Crash Course in Chakras

The most commonly utilised system of chakras is the 7-Chakra model, and although there are practitioners who use an alternate model, this is the one I will use for this post.

What are the chakras?
Originally part of Hindu spirituality, the chakras are 7 energy centres, aligned with the spine, within our auric/astral bodies. They control the flow of energy through all of our bodies – astral, auric, ethereal, physical, however many layers of body you prescribe to the chakras permeate them all. They are most commonly visualised as lotuses, or as spinning vortexes / wheels of energy, or both combined. Each chakra has specific energies it governs & regulates, and it’s own set of correspondences (listed below).

Chakras naturally open and close (visualised as fast or slowed/not spinning) to properly regulate the flow of energy through our bodies – inhibiting or decreasing excesses, and encouraging or increasing deficits. Problems arise in our bodies – and consequently our lives – when the chakras are out of balance i.e. if a chakra becomes blocked (stuck closed) or overloaded (stuck open).

As well as governing the energies within our bodies, the chakras also facilitate an energetic connection to the Earth, at the base, and the Heavens / Universe at the crown. This connection is often utilised in grounding & centring before magickal work, in various meditations, and incorporated in some forms of yoga.

Here are the most commonly assigned correspondences, starting at the Base Chakra and working up:

BASE / ROOT CHAKRA
Location: base of spine / coccyx
Sanskrit name: Muladhara
Mantra: Lam
Colour: red
No. of lotus petals: 4
Element: Earth
Crystals: hematite, garnet, onyx, ruby
Oils: cedar wood, patchouli, musk
Incense: cedar
Connected with: financial security, grounding, feeling secure, physical reality, physical needs, survival, tribe / cultural identity

SACRAL CHAKRA
Location: a few inches below the navel
Sanskrit name: Svadhisthana
Mantra: Vam
Colour: orange
No. of lotus petals: 6
Element: Fire
Crystals: carnelian, moonstone, gold topaz, orange coral
Oils: rose geranium, rose, sandalwood
Incense: damiana
Connected with: taste, smell, sensuality, sex & lust, desires, reproduction system, addiction, pancreas, spleen

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
Location: between bottom of ribs and the navel
Sanskrit name: Manipura
Mantra: Ram
Colour: yellow
No. of lotus petals: 10
Element: Air
Crystals: yellow citrine, sunstone, amber
Oils: bergamot, vetiver, yang ylang
Incense: Ginger, woodruff
Connected with: concentration, ambition, focus, intellect, inner peace, digestion, sense of self, personal identity, willpower, motivation

HEART CHAKRA
Location: centre of chest
Sanskrit name: Anahata
Mantra: Yam
Colour: Green
No. of lotus petals: 12
Element: Water
Crystals: rose quartz, emerald, jade, peridot
Oils: rosewood, rose, bergamot
Incense: lavender
Connected with: emotions, feelings, compassion, love, self acceptance, cardio-vascular health, relationships

THROAT CHAKRA
Location: hollow of neck (just above collarbones)
Sanskrit name: Vishuddha
Mantra: Ham
Colour: blue
No. of lotus petals: 16
Element: AEthyr / Spirit
Crystals: sodalite, turquoise, aquamarine
Oils: eucalyptus, chamomile, lavender
Incense: frankincense, benzoin
Connected with: voice, self-expression, communication, speaking your truth, assertiveness, confidence, integrity

BROW / THIRD EYE CHAKRA
Location: between the eyebrows and up a little
Sanskrit name: Ajna
Mantra: Aam
Colour: indigo
No. of petals: 2
Element: Light
Crystals: tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, sapphire
Oils: basil, sandalwood, thyme, rose geranium
Incense: mugwort
Connected with: intuition, psychic abilities, being in tune with everything around you, ESP

CROWN CHAKRA
Location: just above the crown of your head
Sanskrit name: Sahasrara
Mantra: Om
Colour: violet
No. of lotus petals: 1,000
Element: All / None
Crystals: amethyst, selenite, clear quartz, diamond
Oils: frankincense, rosemary
Incense: myrrh
Connected with: unity, spirituality, sacredness, enlightenment, knowledge, wisdom, true understanding, divine bliss, Ultimate Power / the Creator, deities, universal oneness

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BLOOD

Blood is important – just ask anyone involved in forensics.
But what has blood got to do with Magick? My answer will hopefully make sense to even the fluffiest of bunnies.

Everyone knows blood contains DNA right? That double-helix of genes that dictates our biological blueprint – whether we have dark skin or fair, blue eyes or hazel.
Blood is life. It is the fundamental base of who we are, how we start our journey of self-discovery. Even if you don’t get along with your blood relatives, the connection you share – your blood-bond – gives you one of your earliest identifiers, influencing who you decide you are in this world. Your culture, traditions, family – everyone feels the need to identify with a group, to belong. When you’re young your blood provides the first instance of that.

Another facet of blood’s importance is a little more “magickal” – menarche (onset of menstruation). Women’s blood, Moon blood, Gaia’s blessing – whatever name it is given, it’s an important and powerful part of every woman’s life. Obviously in our Western culture, nowadays especially, menarche & menses are only experienced by women.
When a girl embarks upon her own journey of menses, she is joining all women – those of her family, her culture, the whole world! It is an important, empowering stage of a young woman’s life, and a rite of passage that will only amplify her personal power.

Blood can be used in Magick too. Now before anyone gets all upset, protesting “oh no that’s dark Magick!” Or “it’s not right to self harm, get help!” let me say a few things before elaborating on blood as a magickal tool / ingredient.
1) Yes, Blood Magick is ‘dark’ Magick. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything has to exist in balance, right? Then how can only working with light be balanced? Life is full of polarity, bad/good, light/dark, night/day, etc – and so Magick is no different. Yet ‘dark’ Magick isn’t all about evil, or causing harm – it can be very rewarding to work with your Shadow Self.
2) I completely agree with the second protest. If you’re harming yourself for the sake of it, or because of a mental illness, you should definitely seek help. I myself have been in that position, and found it incredibly helpful to speak to a professional (as well as close friends) about my need/obsession of self-harming.
3) An additional point: I am NOT & will NEVER in any way shape or form encouraging anyone to cause themselves, or anyone else, harm for any purpose whatsoever.

Now that’s been stated, we can get to the Blood-Magick link. Blood can be used for many different purposes in Magick, such as devotion, connection, or anointing. Let’s look at these examples in closer detail.
Devotion: blood can be used as an offering to deities, spirits, entities, etc. as an act of sacrificial devotion – offering an intimate part of yourself, allowing them to bond & connect with you, your blood, and your unique energy signature.
Connection: blood can be utilised in ritual or spells to tie you more intimately & closely to the Magick worked. It can also help in rites involving biological ancestors or other biological family.
Anointing: blood can be used to anoint and consecrate magickal tools such as athames, candles, wands, your BoS, etc. This creates a more powerful link between a practitioner and the Magick worked by them, with their tools – it helps to align the innate qualities or Magick within the item with your personal energy & Magick.

NOTE: if anyone reading this post is interested enough to start using Blood Magick, please make sure you keep the following things in mind…
– be careful WHERE you draw blood from
– don’t EVER share needles/blades/etc. The safest way to draw blood I can think of is to use a medical lancet (the pricking things used by diabetics when checking their blood sugar)
– be mindful of ANY & ALL medical conditions that may affect or be effected by drawing blood
– be careful in the amount of blood you draw, both in QUANTITY and FREQUENCY
– menstrual blood is ALWAYS a less risky, if somewhat messier, option

I hope this has been informative, and makes you re-examine any pre-conceived ideas you may have about Blood Magick.

Black Dog: Symptom or Sign?

Week 3 17-01-2014 (catch up post)

This topic is not on the list of prompts for the Pagan Blog Project 2014 posts, but it starts with B and it’s an interesting observance (to me, anyway)

Depression is sometimes referred to as “the Black Dog”, and in my experience, many Pagans have had a brush with this dark canine.

Of the many Pagans I know personally, approximately two-thirds have been diagnosed with depression or a similar mental illness. Of that number, most work with deities, energies, and/or entities usually portrayed as ‘dark’.  Does this mean it’s more likely a Pagan is depressed? Or that depression marks a person as more open-minded spiritually?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I can only comment on my own experiences, and speculate about the wider population.

I often wondered if my diagnosis of Black Dog was connected to me finally recognising my patron deity Hekate (whom I have since realized has been with me for as long as I can accurately recall memories).

My daughter was about 9 months old when a chat with my social worker prompted that fateful doctor’s visit. Like the (now obvious) signs and influence from my patron, I hadn’t recognised the significance of these emotions. As far back as I can remember, I have always had this outlook, these feelings – this desolation in my soul, an affinity for darkness and the macabre. Even after two suicide attempts, I thought it was ‘normal’ to feel this way – I had never felt any different.

I was experiencing a pretty severe Dark Night of the Soul, felt completely lost and useless. The world – and my life – felt like an entirely futile endeavour. I believed  – and still do believe – in reincarnation, so I guess my thoughts were along the lines of “maybe I’ll get a better life next time.” I know it doesn’t make much sense, but then neither does suicide itself.

I tend to believe the reason mentally ill people gravitate towards Paganism and alternate spirituality, is because of the balance. Mental illness causes an imbalance in your life – and Paganism (in my experience, anyway) is largely about maintaining the balance, honouring & acknowledging both the light and the dark, and applying this idea of balance to everything – what we do, what we feel, what’s all around and within us. We are light. We are dark. Light cannot exist without darkness & vice versa, and in working positively with both forces (as a lot of Pagans strive for) we can improve our lives – and ourselves.

**If anyone reading this is feeling depressed, suicidal, out of sorts, or worried about their mental health – or that of another – please PLEASE seek help. Talk to your friends, your family, your doctor.

If you want to remain anonymous, or feel like you can’t talk to anyone you know, try the contacts below (Australian resources)

SANE http://www.sane.org

KIDS HELPLINE 1800 55 1800

LIFELINE 13 11 14 http://www.lifeline.org.au

BEYOND BLUE http://www.beyondblue.com.au

The Akashic Record

Week 2 10-01-2014 (catch-up post)

 

The Akashic Record is a complete record of everything, Past Present and Future.

Yes, EVERYTHING – every word, every thought, every action… everything. It exists somewhere on the aethyr plane of existence, and can be accessed through magick – through ritual, meditation, oracles, etc.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if I would want to know my future – not in the exact, precise, factual way the Akashic Record is written. Sure, I utilize my tarot & oracle cards to ask for a hint of what my near future may hold, or to ask for guidance in what I should be doing… but that it entirely different to knowing something for 100% sure, like the cause of your death.

I’m not sure if the Akashic Record is fixed-future or flexible-future, but as every time travel expedition in movies has taught us: even if you change one thing, it doesn’t only affect that one thing. Like ripples on a pond, one action effects all things around it. Perhaps by merely knowing your future, even if it’s something favourable, the outcome would change.

That being said, accessing the Akashic Record could be immensely useful if utilized correctly. This access, if granted, could be used to research your genealogy, to search for past instances (and solutions to) of an event or illness, even to find a particular person in any time.

What would you seek access to the Akashic Record for?

Amber

Week one of PBP 03-01-2014 (catch-up post)

 

Amber has always been one of my favourite stones – despite not being a true stone at all!

Amber is fossilised tree sap, often with tiny bugs or dirt embedded within. Just like the mosquito that created the foundation of Jurassic Park‘s dinosaurs, amber is so old it’s ancient. Surely a natural substance that has remained for thousands, if not millions, of years would have accumulated an impressive amount of energy.

 

These days, even ‘muggles’ utilize amber for its metaphysical properties – the most common example of this is the abundance of bracelets and necklaces I’ve seen available for purchase to help teething children.

Amber is imbued with and emits old magick – it is a perfect not-stone for reconstructionists and those who wish to connect to ages gone. It can also be worn to ease aches & pains, hence it’s use by teething children.

 

I also personally find amber to be soothing, maybe it’s the rich golden colour that melts into the caramel hues, maybe it’s one of the innate properties of this wonderful stone-that’s-not-truly-a-stone. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

I’m pretty sure (but don’t quote me on this, I’m not 100%) that amber is also useful for amplifying psychic clarity.

Amber is a pretty common jewellery material in both magickal and muggle retail worlds, popular as a setting for rings, and as chips for bracelets and necklaces.

 

Amber dust is toxic if inhaled, although whole stones can be added to pure water to create a tonic one of my friends swears by – just be careful not to swallow any of the chips!