Tag Archives: Mystic Magic

Mystic Magic: St. Patrick and the Snakes

Image depicting Saint Patrick in a stained glass window. Photo retrieved from https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Since the Shamrock shake is back at McDonald’s, and Applebee’s has St. Patrick’s Day drinks, I think it is time I addressed St. Patrick’s Day from the perspective of a neopagan with Irish heritage.

     I grew up celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Since moving to Richmond when I was a kid, I have never missed the Church Hill Irish Festival. My mom makes corned beef and cabbage, and now that I am old enough, we all drink some Guinness.

     According to Britannica, St. Patrick was a Roman Britain who went to Ireland in 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. The most popular legend about him is that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. While original feasts celebrated St. Patrick himself, modern celebration is all about everything Irish. 

     It was not until I began my witchy journey that I realized that the snakes in the one story were supposed to represent Old World pagans. The first TikTok I saw about it was an apology to neopagans of Celtic descent for being surrounded by people who were celebrating the deaths of pagans, or at least their displacement.

      The theory, as explained by Learn Religions, is that the snakes are an allegory to pagans. St. Patrick did not actually round up and cast out pagans, but his spread of Christianity facilitated animosity towards Irish pagans.

      Paganism existed long before St. Patrick, and has continued to exist long after. Was he successful in driving out all the snakes from Ireland? Literally, probably not, because Ireland is an island and there were not many snakes to begin with. Figuratively, also probably not. Unpopular religions, or those that are persecuted by the religious majority, tend to stick around underground, or they move and continue their practice where it is safer.

     There is an essay on the website Celtic Druid Temple that delves into the story of St. Patrick, and seems to disprove a majority of the claims surrounding him, such as his death at the age of 111 when most people died in their 40s or 50s.

      Of course, St. Patrick is a Saint, so there has to be a grain of salt taken with the parables of the snakes and the clovers. Regardless of if he was actually the spreader of Christianity or if it was one of the other migrant families that moved to Ireland at the same time, St. Patrick’s Day is so far removed from the Saint these days.

      I think it is safe, as a neopagan in a much different time, to continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; not for its namesake, but for my Irish heritage. Also, using it as an excuse to drink some Guinness and unwind is an excellent way to deal with school stress.

Mystic Magic: Ouija Boards

A talking board. Photo retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Ouija-Board-Classic-Design-Planchette/dp/B07DDJ374C.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     If you have been reading my articles for a while, you are aware that I kind of sort of started my journey my freshman year with Tarot cards.

     There is a whole story behind that, somewhere back in our papers, about ghost hunting in Hopwood and whatnot. It is actually what I would like to discuss this week: ghost hunting, and the use of Ouija boards and seances by people who have not done their research.

     I have never participated in a séance, and I have never touched a Ouija board, which is pronounced wee-jee. According to the Smithsonian magazine article on the board, Ouija is actually American in origin. It was first mentioned in Pittsburgh and New York papers in 1891, after Charles Kennard designed a board and joined together with Elijah Bond, an attorney, and Bond’s sister-in-law, a medium.

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Mystic Magic: Zebras and Horses

73 Essex St. Photo taken on Google Maps.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Plenty of things go bump in the night. There is a saying among the magical community: “Mundane before magical.” What this means is that one should look for common causes, explainable ones, before jumping to ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things.

     But what if you have ruled out all of the common, mundane answers?

     While I was staying in Salem, MA, with a couple friends and my mother, we noticed that our AirBnB had some very noisy heaters. They were the baseboard kind I had grown up with, in Manassas, and I remembered the creaking and the hissing they would make.

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Mystic magic: Water Water Everywhere

Photo retrieved from https://pansociety.net/making-moon-water/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     If you have a practicing witch as a friend, or are one yourself, then you have probably noticed the sheer amount of jars that contain only water a witch has.

     Personally, I believe that I have about seven jars of water, each of them different. Water is used in countless parts of witchcraft, from cleansing to protection to spellwork. Different kinds of water bring different properties to the mix.

     Sun water is used for protection, healing, clairvoyance, growth, confidence, leadership, creativity, and fertility. Much like moon water, which I know I have talked about before, sun water is made by placing a bowl of water – you guessed it – in sunlight. You can leave it there for as long as you like, but some prefer to move the water to where the moon will not touch it, as they believe it could alter the properties.

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Mystic Magic: Mental Magic

Image from: https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/a-z-index/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Apologies for my absence last week. I had an emergency, which is why I want to talk about something a little different from my usual witchiness.

     Mental health is something very near and dear to my heart. I have only ever been to one or two therapy sessions before coming to college, and I probably should have gone to a lot more. I am sure a lot of people feel that way, and a lot of people are going through their own issues right now. All of this is on top of the volatile world we live in today, and it is enough to make anyone lose it.

     Over break, I thought I had time. I thought I would be able to rest, relax, and recuperate. I really could not have been more wrong. My work decided that, since I was here in Lynchburg, they would not hire anyone else for the busy holiday season, and instead I was moved to a full time employee. This meant I had roughly one day off a week, and the other days, 8 hours of my life was spent doing a meaningless job.

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Mystic Magic: Tips for Destressing

Black Crystal Candles | Witch Candles | Darkness Candles | Black Candles |  Black Gemstone | Witchy Vibes | Esoteric … | Witch candles, Black candles, Witchy  candles

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     With finals around the corner, it is a more-than-stressful time in every student’s life. No matter how much we are looking forward to the end of the semester, we have to get through a little more before it is over.

     In my witchy opinion, there are a few things you can do in order to get through this time with your mind intact.

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Mystic Magic: Reality Shifting

astral projection
Photo retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/27978-astral-projection.html.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Recently I have been asked about reality shifting. About three months ago, there was a rash of attacks against popular Witchtokers for denouncing so-called “reality shifting,” where people would go to their favorite anime, or Hogwarts, or some other fictional place. 

     Initially I, and the popular Witchtokers, took it to be some sort of imaginative exercise. These people were disassociating from reality and going into someplace else, for whatever reason, and I thought it was more like lucid dreaming than astral projection.

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Mystic Magic: Samhain

Photo retrieved from http://dimitrafimi.com/2019/10/28/samhain-or-halloween-the-ancient-celtic-year-in-contemporary-childrens-fantasy/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Halloween is quickly approaching! For Wiccans, witches, and neo-pagans, Saturday and Sunday mark Samhain, and the last full moon of October.

     Samhain, pronounced sow-en, dates back to pagan Celtic traditions and practices. It is believed that the barriers between this world and the next break down, if only for a little while, allowing us to interact with the dead and the creatures of the beyond. Folks celebrated by building a big fire in their village, and leaving out offerings to the creatures that crossed over so they would not be taken.

     Nowadays, celebrations are a little less community based, probably because paganism is frowned upon, for the most part. You are still encouraged to participate with your fellows, but there are solitary practices you can take up as well.

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Mystic magic: Witchy Movies

Photo retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4263482/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

    With Halloween on the horizon, what better way to spend this quarantined holiday than to watch some scary movies?

     Now, I am generally a very strong advocate for gorey, B-rated slasher films, but considering this is an occult themed opinion section, I will leave those to Nerd Factor or Watch With Me. No, this week I have some witch movie recommendations.

     Halloweentown and Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge might seem like kid’s movies, and they are. However, they were our kid’s movies, the ones we grew up with. Marnie Piper is the granddaughter of Aggie Cromwell, a weird woman to say the least. One night, Marnie and her brother follow their grandmother onto a mysterious bus and end up in a spooky place called Halloweentown. Chaos ensues. This is a good watch for something light and nostalgic, and a quick movie at that.

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Mystic Magic: Graveyard Etiquette

Photo retrieved from http://www.mountolivetcemeteryinc.com/stories-in-stone-blog.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     For the past two weeks, or just about, I have been in Texas for personal reasons. It reminds me a lot of Florida, with the weather and all, but dryer.

     While staying in Texas, my friends and I booked an AirBnB. Now, I have stayed in some certified haunted places, including a hotel, onboard a ship, and a renovated farmhouse in Stuart’s Draft that my mother insists is not haunted.

     Last week I talked about how definitely haunted Maine is, everywhere, but I did not expect to have the same opinion for Texas. For one, it is much sunnier here. There has not been a single cloudy day, and the temperature is in the 90’s, where Maine was rather overcast and cold in comparison. What Texas has that Maine does not, however, is a history of war.

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Mystic Magic: Haunting Places

Photo taken by Grace Cavanaugh

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     It is officially Spooky Season! While winter is my favorite season, there is something about a warm drink, a nip in the air, and the turning trees that gets me.

     This past weekend, my boyfriend and I drove up to Maine for a wedding. During the 14 hour trip, the trees went from Virginia’s just starting to turn to New York’s autumn prime.

     We also passed through a bunch of small towns, the kind that are void of life after 8 p.m. and that are stuffed to the brim with local businesses. I love the houses and, even though I am no longer Christian, I love the churches too. The look of something old, that has been taken care of this long, just gets me.

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Mystic Magic: Familiars

Photo by Grace Cavanaugh

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Recently, I have been asked a lot if my kitten, Cozzy, is my familiar. The short answer is no, and the long answer is something that I had to look into.

     Familiars, classically, are a witch’s pet that helps out with their spells and other workings. In Harry Potter, they were owls, cats, or toads. In A Discovery of Witches, there was a dragon familiar, a golem familiar, and a cran familiar. Yet another book, A Secret History of Witches, had familiars that were cats, horses, and foxes.

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Mystic Magic: Cleansing

Photo retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/blog.wisdomproducts.com/index.php/2017/06/10/burning-incense-sticks-part-i/amp/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     As the spooky season descends upon us, and with Mabon behind us, it should be about time to think about cleansing. The next full moon is Oct. 1 and that is the perfect time to clean your space and start fresh.

     First of all, crystals are a great way to cleanse your space. Selenite, charged by the moon, is a great cleanser. Hematite will ward off bad energy. Black Tourmaline is a spiritual protector. Amethyst also has protecting properties. There are tons of crystals out there, and all of them have their own properties. Do some research, find one you like, and go get it.

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Mystic magic: Happy Mabon!

Photo retrieved from https://www.mabonhouse.co/mabon.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Mabon is coming up on Sept. 21! 

     Mabon is one of the eight pagan/Wiccan sabbats, which means they are holidays that witches celebrate. Mabon itself celebrates the end of summer on the autumnal equinox, and it is considered the mid-harvest festival.

     For this particular article, I decided to do some research, and landed on the Boston Public Library (BPL). According to them, Mabon is far from the first harvest festival. “In the 1700s, the Bavarians began a festival that starts in the last week of September. They called this festival Oktoberfest.”

     The website continued, “Many cultures see the second harvest (after the first harvest Lammas) and equinox as a time for giving thanks. This time of year is when farmers know how well their summer crops did, and how well fed their animals have become.”

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Mystic Magic: alchemy

Photo retrieved from https://secretsnicholasflamel.fandom.com/wiki/Alchemy.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     The word alchemy just makes me think of fancy chemistry. To my understanding, that is all it really was: chemistry before we had the word. Imagine, using chemicals to change something into something else. It is fascinating, is it not?

     Most people who have heard of alchemy probably relate it to something like magic. Witchcraft, if you will. The problem therein is that alchemists were revered as scientists, while witches were set ablaze for fun. Alchemy nowadays might be magic, but then, it was just experiments so the scientist may live forever, or what have you.

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