basics

Book Review: The Smudging and Blessing Book – Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal by Jane Alexander

July, 2018

Book Review

The Smudging and Blessing Book

Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal

by Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander has written a good introductory book for those interested in exploring the basics of working with Spirit on the physical plane. In this accessible little manual, she weaves the concepts of working with the energies of physical allies like planets, crystals and essential oils, meeting and working with spirit energies like the Guardians of the Directions, the elements and totem animals and cleansing and blessing your physical spaces, events and ceremonies.

Alexander starts with the basics: becoming aware of subtle energies in your body and in your physical environment. As she points out, smudging can clear away “spiritual garbage.” It is important to remember that it is not just the physical act of lighting the smudge, though, that creates the cleansing effect and invites in blessing. Intention and reverence are key aspects of all the ceremonies and rituals that she describes. When we light a flame to burn the smudge, we ask the spirit of Fire to transform and transmute that which does not serve us. By lighting the flame, we signal to Spirit that something important is happening here and we ask for assistance. There are many aspects to a “simple” smudging that we begin to sense the more we work with the rituals as Alexander describes them. Her book is a doorway in to this deeper sensing and partnership with plants, crystals and Spirit!

One of the true gifts of this book is the reminder of the many opportunities in our daily lives to work with Spirit to cleanse and bless. Focusing on our homes, Alexander invites us to bless our new homes and to speak to the spirit of your old home as you move into a new. She reminds us to cleanse sick rooms and spaces in which arguments have occurred. She describes one method for shielding your home and a ritual for consecrating your bedroom as a space for rest and retreat. I would add to her suggestions, remove the television or laptop!!

Alexander invites us to work energetically with family occasions: births, birthdays, deaths, divorce and even setting the subtle stage before a party! She reminds us to reclaim the turning points of the wheel of the year, as we release the lessons of the departing season and create intentions for the incoming seasonal energy. We can mark these turnings with our families, too, creating rituals that connect our children with their lineages and traditions! And most importantly, Alexander encourages us to remember our energetic connections to Spirit on a daily basis – on waking up and greeting the day, bathing, and at bedtime. We can invoke our energetic protections and boundaries when leaving the house, traveling and for most human activity.

Alexander provides suggestions for herbs, crystals and essential oils for specific cleansing and blessing uses. If you have ever wanted to learn to make your own smudge stick, she gives detailed instructions. This is a useful and practical book, especially for a child or teenager interested in starting to work with subtle energies in the physical realm.

The Smudging and Blessings Book: Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

A Year And A Day

August, 2013

Wiccan Basics

 

There are very few ‘rules’ in Wicca.  In fact, a lot of people like the fact that there is no rulebook, dogma or strict hierarchy in Wicca.  Of course, this varies between traditions, as some groups have more guidelines then others.

 

Rulebook or not, there are a few key tenets that most Wiccans follow, such as the Wiccan Rede, the Rule of Three, and even the Thirteen Principles of Wiccan Belief as set out by the American Council of Witches in 1974.

 

Wiccan Rede

The Wiccan Rede provides a common moral system for those practicing Wicca and other pagan religions.  Doreen Valiente first published the famous ‘eight word’ couplet in 1964, “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will”.  The long Rede below came from Earth Religion News in 1974.

 

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.

Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

 

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.

To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

 

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.

Honor the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again.

 

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

 

When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.

When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek.

 

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.

When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

 

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.

When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

 

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.

Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

 

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s insight.

Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

 

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.

Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

 

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.

White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

 

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.

Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

 

Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.

Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

 

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain.

When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

 

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.

As the wheel turns to Lammas night power is brought to magick rite.

 

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.

When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

 

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.

When the Sun has reached its height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

 

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.

Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you’ll be.

 

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.

When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

 

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.

Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

 

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.

When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

 

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.

These Eight words the Rede fulfill: “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”  

 

Rule of Three

Some Wiccan groups follow the Rule of Three, also known as the Threefold Law or the Law of Return.  The Rule of Three states that any energy you put out into the universe (negative or positive) will be returned to you threefold, like a system of ‘cause and effect’.  Some liken this to the Buddhist view of Karma, or even the Christian ‘Golden Rule’.  There are many variations of the Rule of Three, with one being taken from the Wiccan Rede:

 

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should, three times bad and three times good.

 

Thirteen Goals of a Witch

Scott Cunningham included these ‘Thirteen Goals of a Witch’ in his very popular book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  Although written more recently then the Rede, many Wiccans try to stay true to these guidelines, in both their mundane and magical lives.

 

I.             Know Yourself

II.            Know your Craft

III.           Learn

IV.          Apply knowledge with wisdom

V.            Achieve balance

VI.          Keep your words in good order

VII.         Keep your thoughts in good order

VIII.        Celebrate life

IX.           Attune with the cycles of the Earth

X.            Breath and eat correctly

XI.           Exercise the body

XII.         Meditate

XIII.        Honor the God and Goddess

 

As there is no central authority figure, dogma, or ‘Bible’ in Wicca, it promotes independence and personal responsibility.  It allows each person to determine their own ethical balance as opposed to being told how to live their lives.  And although this can sometimes be hard, it is very empowering!

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiccan_Rede

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Three_(Wicca)

http://www.religioustolerance.org/wicrede.htm

Wiccan Basics

December, 2011

Learn to listen

I recently watch a movie called “Eat, Pray, Love”. And in this movie there was an old Italian parable about the man who daily for most of his many years asked this Statue of a Saint the same thing… “Saint, Please let me win the Lottery. Then one day the statue comes to life and says to the old man “My son, Go by a lottery ticket.”

This struck me again with how much we ask, of others, of God and Goddess, of the world around us. But how often do we take the time to listen for the answers?

Too often we walk around thinking if we only had an answer, or even a clue about the answer or even a better understanding of it all that we would be, richer, happier, smarter..

But we do not take the time to listen for the answer. We have it… it is there. In our hearts … in our heads. The Charge of the Goddess tells us that “And you who seek you findest me not within thee, you will never find me without, for behold – I have been with thee from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.” Translates to God/dess is you and you are God/dess. You do not need to look outside of you for ALL the answer. And when you ask for the answer, listen for the answer.

Years ago I received one of those silly chain letter. You know the ones I am talking about… they have a great/ sad/ poignant message followed by the nasty “send this to …. People or something terrible/ wonderful will happen to you.  But the story stayed with me for years. It was about a young man who kept asking God/dess to show him some sign that they were there. And every time he asked some moment of beauty regaled the world. But this man was so self-absorbed that he could not see and was again disappointed. He always wanted someone else to show him the miracle instead of looking at it and “seeing” it. We need to look with-in and see/hear our answers. When we do not we then miss many of the things we may need to grow and heal and learn. The answers are within. We are all perfect manifestations of God/dess. We have only to ask ourselves and s/he will show us the answers.

When we learn to listen to our inner voice, the one that we call our conscience, we will then find that our guidance.. Our answers were not so far away as we thought.

Blessing until next Month