Under Attack: Ways to protect, reflect, cut and bind

Written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt 2014.

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Most of us have faced situations or phases in which we were being attacked, either physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually or magically. Be it by the bully at work or school, one of our family members constantly criticizing us or the psi-vampire “friend” who is regularly in need of a friendly ear, helping hand or financial support, sucking the life right out of us.
Other times we got on someone’s bad side who then spiritually tries to harm us.
Personally I am a rather fervent advocator of trying to solve whatever issues befall you by mundane means, albeit with the spiritual guidance of our individual Gods, lore and such. There may be times when this is not enough though and we wish to protect ourselves and rid ourselves of the negative energies directed towards us.
Some may call this magic, witchcraft or even hocus-pocus, whatever it is that hasn’t been explained by conventional science yet, it works if applied right.

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I suggest that if you are a new Pagan of whichever path you don’t dabble with spells and rituals before having studied as many books on your path and witchcraft as you can though. It is wise to have started building up your spiritual powers slowly and gradually, too, instead of jumping from nothing to complex rituals and spells. I have no experiences with ceremonial magic as I find it disrespectful to command rather than invite the universal powers, but whichever works for you – go for it, there is no right or wrong, just personal preference.
That being said, here I will list a few ways to protect yourself, which have helped me in the past and that have proven effective for me personally at least.

There is a “right way to pray” or “work witchcraft”. What I mean by that is not that there is only one true ritual or Pagan religion, but simply that many Pagans and witches, especially those new to the Pagan religions and witchcraft, use energies, thoughts and emotions not conductive to the desired outcome.

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Prayer

When you pray, do not focus on the despair of the original situation, do not focus on how the Gods will give you yours, do not focus on the need, do not pray as if the desired outcome is in the future. Pray in the knowledge that the Gods, your divine parents, are always and forever taking care of you. Pray in gratitude, yes, even in gratitude for the issues which have befallen you. It is by pain that we learn the most after all. Pray with emotion, feel that the situation is already taken care of and trust in this. Do not pray over and over for the same thing as if you are afraid you were not heard, you were. The Gods know and hear all and they will work according to their own timetable which differs from our understanding of time. Pray in the hope towards the best outcome for everyone involved. Send out love rather than hate. If you are Wiccan, you will be familiar with the rule of three and if you are Christo-Pagan you know that “what goes around comes around”. This is a universal rule found in every religion and spirituality.

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Ritual

Just as with prayer the golden rule of ritual, whichever ritual, is “forget about it” once you have worked your witchcraft. What? Sounds impossible? Well, what is meant by that is that it is not productive to keep obsessing about this ritual with thoughts or deeds, do not repeat rituals. They work just fine if you only conduct them once. Anything else indicates doubt and insecurity. This creates an imbalance and most likely nothing will happen (other than you will have wasted candles, ink, matches, herbs or oils. 😉 )

Depending on the magnitude and severity of the negative energies sent towards you, you can choose from the following (or create your own personified ritual of course):

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Binding

Binding someone is the simplest form of keeping someone from harming you. Meaning that if you are “under attack” but the situation is not too damaging or dangerous yet a simple binding might just be enough.
For any ritual or spell, however small, I suggest clearing the space around you. Clearing the whole house is another option, too.
Some Pagans or witches create a circle, calling the corners and/or inviting their Gods, angels, wights, fae, their Fylgia, ancestors, Disir or whichever guardian spirits and beings they work with to their aid. Norse Pagans, Norse Wiccans, some Heathens create a Vé, their own sacred space. How exactly you do this, either by calling the four dwarves or corners, assigning Gods to each element depends on the path.

You will need a white or black band or (short) rope. White and black are both non-colors, they absorb energy and do not have qualities other than what they are infused with. It is a dangerous superstition that white is “pure” or “good” and black is for “evil witches” or grey/dark magic.
Many witches bind a photograph, painting or drawing of the person harming them. Others are in the possession of a personal token of this person (in case of an ex-boyfriend turned stalker for example). The more the object is infused with this person’s energy (sweat, tears, blood, smell, saliva etc) the better. If you have none of these writing down the name of the person in question on a piece of paper, even followed by their qualities, likes, dislikes or traits of personality works just as fine.

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If you are also a Germanic or Norse follower and work with runes and bindrunes, write these on the band/rope. (Runes are NOT to be toyed with or worked with light-heartedly! They are a complex system deeply imbedded in Norse cosmology which should NOT be torn out of context! This may bring more harm than good!)

As you bind the band or rope around the photograph or token, speak, whisper or even think of what you are trying to convey. The most important thing is that the words come from the heart, whether they rhyme or not is not important, they should mean something to you. Feel them, breathe in and out the meaning of them, BE them. This is my own personal (!) choice of words, also taken from my understanding of Norse cosmology and German folk tales:

“(Name), I bind you from doing harm to others as well as to yourself.
By the Earth and all its powers, by Fjörgin, our great Mother Jord, buried be this harm.
By the Fire and all its powers, by my Father Loki, by King Surtr the destroyer and deliverer, consumed be this harm.
By the Waters and all their powers, by Queen Ran and King Aegir, by the Undinar, drowned be this harm.
By the Air and all its powers, by the four dwarves Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri, by the four stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór, blown away be this harm.”

I speak these words facing every corner while binding.
Once the object is completely bound, I burn it in my bowl/cauldron (fire and air), then lower it into the bowl filled with salt water (salt=earth and – obviously – water standing for water 😉 ) and after thanking the Deities and opening the circle dump the muddy leftovers off of my property. If you live in the city and a forest or park is hard to come by you can even flush them down the toilet. The important thing is that they don’t remain with you.

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Reflecting

Also known as return to sender spell or mirroring spell. Especially the Pagans of meeker traditions are concerned whether they upset the universal balance or even work harmful magic themselves by reflecting someone else’s negative energies. I say this is not so, as the person who created the imbalance is the harmer. You simply refuse to accept his energies and reflect them away from you, back to their original source. This is a simple matter of “what goes around comes around”. The person sending you negativity or wishing you ill is the “what goes around” part and with your witchcraft you complete the “comes around” part, this is not an infinite circle where he sends, you send back and this will then come back to haunt you again and so forth. It might come as a surprise but magic is not supernatural and random, it is tied to the same physical laws of nature we all live by here on this planet.

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You will need a mirror, black mirror if you have and either one red and one black or a red-black candle, which will be placed directly in front of the mirror. (You can obtain the latter in any well-sorted Pagan/witchcraft store or even make them yourself.) On a piece of paper or parchment write (something like):

“(Name), from me to you, this spell I reflect.
Return to sender by 3×3
The imbalance that you weaved.
Its path for the higher good now ends
And back to you the spell I send.”

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Again, these are my words. The numbers 3 and 3×3 or rather, 9, are sacred in Norse cosmology. If you follow a different tradition re-write the words to suit your religion’s cosmology. Cherry-picking from foreign traditions which you know nothing or little about can end with unwanted and unexpected results. There is nothing wrong with eclecticism if you know what you are doing, but it takes time, dedication and practice. And a lot of study!

Create a sacred space and if you like invite your patrons, matrons or guardian spirits and beings to your aid.
Light the candle(s) and recite or read the words, roll up the parchment and place it before the mirror.
Roll up the parchment and place it in front of the mirror, between the candles or in front of the one candle if you only use the one.
Thank your Deities and guardians and open the circle and let the candles burn down. It should go without saying that fire should not be left unattended, but as a favorite saying in my region is, “You can never think as stupidly as people act” I will mention it anyhow!
Some people told me that they would prefer not to break the circle and asked me if they couldn’t “cut” a gateway into the circle in order to step out and then reseal it. What this will do is lock the energies carefully raised and focused into the circle and nothing will happen. The point of opening the circle is that the concentrated energy may then be released, you ARE after all intending to do a return to sender spell!

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Severing/Cutting

You can either do this spell individually or embed it into another one. You will need a (short) rope, string, cord or band. Create a sacred space. You may call the corners, stags, dwarves or whichever equates with the Gods/beings of your tradition, speak similar words as in the Binding or Reflection while tying first knot on one end of the rope representing you and then the second one on the other end of the rope representing the opposing party, then after prayer or meditation, cut the cord in two, separating both knots/parties. Dispose of the two knot-ends in separate locations.
Someone asked me once which side of the rope represented which party. It doesn’t matter. Maybe you feel that since you are right-handed you would like to be represented by the knot on the right side of the cord. Or you follow a more left-handed path and feel better with the left side. It is really up to you.

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On a last note, there are various reasons for a spell not to work instantly or sometimes not at all. Any witch or Pagan practitioner insisting on never having made a blunder is not telling the truth. Everything takes practice, be it prayer, meditation or witchcraft. That being said, I hope this may help and wish you good luck! If anyone would like to give me some feedback on how these spells and rituals worked for them, feel free to contact me via the contact form below.

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Hetanism and Tseghakron, Armenia’s ”national Pagan religion”

Written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt, 2014.

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Before we explore Armenian Hetanism, or in translation “Heathenry”, a bit further, let me take you on a very brief semi-political excursion.
The revival of Armenian Paganism has been widely criticized due to the political affiliations of its revivers.
Edik “Slak” Kakosyan and Garegin Nzhdeh both are known as “nationalists”. Most of us, especially in the West, have an idea on what nationalism is; we associate it with tyranny, dictatorship,racism, world wars and the death of millions.
Whilst these forms of nationalism are ghastly, fascist, absolutely and without a doubt condemnable, nationalism by definition neither includes these things, nor the glorification of violence in general. I am neither advocating nor condemning nationalism in this article, merely explaining the background of this (and other European) Pagan revival movements.
Often the survivors of a people that were wiped out systematically turn to fervent patriotism or nationalism and thus the nationalist movement in Armenia comes as no surprise.
(References re. the Armenian Holocaust by the Turks:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide and also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-479143/The-forgotten-Holocaust-The-Armenian-massacre-inspired-Hitler.html)
In 1991 Kakosyan had founded “The Order of Ari” (Order of the Aryans or also Order of Ari (the first form of men) or also Children of Man. Please note: Aryan in its original meaning also has nothing to do with nazi ideology and is just another word for indo-European. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan ), following up on Nzhdeh’s ideas, ideals and goals of the Tseghakron, “religion of the nation” as brought to life shortly after the end of the Armenian Holocaust around 1915. Kakosyan, while in exile, had also codified Nzhdeh’s Ukhtagirk, “Book of Vows” in which Nzhdeh was almost deified and compared to the Pagan high God, Vahagn, God of the sun, of war and the Aryan Armenian nation.

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(photo: Nzhdeh)

Although many were skeptical towards the latter mentioned Hetanism grew steadily, not just Pagans but even devout Christians soon started gathering at the Temple of Garni  to celebrate the ancient holy days and festivals and also celebrate their heritage. Some even insist that it helped them overcome the trauma of the genocide they still dealt with.
It has gained enough acceptance for the current president of the Republican Party of Armenia to out himself as a Hetanist. Former Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan is a big supporter of the Hetanist movement to this day.
Despite the fact that it was the conservative, republican and nationalist parties, clubs and organizations that helped Hetanism to its feet, the priests of the Temple of Garni are not allowed to join any political organizations, parties or make their personal political opinion publicly known. Hetanism is for every Armenian is the credo.

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(Temple of Garni)

Other than by Armenian intellectuals Tseghakron is favored by the rural population which often kept their folk traditions, customs and beliefs as inspired by the Old Pagan Religion. It is due to them that fragments (!) of the old poems and songs survived Christianization until this day, further filling in blanks about the nature of worship and spiritual everyday life. It was easier for them to relate to Storm- and Sungods, a spiritual duality and animism rather than Armenian Orthodox Christianity. They also often believe in the Gods as physical entities while neo-Pagan intellectuals subscribe to the concept of Nzhdeh’s “divinely inspired” Ukhtagirk: monism. –  According to this book, first there was Ar (reminding of Norse Ginnungagap or the Christian nothingness that was before God created light) and Ara the “universal architect”, who reminds of Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda or Hindu Brahma was the creator of the Gods, earth and universe and has no form, no qualities nor personality. He was later called Aramazd.
Etymologically Ar is the origin of words such as womb, blood, sun, art.
Just like many other ancient civilizations or belief systems, original Tsegakhron along with almost all sources, texts and artifacts, was destroyed by Christianity. Hence Hetanists rely on the Ukhtagirk for spiritual guidance regarding rituals, celebrations, holidays and conduct.
The historically most reliable source of information – despite single accounts of Hetanism in the works of Plato, Heredotus, Xenophon and Strabo – is the Hayots Patmut’yun, “The History of Armenia” by Movses Khorenatsi, which was written in the 400’s AD. Hetanism is only partly a reconstructionist religion, today’s followers fill in the blanks with elements from sibling-traditions such as Hellenism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism.

There are three rites of passage in Hetanism, the Knunk, a baptizing/saining ritual for those who convert or rather, revert to their ancestors’ religion. Second is Psak – wedding and then the last rite or death ritual. These are held individually within smaller communities and kindreds or even solitary but also regularly at The Temple of Garni in the Kotayk province (ca. 3rd century BC), the only Pagan, Hellenic styled Temple which survived the Christianization and was dedicated to Zoroastrian/Armenian Sungod Mihr and Greek Zeus before it was rededicated to Vahagn.
Other Hetanist holy days include amgonst others
Terndez on Feb. 14th which is similar to Pagan Valentine’s Day,
Hambardzum (Ascension Day celebrated 40 days after “Easter”),
Vardavar which was connected with The Goddess of beauty – Astghik and her love with Sungod Vahagn. Khaghoghorhnek is a day for the remembrance of the ancestors (Sept. 20th),
Zatik is the Aryan New Year and birthday of the Sungod Vahagn  (March 21st) on which winter is separated from spring, in fact Vaha meaning God and Agn meaning Fire (note: In Hinduism Agni is the God of Fire as well) and the Navasard.

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As in all other Pagan religions the Sun and Moon were sacred, days were dedicated to each, Hetanists prayed facing the East and were also buried facing East in the hope of “rising in the afterlife”. The Moon was venerated, but also slightly feared as it was associated with (female) mysteries, death and also (evil) spirits and believed to be a “young maiden in the sky” whereas the Sun was actually a young man smiling down upon the land.
As far as we know women were still treated well, often not just equally to men but they were looked at as sacred children of the Moon/Great Mother.
Depending on the specific (sub-)cult or community, the stars were believed to be the children of Sun and Moon or the ancestors and the Zodiac, sun and moon phases were paramount in order to determine one’s destiny. They were the means by which Ara (the great impersonal life force) communicated with the people.
Bronze age pictures, statues and bas-reliefs depict the lion, bull, deer, bear, horse, sheep and ox as well as the stork, eagle, rooster, crane and swallow in a spiritual or “holy” context and indicate that Hetanism was a totemic religion.
The worship of the elements appears to also have been a part of original Hetanism, but it is their fervent worship of the element of Fire which earned them the name of “ash-worshippers” by early Christians that came in contact with this religion. Fire represented not only physical light or illumination but also metaphysical enlightenment. To this day putting out a fire, and if it is only a candle, requires more than just snuffing or blowing out the wick, for many Armenians there is a ritual to be followed in order not to invite unwanted spirits. Even less spiritual Armenians and non-Hetanists at least put out fire or a candle with care and some basic respect.
Some of the ancient Gods, demons and beings are still found in Armenian fairy tales, though they are often not called by their original names out of fear of persecution by the church back then.

I mentioned earlier that Ara(mazd) basically translates to life. Now, it is interesting to note that his wife’s name was Sandaramet and she was the female equivalent of Hades, basically Death embodied.
Aramazd’s “shepard on earth” or attending incorporeal spirit was Tir, meaning “writer”. He walked the earth, recording mankind’s deeds and thoughts, taking his accounts of it back to Aramazd who then judged each individual according to his/her deeds and thoughts after death. Tir represented both hope and fear and whenever someone had cursed loudly or spoken badly about someone whispers would be heard, warning of Tir’s possible presence.
Mihr was Aramazd’s son, the God of Fire to whom many temples were dedicated. Much like Norse Týr was replaced by the foreign Wotan/Odin, Mihr faded into the background after Vahagn became more popular.
Aramazd’s daughter Anahit’s Greek equivalent was Artemis. She was called “the spotless Goddess” or “Golden Mother”, representing purity and chastity. She was Armenia’s protector and benefactress.
Anahit’s sister Astghik married Vahagn. He was also called Vishapakagh, “uprooter of dragons” (snakes), as he roamed the lands in order to free Armenia and its population from evil spirits, demons and monsters.
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(Vahagn as Vishapakagh)

Aramazd’s third daughter’s name was Nooné. Especially the rural population could relate to her best since she was the Goddess of contrivance. Odds were often against her but she always somehow emerged from trouble, woes and tight spots triumphantly.
Except Vahagn most of these Deities were rather gentle deities, this is also reflected in the Armenian holy days which often central around love, beauty and fidelity.

Hetanism is a small religion mainly heard of and lived in Armenia itself, although the Armenian Diaspora (especially in the US) is finally starting to catch on and embrace its native Pagan roots. Hopefully it will grow and prosper just as much as the majority of the other indo-European Pagan religions currently are. At least I am hoping for some timely in-depth literature on this fascinating religion!

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(Celebrating Vardavar at Garni Temple)

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