I wear a lot of hats: daughter, wife, aunt, former belly dancer, former snake charmer, witch, occultist, artist, writer....it goes on and on. To add to my many hats....I have two names....and I answer to both.
So why do I have two names?
Well, naturally, I have a birth name. The name I was given when I was born on November 1st many moons ago. My birth name is Melissa. Mostly, my birth name, is used by my family, colleagues, co-workers and some friends.
Then there is my rebirth/magickal name: Zehara Nachash. This name is what most of my friends, fellow witches, occultists, belly dancers, artists and Voudists call me. Zehara is pronounced as Zeh-HHaa-Raa. Zehara's meaning is 'brightness. This was the name that I took when I was initiated by my late High Priest Balaam into the Temple of the Seekers. Its a special name to me as shortly after I added, "Nachash" which is Hebrew for Serpent. Together, Zehara Nachash embodies my inner spiritual workings with the life and rebirth metaphor of the Serpent. I kept this name as my dance name when I was performer and its pretty much my name to most people, except for those on the "outside."
So, needless to say, whether you call me Zehara or Melissa- I answer to both!
I have heard it on podcasts, read it in books and seen it in posts: (insert witch, occultist, etc.) should not practice magick if they have a mental illness. What a singular discouraging thing to read and hear. Not only do they you should not practice magick, but you also should not do it to help others---because you are not in the right state of mind to do so.
What a horrible thing to say! Especially considering that in the US alone around 1.5 million Americans identify as a witches or pagans and greater populations worldwide. And this is only for those who identify as witches or pagans—what about the occultists? Ceremonial magicians? And what about those who choose not to identify themselves?
Considering that anxiety alone affects 40 million adults in the US and depression affects 16.1 million… it is a safe bet that some of these self-identifying witches, pagans and occultists suffer from depression. And I am also going to bet that most practice some type of magick for either themselves or for clients.
So, what is the big deal?
I understand that you most definitely do not want to have a narcissistic personality doing root work for your, nor would you want someone who has anger issues that they have not yet worked out doing a healing spell for your loved one…I get that…
What about those of us who have a mental illness: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia- but our illness is controlled by medication. Does that make our magick and spell work less effective?
No. No it does not.
Mental illness is caused by chemical issues in the brain. We cannot help it. Medications can. We can still practice our four-fold breathing- in fact, we probably find it easier since we use it as away to help calm us down when we are mid panic attack. We can harness our energy field – another thing we are good at because some of us have used our energy to help us work through depression. We are good at meditation and visualization—things crucial to successful magick and spell work—and things needed to help us through the murky gloom of our illness. Furthermore, and this is the biggest.
We can walk within the darkness and bring in the light. Those practitioners, including myself, who have a mental illness are terrific shadow workers. Part of being mentally ill is dealing with the days when you are stuck in a shadowy muck of emotional and physical pain brought on by psychological issues and shitty serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. We have walked through the shades of death and fear….and some of us have even attempted to find solace in its silent embrace. We know what its like to suffer and be in pain. But we also know what its like to rise again and take back what is ours.
In fact, I think witches, pagans, occultists or however they want to identify--- with a mental illness-we make damn good fucking spell workers. We can walk and balance out the darkness in the light.
I recently read “Evil Archaeology” by Heather Lynn, Ph.D. While I enjoyed the book, it was the last chapter that really gave me a paranormal brainteaser. In the chapter she discusses an idea called a “thought form.” The idea of giving life (or consciousness) to something that doesn’t really exist.
Huh? (don’t worry, I said the same thing). How can one create life out of thin air? As impossible as it sounds…. its, well, possible!
In Toronto, Ontario in 1972, the Philip Experiment was conducted. It was a parapsychology experiment to see if a being could be created just by shear will power. The small group of eight created a fictional biography of a character they called Philip. The biography included everything from his status into society, his appearance and the love of his life, Margo, a young gypsy woman. After Margo was arrested and executed for witchcraft, Phillip was so distraught he committed suicide.
With the story laid before them, the group would spend time meditating on Philip. Essentially, the group eventually felt that Philip was a real person, and not created by fiction. Now, this is where the fun comes in--- they communicated with him!
In several seances, the group was able to contact the person that they had all created. Their thought form had come into existence! During the seances, not only was Philip able to communicate with the group via rapping on the table, other incidents occurred that could never be explained.
After reading about the Philip Experiment, the very first person I thought of (mind the pun) was Aleister Crowley. It was said that Crowley had such powerful psychic energy he could create thought forms that were powerful enough to topple his enemies. During his feud with Macgregor Mathers, the founder of the Golden Dawn, it was said Crowley created a thought form so powerful that it not only stopped Mathers own thought form, but was able to make it even stronger (Crowley said he was able to do this by the thought forms “own current of evil). Crowley then sent Mathers own, albeit stronger, thought form right back to him and there was nothing Mathers could do. After the incident, Mathers health diminished; He finally died in 1918, with no cause of death on his death certificate.
A more current thought form is the Slender Man. Slenderman was created as a fictional supernatural character created by a “Something Awful” forum user. Again, Slenderman had a fictionalized history and eventually became an internet thought form. The Slenderman thought form was so strong that it not only led to a Hollywood movie, but also caused several violent acts by his followers, including the nearly fatal stabbing of Payton Leutner in Wisconsin. Payton’s two friends, under the order of Slenderman, stabbed Payton over 19 times.
All these stories of thought forms made me think of their place in the magick. They are all created by, as Crowley said, the “power to will” psychic energy to create a living spirit. We all have the access to create a thought form, albeit it does require an immense amount of time. You would need to create a backstory of the character you want to create, their features, their personality. Then you would will that character into being. Its possible as you can see from the examples of above. And thought forms can be used for both good and evil. Since we can create beings from thought form, imagine what the world would be like if they were made to help increase the good in humanity. Power to will.
Its strange to know that I have somehow written enough articles and blogs that I have been able to complete two books in two years! Next year I will be releasing my first ever free standing researched occult book! Thank you all for following me on this journey!