Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Practical Tuesday: October 6th

Moon Magick

Artist Unknown, please contact so I can credit!


It's an iconic image, the witches around a cauldron or fire under the light of the full moon. While cultures have tried to show this as an image of evil  dark creatures plotting the doom of the good, hardworking people those of us who walk the pagan path will tell you this is not true at all. I mean, honestly, who DOESN'T enjoy a night under the stars, sitting around a fire with your friend??

The moon has always had an influence on our lives. From the time we could first track cycles we new that women were tied to the moon as are the tides, the blooming of flowers, and a multitude of other things. How does the moon effect tides? Most simply, by playing tug of war with the sun. For more in depth information may I suggest this website and this website.

As for the witches brewing spells under the full moon....well that's simply magick.

Different phases of the moon have different magickal properties, listed below. Full moons represent a time of high energy, a great time for spell work!

Dark/New moon: 


  • When the moon is dark/not able to see it. Energy is good 1-2 days before through 1-2 days after (up to 5 days total)
  • Best for:
    • Rest, Peace, deep wisdom
  • Types of spells and magickal work:
    • sleeping/relaxation spells
    • divination
    • learning
Waxing Moon: 


  • When the moon is "growing". lasts about 2 weeks
  • Best for:
    • Building, accomplishments, creativity, strength, growth and learning, positive transformation
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • blessings for growth
    • employment/relationship searches
    • starting of projects
Full Moon:


  • Moon is big and round. Energy is good 1-2 days before through 1-2 days after (up to 5 days total)
  • Best For:
    • Abundance, harvest, wish-fulfillment, manifesting desires, sexuality, achieving all dreams, protection
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • protection spells and charms
    • wish spells
    • preparing crafts for magickal use


Wanning Moon:



  • Moon is "shrinking". Lasts about 2 weeks
  • Best for:
    • Letting go, clearing away, cleansing, releasing, shedding old patterns, undoing bindings, opening up problem-knots, making space 
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • cleansing
    • releasing habits/relationships
    • banishing


Be on the look out! Future Magickal Mondays will include a Full Moon and New Moon ritual

Monday, September 28, 2015

Magickal Monday: September 28th

Honoring the Ancestors

"Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart." Mr. Magorium, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

As we drift from Mabon to Samhain we begin to reflect on the passing of life from one plan to another. This year, Death has been a presence in my life. To put it bluntly, the first few months of this year really freakin' sucked!!!

Days before Yule, Death came and took an uncle. While the loss of any loved one is sad, this was not necessarily a bad death. Many cannot understand the concept, but I promise you that there is such a thing. My uncle was 65 and for the last 53 years he has been trapped in a broken body and mind. The joys (?) of being an empath and psychic meant that my uncle spent his first 48 hours free of his body talking my ear off. It was good to know that his release had not changed his sense of humor and sarcasm but rather sharpened it. 

Early in February, a neighbor who was my mother's best friend and my best friend's mother, returned home after being in rehab since before Thanksgiving. She passed quietly in her home only a day after she got back, with her cat sleeping on her lap.

The end of February brought the passing of another neighbor. The first person to ever give me champagne on New Year's Eve. A woman who had been in my life for at least two decades, the mother of my son's best friend, and one of the strongest people I have ever met lost a short battle with cancer. 

I share this because death is part of  the wheel of life and Samhain (Halloween) is a time to reflect upon the ancestors and those who have passed through the veil. This time of year the veil thins and communication between this world and the next becomes easier. For the month of October (and into November if you wish) take a page from the Asian cultures and set up and ancestors shrine. Decorate it with pictures and mementos of those who have gone before. Meditate on the lessons they may have taught you either directly or indirectly. 

"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away..."  Sir Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man


Monday, September 14, 2015

Magickal Monday: September 14th

Mabon

FYI: I’m keeping things VERY simple and VERY generic.

Preparation:
Alter/Ritual space: Decorate in brightly colored leaves, basket of apples or other seasonal fruits/vegetables, and nuts

Self: It’s always a good idea to bathe before ritual. It’s a great way to get rid of the yuck of the day and watch is washes away down the drain. If time does not allow for this, a smudging. Use a favorite stick, cone, or loose incense and (safely) waft it over your body. Alternatively, you can place it on the floor and stand over it for a few seconds, again, making sure it is safe to do so.

Tools/Needed Items:
Pen
3 Pieces of Paper
Fire Safe Container

Ritual – Written for Solitary Practitioner

Cast the circle

Draw a circle using your finger or tool of your preference around the area you will be working in. Walk clockwise preferably starting in one of the cardinal directions (North, South, East, or West). As you move around the space imagine energy flowing from your finger and creating a shield that protects you from harmful energies (as well as small children, partners, and rambunctious pets). J When you have completed the circle you should imagine that the energy goes up to meet above your head and down to meet below your feet….your own happy bubble space!
**Super formal option**
Point your finger/tool up: As above. Point your finger/tool down: So below. This circle is sealed by spirit.

Call the corners
Remember this is the way I call the corners and the direction/elemental matching I use, everyone is different.

Face East: I welcome the energies of air.
Face South: I welcome the energies of fire.
Face West: I welcome the energies of water.
Face North: I welcome the energies of earth.

Call the God/ess
Using very generic imaging, feel free to substitute your preferred.

Lady of the harvest, I ask for your blessings as I celebrate the time of balance. 
Lord of the harvest, I ask for your blessings as I celebrate the time of balance. 

Work

Mabon is a time of balance, Day and night are equal. It is also a time to review the harvest. We gather what we have sown, celebrate the accomplishment, learn from our mistakes, and plan for the next spring. (Gardeners, you know what I'm talking about.) We will do the same with ourselves.

On one piece of paper, write all that you have accomplished (harvested). On the next, write all that still needs work (plants we need to bed for the winter). Finally, write everything that is standing in your way. Goals or things (feelings) that you have not and will not meet without revision (these are the plants that failed for one reason or another and are headed for the compost). Let them go for now, we can get back to them in a few months but in the meantime let them go so they can fertilize new growth. 

Keep the first list, the accomplishments, with you to remind you what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Keep the second list somewhere to remind yourself what still needs to be done.

The third you will burn in the fire safe container (our "compost bin") and release what's holding you back. 

List examples
Goals Met
Goals in Progress
Released
-New job
-Working with kids on religious beliefs
-Keep a Martha Stewart house
-Saved money
-Healthier me
-Relationship (friendship/romantic)
-Keeping up blog
-Finding the positives daily
-Focusing on the negatives


Closing the circle

Thank the Lord and Lady for their blessings.

Release the corners.
Face North: I give thanks to the element of earth.
Face West: I give thanks to the element of water.
Face South: I give thanks to the element of fire.
Face East: I give thanks to the element of air.

Walk counter clockwise starting from the point you finished. Use your finger (or tool) to pull the energy back in. Do not hold this energy inside you, instead imagine it’s more like a vacuum and you’re finger is sucking up the energy and depositing it into the earth. Walk a complete circle.
**Super formal option**
Point your finger/tool up: As above. Point your finger/tool down: So below. This circle open but unbroken..


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Practical Tuesday: September 8th

Ritual basics

In order to write a ritual you must ask yourself 5 questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
·         Who?
o   It’s a two part question really.
1.       Who will be called to honor/lend energy to the ritual?
·         Which God/esses, beings, ancestors, etc. do you want to participate in your ritual with you?
2.       Who will be attending/participating in the ritual?
·         Is this a solitary (just you) ritual or will there be others? What will their roles be?
·         What?  
o   What are you writing the ritual for? What is the focus/intent?
·         When?
o   What day? Time? Moon phase?
·         Where?
o   Is it indoors or out? Will you need an alter?
·         Why?
o   Why are you doing ritual? What is its tone? Celebration? Reflection?

Rituals can be as formal or informal as you wish. A basic ritual outline goes something like this:
  • Set up & Gather
  • Cast Circle
  • Call corners/God/ess
  • Main work
  • Thank corners/God/ess
  • Dismiss Circle
  • Feast

 Feasting is important!! Ritual work will take a lot out of you and leave you with low blood sugars and dehydrated. Ideally your feast would reflect the holiday/even that you are celebrating. 

I’ve posted this today because Mabon (the Autumnal Equinox) is 2 weeks away! I wanted anyone following along to understand this breakdown when they read my ritual next weekend. I will write my rituals formally, to begin with anyway. I, personally, am not a very formal practitioner for the most part. Occasionally the flare for the dramatic catches hold and I dress in white robes and dance around a fire.

                

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oops...What happened to Magickal Monday?

I recently downloaded a few Paganism books from Amazon. I do this every few years, usually finding one author that I find knowledgeable and then going out and purchasing more of their material. As for the other authors....*sigh*

I'm currently reviewing a book that makes me want to yell at the screen. Instead, I feel I would be better off sharing information with others.

1. Think of religions like umbrellas.

Yup, you read that right. Picture the umbrella as the basis of belief.

If we were to take Christianity, for example. Christians follow the teachings of Christ - CHRIST - ian; CHRIST - ianity; CHRIST - mas. Yet there are many different ways to follow the Christian faith. There's Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, etc. etc. It's umbrella would look something like this:


Paganism can also be viewed this way since Paganism, at its most basic form, is nature worship. Any belief structure that is based in some way on nature worship would fall under this umbrella. 

2. Tarot

This author states that Tarot is derived from the French word "Tarau" and is originally a card game who's original rules are lost to time. 

After searching for the meaning of the word Tarau I have discovered: 1. it is a rather popular last name. 2. It does not show up as a French word and when asked "Is Tarau as French word" search engines change the word to "touche" or "latte". 3. The ONLY definition of the word spelled TARAU is from a Maori* Dictionary and it means pants**. *Maori are the aboriginal people of New Zealand and the Polynesian islands. **Pretty sure there's not much relation to cards developed in the Middle Ages and pants from New Zealand.

Tarot cards, or a version there of, were first seen in Europe in the 14th century CE. Prior to that, a similar card system had been seen in Egypt and Turkey. Yes, it was originally played as an actual card game called Triumph but it's rules weren't lost, they evolved into the modern Bridge game that is played today. (p.s. Don't play with my family, they go for the throat!) Just like the deck itself has evolved from 4 suits of 14 cards and 22 trump cards has evolved into the current deck of playing cards we know today. 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, take everything you read with a grain of salt. (This includes me, please!) While I try hard to research my information and post references not everyone has my level of training when it comes to writing and referencing. Today anyone can write and publish a book. If you start reading something and it brings on more questions than answers check the references. This particular book had 12 references and half of them were all books by the same author. If you're going to write a book your information should be coming from varied sources.

I'll post a list of my library and favorite authors soon.


References: 

Maori/English Dictionary: http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/word/7560

Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. "Tarot Mythology: Surprising Origins of the World's Most Misunderstood Cards" 18 June 2014. CollectorsWeekly.com <http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-surprising-origins-of-tarot-most-misunderstood-cards/>

Obringer, Lee Ann.  "How Tarot Cards Work"  17 May 2005.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/tarot-card.htm>  04 September 2015.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Practical Tuesday August 25th

8/23 - 9/23


Planet: Mercury
Element: Earth
Modality: Mutable


Virgos tend to be extremely practical and and like things just so. They analyse every choice no matter how big or small. Virgos like things "just so" in their life from their kitchen to their bodies. Most of the time this is focused internally but some Virgos expect perfection in everyone.

The sign of Virgo rules the abdomen, including the stomach. Virgos often have sensitive stomachs and digestive tracts and can be susceptible to GI infections, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, and other disorders of the gut. Make sure you take your probiotic and get your colonoscopy!

On to love!

Ideal Relationships

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Best to Avoid

Aries, Leo, Sagitarius

Astrological Symbol

Monday, August 24, 2015

Zodiac Terminology

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to be posting information on astrological signs. There are some terms, however, that I will take some time to define.

Element: Each astrological sign falls under the rule of one of the four elements

Planet: Each sign falls under the rule of a planet (and the Moon). Our planets are named after Roman Gods/Goddesses. Planets can influence personalities and/or paths in life.

Modality: This is the term I use not everyone does. This depends where a sign falls in a season: Cardinal, starts the season; Fixed, in the middle of a season; Mutable, end of the season. This usually has a direct influence on personality!

Body Part: Yes, signs rule different areas of the body. These may indicate body characteristics or point to possible illnesses or disorders.

You SUN SIGN is the zodiac sign that is on the horizon at the time of your birth. They change approximately every 6 weeks an there are 12 in a year.

Expanding on the basics, each "planet" (including the Moon and Pluto) in the solar system influences your personal astrological chart, but we're not going to get into that here. If you want more information I suggest reviewing one of the many books or websites on the subject.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Magickal Monday: August 17th

Sorry this is getting out late, the auto post didn't work. :(

GROUNDING. GROUNDING. GROUNDING.

When I was first learning witchcraft nearly 20 years ago, this was drilled into my head. We started and ended every lesson with grounding. I cannot stress this enough: grounding is important for your well being and health.


Sure, roll your eyes at me, tell me I'm exaggerating but a body cannot vibrate at a high energy state for a long period of time. What happens to a car on a rough road? Everything rattles and shakes, bolts come loose, tires go out of alignment and it becomes and expensive mess. THE SAME THING HAPPENS TO YOU. Unlike a car, we don't usually feel the vibrations caused by energy but trust me, it's there!

Short term exposure can cause headaches, nausea, hyper activity, fatigue, body aches, and a weakened immune system. Long term exposure can cause joint problems, concentration issues, chronic illnesses and cell mutations (a.k.a. cancer).

So, here's a really simple grounding exercise that can be done at any time. I suggest the you do it in the morning while you're getting ready for the day, before bed, and before and after any magickal work. It's super easy and once you get used to doing it, it can be done in as little as a minute.

Grounding Exercise

You may wish to do this barefoot in the grass or dirt to start with. Stand (or sit if you are unable to stand) with your feet about shoulder width apart. Close your eyes and take 2-3 deep breaths filling your lungs completely and breathing out slowly. Focus on your feet, imagine they are roots burrowing deep into the ground. The excess energy from your body draining down your legs, into your feet, and down into the earth.

Note: You can also use this to pull energy in if you are in need of some extra.

Centering
a.k.a. Balancing the Energy Within

You can take this mediation further by continuing it into a centering exercise. Centering balances the energies in your body.

Pull the energy from the earth up through your roots, into your legs, up your trunk, and out your head and arms which now become branches. The energy goes out toward the sun. Pull in the energy from the sun, warm and nourishing. Pull that energy down through your branches, into your trunk. Feel where the energies merge in your belly. The earth and water from your roots and the air and fire from your branches. Bring those energies to balance releasing what you do not need.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Practical Tuesday: August 11

As Pagans, we often beat ourselves up for "not doing enough". Unlike most religions who have set days of worship and strict guidelines, we have our 13 moons and our 8 holidays. Granted, some of us work in groups and are dedicated individuals. Many Pagans, however, work as solitaries and have no one but themselves to keep them on task.

We need to be gentler on ourselves. It's the 21st century and we know that even if we don't celebrate EXACTLY on the holiday the Earth will still turn, the planets will still circle the sun, and the seasons will still change. Honor the gods in your own way: while driving to work (I do daily); cooking your meals; cleaning your house; playing with your children (be they human or fuzzy). Treat every day as a Holy day by doing little things.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lughnasadh, August 1

Lughnasadh, is the festival of the god Lugh and of grains. Often seen as the Christian version, Lammas - note: if is ends in -mas it's a Christian name.

SpiralPath Designs, DeviantArt.com

Lugh is the God of craftsmanship. Often pictured as a blacksmith, he was also a wheelwright (he made cart/carriage wheels), a bard (a storyteller), a builder, and many other skilled crafts. I'd call him the original Jack-of-all-trades...maybe we should call it Lugh-of-all-trades? Lugh is the deity you call on for help and guidance on any craft from art to woodworking, architecture to building.

Statue of Lugh

Being the harvest of grains, the foods of the holiday tend to be breads (sorry GF people!). Our celebration included corn bread, fresh strawberries - blueberries, raspberries, etc are excellent too, and our "slaughtered cow". Since it is the 21st century (and I live on a dairy farm) we didn't ACTUALLY slaughter a cow, we just took some meat from the freezer and cooked it in the crock pot with wine and herbs (also a seasonal foods). 

Traditionally, Lughnasadh is celebrated by hiking and/or visiting springs and streams. We celebrated by hiking to Brunswick Springs. We brought our feast as a picnic and did a small ritual. 

There were many visitors to the Springs while we were there and we were able to share the story of the Springs with them as well as hear their stories. P.S. I'm not speaking in the royal "we", I celebrated with a friend.

This is also a great time of year to work with other Pagans. Many groups offer festivals this time of year. I'm lucky enough to have two active groups within a couple of hours of me that both offer a Lughnasadh festival during the first weekend in August. 

Templefest is put on by the Temple of Witchcraft located in Salem, NH. They are a very active group and have a regular listing of events on their website. One of the co-founders is Pagan author/teacher Christopher Penczak.  

Laurelin Community of Bethel, VT, also offers an annual Lughnasadh festival as well as a monthly meeting. I sporadically participate with this group. (Sometimes I feel like a group, sometimes I don't.) They usually offer a variety of activities, workshops, and merchants. Founder is Pagan author/teacher and man of many skills, Kirk White. 

References:

God Checker: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/celtic-mythology.php?deity=LUGH

About Religion, Lugh: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/godsandgoddesses/p/Lugh.htm