On the first week of every month, I ask my subscribers if they have any questions for me. These questions can be about witchcraft, Paganism, or anything else. This week, my subscribers sent me some brilliant questions about haunted objects, deity work, and graveyard dirt. If you're interested to learn, read on!
Have any advice on working with Haunted Objects? Some spirits attach themselves to dolls, furniture, family heirlooms, etc. Not all of them negative entities either.
Haunted objects are a complex topic because attitudes towards them vary basic on culture, location, and folklore.
To start, it is possible to bind certain spirits to objects. Binding is when you force a spirit into a certain location where they cannot escape. Traditional witchcraft features many spells binding spirits to crystals, rings, boxes, and more.
However, haunted objects are not necessarily the result of binding. A spirit might simply be attached to that object; it might hold special memory for them, or they might like to tag along with it. Ignore stories from movies like The Conjuring that say spirits haunt objects to possess humans. If a spirit really wanted to possess you, they wouldn’t need an object to do it.
If a haunted object is bothering you, place some soothing or protective items near it. When I set out jars of graveyard dirt, I’ll keep rose petals, lavender, or selenite near them, which calms the spirits enough to not talk to me every time I walk by. Protective symbols like the evil eye or sator square can be placed next to a haunted object to prevent it from moving.
If this doesn’t work, then the spirit might not be attached to that object. It’s just hanging around. On the bright side, the object is still a direct link to that spirit. Connect to the object’s energies, provide an offering, and perform divination. You’ll likely receive some information from that spirit.
Hope this helps!
What are some tips you would give to a person who just started working with a deity?
Also, the more you practice, the less nervous you’ll feel. Even after 13 years in this community, I still get anxious when I add a new deity to my worship. As you work with Them, you’ll learn how They communicate, what They like, and what They don’t like. Gods are forgiving; I have never heard of a deity throwing someone to the curb for getting an offering wrong.
Since the Gods are patient and forgiving with you, you should also act that way toward yourself. Give yourself time to learn. If a deity doesn’t respond right away, don’t fret. Relationships take time. The more you work, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
I've always felt drawn to bones, death and Hades and I've been starting to feel drawn to spring and rebirth since a few months. Here's the problem: as much as I am a spiritual person, I'm not religious. I don't believe in any kind of Gods or Goddesses, but I am drawn to their symbolism that is very important to me. Can you be an atheist wiccan or an atheist pagan? Thank you in advance.
Perhaps you can work with archetypes. I know people who work with Death as a figure to guide their death witchcraft. I also know people who use Pagan symbols--including runes, the pentagram, and the eye of Ra--without being religious. Certain belief systems, such as animism, focus on spirits instead of Gods.
Whether these terms fit you or not, remember that you do not need a label for your Craft. You can work with what you want, believe in what you want, and not have a term for it. Perhaps the term you’re looking for will come with time.
I know that, when you take dirt from a graveyard, you're supposed to ask the dead. How would I go about asking them? Should I leave an offering too? If so, what are good offerings? And finally, should I ask the living (the workers) before I take it?
These are very good questions.
I recommend familiarizing yourself with a cemetery first. Do you feel drawn to any particular spot? If so, start there.
Give offerings when and where you can. Sometimes, a spirit will attempt to speak with you when you provide an offering. Other times, you will need to sit by a grave for a while. I wrote more about this here: How to Commune with Spirits While in a Graveyard.
I was going to link an “offerings to the dead” post, but then I realized: I don’t have one! I will need to add that to my blog post schedule. For now, here is a brief list of offerings:
When you want to ask for graveyard dirt, simply ask, “May I use some dirt from your grave for ___?” It can be spirit work, healing the dead, protection, etc. If they say yes, you’ll know--you’ll feel the approval. If you sense something wrong, don’t collect it. And if you cannot tell what you feel, wait. You might need to come back or talk to the spirit more.
You do not need to ask the cemetery workers beforehand. Usually, people only take about a handful or two of dirt, which does not upset the graveyard. Do not bring a shovel, and do not take any grave items with you. Only grab what you need, and put it in a plastic bag. When you get home, find a sealed container like a glass jar or mason jar.
For more information, you might want to check out what I keep in my death witch travel altar.
Do You Have Questions?
Do you have any more questions? Did I not explain something well, or would you like more information? If so, comment below. And if you would like to participate in the next Answering Asks, subscribe!
On the first Saturday of every month, I asked my subscribers what questions they have about death witchcraft, magic, or Paganism. They submitted many amazing and intelligent questions. Here, I've answered five of them.
I was wondering if you know how to get started with osteomancy? I’ve found no resources that explain what to use, how to read them, or anything. Thank you!
There are many different techniques of bone divination. Osteomancy, also called throwing bones, is by far the most popular method in America that likely derived from Hoodoo. It’s also my favorite form of divination.
Osteomancy can be performed in a couple of different ways. One method is to assign a meaning to each bone. While choosing your bones, tap into their spirit and decide what each one will represent. Love, money, creativity, malevolence, luck, and career are common ideas. After you throw the bones, decide what they mean based on where they land.
Another method is to divine based on the shape that the bones make. This is similar to scrying, except that you throw the bones and decide their meaning based on where they land.
When I’ve spoken to osteomancers, most combined both techniques. For instance, some people throw bones onto a blanket and discard ones that land outside of it. Others include long bones or sticks as “blockers.” For example, if a blocker lands between creativity and career, that may mean that one’s career is hindering their creativity.
Keep in mind that bone-throwing sets aren’t only bones. Keys, dice, coins, and sticks are also common ingredients. Sea shells (bones of the sea) and snail shells (bones of the land) can also be included. Everyone’s osteomancy set is unique, and witches often gather their sets over time.
I talk about this more in Death Witchcraft: Volume 2. I’m also happy to write a post about it. If you’d like one, common below.
What is the difference between a book of shadows and a grimoire? I sometimes see them being used interchangeably.
A lot of people use the terms interchangeably, and many debate over what they mean. Based on my 12 years in this community, here’s my understanding.
The term “Book of Shadows” originated from Wicca, but it is not solely used in that religion. A Book of Shadows is one’s personal journey through the Craft. It not only contains spell information, but also personal beliefs, journals, dreams, and records of your successes and failures. In traditional Wicca, a Book of Shadows would include one’s initiation into the religion and coven.
A grimoire is far less personal. It is a book of spells, magical theory, and folklore. Think of a grimoire like a textbook, while a Book of Shadows is closer to a personal journal. Both store information about one’s Craft.
Hello! I feel really called towards Spirit Work, but it’s just so hard to stay motivated to train and practice when your senses aren’t developed at all, I become overwhelmed by doubt and even skepticism. Do you have any tips?
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling, but know that these feelings are normal. Especially now, when we’re all stuck at home and anxious about the pandemic, it’s hard to remain motivated. (See: Quarantine Witchcraft.)
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be born with psychic abilities to practice spirit work. I’ve seen people go from hearing and seeing nothing to seeing other peoples’ experiences through visions. I was one of them.
The key is finding the right technique to practice. This is easier said than done, especially when older magicians recommend what you “should” start with. When I first started out, a lot of people said that anyone could do dream work. I struggled to work with dreams for years only to learn that I can’t. I wasted so much time doing that.
If you’re not seeing results from your current Craft, you may need to switch things up. Pause energy work and start practicing divination. Look into a different path, such as chaos magic or traditional witchcraft. Try a different divination tool. You may be surprised by the results.
Also, are you writing down your progress? I suggest writing down your results after each divination session or spirit work practice. Even if your results are, “I saw nothing in the water this time,” or “I might’ve seen a coyote, but I’m not sure,” write it down. Keeping a journal will remind you that you are making progress, even if it is small. Even if a sign, vision, emotion, or impression seems like nothing, it may come up later.
If your issue is practicing consistently, I will direct you to my previous blog post, How to Practice Magic or Paganism Every Day Consistently. I hope this helps.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just begun worshipping Hades?
Congrats on your new divine relationship! My advice will stem from what I struggled with during my early days of worshipping Hades.
First, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who worry that, if they do something wrong, their deity will be mad at them. In my experience, Gods are far more forgiving than that. They will give you a chance to correct yourself and improve in the future.
Years ago, I gave an offering to Hades and promised to bury it later. I forgot. The next time I approached the altar, I felt that Hades was annoyed (understandably). I buried the offering outside, and everything was fine. I didn’t “ruin” my relationship; I made a mistake, and that’s okay. It’s how we learn.
Another piece of advice is to not take anyone else’s word as law. On social media, many people claim to be the mouthpiece of a deity. The word “godphone” gets thrown around as a symbol of authority. Never consider anyone’s opinion of a deity as law--not even mine.
Talk to Hades yourself. Learn what He’s like. Discover which offerings He enjoys and how He prefers to communicate with you. This is YOUR relationship. Don’t worry about what anyone else is saying or doing.
For more info on worshiping Hades, check out the blog post On Worshiping Hades.
What does it mean to you to practice death witchcraft?
For me, death witchcraft is an act of religious devotion. I began as a way to worship Hades. As a Wiccan, I’m used to combining witchcraft with religion, and I wanted a way to honor Hades through magic. Caring for the dead is and sharing what I know is how I worship Him.
On a personal level, death witchcraft gives my life significance. Right now, I am alive and can work with the dead. But soon, I will be dead. By caring for the deceased now--and sharing my knowledge about the craft--I guarantee that future magicians will communicate with me when I’m gone. Forgotten souls will no longer be forgotten. The dead will continue living in our hearts and minds.
One of my greatest fears is dying without impacting the world in any way. Death witchcraft is how I make my impact.
Thank you all for your questions! I apologize for those whose questions I did not answer. If you have any further questions, comment below, or stay tuned for next month's Answering Asks!