connection

The Bad Witch’s Guide

February, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Pagan Prayer

(Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S ? on Unsplash)

A lot of people assume I don’t pray. This is wrong. I have a daily practice and that means I connect in some degree to what is sacred to me and within me, usually daily.

My prayers can look like regular praying, or dancing, or cooking or nothing at all. Let us talk about what I mean when I say prayer.

To me a prayer is the mental and spiritual and sometimes physical seeking of connection to the Divine within and outside of the self. I have prayers I have written as well as some from the Feri tradition on my bedroom walls. I may repeat those silently or aloud as written as as my heart directs in the moment. The words are important but it is the sensation of connection, or depth, of Anwen that lets me know I am not just reciting. I am deliberately altering my consciousness, with a mind to connection.

While I also meditate often, meditation differs from prayer. In prayer I am expressing something to myself and the Gods. In meditation I am listening. I surrender to that connection. Sometimes I listen more than I speak, sometimes I speak more than I listen. At the root of prayer is hope, at the root of meditation is trust, faith. That is why meditation is difficult for a lot of people. Not just because it takes practice but because to surrender your thoughts, to really listen within and without is an act of surrender. You have to let go. Scary stuff for a lot of people.

Prayer is different. It is an expression of seeking and of holding on, maybe even building something. Even if there were no Gods prayer would be important as an expression of our hopes, our strength and desire for life and connection. An affirmation of awakened selves.

Sometimes I call on specific Deities though more often I call on the Lord and Lady, God and Goddess, or even simply Ancient Ones. I usually call Herself first and then Himself. It was the Feri way I learned early on and one I still use. I find myself “speaking” more to Herself and “listening” more to Himself.

I like the Charges a lot too. Though I don’t use them directly often save in ritual circle.

Praying can be dancing, my unspoken hopes and desires moving my body and radiating that into the world. It can be in song, pagan in origin or otherwise. It can be in my hands as I touch someone (I like “may what is sacred to you heal you”). There are prayers in my teacup, in the glass I use to take my medicines (I am getting better everyday), in the spoons I use to stir my cooking food. Even if it is only the words “thank you”.

I was lucky enough to trade and receive a book of translated prayer/poetry of Inanna. It is fascinating, ancient and beautiful. It is rather sexy in places too! As a prayer it is a love poem. “She who adores, adore me!” It was eye opening because prayer for many people is a saintly bland affair. This was funny, entertaining, erotic and tragic. It was eye opening.

Prayer is more than a wishlist of wants like a child’s list of presents to Santa. Prayer is speaking in heart, body and mind to what is sacred. There are wonderful prayers out there but crafting your own is both more personal and more relevant. You have the option to be as specific as you like. Writing is often a prayer too. Whether it is poetry in my many notebooks, on twitter or articles like these, I have to connect to write. I have to reach into the light within me and the light without to find the words, though sometimes I can not. Sometimes there are no words only sounds or sensations.

One of the other techniques some Feri traditions teach is to simply speak to your Gods. No thee, thy, thou. Just you talking. Though I do this least I do find it helps keep me sincere. It is a helpful expression of where you are. Part confession, part shooting the breeze, this kind of prayer is both cathartic and humbling. As someone whom has been and felt I had to be superwoman this gave me a space where I didn’t have to be perfect, all-knowing or strong. I could rest my head on my Mother’s breast and cry, rest and just be.

My personal shrines within my bedroom are where I come to pray most often. I find cleaning them and it’s objects a prayer in itself. While I do give offerings to the Gods this is usually part of rites and ritual rather than daily prayer. I don’t like having food in my bedroom, so if I do give offerings it is usually flowers, crystals and objects like feathers I find that have meaning to me. Much like my own daughter as a small child would bring me flowers and pretty things.

If praying is something new for you start small. Something short you can remember easily or write in a journal. Taking a few moments to say something from the heart is a beautiful way to start or finish your day. It can be specific or open as you like.

Goddess you are the sweet sacred earth

I am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess you are the sacred waters of life

I am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess your breath is the sacred air we breathe

I am of your breath and I am blessed.

Goddess you are the candle and the star

I am of your radient light and I am blessed.

Goddess your way is that of gratitude

Your way is of peace.

Your way is of joy.

Your way is that of love.

Your love willed me into creation.

I honour you and I am honoured by you.

So mote it be.

You could easily add a named Deity of your choice, replace blessed with anything else, like strong, wise, or holy. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like, it is the reaching with your heart and mind for that sincere connection that matters. So mote it be means “as I have spoken it will be so”. I prefer it to Christianized Amen. Blessed be is always a good ending too. Different paths may have different wordings. If you do something while you do this prayer, like light a candle or such after a time the act itself becomes connected to your prayer.

You do not of course have to pray. Yet if you are seeking I think it is a worthy endeavour. It is in the seeking that it matters. For if you do not find it within you will never find it without.

The one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity.”


? Alan Moore

Book Review – Chakra Animals: Discover Your Connection to Wisdom of the Natural World by Angelica Stuart

January, 2019

Book Review

Chakra Animals

Discover Your Connection to Wisdom of the Natural World

by Angelica Stuart

Chakra Animals by Angelica Stuart provides an opportunity to weave the fundamentals of Chakra work and the wisdom of the animals into a new journey of exploration. Each of these subjects stands on its own with volumes of text and information, so the ability to use as resource an easily readable book that leaves room for an open interpretation based on your prior knowledge is a wonderful addition.

The book begins with a brief overview of each of the seven traditional Chakras. The standard associations are given for each including, color-element and sense. The descriptions are condensed, but given a subject of this weight and expanse, enough is given to stimulate the organic brainstorming of your own connections and interpretations.

Practical Uses for coordinating Chakra application and working with the animals follows. As the author states…. “there are endless parallels that I could make, but my hope is that you find many on your own.” This is a gentle reminder that the work that is done should always be guided by your own intuitive nature, in particular when seeking the assistance of other beings and energies.

And, the remainder of the book focuses on the energies and attributes of fifty (50) Animals that are commonly considered as animal guides and totems. Each animal is described for its overall traditional use, key attributes and how that animals energies may be used to enhance each of the seven chakras. This break-down provides the integrative piece of aligning your chakra work of development with the animal totems/guides that present to you.

The final offering is an index-styled listing of intentions, or Connections that identify the specific animals associated and are supportive of that specific work. Intentions include: Abundance, Community, Communication, Intelligence and more.

A lovely addition at the back of the book making use of the author’s credentials as a graduate of the prestigious MICA school of , are several pages of graphic illustrations of the animals discussed that are scored into a grid such that they can be cut out and pasted onto an index card for reference and individual work. A deck of specially illustrated cards – Chakra Animals Oracle Cards – may also be ordered via the author’s Etsy site.

Visit the author’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/chakraanimals/

Visit the author’s Etsy store: www.etsy.com/chakraanimals/

Click HERE or on Book Cover for Amazon Info

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

The Road to Runes

December, 2018

The Road to Runes: The Right Headspace

 

 

Reading runes is a form of divination. All forms of divination require an open mind ready to receive messages and interpret symbols. A stressed and worried mindset will lead to false interpretations, or prevent messages coming through at all. Even the strongest connection between diviner and tools can be blocked by a worried mind or troubled soul.

Of course, we often look for answers from the runes because we are troubled and worried. So how can we stop these worries affecting our divination?

Relax

As an anxious person, believe me, I know this is easier said than done. Relaxation becomes even trickier when you have lots of questions on your mind. However there are several techniques you can use to relax your body, which will normally also help relax your mind.

Listening to music is an old standard for me. Very familiar songs allow me to blank out everything else in my mind, and I often find that belting out a good tune can release a lot of pent-up tension. Classical music can also be very relaxing, but if you’re someone who finds classical music boring, don’t go down this route! Spend some time figuring out which music relaxes you. Are you more relaxed after shouting along to something upbeat? Or by closing your eyes and letting some panpipes wash over you? Services like Spotify are great as they allow you to search for relaxation music and sounds, if you can’t think of anything from your own collection.

The pendulum method, or progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) is also a method I use to help me relax. It also works for sleeplessness. It consists of deliberately tensing groups of muscles, then allowing them to relax. The idea is that for the pendulum to swing the most one way, you first have to pull it all the way in the other direction. So muscles will relax better, or feel more relaxed, after being tense. You may start with your hands, work up to the shoulders, then down to the feet, all the way back up the body leaving neck and face until last. I tend to start with the feet and really take my time. I will talk to myself mentally as I do this: “I’m tensing my toes; I’m relaxing my toes. I’m tensing my feet; I’m relaxing my feet,” and so forth. The combination of muscular relaxation with focusing on the task will leave body and mind loose and ready for anything.

Meditate

Rune meditation is a specific type of meditation designed for understanding the runes better. However, any form of meditation before divination can help make the mind more receptive to messages and more skilled at interpretation. Meditation helps move our mind onto a different level of operating, and allows us to let go of thoughts and feelings which may be bothering us unduly.

Breathing is the key to meditation. A very skilled meditation master advised me that breath is the only tool we ever need. Philosophical, but also accurate. Find yourself a comfortable position. There’s no rule that says you have to sit cross legged, or sit at all. Laying down is perfectly acceptable, although there is the risk of falling asleep! I have joint issues which means it’s very painful for me to sit cross-legged, so I normally sit on a chair or on my sofa, supported by cushions in order to have a straight back whilst remaining relaxed. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath. Breathe naturally, but make a note of it flowing in and out of your body. Notice the breath coming in, then feel it leaving you. In, then out. Imagine yourself breathing in fresh, cooling air, and imagine any stress or tension leaving you with every out breath. Inhale refreshment, exhale stress and worry. Inhale light, expel confusion. Inhale relaxation, exhale aggravation.

If you struggle to breathe normally whilst focusing on your breath, try counting as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, then breathe out for a slow count of five. There are lots of different breathing techniques to allow you to enter a meditative state. Once you find your mind starting to relax, you can start to let go of troublesome thoughts. Notice them appear, then just let them drift away. Don’t try to quiet your mind; this is impossible and can make you feel more stressed when you fail. Let the thoughts rumble through your mind but treat them as though you are watching traffic, or the birds flying by. You don’t need to be involved with them right now. Observe them, then let them pass. Stay in this state for as long as is comfortable or until you feel relaxed and comfortable. Always come back to yourself slowly, and gently. Drink some water. Thank yourself for the gift of relaxation. Now you are ready to read your runes.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Book Review – Moon Magic: Your Complete Guide to Harnessing the Mystical Energy of the Moon by Diane Ahlquist

July, 2018

Book Review

Moon Magic: Your Complete Guide to Harnessing the Mystical Energy of the Moon

by Diane Ahlquist

Moon Magic by Diane Ahlquist is a small book, but as promised by the subtitle it offers a complete perspective of Moon Lore, recipes, astrological considerations, and more. The author has managed to fill 253 pages with practical applications and information that is suited to both the longtime lunar practitioner and the newest of Moon devotees.

The book is separated into four sections, each building upon the next; the fourth giving suggestions for advanced Moon work. Additionally, each section holds a wealth of exercises to foster a deeper and deepening connection to the Moon from contemplative to journaling and creation of oils and food.

Part 1-Chapters 1 through 4 give a thorough, yet readily readable, overview of the astronomical science inherent in the phases, the history of Moon workings, familiar names given historically to the monthly moons and a brief section on energy management and subtle anatomy basics. 

Part 2-Chapters 5-10 dive right into moon magic and the types of workings that are suitable for specific phases, healings and the planetary correspondences of the days of the week to be used in consideration with timing your lunar work. Worksheets to outline your intention and the steps towards bringing into manifestation what you desire all lead to Chapter 10, which gives directions for creating a Vision Board (aka. Manifestation Chart/Treasure Map). This is a technique used in a variety of ways, both mundane and spiritual for visualizing what you want, employing the tactile component in selecting pictures, symbols, etc. and strategically placing the completed project in a location where it is in sight and therefore always in mind.

Part 3-Chapters 11-16 offer suggestions and info about auspicious lunations such as eclipses, blue moons and more with loads of accompanying activities for bringing Moon Magic into your daily living as you honor the cycles in a very organic and intuitive way. The previous parts all serve as the foundation for Part 4 and advanced lunar practices.

Part 4-Chapters 17-21 provide an opportunity to apply the basics learned and branch it more broadly and inclusively aligning astrology, both Eastern and Chinese (a nice little add in). Permanence is represented in a chapter dedicated to creating your own Moon altar and the traditional correspondences used by the farmers in planting by the moon are explored in suggestions for creating a moon garden. 

The finishing touch in this informative little treasure is the final chapter dedicated to food and drink with decidedly lunar themes and correspondences. This last impression takes the reader from embarking on a quest to connect with Mother Moon and her dynamics of change and brings them right to the table, or in this case altar to eat and drink in the lunar energies.

Given the abundance of books available on this subject, and having read a great many of them, I was nicely surprised to find this small tome of reference that speaks from the author’s heart and apparent knowledge of the webbing of many disciplines being part and parcel of lunar work. 

To read more about Diane Ahlquist, visit her site at:  www.DianeAhlquist.com 

 

Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want

 

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Fox Dreaming: Family Magic

May, 2017

fox2

On Easter Monday 2017 I had a long and rather complex dream about a fox costume. (I had this dream during the night following the day where I had been running around a snowy forest in my bear suit while my husband filmed me, eating snow and sleeping in my cave. This actually happened, in ordinary reality! (The footage is part of an art film I am currently working on).

However, in my dream I had a very beautiful and realistic fox costume. The head was separate and fitted my head perfectly, like a helmet. It was also very life-like. I really BECAME A FOX wearing it. I decided to walk from the forest behind our house to the nearest town and enjoy the spring sunshine.

As I was strolling around a small market by the harbour, I got so hot that I took the fox costume off and put it down for a moment. Next thing I knew one of the stall holders was offering it for sale on her trestle table. I found myself faced with a dilemma: confront her? Buy my own costume back?! – At that point I woke up.

My husband served me a cup of tea in bed and I told him the dream. He makes daily phone calls to his elderly mother who lives about 400 km south of where I had the dream (in Sweden). Lo and behold : that day she too insisted on telling him her dream from the night before she lives in a small town (in real life) where she was running a market stall and looking for things to sell (something she does not do in real life!)

 

fox1

 

My husband said: “AHA! So now we can find out what happened to Imelda’s Fox Costume! Was there a fox costume for sale on your table? She said: “Yes there was, but it didn’t sell so Imelda can have it back!!”

To me this Family Magic! It is not just living with a husband who tolerates my “wyrd ways” (pun intended!) or raising three natural born shamans (which became the title of my first book). It is bringing a playful awareness to all we do.

It is setting out dinner plates for invisible but “not-so-imaginary” friends and companions. It is offering some food and drink to the ancestors as well on special occasions. It is asking the Spirit of our House to help all of us in our everyday endeavours and to provide safe space for all we do.

It is sharing our dreams over breakfast (and many days there is not much to share or we have more urgent thing to discuss, such as: did anyone borrow my calculator? I have a physics exam this morning!!

But sometimes we hit the jackpot!!

Imelda Almqvist

 

fox3

 

 

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About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in July 2016.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/