin can be fragile, I usually place it in a small container in which I can take it outside.
After that is complete, I will take the shed skin and find a small stream flowing AWAY from me and toss the skin over my left shoulder. Since I live in the desert- sometimes finding a stream can be scarce. In that case, I will bury it outside (usually near a cactus-- I always think of the cactus as a sharp cage holding something in).
Again, binding can be used for love, to bind an enemy, to stop bad habits....its limitless!
Next Sunday I will blog about how to use shed skin in healing magick!
There is saying about Voodoo—it finds you. There is also another saying about Voodoo: you take what you know and make it grow.