Herbalism, Tools, & Treasures: Wands (Pt. 3)

In my previous two posts, I discussed the general history of wands and gave some examples of what you could use as a wand. It is, however, not something that you need to go out and purchase. It can be as simple as picking up a twig or something that strikes you as a good sized pointing tool.

To the right, you will see that I am holding a twig and a feather. These are two items that can be used to fashion a simple wand. There is no standard as to what length your wand should be or what is the best items to use when creating your own. In some witchcraft traditions[1], it is said that your wand should be the length of your forearm from elbow to finger tips. This somehow got turned into the average length of a commercial wand you can buy ready made is around 1 ft in length, with or without adornments. I, personally, choose something that feels comfortable in the hand and not long enough to be likely to poke my own eye out, usually. (I am clumsy, so safety considerations must be made. LOL)

I usually pick up wood that has been seasoned by laying out in the weather for at least a year. I do this for two reasons. First, wood that has been thus exposed to the elements has less bark attached to it and is usually fairly smooth to the touch. Since I live near a lake, I prefer to get twigs and such that are driftwood (though this lake is small enough, I honestly don’t know if it technically qualifies as driftwood). The second reason why I use seasoned wood that I find laying about is because it is stronger than green (fresh cut) wood and is pretty much done drying out, so it won’t change or warp on me over time, or at least be less likely to do so.

Often, I just will use the wand plain and then add it to a compost pile. I have, however, made a few that were kept as long term items. The ones that are intended for long term use will have adornments put on them. The one that I shared in my last post (with the pink string binding things together) is relatively typical. I tend towards a minimalist design. I may choose to inscribe glyphs or other symbols on them. The inscription is usually done with something like permanent ink (I love my Sharpies!). Sometimes, I may carve them into the wood with a pocket knife and then fill in the carvings with appropriately colored pen.

When inscribing things, I will choose the inscription to be focused on where it is most useful. Sometimes, I put it at the head of the wand (which is the end that I would point at where I am directing my magic). Sometimes, I put it at the butt of the wand, which serves to help draw in the specific magical energies I am using it to control. And, then there is the inscriptions that I place where I hold the wand, which act to focus my personal energy transfer from myself into the wand and then into the spell.

Some people choose to use metal or wire in their wand creation on the basis that metal is a good conductor of  electricity and is considered reasonably to be a good conductor of magical energy. Crystals are often added to include a measure of geomancy into the spell work, using the magical attributes ascribed to the stones in the spell crafting. Feathers are added because they are associated with the element of Air and spirits. Or because the person that the wand is being made for has a strong tie or alliance with a particular bird. (My quartz tipped wand that I made has a blue jay feather on it because I have a deep affection for the raucous birds and they represent, to me, spontaneous happiness. I also have something of an alliance with corvids, which blue jays are part of that family.)

Wands can also be made to look attractive just because the person owning it would like a charming and delightful (or spooky and ‘otherworldly’) looking tool. Honestly, I think that there are two things that must be considered with respect to wands. If you are purchasing them, consider how well they feel in your hand and if it is comfortable. Also, consider how well made they are and if they will last as long as you intend to use them. Ask yourself if this is a tool that you will be comfortable using and will it be durable enough for what you intend to do with it? If the answer to both questions is yes and you can afford it, I would probably buy it.

If you are making one, the same questions must be answered. Here, however, you also have the option of customizing the tool as many ways as you can think of. I have seen wands made with furred spots for holding, elaborate wirework that essentially formed a cage around a highly polished wooden core, and a surprising amount of jewels/gemstones affixed to it. I have also seen them made with actual bits of bone and vials to hold dried herbs (and other things). The only limits to how you customize your wand is what you are comfortable with.

The storage of wands has a little less ‘controversy’ surrounding them than the storage of tarot decks. And by a little, I mean to say that I think the pages of flame-wars surrounding this topic is a score or so less than the other. My position is focused upon pragmatics. Thus, when I store my wands, I do so in a manner that is more focused upon preserving their physical condition than some nebulous magical state. I place them on a high shelf not because of ‘not wanting lower vibrational energy’ but because I have children who will use just about anything as a drumstick. I lay them down flat so that they don’t warp over time due to humidity changes in the weather (which is why it is important to store things like violin bows laying flat as well, and spindles). I have a soft cloth that I cover them with to keep them clean and free from dust.

I know some people who keep them in a special box that has magical wards inscribed on it to keep out unwanted magical energy. I know others who keep them in a drawer in their desk alongside their other stuff, because they don’t have anywhere fancy to put them. And I know a few folks who keep them in a vase. So, your storage options are varied. Possibly almost as varied as your options for how to make your wands. One thing that I do try to strongly encourage people to do with their wands is to make a point of handling them on a regular basis.

This does two things. First, it serves to help you make sure they are still in good condition and not in need of repairs. Second, it helps keep it ‘attuned’ to you. That is, it helps it remain an effective magical tool because the association between the wand and magic remains strong. As well as it regularly imparts your spiritual energy into the tool, which will build up over time to a very strong association. (People who engage in psychometry are picking up on this sort of thing when they handle stuff.)

Next week, I will share with you some of the more … interesting things I have known people to have used as wands. (This list will be equal parts ingenious, hilarity, and cringe, I assure you.)

~*~*~*~*~*

  1. The term ‘traditions’ is used here to denote separate sects of witchcraft as a religion.

Originally Published: 6/7/17

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Divination Notes – How to keep them.

Gentle Reader,
I realized that I had quite forgotten to put up the second half of the discussion on keeping divination notes. As such, I would like to apologize for this oversight and present it at this time. Just as I may have said elsewhere, the method of organization I use may not work well for you. And that is just fine, because my goal here is to provide encouragement and information.

At one point, when I started keeping notes about divination, I just wrote everything down in a jumbled mess. It made it difficult to go back and review my notes. I was a college taking Chemistry 101 and I realized something. The same methods that I used to organize my lab notes, I could apply to my divination notes (as well as a lot of other things). So, I started to formalize my divination notes.

On the first line of the page, I write down the date of the divination session, who I am reading for, and the method I used. On the second line, I note what tool I used and any details specific to how I used it (i.e. which of my tarot decks did I use and what tarot spread). In the beginning, I wrote down a diagram with numbers for the placement of the spread. Since then, I just write down what spread I’m using and then number each card for its position. If you have gotten a tarot reading from me in the past, you may have noticed the notation system. I number the position and then write down the card name before noting my impressions off of the card.

I do this also for runes when I am using a spread for them. If I am just casting them randomly, I write them down in order that I am drawn to them with out any numbering. Because numbering means that they are at a specific position in a specific spread. When I am writing notes on runes, I write the runic glyph instead of the English name of the rune. I find it easier, but some people find it easier to write down the name of the rune. Runes are a little harder to interpret than tarot and most oracle decks. Where my initial impressions off of a tarot card may get three lines each, the runes get four to five lines per rune.

After I put down my initial impressions upon my first glance through the spread, I will then put together a more cohesive read of what the entire spread has to say. This is usually around 3 paragraphs. Sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less. I label this section as the summary portion. Following the summary, I do a quick 3 card reading to confirm what the general message from the spread is. When I am using runes, I do a 3 rune reading. If I am using a different divination tool, like my crystal ball (I have 3. One is snowflake obsidion, one is flourite, and one is rose quarts. I use the flourite for divination. The other two are pretties in my collection.), I may pull three cards from what ever tarot deck is in reach. Usually, however, I just let the reading stand as per what the summary presents.

My main tool for divination is the tarot. It is the method I am most comfortable with. I can use other methods, and I do on a somewhat regular basis, but if I am going to be doing a serious divination session where I take notes, I am usually using tarot. When I am doing a divination session involving myself or something I am involved in, I add one more element to my notes. A page for recording how the matter resolved itself and what, if any, relation it has to the reading I did. This may sound a little silly to some people, but I like to keep track of how often my divination sessions get it right. I want to be able to point at my divination sessions and use them as a tool for future planning, which requires them to be somewhat reliable.

I also use this information to determine what techniques I am doing well and where I need to improve my skills. So, I tend to keep fairly detailed notes. If you don’t want to do so, that’s fine. Some one I knew once wrote down a single line summary of their readings. They were comfortable with it and that single line was focused upon what they felt was the most important elements of the information they pulled out of their divination session. All the divination notes are for is to act as a reminder of what you learned from your session and to keep track of what works best for you.

Originally Published: 6/5/17

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Pagan Parenting: Ethics (pt. 1)

So, my wee heathens have hit the age that they are fascinated by weapons. My eldest has been learning about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War in school. My youngest has decided that Transformers are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And they have been toodling around the yard pretending that sticks are guns, cannons, and lasers ala Star Wars. And let us not forget the swords and lightsabers.

In typical kid logic, the boys have decided that one side is good and the other is evil. And that the good always wins. As well as the evil is ALWAYS wrong and bad. They have been talking about how they are going to fight in a war for our ‘independence’ and make all the bad guys stop by killing them. (My eldest somehow came up with the idea that striking bad guys aka criminals aka the enemy aka the British with a shovel would kill them, but only for a little while so he has to do it more than once to make sure they are really dead.) Now, where it would be easy to let them have this image in their heads about how the world works, neither Beloved or myself can do so. Because war is not a game. Weapons are not toys. And death is something permanent and you can’t bring someone back from the dead.

As such, we have been very aggressive about explaining how they should and should not use their toy weapons. We also explained why. Given that we live across the street from the local gun club, the boys have an idea that guns are not very safe (but REALLY COOL). We have gone over things like what to do if they happen to find one (which is pretty unlikely because neither of us own a fire arm) and how to safely handle them. We’ve gone over the safe way to handle blades as well, because even a kitchen knife could be a weapon. Some of our concerns about gun and weapon safety are based in the fact that too many children have died as a result of confusion on that basis. (I mourned Tamir Rice and all of the other children who were killed for playing with realistic toys. I still have my heart break over the thought and the injustice of it all.) Some of our concerns are based in the question of when is it right to use violence (or by logical extension a weapon)?

We have insisted that violence should be the last resort. And that it should not be initiated lightly. The lessons that my father and grandfather taught me when I was a kid have been repeated several times here. “He who makes the first fist loses.” and “Never start a fight but always finish one.” They have a bit more explanation with it. We make a point of being sure that the boys understand they can defend themselves or someone who needs it, but they can not be the one starting a fight.

Because violence as a tool to coerce someone or force others to do as you want is something we can’t approve in a blanket sense with any good conscience.

Originally Published: 6/4/17

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Herbalism, Tools & Treasures: Wands (Pt. 2)

In my last post for this feature, I talked a little bit about the history of wands in a general sense. Wands are used in so many different forms both magical and non-magical through out all the cultures of the worlds, it really is too broad of a topic for me to cover quickly here. Thus, I would like to note that my information here is based in a combination of personal experience and my religious education in Western magical systems (predominantly of a U.S. version of Wicca).

A quick look at the picture I just posted here, there is an assortment of items that include a few things that don’t seem to belong. The first three from the left are more typical examples of wands. The first (with the bright, bright pink thread tied about the head of it and a feather hanging off) is one that I made myself. The crystal that tops it is quartz that is wrapped in wire. It was intended as a focal piece for a necklace but when I got it at the store I knew it was perfect for a new wand. The bead hanging off is a bit of moonstone from a set of meditation beads I had to restring and (despite the fact I had the full number on the cord) it was left over. The feather is one of the wing feathers of a female blue jay.

The second from the left is a stunning example of polymer clay and related materials being turned into a magical tool. The crystal at the head is also quartz. It is literally the heaviest of all the wands I own. It is a little fragile, but it directs energy nicely, so I just baby it. It was given as a gift to me from A. (which I treasure and just can’t stop looking at how pretty it is). Third from the left is a polished wand of apple wood that was given as a gift from E. It is just a little heavier than the first wand pictured, but it sits nicely in the hand and has a nice warm feel to it.

Fourth from the left is a pencil. Depending on the day, it could possibly be a pen. It lacks the adornments of the first two wand examples, but it does an excellent job in their place. Beside it is the final ‘wand’ I use, which is a wooden spoon. This comes out of my practices as a ‘kitchen witch’. The writing implement as a magical tool sounds about as silly as a spoon for most ‘serious’ practitioners but they meet the criteria for what is a wand.

Now, one may ask, what to all of these varied items have in common to make them good wands? The answer is actually very simple. They act as an extension of the arm and hand. Thus, they can conduct spiritual/magical energy into a specific direction or towards a specific goal. The wands with the crystals at the end are generally understood to do a better job of focusing the caster’s energy. The pointed tip on the apple wand serves the same purpose (as does the pointed tip on a pencil or pen). The wooden spoon has a bit ‘wider’ of a range in some exercises than others because it not only transmits this subtle energy but can also act to directly impart that energy into that which it touches more readily than the others.

Copper is a popular metal used in wand making because it is an excellent conductor of electricity, and is considered to logically be equally good for conducting spiritual/magical energy. Wood is often chosen on the basis of its popular/mythic associations. Apple, for example, is connected with domestic harmony, love, and the fairy realms. Poplar (the wood that the other one is made of) is associated with martial strength, lightning, and transitions. Pine (the wood that the pencil is made from) is associated with peace, communication, and wisdom.1

The most basic wand is a tool that represents the authority of the spell caster. It is also a tool by which the spell caster enforces their will upon the universe. As such, this is why they are considered to be a magical ‘weapon.’ If you look into the ancient myths, you will find that there are characters who carry wands and do use them as weapons. Perhaps the most poignant is that image of Skirnir threatening Gerda in the tale of the courtship of Freyr and Gerda, pitting magic against the giantess’s will with a very decisive use of his wand.

Now, there are some who would argue that the wand is a more … polite version of waving a penis around. It is an argument that I can’t really turn aside. The argument is equally valid for the aspergilium used by the Catholic church in their rituals of worship. If you look at all magical tools derived from body parts that have been turned into fetishes of some sort, the logical answer that the penis is the origin of the aspergilium is impossible to deny. The wand as a derivative of the aspergilium is another origin argument that is not too hard to accept because much of ritual equipment in the more modern occult society consists of a re-envisioned perspective upon the ritual tools and regalia of formal worship.

Next installment, I will be taking a look at how to create your own wand and how to maintain and use it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
1. These associations are based on general common associations made in the pagan community that I live in. With a little research, you can find the different associations of trees with concepts quite easily. A good place to start is in the ancient Celtic cultures, where trees were openly revered. There is some historical documentation about this reverence (some contemporary such as the writings of Tacitus and some modern findings).

Originally Posted: 6/1/17

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Devotion when not feeling well.

When you want to engage in daily devotional activity and everything is going well, it can be deceptively easy to do. Doing so when you are not well, overly stressed out, or stuck with such a busy schedule that you need to literally schedule when you take care of your daily activities of living (i.e.: sleeping, eating, showering, etc.), can be very difficult. Throw in something of a struggle because you want to do the very best (or at least do it as well as you do when everything is going smoothly) and you have a recipe for heartbreak.

It is important to remember that the Divine does not need our devotional activities. The Divine is vast, wonderful, and mysterious. The Divine is far larger than we can comprehend and our devotional acts, while pleasing and a source of comfort for us, are not what makes the Divine able to effect the world. It is something entirely separate from us and can continue (and will continue) to influence the world long after we have shuffled off this mortal coil. One would ask with a sense of nihilist morbidity, “What is the point to devotion then?”

The answer is simple. Devotion is an act of reaching out to the Divine and maintaining a relationship with them. The Divine is always there, reaching out to us. We simply need to return the gesture, which is what devotional activity is for. There is this idea that a person with a rich devotional life is constantly engaged in mystic prayer and somehow above the things that make our lives ‘mundane’ and what makes us human. This idea is false. It is possible to have a rich devotional life even when you feel too awful to engage in those comforting rituals.

Some days, when I am feeling truly horrid, I simply can’t muster up the energy to do much more than the bare minimum required to be a parent and keep my home tidy (and there are days where I struggle with even that). Enter into the situation the feeling that I should be keeping my daily prayers going and doing all the little things I do to honor the gods, and I come away feeling pretty miserable.

But, there is one thing I can and always do. That is to simply tell the gods that I am struggling and that I care. Sometimes, just that simple admission of why I am having a hard time can help relieve the pressure I feel to do something for them. Other days, I still feel anxious and upset. Those days, I will sometimes spend time just communing with the gods by way of telling them my troubles and fears. Because they don’t want you just when everything is going well. They want you as you are, troubles, fears, and insecurities and all.

So, you may not have it in you to light the candle and put out that offering. Looking at your shrine may make you feel even more exhausted because it is a bit dusty and in need of a bit of tender care. This does not mean you are failing. It just means that you are struggling. And when you say to the Divine ‘Hey, I’m trying. I’m just really struggling here.’ that can be more precious than a thousand fancy baubles offered up in some prestigious ritual done in absolute accuracy with ancient directions. Because you are opening your heart to them and showing your vulnerable side. And that is hard to do. Especially with the Divine because you can never say for certain just how that is going to work out.

But that sort of emotional rawness is precious. Don’t give up when you’re not feeling well. Just lower that bar you need to hurdle and give what you can.

Originally Published: 5/28/17

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Self Publishing Frustrations.

Today has been a day of editing. It has not been the editing of the sort that is for content. I finished that sometime Tuesday. No, today I have been fighting to get my margins and page numbers just right for the printer. Each time I make changes and upload them, everything gets reset back to what it was before.

I am mildly irate over it all. I believe I have spent the last five hours (minus what was needed to mind the kids when the got off the bus and handle dinner) trying to get this fussy business to work properly. I am fairly sure that I am missing one crucial, small detail. I just can’t place what I keep getting wrong here. I am sufficiently exasperated that I am just going to stop fighting with it for the day. I mean, five hours on minutia is pure torment when all of your work keeps getting reset back to what was initially wrong.

I may be giving customer service an ear full tomorrow. Or I may figure out the magic way to make this vexing thing work properly. I wanted to get this text out by Friday but it looks like it is happening next week. Unless a minor miracle happens and I can somehow make this work properly before noon tomorrow. (Granted, I will be powered by copious amounts of coffee, I am also going to be having the disadvantage of still adjusting to medication that makes me very sleepy. And handling a sick child. My eldest came down with what my youngest had last week, I figure this means I’m next and Beloved will have the sniffles at best.)

When I get to the point that I can get the book to cover creation, I will be posting a snapshot of what the cover is going to look like. I am going to continue on my roses theme, as was seen in the previous edition and in my other Filianic oriented book. Until then, I hope that you all find things are less vexing than I have been, and that your days are blessed with good fortune.

Original Post: 5/25/17

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An apology & update.

Dear Readers,

I would like to apologize for my absence. I’ve been struggling with a number of things. Part of the challenges that I have been dealing with pertain to the work of running a household. It has been difficult work. I think, however, I am getting to the point where things may be ready for the end of the school year. I am in the process of lining up things for the boys to do when they are on break from school as well as shuffling my schedule to accommodate their days off. We’re starting some new things that they have been doing at school. This includes a visual schedule for the day up on the wall. So, I suppose you could say that I have one more planner to work on.

I have also been working on my spring gardening. The boys have been helping out. So work is going a little slower than it would have otherwise. I am not yet at the point of planting things for food purposes yet. That is because I need to clean out and fix up my containers on the back deck and out front. I am hoping, however, that I can get some of the miniature varieties of plants that we like (such as carrots) growing in pots. I will be discussing things with my MIL as to what is going into the raised bed over at their place. You would not believe how excited the boys are. The thing they *really* want to grow right now are watermelons and pumpkins. I don’t know how we’re going to manage not to have them take over everything else.

I have had the chance to get some real work done on a few editing projects. I am almost finished editing the Southern Hemisphere edition of A Year With Dea. I expect to be sending that off to the printer by the end of this week. I have also been making significant progress on editing Drowning in Light. I expect to have that one finished in about two weeks, depending on if my boys manage not to catch the nasty viruses going around. (For the last week, I had my youngest home from school because he was sick with a virus that had him exhausted and experiencing a lot of stomach upset. Thankfully, he is much better today and at school.)

Long story short, I have been super busy over here with a lot of things that had very little to do with blogging. I am getting caught up on things, so I think I will have some posts up in the immediate future. Thank you so much for your patience.

Originally Published: 5/24/17

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Mother’s Day as a Devotee of Dea.

Today is celebrated as Mother’s Day here in the U.S. and I think it is fair to say that it is rather inescapable. Advertising for this celebration of all things maternally related (even some sassy nods to the less glorious aspects of motherhood) starts immediately after the advertisements for the commercial aspect of Christian Easter leave the shelves. It is a day that some find bliss filled and others find painful. And there is a hefty amount of social pressure to celebrate in a certain manner that equates to a lot of consumerism.

On the whole, it is a very stressful holiday that has very little, if any holiness involved in it. It is a secular celebration at best or a day of guilt fueled spending of time and resources at worst. It is possible, however, to shift the focus from the social pressures and such to something more spiritual and kindly. Shifting my focus from the commercial celebration of the day to Dea (and the multitude of spiritual matrons I have) helps to soothe the pains that come with this celebration.

I did spend a good portion of my day focusing upon my little family and the blessings of my children. In doing so, I found myself drawn to gratitude to my spiritual mothers for their guidance and aid. I gave an offering of works through simple daily tasks that I did to care for my family and home. I gave an offering of food early in the morning as the cinnamon rolls I baked came out of the oven, as bread is perhaps one of my favorite food offerings to give. And, I gave an offering of a scented candle that has burned through the day. (I would have offered incense but my asthma is a problem right now due to allergies.)

I turned my attention to my spiritual mothers and found comfort there. I made a point of focusing upon the gratitude, love, and good will between myself and them. It was a relatively small shift in the day’s focuses, but it brought me nourishment within my soul and comfort in my heart. And, it let me draw a little closer to them when I had been feeling hurt, lost, and unworthy. That closeness helps with those painful feelings as well as replaces them with a feeling of love, belonging, and of being precious to them.

May it be that today has brought you such feelings of love, belonging, and preciousness. For we are all loved, treasured, and part of Dea’s family. (As well as loved and cared for by those deities whom you revere and honor.)

Originally Published: 5/14/17

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Divination: Runes – Lesson 1: Intro.

Anyone who has a familiarity with Tolkien’s work will immediately recognize runic, as this was what he based the dwarven alphabet off of. Anyone who has encountered anything connected with Germanic paganism is going to recognize runes because they are very prevalent. (Which makes sense because this was the alphabet used by these people, with regional variations. Many of which were lost during the era of Christian conversion, sadly, when the written records were destroyed.) A little bit of digging, even the student of the English language is going to find runes. Indeed, they are still present in the English language after going through some transformations over the millennia.

The runes are more than just a system of letters. Or should I say, they are a system of letters that harkens back to the eras before literacy was common and letters carried a sense of magical weight behind them in addition to the common understandings. Some of this is remembered in things like individual runes being associated with specific deities (such as Kenaz/Cen being associated with Loki and Ing being associated with Freyr). The runes have a stronger attachment to magic than their descendant alphabets. Some would say that it is because they are ‘pure’ iconography from the ancient era. Others would argue that it is because they don’t have the modern indifference attached to them as is with the letters of the English alphabet, for example.

It is my opinion that these arguments are helpful but they do not fully encompass the depth of the strength of runes as a magical system. In the next few divination articles, I am going to do my best to detail the history of runes as a magical system and a method of divination. I am also going to give a simple guide to how to use them. I will not discuss bind runes in great detail here, because this is a very specialized form of rune magic that really should be covered on its own. I will also try to present some information on how different regions used runes historically and the influence they had on modern language. This is a very big topic, so please forgive me if I gloss over some details, but my focus is going to show how runes are still very present in modern day languages even though their appearance has changed.

It is my hope that this series of nine posts help make runes a little less intimidating and provide a good starting point to grow as a person who performs divination. It may happen that the techniques of divination that I present are different from how others do this. There is a very good reason for this. My approach to reading the runes is intuitive and based in what I have learned over the years in rather undirected study. I will do my best to present information on how others perform divination using runes, but I apologize in advance for any errors that are in my work. I invite any who are experienced in this specialized system of divination to please contact me when you see any errors in my posts so that I can correct the material accordingly.

Originally Published: 3/27/17

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Opinion: The Benefits of a Devotional Journal

Keeping a devotional journal sounds like a lot of work. People tend to think of the practice of Bible journals when it is mentioned. While Bible journals is a method of keeping a devotional journal, it doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone is Christian or finds inspiration in the Bible. So, what are the people who are not Christian going to do? And why would they keep a devotional journal?

It is a very flexible practice. Just as keeping a regular journal or diary has as many different methods as there are people who use one, the same is true for a devotional journal. One person may find that keeping a written record of their prayers is helpful. Another person may find that a scrapbook filled with inspiring items, photos of important moments, and notes about their prayer life is most useful. And there may be yet another person who uses a book of abstract coloring pages for their meditative focus and as their prayer journal, wherein the meanings of their prayers is coded within the images by the colors used and the order of their application.

The devotional journal practice that you choose should be most comfortable for you and one that you feel has the strongest connection to the ones you are contacting via prayer. A person who has a devotional relationship with Brighid is going to have a different style of devotional practice than a person who has a devotional relationship with Al-Lat because these two deities have entirely different sets of iconography and symbolism connected with them, which is completely separate from the individual quirks of each person’s own methods of communicating. The devotional journal is a practice that can be very helpful to either person regardless of their experience at engaging in devotional work.

A devotional journal allows one to keep a record of the prayers and observances they keep. It is also good for noting when said prayers are answered and what themes arise in one’s prayer life. It is an excellent tool for building up into daily prayer practices. Devotional journals are also, generally, highly portable and allow one to enter into prayer in a fashion that is rather inconspicuous. If a person is in a position where they want their prayer time to be with out distractions, the focus of working in a journal can do much to filter out external distractions because a good deal of attention is required. A devotional journal also helps the devotee to find their voice, which is a good thing when the devotee is working on building their personal practice.

Prayers said by rote can not be forgotten when they are noted down in a journal. Instead, there would be a section for reference that one could turn to when it is needed. That, in many ways, is really the best part about a devotional journal. It is easier to remember things because it is not necessary to absolutely memorize them. Instead, a note can be written and depending on the style of journal writing used, there is going to be an index or some other sort of organization to the journal that allows for easy access of the notes.

Originally Published: 3/26/17

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