How Did You Learn All This?

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EDIT: This post was originally written in 2016. 

This is going to be a long post and I hope I can make it coherently.  There is so much to cover here but I feel it’s time to answer some of the questions I get asked about myself.  I’ll try to group them into specific topics so you can skip to what interests you.

Disclaimer: All written here are my opinions and experiences.  Views subject to change as I am a human being in an evolutionary process and have changed throughout the years as I hope you have too.

How did you learn witchcraft?

I use the term witchcraft to describe many different types of occult practices including ceremonial magic, Hoodoo, folk magic, elemental magic and, to a certain extent, prayer.  I know.  That encompasses a lot of stuff.  But, I’m a “keep it simple, stupid” kind of person and labels annoy the crap out of me.  What I do is witchcraft and I use what I have learned over the years intuitively in each spell I cast.

So, how did I learn?  I learned a hundred different ways.  It’s been a process, not a class.  Books, covens, individuals, trial and error.  Living and practicing in southern California has brought me into close contact with women who “help their community”.  These are usually Latinas and they don’t call themselves witches.  They are generally Catholic or Mormon, but not Protestant Christian.  They taught me many different “ways to help people”…..I call them spells.  But, I’m a white girl with a family almost entirely from England and there we were witches and we cast spells.

The second group of people I learned from was what is commonly referred to as the Gypsy community.  Surprisingly I came into contact with this group of people through my years as an LAPD officer.  Some of these contacts were because of domestic violence or other various crimes.  The Gypsy community does not generally call on law enforcement, but when someone is being stabbed they tend to call 911 regardless of how they feel about outsiders.  The cases always disappeared though because the victims would never show up in court.  They had their own ways of handling incidents within their community.  So, with all their distrust of outsiders I can only attribute my being allowed to make friends with a couple of them a work of Spirit.  It was through a couple of these women that I learned some gypsy magic.

The third place I learned was through the Lucky Mojo website and Hoodoo and Rootwork Correspondence Course.  While Cat Yronwode, the owner of Lucky Mojo and creator and teacher of the course I took, wants nothing to do with me for reasons that go back to 2008, I learned almost everything I know about Hoodoo and rootwork from her and her course (because I’m tenacious like that and insisted upon learning anyway).  I originally found her site online in 2007 and began trying out the work.  It made complete sense to me and my spells worked.  I had had success with basic spells prior to finding Hoodoo, but found much greater practical application for life’s problems in Hoodoo.  And, again, they worked for me.  I mean, that’s the whole point of doing a spell, right?

So, those are the three main groups of people I learned from.  I did not really seek them out, they just came along when the time was right.  I wanted to learn, read every book under the sun, started casting spells and then experiences and people came along to teach me more.

How did you learn Tarot?

Ah, a much shorter topic.  First, books and decks.  This process started much more like the typical class or course.  I have used sites such as Biddy Tarot and Learn Tarot and find them both to be excellent sources for learning the cards.  I went through many decks because they were pretty, but soon found that the one that I was most accurate with was the plain old Rider Waite deck.  And then I discovered oracle cards which just make everything so darn easy.  And, then there were many, many years of just practice.  I started using Tarot when I was in my teens.  I’m going to be 49 in July.  You do the math.

Now, every reader has their own style and way of reading the cards.  Some, like Carolina Dean are very good with occult symbolism and numerology and the pictures on the cards and what they mean.  I go to him for my own readings when I can’t read for myself.  I also go to The Tarot Lady because her readings are so “to the point”.  They are a little bit more like mine in that she seems to (and I’m just speculating here based on the readings I have had from her) get messages like I do from the cards that don’t necessarily come from the historical occult symbolism in the cards.  I hope I’m explaining this right.  In case I’m not, let me just say that both these readers are amazing, accurate and I highly recommend them.  Crap, I hope I didn’t just send all my business elsewhere.  Lol.

I read Tarot very intuitively.  I barely even see the card.  The card comes up and I immediately start getting messages in my head from my Spirit Guides (or the guides of the person I’m reading for) that can come as songs, TV or movie lines or just straightforward sentences.  Or a word that repeats over and over.  I liken what I do to automatic writing except that now it’s more like automatic typing.  The words and sentences just come flying out and I have to hit “send” without overthinking it.

How did you learn to work with Spirits?

So, now we get to the part that I have been recently attacked for online.  Working with the Orishas.  It’s not just the Orishas though, I get hate mail from Catholics, too, for working with the Saints.  Let me start by saying that I am not a Santera nor have I been initiated into any religion other than Catholicism (and it’s called being received into the Catholic Church, not initiated).

Last year I was “marked” for receiving the necklaces, also called Elekes.  I have not done this yet.  Whether I do or not is a personal decision between me and Elegua and that has yet to be determined.  After being a devout Catholic for many years I have an aversion to any formal religion with more rules than can fit in a regular size book and Santeria is definitely a formal religion with a lot of rules.  I have been told by fundamentalist Santeros that it is seriously wrong of me to petition the Orishas on the behalf of others without being properly initiated into Santeria.  The problem is that the Orishas seem to disagree.  Far be it from me to work with any Spirit, deity or saint in a way that offends them.  I love Spirit and only want to serve them and assist others when asked.  But, the Orishas won’t leave me alone and they don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that I am not a Santera.  In fact, they routinely lead me to just the right working or spell for those who come to me for help.  So, what’s a witch to do?  Ignore them?  I don’t think so.

Anyway, that doesn’t really answer the question that started out this section.  How did I learn to work with the Spirits?  They are always there.  There is no book that will tell YOU exactly how they want to work with YOU.  I read books.  Lots of books.  Everyone has a different opinion and I listened to them all.  I followed the instructions until one day many years ago I let go and just followed my instincts.  From that day forward I’ve had spirits, deities, angels and saints come and go into my life as needed.  Sometimes they came because they were making themselves known for me to tell someone else about.  Sometimes they are there for me.  My ancestors have come by from time to time to share information with me and occasionally I get a random visitor that just wants to cause trouble and I have to order them out.

Religion is man-made.  ALL religions are man-made.  That doesn’t mean they are bad.  It’s just something to keep in mind.  For any human to stand up and say “you must work with this deity and you must work with them in exactly this way” is just ridiculous in my mind.  That’s my 2 cents.  Take it for what it’s worth.