ritual

A Spring Equinox Ritual

March, 2019

Here are some words from a Spring Equinox Ritual performed between three witches with a focus on the Morrígan. You could speak the words on your own, or with a group, and you can decorate your sacred space with flowers or appropriate tools, depending on your path. I’ve left out any specific calls or hails, as you can add these as appropriate to your own beliefs. You will need an object or symbol that is important to you at this time of year, a seed, and a pot of soil (per person.)

Spirits of East, creatures of air
Light of the bright morning,
Venus on the horizon
Warm winds chasing chills
Birds singing, anticipating the coming spring.
Be with us now, when light meets dark as equals
And give us humour and grace
To celebrate the coming spring.

Spirits of South, creatures of fire
Heart of the mountain and breath of the volcano
From the centre of the earth to the core of the sun
Keep us alive through the vacuum of space.
Be with us now when light meets dark as equals
And give us inspiration and creativity
To dance into the coming Spring.

Spirits of West, creatures of water
Drop in the ocean and flood in the field
From the heart of the cloud to the blood in our veins
Filling us with dreams and emotion.
Be with us now when light meets dark as equals
And give us wisdom and insight
To flow onward into Spring.

Spirits of North, creatures of Earth
Ant crawling quickly; raven soaring by;
From the tallest mountain to each grain of soil
Grounding us so we can reach for the moon.
Be with us now when light meets dark as equals
And give us courage and strength
To build great things this spring.

Lady of light, Ceridwen stirring her cauldron
Silver web of the moon and golden disc of the returning sun
Remind us of warmth, love and laughter
And the earth coming alive beneath our feet.
As you hear your lover call,
May you also hear the words and deeds
We perform tonight
At this time of equal dark and light.

Great Lord of the Land, Cernunnos the hunter
The thrill of the chase and the pumping blood in the vein
Remind us of challenge, growth and rebirth
And the green returning like an awakening spell.
As you hear your Lady call,
May you also hear the words and deeds
We perform tonight
At this time of equal dark and light.

And to you, spirits unseen
Ancestors from behind the veil
Loved ones from our time and others
And the great woman who binds us all
The heart of the crow
The soul of the Warrior
The mind of the mystic;
Morrigan, wise lady,
Shed your aspect of Crone and join us
As Light meets Dark as Equals.

We gather today at this moment of reflection
The pause in the planet turning
The moment when all suddenly stills
And the greatest magic becomes possible.
You have a symbol that you have chosen for this rite.
Look at the symbol.

What does it mean to you? (a minutes meditation on the chosen object/symbol)
Now speak, and tell us how this object resonates with you.

Each person (or just you, if performing solo) takes a turn speaking about the object they chose; this can be as simple as how it made them feel, or something they want for the coming season, or simply a memory it evoked.

As one, we have spoken our innermost thoughts
As one, we stand now, as we will stand throughout the year
As the sun returns, and we feel the warm hands of Lugh
Kind upon our faces,
Let us remember that we all stand as a little sun
To those in need of warmth.

As a circle, we are un-ending
As a loop, we flow and turn
Now balanced, at this point of equinox, we can move forward or backward.
Let us choose the onward path
Where flowers grow and great trees house the owls
And beauteous nature holds court.
We now choose one thing we wish to nourish throughout this planting season
And we will speak of this again at Beltane,
When Fire reigns and the veil is thin.

Everyone takes a seed and places it in a pot, thinking of that which they wish to grow/nourish/change for the better over the weeks leading up to Beltane. The idea is that the seed will sprout to represent the progress made. We share bread and mead at this point, but do whatever is right for you on your path, or with your tribe.

Every drop of rain
Tickles and delights
Every gasp of air
Fire reignites
Earthed in loam and clay
Reaching for the sky
Sea to East and West
Spirit soaring high
Spring has come again
Shoots burst from the soil
Feeding souls and hearts
With play and merry toil.

Dismiss and say farewell to the elements, the deities, and spirits of place in which ever way is appropriate. Stand in the energy of your sacred space and breathe in the promise of the coming spring.

***

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 Ancestorsand 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

Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times Review & Interview with Gabiann Marin

March, 2019

March 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

March 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

I cannot tell you how excited I am that it is almost the Spring Equinox! To prepare, I assembled a precut garden box today, and have been diligently bagging up the dead leaves from last fall I spread over the garden beds I already have. I never buy mulch that way! Once the thaw starts, I dig out the leaves, and just throw them away.

While I joyously begin celebrating Spring at Imbolc, the fact I can see the green fingers of garden bulbs pushing up out of the earth reminds me the growing season is set to begin very soon. I am buying seeds left and right, and soon, we will start stockpiling the pea gravel and soil for the new garden bed!

The undesirable parts of things like cleanup, spending money on supplies, and lifting and carrying heavy things must be performed to benefit from the beauty of the victory garden we covet. I, for one, hate the sight of worms, and have ever since I was a child. I, however know that without those blind wrigglers, my garden will not grow, and if I don’t see them, I know something is very wrong.

Like the garden, our lives are made up of all sorts of things. Things we like, and things we dislike. More than that, we also like and dislike things about specifically our own selves.

Turn on the television, and you can almost always find a makeover show, or some type of advertisement for a service or product that will completely transform you, supposedly getting rid of some aspect of yourself you loathe. Our culture supports that self-loathing, as they use it as excuse to earn money from us.

Now, I am not saying we ought to forego improving ourselves. What I am saying is that all of us have something we CANNOT change about ourselves that we imagine to be some monstrosity. Some hate the shape of their feet, the sound of their voice, the fact their hair is naturally curly or straight. Some hate having an adams apple, and some think their neck is too long or short. Some want to get rid of freckles, or bleach their skin which they imagine is too dark. Almost all of us have demonized some aspect of ourselves we simply cannot help.

But we are not monstrosities in any way. We simply misunderstand these parts of ourselves, and radical self-acceptance is the only solution. What better time for that than the Spring Equinox, which is often used to get rid of the old and bring in the new? Instead of throwing out some part of ourselves, why not change our way of thinking instead?

This Month’s Review

To fit with this theme. I lucked into an interview with Gabiann Marin, author of the awesome book, Monsters and Creatures. I found the book to be well written, well researched, and an easy read. Of course, she could not include ALL monsters and creatures from all of time in the book, but she packed in quite a lot into the neat 196 pages.

From the Basilisk to Zombies, Marin draws readers into the fascinating world of creatures, and provides more than just lore. She includes historical anecdotes, and education about real phenomenon.

I highly recommend the book, and it can be had through this link.

Not only was I fortunate enough to review this good book, but I got to interview the amazing Gabiann Marin!

Read on!

The Interview

Saoirse – First, let me say, I was impressed with your book Monsters and Creatures. I never know what to expect from a reference book on creatures- and I was thrilled because I found your book very well researched.

You packed so very much good information into it. How long did it take you to gather all of that in formation, and what was the process for research you used? What background in research do you have, and what is your philosophy about educating your readers as an author? 

Gabiann – Thank you.  The research part was quite interesting.  I have grown up with many of the creatures in the book in so far as I have loved and read mythology and fantasy and history since I was a small child.  In fact the very first book I bought for myself (at the age of seven)  was The natural history of the vampire by Anthony Masters and I still have that book. So I guess it took a lifetime to gather all the information. 

The greater challenge was how to get all the information I wanted to talk about into such a small book.  I didn’t want it to just be a dictionary of fantastic beasts.  I’m a writer and the power of all these creatures are in their stories and I wanted to be able to share that… Give a context of these creatures in history and psychology and society.  

I have been a professional writer for a long time as well as an academic, so I read widely and have a pretty varied interest and abundant curiosity in just about everything – so I find researching information pretty easy. 

The process for this book was really to decide what monsters and creatures I wanted to include.  The publisher was pretty adamant the popular ones were included… Which I agreed with… But I was also intent on introducing readers to more unusual and lesser known creatures and tell their stories too. 

Saoirse – What made you decide to write about this topic, specifically? This appears more like a long-term interest in these beings turned into a good book to share what you have learned with others. Am I right? 

Gabiann – Yes.  I love animals and the natural world and am fascinated in how we, as humans, connect to and understand nature.  I have always believed the stories of monsters and creatures are some of the most potent and informative ways that we express our love and fear of the world around us. 

Saoirse – As I am Pagan, I know a lot of people who embrace belief in human connection with supernatural beings. One friend said these “creatures” may be nothing more than manifestation of spirit people perceive so well, they mistake them for flesh! While we know about logical explanations like- manatees can be mistaken for mermaids, etc- what is your take on the theory my friend presented? 

Gabiann – I have a rather unique perspective on people’s belief systems and how they engage with the mystical, the natural and the supernatural… And that is that however someone perceives these creatures – as real or imagined, as pyschological manifestations or as historical creatures… They are probably right. 

We manifest our understanding of the world and ourselves through the stories we tell and that shapes how we treat each other and the world around us.  Spirit reaches us through story, symbol and myth.  

If your friend perceives spirit as a unicorn or a dragon.. Then that is how spirit presents itself to her.  She is using these stories exactly how they were meant to be used – for her to step beyond the human condition and understand the world beyond herself. 

Saoirse – I want to know all about you! Tell me about your writing in general, and beyond that, YOU in general? What made you decide to write? What else are you good at? What projects are you working on, and what else is in the workings? 

Gabiann – That’s a big topic… Where do I start? 

I suppose I have always been a writer, I wrote my first short story at the age of eight and won my first literary prize when I was fourteen.  I became a professional writer when I started University.  I was originally going to be a vet but ended up at the last minute studying writing instead. My mum was surprisingly OK with this!  

I started my professional writing life writing film and theatre reviews and then actual plays.  I worked as a corporate copywriter for a few years but realised it was a bit soul destroying so shifted over and became a writer for charities and causes I believed in… Like Amnesty International, The Wilderness Society and Greenpeace.  

I also wrote for Australian television for a few years but it was a hard road back then with very little Australian content being made. So in 2000 I began writing children’s books.  In 2003 I wrote a book for young readers about a child in Australian Immigration detention called A True Person, which won a few international awards but most importantly was the first book in Australia to tackle that issue.

I still write social justice material in fiction form but moved into editing and writing non fiction after leaving an academic job in 2016.

Currently I am dividing my time between teaching writing and film at University, while editing and writing non-fiction, original and adapted film scripts and completing a fantasy fiction book about Medusa.

Saoirse – Tell me about your personal spiritual path, and if it influenced your work on this topic.

Gabiann – I am Wicca and have been since I was quite young, however I am more a pagan in the classic sense, in that I believe there is a natural force which guides the world and creates and determines life. I believe we need to understand and respect this force… Which currently as a global entity we are not doing.

All of my work has, in some way, reflected my belief that people are part of – not in conflict with – the natural world.  And the natural world is actually supernatural, in that it contains spirit as well as material things.  This is hardly controversial, as literally everyone in the known history of humankind has believed a version of this – yet for some reason mankind have been intent on focusing on the differences in this belief and killing each other over how we individually choose to understand and express that spiritual essence .  To me spirit is nature herself… Everything in it is amazing.  It contains things which we are only just beginning to understand. 

I don’t follow any organized religion because I believe that most of them limit us into hatred and division with both ourselves and the other beings we share this planet with.  But I have a huge respect for most religious people who are just trying to find ways to connect with the bigger sense of power around them.  I believe that when we are in contact with the natural world… Go beyond the realms of mankind’s selfishness, greed and violence, we can connect to that spirit. But honestly I do not think we as humans are the most important things on this planet.  Not the single or indeed the main focus of any spiritual force which may exist.  The trees and the rocks and the mountains have watched us rise and they will watch us fall.  Creatures we can barely imagine have roamed this earth thousands of years before we were even conceived of.. And other creatures will no doubt walk across our fossilized bones.  And that is a good thing.  Nature is immortal. So the smallness and pettiness of humanity and our need to find meaning and place has always underpinned my work.  As well as a commitment to kindness, justice and understanding … Towards each other and all beings. 

Saoirse – Have you had any personal encounters with creatures or spirits you would like to share?

Gabiann – I think there is magic in the world, and spirit… particularly animal spirits, can help you find your way to that magic.

When I was in my twenties I had a very hard time. As I believe most young women in their twenties do in a world that is constantly telling us that as females we are simply not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. Then one night I had this amazing dream of two tigers who embraced me when I thought they were going to rip me apart. 

I woke up realizing that I was worthy and strong and loved.  I still believe today they were manifestations of spirit telling me to stop worrying about all the silliness around me and understand that my purpose… the purpose for all of us,  was simply to be a good person. Once I realized that, life became much clearer for me and I was able to follow a path that wasn’t so concerned about whether I fitted in with the very narrow ideology of being a compliant, acceptable, quiet woman. Which I certainly am not!  And rather tell stories and be part of the world in a way that expanded, not limited my and other creatures existence.

I am still very spiritual and have engaged with spirit in many ways since then.  But I remember that dream so clearly even now.  It’s why I became a pagan and a feminist. 

Monsters and Creatures, as well as its companion book – Gods and Goddesses, was written as an introduction into the history of humankind’s need to use story and myth to understand the world.  They are small books but I hope they pack a punch and give people a bit of an insight into what unites us – which is story… and what defines us – which is how we understand the world around us.  

They are both written to be fun, informative and easy to read and I really hope people engage with them.  Our continuing fascination with supernatural creatures is one of the many things that unite us as people.  And sharing these stories is the best way to create connections between us across time and cultures.  

I am happy to engage with readers but have a limited social media profile as I find the online world to be somewhat mean-spirited and focused on conflict.  I have a facebook authors page and an Amazon Author’s page through which I am happy to engage with those wanting more information about me. 

If you are interested in getting a copy of any of my books they are widely available through Amazon as well as most good book stores.  

Saoirse – What is your FAVORITE Monster/Creature you included in your book, and why? Any encounters, dreams, or visions of/with it/them?

Gabiann – This is a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child! 

All of them are my favourite in different ways. I love the more unusual ones like the Japanese Yokai because they are just so quirky and, although they can be a bit nasty, they are essentially just really cool, interesting little creatures who don’t bother anyone and just hang about doing their own thing. 

Researching the book I found the bird-like creatures the most fascinating as they were probably the ones I knew the least about. Again they are usually positive, kind creatures who help rather than harm us. 

But I guess if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Medusa. She resonates about the power of women and her story is one of injustice. She was never a monster, just someone who was trying to live her life. She only harmed those who attacked her and she was a victim of one of the most heinous and cowardly acts in all of mythology. It is impossible, I think, to see the story of Medusa as anything but a parable about male violence against women and the hatred of the established patriarchy of strong independent females. For that reason she probably resonates the strongest. 

I am actually writing a fiction book about her – its a crime caper comedy believe it or not!  

For more information on Gabiann Marin Visit:

Gabiann’s Linkedin Profile
Her Author Page on Facebook you can follow.
Her Amazon Author Page.

The Sabbat

The Sabbat this month is Spring Equinox, known by many Pagans as Ostara. Many take Bede and the Grimm’s word for it that Ostara was a Germanic goddess who had a hare as companion and eggs were auspicious to her.

Unfortunately, no evidence that this was a goddess exists in imagery or writings prior to Bede.

But since writings can be lost, and many passed traditions on orally, there is a chance this is true. It may also be true that Xtianity absorbed the Pagan rites to Ostara in their Easter practices.

One thing that is NOT true is the ridiculous meme claiming Ishtar was the goddess Ostara because the name is similar to Easter. Ishtar was never venerated in the British Isles, and ancient British pagans had no knowledge of her whatsoever. Xtians converting British Pagans did not adapt Middle Eastern Pagan practice either.

If Ostara was a goddess, she was, as Grimm, and Bede say, Germanic.

Both Ostara and Easter are celebrated with the new life of the Earth, and new spiritual life for worshippers in mind.

But while Xtians think of it as their god rising from the grave, and Pagans think of it in earth based terms, another way to look at it is rebirth of way of thinking.

New Life

Earlier in the article, I spoke of the things we loathe about ourselves that are things we cannot control.

Examples I shared were of physical things we might not like, but have no ability to change. Other examples include things such as the presence of depression that is being treated as well as possible, but is a lifelong condition, memory problems after stroke, inability to digest a favorite food anymore, inability due to medical reasons to have kids, or even being divorced when you did not choose to be.

My challenge this time is to think of that thing which you cannot change- and forgive yourself for it.

Believe me, I do not say this lightly, as I have things I am upset with myself for. I say things like “I am sorry for the way I am” and “I wish you did not have to deal with the fact I have X problem.”

This is perhaps the least productive thing we do as human beings. In essence, we punish ourselves for something we have no control over.

We make ourselves out to be guilty, when in fact, if we could change whatever it is we hate about ourselves, we absolutely would.

So, the self-loathing stops. Now.

It’s going to take a conscious effort to undo your counter productive way of thinking about yourself, and replacing that with forgiveness, and amping up the self-love, and it’s one a one time, “fling a spell and forget it” thing. It will take a different amount of time for each person, and you may have to tweak the working to suit yourself.

I want you to know that you are a perfect reflection of the creator, and what WE think of as flaws are sometimes just things our culture spits at. We have to train our minds to resist this cultural poisoning, which is basically abuse, and VERY toxic. We have to sometimes be the goddess or the father god for ourselves, and know better than the crap we are told.

This working entails giving a gift to yourself. You are worth it! This is done in parts. How far apart you space the parts is up to you.

The Working

To start, get a plain white candle and a small receptacle to burn paper in.

Get paper, and writing materials.

Part 1– You are going to sit down and write a letter to yourself.

You are going to make it as long as you like. Go into great detail about the thing you loathe about yourself and go ahead and cry out how much you wish you could change things. It is okay to type and print out the letter if you’d prefer not to hand write it. Include in the letter why you understand you can’t change this. Say all you want to about it and how you feel about it. Just get it all out. You don’t even have to have one sitting be the whole letter. It can be as long or as short of a letter as you want. It can even be just a paragraph or less long.

Part 2– Then you are going to write your goal for changing thinking. You are going to have to really think about what thinking you need to discard, but also what thinking you need to replace it with. Then, you need to decide what action after the change of thinking you are going to take. Be as detailed or as vague as asking your goddess or god for guidance.

Part 3– Have your initial letter, and then your other papers which list your goals and planned changes, have your receptacle to burn in , and light the candle. You can do this at your altar if you want to, but you can even do this outdoors, or over the kitchen sink, or stove if you prefer. Do this at the place where you are most comfortable burning papers.

Read your letter aloud to yourself. Let it all sink in, and as you are reading, feel how crucial it is you let this self-loathing go. Then read the second papers, and truly tell yourself that you are going to lay aside the old way of thinking, and start the new way of thinking.

When you have read it all, take one more sheet of paper, and write out a very short summary of everything on the papers.

Burn the papers, keeping the summary.

As the papers burn say, “Out with the old, in with the new, I am the goddess/god, and I am whole and perfect. So Mote It Be.”

Once the papers have burned, release the ashes to the wind, and let your candle burn all the way down. Clean your area up, and place your summary somewhere you can look at it to remind yourself of all the things you wrote. Because, remember, this is a long-term change, not something you are going to release and forget. We have to make conscious efforts to transform, most especially our way of thinking. There is no “putting it out there to the Universe to manifest”. We are going to do this ourselves, for a permanent change.

Part 4- Gift yourself something representing the change you are making. If you hate your feet, get regular pedicures or start wearing shoes you really love but thought you could not wear on “those” feet. If you are upset you did not reach a goal, and the opportunity is gone, celebrate a goal you DID make. If you are upset you have a chronic condition that is never going to go away, pamper yourself somehow and reassure yourself you are not to blame.

Blessed Spring, and New Beginnings!

Blessed Be!

Monsters and Creatures: Discover Beasts from Lore and Legends (The Supernatural Series) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

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

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

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