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An Except from the New Book, The Arte of Glamoury by Deborah Castellano

The Arte of Glamour is available for purchase through Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

The Arte of Glamour has a mission: to help you find sustainable wonder in yourself, your spiritual practice and your life. Written with a dry wit and a keen understanding gained from years of working with magical ritual, the salt of the earth suggestions will encourage you to delve deeper into your ritual practice. Filled with tips, tricks, spells, a ritual format and a small book of spirits, The Arte of Glamour insists on beauty as something important in both spirituality and everyday life. Foreword by Gordon White.

Excerpt from Chapter Four: The Arte of the Ladies

A Primer on Working with the Ladies

Some schools of magical thought suggest you use a circle to work with spirits so you can entrap them and bend them to your will. This is an excellent approach if most of the spirits you work with are dangerous gun-toting drug dealers who you owe $10,000. In my daily life, I tend to invite into my house people who have a decent enough reputation in my circles and/or I have reason to trust. I would prefer to offer guests in my home a glass of wine and a nice nibble rather than tying them to a chair and beating them over the head repeatedly. I feel it's more hospitable.

I don't tend to run with people I can't trust in my daily life. I don't really feel the need to go down other-worldly dark alleys for the things I need. Does this mean you should have perfect love and perfect trust for the spirits you work with? I take a middle ground there, too. In my daily life, I tend to have what I consider moderate trust for people, based on my relationship with them.

Is the thought always in the back of my mind that each person in my life could turn on me, cut me out of their lives, steal from me, or otherwise act terribly to me for some reason, at some point? Yes. Do I let that thought be any more than something to keep in the back of my head until I have reason to think otherwise? No. I'm cautiously optimistic with other people. I like to think that people I have a relationship with love me and want what's best for me. But, I'm not so naive or trusting that I think that others don't have their own thoughts, feelings, and agendas.

I treat my relationships with my spirits the same way. My work with spirits, gods, and otherworldly entities is reflective of this ideal. I use a method of creating a circular sacred space, but it's so that my spirits can more easily manifest themselves. Its purpose is not to entrap them and force my will upon them.

Like everything else in this book, engage your brain and your common sense. Are the Ladies (the spirits that I work with and will be introducing you to later in this chapter) dangerous? Yes and no. A person, generally speaking, isn't dangerous unless you give her a reason to be. If you take someone out of her home, throw a black bag over her head, toss her into a van, and threaten her, she's probably going to be dangerous. If a friend has introduced you to someone and you into your home, make her a cup of tea, and treat her politely, it's unlikely that she will be dangerous. You've shown her you have manners and hospitality. Is that a blood oath that the person your friend introduced to you and that you allowed in your home won't steal your silver and your cat? Of course not! It's possible this person will do something terrible, but it's not terribly likely.

Consider me the friend who is introducing you to the Ladies. I'm telling you the things that They tend to like and urging you to be polite and mannerly. If you don't treat them politely, then whatever happens happens. If you are polite, you most likely won't have any problems.

Can I absolutely positively promise you will have no problems, that you'll hit it off, and that you'll get everything you ever wanted ever? No. Of course not! The Ladies are spirits, not gumball machines. No one can make that promise with any flesh-and-blood person. Why would that be the case with a spirit?

Welcome to the real world! The magical world isn't that much different. But I can help you put your best foot forward. You may have a better or easier relationship with some of the Ladies over the others, just like people in your daily life. That's okay too.

With the Ladies, you don't want to start your relationships by making a huge show of power and telling them you're in charge of them. First off, would you like that in your daily life? How would you feel if I showed up to your cubicle randomly and informed you that I'm your new boss and I can kick your ass any time I want? As your new boss, would I demand you immediately give me everything I request or I'm going to kill one of your family members? You'd think I was a lunatic! Unless you're working with spirits who are the equivalent to dangerous drug dealers, they're going to think the same thing.

Moreover, why would you take that approach with any flesh-and-blood person who is more powerful than you? It doesn't seem like the smartest way to handle things. You would want to charm that flesh-and-blood person and make them want to be your friend and want to do things for you. If you took that aggressive approach with a flesh-and-blood person from whom you needed a favor, she would probably crush you just out of sheer principle for being such a ridiculous asshole to her. Guess what? If you need help from a god or a spiritual entity, She’s more powerful than you. Trufax, as they say on the intertubes. It's why you're asking Her for help in the first place.

I prefer to have spiritual relationships based on a reasonable amount of love and trust. First off, it's hard to work with anyone (flesh and blood or spirit) when you can't get along or you can't trust each other. So, it's better to work with spirits with whom you can build a relationship by increasing respect, trust, and affection. Secondly, let's say you need a hundred dollars. Who do you think is going to be more likely to lend it to you, give it to you, or help you get it in some way: A stranger off the street or a close friend or family member? Exactly! Make friends. Know your own boundaries. Be nice.

I shy away from the word “archetype” when describing the Ladies. It makes them sound like they're not actual individual spirits. They are. But I feel each Lady is closer to The Morrigan or Cernunnos in Celtic mythos where The Morrigan/Cernunnos isn't so much the name for those specific deities so much as it is a job title. Going with that, my Morrigan in my local Morrigan “office” may be somewhat different from your Morrigan in your Morrigan's local “office”. They both will do the same job (wash the clothes of the dead, be present for our battles) but my Morrigan may have red hair, enjoy whiskey, and love industrial music. Your Morrigan may be blond, listen to Mozart, and prefer port wine. Both do the same job, both are real spirits. It's sort of like how Becky in Accounting in the New Brunswick office does the same job as Susan does in Accounting in the Trenton office. They are two completely different people doing the same job.  Working with the Ladies is the same general idea.

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Deborah Castellano is a frequent contributor to Occult/Pagan sources such as Witchvox, PaganSquare and Witches&Pagans magazine.  She blogs regular at her blog, Charmed Finishing School. Deborah's book, The Arte of Glamour is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Her craft shop, La Sirene et Le Corbeau specializes in handspun yarn and other goodies.  Her Craft shop, The Glamoury Apothecary specializes in handcrafted items for your magical/occult practice.  Both can be found on Etsy.

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