Posted in my books, Personal Posts

A Brief Guide to NaNoWriMo Prep

So, this year will be my sixth year to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and I’m pretty excited. I hope to, at the very least, get a 25k word novella out of it, but if I could develop a plot outline good enough for the whole 50k, that would be awesome too. I’ve only won twice-in 2011, my first year, and last year, 2015.  My story this year will be a supernatural LGBT romance/horror, so that’s exciting. But I was just thinking about how I wasn’t really sure what to do my first year, and I’ve certainly learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me to properly prepare so that I can make that deadline easier without having to sacrifice my health. Therefore, the goal of this post is to share some basic pointers on how to prepare for Nano. Let’s go!

  1. Perfect your Summary. Having a good synopsis is like having a strong foundation for a house. If your summary is muddled or confused or kind of dull to you, I imagine that turning that summary into a 50k word novel won’t be much help, and will probably just aggravate you.
  2. Write about something you care about. If you genuinely care about your characters and your plot,
  3. Prepare a detailed plot outline. Plan out your chapters and every event that happens in that chapter.
  4. From the very beginning, carve out 30 minutes a day for just writing. It can be as soon as you get home from school or out of classes, after dinner, before bed. Just make that time and stick to a schedule. It really will help. The goal to hit is 1667-2000 words per day to finish on time.
  5. Find your optimal time and place to write where your creativity can work at its peak. Some people work better in quiet places by themselves, some people work better in a crowded place surrounded by background noise. Some people are early birds and some people are night owls. Find what works best for you and harness that.
  6. Fill out character profile sheets to flush out the personalities and past’s of your characters. Especially for your mains. You have do a little more planning than just their basic description and age.

Those are just my top six pieces of advice. I also decided to share my favorite character profile sheet. I posted it on tumblr so that others could use it if they wanted. You can get it here! Happy Writing!

  • Name:
  • Nickname:
  • Birthday/Age:
  • Hair (color, style):
  • Eyes:
  • Skin:
  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Build:
  • Pronouns:
  • Preferred Gender:
  • Sexual Orientation:
  • Romantic Orientation:
  • Mental Disorders (if any):
  • Habits:
  • Attitude:
  • Fashion Style:
  • Speed/Voice:
  • Scent:
  • Languages:
  • Ethnicity:
  • Nationality:
  • Religion:
  • Birthplace:
  • Current Residence:
  • Education:
  • Occupation:
  • Interests:
  • Hobbies/Skills:
  • Likes:
  • Dislikes:
Posted in Witchy Tips

Eco Friendly Witchcraft Tips//

Jar and Bottle Substitutes//

Going to bury a jar or bottle spell?
Concerned for the environment?

Easy peasy. Replace your jar or bottle with a hollowed out mini pumpkin, a large mushroom cap, or an emptied half of a grapefruit. Biodegradable and cheaper than buying tons of jars haha.

Poppet Substitutes//

Going to bury a poppet? Don’t use plastic! Use a potato instead! Carve their name into it and draw on it.

Also potatoes are rad.

Offering Substitutes//

If you leave your offerings outside for your deities or creature friends, here are some good guidelines:

•certain types of fruit and most types of other foods such as breads and sugars are harmful to animals. birdseed is a good alternative to a food offering and deities almost always appreciate when you are considerate of wildlife.
•found flowers, sticks and leaves are good
•quartz and rose quartz crystals are good
•coins can be harmful to the environment ESPECIALLY a water source, use quartz crystals as an alternative, as they are water friendly
•plant bee friendly flowers and herbs as an offering
•if making an offering of sweets, alcohol, wine, meat, bread or any other food that is harmful to animals, it is recommended that you make the offering indoors and then consume the offering yourself, so as not to be wasteful and not harm the wildlife on your area.

Posted in Witchy Tips

Channeling: The Basics of Spirit Work

For as long as humans have walked the earth, so have their deceased brethren. Much like the living, there are nice spirits and asshole spirits. Spirits can be good friends, give advice and even help a witch with their magic. Spirit work and Hedgecraft, the magical practice that focuses on astral work, are very tightly intertwined. My post on Hedgecraft is here.

Communication//

  • Communicating with a spirit can be an essential part of Spirit Work, especially if a spirit has made its presence known.
  • Common methods for Spirit Communication include the Pendulum, Spirit Board, Runes, Tarot, and Astral Travel. Spirit Boards are probably the most preferred method among Spirit Workers.
  • Some general rules when talking to a spirit include: Be polite. If it is bothering you, ask it what it wants, or politely ask it to leave you alone. When you are finished, say goodbye and make sure the spirit also says goodbye. If they do not, respectfully insist that it is time for you to go and they need to say goodbye. Some spirit workers insist that the spirit MUST say goodbye, or bad things will happen.
  • Remember, if you happen upon a spirit from a closed culture, leave it be. Here is a great post that goes into detail.

Magic//

  • Once you have befriended a spirit, whether human or animal, you can call on them in the future to help with your magic. The most common thing witch’s request of spirits is to help with pendulum, tarot and rune readings.
  • If you really connect with a spirit, they will even help you with curses. Using graveyard dirt from this specific spirit’s grave is supposed to be one of the most powerful tools in witchcraft, as the spirit will not only add its energy to the curse, it will also protect you from any backlash.

 Protection//

  • Not all spirits are friendly. It is important to be educated on the risks. Learn the difference between an animal spirit, a human spirit and a demon. Animal spirits often will speak through pictures and images, humans spirit through words and emotions, and demons will often communicate through physical phenomenon and negative energy. For more on Demons, click here.
  • Before and after each session, cleanse yourself and your space. 
  • During a session, it might be a good idea to put up a ward or ward a piece of jewelry or clothing as an extra safeguard.
  • Keep Citrine crystals in or around your work space. They are self cleansing, and require no maintenance. They also cleanse you, the space around them, and provide a strong protection for their users.

Ghosts// 

  • Visible ghosts often come in two main types.
    • Imprints: These appear at the same time every day or night for a few moments and often reenact the same sequence of events. This is not the ghost of a person or creature, but instead is a memory that the physical place has held on to. Certain buildings are very impressionable and will repeat scenes that left strong emotional energy imprinted on them. It is the memory of the event that is haunting the place, not a spirit of an actual individual. Kind of like an old video recording forced to play on a loop over and over again. (Example: In the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas there is a ghostly translucent nurse that walks down a hallway with a cart every night at a specific time. Her route never changes and she never reacts to any outside forces.)
    • Individuals: These are the actual spirits or souls of individual humans who experienced such a strong emotion before their death that they remained tied to our world. Some can physically manifest themselves, while others may only appear as orbs or on camera film, and some are only able to influence the air around them. (Example: Also at the Crescent, there is a spirit of a boy named Michael, who I experienced laying in bed next to me and breathing on the back of my neck. I did not actually see him, but I felt him and I smelled cigarette smoke. I was alone in the room except for my sister, who I could see in the bed across the room, sound asleep.) It is believed that ghosts cannot actually move objects or cause any harm.

 On Animals//

  • Contrary to popular belief, animals do have souls and spirits and some animals even remain as ghosts after they die.
  • Animal spirits can be communicated with, but they will often respond not with words or in a human language, but instead with emotions and images. The easiest way to communicate with an animal spirit is to hold something that either belonged to them or was a part of them, for example: a skull or bone or collar, and talk to them on the Astral Place. Another common way to communicate with deceased animals is with a pendulum. I wouldn’t recommend a Spirit Board, since animals cannot really communicate in human languages.
  • The same process can be applied and used to communicate with the spirits of fossils, therefore extinct animals such as the Mammoth and Dinosaurs. (I’ve actually experimented with this before and hands down, one of the coolest and terrifying things I’ve ever done haha. And I’ve swam with sharks.)

Spirit Companions//

  • These are spirits that you have formed a close bond with and work with regularly. Often the keeper and companion will enter into a ‘contract’ with ‘house rules’ upon the establishment of the partnership.
  • Often Companions will either allow or request to be bound to a physical vessel, which makes interacting and communicating with their Keeper easier for both parties. Though it is entirely possible with a strong enough emotional attachment that the spirit may wish to be bound to the person’s soul instead.
  • Spirit Companions require offerings, the frequency and type of offerings will vary depending on each individual spirit’s likes and taste.
  • Communicating with a Spirit Companion can be done through many different methods, but the most common in my experience speaking with professional Keepers is meditation and through astral travel. I have also heard the use of special pendulums, tarot decks, books and music to be used.
  • While this is not a requirement, many spirit keepers will set up altars for their primary spirit companions, to honor them and give them their own physical space in the keeper’s home, as well as a place where offerings will regularly be presented.
  • Spirit Companions can sometimes be purchased from ‘conjurers’ and shops. It is always wise to approach these with a grain of salt. Never deal with a shop that offers spirits from closed cultures or religions. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Spirit companions may choose to perform a specific role, or be offered a job or task to complete in their companion’s astral space. Some companions don’t have specific roles, and that is okay too. Here is a list of possible roles a spirit may take on.

Thoughtforms//

  • A thoughtform is an entity or spirit created by a spirit worker or witch. A constant flow of energy is needed for the continued survival of the thoughtform, until the entity becomes self sufficient. How quickly this occurs varies depending on the spirit worker’s experience level.
  • A thoughtform is often assigned a specific species, name, pronouns, and a role to perform upon creation. It is very important to not dabble willy nilly in thoughtform creation, as it is possible to accidentally create a hostile or rogue spirit if one is not specific enough. Be very specific! Drawings and use of spirit profiling can be very helpful.
  • Some shops offer custom thoughtform creation. Same as above, exercise caution and trust your vibes.
  • Here is a good thoughtform profile you could use for a starting point.

Crystals for Spirit Workers//

  • Azurite: enhances clairvoyance and psychic communication, helps with guidance and intuition.
  • Amethyst: enhances all psychic abilities, provides protection and a sense of peace.
  • Bloodstone: heightens psychic sense, grounding, centering, healing.
  • Carnelian: helps with the transition of the living to the spirit realm and visa versa, purification, vitality.
  • Citrine: purification, cleansing, protection, emotional balance, abundance,
  • Fluorite: enhances spiritual connections and communications with spirits, balance, healing, amplifier.
  • Iolite: balances the aura, enhances clairvoyance, self awareness, intuition.
  • Labradorite: increases psychic abilities, bridges gap between physical and astral, dreams, strength.
  • Lapis Lazuli: aids in contacting spirits, prevents psychic attacks, enhances intuition and inner power.
  • Malachite: balances energy points, prophetic dreams, repairs emotional wounds, protection.
  • Moonstone: wishes, intuition, inspiration, connection and communication with spirits.
  • Snowflake Obsidian: scrying, divination, balance, centering, emotional support.
  • Sugilite: energy healing, psychic protection, releases negative emotions, stimulates channeling.

Herbs for Spirit Workers//

  • Anise: astral travel, dreams, meditation, divination.
  • Bay Leaves: luck, protection in sleep, enhances clairvoyance, induces visions, banishes negative energies.
  • Mugwort: prophetic dreams, astral travel, enhances all psychic abilities.
  • Wormwood: enhances spiritual communication and clairvoyance, connection with spirits, astral travel.
  • (remember to exercise caution when using herbs. some herbs are not safe to burn or ingest)

 

Posted in Witchy Tips

So, You Wanna Be a Witch? A Beginner’s Guide to Witchcraft

If you are reading this post, I can only assume that you are interested in the practice of witchcraft or magic. Please note that this is just a list of basic guidelines that I either someone told me or that I wish someone had told me when I first started practicing. I would like to take this moment to thank you for reading my post, and I hope that you find it educational!

Identify Your Motivations//

This may not seem very important, but trust me, it is, at least when you start out. Your reasons will impact which paths you lean more towards and what you use your magic for. A sense of identity is vital to nurturing a healthy amount of intention. And intention is the battery that makes this baby go. Your reasoning may change as you learn and grow, and that’s okay! It’s just good to know what your reasons are when you first start out, no matter what they might be.

Ask Questions//

There is a reasons witchcraft is called a ‘practice’. We are always learning. So pick your teachers wisely. At the end of this post is a list of books that you may find helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember that the universe and nature is our best teacher, and she is always willing to guide us should we be willing to learn. Try to steer clear of people who promote cultural appropriation, set gender roles, racism, sexism, etc.

Pick a Starting Point and Go from There//
Decide what kind of magic you would like to try out first. This can change at any time, and you can have multiple sects at once. There are no rules saying you have to practice one specific kind of magic. You will, however, through a process of trial and error learn which kinds of magic are your strong suits. It’s just finding that starting point that it important.

Make Witchy Friends//
The witching community is alive and for the most part, very friendly. Heck, I will be your witch friend if you want me to. Friends are not VITAL to becoming a witch, but they sure make it a heck of a lot more fun. Who else are you gonna gush to about that beautiful amethyst cluster you found at the rock shop? Witchy friends are also great to learn from, and to teach. Witches should always try to learn from one another. Surrounding yourself with equally curious and magical minds will do you good.

Do Your Research//

It’s wise to have a basic understanding, if not a detailed knowledge, of what you are trying to do before you do it. Don’t just wander willy nilly into a dragon’s astral cave. Study and meditate on your actions before you go through with something. Especially when it comes to summoning magical creatures or placing curses on people. Research can also help you to widen your knowledge of the witching world and learning new things is a big part of being a witch. Just remember to be wary of anything you read that encourages racism, sexism, gender binaries, cultural appropriation, etc. Take things with a grain of salt.

Keep Your Practice Respectful//

While I can totally get behind a good curse, I do need to address the very real problem of cultural appropriation, which is not only rampant but often encouraged in the witchcraft community. Things like smudging, dream catchers, spirit animals, chakras, etc are a part of something called cultural theft, which are sacred or religiously affiliated ceremonies or objects that have been taken without consent from closed cultures. Before you dive into that book on Shamanism or start learning ‘how to clean your chakras’, take a step back and do some research on whether or not you could be committing cultural appropriation. It is so important to respect other cultures, specifically closed cultures that have been the victims of systematic oppression and genocide. I have many other posts regarding this subject, so if you have further questions try searching my site first before inquiring.

Cursing//
Whether or not you curse is all up to you. Some witches do it, some don’t. Just depends on which path you follow and what you believe. Personally, I do curse in extreme circumstances (like my rapists/abusers), as it helps me cope.  Curses are not inherently bad. Magic is just magic. It is a tool. Curses can be cast for a good reason, just as much as a love spell could be cast for a bad reason. Just remember to do your research! If warding is a witch’s shield, then cursing is a witch’s sword. It is simply just another tool for a witch to use however they see fit.

Keeping a Witch’s Journal//

A Witch’s Journal, or Grimoire/Book of Shadows/Spellbook, is your personal narrative and well of information. It can help you with visualization to record your journey, and it’s loads of fun. It is in no way mandatory to have one, and if you do keep one it can be in the form of a physical paper book, a spiral notebook, a blog, a word doc. on a computer. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Click here for ideas to get started!

Circles//
A circle is essentially like a protective bubble you put around yourself before you begin practicing magic. Circles are sealed by calling upon elements, your deities and whatever other helpers you would like to be present for your ritual. Circles are not necessary and tend to be associated with Wiccan practices, but they can be helpful for beginner witches to create a safe official casting space before starting a spell or ritual. Some people, like myself, don’t bother with circles after they move past a certain point in their practice.

Centering//
Centering is kind of like hitting the pause button. It is a type of controlled meditation to prepare for a spell or ritual. The point of this is to reevaluate your place in the universe and try to get a bit of perspective. Centering doesn’t have to be this huge intimidating thing. I suffer severe depression and anxiety so I am constantly having to center myself so that my magic doesn’t reflect those negative thoughts.When I center, I imagine myself floating in nothingness. Stars start to slowly appear. Just breathe very deeply and imagine yourself and the universe as one. It takes practice for it to come easily, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Grounding//
Grounding is the act of ridding yourself of any excess energy after performing spells or raising energy. If you don’t ground, it is possible that you will feel a little tingly or jittery after a big ritual. Not everyone grounds the same way, but some easy methods are to put your hand on the ground and release the extra energy into the earth. Or you can literally just shake it off. Visualization helps a lot with this.

Raising//
Raising energy is the base of any form of Magic. You can do this by breathing deeply and drawing the energy from the earth (or whatever element you are most fond of) up through your body and into your hands. Again, visualization helps. Think Avatar the Last Airbender.

Casting//
Sometimes a situation calls for us to send energy out, whether it be for a blessing, healing, glamour, curse. Sending energy is basically going to happen in any kind of spell. The easiest way to do this is to raise energy, hold it in between your hands in the form of a ball and then send it speeding away to its target. This works especially well I you have a photo or chant their name.

Cleansing//
Just like cleaning your room, it’s important to keep your energy field or aura, as well as any enchanted objects or space you inhabit often, from becoming all cluttered. It’s always a good idea to cleanse an object before using it. Especially crystals, objects you intend to charm, etc. I would also advise cleansing frequently used objects such as cell phones, crystals, and charms. One should also cleanse their living space and their personal energy at least once a week, in my opinion.

Methods of Cleansing//

•Smoke cleansing with sage.
Sweet grass and lavender are acceptable substitutions.
•Holding an object in your hand and envisioning a cleansing white light surrounding and washing over it.
•Burning sage incense. Lavender, sweet grass and peppermint are acceptable substitutions.
•Burying a crystal or object in the earth for 24 hours.
•Burying a crystal or object in salt for 24 hours. (Some crystals cannot do this such as malachite. Do your research first)
•Submerging a crystal or object in salt water for 24 hours. (Once again, many crystals dissolve in water and this cannot be done to them safely. Do your research to see what is right for your crystal.)
•Bury in white sand for 24 hours.
•Smoke-less cleansing with lavender, peppermint, sage and sweet grass spritz/spray.
•Burning sage scented candles. Lavender is an acceptable substitute.

Charging//

Charging is when you give a particular object energy to do a certain task.

Methods of Charging//

•set out in direct sunlight for 8 hours. (Some crystals will fade with this method. Do proper research first.)
•set out in direct moonlight for 8 hours.
•project a particular strong emotion/personal energy into the object.
•set out during a lightning storm.
•musical charging (example: play a track of ocean waves or birdsong to make an object stimulate a calming effect)
•tell the object what you want it to do while sharing energy with it

Warding//
Shielding, or Warding, is basically an advanced form of casting a circle. You project your energy into an unshakable bubble around you, or attach it to the walls of your home, to protect your energy from negative junk. Like a force field. Warding is usually used for one specific place. But sometimes we can’t just stay in the one place we have warded, so here are ways to make ‘walking wards’, protective bubbles that will go where you go.

•smoke cleanse a piece of jewelry, or an object of personal significance that comforts you. If it has a protective stone like agate or Jasper, then it’s twice as effective.

•charge said jewelry with intent to project a shield

•charge clothing (cleanse first)

•drawing protection sigils on the bottom of your shoes and charge them (cleanse first)

•charge/program your pets’ collars with protective energy. (Cleanse first)

•wear your wards everywhere

Altars and Idols//
Most witches like to have a very specific place to practice their magic. This can be a table, a windowsill, a desk, your room, your garden, etc. it can be anywhere you want. Good things that could be a part of an altar area could include an offering bowl for your otherworldly friends, a cauldron for brewing potions, crystals, candles, and statues of your deities, if applicable.

Remember to Have Fun//
Being a witch is literally magical. If you nurture your powers properly, you can learn to talk to trees, acquire familiars, befriend dragons and other magical creatures, astral travel or “flying”, talk to the dead, work with gods and goddesses, cast powerful spells, make awesome potions, heal yourself and your loved ones, protect yourself and your loved ones, seek guidance from crystals, and just generally enhance your life and the lives of those around you. It’s a wild ride. Enjoy it. 🙂

Good Books to Get You Started//
The Fortune-Teller’s Bible by Jane Struthers
The Mythical Creatures Bible by Brenda Rosen
The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg
Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thomas Vitale
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall