Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ask The Witch: Ookey Spooky, Oogie Boogie

The student from yesterday wrote back with a bunch more questions...

1) Is that story legit? Nothing added dramatic flare? Because that's actually awesome.
Hand to God, that's what happened, as best as I remember it.  However, that story takes place over at least an hour, maybe more like an hour and a half, and I left out the boring parts.  And, I'm a freak, and weird shit happens around me.  Also, the area where I grew up is widely understood to be among the most "haunted" counties in the country.  I find Connecticut much harder to get results in, but that might be because I'm not used to it.  I don't "know the land" here.  

2) Are there "bad" spirits, like in horror movies and shit? I guess I mean to ask if there are ones that are malicious.
Are there bad people?  Like serial-killer movies and shit?  Yes, but they're rare, and mostly they're not gunning for for you.  Unless you go looking for trouble, it's unlikely to come looking for you.  Moreover, few spirits are "bad" in the sense of actually intentionally out-to-get-you malicious.  They're more like hurricanes; bad for you, when you're in their way, but still important, natural phenomena.

3) The times with the lightbulbs, candles and table cloth, etc., were those "bad" spirits?
I don't think so; they weren't really dangerous at all (even the candle pretty much just went out as soon as it fell over).  I think it was too much energy (from the human participants) poorly focused and contained.  Magic that comes with "special effects" is cool, but it's actually the sign of sloppiness and bad form.  It's energetically really inefficient, and doing it a lot can make you sick.  It's more likely under certain specific circumstances.  In particular, that kind of thing happens most in the presence of "liminality";  things, times, places, and people that are midway through some kind of state-change.  Dawn, twilight, equinoxes, solstices, cliffs, shorelines, kilns, weddings, births, deathbeds, infants, adolescents, old folks, season-change, etc, etc...

I have some experience with "bad" spirits, and there's no mistaking it.  You feel cold, and upset, and the air smells and tastes bad.  However, even the few times I've been "attacked" (and I really did go looking for trouble before that's happened.  I not only tracked down bad spirits, but then I poked them with a pointy stick over and over until they paid attention to me), it's never been anything I couldn't handle.  The worst that happens, if you're generally mentally and physically healthy, is you'll be sad/angry for a while, or you might get kind of sick for a couple of days.  Like a cold or a stomach flu kind of sick.  Not cancer or anything.  A lot of the old warnings hark back to a time when people,even "rich" people, lived in cold and filth, and ate one bowl of semi-rotten food a day.  You're healthy and strong.  If you get vamped, turn up the heat, eat a burger, take a nap, and you'll be fine. 

4) If I ask for a certain spirit, one that's not a dick, like Gabriel, or a relative, will I actually get that spirit? Is there a chance I'll one that's a dick?

Spirits aren't as "separate" and "individual" as people are.  While a spirit like Grandma is close, and recently-human, and still relatively individual, the less "terrestrial" a spirit is, the less like a person and the more like a collective it is.  When you call Gabriel, you're probably not going to get the same Gabriel I do.  Rather, you're likely to get a nameless spirit who is generally aligned with Gabriel, who "works for" the loose collection of ideas we call "Gabriel".  Think of it this way; if you write a letter to Ronald McDonald, some random McDonalds employee writes you back, but they can only say things about which they're authorized to "speak for the company".  However, if you're friends with a high-level McDonalds executive, you're likely to get more traction talking to them, even if your question isn't really "their department".  If it makes you feel better, you can think of spirits as aspects of your unconscious.  Many people do.  There's a saying among magicians... "It's all in your head, but your head is much bigger than you think it is."  Here's some stuff I wrote before about a similar question:

5) If I do get a "good" spirit, is the thank-you gift very important? If I didn't do that, would he/she/they/it be pissed?
It's tacky and rude to call someone out of the blue, ask for a favor, and then not even say thank you. I'd be pissed if you did that to me.  But I wouldn't eat your soul or anything.   In almost all cases, the worst thing that will happen is they'll stop taking your calls.  That's why ancestors are good.  Your grandma already knows that you're an spoiled, ungrateful jerk, and she loves you anyway.  That being said, it's obnoxious.  With spirits, just like with people, always err on the side of saying thank you.  Certain classes of spirits (such as fairies) it's important to go REALLY out of your way to be EXTRA polite, because they tend to be kind of pissy.  It's why we call them "kindly ones".

6) Is it okay to ask about NSFW things like sex or drugs or something? What if it's like, my grandma or something? 

It depends on the spirit.  I wouldn't talk to my Grandma about sex, but I'm not one to judge.  In my experience, if you talk to a spirit about things they don't want to hear, they'll just leave. Much like, I suspect, if you started to ask your living Grandma for sex advice, she'd hang up on you.  In many traditions, they teach that it's not good to get too aroused or have sex around the spirits of the dead, because when you're having sex, you're very energetically "opened up" and vulnerable, and they'll "latch on" and "vampire" it out of you.  It's not that they want to eat you, or are even doing it on purpose, it's just that heat moves from hot objects to cold objects.  I don't have enough first hand experience to really comment on that, but it doesn't seem like bad advice. My instinct is that it's a bigger problem for men than for women (because, for most men, the natural flow of energy during sex is outward, while for most women, it's inward. but, that varies from person to person and time to time)

I know you didn't ask this, but I'm going to warn you anyway.  DON'T MIX SEX, DRUGS, and MAGIC!!  Any combination of those is likely to go badly.  They dramatically amp up the "potency" of each other.  I know that sounds exciting (and it is) but it can turn dangerous very quickly.  Anyhow, if you do that at 18, what will you have left when your'e old and jaded like me?  :)  Magic is fun/useful/exciting/dangerous the same way driving is.  If your a sober, responsible adult, and you know what you're doing, and you do it under controlled circumstances, than it's fun and awesome.  You're might have some small fender benders while you're learning. But, if you do it recklessly, or drunk, or as a stunt or a game, or when you're out-of-control, you can get hurt very badly, or hurt someone else.

7) I sort of wanted to ask you if you knew anything about a certain spirit, but he (sometimes known as a she) is known to be a total douche. Can I still ask about him? Will saying aloud or typing his name call him, or something? Did even mentioning him vaguely do anything bad? Sorry in advance if I just doomed us both.

It's difficult for spirits to manifest in the world.  It's difficult to get a spirit to "hover" around you, and even more difficult to "tune in" to them even once they are there.  If you want that (and there are good reasons you might), you need to regularly spend time paying attention to them.  It's easier for us to manifest in the "spirit world" than it is for spirits to manifest here. (because we have spirits and bodies, and they mostly only have spirits, the same way rocks mostly only have bodies)  Ask away. I promise I won't let them eat you. ;)

Ok, that spirit/body thing was a VERY BAD oversimplification.  It's much more complicated that that, because spirits and bodies aren't really different sorts of things, and they're all epiphenomena of each The All,and etc, etc.  But, it was a useful gloss for that particular point.  Don't think about it too hard.

8) If i tried any of this, would any Ouija board do? Even the cheapo ones that are made out of cardboard and have a shitty sticker on them?

I'm of the opinion that beautiful, well-made tools inspire better results (in magic,in art,in craft, and in life) but anything will work.  You can do it with anything.  I do it with a pen and paper (instructions for that here)  Higher quality tools, ones that you or someone else has invested a lot of time and love into, work better than ugly machine-made crap, but anything will work.  The only downside of the cardboard ones is that it's hard to get the blood stains out.  (kidding!)

9) If i tried any of this, is it likely something bad would happen? I watch way too many horror movies...

Very unlikely.  In fact, it's relatively unlikely that anything at all will happen.  However, if you're scared, it does increase the chances something unpleasant will happen  That being said, even if it does go wrong, it will be unpleasant, not dangerous.  There are steps you can take to make it less likely.  Wash yourself, the area, and the board.  B'shem Hashem is a really good all-purpose protective prayer, which you could certainly pray before starting if you're worried.  If you want something "hard core", try the "Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram" before and after (which, IMHO, is actually LESS hardcore, and is based on B'Shem HaShem, but I understand that Jew school may have convinced you that Herbrew prayers are worthless).  There's also some useful related safety tips here:

10) Do demons exist?

Short answer: yes.  Long answer: Depends what you mean by ""demons" and "exist".  

11) This one's a bit more abstract and I feel a little silly for asking it, but: Am I safe to think whatever I naturally think in my head? Can spirits or demons see that shit? Example: Let's say there's a demon named "Super Mario" and Super Mario is pretty damn bad. If i think something disrespectful about Super Mario that Super Mario wouldn't like, can Super Mario hear/see what I thought? Can Super Mario only hear/see what I thought if I've invited Super Mario to? What's the word on that? At what point would Super Mario find out?

Short answer: Think whatever you want. Super Mario can go fuck himself; I'll say it right to his face. Long answer: If you find yourself becoming obsessed with a certain spirit, thinking about them all the time, having repeated bad dreams about them, that's not a good sign. If this is the case, come talk to me, or someone else who knows what they're doing.  You could also (not instead, in ADDITION) do any of the following:

1) Take a plain white egg, and write the spirit's name (if you know it, otherwise, any kind of picture or description is fine, even just "bad spirit") on it. Slowly, run the egg all over your body, starting at your head and continuing down to your feet. Imagine the spirit being drawn from you into the egg. Then, go bury the egg outside. Try not to break it when you bury it, but it's ok if you do. You could also throw it over a cliff into a body of water.  If it breaks, pour some salt over the burial spot, just in case.  then, take a long, hot shower, washing throughly with soap.
2) Make mikveh, preferably in a natural body of water, but a regular mikveh is also fine.  You can also collect rainwater in a pitcher and pour that over yourself at the end of a shower instead.
3) Get some sage, and brew it into a very strong tea, at least a bowl full. Let it cool. Read the 51st Psalm, preferably in Hebrew, but if your Hebrew is up to it, English is also fine. Take a long shower, washing with soap very thoroughly.  Sandalwood scented soap (which is easy to get at any drugstore; I'm partial to a brand called "Bee & Flower") is a great choice for this, but any soap is fine.  At the end of your shower, pour the sage water over you. 

Any of these are almost certainly overkill, and are bound to leave you very, very "psychically/spiritually clean". If you continue to be troubled with obsessive thoughts about a specific spirit, come talk to me, and I'll decide if you need a psychiatrist or an exorcism or both. :)