Thursday, September 26, 2013

Magickal Thursday: Mabon Celebration

Though the holiday of Mabon was "officially" on Sunday, I am celebrating it today. A dear friend and I are going to take some time out of our busy schedules and honor the harvest.

Below you will find a copy of the ritual we are doing. I will be the first to admit that I was lacking in creativity and used bits and pieces of other rituals posted online to make my own. I have modified most of the wording to better fit what we were doing.

I hope everyone had a blessed Mabon and is enjoying the fall. For my friends in the southern hemisphere, I hope you had a blessed Ostara and are enjoying your spring!

My friend Cathy & I enjoying Boston in the Fall of 2009.

Mabon Ritual 2013:

One candle to represent each: N,S,E,W
Incense: Sandalwood, Sage
Goddess Candle
God Candle
Three lists: grateful for, want to gather, want to release
Fire safe container

Cast the circle:
We gather tonight by the light of the moon,
to celebrate the season, and rejoice.
May the next turn of the Wheel bring us love
and compassion, abundance and prosperity,
fertility and life.
As the moon above, so the earth below.

Call the Corners:
Hail to the East and the guardians of beginnings. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Hail to the South and the guardians of transformation. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon

Hail to the West and the guardians of healing. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Hail to the North and the guardians of growth. Share your energy with us as we celebrate Mabon.

Honor the Lord & Lady:
We honor Thee, Autumn Queen, and Thy consort, the Lord of the Harvest.
The Wheel has once more turned, and the change of season begins.
The Equinox is upon us, and the time to reflect, at hand.
All time comes together, here and now in this sacred space.
And we, but a moment in time, feel the change as we pass from one season to the next.


Ritual:
Reflect on the things you are grateful for:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we give thanks for the blessings you have bestowed upon us.

Light paper.

Reflect on the things you would like to gather:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we ask for your guidance as begin our work to gather these things to us.

Light paper.

Reflect on the things you would like to release:

Autumn Queen, Lord of the Harvest, we release to you all that holds us back, that we have outgrown, and that  has nothing left to teach us.

Light paper.

Give thanks to the Lord & Lady:

What will be is. What was will be.
The Second Harvest has been reaped, and the time of rest is deserved.
Go now My Mother and slumber.
Go now My Father and dream of re-birth.
I shall be here to greet Thee on Your return.

Release the corners:
We give thanks to the North. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the West. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the South. Go if you must, stay if you will.

We give thanks to the East. Go if you must, stay if you will.

Open the Circle:


Between the worlds we stand in this sacred place.
All time is here and now.
As we leave this circle, the season shall have changed,
And we will have changed with it.
May we use the short time of Winter Finding
To draw the strength and power from within
As we quest for vision, understanding, and peace.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Practical Tuesday: Magickal Meditation - Home in your mind

For my students I often have them create a safe space "in their mind". During meditation create a space, a home if you will. One student has a thatched cottage in a forest. I have a stone manor on a sea cliff. Draw it if your creative. Make it yours. Put your totem and/or spirit animals in the space. Do landscaping, or not.

Within your space create a location where you can store unwanted, unneeded, or outdated thoughts, stress, or any other things that you want to carry in your day to day life. The location should be able to be covered. In my space I have a box located in the rocks along the beach. My student has a covered well at the edge of her forest.

Nothing in this space is lost but rather stored for later. You can access it at any time by simply going back and looking at it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Elements: Earth

Analysis: foreign contaminant. Substance is a three phase system composed of various combinations of naturally derived solids. Subject is most commonly referred to as "soil", "dirt", or "earth" ((From Disney/Pixar's Wall-E, 2008) 

Yes, I'm a Pixar geek but admit it, it is a pretty good opening for Earth! 

For most magickal people, North is the direction of Earth, though, like South, our friends in the southern hemisphere have every right to swap these. Greek mythology the North wind is called Boreas. I bet you thought the Aurora Borealis was just a fancy name! It's colors are that of the earth itself: multiple shades of browns, the green of growing things. It's magickal tools are the crystals and gemstones, pentacles and pentagrams, and salt. 
There is a reason people put those little gnome statues in their gardens. Gnomes are the elemental of Earth. Unlike their cousins the Slyphs, Gnomes are dedicated and loyal. I bought a 120 year old home several years ago and inherited a Brownie (aka a house Gnome). My plants never looked better, well, until the cat, dog, and child had at them. 
The animals of earth are large, maternal land mamals: cow, horse, bison, deer. 
When it comes to magick, Earth is used for: growth, fertility, money, grounding, empathy, prosperity, wisdom, teaching.
Assignment: Get to know Earth!
Gardening is an excellent way to commune with Earth. Spending time up to your elbows in growing things! *sigh* Sculpting is another. Clay is just another form of earth after all. I spent a great deal of time in pottery classes during my college years. It helped me to ground and heal. 
Money magick is centered around Earth. Why? Because from fertile earth things grow and what is the best way to make more of something? Get it to grow! I always keep my pocket change in a brown ceramic bowl. When the bowl gets full I roll the change and deposit it or give it to my son but I never empty the bowl. The bowl becomes a symbol of your bank account and it is never empty.

The Elements: Water

Ah, water! My astrological symbol is the Pisces, the fish, and I have a strong affinity to water. It ebbs and flows. It is strongly effected by the moon. It can be calm and gentle one minute and a raging storm the next. It can be a solid, liquid, or gas!


For most magickal people, West is the direction of Water. The ending of the sun's journey across the sky. It is often the direction of the land of the dead. In ancient Egyptian culture, the west bank of the Nile was where all the burials happened. In Greek mythology the West wind is called Zephyrus. It's colors are that of the sea: ranging from bright blue to purple-black, teals, and blue-greens. It's magickal tools are the cup, cauldron, goblet, and reflective surfaces like mirrors. 

The Undine is the elemental of Water and are also called Nymphs and Mermaids. Nymphs, Mermaids, and Undines are associated with an ethereal beauty that drove men mad with want and women jealous with envy. They have many of the personality qualities that water has calm and gentle then raging then back to calm.

Water is, of course, associated with the animals of water, specifically fish and dolphins but also serpents. Serpents, in this case, mean both water loving snakes and the mythological sea monsters.

When it comes to magick, Water is used for: love, intuition, female fertility, spirit communication, purification, pleasure, friendship, marriage, sleep & dreams, security, and journeys. 

Assignment: Get to know Water!

Water is one of those elements we take for granted because it is such a part of our daily life. Think about it though: we're 60% water; only 2% of the water on earth is fresh water, the other 98% is salt water; the average American uses 176 gallons of water a day! (Retrieved from: 
http://www.waterinfo.org/resources/water-facts) Spend a day, an hour, being conscious of your water use. 

Water is one of my favorite elements to work with. Granted, there is a bit of bias there being a fish and all. It can be used to wash away your problems: write your problems on paper (preferably natural and easily biodegradable) and send it down a stream or river; wave good-bye.  

The Elements: Fire

(I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I've been sick since Saturday morning.)

What is it about sitting around a fire with friends? Is it some part of our ancient DNA? 

For most magickal people, South is the direction of Fire, though for our friends on the southern side of the equator I can completely understand swapping north and south. In Greek mythology the South wind is called Notus. It's colors are that of fire: red and orange. (Yes, fire can be blue and white too!) It's magickal tools are the censer, candles, and athame (ceremonial knife/dagger)

The elemental of fire is the Salamander. Of the four elementals this is the only one that closely resembles a creature from this plain of existence. I often think of the elemental Salamander as, well, for lack of a better term a pocket dragon. Let's be honest though, who would really want to keep a fire breathing dragon in their pocket? Salamanders live in the heart of a fire and are, like all elementals, the personification of fire. 

Animals of fire are those that are aggressive and/or passionate (in a metaphorical sense anyway). Traditionally the snake and lion are connected to fire. There are two non-traditional creatures that are, let's face it, almost more the embodiment of fire than the Salamander: dragons and phoenix.  

When it comes to magick, Air is used for: change, sight, learning, love & passion, sexuality, creativity, transformation, protection, and courage. Fire can also be used for healing. To some extent all the elements could be used in healing in one form or another but more about that later.

Assignment: Get to know Fire!

Spend some time sitting in front of a fire, a candle will work. Feel the energy, the heat, coming from the flame. Watch how it transforms it's fuel into something new. 

Fire is often called upon to "spice" up a relationship. (wink) However, I'd rather touch on the protection aspect of fire. You've been practicing your shielding, right? To start the easiest thing to do is imagine yourself in a soap-type bubble. Let's change it up and make it a ball of flame!

A word of caution though, your shield is how people will perceive you before you ever talk to them. A raging ball of flame may make others feel like your hostile and/or out of control. On the other hand, a gentle flame, like a candle, will be more likely to make people feel warm and welcome but come too close and you might get burned. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13th: Friday the 13th

Paraskevidekatriaphobia: the fear of Friday the 13th.

I've always been a fan of Friday the 13th but I know many who are not. I honor of the day I thought I'd share this excellent article by David Emery, Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky: Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Friday the 13th Origins, History, and Folklore. 

http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm




References:

 http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/buzzword/entries/paraskevidekatriaphobia.html


http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/12/221769298/frightened-by-friday-the-13th-say-paraskevidekatriaphobia

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mabon


A.K.A. Autumn Equinox, The Fall Sabbat, Alban Elfed, and the Second Harvest Festival. Celebrated on the first day of fall. It is a time of thanks for all that we have gained over the previous year. The time is perfect for balancing rituals and spells. The Goddess is in a combination Mother/Hag form and the God nears the end of his "life."

Traditional Colors: orange, dark red, yellow, indigo, brown
Traditional Herbs: acorns, asters, benzoin, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, Solomon's seal, thistle
Traditional Incense: benzoin, myrrh, sage
Traditional Gemstones: carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate
Traditional Foods: corn, wheat, breads, nuts, vegetables, apples, roots (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.), cider, pomegranates

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 13th: Feast Day Juno, Minerva, & Nephthys

Juno is the queen of the Roman pantheon. Wife of Jupiter, protector of women, and matriarch of Rome. Juno is an excellent goddess to call upon when you're looking for a little extra protection from a mother figure. She's not the cuddly tells you stories and rocks you to sleep kind of mother, she's the "I'm  kicking this bully's a$$" kind of mother. Her protection is best when used by woman.
For more information on Juno: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(mythology)

Minerva is the Roman and Etruscan goddess of wisdom, arts, trade, and defense. If you're starting a business Minerva would be an excellent deity to call upon. Having an art show or theater performance soon? Ask for Minerva's blessing.
For more information on Minerva: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/roman-mythology.php?deity=MINERVA

Nephthys is the Egyptian goddess of death. She comforts the living and guides the dead to the afterlife. If you need comfort from someones passing or want their journey to the afterlife to be eased, call on Nephthys. She is also an excellent deity to call upon when you are looking to end something: a lease, a relationship, a job.
http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/egyptian-mythology.php?deity=NEPHTHYS

The Elements: Air


Air, the breeze that blows across your face and dances in your hair. We have all, at one time or another, lifted our faces to the breeze and couldn't help but smile. 

For most magickal people, East is the direction of Air. The beginning of the sun's journey across the sky. In Greek mythology the East wind is called Eurus. It's colors are that of a bright sunny sky: yellow and blue. It's magickal tools are the censer and wand. 

Each element has an Elemental, a personification of the element. The elementals of Air are Slyphs. (Think Fairy) Slyphs create the clouds, form snowflakes, and help plants grow. Slyphs are also highly intelligent and can be tricky and/or deceptive. Use caution when working with Slyphs. 

Each element also rules certain types of animals. In the case of Air it is animals that fly or use air to get around: birds, flying insects, and spiders. Yes, young spiders spin a kind of parachute that allows them to float from one place to another. 

When it comes to magick, Air is used for: intuitive and psychic work, knowledge/learning, inspiration, hearing, travel, freedom, revealing truth and lost things, beginnings. 

Assignment: Get to know Air!

Spend some time standing (or sitting) in the wind with your eyes closed. Listen to it as it blows through the trees. Watch the leaves dance or a bird play in the wind. 

Air can be used to help you focus so anyone who is a student, in the process or learning, or in a situation where you need to have 100% of your attention on a subject, call upon air to help you. Planning a trip? Call upon air to help with "smooth sailing". I regularly use air to help me find lost items. 



Introduction to the Elements

Over the next couple of weeks I'm really going to focus on some of the more basic aspects of Paganism, the elements. With the Autumnal Equinox, also called Mabon from the Celtic tradition, just around the corner I felt it was time to really start focusing on the Elements. I follow the European tradition of the elements though I am aware of the Taoist version due to my Reiki training. I have included some of the eastern traditions for reference.

At the same time we need to touch on a symbol. For many it is THE symbol of their religion, like a Christian cross or the Jewish Star of David. For others it is the symbol of ultimate evil. I am not here to tell you what to believe, I am here to tell you what I believe and I believe in the former rather than the latter. What I am talking about is, of course, the five pointed star, the pentacle. When enclosed in a circle it becomes the pentagram. They symbol represents the elements that create life (the star) and the continuation of that life (the circle).

In European paganism there are 5 elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. The four elements correlate to a compass directions while the 5th, Spirit is everywhere and no where.

In Japan the 5 elements are: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. They do not traditionally correlate to a direction but rather a type of energy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_elements_(Japanese_philosophy)

In Hinduism and Buddhism there are 5 - 6 elements: The 4 main elements of Earth, Water/Liquid, Fire, Air/Wind and the two "lesser" elements: Space and Consciousness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81bh%C5%ABta

In Chinese culture and Taoism the 5 elements are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. There are two cycles within this group of elements: growth and destruction, which can be seen in the image below. This set of elements is seen as the seasons: wood=spring, fire=summer, metal=autumn, and water=winter. Earth represents the transitional time between seasons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Festival of Jupiter September 5th - 13th

Jupiter, the king of the Roman pantheon, is having his festival over the next seven days!

Stay tuned for more information.

Learn more about Jupiter: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/roman-mythology.php?deity=JUPITER

September 5th Feast Day: Ganesh

Ganesh is the Hindu elephant-god of luck and prosperity.

In need of some luck? Now's a good time to ask!

Learn more about Ganesh: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/indian-mythology.php?deity=GANESHA

Magickal Thursday: Cleansing

We've looked at sacred space. We've "played" with energy. Now let's start focusing that energy a little.

While anyone who has come to my house will tell you, it is always FAR from spotless. What they will tell you is that they do feel welcome, comfortable, and relaxed. Part of it is due to the fact that my house doesn't look like a museum. Put your feet on the coffee table, lay out on the couch, raid the fridge!

The other part of it, and the more important one, is that while their's dog and cat hair on the floors the energy in the house is clean. The technique of cleansing a space is one that is old as time and relatively easy to do. My son started helping me cleanse space at age 5.

Cleansing space serves multiple purposes. It removes stagnant energy from a space. Stagnant energy, like stagnant air, can cause any number of ills some physical (think viruses) and some emotional (think bad juju). Stagnant energy has the ability to influence everything from health to moods.

Energy that has stagnated too long or energy that is left after a negative event can REALLY effect your health and moods, especially your moods. Ever been somewhere that just "felt" bad. You felt uncomfortable or didn't want to be there? Most likely a build up of negative energies.

Finally, ghosts. Yes, ghosts, spirits, whatever you call them. (Once we get into October I will discuss ghosts more.) Just as in life, some spirits are good and some...not so much. Cleansing can help this as well.

Before we discussing the "how" I want to mention a few things. First, when dealing with spirits I keep in mind that most of them were there long before I was ever born. Beneficial spirits, those that protect or help in other ways, are always, ALWAYS welcome. Neutral spirits, those that neither help nor harm but are just there, aren't hurting anything so they can stay. However, spirits that are their to cause mischief or harm are not welcome.

When doing my ritual I always state clearly that beneficial spirits are welcome to stay but those that are here to cause mischief and harm must leave. My son chants: "In with the good. Out with the bad."

Cleansing

The most common tool used to cleanse a space is a sage smudge. Most people have heard of "smudging". Smudging is simply cleansing with smoke. While sage is the most common it is not the only. Use any incense, resin, or burning herb that you like.

Prepare the space by giving it a good physical cleaning. Then close all the windows and doors except the main door. I suggest starting in the room farthest from the main door. If you have multiple floors work from the top down. Always move counter clockwise around a room start at the door and move around it as best you can until you're back at the door.

As you're moving around the room imagine the smoke going into every corner of the space, every crack and forgotten nook.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Practical Tuesday: (a.k.a.) Virus Sufferers Unite!

So I'm blaming the late post on: 1) the fact that Monday was a holiday and totally screwed up my internal calendar for this week 2) I've been exhausted from staying up way too late with people half my age for several nights in a row and waking up way too early thanks to my seven-year-old and 3) thanks to number 2 I have a end of season virus.

It might still be a little early for this kind of post but then again, people get sick all the time.

Healing is a magickal process. Okay, maybe not in a Mary Poppins' kinda magick but in that science and magick aren't too different kinda way. Roll your eyes at me all you want but this is a process that happens at a cellular level and all you can do is support it the best you can.

When I first graduated from college I worked for a Chiropractor who always congratulated people on their healthy immune system but only when they were sick. Let's face it, a healthy immune system is the one that works not the one that doesn't.

My virus fighting regime has always been: tea tree oil, lemon, ginger, and honey tea, lots of tissues, and sleep. The tea tree oil is a natural anti- fungal, viral, and biotic. During the day while I'm awake I steams (hot water) with tea tree and/or hot compresses on my sinuses and/or chest. At night I add several drops of tea tree oil to my vaporizer and/or humidifier. Being an anti everything it helps to keep the rest of the house from getting ill by killing all the garbage floating around and can be breathed in with little harm.

(Please note that people can be allergic to tea tree oil. Use a small amount initially to test in your home.)