I didn’t start practicing real magic or casting spells until after I moved to California, and that opened a whole new world to me. I spent the first five years or so in the Fresno and Madera areas of California. I had other friends who practiced meditation at the time, and we sometimes meditated together. During one of these occasions, I witnessed an almost corporeal entity manifestation. My friend Kenneth and I were up late into the night meditating. It was around three a.m. when I saw little flashes of light in the air, about five feet away from us. It looked sort of like those sparklers people hold in their hands on the 4th of July. I had seen this happen before, but this one was very different. As I watched, a being of light began to form, from floor to ceiling. My friend Kenneth was unaware of it at first, continuing with his meditations and looking in another direction. This may sound strange and I don’t know how else to explain it, but then suddenly, a long beam of light appeared at one side of the entity. It was bright white, much brighter than the rest of the entity. It started at one end and expanded into a beam of light about four feet long. Kenneth still did not see anything. At this point, the beam of light quickly began to rise, the way someone might lift a sword. This caught Kenneth’s attention, and he turned his head to look. We continued watching it quietly until it slowly dissipated.
I whispered, “Did you see it?” and he nodded his head. We never knew what it was or why it was there. To this day I still don’t know what we saw, and that was one of the few times another person witnessed the same thing I did.

When my mother’s fourth husband died, she moved from Fresno to San Jose, where she eventually started working in her own business. I worked for her for several years, but also worked at other jobs on the side. I worked at a clothing store, a bank, a bagel shop, and for several months I worked part-time at a sex club for gay and bisexual men. Every weekend off I was in San Francisco, staying at hotels, visiting friends in the gay clubs and having more sex than anyone should. It can never be said that I didn’t have enough sex in my lifetime. More than my fair share. I was always an ‘alternative’ type of guy and most of my gay male friends in San Francisco were also ‘alternative’ types. Leather-clad, tattooed bald guys, rockabilly and biker types. There were even a few gay clubs that catered to this type of crowd, though I think most of them have closed or changed ownership by now. One of my favorite hangouts had a motorcycle hanging from the ceiling. I found the leather community in San Francisco to be one of the friendliest and most welcoming of the LGBT communities there. In those days, I wore motorcycle jackets, tight jeans and black combat boots. It seems so long ago now. I have no leather hanging in my closet these days, though I still shave my head and have a few more tattoos. San Francisco is such an amazing place, where gay male sexuality is celebrated freely and openly. My advice for other gay men: Live proudly and openly. Be lustful. Be lecherous. Be sexual. Fully embrace male sexuality in all it’s orgasmic glory, but also respect boundaries.

There are so many things I love about San Francisco. My husband and I would still live there if we could afford it, but unfortunately it is now one of the most expensive places to live in America. The cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is criminally high. You pay more just for the luxury of living there. Wages are higher, but so is everything else. But it’s a truly magical place. We still go back every now and then, to visit our friends and favorite places, those that still remain. On our most recent visit to San Francisco, we saw how much the Castro District and Market Street have changed since we lived there. Some of our favorite spots aren’t there anymore. When I went into a metaphysical shop on Market Street, I found a flyer advertising a local pagan event, and was excited to see that a thriving witchcraft community now exists in the San Francisco area.

Full Moon in San Francisco

I spent much of my time living and working between San Jose and San Francisco, taking the commuter train. San Jose had a couple of metaphysical shops, and a gorgeous Egyptian museum, which is still there. I have a tall three-legged incense burner that I bought in a shop there. I’ve had it over twenty years and still use it in all my rituals.
I began casting my first real spells while I was working for my mother. This was long before I met my husband, and when I was still going to clubs. I had been dating this guy for a few months, and he had abruptly ended our relationship. I was blind-sided as I thought we had a great relationship. It devastated me and I fell into a deep depression for weeks. One of my witchcraft books had instructions for a love spell. I gathered the materials and cast the spell to bring him back into my life. About three days later, he called me at work and invited me to move in with him. This was after having no contact with him at all for weeks. He wanted us to live together, he said, in Santa Cruz, a coastal town not far from San Jose. We made plans, and he took me to see the small house where we would live. After a few days I began to realize things were not as they appeared. Something was definitely wrong. My spell had worked, but not in the way I wanted. It turned out that he was only seeking a ‘room-mate with benefits’ and not a lover. We would not be together like we were before. I was just someone to help pay the rent and have sex with occasionally.
I had not yet learned to place safe-guards on my spells, and had not included such things as “for the highest good”. I knew he was taking advantage of my feelings and that this arrangement was definitely not good. Yes, he was back in my life, but not in the way I really wanted. I declined his offer and never saw or spoke to him again. This is why all the spell books say to never cast a love spell for someone specific. You may get who you want, but there will be unpleasant strings attached. Using witchcraft to overpower someone’s will can be done, but it is never a good idea.

All of those years of meditation and creative visualization really paid off. I learned how to look at someone without really looking at them. I learned how to mentally disengage and detach, and became quite skilled at protection magic.
One of the benefits of having a regular meditation practice is that it helps you become more sensitive to unseen energies. Human beings carry an energy within them, what some call ‘Life Force Energy’. Different cultures have their own names for this energy. The Chinese call it CHI, in Hinduism it is called PRANA, and modern druids call it NWYFRE.
At times this energy can be so tangible in a person that it can be felt by others. Several years ago, I had a friend named Linda. She had a strict meditation practice, setting aside time each night for meditation. One evening we were at a gathering, and Linda was having a conversation with a small group of people when she suddenly burst out with loud, uncontrollable laughter. At that moment I was hit by what felt like waves of electricity. They were very strong, and they were emanating from Linda. They were so powerful that my knees buckled and I nearly fell to the ground. I wondered if other people had felt it too, but it did not appear so. There have been other instances when I felt tangible energy coming from another person. I’m sure it’s my meditation practices that have made me more sensitive.

On another occasion, I had been visiting with a friend and was giving her a hug before saying goodbye. When I placed my right hand on the small of her back, she collapsed to the floor. She told me that she had been having pain in her back, and when I placed my hand there, she felt energy come out of my hand and into her back, and her pain was gone. I didn’t feel anything at all on that occasion. Ever since then, I started using my right hand more than my left whenever I’m doing Reiki or energy healing for others. I now understand that healing energy can be flowing when you don’t sense anything happening.

Witches and other magical folk are often described as those who “walk between the worlds”. Regular meditation is one way to stay on that threshold between worlds, where you remain sensitive to what is unseen but still aware of what is seen. Meditation unlocks many doors, but it is important to have a disciplined practice if you want to maintain that sensitivity. These unseen energies can manifest in different ways, and you may see things you don’t understand. There are times when I’m in a room with a group of people, and the room suddenly becomes cloudy or foggy. At other times, sparkling lights appear around specific people, and shortly after this happens, often within minutes, those people have some kind of emotional or physical reaction. Every now and then, I become aware of light-beings or entities in a room. Sometimes these entities are spirit guides or guardians. One of my animal spirit guides is an owl. I was attending a local holistic expo, where there was a vendor who took aura photos using Kirlian Photography. This type of photography captures images of energy fields around the human body. I had my photo taken, and in the photo above my right shoulder was a white light in the shape of an owl. I had not said anything to the photographers about my spirit animals.

Twice while I lived in California, my left lung collapsed and I had to have surgery. The doctors said it was caused by a bubble that had formed in the lining of my lung. They had to put a chest tube in me, and the first time they did it, they did not use any anesthetic. I felt everything. I still have the scars on my chest and back where they inserted the tubes. The two collapses happened years apart. Perhaps all the second-hand smoke I breathed in at my grandmother’s house as a child contributed to this. It’s an awful feeling.

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