Witchcraft and the Witch

It’s the #seasonofthewitch and what better topic to chime in on this October than to tackle the question: who is and isn’t a witch? And what the heck is witchcraft? These are the subjects I chime in on in Episode #6 of Bell Chimes In.

Extending from what was discussed in the video, here’s how I’d define a witch. A witch, or wu, is someone who (1) communes with entities or energies of other realms beyond the material-physical, whether you want to strive for a more science-based outlook and work within the framework of energy transfers and wave function (so in that sense, a realm beyond the material-physical) or you’re committed to the religious perspective, and (2) to achieve (1) works with the four seasons and four directions.

Where did that definition come from? Gotta watch the video to find out. 😉 Continue reading “Witchcraft and the Witch”

Tinkering Bell Series: Architecture of Sacred Space (Part II)

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

Episode #3 Description

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.

This is Part 2 of 2 videos on the architecture and design of sacred space. Part 1 covered harmonic resonance. Part 2 (Episode #3) will cover magnetism, orientation, water, and anchoring. In touring each of these fundamental principles, we also touch down into feng shui, spell-crafting, and so much more.

Continue reading “Tinkering Bell Series: Architecture of Sacred Space (Part II)”

Cultural Appropriation

At the heels of Episode #4 on syncretic religious practices, now let’s chat about cultural appropriation. Or is it misappropriation? I get just as confused by the lingo as the next lay person.

In this video, I chat with you about some of my latest thoughts on the topic of cultural appropriation, but focused narrowly on cultural appropriation as it would pertain to religious or spiritual practices.

So this isn’t going to cover cultural appropriation in the fashion industry, in the naming of sports teams, or when commodifying a minority culture to the point of objectification. I’m speaking specifically about adopting the religious or spiritual practices of a culture that isn’t necessarily one that’s part of your DNA.

By the way, I addressed the issue in one of the closing chapters of The Tao of Craft, in Chapter 12. As a preview of the book, you can read the entire chapter right here on my website. Scroll down that page until you get to the PDF link, “A Note on Cultural Appropriation.”

Continue reading “Cultural Appropriation”

Syncretic Religious Practice

Among Western mystery traditions, you often hear about eclectic witchcraft, can even loop chaos magic into the scope of this topic, and those who observe esoteric practices in a way that blends different cultures and religions. Taoist religious scholars refer to this particular way of practicing religion as syncretism. I say Taoist here because Taoism, as a religion, tends to be syncretic.

In Bell Chimes In #4, I make a case for syncretic religious practice. Today very few of us stay sequestered within a homogenous framework. Not only do we travel physically to interact with different cultures, become geographical and cultural transplants ourselves, but with the Internet at our fingertips and our own curiosities to navigate that web, we have access to a diversity of religious ideas in a way our ancestors did not.

As we engage with different faces of the Holy Spirit, we’re able to discover and formulate our own unique Key of access to that Holy Spirit, or connection to Shen (I talk about this in the video), that fits our physiology, karma, life experiences, and psychic imprint. To not reach out and seize upon such opportunities is what I’d describe as rejecting authenticity. Following one fixed religious doctrine from its Point A to its Point Z that conforms to what a textbook says is historical is not “authenticity.” Authenticity, I argue, is about following what’s in your bones and in ways that maybe no one else will ever truly understand. And what’s being guided by your bones may appear to be eclectic.

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Continue reading “Syncretic Religious Practice”

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”

Tinkering Bell Series: Architecture of Sacred Space (Part I)

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 “Tinkering Bell Series: Architecture of Sacred Space (Part I)”

Tinkering Bell Series: Expelling Malefic Attachments

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 “Tinkering Bell Series: Expelling Malefic Attachments”

Spirituality and Politics: Light Worker, Shadow Worker

“Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals” (2011) by Manuel Marín. Via Flickr.com @manuelmarin. Creative Commons.

Recent social events and divisive politicians have motivated many public figures in the spiritual communities to step forward and comment about politics. Almost every single one will receive a vitriolic remark about staying “within your own lane” and just stick to spirituality; don’t be “low vibe and low energy” by talking politics or social consciousness.

Likewise, there are an equivalent number of public figures in the spiritual communities who have built their branding and image on compassion, love, and lightworking, and yet they have remained eerily silent on issues of social injustice, hate, hate crimes, and, well, quite frankly, political issues that they don’t think personally affects them, but are literally killing others. Which is odd, for someone spiritual who believes as above, so below, as within, so without, and we are all One…

Those who actively seek to walk a spirituality-dominant path for personal development have two options. First, they can develop spirituality inward, and focus on themselves. The goal here is personal transcendence. How can you, you, transcend? The second option is to develop spirituality outward, and focus on the collective. The goal here is collective or social transcendence, to use what Divinity has gifted you with to make a difference in the world around you so that the world can, collectively, transcend, or at least take another positive step toward transcendence. Those are the two core objectives of spirituality. It’s either about your transcendence or it’s about your collective’s transcendence

To talk about which one of the two paths everybody should take is an unproductive conversation. Both paths serve a larger purpose beyond what we are able to understand in our moment. Also, one path is the other, and vice versa. Evolve yourself and you do evolve the collective. Evolve the collective and you will evolve yourself. So both are equally compelling spiritual paths.

That’s why for someone to say to a spiritualist that you should not involve yourself in politics or comment on political matters is, well, short-sighted. It’s in effect asserting that the first path is superior (personal transcendence) and spiritualists need not and should not seek collective or social transcendence.

If you’re seeking self-improvement at the moment and using the vehicle of personal spirituality to do so, which by the way is the definition of shadow work, then yes, perhaps turning inward and detaching from the political and social landscape of your world at the moment is the prudent path. If, however, you are a lightworker, or a self-professed lightworker, well then, lightwork is defined by shining your light out into the world so that you can uplift your community. The lightworker cannot do that effectively by summarily ignoring politics and social issues. Politics and social issues are intertwined with the conditions of your community.

To heal a body, you have to find what is rotting, diagnose the problem, and eradicate the problem area so that the healthy part of the body can begin the healing process. No one disagrees with that or finds such an assertion divisive. Yet when our society is sick and everyone, no matter which side of the aisle you stand on, can acknowledge something is rotting, why aren’t we working toward diagnosing the problem and eradicating the rot? Sure, we can disagree on what the problem is and what the solution ought to be, and that’s common in any area of expertise. But if the team of medical experts are going to heal the patient, then even when they disagree with the diagnosis, they had better do so by working together, collaboratively and in harmony, or else that patient is going to die on the operating table.

Let’s also address how spiritualists take many forms, and serve different roles. Some are rhetoricians, the messengers. Others are warriors, our gladiators. We’ve got those who are physical healers, who heal us mind, body, and soul, one by one. There are those who traverse to other realms or channel entities from other realms, and bring to us important messages so the rest of us can do our jobs better. Then we’ve got the teachers, who preserve the body of wisdom we’ve attained up to this point by passing it on to the next generation of messengers, warriors, healers, and mediums. Understood in that way, it seems silly for the rhetorician to tell the warrior not to fight, or that the healer should take up arms and slay on the battlefront. That being said, if one is a self-proclaimed warrior, then one had better take up the cause and fight the war when called. You can’t call yourself a warrior and then run away from the draft.

To be political and social is part of some of our spiritual paths. Let’s honor that. Likewise, certain defined spiritual paths necessitate its adherents to be political, and yet so many of those who profess to follow such paths are too afraid of their own shadows to do what needs to be done. You cannot be an adequate lightworker if you do not walk out of your own comfort zone in search of the darkness, to find where you most need to shine your light. Do you have to be a lightworker if you are spiritual? No, you don’t. Not all spiritualists are lightworkers. But I am perplexed by those who say they are and yet who refuse to engage in political discourse.