Posted tagged ‘blogging’

Episode 80 – Call and Response

September 21, 2015

Episode 80 – Call and Response

Summary:

In this month’s episode, we’re responding to some of our listener mail and feedback. We’ll talk about interfaith relationships, doing magical research, folk magic in the Western U.S., and address some questions about technical issues with the show.

Play:

Download: Episode 80 – Call and Response

-Sources-

Some of the books and resources mentioned include:

Upcoming Appearances

Cory will be holding talks/discussions which you might find interesting at:

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Blog Post 152 – What’s Happening & What’s Yet to Come

March 15, 2012

Howdy everyone!

First of all, I hope that the blog hasn’t been too much of a let-down to you lately. Things in real life sped up, so blog stuff (and by extension, podcast stuff) had to slow down a little. But we are still trying to get several posts a month and at least two shows a month up on the site. The new resource button on the side bar should also be useful if you’re jonesing for a NWW fix, as you can now browse through the back catalog of posts by looking at their subject matter, and probably get a heck of a lot of reading done (if you’ve read every post we’ve written, you’ve gone through 180,000 words or so…go you!). There’s a lot here to peruse on a variety of subjects, so get comfy and enjoy.

In the process of creating that resources page, I noticed several things. First of all, I noticed that some areas have been heavily covered, and others much less so. When it comes to magical systems, I have tended to write about the things I know, or at least the things I’m actively learning about.  There are some systems that I’ve written relatively little about, so as I start organizing my “to-do” list I’ll be thinking about ways to cover those other systems a bit. I probably won’t ever write as much about Afro-Caribbean magic as I do about hoodoo or braucherei, but I know I’ve got questions about the former, so I may bring you along as I ask those questions. My posts on holidays are severely lacking, too, so I think I’m going to force myself to really tackle some of those.

I also noticed that a poll we did a while back indicated that most readers want more practical stuff (techniques, methods, recipes, etc.) and information on herbs, roots, and curios than anything else. So I’ll try to add some of that in, as well.  I think some book lists covering reading suggestions broken down by magical system may be in order, too.

None of this may happen at a breakneck pace—I still have a lot of real-life stuff keeping me busy, too—but there’s a good chance you’ll see some good articles coming up over the next few months on things like ‘gipsy’ magic, the magical uses of honeysuckle and passionflower, St. John’s Eve, and/or Ouija boards. There will probably be more folktales and lore to share, techniques for hot-footing and stop-gossiping folks, and maybe even a recipe or two for magical oils.

Whatever we wind up covering, I hope you’ll come along with us. The journey through the landscape of magical folklore in North America is far from over, and I think there’s still a lot for me to learn (which hopefully means a lot for you to read!).

So much potential! And Spring is in the air, breathing new life into the world! Enjoy, and stick with us! I think you’ll enjoy it. I hope you will.

Thanks for reading,

-Cory

Quick Update – Resources Page

March 7, 2012

Hi everyone!

Quick, go to our main page! Now, look over there. To the right. Do you see it? There’s a shiny new button for you to push. Go ahead! Push it! I’ll wait.

If you’ve ventured to explore a bit, you’ll see that we now have a Resources page, which takes all of the content-driven articles from the site (contest announcements, updates, etc. are excluded) and lumps them together into categories so that you can peruse them together rather than having to dig through the entire site to find them.

In other words, say you wanted to look at all of the New World Witchery posts on Pow-wow. Instead of searching for that term and wading through pages of results, you can now click on “Resources,” follow the link to “Magical Systems,” and viola! There is an entire section with links to all of the articles we’ve produced on Pow-wow/Braucherei so far. It’s sort of like an index to our site, which allows you to focus what you want to read down into specific subject areas rather than making you victim to my capricious Gemini posting habits (whereby you get a post on hoodoo followed by a contest announcement followed by a post on fairy tales, and so on and so forth).

I hope this will be of some value to you! I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date. It was a little daunting to get it all put together initially, but I think it should be pretty sustainable going forward. If you have questions about how to use it, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help. And if you see categories that are missing or notice I failed to put something into a category that should be there, please let me know that, too!

Thanks so much for your patience and support with this site! And of course, thank you so much for reading!

All the best,

-Cory

Quick Update – New Products and Card Readings

December 1, 2011

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to let you know about some things going on in our Etsy shop, Compass & Key Apothecary. We’ve got a new mojo hand and a new bundle available:

Be Not Afraid! Mojo Bag
The Be Not Afraid! Mojo Bag is designed to provide spiritual protection to those who carry it on their person. The combination of herbs, roots, and other curios in this handmade mojo all have powerful protective qualities according to folklore. The rue used in this bag, for example, has been reputed by Italian magicians to fend of baneful sorcery for centuries. It is thought that carrying a bag like this can boost one’s confidence, repel enemies, and turn harmful enchantments back on their senders. Best fed with our Wall of Flame Oil or with rum in which hot peppers have been soaked.
Cost: $6.00 + Shipping

The Fearless Bundle
The Fearless Bundle includes one (1) Be Not Afraid! custom-made mojo bag and one (1) bottle of our Wall of Flame oil. Together, these constitute a powerful spiritual defense which repels harmful forces and turns wicked spells back on their senders. The oil can be used to feed the mojo bag and on its own. You can save $2 off the total cost (plus a little bit on shipping) by buying these items in this bundle
Cost: $10.00 + Shipping

All products sold as novelties only. Not intended for internal use. Please consult a health professional for medical conditions.

We’re also knocking $2.00 off of the shipping cost of any purchase made in December. I tried to set it up to do this automatically through the Etsy site, but if that doesn’t work I will refund the $2.00 to you after your purchase, so either way you’ll definitely get a discount on shipping.  If you’ve never ordered from our shop, you should know that every order winds up with some extra free goodies thrown in with it, which can range from little bags of herbs to handmade spells and charms to talismans and amulets.

I’ve wanted to make more products available, but it takes a good bit of time to develop each one, plus I usually like to “guinea-pig” my stuff first by sending samples of new things out to customers in the hopes of getting feedback, and that can be very time-consuming. So apologies if a product you want isn’t on the Etsy site yet, but maybe it will be soon. You can always email us and request something and we usually are willing to accommodate.

Speaking of emailing us, I’m also looking to start offering some card readings to folks. At first, I’ll only be doing it by email due to time constraints, but I may branch out into Skype if there’s enough interest. The cost? How about pay-what-you-can? For right now, I’m doing this on a donations-only basis, so as long as you’re willing to donate something to the site (using the PayPal button located in our main page side bar, or you can do it here, too), I’ll read for you. Ideally, I’d love to get at least $5.00 for it, but hey, a buck’s a buck, and if all you can afford is $1.00, that’ll do.

Here’s how the card-reading works:

1)      You email me your question (subject: “Card Reading”) and make your donation (in whichever order you prefer—please make sure to include your real name and astrological sign so I can get a lock on reading for you).
2)      I will do a two-card split reading and an extended five-card reading, recording the cards drawn.
3)      I will write an approximately 1-page report for you on the reading and send it back to you.
4)      You can ask one follow-up question as well, which I will pull 1-3 cards for. I’ll send you an email response with those cards and a summary of their meaning.

I’m using my own system of cartomancy with regular playing cards inherited from my mother, so don’t be surprised if the cards and their meanings are a little different than what you’re used to.

So why all this commercial activity? No, it’s not because of the holidays. Rather, I’m trying to raise money to fund the next year of the site and podcast’s hosting service and there are some magical courses and books that I’m looking at as well. The more I know, the more I can add to the site and show, so it’s a win-win for all of us, right? Plus (and this is a big reason), I’m trying to do a lot more practical work with folk magic, and making new things while offering card readings seems like a good way to do that. So if you enjoy the show or site and want to help contribute to it, please check out our Etsy shop and/or get a card reading!

Okay, thanks everyone for all your support! We really appreciate all you do for us, and hope you’re having a great holiday season!

All the best,

-Cory

Quick Update – Contest Deadline Extended!

October 24, 2011

Hi everyone!

So we’ve only had a small handful of submissions to our contest, and we really want to get more people to participate to make this audio spellbook concept to be the best it can be. So we are extending the deadline to enter this contest to November 18th, 2011.

You can read the full description of the contest in our original blog post on it, but here’s a quick summation of the rules:

  • Share a favorite spell that you’ve used and which works for you
  • Files <5 minutes in length, in .mp3, .m4a, AAC, or .wav format
  • Tell us who you are and where you’re from, generally
  • Please tell us all spell components and describe actions carefully
  • Send us your file at compassandkey@gmail.com , subject line: “Audio Spell Contest”
  • Deadline November 18th, 2011

For those of you who’ve already entered, we still have your names in our proverbial hat, but if you’d like to increase your chances of winning, you can get an extra entry by doing the following:

  • Posting about the contest w/ a link back to this page in Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Sending us an email or leaving us a comment here telling us that you’ve linked the contest

We’ve got a better lock on the prizes, too! We’re going to do books by authors who have appeared on our show, including:

Prizes and winners will be picked at random, but any of these books would be a great addition to a magical library.

If you’ve already submitted and want to do another entry, feel free! Every submission gets you an entry into the contest.

Here’s hoping we hear from you soon! (Pretty please? With magical cherries on top?)

-Cory

Blog Post 131 – Miles to Go

June 10, 2011

[NOTE: This is a very long personal entry. It doesn’t really reveal any new information about North American Witchcraft. If you regularly read the blog for its information content, please feel free to skip this entry. Thank you!]

Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day,—sharp underfoot
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs—
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

If you’ve been a long-time listener and/or reader of New World Witchery, you probably know that I have significant trouble remembering my dreams, or even gaining access to them at all. I’ve gotten plenty of great tips to help me with dreaming, particularly when it comes to the type of dreaming I crave most—dreams infused with magic and witchcraft. I’ve tried herbal pillows, a cup of mugwort tea before bed, mirrors under my pillows, prayer, and dreamcatchers. I’ve kept a journal by my bed to record the few and far between dreams I receive as best I can in the dark—a technique that does at least yield some results, though inevitably I wind up with gaps of several months from one page to the next.

I haven’t tried everything, of course. Deep breathing exercises, focused and guided relaxation to pre-recorded visualizations, Lunesta, and other options are still open.  But I have attempted a number of methods to get into the dream world and really use that space, only to find my marginal successes frustrating in their inconsistency.

Up to this point, I’ll admit, dreaming has bothered the hell out of me. I can’t seem to do it right, or to get what I really want out of the experience.

What I want, of course, is probably the big problem. I have seen for several years now a tendency among witches and magical practitioners to encounter their gods, daemons, spirits, fetches, fairies, and otherworldly entities of choice in dreams. Sometimes the dreams come unbidden—even unwelcome—and seem to be very nearly disastrous for the one having them. I recall Peter Paddon talking about an encounter with the Dark Mother figure which involved a series of terrifyingly bloodthirsty dreams that left him shaken to his core. Which was the point, yes, but it was also unnerving for him. Other very close friends have shared their dreams with the community involving scenes that could come from fairy tales or horror films or an amalgamation of the two.  And always, always, I read with envy their experiences and wonder when it will be my turn.  And ever I sense somewhere there’s a voice saying “Patience. You do not understand, yet.” Those gods, those spirits, those fairies, those beings of that Otherworld, they simply do not want to meet me in dream space. They have given me little fragments of dreams to appease me from time to time, but always I find myself holding me an empty plate, husks, shells, seed pods, or splinters.

Recently, Laine & I went out into the midnight woods to work a little witchcraft. As always, we high-stepped and staggered our way past the outermost portion of the dense tangled wall separating tightly-mown lawns and garden pavers from shin-deep undergrowth and the scratchy whisper of treetops moved by the lightest wind. We lost our way, though we’ve traveled the paths beyond the thicket several times in all seasons. We expected to lose our way because our destination in the woods is an old stone chimney in a small clearing carpeted with periwinkle vines that we both take to be enchanted. Every time we go visit—especially at night—it seems to move in time and space. This visit was no different, and we found that even though we were sure we were close, we couldn’t see the chimney until we turned off our flashlights, took a deep breath,listened to the woods around us, and turned our lights on again. Rising up before us not ten feet away we saw the chimney, waiting patiently. Had it been there all along?

Shortly after Laine and I started working together, we did a guided visualization in which I read a pathworking to her and she attempted to relax and go into a trance-space. For my part, I found the experience calming and pleasant, but not terribly magical. Laine, upon coming “back,” more or less confirmed the feeling. It had been a fine exercise, but not terribly resonant. I have had past-life regressions done by a professional hypnotist several times, and only one seemed to ever click. I’ve tried pathworkings from other magical workers—some of them brilliantly written and full of symbols and keys to spiritual insights—and found that they don’t strike the chord that simply reading a fairy tale from an Andrew Lang or Grimm’s book does.

I’m a very cerebral person, someone who enjoys being in my own headspace tremendously. On any given night when I finally get ready to go to bed, I’ll wash my dishes in the sink, put a few things aside for the next day, and then start thinking about something I’ve read, or seen, or experienced in the past day or two or twelve. I start muttering, framing a discussion with myself—ever a Devil’s advocate, and deeply in love with that role—until I’m finally at full-tilt and thirty minutes or an hour have slipped by. What was to be a midnight bedtime has suddenly slipped to 1 a.m. or later, just because I can’t stop talking to myself about some idea that won’t let go.

I dream of being a teacher, a professor particularly, and helping students make sense of folklore and stories and mythology in their own lives. I dream of making a living with words, of thinking about them and about how people use them. I dream about stacks of books piled high by my bed, poring over papers from pupils which contain threads of brilliance buried beneath mounds of “proper grammar,” and “technical skill.”  I dream of carrying my 1 a.m. conversations into a classroom, a room full of young devils waiting to catch me in a mistake, or catch some respectable author in a mistake, or catch themselves in a mistake. I dream of devilish intellects and diabolical minds which are hungry for new ideas, just as I am.

When it comes to witchcraft, however, the life of the mind falls short for me. Dreams are not the place where my witchcraft works. They help me from time to time, but mostly they only make me confident that I don’t really need dreams. I need real experiences, ones I can’t rationalize away, ones that happen and that jar me out of my perceptions of reality. Experiences that scare me a little, and remind me how much of witchcraft is just overcoming fear.

I’ve told the story before—probably several times—about my accidental meeting of the Black Man of the Crossroads. I had gone out to work a ritual for a completely unrelated entity, and after I emerged from behind my hiding spot, I was startled by the presence of a man in dark shadow, standing directly under a streetlight. I didn’t address him, and instead pretended not to notice who he was. I often look upon that experience as a failure of my own will and a giving in to fear, but at the same time it made me aware of something very profound: it’s all real. Witchcraft, magic, and sorcery are not simply psychological operations for me—they are true, actual experiences that can be fraught with physical danger and which can completely unhinge my notions of expected reality in a split second.

The night not long ago when Laine and I went to the woods, we worked our magic and prepared to go. At the last moment, we decided to do something else, a very particular bit of witchcraft which involved asking for a sign when we finished. Almost immediately the ground just around the chimney started to rustle with the sound of skittering feet. Some of the stones on the chimney started to glow—possibly with the faint moonlight, though I think something else was behind it. And a firefly, the only one we saw at all that night, came out of the dark forest straight towards us. It circled over our heads a while, then flew off again into the dark woods. The experience was immediate and real and we both recognized it as it happened, then continued to be awed by it for hours afterward.

I’ve heard from a number of folks lately who write regularly in the magical community—particularly bloggers—about how they see their experiences and practices being co-opted by casual readers who then turn around and write about the exact same incidents with nary a nod to their witchy progenitors. I understand that frustration. Many people in the magical community work incredibly hard to establish a functional practice of their own. Jumping in feet first without doing all the work of establishing such a practice, without making that journey independently, can lead to a shallow type of witchcraft. Something which may look mysterious and magical on the surface, but which ultimately crumbles when poked and prodded by more experienced and knowing fingers.

But I also understand the other side of the equation. For those who are—more or less—plagiarizing witchcraft from other witches, it may be because they finally found something that works for them. Or in many cases, it may be that they’ve found something that they think finally works for them, and in their enthusiasm they wind up stepping on a lot of toes putting this new-found practice into place. In those cases, however, I think what the new folks are really finding is their own starting point, a launching pad into deeper witchcraft. One day they may discover that they have gone in a completely different direction and now they are writing about practices which other newbies are co-opting to form their own loose foundations. It doesn’t make the plagiarism right, but it does put it into perspective.

I leave in a few days to continue the pursuit of a dream. I’ll be studying and reading and engaging in linguistic deviltry. I’ll be spending time in one of my favorite cemeteries anywhere (this article is peppered with photos from this gorgeous graveyard). I’ll be going into woods and waiting at darkened crossroads to see what turns up. I’ll be carrying mojos to help with study, personal mastery, and prosperity. I won’t be putting mirrors under my pillow, burning incense to help me astrally project, or playing pathworkings on my iPod. I will be looking for passionflowers and sassafrass roots in the woods. I won’t be invoking four elements, calling on a nameless God and Goddess, or using an athame. I will be asking my ancestors for help, and using my playing cards to find out what they say.

I will be practicing my witchcraft, which comes from my experiences.  It involves meeting a Man in Black at a crossroads, physically fighting my way through brambles and poison oak, looking a coyote or a buck dead in the eyes at twenty paces.  It relies little on dreams, which I have only recently come to understand.  It doesn’t bother me anymore that I don’t have dreams rife with witchcraft, because that doesn’t fit who I am. It works amazingly well for others, but not for me.  What works for me is going to real graveyards at midnight, real forests under the light of a full moon, real crossroads where unexpected visitors can turn up at any moment.  I’ve still got the kind of witchcraft that lives in my feet and hands, my eyes and breath, and it is my own brand and it is beautiful to me and it works for me and…

And if someone takes what I do and runs with it, if I see half a dozen blogs on North American folk magic appear in the next six months, if I read about people going into forests which seem to shift and change as in fairy tales, well that’s okay. We’re all making our way, and I’ve got miles to go before I sleep, too.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk to you all soon…

-Cory

[Special Thanks to those I consider my teachers. They have influenced me profoundly whether they know it or not: Sarah Lawless, Stephanie Palm, Morgaine, Janus, Mrs. Graveyard Dirt, Robin Artisson, Peter Paddon, Gar Pickering, Vance Randolph (& dozens of other folklorists), Cat Yronwode, Juniper Cox,  Zora Neale Hurston, Concha, Brujo Negro, and far too many others to mention here. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.]

She’s Here!!!

March 17, 2011

This is a quick post to announce the newest member of the New World Witchery family, my daughter!  She arrived safe and sound on the evening of March 16th, and is doing quite well.  Mama and daddy are very proud, and her big brother is already giving her kisses (though we don’t expect that to last long).  Here’s a picture of our lovely little girl:

I probably don’t have to say this, but the blog will not be getting much attention for a week or two (though I do have a few articles in the works, and a podcast nearly ready for release, so it won’t be completely silent here).  Likewise, the Etsy shop is down for a bit, though I do have several things already in the works there, too. But for now, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s sent love, support, prayers, spells, and good wishes to us during the difficult past few months.  It’s all paid off beautifully in the form of a gorgeous girl.  Now all I have to decide is what type of pony to get her first…

Thanks for everything!

-Cory


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