gaia

Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World by Judy Ann Nock

September, 2018

Book Review

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World”

by Judy Ann Nock

Published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Copyright June 2018

Pages: 240

This book is not intended to be another Wicca 101 book; rather think of it more along the lines of Witchcraft 3.0,” Wiccan High Priestess Judy Ann Nock wrote in her introduction.

Each of Its eleven chapters delves into a realm of nature magick including seed, air, sun and fire, the moon, Gaia, time and the cosmos.

The Realm of Water covers Wells of Emotion, Rivers and Oceans. Its 15 pages offer an introduction to water, a meditation, instructions for a ritual bath, a blessing spell and a spell for prosperity, along with directions for making herbal tinctures and an aromatherapy spray. All involve water in some way.

In Magic Takes Root: The Woodland Realm, Nock writes about nature being a powerful healer and the importance of staying connected to it, saying, “A simple ritual of walking in the woods, meditating outside of a building, or taking part in the currently popular trend of ‘forest bathing’ can calm the mind and bring about a state of peace.”

She offers a centering meditation done sitting at the base of a tree, and a ritual for creating a personal tree oracle – not to tell fortunes, but as a tool to “communicate with the elements of natural magic.” The ritual, the lore and the charm all work with the sacredness of trees, with reminders of our connectedness to the seasons and rhythms of the Mother, and our responsibility to be stewards of the earth.

Readers will be inspired to draw on the powers found in nature when doing magick, thanks to the variety of meditations, rituals, spells and charms. There’s a recipe for consecrated crescent cakes to have for the ritual of calling down the moon, a solar charm for strength, and instructions for preparing a candle for magick.

Some tables are scattered throughout the book with such information as healing herbs, planetary correspondences and spirit animals.

As promised, this book can help deepen a connection to natural magick and offer inspiration beyond the basics. While it wouldn’t be in my top 10 list of favorite magic books, it would make a useful addition the collection of an intermediate practitioner.

Nock is the founder of a goddess spirituality group and the author of “A Witch’s Grimoire.” She lives in New York City.

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals, and Spells from the Natural World

 

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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.

 

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

April, 2016

Gaia

“Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,

Broad blossomed, She that is

the steadfast base of all things.

And fair, Gaia first bore the

starry heaven, equal to Herself,

to cover her on all sides, and to be

a home for the blessed gods”

~~ Hesiod, Ancient Greek Poet

In the beginning, there was Chaos — and then, Gaia rose.

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(Photo credit: Pinterest)

gaia1

There was no shape, no boundaries; chaos coalesced into our Mother, Gaia, the Earth beneath our feet, Great Mother of us all, complete within Herself.

Before Time, there was only She. Time, named Chronos, was her child, but she was lonely and felt desire. She created Uranus, her son, as the heavens above her. and brought forth the deities of heaven. The consummation of Her desire awoke her creativity and more of Her children came forth – the Titans, Cyclops, the Giants, the Meliae and the Erinyes. She created the sea and named it Pontus, from whom came the deities of the ocean.

Uranus was jealous of Gaia’s other children and so she hid them deep within Her womb. When She became so heavy, that She could no longer hide them, She asked them to help Her deal with Uranus. All but one refused. Gaia formed a sickle and Chronos went forth and hid himself. When Uranus came to force himself upon Gaia, Chronos was ready. He grabbed Uranus’ genitals and castrated him. The blood of Uranus formed the Furies.

Her symbols were the fruit and grain, and the Earth itself. She was worshiped with offerings of barley and honey, in caves that were seen as the womb of the Earth, Her womb.

“I shall sing of Gaia,

Universal Mother,

firmly founded,

Oldest of all the Holy Ones.”

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(Photo credit: yoganonymous.com)

~~ Homer, Ancient Greek Author

Her shrines were many — in Tetrapolis, Claros, Patara, Patrai, Athens, Phyle, Tegea, Salamis and a deep sanctuary in Gaios. The most famous shrine, of which She was the original deity, was at Delphi.

Her priestesses were the Sibyls, the Pythias and the Melisea. The priestesses heard Her wise words and spoke Her wisdom at the sacred caves and shrines.

At Delphi, which was said to be the navel of the center of the Earth, both priestesses and worshippers bathed in the Castalian Spring, bubbling up from the deep. Her words came to both the rich and the poor alike, as all sought out Her wisdom.

When the barbarians from the north came with their male-identified religions and conquered the matriarchal societies, they took over Her shrines and tried to diminish Her power.

With the new patriarchal religions, the name of Gaia Olympia was changed to Olympus as Zeus came to rule. Delphi was also conquered and given to Apollo, who told all to ignore the wisdom of Gaia and to only listen to his wisdom. He took control of the Gaian rites of worship and turned them to his worship.

As he took control, it is said that Gaia’s priestess, Delphyna, tried to bar him from entering the sacred shrine; Apollo sent her to her death.

Many years later, the shrine was still held as a sacred site, but was closed by one of the Roman emperors as a threat to Christianity; the subsequent emperor ordered it completely destroyed. Yet, to this day, two of the fountains that were fed by the Castalian Spring still survive.

It is said that all of the Gaian prophecies were written down and hidden. Whether this is true or not, I could not say, but nevertheless Gaia’s wisdom lives on.

gaia3

(Photo Credit: sodahead.com)

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by Merlin Stone

Interweavings

November, 2013

November’s Cornucopia

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a cornucopia is a goat horn overflowing with fruit and grain as a symbol of abundance: an inexhaustible source.

 

I automatically think of baskets woven as “horns of plenty” on tables and store displays as the American Thanksgiving holiday approaches.  I have to admit that as a pagan I love the idea of a goat horn being the symbol: a symbol that Gaia provides abundantly and unceasingly.  We know that in our heads and sometimes struggle to remember that in our hearts as the reality of day to day living unfolds.

 

Our affirmation is

 

I am part of Gaia’s cornucopia: an inexhaustible source of peace and power right where I am and just as I am.

 

Bringing baskets of nuts, leaves, acorns and wee pumpkins into our home is a lovely way to be reminded of the constant giving of nature.  Giving thanks before each meal and upon waking and sleeping increases, I believe, the gifts we receive as well as pass to others.  Setting aside one day to be thankful puts a lot of pressure on us to be perfect.  Thanksgiving is something we can practice with each breath our whole lives.  Perhaps breath itself is a gift each of us has been given that is our cornucopia in the truest sense.

 

Let us breathe deep everyday in thanks for the obvious gifts surrounding us as well as the quiet gifts within each of us.

 

Brightest blessings to each of you as you share in and give from the cornucopia of this beautiful world.

Moon Owl Observations

March, 2011

Gaia- The Earth Mother

Gaia is the oldest Goddess and is also very well known. She was born from chaos and is the mother and lover of many. There are several stories around Gaia and many different interpretations. This is mine.

Gaia is the mother of all creation. She is the earth mother and created beauty that most people are ignorant of today. She created birds, trees, flowers, grass, and many more amazing additions to our Earth. She goes by many names, some of them including: Gaea, Ge, and Gea. She is represented by fruits and cornucopia. Over time Gaia became better known as a metaphysical notion more than a recognized Goddess.  Gaia represents the living earth and is best  known in Paganism as the Goddess of Wicca, also many Gods would invoke Gaia when they would make their oaths.  Her center of worship is in Attica, which is a popular historical site in Greece which contains Athens.

Gaia gave birth to both the sea (Pontus) and the sky (Uranus), and she later went on to have many children with her son Uranus. These Children are the most well known of hers and there are many stories surrounding the births and lives of these born from Gaia.

The children she had with Uranus are:

The Titans*: Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Iapetus, Cronus, Theia, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys and Themis.

The Cyclops: Arges, Brontes and Steropes

The Monsters (Hecatonvhrties): Briareus, Cottus and Gyes

The Elder Muses: Mneme, Melete and Aoide.

One of the best known stories of Uranus and Gaia is that when Uranus sent the Titans to prison so they could not overthrow him. When Uranus did this Gaia was very upset and had him castrated by Cronus (Seperation of the earth and sky) When this happened,  Uranus’ genitals were thrown into the sea which lead to the birth of Aphrodite. From the blood of  a defeated Uranus came more children. These are the Giantes, Erinyes, and Meliae.

After Uranus was castrated, Gaia mated with one of her other children, Pontus (The sea). With Pontus she gave birth to Ceto, Phorcys, Eurybia, Nereus and Thaumas. After this Gaia went on to have many children with numerous others. The most well known of her other children would be Antaeus, Charybdis, Typhon, Echindna, Campe, Manes, and Erichthonius. She is also responsible for the mountains, seas and nymphs.  Some believe she also gave birth to the harpies and python.

As you can see Gaia is one remarkable Goddess and is the deity for many pagans and witches today, including me. She is a strong, outstanding and notable Goddess who deserves to be recognized.


* The Titans were the first generation of Gods with 6 female and 6 male.

Goddess Cards

May, 2010

Mothers

Moon-Shine-Sun-Shine


A famous Jewish proverb says, “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.

Six thousand years ago, people believed it was the Goddess who created everything!  The goddess, known as the Great Mother, was thought to have given birth to the whole universe. She did so, not from a position of remote, male authority, but from the very blood and substance of her body, right here on Earth.

In her limitless fertility and abundance, she birthed, not just a host of children of every kind, but the Heavens themselves. She created everything that walked or crawled upon the Earth, flew across the skies, swam in the oceans, lakes and rivers, or languished in the lonely fires of the Underworld. She created them out of Kaos, inspired by love, and loved all of creation.

Like the God of the Old Testament, she looked at her work, and found it good.

Not all of her children were beautiful, successful, or even kind. She birthed monsters along with her divine offspring. Yet, like all human mothers who follow in her footsteps, she loves her children, and provides, as best she can, for their care and feeding. She forgives them for their faults and failures, and is always ready to welcome them home into her loving arms, or into the Earth from which they sprang, and to which they must all return.

The Great Goddess or Mother has many names. Tiamat, Isis, Inanna, and Gaia, to name just a few. Her characteristics, name and personality reflected and adapted to the culture in which her worship grew. Because of this, she was readily accessible and recognizable to the people she served. Her worship grew up in pre-historic and ancient times in the rich, agricultural lands along the Nile, the Indus, and the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers. Gradually, it spread along the Mediterranean Sea into Greece and Europe. There, it flourished. Agricultural societies depend upon the fertility of the land, and of the mothers who bear children to help care for it.

Goddess worship prospered in these places until it was overthrown, first by a wave of nomadic, monotheistic Semite sheep and goat herders, starting in the 4th millennium BC, and later by the triumphant Christian faith that grew out of the earlier Hebrew tradition.

But, as a friend of mine said, “The goddess is like dandelions. You can root them out. Weed them. Spray them. And still, they come creeping back!”

You cannot kill the goddess, or the Great Mother! She is part of our deepest cultural memories ~ and of our real-life experiences with our own Great Mother, the mother you call your own.

Gaia

In this image, we see Gaia, the great Greco-Roman goddess who we know as Mother Earth. She is shown, surrounded by just a few of her countless children. They range from small human beings to a sampling of all creatures of the Earth, Sky, and Water.

The-World-of-the-Great-Goddess


Gaia is even more influential today than she was thousands of years ago! The Gaia Movement, founded by James Lovelock in 1972, started the huge environmental revolution unfolding right now. This movement sees the entire planet as a single, living organism, where everything must be in balance if life, as we know it, is to continue to be sustainable.  As in a happy family, each member must contribute to the good of the whole, and refrain from polluting or damaging the family home.

To keep us aware of this delicate balance, who is a better archetype than Gaia, the great Earth Mother goddess?

On Mother’s Day, most of us will remember our mothers with greeting cards, flowers, and perhaps a dinner out. How could it be otherwise? She is our first experience of love and security on Earth. As William Makepeace Thackeray said, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

For me, a child who grew up all over the world, home was always where my mother was. She was my comforter, my teacher, my playmate, and my very first love. Even though I am now a mother, and a grandmother as well, I still miss her wise counsel and warm arms.

This is a universal experience.

Soldiers, dying on the battlefield, have been known to cry out for their mothers with their final breath. The last thoughts of Christ, hanging on the cross, were for Mary, his mother. He consigned her to the care of his beloved disciple, John, so that she would not suffer the poverty of other widows in first century Palestine.

It can’t have been easy being Gaia. Imagine giving birth to galaxies, as well as to rafts of children! She also dealt with a husband who was jealous and suspicious of his own children, who was often violent toward them and towards her. Yet she endured, as all Great Mothers do. And she kept her turbulent family together.

Her legacy has never been forgotten.

Gaia bless all mothers! May Earth Day (April 22nd) and Mother’s Day (May 9th) be days of thanksgiving for our earthly mothers, and for Mother Earth, who nourishes us all.

Anne Baird

April 20, 2010

It’s not easy being a mother.  If it were easy, fathers would do it.  ~From the television show The Golden Girls

Anne Baird, Designer/Owner of GODDESS CARDS, is a self-taught artist who has been painting and writing since childhood. Her chosen media for her unique line of greeting cards is watercolor, with touches of gouache, ink and colored pencil.

Her GODDESS CARD line grew from a birthday card she created for her daughter, Amanda, in 2001. Amanda was disheartened at being a curvaceous beauty in the Land of Thin. (Los Angeles.) That seminal card declaring, “You’re a GODDESS, not a nymph!” evolved into a long line of love notes and affirmations for ALL women. At over 125 cards, the line is steadily growing.

Anne is inspired by the archetypal Legendary Goddesses, who have so much to teach today’s women. Her greatest inspiration however, comes from the Goddesses of Today, who write her with wonderful suggestions and thoughts that expand her consciousness and card line.

She has launched  an E-Goddess Card website, where the Goddess on the Go can send Goddess “e-cards”, enriched with music and stories, at the click of a mouse. (A virtual mouse.)

Gems of the Goddess

January, 2010

Gaia, Greek Goddess of the Earth

Today, we are going to discuss Gaia (also called Gaea or Ge), the Greek Goddess of the Earth. Gaia is considered as the “Great Goddess”, “Mother Earth” and “Mother Nature”.   Her equivalent in Roman mythology is Terra Matter.  She is usually pictured as a woman with some sort of green around her. Most pictures have shown her pregnant with the world in her belly. There are others with Gaia sitting in the leaves, blowing them around off her hand and finally others of her sitting on a throne with cornucopia surrounding her. The Root Chakra, femininity, nature, fertility and spirit are associated with Gaia.
Gaia was created out of Chaos to give birth to all of earth.  When living things die, they must return to her when their lives and time on earth is over.  Gaia is known in the Greek tradition to have stretched out of the beginning of time, becoming the earth’s land. She continues to give life and sustenance to the world, even when the weather turns cold. Promises made with one hand “one Gaia’s sacred soil” are known to be irrevocable. Gaia is known for abundance, thankfulness, nature, promises and earth.

Gaia is believed to be the original deity behind the Oracle at Delphi. Depending on what different stories you read, Gaia passed her knowledge to Apollo or Apollo slay the great serpent (or Dragon) Pytho and forced Gaia out.

Gaia is the Mother Goddess. She can be worked with when looking for grounding, growth in times of trouble or finding your footing in the physical world.   Gaia’s sacred animals are the serpent, the lunar bull, bees and the pig.  In her hand, a poppy may be transmuted to a pomegranate.

Some ways you can connect with Gaia are by eating a delicious meal with elements of the earth – Lentils, Greens, Vegetables, Breads or Crock Pot meals, for example.  You can also walk on the earth barefoot.  Another way is to connect with your physical body (for example breathing deeply) and also by nurturing your dreams – make them a reality (part of the earth).

Also, the Gaia stone is associated with Gaia, coming from volcanic ash from Mt St. Helen’s and carries the “Soul of the Earth”.  It connects the Goddess energy strongly, including the Earth and Earth Devas.  It is known to heal emotional wounds and past traumas by working with the heart chakra.

When you want to make changes to your life, create opportunities to feel grounded or be a part of nature, call on Gaia to help you transmute those ideas into reality.