Episode 53: Safety in the Craft

Episode 53: Safety in the Craft

 
 
00:00 / 00:32:20
 
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Welcome back to Round the Cauldron where we talk theology, philosophy and everyday life as a modern witch. If you like the show, please leave a review wherever you listen to help other witches find me. Don’t forget you can help support the show at patreon.com/roundthecauldron for as little as a dollar a month and get patron exclusive content. If you’re ready to hop into the show, grab some coffee, pull up a seat and join me ’round the cauldron.

Before we get started, I just want to give a big shout out to my patron over on Patreon – Rose at The Wiccan Homestead. I’ll go ahead and leave their link in the description below. So, thank you so very much Rose for your continued support. It really means so much to me. Also, I have a few announcements. The first announcement is that I am still running a sale on my taro readings at my shop – roundthecauldron.com. I am also still holding a membership drive on a Patreon. I’m getting ready honestly to revamp my Patreon. So, if you’re waiting to sign up for Patreon until after I revamp it, make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter. So, you can do that on my website. All of the links will be in the description and in the show notes below. And then I also have merch available. Now that link will be in the description and show notes as well through Red Bubble.

So, one is obviously it’s going to be my logo. The other one is a design that my boyfriend made. So, when you get a second, go check those out if you want to. And let’s move into the topic for today. So, today’s topic is one that I actually don’t see talked about very much. And that is going to be safety within the craft. And obviously, we see things about fire safety and environmental safety and things of that nature. Which those are fine, those are really important, but there is an entirely different aspect to safety in the craft that a lot of people don’t talk about. So, I wanted to talk about those today and we’re going to go in order. First, we’re going to talk about the physical safety elements. Then I want to talk about mental safety. And then lastly, I want to talk about spiritual safety. So, the first topic, physical safety, I think this is the one that most people talk about or that most people think about when they think of safety within the craft. They think of physical safety. They think of fire safety, you know, don’t light anything on fire if you don’t have a way to extinguish it in case of an emergency. Candles, for example. Podcast listeners, I know you can’t see it, but I have a candle back here on the desk behind me. So obviously fire safety is extremely important, especially if you do a lot of candle magic or you do a lot of banishing or just burning in general. Fire safety is very important. Have a fire extinguisher in your home or nearby, have a bowl of water or a cup of water or a water hose if you’re outside or a bucket. Something that you can quickly use in a hurry if your fire happens to get out of control.

And I don’t want you to be that person that just thinks, Oh, it’s never going to happen to me – because normally those are the people that it happens to. So always be prepared with your extinguishers and your water and practice common sense when burning something. Okay, so in the video that I did about how do you use a sigil, I had a container to put my sigil in once I lit it on fire. So, don’t be the person that goes to burn a sigil and has nowhere to put it. You don’t want to hold onto it because then you’re going to burn yourself, but you also don’t want to just toss it somewhere or set it down on top of your altar while you go run and get something to put it into. You’re just going to start a fire. So be prepared in all aspects when working with fire. And fire is just one example of physical safety. Something else that I think is really important in terms of physical safety is, for example, herbs. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can seriously hurt yourself or someone else or even end up losing life with the misuse of herbs. There are some herbs out there that shouldn’t be used in specific circumstances. Now I’m going to tell you straight up, I don’t have any sort of certification with herbs.

I’m not a doctor, I’m not a naturopath. I’m not any of that stuff at all, okay? But I do know that there are herbs that should not be used in certain situations. And most of this for me comes with personal experience. For example, when I was on hormone birth control and I was also being treated for my major depressive disorder, I wanted to try something more natural. You know, I wanted to try an herb, and the most common herb to use for depression is St. John’s Wart. That’s, that’s fairly common. However, there is something that’s called a contraindication between St. John’s Wart and any hormonal medication. And I’ll leave a link for this information in the description and the show notes so that you know I’m not just pulling information out of thin air. Okay. St. John’s Wart, the way it works, it can inhibit those hormone medications. So, it can actually make them stop working.

So, when I was on birth control and I was being treated for depression, I was unable to use that particular herb to treat my depression instead of medication because of that contraindication. Because I did not want to get pregnant. So that’s just one example of how if you don’t know what you’re doing with herbs and you don’t practice safety and learn what those herbs are, they can have negative consequences. And that’s a very mild negative consequence in terms of herbs because there are some herbs that are abortifacients like chamomile. There is a warning, I’ll leave this link in the description and show notes too, that pregnant people should not consume chamomile because it can induce preterm labor or cause miscarriage. It’s very harmful for the person’s body as well as the fetus. So again, those links will be in the description and the show notes. So, it’s just a reminder, I’m not a doctor, I’m not, you know, don’t take my word for any, any of this. Read the sources that I provide. Okay, so with herbs, there are herbs that can interact with medications, there are herbs that can cause physical damage and there are herbs that can kill. There are also herbs and plants and flowers that are perfectly safe for human consumption but are harmful to animals. So, practice safety if you’re using herbs. Keep your herbs out of reach of children and animals, and make sure that you know what you’re doing when it comes to using whatever you’re using in your practice. Whatever plants, whatever, herbs and flowers and spices. Something else that I want to talk about in terms of physical safety is the use of crystals. Now, a lot of people don’t think that crystals can be harmful unless you throw them at someone, or you drop it on your foot or whatever.

But working with crystals can be dangerous. And it has nothing typically to do with the metaphysical properties of those particular crystals. Some crystals like malachite for example, they have a bad reputation that you shouldn’t wear them on your skin. You know, they shouldn’t physically touch your body, but that’s not entirely true. The danger from crystals like malachite and those with a high copper composition – I believe that’s right. I’ll link to my source in the description below. I feel like I’m saying that every 10 seconds. The danger with crystals like malachite that have a high copper content is in working with the dust. So, if you have a rough malachite for example, and you tumble it and you polish it or you carve it and you inhale the fumes and the dust from malachite, that’s when malachite becomes dangerous. It becomes toxic to the body. Now your average witch is not going to be polishing and grinding and cutting up crystals and stones. But it is something to keep in mind if you are working with any form of rough crystal because if you happen to grind it or you happen to have some of the crystal dust, you need to be careful and wear protective equipment. Masks, glasses, things like that. And then there are some crystals that you absolutely do not want to place in water. Now I know water is a very popular method of cleaning crystals and cleansing crystals and that’s fine, but some crystals and some gems and minerals will dissolve if left in water. Now, this is going to be anything that has a score of five or less on the Mohs hardness score – or Moh’s hardness scale. So, I have that pulled up here on my phone and so that’s going to be things like fluoride, calcite, gypsum – anything like that should not be placed in water because it can dissolve.

And also you don’t want to place anything in water that might be porous because if it’s porous and it soaks in that water and it pulls water to the middle or the center of whatever you placed in it and you have no way of getting that water out? That becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. And that is a perfectly good way to ruin your crystal or gem. And I know something that’s been really popular lately over the last several months is drinking crystal infused water. This is something that I want you to be very, very careful about. There are some crystals that it is perfectly safe to put them in water and drink the water. There are some crystals, however, that it is not. And I found an amazing source online that lists several different crystals, their potential for toxicity, and why it is a potential for toxicity, and why they gave it that scale.

So, I’m not going to go through that whole list right now because it is extensive, but I will link to it in the description and in the show notes. So, another thing to be aware of as far as physical safety in the craft is the idea of your personal safety. And this is going to include anything from going to meetups and meeting people online, joining covens and groups. You really need to use your best judgment when you’re doing something like that. If you’re going to meet someone that you’ve never met before, like in our age right now, a lot of the way that we meet people is online, and if you’re going to meet someone that you’ve never met before, make sure you do it in a public place. Make sure that you tell people where you’re going, who you’re meeting up with and when and what time the meetup is supposed to be over so that people know that you’re in contact with someone and you’re meeting up with someone for the first time.

Take all of these precautions and take your safety to heart. And please know that not everyone in this community has your best interest at heart. I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding some prominent members in the community and they have been ousted because of the way they treat people and the things that they have done. So, for as far as your physical safety goes, please use your best judgment. Please practice any safety measure that you can and please, if you’re meeting someone new that you’ve never met before, make sure you let a friend or a relative or let someone know. If you don’t have anyone to tell, send me an email. I will be that person for you. We want to make sure that you’re safe and that you are able to grow within a community unharmed. The next thing that I want to talk about is the idea of mental safety.

And this is one that’s really close to my heart because of the mental health issues that I personally have. And it’s something that I’m a very big advocate for and I will fight tooth and nail to stand up for those who are suffering from any form of mental health issue or who are being put down for not being witchy enough because they don’t have enough spoons to have a full moon ritual or something like that. I’ve seen it happen. I referenced spoons. If you don’t know what the spoon theory is, check the description and the show notes. I’ll link it there. But mental safety is just as important, if not more important, than your physical safety. And I would say that it might be more important than your physical safety because if you’re not mentally safe and mentally well, you might not care about your physical safety.

So, your mental safety and your mental health might be more important than your physical safety. So how do you stay mentally safe? The first step in staying mentally safe, in my opinion, is having a good support system. And this is going to be a support system from wherever. So, if you have an in-person support system, maybe you go to therapy or maybe you have a great support system at home or best friends or your partner or partners or whoever. That is a great first step. And you don’t have to have an in-person support system. Your online community and your online friends can also be a great source of support. So, make sure that you have something like that available to you. If you don’t, go seek it out. There are so many witches on Facebook. There are so many witches on Instagram and on Twitter. I’m sure there are a lot on Tumblr. I’m not on Tumblr, and Snapchat and I don’t know. Are there any other social media platforms out there? I feel so out of touch but seek out your community and seek out your support system. These are going to be people that you can go to when you’re having an issue when you need help when you need to talk something out with someone. I know sometimes, especially for me, if I’m having an issue or I’m confused about something if I go to my support system and I say, Hey, I just need you to listen to me for a second and I need to speak my thoughts and my emotions and my ideas out loud – that helps me to form my opinions and form my thoughts in a coherent manner. In a way that I can understand. And if you don’t have a support system like that, you might not be as mentally safe as you can.

And I guess what I mean by mental safety is you’re not in a situation where you are constantly put down or degraded or shoved aside or your, you know, you don’t feel like you don’t matter when it comes to your support system. And along with mental safety goes the idea of the spoon theory and self-care and recuperation. You have to be in a good frame of mind really to get anything done to a certain degree. Now, I know there are people out there like me who are high functioning anxiety, high functioning depression who just, no matter how they feel, they will get stuff done because they have to, and they will feel worse if they don’t. But when I was going to therapy several years ago, I had a wonderful therapist. She was fantastic. But she explained something to me in a way that was easy for me to understand.

She explained to me that my energy that I have to give is like a well, okay? And you can think of it like a cup or something. The well just worked better for me at that point in time. And then she had me go through and list all of my responsibilities. And at that point in time I was, you know, I had a partner, my current boyfriend. My daughter. I had work. I was going to school full time. I had three dogs. And I was doing all of the responsibilities in the home and all of these other things. And for each one of those subjects, she listed them out on this image of my well with arrows pointing out. And then she asked me what arrows would be pointing in to refill my well, and I didn’t have any because I had never really taken time for myself to do things that made me feel good. And I was really, it sounds really stupid, but I was really blown away with the simplicity of that exercise because it’s 100% true.

If you’re giving all of yourself to all of these different people and things that you have to do, but you’re not taking time to do something for yourself to recuperate and refill that well? You’re going to get run down and your mental health is going to suffer. So that’s bad mental safety. And she explained to me that refilling my well doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a bubble bath or meditation or going for a walk or reading a book. Something that I do only for myself. And self-care is a great aspect of mental safety. You need to be mentally safe, especially in your craft. When you’re working with energies and spirits or deities or other people, you need to be mentally safe because if you’re not mentally safe, you might not have the capacity to think in a manner that is necessary for what you’re doing.

Along those same lines is shadow work. I know I keep talking about shadow work and honestly, I’m probably going to keep talking about it for the rest of the year or the rest of my life. Who knows? But shadow work is a component of mental safety in my opinion. Now, it’s not going to be the same for everyone and that’s fine, but for me, in order to understand why I do things, why I feel certain ways and why some things might make my mental health suffer and some things might make them not, I need to do my shadow work. I need to dig deeper into who I am, who my shadow is in order to understand more of myself. And I think that’s a component of mental safety because if you just go through your life, like I explained in my shadow work episode and you don’t acknowledge your shadow, your shadow kind of runs the show. And that’s not something that we really want to be doing when we’re working magic or when we’re practicing our spiritual beliefs or our spiritual things that we like to do.

So, I think shadow work is an essential component of mental safety if you can handle it. If you are mentally well enough to handle shadow work. If you’re not familiar with shadow work, go listen to that episode. I will link it and make sure you listen all the way to the end where I talk about those who should not do shadow work. Okay, so recapping mental safety: your support system, your mental health, self-care, and shadow work. Those are four important things that I think are aspects when it comes to mental safety. The last thing that I want to talk about, and I see this talked about a little bit, but not really to an extent that really drives home the point I feel, is spiritual safety. And I’m not talking about karma or the Wiccan Rede or the Threefold Law, or something that says if you curse somebody, it’s going to come back to you.

I’m not talking about that. If that’s part of your belief, then yes, this part of spiritual safety applies to you. However, I’m just talking about witchcraft in general and working with gods and goddesses and spirits and different energies and entities. Let me give you an example of something that I think applies to spiritual safety. Zeus is a big example. He’s the first one that came to my mind. Besides Loki from the Norse Pantheon. Zeus from the Greek Pantheon, the Greek God Zeus, King of Olympus, comes to my mind when I think about spiritual safety because something that Zeus is famous for is disguising himself as something or someone else coming to earth and seducing mortal women. And I mean, who knows how many children by mortal women Zeus actually has. And this is an example of practicing spiritual safety. If you’re going to work with a god, a goddess, a spirit, an entity, something.

If it is available to you, you need to know their history, their myths, their stories, the lore. Because you might go into it thinking that it’s going to be a great relationship. It’s going to be symbiotic. You’re going to work together and you’re going to accomplish goals for each other, and it’s just going to be great, right? But we know that gods and goddesses work on a higher level than us mortals. They might have ulterior motives. They might just like to mess around with us mortals. They might just like to mess around with people. That’s their prerogative. They are higher beings than we are, and honestly, I don’t think there’s really a way to stop them if they really wanted to mess with you. But if you go into a relationship with a god, goddess, entity, without knowing their history and knowing their story, and without using discernment, you leave yourself open for tricksters and beings just to come and mess with you. They might not have the best intentions and I see it so much that new witches or Wiccans or pagans are so quick to jump to binding themselves to a deity. They are so quick to saying, I serve this god. I serve this goddess. I am their priest or priestess. Or I have made an oath to this god or goddess. They are so quick to jump into that without fully understanding the ramifications of that action because that can be huge. There are people who have gone through and documented their journey on their dedication to a deity and, once they dedicate themselves to that particular deity, that’s it. It’s a relationship. It’s kind of…I think of it like a contract. And now you don’t need to be dedicated to practice witchcraft. You don’t need to be dedicated to be Wiccan or pagan.

It’s a very personal decision. But there are people that have documented their journey in dedication to a particular deity who as soon as they dedicated their life turned upside down. And if they went into their dedication knowing that this particular deity was going to turn their life upside down and was going to sort of mold the dedicant to whatever the deity needed, then that’s fine. But if you go into a relationship with a god or goddess, and you have no idea what you’re doing or who you’re dedicating yourself to, it can end up bad and it can end up really turning your life into a mess. And you might not know why. You might not put two and two together until bad stuff happens.

So, to practice spiritual safety, you need to know what you’re doing. And I guess this goes back to when I talked about herbs. You need to know what you’re doing. Practicing spiritual safety…if you’re going to work with outside entities and higher beings – and this includes gods, goddesses, spirits, energies, elementals, the good neighbors – any being on a higher plane of existence than us. You need to read. You need to do your research. You need to build a relationship with that entity before you even think about dedicating to them. Before you even think about working with them on a closer level, because they have the ability to flip your life upside down. They have the ability to create. They have the ability to destroy. And once you dedicate yourself to them, they have the ability to mold you and shape you into what they need. Now when you dedicate yourself to a deity, that’s essentially what you’re agreeing to. You are agreeing to be dedicated to a particular god or goddess. For them to essentially take over your life and shape it the way they see fit to make you a better person or for their own purpose in return for them helping you along and granting you their wisdom or their guidance or their abilities or their blessings.

So be spiritually safe. Use common sense. Use your critical thinking skills. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal on any subject, on any person, on anything. Take advantage of your resources and be safe in knowing what you’re doing, knowing what you’re getting into. And if you feel uneasy at all, maybe you should hold off on what it is that you’re doing. Hold off until you’re ready. Hold off until you’re more comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that. You want to be safe so that nothing bad happens. You want to be safe so you don’t catch your house on fire or so you don’t have a mental breakdown or so you don’t accidentally dedicate yourself to a trickster spirit. So hopefully you got something out of this episode. It is something that I don’t see talked about a lot, so I really felt like I needed to address the subject. And for those watching on YouTube, let me know in the comments below if you have anything else to add to this. I’m sure any other listeners and watchers would be interested in hearing another perspective or more tips and tricks. Podcast listeners, you can go to the show notes page for this episode and you can leave comments there. And if you have any questions, please reach out to me and I will do my best to answer your questions as quickly and as accurately as I can. And until next time, everyone slán go fóill. Bye for now.
Transcript

I make every attempt to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you would prefer to download a PDF copy of this transcript, click here.

I feel like we don’t hear enough about safety within witchcraft, so I’m here to talk about it. This is not just about physical safety, either. Come explore the physical, mental, and spiritual safety concepts that I feel are important in practicing witchcraft! These include fire, crystals, herbs, mental health, and working with higher entities. 

MENTIONED:
o Rose @ Wiccan Homestead: https://www.wiccanhomestead.com
o Tarot Readings on Sale: https://www.roundthecauldron.com/shop
o Patreon Membership Drive: https://www.patreon.com/roundthecauldron
o Get my Merch: https://roundtcauldron.redbubble.com/

SOURCES
o St. John’s Wort Information: https://www.drugs.com/mtm/st-john-s-wort.html
o Chamomile Information: https://www.drugs.com/npp/chamomile.html
o Crystal Toxicity: http://www.gemsociety.org/article/gemstone-toxicity-table
o Mohs Hardness Scale: https://geology.com/minerals/mohs-hardness-scale.shtml
o The Spoon Theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory

CURRENTLY READING:
o Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
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o Get it on Audible: https://amzn.to/2S2NH8V  

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