must have

Book Review – Besom, Stang & Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path & the Hidden Landscape by Christopher Orapello and Tara Love Maguire

February, 2019

Book Review

Besom, Stang & Sword

A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path & the Hidden Landscape

by Christopher Orapello and Tara Love Maguire

*A Special Opportunity:

Christopher and Tara will be teaching at Delmarva Pagan Pride Day on April 28th.

Location: The Green in front of Legislative hall in Dover Delaware

Info: FB page- https://www.facebook.com/groups/DelmarvaPaganPrideFestival/

There is a stirring within the community of those who identify as witches as what was old has been lovingly and carefully made new again by those who stand at the gates of modern witchcraft. Besom, Stang and Sword is a guide of practice that evolved from the reweaving of Traditional Witchcraft and adding just enough of the evolved form of that practice to create something unique, new and highly relevant to our times.

The authors have done due diligence in both the scholarly rationale and the grassroots approach to the practice of witchcraft and its newer derivative form of Wicca. What emerged was the creation of their own path called the Blacktree Tradition….. a modern, nonreligious form of traditional witchcraft that is rooted in each witch’s specific region. Instead of deities, it deals with the spirits of the land and the ancestors-no gods, many spirits…

Chapter 1jumps right into the discussion of what Traditional Witchcraft is at its roots. As the authors state there are many types of practice that have presented themselves forged from the essential of a practice that is steeped in cultural practices such as Shamanism, Seidr and Hoodoo and magickal traditions, such as Victor and Cora Anderson Feri and Cultus Sabbati. All of the usual topics related to a pagan path and in particular, that of witchcraft are given attention and perspective that pulls together some of the more disjointed pieces of a puzzle that is complex, rich and deep. The Devil and the negative connotation that has come to be associated with those practitioners of the craft is addressed and the reality of this beings energy as being neither good nor evil, but a necessary component in the natural order of a practice rooted in the land. Blacktree calls to the Devil as the Witch Lord, the Lord of the Paths and is considered the embodiment of nature itself. This is a perspective that takes us beyond the semantics and associations accumulated around these that prevent us from seeing beyond and more broadly as to the deeper meanings.

You will find within each chapter the basics of teachings that form a solid foundation for stepping onto the path of the witch. Spell work, Diviniation, the Sabbats, Lunations, Hedgewitchery and more complete this instruction. Each chapter rich with theory and magickal technique. For those who are familiar with a Wiccan or other path that is similar to the principals of witchcraft, you will see the variances in application and tools that are of prominence in traditional witchcraft that have often take a side place of importance more recently.

The title of the book, Besom, Stang and Sword give reference to these three tools being those closely related to the natural world. This is further evidenced in the premise of Traditional Witchcraft and its roots being tied to the earth and at a time when many of the manufactured ritual items that adorn our altars and work were not available. Use of the Besom and Stang takes us back to those cultural roots of witchcraft and making use of and empowering all that we were given from the land itself. We are also introduced to some lesser-known tools, their purpose and how they may be used or created.

The author’s statement in the introduction nicely sums up the treasures and value of this book..

..Our perspective anchors itself with one foot firmly planted in the lessons of the past and the other stepping into the boldest future, while staying focused on the natural evolution of the craft…

I would highly recommend this book as a required read for those new to the craft and more importantly those who consider themselves seasoned and working witches. My gratitude to Christopher and Tara for being able to in such an articulate and grounded way call forth the best of what was and the vision of a practice that evolves and grows in an organic and natural way that we have long forgotten the simplicity, complexity and beauty of.

For More Information about Blacktree Coven:https://www.infinite-beyond.com/blacktree-coven/

Besom, Stang & Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path & the Hidden Landscape on Amazon

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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.

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

June, 2018

A Beginners Guide to Choosing & Working with Crystal Shapes & Types

 

Crystals & stones come in so many varieties it can be quite overwhelming at first, this is an overview of how to choose the appropriate type for what you want to use your crystal for. Of course you can get creative and improvise, this is meant to help show you some of the options there are and what it all means. Most important when choosing a crystal to work with is how it makes you feel, touch it and get acquainted if you can. If buying online from a picture, spend a minute looking at the photo and observe how it makes you feel when tuning into it. Intuition can really help guide you to the perfect crystal tool for you. And experiment! That’s the fun of crystals! Your experience will be unique to you…there are no wrong choices. 

 

Spheres:

A sphere is a crystal or stone polished and carved into a sphere shape. They come in endless varieties & sizes. The main reason one would choose a sphere shape in particular, is because spheres radiate energy from all sides and in all directions. They are great for the home or on an altar to raise the energy of your space. If you wanted to bring love into your space, you would want a rose quartz or Rhodochrosite sphere for example. Spheres are also great to hold in your hands during meditation. 

 

Generators:

Generators are flat on the bottom and generally have six polished sides. They come to a point mostly but can have a  flat ridge on top too. They have many uses but my favorite use is in crystal gridding. They are perfect as the center point of the grid. You can use generators to direct energy in a certain direction as well, in the same way you would use a wand, as a generator is basically a wand with a flat bottom that can stand upright. Some like to collect generators and make a generator garden, which is simply a grouping of them. I personally have a big generator garden and I love it. Quartz generators in particular are ideal for use in gridding as quartz is the highest vibration crystal there is. 

 

Obelisks:

Obelisks are very similar to generators but instead of having six polished sides, they have four uniform sides. They resemble a tall pyramid. It has a flat square bottom. These are used for display, or used the same way as generators. 

 

Pyramids:

Exactly as it sounds, its a stone carved & polished into the shape of a pyramid and can be a four sided or three sided pyramid. They could be used in the center of a grid, used on an altar or in a space to bring in Egyptian energy, or simply enjoyed for their beauty. Pyramids are a sacred shape.

 

Tumbles:

A rock or crystal that’s been polished into a small to medium size, perfect for so many purposes. I like to carry tumbles in a medicine bag or pouch when I leave my house. Much less hard on the shoulders than traveling with palmstones or specimens! (Take my word on that lol)! Tumbles are also great for using in grids, wearing in your bra. They can be placed in bowls in your home, or can be placed in plants, or in a bag in your car, the sky’s the limit! I like to pick out a few tumbles each morning to travel with me throughout my day. I will hold them in my hand as needed. Its a great way to learn a stone a day if you’re new to crystals.

 

Palmstones/Pillows:

Palmstones are polished stones that are medium to large size that are made to fit into the palm of your hand and are usually an oblong shape. Many prefer to work with them in pairs, holding one in each hand during meditation or crystal healing sessions. Pillows are used the same as palmstones but are round shaped.

 

Worry stones/Thumb stones:

These are smaller polished stones that have a little thumb imprint or indentation in the middle, perfect for rubbing with your thumb when you are anxious or worried. These are excellent for children or people with anxiety. 

 

Hearts:

Stones carved into a heart shape, perfect for raising love vibrations. Many collect these, including myself.

 

Eggs:

Stones carved into egg shape. They are appropriate for representing new beginnings, fertility, the cycle of life, and are often seen at Imbolc on altars.

 

Faceted Meditation Stones:

These are carved and polished crystals with a flat bottom that are perfect for use in Crystal healing and meditations, placing it on the forehead or on chakra points along the body. Also rad for opening yourself up prior to readings or astral travel. 

 

Platonic Solids:

These six shapes are geometric symbols that are visual instruments that can bring our vibrations into harmony with the rhythms of nature. Working with crystals carved into these magical shapes are very powerful, especially when working with them all together. They sell sets of all the platonic solids that come in nice boxes. The platonic solids shapes include: tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, icosohedron,  and dodecahedron. 

 

Points:

Points are the natural, not polished pieces of quartz or other minerals that grow in terminations. They are broken off of clusters or a matrix. Some points have multiple points or terminations. If a point has two points its called a twin, three points a triplet. Points are perfect for gridding and its good to use one for each cardinal direction. Points function as mini wands. 

 

Clusters:

These are a bunch or group of points or terminations on a matrix. Clusters come in all different sizes and shapes. They are stunning display pieces. I like to use clusters for charging jewelry overnight or when I’m not wearing it. Just drape your jewelry on top. You can charge your jewelry with the properties of the cluster its placed on!

 

Pendulums:

Pendulums are used for divination. Some also wear their Pendulums as necklaces. Pendulums are a crystal that is carved with a downward pointing tip that is suspended from a chain. They come in never ending variations and are quite beautiful. Some collect Pendulums. You can use them to get answers to questions with the use of a pendulum mat or board or by learning how it communicates. They will go left to right, up and down or in a circular clockwise or counterclockwise motion. 

 

Carvings:

Crystals or stones can be carved into almost anything. Some common carvings include animals, deities, skulls, angels, chalices, offering bowls, mortar and pestles, boxes, etc. They are fun to collect. 

 

Polished Massage Wands:

These are stones or crystals that are polished into the shape of a wand to be used for either massage, in meditation or in crystal healing or energy work.

 

Single-Terminated Wands:

These are natural or cut and polished points/wands that are used in directing energy, in ritual or in crystal healing. They are often used to make homemade wands and glued to the tips of wood or clay wands for use as a ceremonial wand. 

 

Double-Terminated Wands:

These have a point or termination on both ends, and can be natural or cut and polished into this formation. These are required for use in activation of crystal grids. Also the ideal tool for opening ritual circle or a protective circle or bubbling around yourself or a space. 

 

Crystal Jewelry:

One of my favorite ways to work with the properties of crystals is by wearing them! When looking for crystal jewelry, I recommend getting settings that are open in the back, that allow the crystal to have contact with your skin at all times. This will maximize their effect. They also make little metal cage pendants that allow you to put small crystals or tumbles into it and you can change out the stone as often as you like. If on a budget you can try your hand at wire-wrapping your crystals as well. These can be very simple or quite elaborate depending on your personal preference. 

If you are wanting to bring in prosperity and abundance for example, you would look for jewelry in citrine, pyrite or jade. And I recommend wearing quartz every day, as it will both keep your personal vibration high and amplify the properties of any other crystals you are wearing or working with. You can also program clear quartz to act “as if” it was any other crystal. This is unique to clear quartz. Just remember to unprogram it when you are finished working with it. I wear clear quartz always and it’s my can’t live without crystal for sure. Its a great place to start if you are new to crystals and its very common, readily available and inexpensive. 

I hope this brief overview has helped you to understand the many many different ways you can work with crystals, and how consciously choosing which type or shape of crystal you work with can help to amplify your intentions. Not to mention all the shapes and varieties are beautiful and stunning in a collection or on display!  Have fun and give one of these a try! Follow your intuition and your heart and it will lead you where you are meant to go.

 

Crystal of the Month

Yellow Apatite – THE Manifestation Crystal!

 

When I am doing ANY type of manifestation work or my new moon intentions, I ALWAYS work with yellow or golden apatite. I will pair it with another crystal that is appropriate for the work I’m trying to do. If I’m working on alignment for example, I would pair yellow apatite with blue Kyanite!

Yellow apatite has a hardness of 5 on the MOHS hardness scale and is a calcium phosphate mineral. It’s nae is derived from “to deceive” in Greek, because of it’s ability to look like many other crystals, as it can be blue, green, yellow/gold, brown, or colorless. It comes from Brazil, Burma, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Greenland, Canada, and the USA, but the largest known deposit is in Kirovsk, Russia.

Yellow Apatite is a solar plexus chakra stone and is one of the purest crystals of the yellow ray. A stone of strength, mental clarity, and of learning, it enhances confidence and charisma, prosperity and manifestation, of course. It carries the energy of the fire element and is an action stone. Use this when you want to birth a new business venture or creative project.

Create, Manifest and Go Get It!!! This is a vital crystal in everyone’s Crystal Toolbox!

 

I’m so glad you stopped in to read my column and hope you’ll come back next month. Happy Crystal Hunting!

Crystal Blessings! XOXO Retha

 

Resources:

The Crystal Bible– A Definitive Guide to Crystals – by Judy Hall – 2003

The Book of Stones, Revised Edition: Who They Are and What They Teach – by Robert Simmons – 2007

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About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner ofRetha’s Crystals& sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16