Rites

Yule Correspondences

December, 2018

(Primitive Witch Hat Tree Topper, “Winter”, by Loren Morris of PrimWitchery on Etsy.)

 

Lesser Sabbat – Winter Solstice, circa Dec 21

Other Names:
Jul (“wheel”, Old Norse), Saturnalia(Rome ~December 17 & 18), Yuletide(Teutonic), Midwinter, Fionn’s Day, Alban huan, Christmas (Christian~December 25), Xmas, Festival of Sol, Solar/Secular/Pagan New Year

Animals/Mythical beings:
yule goat (nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters(greek), trolls, phoenix, yule elf, jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin

Gemstones:
cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone

Incense/Oils:
bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron

Colors:
gold, silver, red, green, white

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations:
bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia,mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree. spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images

Goddesses:
Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (teutonic), Isis(egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(christian), Tonazin(mexican), Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)

Gods:
Sun Child, Saturn(rome), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(egyptian), Jesus(christian-gnostic), Mithras(persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian)Old Man Winter

Essence:
honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection

Dynamics/Meaning:
death of the Holly (winter) King; reign of the Oak (summer) King), begin the ordeal of the Green Man, death & rebirth of the Sun God; night of greatest lunar imbalance; sun’s rebirth; shortest day of year

Purpose:
honor the Triple Goddess, welcome the Sun Child

Rituals/Magicks:
personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends, Festival of light, meditation

Customs:
lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule

Foods:
nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine

Herbs:
blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow

Element:
earth

Threshold:
dawn

Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Fenugreek

Hailing from Western Asia, Fenugreek is an odd tasting herb with some interesting history. Seeds have been found in archaeological digs dating back to 4000 BC and were even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Called Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Sickly Fruit, the herb is considered to be a bit of a panacea, being a tonic for everything from abscesses to kidney problems.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Fenugreek is an annual herb which means it grows, flowers and seeds all in the same year and does not return the following season. The plants can grow to two feet tall and has little white or yellow flowers. It’s a pretty but unassuming addition to any herb garden

You will find Fenugreek in Indian shops under the name Methi in either seed or leaf form. It’s widely used in cooking, particularly in Eastern dishes. By itself it has a bitter taste, particularly the seeds, but within a dish it adds levels of depth which can’t readily be described. The seeds are high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron and various other essential minerals so make a great addition to your diet. It is possible that if you have a nut allergy, you may also be allergic to fenugreek so approach with caution if that is the case.

The greens are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or used dried as an herb. The seeds can be sprouted in a little water and the sprouts are tasty and very good for you.

 

The Apothecary

One of the most common uses of fenugreek is as a galactagogue. This sci-fi sounding word means an herb that promotes and boosts breast milk production. When my own milk supply was depleting due to my youngest weaning, I took a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds every day and it seemed to help. It’s most palatable to make a tea out of them, which you can sweeten or add other herbs into in order to make it taste a little better. I ate the seeds straight down and they are bitter!

Other modern-day uses for fenugreek include relief for digestive issues, increasing libido and even fighting baldness.

Recent research has shown that fenugreek may be useful in sufferers of diabetes, but this research is ongoing. It may also be useful for relieving menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham tells us fenugreek is a masculine herb, but look at all the medical uses that relate specifically to women’s issues such as breastfeeding and the menopause. If the plant is indeed masculine, then it’s a great example of how men and women need to help each other out, rather than bemoaning our differences. This male plant is definitely a feminist!

The plant is associated with Mercury which links it to communication, and also wealth and commerce. Fenugreek is therefore useful when crafting spells to do with business, jobs and joint ventures.

In Judaism, fenugreek is eaten during Rosh Hashana and is associated with increase. This is more about increasing our own talents and skills rather than the increase of wealth, but they can be closely linked depending on how you look at it.

Fenugreek is known as a ‘lucky legume’, as it is a member of the bean family and provides protection and attracts luck.

 

Home and Hearth

Scatter fenugreek seeds around the threshold to your home to ensure any who enter can only speak the truth.

Carry a pouch of fenugreek seeds in your pocket when attending an interview or important meeting to ensure you speak your mind. Just be sure you have nothing to hide, as you may be compelled to be honest about things you didn’t want to reveal!

Steep Fenugreek seeds in boiling water then add this water to whatever you use to clean your house with. This will attract material wealth into your home.

Combine fenugreek with alfalfa to craft oil or powder which will attract money. Just be on the look out for mischief, as Mercury is known to play pranks and cause messages to be mixed or muddled.

 

I Never Knew…

In ancient Egypt, a paste made of fenugreek seeds was used in the embalming process of dead bodies.

 

Image credit: Fenugreek from the Vienna Dioscurides, public domain; Freshly Sprouted Qasuri Methi by Miansari66; Junge Pflanzen des Bockshornklees by Yak

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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 of Pastel Spells by Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Book Review

Pastel Spells

by Rose Orriculum

 

 

Taken from the back cover “Pastel Spells is a pocket spell book filled with a variety of spells for witches of all levels of experience, from beginners to long-time practitioners.” That statement really sums up Pastel Spells so well.

This is one of my favorite spell books to date. It doesn’t focus on any certain type of spells and even includes curses. Some of the of the spells are romantic, sexual, anti-love, platonic love/friendship, help with relationships, sour relationships, self-love, self-care/habits, self-care/emotional, healing, and, as I mentioned, curses. There is also a few spells on gender and some on orientation. I felt these spells were something very unique that I had not seen in other books.

I have personally tried some of these spells and I am in love with them. I tried the Stuffed Animal Sleep Spell for my son. He loves his new stuffed animal and now will not sleep anywhere without it.

I have also been using the Restarting Spell at the end of each month. I feel this spell is a great way to end the month and get ready for the new one.

Rose Orriculum has such a way with words and spells. I enjoy her work and cannot wait to see what else she comes up with. To learn more about her, check out my interview with her in this issue!

Pastel Spells on Amazon

Book Review: A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book by Ceisiwr Serith

February, 2018

 

This is a lovely little book, one that can easily fit inside a woman’s bag, or a man’s briefcase.

It is broken down into two parts – The Foundations of Worship and Building Rituals.

Part One is broken down in “Prayer” and “Rituals”. It describes how, yes, pagans so pray, a description of prayer and how to write your own.

Part Two is all about Rituals

— How to Begin

— Home

— Callings

— Praise

— Thanksgiving

— Consecrations & Blessings

— Separate sections for Time of Day/Month/Year/Lore

— Endings

The last section is “Petitioning the Gods” and includes, requests, offerings, healing and society and land.

The book is chock-full of prayers for all occasions. For those who prefer to use the words of others in their rituals and daily offerings, there is much here to choose from. For others, many of these can be the base from which you craft your own prayers.

For myself, I tend to just speak from my heart in my daily prayers. However, I can definitely see myself referring to this book again and again in composing more formal rituals.

This little book would make a nice addition to your occult library.

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

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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, the Egyptian Goddess”, 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

Click Image for Amazon Information

The Divine Flows Through Me

November, 2017

 

The Divine Flows Through Me!

My Gods and Goddesses flow through me
Strong and powerful rising up in me
I offer my devotion and my love.

My mind is open to receive
The wisdom and guidance of Divine grace.

My body is the Temple that offers
Its gifts in service to the Greater Work.

My Gods and Goddesses flow through me
They are with me always and
Shine brightly for all to see. 

They are the Fire of my Will….

Kali’s Rites (1.)

Blood spills freely from a wild fierceness
That knows no mercy or gentle hand.

I am not a timid and delicate Maiden
I am one who will claim your love
And take what I wish in satisfaction.

I am not the loving and gentle Mother
I am one who will birth you and then
Feast on the remains of what is not viable.

I am not the wizened and strong Crone
I am wisdom itself and fear is birthed
In the knowing of my mysteries.

I will cut and reshape and spare nothing
That does not serve your completeness.

You may fear and loathe me but know that
In that fear is the secret of your justifiable
Rage and your power as a merciful Warrior.

They are the Moving Waters Within…

Where do I seek your solace?
Where will I find my vision?
What flows silently rising at your call?

What feeds my intention?
What makes me feel?
Where is the healing of my pain?

The waters rise pulling me into
Currents that move with purpose.

The waters expand and fill every
Cell of my being with light and healing.

The waters emanate from an endless
Waterfall of Divine love and my fears
And doubts are swept out to the seas
Of eternities Divine gates.

They are the Structure that is Body and Form..

This gift of form and shape was created
In the primordial waters of sacred intent.

Flesh and bone
Blood and vein
Muscle and cartilage
Strength and power
Beauty and grace.

A smile brought into energy’s light
An embrace soothing the Divine work
A birthing that calls forth new life
A loving that entwines the beloveds
A gesture
A word
A body

Moving in ecstatic energy
As the Divine descends
And learns the mystery of
Its blessing of corporeal form.

They are Mind’s Creative Breath..

I write
I create
Pen to paper
Hand to keyboard.

My Gods and Goddesses speak
Through the words crafted
Of their own intent.

OI open and allow the down pouring
Of what flows strongly waiting its
Divine expression in creative release.

I think and images flood the landscape
Of an artist that is unseen yet palpable
And sacred in ITs visioning.

I speak the words that are powerful
In their truth as mouth and throat
Are offered in service to the Divine.

I breathe and life fills me
I exhale and the Divine fills the void
I inhale and I am illuminated
I breathe and I AM at peace.

This is how I express my devotion to the Divine. These are my offerings to them. This is my daily interaction that is a continuous drinking of the bounty of their gifts. This is my expression of living a Divinely connected life 24/7-365 days a year. And, because of this intention I am richly blessed by the people in my life, the community I serve and the work I am able to do!

1. Excerpted from Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

Sleeping with the Goddess is a book of nightly devotions to be used in seeking greater insight into the Goddess in all of Her forms. Its content is separated into Four Sections: General Devotionals; the Phases of the Moon; the Seasons and a special section of three Pathworkings for those seeking a longer experience. Each entry is followed by a blank page labeled, Dreamtime Notes, that may be used to record any dreams or visions that may arise after your reading. These journalings will serve as the foundations from which you develop greater rapport with those Goddesses that you most resonate with. Settle into the comfort of your nighttime routine and begin your journey of forging an intimate relationship with the Goddess.

 

 

For Amazon information, click image below.


 

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author. She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

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

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

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 website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Facebook and on Instagram

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

June, 2015

Croning Part 3

Merry meet! 

This month is the third of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone. It touches on some of the symbols of the crone you can consider incorporating into your ritual.

Croning : Symbols

Amethyst:

amethyst

This is often considered the gem of the crone because it is associated with spirituality and wisdom. Everyone who attended the weekend event at which I croned was given a small piece of amethyst and the instruction to give it to me with a personal message. I was given an etched champagne glass to collect them in.

Braid / stole / shawl: A wearable symbol of the level of crone is a stole or braid, that is placed over her shoulders. It can be round woven from ribbons representing the elements, or it can be of colors that have meaning for the crone. Charms, beads and crystals can also be added. I chose a black shawl as the garment I wished bestowed upon me because old women of all nationalities have worn shawls.

Cauldron: This customary witch’s tool is associated with the crone goddesses Cerridwen, the Celtic Keeper of the Cauldron; Hecate, Greek Goddess of magic and the underworld; and Kali, the Indian Goddess of destruction and rebirth. It is a symbol of germination, transmutation and transformation. It is the merging of the Great Goddess and the Great Mother. Crones stir their wisdom in the cauldron. I used mine to hold wisdom scrolls (to be described next month).

Crown:

crown

The placing of a crown on the head symbolizes rising to a higher rank – in this case, the rank of crone. It can be made by the crone from dried flowers, branches or other materials that are available as well as meaningful. Mine was made for me by two dear crones.

Owl: The owl – the bird of magic, darkness, prophecy and wisdom –is considered to be the totem of the crone.

Staff:

Staff

A staff is another symbol of initiation into cronehood. I chose to make a ceremonial one modeled after a medicine stick I had seen. The skull of a grandmother goat was a gift from a fire witch and farmer. Leather laces were strung through three holes to which I attached a variety of charms, amulets and other meaningful objects that previously had been on my altars or tucked in various places. It is both personal and powerful, and remains a work in progress. Staffs need not be elaborate. They can even be disguised as walking sticks.

Waning moon: As the moon decreases in size going from full to new, it is known as the waning moon and is associated with the crone. It’s a time of intuition and divination.

Next month I’ll prompt you to reflect on your life and the wisdom you have to share. My croning ritual will be a large part of the August column, along with some ideas for your own and some references. We’ll wrap up in September with any questions you may have as well as some details that did not fit into previous columns.

Merry part. And merry meet again…

The Magic Theatre of Witchcraft

March, 2015

Introduction:

The rites of witchcraft, whether performed alone or with others, are a form of magic theatre. One goes to them not to sit in the audience but to participate in the performance. Audiences can arrive tired, perhaps somewhat dispirited, prepared to relax and, if possible, receive some form of uplift from the spectacle. This is not the case with performers; they must be vigorous, well-balanced in their energies, with energies pitched high and practically electric. The rite itself should, if performed well, both deepen and further heighten those energies, but one goes to the magic theatre to give and share energy rather than to be lifted out of some swale of ennui.

To call witchcraft a magical theatre means that practical results are secondary. This is at variance with many accounts of witchcraft, which emphasize the desired result to be attained, even though one is cautioned that such results should be forgotten at the conclusion of the spell. The double-bind of forgetting is avoided in this approach, which sees the magic circle as neither primarily religious nor as an act of collective engineering, but as art. A concert performance is directed towards the production of music, but the musicians are not producing music as workmen produce things, instead uniting with the music and with each other in music. There is no separation between them and the music they make, or which makes itself through them, as there may be separation between an artisan and his artifact. The same is, or should be, true of the art of magical theatre. The theatre is not the place where the rite occurs, nor the script followed, nor even the objects employed in the rite; it is the act of creating the rite, in all its perceptible beauty, united with the persons creating it. For this reason, needless to say, one must memorize any scripts before attempting to perform the rites pertaining to them.

Though the emphasis should be on art, this does not exclude the sacred. Indeed, we should recall that theatre began in a sacred setting, as picaresque rites to Dionysus; and in this connection we should note that Pagan religion can be quite picaresque without losing one whit of the sacred. The use of salacious language in ancient rites of marriage, preparation for the mysteries, and sacred theatre, had as its main purpose to offend and thus drive off spirits of infertility, who were known to be great prudes. This perhaps gives us a key to understanding the nature of antipagan deities, who insist on excluding such behavior from their own sacred rites. If we can incorporate this element of ribaldry in our own circle rituals, we shall succeed in drawing nearer to the spirit of the old religions.

Pagan Belief:

In ancient religion, stress was laid on performing the rites, not on repeating credal formulations of belief over and over until the mind is hypnotized by words. So long as one respected the gods and observed their rites, one was free to entertain a wide variety of beliefs about the origin of the world, life after death, and so forth. Beliefs that insulted the deities were, naturally, excluded, but this left one with a great deal of freedom to believe what one liked, and to change one’s beliefs if one were so inclined. Pagans tended to be a little vague about such matters, for belief per se was not regarded as particularly important. What did the gods care what a mortal thought, so long as he or she was pious? Not a whit.

Performing sacred rites induces a certain atmosphere of suspended disbelief. This was the general attitude to the myths (which were originally not separate from ritual). Even Socrates remarked that the traditional tale was good enough for him; he was more interested in ethical matters anyway. The proper attitude to take into ritual is a readiness to act towards the focus of the rite as if the god or goddess exists. That is all that is required: not to doubt, and to behave towards the object of prayer as if that being were real.

This should be good news to modern witches and other neopagans, for they need not try to work up the intensity of belief characteristic of antipagan religions. Indeed, if they try to approach the Circle like church, they will soon become exhausted, and conclude that paganism is too complicated and therefore too hard to practice. It is not hard at all, if we bear in mind that we are about to participate in sacred theatre.

The Temple:

The temple of witchcraft is built up partly from sacred objects, partly from ritual movement and acts, and partly from visualization. All three elements work together to create the real illusion of a spherical temple. A real illusion is defined here as an object-event that is experienced and has real effects, even if it is not amenable to outside scientific observation and measurement. Another example of a real illusion is the aura of energy enfolding the bodies of lovers which is both felt and seen by them but only them.

The sacred objects which go into a temple are various but there are certain objects of central importance that are present on every occasion. These include candles of various sizes and colors, incense and an incense burner, chalice, fossil stone or pentacle, magical weapons or tools, a bell, a salt censer, and various auxiliary items such as a water ewer, matches, an ashtray, cakes and ale, cushions for sitting around the altar, and of course the altar itself. This list is not exhaustive.

The form of the temple itself, a sphere, is largely visualized through a series of ritual acts. The equator of the sphere is marked out on the floor or ground by eight candles, set at the quarter and cross-quarter points of the compass. The equator, or circumference of the circle, is generally nine feet in diameter. Directly overhead, over the center of the circle, is the zenith or ‘height’ of the sphere. This is visualized partly through the sweeping of miasma – old, stale energy – from the circle before it is cast by the use of a besom. The besom is used to sweep the circle three times deosil (that is, clockwise), beginning in the east and finishing in the east again. The first time around the besom sweeps at ground level; the second time at shoulder level, and the third time, at a forty-five degree angle above shoulder level, pointing upward. This helps the coveners to visualize the upper parts of the sphere, and the zenith is established in the mind’s eye by acts of pointing straight upward using the athame.

In the same way, the nadir of the sphere or ‘the deep’ is visualized by the act of pointing down with the athame, and later by the act of raising energy when building the Cone of Power. The lower half of the sphere is an act of pure visualization, since the floor or ground presents the lower limit of the sphere so far as outward vision is concerned. Each witch visualizes the lower hemisphere based on his or her experience in meditation, for the witch descends into his or her depths in meditation instead of ascending to the heights. In this way, a witch becomes intimately aware of his or her lower levels of subconscious feelings and urges. It is the aim of the Craft to raise the energy trapped at the lower levels into the full light of consciousness, both in meditation and in the raising of the Cone of Power.

The altar is generally placed in the center of the circle, though in some traditions it is placed in the north. The advantage to having it in the center is that this helps the coveners to visualize the axis of the sphere, which passes through the center of the circle, up through the center of the altar, all the way to the height, connecting the height with the deep. The axis is magically connected with the World Pillar (or trunk of the World Tree), round which the heavens revolve in pagan cosmology. It is also magically cognate with the spine of each witch present. The energy of the deep is raised through this axis, which is perceived as identical with the spine of each witch at the crucial moment.

Background of the Circle and Release of the Cone of Power:

The spherical temple of Witchcraft finds an ancient prototype in the description of a temple or hall of the Magi in Babylon in the first century C.E.. The description is by Damis, the secretary of the pagan mystic and wonder-worker Apollonius of Tyana, and was gotten second-hand from his master. Apollonius was traveling east to India in search of arcane wisdom, with an aim to restoring the temples of the West to their original purity. He lingered in Babylon for 18 months, conferring with the Median priests there, whom he described as “wise, but not in all things.” As a non-initiate, Damis could not enter the temple. Here is its description:

The roof was dome-shaped, and the ceiling was covered with ‘sapphire’; in this blue heaven were models of the heavenly bodies (‘those whom they regard as Gods’) fashioned in gold, as though moving in the ether. Moreover from the roof were suspended four golden ‘Iygges’ which the Magi call the ‘Tongues of the Gods.’ These were winged wheels or spheres connected with the idea of Adrasteia, or Fate.” 1

Mead goes on to identify the Iygges with the teachers of early humanity of Hebrew legend. They are intermediaries between humanity and the greater gods as well as tutors. In these qualities they resemble the Watchers of modern witchcraft, as that concept has developed in a number of traditions. The Watchers sponsor the initiate from the first degree onwards, and through the elementals provide him or her with the energies of elemental Air, Fire, Water and Earth. But the witch must cultivate this connection with the four Quarters and their inhabitants in order to grow in the Craft.

The temple of witchcraft, though physically only a circle, is visualized as a sphere by the ritualists. This visualization transforms the cast circle into a magical theatre, in which the powerful energies of the elements are added to the raised and combined powers of the witches present and directed to some constructive purpose. In what follows I will present one particular way of raising the temple into the magical theatre, and of building up and releasing the Cone of Power. There are many variations, but the particular method presented engages, or so I think, all the essential elements of the process.

Everyone and everything used in witchcraft must go through phases of purification, consecration and charging. This begins with the witches themselves, who first cleanse themselves individually of miasma, that is, of stale energy connected with everyday concerns. Next, the witches purify themselves as a group, settling any differences (as least provisionally) between themselves and finally join hands in a circle to share bioenergy. Meanwhile, the physical temple is erected.

The ringing of a hand-bell signals the inception of sacred time, and summons the witches to the temple. They come in quietly and, moving sunwise around the altar, take their stations. The time signaled and begun by the ringing of the bell is the time of the beginning, for this is a new world about to be created between the everyday world we know and the Otherworld of spirits. The sea of Chaos lies between and underneath all worlds. 2 Some of that chaos is about to be ordered into a cosmos, which though physically small will be complete in all the essentials of an ordered habitation.

Attention is now directed to the altar, where one or two large candles are lit in the center to honor the Lord and Lady and connect with their energy. The elemental tools and magical weapons are purified and consecrated. The chalice is filled. The candles are lit round the circumference of the circle 3 The temple area is swept, asperged and censed. There is a general feeling of anticipation, for the next step is to build the magical theatre.

First the circle is cast, from East sunwise to East again, by a priest or priestess with his or her athame. This is a crucial moment for all present, for all must follow the casting with rapt attention, visualizing the bluish-silver light spilling from the tip of the athame along the perimeter of the circle. It is not enough, though, to visualize the circling tip of light; the whole illumined circumference must be seen and retained as it grows to a full circle. Thereafter, it must be kept in peripheral view throughout the rite. It is this act that lays the foundation for the magical theatre. Next, the quarters are called to the four cardinal points of the circle, again beginning and ending in the East and processing sunwise.

Because the purpose of the rite is to effect change in the everyday world through the launching of a thought-form into the Otherworld of spirit, the energies raised within the circle must be augmented by the elemental energies of beings who remain outside the circle but who supercharge the energy of the raised Cone of Power through the four cardinal portals. These powers also guard the portals and the integrity of the temple boundary from unwanted intrusion and from collapsing when the Cone of Power is released. These wards, the Watchers and elementals, are next called to their stations on the cardinal points. They are beckoned and invited to perch, as it were, on the portals, which are both doors to the temple and inlets for their more highly-charged energies. The more sensitive witches may begin to feel a sort of throb along the circumference of the circle, like the pounding of surf.

Next the Lady and Lord are invited in and reside in the large candles at the center of the altar. Now the pillar or axis of this little “world between the worlds” is visualized as passing up through the center of the altar between the Lady and Lord and extending from the nadir to the zenith of the spherical temple. 4 As the witches join hands and circle the temple slowly, the Pillar is visualized as revolving, from the polarity between the Lady and Lord. The circling is slow at first as the High Priest or High Priestess states the magical purpose of the rite. This purpose is then summed up in a word, which is repeated by the witches as they circle.

The pace now picks up as the High Priest/ess recites a Witches’ Mill:

On an oak-leaf I stand

I ride the filly that never was foaled

And I carry the dead in my hand

Under the earth I go.” 5

Each witch in turn takes a line and the mill is recited three times as they circle.

High Priest/ess then calls out the one-word magical purpose again and witches repeat it while circling a little faster. It is repeated three times and then witches fall silent as they circle, each one visualizing an image to stand for the purpose. After a moment, High Priest/ess begins the Witches’ Rune, two troubadour discoveries from the 12th or 13th century:

Bagahi laca bachahe

Lamac cahi achabahe

Karrelyos

Lamac lamec Bachalyos,

Cabohagi Sabalyos,

Baryolas

Lagozatha cabyolas,

Samahac et famyolas,

Harrahya!” 6

Witches repeat the rune three times, circling a little faster.

High Priest/ess immediately goes into the second part of the Rune, picking up the pace which now approaches the maximum speed consistent with safety:

Eko eko Azerak,

Eko eko Zomelak

Zod ru koz e zod ru koo

Zod ru goz e goo roo moo

Eeo eeo hoo hoo hoo!” 7

This is likewise repeated three times by the witches, at the end of which they stop, throw up their hands with the last “hoo!”, and each mentally projects his or her visual image of the magical purpose upward through the zenith. At the same time, each witch mentally releases his or her gaze of the Watchers and their eyes. A whoosh results, the release of the elemental energy at the cardinal points upward and inward to the zenith of the circle. There it joins the uprush of witches’ energy, directed by the uprushing column of the World Pillar, and all join at the apex of the Cone of Power, which is then released through the portal of the height, at the temple’s zenith, the summit of the magical theatre.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

FARRAR, Janet and Stewart, Eight Sabbats for Witches, Custer, WA,

Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1988.

_____________________, The Witches’ Way; Principles, Rituals, and

Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft, Custer, Washington, Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1984.

JACKSON, Nigel, Call of the Horned Piper, Berkshire, UK, Capall Bann, 1994.

MEAD, G.R.S., Apollonius of Tyana; The Philosopher-Reformer of the First

Century A.D., New Hyde Park, New York, University , Inc., 1966.

VALIENTE, Doreen, Witchcraft for Tomorrow, Custer, Washington, Phoenix

Press, 1987.

1 G.R.S. Mead, Apollonius of Tyana, pp 84-5.

2 “World” is understood in the ancient sense as a cosmos or ordered habitation in space-time. not necessarily a planet.

3 Or sometimes after the circle is cast, with the calling of Quarters.

4 At certain times of year, when there is only one candle, the axis of the temple is visualized as rising through it.

5 From Nigel Jackson, Call of the Horned Piper. p. 22 et passim.

6 Farrar, Janet & Stewart, Eight Sabbats for Witches, p. 44. Often misquoted, this troubadour chant can be viewed in manuscript in an illustration in plate 8 of Farrar, The Witches’ Way.

7 Recorded in a footnote by Doreen Valiente to Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Eight Sabbats for.Witches, p. 45.

Ask Your Mama

August, 2011

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Blood Rites

Dear Mama Donna,

I am anticipating my granddaughter celebrating her first menstrual cycle in the not too distant future. I would like to do something special for her in the way of ritual. I don’t know much about creating that kind of ritual, but I want her day to be a special one that she will remember as bringing her into the fabulous sisterhood of women. Can you help me create such a ritual or tell me where I can learn more about doing such a thing?

Loving Grandma from Florida

Dear Grandma,

How lucky your granddaughter is to have you to help support her spiritually as she passes through this highly charged and profound life change. This is as it should be, as it has long been, and can once again be — the ongoing ages of women welcoming when it is their time, each new generation into our sacred continuum.

Ceremonies of first blood are a powerful binding rite, the sticky blood, which binds each generation to the next. …The Ancients…The Ancestors…The Grandmothers…The Matriarchs…The Mothers…The Daughters…The Perpetual Keepers of the Spiral of Life.

This, unfortunately was not my own personal experience. Like so many in my generation, I learned about menstruation from a small sensible pamphlet put out by Moddess, an early purveyor of sanitary products. It stressed how simple and ordinary the experience was. How you could live your modern, active life completely unembarrassed and unimpeded by the necessities of your periodic condition.

Being quite well prepared, (and a girl scout, too) I knew exactly what was happening, when I discovered my first droplets of blood while playing at Susie Glassman’s house. When I came out of the bathroom, I proudly made my announcement to Susie and her mom. Suddenly out of nowhere, a fast moving force bore down on me as Mrs. Glassman inexplicably slapped my incredulous face. She then quickly kissed and embraced me, clucking and fussing like a mother hen.

When I told my mother my momentous news as well as my shocking experience, she was furious that Mrs. Glassman had struck me. She knew all about that Jewish tradition where the mother slaps her daughter to welcome her into the long-suffering sisterhood of women. A rational feminist, she hated that I was subjected to this old fashioned superstitious and humiliating rite. But if she didn’t slap me, she didn’t hug me, either, nor make a sweet congratulatory fuss. She agreed with the book that this was just a normal, if unpleasant, bodily function which she usually referred to as “the curse.” Hardly worth a party.

Of course, first blood also means first egg. I still find it practically impossible to comprehend the enormity of the sheer potential represented by the blood and the egg — the awesome power of the possibility of life. This is not to say that we are locked into a biologic imperative to reproduce, but that we possess the inherent ability to do so — should we choose. Like that car commercial where the drivers are playing motor polo on a field at the edge of a cliff. “Not that you would, but you could if you wanted to.”

No wonder the entire Mbuti society chants “Blessed with the blood!” in celebration of a young girl’s first period. The coming of age of ritual for pubescent White Mountain Apache girls is also performed by the entire nation. Each girl wears an eagle feather in her hair for long life, and in the center of her forehead over her third eye, she sports an abalone shell to represent Changing Woman, the Great Creatrix in Her mystical periodicity.

When my fairy goddess daughter came into her first blood, we celebrated with a Red Ritual. We are special, soul-connected karma sisters and have always shared a rich ceremonial life. I conceived and developed the concept of the rosy red ceremony and we worked together to arrange the details for a very special evening. Each step in the process of preparation suggested a deeper layer of discussion, story telling and understanding. Red=Blood. Blood=Life. Life=Eggs.

We each dressed completely in red, and we both wore bright red lipstick. (One of us was particularly happy about that part.) We sat on rust colored cushions. A large circular mirror on the floor between us served as our altar decorated with red flowers and candles. We stretched out our legs to create a circle, and painted each other’s finger and toe nails a glossy fire engine red.

We blessed each other with a red oil of my own recipe that I call the Power of Love. This does not refer to couple-type love. This is Love of Self love. The power of personal passion, direction, expansion. The power to pursue the dream of one’s own purpose. The power to achieve one’s fullest potential. The courage to be true to one’s vision and convictions. True love.

We blessed the four elements, of which we are part. We tasted each one, taking into ourselves the power of Mother Earth. Drank water with sea salt. Ate a grain of healing earth from Chimayó, New Mexico. Breathed in the fragrant air of burning sage. Rubbed ash collected from the volcanic fire of Mt. Pinatuba, Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. St. Helen’s. We blessed each other as the dear daughters of Mother Nature. We are strong and beautiful like She is. We swore to use our female powers to protect Mother Earth and all Her creations.

We pinned some of the flowers from the altar into our hair, and sucking on sweet strawberry candies, we told each other our favorite parts of being a girl, of being a woman. We got silly and giggly, the sugar no doubt, and exchanged all sorts of secret dreams and desires, fond memories, and fabulous flights of fantasy. Sort of a New Age Goddess version of “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

Danika (her name is changed to protect her sensitive adolescent sensibilities) took up a tall, unlit crimson candle and talked into it her aspirations, ambitions, goals and intentions for this new stage of her life. She was serious and sincere, and I was touched and honored to be in her presence. When she finished her list, she lit the candle, thus igniting her intentions. In the glow of the flame her pronouncements, she sealed her transformation with a sip of red berry juice and bite of egg hard-boiled in water colored with beets.

Finally, I presented her with a red velvet drawstring purse for her to use as an amulet bag. One by one I offered her various objects that were symbolic of the power of womanhood and related its significance as she held it in the palm of her hand. … A tiny pink rose bud for the blossoming of her true self…A cowry shell, a representing the holy yoni through which we bleed, through which we receive pleasure, through which we were all conceived and born… A crystal to draw the energy of the universe toward her… An eye charm to help her to see what it is important for her to see… A rose thorn for protection…A silver bell for joy. Over the years, as she grows into her woman power, she will add her own magical charms to this starter collection.

This Red Ritual is only by way of a suggestion, you understand. Feel free to design an occasion that speaks directly to you and to your granddaughter and which is true to the relationship that you share. Use images, symbols and objects that resonate with you. Trust your woman wisdom and share with her what you know. Welcome her, in the name of all life, into the sacred flow of succession. This is the root of all initiation.

Be “blessed with the blood!”

xxMama Donna

&  bleeding

&  grazing

&  moaning

&  chanting

&  humming

&  drumming the

sounds of the

night

—MD

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at cityshaman@aol,com.

Nite Rites

December, 2009

“Triumph Over Troubles Rite”

We have all experienced times when we are overcome with worry or doubt about something very important to us. This rite is designed to help you move through your worry and start working on a solution.

Supplies

Bowl of water

Bowl of salt

Worry stone

Worry dolls (5)

Pentacle paten

2 small pieces of mirror

Mica and unakite

Strand of silver cord

Two white candles

Incense burner, trivet, and charcoal tablet

Incense of your choice

Chalice with drink

Plate with food

Offering bowl

Altar Set-up

Gather all the materials and place on the altar. The two white candles should be across from each other, as they represent the God and the Goddess.  The God-side of the altar should be on the left and also include the bowl of salt and the plate of food for the offering. The incense burner with charcoal tablet should be on top of the trivet and placed on the left side of the altar. The pentacle paten should be in the middle of the altar. The right side of the altar should have the bowl of water, incense, and chalice with beverage. The offering bowl, silver cord, two mirrors, mica, unakite, worry dolls, and worry stone should be off to the side of the altar.

Rite

Ground and center yourself in your traditional way. Cast a sacred circle and call the powers of the Elements to balance your circle. Light the charcoal tablet and add some incense to it. Light the God and Goddess candles and invite them into your circle to offer their support for your workings tonight.

Hold the mica out in front of you and state your worry out loud into the stone. Encase the mica between the two pieces of mirror and tie them all together with the silver cord. Place the bundle on top of the pentacle paten on the altar. Place the unakite on top of the bundle.  Repeat the following:

    I am captive no more in a place of nowhere,
    Lingering aimlessly in my self-pity and despair.
    I am taking control and lead from this day forth,
    Finding strength within myself – the original source.

Place one of the worry dolls at each of the five points of the pentagram surrounding the bundle. Pick up the dolls, one-by-one starting this the top point and moving widdershins, and state to each doll one thing that you can do to help you move past this worry.  When you are done, say:

    The will, the voice, and the movement are mine.
    I will carry onward as I design,
    New hope and new paths I walk on from here,
    Banishing doubt, worry, sadness and fear.

Pick up the worry stone and hold out in front of you. Repeat:

But if new worries creep into my daily life,

And I find myself consumed in ongoing strife,

I will keep this token by my side,

And hold it close by so to it I can confide.

Dip the worry stone in the bowl of salt, pass it carefully through the smoke of the incense, and then dip it into the water. Then, carefully pass it over the flames of the God and Goddess candles.

In the name of the Mighty Ones,

This token is blessed.

May it serve its’ purpose well,

Doubt, fear and worry it will quell.

Make an offering of drink and food in honor of the God and Goddess. Thank them for the presence. Dismiss the Elements and open the sacred circle. This rite has ended.

Notes

When the issue is resolved, break the mica into two parts and bury them in the ground separately.

Reading With Katrina

June, 2006

Exploring Wicca: The Beliefs, Rites, and Rituals of the Wiccan Religion
Author: Lady Sabrina
New Page , Career Press 2006

ISBN: 156414884X

I think that this book had alot of information in it and read by the right person could be a great gift. However, I must say that while this was called Exploring Wicca, this book really went in depth about the different Gods/Goddesses, different Sabbats and esbats and then had some myths in the book as well. What concerned me and this is not the first book to do this, is that this book contained rituals for Sabbats and esbats and talked of casting circles, concecrating sacred space and tools, and this to me should not be in a book called Exploring Wicca. All too often, one seeking their religious path and feeling that Wicca is it, is already being shown how to cast circles, do rituals, etc. With books such as this, and again while this is a book full of knowledge and education about the Wiccan religion, I know that many out there will read this book and begin doing the rituals inside feeling that through one book, they now know all and begin casting circles, performing rituals, spells and the like. One day I hope to see a book on the shelves about Wicca that stresses to read read read and to educate oneself greatly before being introduced to spells and rituals.I would have loved for this book to do just what it claimed…to explore Wicca, not teach it.


***


author bio:





My name is Katrina Stiles and I am a born and raised Pagan. I am a wife, mother to two natural children, my daughter age 17, my son 19. We have 3 furbabies and 1 furgrandbaby. Yes, a full house and yes, some days, I think I am going to go crazy! I own and operate a business from my home called DreadfullyYours. I make dread wraps, bandanas and fabric bags. I also own a wire wrapping gemstone jewelry business called Standing Stones Designs. I also read alot. I find that when I need quiet time, I dive into a book and disappear for awhile…it’s the best medicine! If you ever have any questions, drop an email to me at jstiles3@tampabay.rr.com