On Initiation Rites

Presenting “Bell Chimes In” #3. I’ll be talking about initiation rites.

Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through all the fun and provocative topics for conversation that have been swimming around the online metaphysical and psycho-spiritual circuits. We covered deity in episode #1, then the placebo effect and magic in #2, and now initiation rites.

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As I commented on in the video, even if you’re a solitary practitioner–perhaps especially if you are a solitary practitioner–an initiation rite is worth your consideration. See it as leaving behind an old perspective, detaching from something that wasn’t working for you, and vowing to take a particular disciplined path in esoterica guided by particular forces you will be committing to work with, whether that’s a patron deity, a specific modality of craft or a tradition of magic, or just dedication to closer future attunement with your guides or ancestors. However you want to frame it, this is about you accepting for yourself the role of the initiate and committing to something that is going to be a dedicated, regimented way of practice from this point on.

Little needs to be said about initiation to one who is on a traditional path, following a set lineage, or who will become a member of an established mystery tradition. So this is addressing the solitary practitioners. Start by thinking about garments for dress that is going to be out of the ordinary for you. I’d even go so far as to acquire garments just for this occasion, exclusive to this occasion, and then something you’ll tuck away in a memory box, something you won’t wear again or at least not for ordinary occasions, and so this particular garment will become symbolic and sentimental to you.

Consider a local mountain or somewhere near where you live that indigenous folk once upon a time considered sacred. Find someplace where you can be alone, with open land and open sky, and if a lake, river, or brook is nearby all the better, and in that privacy, commune with Spirit, connect to the natural powers of the earth around you, and uttering carefully crafted words you’ve drafted ahead of time, send up a vow or petition in exchange for the sending down of a channel of power, attunement, connection, or access to you.

If you’re into astrology, check dates and times for the initiation rite that is going to be resonant with your own birth chart. If there are particular astrological or planetary references associated with your patron deity, then check those as well and make sure those particular astrological features are empowered at the time of your initiation rite.

Everything else about the initiation rite, all the in between details I didn’t address, is up to you.

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I’ve got a couple more ideas listed out in a brainstorm for the “Bell Chimes In” series, but I’d love to hear your requests. What topics would you like to see my talking head yammer on about in the form of a YouTube video?

This is not an educational series, meaning the topics should be ones where all I’m doing is offering an opinion. There shouldn’t be any instructional value, so don’t be like, “an episode on how to read a birth chart!” or “the history of the I Ching.” This series is about perspectives and points of view. [The “Tinkering Bell” series, in comparison, is going to be more instructional in format.]

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“Bell Chimes In” is about discourse, or at least that is my hope and intentions for the video series. It’s about me chiming in on a topic oft talked about, with my own perspective, opinions, or hypothesis, and with that, continuing the conversation on that topic. So I hope you’ll join in to keep the discourse going.

Placebo Effect and Magic

In my last blog post I mentioned my new “Bell Chimes In” series on YouTube, with episode 1 on Deity. Here in episode 2, I chime in about magic and the placebo effect. I couldn’t decide which title would be better for SEO, “Placebo Effect and Magic” or “Magic and Placebo Effect.” I settled on the one you see in the title.

Also, I need to make a note to myself to never make YouTube videos when I’m having a bad face day. Argh.

Continue reading “Placebo Effect and Magic”

On Deity

I’m enjoying my new foray into video making on YouTube, but this one I could have taken a bit more time on. I thought of the topic in the morning, shot part of the video at that time as soon as the idea came to me, drew the doodles at work, outlined some notes, then recorded the rest of it after I came home. As a result, I don’t think I explained my thought cogently enough. The guideline I set for myself is it has to be under 15 minutes, so quite a bit of cutting had to be done as well. Sigh.

Anyway, the point of the video is I experienced deity as energy first, not realizing that was deity, and then was first taught personification of deity and monotheism through Christianity when I was nine. For most of my life I’ve been fascinated with religion and mythology, passionately inquisitive of what different people believed about deity.

Continue reading “On Deity”

5 Beginner Tarot Courses for Free

Deck pictured: Giant Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot by AGM Muller

If you go searching for free tarot resources on the interwebs, you’ll go down a deep rabbit hole of content and for the beginner, that itself could be just as daunting as the process of having to learn tarot. Which one do you really start-start with? Isn’t there an easy linked “Lesson 1” and then you can just go from there?

Here I’ve compiled for you a list of five (5) beginner sources that are essentially free online tarot courses. These courses are self-paced, yet guided by a tarot master, structured, and with substantive content I’ve vetted, reviewed and felt, wow, yeah, okay, this is good stuff. Also, in assembling this list, I tried to look for resources that had some nice polish to them, were well-designed, well-produced, aesthetically-pleasing, and not too smarmy with any efforts to sell you something.

So, to be fair, there were several pretty good sites that I’ve left out from this list because ultimately, it was geared toward selling you something. An important criterion was the site had to be, overall, leaning more toward “educational purposes” than toward “promotional purposes.” Another important criterion was that the tarot lessons were well-organized and easy to follow.

Given those parameters, here are my top five for you. Continue reading “5 Beginner Tarot Courses for Free”

Harmonic Resonance | Tinkering Bell #2

This is the second installment of a video series on my YouTube channel called Tinkering Bell where I showcase my personal esoteric tinkerings.

Episode #2 Description

This is Part 1 of 2 videos on the architecture and design of sacred space. Part 1 (Episode #2 in the series) will cover the first of the five fundamental principles: harmonic resonance.

Whether you are designing the blueprints for a church or temple, seeking out a home and living quarters that will be empowered as sacred space, or setting up your altar, “Architecture of Sacred Space” from the Tinkering Bell series will cover the five fundamental principles for constructing sacred or sanctified space.

There is a common denominator among mystery traditions across the world that instruct on a perfected way for harmonizing human architecture with deity and with nature. In “Architecture of Sacred Space,” I share with you the basic criteria I follow for ensuring a sanctified living space.

Continue reading “Harmonic Resonance | Tinkering Bell #2”

The Bad Bitches Tarot: A Modern Goddess Deck

The Bad Bitches Tarot by Ethony has my kid sister’s name all over it. Okay, it doesn’t literally, and she’s not exactly a “kid” anymore, but if I were to profile who would fall in love with the Bad Bitches Tarot, it would be the yuppie upper east side Manhattan dwelling Millennial fashionista third-wave feminist who thinks it would be really chic to have a tarot deck out on her coffee table.

I showed the deck to my sister by video chat and she just gasped. “Omigod it’s gorgeous. But I don’t know how to read the tarot.” To demonstrate how she could totally use this deck for herself, I pulled a card for her–the Six of Wands–then read the card’s meaning out of the accompanying Guidebook. The meaning, straight out of the book, fit perfectly with her situation.

We then pulled another card, the Seven of Swords. Again, I read that card’s meaning to her straight from the book. The sis major LOL-ed at how blunt the message was. Ethony’s Bad Bitches Tarot Guidebook has attitude, style, and a modern, punchy tone. Sis totally approves.

“So I can just read that tarot deck for myself? Pull a card like you just did and then read about it from the little Guidebook?” (It’s embarrassing to me as a tarot author how minimal my sisters know about the tarot…)

“Yes.” I said. (Or you could read the card meaning from that giant book your sister wrote but whatevs.)

“I love it,” she beams. And really, you can’t help but to love this deck. It’s a goddess deck for the digital Millennial age. It photographs beautifully for Instagram shots, with rose gold gilded edges and a semi-matte finish that’s got just the perfect relaxing ASMR shuffling sound when you riffle the cards.

Continue reading “The Bad Bitches Tarot: A Modern Goddess Deck”

Expelling Malefic Attachments | Tinkering Bell #1

I’m starting a new video series on my YouTube channel, called Tinkering Bell. I’m Bell (or at least that’s what people who can’t seem to pronounce “Benebell” call me) and throughout these videos, I’ll be showcasing my metaphysical and esoteric…tinkerings. Hence, Tinkering Bell. The videos are going to be practicum-centered tutorials that share my particular idiosyncrasies in the Craft.

This is the first installment of the series, on expelling malefic attachments.

Episode #1 Description

When I say “expelling malefic attachments,” I’m keeping that terminology overbroad to cover a lot of different ground. If you’re feeling energetically weighed down, unduly influenced in a way you intuit yet can’t explain and it’s been detrimental to you, or you’re sensing atrophic, less-than-positive vibes around you that you’d like to get rid of, then consider trying what I do for myself: a fifteen-day integrated self-cleanse.

This total mind, body, and spirit self-cleanse is meant to eradicate any string of bad luck, negativity in your life, remove hexes, exorcise unwanted spirit attachments, neutralize the evil eye, and detox from what Chinese feng shui masters would call poison arrows.

Continue reading “Expelling Malefic Attachments | Tinkering Bell #1”