Friday, August 31, 2012

About Spells, Hexes, & Curses

Since ancient times, even the most primitive people have had spiritual beliefs.  Sometimes, the spiritual customs of a people would be called wishes, prayers, even spells, hexes, or curses.

Of Spells...

A spell is basically the same as a wish or a prayer.  Basic magickal workings involve rituals of some type.  Most of these involve the spoken word.  Words are thought to be manifestations of thoughts, which may in turn bring about desired deeds or tangible manifestations, whether good or ill.  Words and prayers hold power within them, as any religious officiant can tell you.

Physical rituals can be combined with these words to add a dramatic flair or to specify to the universe more information about the desired outcome.  This type of ritual is called "sympathetic magick."  However, rituals needn't be this complicated.  A few spoken words, a few moments of meditation, even a hand gesture or two may be considered enough for a ritual to be effective. 

When a magickal ritual was considered effective, the actions which were taken to bring about the desired outcome would be written down or recorded in some way, so that they could be used in the future.  And in this way, the practitioner's Book of Shadows was born. 

Ancient Egypt is one of the best examples of the early recording of spellwork.  Rituals were written, complete with ingredients and directions about how to intone any specific words which were used.  Here is an example of an ancient Egyptian spell that was used in order to counteract or to protect against food poisoning:

O Sakhmet of yesterday, Wadjet of today,
You have come and replenished this table of [name]
Just as you did for your father Re, when you came forth from the cult city of Pe.
Protect [name] with that papyrus wand of life which is in your hand, in that name of yours of Wadjet.
Shoot your arrow against all the food of him who shall speak against [name] by means of any evil matters. Let a slaughter be made of them, like that time when you overpowered the enemies of Re in the primordial age, in that name of yours of Sakhmet.
Your offerings belong to [name]
He is Re from whom you came forth.
So long as he exists, you will exist, and vice versa!

Of Hexes...

A spell is said to stay enforced until it the power is specifically neutralized or cut off, either through the original spellcaster, or through another who works to neutralize negative energy.  It can also dissipate naturally if the practitioner does not continue to supply the energy or direction.  Spells and hexes will fizzle out over time if they are not reinforced.  Naturally, strong belief in this magick is a key component to its effectiveness.

Hexes are also known as curses.  As with spells, hexes are also thoughts, words, or rituals -- or a combination of all three -- which are expressed or used for a specific outcome.  Hexes, unlike spells, are always the projection of negative energy including hate, fear, jealousy, or any other destructive, negative emotion or intention.  The more energy that is gathered and directed toward a spell or a hex, the more power it is said to have.

Belief is also a necessary component of this type of magick as well.  Fear or uncertainty, whether conscious or unconscious, can intensify the ill effects for the recipient of such a spell. 

It is also a said that negative energy acts like a magnet, attracting more negative energy to the one who has cast the hex.  Therefore, you must be extremely careful when you choose to work this type of dark magick, as it will almost certainly backfire and wind up hurting you even more than the person against whom you are casting.  When at all possible, choose to cast benevolent and loving spells rather than vengeful or harmful hexes. 

Egyptian Spell Source: Univ of Chicago

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Does a Yellow Aura Mean?

Yellow is a bright, warm color within the aura spectrum.  This hue corresponds to the elements of air as well as earth, with a nod towards fire.  Yellow corresponds to the Solar Plexus chakra, and is a versatile and uplifting color.  Yellow aura bearers tend to be dreamers, and they often dream big.  Those who possess this auric shade can often enlighten and uplift those around them with their positivity and genuine interest in helping other people.  However, don't let this uplifting shade fool you; there is a "dark side" to the yellow aura as well.  While there is a tendency to cheerfulness and helpfulness, there is also a talent for glibness, and in some people, the ability to maniplulate and take advantage.  This auric presence is truly a unique one.

Pastel yellow, contrary to many of its yellow-hued cousins, is actually found in the auras of shy, introverted people.  While the concern for others and clarity of thought are present, the people skills aren't always there.  This person would do well to try coming out of his or her shell to deepen their yellow aura hue a bit.

Maize yellow, which is another pale shade of yellow resembling uncooked corn, can also indicate introverted tendencies.  However, this aura bearer is not nervous or shy; they are simply unaware of others' feelings or presences.  This shade is often found in daydreamers or "clueless" types of people.  The maize aura is not necessarily bad, but is often a work in progress, and thus is more likely to be seen in younger people -- or in older folks who haven't quite grown up!

Sunshine yellow (think of Big Bird!) is a tremendously positive and confident representation of the yellow aura.  The sunshine aura bearer's enthusiasm and enjoyment of life is contagious to all those around him or her.

Lemon yellow
is a deeper shade than sunshine.  While some see this shade as an indication of shaky confidence and a perpetual fear of loss, it is also important to realize that lemon yellow auras can also reflect a tremendous inner strength which can override these fears if the bearer possesses enough tenacity.  If other colors are present in the aura, especially reds, browns, or blues, this fear and worry can be offset by practicality or self-soothing capabilities.

Goldenrod is a dustier, dimmer yellow which tends less in the direction of outward chipper tendencies, and into a more calm and inspirational ability.  These people can charm and motivate with their natural charisma, but must be wary of a tendency to take advantage of others.  Look for other aura colors to help strike a balance.

Mustard yellow is a more intense version of the goldenrod aura.  However, these people will often manipulate or control other people, usually without realizing that they're doing it.  Be careful of someone with a mustard aura -- they are not beyond help, but it's not easy for a yellow aura bearer to change, and even tougher to come to the realization that they need to change.  Try some aura polishing techniques if you need a positive change.  Every aura is different, and different things may work for various aura colors and aura patterns.  Do what feels right for you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crystal Grids and More Layouts for Healing & Cleansing

Regardless of whether your actions are positive or negative, the theory of Karma will keep you responsible for your behavior.  Whatever you live and present to the universe is the same energy that you will come to receive in return.  Often, we carry our karma with us from lifetime to lifetime.  At times, it may be necessary to heal the damage from the past which is carried over into the present life.

Crystals can play a part in the healing and purification of this damage.  As your karma is repaired, you will be more able to move on with your current life in a more positive and meaningful way.  

To utilize crystals in this way, hold your favorite cleansing gemstones with your fingers or lay them against your "third eye" in the middle of your forehead -- this is your sixth chakra, the brow chakra, which deals with our natural intuition. Lay these crystals in the desired position around your third eye, and allow them to cleans and purify the area.  This can help to reduce or even eliminate stagnation or congested energy, making way for the fresh and vibrant stuff which is waiting to cross over.

You can also use what is called a "crystal grid" for a purifying ritual.  This is just a technical term for any type of arrangement of crystals.  If you place multiple stones on yourself, your meditation space, or another person for healing in any shape that you desire, it can be referred to as a crystal grid.

The best shapes to use are religious and spiritual shapes that are meaningful to you.  Try a cross, a star of David, a pentacle, crescent moon, or other mystical symbols that represent your higher power.  If you'd rather not use a religious symbol, try using other shapes that are positive and promote healing -- for example, hearts, stars, a peace sign, or even a smiley face.  Some crystal aficianados will say that there are specific rules and symbols that will be more powerful than others, but my personal feeling is that you will never be steered wrong by your own intuition.  Choose the shapes that are meaningful to you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I've Been Waiting for You

I've Been Waiting For You is a slice of grunge-era 1990s horror cinema that's just plain fun!  Sarah Zoltanne, a boho hippie chick (played by the stunning Sarah Chalke) moves from California to a sleepy New England town, where she must contend with a teen clique's suspicion due to an ancient curse which was put on their families.  The curse, cast by a witch named Sarah Lancaster, promised to exact revenge on her accusers' descendants, which all just happened to be the cool, popular kids at school.  The kids befriend Sarah in a way that goes hopelessly wrong when they find out that the fake "psychic readings" she does at a Halloween party turn out to be real.  One by one, the kids fall prey to witch's curse, and when Sarah Zoltanne is accused of being the witch reincarnated, she gets caught in the middle of the drama.  Of course, there is a spooky plot twist at the end, but you'll have to see it for yourself.

This move was based on a 1997 young adult book called Gallows Hill which was written by Lois Duncan. While the book was a framework for this move, there were tons of changes.  For example, in the original novel, the curse was placed on the families by a group of people accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; several of the real victims of false accusations were referenced in the book.  In the movie, the historical bit about the Salem witch trials were omitted completely; instead, the curse was placed by a townswoman who'd been the spurned lover of one of the teens' ancestors.  Additionally, the book had a much neater, happier ending (if you could call it that).  Personally, I enjoyed the campy horror and the artistic license which was taken by the movie creators much more.  While the movie does have some scenes which may be somewhat frightening to younger kids, I'd say that most kids over eleven or twelve would probably be just fine watching this fun film.

This movie usually plays during the Halloween season, but can occasionally be seen on Lifetime Movie Network on a regular basis.  Check Lifetime's I've Been Waiting For You official site to see when this movie airs next!

Thanks to Jason Pier in DC for sharing his photo under Creative Commons!  Public domain elements have been added to the original. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dealing With a Narcissist?

This is a term that we tend to throw around casually in ordinary conversation.  Most of us know that a narcissist is a needy, self-absorbed person who often uses others for his or her own ends.  But do you know the criteria for true narcissism?  Check the list below and see which of the following qualities fits the profile of the person on your mind.  If you can answer "yes" to 5 or more of the following, then chances are good that your subject may very well be a narcissist.  In the past, the going rate for narcissism was about 11% of the population.  However, some reports (such as this one and this one) state that the rise of narcissism is something of a new epidemic, with numbers as high as 30% among the younger population.  Interestingly enough, this narcissism isn't a good predictor of life success -- in fact, people with empathy and the ability to focus on others are often much more successful in life than their narcissistic counterparts.

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder...

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

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