I was recently asked to provide credentials on why I, and other Reclaiming Witches, have the right to call ourselves witches. Specifically, the concerns raised were that we call ourselves witches in the face of many ongoing deaths under the title, and that we are being culturally appropriative when we use the name.

I understand the concern. To be called a witch has been and continues to be serious accusation. Whether the accusation is of casting baneful magic on our human neighbors or of practicing illegitimate spirituality or magic, a witch is in many contexts not to be taken lightly. It stands in contrast to the joyful and sometimes flippant parade of altar pics on social media.

However, I cannot appropriate from my own culture, and the reclamation of the term witch is indeed that: a reclamation. We present day witches recognize that if we lived in a different time and place our actions would very well lead to our arrest and/or murder.

To provide a longer explanation, I want to begin with how we have inheritance of the term. The word witch comes to us through many avenues. The Puritans and other Christian sects who colonized the land very obviously brought the witch hunt with them, as evidenced by the famous Salem Witch Hunt. Many of us still deal with the spiritual repercussions: shame around the body, black and white moral thinking, and family from whom the practice must be kept secret. We also inherit other cultural baggage from those Christians: taboos around dance, drink, music, and just general fun.

Present day Evangelical Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Fundamentalist Christians have a very real belief in witches and will punish children who express interest in those forms of magic or spirituality. In the last 6 months I have seen at least 4 minors asking for help who live in this situation in the US and Brazil. Many of us come from families who hold these beliefs. I have seen my fellows deal with a deep set shame from this upbringing.  Some of us, including me, are also immigrants from countries where the word witch, bruja, or bruxa is still used as a serious accusation.

Finally, Reclaiming has amongst its members people who are culturally if not religiously Jewish. Jewish people, heretics, and witches faced much of the same punishment and were often conflated for each other in the European middle ages until the early modern period. One of our most prominent writers and founders, Starhawk, is culturally Jewish. I also know multiple people from Jewish backgrounds who call themselves witches to this day. We can say very firmly in wake of the shootings at synagogues and temples in the last year in the US that violent antisemitism is still alive here.

It is easy to understand why someone might think we are divorced from this inheritance. Whiteness is a powerful cultural force in America, and one of the ways in which it establishes itself is to force us to be cut off from our ancestry in favor of being American. Germans, Jewish people, and even my Latina mother all have made decisions that prioritized their children fitting in over learning their history. Whiteness in this country does not just mean giving up folkways of our ancestors. It means fitting into a middle class, agnostic, Protestant spirituality. Poor Whites and those who do engage in Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christianity are often shamed and labeled “hicks”, “white trash”, and “crazy”.

The effect of this is that America (especially in our television and movies) presents itself as a monolithic culture that does not believe in witches. Even though the word witch means something a little different in the dystopia of this country, we still have a modern context affected by a direct cultural tie to places that did and still do believe in witchcraft. This doesn’t even get into the way the word witch was embroiled in the Satanic Panic of the 90’s.

We can’t appropriate from our own culture.

What does it mean to be a witch? Often, the accusation is false. People can be killed under the accusation of witchcraft to this very day because they hold land or some political power that makes them inconvenient to the plans of the rich and powerful. Silvia Federici has several books on a present day, global notion of what the word witch might mean. Undesirables were also labeled witch because they were easy targets to displace anger onto when the rich and powerful could not prevent famine or disease.

Who were/are the Undesirables? Old widows, herbalists, midwives, queers, those who refuse to follow Christianity, political organizers, people of color who refused to be treated as less than human, women who have had abortions: the list is long but rest assured we are on it. Reclaiming Witches, in particular, do not simply claim the word witch. No, we do our best to organize direct action against those forces which threaten the earth and humanity. We are street medics. We are jail support. We are prison pen pals. We call representatives, go to rallies, vote, continuously, educate ourselves, take part in noise demos, support strikes, and all other manner of political engagement.

We call ourselves witches to remind ourselves that we are lucky to be alive. For me personally, it is similar to why I call myself Queer. People died and are dying for me to have the freedoms I have today. I honor their struggle by wearing the labels as a badge of honor and by challenging myself every day to work hard to make more freedoms available for my descendants.

Finally, to the person who asked for my credentials, I offer this: what can I do as someone who calls themselves a witch living in present day America to stand in solidarity with those being accused as witches across the globe? If you have any ideas, I am open to hearing them.

A Loose List of Sources

Caliban and the Witch, Federici

The Devil and the Jew, Trachtenberg

Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and Ex-Fundies I know irl

Truth or Dare, Starhawk


August 25th Ritual

Pigeon and I will be leading a ritual and discussion based on the Garden of Eden story. It is part of a four ritual arc we will be presenting this year with with the aid of the facilities of OTO Golden Thread Camp. 

Where: 300 Camp Horne Rd. Pittsburgh, PA. 15202 Parking is available. The building has stairs and is dusty.

When: Sunday August 25th. Doors open at 1:30. Ritual starts at 2. Discussion after. Doors close at 4:30.

How Much: Recommended donation is $5 to attend one portion, $10 for both. All proceeds go to Golden Thread to cover cost of space.

Ritual Intention: When wisdom is found we are cast out of sanctuary. Let us be sanctuary for each other.

Discussion Topic: Mary in Mystical Traditions, the Black Madonnas, and Marian Apparitions.




Where to Start

A lot of people want to know how to get started with magic, polytheism, and paganism. My suggestion is very simple: start with divination, scrying, or augury. From tarot to water bowls to patterns in the clouds, there are countless methods to connect with your own inner guidance. You can, of course, ignore me. You may already know what calls to you, but here are a few reasons why I think divination makes a great starting point.

You are about to begin a conversation with yourself and with the spiritual universe. No one can really answer most of the questions you have right now except for you. What calls to you and why is a question about your feelings. No one can tell you how you feel except you. A lot of factors about what paths to consider also come into the very personal territory of race, ethnicity, family history, and current context. Those are nuanced topics, and most people don’t want to talk to a bunch of internet randos regarding this. Divination, on the other hand, helps you figure out how you feel, and lets whatever forces that may be interested in you start to make themselves known. Nothing except practice will help you build confidence in your intuition. Only practice will help you separate wishful things and anxiety from real messages. So, practice!

Practice is messy. You will have fits and starts, because life does not stop just because you started looking for magic and spirituality. Also, habits are hard to build. Time and space are hard to come by. Where I have had success is in adding magic or worship to things I already do rather than trying to make new space. My altar is the place in my room that is most personal: my writing desk. I listen to podcasts while working because I do not always have time to read books. I replaced my social media feeds with an rss app (Feedly) that gives me updates from blogs that I like. I use a spiritual cleansing soap in the shower. It is very likely that you already have something you do on a regular basis that is magic, you just have to learn to see it for what it is.

Finding and trying divination methods encourages research. This will help you find out what sources are available and which ones you trust. It will help you start thinking about history and theory. You can also reach out to local practitioners and shops while looking for supplies. It will also help you decide if this is even work you want to do, because skillbuilding is work, and all branches of magic and paganism require skillbuilding.

Finding local practitioners depends a lot on where you are and how much access you have to transportation. Some places have good shops; some don’t. Some places have groups doing open ritual; Some don’t. Witchvox and Facebook are easy go-to’s. You may also want to check your local paper for event. Unitarian Universalist Churches and Friends’ Meeting Houses tend to draw pagans due to their accessibility for ritual. Non-chain bookstores that sell metaphysical books or tarot decks may also have information on local groups and events. Don’t be afraid to keep asking.

Divining helps build a workspace. Whether you carry your tools with you or leave them in one spot, you will begin to work, and that means learning when and how you work best. The time and place you work best will also help clue you in to what forces you should look toward. I write best in the early morning because I am a solar energy kind of witch. I work best at my writing desk because I am an art witch. Funny enough, Horus slid right into my practice like a falcon landing on a tree branch. Rosemary, one of my top three plant allies, is a solar plant. Before you reach out to the universe, reach in to yourself. Learn yourself.

You will learn all the basics, or at the very least you will have a magical operation that allows you to test all the basic skills as you learn them: setting a container, grounding, focus, non-chemical methods of altered states, etc. Two other skills divination helps you pick up are journaling and giving yourself permission to mess up. You are learning a whole bundle of skills. You will not get them right all the time.

So, there you have it. I think the best place for a new person to start is divination. If you really don’t know what form of divination to start with, tarot is everywhere and works just as good as anything else. You’ll have no shortage of people to talk to, and tarot isn’t picky about what faith or lack thereof you have. Christians, atheists, pagans, and all manner of folks make use of the cards. Good luck.

Speaking In Ritual

I am not an expert in creating ritual. If anything, I am just barely a journeyman, starting to create outlines that work without mentorship. I have noticed something, and I wanted to talk about it. There are multiple ways to use speech in ritual. “Speech” in here in a broad sense, to encompass sign language and singing.

The first technique I have seen is carefully written and memorized speeches, such as the parts of the Gnostic Mass. The advantage of these scripts are many. First, making someone memorize something (or at least think very deeply about notecards) tests their dedication to the ritual and ensures that those who undertake the ritual are firm in their desires to do so. Scripts allow for a lot of nuance and care in weaving the relationships between the various forces at play. That is to say, scripts are more precise. This technique also seems to lend itself well to rituals that are meant to be repeated, making every single iteration of the ritual very alike.

There are downsides. Some people cannot memorize despite being very dedicated. For those, there is no shame in notecards, and if the notecards are made into a ritual object it does not interrupt the flow. Also, though other people seem to experience this differently, I do not find that heavily scripted rituals move very much energy. From my perspective, it feels like someone fiddling with the Universal Powers with a watchmaker’s tools: precise, subtle, but effective in the right situations.

One way to counterbalance this lack of energy is ritual hollering. One year I was blessed to be invited to a Passover Seder. (Is that capitalized?) The Seder had a script which the leader of the ritual read from. However, along with his very jovial tone and unhindered side commentary, he instructed us that we were allowed to holler, “FREEDOM!” or “LIBERTY!” whenever those words were said in his script. We were also encouraged to sip our drinks whenever the hollers occurred. Wine, juice, and water were provided so we could make individual decisions about how much alcohol and sugar to consume. The simple cue to holler helped hold my attention as a participant, and raised quite a bit of energy during the pre-feast ritual.

Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight shadowcast showings have a similar dynamic of speech. The movie is identical every time, and forms the script. The shadowcast, copying all the movements below the screen, have painstakingly memorized the movements. The audience, meanwhile, has several ways to interact with their voices. One, there are certain cues which can be learned in a matter of minutes, like shouting “ASSHOLE!” every time Brad’s name is said. There are jokes which are learned over the course of multiple viewings, such as tauntings of “We see you, Riff, but the virgins don’t!” in the opening scene. There are also cues to dance and throw various items about the theater, all cued by the script of the film. Participants are encouraged to try and make new jokes. A lot of energy is raised.

A particular kind of memorized speech is singing. Especially with short, repeated chants, this method of speaking is agile and can be used in heavily scripted rituals or in looser preparations. To date, I have only seen it used in more extemporaneous rituals, but I have heard rumors that it is used as a scripted ritual technique.

The second technique I have seen is improvised words. Every Reclaiming ritual I have been to has used this technique. Essentially, the outline of the ritual notes what the words need to do and when they are to be used, but the exact words are created on the fly. This provides a powerful challenge for participants to tap their creativity as well as the creative powers of the people around them. On the one hand, this technique creates a lot of energy and helps adapt rituals to the particular time and place they are being held. On the other hand, being called to add one’s voice causes some people to shut down.

I would be lying if I didn’t say I enjoy that. As much as I have tried to outgrow the elitism of my childhood, some part of me revels every time someone fails to step up and into their own power. “Yeah,” I think to myself like a snotty playground bully, “You can’t keep up. We gave you the perfect place to be held and to take the power you wanted, but you missed the lesson. Your power cannot be given to you wrapped in a little bow. You have to take it, have to face the same fear we all did.”

It’s a growing edge.

Open Mic poetry readings are delightfully weird mix of script and extemporaneous speech. MC’s often read the same words every time, though they do seem to tadd their own ad libs. People on stage can freestyle. I have seen poems written during the ritual itself be taken to the stage as well as poems that represent long hours of work. Much like RHPS, the Open Mic ritual has cues for audience members to speak, typically words of encouragement for the artist on stage. This ritual, more than the others, seems to be a strong container for the feelings of the artists, a sort of ritual cleansing of negativity and secrets. However, I have no idea how that effect relates to the way speech is used.

The final technique is one I only use in private rituals. I would love to see it used in group ritual: silence. In my private rituals, I usually say very little or nothing at all. The movements speak for themselves. A nod or bow toward an icon welcomes the power/spirit/deity. Another nod or bow dismisses. A pause and breath concentrates and summons my intent. Circles are made by the locking of doors and a careful movement of the ritual knife. I find silence helps me concentrate, and it is something I only feel comfortable doing when I am very safe and very certain I won’t be disturbed. Sound, for my mind, anchors things in memory, but it takes me out of the present moment a bit.

How have you seen speaking used in ritual? Have you seen singing used in a way that is the same every time the ritual is held? Have you seen a public ritual that was completely silent? How do you use speech? What ways do you want to experiment with? Comment below!

April 14th Ritual

Pigeon and I will be leading a ritual and discussion based on the Garden of Eden story. It is part of a four ritual arc we will be presenting this year with with the aid of the facilities of OTO Golden Thread Camp. 

Please note that the ritual is clothing optional, and that no minors are allowed to attend.

Where: 300 Camp Horne Rd. Pittsburgh, PA. 15202 Parking is available. The building has stairs and is dusty.

When: Sunday April 14th. Doors open at 1. Ritual starts at 1:30. Discussion starts at 3:30. Doors close at 5.

How Much: Recommended donation is $5 to attend one portion, $10 for both. All proceeds go to Golden Thread to cover cost of space.

Ritual Intention: We reject a paradise built on obedience, and bite into the wisdom of our own becoming.

Discussion Topic: We will be using this article to talk about Antisemitism. Reading the article beforehand is not required.




City Magic

City Magic is a form of the craft that makes use of the specific nature of cities.  It is a location based toolset, focusing on places where humans live in concentrated numbers in a permanent fashion, typically building structures in order to make such densely packed living possible.

If you are looking for the shortest way to tell the difference between cities and towns, look to public transportation. The more densely packed an area is, the less sense it makes to have everyone use private transport. In a way, it makes sense to think of population density and public transportation as measures of “cityness” that coagulate slowly, so a place can be “kind of a city” or “citylike” as opposed to there being a hard division.

What kind of magic do cities have?

To get an understanding, let’s start with a quote from The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Part of the American canon of city planning and beloved by many, this book makes a pretty interesting claim in the last chapter.

“And so a growing number of people have begun, gradually, to think of cities as problems in organized complexity- organisms that are replete with unexamined, but obviously intricately interconnected, and surely understandable, relationships.”

What makes Jacobs so notable is her complete rejection of the idea that cities can be predicted. To her, a city is so complex and interconnected that it is impractical to attempt to account for every variable. Put simply, when you put humans in large numbers in a space, they will move in unpredictable ways. (Exhibit A: The Internet)

As a result, Jacobs places an emphasis on trusting what people who live in a particular place have to say about it, and to her a city planner really only addresses a single issue at a time rather than trying to control everything at once. She suggests observing how people really move through their spaces and building according to their needs, which is also an idea talked about in A Pattern Language, for those wanting an in-depth treatment.

The idea here is that cities behave like ecosystems, that they are unable to be separated from their environments.

Continuing this, let’s consider is the human vs nature divide. After the Industrial Revolution, many people began to feel separated from nature. To this day, many report a feeling of being cluttered, a need to routinely leave the cities and suburbs for a less densely populated areas in order to ground themselves. Even people who love cities report the importance of “lungs” or large, central green spaces.

Additionally, when humans threaten our own survival with issues like manmade climate shift, it can be very easy to paint homo sapiens as supernatural beings destroying the planet, with cities being the ultimate concentration of this anti-nature, anti-magic energy.

For a city witch, this thinking is counterproductive. Magic tends to involve the connections between things, so thinking of cities as separated from the land and people lessens their power. In 1969, James Lovelock brought forth an idea called The Gaia Hypothesis suggesting that humans are not separate from the earth’s self-regulatory systems. He additionally suggests that Gaia may be sentient to some degree, and that humans may simply be an expression of that sentience.

In this context, we can form more complex narratives of the relationship between humans and nature. Are humans are an invasive species, one that been overly successful and that now threatens its own survival due to limited resources?

Many “unnatural” aspects of humanity are found to have parallels elsewhere in nature. Ants and termites are known for their large structures and dense living. Apes are routinely shown to have complex social patterns that mirror our own. The language and tool-making of other animals may not meet our own for complexity, but it is there. Seeing these parallels allows us to start asking how we can stop choking ourselves out of a home.

Most importantly, it means that a city witch sees a city as a kind of place with its own magic, not separate from nature.

So what are cities? Cities are a great concentration of the magic of humans. Personifications of magical currents or energies allow for parallels to be drawn between city living and witchcraft. This means that spirit work is central, as are the relatively new concepts of ley lines and Psychogeography (cw antisemitism).

Circles: Mercury and Venus

When it comes to the Sun and Moon, our experiences of these bodies is visceral enough that the wax and wane of their power needs no explanation. Mercury and Venus, however, are simply two dots in the sky to the untrained eye. The moment when these two planets are closest to the Earth is known as the inferior conjunction. At this time, those planets “pass” the Earth and appear to move backwards in the sky.

Here we come to an important side note in our derivations. Retrogrades have been known for ages as times when the planets powers are turned around, and here we come to a personal choice. One the one hand, the inferior conjunction as the peak of power maintains the idea that proximity to earth is directly correlated to power of influence. It updates notions of planetary power past the rudimentary understanding Europe had in the 1500’s.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for the power of tradition, and astronomy has its own internal logic: that the appearance of things moving across the sky is what dictates their power.

For the foreseeable future, I will be using the idea that physical proximity directly correlates to power of influence. Following this, the inferior conjunction of Mercury and Venus, the retrogrades, are the peak of their powers.

Mercury is known to multiple cultures as “traveler” due to how fast it moves in the sky. Being the fastest, it also governs communication and commerce along with travel. For this reason, I have chose this to use for an incantation.

There are two sets of numbers significant to Mercury. First, there are 3 Mercury days for every 2 Mercury years. Here we find the ratio of 2:3 to be important. Then Mercury’s synodic period, the amount of time it takes Mercury to return to the same place in Earth’s sky, is 116 Earth days. The 2:3 ration gives us the fundamental rhythm of Mercury; the synodic period gives us the timing that connects Mercury to Earth. 116 factors into 2*2*29. Using this information, we derive the circle.


Venus’s magical associations are often tied to its brightness in the sky, particularly, to how it shines at sunrise and sunset. For that reason, I am using this as my incantation.

Following the pattern we set at Mercury, we are interested in Venus’ synodic period and the ratio between its days and years. Venus takes 243 earth days to rotate once on its own axis, and 225 earth days to go around the sun. This gives us a ratio that’s sufficiently close to 1 that I don’t see a need to include it in the derivation of the circle. The synodic period, which ties Venus to the magician on Earth, is 584 earth days. This factors to 2*2*2*73 and gives us a five pointed inner polygon.

You could also use the naturally occurring Pentagram of Venus.

I would like to make it clear that the circles can still be used on a traditional astronomical calendar. It is my personal choice not to do so. Also, as a small safety reminder, these have not been tested as much as they need to be. I am still in the early phases of making these, even though it has taken me years to even get this far.

A Circle for the Moon

Moon Circle

I recently wrote an article explaining an alternate method of constructing circles for magic work. I mentioned the importance of interfaith, accessible magic. A key aspect to writing for a multiple faith group is using an experimental approach. Magic is part of the natural world, and as such we are constantly collecting information about how it works.

Additionally, different people within the same group will want to do different things with the same magic. This is how I wound up with the next circle in my series.

Continuing the same method as last time, I constructed a circle for the moon. The number which ties us most closely to the moon is 27, the approximate number of days it takes the moon to circle the earth. 27 is 3 cubed, a very harmonious number. Using this, I was easily able to construct sacred geometry to get the following circle.


Now, the good thing about the moon is that it doesn’t change its distance from the Earth, and as such can be used pretty much constantly. However, the different phases will have different effects. The moon affects the earth in two big ways: it provides soft light at night, and it pulls the tides. On the full moon, we receive both the soft light and the tides. On the new moon, we receive only the tides. I won’t go into further detail as people have their own ways of interpreting these facts.

As with the sun circle, I have my personal favorite incantation to cast and decast, but I encourage you to find your own. Keep in mind that while I use the same incantation to decast every time, you do not have to. Heck, you could get funny with it.

Zodiac Spirits and The New Moon

Inspired by a question one of my circle-testers asked, I did some research. Turns out, when it is new, the moon aligns with the sun and the zodiac sign the sun is passing through, and on that day we have an opportunity. It is a good time to ask the spirits of the zodiac to come and speak with us. You could see if your sun sign is okay protecting you, for instance, or asking them how to unlock your solar potential. You could ask your moon sign what’s up with all the weird feelings.

Today, Feburary 26, 2017, we will be in line to talk to Pisces, so I have provided an example ritual for this occasion. This also is a great time to talk about an interesting attribute that this circle design has that previous ones did not; they can overlap as needed.  Since the moon is closer to the Earth, I have made that the inner ring.


Paying attention to an updated scientific understanding of how planets move and layering a simple set of tools gives us subtle and complex structure, pictured below.

Please note that since there is an identical triangle in the moon circle, I did not draw it in the outer circle. I then made the bottom two points of that triangle 3*13 = 39 and 3*14 = 42. It’s these sorts of changes that truly harmonize and join the circles together.

An Intermediate Summoning

Before I go any further, I want to stress that this is not a beginner summoning. Please make sure you have a firm grasp of the following skills before you attempt this: grounding, cleansing, summoning, banishing, visualization, and spirit communication.

Additionally, I am going to assume you already have: a preferred method of drawing circles, a sky map to find Pisces, and incantations that fit your style to cast + decast each circle


  1. Cleanse yourself and the space
  2. Draw the circle facing Pisces
  3. Draw the symbol of Pisces in the center of the circle
  4. Use your incantation to cast the circle of the sun
  5. Use your incantation to cast the circle of the moon
  6. Summon Pisces
  7. Do your work
  8. Dismiss Pisces
  9. Use your incantation to decast the circle of the moon
  10. Use your incantation to decast the circle of the sun
  11. Ground yourself


The person who inspired this circle had a fun time using it, and so did I. I hope that other people will be able to do the same. However, without input from other people with perspectives different from my own, it is a brittle construct. Writing for an interfaith community means writing with an interfaith community, with the spirit of experimentation, with an open mind that things can and will change as you go.

Cursing or Binding 45

Prolonged obsessive religious activity will, for the ordinary man, create a minor aetheric thought form that he may call his god. This effect is partly transferable and explains the difficulty in attacking popular public figures.” – Peter J. Carrol, Psychonaut, Magical Combat

Here in the small cities of Witchville, Pagantowne, and Mageburg, we like to put our magic where our mouths are. So it’s completely understandable that those of us who are furious about the republican president would want to curse, hex, jinx, bind, and otherwise take responsibility for him. I’m proud to be in the same metaphorical neighborhood as all of you.

This article is aimed at people who are able to take magical action. I recognize that many people cannot, that for them survival is the best resistance. Take care of yourselves, neighbors. “From each according to their ability,” the saying goes.

That said, I firmly believe many of you are taking the hardest road possible for the least effect. While I acknowledge your right to do that, I feel it would be rude of me not to at least mention this. 45 is a symptom of a greater problem. There are magicians and Christians protecting him, and people of great power and repute have already been trying to oust him via spellwork. If it was possible to solve the problem of our republican president with that kind of work, it would have been done already.

I am also a firm believer that if you criticize a tactic, it is up to you to propose a different solution. Directly after the election, there was a storm of magic practitioners asking why all the baneful magic against 45 had done nothing to stop him. Many explanations rose up, one being that the Pepe the Frog meme had been turned into a sort of chaos magick sigil by members of the alt-right. Lost? Here are links to Pepe’s history and the terribleness that ensued.

Out of that theory rose my personal favorite plan of action: a counter meme. In short time, appeared: BODE. Following that line of thinking, I have already been designing rituals to empower BODE with our intent to disempower the alt-right: remove their veneer of credibility with conservatives and moderates, de-radicalize those we can, and protect those fighting to put America to rights.

To continue focusing on magical attempts to control American politics, remember that the Evangelical Christian right is salivating in the wings to have Pence become the next republican president. I am willing to bet actual money they pray fervently every day, and that is a powerful magic all its own. Christian witches, please send help.

Additionally, let us not forget that before 45 many of us were about ready to dance on the grave of the GOP. It is clear that a vacuum of power and a deep understanding of the hatred many Americans felt for Obama led to the rise of our current republican president. Let us not forget the role that fake news and channels such as FOX play in the current divisions of the country. Let us not forget the rich lobbies that continue to deny what is right for the working class. If you feel called to cast curses, there are a dozen targets that are far closer to your claws.

Next, for those of us who shy from baneful magic, there are a myriad things to empower. From the growing rumors of a women’s party to an already prepared antifa network, many people doing the work of fixing this mess could benefit from our spiritual support and protection.

The draw of casting baneful magic on 45 is easy: he is a clear target, and we have seen the power of a large group of people  doing the same action together. However, I would like to posit that there is equal power in an ecosystem of resistance, that each of us working in our own ways to do what we feel strongest about is perhaps the way that the left fights. After all, if our central tenet is diversity, it makes sense that would include a diversity of tactics.

So fly, my neighbors! Go into the world with your beautiful magic and your strong hearts. Please take this tiny piece of advice with your for the road: it is difficult if not impossible to cast baneful magic on someone with a strong media presence. And if you need any help redesigning your spells, feel free to contact me.

Protective Circle of the Sun

When we think about magic circles, many of us envision these, which makes sense because they seem to be the origin of most circles used today. However, for many people the Abrahamic aspects of these can make them unusable.

The circles are made of two simple parts: sacred geometry and names of power. Names of power are the aspect from which the rest of the circle is derived. Traditionally, the names of power are taken, some say appropriated, from Jewish mysticism and filtered through a thin veneer of Catholicism. Truly, the question is what one calls upon to power the circle.

Reading the texts, we find that planets are important over and over again. You must select the day and the hour of the planet most appropriate for your work, according to the tomes. Each day of the week has one of seven planets ruling it, and we switch planets every hour. Keep in mind that this idea comes from a time and place where saying, “The earth rotates around the sun,” could get you placed under house arrest as a heretic. Now, you can use the small flat rock in your pocket to pull up a window to the stars.

Additionally, many of us are much more comfortable calling on the power of nature. Whether you view them as deities, large energetic bodies, or just ideas that have grown strong with the weight of human history: planets make a lot more sense for a general purpose circle than the Abrahamic God does.

Of all the heavenly bodies, the Sun is the easiest place to start. Even children can understand its movements once a few basic concepts are explained, and you can measure its efficacy by asking yourself how cold and dark it is outside.

So now we know what the names of power refer to, but what names will we use? The answer is math. One of the reasons why Hebrew is considered such a powerful language, aside from being the language of Genesis, is because each letter also has a numerical value. So instead of searching for or creating a replacement language, the power of numbers should suffice.

The number which best represents the relationship between the earth and the sun is 365. The property of this number which makes it unique and places it in the universe is that it can be described as the sum of consecutive squares not one, but twice. So we have two overlapping sets of numbers with which to describe the connection between earth and sun: {365, 10, 11, 12} and {365, 13, 14}.

The next thing to consider is sacred geometry. Ultimately, we want shapes inscribed on the circle. You can be very elaborate, but I prefer my tools to look simple. About 12 tries later, I get this:


Obviously, the timing and direction of the circle matter, but in a much more updated fashion. If you cannot see the sun due to nighttime or cloud cover, the circle will not be effective. In warmer seasons the circle will be more effective. In colder seasons, less. The point of the 365 should always point toward the sun. Sunrise is the best time; sunset should be avoided. Similarly, the transition from warm to cold season is a bad time for this circle. In the Northeast USA, the time between mid-fall and the winter solstice is an especially bad time.

In the old texts, any spirit listed was also ruled by a planet. Prescriptive lists of spirits are a thing of the past, but the pattern remains the same. If you power your circles with heavenly bodies, you should find the heavenly body most like the spirit you wish to summon to power the circle. You should then plan your work on a day when that body’s influence is strong. More likely, you would keep an eye on the skies, and work based on what heavenly bodies are strongest at the time you want to do the work.

Finally, you will need a pair of magic incantations to activate and deactivate the circle. I’ve got a personal favorite for activation and another for deactivating, but this is a bit of a personal touch, since incantation style varies so much from person to person. Also, my deactivating chant is particular to Goddess-centered spirituality and won’t work for everyone.

To summarize, a wide range of circles are easily designed if one understands the basic principles and applies them. Choose a power source, find some relevant mathematics, use the math to design some shapes, and test the circle rigorously to find weaknesses.

The next question, now that we have a circle, is materials and usage. A 9’ circle drawn with an engraved sword is expensive in terms of time, space, and materials. Not everyone has the ability to even perform such an act.

For a larger, quick method, you will need:

  • Chalk
  • A floor you can write on, wood seems to do best

To Cast

  • Cleanse or banish your space.
  • Draw the circle on the floor.
  • Take a moment to empower the circle with the incantation you selected.
  • Visualize a sphere arising from the drawing.

To Decast

  • Make sure you have thanked and said goodbye to any powers you called while working.
  • Pull in the energy in with with second incantation you selected.
  • Erase the circle completely.
  • Ground yourself.

The second method is firmer, slower, and designed specifically for spirit work.

You will need

  • A 1 ½’ square of cloth, preferably canvas, with hemmed edges.
  • Fabric paint
  • A brush
  • An item bearing the sigil of the spirit you want to work with
  • Censer
  • Charcoal
  • Incense (frankincense is preferable)
  • Tongs
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A lighter, preferably the long kind used for grilling
  • A well ventilated area

To Prepare the Cloth

  • Hem the edges
  • Light the incense
  • Pass the cloth through the smoke to cleanse it
  • Recite the prayer/blessing of the sun over the paint and brush
  • Paint the circle onto the cloth
  • Dry according to paint directions

To Cast

  • Cleanse or banish your space.
  • Lay the cloth on a flat surface
  • Lay the item bearing the sigil in the middle of the circle.
  • Take a moment to empower the circle with the prayer you selected.
  • Visualize a sphere arising from the drawing.
  • Summon the spirit by your usual method.

To Decast

  • Banish or devoke the spirit you were working with.
  • Take down the circle with the second incantation you selected.
  • Ground yourself.

These methods can be applied to various circles, not just the one I designed here. It is entirely possible to construct the circle using only visualization. However, when doing something heavier, there is benefit in having tools to do some of the lifting. To speak metaphorically, even something as simple as a handcart can triple your carrying capacity.

More importantly, this is what magic looks like when you make room for people to have their own interpretations of it. The individual using this circle may believe in deity or not, may believe in energy or not, may have guardian spirits or not. There are very few wrong ways to use this. All that matters is that they do choose to bring their personal spin to the template. It is a construct that grows more powerful as it becomes personalized and adapted.

This is is the future of magic and paganism: an interfaith approach to techniques. It requires a constant study of the concept of accessibility, an admittance to constant imperfection. However, to do any less is irresponsible if you want to create a space that can be shared by a variety of people. Perhaps this is because I am queer, and queers can’t agree on anything, but as magic becomes popular with my peers I hate to see any of them left out due to a difference in personal beliefs, money, ability, time, or other constraints.