Interview with Tarot Artist Robert Place: Part 2

Interview with Tarot Artist Robert Place: Part 2

Robert Place and I had so much fun with his first interview that we decided to give you Part 2. Robert is such a interesting man having not only designed five beautiful tarot decks, but being an occult scholar as well. So please enjoy more of our fascinating conversation.
Click here for Part 1 or just scroll down:

Interview with Robert Place: Tarot Illustrator & Historian

There is also another brilliant interview with Robert about the Vampire Tarot at:

Can you tell me what The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery is about? It sounds very intriguing. Is it  based on a Mystery Tradition?  The art I saw looks very beautiful as well.


I started on The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery in 2001. At present, it consists only of the Fool, the 21 trumps, the ace and two of coins, the ace of swords, the ace of cups, and the ace of staffs. I also completed a set of the Fool and Trumps printed oversize with annotations in the margins and background done in a calligraphic script. I completed this for my exhibition in the Crafts and Folk Art Museum in LA in January, 2010. I made 17″ high prints of these and they were the main focus of the exhibit. They are also included in my book based on the exhibition, The Fool’s Journey: the History, Art, and Symbolism of the Tarot.
The inspiration for the deck came when I was looking at the paintings of 19th century English Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelites believed that art was a spiritual or magical endeavor and toward this end they formed a mystical brotherhood of artists dedicated to recapturing the sincerity of the art of the early Renaissance—the same historic period that gave us the Tarot. In many ways they paved the way in England for the Golden Dawn. Burne-Jones, in particular, based his tall female beauties and melancholy heroes on the paintings of Botticelli and Michelangelo, two artists whose works are considered primary examples of Renaissance Neoplatonic mysticism. I noticed that Burne-Jones painted some of the same allegorical figures that are found in the Tarot such as Foolishness, Temperance, and the Wheel of Fortune. I always loved his style of painting and I wanted to complete the Tarot deck for him that he seems to have unintentionally started.
Robert Place: The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery
As the deck progressed, besides being enamored with the beauty of the style, I found that it was the perfect means to express all of the insights that I had developed concerning the nature of the Tarot and its mystical message. It allowed me to bridge the gap and synthesize the Renaissance ideas expressed in the original Tarot with the broader archetypal interpretations of those images that were added by 19th century occultists.
The name of the deck comes from my belief that the Western system of seven virtues, is a yogic system designed to purify the seven soul centers, which ascend the human spine, and that have been known in the West at least from the time of Pythagoras (the 6th century BC). The World card, in particular, represents the virtue Prudence, who is the culmination of the four cardinal virtues. The other three virtues: Temperance, Strength, and Justice, were considered the parts of Prudence, and that fact helps to explain why the three are more explicitly illustrated in the Tarot. Prudence as Sophia (the Wisdom of God) was also the mother of the three Christian virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity. Prudence symbolizes the enlightenment that is achieved when the virtues have completed their jobs and brought each soul center into balance and health.


I went to an exhibition of Burne-Jone’s work in Burmingham when i lived in England. His work is absolutely stunning. I can see why you would be inspired by him. He also did so much! In England even some of the small country churches have stained-glass windows by Burne-Jones. That is a perfect medium for his work with the light coming through. Come to think of it—your work would make amazing stained glass.




Edward Burne-Jones


I use to be a stained glass apprentice for about a year when I was first out of college in the 1970s.

Burne-Jones did a lot of stained glass in the US also.
I did a search to find some of his pieces and saw some great ones in Boston and Delaware.  But it turned out  that his first US commission was in the Episcopal Church right here in Saugerties where I live.

(Here’s a link to the stained glass windows in Saugerties:

They are gorgeous—Angels by William Morris., the rest by Burne- Jones)


I want to explore more about symbolism with you
and how you find your inspiration in other arts like painting and films and magic.

Maybe something like:

Is there a mystical unity between your tarot themes?
Is there an alchemy in the art of Burne-Jones as there is with vampires?
There is certainly a link between vampires and the PreRaphaelites.
Did you know that John Polidori who wrote The Vampyre, was
D.G. Rossetti’s uncle? Did you know about the vampiric myth that grew up around Lizzie Siddal?
I have a screenplay half written about that.

What about the Grail legend? Is that part of your alchemy as it is of Burne-Jones?

Your themes of Saints and Angels — how do they fit in? There is a Gothic quality to your
work taken as a whole I think.

Chew chew chew



Robert Place:The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery


These are good questions and I will try to answer them as best as I can.
I feel that there is a unity behind all of my Tarot decks. At first glance, this may not be obvious because my first three decks: The Alchemical Tarot, The Angels Tarot, and the Tarot of the Saints, were based on Western mystical and religious themes, and then with the creation of The Buddha Tarot and The Vampire Tarot, I seemed to be drifting further and further away from that area.

But, my goal from the beginning was to recover the original mystical message that was expressed by the Tarot’s 15th century creators and to find ways of expressing that wisdom by illustrating its connection to popular mythology or mystical systems.

My Buddha Tarot is not just about Buddhism but how it is similar to Western mystical traditions and how this comparison helps us to better understand our own traditions. My Vampire Tarot, which although it was just published last year, was actually the second deck that I began after The Alchemical Tarot, is about Dracula and how this story is based on the Grail legend which was one to the early influences on the Tarot, and that this story in turn grew out of the shamanic practice of soul retrieval.
I believe that Edward Burne-Jones was a mystic and that his paintings were his alchemical practice. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which he belonged to, was founded in 1848 by a group of artists in England who came out of the Romantic movement and shared a romantic fascination for the art of the Middle Ages. They wanted to capture the sincerity and honest piety of the works created before the time of the Renaissance painter Raphael (1483-1520). A time when paintings were believed to have magical curative powers, were used in rituals to heal and protect cities, and were the inspiration for pilgrimages. They believed that their art could uplift their viewers to a higher moral state and counteract the illnesses brought about by industrialization.
Burne-Jones was a second generation member of this movement and the art critic Ruskin labeled his variation the Mythic School. He focused on a mythic Classical or Arthurian world populated by tall, pale, beautiful heroines or femme fatales, and equally beautiful armored heroes. He was a major influence on the Symbolist painters that became popular in the rest of Europe at the end of the 19th century and helped create the atmosphere that led to the revival of occultism.

Edward Burne-Jones
Toward the end of his life, beginning in 1881, Burne-Jones worked on a large mural,”The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon.” During this period he also created a number of works depicting the legend of King Arthur, including a series of tapestries (1890-1891) designed for Morris & Company, sets and costumes for the play “King Arthur” (1895) performed at the London’s Lyceum Theater under the management of Dracula author Bram Stoker, and illustrations for Sebastian Evans’ The High History of the Holy Grail (1898). But “The Sleep of Arthur” became a personal work that he slowly perfected between other commissions. When he worked on it, he would say that he was retreating to Avalon. He finished it in 1898 and died shortly after. When I read about this, I had a strong intuition that he had achieved his goal and escaped to his inner world –escaped to Avalon.
I didn’t know that Polidori, the first author of a Vampire prose, was D.G. Rossetti’s uncle. Rossetti, of course, was Burne-Jones’ mentor and was a major influence on his style. But the vampire theme comes out of the same Romantic movement, with its obsession with the Middle Ages, the irrational, and the occult, that gave rise to the Pre-Raphaelites. I believe that the pre-Raphaelites and Burne Jones in particular influenced Bram Stoker. In Dracula, Stoker created, a strong beautiful heroine, several femme fatales, and a group of heros that were basically knights –characters that were similar to Burne-Jones’s figures. I acknowledged this by incorporating a Pre-Raphaelite style in my illustrations for my Vampire Tarot. Some of the figures are based on photos of the famous Pre-Raphaelite model Jane Morris; for example, the Mina trump.
Robert Place: Vampire Tarot
I love the Jane Morris paintings. She had a very mysterious, silent quality that suited those mystic images of women.
Rossetti first wife, Lizzie Sidall, was the artist’s primary model and in spite of their class differences he married her in 1860. With his instruction and encouragement she also became an artist. By 1862, Lizzie feared that her husband was looking for a younger muse. After her daughter was stillborn and she became pregnant again she was hopelessly depressed. She committed suicide by taking an overdose of laudanum. Overcome with grief and romantic ideals, Rossetti placed a book containing the only copies of his poems in her grave. After seven years he had second thoughts and had her exhumed so that he could retrieve this book. Her body was said to have been in perfect condition. Her red hair had continued to grow while she was dead and now filled the coffin framing her and creating a memorable last impression. The image of the beautiful dead Lizzie surrounded in her luscious hair captured the public imagination and led to the rumors that she was actually undead. Red hair in itself is often associated with vampires. Stoker was likely to have been influenced by this description when he wrote the scene with Lucy beautifully laid out in her coffin.
Burne Jones’ son, Philip Burne-Jones, was also a painter, but his only well known painting is “The Vampire,” a portrait of a femme fatale vampire leaning over her male victim. The model for Philip’s vampire was Mrs. Patrick Campbell, an actress who in 1893 played the lead in “The Second Mrs. Tanqueray,” captured the public eye, and became famous for her beauty and talent. Philip dated her for a while, showered her with expensive presents, and painted her several times. But for the vampire portrait he worked from memory after she broke his heart by dumping him for a leading man and then a series of other lovers. In 1897, he displayed the painting at the annual summer exhibition of the New Gallery, a major show that included works by Sargent as well as Philip’s father. Alongside the painting, Philip included a poem “The Vampire” by his cousin, Rudyard Kipling, that described the foolishness of a man allowing himself to be destroyed by a heartless woman. This exhibition was held only a few months before Stoker’s Dracula was first in print.
Philp Burne-Jones: The Vampire

Philip’s painting received good reviews in London, but bad reviews later, after a New York showing. Some reporters also recognized his model, and speculation on the circumstances that led to her depiction as a vampire became the focus of gossip. During her American tour, which coincided with the American exhibition of “The Vampire,” Mrs. Campbell’s agent played up her connection to the painting. Philip, his painting, and Mrs. Campbell all came together in Chicago and the press had a field day with the story. In 1907, Porter Emerson Browne was commissioned by the actor Robert Hilliard to write a play based on the painting, which was called ” A Fool There Was.” Katherine Kaelred played the vampire and the play was carefully constructed so that it ended with a tableau that echoed the painting. The play was a popular success and influenced the burgeoning American movie industry. William Fox bought the rights to the play and created a film version, which stared Theda Bara. This role as a heartless femme fatale, which Bara continued to play in over 40 films, earned her the nickname ” the vamp.” As you can see, Pre-Raphealites, vampires, and popular imagination and culture are all intimately connected.
Theda/ Vamp
This was a really fascinating interview, Bob! I have long been a fan of the PreRpaelites and Dracula—-all of it and you told me things I didn’t know. Thank you Robert, it has been wonderful talking to you.
I would like to mention that Robert has a beautiful new book out:

The Fool’s Journey: The History, Art, and Symbolism of the Tarot

An 8.5″ by 11′ full color book
A PDF download is also available for only $10.00.

For more info:

Robert also has a Zazzle store. His tee-shirts and tote bags and mugs are to die for so go here for Christmas or other wise:

He is as prolific as Edward Burne0Jones and also has some gorgeous calendars to be found here:

Buy Tarot Decks and Books by Robert Place Here:


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Psychic: My Life in Two Worlds, by Sylvia Browne; Review

Psychic: My Life in Two Worlds

by Sylvia Browne

Review by Aline deWinter

I have happily lived without a television for over twenty years, nor have I much interest in celebrities and celebrity biographies. Up until a year ago, I had no idea who Sylvia Browne was until someone on Facebook posted a video of her on Montel William’s Show striking out during a psychic reading. There are many of these videos on Youtube suggesting that Sylvia is not all that accurate and may even be a fraud. When I was asked to review her new book, Psychic: My Life in Two Worlds,  I was reluctant to take it on, but as always, I thought I might learn something so agreed to do it.

I was pleasantly surprised. Sylivia does have extraordinary abilities. My own paranormal experiences have given me the insight to know that her many stories are genuine. She has a good sense of humor and lot of wisdom to share. There is also great comfort here for those who have painful questions about the nature of reality and its impact on them.

Sylvia’s  overall philosophy  is summed up in the first paragraph:

“I believe that before we came here from the Other Side to start a new incarnation, we write very detailed charts for out lifetimes to help guarantee that we accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves. We choose our parents, our siblings, our friends, our enemies, our spouses, our children, our careers, our assets, our challenges, our health issues, our best and worst qualities, the best and worst qualities in those who are closest to us, and certainly the timing of it all.

As I look back on this long strange, complicated life I’ve lived, I just have one question about the chart I wrote:

What the hell was I thinking?”

I can ditto that last remark.

Dark Entities

Sylvia begins with a discussion of Dark Entities, a theme that resurfaces throughout the book. Her mother was a terribly abusive person and cast a shadow over Sylvia’s childhood.  There is a truth that says most people are born psychic and most lose their psychic abilities in adolescence. People who grow up in violent and dysfunctional families tend to retain these abilities because of the need to constantly monitor the safety of the environment, to avoid danger. Children of these families also learn to read people quickly—-decipher facial expressions and body language, even temperature in a state of constant hyper-vigilance.

This is a tangent here, but if that is the case. Safe, secure, loving families do not tend to make psychics.  Because of the abilities retained to deal with childhood terrors, most psychics will always feel like outsiders, especially from mainstream society, and will often continue to be attacked by those who have abusive agendas that they try to hide.
We can see how our primal ancestors needed these heightened abilities in order to survive in the wilderness. The rise of walled cities must have rendered those talents obsolete to a degree and our modern way of life, so tragically cut off form nature, has made them seem fantastical, illusory. Out of this reductionist “sticking to facts” comes the tendency of some to want to “stone the witch” by plastering her failures all over the internet while ignoring the huge body of successes she has had. No psychic is 100%. Reading for people is a huge responsibility because everyone who comes to a psychic wants to believe and is often looking for comfort and reassurance. Doing this work on the public stage is very risky business and the damage cannot be undone. On the other hand, it is foolish to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Mistakes have less to do with the validity of psychic ability, and everything to do with the current expectation that psychic;s perform circus tricks on cue.

Thanks to people like Sylvia Browne, we have records of the capabilities of the human mind and spirit, and a track record of someone who has worked magic with millions of people. Whether she is telling the truth or not, I have no idea, but many of her insights are useful.


Real Life as a Psychic

By being candid about the peaks and valleys in her life, Sylvia  also  strips away a lot of the false glamor that makes psychic abilities seem enviable. Most genuine psychics know the dark side of their “gift”. It is not the  life of an Elf in  “The Lord of the Rings” or a wizard in “Harry Potter”. We are often the target of much more mundane and ignorant forces and are subject to the same societal challenges as everyone else.

I particularly enjoy Sylvia’s many ghost stories and her discussion of their value as an indication of life beyond the physical—-the spiritual life that we experience when we go out of body, as Sylvia has done many times. her discussions of Past Lives was also very interesting. She does hypnotic regressions and tapes every session. She then takes the information, names, dates, places, and often finds out that they are extremely accurate. This is a valuable confirmation that we do indeed move between lifetimes as specific personalities.


Sylvia is a medium, in other words, she communicates with the dead. She is also a trance channel—-allowing herself to be the mouthpiece for her guide Francine, who does psychic readings sometimes in front of large crowds.  Sylvia claims to have inherited this talent from her Grandmother Ada Coil who guided her in her psychic development since her early childhood. Her formal training in Spiritualism is obvious in the formulaic way she works—-grasping for names and initials of names in the way they all do it. This manner of working began with the Fox Sisters in the 1800′s and it possible Sylvia’s grandma Ada also studied these techniques and passed them on to Sylvia. Has her family been psychic for 300 years?

Not all psychics are the same. Sylvia Browne’s way has been to work with external spirits. This fascinates me as I am a completely different type of psychic. Sylvia’s spirit guides have done some amazing things through her. I highly recommend this book as an interesting and honest exploration of a famous psychic’s life, the lessons she has learned, and how she walks between the worlds.

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Shamanic Illness as Initiation

Photo 64

Diary of Drawings

This is a drawing I made in the mid 1980′s.

During the two and half years that Saturn transited my Eighth House of love and death, I went a little mad you might say.

It wasn’t insanity or anything, it was because of psychic attack.

I had been in a deep relationship with a man who was separated from his wife. If there is such a thing as a Soul Mate, we were it. We openly talked about ourselves that way. I had a vision of him shortly before we met. During my daily meditation practice, I saw him falling out of the sun towards me. When we met, it was an instant attraction. Numerologist Tania Gabrielle would probably look at my 44-8 birth numbers and call it Fate.

But the estranged  wife wasn’t having any of it.  When she found out he was seeing me, she decided wanted him back and went on the warpath with me.

There was a point at which she got really aggressive and started to play games. I was a pretty otherworldly and therefore naive in the way that otherworldly, ungrounded people are. I had nothing against her anyway — this guy and I were Soul Mates. What was I supposed to do?

When the fallout started, I was kicked out of the apartment by my room mate. I moved into a house closer to where my boyfriend lived and spent most of my time at his place. She started coming around. Next thing I knew, I fell into such a deep depression that my personality actually changed. I even looked weird to myself surrounded in this horrible dark vortex.

I always drew pictures and started doing that for hours at a time instead of studying — I was in University then. I mostly drew images of this guy and me in boats and in towers. I began a series of myself with antlers on my head. The drawing at the top is one of the survivors.

Its me looking into a mirror and seeing  antlers on my head.  Before that, my boyfriend had told me I looked like a deer. Maybe it was auto-suggestion, but I do have a Capricorn Moon and associate this self image with that.



At one point I became very ill and had to go to the hospital with anemia. I was a vegetarian, but also very depleted in other ways.

I became obsessive compulsive, especially with the drawings. I just didn’t stop. Drawing is a wonderful thing, but I felt like I had a motor in my head — maybe I had become autistic or something. It was just weird.

I had been a regular meditator since I was seventeen, and with this boyfriend, had gotten into Tibetan Buddhism and had been initiated into a few saints whose names I can’t remember any more. One was a purification saint. I have always been a great visualizer, and had built up images of these saints in my mind that were very powerful. I was really good at meditation.

So imagine how it felt when I couldn’t do it any more. All I saw was a swirling black energy that made me sea sick. I even went back to Massachusetts to visit my family and it was still just as bad. I was always nauseous and a light- headed, and very confused.

My dreams were  violent. I was always being chopped up into pieces. My body parts were scattered all over the place. I had a series of these  dreams and I drew pictures of those and burned them because I was afraid I might be murdered or something.

Then one night, I dreamed my body parts were scattered over the snow and it was very bloody. Some Inuits came up the slope and wrapped all my body parts in a seal skin. Then they put me inside a sweat house — I can still remember lying on a bench near a wonderful steamy rock pile. I stayed there for a long time.

When I was healed, I dreamed all the time that I swam under the sea with the seals. I was a kind of mermaid.  I drew the seal under the boat that my boyfriend and I were on all the time in my drawings. I let the seal guide me through my emotional turmoil and show me what I needed to know.

Psychic Attack


Our relationship suffered because my boyfriend  just wouldn’t deal with what was going on. He was too weak, and they had a six year old daughter that he felt guilty about.

I began to isolate. I was not a fighter. I still hate to fight, but have learned since that sometimes I have to stand up for myself. But I do hate conflict.

One day I was in my room and took a break from drawing. I wanted to meditate. I remember so clearly sitting in front of my altar and seeing the black vortex spinning all around me. I also saw all these spirits, very flat with triangular heads — a bit dog-like and cartoonish. There were hundreds of then all over the room. I felt sick as one of them stood behind and was tying something around my neck. Seeing them, I said to myself, “I am going to push them away with my light.”

I focused really hard on the light inside of me and sent it out until it was all around me. I continued to expand, obliterating all those little dog things, intending to fill the entire room.  Suddenly there was a kind of explosion, and it was as if the sun had come into the room!  Golden light was streaming everywhere and in the midst of the light were these eyes, black rimmed and compassionate, and face like Christ, though I am not if it was He or some older God. The golden light kept pulsating all around me, erasing all of the spirits, filling the room and healing me.

Deer Lady

It was after that I began to draw the deer lady pictures.

My relationship bit the dust. She was a lawyer and he didn’t stand a chance. Exhausted  ( and I haven’t even told you the half of it) I bowed out and concentrated on school.

This was the 80′s. Lots of books and courses were being given on the West Coast especially. I was also living near some of the most powerful Indian Tribes in North America. Powerful for magic that is. Gradually I learned about Shamanism and was told by one of the Salish Elders here that I had had a Shamanic sickness. All the dismemberment dreams were about taking me apart so I would be put back together in a certain way. The Seal medicine was help me to flow in the sea of the emotions — I also say the unconscious.  The Inuits are at the North Pole where me spirit came into the earth’s atmosphere before birth. They  still have a very strong Shamanic culture.

I see the Capricorn Moon at work as well. The fish-goat who climbs to the top of the mountain and dives deep into the ocean, is very much like the selkie seal lady and the deer lady I became. The Indian gave me a name: Whiteswan, a spirit  bird who transits sea and sky. I also believe that the psychic attack forced me  to strengthen my power, strengthen my light, because that was all it took to make the attack stop and fill me with a vision of golden light and the presence of God.

Two years later I was drafted into the healing profession and have been doing that ever since. Though the seal medicine healed me, it is the deer that I feel is the most like me and images of people with horns and antlers cast a kind of spell over me. I suppose I am more sure-footed that way.

Chesca Potter

Chesca Potter

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Can Faery Witchcraft Keep You Young?

Witchcraft: A True Anti-Aging Formula!


There was a time when any woman who looked much younger than her years was suspected of witchcraft, and of trafficking with the Faeries.

It should also come as not surprise that in times past when the average life span was 27-40 years old that anyone who had attained to great old age would be suspected of having contracted with the Devil.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about why we mature witches are much more youthful than many people who are far younger than us. She had noticed a trend that pagans and witches and magical people on the Facebook and Twitter are so much more alive than those who are not. We have more fun and seem so much more creative and youthful than our counterparts who allow themselves to be limited by the mundane reality.

One thing led to another as we discussed that many of the posts on this blog reminded her of childhood connections she had lost track of. Other readers have said the same thing to me. I realized that I discuss my own childhood a lot, sometimes in a nostalgic way, and sometimes to give the continuing story behind my choice to live a Magical Life.

An Ongoing Sense of Wonder

I know for me that my most closely guarded treasure has been my sense of wonder. As an artist, my inner life, the availability of all of my senses, and the openness of my mind and imagination are sacrosanct.  I have held onto these in the face of tremendous resistance by the society, have lost jobs, relationships, and have jeopardized my security to hold onto a mindset that is necessary to keep my creative fires burning, to maintain interest an curiosity about life so I do not stop learning, and help me cope with a World I often find overwhelming and threatening.

If things get to be too much, I go into nature, to my power spots, to recharge and to find solace in the beauty that surrounds me.  The trees and flowers and sky, the birds and small creatures that live in the trees,  aren’t trying to compete with me by going faster and faster, They don’t bombard me with stuff, but endure and move in with the rhythms of timelessness. Nature allows me a glimpse of forces greater than frantic human society. The magic, in particular Faery Magic, lives in the natural world. Even the seemingly cruel, predatory aspect of nature exists within currents and inner contracts between creatures that are in harmony with the “Gods”.

My friend feels the same way so the discussion deepened.

We began to uncover a secret link: Those of us who pursue the  path of magic, belief in the supernatural or paranormal,  love of poetry and the arts, divination systems, fairy tales, myths, folklore, who are Romanticists at heart, are usually perceived by mainstream as childish and even ridiculous. BUT it is that very link with the child within that gives us the reserves of youth to draw on. We did not split off from our inner child in order to become adults –we kept the continuity going and include the amazing freshness, immediacy, and openness to change and experience of the child. Our childhood is like battery that we continue to draw upon because we never severed our ties to it in order to be cool or conform to the opinions of those who consider themselves in possession of all the “right” answers to life.


I personally think the, especially in America, if your sole interest in life isn’t  making tons of money and buying expensive toys that you are seen as a failure in life as a whole. But many of the people who buy into this level of materialism get old before their time. They may have the money to buy fancy anti-aging surgeries, treatments, and potions, but these only  look convincing on people who also open to the life forces that linking back to childhood passions and dreams provides.

Perhaps the reason is, when we reach the age of 27 or so,  many people feel they should have arrived. Since for our generations, so many movies stars and musicians have died at the age of 27, we think it might be over for us too. Maybe the vibrations of the coming attractions of the Saturn Return are being felt, and Saturn make you feel old. I think this particular Rite of Passage — the Saturn Return that takes place between the ages of 28-30 — is a make or break time for all of us. I have noticed that if people don’t get it together in that window of time, they often go floundering for the until the next Saturn Return.

During this time a common adjustment is: I’m old now and have to knuckle down and play the game. I hate to put it this way, but I hear men say this the most. On comes the suit and tie and out goes all the flair and personality of youth, disposed of to conform to the standards of the corporate world where they believe they will find security, wealth, and position. There are women like this to, so I’m not being general, I just observe it this way.

Those graced with the energy to lead in the the mundane world, may not be witches, or magicians, but I’ll bet they are still connected to the child within and are carrying forth a passion that is very close to their soul’s purpose. And often these people use their gifts to help others.

So what am I saying here?

Being in touch with the child within is part of the equation if you want to stay young. Being spiritual, magical, creative, and able to laugh, a sense of irony about life, the ability to take lemons and make lemonade are also a big part of the equation.

As a lifetime meditator and energy healer, I have basked in prana, bathed in the light of spirit, circulated divine light, hooked up to the star grids, forcibly removed blocks, changed my DNA and cleared my meridians and layers of my aura over and over again. Call it practicing spiritual hygiene.

Entering and leaving Faery is totally rejuvenating, because keeping the soul alive and connected is one of the keys to immortality. Entering Faery gives you endless places to explore, curiosity ignited excites a thirst for knowledge. Excitement about going beyond the known keeps you young because your mind and imagination are engaged and that part of us never grows old. The need to explore more and more, and to share those explorations, helps one  envision a very long life ahead. On some level, agelessness is occurring even when the body weakens. You can feel it, sense it. Once you have left your body to fly, you know you are so much more.

What is a child but someone for whom everything is new and mysterious and full of wonder? Stay in touch with that and you will not grow old except in experience and wisdom — the gifts of the true elder.

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What is in a Name?

What is in a Name?

The occult world is one of conscious transformation, and I doubt there is a practicing Magician or Witch who has not marked a change in themselves: an initiation, a spiritual alliance with a tradition or deity, a Rite of Passage, a new path, etc. with a new name.

I have had a few different names over the years. In the 1960’s through the 1970’s, and up in to the early 1980’s it was common on the West Coast of the States, where people come to re-invent themselves, to take on different names. Some people, after surviving a crisis, may have a desire to present a new or renewed self to the world, others to resonate with a certain numerological vibration. Many have felt that their birth names were wrong or had been outgrown; some birth names have been perceived as unlucky, weird, or ugly, prompting a change to bring better vibrations into one’s life.

I once heard a story about a woman in Malaysia who was named after one of the immortal Love Goddesses of myth. She had so many men after her that, rather enjoying her popularity, she was bombarded with so much unwanted attention, that her life became unbearable, and even dangerous at times. After she was raped, she decide to change her name. After a few months, the attentions tapered off until some time after, she was able to find the partner she wanted  and got married. This was a shy man who never have pestered when she was carrying the vibration of Love Goddess.


From Gustafson to Garbo

In America, the tendency to change names has been inherited from the Native people, well known for their poetic, symbolic, and flexible  use of names to mark major transitions in life. Even in the big three religions, like the Catholic church, those who enter the clergy take the names of particular Saints to align themselves with the Saint’s vibration. Of course Wiccans have all manner of exotic names, and Ceremonial Magicians, like those in the Golden Dawn, use Latin phrases for names. Of course show people, movie stars and the like, have very famously changed their names from frumpy to glamorous for ages. Some stars have credited their success with the transformation of their looks and  personalities altered to reflect the image stirred up by the sound of their evocative professional names.

The Power of Birth Names

As a clairvoyant who has done psychic readings for thousands people over the last twenty years, I have learned a lot about what names can do. I have found that the name that we are given at birth is a key to the soul.

Every person who comes to me, or any psychic, for a reading, starts out as a perfect stranger. If they have a Tarot Reading, the layout of the cards will provide clues to the inner life of the client. As the reading progresses, deepening trust and emotional involvement create an energetic link that spills over onto the cards releasing more deep images from the client’s psyche that can be interpreted beyond the traditional meanings of the cards.  Other than that, I have no need for any practical information about the client to do an accurate and effective reading.

Almost always a client will want to know about a relationship with someone who is not there. If the connection between the client and that person is very close or strong, I can often pick them up the minute the client sits down. But if it is a more tenuous, conflicted, or confusing connection, the quickest way for me to link up with this third party is with the name they were given at birth, preferably the whole name, and their date of birth. The birth date mainly provides a wee bit of astrological information that can be valuable in understanding certain dynamics in a relationship, but the birth name holds the energetic pattern of the soul.

We Are Born With Our Names

There is Qabbalistic tradition  of names that I learned when I was studying Lightbody Activation in 2002. It is that we have our names before we are born, and our souls may even gravitate to our parents because of the vibration of their names. In my case, my mother was planning to name me Susan, but my father said, when he saw me for the first time, I told him my name was Arlene. It took another ten years for my mother to have my sister and name her Susan.

This pre-natal naming has a numerological basis, as many Qabbalistic things do, and it is said that by isolating the number values of a birth name, one’s complete life history, including the future, can be traced in the Bible. Sounds like a big job, but apparently it can be done.

In this system, it is taught that if you find that your birth name doesn’t feel right, if you have outgrown it, then it is a good idea to upgrade it with something close to the original. The name change will then resonate with your soul’s higher vibration, helping you align with your new spiritual purpose, and also pull your former vibration up with it.

Names as Psychic Protection

Occultists are well familiar with the perils of psychic attack. If the birth name is the key to soul that can allow a clairvoyant medium access a unknown person’s inner life from a long distance, it can also allow the lazer beams of a direct occult attack into the deep layers of the victim’s energy bodies to play all sorts of havoc in there. This is one reason that Magical practitioners, and those who associate with them,  keep their birth names well under wraps. You only have consult the medieval Demonologies to find that one way for the Magician to get power over a spirit is to know its True Name. In the classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, the haunted boy has only to call the ghost by his real name to exorcise him from the house. That he dies in the process shows how powerful the links with names can be. To exorcize any spirit requires its name and folklore of tricks about how these names can names can be found. Rumplestiltskin is a good example of this.

My Name is So Weird!

Some weird names are highly prized by their families. Some are ethnic names that mean strange things in English, but are fine in the native language. Some names seem like the parents were playing a joke on the poor kid. Some are just bad vibes. Women change their surnames as many times as they get married. For women name changes are part of our culture. These days, I would make sure of the numerology before I changed my name especially if it is because of marriage. I know of one couple in which the man took on the wife’s surname because it had more prestige. Why not?

The name we use every day, if we use it long enough, will begin to gather a force o its own around us and can be a key to the current layer of consciousness in the soul where it works much like a progressed horoscope. But like the natal horoscope, the birth name holds the core vibration. It is up to you whether to use it, change it, hide, it upgrade it, or whatever. Any name you choose will suit you on some level, and for a certain time in your life.

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How To Create Moon Circles and Harness the The Power of the Moon

The Nightmare

The Nightmare by Fitzgerald

Painful Womanhood

When I was younger, I had horrendous menstrual periods. I dreaded every month as the symptoms came on, for it meant two days of agony, vomiting, dizziness, back pain, every kind of torture a girl can go through without dying.

During the 1980′s it was a new thing to discuss women’s health issues openly. Before that, it seemed all the doctors were men, or at least male thought dominated medical opinion, and so women’s maladies were dismissed as “hysterical”, “all in their heads”, or as my doctor told me as a teenager “Motherhood will cure you.”

Yet the pundits of the Women’s Movement in the 1980s’ were no better, especially when it came to gynacological problems. There were statistics about dysmenorea, the fancy word for  “cramps”, stating that women who were raised Catholic had much higher rates of menstrual problems.

Since I was raised Catholic, I actually bought this B.S. (I am sure the people who gathered this “data’ were not Catholic.) It was supposed to be a dysfunction of our legendary guilt trip.

It was actually caused by a growth spurt that went wonky when I was 14.

Moon Power

Trying to discover and understand  the roots of my problem via the Womens Spirituality Movement, (looming large in the 1980′s)  led me down the path of mythology. This suited me as I tend to mythologize everything anyway.

The menstrual cycle is ruled by the Moon. The Moon rules all the watery tides of life, including our blood, but the menses mirror the 28 day cycle of the Moon as well. The Number three is also important, for there are three phases of the Moon: Full, Dark and Crescent. These phases mirror the three phases of life for women: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I don’t like the word Crone, I prefer something like Mentor which contains the root men, for it is a time when women take natural leadership roles if they have grown wise.  Even Elder is preferable, as Crone brings up images of decrepitude for me. Or how about calling us Hekate after the powerful Dark Moon Goddess?

The Moon stays in each phase for 3 days and most womens periods are 3 days long.

This is from the Online Etymological Dictionary:

menstrual Look up menstrual at
1398, from O.Fr. menstruel, from L. menstrualis “monthly,” especially “of or having monthly courses,” from menstruus “of menstruation, monthly,” from mensis “month” (see menses). Menstruation first attested 1776; O.E. equivalent was monaðblot “month-blood.”

Moon, month, menses, mental, measure, moon blood, month blood, menisus, mensa, menses,mensuration, my moon, moontime, moon lodge, moo…

The moon, the month, the measure of time…

I studied the moon. I read everything I could from mythology, to Greek Drama, to poetry, to The Moonchild by Aleister Crowely, and Moon Magic by Dion Fortune.  On the desk in front of me I have my first book about the moon. It is called Moon, Moon, by Anne Kent Rush, and it was published in 1976.  It is one of the books that started me one the path of honoring the Triple Moon Goddess hoping she would heal my wise wound.

Moon Circles

In 1989 — such a long time ago now it seems — I brought together a group of close women friends for my first Moon Circle. This was the first time I had led led a ritual involving other people, and it was far from perfect. I wanted to bring my soul into harmony with the Moon in the hopes of healing my problem, but also to explore and address  Women’s Mysteries, which are Blood Mysteries having to do with generation, creativity, and birth. Our ability to bring another living being through our bodies is truly Goddess-like, far surpassing the attempts of magicians to create homunculii and Frankenstein monsters. (I never understood that drive considering the means of replicating human life exists everywhere in nature. — through the female.)

I also wanted to bring our Cycle out of the closet — for every female creature on planet Earth goes through some from of menses on a regular basis — over half the human race. So why can’t we be open about it? I wanted to erase the shame that our culture has attached to women’s bodies and mysteries from time immemorial.

Despite my crude initial attempts, four friends stayed with me as I held these circles every Sunday night close to the Full Moon and every Sunday night close to the Dark Moon. To be in harmony with the Moon meant menstruating on the Dark Moon to mirror the process of emptying and purification, and to ovulate on the Full Moon — the time of fullness and fertility. As women do, we began to synchronize our cycles. This told me the Circles were truly generating magical and healing power.

The more I led the Circles, the better they got. I wanted others to learn to lead it as well, but nobody ever stepped up to the plate and so it always fell to me.

These Circles went on for 9 years — then I left for England.  There was a steady core group of 4 women, but at one time I had as many as 12. Toward the end I began to include men as the energies had changed for me and I was tired of the feminist tendency to exclude men as if they were the enemy.

These Circles wers o powerful and healing that we hated to miss them. I had also opened powerful portals in my house through which the Faery would visit me in 1996.

Moon Bag

Two powerful we did to initiate entry into the Moon Circles was to have each woman make  a Moon Bag.

Here is mine:

I used to do a lot of bead work back then as you can see around the rim.

It is a circle of red velvet gathered with a cord. Very simple.

Inside you put your secrets. I can show mine now as I am Hekata.

It is a little muslin bag tied with red thread and symbols are marked upon it.

Herbs, flower petals, little charms are inside. I leave the rest to your imagination.

I also put my animal power inside: a white swan. In silver of course for the Moon.

This is a very powerful little Crane Bag, or Medicine Bag.

I also asked people to make their Moon Lodge shield. You can amke one by stretching leather over an embroidery hoop and painting it.

Moon Shield

Here is mine:

Using shamanic techniques, we journied into the Otherworld by opening and calling in the five directions, and drumming. This was immensley powerful as our power animals took us deep into parallel dimensions for healing, inspiration, and teaching.

In another post I will lay out the pattern for the Moon Circles in case you might want to start your own.

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The Shadow Effect

The Shadow Effect

Introducing the blog of Corinne Edwards: Personal Growth with Corinne Edwards

Aepril Schaile by Peter Paradise

Aepril Schaile by Peter Paradise: One who knows...

I found this on the blog of the fabulous Corrine Edwards at Personal Growth With Corinne Edwards.

Be sure to visit Corinne’s blog, it is full of humor, down to earth wisdom, and interviews with famous icons of the personal growth movement like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson.

The article and the movie trailer below, moved me so much I am reprinting the whole thing here. It is also a nice follow up to the previous post about the Dark Side of the Tree of Life: Understanding the Tree of Life, and the Qliphoth

I began the Winterspells blog ( January  2009) to explore this very issue, for my own Shadow Work, or what I called the Nigredo as the Alchemical process is very real for me, has been cyclical and intense. It follows the revolving nature of light/darkness/light/darkness, or life/death/life/death, creation/destruction pattern that is the essence of the Great Goddess.

There are Black and White Madonnas for instance that reveal this cycle. This is partly based on the seasons, and the passage of day into night and back again. The Celtic Goddess Brighid has Bright and Dark aspects. It is said to be wiser to worship the Dark side the Gods first, for it will bring you to the Light, whereas  if you focus exclusively on the Light you will be forced to face the Darkness. And Dark isn’t just a color or  an idea, it is an experience of loss and pain, but without it we would not know wholeness, and at this time of increased consciousness, the ability to see the whole is what the Earth needs from us.

Shadow times are also called the Dark Night of the Soul when it arises along the spiritual path.

This is when you learn that the Light comes from the Darkness.

I know Debbie Ford.  As a matter of fact, I know almost everyone in her movie, The Shadow Effect.

I interviewed them on my TV show on Wisdom Television so I studied their books and spent much time speaking with them.

Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Mark Victor Hansen, James Van Praagh.  I love these people.

I can vouch for everyone above that they are sincere and are dedicated to helping.  With all their hearts.  They are good people.

But I have to admit The Shadow Effect was a surprise to me.  It goes much deeper than I thought it would.

Especially, Debbie, who is the star of the show.  She has developed from an accomplished writer who was even a little shy when I met her to – just as I said – a STAR!

If you are going to invest in this movie, either as a download or in a group or as a purchase of the DVD, I thought I should prepare you.

This is not a goody two shoes, woo woo consciousness, make-you-feel- good-self- help movie.

The only word I can conjure up at this moment is that this is a -


It will shake your being.  The being you have hidden from others – and – most important – the secrets you have held that you share with no one.  Not even yourself.

The “shadow” is the self that you hide.  That you cover up, very carefully.  You have substituted a whole different self you show to the world.  You have started to believe it yourself.  You have a public life and a private life.  Don’t go there into the shadow because it is terrifying.

Except it is there.  It could be shame you have carried since you were a child.  Deep within you and it comes out like an erupting volcano when you least expect it.

This DVD set is in parts.  The first a documentary.  The second an interactive experience where you are asked questions which are designed to bring your secrets out into the open. Privately, in your living room perhaps.

One of the important questions you will be asked is a nice one.  “What do you like best about yourself?”  Then, think of all the people you know who reflect those qualities.  They are all you.

Then, the zinger.  “What do you dislike most about yourself?”  Think of the people you don’t like and then come back to yourself.  Could this be a projection?  Are these things MY shadow?  Am I transferring my own darkness onto others?  Is this why I avoid these people?

Is it possible that these projections are holding you back from happiness and contentment? What if – as is stated in this movie –


This movie is not a condemnation.  It is an exercise in awareness.  Of bringing our worst selves into the cold bright day of the sunshine.  Taking a good look and deciding if we need to hide those secrets anymore even from ourselves.

I have known about the “shadow” for a long time.  I just did not know what to call it.

My opinion is that it never really leaves us.  It is an imprint.

The benefit of this movie is that you will suddenly know who it is.  It will have a first and last name and you can call it out when it inspires us to act destructively.  You will become aware it is there.

So, when something comes up, we can say to it –

Damn!  There you are again.  Get lost.

As Deepak Chopra says –

“The sinner and the saint are only exchanging notes.”

I would say – be brave enough to see this movie.  You might be surprised at what you uncover.  I was.

To purchase the DVD
The Shadow Effect Movie DVD

To buy the online version:
Watch The Shadow Effect Online

P;ease note, this blog does not benefit if you buy the film.

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The Root of Confusion: Admission vs. Initiation

I found this very interesting article by Trystn Branwynn at Trystn’s Occult Journal and got his permission to reprint it here. Since Initiation is one of the main focuses of Winterspells, I found Trystn’s ideas very compelling. His thesis that Initialtion is granted by the Destroyer Gods, that the path of Magic is transformational — not just  a fun ride to the Otherworld, is a very important one.

This isn’t to scare people off, but you must know what the path is and where it leads if you choose to step upon it. For some of the choice was made lifetimes ago.

The Root of Confusion: Admission vs Initiation

by Trystn Branwynn
Reprinted from Trystn’s Occult Journal

I find a lot of confusion among occult and pagan practitioners between the terms “Initiation” and “Admission.” I’ve seen this confusion expressed by my friend Caroline Tully who said “I’m a member of several groups and their “initiation” is nothing more than “Welcome to the club.”” I’ve further seen it in Gardnerians who insist that nobody can be a Witch unless they are “…initiated in a circle like I was …” I’ve further seen eclectics pontificate “I’ll never initiate, it would tape my wings down” and “I would only self initiate.” That sad fact is that not one of the above statements is true and all express the confusion between Initiation and Admission.

A person cannot initiate themselves. Nor can a person initiate another person. This is Admission – “Welcome to the club.” Shani Oates, the Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain has expounded beautifully on this point and her words, once published, will be well worth the reading. Admission rites may be intended to trigger an initiatory experience, but they are far from guaranteed to work although many groups insist that they work every time and insist that someone going through their rite is an initiate, whether they show the signs of successful initiation or not. This means that a great many groups and lines find themselves weighed down with a dearth of failures who do nothing to carry the stream forward, and often do everything possible to attract attention to themselves. Such individuals often run about insisting that “to be an initiate” one must “be an activist” or subscribe to a particular political ideology. Not only are these statements flagrantly false, their result is the creation of organizations that do nothing more than mimic the function of Christendom and its various churches. The hallmark of this mentality is a sense of abjection or victimhood that, far from carrying the stream forward, does everything possible to stunt its growth.

An Initiatory Experience consists of a collision – and I use this word with full intent – with Spirit. The spirit in question will be an initiating spirit – a Lightbringer and/or a Destroyer. The great Initiators are, in fact, the Destroyers. These figures include Cain, Woden, Taliesin, Legba, Herodia, Abraxas, Lugus, Lucifer, and other figures who have passed through the process of the Initiation. This is to say that they have destroyed or sundered their world, recreated it, and survived Death thus becoming the embodiments of the evolution of the Divine Consciousness. The Destroyers are the Great Mothers – The Morrigan, Hekate, Lilith, Ereshkigal, Isis, Gode, Freyjavigdis, La Madonna Negra, and others of their kind. Far from being the “gentle, laughing goddess” these beings stand at the center of the crossroads – at the point of ultimate destruction – created by the confluence of the seven worlds, offering rebirth and recreation.

Neither of these spirits should be sought out lightly. They are not gentle and their love is death. But it is this Death that the would-be Initiate must court, experience, and survive.

The mythic imagery of this process and its symbols is well known and very nearly universal. We find its symbols in Hindi, German, Welsh, African, Irish, Finnish, and Christian mythos, just to name a few sources.

It must also be understood that worship is neither the key nor the desired result of this process. The key and desired results are Epiphany and Apotheosis. This is to say that the Initiate does not seek to follow meekly in line behind the Lightbringer, nor to grovel at the feet of the Destroyer, but instead to realize his or her own inner Godhead and become a Lightbringer in his or her own right. This is why I said earlier that Initiation entails a collision with Spirit. The process feels as though one’s life has experienced a “train wreck.” One’s world or world-view is destroyed utterly in a cataclysmic process and then recreated in the image of Spirit.

The desired result of the Mystery of Initiation is not “now you’re a member of group X.” It is “Now you are on the road, intended by the True Gods.” It is not “Now you will have “good karma” but rather “Now you have overthrown karma and surpassed most of the spirits men call “gods.” This ties to the point I made earlier that “the gods” do not evolve. This is not their purpose, nor is it their nature, and the idea that they do is largely a product of pop-culture. The purpose of most of the spirits men call “gods” is to cause and catalyze human evolution. Indeed, most of these spirits were human at one time and have, in fact, evolved as far as they are able, and have become the servants of the terrible Pale Dame Fate. Again, our heritage or birthright is not to likewise become the slaves of Fate, but to overthrow this terrible foe, and transform her into Wyrd – Destiny – that we carve with our own hands. This is the upshot of the views expressed by such luminaries as Gautama Buddha, Robert Cochrane, Pythagoras, and others of like kind. But all of these figures also express their own cautionary tales, their own Poisoned Chalices, for the body is subject to Fate and that which is mortal will eventually fall prey to one of her traps. In the end, she lines her nest with our bones.

The Neophyt by Aubrey Beardsley

The Neophyt by Aubrey Beardsley

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What Automatic Writing Is, and How to Do It.

Guest Post About Automatic Writing by Jack Roberge

Here is wonderful guest post by my friend, student of Faery Witchcraft, and surrogate nephew Jack Roberge.

He practices many magicks, and quite excels at poetry. He has written many beautiful poems about the Pagan deities on Facebook. I have written a great deal of poetry myself. The best poems often seem to come from some place else. For instance, I would have a glimmer of thought, an image, an emotion, and begin to write it down. It would flow as if I was taking dictation from a far away voice. I have published and won a few prizes for my poetry, and every poem that won was written in this way: one draft flowed out on a scribbling tide of feelings, I did a little tinkering, and it was done! I was always shocked when at poem written like that won a prize, or was published, because it took no time or effort to write the thing! The ones I struggled with, and re-wrote over and over , never got anywhere. They failed to make the impression or have the effect on readers that the instantaneous poems did.

Perhaps the same could be said for Jack! Perhaps that is why he chose to write about Automatic Writing for the Winterspells blog. For the practice is something he is very familiar with.

This is one of Jack’s poems that I really love about an Irish Goddess very special to me: Brigidh, triple Moon Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft — or what we in the Craft know to be shapeshifting.. This poem is an excellent example of the deep mind at work in the Faery Realm, intuitively picking up the images, scents, sounds and icons of the Goddess.

Brigidh’s Bier

Yesterday at 10:52pm
I wept at the bier of St. Brigidh,
Magnanimous even in flames.
The weepers thronged in from the village
But Brigidh recalled not their names.

Three years had I watched at her cauldrons;
Three years had she called me her son;
Three years had I borne piny pauldrons
Defending a prickly old nun.

The Cailleach to her persecutors,
To heather, to hill, and to tomb,
With embers and bright seeds of rowan,
And apple, and elder in bloom.

Their roots, devouring malice,
Their seeds, abolishing greed.
Blessed Bride, won’t you grant us your power
On this day, in the hour of our need?

Automatic Writing is a magical technique used by the old Magical Orders such as The Golden Dawn and the Theosophists as a tool to get the ego-mind out of the way so that the writer could receive, and record, messages from the Deities or spirits from any of the realms that Jack discusses in his fine article. New Agers would call this Channeling. Druids would call a poet who works this way, a Bard.

The Scribe puts pen to paper, blanks his or her mind, and lets the pen move over the page on its own. It’s a bit like a Ouija Board without the Ouija. I am not sure it is less dangerous, for both involve contact with spirits.

You can be said to channel your Higher Self, or Inner Self, or what I like call the Deep Self as well. It depends on how ‘scientific’ you are and how involved consciously you are, or are not, with Magical Realms.

So here are Jack’s Instructions. Let us know what happens if you try this, or of what your experiences have been. with Automatic Writing by clicking Comments at the top of the post.

A Brief Introduction to Automatic Writing

by Jack Roberge

Though most people have heard of automatic writing, few are familiar with its myriad applications. Also known as “scribing,” automatic writing is possible for those who are willing to set aside “the self” and receive creative inspiration from one or more outside sources. Success in this practice will depend on the practitioner’s patience and willingness to establish relationships with these sources.

In this article, I will introduce the process of discovering amenable writing partners, which to my mind may be drawn from one of four “realms”: (1) The Realm of the Deceased, (2) Faerie, (3) The Celestial Realm, and (4) The Terrestrial Realm. Please bear in mind that everyone’s experience with scribing is different; my personal opinion is that anyone claiming to comprehend all its dynamics is probably a charlatan.

(1) The Realm of the Deceased

I recommend that those new to automatic writing begin by working with a loved one who has recently passed away. Ideally, this will be someone with whom the writer was on good terms at the time of passing.

Too often our loved ones pass without having the opportunity to express certain sentiments. As an automatic writer, you become a medium through which the spirit of your loved ones is allowed to speak. It is a truly beautiful practice.

I suggest that you begin by building a small memorial altar to the loved one of your choice. Include photographs, cremated remains, jewelry, etc. If you are lucky enough to have a computer, typewriter, or pen which belonged to the deceased, use it!

Set aside an hour’s time during which you are assured of having no distractions. By means of meditation and/or herbal infusion, calm and focus the mind; herbs of Pluto, such as Turnera diffusa, and gemstones associated with channeling, such as amethyst, should assist with this practice.

Most scribes will agree it is essential to establish some form of ritual by which a sense of self is clearly delineated and preserved; even the most benign of spirits is apt to playing mind games with the living. For instance, light a candle and speak aloud the name of the loved one you want to summon; when your scribing session is complete, blow out the candle and gently ask the summoned spirit to leave.

Some spirits are more effusive than others; if the first writing companion you summon seems reticent, try another!

(2) The Fairy Realm

Personally, I can only recommend communication with fairies to those who have been walking a magical path for some years and feel abundantly protected from their potential mischief. Fairies are neither angels nor demons but something in between. They exist among humans who believe in them, injecting beauty, mystery, and wonder into the ordinariness of daily life. Fairy companions repay caution, humility, and faith, and they ask relatively little of their human counterparts.

That said, I cannot recommend scribing with a fairy companion until one is competent in the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or another banishing ritual of equivalent force. Keep a steel knife close at hand, for it is the best defense against baneful fairy magicks. No matter what any fairy tells you, remember that Robin Goodfellow is among their number. Call out for Robin if your companion proves unruly; he will bring all his Merry Men to your defense if need be.

The herb Elecampane (Inula helenium) and the gemstone Staurolite (also known as Fairy Cross or Fairy Stone) should prove helpful to those wishing to commune with The Folk.

Robin Goodfellow

(3) The Celestial Realm

Though it is possible to serve as a medium for divine messages, I have relatively little experience in this practice and thus cannot recommend it to the casual scribe. Access to the higher realms in which divine energies exist is seldom permitted to mortals. Only those who commit themselves to many years of prayer, meditation, and devotion are likely to find themselves blessed with the opportunity to channel the divine wisdom of immortal gods and goddesses.

In my experience, the herbs Gota Kola, Holy Basil (Tulsi), and Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) are helpful in elevating consciousness to the higher planes where communion with divine energies is possible. The gemstones Tanzanite, Lapiz Lazuli, and Herkimer Diamond may assist those wishing to explore divine mysteries.



(4) The Terrestrial Realm

Those who have persisted in psychic development may find it possible to perform a fourth form of automatic writing worked purely in the terrestrial realm. As a terrestrial scribe, you telepathically channel the editorial input of a living friend or teacher. Personally, I have only used this technique in order to refine information I have received from the first three realms mentioned in this article. As with all telepathic communication, only attempt terrestrial scribing with those whom you thoroughly trust.

Third-eye herbs, such as Cinnamon and Anise, and gemstones associated with psychic development, such as clusters of quartz crystal, may assist in this practice.

In closing, I should mention that many helpful books have been written on the topic of automatic writing; the most useful one I’ve discovered is “Swan on a Black Sea: Study of Automatic Writing” by Geraldine Cummins. Thanks again to Arlene DeWinter for inviting me to pen this brief article; I trust she will add any pertinent caveats which I have omitted. Good luck!

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What is Winterspells Faery Witchcraft?

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft

Chateau Reine Blanche

Chateau Reine Blanche


I have received inquiries about my free e-course recently that lead me to believe I must clarify where I am coming from as far as my magical path is concerned.

What is it, actually, and what is its purpose?

In the global environment of the web, there are so many versions of magic and witchcraft, couched in so many cultural contexts and traditions, that I have been made aware that my Euro-American, Native American perspective grown out of the 1960′s and 1970′s era of social change, is not as obvious to others as it is to me.

I began this blog as a potential platform for my magically inspired fiction: dark fantasy, ghost stories, occult thrillers, weird history, and paranormal tales. As many of my fictional ideas and images are harvested from my life experience,  it seemed logical to tell some true stories on a blog and, since I want to get my  fiction  published,  I chose to keep it off-line for now. In writing content to the initial version of this blog, I began peeling back layers of memories and found that the important events in my life share an underlying theme of occult study and magic, and sometimes ordinary events perceived in non-ordinary ways. I am a symbolist and tend to mythologize events in order to make them meaningful, or to cope with the difficult stuff.  In trying to understand why this is so, I came to the conclusion, quite a while ago now, that my unusual abilities (I have been seeing spirits since early childhood, raised kundalini the first time I sat meditation, left my body easily to go ‘out and about’ in the night, and entered and exited Faery at will) fired my imagination, driving me, by an overwhelming need, to ground my visions and insights into the various mediums of art.

It is the Shaman’s, or Faery Seer’s, duty to enter the Otherworld and bring back treasure…

As the years passed, I naturally developed my own Magical Path.  I look forward to completing my Life Story/ Magical Timeline, on this blog so I can see the overall pattern. This may or may not be instructive to readers, but I hope it is at least interesting.

Ricahrd Dadd

Richard Dadd

What the Winterspells Magical Path Is:

* Earth Based Magic

combined with

*Artistic Expression

My first love is nature, my second love, the arts.

Configurations of the landscape, an arrangement of trees or rocks, open and closed spaces in the woods, seaside at dusk and dawn, mountain passes, places with histories of ritual, healing, or horror, act as doorways into the Unseen. The beauty, mystery, and transformational power of the natural world comes first. The occult idea the natural world is a ‘veil over the face of the Goddess’ woven with mountains, seas and forests,  fueled my intense desire to see behind that veil into the pristine, dare I say, Edenic, dream of the Creator.  In attempting to do this, I have learned and developed techniques along the way that enable me to  enter and explore parallel dimensions very close to mundane reality.

I  especially hold keys into  the Realm of Faery.

Why Faery? Because the Faeryland is, where the greatest beauty, poetry, art, inspiration, music, dance, sensuality, stories, forgotten worlds, mysteries, and power begin. It is creative womb of the Goddess.

* Winterspells Faery Witchcraft is in the Romantic Tradition.

You can see that  my path is Romantic by the images I consistently choose, such as the mysterious la Chateau Reine Blanche, or Castle of the White Queen in France. In medieval times, widows wore white, thus the White Queen was often so, if not a ghost, a spirit, or a Faery.The mist over the lake suggests that the chateau is in the Otherworld; one must often cross water to enter Faery. The land of the dead is inferred in this equation, but not in a chaotic, nihilistic way, rather as the twilight place between the living and the dead that vibrates with a very special kind of light.

I am steeped in the literary Romances of King Arthur and the Grail Quest. The Celtic Twilight of Yeats, Fiona Macleod, Bards, Ovates and Druids, Irish music, Scots border ballads, Elizabethan folk music, all inform my imagination. Especially resonant are Shakespeare’ plays, the life of Queen Elizabeth I, Dee and Kelly, whatever number King James and his Demonologia.  The witches of 17th century Scotland shown in crude woodcuts of the period, so like the brooding atmosphere of my native Massachusetts. deeply inspire me. And of course fairy tale images haunt me still…

This magical life is Romantic in the old sense of the word — full of drama, dark and light, a search for the soul in all its shades and colors, a quest for adventure, opulence, even extravagance, courage, strong emotions, and sacrifices for the sake of love and art.

What Lies Behind the Veil of Nature

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft, is a way of life that focuses on beauty and the seeking of spiritual treasures. It follows a path between the worlds.

This way is heart centered, for the heart center in our bodies is the energetic link between us and the whole of nature, the Faery, and the stars from which we come.  We are all stars; everything on earth is composed of congealed light. The light vibrates, sings, moves in waves, and flows through everything that lives through the heart center.  When we are in alignment with this energy, magic happens.

I avoid dark paths that deny love and seek to use power as a weapon. This is not out of self righteous judgment, or some hypocritical pretense to be ‘good’.  I love dark symbols, dark literature, dark gods, the Dark Ages. Rather, it is because the light shines in the dark. And because in the dark is mystery, discovery, moonlight,  starlight, quietness; darkness is the atmosphere that leads to inner reflection and dreams. In order to be mature, we must see into our dark places and release forces into consciousness that may have been exiled there out of ignorance and social pressure, but are still very important parts of our psyches.

I think it was Dion Fortune who said something along the lines of, “Be careful exorcizing your demons or may cut off the best part of you.”

What Winterseplls Faery Magic is Not:

* Manipulative

* Destructive

* Ugly

I have had many experiences of the dark. Many of these were painful. I don’t seek pain; I hate it! If it seeks me then there is an imbalance I need to know about,  or some part of me needs to grow — or even to be removed. By the same token to use magic to inflict pain on another because they wound our vanity has no purpose  except to return the wound. Since many relationships are fraught with projections and misunderstandings,  a magical attack may be against the wrong person, or retaliation for our problems against those we perceive as being better off. We may want to impose ourselves on others, to pass our pain around, or buttress our need for control. This kind of attack thus uses uncreative, destructive, dead energy. In my opinion, since magic involves wonder at the beauty of creation, it is not magic at all.

Misuse of power literally shuts the doors to the dimensions where real magic is worked.

Dark Magic, magic for manipulation, for power over  others, will always fail. Why? because the organ of connection to the ground of being where magic can be worked can only be approached through love. Negative, ego-minded, ugly motives may open doors into the Unseen, but the places they access are dead ends that will ultimately turn on the magician.  ‘Power- Over Magic’ always backfires. Our myths, and even our popular fiction, are full of stories about malign magicians getting something worse than they bargained for.

Here is an example: Animals are highly in tune with Faery, very much in twilight mind. Being so open and heart centered, animals will always respond in a trusting, friendly way to people who are the same. If you are hostile, mean, potentially violent, even if your energy field is merely darkened by spiritual pollution, animals will give you a wide berth — especially cats. When your energy field radiates love, kindness, and clarity even wild animals will approach you.

I have always gotten along with animals, especially cats who are particularly psychic.  When I lived in London, I was subjected to constant, vicious psychic attack spurred by the vanity and envy of another Tarot reader in Camden Market.  My aura was constantly being torn at by spirits that, in then process of trying in, inflicted literal physical pain on me. Sometimes the negative vibrations that evil witch sent my way would get into my being, and turn my aura very dark indeed. I was often stressed out and emotionally unbalanced by the draining toxic vibrations of her vindictive sorcery.

During that time, animals ran away when they saw me coming. This was very upsetting, not only because I missed my contact with the animals, but it was also a strong sign that I was in worse shape than I ever dreamed. The  evil  coursing through my aura on those dark tides was noticed by the neighborhood cats! Of course, once I saw this, and got some help, ( another wild story) I regained my good reputation among my furry friends.

I am sure the woman who cast those horrid spells got a nice blow back –simply  because energy must return to its own level! The clean dimensions cannot accept it. There is no resonance. Negative energy is polluting and must find its way back to its source. Not only that, but the negative magic she sent out was carried on the strength of her emotions — her spells were such an intimate part of who she is that they must snap back like a rubber band.

Sooner or later, everything goes back to its creator. It is not a matter of tit for tat. It is the Law of Nature.

It is the heart that speaks to trees, to stones, to hills, and wild creatures; it is the heart that calls forth the Other, and the heart that opens the twilight vision, the second sight, the third eye. The heart responds to beauty, Silence is the medium through which the ancient voices of Earth will speak to us. Silence, and listening to the soundlessness as we gaze into the Unseen. The shift in awareness that happens in the silent core of the heart, erases all ego striving, quiets the mind, ends discussion. One walks into the Otherworld as one walks into the sea, sensing the change in temperature, the currents moving against the the body, the play of light on the mirror-like surface of the waves. If your heart is open, and respectfulness is your frame of mind, deeper doors may open to you. You are allowed in because you cause no harm, you are allowed because you bring love and beauty. The Faery are always curious about the vibration of love, drawn to beauty, and anxious to participate with us on that level.

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft is Life Affirming.

Body and Spirit are One, God/Goddess are One, it is all One energy. We don’t have to go anywhere — to another planet, or a star system, or space ship, or  leave our bodies, or strive toward any other condition that denies life.

We are already in the star system! We are made of starlight, and the Earth floats in a universe of stars.

Below is a small lesson in magical perception. Even if you already know this one, it is fun to be reminded.

Apple of the Goddess

Take an apple.

Cut it crosswise in half

Pull it apart

inside, see the star

A five pointed star

made with seeds.

A pentagram inside an apple made by the Goddess and opened by Eve who desired knowledge of Earth.

The stars are in the Earth

The Earth is a star

All creatures, stones, trees, oceans, mountains, clouds are stars.

Reach into the starry matrix with your mind

Touch the currents of energy

Hear the ethereal music of the spheres

You do not have to strive, deny yourself, attain, or ascend

You are already there.

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