Monthly Archives: July 2011

Saturday Snapshot: New York

These pics will make more sense when I publish my posts for next week.  Until then, enjoy the pretty pictures!  I took these when I went to New York in 2002.

This is not my drawing. I don't know who drew it, but it was left at a 9/11 memorial.


Recognizing When a Person is Bad For You

Unfortunately, I seem to have extensive experience in the area of People Who Are Bad For You.  These take all kinds of different forms: friends, lovers, acquaintances, coworkers, family members, etc etc. I will not reveal specific names or situations, out of a desire to protect privacy for myself and others, but I can give a summary of the subject.

This gets back to the the idea of energy and that everyone has a kind of personal energy to them.  Sometimes you don’t get along with a person from the moment you meet them, and you aren’t sure why.  Sometimes a new person just feels icky to you.  And sometimes you feel nothing at all. Yet other times, you meet someone new and you get along as if you’d been best friends your entire lives.  These sorts of feelings are generally described as a “connection” or a “vibe”, both of which are fair descriptions.  But those feelings are you naturally understanding how that other person’s energy interacts with your own, and whether that energy is compatible, not compatible, or just neutral (as in, there is neither a good response or a bad response, just a feeling of “eh, they’re OK”).

Everyone likes it when they get along with another person.  Most people don’t care about the neutral response.  But what do you do when the energy of a person you meet or a friend you’ve had for a while just feels bad or depressing to you?  It’s a tougher call when the person is someone you’ve known for a while and is a friend.  If it’s an acquaintance, it’s much easier to shrug them off and not interact with them again.

Now for the summary of the situation which I’m drawing this post from: I’ve had a friend for about two years now–we’ll call this person Katana–who I was friendly with and was a part of my circle of friends.  I wasn’t very close to Katana, and we stayed on the level of “just friendly with each other” for a long while.  It wasn’t until this past winter that things changed.  Due to mixed amounts of boredom and lack of other social interaction, Katana and I ended up spending a lot of time together.  This continued throughout the spring and into this summer.  However, it wasn’t until Katana and I had gotten into multiple arguments and at one point stopped speaking for two weeks that I realized something very important: in that two-week span in which I didn’t speak to Katana, I realized I was much happier.  I hadn’t had to constantly defend my decisions or argue my opinions; I didn’t have any drama to deal with or listen to; and I stopped feeling so angry and upset, all of which were products of not having this person in my daily life.  I realized that Katana was no longer healthy for me to be around because of those unhappy feelings, which just dragged me down and sapped my energy.

Am I accusing Katana of behaving this way deliberately, or of intentionally trying to get me down?  No.  I do believe that people can engage in behavior and energy manipulation in ways they are not fully aware of at the time.  I also believe that, once this behavior is identified as being harmful, it is up to the person who realizes such to bring it to the other person’s attention.  This is what I attempted to do.  However, I can fairly say it did not go well, and resulted in many hurtful things being said, and ultimately resulted in the breaking of a friendship.  I’m not sure Katana realizes it’s over–but it is.  When someone tells me to give them a reason for why they should be bothered with me, that’s when I walk away and never look back.  That’s my personal breaking point.

This is only one instance of my experience of People Who Are Bad For You, but the other experiences are along the same lines, more or less.  For some reason, I seem to attract such people to me, whether they are in my family, my work, or my friends.  Apparently the universe/gods/fate/whatever you want to call it is trying to teach me a lesson, and I hope that by now I’ve learned it.  That is part of what I believe–that sometimes the universe hands you situations that are difficult, and trying, and even painful, but the point is to learn from the experience and grow.  What have I learned?  That I have a spine; that I do not need people in my life who behave in such a manner; and that I can walk away if need be.  I’ve learned that when something feels wrong, then it usually is, and that I should listen to that instinct.

That was more personal than I tend to get on the blog, and I’m sorry if that upsets anyone, but I wanted to discuss this issue to bring up a point.  People you care about can have some very negative effects on your happiness.  The energy that we all naturally embody can have an effect on other people without us even being aware that it affects them.  Sometimes, if these people are friends or coworkers, they won’t affect you so strongly and you can cut them out of your life if necessary.  Sometimes, these people are family, and it is much harder to cut them out.  Thus is the case for me with Stepmother and Grandmother–they drain me dry, but I can’t cut them out of my life without serious repercussions and much regret.  All I can do is interact with them as little as possible.

The key point to all of this is to be aware of yourself.  Be aware of how you feel around others.  Be aware of how other people seems to feel around you.  I am NOT saying that all of the negative emotions in the human emotion spectrum (such as anger, depression, sadness, etc) are the product or fault of other people.  That is absolutely not true, and I do not want anyone to think I am saying that if you feel depressed it’s because your friend’s negative energy is causing it.  That’s not what I’m saying at all, and BEFORE anyone considers that a negative emotion is because of other peoples’ energy, I strongly suggest considering all medical and mundane possibilities for the emotion first.

I am advocating that you be aware of yourself and of other people.  If a person is making you seriously unhappy and/or abusing you (however covert or overt that abuse may be–mental abuse, verbal abuse, outright manipulation, and degradation apply), and that person refuses to listen to your concerns, it may be that you have to cut them out in order to solve the problem.  I do think, however, that this is a last resort, and is one I use sparingly.  Twice now I have used it–and only twice, and only after I had explored all other alternatives or reached my absolute breaking point.  For the others, I let them fade out of my life and avoid interaction as much as possible, which is usually only once or twice a year if I can help it.  That’s something I can live with.

Weekly Deity: Altjira

Altjira is an Australian deity of the Aranda tribe and others, which are located in the Northern Territory.  He is a major creator god.


For some reason, Altjira is thought to have emu’s feet, for reasons unknown. Other attributes are not given.  However, native tribes of Australia did not have the same style of art or mythology that many Westerners are familiar with, and they may not have found the appearance of the gods important in their mythos.


Altjira is a sky god.  He is the creator of the Earth and gave humans all that was needed to survive.  Altjira then retired to the sky and remained there once he’d finished creating things.  He is also the main god of the Dreamtime, also known as Alchera.  The Dreamtime, as far as I can understand, is sort of the framework of the cosmic universe, in which all humans exist eternally.  The Dreaming or Dreamtime existed before humans and exists after life, and holds the eternal parts of humans before the person is born and returns upon death.  It sounds like a more complicated version of heaven combined with the universe.  Anyway, Altjira is principal deity of the Dreamtime.

Altjira’s wife and children are said to have dog’s feet.

Light and Dark Sides

With so little information to go on about Altjira, it’s more difficult to get an idea of his personality.  However, I can say that as a sky god and principal god of the Dreamtime, he is probably considered a father-figure in the mythos.  He seems to be helpful to humans, because he is said to have given us all the things we need to survive–but he also seems a little uncaring, since he sort of dropped everything on us and then left for the sky.

As a creator god, he would be a deity of fertility, the earth, growth, and new things.  You could probably also associate inspiration and creativity with him as well, since those two things tend to go hand-in-hand with creation.

He doesn’t seem to be Dark, but given the lack of information, we can’t say so definitively.  But I think I would put him more on the Light side of the scale, along with most other creation gods.

Ideas for Clearing a Space

If you read my previous post, you remember my difficulty in deciding whether to use “cleanse” or “clear”.  Well, in this instance, I’ve decided to use “clear”, since I think it better describes what my intent was in clearing my bedroom.  I still think these words are fairly interchangeable, but it never hurts to be aware of what you are saying during a magickal working.


Removing negative energy from a living area is often overlooked.  I know that when I moved into my previous two apartments, it didn’t occur to me to do a clearing/cleansing ritual.  I had just checked to see that the cleaning staff had done their job and the area was in fact clean before I began to unpack.  I wish now that I had done some kind of ritual, not because I was unhappy with the space or felt any lingering energy, but because it would have made the space more “mine” and gotten rid of any latent energy from previous inhabitants.


It’s a good idea to cleanse/clear a living space when you first move in and when you move out, as well as periodically.  Many people combine such rituals with spring or autumn cleaning–and if you live with family who don’t know your Pagan-minded, spring cleaning makes for an awfully good cover when doing a room cleansing.

Image from Janet's Diary blog


I decided I needed to clear my bedroom.  I live with family at the moment, thanks to the horrid economy and job market, and the bedroom has been used as a guest room for numerous cousins and relatives for the last few decades (Grandmother has owned the house for 50 years).  I could almost feel the built-up negativity and stagnation in the room after living in it for a few months, and it was very depressing.  So I asked for advice and did a clearing of my bedroom while Grandmother was out of the house on a Sunday morning for church.


However, if you do live in a place that someone else owns (I’m not talking about an apartment company or a townhouse rental association type of deal, I’m talking about living in someone else’s home on sufferance), it’s not a good idea to perform a cleansing/clearing of common areas without their knowledge or consent.  These kinds of rituals can drastically alter the energy composition of that space, and what you do will have an effect on the other people who live in that space.  It’s generally considered acceptable to do such a ritual on your own space–for example, your bedroom–but not necessarily acceptable to do something so drastic in shared space without taking the other people into consideration first.


Having said that, there are some ways to get around this just a little bit.  The following suggestions are things that can help to change a room’s energy gradually and a little bit at a time, so that the change is not so sudden.  Such dramatic shifts in energy can make people ill, you know, and if you have any elderly people in the house, that is not what you want.  These suggestions can help to slowly dispel negativity and input positivity, and are things that most people will enjoy seeing and won’t mind you putting up:


  • Wind chimes
  • Sun catchers
  • Glass colored balls (aka witch balls)
  • Peaceful pictures

Image from Google Image search


As for your own space, some suggestions to use in a clearing are:


  • Burn incense or herbs that promote protection and the dispelling of negativity.  Fill the room with it and chase the negativity out of the room via a window. Burn herbs or incense that promote positive ideals.
  • Play a song or two that you feel a connection with and makes you happy. This is especially good for instrumental music, without words, because it is transmitted into pure emotion, which then is transmitted to the rest of the room.
  • Put up a picture or an object that is peaceful to you.  This can be a picture of a garden, the ocean, etc., or it can be a figurine, a stuffed animal, a windchime, etc.  Just something that you can see everyday that brings you joy and peace.
  • Raise a ruckus in your room.  Get pots and pans and bang them together and shout and literally chase the negativity out with noise.  This is good for a whole house clearing, too, especially if you have young kids that like to make noise and run around.


An important note follows all of this, however.  Nature abhors a vacuum.


When you remove the negativity of a space, you then are left with a void.  Unless you fill it back up, Nature will fill it for you, and that could mean the return of the negativity you just chased away.  This is why it’s important, when doing a cleansing or clearing, to invite positive emotion into the space once you’ve cleared out the negative.  This is why I suggested the peaceful pictures or upbeat music or things that make you happy.  If all you do is clear out the negativity in the space, you leave this big open area ready and waiting to be filled with anything and everything, because you’ve put nothing into it to replace what you took away.  If you want the best results from a clearing or cleansing, you must put the positive emotion into that void.


‘Cleanse’ vs. ‘Clear’

I tend to use these two words interchangeably, though I feel like they in fact refer to two different yet related things.  I feel like there is a difference–after all, they are two different words–but I don’t know what the difference is.

Of course, I mean this difference in terms of metaphysics and magickal workings.  The two words have rather different meanings in their mundane usage.  Cleanse means “to make clean; to remove by or as if by cleaning.”  Whereas clear means “to free from darkness, obscurity, or cloudiness; transparent; without discoloration, defect, or blemish.”

I tend to use “clear” when I’m removing negative energy from my stones or tools.  In this case, the mundane meaning and magickal meanings of the word make very good sense.  But lately I’ve been mixing up “cleanse” and “clear” and getting myself really confused about what it is I mean when I say either of those words.  This seems important because it relates to intention and what I mean when I say these words in a magickal context. Based on the dictionary definition, it makes sense to use “clear” when intending to remove energy from an object or place.  But then why would we use “cleanse”?  In what context would “cleanse” be appropriate?  Would “cleanse” be used for a time when cleaning a place, or physically cleaning (as in, with soap and water type of cleaning) tools, altars, cloth, etc.  It also seems  likely that the two can be used in conjunction, not just interchangeably; you could clear while cleansing, yes?

So, what do you all think?  Do you think these two words are interchangeable, or do you think they should be separate things in terms of magick?