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Title: Red Alert Witchcraft
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:01/08/2009 21:46 PM)
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Red Alert Witchcraft
by Elizabeth Barrette,
Llewellyn's 2008 Magical Almanac, page 321
Sometimes the universe grants you the luxury of dedicated magical space, appropriate tools and supplies, planning time, and everything else you need for elaborate ritual magic. Other times a problem pops up that must be dealt with immediately, right where you are, with little or nothing in the way of tools and ceremony. Magic is wonderfully versatile--and the power lies within the practitioner more than in any tool or ceremony.

You can use magic to solve metaphysical problems or in conjunction with mundane efforts to address mundane problems; it is especially good for preventing small issues from snowballing into a major crisis. Advance preparation helps to make you ready for whatever challenges may come your way. Here are some ideas to get you started.

First Steps

Step #1:
Stay calm. In order to respond appropriately to a challenge, you need a clear head. By remaining calm, you can use your magical and mundane skills to best advantage. Likewise, keep everyone else calm. Few situations are so bad that panic can't make things a whole lot worse.

Step #2:
Ground, center, and shield. Grounding connects you to an outside power source so you don't exhaust your personal energy. Centering lets you keep your mental feet under you, protecting you from internal stress and making it harder for people to confuse you or push you around. Shielding raises a barrier between you and others, protecting you from external stress due to other people or hostile energies. Together these magical techniques give you a firm foundation from which to work--and after some practice, they can be done instantly with a flick of your will, with no outward sign at all.

Step #3:
Identify the problem. Take time to figure out exactly what is wrong, as best you can tell. Is the matter small or large? Magical or mundane? In progress, imminently, or merely approaching? Who does it affect? How did it get started? Ask other people for information, if possible, but also use all of your physical and metaphysical powers of
observation. The more you know about the situation, the better your chance of resolving it in a positive manner.

Step #4:
Make a plan take time to use your cool head and your observations to decide on a course of action. Don't just do the first thing you think of. Whether you have seconds, minutes, or hours to respond--make the best of that time. Then act on your plan to improve the situation.
Emergency Supplies
One excellent way to prepare for the unexpected is to carry a few simple items that are useful in a variety of situations. These fit neatly in a purse, pocket, backpack, suitcase, the glove compartment of a car, and so forth. Most are inconspicuous, thus unlikely to attract attention from curious onlookers.

Essences and Oils:
If you have a favorite flower essence or essential oil for use in a crisis, carry some with you in a perfume bottle or pendant. Bach's Rescue Remedy is a popular choice, a blend of flower essences designed to soothe and balance. For essential oil, consider a "protection" blend, such as Spellbound offered by Kamala Perfumes, ideal for shielding. Magical liquids can be used to draw runes, protective symbols, etc. Fragrant oils and flower essences both represent elemental air, which brings clarity of mind.

Even if you don't smoke, a cigarette lighter makes a discreet source of flame. It serves as a representation of elemental fire, which purifies and protects. Of course, if you've got candles, you can also light them; but in a pinch, the lighter alone will work.

A compact mirror, signal mirror for campers, or other tiny portable mirrors will suffice; a large one is not necessary. Pointed away from you, mirrors reflect negativity. Just carrying one repels some malicious entities. A mirror also make s a good focus for scrying. In dim light, gaze into the reflective surface and let your mind wander until images form.

A wooden pencil makes an excellent magic wand. (A mechanical pencil or a pen can work, but usually not as well as natural wood.) Holding it as you would your regular wand, use it to direct and focus energy. It's also ideal for writing runes, protective symbols, and so forth to affect other objects.

Wear a pentacle for protection, preferable under your clothes next to your skin. It is also a place to store magical energy. Fill it up during a quiet time, and you'll have that energy available when things get tense. Magical tools can be charged in many ways including energy manipulation, repeated ritual use, and leaving them out in sunlight or moonlight. A pentacle represents all the magical elements combines.

This representation of elemental earth purifies, protects, and blesses. Salt repels or banishes many hostile energies. Sprinkle it dry or mix it with water. In either form, salt can be used to trace wards or protective symbols. Draw a circle with salt or salt water to keep out unwanted influences. Dabbing it on a lock discourages anyone else from messing with the lock, and protects the locked item or space. The easiest and most discreet way to carry salt is to save those little paper packets used in fast-food restaurants.

Many semiprecious stones have magical qualities. Wear them as jewelry, carry them on a key chain, stash them in the glove compartment of your car, etc. At a minimum, carry a quartz crystal, which adapts to serve any magical purpose. Other good choices include: amethyst (increases psychic powers), garnet (gives courage), aventurine (calms), jade (brings luck), obsidian (protects), jasper (aids with grounding). Any ordinary rock can represent earth or assist grounding, too. Hold the stone and concentrate on your goal to activate a stone's magical qualities--although some qualities tend to be active continually, like protection or luck.

Lighter and easier to conceal than rope, thread (or string) works just as well for knot magic. With it you can work a quick charm to bind an enemy, tangle the path of a pursuer, slow blood loss, bind or loosen the wind--anything traditionally done with knot magic. To bind, slow, stop, or prevent something, tie one or more knots in a thread. To release, set loose, or open something, untie one or more knots. To obscure a trail, tie a tangle of thread and drop it where a pursuer will step on it. A traveler's sewing kit contains several different colors of thread, and the smallest kits fit in the palm of a hand. A stray thread pulled from your clothing also works.

In all forms, water purifies. Running water forms a protective boundary, and ice binds. To banish something, draw it or write its name on a piece of toilet paper, and flush it down a toilet. To cleanse yourself of unwanted energies, go to the nearest restroom and wash your hands. Water is usually easy to find even if you don't carry it. Still, bottled water or a perfume bottle of water is easy and unobtrusive to keep with you. Of course, it also represents elemental water.

Inconspicuous Magic

Some types of magic are flashy. Others are discreet, giving little or no outward sign of their presence. Inconspicuous magic is often faster because it relies more on the caster and less on outside tools. Also, magic works on the caster and less on outside tools. Also, magic works best when given a framework to support it, so it's easier to layer a shield over an existing wall than to create one in midair. It's easier to shift probabilities to match your mundane actions than to make something happen by magic alone. This also helps hide magic by providing an alternative explanation--instead of "witchcraft" you're benefiting from "favorable coincidences." (One definition of magic is coincidence control.)

Energy manipulation is the most basic type of magic. You simply grab the power and shape it into the form you need. Mold it into a wall or bubble to shield yourself or others. (Do not try to stop onrushing energy and objects directly, just deflect them harmlessly to one side.) To clear negative energy from an area, imagine a wind or broom sweeping it all away. If you need to pass quickly through a crowd, shape your aura into a wedge and extend it ahead of you to move people apart. Energy manipulation comes entirely from inside you, so there's nothing for nonmagical people to notice.

Folk charms include a wide range of simple actions and objects, each creating a specific effect. A penny in your shoe for wealth, an obsidian bead on your cell phone to protect it from loss or theft, a four-leaf clover for luck--these are all passive folk charms that require no action from you to do their thing. Making a fig hand (thumb between first two fingers) to avert evil, tying a knot to calm a storm, scuffing your shoe on a threshold to shed hostility--these are active charms that are easily concealed, perhaps behind your back or under a table. Another option is to layer such charms over a similar action required for mundane reasons; for instance, if you're wrapping gauze over a cut, concentrate on stopping the bleeding when you knot the bandage in place. Most of the items mentioned previously in "Emergency Supplies" can be used in folk charms.

Meditation works well in any situation where you need to wait for something to happen, stay alert, or remain calm for an extended period of time. You can meditate by focusing your attention on a sound like a ticking clock or a soothing phrase; by staring at a pattern, such as a scrollwork carpet or the dance of shadows under a tree; and so forth. the "alert" version works by spreading your awareness evenly throughout your environment, noticing everything but not focusing on anything--until something requires a response, when you will be ready to act immediately. Meditation keeps you from exhausting yourself with worry, and recharges your energy after working magic or other exertion. Being completely internal, it tends to be undetectable.

Prayer serves a similar function to meditation. It soothes, heals, and restores energy. But unlike the other forms of magic discussed here, prayer asks a higher power for assistance rather than creating the desired effect through the practitioner's own will. It requires the least amount of effort, making it more useful when you lack the energy for anything more exertive; and it needs no outward sign, although you can add some (such as a hand gesture or a holy symbol) if you wish.

Symbols represent a certain energy or goal in a visual pattern. Good symbols for emergencies include algiz (shield), Eye of Horus (protects against the evil eye), lightning bolt (power, success), nauthiz (need, petition for aid), om (meditation), peace symbol (neutralizes hostility), pentagram (protection, containment), raido (safe travel), and Thor's hammer or tau cross (averts misfortune). Symbols may be traced in the air, drawn with a pencil, or traced on objects using magical liquids such as essential oil. The above symbols and uses will fit on an index card, which can be folded and kept in a wallet or glove compartment for reference.

Visualization is a technique used to facilitate many magical effects. It involves forming an intense sensory image--visual, auditory, tactile, etc.--of what you wish to happen. For instance, when manipulating energy to make someone leave you alone, you might imagine yourself concealed by fog and the bothersome person walking away. For safe travel on icy roads, you could throw down a pinch of salt while imagining the ice melting and your car tires gripping the road securely. The harder you concentrate, and the more detailed your visualization, the more effective it will be.

Wherever you go, you will find challenges--and a little magical preparation will help you to meet them gracefully. Practice with different techniques and tools so you'll learn which ones work best for you. Then when life sends you a "red alert," you'll be ready!
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