"LESSONS IN WITCHCRAFT"
Seconds after Harry McNeill closed the door behind him, Piper turned to her sisters. "Is it me, or did they seemed to be in a hurry to leave? Especially Olivia."
"I think she's pissed at us," Paige replied. "You know, for our reaction to her theory about the elements."
"Well, can you blame us for reacting that way? Apparently everyone else - except for Harry - seems to think that her little theory is off the radar." Piper heaved a sigh and allowed her body to flop down on the sofa. She glanced at the sheaf of papers on the table in front of her. "And does she and Harry really expect us to buy all of this stuff for an altar? I mean we've managed to do quite well without one for nearly five years. Along with any magical tools."
Paige heaved a small sigh. "You know Piper, if you think so little of these lessons, why are you taking them?"
"Tell me Paige, how is using an altar going to help us vanquish demons?"
"Your problem is that you still believe that vanquishing demons is what witchcraft is all about. Which is why you can barely stand being a witch."
A nervous Phoebe immediately intervened. "Okay, guys! There's no need to fight. We're supposed to be sisters. Right?"
An awkward silence followed. Both Piper and Paige reluctantly apologized to each other. "Sorry," Piper mumbled. "Didn't mean to sound bitchy."
"You weren't bitchy," Paige protested. Piper gave her a long look. "Well, maybe a little. I wasn't any better. I guess I've been a little . . . pushy about the whole matter." She paused. "And self-righteous."
Phoebe sighed with relief. "There. Now, don't you two feel a lot better?"
Both Piper and Paige grumbled, "Yeah."
"Good." Phoebe heaved a sigh. "I wonder what tomorrow's lesson will be about?" she asked.
The words came out of Piper's mouth before she could stop herself. "Who cares? As long as it'll be short. Like Olivia had promised." The others stared at her. She shook her head. "Forget I said that."
At precisely six o'clock, the doorbell to Olivia's apartment rang. She opened the door and found the Charmed Ones standing outside. "Right on time," she commented, allowing the three other witches to enter.
Once inside, Phoebe glanced nervously around the living room. "So, Cole's not here?" she asked.
Olivia gave the middle Charmed One a shrewd look. "No. As far as I know, he's out grocery shopping. But don't worry. He doesn't plan to show up until later this evening." Phoebe's face turned slightly pink. Much to Olivia's pleasure. "Okay, why don't we start on the first lesson. Meditation."
Piper spoke up. "Oh, but we already know about meditation. At least Phoebe and I do. I think. I once used it to control my second power."
"So did I," Phoebe added.
Olivia stared at the two older sisters. "Do you guys meditate on a regular basis?"
Phoebe frowned. "Do we have to?"
"You don't have to, but I would highly recommend it," Olivia replied. "Meditation can be very important for Wiccans. And for practitioners of other religions, as well. Not only do we use it for controlling our powers, but also for grounding and centering our inner selves. That's why meditation is so important, when practicing magick."
Paige asked, "What's grounding?"
Olivia replied, "It means being connected with the natural energy that flows through the Earth. We have the ability to use that energy to gain entrance into other worlds. Other dimensions that are quite . . . well, spectacular."
"Why bother?" Piper said, shrugging her shoulders. "All we have to do is get Paige or Leo to orb us to other dimensions."
It took all of Olivia's self-control not to incinerate the oldest Halliwell with a stream of fire. How could anyone who seemed like such an intelligent and reasonable woman on the surface, be so damn obtuse? "Thank you, Piper. I'm glad to see that your knowledge of the supernatural world is so extensive," Olivia retorted sarcastically. "I didn't realize that teleportation was the only method for dimensional travel. My mistake."
Piper's face turned red.
"So, you're saying that meditation is another method?" Paige asked.
Olivia replied, "Actually, it's the best method. There are a lot of dimensions that can only be accessed through meditation. And most of these dimensions are on a higher plane of existence."
Phoebe added, "You make this all sound like it's about spiritualism or something."
"It is," Olivia said. "Don't forget that witches are basically priests and priestesses. And that Wicca is a religion."
"But not all witches are Wiccans."
Olivia nodded. "True. There are witches who are a part of other Pagan religions. Of course, they might be regarded as priests and priestesses."
Phoebe shook her head. "No, I mean . . . you know, who aren't part of any particular religion."
"Like I had told you before, they would be regarded as magick practitioners. You know, a mage or sorcerer."
Then Piper asked, "What about Christians?"
Realizing that they were about to drift into a controversial topic, Olivia took a deep breath. "Normally, I would say that particular religion does not acknowledge witches. But . . . there is a group called the Fellowship of Christian Magicians. I really don't know much about them and I would suggest that you do some investigation on your own."
"Is Paul part of this Fellowship?"
Olivia shrugged her shoulders. "I don't think so. He once told me that his family had practiced Druidism years ago, but his ancestors had switched to Christianity back in the 1700s. His parents had converted to Wicca in the late 60s. And after their deaths, Paul had ended up being raised as a Christian by his grandparents. He began practicing witchcraft in secret, as a teenager. And after his grandparents' death, openly." Olivia sighed. "However, I think he still maintains a good deal of Christian beliefs, despite practicing magick. A lot of witches who haven't practiced that long, are like that. Including you, I've noticed."
"We follow the Wiccan code," Piper insisted.
Olivia frowned, wondering if she had heard correctly. "The Wiccan code? Didn't we discuss the Wiccan 'Rede' some two weeks ago?" Before Piper could answer, Olivia shook her head. "Look, why don't we get back to discussing meditation? Now, there are seven charkas . . ."
"What?" Phoebe demanded.
"Chakras. A chakra is an energy that centers upon a certain part of the body, due to a concentration of nerves," Olivia continued. "There are seven of them. The first is Root or Muladhara Chakras - for the ability to move in a loving way on the physical plane. The second is Svdhistana, which deals with the balance of feminine and masculine energies. And then there is the Solar Plexus or Massipura Chakra, which deals with the positive use of energy."
Paige interrupted. "Uh, can you slow down a bit, Livy? I'm trying to write all of this down."
The complaint reminded Olivia of the envelope on her desk. "Oh yeah." She stood up and retrieved the envelope. Then she removed the contents and passed them to the Charmed Ones. "Sorry, I forgot about the copies of the chakra chart that I had prepared for you. Ready to continue?" When the three sisters nodded, Olivia added, "Next, we have the Anahata or the Heart Chakra. That deals with emotion."
"How many uh . . . charkas have we . . .?" Phoebe began.
Olivia checked her copy of the chart. "So far, four." She paused. "Ready? Okay. Now, the fifth chakra is Vishuddha or the throat. It deals with verbal communication." Again, she paused. "The Third Eye is the sixth chakra and it deals with the Psychic Center. It's also called the Ajua. And the last chakra . . ."
"Thank God," Piper murmured. Olivia, who had overheard, stared at the Charmed One. Hard. The other woman's face turned red before she glanced away. "Sorry."
"The last chakra," Olivia resumed, "is the Crown Sahasrata." She paused. "This deals with Deity or the infinite. Or the Universe. All the same thing, basically. Meditation usually involves some kind of visualization. For example, a popular visualization used by Wiccans involves climbing a steep staircase that leads to a door. Or becoming slowly aware or focused upon the natural beauty of some meadow or forest in your mind." Olivia gave Piper an arch smile. "And since you have such vast experience in this area Piper, I'm sure that you know what I mean. Right?"
For the third time, Piper's complexion had turned slightly crimson. "Uh . . . yeah. Right."
Olivia smiled with mock delight. "Good! That means you can lead the others in regular meditation sessions."
"Huh?" Piper's jaw hung open in shock.
Deliberately ignoring the oldest sister's reaction, Olivia decided to move on to the next topic. "Now, we'll talk about color magic," she said. "Colors are important in every area in Wicca. I mean, we use them in everything. If you'll notice your meditation chart, you'll see that each chakra has a color association."
"Why?" Paige demanded. "Why are colors so important?"
Olivia immediately replied, "Because colors play an important role in how we feel, see and think." She removed more sheets from the yellow envelope on her desk, and passed them around.
The sisters glanced at the new sheets. "What does this mean?" Paige asked. "Black is associated with neutralization?"
"What does the word, neutralize mean?" Olivia responded.
With a shrug of her shoulders, Paige replied, "I guess to make ineffective? To destroy?"
Olivia nodded. "Precisely. When using a brandishing spell . . ."
"Don't you mean vanquishing?" Phoebe asked.
"Well, a spell for brandishing or vanquishing, we use the color black," Olivia continued. "And we use it, either for our altar, for candle magic or anything else."
A frowning Phoebe shook her head. "Wait a minute! Are you saying that we have to use a specific color for a certain kind of spell? I've never heard of that before. We just usually use white candles."
Figures, Olivia replied silently. That would explain why so many of the sisters' spells tend to go wrong. Instead, she solemnly replied, "Yeah, Leo has told me about some of your spells that went wrong. Have you always used white candles for spells?"
The sisters fell silent. Except for Paige who said, "Ooops! I guess we did."
"Well," Olivia continued, "let's look at the chart. The first color is Black. It's usually associated with binding, protection, neutralization, karma, death manifestation and will power."
Paige mumbled, "That's a hell of a lot."
"No kidding. Check out the functions for Royal Blue or Purple. They're used for spells involving business, logic, social matters, political power and material wealth." Olivia paused. "Hmmm, I guess that's why the Queen of England's robe is purple."
Phoebe glanced at the chart. "I thought Green would be associated with wealth. All I see are stuff like romance, friendship, beauty, soul mates, art, harmony, and . . ."
". . . prosperity," Olivia finished. "Green candles are used a lot for prosperity spells, also." Piper opened her mouth, but the older woman interrupted. "Uh, please don't ask me a question about personal gain. Please?" The Charmed One closed her mouth.
Olivia continued, "Next is Yellow or Gold. These colors deal with health, success, ambition, personal finances and careers. Then we have Orange, Light Blue or Grey. All three are associated with wisdom, healing, communication, intelligence memory and education. Red deals with passion, partnerships, courage swiftness and energy."
Paige asked, "And White?"
A sigh left Olivia's mouth. Finally . . . the end. "White . . . and silver are associated with psychic pursuits, psychology, dreams, astral projection, imagination and reincarnation." She paused. "Any questions?"
"Yeah," Piper replied. "Do we really have to buy all of this stuff? Different colored candles, and all of these magical tools like cauldrons, chalices, wands, altar cloths and such?"
Olivia stared at her. "Why not? Don't you already use certain tools? Scrying crystals, athames - although I hope that you've already trashed Cole's old one - cords . . ."
"Cords?" Paige frowned. "You never mentioned that."
Oh shit! Olivia mentally castigated herself. "Yeah, I guess I had forgotten. A cord is also a magickal tool. It's used for binding and unbinding. Like in a Wiccan wedding ceremony."
"Oh yeah," Piper added. "Like my wedding. Grams had used one."
Olivia nodded. "Right. As for buying these tools, I'm not saying that you have to, but . . . what the hell? Why not? It would make practicing magick a lot easier for you. Anyway," she sighed, "that's it for this evening."
"When is the next lesson?" Phoebe asked.
"Next Saturday." Olivia smiled. "And it's going to be a doozy. About other magical beings . . . including daemons." Her smile widened.
END OF CHAPTER 5