Spells & Rituals

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

December, 2018

Yule Ritual

 

Merry meet.

Below is a Yule ritual written for a group, which can easily be modified to be done as a solitary. Read through, making note of what to gather and how to set it up.

The altar can be a candle on the floor, or raised up in the center on a small table.

Traditional colors for altar cloths are gold, silver, red, green and white.

SET UP:

Set up your altar with seasonal botanicals, directional candles.

Designate a place for guests to put coats and, if desired, shoes

Arrange so that before people enter the ritual space they can place their cares and woes in a burden basket or other receptacle (a lidded casserole dish or cookie jar, a purse that snaps shut, a box) and then step forward and be cleansed with smoke. (A cauldron can be placed where guests can waft the smoke themselves, or a person can be designated to smudge others after being smudged themselves)

Find a seat and listen to soft music

High Priestess:

We gather tonight in perfect love and perfect trust to celebrate the winter solstice. On this longest night of the year, let us accept Yule’s gifts of quiet and dark. For a long moment, everything pauses. There is a stillness that settles over the land. A stillness for which there are no words. Darkness rules. Tonight we will sit in this darkness that precedes the light’s rebirth.

Take a moment to get here, to feel the surroundings and the welcome with which this place greets you.

I’m going to ring chimes three times. As we all align ourselves with its vibrations, we will meld as a group.

Ring three times, letting each ring fade to silence before doing the next. High Priestess says:

Be here now.

As we cast our circle, see it as an equator, then see the ring flip up and over to become a sphere, pushing the energy to the exterior of this building.

With thumbs facing left, begin by using your left hand to take the right hand of the person to your left and say:

Hand to hand, I cast this circle

Each person does the same. When the circle is complete, the High Priestess says:

See our arms making a circle. With each breath, strengthen the circle. Now, imagine it to be like an equator, and spin the circle up, over and down so that it creates a sphere. Now push that sphere out to encompass this room. Keep breathing, and enlarge the sphere so that it fills this whole unit and extend outside the walls, and into the basement below. Now, see the outer skin of this sphere become soft and foggy, smoky, like a mist rising from a lake in the early morning. When we leave, we will walk though that foggy edge as we reenter the mundane world.

Take another three breaths … and know we are between the worlds. May all we do tonight be for the highest good and greatest joy of all.

Sing “There Is No Time” by Kellianna” three times.

There is no time but now, there is no place but here,
In the sacred we do stand, in a circle hand in hand.

High Priestess:

Let us summon the spirits of the four quarters. We’ll start facing north because winter begins with the quarter of the wheel associated with earth.

Person calling North:

Mother Earth, barren trees now decorate the land that has sustained us. In this restful moment, let us find safety and stability. Hail and welcome.

Place greens such as mistletoe, holly and pine boughs on the altar, on the north side of the candle.

Person calling East:

Brother Air, I listen for the cold winds from your winter wings, but tonight all is still. In this quiet darkness, help us find inspiration. Hail and welcome.

Light incense, or place a feather, bells or other representation of East on the altar.

Person calling South:

Father Sun, source of fire, here in the night, awaiting your
return, we ask that the memory of your warmth temper our spirit. Hail and welcome.

Place pieces of lava or other symbol of fire such as chili peppers or coffee beans on the south side of the altar.

Person calling West:

Sister Water, your snow and ice have covered our world.
Beneath this blanket, let our emotions find healing and renewal. Hail and welcome.

Place a container of water from melted snow, a Yule rain or other source, or a representation of water on the west side of the altar.

Person calling center:

We stand in the center, spirit in body and know we are divine. Spirit is a bridge between the physical and the metaphysical, between body and soul. Guide us as we walk in both worlds. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of spirit, perhaps a crystal or a butterfly in the center.

Person calling the crones:

Queen of Winter Cailleach Bheur (kall yeck burr), Dark Mother Demeter (da meet her), Keeper of the Cauldron Cerridwen, Kali, Mother Holle (hell her), Nicneven (nick na vin), The Morrigan (more’ a gain) – we welcome you crones and ask you to help us transition as you transform to the maiden giving birth to the sun. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of crone – a bone, a cauldron, a crescent moon, owl, wolf, crow or raven. – in the center.

Person calling the sun:

Father Sun, Winter King, the Sage, Apollo, Ra, Horus, Ravi, Shamash – we welcome you to our circle. You are reborn tonight, bringing light, bringing life. You demonstrate the endless cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of the sun god – gold, a representation of the sun, a baby Oak King – in the center.

High Priestess, in her customary way, invites people to put their names in the circle. If desired, she allows people to put other names in the circle for blessings and energy.

There is a magic in all the seasons. Winter’s magic is the most concise, most dense. It is diamond magic, cold and brilliant, focused and precise.

Each season also has its own wisdom, but winter’s wisdom includes them all. Everything is clear. What is invisible in growing times becomes plain in the starkness of winter. From winter, you can remember spring, summer and fall by the patterns they’ve left behind.

There is not yet a call to begin again. Beginnings will come soon enough. This is the fallow time. This is the time of rest. The waiting brings both strength and vulnerability.

When winter comes, we withdraw into the deepest spaces of our inner selves. As the world sleeps, its energy, like yours, turns within. Your inner sight expands. There is much to see beyond appearances. It is bone time. Nothing is hidden. With your winter eyes, let yourself see everything.

This is a time of reflection, insight, visions and wisdom. In the velvet dark are the secrets we keep from ourselves … one of those secrets is who we really are. Find that you hidden in the darkness.

It may appear we are resting, but in winter we are creating a new universe within ourselves, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, secretly feeding that which needs to thrive. With calm deliberateness, we know what to save and bring into the next season.

When we blow out these candles, feel yourself in this deep, dark space, the place from which all is born. Feel the warmth and safety of this womb on this cold night. This place of darkness is the source of life. Feel that energy waiting, still, quiet, for life to begin. That is the energy of the dark. This is the time of before.

That energy is within you. Sit with it. Be the dark from which all things will come. Be the dark that holds the coiled sleeping snake, the crocus bulb frozen in the ground. All life has moved to the center, hidden in the darkness. In this space, feel the energy of all that is yet to be.

Winter is not all about death, it’s also about reflection and insight, and reconnecting to the source deep within the dark. One day in the not too distant future, the dance will begin again. Let that knowledge be a comfort to you, but do not call for it. For now is not its time.

We need the dark to balance the light. Honor its presence.
Offer gratitude for the power it gives us to dream our deep sleep awake.

I will signal when there are 5 minutes left in the meditation

Extinguish candle

Start timer

Give 5-minute notice with rattle, bell or drum

High Priestess:

Welcome back. Take a moment to get here.

We’re going to pass the talking stick so that all who wish may share their thoughts or experiences in sacred space.

High Priestess:

Grounding eliminates the excess energy you may have accumulated during a ritual or other working. Take time now to breath three slow, deep breaths as you imagine the energy you do not need draining out of your body, out of your fingers and your feet. Offer it to the earth below.

Food also helps us ground.

Present cakes and ale, speaking only to say

May you never hunger / Nor you

May you never thirst / Nor you

 

High Priestess:

We are drawing to the end. As we prepare to release the elements, I will light this candle from the spirit candle. We will pass out candles and a drip guard. You’ll take them both home with you.

I thank each of you for bringing the gift of yourself to this circle, for adding your energy to the magic of tonight. Let us bring a piece of this quiet calm with us as we return to our mundane lives that we may walk in peace.

After we light the candles, we’ll sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night” twice. Then, I ask that you to gather your things, attend to your needs and leave … all in silence … as we return to the mundane world.

Releasing the Crones

Crones we thank you for showing us how to die and be reborn. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Releasing the Sun

Father Sun, on this deepest dark night, we welcome back your light. Blessed Be.

Releasing Water

Sister Water, thank you for your presence, love and healing. Blessed Be.

Releasing Fire

Father Sun, source of fire, thank you for your warmth and passion. Blessed Be.

Releasing Air

Brother Air, thank you for your presence and your inspiration.
Blessed Be.

Releasing Earth

Mother Earth, thank you for your presence as we leave grounded and renewed. Blessed Be.

High Priestess: Begin by lighting the candle of the person to your left, saying:

May you embrace the return of the light.

Sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night”

And merry part. And merry meet again.

NOTE: This ritual draws heavily on the poem “The Winter Woman” from “Seasons of the Witch: poetry & Songs to the Goddess” by Patricia Monaghan and Arctic Siren Singers

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

The Bad Witch’s Guide

November, 2018

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Shadow Work

 

(Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash)

 

For about the last two months I have spent a lot of time going within and working on my spirit. Some of it has been a choice, some has been circumstances. My health (physically) has been very poor since about July and while I am no longer bleeding nearly to death regularly I felt I needed to find my strength in body and spirit.

I have done a lot of yoga. A lot of meditation, usually every day, sometimes twice a day, and while drawing in the light around me my shadow would not be still. Darkness has a bad rap. It is often mistaken as evil. Rejected and defiled. Repressed and denied, this is the animal within. Animals are not generally evil. Neither is the shadow.

When I started looking at this place, the in-conscious (unconscious doesn’t give it enough credit), in my early 20’s I found it as the wolf. The singer of bones. The true wild. It is that gut animal instinct and for most of us it dwells within our shadow. If I gave it space and respect it spoke to me. It was wise and knowing with strong instincts that are annoying never wrong no matter how much I try and think around them! It kept me alive. Yet this was not some soft puppy. It was the desire to bite which hurt me. Run from the unknown and dig into things I didn’t want to know.

It was never about trying to control the wolf. The wolf is wild and that is how it should be. It was about listening to it, bringing it forward in my mind and analysing why I was feeling this way. The wolf brought me gifts I didn’t understand. Usually dead things from my past. A memory, good or bad. A feeling, usually something sad because I bury the shit out of those!

In slowly accepting my wild-self, that part of the shadow self, I began to go deeper still. Yet I was afraid. I was right to be. For deep in my darkness was a dragon. A dragon made of fire and destruction. A dragon that I could really feel writhe within my gut when riled. This is not a metaphor when that part of me was “woken” my guts would squirm as though something wriggling around in there. A dragon that terrified me. It was scary this beast ripping out of my being and me losing control. Uncontrolled violence and wrath. I locked it down, I repressed it hard. I refused to listen, I even hated it.

It took years of journey work. Years of looking trying to understand. I remember exactly when I met the dragon. I only went to a Dark Moon circle once and as I journeyed I joined a group of female dancers dressed all in red, whom danced covered in sharp blades and barbs. I joined the dance with them and I was cut a few times, we all were. Afterwards in a tent of red drape we compared scars as dancers do, laughing and smiling. Still I was to go deeper. Down, down. Deeper into the caves. At first the caves were cold and water dripped everywhere. Then they became warmer and dryer. There was no light. None at all. Yet I knew the way and there in the dark was a huge faintly glowing red dragon. It was asleep coiled up. Just breathing. It was beautiful. Like copper. I reached out my hand and it was warm and smooth. An eye fluttered open. The voice was like thunder, the deepest sound but gentle. This was new to me.

I asked “what are you?”

I am your pain.”

I began to weep. My fear melted and I realised this beast, this part of myself, had been consuming my pain all my life. That there had been so much especially as a child I didn’t understand I had created this to deal with all the things I was unequipped to understand. Now I understood. That the dragon was like my wolf. A teacher if I listen. A friend if I needed it.

Working in your shadow is a place within The Dreaming. It is both real and metaphor. You might not have wolves or dragons. You might have lions or “demons”. Yet the demons we make are no less real for us making them. They are often woven from our instincts, good and bad and our worst parts. The parts we reject from our Light.

They are our addictions, our vices. Our rages and pain. Our deep grief and sorrow. Yet if we come to them gently and listen they can bring such healing. That is not to say you allow them to indulge. You listen to when, to why, to the triggers. You understand, maybe even speak about it and let the urge go.

When both my parents died within six months of each other and I was cut out of the family by my sister I was devastated in a way I couldn’t comprehend. Being a witch and bi-sexual is just not okay with her. I remember sitting at the dinner table with the real and distinct urge to burn a path of destruction between myself and my sister. Not a metaphorical one. I mean kill and burn everything and everyone I met until I reached her and let fire take her too. It was odd and specific and I simply spoke about it and ate my dinner. A few month later I discovered it was a common tactic by a long dead ancestor (Grace O’Malley) to destroy traitors that way. I gave voice to my shadow, my pain but I did not give into it.

As Samhain comes and then the deeper dark of the year it is an excellent time to look within at the things moving around in our shadows. It is a daunting task, and one often sorely neglected by many magickal practitioners.

 

Simple Shadow Ritual

You will need:

A mirror

Patchouli oil

Candles/soft lighting

Bay laurel leaves

Yarrow (dried)

Frankincense resin

Heat proof container and charcoal to safely burn your herbs.

Notebook or journal.

Soft blankets (get comfy this might take a while).

 

Prepare your space as you would usually. Anoint your forehead and heart with the patchouli oil.

I humbly come to my Shadow’s Gate.

I come to learn not to hate.

I come to see, I come to hear.

Open the Gate as I draw near.

Touch the edge of the mirror with your dominant finger used to anoint yourself in a deosil direction. Keep the light to a minimum but use enough to be safe. Light your charcoal in your cauldron or censor. First adding the yarrow, then the bay, then the frankincense.

Cleanse your body in the smoke and prepare yourself to sit and stare with the mirror. Visualise your “gate” and begin to unlock it. This might take some time. There may be stairs or even just darkness. You may have to “jump”. Your darkness will not be the same as anyone else’s. When you are ready focus on your own face in the mirror. Say:

I see you. I am listening.

You may or may not “see” anything. You might. We spend a lot of time locking this energy away, it may take a long time to open it again. Write what you see in you notebook.

Re-anointing the mirror in a widdershins direction and drawing a banishing pentagram on the glass should you feel the need.

Humbly I came to my Shadow’s Gate.

I came to learn not to hate.

I came to see, I came to hear.

The Gate is Closed I leave you here.

Dissolve your sacred space as you would usually. If you wanted to evoke particular Deities during your opening rites please make sure to thank them appropriately afterwards.

Spellcrafting: Spells & Rituals

October, 2018

Charge of the Dark Goddess

(Ceerridwen from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky)

Merry meet!

Most pagans are familiar with the Charge of the Goddess – a traditional one by Doreen Valiente as adapted by Starhawk, “Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called emis, Astarte, Dione …” There are other versions as well.

I was almost a decade into my practice before I came across the Charge of the Dark Goddess. I was intrigued. I had never seen it used in ritual or mentioned in the books I read. Several Internet searches yielded numerous versions on numerous websites. As we move deeper into the dark half of the year, it seems like a natural time to share them with you … perhaps inspiring you to write your own. There are five below, copied without editing them.

The Dark Goddess is the Crone, the wise woman and the warrior, the protector and the destroyer, stern yet compassionate. She is the time before birth and the time after death. She is the dark moon and the patroness of witches.

According to the hecatescauldron.com, Her animal totems are those which live below the earth such as snakes, serpents, dragons; bird of the night which are the owls; ravens, crows and horses.”

Some pagans may be apprehensive about working with the energy that comes from the dark, but to be whole, we need to embrace the power of the Dark Mother who rules the night and the deep mysteries it holds. May these charges lead you to her.

 

 

(Hecate from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky)

Version I

Author unknown

Listen to the words of the Dark Mother, who of old was called Hecate, Nuit, Morrigan, Banba, Erda, Macha, Mother Night, Sekhmet, and many other names:

Whenever you seek wisdom, at the time of the Darkening Moon, come together in love and trust and learn of Me, who am the Wisest of Crones.

Ye who search the mysteries of the Earth, the secrets of Air and Darkness, of Blood and Fire, the silence of the uttermost stars, come unto Me, and I shall whisper to you in the depths of midnight.

Ye shall approach Me in silence, and as a sign that ye are free from fear, your breast you shall bare to my blade, for fear has no place in my mysteries, and that which you seek of Me will destroy you if you fear it.

For I am the dolmen arch beyond which stretch the mysteries of infinity. I am the silence before birth and after death. I am the clouded mirror in which you scry your own soul. I am mist in the twilight, the vast and starry sky of midnight, shadows on the Moon.

All things come to Me in the end, and yet I am the beginning of all. I meet you at the crossroads, I lead you through the darkness, my hand you grasp in the passage between the worlds. To those that toy with Me am I an instrument of self-destruction, yet to the true seeker do I bring knowledge beyond mortal comprehension.

Of you shall I demand the utter truth of all that you are, and in return shall I give you all that you may be, all that I am. For my wisdom is beyond the Ages, and knowledge of my Secrets is power over self, over fear, over death. Nor do I demand aught of you which you cannot give. For I am the Mother of Mysteries, and as you know Me, so shall you learn to know yourself.

 

 

Version II

Shayla is credited with writing this according to one website

The Dark Goddess speaks to us,

through the mouths of Lilith, Kali, Tiamet, Hekate, Nix,

the Black Madonna, Nemesis and Morgaine.

I am the Darkness behind and beneath the shadows.

I am the absence of air that awaits

at the bottom of every breath.

I am the Ending before Life begins again,

the Decay that fertilizes the Living.

I am the Bottomless Pit,

the never-ending struggle to reclaim that which is denied.

I am the Key that unlocks every Door.

I am the Glory of Discovery,

for I am that which is hidden, secluded and forbidden

Come to me at the Dark Moon

and see that which can not be seen,

face the terror that is yours alone.

Swim to me through the blackest oceans

to the center of your greatest fears

the Dark God and I will keep you safe.

Scream to us in terror,

and yours will be the Power to Forbear.

Think of me when you feel pleasure,

and I will intensify it,

until the time when I may have the greatest pleasure

of meeting you at the Crossroads Between the Worlds.

 

 

(Black Goddess By Marcy LaBella)

Version III

One source credited this as written by Tiger Eye

Wisdom and empowerment are the gifts

of the Dark Goddess of Transformation.

She is known to us as Kali, Hecate, Cerridwen,

Lilith, Persephone, Fata, Morgana, Ereshkigal,

Arianhrod, Durga, Inanna, Tiamat,

and by a million, million other names.

Hear me child, and know Me for who I am.

I have been with you since you were born, and I will

stay with you until you return to Me at the final dusk.

I am the passionate and seductive lover

who inspires the poet to dream.

I am the One who calls to you at the end of your journey.

After the day is done, My children find

their blessed rest in my embrace.

I am the womb from which all things are born.

I am the shadowy, still tomb; all things must come to

and bare their breasts to die and be reborn to the Whole.

I am the Sorceress that will not be ruled,

the Weaver of Time, the Teacher of Mysteries.

I snip the threads that bring my children home to me.

I slit the throats of the cruel and drink the blood

of the heartless. Swallow your fear and come to me,

and you will discover true beauty, strength, and courage.

I am the fury which rips the flesh from injustice.

I am the glowing forge that transforms your inner demons

into tools of power. Open yourself to my embrace and overcome.

I am the glinting sword that protects you from harm.

I am the crucible in which all the aspects of yourself

merge together in a rainbow of union.

I am the velvet depths of the night sky,

the swirling mists of midnight, shrouded in mystery.

I am the chrysalis in which you will face that which terrifies you

and from which you will blossom forth, vibrant and renewed.

Seek me at the crossroads, and you shall be transformed,

for once you look upon my face, there is no return.

I am the fire that kisses the shackles away.

I am the cauldron in which all opposites grow

to know each other in Truth.

I am the web which connects all things.

I am the Healer of all wounds,

the Warrior who rights all wrongs in their Time.

I make the weak strong.

I make the arrogant humble.

I raise up the oppressed and empower the disenfranchised.

I am Justice tempered with Mercy.

Most importantly, child, I am you. I am part of you,

and I am within you.

Seek me within and without, and you will be strong.

Know me.

Venture into the dark so that you may awaken

to Balance, Illumination, and Wholeness.

Take my Love with you everywhere and

find the Power within to be who you wish.

 

 

(Dark Goddess by Lynn Richardson)

Version IV

Author unknown

I who am the Mother darksome and divine,

Queen of the Underworld,

Rider of the midnight sky,

Keeper of the secrets of darkness,

I call upon your soul to descend and come unto me.

Come into my warm womb of darkness,

where I will hold you tight

as you grow and become filled

with the very essence of life,

and the knowledge of my love.

For in my love I would torment your dreams,

I’d send demons to drive you mad,

if you hold not within yourself the strength

and the courage to stand before me.

To face me with all fetters gone

and allow yourself to fall,

into the dark abyss.

The abyss that holds your deepest fears,

that goes over the thinnest edge,

down into the arms of possible insanity.

For the abyss is but a mirror.

Face the mirror,

face me,

and all the power of creation is yours,

the keys to your wildest dreams,

tickets to the stars and beyond!

Anything you can imagine.

It’s all yours,

if you’ll but fall.

I am the Goddess of the three faces

standing at the crossroads seeing past, present and future,

seeing lightness,

darkness and balance

All of this do I see,

All of this do I hold for thee.

 

 


(Samhain Dark Goddess By Mary Alice)

Version V

Author unknown

I who am the Mother darksome and divine,

Queen of the Underworld,

Rider of the midnight sky,

Keeper of the secrets of darkness,

I call upon your soul to descend and come unto me.

Come into my warm womb of darkness,

where I will hold you tight

as you grow and become filled

with the very essence of life,

and the knowledge of my love.

For in my love I would torment your dreams,

I’d send demons to drive you mad,

if you hold not within yourself the strength

and the courage to stand before me.

To face me with all fetters gone

and allow yourself to fall,

into the dark abyss.

The abyss that holds your deepest fears,

that goes over the thinnest edge,

down into the arms of possible insanity.

For the abyss is but a mirror.

Face the mirror,

face me,

and all the power of creation is yours,

the keys to your wildest dreams,

tickets to the stars and beyond!

Anything you can imagine.

It’s all yours,

if you’ll but fall.

I am the Goddess of the three faces

standing at the crossroads seeing past, present and future,

seeing lightness,

darkness and balance

All of this do I see,

All of this do I hold for thee.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times September 2018

Autumnal Equinox

Bright Blessings,

It is almost the Autumnal Equinox!

We are thankful the weather is cooling off. Some of us nearly suffocate when it is so hot, but it’s also sad that Summer plants are winding down.

I got a head start and threw some mums in pots, and am eyeing more at garden aisles at local shops. I put my radishes in the soil five days ago, and they have already emerged tall and strong!

Next, garden cleanup begins! I have mint, zinnias, black eyed susans, echinacea, and a huge tomato plant that will need cleaned up by winter, and I start that this week. I have large areas of these plants, so it is imperative I do little bits at a time. I have learned over the years that working with plants is done best a little bit here and there almost every day. I see so many people saving all their yard work up for ONE day every month or so, and some complain bitterly about it.

As with all things in life, doing things in moderation in the garden is beneficial! This way, you also get to enjoy the seasons regularly, as opposed to feeling that touching the earth is a chore and a burden.

Besides that, being out there regularly with your plants means you are fully aware of what is going on with them. As we are aware of the poisons of modern chemicals, and how it is killing this planet, the best way to ensure you can manage pests with organic methods is to inspect the plants often. If daily is not possible, at least three times per week is helpful.

Not being aware of the goings on of the plants and the organisms that are interacting with them is one of the main ways a garden can fail. Catch the issues fast, and fix them faster!

The Autumn

As the wheel is turning, the days cool, the nights come sooner, and the sun rises later. It reminds us to enjoy the warmth and growing season for as long as we can, because the cold winter and short days are just around the corner.

Autumnal Equinox falls on the 23 of September this year, and on that day, the day and night are both equal, about 12 hours each. Already I miss the longer days thinking of it!

At Autumn Equinox, Pagans often celebrate a Thanksgiving and the focus is on seasonal food and fellowship.., and I really like this idea.

It gives opportunity to do so before the responsibilities with blood kin and the conventional Winter Holidays rolls around. It also gives opportunity to do this gathering out if doors before it’s just too cold.

It is considered by some to be a time to complete unfinished business before winter comes. This is actually a good idea because just around the corner are the conventional holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. There will be little time between running to and from shopping and festivities to do anything else.

Pagans further have Samhain, and Yule to add in to those other holidays. Busy busy busy!

Depending on where you live, snow may start fairly soon, and getting places is not as easy as it is during the warmer months.

For some, it is a time to reflect on the harvest or things accomplished during the growing season.

Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks

This month’s film falls in with that theme.

It’s called Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks, and here is its official trailer:

The film follows the death of illustrious doctors, both named Dr. Brinks who were a married couple. They were considered by many to be perfect people, and were touted as living saints with an almost cult-like following by some.

Unfortunately, some people who are married to their careers allow their family life to suffer. Not only did the parents fail to be close with their children, but they somehow managed to belittle, and shame their kids for not rising to greatness in the way they, themselves did.

The film begins with their son and daughter fighting bitterly following their parents funeral, and trying to squeeze a tiny bit of inheritance out of the parents who basically discarded them in favor of their careers.

The film shows how the adult children feel their own lives are lacking, and shows how both kids deny their own grief because they felt they lost their parents long ago, so their death is irrelevant. Why mourn somebody who basically dropped you?

Their son chastises his sister mercilessly, and she retaliates, and they even wrestle and scream at one another. Grief hits both kids when they least expect it, and in ways they struggle with.

It turns out, the parents were not the great saints they made people believe they were. Their perfect personas were a front for a horrible secret. Not only were they bad parents, but they were just bad people.

The son and daughter are able, with this shocking revelation, to pick themselves up, forgiving themselves of their imperfections, and repair their relationship with one another.

The Hidden Truth

The occult lesson this film teaches us is that belief does not always reflect reality, nor does it create it.

Our Pagan and New Age communities often want to teach us that we control all in our realities with the power of our will and belief, and yet that’s simply not how the world works.

Like being unaware of pests or diseases that can decimate your plants, the kids in Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks were completely unaware of the awful things their parents did. Everybody is unaware of these things, but they happen anyways.

Once the truth comes to light, we can either crumble, or pick ourselves up, and move forward, towards improvement.

Hidden truths still affect things.

Besides this, we oftentimes lie to ourselves, and we make it impossible to function in reality. We cannot imagine the world to be as we want it, and conjure that based on wishful thinking. We have to live in harmony with the way things actually are. We CAN change some things, but of the things we cannot change, being in denial is crippling, and hinders us as magical practitioners.

In the film, the Brinks kids were lied to, and they further lied to themselves. It held them both back from believing the beauty in themselves, and it pitted them against each other.

The truth was told, and poof! The spell was broken!

This was not a favorite film of mine, and truthfully, I don’t enjoy films that use sex and nudity to excite viewers, but it’s not a bad film due to the lesson it teaches. It moves a bit slowly for my taste, and relies very heavily on “cool” modern things and images to try to engage middle-aged folk who still want to live as they did in their 20’s. Both characters try too hard to act carefree, cool, and younger than they actually are. They want to be without responsibilities, but it turns out both of them are actually very reliable people, and in the end, they show they can count on each other. However, I really believe the over trying of the Brinks kids was just another illusion they maintained to make themselves feel better, and it’s very appropriate.

More on The Equinox

How this ties in with the Sabbat is at the time of harvest, we may find we are in a place in our lives we just don’t expect, or we may have some new revelation that has us reeling from the shock of it. I have written a ritual in years past for celebrating the unexpected harvests, that are a wonderful blessing we did not expect to get!

But what about when something not good happens we had not expected…something that is really not a blessing? Or what if it MIGHT turn into one with time, but we are just not thrilled with it?

What then?

How do we accept the way things are, and move forward?

The answer is to do a ritual breaking of our illusions, as a rite of passage, and ask for guidance. When hard work towards something falls apart, it can be beyond disheartening, and for some, ritual workings can aid in moving forward to the first step in the right direction.

An end of the old way of being at harvest time celebrates and honors where you have been, and serves to thank the gods for revealing what is to come. Sometimes, we harvest hard truths that are painful. We may ask “Why me, gods?” We can be in denial and mourning, and a time of processing this pain if crucial for processing change for some. The energy of the season can help with your process of accepting what is, and moving into what you actually DID harvest, and that is a new way of being.

Fall Equinox Moving Forward Ritual

This will be a three-step ritual and will entail travel. It does not need to be far, it just needs to entail walking away from the old, and going into the new, forward in the direction that you need to. You can even just walk from one end of the room to the next if it is appropriate, or you can do a trip if you like.

You will begin with either a new pair of shoes or a new pair of socks to take along.

You will start out with the old shoes or socks you wear when you set out, and end by leaving the old pair someplace, changing into the new pair, and leaving them behind to symbolize discarding the old illusions, which created the wrong way of being.

You will custom tailor this to yourself based on the basic structure.

What you need to do is three things

  1. Pick a starting place that represents where you were back when you still believed what was false. At this point, you should be in acceptance of whatever has changed, and the fact you have to adapt. If you want to say some words, or do a prayer, you can, but you don’t have to. An example would be. “I stand here where I was once in darkness, and I step away, moving towards the truth. I leave behind all illusions , and misconceptions here, and pray to my gods/esses for the guidance. The only way is forward. So Be It.” Leave some sort of a gift for the powers that be. Next, you move towards a middle location on your journey. You will be wearing your old shoes or socks, and take with you the new pair.
  2. Your second location will be a representation of the process of the change. You will next go there as the halfway point. This should be a place you find comforting where you can return in times when you need to recuperate and catch your breath. If you want to say some words, you can say something like.“ This is a place of light, healing, and growth. This is a place that will comfort me in the changes that are to come. I draw strength here, and renewed, move towards my new truth. Let this place be healing, and strengthening in times I am afraid, weak, or reluctant to keep moving forward. Let this place bless these shoes/socks that I will wear to carry me. The only way is forward. So Be It” Take the new shoes and socks, and lay them on the ground, and let the energies for this safe place soak in for a bit before leaving. Leave another gift for the powers that be.
  3. Choose a location that represents the new way of being and embracing of the new truth. If you would like to say some words, as you change, go ahead and say something like “ The truth is harder than the illusions, but living by illusions is unacceptable. Let this be as a reminder to me of how far from the darkness I have come, and he way forward in the light will be difficult at times, but nothing is better than freedom to walk in the truth. May my gods/esses bless and guide me. I will not go back. (Take off the shoes or socks, and put the new pair on) The only way is forward. So Be It.” Throw away the old pair of shoes and socks.

May your new change in light of the truth bring only good things. If there are difficulties in the transition, may you have the strength, and love and support of others to weather the struggles. May your new life with the new reality be the best life you have had yet, and may things get better and better.

Blessed Equinox.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

September, 2018

Balance

Merry meet.

Celebrations are often planned for the sabbats, but don’t overlook the power these times add to magical workings. As the world hangs in balance, day equal to the night, we can use its balanced energy to regain our own balance before heading into the dark half of the year.

Gather the materials you’ll use: a marker of any kind and a round disk. These can be the wooden ones found at craft stores, a jar or bottle lid, or the top of a deli container.

This spell can be done as part of a ritual in sacred space, or in any area in which you feel comfortable, perhaps adding incense and candles to set the stage.

Sitting in that space, let yourself relax and let go. Give yourself time to begin to feel the balance of this day and breathe it in, absorb it into every cell. If you cannot “feel” it, know that it is there and imagine its vibration. See a sign that, to you, represents this state. It might be the yin yang or an infinity symbol, a line, an equal sign, a representation of scales, or anything else that can trigger the balance you are experiencing. Othello pieces are white on one side and black on the other, and I have used them in the past.

Channel that vision and energy into the sigil as you draw it on your disk.

Sit with it as you think about where you and your life things are out of balance. Does it involve discipline? Nutrition? Boundaries? Is there something you are missing? Something for which you have an overabundance? A situation that lacks its polar opposite for stability? Take the time to visualize each of them balanced.


Feel yourself come into balance on all levels, filled with peace and harmony.

You can choose to add these words Mackenzie Sage Wright included in a Mabon spell she wrote that can be found on exemplore.com:

As yin is to yang, as dark is to light,

As male is to female, as day is to night,

Find Nature’s perfect balance within me

So I may live my life in harmony…
by the powers of three times three,

this is my will, so mote it be!”

Carry the sigil anytime balance is needed – be it spiritual, physical, emotional or mental – and tap into the powerful energy put into the spell it on the equinox.

Although most powerful when done on the equinox, there is no reason this spell can’t be done anytime of year.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

**

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self-taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

June, 2018

Dragonfly Medicine Magick

 

 

Merry meet.

You can use the dragonfly you made as a craft as part of a ritual or spell by calling on dragonfly medicine.

According to BirdClan.org, “It is a power animal which can help to put us in touch with nature spirits.

Dragonfly medicine is about the breaking of illusions, especially those illusions that prevent growth and maturity. Dragonfly is the bringer of visions of power.”

Dragonfly medicine can both foretell a time of change and help during the transition. So, if you’re uncomfortable, overwhelmed and struggling, seek assistance from dragonfly. They can help us see beyond the limits we place on our reality and remind us we can have a world where magic exists.

In her blog on shamansmarket.com, Aleeiah Sura states, “Sometimes seeing a Dragonfly may foretell a time of great change and transition. The first thing that usually happens when a big change is due, is that we put up lot of emotional energy into resisting what’s coming, even though on a mental level we may understand that change is very much needed. Dragonfly is an especially helpful guide and ally for those who are resisting change that is overdue, and can teach us to go through change without kicking and screaming.”

Part of the reason, I believe, is because dragonflies span two realms. They begun as aquatic larva known as nymphs. and can spend up to five years in fresh water. Water speaks of emotions, the subconscious mind and dreams. The larva then undergo an almost magical series of changes; they move through stages, grow their wings and take flight as an adult. Adults may live from several days to a few weeks. They can fly up, down, left, right, backwards and forwards, making them very adaptable. If they lose one of their two sets of wings, the can still fly. They are often found by water and are capable of crossing oceans. As a creature of the air, they are linked to thoughts and communication.

Because of their short lifespan, dragonflies also help us to value time and not waste it on what does not serve our highest good and greatest joy.

 

 

If you choose to call upon the spirit of Dragonfly to assist your journey, be ready for a shift in perspective. Dragonfly often shows us that things are not as they seem. Look behind the veil of mind created illusion, and be willing to shed some old beliefs. Call upon the Dragonfly for help with transition and when you need the power of adaptation, strength, and resilience to go through big life changes,” Sura writes.

A song she wrote in 2017 entitled “Dragonfly Medicine” may be useful in your work. She explains the song “holds vibrational medicine for those who may be resisting change. … It also contains the energy for healing ancestral wounds.”

While composing this song, Sura said she became a student of Dragonfly medicine.

The Dragonfly had quite a few things to teach me about letting go, transitions, and not resisting life’s flow.”

The lyrics follow & the track can be bought for $1 at the following link:


https://aleeiahsura.bandcamp.com/track/dragonfly-medicine

 

Dragonfly Medicine
by Aleeiah Sura

 

Dragonfly, Dragonfly call my name.

It’s been far too long since I changed my way.

 

I need your spirit now to guide this change.

Shine some light now into this pain,

Shine your light now into this pain.

 

And let these winds blow through your heart.

And let these winds blow through your heart.

 

Let these winds blow through my heart,

I let these winds blow through my heart,

 

Shine some light now into this pain,

And let it heal these wounds of ancient days.

Let it heal these wounds of ancient days.”

 

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

May, 2018

Dandelions


Merry meet.

I think the very first spell I ever did involved a dandelion. I can see myself as a young child, picking dandelions with the dried puffy seed ball, making a wish, and blowing them onto the wind. I would watch as they danced on the wind like whimsical little fairies.

Someone later told me if I got all the seeds off with one breath, my wish would come true.

Magic doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Just as simple as tossing a coin into a wishing well and the first star spell, “Starlight, star bright / First star I see tonight / I wish I may, I wish I might / Have this wish I wish tonight.”

As I got older, I came to know how much adults with lawns hated the intense yellow flowers atop long stems, swaying in the breeze, and didn’t appreciate my spreading the seeds to make even more weeds. But I saw something special about them as they opened and closed with the light. I saw little suns looking up to the big sun in the sky, later equating it to male God energy. Then, when the plant went to seed, I saw it as the silvery full moon, or feminine energy which I later equated to feminine energy I came to call Goddess. The dandelion illustrated how both male and female vibrations coexist.

As I got older, my wishes turned into dreams, and the abundance seeds floating off meant an abundance of chances that my desires would take root. I also, without really thinking about what I was doing, would blow on them to release what I no longer wanted, giving it back to nature to absorb and transform. It was like blowing a kiss goodbye to something.

Now I see dandelions as containing the elements: the seeds are air, the flowers are the sun, the liquid in the stems as water, and both the green leaves and the moon I associate with north and the earth. Eat them (flowers, leaves, roots) and you will literally be taking the plant’s magic into yourself.

This is the perfect time of year to be doing dandelion spells. Where I live, they have burst into full bloom this past week. They’re a powerful little plant; their name means “lion’s tooth,” thanks to their yellow “mane” and their jagged “tooth” shaped leaves.

Look for that first seed head and let it carry your wishes, landing and planting, growing and prospering in the coming summer months.

If you wish, add a chant:

Dandelion, carry my wishes for me / Grant all that I wish for, so mote it be”

One spell I saw called for picking four seed heads, speaking your wish out loud to each of the four directions and then blowing a dandelion head in each direction, assuring they reach to the whole universe around you. Their proliferation helps in spreading possibilities and success.

You could also blow on the seeds to send a message to someone or someplace.

If you’d like, aim to blow all the seeds off an individual dandelion in one breath as an extra bit of good fortune.

Offering other ways they can be used in magic, Mackenzie Sage Wright wrote in “Lessons in Magical herbalism: Dandelion” for Exemplore April 4, 2018, “Dandelion tea is said to aid psychic visions and astral projection. The steam of the tea can be used to conjure spirits.”

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

March, 2018

Egg Spells

Merry meet.

Eggs are one of Ostara’s most prevalent associations. Like all seeds, it contains the promise of a new life. It is a potent symbol of fertility because it contains the power to become something: a chicken, a turtle, a bird, a fish. Eggs are a symbol of abundance, prosperity and the rebirth of nature. In some traditions, the entire universe is portrayed as an egg. That makes them very magickal.

At Ostara, the Wheel of the Year is perfectly balanced. Day and night are of equal length. Masculine and feminine, inner and outer, dark and light are also balanced as the world begins to come alive. Imbolc’s whispered hopes become Ostara’s actions. At this moment, the light defeats the dark. The power is expansive and exuberant.

To harness Ostara energy in a spell, let an egg be the seed that will bring forth your desires. Inscribe it with symbols, pictures or words for abundance, joy, healing, strength, security, laughter or whatever you can imagine and feel yourself possessing. Consider dying the egg in a corresponding color, such as green for abundance, fertility, or eco-magic; and red for will, strength, passion or purification. Yellow corresponds with laughter, thought, travel, communication, happiness, freedom and beginnings; while blue can be used for healing, compassion, love and dreams.

As you decorate the egg, infuse it with the feeling of already having these qualities, of having reached the goal or of having had the wishes come true. Clear your mind and hold the egg as you continue to add your energy to it with breath, song, dance or words, focusing on your desires and their place in your life.

Then, on Ostara night, bury it, perhaps in a garden, as an offering to Mother Earth, and know that as it transforms and feeds the earth, it feeds and transforms what you wish to manifest.

You can also use an egg as a spell bottle of sorts.

First, make holes at both ends of the egg and blow the contents into a small container to be used for recipes. Rinse out the empty shell and let it dry.

Write your spell on a piece of paper small enough that you can roll it up and slip it into the hole at one end of the egg. You might want to include symbols, anoint it with an oil related to your desires and perhaps include corresponding botanicals before rolling it up.

Once it is inside, seal the holes by dripping melted candle wax on them.

Place the egg at the base of a special tree and ask it to guard your workings, adding its strength to yours.

If you have other spells involving eggs, please share on our Facebook page so that we all might benefit from your experience.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

February, 2018

Self Dedication

 

Merry meet.

 

Many witches practice the Craft as a solitary, so they never get to be initiated into a tradition with a formal ceremony. That leaves the option of performing a rite of self-dedication. Some people choose to wait until they have studied the Craft for a year and a day before holding this rite. Others will choose to do a self-dedication on Imbolc, which is often the time of initiations and dedications in the pagan traditions. New moons are a time of new beginnings, making them another option.

 

(Phyllis Curott)

 

Wiccan High Priestess Phyllis Curott said in a video found on Howcast,

 

When a witch makes a promise, it must be kept. So a self-dedication ritual is a promise that you make to yourself. It’s a promise to go in pursuit of your purpose, the reason that you’re here. It’s a promise to go in pursuit of the sacred that lies within you and to seek it in the world around you.”

 

Committing to your path and the deities you choose to follow requires devotion, self-discipline, self-care and courage because, Currott explained,

 

you are pledging yourself to your future.”

 

Your commitment deserves thought and preparation. The most meaningful and powerful ritual will be one that you write yourself, so let this column be an inspiration and a guide as you find the words and actions that best express yourself.

 

Write out the ritual, assemble the necessary items and take a purification bath. If you can drip dry and proceed skyclad, so much the better. It could be done in front of your altar or outside in a favorite place of power.

 

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

 

In the ritual she presents in her book Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic,” Curott suggests remaining outside the ritual space while you prepare yourself. Write the parts of yourself you wish to release on slips of paper and burn them. Surrender, let go and banish them from your life. Meditate on your path – how and when it started, what it is now and where you want it to take you.

 

Then, holding your athame, Book of Shadows and chalice, step into the circle, stating your intent to dedicate your true and sacred self, in perfect love and trust, to your Wiccan path. Call upon the Divine energy and offer yourself to it. Surrender and let it flow through you. Feel yourself coming home to your authentic self, your sacred self and your destiny.

 

 

(Stoneware Ritual Pentacle Altar Chalice by artists Nels & Judy Olson-Linde of artifactorium)

 

 

Now is the time to recite the oath you prepared. Look for inspiration in Curott’s book. Anoint yourself with the moon water in your chalice, or with oil or other natural substance such as clay dust.

 

Proceed as you would to ground and open your circle.

 

Many self-dedication rituals exist online and in books. In an article on thoughtco.com, Patti Wigington presents a ritual where you sprinkle salt on the ground or floor before an altar, stand on it and light a white candle, feeling the flame’s warmth and thinking about the reasons for your dedication.

 

After asking the gods to bless you, you anoint your forehead with oil saying,

May my mind be blessed so that I can accept the wisdom of the gods.

Anoint your eyelids saying,

May my eyes be blessed, so I can see my way clearly upon this path.”

Moving down your body, you anoint the each part, speak the appropriate words:

May my nose be blessed, so I can breathe in the essence of all that is Divine. … May my lips be blessed, so I may always speak with honor and respect. … May my heart be blessed, so I may love and be loved. …May my hands be blessed, so that I may use them to heal and help others. … May my womb be blessed, so that I may honor the creation of life. (If you’re male, make the appropriate changes here.) … May my feet be blessed, so that I may walk side by side with the Divine.”

 

Next pledge yourself to specific deities or simply to the God and Goddess with the words,

Tonight, I pledge my dedication to the God and Goddess. I will walk with them beside me, and ask them to guide me on this journey. I pledge to honor them, and ask that they allow me to grow closer to them. As I will, so it shall be.”

 

The occasion can be used to take your magickal name.

 

At sacred-texts.com, Vitriol London posted such a ritual in a Book of Shadows section. After preparing for the dedication, calling on the wisdom of the God and Goddess, and the blessings of the elements, he suggests meditating or chanting to reach an altered state of consciousness and gather energy. Standing before the altar, anoint first with oil, with salt and water, and then with wine, saying,

 

I am reborn into my true and magickal self, and I take on the name of (Witch name). I ask for the blessings of the Goddess and God on my endeavors, and I vow (make your vows).”

 

(Aphrodite/Venus Rose Quartz Love Pendant by Sierrablaise of HighVibrationaLiving)

 

 

He has individuals present themselves to the quarters, dedicating to their solitary path, and then consecrating and anointing ritual jewelry you will then wear.

 

 

(Witches herb Altar Box/Beginners Altar by Shona Winter of TheherbalCabinet)

 

Tools that you will use in your magickal work can also be blessed before consecrating the wine and cake using an athame through which you channel energy. Eat and drink, ground, thank the entities and open the circle.

 

While this column discussed dedicating to your spiritual path and the Divine, it is possible to dedicate yourself to anything: learning a new skill, your career, achieving a goal. It can be for a year and a day, until it is achieved or for a lifetime.

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

The Bad Witch’s Guide

February, 2018

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Imbolc


I am a bad witch. There are a long list of reasons why I am a bad witch. Having been out of the broom closet for some considerable number of years I would on occasion get asked “but you’re a good witch though?” My response to that depending on the person asking but I found I started to say “yes, a very, very good witch” rather darkly as it usually got the point across…


January was called Wolf month in Anglo-Saxon. Where the starving creatures ventured into villages snapping at the young and helpless, just like the bitter winter winds. January stalks through the cold and damp towards the wet helplessness of Imbolc, lambing season.


There is power in that fragility, in the force of hope. Power in the vulnerability to decide to grow and reach towards the light. February can feel more like winter than December weather wise at least in the British Isles. Sometimes we get unexpected sunshine and warmth, but for the most part it’s sleet, snow, high winds and driving rain.

 

(Brigid Imbolc Corn Dollie by Carlie Bodey of GreenWitchGlamour on etsy.)


Imbolc to me makes more sense if it is part Valentine’s Day, part Mother’s day, part birthing ritual. It is a celebration of hope and the power of love. Sexual love, motherly love and love of life. Brides (Brigid dolls and crosses) are usually the decorations but in truth in our house, we usually finally take our live tree from Yule outside. It is still covered in lights but the ornaments are packed away long ago. We have a Spring clean. I might set up a small altar or temporary shrine to spring.


Breed day, Brides day, all have a sense of sexual expectation I can never seem to muster at this time of year. It is still too cold to shave my legs! I grew up on a farm and much like Lughnasadh represents the frantic hot work of getting the hay harvest in rather than some languid holiday revelry; Imbolc is lambing season. You might have to herd sheep in from one place to another. Bring them in (or let them out, weather dependant) and hunt for stray ewes and small grey bundles abandoned on the luridly green grass. It is cold work. Usually having to be done gloveless. It lacks the communal jovial atmosphere a lot of other seasonal farm jobs have. There is loss and death aplenty. Little miracles happen too.


After all these years I can’t get the after-birth off my hands. I can’t get my hands warm, my feet either to this festival. I don’t hate it. Imbolc is necessary. Birthing is hard. It is dangerous. Liminal and primal. It is a labour. A labour of love. It is where all the loving words are blown away by the roaring wind and your actions really matter. It is what you do, here and now that counts.


I guess this is why I struggle with the whole modern idea of fasting and dieting around January. It feels punitive when everything already feels hard. The weather’s awful. A lot of people are sick. It feels counterintuitive to try and throw yourself into some fake “good” mood. I usually like January. For me and my family it is full of birthdays. And yet, and yet this anticipation of the grind, the work ahead feels overwhelming. So this year I am going to give someone who really needs some love some attention: me.
Just do the one thing that needs doing now. Then the next thing. One breath at a time. Keeping your head where your hands are. One step. One moment after the next. I’m going to try and stop myself from berating myself at how much I have not done, and try and celebrate what I do.


My bad witch self is going to clean and bless my space. Then I’m putting on a playlist designed to be impossible to feel sad or sluggish while playing. I might even eat some good stinky cheese (maybe even goat or sheep cheese) to honour the milk, blood and labour. Then I’m going to look at my “to do list” and try not to wince! I might feel up to doing something fancier on the full moon but I’m not going to force myself to “go through the motions” when all I want to do is hibernate!


Self-care and self-love seem to be so far down most folk’s lists of stuff to do. I have many of the women I know running families, jobs and education who refuse to stay home when they are sick because they “don’t have time to be ill”. Women are routinely told to put themselves last and in the spirit of the birthing season I ask you to give yourself the same compassion and support you give others because you cannot fill others from an empty cup. You don’t have to be everything to be enough.

 

Spell- Rite (You are Worthy)


You will need:


Feel good music (the only rule is that it makes you feel happy)
“Naughty” food, be it ice-cream, stinky cheese or a decadent veggie-burger.
Hot bath or shower.
Candle (scented or otherwise)
Incense (something sweet like amber)


Firstly have a long hot shower or soak in a bath. Use your best products, add some salt. Scrub it all off.


Next in your ritual wear. You can either, dress up the nines. Go all out, or put on your most comfortable ‘jammies or nightwear.


Light your candle and say


I light this fire to remind myself to shine. I am of the same radiant light and I am worthy.”


Then light your incense and say:


“I light this fire to remind myself to find faith in myself. I am of the same breath and I am worthy.”


Just sit for a moment and take in the light and sweet smoke. Then put on your playlist and grab your food and feast. Sing-along, dance, and enjoy.


When you are done extinguish your candle and if you like you can keep this as your self-love candle. You can light it if the day is dark and scary and remind yourself you are worthy. Learning to love yourself is important and honours the gift that the Old Ones have given you.

 

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