witchcraft

Finding Your Own Way

February, 2019

Chapter 9

Candle Meditation

Candle meditation and candle ‘magic’ have a wide application in modern paganism.

There are many variations on this method. One can use different colour candles to focus on different aspects of our life and our intention. There are many ‘tables of correspondences’ which link various coloured candles to different intentions. The most effective colour correspondences are to be found in any book on colour psychology.

For example, focusing on the colour red will raise our blood pressure, and perhaps, help to build our determination for a particular task.

Red is the colour of action and passion. Try wearing red if you feel a little fatigued or in need of a boost of energy. It works!

Again, we are building rapport with our subconscious minds through the effect of symbols.

White is the colour of purity, meditating on a white candles helps us to gain clarity, and to focus on higher ideals. Mix it with red and you get pink.

Pink is considered by many to be the colour of love. For those who wish to practise candle ‘magic’, I would simply say that I have never known a love spell that worked unless the person intended already had fond feelings, – except perhaps to focus the feelings and confidence of the person meditating on the candle!

Dark Blue is the colour of peace and calm, of night and rest. It is soothing to the mind and brings restfulness and sleep.

Yellowis the colour of the intellect, of enquiry and expansiveness. The researcher and the explorer are very much under the influence of vibrational yellow.

Violet is considered the colour of the spiritual minded the imaginative and the ethereal.

Turquoise (blue-green) is the colour of healing, acquisition and maintaining personal boundaries.

Magic is happening all the time. It is the flow of energy between our total selves and the universe.

Colour is the simplest way to effect beneficial changes by manipulating our moods and desires.

Meditating on the various colours has a marked effect on our moods. Surrounding ourselves with bright vibrant colours helps us become more cheerful and energetic. Cool, soft colours, such as blues and green help us become calmer. Many hospitals have changed their décor based on the discoveries of colour psychology. I believe that the tables of correspondences are most likely based on an intuitive understanding of these principles. As we tune into our own inner worlds, – this wisdom and knowledge become available to us in dreams, visions and sudden inspirations.

In the Kabbala, the candle is a symbol of the four worlds,- Aziluth (fire), Beriah (air), Yesirah (liquid, water), and Assiyah (the physical, the earth) The wick is considered to be the fifth element, Ether,- or the path that links all the worlds from the base of Assiyah to the crown of Aziluth.

For this exercise, use a white candle in a secure candle holder.

Sit at a comfortable distance from the candle.

As you begin the breathing exercise, take time to think about the candle as a gateway to the higher worlds.

Think about the wax, melting into a liquid and flowing up the wick.

The fire which melts the candle turns the liquid into a gas and ignites it, creating more flame.

Like the cycle of spiritual energy which flows into the matrix of the universe and flows back upwards to its source.

See the candle as a point of focus for divine energy.

See the energy flowing out and creating a circle of light which expands to surround you.

Allow your eyes to close and visualise your self-being drawn to travel through the flame back to its divine source.

Allow them to open slowly and focus on the candle again.

See the light open into a protective sphere all around you.

As they grow tired, allow your eyes to close, and repeat the exercise.

Imagine yourself drawn through the flame into the higher worlds.

Take note of any feelings, sensations, memories, images and write them down later.

When you are ready, return through the flame and open your eyes.

Thank any helpers or guides that you may have and absorb the circle, creating a fine mesh of golden light around you.

After practising the meditations for a while, you will begin to have full, detailed journeys.

Always remember that you can open your eyes at any time if they are making you uncomfortable.

Try to always have a drink and a small snack after journeying.

Candle Magic – Colour Magic

I have avoided the rather thorny subject of magic up to now, – mainly because there has been more waffle and downright lies written about it, than about almost any other subject.

Do I believe in magic? A better question would be, “Do I even know what it is?”

After 45 years of study, I do have some theories. However, this book is too short to cover more than a few basic questions. One neither needs to believe nor disbelieve, in the existence of other worlds for the exercises in this book to work well for them.

Let us start with my favourite quotation from Aleister Crowley, “Magick is the ability to make changes, in conformity with will”.

I would say that Magic is the ability to make to make changes in consciousness at will.”

How we see the world around us has a huge control over our feelings, actions, and inevitably, our future and our happiness.

We hallucinate all the time. We imagine attitudes and feelings in others that are in fact projections from our own unconscious self-images. Because we are unaware of the true source of our feelings, we live our lives in a random unbalanced way.

Sigmund Freud believed that the subconscious mind was a garbage bin for all the things we cannot face in our lives, and he was partially right.

Carl Jung opened up the possibility that beyond the personal images contained in the unconscious mind, there is a vast fund of helpful imagery to be discovered, which will help us make more sense of our lives and feelings. Our ancestors intuitively tapped into this reservoir and used it to help make useful decisions and live in a balanced harmonious way. Many believe that this gave them a deeper connection with nature and helped in finding food and timing planting and harvesting, but that is for the reader to decide for themselves.

I believe that by gaining rapport with our unconscious minds we can free ourselves from many unexamined beliefs that hold us back from happiness and success.

In a nutshell, meditation gives us a way to reach beyond our habitual way of thinking. We discover symbols during meditation which help us, on reflection, to gain rapport with our own inner worlds.

By reflecting on these symbols, we can begin to slowly unravel the threads of our unconscious impulses and beliefs. These beliefs have remained unexamined because of the non-literate form in which they exist. Our most important and far-reaching opinions about the world around us were formed before we had developed language. This mirrors our development as a species and gives us a link to our distant ancestors who lived in natural harmony with the world around them.

Language brought many advantages for our ancestors, – as it does for the individual. But it comes with the cost of division and disassociation. As we developed language, we learned to assign new meaning to the world around us, while, at the same time, our culture imposed its own particular set of standards upon us.

Magic and ritual attempt to communicate with this non-verbal part of consciousness and to understand the meaning of the communications which we receive in dreams visions and intuition. and art attempt to express the contents of these inspirations, as do dance, poetry and mime.

Magic offers us symbols to spur our unconscious minds to cooperate in our efforts to succeed in life. Unfortunately, with magic, we are usually asked to adopt someone else’s symbols and try to force them upon ourselves in a one size fits all approach. I would recommend that anyone who wishes to make immediate positive changes in their lives to use colour meditation/magic as a starting point. Refer to the basic colour associations above to begin. Wear the colours in your clothing, – or decorate a room in the colours that apply to the change you wish to obtain. Coloured cloths are an easy way to begin.

The effects are pretty much immediately evident. They will help to build confidence in the work that you are doing.

In my own Celtic culture, magic and mysticism were considered to be very much the province of the bard.

In the magical revival of the late 1800’s, it was again the poets and the artists who were the chief motivating forces. In the pages that follow, Bill and I will offer the reader a selection of emotive and mystical art and poetry based on various themes. We have found that the chosen works resonated with many people and helped them to get in touch with their own inner worlds and symbols. As blocked and hidden energies are released, you may well experience tears or laughter. This is nothing to worry about as it merely shows that your meditation has been effective.

Barefoot Angel

You are my light in this dark time,

My one true friend,

My hope of better things to come.

Your laughter is the sparkling bell,

That lifts my failing spirits with its chime,

Making heaven where there once was hell.

You are the sun that makes my shadow tall,

the rock on which I stand

without you, there is no one at all.

You are my life, my day, my night,

each hour, each minute aches for you,

You are the star that makes my evening bright.

You are the shining jewel in the flower.

the full bright moon that lights my darkest hour,

My Princess in her shining tower.

I never thought that I’d know joy again,

until I saw the love in your blue eyes,

and found myself reborn.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge on Amazon

Tarot Talk

February, 2019

The King of Wands

(The Four of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t looked at the Court Cards of the Tarot for a while. This month we will return to the Tarot “royals” and get to know the King of Wands. First, we should review some foundational information.

The 78 cards of a Tarot deck consist of 22 Major Arcana cards (dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, and archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives) and 56 Minor Arcana cards (customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements and dealing with day-to-day issues).

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit and individually representing particular personality traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Since we are talking about the King of Wands today, we already know that our King will manifest his suit in an outer yet mature manner. Our King is concerned with results; he exhibits outer, public expertise in his field, and he is an authority figure. In many ways, the Kings of the Tarot Court can be seen as four facets of The Emperor of the Major Arcana.

Our King’s suit this month is Wands, corresponding with the element of Fire. Besides the element of Fire, the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. All of the cards of the suit of Wands teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a King today, we are also talking about the element of Air, or the element of Fire, depending on the deck. For our purposes today, we will see the King of Wands as Fire of Fire.

In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire transforms everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our King of Wands corresponds with the cusp or joining point of the signs of Cancer and Leo.

Cancer is responsive, emotional and generous, but also is moody, insecure or sensitive, and is often affected by the environment and people nearby. Those born under the sign of Cancer, the 4th sign of the zodiac, tend to experience strong feelings and emotions, and they are very protective of those feelings and emotions. Cancer people tend to be very attuned to the past, and like to have mementos of the times and people of their childhood. Cancer people place a high importance on family, both family of the blood and family of the heart, and nurture and protect those they love. Cancer people are hard workers, and that paycheck is important not only for what it will buy, but also for the security it provides.

Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac, located in the middle of Summer. The symbol of Leo is the Lion, regal and strong, magnetic and forceful. Leos are determined, ambitious, and highly motivated; add in their charm and they are natural leaders who attract many friends. They make good organizers and motivators, and the best use of a Leo is as the leader of a large group. Leo is the most expressive sign in the zodiac, and those born under this sign are showmen who are exuberant and passionate, but they are also susceptible to flattery.

Cancer and Leo are ruled by elements, planets, and traits that are not similar. Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruled by the moon, and Leo is a fixed fire sign ruled by the sun. Cancer is considered to be quite sensitive and docile, but can survive and even manipulate. Leo is considered to be powerful and dominant, but can move from roaring to purring if treated in the right manner. Thus, this cusp can manifest an interesting set of personality traits, such as the memory of an elephant, a comfort with being the center of drama, being driven by high ambitions and the need to achieve something bigger than oneself. Love, devotion, family, and loyalty form an integral aspect of both of these signs, and is a strong part of this cusp.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Kings correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, along with all of the Twos of the Minor Arcana and the element of Fire. The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force in the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the Catalyst of Life. Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus is connected to the Wheel of the Year. The energies of this sephira represent dynamic male energy and are the origin of vital force and polarity.

The Llewellyn Welsh King of Wands shows a mature man sitting on a throne, holding a Wand with green leaves sprouting and ribbons blowing. This card is about status, honor, and personal achievement that not only brings material success, but also contributions related to the arts, the sciences or to quality of life. In this card there is the passion of the Knight, however there is stability to balance out that passion, allowing the achievement of a position of influence and of satisfaction.

In the Thoth Tarot, the Kings are known as Knights (the Knights are called Princes in this deck), and Crowley sees the Knight (King) of Wands as being the strongest of the Court Cards. In “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot,” DuQuette describes the Knight (King) of Wands as like “. . . riding a rocket, and that can be very risky. If the rocket isn’t aimed properly, he or she misses the target. If there is not enough fuel, he or she crashes. If there is too much fuel, the person explodes. But if everything goes well, it is the most spectacular of successes.” I could not describe the powerful yet risky energies of this card in a better way.

The Naked Tarot describes the King of Wands as someone you either admire or envy, someone whose charisma and confidence draw others like a moth to a flame. The King of Wands is compelled to accomplish something meaningful with his life, and thus he is appalled and enraged by dishonesty and incompetence. This King thrives on challenges and handles stress with ease, and can’t be bought or lured from his chosen path. His beneficial traits are an interest in self-growth and personal advancement, a fascination with the ideas, inventions and achievements of others, the courage to try new things, and the ability to use constructive criticism to bring progress. His detrimental traits are a tendency to do too much, to offend others (either accidentally or on purpose), and to be a control freak.

The Legacy of the Divine King of Wands stands, glowing scepter in his hands, before a fire that is contained and controlled. His passion is idealistic, and his intellect strengthens his will. His gift is leadership, and his self-confidence and charisma are tempered by his need to nurture and protect his loved ones.

The Kings of the Tarot Court tend to be proactive, and the King of Wands is the most proactive of them all. He comes up with valuable ideas, but he also initiates the manifestation of the ideas of others. He is open to hearing challenges to his own ideas; indeed he often sees those challenges as opportunities. The King of Wands expects to be obeyed; he may ask for courage, boldness, and commitment, and expect innovation and generosity and the taking of responsibility from others, but he will ask the same things of himself.

Yes, the King of Wands can tend toward arrogance and rudeness, egotism and a tendency to be a despot, but he can also be a wise and loving father, a visionary who inspires others to enthusiasm, and a mentor with a powerful ability to motivate others to be the best they can be. The King of Wands makes his own luck, and he tells us that we can make our own luck, too!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Book Review – The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

February, 2019

Book Review
The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
Copyright 2017
Pages: 235

If you are starting down the path of a green witch, you will appreciate this complete introduction to the natural magic of herbs, flowers, essential oils, gems and more.

This book is a slightly edited version of her book, “The Way of the Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, and Practices to Bring You Back to Nature,” published in 2006, also by Adams Media.

The information is easily understood and put into practice.

Arin Murphy-Hiscock describes the path of a green witch as “intensely personal,” driven by individual strengths and talents, and aligned with the climate of the geographic location and the energy of that environment. That makes each path individual, as green witches seek harmony between nature and humans in an ongoing celebration of life.

“The practice of the green witch doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, fancy tool, or complicated rituals. Perhaps more than any other path of witchcraft, the path of a green witch rests on your philosophy of living and how you interact with the world around you,” Murphy-Hiscock states.

“Like kitchen witchcraft, green witchcraft emphasizes practicality and everyday activity. There are no special words, no unique prayers, no uniforms, no holy texts, no obligatory tools, and no specific holidays … unless you create them for yourself. While the green path is very much the art of daily practice, it isn’t set apart as sacred. It recognizes the sacred in everyday life. The path of a green witch is sacred – very much so – but not isolated from the secular. The secular life itself is what is sacred to the green witch.”

Green witches descended from folk healers and practitioners of folk magic: the village herbalists, midwives, healers and wise women. The book explains the differences between other practices, noting a green witch opens to nature’s energies and works with them subtly, rather than other practices where energy is raised, directed and released.

The book touches on ethics, personal energy centers, making a home a sacred space, environmental energy, the power of the seasons and astrological influences. There are pages covering the magic of trees, the energy of flowers, powers of herbs, and using stones and crystals. One chapter covers gardening and another is on healing.

Some recipes are provided for incense, spell bags, teas and foods, and suggestions for ritual are also included.

It is well written and informative, and while it is not in-depth enough for the advanced practitioner, new seekers will find it a valuable foundation of knowledge.

Many of those leaving comments on Amazon noted the book covers nature’s magic in an inclusive manner, so those of any faith, culture or tradition can embrace the practice and experience a deeper, more magical connection with nature while moving through daily life.

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More on Amazon

***

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.

Going Shamanic Radio

February, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

***

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Welcome

January, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

In This Issue, We’d Like to Help You Plan Out Your New Year With Helpful Features. Check Out Our Review of Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for A Magickal 2019 by Ami Cesari.

Wreathing the Wheel Teaches Tarot Journaling for the New Year.

We Review Two New Beautiful Calendars.

And Why Not Start the Year Off Right With a New Column – Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns. To Help on Planning Your BOS!

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It takes as much energy to wish as to plan. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

January, 2019

A Look Inside a Monthly Working Book of Shadows


Many newcomers to the Pagan Path, as well as new Witches, often mistakenly believe that a Book of Shadows is an ancient concept that goes back eons. There is the very real possibility that herbalists and wise women in ancient times utilized recipe books, journals, or otherwise kept written records containing their secrets or logging their workings. However, the Book of Shadows is actually a neopagan concept that has its beginnings with Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Gardner is the founder of the Wiccan religion along with several other famous pioneering Wiccans who seemingly thrust the neo-pagan movement forward and opened the broom closet for many witches as well. The age of the conception of of Shadows should not cause anyone to question keeping a Book of Shadows. As with any other reference material, a Book of Shadows can be an invaluable tool in any practice, whether it is your craft or your spiritual walk. My working Book of Shadows is a vital part of my Pagan path and my practice as a Witch.

As a practicing Witch and a practicing eclectic Pagan with a Matron who guides both paths, I rely heavily on my working Book of Shadows and I carry it with me every day. For the most part, my working Book of Shadows contains all of the information that I need at my disposal such as Sabbats, Esbats, the New Moon, color correspondences, Tarot, Oracle, and Rune draws, as well as trackers for stones, herbs, spells, and Goddesses. I also incorporate my mundane schedule and life in this working Book of Shadows to keep me on track. As any one else in these modern times, I try to keep my spending in check, live a simple life, and incorporate my definition of “enough” into my walk. In true frugal fashion, I decided that in 2019 I would take a completely different tact than in any other year and I created my 2019 working Book of Shadows from MAMBI® Classic Happy Planner® extension packs. For clarity and convenience, I have added all of the resources and links for materials and supplies that I have used at the end of this article.

Throughout this series, you will notice some “upcycling” of materials as I find cards that I have received, artwork here and there that I notice in magazines, and even the creativity of friends, who make beautiful shaker cards that are great for lifting the energy when I am feeling like energy is being dissipated. A little blingy shake and the smile returns to my face. Also, when you network and discover that friends have hidden talents, such as making quality covers with special meaning that directs your focus to the work at hand, that energy of love, friendship, and community lends itself to a healthy Book of Shadows.

Again, as a frugal person, and someone who believes that the Pagan Community could benefit from helping each other, I created a Facebook group called “The Pagan Plannertarium.” I created this home for Pagan Planners who are interested in planning and who could benefit from free stickers and layouts for their own of Shadows. All of the stickers that are in my working Book of Shadows can be found in the Pagan Plannertarium along with an ever-growing catalogue of stickers, layouts, and inserts. They are all free for your personal use, if you would like to plan along with me each month, join the Facebook group by answering the questions for entry, and plan along with me. I will continue this series for the year 2019, showing you the evolution of my working Book of Shadows.

Since there are no Sabbats in January, and it is the very beginning of my “Seed Work” which will commence in February for planting on Imbolc, I have chosen a winter theme for the monthly layout, and I have also made complimentary weekly spreads for the entire month of January. In keeping with the winter energies surrounding me, I chose to focus on the correspondences for the month of January which include fox, birch trees, and the colors bright white and blue. January is a time for self-reflection and spell work involving inner workings rather than casting for others, winter is a time to go inward and to work on those things that require change for growth. February’s seed must be planted in order to yield a bountiful Harvest as the wheel turns and we experience each Sabbat in its turn.

The January month-at-a-glance spread is where I keep all of my appointments which are upcoming, the Esbat, the New Moon, and I keep a place for notes. In the two blank spaces before the 1st day of January and the last 2 blank spaces after the 31st, I use these spaces for my own personal “Power” words – these are words that I use for the month to keep me focused on my seed work. They relate directly to the seed that I will plant, so I choose the words that I need to focus on to narrow my focus. Times and circumstances change every month and this is a working Book of Shadows so these blank spaces are often in a state of metamorphosis and they change from month to month. January is the month when planning my seed comes to completion and the seed is readied for planting on Imbolc.

Each week there is a side dashboard that is sectioned off for my Goddess of the week, Crystals, Notes, and two (2) weekly trackers. My goal is to draw a Goddess card from a deck that I utilize each week, write the Goddess’ name on the dashboard, and key words throughout the week that may arise as I ask for Her protection and energies to guide my week. The Crystal section is for the pouch that I carry on my person each day, some days call for different energies and I may change the contents of the pouch that I use during the week and, if I do so, I like to have a place to log any changes that may occur in my carrying pouch. The Notes section on the side dashboard is to make note of any significant changes that I make, events that I need to make a special note of, or any other information that may change from time to time during that week. Finally, the two trackers that I have are for reminders to check in daily on any spell work that I may be undertaking. Other uses for the trackers include making Crystal Water, Moon Water or other recipes for ritual use. You can use mundane trackers even in a magical practice and, on occasion, when I have no other use for them, that is how I utilize these trackers. The best part of this whole process is that stickers can be lifted, marks can be erased, and things are meant to change and grow as we change and grow. It is my hope that by sharing my Book of Shadows with you, before the pen, you will be able to glean some creativity, some energy, or ideas for your own of Shadows and join me in sharing for the greater good.

You may have noticed that the end of December, 2018, is contained in the first weekly spread. I included it because the energies are prime for spell casting, writing new beginnings, contemplating seed work, and writing down ideas for spells or, if I feel the energy in a specific way, I will use this night for spell writing. At the end of the week, there is a New Moon and I always use the energy from the New Moon to begin cleansing my house for the cycle of the waxing moon, to bring the energies into my home and life that I would like to manifest throughout my practice. I start by taking a ritual bath, meditate, and smudge my home from the center to the front and out the door and beginning from the center again and to the back and out the door. For the other days in this week, I will enter those things that I do to prepare for the upcoming New Moon, such as journaling, blending herbs for incense, smudging, writing spells, and working on the February installment of this series

Each weekly layout has a coordinating Tarot card insert. I utilize this insert to pull a Tarot Card each week and reflect on this card throughout the week. The first side of the insert reflects my first impressions and my expectations. The second side of the insert is a retrospective examination of the drawn card and how that has influenced me during the week. This insert is an invaluable tool for me. Not only do I receive guidance from the Tarot cards, but I come to a deeper, more committed understanding of the meaning of each draw and how that may relate in future readings not only for myself but for others

Each weekly theme for the month of January embodies not only the correspondences appropriate for this month, but some of them also contain themes of strong Divine Feminine figures such as Athena and Hekate. I decided that this month would also contain the energies of the Divine Masculine and The Horned God made a special appearance this month as well. As I called to the Divine Spirits of the East, requesting the energies of communication, divination, and creativity, these layouts pretty much made themselves.

Looking forward to providing monthly installments of my Book of Shadows as the wheel turns.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Mesa:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

January Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

January Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections® “Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

January, 2019

Magic for Material

Merry meet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

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

Crystal Balls

January, 2019

Crystal ball are used for divination (scrying) and spirit summoning. It is a well respected technique of divination and is used through the use of reflective surfaces and taking advantage of the bioplasmic energy (psychic power) in inanimate objects like crystals as it comes from the cosmos itself. If you can tune into that force the crystal ball will be very beneficial.

They should usually be made from clear quartz and can be large or small. Smoky quartz is beneficial if you mainly want to use it for summoning spirits. Manmade crystals are spiritually dead, so use those only for decoration. Natural crystals are what you want. Some people think it is better to be given one as a gift, but personally I think you should choose your own. It is a very personal object so you want to choose it carefully. You should be drawn to it and feel its energy.

The crystal ball is a tool of Pisces and the modern clear round ball is effective because it evokes the image of the moon. Now, some people can’t afford a real crystal ball, but there are other options. Even using something like a glass bottle of water, ink or water in a pan, etc. will give you some results, but the power of a cleansed crystal ball will be much more substantial.

A new crystal ball must be cleansed by exposing it to the light of the full moon at least once (13 times is ideal) before use. A crystal ball covered in negative energy and spiritual debris will cause disturbances and may not be accurate. Also, when you are not using it, you should keep in covered in a dark cloth. A great way to clean the crystal ball is with a blend of spring water and vinegar, charged waters, mugwort hydrosol or a water-based herbal infusion with dried mugwort and/or anise-seed.

Crystal-gazing is a great way to get into clairvoyance. You should stand the crystal ball on a black base or black cloth so that when you look into it there are no distractions. You don’t want anything to draw your attention away. The lighting should be behind you and it’s best to be in a semi-darkened room. Close your eyes and try to empty your mind and be open to the energies and aura around you. Then open your eyes and gaze into the center of the crystal. When you see a shadow or shape, clear your mind and follow them. You may immediately see someone or something or you may see it fill with smoke. The smoke will probably fill up the whole ball and then start to dissipate and leave a scene. This is called clouding.

If you don’t get anything, don’t worry. Keep looking for about ten minutes, but not much more. You don’t want to force anything or strain yourself in anyway. Just give up and try the next day. You will develop your own way of working with the crystal ball. Some see images right away, but sometimes you may need to try for a few days and weeks. Do not strain to get results, just relax and let it happen. At first you won’t have much control over what you see, but as you progress you will adjust and you will improve at clearing your mind and you will start to see what or whom you mentally ask for. If you are constantly getting negative or scary images or feelings you may want to try cleansing it again, cast a protective circle or simply try a different type of divination. Crystal balls just aren’t for everyone. Keep in mind when attempting to communicate with spirits, you should always cast a circle first.

Hedge Witch, Vedge Witch

January, 2019

Naked Nutrition

More and more folks are embracing a plant-based lifestyle, many of whom are pagans as being plant-based fits in with “do no harm”. Plant based is best for our animal companions and it is best for us. This new occasional column will review offerings within the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

First up, is “Naked Nutrition“, who recently reached out to PaganPagesOrg. After a few back and forth emails, I was sent a couple of samples.

The first, and largest, is NAKED CHOC PB. I received a 5 lb. tub. I’m grateful that I make smoothies so often! This is really tasty vegan protein powder. I tend to buy vanilla protein powders, so this was quite a change for me. It was thick and creamy enough without my adding anything to it, but, to change it up, I added a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Yummy!!

NAKED CHOC PB is made from slow-roasted peanuts grown on US farms and organic cacao. That’s it – two ingredients. It’s dairy free (vegan), soy free and gluten free. There are no GMO’s, no salt, no sugar and nothing artificial.

I also received two vegan protein powder samplers, one of which I gave to my daughter for another opinion. The sampler included: Contains Naked Pea, Chocolate Less Naked Pea, Vanilla Less Naked Pea, and Naked Rice in single serving pouches.

Naked Pea is made exclusively from raw yellow peas grown in the USA and Canada. It is vegan, gluten free, and soy free. Chocolate Pea is the Naked Pea, but with raw organic chocolate powder and organic coconut sugar. Naked Pea is the same but with vanilla. Naked Rice is made from organic sprouted whole grain brown rice. Once again, it is gluten free, soy free and vegan.

To those thinking this is a company that only makes vegan protein powders, be aware that they have many kinds available that are not plant-based; some for gaining weight, some made with whey and casein, and some made for those looking to gain weight, add creatine, amino acids, or collagen; they even have several made with goat milk, egg whites and sweet potatoes. Two that I have found are pre-workout supplements.

Their website has quite a few recipes for using the protein powders, some for smoothies and a few for protein bites and bars. There is also an abundance of articles on their blog for weight gain/loss, muscle building and fitness tips, among others. All of the reviews listed on their website are quite good.

Each of the protein powders comes in a 5 pound tub at the cost of

$54.99. You can also subscribe monthly and the price becomes a bit less.

So, if you like smoothies and use a protein powder, I suggest you give this one a try. I think you will like it.

You can find Naked Nutrition at: https://nkdnutrition.com/

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

January, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Star Anise

Star anise is a beautiful, fragrant spice from China and Vietnam often used in cooking and medicine. The Latin name is illicium verum. The fruits are green and resemble star-shaped flowers when first picked. When they are dried, the fruits harden and turn a dark, reddish brown and the star shape becomes more prominent. The ‘arms’ of the star pop open to revel smooth, shiny brown seeds.

The whole fruit is used as a seasoning for many different types of cuisine, most notably in the Chinese five spice mix which is widely used in Oriental cooking. The star shape makes this fruit immediately intriguing as a magical ingredient. The powerful, aniseed-like scent speaks of mystery and wonder, whether it’s rising from a specially seasoned morning coffee or some carefully crafted incense. Read on for more information on how star anise is used in medicine and magic.

The Apothecary

The first point in using star anise as a medicine is to ensure it is never confused with Japanese star anise. Japanese star anise, or illicium anisatum, is also known as the Sacred Tree and is highly revered by Buddhists. The leaves are used as incense, but the fruits and seeds are highly toxic. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between dried Japanese and Chinese star anise fruit. Because of this, it’s important to purchase your star anise from a reputable and experienced supplier. Alternatively, if you’re able to grow your own, this is the safest way forward. If in doubt, do not consume, as the toxic substance anisatin causes severe inflammation of the urinary and digestive tracts. Chinese star anise is the only edible variety and the only variety that should be used for medicinal purposes.

Now that the dire warnings are out of the way, the good news is that Chinese star anise is incredibly medicinally important. It’s one of the primary source of shikimic acid which is used in anti-influenza drugs. There are many sources of shikimic acid, but star anise is so relied upon that when there is a serious flu outbreak, global shortages of the spice tend to occur.

Web MD states that star anise is also used for a range of ailments including colic and other digestive issues, coughs, bronchitis and congestion. It may be useful as a galactagogue; a substance that promotes the flow of breast milk. However, it should be avoided during pregnancy as can affect the uterus.

Mrs Grieve states in her Modern that the oil from Chinese star anise is identical to oil of anise, from the unrelated anise plant. This is why the two plants have such a similar taste. Many animals are highly attracted to anise oil. Hunt saboteurs have been known to use it to throw hounds off the trail of a pursued fox or hare, and it has historically been used in mouse traps as bait.

The Witch’s Kitchen

In The Green Wiccan by Silja, star anise is one of the 52 herbs she focuses on as important tools of magic. The author states that star anise is an herb of the element of air. This means it would make a beautiful addition to the eastern point of an altar or sacred space, and an ideal ingredient for any incense.

Star anise is associated with the planet Jupiter, associated with expansion and luck (Practical Planetary Magick, David Rankine and Sorita d’Este). Jupiter has historically been known as beneficent and positive, meaning plants associated with it, such as star anise, can be used for magic with a positive leaning. Jupiter is also associated with law and ethics, meaning it can be connected to justice and doing the right thing. Use star anise to gain success in business ventures or new projects.

Star anise is also linked to Apollo and Hermes, making it a tool of poetry, music, traveling and communication. and poetry can, of course, be tools for communication, which makes me wonder if this is one of star anise’s strongest traits. Perhaps a witch could use star anise to find different ways to deliver a difficult message, or to open up about something they’re having a hard time expressing.

Silja links this plant to magic for consecration and purification, which can be done via incense or scattering the seeds. The author also states the spice can be used for breaking curses and removing negativity, particularly when used in food.

Home and Hearth

Press a whole star anise into a green or gold candle. Use a blob of melted wax to stick it there, or ensure the candle is soft before you do this. Any time you need to do something regarding prosperity or wealth, light the candle and meditate on the flame for a moment. This could be a visit to the bank, a job interview, a business meeting or even a yard sale. The star anise combined with the coloured candle magic will boost your chances at success and prosperity. (Paraphrased from The Green Wiccan by Silja.)

Kitchen witches should add star anise into their recipes for a boost of humour and joviality in their lives. Indian cookery is great for this. My favourite is a biryani; a fragrant rice dish with whole star anise.

I Never Knew…

The Latin name for Chinese star anise, illicium verum, originates from illicio which means ‘alluring’. This refers to the irresistible scent of the fruit.

Image credits: guangxi – star anise farm in china 2005 by fuzheado via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

***

About the Author:

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

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

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

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