ritual

Book Review – Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States by Thomas Hatsis

February, 2019


Book Review
Psychedelic Mystery Traditions
Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States
By Thomas Hatsis
271 pp. Park Street Press

Although it has been the subject of great speculation and demonetization by various religious and political bodies, psychedelic mystery tradition remains one of the great buried seeds of Paganism, hidden under mythology, misinformation, and religious and political oppression — not to mention suppression of information. In “Psychedelic Mystery Traditions,” Thomas Hatsis uncovers a vast history of psychedelic spirit plants in Western tradition and ritual, focusing especially on Greco-Roman tradition and the early days of Christianity.

From the earliest prehistoric discoveries of psychedelic plants and their spiritual potential to the conflation of their use with Satanic witchcraft, Hatsis delves deeply, weaving together the political scenes in which each stage of pharmaka* use developed, while following a coherent narrative through the years. For those who were hoping for a more international subject matter, it’s useful to note that Hatsis doesn’t verge far from the focus of Europe and the Near East — you won’t find information here about the use of ayahuasca in Peru, or psilocybin mushrooms in China.

What you will find is an extensively-researched, academic approach to a controversial subject that synthesizes herbalism, ethnopharmacology, entheogenic practice, ritual, mythology, politics, religion, and linguistics. This may make the book a bit slow going for those who lack the context for the work, but anyone with a good familiarity with Western mystical traditions, herbalism, early Christianity, or mythology will probably find something to enjoy here.

The book boasts a treasure trove bibliography. Hatsis occasionally cites and refers to his other book, called “The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic,” where the subject matter overlaps, but he also taps an impressive number of primary sources, as well as many modern authors. In a few cases, he points them out only to call them out, diverging at several points to argue some misconceptions, such as the popularized idea that ergotism poisoning is similar to the LSD experience (it’s actually much more dangerous, poisonous, and unpleasant), or that the origins of Santa Claus lie in the historical shamanic use of Aminata muscaria (a popular theory for which there is little evidence). It is clear that Hatsis has great love for this subject, but he also preserves respect for the academic process. In exploring the controversy surrounding the historical use of pharmaka, he has an even hand and doesn’t play favorites on the basis of his own bias, pointing fingers not only at those who dismissed or vilified these spirit plants, but also at those who misused and abused these plants for nefarious purposes, such as poisoning, manipulation, and rape.

This rare glimpse into the mechanisms and mythology of mystery traditions is also peppered with humorous observations, as Hatsis refers to bad trips as “what we would call a bummer,” relates amusing historical anecdotes, and makes the occasional pun. But where the book shines the most is in those poetic moments when Hatsis explores the narratives of mythology and ritual that weaved together the experience of pharmaka by exposing and bestowing new cosmological understanding. In these stories, the relationship between humans and spirit plants takes on a life of its own, illuminating both the dark recesses of the human psyche, and the strange roots of spirit plant practice.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions can be found on Hatsis’ website, https://psychedelicwitch.com/, along with many other writings and YouTube videos as well.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants, Magical Practices, and Ecstatic States on Amazon

[*An all-encompassing Greek term for the various plant-derived substances whose uses included theogenesis, medicine, recreation, aphrodisiac, poison, and more.]

For those whose interests are primarily herbological, here’s a short list of some of the spirit plants and pharmaka mentioned in this volume: 

Aconite, amanita mascara, barley, cannabis, haoma, hash, hemlock, henbane, kykeon, laurel, LSD, mandrake, mushrooms, opium, solanaceae (including but not limited to Atropa belladonna), and wine.

***

About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Going Shamanic Radio

February, 2019

Going Shamanic” is hosted by Jennifer Engracio on P.A.G.E. Media Project’s blogtalk radio each month. The show focuses on how to integrate shamanism into every day life. Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living.

This Month’s Topic: Exploring Plant Medicine with Janis Young

Today Jen welcomes Silverowl (Janis Young) whose unique approach to healing encompasses work as a Shamanic Practitioner (crystals, drumming, pipe medicine), Holistic Nutritionist (diet, lifestyle), Reconnective Healing Practitioner (energy work), and Charter herbalist (remedies & potions) to assist in the ongoing quest for health.

Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living. Jen is also the founder of Spiral Dance Shamanics.

Going Shamanic is hosted by Jennifer Engrácio, about how to integrate shamanism into everyday life.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Review of Sacred Mists Shoppe Blessed Gemstone Kit & Interview with Lady Lorien Of Sacred Mists

February, 2019

We received a lovely Gemstone Offering Kit to review at PaganPagesOrg from Sacred Mists Shoppe and I thought it looked like so much fun I would invite someone new to the Craft to enjoy it with my old Crone self. Get another opinion, from young eyes, as well.

The Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe includes one pound of a mixed lot of offering gemstones (that is a lot!), a hand-rolled mini power candle made of beeswax, a mini sage smudging wand, two elemental matchsticks, instructions on what to do, and a free gift of an incense stick.

The instructions are easy to follow. They show you how to cleanse, bless & charge your stones in easy to comply language. Then the Gemstone Offering Kit suggests ways to use your stones as offerings: You can use them to give thanks to the Earth, as ways to invite Faeries, as ways to use them as gifts of gratitude & more.

When our candle burned out (please do not copy what we did and burn your candle on the plastic lid) we placed some of the charged stones in the garden to thank the Earth and attract Fae to the yard. We each kept a nice portion of the blessed stones as there are plenty of them. I still have a ton to gift. Also, when I run out, Sacred Mists Shoppe includes a coupon on the instruction sheet for more stones! Very thoughtful.

The Crone and the Maiden both thoroughly enjoyed this ritual. We had so much fun together. Even if we did it alone, and not together, it would be a fun ritual to perform. There are so many gemstones in all varieties. The portion size is very generous for the price. The instructions are clear & concise. The coupon is a wonderful bonus. You can keep the sturdy jar to store your stones or any supplies in.

I was right to invite my friend! We had a blast doing this kit, and we know you will, too!

If you would like to purchase the Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe it is $24.95 + shipping and can be bought here on their site or you can purchase it here on their etsy.

I was lucky to have a chance to speak with Lady Lorien of Sacred Mists about their wonderful product, shop, & other interesting topics. Here is what Lady Lorien had to say!

Jennifer Wright (JW): Hello Lady Lorien,
It is a pleasure to speak with you! My friend and I just completed your Blessed Gemstone Kit and we had the best time! We found it to be a creative and fun idea to do. Not only alone, but as a group. How did you come up with such an idea?

Lady Lorien (LL): Offerings are an important part of our practice and we’ve had our Blessed Offering Stones available in our store for years. While in the warehouse one day I came up with the idea to create a kit that provided all of the pieces needed to work with the offering stones, including cleansing, empowering, and storing them. We love sifting through the stones to find just the right offering to make at a particular time as well as simply putting our hands into them and letting the stones roll through our fingers. Our Blessed Offering Stones have long been a customer favorite and we love them, too!

JW: We see you created the product yourself at your Covenstead?

LL:As with all of our Covenstead Creations offerings, the kit was made right here in our beautiful Napa Valley location.

JW: Can you tell us more about your Covenstead?

LL: Our Covenstead is home of our circle and coven, Sacred Mists. Here, our training programs in areas such as complete Wiccan degrees, herbalism, tarot, historical paganism, and Reiki are offered. It is also the location of our shop cottage where all of our creations are made and from where our orders are shipped. All of our training offerings are available online at www.workingwitches.com and our products are available at www.sacredmists.com.

JW: Do you make all of your products?

LL: We offer our own creations as well as many products from other craftspersons and suppliers that have been hand selected by us for quality and intention.

JW: Your shop and Coven has been around for decades, has it not?

LL: Sacred Mists has been in existence for over 25 years and our teachings and products have been available online for 17 years now. Time flies!

JW: You even have a brick & Mortar shop. Sacred Mists has a school?

LL:We used to have a brick and mortar shop, however, we have since closed it due to the enormous expenses involved with having one in our area. All of our offerings, including both products and our training programs, are available online. Our school reaches thousands of students from around the world, all of whom are able to join together in online discussions, online rituals, and collaborative study. We are definitely a coven and circle family and each student who joins us is warmly welcomed.

JW: Do you, yourself, teach?

LL:I do! I’m actively involved with all of the classes and programs offered. We also have other highly qualified teachers and mentors within our program, ensuring that each student is provided with individual attention and training. Our programs are very unique in that way.

JW: All of your products look truly wonderful and your prices are fair. Thank you for sending us your Blessed Gemstone Kit. Your products are amazing and PaganPagesOrg definitely recommends your shop!

I would like to thank Lady Lorien for taking the time to chat with us! From our talk and from the quality of their products and looking around their site, I will definitely be delving into their classes, I can recommend you do, as well!

Contacts & Social Media Sites:

Main Site: Sacred Mists

Kit: Gemstone Offering Kit

Their Facebook

Their Twitter

Their Pinterest

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Review – Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes by Coloring Book Cafe

February, 2019

Review

Witches Coloring Book: A Colorful Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes

by Coloring Book Cafe, 2018

I recently received this awesome coloring book to try out & review. It is a book of 24 single sided coloring pages, and it has 2 copies of each picture (48 pics total to color). This is great because if you mess up or if you and a friend want the same picture to color you have a spare! It is 8 by 10 inches so standard size for a coloring book.

The title is Witches and appropriately so. This book is filled with all things witchy themed, cauldrons, cards, black cats, potions, candles, etc. I love it! I am an avid colorist and a witch so this is my favorite kind of coloring book! I only had time to complete 2 pages so far, but I am looking forward to finishing them all!

The paper quality is great and the images themselves are beautifully drawn and printed. I used colored pencils and a little gel pen on mine, but any markers would work with this paper.

This coloring book is available on Amazon for $7.99. I highly recommend this coloring book to anyone that is interested in coloring and also likes witch or occult themed pictures. It would also be fun for anyone around the Halloween season. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far! Here are my 2 completed pics I’ve been working on this month. 

I personally know many people who would love this coloring book and if you are into the witchy look or looking for gorgeous pics to add to your grimoire or book of shadows I think you will be very happy with this book. I think I’m going to frame a few and hang them on my wall, that’s how much I love these images!

Thank You to Coloring Book Cafe for sending me a copy to review!

Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes on Amazon

***

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 of “Retha’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

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

January, 2019

Magic for Material

Merry meet.

When my body weight was fluctuating, I found myself buying most all my ritual wear at thrift stores and consignment shops. One way I used to make some of the velvet pieces more special to me was to emboss them with magickal symbols.

While many different types of velvet work, those with the most nap give the most striking results. Some velour fabrics work as well.

Rubber stamps are very easy to use. Cork and the large, thin erasers are two other materials you can use. You might experiment with others.

Place the front side of the fabric face down on the shape you wish to imprint on the material. Mist a couple of times with water and, using an iron set to the silk setting, press directly down on top of the shape. Hold it fairly still for about fifteen to twenty seconds. (If possible, use a test strip first.)

Wait a couple of moments and pull back the fabric to see the impression. Areas will still be damp, so let the fabric sit until it dries.

Goddesses, symbols, sigils and words offer abundant options, and embossing them with intention will add magic to your ritual garb, tarot bags and altar cloths.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

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.

The Bad Witch’s Guide

January, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to The Older People”

Or You get Better or You Get Bitter”

There are some people who never seem to get old. Their bodies might age, but something in their eyes and heart has remained or even grown. Then there are people who seem to crave death. Sometimes it is depression. Often untreated, under supported and dealing with the loss of a great deal. I have been the supporter of an older relative dealing exactly with this. Without support and indeed medication these folks become something dark and unpleasant. As The Veil grows thin for a person you start to see what might be beyond for them, a light or a darkness. This is not about religion or faith but an almost physical psychic presence around people near the end. Those near their light glow. There is a peace and beauty.

Then there are the other ones. A presence like black sticky smoke. A smell of something rotten or burnt like old tires or something sickly sweet. It seems to pour from them. I can not tell if it’s their mood, their energy, their internal mean-spiritedness or the manifestation of something else.

Older people are just that, people. They are neither saints or devils, but dealing with someone whom is dark and difficult because they are family is hard work. It is often hard physically, emotional and spiritually.

So how do you live with or be around this polluting force? Toxic parents, and relatives become no less pleasant as they age and some just use their frailties (real or imagined) as weapons to brutalise their children and spouses and grandchildren.

As a child of a toxic parent and one who watched someone become one in their last years of life there is a complex soup of horrible feelings. Guilt, duty, blame, shame, fear and pain.

As a witch I have to change my perspective.

I must squint at the situation sideways and think magickally.

Firstly the mundane. Is this person mentally ill? Are they depressed, grieving or suffering in some other way? Is mental health support possible? Many older folks have still have a lot of shame and misconceptions about mental health. Many have some really ugly or difficult coping strategies. From alcohol and cigarettes, to shutting themselves away, generationally we are in a much better place to understand mental illness today. Some might be struggling with side effects of medications, not knowing that their could be newer better medications or combinations out there. Some might not have been to the doctors at all. Avoiding what they think will be a frightening truth.

Reach out. Find charities and professionals that listen not only to what they say but your input too. It isn’t easy. We had a lot of doctors simply refuse to believe Pop’s had depression. That many of his other issues would have been solved if they treated that first. In the end it was as much that as his vices that killed him.

Of course you can not help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. This is perhaps a hard truth of our own we must face. The other option is also mundane and really tough. Sometimes you have to walk away. For your self, your health, sanity and well being. This might be a break, this also might be an end to the relationship. It is not our job to watch someone destroy themselves.

If neither of these two are applicable (life is complicated and messy) protect and cleanse yourself and space as often as you can. You might want to physically clean it as well as smudge. Adding salt and essences to your wash water can help. Protective wards, charms and crystals help a lot too.

There are a couple of things that can help absorb some of the toxic seep but they are not permanent measures. One is sacrificial house plants. Sounds macabre I know. House plants tend to die in the presence of such people, yet these little heroes can and do take much of this and convert it as best as they can. They don’t have to be fancy, and if you get a few you can rotate them around (increasing their lives for a short time). Ferns are good. One near where they sit, one in their room, one in the loo or near where they spend a lot of time and absorb a lot of yuck. Some quartz pebbles might even make them live longer.

The other is a salt and barely mojo. You can make up a big batch and keep it in a jar and change out and throw away the used one. How often depends on the person.

Once a month or once a week depending on how bad it is. This can go under a mattress, or sofa cushion or even into a pillow.

You Will Need:

Salt, the best kind you can afford.

Barley (pearl barley is fine)

Calendula oil

Parsley (dried)

Per one cup of salt you will need a tablespoon of barley and calendula oil with a teaspoon of parsley. This is the base mixture and you can add other things, like moss or wheat straw (again to absorb the energy).

Say:

Spirit of Salt I call to thee

Draw what is harmful away from me.

Barley keep the Dark away

Bind it here until I wash it away.

No darkness shall harm

With this charm:

Tenebris et non nocebit (And the Darkness Will Not Harm)

Tenebris et non nocebit

Tenebris et non nocebit!

Place in fabric mojo bag as discreetly or not as you like. Under the sofa cushion, or mattress is useful and make sure to empty them regularly. Dispose of the used mixture down an outside drain with plenty of water. Don’t put it in a river, but you could put it in the sea.

This mixture can be used for a circle ward around your home, too.

While none of this deals with the cause of the problem sometimes all we can do is muddle through and keep ourselves safe. In an ideal would this sort of thing wouldn’t need to happen but the world is often not ideal and we need to use our magick to keep us as safe as we can. Toxic relationships are difficult and draining and it can take a long time to heal from them. If a little magick can help you feel strong enough to say “no” when you need to then it has done you a great service.

MagickalArts

January, 2019

The Wiccan Path

Happy New Year Everyone! This year, 2019 is a number “3” year (add 2+0+1+9=12/ 1+2 =3); a year of change and creation. Three is the number of trinity’s harmony. From the relationship and collaboration of two a third is created; the totality of its sum of parts. This may take the form of fulfilling and creating what you desire most, creating a new passion fueled by a latent wish, putting into action what you’ve been yearning to do as you create the product of those efforts.

In keeping with this creative approach I am revisiting and sharing the online course I wrote in 2014, to serve as the stimulus for those interested in Wicca and earth-centered practices and creating a path of their own. Please enjoy this excerpt and many blessings for a fabulous New “creational” Year!!

Excerpted from “A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path”…..

The Wiccan Path is one of initiatory experience. Each step taken upon this path leads towards greater understanding of your own Divine nature, which in turn brings a greater understanding of the natural world and the Divinity that exists around you. By definition, initiation is an act that sets in motion some course of events. In the case of a spiritual pursuit, initiation opens the seeker to embracing their spiritual nature as a support and foundation to their mundane nature. The spiritual path of a Wiccan (Witch) is one filled with the beauty of the natural world and the mystery of the world within each of us. The path leads to the subtle realms of the astral – the far reaches of the cosmos – and the shadows that lay hidden and buried within each of us. We practice the Craft of the Wise, which in ancient times was the gifts of the healers and the seers whose ability to see far and wide and enter so completely into alliance with the physical natural world was depended upon to ensure viable crops, healthy livestock, fertility and a sustainable life for those in whom the wise lived. In ancient times the knowledge was carefully passed in the style of oral tradition, the mysteries given ear to ear hand to hand. Although many of those traditions, rituals and wise ways are lost to the modern practitioner of Wicca, many of the core principles remain, having evolved just as we as a people have evolved, become modernized and have at our fingertips ways of communicating large volumes of information. The information provided in this course of study barely scratches the surface of what is a uniquely complex and diverse spiritual path and that to a large degree can only superficially claim its heritage in the ancient practices of which we truly know so little. Wicca is rooted in the experiential, and is a way of life that is not limited by lack of sacred space, tools or financial resources. From the Wiccan perspective, all of the natural world is sacred space and the greatest tool of working is our physical nature holding the pure essence of each individual’s Divine spirit that is priceless in

Ritual and Celebration

Wiccans use ancient and modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices to attune themselves to the natural rhythms of nature, the world, and the universe as a way to commune with this divine force. In particular, the lives and daily activities of the ancient peoples were very much dependent upon and intertwined with the position of the sun and the agricultural cycles that were dependent upon movement throughout the year. The Witch’s Wheel of the Year is a reflection of those needs. The calling forth of the Light of the newly birthed Sun at the time of the Winter Solstice ensured that there would be a new cycle of planting, sowing and reaping the much needed harvest for continued life.

The Sabbats (Solar Celebrations) of the Wiccan year are eight in number. Four correspond to the astronomical transitions of the equinoxes and the solstices. These are the Vernal (Ostara) and Autumnal Equinoxes (Mabon) and the Winter (Yule) and Summer (Litha) Solstices. The other Four, or cross quarter days are those that mark the time between the equinoxes and solstices. These were the dates of celebration of the progression through the changing of the seasons and the preparations for the times of transit from one season to the next. These are Samhain (the Witch’s New Year) – Imbolc (February 1) – Beltaine (May 1st) and Lammas (August 1st).

There are many overlays that are associated with these Sabbats, the most prominent being the cycle of the God and Goddess as they move through the stages of birth- fertility- harvest and death. In this way, the physical world and the Divine world were mirror reflections and the offering of devotion and celebration of one ensured the continuation of the other.

Deity

The God, Lugh and The Goddess, Brighid

Depending upon one’s point of view, Wicca can be considered a monotheistic, duotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic religion.

Wicca is monotheistic (belief in a single deity): Some Wiccans recognize a single supreme being, sometimes called “The All” or “The One.” The Goddess and God are viewed as the female and male aspects of this single deity.
• Wicca is duotheistic (belief in two deities; a.k.a. rarely as bitheistic): Wiccans often worship a female Goddess and a male God, often called the Lady and Lord.
• Wicca is polytheistic (belief in many deities): Many Wiccans recognize the existence of many ancient Gods and Goddesses, including but certainly not limited to: Aphrodite, emis, Briget, Diana, Dionysius, Fergus, Hecate, Isis, Pan, Thor, etc.
• Wicca is henotheistic (belief in a single main deity among many): Many Wiccans view the many ancient deities as being aspects of the Lady and Lord, and view the latter as the male and female aspects of “The One.”

(excerpted from: http://www.religioustolerance.org)

There is no right or wrong to any of the beliefs above. The underlying principle is that of polarity and the belief that there is both the masculine and feminine Divine principle within all living beings. This approach to deity supports the belief in the immanence of the Divine. That the qualities of Deity exist within all of life, and that through acknowledgement and embracing of this inherent birthright, that Divinity may become transcendent in nature.

The Natural World

WICCA is considered a nature-based religion. The environment and those things that comprise the manifest world including animals, plants, minerals are considered sacred and part of the Divine web of interconnectedness. Many Wiccans are involved in environmental activities and feel it a natural part of their spiritual practice to recycle and live lightly on Mother Earth. The use and knowledge of herbs and their medicinal properties is often undertaken gladly as a study of practice and it is not unusual to find many Wiccans attracted to professions where healing modalities can be performed. Animals are considered companions and treated with the same care, love and respect

that would be afforded another human. Human and animal rights, environmental issues and preservation of our natural resources are all a focus of those following a Wiccan Path of spirituality.

The Cosmos

The ancients were limited to what could be seen with the naked eye or what mystical inferences could be gathered from what was overtly presented and the myths that were created as result. Structures were built in accord with the movement of the sun (Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid) that aligned with specific seasonal events and astrology had its beginnings in predicting certain outcomes and points of focus based on what could be observed in the heavens.

The scientific breakthroughs showing the similarities in or own physical constitution and that of the geology of our planet, as well as the stars and planets links us to our own stellar nature and the desire for access to weaving that universal magick of that starseed into all of our endeavors. According to scientist, Carl Sagan, the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.

One of the things that has not changed is that of the celebration and worship of the Moon and her energies and attributions within a Wiccan practice. The lunar tides are seen as the domain of the Goddess and the feminine energies. The planets and the magick woven with their energies extend the reach of practical magick into the realms of space and time continuum. And, the increasing awareness of our place within the vastness of the Cosmos provides a richly layered perspective for those of the Craft.

***

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.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

December, 2018

Yule Ritual

 

Merry meet.

Below is a Yule ritual written for a group, which can easily be modified to be done as a solitary. Read through, making note of what to gather and how to set it up.

The altar can be a candle on the floor, or raised up in the center on a small table.

Traditional colors for altar cloths are gold, silver, red, green and white.

SET UP:

Set up your altar with seasonal botanicals, directional candles.

Designate a place for guests to put coats and, if desired, shoes

Arrange so that before people enter the ritual space they can place their cares and woes in a burden basket or other receptacle (a lidded casserole dish or cookie jar, a purse that snaps shut, a box) and then step forward and be cleansed with smoke. (A cauldron can be placed where guests can waft the smoke themselves, or a person can be designated to smudge others after being smudged themselves)

Find a seat and listen to soft music

High Priestess:

We gather tonight in perfect love and perfect trust to celebrate the winter solstice. On this longest night of the year, let us accept Yule’s gifts of quiet and dark. For a long moment, everything pauses. There is a stillness that settles over the land. A stillness for which there are no words. Darkness rules. Tonight we will sit in this darkness that precedes the light’s rebirth.

Take a moment to get here, to feel the surroundings and the welcome with which this place greets you.

I’m going to ring chimes three times. As we all align ourselves with its vibrations, we will meld as a group.

Ring three times, letting each ring fade to silence before doing the next. High Priestess says:

Be here now.

As we cast our circle, see it as an equator, then see the ring flip up and over to become a sphere, pushing the energy to the exterior of this building.

With thumbs facing left, begin by using your left hand to take the right hand of the person to your left and say:

Hand to hand, I cast this circle

Each person does the same. When the circle is complete, the High Priestess says:

See our arms making a circle. With each breath, strengthen the circle. Now, imagine it to be like an equator, and spin the circle up, over and down so that it creates a sphere. Now push that sphere out to encompass this room. Keep breathing, and enlarge the sphere so that it fills this whole unit and extend outside the walls, and into the basement below. Now, see the outer skin of this sphere become soft and foggy, smoky, like a mist rising from a lake in the early morning. When we leave, we will walk though that foggy edge as we reenter the mundane world.

Take another three breaths … and know we are between the worlds. May all we do tonight be for the highest good and greatest joy of all.

Sing “There Is No Time” by Kellianna” three times.

There is no time but now, there is no place but here,
In the sacred we do stand, in a circle hand in hand.

High Priestess:

Let us summon the spirits of the four quarters. We’ll start facing north because winter begins with the quarter of the wheel associated with earth.

Person calling North:

Mother Earth, barren trees now decorate the land that has sustained us. In this restful moment, let us find safety and stability. Hail and welcome.

Place greens such as mistletoe, holly and pine boughs on the altar, on the north side of the candle.

Person calling East:

Brother Air, I listen for the cold winds from your winter wings, but tonight all is still. In this quiet darkness, help us find inspiration. Hail and welcome.

Light incense, or place a feather, bells or other representation of East on the altar.

Person calling South:

Father Sun, source of fire, here in the night, awaiting your
return, we ask that the memory of your warmth temper our spirit. Hail and welcome.

Place pieces of lava or other symbol of fire such as chili peppers or coffee beans on the south side of the altar.

Person calling West:

Sister Water, your snow and ice have covered our world.
Beneath this blanket, let our emotions find healing and renewal. Hail and welcome.

Place a container of water from melted snow, a Yule rain or other source, or a representation of water on the west side of the altar.

Person calling center:

We stand in the center, spirit in body and know we are divine. Spirit is a bridge between the physical and the metaphysical, between body and soul. Guide us as we walk in both worlds. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of spirit, perhaps a crystal or a butterfly in the center.

Person calling the crones:

Queen of Winter Cailleach Bheur (kall yeck burr), Dark Mother Demeter (da meet her), Keeper of the Cauldron Cerridwen, Kali, Mother Holle (hell her), Nicneven (nick na vin), The Morrigan (more’ a gain) – we welcome you crones and ask you to help us transition as you transform to the maiden giving birth to the sun. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of crone – a bone, a cauldron, a crescent moon, owl, wolf, crow or raven. – in the center.

Person calling the sun:

Father Sun, Winter King, the Sage, Apollo, Ra, Horus, Ravi, Shamash – we welcome you to our circle. You are reborn tonight, bringing light, bringing life. You demonstrate the endless cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of the sun god – gold, a representation of the sun, a baby Oak King – in the center.

High Priestess, in her customary way, invites people to put their names in the circle. If desired, she allows people to put other names in the circle for blessings and energy.

There is a magic in all the seasons. Winter’s magic is the most concise, most dense. It is diamond magic, cold and brilliant, focused and precise.

Each season also has its own wisdom, but winter’s wisdom includes them all. Everything is clear. What is invisible in growing times becomes plain in the starkness of winter. From winter, you can remember spring, summer and fall by the patterns they’ve left behind.

There is not yet a call to begin again. Beginnings will come soon enough. This is the fallow time. This is the time of rest. The waiting brings both strength and vulnerability.

When winter comes, we withdraw into the deepest spaces of our inner selves. As the world sleeps, its energy, like yours, turns within. Your inner sight expands. There is much to see beyond appearances. It is bone time. Nothing is hidden. With your winter eyes, let yourself see everything.

This is a time of reflection, insight, visions and wisdom. In the velvet dark are the secrets we keep from ourselves … one of those secrets is who we really are. Find that you hidden in the darkness.

It may appear we are resting, but in winter we are creating a new universe within ourselves, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, secretly feeding that which needs to thrive. With calm deliberateness, we know what to save and bring into the next season.

When we blow out these candles, feel yourself in this deep, dark space, the place from which all is born. Feel the warmth and safety of this womb on this cold night. This place of darkness is the source of life. Feel that energy waiting, still, quiet, for life to begin. That is the energy of the dark. This is the time of before.

That energy is within you. Sit with it. Be the dark from which all things will come. Be the dark that holds the coiled sleeping snake, the crocus bulb frozen in the ground. All life has moved to the center, hidden in the darkness. In this space, feel the energy of all that is yet to be.

Winter is not all about death, it’s also about reflection and insight, and reconnecting to the source deep within the dark. One day in the not too distant future, the dance will begin again. Let that knowledge be a comfort to you, but do not call for it. For now is not its time.

We need the dark to balance the light. Honor its presence.
Offer gratitude for the power it gives us to dream our deep sleep awake.

I will signal when there are 5 minutes left in the meditation

Extinguish candle

Start timer

Give 5-minute notice with rattle, bell or drum

High Priestess:

Welcome back. Take a moment to get here.

We’re going to pass the talking stick so that all who wish may share their thoughts or experiences in sacred space.

High Priestess:

Grounding eliminates the excess energy you may have accumulated during a ritual or other working. Take time now to breath three slow, deep breaths as you imagine the energy you do not need draining out of your body, out of your fingers and your feet. Offer it to the earth below.

Food also helps us ground.

Present cakes and ale, speaking only to say

May you never hunger / Nor you

May you never thirst / Nor you

 

High Priestess:

We are drawing to the end. As we prepare to release the elements, I will light this candle from the spirit candle. We will pass out candles and a drip guard. You’ll take them both home with you.

I thank each of you for bringing the gift of yourself to this circle, for adding your energy to the magic of tonight. Let us bring a piece of this quiet calm with us as we return to our mundane lives that we may walk in peace.

After we light the candles, we’ll sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night” twice. Then, I ask that you to gather your things, attend to your needs and leave … all in silence … as we return to the mundane world.

Releasing the Crones

Crones we thank you for showing us how to die and be reborn. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Releasing the Sun

Father Sun, on this deepest dark night, we welcome back your light. Blessed Be.

Releasing Water

Sister Water, thank you for your presence, love and healing. Blessed Be.

Releasing Fire

Father Sun, source of fire, thank you for your warmth and passion. Blessed Be.

Releasing Air

Brother Air, thank you for your presence and your inspiration.
Blessed Be.

Releasing Earth

Mother Earth, thank you for your presence as we leave grounded and renewed. Blessed Be.

High Priestess: Begin by lighting the candle of the person to your left, saying:

May you embrace the return of the light.

Sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night”

And merry part. And merry meet again.

NOTE: This ritual draws heavily on the poem “The Winter Woman” from “Seasons of the Witch: poetry & Songs to the Goddess” by Patricia Monaghan and Arctic Siren Singers

***

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.

Review: 2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

December, 2018

Review:

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

Rockpool Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-925682-13-7

List Price: $21.95 USD / £16.99 GBP

The 2019 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is a beautiful, spiral-bound calendar, richly illustrated with pleasing sepia color pages. As one would expect, it tracks the waxing and waning of the moon and the lunar eclipses of the coming year. It also provides the astrological house of each new and full moon and features the eight annual festivals of the wheel of the year.

I reviewed the Northern Hemisphere edition of the Seasonal Diary. Both Stacey DeMarco and Rockpool Publishing are based in Australia, which is why special care is made to tie the festivals to the seasons themselves instead of calendar dates. After all, our calendars follow the reality of the Earth and her seasons, not the other way around.

Especially well fitted to the new pagan, the diary has a well written introduction the hows and whys of spellcraft and the basics of working with crystals. The moon phases are introduced, as well as the elements, directions and the wheel of the year – not enough to complicate things, but enough guidance to use the daily and monthly prompts that follow. Each month features a specific deity, as well as an appropriate ritual or spell, drawing inspiration from traditions as varied as Slavic, Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Shinto. I think the selection is broad enough to be interesting for almost any pagan.

I found the Lunar & Seasonal Diary a beautiful resource to keep me connected to the monthly rhythms of the earth. Each month begins with a page questioning “What am I devoted to?” – asking us to simultaneously reflect on what we have been wrapped up in the month just past as well as what we would aspire towards in the month ahead. Prompts are given for important dates and goals to focus on and manifest in the month ahead.

This monthly return to focus seems a positively recharging reset to our frame of reference, especially during those stressful times when we’re just happy to it through one calendar page to the next. It reminds us to recall what we are working for in the first place, reminding us that the daily grind is a process and not an end in itself. This monthly taking-stock can allow you to stay open to the living world around you, to stay fast with what is truly important to you, or to shift your focus and goals each month, working on different aspects of your life just as the energy of the earth changes through different phases around you.

With the space for taking notes, prompts for both reflective and aspirational record keeping, I think this is a great notebook for any pagan who sees the value of the occasional ritual to keep one in tune with the seasons, and it especially shines for those new to the pagan path.

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary: Northern Hemisphere on Amazon

Interview with Author Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Interview with Author & Spell Writer Rose Orriculum

 

 

Rose Orriculum is the author of Pastel Spells & Of Witchcraft and Whimsy. She also hosts a blog on Tumblr with links to pages of great help and information from herself. She also has a YouTube Channel and her own Etsy. Her books, and the spells used in them, are from Rose’s personal collection. After reviewing her 2 books in this issue, I had the chance to interview her.

Deanna (D) – You currently have two books published, Pastel Spells and Of Witchcraft and Whimsy. Do you have any other projects in the works?

Rose Orriculum (R)- There’s one witchy project that is going very slowly, a potions recipe book. It keeps getting pushed to the back burner by other writing projects and schoolwork. I hope to dedicate some time to it soon.

D – Pastel Spells is full of different spells, “most of them centering around the concepts of love, self-care, and healing”, although there are a few curses towards the back. Do you find that it is important to know how to curse even if we never use them?

R – I think it’s important to be familiar with structure and practice of curses, if not for your own use but to be aware of how to recognize one in effect and how to respond. Just because someone never intends to, say, be an accountant, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a working understanding of taxes and the math behind it, because the need for at least some basic knowledge of those comes up in life every so often.

I know relationships and self-care seem sweet and clean, but I think healing is more complex than that. Healing involves expelling bile and sweating out fevers, and strong emotional scars that need to be processed are no different. Jumping immediately to forgiveness and happiness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and not every situation calls for it, so sometimes healing is ugly and involves holding the people who hurt you responsible, sometimes healing means being proactive and binding them from hurting others the way they hurt you.

D – I was surprised to see how simple these spells truly are. The ingredients can mostly be found around the home, and the spell itself doesn’t seem to take very long. Pastel Spells really brings magic back to its simple core. What would you say to someone who believes magic should be more complicated?

R – I suppose I’d ask why they feel it needs to be complicated, what do we gain by making things needlessly complex and inaccessible? Does the same logic that more components to a spell will make it stronger rather than filled with redundancies or conflicting intents lend to the idea that simply more is better? Should then I stuff my spells with, say, several cups of salt rather than a teaspoon? What motivates the need to complicate things? Is it an agenda of aesthetic and pride or is it purely based in research?

While I suppose some spells may demand particular nuance in the correspondences of the ingredients and therefore demand several, not everything needs to be a strenuous production, not every spell is a goetic summoning. In regional and folk witchcraft, there’s a simplicity to them with practices that are so small they become ingrained in everyone as superstitions. Tossing salt over your shoulder, painting the porch ceiling faint blue, sprinkling a pinch of cinnamon out the window, all those little things. I really think that is the core of magic, a collection of little things that ease the way and blend witchcraft into everyday life.

D – In the foreword of Pastel Spells, you mention “blowing out birthday candles and hoping it would draw whatever student I had a crush on that week closer”, it seems that you have been practicing magic from a young age. How old were you when you started practicing?

R – Ooh, hard to put a number on that. I think children tend to believe in a more fairy-tale idea of magic being inherent in the world, and as a child I really tried to hold onto that. It was definitely somewhere in high school I discovered witchcraft was practiced by real people in real life, and I began to ease into that.

D – Out of all the spells listed in Pastel Spells, do you have a favorite one or one that you seem to cast more than others?

R – I think it’s called the “sweet and salty love spell”, probably because I have all the ingredients on my desk. It happens more by accident than anything else, I think to myself I’ll do a little impromptu magic, cobble together some things within reach, and then oh dear I’ve made that one again, sugar, salt, and rose petals. It’s a weird habit now and I’m too embarrassed to count how many jars of that I have lying around.

D – Of Witchcraft and Whimsy is listed as a beginner’s guide to witchcraft but it is truly more than that. What were you hoping to accomplish with this book?

R – Honestly all I ever intended it to be was just a beginner’s guide. It was a summation of the general basics that seemed to be agreed upon the pagan and witchy people I’d come across, a series of notes and a rundown of topics in witchcraft that I might as well put together. It still doesn’t feel like much of a book to me, maybe a pamphlet. Someone remarked to me that it felt like a very brief overview on a bunch of smaller topics, and I wish I had put more into it and gone into the depth each topic deserved.

D – One of my favorite sections is on coffee, tea, hot chocolate and infused water. “There are plenty of ways to work a little magic into your day without doing a full-on ritual…”, this is a great reminder that spells can be very simple but effective. Do you have a go to drink concoction that you use daily?

R – It’s a little silly but the two main things in my life I focus on are my projects and love in all things, so coffee with chocolate. That’s a Capricorn sun and moon in the fifth house for you. Also doesn’t hurt that it’s just a good drink.

D – Witchcraft is never just white and black, and there are many different areas, sects, and branches. However, witchcraft always seems to teach us something. What is the biggest lesson that witchcraft has taught you?

R – The power of names and the act of naming something. Those hold more weight than we think, but rarely do we take on the power of naming, of deciding and designating, but it definitely starts when someone first chooses to call themself a witch. That’s the beginning of discovering what personal agency is, and it lends to just how much control you have over yourself, inside and out, that I don’t think we’re ever reminded to stop and consider.

D – If you could give a beginner a piece of advice, what would it be?

R – Well, a question I get a lot is always where specifically to start, so I’d say to take time to assess what you are already, because the dearest parts of your craft will grow from what’s already in you, whether they were childhood superstitions, or a topic you’ve always found fascinating. Your craft isn’t a performance for other people, it’s a celebration of yourself, and an exercise in introspection.

D – In Pastel Spells you mention a blog. How can people get in touch with you?

R – The easiest way might be my blog Orriculum.tumblr.com, but there is also an email Orriculum.rose@gmail.com.

 

We’d like to thank the beautiful Rose Orriculum for sharing some of herself with us and our readers!

 

Where You can reach Rose Orriculum:

Email: Orriculum.rose@gmail.com

Tumblr Blog: Tumblr

YouTube Channel: YouTube Channel

Etsy: Etsy

 

Her Works:

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft on Amazon

Pastel Spells on Amazon

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