altars

Book Review: Pagan Portals – Rhiannon, Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons by Jhenah Telyndru

June, 2018

Book Review

Pagan Portals: Rhiannon, Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons

by Jhenah Telyndru

There is knowledge, and there is wisdom; one comes from the mind and the other from the heart and soul. Jhenah Telyndru has both of these in abundance.

As the founder and Morgen of the Sisterhood of Avalon, Ms. Telyndru’s love for her subject comes through in every page and word.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Archeology and a Master’s in Celtic Studies, her knowledge has been attained through years of study.

“Rhiannon” is well-researched via many avenues, i.e. etymology, story-telling, mythology and literature. Rhiannon’s connections to other Goddesses such as Epona, Morrigan and the Matronae (Divine Mothers) is explained in the earlier parts of the book.

While Rhiannon, herself, is not identified as a Goddess in history, this does not stop many women from around the world from worshiping her as such, and the whys and hows of her divinity and sovereignty are explored within the pages of this wonderful book. Ms. Telyndru draws in each reader as she shares her own insight and wisdom, and helps us to more fully come to know Rhiannon.

For those who know nothing of Rhiannon, this is the perfect introduction. To those who know of her and yearn to learn more, this book is a stepping-stone to knowing her more fully and deeply, how to understand her and use her stories on our own journey to Sovereignty. We can begin to learn how to build and deepen our own relationship with her, through the use of shrines, altars, offerings, her symbols and meditative trance journeys.

Allow Jhenah Telyndru to guide you in your journey to Rhiannon.

(Disclaimer: While it in no way deters from my recommendation of this book to all, it bears mentioning that I am proud to be a member of The Sisterhood of Avalon – SM)

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

April, 2016

Travel Altars

Merry meet.

This months witchcraft is about making altars that you can take with you when youre away from home.

Tins from mints such as Altoids, eyeglass cases, cigar boxes and jewelry boxes all can be made into travel altars, holding items that help you create sacred space and perform magic no matter where you are. While we can agree you need nothing more than your mind and your will, objects can be helpful by providing a focal point and by contributing energy.

A coven member made multiple travel altars in eyeglass cases to give as gifts. She included a piece of fabric, symbols for the elements, a candle, a container of salt and a container of water. She put in stones that could be used for god and goddess.

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travelaltar1Your options are endless. You can find items to represent each element or paint symbols of them on small stones or even bottle caps. Charms and pendants can be used, along with mini tools, tarot cards, game pieces, beads and incense cones. Scrapbook and jewelry making sections of craft stores have items that will work. You can also mold items out of clay or salt dough. Mod Podge or other decoupage glue is a favorite medium for getting fabric or images to adhere to the surface of your box or tin.

However, you need not buy a thing.

Denis proved that with the traveling altar he made from a jewelry chest rescued from a swap shack at the dump. Every item in it was found, repurposed or gifted. While it wont fit in your pocket, it is still portable, and has traveled with him to rituals and as hes moved.

Your tiny altar can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. For some inspiration, check out the travel altars board I created on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lw222/travel-altars/

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Once you state your intention to the universe, you will find yourself attracting the items you desire. I invite you to tell readers about it by posting in the comment section.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

October, 2015

Ancestor Altar

Merry meet.

As Samhain approaches, thoughts turn to honoring the ancestors. It is a common practice to create an altar to recognize the long line of descendants that came before. With the veil thin between our world and theirs, we take time to sit with those who have departed, welcoming them back and listening for their messages.

There’s no one way to make an ancestor altar; it can be as simple as a photograph and a cup of tea or large and elaborate with pictures, mementos, candles and flowers.

Until this year, I would put add a photograph of my parents and their parents taken at my parent’s wedding on my altar. Only my father is still alive.

Recently, I came across a small notions box that had been my grandmothers; it was behind a few other things on a shelf in the corner of my bedroom. I loved it when it hung in her house, and I love it still. One drawer went missing years ago, yet it remains one of my most treasured possessions.

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In a box in a dresser drawer, I had some of my mother’s pins. In another box, I had a bracelet given me by a witch friend who died a few years ago. I have a carnation from my an arrangement at my grandmother’s funeral. The old thimble in my sewing kit, I believe was my mothers. I also have a bag of dried rose petals, some of which could very well have been from my mother. Since I picked up her habit of drying them, they remind me of her.

There were the makings of an ancestor altar.

I pinned and sewed items a black velvet ribbon and draped it over the box. On the back, I affixed two pictures taken from an old book that are from the town in Sicily my mother’s mother was born. Using letter beads I had in a craft cupboard, I stitched onto the last little piece of black ribbon the names of my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

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Next, I plan to reduce a copy of the wedding photo to fit in the place of the missing drawer, and find photos of other loved ones who have crossed the rainbow bridge. As I find other mementos and trinkets, I will add them.

After Samhain passes, I will keep the box in view, perhaps on its own shelf, as tribute to my ancestors. I plan to use it again come February. In ancient times, the Romans devoted February to purifications, atoning sacrifices and veneration of the dead, especially during a nine-day festival. During Parentalia, family would visit the cemetery, and share cake and wine with their dead. Then, the day after the festival ended – February 22 – was the Caristia, a celebration of the family line as it continued into the present. It became meaningful to me because it just so happens that February 22 is my birthday.

May you find ways to connect with your ancestors this Samhain.

For additional ancestor altar ideas, check out the small collection of photos I have on my Pinterest board, Ancestor Altars.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

May, 2014

Altar alternatives

 Altar

Merry Meet.

This month’s column is about how to set up an altar without setting you back financially.

Some of the items typically found on an altar are a covering, one or more candles in holders of some sort, salt, water, incense and something to burn it in, a libation dish or bowl, items that represent the elements, and something representing one or more deities.

Nothing need come from a witch store, although I do advocate patronizing the ones near you when you do buy – rather than online sources – whenever possible. Pagan festivals and their vendors are also worthy of your support. When we can afford it, buying their wares will help ensure their survival.

Before we get into altar coverings, know that there are no requirements that your altar be covered and nothing says you can’t paint or carve symbols on your altar instead. If you chose to cover it, there are many beautiful ones to be had. The ones I have come from thrift stores and tag sales and from the fabric store where yards of on-sale fabric was cut off the bolt. Sheets, scarves, curtains and quilts have all been used as altar covers. I was gifted a sarong that I use both as a wrap and an altar cloth. I have also collected several tablecloths of different sizes, shapes and colors that drape my altars.

I say altars, because I have one for each direction. They are up at all times because I have been blessed to have so much space in such a small condo to use for magic. East is my main altar. It’s made up of a weathered plank washed up from the ocean, supported by a wooden box and one of the shelves of a bookcase.

A small round table sits between two chairs in south, and on it is my fire altar. West is the round table next to the couch. It holds a lamp plus items which speak to me of water. North is the entire coffee table in front of the couch when I’m doing ritual and half when I must press it into mundane service. When hosting a circle for a moon or a sabbat, the coffee table moves to become the center altar and is dressed just for that occasion.

If it’s meaningful to you, and evokes a sense of reverence, it has a place on your altar.

Whether you use energy candles, directional candles, intention candles or deity candles, they need holders. Mine were gifted to me or picked up used along the way. Jars, vases, buckets of sand, wood pieces with holes drilled in one end, bottles, decanters, carafes and shot glasses also make useful candle holders. One day I hope to make some out of modeling clay that exactly fit the various small intention candles I burn.

While it’s wonderful to be able to afford beeswax or soy candles, the ones from the dollar store work just as well, given the same intent and energy.

Salt can be kept in a vintage salt cellar or bowl with its tiny spoon, a jar lid, a pretty tin or a small jar or. A little vintage glass restaurant creamer bottle with special meaning holds mine.

Water can be held in a glass – plain or fancy, a bottle, decanter, carafe or a jar. Use what you have.

Stick incense is by far the cheapest way to create some smoke for smudging and introducing the elements of fire and air. I have come to like the charcoal disks because then I can burn almost anything I mix together, as well as resin incense. I don’t have a formal censor, so I put sand in the bottom of a cauldron, goblet or other container that can withstand heat and put the lit charcoal on that. The same sand in the same container can hold incense sticks, as can a salt shaker set on a plate.

Again, a libation dish or bowl can be anything that will accept your offerings. I am always on the lookout for hand-thrown pottery.

When I have consecrated and blessed an otherwise mundane object for use in ritual, I tend to continue its use only in ritual.

While the use of salt and water, and the burning of incense represent the four elements, I like to add objects for each of them as well. These are generally natural objects, but can also be other found items or even tarot cards.

Some pagans have likenesses of the God and Goddess on their altars. While there are many beautiful statues for sale, there are also many alternatives that can be just as meaningful. The twig Goddesses and Gods I wrote about last month in Witchcrafting, for instance. I was given a small mermaid that sits on my west altar, while in south is a ring of five naked women dancing that was found at a yard sale. The only Goddess for which I paid full price came from a craft fair. A primitive figure of fibers and natural items, she is my Earth Mother. Other small Goddesses have found their way onto my altar – primarily finds and gifts.

The God is represented by a green plastic barbarian warrior that must be 40 years old, given to me by the witch with whom I started my path. It had served as both Green Man and a spiritual warrior on his altar, and so it has for me as well. Other symbols, such as horns, have also held the God energy.

Framed images of deities work well, and many people use gold and silver candles for the God and Goddess.

Whatever you do, know that all altars are beautiful for they reflect those who made and gather before it.

For additional ideas, check out my boards on Pinterest.

Next month, we’ll talk about tools on the altar.

Merry part. And merry meet again.