The Ouija Board & Evil?

On All Hallow’s Eve, when the dead come back home and the veil between existences is the thinnest, communing with them is supposed to be easier than any other time of year.  There are a number of ways those who have translated can interact with us on this side, but what do we do to initiate the conversation?  Automatic writing,  candle flame scrying, deep meditation to channel?  How about an Ouija Board?

The witchboard was introduced to our country around 1891 when an interest in the Spiritualist movement was at its peak.  It was a popular form of entertainment for decades practiced by a large following of believers from just about every background, including Mary Todd Lincoln, the President’s wife.

Ouija boards seem to be to the occult what cilantro is to cooking….you either love it or hate it!! I know people who won’t go near one and certainly would never touch one because of the supposed inherent evil they contain.  I don’t understand this questionable thinking process.  How can a piece of wood or pressed cardboard be made bad?  Certainly the movie The Exorcist helped this idea develop!!  And religions, also, jumped on the bandwagon in an effort to scare a dwindling Sunday attendance back into the pews so congregations could keep one step ahead of the Devil….

In November 2014 DailyMail.com ran a story saying the sales of Ouija boards was up 300%.  Couldn’t find stats for this year so far, but imagine sales are still pretty good; especially considering when times are tough people turn more to the paranormal for answers they don’t get anywhere else.  Ouija’s are still manufactured by Hasbro, who bought out Parker Brothers in 1991, and I don’t think they package a piece of Satan in every box!

Ouija, like any other tool, can be used for any purpose. I believe that any evil that is associated with the witchboard comes to it with the intent of the person, or people, using it.  It can work as a conductor for any energy, but does not have any inherent energy of its own.  It’s like white or black magick  —  no such thing  —  there’s only magick.  What you do with it is what defines it.

Happy Halloween!!

–  ashanta

 

We would like to invite anyone who would like to contact us, share a story, comment on anything, or just keep in  touch to reach us at:

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com                                Thank you!!

Advertisements

Strange Company

We live in a house in Holyoke MA that was built in the late 1880’s and will remain unidentified for obvious reasons.  It’s a humble eight room place with garage and old carriage house.  When it was built the city looked much different from the way it does today. Many landmarks have recessed into history and are almost forgotten.   There used to be a small pond at the bottom of the hill where a street full of houses now stands.  Not far away was the old slaughterhouse – from the time before the city crept away from its start further downtown.  Holyoke was the first planned industrial city in the United States and during its inception planned the streets around mills that were prevalent in the area at the time.

We’ve only lived here a few years, but it was evident from the start that the house was already occupied by others before we moved in.  We’ve had the usual doors opening and closing by themselves, the sound of footfalls where the living weren’t walking, unusual raps and knocks, and course fickle lighting that goes off and on at will.  Occasionally one can even catch a glimpse of someone walking around that soon vanishes when they realize they, also, are being watched.  These things are all o.k.  It’s the other one that is a bit disturbing….

I think it’s old, it’s definitely strong, and it’s black.  Darker-than-night black.  We didn’t believe it at first, but as time went on it proved itself to be here.  This thing – and I doubt it was ever a person – can emit unusual smells.  That, in and of itself, isn’t so bad, but it can mess with your head, too, if you let it.  Initially we wondered why, all of a sudden, one or another of us would get an encompassing feeling of such grief that crying was inevitable.  For no reason.  Other times, it is overpowering depression – a dark downer.  It can also manifest and share anxiety and anger.

It likes to enter where you’re sleeping and stand beside the bed looking at you until you wake up or turn over.  Its large blob of a self is darker than the night and you can feel its stare.

It took a while to understand what was going on….it was subtle at first.  Getting a handle on this thing has provided some protection against it.  Banishing rituals have also been useful in mitigating its ability to influence your feelings.  But this thing doesn’t like these rites.  I’ve gotten scratches that bleed from something unseen when nothing or no-one else was close enough to me to do it.  Suddenly, it’s just a sharp hot that takes some time to heal.  Hair tugging happens, too, and isn’t as bad as bleeding.

 

I’ve done a history on the area of the house and there doesn’t seem to be anything here – that I can find – that would contribute to this activity.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t somehow associated with the land.  Many Native American settlements were close and I’m sure there were skirmishes.  I don’t think it was anyone who lived or died here, either…. as I said, don’t think this thing was ever human.

It’s still here and probably always will be.  It’s a matter of who’s will is stronger….  so far – we’re one up.

—  ashanta

What is IT — or Who?

Up in the rolling foothills of the Berkshires are many small villages that fast-paced city life has left behind.  Here, life is lived much like it has been always.  Among the scattered homesteads, occasional country convenience store, and always present package stores are historical places that have been there since everyone can remember.  There aren’t many historical markers, just testaments to people living there  —  and dying.  Much of a town’s history can be read on old tombstones that tell something of the people who used to live there.  But, not all of them…

Middlefield MA is home to Mack Cemetery. It was the first burying ground in town started in the late 1700’s with members of the Mack family.  It’s identified by a small, humble, weathered wooden sign near 184 Skyline Trail.  A number of early residents are interred there.  Many are identified being members of related families.  Except one.

In a far back corner of the site, near the woods, a lone stone stands and appears to be an old hand-carved marker that shows age and wear.  The simple lettering identifies the dead as, “IT”.  While there is a lot of speculation as to who – or what – could be buried there, no one knows for sure.  On-line town records don’t identify it and it doesn’t seem to have any initials of anyone else resting there.  IT may not be resting, either.  On dark nights orbs have been seen around the stone and grey streaks have manifested in the area.  There’s a general feeling of uneasiness in that part of town even during daylight hours.  Is  IT watching us, too?

– –  Bran

We would like to invite anyone who would like to contact us, share a story, comment on anything, or just keep in  touch to reach us at:

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com                                Thank you!!

Witches & Witchcraft

(This is a bit lengthy, but it is Halloween Season…)

In an anthropological, religious, and mythological context, witchcraft is the alleged practice of using magickal powers to either help or harm another person and/or his possessions.

But – how did all this start?

Witchcraft, as all the other earth-based nature religions of Paganism have their origins in pre-history.  Small communities and other groupings of people lived in harmony with nature and the earth was considered to be nurturing – thus the concept of Mother Nature was assumed.  The earth fed, clothed, and sheltered her own.  The Goddess was born,  a figure to express the divine seen and experienced in the natural world.

The Goddess expressed one aspect of Nature’s fertility and being natural – her Consort – the Great Horned Father symbolized the other aspect of nature’s fecundity.  He is also represented as the Green Man, or Robin of the Wood.  Both God & Goddess had as many  names as there were people communing with them.  These gods/goddesses weren’t thought to be above humanity – they resembled humanity.  Just as we have both good and bad sides – so did they.

Paganism is generally henotheistic –   there is more than one god/dess  even though only one is worshipped at a time.  There were generally 8 major celebrations or festivals that took place in spots that were considered sacred.  Nature was all around and natural cycles and rhythms  were the things revered.

There were no rule books, there was no bible, there were no written rites, but these people more than likely had a better relationship with their world and others in it than  we do today.

So what happened?

 The man-made religion of Christianity happened.  While Nature Religions are Matriarchal, Christianity is not and Patriarchy was trying to be pushed at everyone who could be rounded up.

Christianity spread through towns and villages before it reached the more rural areas.  And – contrary to the widespread belief that conversions were immediate, they were not.  With the progression of the church hierarchy demanding pagans convert whole countries were classified as Christian.  In actuality only the rulers had adopted the new monotheism and some only half-heartedly.  The church made many deals with many rulers to sway them to their side.  It took over 1000 years for The Old Religion to be pushed back out of peoples minds and practices.

In a further attempt to manipulate and control the masses, around the turn of the 7th century,  Pope Gregory the Great ordered his bishops to smash any pagan idols they could find and sprinkle holy water on the sacred sites of the Old Religion.  He felt if he built his Churches on the sacred places of the heretics, more people would attend the new church.

And that wasn’t the only attempt at substitution Christians resorted to….they also assumed pagan celebration days and symbols from the heathen.

Of course the builders, woodcarvers, and stonemasons the church used to build their new edifices were adherents to the old ways and they weren’t as stupid as Pope Gregory might have hoped.  These artisans incorporated images of their own deities in the decorating of the new churches and worshiped their own during Mass.

Pagans of every kind became the enemies of Christianity.  So the Church set out to destroy it’s rival.  As it has been said, “The Gods of an old religion become the Devils of the new.”, and so it was with the burgeoning Christian movement.  The Great Horned Father became the newly personified Satan.  And as we know from the Deviled Ham Wrapper – the Devil has horns!   Therefore all Pagans must be devil-worshippers. And so the thread of fear started to be woven.

By the way – Horns are a symbol of Wisdom.  There is a statue of Moses at the Vatican with Horns and a few pictures that have been painted of him in the same way.

Another aside while we’re at it….Satan is a device created by the Church to instill fear.  Fear makes control easier to attain.  Capital letter “S” Satan doesn’t appear in the Bible until the New Testament.  There are references to ‘the satans’ in the Old Testament, but the translation of the word Small letter “s” satans is “adversary” or “tempter”.  The satans tested people to make sure their faith was good.

Under the Churches guidance the 2 sides of man became 2 opposing forces: one of good and one of evil….God vs. Satan and the battle was on.

As time passed the idea that anyone who was not a Christian was the Devil’s own grew in strength and the ardor of those in the Church to eradicate anyone not like themselves grew to fever pitch.   In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII  published his Bull against Witches.  2 years later Heinrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger, both monks, wrote the Malleus Maleficarum – The Witch’s Hammer  and with this large tome of instructions on how to torture and punish witches – the hunt was on.

Between 1480 and 1700 over 100,000 men and women were tortured, crushed, burned, hanged, drowned, and in several instances drawn and quartered.   Some estimates quote the number at closer to 9 million.

Within this time-frame, immigration to the new land had started.  The Puritans, The Pilgrims were creating their settlements and larger numbers kept coming to get a new start.  New starts, however, do not imply New Ways, so these people brought there old beliefs with them.  They were a superstitious people and they faced a hostile native population,  their crops failed, they suffered starvation, and disease.  Prayer and fasting didn’t mitigate their harsh conditions and they wanted these bad things to stop and soon.

With all that negativity surely some of the witches must have followed them to the new land.  They also still got into feuds with their neighbors – so perhaps one of them could be the sorcerer.

The Protestant ministers of New England didn’t follow the tenets of the Catholic Church, but they still felt themselves to be God’s Chosen.  They preached fire and brimstone and blamed The Devil for all the ills of their people.  Fear among the people was rampant and as it spread the Clergy found itself with a lot of power to wield among those less wise  and worthy than themselves.

Cotton Mather, one of the most famous Men-of-the-Cloth, preached that his people should “fight a holy war against the army of devils who are ready to strike a any moment.”.

In 1692 the Salem Witch hunts began.  The Rev. Samuel Paris had become the parson of the Village of Salem and he wasn’t too well liked by the people.  At the suggestion of his daughter Betsy and niece Abagail, the Paris’ West Indian slave Tituba was accused of dabbling in magick.   And – she confessed.  The hysteria had started.

The courts decided that Spectral information would be allowed at trial.  Spectral information involved ghosts appearing to the accusers to give them information on the victims they were turning in to the court.  When someone was accused of being a witch, the accuser’s word was taken as truth without question.    No other evidence mattered.

200 men and women in New England were accused of being a witch.  24 of them were tortured and killed.   95 Percent of all witch executions happened in New England.  Until the horror at Salem, only 5 people were brought up for trial.  They were all acquitted and 2 of the men filed slander and libel charges against their accuser’s and won.

The straw that broke the back of hysteria in Salem ended when the Rev. George Burroughs was executed.  Prior to his hanging, he recited the Lord’s Prayer – something, as it was known, no witch could ever do.  The court had sentenced him to death – however – so the lynching went on.

Five years after these trials occurred it was determined that the court system was inadequate.  It was then that “Innocent until Proven Guilty” was established.

In 1951 the last Witchcraft Act from 1735 and the Fraudulent Medium Act were repealed in England making the discussion, practice, and interest in Witchcraft legal.  Gerald Gardner, a practicing coven member from a group in New Forest, England wrote 2 books that were published there and abroad.  He published Witchcraft Today in 1954 and The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1959.   With his new Neo-Wiccan Bible for Christians-in-Denial came a tremendous interest in the practice of bending the laws of physics to achieve what one wills.  New Age Covens sprang up everywhere and a new order of witchcraft was born.

Today, half a century later, there are active covens all over our 50 states, but there are a lot more people practicing the Old Religion, who revere Nature, who practice as solitaries.  These people today are  no more Satanists than those that were persecuted before them.

There are some good tenets to Paganism:    “that it hurt no one – so mote it be”

“love is the law – love under will”

whatever one does to someone else – the energy will return to the sender by the power of 3  and scrying techniques are utilized for the betterment of the user…..   gazing balls, tarot cards, astrology charts, to name a few are techniques employed to grow, as an individual, to a higher spiritual level.  Trying to attain spiritual compatability with the Creator doesn’t sound evil to me. And the use of sigils, symbolism, and magickal instruments to attempt to connect with a higher energy to be used for the good of all shouldn’t be damned.

–  ashanta

We would like to invite anyone who would like to contact us, share a story, comment on anything, or just keep in  touch to reach us at:

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com                                Thank you!!