Spell

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

January, 2017

 

Calling Kali-Ma

spell

(Kali The Awakener from the Daughters of the Moon deck)

Merry meet.

We are coming into some dark times, and one of the most powerful and the most frightening of the dark goddesses is Kali-Ma. While she represents the Dark Mother, this article is focused on Her as the warrior. In the Hindu tradition, Kali is the Goddess of death, destruction and resurrection. She is fierce. She wears a belt of skulls, there is blood dripping from her mouth as she stands upon the body of her husband, holding up his severed head and, in another hand, the machete she used.

Kali was created to destroy the demons taking over the world and she was so good at, she couldn’t stop. Call it mania if you must. As the gods saw her destruction unfold, they realized she needed to be stopped and sent her spouse, knowing well that it was a suicide mission. When she killed him, she stopped her rage and was filled with remorse. Her red tongue is extended, which in India, is recognized as a symbol of humility.

Kali Ma works well as a reminder of the immense power we hold, and the need to remember to limit our rage to be appropriate and not too destructive.

Looking at current events, Kali has come to America.

As the destroyer of worlds, the oracle of sacred change, she has brought down our world with a shocking smack; all the illusions we had about the land of the free and the home of the brave were banished on election night.

We are not who we thought we were. Now we must get ready to stand in her fires of transmutation. We need them,” wrote spiritual storyteller Vera de Chalambert in an article appearing in Rebelle Society.

There is a great yearning for change and de Chalambert stressed that rather than move out of the dark into the more comfortable light, we need to provide a space for difficult feelings to come and rest. To grow spiritually, we must enter the deepest, darkest depths of despair without hope, without light, without knowing. It is there that the darkness will heal.

[T]he wound is the gift,” she said. No spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.

Kali demands everything and takes it. She is the Wrathful Goddess. She is the psychic force of menstruation – the cycle of destruction that comes before fertility. She teaches us that pain, sorrow, death, decay and destruction are not overcome by denying their existence or by trying to explain them away. These are part of life and we must accept them.

Working with her, we can “get our Kali on.” We can learn to be like her. Fierce. The protective mother. We will sit in the womb of the night, awaiting our rebirth. Her gift is freedom.

RITUAL:

This ritual was presented in “The Dark Goddess: Dancing with the Shadow” by Marcia Starck and Gynne Stern (The Crossing Press, 1993) and is reprinted here with permission.

While there are various ways to work with Kali, this ritual is being used to increase the warrior energy. It is good to do this ritual during the dark moon.

Women come dressed in saris or wearing other Indian clothes, accessories or ornamentation, including swords or other instruments appropriate to Kali-Ma. Red is a good color when working with warrior energy.

The altar should be decorated with skulls and bones, a brazier or incense burner with some joss sticks or other sweet incense, red and black candles, pictures of the Mother in both her benevolent and terrible aspects, and a small bowl with some menstrual blood.

Background music can be sitars or flutes. Women can also bring rattles and drums of any kind to use during the ritual.

The High Priestess or four different women invoke Kali through four Hindu goddesses.

In the East, call Ushas, Goddess of Dawn, to being this new cycle and help us see through illusions and seek the truth.

In the South, call Parvati to bring the fires of purification so we may be cleansed.

In the West, invoke Durga to teach us to look into the dark places in our being so that we may not be afraid.

In the North, call on Saraswati to bring us the wisdom of India, her music and dance, so we may be wise in traditions of the Goddess.

Lastly, call Kali-Ma, Dark Mother, Great Goddess, Createtress of All There Is, Slayer of Demons, Goddess of Destruction, Goddess of Just Revenge.

One at a time, each woman approaches the altar and takes an object such as a sword or skull that exemplifies her interpretation of the warrior energy. With this object, she speaks of her need for Kali’s energy, her work with bringing forth her aggressive side, and her desire to go forth into the world and slay whatever demons of injustice or oppression burden her. She then chants and dances her feelings while the women in the circle drum or play other instruments.

When everyone has had a turn, the High Priestess dances among the women, blessing them and putting a drop of menstrual blood on each of them to show that they have been purified through Kali’s energy. The women then sit in a circle and discuss ways of being in the world that will encourage their warrior side. In closing, chant and sing to Kali:

Kali Durga, Na Mo, Na Mo
Kali Durga, Na Mo, Na Mo
(repeat eight more times)

By this ritual, may you come to understand and use the energy of Kali-Ma. You may also choose to adapt it to suit your own personal practice.

Merry part, and merry meet again.

Natomas Craft Notes

December, 2016

Flags, flax, fodder, Frig !

This old Devonshire witch greeting conveys best wishes for the four goods in life: (1) a house (flagstones), (2) clothes (linen was common), (3) enough food (for you as well as your livestock) and (4) a good sex life. No. (4) is taken from the name of Odin’s wife, the Goddess Frig. Frig was the Goddess of conjugal love, so you are not wishing promiscuity on someone. No true Pagan will use Her name in coarse expressions, by the way !

Light a Candle

Whenever a fundie or some other cowan (non-witch) vilifies my religion, I remind myself of the saying “better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Then I do just that – I literally light a candle. It’s amazing how quickly candlelight calms my ruffled feathers ! Then I do something for the Craft.

Craft work comes in four flavors: (1) Work for oneself, (2) Work for others, (3) Work for the coven and (4) Work for the Craft. Here are some examples of the four lines of work:

(1) You have to work your personal Craft before you can do anything helpful along the other 3 lines. This can include study, ritual practice, handicrafts, growing herbs, taking a walk to study local flora and fauna, meditation, or doing inventory, for instance. Doing inventory means I go through my clutter and organize it, getting rid of what I don’t need and making use of what I keep. Getting rid of things can often mean giving them away, putting them where they will do the most good. Inventory is a good way to clean one’s life and make more room in it for the Craft.

(2) Work for others can mean working with a magical partner or with a relative newcomer in the Craft, helping him or her to find source materials, sharing techniques and so forth. As covens grow, it’s a good practice for intermediate witches to buddy-up with people just coming in, and it takes a lot of the burden off your overworked HPS. At the same time, I have profited greatly from partnerships with Craft sisters and brothers operating on a more or less equal level of familiarity. Partners can point out mistakes to each other and help to spur each other to more consistent efforts.

(3) When you have passed your first degree it is time to begin thinking about the state of the coven itself. Sian Airgeaid, for instance, is currently lamed by my own absence, due to the need to find work which took me to Sacramento. This places a high burden on the HPS and means that I can’t always attend ritual occasions. Initiates should be concerned about this and offer to help shoulder some of HPS’s organizational burdens. Work along this third line involves asking questions about where the coven is going, how much it should interact with other covens, how it can best attract and screen new members, how it can acquire more capacious facilities, and so forth.

(4) Work for the Craft as a whole is the proper concern of everyone, whether new or old in the Craft. One should never joke about one’s beliefs, especially to outsiders, but have respect for the Craft’s dignity. You must consider how ‘out’ you want to be. Are you wearing a pentacle (pentagram in a circle) on the outside to attract attention, for instance? If so, you may get more than you wanted, and much of it may be negative or at least uncomprehending. If you are an ‘out’ witch, how far are you prepared to go to answer the ignorant and bigoted about your religion? Don’t forget, also, that if you display the pentacle you become an example of the Craft, so you may have to think twice about flipping people off or otherwise losing your temper. On the positive side, work for the Craft can include getting on the internet and making contact with other witches and Pagans, developing liaisons with kindred spirits out there, as a way of building our much-needed Pagan community. Do consider getting access to the internet, as it is the best way to reach like-minded people while avoiding the sort of local visibility that can invite persecution. There are a lot of lonely solitaries out there waiting to hear from you !

Book Excerpt: Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft by Mabh Savage

December, 2016

Book Excerpt: Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft by Mabh Savage

celtic
Stepping Stones
Celtic Triad: Three candles that illumine every darkness: truth, nature, knowledge.
In magic we look to the elements, the directions and spirits among many, many other things, as a way to quantify and understand the universal energies we are harnessing. In Wicca and other ritual based on a similar foundation, the cardinal points are the focus for an individual or coven to consecrate or cast a circle; North, East, South and West, and their associated elements, respectively Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The practitioner can then go deeper to the aspects of the world associated with each element; birds of the air, or the heat of the summer sun for example.
Let’s go deeper still to understand how the directions and elements represent different parts of human nature, or our own psyche. East is about new beginnings, birth, the start of something. The freshness of a morning breeze moves us towards thinking about the element of air. The carefree and uncontrollable nature of the wind; this translates in ourselves as mischief or playfulness, childishness or embracing our inner child and un-tempered emotions both light and dark. You’ll note that I am careful to point out that each of these aspects has a flip side. There is no good and evil in Celtic Witchcraft. Everything you do has consequences and you have to be prepared for that. It’s up to you to make sure your choices affect your life and the lives of those around you in the way you intend. Hopefully this is a positive one! If you have darker designs, just remember consequences have a way of biting you in the bum when you least expect it.
At some point I’ll provide the obligatory list of elemental correspondences and how you can use them, but it’s important to note that I don’t want you to feel bound by these. Celtic Witchcraft is very much about using your instincts. Rite and ritual, tools and trinkets; these things are not necessary for you, but also they should not be shunned. Choose your own way of working, and expect it to change often, perhaps even daily at first. You are not only a witch; you are a scientist, experimenting with yourself and the world, responsibly but with healthy curiosity and a sense of adventure.
By this point we have accepted that we are a part of a huge universe and a world which seems even huger because we are so close to it, even though in reality it is a tiny speck in the eye of creation. We use directions and symbolism to break this massive, incomprehensible world into smaller chunks that are easier to understand, and as we’ve discussed, we start to relate those pieces of the world to ourselves. How does this benefit us? Why do we need to do this? Ultimately, what’s in it for you?
Well, what do you want? Why are you here? What answer eludes you? What desire is just out of reach? The Celts were seekers not only of knowledge, but of wealth, power and beauty. I’ve found that there is no shame in admitting a desire for something worldly, just as there is certain glory in seeking something divine.
“This is the way of it then” said Lugh. “The three apples I asked of you are the three apples from the Garden in the East of the World, and no other apples will do but these, for they are the most beautiful and have the most virtue in them of the apples of the whole world. And it is what they are like, they are of the colour of burned gold, and they are the size of the head of a child one month old, and there is the taste of honey on them, and they do not leave the pain of wounds or the vexation of sickness on anyone that eats them, and they do not lessen by being eaten forever.” (Gods and Fighting Men: the Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland; Gregory, Lady; John Murray, London, 1910.)
Lugh, speaking here, has just lost his father. Instead of simply killing the culprits, the infamous Sons of Tuireann, he devises a plan whereby the murderers are sent on a mission that will either kill them through its sheer danger and difficulty, or if they somehow succeed, many great and powerful artifacts, such as the apples described above, will be bestowed upon Lugh. Lugh may seem somewhat cold to us; using his father’s death as a vehicle to gain power. But look at it another way. He is distraught. His father, to whom he is very close, has been brutally taken from him. He can exact revenge, or he can use the situation positively. He masters his emotions and moves everyone down a path that ultimately can only end to his advantage.
This is basically how you have to think when you work with magic. You can’t do magic angry. You can’t do magic upset. Your intent has to be pure; not pure as in good or even altruistic! But pure as in unsullied, not tainted by other thoughts and wishes that are roiling around inside your skull. You must master yourself before you can master magic. And that is why, as in all great endeavors, we start small.
If you enjoyed this, Mabh’s book is available on Amazon and other books stores.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

December, 2016

Yule Spell

marciapentaclewreathornaments

Merry meet.

At Yule, the darkest night before the rebirth of the sun, it is said the Holly King dies and the Oak King is born. A simple spell that echoes that is to gather three dried holly leaves, and using a mortar and pestle, crush them into a powder. On a piece of paper approximately four inches square, write in red ink a single word representing something you wish to give birth to. Add the holly powder and fold, roll or twist the paper up around it. Light it from the flame of a red candle, or by another symbolic means and as it burns in a cauldron or other safe place, see and feel the wish fulfilled, and give thanks.

If you are burning a Yule log, you could add the bundle to the fire, or you could write your intention on a piece of a holly branch and add that to the fire instead.

Merry part, and merry meet again.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

November, 2016

Plant Wands

crafting2

Merry meet.

As the wheel turns to the third harvest, I was moved to harvest some of the energies from the world around me, inspired by the Botanical Spirt Wands made by Rosemari Roast of Walk in the Woods, located in Winsted, Connecticut.

Cleaning up my community garden plot at the end of the season, I gathered a selection of plants, living and dead, adding to it from outside my back door.

crafting1o

how-to

Making an assorted bouquet of about eight pieces, I wrapped the stems together with fibers. One I wound with twine. For the other, I tied a scrap of novelty yarn at the top and criss-crossed it front and back down the stalks to form a handle. Red ribbon was used to wrap a single tassel of broom corn.

They are being hung upside down until they are fully dried.

If this inspires you, you might consider making a plant wand for each season, or even for each sabbat.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

November, 2016

Knot Magick

spell

Merry meet.

A simple yet powerful way to cast a spell is by putting knots in a cord. It could be for protection, healing, invoking energies or giving yourself confidence. Sailors once had witches put wind into knots, so if they found themselves in a calm, they could untie one of the knots to get wind to fill their sails.

Before beginning, fix your desire firmly in your mind as you feel what its like to have what it is you are asking for.

A round silk cord or other natural fiber is generally preferred, but anything from a shoelace to yarn to ribbon can be used. You might also pick a color to correspond with the spell.

Say, “By the knot of one, the spell’s begun,” as you tie a knot on the far left of the string.

Say, “By the knot of two, my words come true,” as you tie a knot in the far right end of the string.

Say, “By the knot of three, it comes to me,” as you tie a knot in the middle of the string.

Say, “By knot of four, “I’ve opened the door,” as you tie a knot between the left end and the middle knot.

Say, “By knot of five, the spell’s alive,” as you tie a knot half way between the center knot and the one on the far right end of the string.

Say, “By knot of six, this spell I fix,” and tie a knot in between the two on the left end of the string.

Say, “By knot of seven, there is no question,” while tying a knot between the two knots on the right side of the string.

Say, “By knot of eight, it’s now my fate,” and tie a knot to the left of center and the knot to the left of that.

Lastly, say, “By knot of nine, this thing is mine,” and tie the last knot between the center knot and the one to the right of that.

End it with, “So mote it be,” or some similar seal.

To add more power in each knot, after saying the words and while imagining the feel of having the desired outcome, blow your will into the cord as you tighten it.

The knotted cord is then worn or carried with intent, not as a casual accessory. When the spell is over, I recommend burying or burning the cord.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

October, 2016

Water is Life

Merry meet.

I am among the many pagans who want to support the warriors at Standing Rock. Two sisters in my coven – Debra Cohen and Janet Coffa – wrote a ritual that more than a dozen women chose to
participate in at a Mabon retreat. I’m sharing it below in the hopes that you will use it to enlist the support of others in this important effort.

The protectors, the warriors at Standing Rock represent each and every one of us who understand the need to protect our environment, our multicultural values and the very Earth that supports us.

The statement Water is Lifeis true for every human being and it must be fought for by everyone. The fight must take many forms, from physical presence in places that are immediately threatened to communication with our government and education of those unaware of the impact of inaction.

Standing Rock speaks about clean water, industry greed,
governmental weakness, and the power of money that buys bad
decisions. It also speaks with a vision of potential catastrophe when we fail to consider the future impact of current energy policy. We, our children and our grandchildren have a duty to stand in the face of
intimidation and say NO MORE, YOU SHALL NOT PASS and WE WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING for what is right, just and sacred.

[Invite participants to share their thoughts.]

As in everything, we all do what we can, as we can. It is our
responsibility to share our ideas and support each other in our efforts. These are some ideas about sending support to Standing Rock:

Send donations

Contact legislators

Attend a vigil in support of Standing Rock

Use social media to education and share information

[Participants took turns stating one thing they would do in the name of the warriors at Standing Rock. Each was then blessed with water of determination – in our case it was rain water collected during a
thunderstorm that carried the essence of the power needed in the struggle. Fingers were dipped in the water and touched to the feet, then each hand and then the throat with the following words.]

Bless these feet so they can walk the walk.

Bless these hands to do the heavy lifting.

Bless this to speak truth and defiance to power.

WE ARE CHANGE!

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

MagickalArts

April, 2016

We are entering a time of light and color as the weather becomes warmer and summer is close at hand. In honor of this burgeoning warmth, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the basics of candle magick, employing the use of color for magickal workings and the metaphors of flame and fire, Light and Season… Enjoy..

Candle Magick 101

candles

 

Candle Magick makes use of the properties and energies of a candle, color, etc. to direct the focus of energy towards a desired outcome. It is for this reason that candles are used in High Magick and Ritual workings. They become the physical representation of God or Goddess, the transformative power that lights all others or the symbol of the inner fires of Will. Within our coven we routinely pour coven candles for each member annually. The wax used comes from the remainders of the previous year’s candles and is melted down. All contribute an herb or oil to the mix and we pour energy and intent into the heated wax. A large candle is poured that will be used in ritual by all and then smaller individual candles are poured for each member to take home. This becomes a way to connect energetically with coven mates if the individual is unable to be physically present for working or meeting. This past year we were unable to schedule a time for this, but we still had plenty of candle left to carry us through and maintain the connection.

In doing spell work using a candle not only provides a point of focus, but also acts as a container for the energies gathered and worked upon. Allowing the candle to burn down completely releases the spell into the flow of universal law. Lighting the candle for several nights can build the effect and acts something like a slow simmer. Holding the heat and intensity, but carefully and slowly releasing the essence allowing all the flavors and nuances to mature. Candle magick is simple, easy and can be quite effective in its purpose. The beauty is that it can also be rather transparent to others, as many use candles as décor in their homes.

Candles are portable and relatively easy to make, if you are so inclined. If you choose to make your own candles, additional items can be integrated. I have crushed a small crystal and added its energy to the wax. Herbs and oils are readily available and can enhance the general properties and even the timing of pouring the candle can bolster the intent. Aligning the pouring with New, Full or Waning moon energy customizes the effectiveness for the specific types of workings for which the candle will be used.

Store bought candles can be similarly customized. Remove the wrapping and apply oil to the candle, anointing it with the properties of whatever oil you choose. Frankincense serves as durable purifier. And, Myrrh will stimulate the Higher Self and offer connection to spiritual realms. You can press finely crushed crystals into the base of the candle by heating the bottom slightly to soften the wax and then pressing it down into the crystalline substance, much like coating fish with breadcrumbs. Leaving the candle out under the moonlight of any particular phase can attune it to those particular energies. And, placing the candle in a window or outside (depending on the heat temperature) under the sun’s watchful eye can enliven the candle for use in solar, energy or fire workings. Scribing sigils, runes or other sacred markings on the candle and envisioning these symbols moving into the center of the candle can be used to sustain long-term workings. Each time the candle is relit envision the energy of the symbol emanating, much like an aura from within the candle.

Additionally, using a specifically colored candle can enhance the effectiveness of the spell. Some basic colors are listed below. If you cannot find a specifically colored candle, a makeshift way is to use a small round mirror (found at most craft stores, and should be approx. 2-inches larger than the base diameter of the candle) and colored paper. Cut a circle just slightly larger than the candle base out of the colored paper that you have selected for the working. Place this on top of the mirror. Place a white candle on top of this. The reflective energies of the mirror will draw up the color from the paper into the candle’s field of energy. And, when the candle is lit the flame will enhance the glow reflecting back into the mirror and creating a beautiful energetic circuit of light and energy.

White – Transpersonal Chakra, Light, Spirit, the reflection of all colors.

Red – Root Chakra, Will, action, vitality, circulation.

Pink – Used for love of the heart, relationships.

Orange – Sacral Chakra, attraction, communication, energy.

Yellow – Solar Plexus Chakra, well-being, concentration, intuition, health, strength.

Green – Heart Chakra, health, healing, money, renewal, fertility.

Blue – Throat Chakra, communication, healing, memory, calming and centering.

Indigo – Brow Chakra, third eye psychic center, psychic awareness.

Purple – Crown center, royal color, Deity, spiritual workings.

Brown – Stability, the earth, growth, potential.

Grey – Represents intuition, the astral, shade.

Black – Contains and holds all colors, shields and filters.

These are just a few very simple and basic ideas to get you started in how to use candles for magick. Be creative. See the candle as not only an object of Fire’s expression, but also containing the properties of Water (fluid wax when heated), Air (the aroma and oxygen accessed in keeping the candle light) and Earth, in its solid form. The element of Spirit is added from your intent infused and connected to the malleable form of wax, color, scent and more. And, the magick is in the ability to create Light in a small pocket of space that was not so brightly illumined just prior.

MagickalArts

February, 2016

The art of Seeding

Magick moves strongly through the month of February as Brighid weaves her magick of healing, creativity and preparation for the new life of Spring in just a few more weeks. Each year at this time, I spend some time thinking about what I wish to plant as the seeds of new beginnings and endeavors in the coming year that will become my beautiful garden of creative effort. And, so towards those ends I offer a 2-part magickal pathworking to stimulate the senses and flow of crafting a sanctuary and growing place for your intention. Enjoy…

The Secret Garden

Part One

This meditation can be used to plant the seeds that will bring abundance into your life, whether it is health, financial or personal growth. Form your intent and then enter your Secret Garden.

Part One would be aligned to use at the New Moon and Part Two would be empowered at the Full Moon. You may hold this cycle in place for as long as you need to draw to you what you wish.

Sit in a comfortable position with a white candle lit in front of you a few feet away. As you stare at the flame of the candle allow your gaze to soften and the rhythm of your breath to become slowed and easy of pace. As you continue to gaze at the candle flame allow your eyes to gently close and retain the image of the flame within the center of your higher consciousness. As the flame expands and becomes brighter and luminescent of white light see your physical image standing directly in front of this veil of white light. Give as much detail, shape and form to that image as you can. And when you feel ready step through this white flame of purification.

As you emerge through it’s dense veil, you find yourself standing at the outer gate of what appears to be a garden. The wrought iron of the gate is slightly rusted with weathering and is embraced on either side by a brick wall that seems to extend infinitely on either side. As you look upwards the tops of scantily budded branches reach upwards towards a clear blue sky and the promise of lush greenery is just a few months away. It is Spring and time to prepare the ground for new planting and growth in the months ahead. You move towards the Gate and barely reach forward with your hand as the Gate gently swings open, allowing you entrance. This Gate has no need for lock or key for you are the only one who has the powerful energy to open its gate. Your thought, your intent and your will are gatekeeper, gardener and master designer of all that is contained within this sacred space. As you move forward, the Gate closes gently behind you and the warm Spring air embraces you. Each footfall provides the crackle underfoot of stone and dirt and you take a moment to look around and drink in the sights and smells of this place bursting with new life.

As you continue along the Path you can feel the energy of new growth underfoot and surrounding you but that is not your focus this time and your eyes come to rest on a dark patch of earth a few feet ahead of you. This ground will need tilling and clearing so that it may be a place of nurturing for what will be planted soon. You kneel in the center of this ground covered with dried and dead weed, root and thorn that are no longer of use or conducive to new planting. As you sit centrally, take a moment to ground, center and focus your will and intent on clearing and purifying this space.

Now you are ready to begin and as you reach out to pull out the first patch of weed and overgrowth, feel the release of this action. Sense the sigh of the earth as you continue in this manner to un-tether and uncoil dead root. Move around the circle of this space and remove and untangle all unnecessary growth; carefully and completely removing all of it.

When you have removed the last bit of overgrowth take a moment to look around and acknowledge the strength and transformative power of the task you have just finished. You can feel the gratitude of the earth below and the un-constricted flow of the fertile energy of this space. The piles of weed and tangled root you pulled from the ground encircle the space and as you have expected, slowly they begin to be drawn down into the surrounding earth; consumed and absorbed by the Great Mother to be transformed and renewed within her womb. These are no longer of concern or care to you and the plans you have for new growth in this place.

It is now time to complete the last stage of this process of clearing away and preparing. As you rise to a standing position you hear the gentle sounds of the music of the winds playing through the branches of the trees. The music is sweet and gentle and you begin to move rhythmically around the newly cleared earth. Your feet are moving lightly here and there as you move the soil around; aerating, mixing and blending all of its parts. Continue dancing, feeling the soft, pliable earth below as you blend energy and breath. Your heart is light and the feeling of freedom moves throughout your being. You will know when the ground is just right and the foundation lain. And when this moment arrives you slow your movement, catch your breath and close your eyes with arms outstretched at your sides offering thanks for the energy provided and foundation laid.

Your work is done for now and it is time to leave this place. The earth will settle into just the right form and space and the energy of new growth will continue to build as the sun provides nourishment and strength. And, the moon, offers the opportunity for rest and renewal. As you move out of the space you have prepared and step once again onto the path you are filled with joy and anticipation of what potential and opportunity awaits you on your next visit. You continue along the stone path and see the Gate just ahead. Turn and take one last look at your surroundings. You will return to this space again and as the seasons change so will the colors, smells and sights that surround you.

As you approach the Gate it gently swings open and you step through. The soft clanging of metal closing echoing in your ear as it shuts. You turn again to face the front of the Gate and wall and take a moment to give thanks for this space and what is contained within. You turn away feeling the presence of the white veil and its energy and density beckon you. Step through and emerge once again as observer. Allow your focus to move gently from this center of consciousness and return to your physical being, the rhythm of your breath, the rise and fall of your chest and the physicality of yourself sitting comfortably in your room.

Part Two will post next month…..

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

February, 2016

Spring Equinox 2016 for

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Greetings from cool, moist, Ohio. We had five days of snowy , icy yuck, and now it is all melting. I have no complaints. I was able to open the sliding glass door and air out the house a bit without the heat switching back on.

We have had a very warm winter here, thanks to El Nino- or what some believe is human induced global warming and what others feel is climate change that was coming all on its own. I have not decided what I believe is causing this freakishly warm weather- but today is January 15, 2016, and the temperature is currently listed at 46 degrees Fahrenheit in Westerville, Ohio. I like it!

I will not be longing for the Vernal Equinox quite as pitifully as I usually do this year, but the time of new life and change the Sabbat brings will be more than welcome- as always.

This year’s Spring brings a new opportunity- a spot in our community garden. Unbeknownst to me, this garden has been established for quite some time for land starved suburbanites who just want to grow stuff. While we have grown things at home for years, we have never had a large space where we could grow, as the Metro Parks professional said, “anything legal” . There is room for potatoes, corn, pumpkins, squashes, okra, lettuces, you name it. I will have room grow some of all of the above. It costs a total of $45 for the whole year- not per month. And water is provided free as well as trash pickup for fall cleanup. It is a grand two miles from my house.

As a Pagan, walking an earth based path, working in my garden has brought me closer to the divine, and showed me firsthand how interconnected all life is. Even the “bugs” help me and I help them. I plant things they like to live on and eat, and they buzz around, pollinating everything for me. It is “our” garden. Then, after harvest, the “bugs” who have moved in, die sometimes, and their little bodies that tended and pollinated the flowers decompose into the soil or provide food for larger animals.

A larger garden area will be a lot more work! Physically, it will be more trying, and growing more food than just a few tomato plants will give me a better understanding about what it means to be reliant upon the earth. It’s an understanding I can’t grasp by simply buying foods at the supermarket! I still swat flies, and put out vinegar solution when they get into my house- but gardening has helped me to see my connection with the rest of creation- plant and animal- aside from just humans.

Speaking of connection with other humans- a subject came up this week- well, a friend actually brought it up-a subject that is a perfect one to discuss as we prepare for the season new growth and positive changes- relationships that pull us down.

Toxic relationships

We’ve all had them. Do you have any friends who maybe use you- and are never there for you when you need them? Or maybe you have a friend who throws fits in public and you get sick of listening to it. Maybe you have a friend who criticizes other people in your presence and it makes you tired to hear it. Ever wonder what they might say about you when you are not around? Probably the same things they say to you about everybody else.

While we all have bad habits- and there is one thing or another the people who love us graciously put up with- but it is quite another thing to put up with people who are toxic to you.

Last Vernal Equinox, I wrote about some history of the celebration, and did a suggested working of clearing clutter out of the house- getting rid of unwanted and unnecessary things.

Here is a link to that article-

http://paganpages.org/content/2015/04/celebrating-the-old-ways-in-new-times-8/

This Equinox, I’ll touch on just a bit of history- and emphasis will be paid to the subject of clearing undesirable people and relationships out of our lives, which is perhaps the most difficult thing to do, as well as a proposed working. These undesirable relationships act as poison does to our plants in our gardens. In the gardens of our lives, we cannot grow, let alone maintain joy and thrive when we are bogged down by people who hurt us.

What is Spring Equinox?

Simply stated, it is one of the two Equinoxes- the other being in falltime- these are when day and night are equal. Spring’s equinox means the days have been growing longer, the nights shorter, and thankfully, the days will be getting even longer afterwards.

The deeper meaning of this is not so simply stated. It means things will start growing again and the time to plan laying of seeds is at hand. People like me can break in that soil, or start shopping for supplies and get started with gardening. But for the pre-Christian Pagans, it meant they needed to get moving with planting foodcrops and all the preparation that lead up to sowing those seeds. Since they could not just run to market and grab whatever they preferred to eat, this was a very important time.

One of the places that would have been in preparation for food growing is the famous Ceide Fields, in Ireland. The use of the fields goes back five thousand plus years! Not only were there fields there, but also homes, and cattle were raised there. I am jealous of the fact it was warm enough there for almost year round growing! This was after the hunter gatherer lifestyle was replaced by cereal growing, which caused a population growth.

Here is the museum website for the location if you would like more information.

http://www.museumsofmayo.com/ceide.htm

Many of today’s consumers shun carbs and gluten as much as possible. But back before refrigeration and mass processing of foods to preserve them for longer periods, wheat, barley, and rye could be ground and stored for future use. Many of us assume that simply drying and canning in crockery the fruits and veggies was enough to keep cuisine delicious and interesting. But a friend who dried tomatoes pointed out to me that not having access to fresh produce limits what can be done in dishes. Take the tomatoes for example. Sure, you are able to can and dry tomatoes, but having them fresh means none of the nutrients have been boiled away, and you can do a lot more with them recipe wise. You can always dry or preserve, but no amount or reconstitution can completely reproduce the fresh product’s texture. Grains that are natural provide high amounts of both fiber and proteins, while much of the modern processed grain does not. Processing then would not have stripped the grains of the nutrients like today’s factory processing. Remember, though, many non-processed grain products very high in nutrients are available today, even though price can be higher.

Baking breads and pastries all winter long could also help keep the house warm, and can be packed up and taken on trips for sustenance. Grains were a miracle thousands of years ago.

Like the ancient Pagans focused on nourishing themselves and planting their crops come Springtime, so we focus on nourishing our souls. Unfortunately, it’s not always fun to admit, some things and people we might like are very bad for us. Two of my favorite books address this issue.

Nasties and more

One of my very favorite books I read upon becoming Pagan was Konstantinos’ book Vampires, The Occult Truth. Here is a link to his websites listing for it if you would like to know more about the book.

http://www.konstantinos.com/bookkonstantinos.htm

One of the topics discussed is how some people just exhaust us. Sometimes they don’t mean to- as any nurse working with people who are sick or dying can attest to. People take a little of the energy of other people when they are not well, or sometimes, when they are mourning, or just having a bad day. I am sure this is something we have all unintentionally done. But what about the people who are just excruciating to be around ALL THE TIME? Who might be what we call drama queens, adrenaline junkies, or people who are chronic complainers and seem to be perpetually miserable?

There are those who use us for money or favors and never reciprocate due to being self-centered opportunists too, of course. And also, there are the people whose very presence makes you tired, sad, headachy, or filled with dread. They might not TAKE anything physically, but they TAKE your sense of wellbeing and they can also take away your peace of mind.

There is another book I read that really helped. It’s not specifically a Pagan book. It’s one of those “self-help books”. I could not put this down once I picked it up. I was absolutely riveted. It’s called Nasty People by Jay Carter, and it’s all about people whose words and behaviors are just that- nasty. Here is a link to this book if you are interested.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Nasty_People.html?id=1tbCQmm25W4C

Call these people nasty, or vampires, or whatever you prefer, but they are absolutely toxic- and they have to go if we want to thrive.

It’s not just all in the Family

Most often, you hear people lament how their blood relatives fall in to the category of being nasty or toxic, but if you really think about it, I bet you know somebody, if not yourself, who has chosen to surround themselves with a person or people who they have an option to discard who is bad for them. I know I have been guilty of this. Like me, maybe your excuse is , “But I LOVE them!”

Becoming a witch is the thing that helped me with that mindset. I changed from the mindset I was taught- that I would store up rewards in heaven- to a mindset of personal responsibility for NOW. I was also able to recognize forgiveness is not something owed to everybody alive.

The definition that was hammered into my head of forgiveness was that no matter how badly somebody treated you- it is your responsibility to pretend it never happened and “move on” as well as allowing them to continue mistreating you- because you owe it to other people not to bother them with the fact it happened.

Nobody seemed to care what was happening to me, and for a time, neither did I.

Being a witch changed me to realize that I actually did care, and that was good enough. I realized that I deserved to be treated well even if some other people did not see it that way, and that I was not required to come around people and situations that were bad for me just because some other people felt I ought to. Being a witch instilled in me belief that I was just as worthy of being treated well as everybody else, and the fact I was born in a situation did not dictate what the rest of my life had to be.

I triumphantly stepped away from the people who told me this was not so- and right smack dab into similar relationships with new people, completely unaware that although I had stepped away from one toxic situation- that old habits died hard- and I’d unwittingly found a way to continue the cycle.

Being a witch meant I pledged to become more aware- first of my surroundings, and that spilled over into becoming more aware of myself and my own choices and how they created my reality. I was still participating in toxic relationships. At age forty, I realize this is something I will have to be careful all the days of my life. I also realize I am not the only one who has to.

Even if you were not raised by toxic people- there are LOTS of toxic people in the world. They are all looking out for one thing- their own interests. Multiple sources state- empaths and giving people are chronically approached by toxic people. The hard part for givers and empaths to accept is the fact that just because somebody asks for something does not mean we have to give it to them.

Allowing ourselves to be mistreated or taken advantage of is NOT helping people who are ”asking for help”. It is enabling. It hurts them worse than they hurt us. I had one friend who was too lazy to go to a Laundromat to do her laundry and I told her she could do her laundry at my house every week. In the combined time it took her to get to and from my house, she could have been at least halfway finished with her laundry at a Laundromat near her home! Yeah, MAYBE I should have said no and made her do the grown up thing of having her own independence to do her laundry on her own, but that was a very small thing, and certainly not what I am talking about here when I say we ought not to enable.

An example I will give is years ago I met a woman who decided to stop her medication regimen because she “did not want to take pills.” Before you start hating on “big pharma” and tell me all the reasons why we should use food as medicine and that all drugs are evil, let me just say these pills did not have any negative effects on her, and they very successfully controlled her hallucinations. At first, she maintained appearances very well, but within six months of her refusing medications, her behavior turned unstable and even self destructive. For the sake of confidentiality, I will say little. The day eventually came when I told her she needed to go back to her therapist and medication as opposed to consulting me and other psychics and new age healers. It took me a very short while to figure out the “advice” she was seeking from tarot was to ease the anxiety she was unable to control with homeopathic practice, and the dramatic situations she got herself, and the people around her into were giving her adrenaline rushes she did not seek when her brain chemistry was being regulated effectively. She wanted me to tell her this thrill seeking lifestyle was okay, and the people who told her it was unhealthy were wrong and were against her.

I refused to enable her behaviors because I cared about her. In the short term, it made her unhappy with me, but in the long run, supporting the things that are bad for her prolongs deep unhappiness with her life, and it is not a loving thing to do.

It is hard to admit sometimes the reason we “help” people is because it makes us feel good about ourselves. How many people do you know who talk about all the things they do for other people? You can always tell who has a sense of self-importance when the conversation always turns to all the great things they think they do and all the people who rely on them and just could not get by without them. The praise and stroking we get from people who come to us to do things for them can make us feel like worthy, magnanimous people. We all love praise and being thanked for what we do is always nice. I mean, nobody wants to feel unappreciated! Positive feedback reinforces that we are doing that which we ought to continue doing.

When I became a witch, however, by belief that my existence was strictly for the sake of others began to dissipate. I see myself as just as important as anybody else. I am not better, wiser, or more helpful to humanity than the next person.

I am important, but not so crucial that humanity could not survive without me. I can help lift people up, improve lives, and do good wherever I go. But when I cross the veil, the wheel of the year will still turn without me, and life will go on as usual.

This mindset helped me realize that while people who ask me to enable them might lie to me and tell me that allowing them to take advantage of me is crucial for their survival, that really isn’t so. They could ditch me any day and find some other poor sucker to feed off of. And you can bet they always will once a better opportunity comes along. This is entirely different than pitching in and helping loved ones. But be aware, users feed off other people’s need to love and be loved. Sometimes, the person who you consider a beloved is nothing more than a parasite who has convinced you that you have a relationship when in fact you don’t. They are simply keeping you around for what they can get from you.

Feeling taken for granted and taken advantage of in relationships does not feel good at all. And it does nothing to benefit the people you allow to take advantage of you. It teaches them bad habits and to mistreat other people. Chances are, they already did that before they met you and will continue doing so to whoever will let them for the rest of their lives- but that does not mean we have to allow them to drag us into it. So if it feels better to look at refusing to enable toxic behaviors as being more harmful to toxic people- as opposed to watching out for yourself- so be it.

Last year’s Spring Equinox ritual was a cleaning of unwanted THINGS from your house.

This years working will be to get rid of unwanted PEOPLE. Like a plant needs pruning, so our homes and lives need cleared out sometimes. This opens us up to move forward into new experiences. Ever see a rosebush that is overgrown with dead branches? That is what our lives are like when we are bogged down with experiences and people that no longer serve us.

The Steps

  1. Trust yourself- and recognize your right to be happy and choose who you want in your life. No amount of spellwork to get toxic people out of your life will work unless you believe that you deserve better. It may result in certain individuals being removed from your life, but you will walk right into similar situations with other people if you do not believe you deserve better.
  2. Do not listen to people who try to talk you out of this- The minute you tell a toxic person you want no more contact with them, chances are, the verbal abuse and manipulation will begin. They will likely call you a bad friend/lover/family member and say you lack devotion and you owe it to them to remain in a relationship with them. They might list all the reasons why you ought to appreciate them putting up with you- all the bad things you do and nobody but them, who loves you SO much, will even bother to be around you. They may list all the things they have done FOR you, throwing it up in your face, and saying the fact you want to terminate a relationship shows what an unworthy friend/lover/family member you are. They might go and complain about you or demonize you to other people who may in turn harass you, chastise you, and either demand you take the other person back, or they will take sides against you and not be friends with you anymore based on your so-called mistreatment of the toxic person you are stepping away from. Consider this them doing you a favor.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be alone- They might tell you that you will wind up all alone. First off, that will never happen. Population is too high in the world! You may take some time to form some new relationships, but rest assured, they will form. In the meantime, remember it is best to spend some extra alone time for a bit than to be alone IN a relationship.
  4. Take proper steps to secure your independence BEFORE telling your toxic friend goodbye-

This cannot be stressed enough. Most especially if you live together or pool your resources. Toxic people often seek revenge- not always- but they just might. If you are roommates, share bills together, or if you are dependant on them in any way, break those ties or find a new place to live before the “breakup talk.” I once knew a man who swore up and down his girlfriend took advantage of him and he took care of her. When he decided to move her out- he was dismayed by the fact she shut off the utilities-which were in her name- and he found he was unable to keep his prescriptions filled – because he did not know HOW. He had somehow put the power in her hands and the day she left, he could not do for himself.

I don’t know if he was really mistreated by her. And you will not catch me with utilities in my name at a place where I am not allowed to live! I can’t criticize her for not keeping bills in her name if she was no longer a resident! All I know is what the aftermath was for him because he did not secure himself before cutting ties. Do not put yourself in this situation if you can at all keep from it.

  1. Stick to your guns- All relationships experience difficulties, and there are times when people who spend their lives together take a break from one another. This is entirely different from taking back a toxic individual into your life. You will miss the good times, most especially if your relationship was a long one. I always say that even Hitler was good to his friends. While I am not comparing your toxic person to Hitler, the fact is- EVERYBODY has good qualities, but when people mistreat you, their good qualities do not matter. There are times you can work through issues and things can get better. The relationship is saved, and it is improved! Awesome. Just don’t be surprised if nothing improves. Stick to your guns if you can see things will not improve- or even if you are to the point that you are done. You have a right to terminate a relationship just because you want to and you don’t have to justify it.
  2. Recognize if there was co-dependance– Likely, your toxic friend was VERY personal with you and you may feel you miss this closeness and want it back. Maybe they were co-dependant on you or you were co-dependant on them. Human beings need one another, and that is something that will never change. Co-dependance is unhealthy dependence. Dependance that makes you overly reliant on somebody else- and efforts will be made to keep it that way. If you had a child you refused to allow to learn to walk, because you wanted them to always need you, people would stop you from doing this, wouldn’t they? So why make yourself need somebody who is bad for you? The stereotypical image is of a man who beats his wife and forces her to quit her job so she can never leave him. Maybe your toxic person does not beat you or talk you into quitting a job. But they oftentimes find ways of making you equally dependant on them. This is one reason why I mentioned earlier how crucial it is to secure your independence before you tell them your relationship is over. That way they cannot force you to stick around.
  3. Recognize your role in this- It is very crucial to acknowledge what it is about you that made it possible for a toxic person to move in and take up residence in your life to begin with. Maybe you are one of the folks who has never encountered this before and you just need to give this ONE person the boot. Keep up the good work if this is the case. If not, you need to examine what habits or desires make you welcome people who are this way. For me, I was raised by toxic people. I did not know any better. It was our normal and I was used to it. But the more people I met, the more I realized it was not truly normal , nor was it healthy. I wanted out, and I have to watch I don’t welcome anybody into my life who has the habits of the people who raised me. It is familiar and unlearning old habits is a lot more difficult than being unhappy while keeping up the habits. But for me, it is worth it. Assess what specifically your toxic person does that makes you unhappy, and look to see if there is anybody else in your life who does this as well. If there are currently no people who do, think back and see if in your past, anybody else did. I hate to say this- because as adults, we make choices we could not when we were children- but likely your childhood saw you in a situation that allowed toxic people to hurt you somehow. Even if your family is not responsible for this, maybe other people were. Did you get beat up in school and find it difficult to stand up for yourself still? Unlearn that habit. While we did not remote control our toxic person to mistreat us- and their actions are still their fault- recognize that you have power to control who is welcomed IN your life. They are going to treat people the way they do regardless of whether you let them around you or not- but you don’t have to allow them to be around so they CAN treat you badly.
  4. Be forgiving of yourself- It might be heartbreaking or scary to break off your relationship with this person. It can be hurtful or embarrassing to accept you were involved with somebody who hurt you. Especially if you have a history of having multiple toxic relationships. Beating yourself down for this is exactly what they want. They want you to feel bad about yourself. The goal in getting rid of these relationships is a better life and better relationships for you. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one. First, love yourself and you will find that you only allow people into your life who also love you. There will be no tolerance of nasty, toxic people or the nasty, toxic things they do to you this way!

The Working

The first step is to get right in your mind and decide no toxic people allowed. Ever. Do whatever footwork is needed before starting the spellwork. You may need a new place to live or to get things they had borrowed from you picked up if you do not live together. They may share a bill with you that you need to remove yourself from, or if you share a ride to and from work, you may have to reorganize your carpooling. It can be difficult confronting somebody to tell them you are breaking off a relationship or communication. If you don’t have to, then don’t. Chances are, though, you will need to. You need to decide beforehand how much you will tell them. Don’t think that by telling somebody you feel their behavior is toxic that it will automatically get them to “see the light” and change for the better. It might not be worth it to have a talk, and it might be better off to just tell them you are finished. If it makes you feel better to tell them how you feel, by all means do so. Just don’t expect changes in their lives other than the fact you are removing yourself from it. Which is good enough!

Then get one piece of paper for each toxic person you want out of your life and pencil or pen and something to write on. Get a stick of incense- whatever kind you like, one of your favorite things to drink, and candles, one to represent each person you have decided to break things off with- plus one red candle to represent the magic you will work- and to help see by. Use a candle that does not burn very long, such as a birthday candle- you can even cut it in half to reduce burning time.

Maybe you don’t have any individuals you feel are specifically toxic in your life right now, but you do have a history of letting them into your life. You can always just do one candle in general to keep toxic people away. You can do this working in front of your altar or at a table anyplace you like. You can even just sit outside. All that matters is this rite is done someplace you feel comfortable.

Cast or don’t cast circle, as you prefer. Wear ritual clothes or not, as you prefer. But have your place to do this ritual someplace where you can sit and write comfortably.

To begin, light your incense positioned in the East and say “I bring in the breath of life- MY life. I will live my life by my terms, and this includes those who I choose to share it with. “

Next, light your red candle, placed in the South, and say “Hail the fires of magic, be with me and help me with this working”. Then, line up your candles or place your single candle in the South, and say “I name thee, (say their names one at a time) you with whom I share a painful passion. Your fire burns me in ways unproductive to my life. By the end of this rite, our bond will be broken.” You will light these later.

Next, place your drink in the West, and say, “You, oh life giving drink, shall quench me through this rite, and serve as a symbol of the waters of love that put out the burning flames of sorrow.”

Then, place your papers and writing implements in the North, and say “ In my heart and my mind is much. These pages will help me and guide me in the work that needs done so I may move into my new tomorrows with the people who make my days bright.”

Next, get comfortable. On each piece of paper, one for each toxic person, write what it is each person does and that you want them completely out of your life. Just be careful not to write that you want these toxic people to replace the toxic behavior with favorable ones. The goal is to kiss them goodbye, not maintain the relationship or improve it. Take as much time as you need to do this. Sip on your drink at leisure.

Once your writing is all done, place the pages in the West, this time, and pick up each candle and light them one at a time. Say the name of each person the candles represent as you light them, and say “ (person’s name) by the time this candle burns out, our bond will be broken. I want you out of my life.” After lighting each candle, place them back in the West, atop the pages, and in any position you are comfortable in, while the candles burn down, focus energy into the candles , willing the bond to be broken. Willing the toxic behaviors to be gone from you. Willing newer, better relationships from now forward. And most of all, willing yourself to make the choices to ensure these things come to pass.

Once the candles are burned out, finish drinking your drink.

Say “It is finished.”

And throw all the papers and candles into the trash- because that is what toxic relationships are- trash. If you are worried about the papers being fond by anybody, just incorporate burning them into the ritual. Any remaining incense can be placed outside, the magic from it drifting away and carrying the power of your working into creation where your will shall manifest.

Now be proud of yourself. It takes a lot of courage to terminate a toxic relationship, but it’s one of the best things you can ever do for yourself. Spring Equinox is a good time to use the power of new life to make a new way of life for yourself!

Blessed Equinox.

Blessed Be.

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