Category: Craft/Pagan Basics

  • Smoke and Mirrors: The Art of Mirror Scrying

    Smoke and Mirrors: The Art of Mirror Scrying

    I did not believe what my High Priestess told me when she said if you sit in the dark in front of a mirror with nothing but candlelight, you will see amazing things. Of course, not believing it meant I was going to try it as soon as I possibly could, which I did.

    Scrying is a form of divination and meditation that involves using a reflective object of some sort as a meditation tool to see visions. Those visions can be of the past, the present, the future, or a possible future if different choices are not made. The most commonly known scrying is the use of a crystal ball. Hollywood amped up the mystery behind crystal ball scrying, making it seem more like a psychic television. The stereotypical process of a mist forming in the ball, then parting to reveal actual scenes from beyond time or distance is not how a crystal ball works.

    041111_magic_eye_1g_aYears ago, there was a craze of 3-D images where a person relaxed their vision and looked at a specially designed graphic, other deeper images would emerge. if you never saw one before (marketed as “Magic Eye” pictures), click on the image to the right until it is at full size and then stare at it, relaxing your vision. Eventually, you may see other images with a 3-D effect develop. In this case, it is four cylindrical shapes in various positions.

    Scrying works in a similar fashion. You look into the reflective surface and relax your vision. This gives your eyes a chance to check out while your inner vision starts to work.

    Scrying is not limited to crystal balls. “Obsidian Mirrors” are another way to scry. These can either be an actual piece of obsidian polished to a fine shine or a picture frame with the back of the glass painted black. Looking into the blackness is just as effective as looking into clear, smooth quartz. For some people, it is even easier to use black than clear. Scrying onto the surface of water contained in a reflective or back vessel is also effective.

    Of all methods of scrying, mirror scrying is arguably the easiest and in my opinion, the most interesting.

    After dark, arrange a mirror so that you sit directly in front of it and have a candle on each side, between you and the mirror. Make sure there are no additional light sources in the room. Wear clothing that is dark and does not reflect from the mirror. Sit approximately 18-24 inches from the mirror at most. Light an incense that you enjoy. Play meditative music if you wish. As the candles burn, relax your entire body, starting with your face and working your way down to your feet. Feel your muscles and your mind relax more with every breath.

    When you have relaxed completely, work to still your mind from mundane thoughts. See them as tangible objects whirling around you that stop and drop to the floor, then disappear. Make your mind as blank as possible. Focus on the surface of the mirror and the reflections you see from the candlelight and occasional wafts of smoke. Do not strain your eyes to see anything or work too hard. Relax and let it come to you.

    With mirror scrying, you will sometimes see physical images. You may see your features shift and change until you look like someone else. You may have images appear in your mind or through your third eye. Pay attention to any impressions you receive when you are in this state.

    For my first mirror scrying experiment, I asked, “What did I look like before this life” and I literally saw my features shift and change several times. It was quite a relaxing and enjoyable experience. As my mentor said so many years ago, “You will see amazing things.” It may not happen immediately and may take practice, but this technique is fascinating to try.

  • 10 Essential Rules of Pagan Etiquette

    10 Essential Rules of Pagan Etiquette

    If we are lucky, at some point in our Pagan lifetime, we will be invited to visit someone else’s ritual/grove/coven/circle/event to share in their practice. This could be at a public place such as a park or an event center or it can be at a private home or covenstead. In either instance, there are certain protocols of basic etiquette, tailored to Pagan practice, that are good to observe if you ever wish to be invited to another function. Keeping one’s name untarnished in the Pagan community is quite an extraordinary feat and it often starts with being a guest who maintains integrity and good manners.

    One would imagine common sense etiquette goes in the category of “that goes without saying,” but as most people who have hosted Pagan events for years can tell you, it really doesn’t.

    In no particular order, here are my top ten rules of Pagan etiquette where it applies to event attendance. In a later post, we will talk about how to be a good Pagan event host:

    1. Forget Pagan Standard Time. “Pagan Standard Time” is a concept that accommodates the inevitability that when you plan events, stuff is going to go wrong. It also excuses and laughs off poor planning that lands you at your location at a time unreasonably later than when the event was scheduled to begin. Yes, life happens, but if you find that you are a person who always seems to have circumstances prevent you from arriving on time to an event, you seriously need to re-evaluate your behaviors and priorities. It is inconsiderate and rude to be late to any scheduled meeting. Likewise, it is just as rude to arrive much earlier than the scheduled time. Often, groups use the time prior to an event to assemble their core members, go over individual roles in the event, set up, and take care of last minute challenges as they present. This is not when you want to play host to a guest. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled arrival time is forgivable, but ideally, you should arrive within five minutes before or after the slated time. That may sound like a tiny window to hit, but I have faith in you. If you know you will be delayed, make contact with the person who is in charge of the event or the one who invited you and ask what the standard procedure is for late arrival. Some groups do not allow entry into a circle once it is cast and others are comfortable cutting a door for you to enter. Just as important as arriving on time, know when to leave. Do not allow situations such as intoxication, car problems, or other issues to cause you to overstay your welcome. Read social cues and when the masses begin to exit, take your leave as well.
    2. Bring Food/a Gift/Donation. Even if you do not intend to stay for the feast, contributing to the meal or to the circle is part of the “thank you” to the circle for inviting you to join them. Your contribution does not have to be elaborate, but bring something. In lieu of food, you may want to bring a gift for the group itself. Consumable such as tealights, incense, sage sticks, etc are always appreciated. This is also a nice gesture if there is no potluck meal afterwards, just to say thank you to the people who work their butts off to create the event for others to enjoy. If you are going to eat, however, always bring a food contribution of some kind, even if it is a bag of chips you grab from the grocery store or three cans of jelled cranberry sauce you got from the food bank. Don’t be that guy. If you have special food needs (gluten free, vegetarian, high protein, sugar free, etc), bring food that you can eat and be prepared to share it. Do not expect your host to accommodate your special dietary needs. Potluck means exactly that.
    3. Do not smoke or vape in ritual or other sacred time. If you are a smoker, ask your host or the person who invited you to point out designated smoking areas. Never leave butts on the ground and do not smoke outside of designated areas. I refuse to acknowledge the “tobacco is a sacred herb” argument. If you are a medical marijuana user, do not light up around other people, even if you are legally entitled to do so. That is also a “designated smoking area” activity and should be cleared with your host first. If you are in doubt, medicate in your own car.
    4. Never miss a chance to shut up. Do not interrupt those who are speaking in circle. Do not chime in during ritual with your own experiences or thoughts unless invited to do so. Never correct circle speakers in ritual even if you know for a fact that you are right and they are wrong. (“Excuse me, it is pronounced Hek-CAH-te, not HEK-a-tay.”) It is fine to have a conversation about differences in practice, facts, or beliefs after ritual is over, but never during. Even if you are correct, it is completely inappropriate to “call out” a circle speaker during ritual. Ritual is the time when you watch and learn how other groups worship. It is not your “sharing” forum unless it is part of the agenda to do so. When the group is called to assemble for entry into the circle, all joking, chatting, elbowing, poking, and other social guffawing ends. Center up, go into Higher Self, and be reverent and quiet unless chanting or singing is involved. If you find you have something negative or even constructive to say about the event, show restraint and do not do so until you are away from the event grounds. Honor the invitation you received, thank your hosts even if you did not enjoy yourself, and keep any negative thoughts to yourself until you are well away from the premises. More so than in any other community I know, word travels swiftly and aggressively in the Pagan community and if you talk smack about someone, they will eventually find out, so be prepared to own, and possibly eat, any words you say about events you attend.
    5. Do not bring children, pets, or guests to an event without asking first. Some events may take place in areas that are not child safe while others may contain material that is inappropriate for children. Some groups are not comfortable working with children on site. Always ask. Regarding pets, it is within the rights of anyone to insist that a service animal be allowed to attend a function with them. The challenge is whether pets living in the host’s home will respond favorably to new animals coming in, no matter how well trained they may be. Sometimes, rituals are space-limited and can accommodate only a specific number of guests. Rituals may have interactive props for each person participating in the ritual (like a candle for procession or a maypole ribbon) and require a specific head count. If the event is at the host’s home, do not bring people who will not participate in the ritual, such as a spouse or significant other who is not Pagan but wants to come anyway. Rituals and events are not dog and pony shows with an audience section. It is also uncomfortable for some people to leave a stranger unattended in their home or on their property while they perform the ritual.  Always ask first. This does not apply if the event is at a park or other public place.
    6. Leave if you become uncomfortable during the ritual, whether it is with a practice that takes place that you did not expect or because of a weird feeling you get, do not second guess yourself. Traditionally, the circle leaders or guardian are the people who can cut a door in a cast circle. Discreetly ask one of them to do so and let them know that you have an emergency and must leave. No one should ever forbid you to do so. If they do, then excuse yourself and leave anyway. For some intensive rituals, it is outlined at the beginning of the ritual that the energy balance depends on all participants remaining in place and contributing to the ritual for its duration. If you commit yourself into this type of process, you should stay if at all possible. Although it may seem more appropriate to remain in ritual rather than to trouble your hosts for an exit strategy, consider that your discomfort can contaminate the energy of the circle for everyone there.
    7. Make certain your cell phone is off, not just silenced, for the duration of the ritual.
    8. Always ask ahead of time what type of dress is appropriate for the ritual. It can be awkward to presume skyclad and find out it is not (too late) or to presume it is not skyclad and find out it is. Also, ask if there is anything you should bring. If the ritual is outside, it is always wise to bring your own camp chair. Seating is often a problem at events.
    9. Do not disrupt the integrity of the circle’s energy. For instance, if a group chalice is used for cakes and ale and you are not comforting drinking with others or if you cannot safely consume what is in the cup or what is used for cakes, simulate the ritual without actually consuming. Do not stop the ritual to ask for an all natural, organic lemonade. If you are medically unable to stand for the duration of a ritual, ask in advance if a chair can be placed inside the circle for you to use if necessary rather than stopping circle to go retrieve one in mid-ritual.
    10. Respect the privacy and integrity of your hosts. Do not go into areas where you have not been invited. Ask before seeking out the bathroom on your own. Make certain toilet paper is in place before you sit down. Do not open drawers, cabinets, or doors without permission. Do not touch sacred or altar items without permission. Do not enter the circle area before you are told to do so. Honor that someone invited you to share their personal home and sacred space. Be kind to any animals you encounter on the property. They live there; you do not.

    These are only ten of literally hundreds of ways you can make your visit to a Pagan event more enjoyable for everyone concerned. Feel free to list some of your own suggestions in the comment section of this post.

  • 5 Common Energy Killing Beliefs

    5 Common Energy Killing Beliefs

    Essential disclaimer: Some Pagans do not actively work magic, so this particular blog references those who do. My assessment of common mistakes energy-wielding Pagans make is not an attack on people who practice magic differently than I do. Goddess bless ya if it works for you. I openly and immediately concede that some of you may have had different experiences. This is, instead, an observation of what I have personally screwed up in over thirty years of practice, as well as what I observe in other Pagans who are challenged by the limitations of their own erroneous beliefs. Will any of these five issues cause Armageddon or create irreversible damage? Likely not. The worst that will probably happen is that self-imposed limitations will minimize your magical flow. Oh how I wish someone had told me these things when I was just a little Witch rather than having to find them out on my own. So here we go: (more…)

  • High Emotion Magic: Bonus or Bad News?

    High Emotion Magic: Bonus or Bad News?

    Emotion is what fuels magical practice because spell work begins with what you want to have happen. If you cannot feel, then you cannot want and feeling is emotion. All intense emotion is high energy and you can, with rational thought and careful planning, direct all the intensity of that energy toward your goal. Passion will spike energy right off the meter, whether that passion comes from lust, anger, fear, or exultation. High emotion of all kinds: love, fear, sadness, anger, frustration, etc, can fuel your magical energy like a stoked furnace. But should you? (more…)

  • The Third Eye: Gateway to the Divine

    The Third Eye: Gateway to the Divine

    The “third eye” is a concept embraced by many cultures. This uniquely empowered area of the physical body is associated with the brow chakra and with the color purple. Friar Richard Rohr speculates that “First Eye” is what we perceive with the five physical senses. The “Second Eye” is our reasoning and reflection. The “Third Eye” goes further still and is, as Rohr puts it, “Having the mind of Christ.” It is a coming together of sacredness that puts one in a very holy and receptive state of mind. Many paths of yogic study use the third eye for inner focus.

    The Hindu people honor the inner guru by placing a dot of red sandalwood on the brow or Ajna (Aadnyaa) chakra. Their interpretation of this chakra means “command center.” When a person closes their eyes and the distraction of visual stimulation is removed, often their eyes automatically shift upward with their “vision” directed toward the area of the third eye. Relax, close your eyes and see if they naturally drift upward to this sacred area.


    The Ajna chakra is said to be the exit point for the kundalini, which is the coiled life force of energy that resides in the first and second chakras. It is traditionally called the “sleeping serpent” or the dormant sacred power because it is the life force that awakens during times of great enlightenment and spiritual bliss. At those times, it begins to uncurl and ascend upward through the other chakra points, lighting them up as it goes. Many say this accounts for the tingling feeling of true magic’s activation and movement through the body to exit out toward its intended purpose. When raising magical energy to direct toward a specific purpose, notice the increase in power that comes from starting the process in the lower two chakras and sending it upward to the third eye area to direct it toward its goal.

    Some cultures cover the area in front of the third eye, both to protect the gateway to the kundalini from outside contamination and to contain the energy within the person. The most common form of third eye or Ajna protection is the “bindi” or “bindu,” which is the “dot” that you see sometimes see between the eyebrows worn on the practitioners of the yogic traditions. This may be accomplished by paint or gluing on a jewel or other decoration.

    The Pineal Gland Theory

    The third eye is thought to refer to the pineal gland, a tiny part of our endocrine system embedded deeply between the two hemispheres of the brain, surrounded by a web of carotid arteries. Its location tracks directly back into the brain from the center of the forehead, generally considered to be the “third eye” point. Philosopher René Descartes studied the pineal gland with great interest and referred to it as “the principal seat of the soul.”

    The 19th century Christian mystic, Max Heindel theorized that the human pituitary and pineal gland were much more active in the past and has said “when man was in touch with the inner worlds, these organs were his means of ingress thereto.” Other theorists have joined with his notions that these essential glands are very dormant versions of how they operated in our ancestors.


    Certainly, the pineal gland controls some of our most important functions. It is responsible for releasing melatonin and therefore, governing our circadian rhythms. This is accomplished through the pineal gland’s interpretation of light and darkness, which itself is a concept with mystical overtones. A disruption in the health of the pineal gland can result in sleep disorders and bipolar-type imbalances. A minor example of disrupted circadian rhythms is the effect of jet lag.

    If you think about it, the pineal gland is the “Guardian at the Gate” of sleep and really, what could be more magical than that? Sleep is the time when we dream, so the pineal gland is the gateway into our most free and sacred self. Dream time is where many of our divinely inspired messages reside and is a line of direct access to the Divine where our own reserves and boundaries are non-existent and our Higher Self roams free.

    A Perfect System

    When the third eye, the aura, the chakras, the meridians, and the lymphatic system are considered as a system of energy management, it is easy to see how intricately our bodies and spirits are wired to function as fully magical beings. The individual chakras act as hearts pumping energy into vital areas of our lives. The meridians work as blood vessels, transporting the energy throughout our bodies. The lymphatic system cleanses out impure energy and discharges it from the body. The aura readily identifies the health of the entire system, identifying problem areas of blockages and dis-ease while the third eye is the gateway for our energy exchange with the Divine, much as our lungs oxygenate and empower our bloodstream. We are not only a sophisticated biological entity but also a meticulously crafted energy circuit board that comes to life when the console knows how to light up properly. The energy network that runs through your body is every bit as important as the system that sustains your biological life. They are, in fact, perfectly interwoven and when both systems are healthy and working in harmony, you have achieved true spiritual balance.

    Katrina Rasbold writes books that are available at and runs a magical shop full of cool, needful things in Roseville, CA (also with online sales) called Botánica de La Reina.

  • Moon Magic: The Ultimate Versatility

    Moon Magic: The Ultimate Versatility

    Slowly, silently, now the moon
    Walks the night in her silver shoon;
    This way, and that, she peers, and sees
    Silver fruit upon silver trees.

    – Walter de la Mare

    From the first moment that humans looked up into the sky, they felt an intense draw to the ever-changing moon.  While the sun offers us assurance and reliability, easing up into the sky each day and dipping behind the horizon every evening, lengthening and shortening the days as the earth moves around it in orbit, the moon reminds us that all things are transient.  The moon rides her month long cycle, showing her bright, full face and then gradually turning away again to leave us in the darkness. (more…)

  • Ceremonial Interruptus: When Rituals Fail

    Ceremonial Interruptus: When Rituals Fail

    It can happen to all of us, although thankfully, not usually to the degree we see in the graphic above. Rituals fail. It is easy to raise one knowing eyebrow and say that it failed because it was intended to fail and all things are exactly as they should be and blah, blah, blah, but there is a huge difference in knowing that rituals sometimes do not go as planned versus understanding why rituals sometimes go in the ditch and how to manage that inevitability. (more…)

  • Ritual Crafting: Creating Rituals That Work (Part 2)

    Ritual Crafting: Creating Rituals That Work (Part 2)

    In certain rites of passage, in high energy, advanced magical work, and in rituals such as sweat lodge ceremonies that demand endurance and stamina to maximize the spiritual benefits gained, we expect to be tested up to or sometimes past our own limits. In most rituals, however, we seek out personal fulfillment that comes at an easier price. I have found that the enjoyment a person derives from ritual comes from the blending of the personal meaningfulness and relatability of the content with the overall comfort level, spiritually and physically, within the circle area. These sustain the interest and focus required for a strong, impacting ceremony. In this post, we explore some of the components that make a ritual enjoyable and worthwhile to the participants. (more…)

  • Ritual Crafting: Creating Rituals That Work (Part 1)

    Ritual Crafting: Creating Rituals That Work (Part 1)

    A ritual is a specific set of actions, performed for their symbolic value. The words “ritual” and “tradition” are tied tightly together and are often deeply embedded in culture and family life. The usual purpose of ritual is to focus our intent and to connect to our Higher Self and Deity, as well as one another.  In ritual, every act is deliberate and meaningful, always leaving room for The Divine to move through the ritual spaces and bring Its own influence. In this two-part series, we explore fundamental structure of ritual and considerations that help create a ritual that is moving and effective. (more…)

  • It’s Knot Magic (Yes, It Is)

    It’s Knot Magic (Yes, It Is)

    In my experience, one of the greatest magical focus tools of all time is the rosary. The intense concentration one can generate by praying the rosary is very nearly unparalleled across spiritual dividing lines. In Paganism, we have our own form of praying the rosary that is slightly different, but accomplishes the same goal. “Knot Magic” is a very effective form of focused magic similar to praying the rosary, except that one instills their own intent into each “bead,” which is actually a knot. Here is how to do it: (more…)

  • Breath of the Dragon

    Breath of the Dragon

    An up and coming, fast-track, newbie Pagan I know recently referred to feng shui as “fluffy bunny magic.” I stared in amazement because, gentle reader, if taking the energy movement in your home seriously is fluffy bunny magic, then it is the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. Little is more vital to your day-to-day magic than the energy flow you cultivate in your own spiritual sanctuary. (more…)

  • A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

    A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

    During this time of Spring Cleaning and the purging, it is important not to overlook home cleaning of a different kind. Just as we track in dirt on our shoes and hands, so do we bring in psychic debris from our ventures into the outside world. “Smudging” is the act of using the smoke from an herb to cleanse away negativity and is an important part of self-care. (more…)

  • Managing Psychic Attack

    Managing Psychic Attack

    In Monday’s blog, we talked about symptoms of psychic attack and these may come from intentional malice or inadvertent ill will (like pouting and wallowing in anger). In this post, we discuss how to work with psychic attack without incurring karmic backlash. (more…)

  • Identifying Psychic Attack

    Identifying Psychic Attack

    In Monday’s blog, we talked about the feasibility of working magic toward  a positive outcome using the food we prepare. In this posting, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of how to do it. When working magic through food, there are two categorizations to consider. (more…)

  • Food and Energy – Part 1

    Food and Energy – Part 1

    Creating a particular outcome through the use of food is a practice as old as eating itself. It is less about ideas such as “Apricots will make you flirty” and “Eating bananas will draw in a lover” and more about the way energy operates in the world around us. Where there is energy, there is magic. (more…)

  • On the CUSP

    On the CUSP

    Eighteen years ago, my priest/husband/co-author and I outlined a spiritual path that got to the bare bones of the agricultural sabbat cycle and created a plan for positive life change through magical manifestation. What was born of those long nights of drinking, writing, drinking, researching, drinking, and plotting was CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway). Little did we realize that it would turn into a practice used worldwide and by practitioners of many faiths. It influences our lives daily. (more…)

  • The Power of Words

    The Power of Words

    Humans often consider the power of speech and written word to be the defining quality that sets us apart from the rest of the animal world. With the exception of some animals specially trained to communicate, Koko the Gorilla, for instance, humans alone possess the demonstrated ability for the ongoing use of language. There is little denying the power of words. We all have memories of times when words cut us to the bone and left us to bleed. Theory says it takes 100 positive words to make up for one negative word. Sometimes, words imprint on our psyches and become the filter through which we experience our lives. Words can damage us forever and often the person doing the wounding has no idea they have hurt us or changed us in some significant way. (more…)

  • Of Gods and Goddesses and Tenets (Oh My!)

    Of Gods and Goddesses and Tenets (Oh My!)

    In 2012, I wrote and published a book called Energy Magic that was many years in development. In it, I explore a practice that is as old as humankind itself: the use of magical energy to achieve positive manifestation for life change. As I began to work with the spiritual energy and “buzz” that exists above and beyond whatever path we take to reach it, I came under fire from all sides. The Christians felt I was too Pagan. The Pagans felt I was too Christian. The hardcore Pagans thought I was too vanilla and New Agey. I was called “pedestrian,” and had to sit and think for a while on all of the connotations of that grand slam.