I love you.
It’s the most honest thing I could say to you, yet it still feels like a lie. You see, I don’t just love you, I crave your touch. I seek your advice and wish for your laugh. I would go blind just to be your muse, and I would lose my mind if it meant I could watch you become the person you aspire to be. I love you, it’s true, but I believe it goes beyond that, beyond anything words could ever describe.
How-To: Sensing Energy

A lot of the newbies I’ve talked to are so hung up on seeing energy. They have  had results, just not results they could see with their eyes. I’d say that 95% of the time , I perceive energy either by feeling it or by using my “6th sense”. Some individuals with the natural talent of seeing auras may be able to pick up visuals easier than others.

The first step to perceiving energy, is to learn to feel it. After you start feeling it, you develop your 6th sense naturally and, in time, that’s all you’ll use.  You just gotta open yourself up and be open to it. Try visualizing energy beaming into parts of your body and see if you can feel something there. This stuff gets easier, you just have to trust yourself and practice.

Here are some ways we use to describe how these energies feel to us that might help you increase your awareness of them. They may be sensed with the hand or all over the body

  • Buzzing or tingling, like when your leg is asleep.
  • Prickly, like static electricity.
  • A feeling of heat without a heat source. (Usually denotes a LOT of energy moving.)
  • A feeling of cold without a physical source.
  • A sense of a rising or falling pitch without any audible sound.
  • A feeling of something flowing through you like wind or a stream or current of warm water.
  • A feeling like a wave passing through you.
  • A sense that some other Being, like an angel or ghost has stepped inside of you (“incorporation”)
  • Pressure or a pushing sensation with nothing touching you.
  • A pulsing sensation that is not in time with your heartbeat. (Usually a balancing “Healing Pulse”.)
  • A sensation of bubbles rising like carbonated water or Alka-Seltzer.
  • A “clanging” sensation like striking a piece of metal held in your hand with a hammer.
  • A spinning or whirling sensation.
  • A fluttering or shimmering sensation.
  • A sensation like a change in altitude or barometric pressure.
  • A sense of lightness that wasn’t present before.
  • A sense of expansion in some way.
  • A shift in consciousness like meditation or falling asleep.
  • A sudden sigh or yawn. (Denotes that you are getting relieved of something by what you came into contact with.) 

Babies cry. It’s what they do. It’s estimated that the average child will log a whopping 4,000 crying sessions before they turn two. Try telling that to a Sioux mother, however, and she’ll gesture to her perfectly calm, serene little baby. As if to rub it in your face. Sioux women vocally criticize the American hospital practice of immediately separating a baby from its mother, because it makes them “cry like a white baby.” Hear that, white mothers? You had a racial stereotype all along, and you didn’t even know it! Congrats!

In fact, in most other cultures – from Africa to Asia and beyond – babies simply don’t cry as much. When shown videos of a typical American diaper change (rife with squirming and shrieking and urine streams with sniper-like accuracy), Kenyan Gusii women were aghast at the Westerners’ utter inability to soothe her baby. A study of Mexican babies found that intensive crying was virtually nonexistent, while researchers who traveled to South Korea to study colic had a bit of a rough time doing so, because colic didn’t goddamn exist there.

5 Insane Ways Your Culture Physically Shapes Your Perception

The 5 Senses of Attraction

Romantic chemistry is all about warm, gooey feelings that gush from the deepest depths of the heart…right? Not quite. Actually, the real boss behind attraction is your brain, which runs through a very quick, very complex series of calculations when assessing a potential partner. 

We know. The idea of so much of our attraction being influenced by chemicals and evolutionary biology can seem cold and scientific rather than romantic. But the next time you see someone you like, try to appreciate how your entire body is playing matchmaker to decide if that beautiful stranger is right for you.

After all, just because the calculations are happening in your brain doesn’t mean those warm, fuzzy feelings are all in your head. In fact, all five of your senses play a role, each able to vote for (or veto) a budding attraction.

#1. Sight

The eyes are the first components in attraction. Many visual beauty standards vary between cultures and eras, but signs of youth, fertility and good health, such as long lustrous hair, or smooth, scar-free skin are almost always in demand because they’re associated with reproductive fitness.

#2. Smell

The nose’s contribution to romance is more than noticing perfume or cologne. It’s able to pick up on natural chemical signals known as pheromones. These not only convey important physical or genetic information about their source but are able to activate a physiological or behavioral response in the recipient.

#3. Hearing

Our ears also determine attraction. Studies have shown that heterosexual men prefer females with high-pitched, breathy voices and wide formant spacing, correlated with smaller body size, while heterosexual women prefer low-pitched voices with a narrow formant spacing that suggest a larger body size.

#4. Touch

And not surprisingly, touch turns out to be crucial for romance. In one experiment, not realizing the study had begun, participants were asked to briefly hold a coffee, either hot or iced. Later, the participants read a story about a hypothetical person and were asked to rate their personality. Those who had held the hot cup of coffee perceived the person in the story as happier, more social, more generous, and better-natured than those who had held the cup of iced coffee, who rated the person as cold, stoic and unaffectionate.

#5. Taste

If a potential mate has managed to pass all these tests, there’s still one more: the infamous first kiss, a rich and complex exchange of tactile and chemical cues, such as the smell of one’s breath and the taste of their mouth. This magic moment is so critical that a majority of men and women have reported losing their attraction to someone after a bad first kiss.

Once attraction is confirmed, your bloodstream is flooded with norepinephrine, activating your fight or flight system. Your heart beats faster, your pupils dilate, and your body releases glucose for additional energy — not because you’re in danger but because your body is telling you that something important is happening. To help you focus, norepinephrine creates a sort of tunnel vision, blocking out surrounding distractions, possibly even warping your sense of time, and enhancing your memory. This might explain why people never forget their first kiss.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The science of attraction - Dawn Maslar

Animation by TOGETHER

Surrender.
Let Silence have you.

Surrender to the source.
Surrender to Awareness,
this is the only place of protection.
Surrender your heart and you will know all.
Surrender to Consciousness and Bliss.

Surrender means to surrender your bondage
and to simply be Freedom.
Surrender is the ego bowing down to its Source.
No more demands or commands,
but just putting all in the hands of Source.
Submit to Consciousness and Bliss and you will be happy.

Surrender the addiction to your senses.
You don’t need to stop them,
but you need to have perfect control over them.
Ego is a poor driver of these five horses,
but the Atman charioteer will not make a mistake.
Surrender the reigns of your senses to the Atman.

As the river surrenders to the ocean,
surrender yourself to the Self, the Source.
And if you find you are still swimming
on the surface of the ocean:
stop swimming and you will sink into the depths of Love.

—  Papaji

Do you know what the most beautiful sound is?
You know when you’ve been crying and he tries to cheer you up but you’re still so upset and you make that noise, that laughing noise that isn’t really a laugh? It’s like a hybrid of a laugh and a cry. You smile, and the noise forces itself strangled from your throat and tears are falling again but he’s trying and you’re trying and you love him and yes you are crying but you’re smiling, too.

Do you know what the most beautiful sight is?
When you were all alone and you didn’t need the lonely sex, you needed a friend. So you called him up and he said he was sleeping and one hour later you were at his door. He said he was sleeping. He opened the door, wrapped in nothing but a duvet. His hair was ridiculous, in dire need of a chop as it darted out in every which direction and his glasses were lopsided. But he was beautiful and he was trying and you couldn’t try but you didn’t need to because you loved him then and he loved you and he let you need him.

Do you know what the most beautiful scent is?
You’re not really sure. You could never ask him what cologne he was wearing or he’d think you were weird. But it was beautiful, and it filled you with comfort when he stood close enough. And he always stood close enough.

Do you know what the most beautiful feeling is?
When you’re standing so close to him. When you’re standing too close to him and you can smell it but you don’t want to ask. You’re standing so close to him but he still can’t hear you, so you put one hand on his chest and one on his neck. And he bends down to whisper in your ear. He’s always been so kind to you, you’re not surprised by the warmth of his breath. It feels like the wind, it feels like the love.

Do you know what the most beautiful taste is?
No, you don’t. He’s your best friend. You could never know what the most beautiful taste is. You can look, you can touch you can smell but you can never have a taste of what it feels like for him to more than just love you. He’s your best friend.

—  The five senses (your best friend)
You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean. You fill up my senses, so come fill me again
—  @endlessunicornsauce Annie’s Song

Imagine that you’re the Princess of Vanaheim. When your father dies, your stepmother wants to kill you; so she could get the throne to herself. She hires an assassin for that, but you escape to Nidavellir, the realm of dwarves. You hide yourself in the house of a dwarf family, who were kind enough to take you in and protect you. 


Time passes and your stepmother finds out, where you’re hiding. She asks help from dark magic and while the dwarf family is at work, she takes the form of an old dwarf woman, and poisons you. When the family comes home, they find you on the floor in a deep coma and lay you down on the bed. 


On the same day, Loki and Thor visit Nidavellir. Loki senses dark magic and concerned by it, follows to where it leads. He finds the little house and within it, you. He is stunned by your beauty the moment he lays his eyes on you and does everything to get the dark magic out of you. After he removes the magic, he does CPR to you and successfully wakes you. 


You reclaim your throne, behead your stepmother and rule Vanaheim side by side with Loki.

Physical and Astral Senses

I’ll start this off by saying there are multiple models in the occult for the physical and Astral senses. This model is the one that rang the most true to my intuition. I found this originally in a book titled The 21 Brotherhood of Light Lessons. The physical senses get information from the physical world, and the Astral ones read information from energy waves and pattens.

Physical Senses and their Astral Counterparts

Touch - The physical sense of touch may be the oldest one we have as living organisms. The Astral counterpart is Psychometry, which allows the seer to sense energy through touch. Typically someone with a developed sense of psychometry can touch an object owned by someone and know much about them.

Taste - This sense is a specialized form of touch that allows us to sense the chemical composition of an object. The Astral counterpart to this sense is Energy Absorption, which allows the seer to intake the energy of other beings and objects. Psychic vampires strive on this sense but never make the full use of it. This sense can allow a user to switch their energy signature through the use of objects like stones, masks, people, animals and even symbols or mental constructs.

Smell - Allows us to sense the chemical composition of something from a short distance. The Astral counterpart to this sense is Aroma Detection, which allows the seer to interpret energy through Astral scents. As funny as it sounds these psychics can smell your soul, smell danger coming, and often find a sweet beautiful taste when experiencing a divine moment.

Hearing - Gives us the ability to sense physical vibrations from a distance. The Astral counterpart is Clairaudience, which grants the seer (or should I say hearer? ;P) the ability to hear Astral sounds, spirits, and at times thoughts. These are the psychics that can hear plants, animals, ghosts, etc…

Sight - Gives us the ability to sense a certain spectrum of light energy interacting with the physical world. The Astral counterpart is Clairvoyance, the ability to see the Astral atmosphere they are in. These people can see forms that relate to the energy of others and objects, receive visions, and generally have an easy time Astral protecting since humans are a very visual animal and having sight in the Astral soon ushers in other senses.

Intuition - We consider this sense to be physical since it doesn’t perceive energy patterns but rather works to predict the physical outcomes of certain situations based on previous experiences and unconscious cues. The Astral counterpart to this sense is Inspiration, which allows one to have an energy signature flow through their whole being, activating relevant thoughts, feelings, memories, desires, etc. This sense guides intuition towards manifesting the inspiring energy.

Telepathy - We will also consider this a physical sense since it works in the physical proximity of other beings. Animals have a highly tuned sense of telepathy and can understand eachother with minimal physical cues. Humans with a strong sense of telepathy are called empaths. The Astral counterpart to this sense is Spiritual Communication which takes telepathy outside the limits of your physical vicinity and can allow for communication between two beings through the Astral, through dreams, or even through thoughts. These people will inspire thoughts and feelings in others simply by being in their presence.

Most people have experienced these Astral senses before but haven’t trained them. We expect these senses to work as well as our physical ones right from the start but this isn’t the case. Just like we have to learn to judge our physical senses through trial and error, we must do the same with the Astral. As babies we touch objects to gain an understanding of how things feel to the touch. We fall a thousand times in our errors of judging distance, and learn to be more perceptive in our sight. We learn that our senses may lie to us, like a beautiful candle flame that pleases the sight but brings pain to the sense of touch if we didn’t yet know that not all beautiful things feel good to all the senses. It is the same with extra-sensory perception. We must train, fail, succeed, misjudge, and eventually learn to make a reasonable assessment based on previous experiences. Just like our physical senses, our Astral ones are not infallible and must be tested in order to learn how to properly interpret the information we receive through them. Accuracy comes with practice.

Cranial Nerves

Nerves supplying the body can be divided in to cranial and spinal. Cranial nerves emerge from the brain or brain stem and spinal from the spinal chord. There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. They are components of the peripheral nervous system, with the exception of the optic nerve, as their axons extend beyond the brain to supply other parts of the body. They are named numerically from region of the nose (rostral) to back of the head (caudal). Here’s a brief overview of all twelve nerves and their basic functions.

I – The Olfactory Nerve. The cells of this nerve arise from the olfactory membrane of the nasal mucosa. The dendrites of the nerve cells project in to the olfactory mucosa. The axons of these cells combine to form the olfactory nerve. They join the brain at the olfactory bulb, located at the end nearest the nose. The fibres are short and lie deep and protected from casual injury. It is often found that loss or interference of sense of smell is due to blockage of the air passage leading to the olfactory mucosa, not due to nerve damage.

II – The Optic Nerve. This nerve connects the retina to the diencephalon of the brain. It is the only cranial nerve considered to be part of the central nervous system. This means the fibres are incapable of regeneration, hence why damage to the optic nerve produces irreversible blindness. Interestingly the eye's blind spot is a result of the absence of photoreceptor cells in the area of the retina where the optic nerve leaves the eye. I find the optic nerves easy to spot when looking at the brain from below as they form the optic chiasm. This is the point at which they cross and forms a clear ‘x’.

III- The Oculomotor Nerve. This nerve controls most of the eye’s movements including the constriction of the pupil and levitation of the eyelid. Damage to the nerve can cause double vision and inability to open the eye. A symptom of damage to this nerve is tilting of the head.

IV – The Trochlear Nerve. This nerve is a small somatic motor nerve and innervates the dorsal oblique muscle of the eye, responsible for allowing the eye to look down and up as well as internal rotations. Damage to the nerve can cause one eye to drift upwards in relation to the undamaged eye, meaning patients tilt their heads down to compensate.

V – The Trigeminal Nerve. This is the largest cranial nerve and is so called as it has three major divisions. It is sensory to the skin and deeper tissue of the face and motor to certain facial muscles, playing a large role in mastication.

VI – The Abducent Nerve. This nerve controls the movement of the lateral rectus muscle of the eye. It also plays a role in eye retraction for protection. Injury produces the inability to deviate the eyeball away from the midline of the body.

VII – The Facial Nerve. This nerve innervates the muscles of facial expression. It also functions in the conveyance of taste sensations from the front two thirds of the tongue. As well as this it can increase saliva flow through certain salivary glands.

VIII – The Vestibulocochlear Nerve. This nerve is named after the vestibular and cochlear components of the inner ear. It transmits information on sound and balance. Damage can lead to deafness, impaired balance and dizziness.

IX – The Glossopharyngeal Nerve. This nerve has any roles including the innervation of certain muscles of the palate of the mouth, certain salivary glands and the sensory mucosa of the root of the tongue, palate and pharynx. Damage can lead to difficulty swallowing as well as the loss of ability to taste bitter and sour things in humans.

X – The Vagus Nerve. This is a very important nerve and one frequently discussed when considering many important systems within the body. It is the longest of all cranial nerves and extends to supply the pancreas, spleen, kidneys, adrenals, and intestine. It has parasympathetic control of the heart and digestive tract as well as certain glands and involuntary muscles.

XI – The Accessory Nerve. This plays a role in neck turning and elevation of the scapula (shoulder). Muscle atrophy of the shoulder region indicates damage to this nerve.

XII – The Hypoglossal Nerve. This nerve’s name relates to the fact that is runs under the tongue, innervating the tongue’s internal and external musculature. It has important roles in speech, food manipulation and swallowing.

Practical Magic: The Senses (Pt. I)

Introduction

Something that I love about magic is that while it plays toward the spirit and emotion, it also plays to the senses. This is because when certain sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures can often trigger certain emotions and memories which can add to the potency of spells and other magics. Different forms of witchery play to each differently and to varying degrees - garden witchery plays to sight and smell, aesthetic witches play to sight, and kitchen witchery does the go-big-or-go-home dance with all of the senses.

Making a strong lean toward your senses in your every day magic is not only fun, it’s incredibly practical! From a splash of color on the altar to the gentle scent of sandalwood drifting from the incense burner, you can turn simple activities into truly magical experiences!

The Witch of Sight

This is perhaps the most obvious bit of practical magic. Many witches can attest to the power of visualization and to how the beauty of an altar may set them into the right mood for magic. But a question remains - how can you make this play to your magic? How do you take something simple or ordinary, and make it something that can set you into that mood?

Let’s take altars for an example. You have all of your typical altar supplies - wands, athames, candles, incense burners, maybe a cauldron and pentacle, possibly a cup and a bowl, as well as a few crystals and/or statuettes. These are all things that practically scream “I AM A PLACE OF WITCHCRAFT, LOVE ME!” 

But altars are meant to be personal spaces of magic. Yes, you share the space with your gods and goddesses (if you follow any) but above all, it’s your space. And it’s meant to be a space of love and joy and peace. Decorate it in a way that will elevate those emotions in your magic. My altar, for example, has all of your typical witchy trappings - deity statues, a wand and athame, a cup and bowl, a pentacle, a cauldron, and a mortar and pestle, not to mention a few candles!

*looks into witchy drawers at the massive amounts of candles both homemade and store bought* Yeah, just a few candles!

But depending on the season and purpose of my altar, I begin to play with motifs and themes. Dragons are a staple to nearly all of my altars, as the sight of them gives me joy and a sense of freedom and strength. The stones I choose are obviously not chosen based off of visual appeal alone, but the way they’re laid out on the altar is always in a visually appealing grid - usually patterns that balance the altar and direct the eye to the center. If a Sabbat is near, I’ll decorate even further. My Brigid altar has cinnamon sticks on it, small white flowers, and candles with bright and loving colors - all of these are meant to bring about that mental sense of awakening spring and a spark of flame.

What is aesthetically pleasing to you? Bones? Get a few on your altar - skull candles are fairly common, and depending upon where you live, you may be able to find or purchase animal bones for your altar. Cats? Cat candles, pictures and statuettes of cats, and cat toys are great additions to the altar. Are you an enthusiast of art nouveau? Incorporate images into your altar that reflect that style! I guarantee you that there’s an art nouveau tarot deck out there! Set up your altar in flowing lines or floral patterns.

The altar is a bit obvious for magic, yes. So what about other aspects to visual magic? Spell bottles, spell jars, sigils, and spell candles all are heavily influenced by visual queues. Use colors that spark the emotion you’re trying to bring about. Do you love the sight of herbs floating around in your oils, or do you find it too chaotic and would prefer to infuse the oils and sift out the herbs? Do you mix all of your ingredients for your jars and bottles, finding joy in the patterns that take form in the jumbled chaos, or is there comfort in the layering of the contents so that you have an orderly rainbow?

Does your bread pudding for Imbolc look visually stunning, with dried cranberries and swirls of cinnamon and nutmeg on top? What kinds of feelings do swirly sigils give you compared to angular sigils?

These are all things to take into account in your day-to-day witchy life. Visual stimuli can enhance or invoke emotion. You don’t need to be an artist to make something beautiful. Apply them to even the little things!

As for forms of magic that are practically devoted to visual stimuli, the first thing that comes to my mind would be glamour. Through the use of charged cosmetics, you’re able to essentially paint your spells and sigils while applying makeup. Often, glamour spells are meant to enhance beauty and bring about self empowerment, and with the right balance, you can imbue your makeup and your expression with strong confidence!

Garden magic is another good one for this. Don’t just rely on the correspondences of the plants you grow. Arrange them in ways that are also visually appealing. If it’s a flower garden, do you prefer rows and neatly separated groups of flowers, or do you love mixing and leveling your plants in a way that would make even a faerie blush?

See what you can do with your sense of sight in your daily magics!

Blessed Be! )O(