spells

Interview with Michael H. Hughes, Magician & Author of “Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change”

April, 2018

 

In his latest book, Michael H. Hughes brings together activism and magic as tools for the resistance.

What I’ve discovered doing research for this book is witchcraft, in particular magic, has always been the tool of oppressed people. When you are out of other means of getting something done, you still do what you have to do, and in many cases that involves magic,” he said.

Enslaved Africans used hoodoo and root work. Voodoo was instrumental in the uprising against Haiti’s white class. In medieval Europe, there were poppets and wax figures used against royalty.

The more you dig into the history of magic used as a tool against oppression, the more emerges. There’s even a book that just came out serendipitously for my research, I must say, called ‘Magic as a Political Crime in Medieval and Early Modern England: A History of Sorcery and Treason (International Library of Historical Studies).’ about how magic was used against the ruling class or how the ruling class sometimes used it to persecute people, to accuse them falsely as in the witch persecutions,” Hughes said.

In the introduction to his book that is due coming out September 8, in advance of the midterm elections, he states, “We are living in a time of great turmoil at the edge of history. A time in which liberal, democratic values and ideas that have withstood wars and despots are under attack by rising tides of nationalism and racial supremacy; in which the industrial model of our society is crumbling, and with it the patriarchal, hierarchical structure that has kept it in place. An era in which our very existence as a species is imperiled by a warming planet, overpopulation, and our unquenchable desire for material goods.”

For those who don’t wish to give up and are willing to advocate for change, this book can serve as a toolkit to manifest equality and peace. It contains spells, rituals and historical examples to help readers put their magic to work to make the world a better place.

Magic, Hughes explained, is “innate in us. It wants to express itself.”

What Hughes found when he stripped away erroneous history and dogma were folk traditions and indigenous traditions he considers the roots of magic – the basic techniques that are universal. Those include sympathetic magic and elemental associations. For instance, he noted, traditions all over the world consider fire a creator and a destroyer. Everywhere people work with the four directions. Magic words, chants, song and dance are used in every culture.

I was just working on a chapter on talisman and amulets. I was looking into how they evolved and where they came from. It’s so fascinating to think that Africans from the Congo are brought to this continent and they meet Native Americans who were using medicine pouches that there’s no difference between the Congolese bags that they wore around their necks, even to the same natural items that they would have in their bags,” he said in early March as he was putting in long hours to get the finished manuscript to his publisher.

Ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus they rolled up and put in a little tube that they wore around their necks. Observant adult Jews put on tefillin, small black leather boxes holding parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. Catholics are given the scapular to wear.

So even if a lot of these don’t come from the same roots, they’re universal. For me, it seems to argue for the fact it works. It’s effective magic. When you carry around items symbolic, important, protective or powerful on your body, then, for whatever reason, as humans we like to do that. So if you don’t believe in magic, then you have to assume it’s somehow part of our psychological makeup or something like that. But if you believe in magic like I do, then the ubiquity of all these kinds of traditions seem to indicate that it probably works; that’s why people do it.”

When people think of magic they think of spells, and when they think of spells, they think of witches. But magic does not belong to one group or one culture. It underlies all spiritual traditions and systems. In it’s most basic sense, Hughes defines magic as the use of directed consciousness to effect change in the world.

What I’m trying to do with this book is be clear this is just magic. It’s not witchcraft, it’s not traditional witchcraft, it’s not Druidry, it’s not indigenous tradition, it’s not chaos magic, it’s not post-modern magic, it’s just magic. And as such, I try to create these rituals so that they can be plug and play, which is what I think the success of the Trump binding spell,” he said.

The Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him led to this book.

Originally I was going to write a book on magic, theoretical and practical magic before this Trump spell took off and had a life of its own and dragged me along with it,” Hughes said.

At the time he crafted the binding spell used for the first time February 24, 2017 , Hughes said, “I really thought, ‘This is just going to be some small thing that I publish [on Medium] and a few people, maybe the pagan community, they’ll argue about it,’ which they did. But wow, it really just blew up beyond anything I could have imagined. The whole thing has been a really surreal experience.”

Within days, it went viral.

A couple of stories that blow my mind,” he said. “One is I was going to do the ritual. I had about 30 or 40 people who were going to gather to do it and the night of it I went to pick up some wine and beer for afterward and I walk into some random liquor store in Baltimore and the woman, probably in her 20s, said, ‘Do you want your receipt?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah I’m hoping to write this off. I’m cursing Donald Trump tonight.’ And without batting an eye she said, “Oh, do you have the unflattering photo?” I just stared at her. She said, ‘Me and my friends are doing it later tonight.’

I was dumbfounded. I knew it was circulating pretty wildly. The entire week after I published it, I was on the phone all day. People calling, reporters emailing. I did so many interviews it was ridiculous. As the ritual got closer, I realized how big it was getting, I started getting calls from TV reporters [wanting to film the ritual]. I didn’t want reporters, especially at the first time. You never know how they’re going to portray it. I didn’t want it to be really intrusive … but they were so insistent on filming it, I said, ‘Oh, I hear there are going to be people at Trump Tower doing it.’ I just made that up.’”

When the film crews showed up at Trump Tower in New York City, there were 20 witches outside. More were in front of his tower in Chicago.

It happened and I had no idea. I really just pulled that out of thin air thinking, ‘Well, maybe there’ll be some people there doing it’ and sure enough they showed up and did the ritual.”

The witches weren’t the only ones. Thousands upon thousands of occultists and magicians took part. Even Christians and Buddhists – many tweaking it to use their way in their tradition – performed the ritual. Many had never never performed a ritual in their lives. It became the largest and longest continuing magical working in history.

Did it work? Well, Trump’s initial travel ban was rescinded, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was halted, Robert Mueller’s noose has tightened and no wall is being built. However, the tax bill passing, the threat of war and the assault on the environment show there is still much work to be done. Each month, members of the magic resistance continue to perform the ritual. Hughes also offered a daily version as well.

I realized that the fundamental Christians were going to freak out, even Evangelicals, but I was really surprised at some of the vehemence from the pagan community. I guess I should have known better, but I was still a little surprised by the number of witches who said it was awful and I was destroying the reputation of witchcraft. First of all, I’m not a witch. I don’t identify as a witch. But obviously this became witches versus Trump and no matter how many times I … [said] ‘This is magic. I’m a magician, I’m not a witch.’ It just went right over their heads.”

The magic resistance that galvanized around the binding spell is committed to using spells, rituals, prayer, divination and other techniques to resist or impede dangerous or oppressive political movements, politicians, and actions. This, Hughes states in the introduction to his book, includes “authoritarianism, white supremacy, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, environmental destruction, attacks on marginalized populations, as well as other harmful ideologies. It can be viewed as a magical form of self-defense, or defense of others. But it is not just about resistance. This movement also uses magical practices to promote progressive, inclusive, liberating, and empowering political, environmental, economic, and social causes.”

The book gives readers ideas for altars, meditations, community organizing, self care and more. and provides spells for racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, environmentalism, immigration, refugee support and nonviolence.

The magic in this book can be broadly adapted to many traditions, and is meant to serve as a foundation for experimentation and incorporation into other progressive and inclusive causes,” he said.

One of the spells Hughes offers is “Hands Off Laws Off: Hecate Invocation” to protect women’s reproductive rights, women’s health clinics and their staff. Meant to only be done at night, its components include a red candle, bay leaves, myrrh, a representation of the lawmaker or organization, a call to Hecate, and a chant ending with “Hands off/Laws off.”

His “Healing the Earth (Microcosm Ritual)” uses a pot of earth, a green candle, stones or crystals, feathers, an edible herb plant, a small representation of an animal, a prayer, and optional tarot cards of the moon and the sun. It has people caring for a plant as a representation of caring for the entire earth – and the magic can he “hidden in plain sight.”

The “thoughts and prayers” offered by politicians inspired a spell called, “We Shall Form a Circle to Protect Our Children” that uses a white candle and a piece of rose quartz.

These, like the others, are based on standard magical elements, directional attunement, ancestor communications, calls to a spirit, astrological influences. They are not part of any one particular tradition and can be modified to align with anyone’s practice.

I always felt like the world was a magical place,” Hughes said. “My thinking has always been sort of magical, even before I understood the magic in theory, as a kid, I would draw something to manifest it or just little sort of ritualistic things I would do in my life even before I knew that was practical magic. It was actually in my early 20s when I really started immersing myself in reading magic and occultism.”

You don’t have to understand how magic works or even believe in magic for the social justice spells Hughes provides to work, as long as they are done sincerely, with full commitment and energy. After all, people who play lucky lottery numbers, pray for healing, throw a coin into a well or leave flowers at the grave of a loved one are all practicing magic.

As the introduction on the yet-to-be-published book states, “If you’ve ever felt disillusioned or burned out because of the slow progress of social change, this magical work can nurture and support you, sharpening your focus and resolve for a more sustained, long-term activism.”

For more about Michael H. Hughes, his earlier trilogy and his blog, visit his website.

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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.

Book Review – Wicca, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Leanna Greenaway

April, 2018

The cover states that the book is plain and simple and, also, the only book you’ll ever need. The forward of the book was written by Judika Illes, who is, also, an author and I quite liked it. The first chapter informs the reader about Witches and magic. She touches on the different types of Witches like Hedge, Traditional, Gardnerian, etc. It’s nice because she just does a quick little description of each, but it’s enough to give the reader a good idea of the differences between them. After that, she mentions Covens and how they were formed when Wiccans were persecuted so they had to worship in secret. Then she gets into Angelic Wicca right at the end and how she has personally chosen to follow the Angelic Wiccan path. It’s a great first chapter considering all that she mentions, but it doesn’t seem overwhelming at any point.

Chapter two breaks down Wicca and positive thoughts. “Life is like a big classroom. With each day, we learn and encounter new experience, and although at times the problems we face are hard, by going through the processes, we climb that spiritual ladder and evolve to a higher plane.” Has got to be my favourite quote from the book. It resonated to me as someone who has survived a lot of abuse and it made me feel like maybe my next life may be better due to the struggles I’ve already endured. She ends the chapter after going over some “Wiccan Ground Rules”

As with almost all Wiccan books, there is a chapter about Tools. That’s chapter 3 here. She gives a good list of typical items, touches on colour significance in the candle section and briefly talks about all the things you should have on your altar. This book lives up to its claim of being plain and simple, but in a good way. The way she just touches the tip of everything would make it a great book for a beginner.

Lunar magic is next. I think lunar magic should also be a pretty standard topic in Wicca, as a lot of what we do is based on the moon cycle. “The gravitational field of a full moon changes energy particles that reach the earth, influencing the way that we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain”. She informs the reader about the various cycles and the importance of each.

Chapter 5 is a very short chapter about initiation, specifically self-dedication and initiation, with just a few steps. The following chapter is about growing your own garden, the benefits of that and some ideas on which plants to grow and why. It’s one of the longer chapters of the book, and for good reason. She writes about what would be good for teas, tonics and superstitions, but again, in a user-friendly way with nothing being too complicated.

Chapter seven delves into animal magic. It’s another very short chapter that doesn’t get into much. I would have liked this section to be a bit better as half of the chapter is a personal story that is nice, but considering how much space if takes up, there isn’t a lot on animal magic itself. The tarot magic chapter is next, and that one is much better, with a lot of good information in a short amount of space and she writes about how “all tarot cards hold a magic of their own, and they can all help to bring about a positive result to your spells.”

I really liked chapters nine and ten. Chapter nine is about magnetic magic and chapter 10 is about the power of the pendulum. I, personally, use a pendulum all the time to help me with tough decisions and she suggested a great way to use a dictionary to help with divination, and the way she talks about the healing powers of magnets, I think a lot of readers would like it. She touches on some basic spells as well, which they are plain and simple again, so beginners can feel like these are spells they can do easily.

The rest of the book is spells specifically. There are spells for love, health, wealth, prosperity, happy families, career and willpower. All of the spells are user-friendly, and don’t need much for supplies. I am a fan of casting a circle before doing certain types of magic, but the author suggests just sitting and asking for protection. I personally wouldn’t feel safe enough to perform some of these spells without a proper circle, but I’m sure a lot of people would be fine with it. I think once a person has had experience with darkness, they are a bit more cautious.

The book overall is only 127 pages, and so it really is “plain and simple”, but she touches on a lot of different topics in those few pages. I would recommend this book to anyone starting out, but not really to anyone that has been practicing Wicca for a while. I still took some information out of it, as I do every book and I was really happy with it. The book is a quick and easy read, and I know if I meet anyone who is interested in Wicca I would for sure tell them about this book. I, also, think I will be looking into more of Greenaways’ books as it seems like she knows what she is talking about, and I love that she doesn’t over-complicate anything. I am happy I had the opportunity to read this book and write a review for it.

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Notes from the Apothecary

April, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Tulips

As the earth in the Northern Hemisphere warms between the Spring Equinox and Beltane, we can look forward to seeing the world painted with the vivid colours of the spring flowers. It’s hard for me to pick a favourite as I love so many, but tulips are definitely close to my heart. I grew black ones when I was in my goth phase. I’ve had deep, blood coloured ones, and scarlet ones winking red-eyed at the sky. I’ve had yellow ones vying with the daffodils for the brightest frock contest. They are glossy, bold and brash… and I love them.

The Kitchen Garden

Tulips aren’t edible, please don’t eat them, thank you! There are places on the internet (dark, horrible places) that tell you it’s OK to eat tulips, particularly the bulbs (the onion-like part under the soil). It is not. They can kill you. They are particularly toxic to livestock and pets, so please be aware, especially if you have a dog that likes to dig your flower beds up and chew on things. There are some recipes from during the Second World War, which indicate that in desperation (food was heavily rationed in many places), tulips were experimented with for cooking. The key was, you had to cut out particular parts of the bulb. This sounds like risky business to me, so my advice is don’t bother. According to Henrie A. van der Zee of Holland, “Almost everybody tried it out and nobody liked them,” which tells you all you need to know.

For a witch, the kitchen isn’t just about food, of course. Tulips can add a splash of colour, either just outside the kitchen door in pots or borders, or in vases in the kitchen, if you have access to cut flowers. Tulips can be great for colour magic, as they come in such a diverse range of hues, so find your favourite colour and exploit the glossy brilliance of these flowers to perk up the heart of your home.

The Witch’s Garden

At their most obvious, tulips are a harbinger of true spring. They tell us we are past the delicate yet hardy snowdrops of Imbolc, and not yet at the turning of the May Blossom, yet warmer weather and sunnier days are on the way. They represent the ever-turning wheel and the points in between the major festivals. As a bulb, they also represent returning life, and hidden life in the winter months.

In different cultures, the tulip has had very different meanings, so context is everything. In the Netherlands, the tulip represents the brevity of life, as it flowers and dies in a relatively short period of time. In contrast, in Turkish culture, the tulip represents paradise on earth, possibly due to its otherworldly beauty. In either case, it’s worth remembering that even after the beauty has died away and the flowers have returned to the earth, the plant lives on in the bulb beneath the earth. This is an important lesson that physical beauty is transient, but substance remains. It could also be indicative that beauty is subjective; in the eye of the beholder.

Tulips in Eastern culture are also associated with wealth and abundance, so could be used in money magic. Prosperity is also indicated, which may not just mean wealth but health and happiness too.

In Turkish mythology, the tulip was formed from the blood of ill-fated lovers who sadly killed themselves, each believing the other to be dead. The tulip is their love made everlasting, and as such has been an ingredient in love spells. Also in Turkey, the tulip is also used as a charm against evil, indicating protective properties.

Colour magic was already mentioned, as tulips come in a huge variety of colours. If you want some petals to boost your colour magic, you can plant or buy a variety of tulips, as they range from almost black to white and pretty much everything in between. The petals are strong and glossy, so have a vivid visual impact when used in spell working or as part of a ritual. Here’s a few colours correspondences and appropriate tulips to use

Red: Love, passion, fire, the cardinal direction of south, warnings, blood, family. In Celtic witchcraft red is one of the colours of the Morrígan, and heavily associated with sorcery, prophecy, life and death and making a connection to the supernatural or Aos Sí. Grow tulipa linifolia for red flowers with just a touch of black at the base.

White: Purity, fertility, death, angels, air, the cardinal direction of east, creativity, inspiration, cleansing. In Celtic witchcraft white is often seen as an indication of magical prowess and is associated with druids, and also magical symbols such as mistletoe. It may indicate a particular power with words, and is also the colour of other-worldly creatures, such as the Cú Sí in Irish mythology, or Rhiannon’s horse in the Welsh tales. Grow tulipa biflora for white, star-shaped flowers with a touch of yellow and grey.

Black: Fertility, mystery, the new moon, scrying, the unknown, meditation, banishing, protection. In Celtic witchcraft black is the colour of boundaries, the liminal, and the separation between this world and the world of the fae. It is liminality, and the point upon which the world changes. It is earthly magic, and speaks of physical power and transformation. Although there are no truly black tulips, there is a variety called ‘Paul Scherer’ which is such a deep maroon, it is almost black.

Home and Hearth

Between the spring equinox and Beltane, have tulip flowers in a vase in a prominent place in your home to encourage happiness, prosperity and positivity to wash throughout your abode. If placed at your front door/main entrance they will prevent evil passing over the threshold into your home.

I Never Knew…

There’s an English tale about a man convicted of stealing tulip bulbs. His defense was that he thought they were onions, and couldn’t understand why they tasted so bad! Needless to say, he was convicted and forced to pay for the dubious ‘onions’.

*Image credits: Garden/park field of tulips, copyright John O’Neill 2005 via Wikimedia Commons; Tulipa Biflora, copyright Ulf Eliasson 2007 via Wikimedia Commons.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

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Notes from the Apothecary

March, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Dill

Feathery and fragrant, the herb dill is so much more than just a flavouring for fish dishes or pickles. This magical herb has been used for centuries as a medicine, and as a potent tool for magical practitioners. From a muscle toner for Greek athletes, to a medicine for treating boils, this versatile herb is truly fascinating.

The Kitchen Garden

You can find dill growing wild, so if you manage to harvest a few seeds, or purchase some from your local supplier, you could cultivate a little patch of dill yourself. It likes loose soil with good drainage, and you can plant the seeds directly where you want the herb to grow, ideally in a sunny spot. It’s an annual or biennial, which means that at most each plant lasts two years, or two growing seasons. However, it self-seeds, which means that you should get plenty of fresh seedlings the following spring.

The delightful, tiny yellow flowers are a real draw for bees, butterflies and other essential pollinators, so planting dill will definitely increase the number of visitors to your garden. Conversely, dill helps repel aphids and other pests, making it a great companion plant to cabbages, lettuce and many other food crops.

If you don’t have a garden, or quite frankly, the time and energy to grow herbs, dill is widely available at grocery stores as well as herbal retailers.

For culinary purposes, it’s normally the leaves that we’re talking about. Small amounts of leaves can be cut from each plant, so that you don’t kill the plant by harvesting. If you have more leaves than you need to use immediately, put some in a sandwich bag and pop them in the freezer. Don’t forget to label them!

Dill leaves can be added to salads, cheese (such as cottage cheese), soups and other foods as a garnish and to add flavour. Leaves or seeds can be added to a bottle of vinegar to create a unique, flavoured condiment.

The seeds are also used, primarily for flavouring the liquid that pickles are soaked in. Hence the term ‘dill pickles’.

These are but a very few of the culinary uses of dill. It is used all over the world in dishes from curry to crayfish. Because of this, it is relatively cheap, and very easy to get hold of.

The Apothecary

Charlemagne had dill tea made available for his guests who dined with him, to aid their digestion and prevent hiccups. It has been used as a ‘gripe water’ for infants, helping relieve colic and gas, but obviously don’t feed herbal remedies to children without consulting a pediatrician first.

It is normally the seed of dill that is used medicinally, as it has high amounts of the oil anethol, or anethole, also found in anise and caraway. Mrs Grieves recommended it as a stimulant and for easing stomach issues, flatulence and simply as an aromatic.

Modern research has found that the active oil has antimicrobial properties, which are effective against some bacteria, fungi and yeast. It’s even been found to be effective against salmonella in some instances.

It can also be used as an insecticide, which probably explains why it’s effective at repelling certain unwanted critters in our gardens.

Wash your hands after handling dill and don’t use the oil in massage. It causes photosensitivity so can lead to burning. Don’t take if pregnant or breastfeeding, as it can affect the uterus.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Mrs Grieve notes that during the Middle Ages, dill was used by magicians in spells and in charms against witchcraft. If this is true, we can surmise that there is a protective aspect to dill, particularly against supernatural or magical attack. Dill can be used in a poppet to provide protection to the person you are visualising. You could carry a sprig to ward off negative intentions towards yourself, or sprinkle some seeds around yourself and visualise a wall of light rising up from the seeds, protecting you from all harm.

In the bible, the Scribes and Pharisees are berated for paying a ‘tithe’, or tax of rich goods, but neglecting their morals and ethics. One of the items in the tithe is dill, along with mint and cumin, so we can assume that dill was very valuable. This can be translated magically into using the herb for money spells, perhaps a little in your purse to protect your existing funds, or used in a little pouch with other herbs to draw wealth towards you.

Both Culpeper and Cunningham assert that the plant is ruled by the planet Mercury, which one can also extend to include the god the planet is named for. This reaffirms the wealth and money connection, as the Roman god Mercury is strongly connected to financial gain, especially commerce and trading. He is also associated with eloquence, so dill could be used to help you find the words you need in a tricky situation. Linking the two, a charm made with dill is ideal for a sales person, as it will boost the holder’s communication skills and promote wealth coming to them.

Cunningham also states that placing dill in the cradle protects a child, which most likely links back to the herb having been used in children’s medicine for centuries. A sachet under the mattress where the child cannot reach it, or even under the bed or cot itself would be best for safety.

Home and Hearth

Sprinkle dried or fresh dill leaves or seeds around the boundary of your home to keep out unwanted visitors or negative energy. Walk widdershins (anti-clockwise) whist doing this if you feel there is an existing energy you need to banish. Walk deosil (clockwise) if you are wanting to boost the current mood or atmosphere in your home. You can boost the power of this simple spell by adding elemental energies, if appropriate to your path and beliefs. Sprinkle water, salt for earth, carry a candle for fire and walk the boundary again holding a lit incense stick to represent air. Don’t try and carry them all at once! Juggling candles and incense might seem impressive but actually it just leads to burnt fingers and clothing. If you are not mobile, hold the dill or have it near you, and visualise your energy surrounding your home or sacred space.

Once a year (I would do this at Imbolc as I have the idea of early spring cleaning firmly ingrained in my psyche) sweep the boundary and refresh your protective ward.

I Never Knew…

There is a superstition that burning dill leaves will cause thunderstorms to clear up.

Image Credits: Anethum graveolens by Forest and Kim Starr via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2007; Dill seeds by o Alanenpää via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2008.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

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SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

February, 2018

Self Dedication

 

Merry meet.

 

Many witches practice the Craft as a solitary, so they never get to be initiated into a tradition with a formal ceremony. That leaves the option of performing a rite of self-dedication. Some people choose to wait until they have studied the Craft for a year and a day before holding this rite. Others will choose to do a self-dedication on Imbolc, which is often the time of initiations and dedications in the pagan traditions. New moons are a time of new beginnings, making them another option.

 

(Phyllis Curott)

 

Wiccan High Priestess Phyllis Curott said in a video found on Howcast,

 

When a witch makes a promise, it must be kept. So a self-dedication ritual is a promise that you make to yourself. It’s a promise to go in pursuit of your purpose, the reason that you’re here. It’s a promise to go in pursuit of the sacred that lies within you and to seek it in the world around you.”

 

Committing to your path and the deities you choose to follow requires devotion, self-discipline, self-care and courage because, Currott explained,

 

you are pledging yourself to your future.”

 

Your commitment deserves thought and preparation. The most meaningful and powerful ritual will be one that you write yourself, so let this column be an inspiration and a guide as you find the words and actions that best express yourself.

 

Write out the ritual, assemble the necessary items and take a purification bath. If you can drip dry and proceed skyclad, so much the better. It could be done in front of your altar or outside in a favorite place of power.

 

 

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In the ritual she presents in her book Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic,” Curott suggests remaining outside the ritual space while you prepare yourself. Write the parts of yourself you wish to release on slips of paper and burn them. Surrender, let go and banish them from your life. Meditate on your path – how and when it started, what it is now and where you want it to take you.

 

Then, holding your athame, Book of Shadows and chalice, step into the circle, stating your intent to dedicate your true and sacred self, in perfect love and trust, to your Wiccan path. Call upon the Divine energy and offer yourself to it. Surrender and let it flow through you. Feel yourself coming home to your authentic self, your sacred self and your destiny.

 

 

(Stoneware Ritual Pentacle Altar Chalice by artists Nels & Judy Olson-Linde of artifactorium)

 

 

Now is the time to recite the oath you prepared. Look for inspiration in Curott’s book. Anoint yourself with the moon water in your chalice, or with oil or other natural substance such as clay dust.

 

Proceed as you would to ground and open your circle.

 

Many self-dedication rituals exist online and in books. In an article on thoughtco.com, Patti Wigington presents a ritual where you sprinkle salt on the ground or floor before an altar, stand on it and light a white candle, feeling the flame’s warmth and thinking about the reasons for your dedication.

 

After asking the gods to bless you, you anoint your forehead with oil saying,

May my mind be blessed so that I can accept the wisdom of the gods.

Anoint your eyelids saying,

May my eyes be blessed, so I can see my way clearly upon this path.”

Moving down your body, you anoint the each part, speak the appropriate words:

May my nose be blessed, so I can breathe in the essence of all that is Divine. … May my lips be blessed, so I may always speak with honor and respect. … May my heart be blessed, so I may love and be loved. …May my hands be blessed, so that I may use them to heal and help others. … May my womb be blessed, so that I may honor the creation of life. (If you’re male, make the appropriate changes here.) … May my feet be blessed, so that I may walk side by side with the Divine.”

 

Next pledge yourself to specific deities or simply to the God and Goddess with the words,

Tonight, I pledge my dedication to the God and Goddess. I will walk with them beside me, and ask them to guide me on this journey. I pledge to honor them, and ask that they allow me to grow closer to them. As I will, so it shall be.”

 

The occasion can be used to take your magickal name.

 

At sacred-texts.com, Vitriol London posted such a ritual in a Book of Shadows section. After preparing for the dedication, calling on the wisdom of the God and Goddess, and the blessings of the elements, he suggests meditating or chanting to reach an altered state of consciousness and gather energy. Standing before the altar, anoint first with oil, with salt and water, and then with wine, saying,

 

I am reborn into my true and magickal self, and I take on the name of (Witch name). I ask for the blessings of the Goddess and God on my endeavors, and I vow (make your vows).”

 

(Aphrodite/Venus Rose Quartz Love Pendant by Sierrablaise of HighVibrationaLiving)

 

 

He has individuals present themselves to the quarters, dedicating to their solitary path, and then consecrating and anointing ritual jewelry you will then wear.

 

 

(Witches herb Altar Box/Beginners Altar by Shona Winter of TheherbalCabinet)

 

Tools that you will use in your magickal work can also be blessed before consecrating the wine and cake using an athame through which you channel energy. Eat and drink, ground, thank the entities and open the circle.

 

While this column discussed dedicating to your spiritual path and the Divine, it is possible to dedicate yourself to anything: learning a new skill, your career, achieving a goal. It can be for a year and a day, until it is achieved or for a lifetime.

 

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.

Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year: From Samhain to Yule, Your Guide to the Wiccan Holidays by Judy Ann Nock

February, 2018

The Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year: From Samhain to Yule, Your Guide to the Wiccan Holidays”

by Judy Ann Nock

Publisher: Adams Media

Date: 2017

Pages: 238

Available at Barnes & Noble, Target and elsewhere in hardcover, NOOK Book, Kindle, etc.

This book from the Modern Witchcraft series is essentially a reprint of Judy Ann Nock’s “The Provenance Press Guide to the Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations,” published in 2007. There is a new introduction and minor word changes, but then, the wheel of the year and the night sky have changed little from ancient times, and the book does provides quality information.

Each chapter focuses on a season that corresponds to a pagan holiday. Nock provides an introduction, an explanation of the sabbat, a description of the night sky for that period, the astrological influences and mythological references.

Searching for inspiration for an Imbolc ritual, that is the chapter I read most throughly. Noting that in arcane astrology, Imbolc fell under the sign of Aquarius, she connects the returning light of the sun and Brighid’s fire aspect, and the image of the water bearer with Brighid’s sacred wells.

There are spells, rituals, crafts and other suggestions for celebrating each season. For Imbolc is a meditation delving into the healing waters of Brighid’s sacred well, which is symbolic of the depths of the womb from which we all come. There is an eclectic initiatory rite suitable for a coven, and a scrying ritual that can be done as a solitary. The crafts are Brighid’s cross, Brighid’s eye (also known as God’s eye) and the bride’s bed.

The book begins with Samhain and moves through Mabon, providing a guide to celebrate every turn of the wheel. Reading it, it’s easy to see how the 360 degrees of a circle overlay easily on a 365-day calendar. While the majority of the book focuses on solar influences, there is a chapter on the estates with a lunar calendar, astrology and meditations with the moon goddess. The appendix has correspondences and a glossary of terms.

This book would be helpful to anyone wanting to learn about the Wheel of the Year, and serves as a reference to return to again and again.

Click Image For Amazon Information

Nock is a Wiccan high priestess and founder of a goddess spirituality group. She lives in New York City and has a degree in creative writing and theater. Another book by her will be coming out this year, “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals, and Spells from the Natural World.” She also wrote “A Witch’s Grimoire: Create Your Own Book of Shadows.”

Click Images For Amazon Information

***

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.

Book Review – Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch: Quick, Simple and Practical Magic for Every Day of the Year by Patti Wigington

January, 2018

Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch: Quick, Simple and Practical Magic for Every Day of the Year”

 

 

by Patti Wigington

Published by Sterling Ethos

Published: 2017

Pages: 385

Begin a year and a day of witching with the help of the “Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch.” Starting with January’s themes of new beginnings and going though December’s focus on winter’s darkness, High Priestess, Wicca expert and author Patti Wigington presents 366 spells for seasons, moons and astrological signs. Included are spells for protection, abundance, gratitude, blessings and divination.

While she notes at the beginning of the book that people often think you need a lot of supplies to do spell work – you don’t. Knowing others may think differently, I like that she points out you can do a lot of magic with things you find around you. Many of the spells I read required very little. For instance, the King Frost Snow Spell for Neighborhood Harmony required you to make snowmen while chanting, and adorn each with sticks for arms, a carrot for the nose, and whatever hats or scarves were handy. A spell to find new friends calls for nine seashells and an orange candle.

Wigington’s spells use batteries and a piece of red fabric to jump start your love life; and silver paper, a pen and mugwort for dreams to answer a question; and crayons and a new coloring book for creative thinking. She’ll tell you how to make a nine-piece divination set from painted rocks and prosperity poppets out of gingerbread dough.

None of the spells are long and involved, so it would be possible to set aside 5 to maybe 20 minutes and do a spell a day. Some may not resonate for you – not everyone needs a spell to gain professional respect, male potency or to pass a test. I wouldn’t personally recommend the love spells, including one to bring back a lover who has strayed or the Stay With Me Spell because they interfere with someone else’s freewill, and I don’t know that I’d bring a firefly into the house to help me find a lost object.

There were many, however, I did like. One is the Spell to Bless a Freshly Planted Garden presented on May 29 in conjunction with the old agricultural festival of Ambarvalia, Wigington instructs you to mix equal parts milk, honey and wine in a bowl and walk around your garden clockwise, using your fingers to sprinkle the mixture on the soil while saying, “Honey for the bees, wine for the Divine and milk for growth in this garden of mine.”

This book will easily help you bring more magic into your life, and there’s no reason it can’t be used a second or third time, or serve as a reference for the spells you found most successful. It could also be gifted to a new witch every year, made more personal if you jotted notes in the margins.

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

 

***

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.

MagickalArts

January, 2018

(Calliope 1)

This is the second posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series

The Muse, Calliope is the oldest of the Muses and according to the Theogony of Hesiod was foremost of the muses. Holding this preeminence, suggested her creative gifts were many with specific association with music and song and is often depicted playing the harp in early art work. In many mythological tales, Calliope is the mother of the Bard and player of the lyre, Orpheus. Calliope’s gifts of eloquence and music moved through her child Orpheus, considered to be the greatest musician and poet of Greek mythology having the ability to stir the emotions of God and man, alike into passive acquiescence.  

(Image: Museum of Fine s.Boston.MA)

As each of the Muses was later parceled out as representation of specific skill set, Calliope was assigned as the muse of Epic poetry. Her name means “beautiful voiced” and it is this quality that enhances her representation as a being of great eloquence; using that gift in the crafting of beautiful and emotionally evocative poetry. It was this gift that she offered to the Kings so that they may speak with power and authority in a manner of clarity and preciseness and it was this eloquence that she brought as judge to the dispute of the Goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone over Adonis. 

Aphrodite hid the newborn child, Adonis, in a chest, which she gave in charge to Persephone, queen of the nether world. But when Persephone opened the chest she was beheld by beauty of the baby, so she refused to give him back to Aphrodite, although the goddess of love went down herself to the Underworld to ransom the baby Adonis from the power of the dead.

The dispute between the two Goddesses of love and death was settled by Zeus, who decreed that Adonis should abide with Persephone in the underworld for one part of the year, and with Aphrodite in the upper world for another part. When he stayed in the underworld, it was winter. When he returned, the Earth blossomed into spring and summer.” 1.

Later attributions depict her with pen and tablet and designation specifically as the muse that inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer. In Greek mythology, Calliope is linked to Ares the God of War and Achilles, to whom she taught rowdy drinking songs. She had two sons by her mentor and teacher, the God Apollo and by all accounts her beguiling gifts of creative inspiration, word and song weave through many of the Gods and Goddess myths. 

As is the case with many of the Muses, Calliope’s name is used is association with a similar attribute of representation by an object. The Calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas in the form of steam or compressed air through large tubular whistles. These tubes were originally part of the whistles found on large locomotive engines. The sound emitted was typically very loud and piercing, often being heard for miles. Unlike most musical instruments, there is no way to vary the tone or loudness relying solely on the interval of time between notes and their individual length. It was for these reasons that the Calliope was most often used as the advertising tool to let the community know that the Circus, an epic event, was coming to town. 

 

 

(Photo: P.M.McClintock (1925))

This reference to a sound-producing instrument of this sort and magnitude and its use in calling attention to what would be multiple acts (or stanzas) of adventure, excitement and peril that formed the comprehensive story of man overcoming physical limitations (think of the aerialists and acrobats) and taming the beasts themselves (think of the animal trainers). 

When we call to the Muse, Calliope we are calling attention to the many stories and adventures we have encountered in our life’s journey. The valiant successes and the epic failures are all waiting to be codified and through the gift of eloquence, we find the gems of our most beautiful and meaningful way of expression. This may take the form of journaling the experiences in prose. Going back later and reading through that epic phase of your experience and ultimately being inspired from its telling and sharing of what has served to move you forward. It may take the form of a beautifully written poem, pouring heart and soul onto paper, guided by rhythm and rhyme, semantic and syllable. And, in this way unraveling the mysteries of your hidden feelings word-by-word, line-by-line like so many layers of paint on a fine work of art. Each important to the larger picture crafted, yet transparent in their uniqueness and need. 

In my own work, I call upon Calliope to inform my writing and stir the flow of creativity, but especially when I am writing a pathworking. A pathworking is much like the epic poem. It stimulates and serves as key to your personal journey into unknown territory that will provoke a response and set of challenges along the way that ultimately lead you to a new land, new perspective or new form and way of being. 

The pathworking below is one that I wrote several years ago as a place of connection to the deep waters within and the shadow energy that resides ready for birthing. It is an epic journey into your inner realms and with the assistance of Calliope’s energy I offer it now to you. 

The Journey of the Shadow

Audio of Pathworking Here..

https://teachingsonthepath.com/bonus-pathworkings-and-guided-meditations/

Scroll down to the bottom of the page

Transcript:

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths, allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. With each breath your physical body appears to lighten and your center of consciousness floats upwards towards the inner eye. You find yourself enveloped by the mist of transition between the Physical and Astral and, as this veil thins and you see before you an opening in the fabric of the space around you.

A mist of Lavender surrounds this enclosure as you pass through the darkness of the Great Abyss. As you move through this space, feelings of foreboding and a sense of being out of place in a time that is neither here nor there and in a place that is both upwards and down simultaneously flood your emotions. You are disoriented and are aware of the depths of sadness and loneliness that is felt in this space. Your only thoughts are the hopes that you will pass quickly and easily through this space. Quite the contrary, time seems to slow and the angst seems to become greater. And, just as you are about to scream out in sheer frustration, you remember the lesson of surrender. You remember the call to trusting and the lessons of the “Fool”. You find that you are engulfed in shadow. Glimpses of light are hidden beneath what appear to be shadowy figures and although you do not feel threatened, you know this is a place of great power and well deserving of care and respect as you pass through.

There is no flooring under you and you have a sense of weightlessness and somehow being suspended in space. Although there are no definitive boundaries, the impression is one of being enclosed tightly in a very confining space. You take a deep, cleansing breath and you allow yourself to simply be open, receptive and non-resistant to lesson of this place of shadow. You take another deep breath in and ready yourself to move forward and explore this place. As soon as the sigh of exhale has passed, feelings of sadness begin to well up within you. You are fearful and now wish you had decided against entering this space. Your former resolve of being receptive and open is weakening steadily as you begin to feel that you are sinking even deeper into this space of darkness.

You take another deep breath, hoping to restore your composure and as you exhale your awareness that you are alone in this space heightens. You strain to hear any sound that might point you in the direction of moving towards something; even the faintest sound of another human or animal would give you comfort. But, there is nothing, absolute and pure nothingness in this space. Your breath comes in short bursts now and the combination of sheer and utter loneliness, silence and disorientation keeps this rapid pace going.

You try to move, and find that with each step you are moving deeper into the shadowy fabric of this space, so, you decide to simply remain still. You look around and find that your eyes still have not adjusted to this deep and pervading darkness that now seems to be vibrating with energy; but you can neither see nor hear the source of it. You would normally have called out to the Divine or your guides to help you through this difficult passage, but you feel as though they have forsaken you as well and that in the depths of this seemingly unending well your pleas would remain unheard. This thought provokes a surge of emotional release and you begin to sob, at first quietly, then uncontrollably with louder and higher pitch.

These cries crescendo and you find that you are keening, screaming from the very base of your throat and the depths of your Soul in desperate release of this overwhelming sadness and fear. You call out to those Divine beings who are your patrons, and the only sound in return is the increased volume of your own voice. You call out to those who are family and friends. Again, the only return being the echo of your frantic cries against a surface you can neither see nor feel.

With one final exhausted effort, you pull up all of your will and courage and release a final soul filled call and as the sound issues forth from your lips, the oppressive energy around you seems to shatter and fall away. The powerful force and reverberation of the vibration wraps around you and you feel the personality that you entered this space with fall away. The ego you have carried so proudly shatters from your being and the You who entered this space moves within the spiraling of this powerful force of energy reshaping and transforming. You close your eyes and willingly surrender to this action and allow the necessary release and rebuilding of your subtle and physical forms. It seems as though time has stopped and for the briefest of moments you and all space, time and creation are one in the same.

As the energetic outpour begins to lessen around you, you gently open your eyes and looking upward see a tiny point of light above you. Although very small and far away, you can feel the intensity and radiance of this light and know it to be the reentry into the world of matter and form. As your breath slows to an even and steady pace you see that the light is growing brighter and larger as you rise on ascent towards it. Each breath pulls you closer to its light and radiance and the space around begins to brighten, the darkness and magnetic pull of the intense experience held within it slowly fading in its energy and effect on you.

You continue to rise upwards, coming to rest on a soft surface beneath your feet and completely enveloped in the brilliance of this light emanating from a space directly above you. You look at your hands and take note of a luminescent glow about them and the lower part of your body as you look downwards toward your feet.

The light begins to dim slightly and you know that there is still more of the journey you must follow through the lessons of the Higher Realm in final completion of the work done within the Dark Night. You take a deep breath in, close your eyes and resolve that you will embrace each step and challenge that is presented to you. You think on the lesson of this experience, and the birthing of light from what was held in the shadows.  You know you will make many journeys to this space and with each you will integrate the totality of both your light and shadow self as you open to the transformative energies of this space.

You gently open your eyes and see that the blue veil of transition has formed just a few steps in front of you. You feel yourself enveloped in the veil of transition between the Physical and Astral world. The veils of transformation and all they contain gently fade from your sight and you begin the descent back into your physical state of being and the room and space in which you began this pathworking. Return to awareness of the rhythm of your breath and the rise and fall of your chest. Become aware of the physicality of where you are sitting or laying; your body pressed against cushion, chair or floor.

And when you are ready, gently flutter your eyes open

The next post will focus on the Muse, Clio and her gifts of history.

Reference:

1. Greek Myths and Greek Mythology

 

***

 

About the Author:

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

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord For

Amazon Information Click Image

 

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF For

Amazon Information Click Image

 

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Facebook and on Instagram

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

January, 2018

La Befana

 

(LA BEFANA. Magic stocking from BEFANA. By incantevolemerletto shop.)

 

Merry meet.

While my mother’s parents were from Sicily, it was not until recently I learned of La Befana, Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legend – about a witch.

In Italian folklore, she is an old woman with warts on her crooked nose, wearing a skirt and a black shawl, who flies around on her broom, delivering candy to well-behaved children. In Russia she is known as Baboushka.

Children await Babbo Natale on Christmas Eve, but the red-suited man is new compared to the story of the old woman who was too busy cleaning to join the Wise Men on their journey. According to the legend, they stopped by her cottage to ask directions and invited her to come along, but she refused. She also refused to join a shepherd who asked her to join him, as some tell the story.

Later that night she saw a great light in the sky. Regretting her decision, she sets out to give the Christ Child gifts that had, according to some, belonged to her child who had died. She never finds the Baby Jesus and instead, leaves her gifts for children she encountered along the way. Since the 13th century, children have left their shoes out or hung up their socks Epiphany Eve, January 5, for the Befana to fill with sweets and gifts. Bad children were given lumps of coal.

Often she is shown covered in soot because, like Santa Claus, she delivers presents by sliding down the chimney. Her name means “gift-bringer” and according to a post by DreamDiscoverItalia.com in 2015, many believe she also sweeps the floor before she leaves, sweeping away the old to make way for the new.

La Befana is a Christian legend that began in Northern Italy and became a big part of the Italian celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the Wise Men arrive in Bethlehem and deliver their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Other versions of the legend have La Befana carrying a sack of bread, giving a piece to every child she saw in the hopes one would be the Christ Child. She never does find him and is still wandering around Italy on her broomstick.

Her arrival is celebrated with such traditional Italian foods such as panettone, fried doughnuts with dried fruit, and fritters with raisins. When children leave a snack for the witch, it’s something soft because she has few teeth.

While La Bafana is viewed most commonly as a village crone, she has also been called a sprite or fairy. Instead of a broomstick, sometimes she is said to ride a goat or a donkey. Rarely does she wear a pointed hat; a headscarf is more traditional.

According to an article written by Martha Bakerhian for tripsavy.com, “This folktale may actually date back to the Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia, a one- or two-week festival starting just before the winter solstice. At the end of Saturnalia, Romans would go to the Temple of Juno on the Capitoline Hill to have their fortunes read by an old crone. This story evolved into the tale of La Befana.”

Heather Greene explains in an article for “The Wild Hunt” in January 2016, “As with many regional traditions, La Befana’s modern construction and appearance were developed over an expansive amount of time and stem from a diverse number of cultural elements. Her story has been adapted over and over to fit into a variety of different social or religious structures.

 

(La Befana the Witch Sculpture by Dellamorteco, Dellamorte & Co. Etsy Shop)

 

Similar to modern community traditions in the northern Italian towns, Circolo dei Trivi burns an effigy, a representation of Giobiana, within their ritual space. They collect the ashes and tell the story of nature’s death and rebirth, through the death of Giobiana and the birth of Belisama. In that process, they also thank nature, represented as La Befana, for bringing the final gifts from the previous year. Grazie, La Befana.”

Urbania, thought to be her official home, draws tens of thousands of people for a five-day festival that includes the arrival of La Befana to her cottage, which the townspeople built in her honor. There is music, dancing, parades, fireworks and letters from children asking for gifts. In Venice, men dressed as La Befana race boats on the Grand Canal, per DreamDiscoverItalia. In Rome and elsewhere, women dress like La Befana.

 

A Spell of Prosperity to Accomplish your Goals 

(Submitted by Gayle Nogas)

What you’ll need:

A red candle placed on a table or altar

Three figs or three dates 

A small cup of honey

A broom 

With this simple spell you can ask The Befana not only to bring your home prosperity, but also to send you powerful energy regarding your success and the goals you will work with next year.

In the evening, put the three figs or dates in the small cup of honey (this is a traditional offering for The Befana) and put them on the table or the altar next to the red candle. These offerings will show that you honor her powers.

Light the red candle. Pull up a chair and sit in it calmly for two minutes watching the candle and bringing your mind to the tranquility of the energy that is surrounding you. The red candle is a symbol of your own power to accomplish your goals and also calls the power of The Befana. Now repeat the following out loud or in your head three times:

“Come Befana, come to me.

Come from the mountains to make me free.

Come with your gifts of wisdom and power,

To make this a prosperous year for me.”

Once you have repeated this spell three times, take the broom and start sweeping the room in the direction of the clock’s hands, always sweeping towards the central part to concentrate there the powers and the charitable energy of The Befana in one place.

Leave the broom and dust all night long. Finally blow the candle and thank The Befana for her help by saying:

“Thank you, Befana, for giving me the gifts of your wisdom and prosperity.”

The next day, pick up the broom, clean up the dust and debris, and focus on a hugely prosperous year.

 

This year, in honor of my ancestors, I plan to recognize the Witch of Christmas for making winter a witchy season. Perhaps I’ll dress like her, or leave my shoes and a soft cookie outside my door. If you celebrate her, please leave me a comment describing how on the Pagan Pages Emag Facebook page.

 

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.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

November, 2017

Fire Clearing

Merry meet.

At pagan festivals, it is almost expected there will be fire performers. While fire is one of the elements and there’s something primal about it, I never saw it as particularly connected to a pagan or spiritual practice.

That was until six weeks ago when a coven sister did her first fire clearing.

Ever since I’ve picked up my fans, I knew there was a spiritual component to them,” said Becky Coates who has been a fire spinner for 18 months. “Before they came into my life, I was often seeing them in sacred space and dancing with them during meditations. The first time I had them in my hands they immediately felt so right. I then took them to all my spiritual circles, to pick up the energy of that, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” she said.

This past summer, someone picked up her card at a farmers market. Noticing it mentioned Coates as a massage therapist, tarot reader and fire dancer, and asked, “‘Do you do that for energy clearing?’ and my answer was, ‘I can, but not yet.’”

 

 

Wondering why she wasn’t doing that, she thought about what it would be like. At a Mabon weekend retreat with 20 other goddesswomen, she decided it was the perfect time to begin.

Every time I do it, I understand it more and more. It started out with the clearing aspect of it, but now I’m also getting into energy raising. I’m excited to see how this practice grows.”

 

 

She’s developed a basic structure for a routine that lasts the three minutes the fans burn. It starts when she approaches the fire, connecting with the fire source before she lights her fans and asks it to work through her. Barefoot, she then gracefully approaches the person to be cleared. She lets the fire greet them in the way it calls and then she casts a circle by spinning deosil around the person to be cleared. Starting in the center, she sweeps the energy from the center line out.

I can feel the density as I’m passing though, so I’ll feel a subtle shift. The faster movements bring energy up,” she said.

 

 

As she works on both sides of the body at the same time, Coates explained, “It’s learning and it’s balancing.”

As she sweeps and fans, raises and lowers, and spins around as you’re standing still, you can hear the whoosh of the air rippling through the fire as the fans are moved quickly. You can smell a hint of Coleman camp fuel. You can feel warmth come near and move away. You can also feel a stirring in you, a negativity or a block you are willing to release being swept away.

After her second clearing, Kelli Cooke said, “I always feel like old energy is being cleared out, and old patterns are broken and undone. Any heaviness I’ve been carrying is set free, burned away.”

For me, I could feel the fire burning away the frustration and fear I wished to release from my life, and I could feel them being pushed away as they lost the hold they had had on my body and spirit.

Coates brings the fans over the head of the person “to acknowledge the power within them.” From there, she follows what she’s called to do. It might be more clearing heavy energy out of the aura or rising the energy. The times I’ve watched her she’s been focused, eyes often closed, listening to her inner wisdom that guides her movements.

 

 

You’re so in the moment,” she said.

Those receiving cleansing have said the same.

Obviously, experience with fire spinning is a basic requirement for anyone wanting to do a fire clearing. So is a having a good sense of depth perception. In addition to fans, Coates thought hoops might also be used. If working with poi, consider using them to clear an area or cast a circle rather than for close-up work.

I could see using fire for more directive magic. You could use a staff or sword as a wand. If you have a prop that you’re playing with, ask it,’How do you want to be of service?’”

“Fire is such a communicative element and if you are touched by it, you know it’s power. It can feel like a warm hug or a blazing inferno and so much can be transformed through its energy,” Coates said.

Kerry Bower felt both.

She said she was honored to receive Coates’ first ritual clearing.

 

 

I still don’t know what happened to me the few hours before the fire clearing, but it was extremely intense. I was very emotional and vulnerable. The combination of physical feeling I got from the heat along with the sound of the flames and the sight of the light behind my closed eyes really helped me release the spiritual weight I no longer wanted to carry,” Bowers said.

It was purging the most physical and mental pain I had ever experienced. The flames took me from the low I felt hours earlier, and lifted my spirit, like a phoenix rising. I felt empowered and protected.”

 

 

While currently in Connecticut, Coates will be going on the road in 2018, so she may be at a festival or function near you – or could be. For more information, email BeckyCoatesMassage@gmail.com or visit her website at www.beckycoateslmt.com.

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.

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