Keynote: The Proper Use of Intelligence,
Familiars, and Occult Knowledge
Cycle of Power: Winter and Summer

Camp Asbury, Hiram Ohio
February 7-9, 2020


The magpie is a cousin to the crow. It is a large bird with a glistening black head. Magpies are curious and somewhat impudent, and they have a reputation for stealing anything they can carry off. This reflects their skill at using whatever they can find. The magpie as a totem can help you to use whatever metaphysical or occult knowledge that you do have--no matter how incomplete it may be. The only thing that you must be careful of is that of thinking and acting as if it will do more for you than it can. Many consider the magpie the most intelligent member of its family of crows. They have great intelligence, adaptability, and social organization. It is found most predominantly in the northwest, and a study of the directions will help you to define its specific role in your life.

They are scavengers and opportunists, reflecting their great intelligence. Because of this, they can teach you to use what is at hand or they may reflect a “dabbling” pattern in your life. They can help you to advance your knowledge or your life. Their appearance most often reflects opportunities for advancement through proper use of intelligence.

The magpie has often been considered unlucky or lucky depending upon the times and the quantities in which they are seen. One reason for this mixed response to the magpie comes from an old story of how it was the only bird which refused to enter the inside of Noah’s ark, preferring to perch on the roof. From this story and the magpie’s own home construction comes an old idea that if a magpie perches on the roof of a house, the house will never come down.

Magpies make their nests of mud and twigs. The nests are usually large, and often they are anchored in the forks of a tree or in a thorn bush. This makes the homes strong, and it also links the magpie to being able to open up an individual to new realms as simply and quickly as possible. (Thorn bushes often guard doorways to the spirit and fairy realm. Forked branches are intersections between worlds—again a doorway.) These homes are usually along a watercourse, and they can be used winter and summer. Their homes are often messy, and this can be a warning not to look for quick and easy methods of attainment through occult knowledge. Their homes usually have a roof and are entered in through the sides.

A magpie as a totem usually indicates that you are going to encounter the spirit realm and the metaphysical world in a different manner. You will enter into it and experience it in a way different from most-and often it is in an unusual manner. The Scots had a fortune-telling rhyme about the number of magpies you might meet while out walking: One’s sorrow, two’s mirth, Three’s a wedding, four’s a birth. Five’s a Christening, six a dearth, Seven’s heaven, eight is hell, And nine’s the devil his ain sel’ (Own self).

magpieA similar kind of association has been passed on in the United States in the folk tradition. One magpie is unlucky and can indicate anger. Two is merriment and marriage, like the “mirth” in the Scot’s rhyme. Three magpies indicates a successful journey. (Weddings can be a journey.) Four magpies indicate good news, and five company or parties. The magpie has an association with witchcraft. It was once believed that magpies were the familiars of witches and magicians. They were spirits in animal form.

Part of this belief comes from their intelligence and their keen observation of human activity. It also, I’m sure, has connections to their thievery--as witches and magicians were not often looked upon kindly. Its intelligence and wily character makes it an interesting totem, but one not easily controlled. It is a bird with a will of its own. It does have knowledge of how to use animals as familiars. It can also teach how to use occult knowledge for quick effects.

magpiePart of the problem with this bird as a totem is that the knowledge is usually incomplete. You may gain what you desire from the use of the knowledge, but it may come in an obtuse or unusual way. It may have other repercussions that you may not have considered. If magpie has shown up in your life, you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Do you have knowledge and are not using it? Are you employing whatever skills you have to get what you most need? Are you using your knowledge and skills inappropriately? Magpie can help you to define these answers. It can help you to learn to use occult knowledge in responsible but effective ways. The magpie will show you what you can do for your life with just a little occult knowledge.

What to Expect

The workshop will do several shamanic journeys over the course of the weekend. A large altar/vortex is created with many stones. This creates a massive energetic field.

Who Should Come

All interested parties with journey experience.

What to Bring

Please bring any rocks or cedar related items that want to come along. A journal with colored pencils or pens is encouraged as well as any comforts such as blankets, pillows, etc.


Dinner will be served on Friday night, Saturday: breakfast, lunch and dinner; Sunday breakfast and lunch. Departure at 2-3 pm.

When and Where to Come

Registration will begin at 12:00 noon on Friday, February 7th at Camp Asbury. The workshop will begin at 3:00 PM Friday running into the night, Saturday all day and into the evening, and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 2-3:00 p.m. The workshop will be held at Camp Asbury, 10776 Asbury Rd., Hiram Ohio 44234

What to Pay

The fee for the workshop is $450 if paid in full by January 1st, 2020. If paid after January 1st, 2020, the fee is $495. This includes room and six hot meals as listed above. The deposit will not be transferred or refunded. It will be applied to the guaranteed fee of Camp Asbury.

To hold your space, send $125 nonrefundable deposit now. For further information, kindly call Herb @ 440-338-1705 or email Lisa Roll Kayser, to reserve a space in the circle. Please send check payable to Herb Stevenson, to 10616 Pekin Road, Newbury, Ohio 44065. Once paid-in-full you will receive info on your stay at Camp Asbury.

Due to the workshop focus and the unique facilities, the attendance will be limited to 26 people.


Andrews, Ted. Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small (p. 164-166). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.

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