Witch’s Gazette-Magickal Newsletter- Alchemy and Magic

72813_floral_w_sm72794_floral_g_smThrough out time, the facts and myth of alchemy and magic seems to have been intertwined and mixed as being one and the same. It is true that magic is a sort of alchemy, as it transmutes energies and changes the frequencies of reality. Alchemy, which is not in existence any longer, although sharing the use of magic,  and some of the spiritual views about Earth, was quite different, based on a theory that became a sort of obsession with alchemists of old.  So what is the difference? and do they share any similarities in modern times?

According to historic records, Alchemy, which goes back to the year 100, reaching its pinnacle in medieval times, was practiced with the base of experimentation and partly upon magic.  The alchemy of medieval times has come to be known as the search to convert lead into gold, but alchemy had roots of a spiritual worldview. To the practitioner of alchemy everything surrounding human beings was seen as containing some sort of universal spirit and metals were believed to have life.  Base metal such as lead was thought to be a spiritually immature form of higher metals; like gold.

Alchemists, did not consider metals the exclusive substances that form part of the Periodic table. Rather alch3the metals were perceived to be in different phases of evolution on their journey to spiritual ‘perfection.’ Ancient Alchemists, would center their research on a ‘mythical’ substance they knew as the ‘philosopher’s stone’ which they believed had the power to prolong life, heal and change metals into precious metals like gold. For the alchemist, the ‘philosopher’s stone’ was not a literal stone but rather a substance that held magical powers. They did not seek the change of metals into gold out of greed. Gold symbolized the highest development in nature and came to personify human renewal and regeneration. Their theories were based upon those theories of Aristotle, in which the world and everything in it are composed of four basic elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, together with three that were called ‘essential substances’:  Mercury, Salt and Sulfur. So, if lead and gold consisted of the blend of the four elements, then according to their theories, lead could be transformed into gold, as gold is superior to lead,  and which contained the perfect balance of the four elements. Though alchemy is long gone, the contrast between lead and gold remains; lead is a common, poisonous metal that can harm children and lead to brain damage; gold is highly valued, and often worn as jewelry.

Magic is the belief that with focused intention, we can create changes through a combination of toolsMagic-Potion chants, meditations and connecting to our own spiritual center which aids the spiritual practitioner to achieve the desired result . We believe that indeed, the four elements are an important composition not only of Earth but of each human being.  The forces of Nature empower magic. Thus we use nature’s energies to aid, to bring changes. Like the alchemists of old, we strive to achieve something through the garnishing of the elements. But unlike them, we do not seek perfection, but a better sense of who we are. As alchemy is transmuting something common into something else, so does magic helps to ‘transmute’ and change ordinary situations into something different.

Magic is a belief and means to an end, but not and end unto itself. Magic is not seen, but felt. If there is no belief, there is no result to be had. The use of magic requires the practitioner to evolution, to open their minds, to accept that Nature is ever-changing. We adapt to the changes and learn new things with each magical effort and result we achieve. Alchemy of old was it seems, immutable non-changing, searching for something that was not to be achieved in the way these ancient alchemists believed. Although their theory of the four elements was sound, the way they went about their quest, was I believe the reason they failed. Even though we as magical practitioners use physical items to achieve a change, we do so as a point of focus, to ground us to the goal in mind. The results are not something solid per say, like asking for a car, and voilà! the car materializes out of nowhere. This is not to say we cannot obtain something material in the physical realm, but that it is achieved through a string of events that brings the desired result.

That dear reader, could be said to be our own form of achieving the ‘gold’. But alchemy did not exist for nothing after all. It is thanks to these men of old, that we have what is now Chemistry. And thanks to them, that we as spiritual practitioners know the difference between achieving the obtainable while aware that such ancient theories like the existence of the ‘philosopher stone’ is best left where it belongs, in medieval tales of myth.

Until I write again,

*M* the Witch Gazetteer..Victorian_woman_at_writing_desk-228x221

Copyright© 2015-Witche’s Gazette-Magickal Newsletter

First Publication: 2014

A Flower Power House Publication.

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,recording or any information storage and retrieval system now known to be invented, without permission in working with the publisher. All rights reserved.

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Witch’s Gazette- Magickal Newsletter-Special Edition

72813_floral_w_sm72794_floral_g_smDear reader, welcome back! I have been hard at work, writing down ideas for my Gazette. As I said in my last newsletter, I have been thinking of taking the W.G. to new places, make it a bit different. It is after all, a Gazette written specially for those that have a spiritual hankering in their souls. A thirst for something more of what we ‘see’ or ‘perceive’ in this dimension where we reside. It is not necessary for my readers to be Witches, but it is necessary to have an open mind. A natural curiosity, questioning the imposed and outdated system other human beings have imposed on us, the rest of humanity. The format changes, the purpose does not. I strive to fill your mind with knowledge, create questions and above all to help you find a place, a niche, where your soul feels content and free. With that in mind, I introduce my subject of the week:

DE-BUNKING THE COTTAGE WITCH MYTH:

How many times have I read and then rolled my eyes in frustration, about witches of ‘old’, how they used to live in these ‘lovely’ cottages, with herbs hanging from rafters, with a cauldron bubbling, while the witch stood near by with a huge book of incantations, recipes and spells? Many times dear reader! But what a disservice this does to us, modern witches, or any spiritual practitioner. Really, by now there should be more books about the reality of the medieval times and before for witches. I know that scholarly authors have written about history, medicine, living conditions etc, of times gone by. What we also need, is a serious study of how witchcraft, magic, and alchemy was really used back then. Without the religious touch, in a very detached manner. So that we understand better the root of what we practice.

But without a huge tome of the history of humanity, we can still use our common sense and logic and apply it to our history. Back in the lets say, 11th century, many people were illiterate. The privilege of education was for only a few. The rich, the clergy and the merchants (and not all merchants were by the way, fully educated).  Due to the spiritual awakening at the end of the 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century, many women became nuns and many men monks. During the middle ages until the 13th century women of means, were sent to monasteries to be educated. This was due to invasions having destroyed state schools. Not all students were rich, and some were given special scholarships if deemed worthy, to study at monasteries. The conditions for women that had no money, were bad. The crusades made matters worse, leaving many women (wives, daughters) destitute. The only means left to many was to be involved in the monastic life. This denies the quaint belief that at this time in history, many witches were practicing their craft. Or that there were ‘covens’ of witches getting together for a Full Moon ritual in a middle of a forest. Life was hard, survival a most.

What there was though, for the majority of people living in those times, a need for medicine, to heal the sick. As many could not afford the services for a physician of the times when they became ill, their first call would have been to local people. Known as healers, for their common sense knowledge of herbs and plants.  Nature was the school of any natural healer. To survive, whether in a tribe or village the local healer would set about learning their natural habitat and through trial and error learn what was bad or good for healing ailments. Many common healers were women. It was women who attended pregnant women, sick children and who nurtured the beginning and ending of life. These healers came from different backgrounds. In Rome for example,they were slaves, ex-slaves or wise women. Historians call this thriving and influential tradition “popular” or folk medicine.

While it is nice to believe that there was a time, in which witches existed in such a way, the kindly cottage witch healing one and all, it does a disservice to the reality of our roots. I am not saying that magic was not used back then, after all witchcraft has been around for many centuries. What I am saying, is that it was not romanticized as many articles and even books lead many to believe. Back then, with ignorance abounding most everywhere, fear of the church coming down on people for not following a “godly” life and in general, a lack of intellectual sophistication, it makes sense to me, now looking back through time, that people who knew how to manipulate energies and use herbs and plants for anything other than just healing, were pretty cunning about survival and kept that knowledge hidden.

We live in enlightened times, we see new technology often, our lives have become easier in the mechanics of it, if not in the spiritual. And yet, I see many with outmoded ideas of what a witch was and is to this day. As witches, we have an obligation to ourselves to learn as much of our craft as it is possible and to those that will follow our footsteps. Since there is no definite way to find out exactly how it all started where witchcraft is concerned, it is best to live our belief in the now. We can re-shape our history with accounts of what it really is to be a witch. We are after all, human beings, living a spiritual experience. We have the power to leave behind a better story for those that will follow.

Until I write again,

*M* the Witch Gazetteer..Victorian_woman_at_writing_desk-228x221

Copyright© 2015-Witche’s Gazette-Magickal Newsletter

First Publication: 2014

A Flower Power House Publication.

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,recording or any information storage and retrieval system now known to be invented, without permission in working with the publisher. All rights reserved.

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