witches

Book Review – The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38, Spring 2019 to Spring 2020 – Animals: Friends and Familiars

February, 2019

Book Review
The Witches’ Almanac
Issue 38
Spring 2019 to Spring 2020
Animals: Friends and Familiars

Brightest Blessings


This issue contains a wealth of knowledge. You want to take your time reading this issue, snuggle next to the fire with a cup of tea or hot cocoa. You can tell that each article or story they chose was thought out. Some of the articles make you ponder your thoughts on subjects, while others just entertain you, they are so adorable.


You can learn a lot of lore, history and gain new insight on many topics. Some of the articles are shortened for the book, but they include links for further reading on those articles. The authors applied a lot of time and research to create each of their contributions, it inspired me to do further research on the various topics on my own.

The articles I found most interesting are…


Why & How Animal Omens Work – This article gives ideas and signs on how animals work with spirit and deities, share their knowledge and share insight when we are in deep thought or need help during moments of our life.

The Jade Emperor Race’s, How the Zodiac Signs Came to Be – This story I found entertaining and adorable. I didn’t know this story even existed. I think it is the perfect way to explain them. The book gave information on this year’s Chinese zodiac sign and a table listing this year’s preview and coming future date’s of animal signs in following years.

NikolaTesla – Was a very interesting read, very well thought out using his birth chart for astrology. This information I found uniquely designed to add intrigue to the story.

Merry Meeting of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki – I loved this article. Having her spend author interview time sharing her experiences and her knowledge about the society of the inner light. The article felt perfect just like you were in room with her. Even though they shorten her interview for the book, they provide a link to an audio file to further listen.

Corvids – This article was about using knowledge of certain beautiful birds, lore, and how to divine knowledge from birds of choice and messages associated with certain deities.

There are many more articles within this issue I found so inspiring I wish I could list them all! This book contains information on zodiac influences for coming spring 2019-2020, weather, mooncycles, explanations for gardening by Moonphases, astrological key information, eclipses, retrogrades for this spring 2019-2020, book reviews, and question about the craft you can send in to be answered From a Witches Mailbox!

In ending this book is worth having in your collection of almanacs, you can even order past issues to add to your collection. I was honored to read this book.

The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38, Spring 2019 to Spring 2020: Animals: Friends and Familiars on Amazon

***

About the Author:


Norma Clark I’m Wiccan, My style follows my spiritual path, and what comes to mind.. I live in a small rural town, Paris, Idaho. I share my life With my Wiccan husband, 2 hyper Children, and gang of critters. I love to create new designs by looking at nature, cultural ideas for my Jewelry and create unique Metaphysical items. COME Sit For A  Spell or Two , And See the Magick of Forevrgoddessboutique

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

February, 2019

Review

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

by Coloring Book Cafe, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Mindful Meditation

November, 2018

Samhain Mindful Meditation

Samhain, or the third harvest, historically was a time for farmers to harvest their last crops and head into the dark times when the nights were longer than the daylight. Also known as “Witches New Year,” we can use this time to reflect on our accomplishments and regrets as we begin to look ahead to the coming new year. What are we letting go of and what are we calling in to our lives? 

Items you will need:

-a quite room to be completely alone in

-a comfortable seat

-writing utensil & paper

-cauldron or fire pit

-special box for safe keeping

Intentionally create sacred space and allow yourself to relax into this meditation.

Imagine yourself throughout the evolution of this past year, from November 2017 up until today. Watch your milestones, your mundane actions, and life changing decisions unfold before you. Notice how each movement through out life this year has gotten you to where you are right now. 

Write down any regrets, missteps, or perceived mistakes or missed opportunities you have made.

Now, imagine yourself in the future year from this day until November 1st, 2019. What accomplishments do you see yourself making? What do you wish to manifest for this coming year? Write the manifestations in an affirming way by using phrases like, “I will have” or “I am”. Envision yourself achieving these goal and living it as if it is a normal day, like a waking dream. 

You have your future manifested now in your mind and affirmed on a piece of paper. 

Fold the paper intentionally, mindfully, and place it in your special box. You can place your box upon your Altar or in a special place to be kept secretly.

Now, take the first sheet of paper which refers to your past year and hold it in your hands. Say, “I forgive myself for _____” (stating each individual regret) and once you have released the energy from your heart and tears, through the paper into the fire, watching it burn away before you. Allow the fire to fully extinguish.

Thank yourself for taking the time to sit with your thoughts, thank the fire for burning away the past, and thank your future self for creating this intention-setting moment.

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Witch & Popcorn

August, 2018

Review of Insidious 3

Bright Blessings!

I could not resist reviewing another horror flick! I can’t get enough of them!

I have seen Insidious and also part 2, and was tickled pink when I saw a part 3!

Here is the official trailer.

I liked parts 1 and 2, but part 3 was the best, in my opinion. It is the prequel to 1, and 2, and shows what happens that starts the ball rolling for the events in the first two films.

The plot is the very grief-stricken teenager, Quinn approaches psychic Elise, to contact her deceased mother. Elise has stepped aside from medium-ship work, and initially tries, but then refuses to help.

Soon after, horrible things start to happen, and Elise awakens from a terrible dream, only to find that whatever spirit was reached has invaded her home. She basically tells it to get out, but is too terrified to find the strength to banish it.

Things at Quinn’s house get so bad, her father is forced to seek out Elise, and convince her to help.

At this point a level of badassery Elise was unaware she could manage is reached, and she saves the day.

For now…

What sounds like a basic blockbuster Hollywood horror is much more.

It demonstrates the power of the gifted medium to command spirits and remind the living have something the dead do not- Life and a body.

Elise, played by petite veteran actress Lin Shaye, looks nothing like a powerful exorciser, or magician conjuring and commanding demons- but she sure as hell does. Her soft blonde hair, and normal street clothes as opposed to fancy, glittering robes are substance over style, and remind us that it is ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things. She has been nominated for multiple awards in her portrayal of Elise in the Insidious films, and won some. She is the star of the film, and will steal your heart. Every witch will look at Elise, and say “I want to be her when I grow up!!!!”

The entire film is fiction of course, but deals in a very serious topic.

You should be careful conjuring, and truthfully, most people don’t have any business conjuring at all. Quinn’s mother’s spirit was unable to answer her daughter, because a more powerful, malevolent spirit reached out instead.

Quinn did the right thing, and sought help, but only after extensive attempts to conjure on her own part first. A bereaved child in modern day America would have no way of understanding the dangers involved in such a thing, but modern day Pagans, Witches, and Occultists should. Unfortunately, many find the adrenaline rush from contact with spirits too intoxicating to resist, and get drawn in.

I have witnessed one such incidence, and it was nothing like the demonic possessions of fiction except for the fact the spirit completely overtook the victim.

Said victim was a young man of 17-21 years of age, and he had enjoyed conjuring up said spirit. By the time his caretaker got him to an exorcist, he was so overtaken spiritually there was a black smudge where his face should have been. That is how the spirit presented itself to me, and that is how much it overtook the boy, who was a mere host to a spirit parasite.

Not an exorcist myself, I assisted the exorcist, and was sent out of the room for a time during the operations.

There was no screaming, or levitation. Nobody’s head turned around backwards, and the exorcism was a success. Unfortunately, the young man started conjuring again, was soon re-possessed, and the exorcist suffered a terrible rash.

On one hand, we have the right to allow spirits to ride us. On the other hand, it can be downright dumb to let something in. Christians invite The Holy Spirit in. Vodouns allow themselves to be ridden- but only in ritual, or under guidance.

Modern day Pagans, Witches, and Occultists should take notice from the truths shown in films such as Insidious 3. For one thing, spirits sometimes lie. They can reach into us when we are at our weakest, and be worse than a dangerous drug. They like our warmth, our life-force, and to use us to experience the goodness of these things.

Not everybody has an Elise to save them.

In the end, Elise is rejuvenated, and has come out of her self-imposed exile. The end of the film promises a new beginning and hope for the living that one such as Elise will do as a friend urged her when he said “ I don’t want you to stop helping families like them. They need you too much.”

This is another lesson from the film- Be what you are. Use your gifts, and reach out to those you are called to reach.

And watch this film, you will like it.

Also, I found out there is Insidious part 4! Oh joy!

Happy Movie Watching, and Blessed Be!

Insidious: Chapter 3

***

About the Author:

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

For My Witches in the Wardrobe

August, 2018

 

Hello Hello my lovely Broom Closeted Sisters & Brothers!

(Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash)

This is my third love letter to you all, slipped under your doors, and I thought I would cover the ever witchy herbs this month having covered flowers. Witches use herbs in all sorts or magick and mundane ways and you can, too, without anyone knowing you are using Magick!

As you may, or may not know yet, herbs have meanings, magickal, and healing. There are many great websites and books with this knowledge and I am not going to get into all the herbs out there and their meanings in this article. This article is to show you how you can use them on the down low in your everyday life.

 

Growing Them

(Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash)

Growing herbs is a great way to learn how to work with herbs. Many people grow their own herbs to cook with. There are many kits out on the market today that help you grow your own small herbal gardens to make it easier for you to learn. Even kids kits help to begin to learn. I start with children’s kits, and single pots. I find them easiest, since I have a black thumb, rather than a green one. They come with a tiny pot, seeds for your herb, and a dirt disk that needs to be soaked. You can find them in many stores or online. I have even found mine at the dollar store. But you do not have to start or stop there. If you are an experienced gardener, have at it! Go crazy, grow all your witch supplies!

 

Cooking Magick

(Culinary Blends Sample Pack from Inked Goddess Creations Magickal Mail Boxes and Products Site. Product reviewed here in the column Worth the Witch.)

The first, most obvious way to use herbal magick is by Cooking. Did you know you can impart your intent in your meals and baked goods? If you look at the picture above you can see how the bottles labels say things like Money, Protection, Love… These are all magickal workings you can work into your food. The herbs you choose to place into your food can have a magickal effect on you and others. Be sure to look up ingredients you use. Or look up the ingredients in recipes to see what they mean. Then as you cook, concentrate your energy and your purpose to your cause. Or you can buy magickal culinary blends like the ones pictured above that are simply delicious. If you read the review of the blends in the article Worth the Witch you will see how I baked some love cookies using one of the blends. They filled my house with love, laughter, and happiness! They were also delicious! This is a great way to perform magick because no one is usually with us in the kitchen and a lot of the time the spells can be performed in our heads. Drop in your herbs. Stir your pot (cauldron) and cast in your mind!

 

Wearing Your Herbs

Did you ever think about wearing your herbs? I’m not talking about oils, though that is a great way to wear your herbal scents, as well. I’m talking about on your clothing. Sachets are a way to keep your clothing smelling lovely but also bestowing them with purpose. Lavender keeps you calm, magickally and medically, so add some lavender to sachets in your drawers or on your hangers in your closets with a quick chant about keeping you calm and anxiety free. Then as you go through your day you have the scent of peace about you. Take a nice sniff to remind yourself daily. For happiness try sweetpea, for love jasmine, or musk for courage. Whatever you feel you need more of, you can make up for in herbal scents. Everyone will just think you smell great!

 

Teas

(Photo by Marisa Harris on Unsplash)

Ahhhh nothing like a relaxing cup of herbal tea! Between the magickal and medical correspondences of the herbs in tea the benefits are out of this world. But did you know that the types of tea themselves have correspondences?

Rooibos:

  • Fire Element
  • Strength
  • Courage
  • Discipline
  • Determination
  • Steadfastness
  • Patience
  • Controlling (Personal) Emotions
  • Love
  • Romance

White:

  • Water Element
  • Air Element
  • Serenity
  • Purity
  • Purification
  • Calming
  • Creativity
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Psychic / Paranormal Abilities
  • Astral / Otherworldly

Green:

  • Earth Element
  • Growth
  • Luck
  • Healing
  • Prosperity
  • Protection
  • Joy
  • Success
  • Friendship
  • Good Fortune
  • Abundance

Black:

  • Spirit Element
  • Binding
  • Cursing
  • Hexing
  • Curse / Hex Breaking
  • Banishing
  • Exorcism
  • Sexuality
  • Lust

and yes, Coffee:

  • Fire Element
  • Spirit Element
  • Energy
  • Mental Clarity
  • Summoning
  • Enhancement
  • Power Boost
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Travel
  • Exorcism

(Information from: https://green-tea-in-the-cauldron.tumblr.com/post/149522774366/tea-correspondences-in-magic)

So now we can drink with purpose & a small chant in our heads!

 

Dream Pillows

Dream Pillows are handmade, small, herb stuffed pillows to help you sleep or have good dreams. Some people put little stones in them, also. They are really fun to hand sew up and fill with a little stuffing and some herbs. Kids love them. You should be careful as to what herbs you put in them, because some can have an unpleasant odor. Mixing some pleasing smelling herbs with some more pungent ones helps. Here are some mixes that may help:

 

For A Stress-Reducing Rest

Sweet Hops

Mugwort

Sweet Marjoram

 

Sensual Dreams

Rose Petals

Rosemary

Lavender Flowers

Mint

Ground Cloves

Chili Powder

Lemon Verbena Leaves, Crushed

Piece Cinnamon Bark, 1 inch long, broken up

 

Natural Remedies

(Pic from eatyourselfskinny.com)

Homeopathic remedies are no longer thought of as wisewoman traditions anymore, so it is safe for us to use our natural remedies in public. So get out your herbs to help in healing yourself. A good way to heal a headache is lavender. You can find a lovely recipe for Lavender Lemonade on Eat Yourself Skinny. On a hot summer’s day, when your find yourself battling a headache, why not cool down with this helpful drink recipe?

 

Garden Magick

Growing certain herbs for their properties and placement in your garden can be very beneficial to your household. Placement of potted plants can be as, well. Like a nice Rosemary by a kitchen door for Protection to keep the baddies out. Did you know that planting Lemongrass, Lavender, Lemon balm, Basil, or Catnip can help keep mosquitoes away? So try to plant these around your outdoor gardens in abundance.

 

Well, my loves, I’m going to lay out some herbal Pot Pourri for a house blessing, throw some Basil in my pocket for some money luck while I head out the door, and say Toodles for now.

 

Until Next Month…

Stay Witchie, even if it’s just between you and me -xoxo

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Sacasa-Wright is simply a Witch. She runs PaganPagesOrg eMag.  She loves hearing your opinions & thoughts on the eMagazine and welcomes comments. You can email her at jenniferwright at paganpages dot org.  When she is not working on PaganPagesOrg she is creating in some other way & trying to make the world a better place with her family.

 

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2018

Claws with Crystals


Merry meet.

Bones are a type of fetish,” Sarah Anne Lawless posted on her website. “A fetish is ‘an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency (source).’ The word fetish originates from the French fétiche which stems from the Portuguese word feitiço meaning ‘charm’ or ‘sorcery.’ Feathers, bones, crystals, and stones are all types of fetishes. Skulls and bones have an appeal to witches who perform spirit work and are a necessary and simple way to connect with spirits of the dead and of animals.

Working with bones is not just for necromancers and black magicians. Practitioners who work with bones are a wide range of healers, diviners, shapeshifters, rootworkers, witches, shamans, druids, and pagans.”

When a hunter I respected offered me wings and claws from turkey he had killed, I accepted. I covered the severed ends all with salt, rubbing in, placing them in a box and adding more salt. When more were gifted to me, I placed the fleshy ends in borax. Both were left to dry for several months. (An explanation of a process can be found on many sites.)


When I received them they were already a couple of days old, but the claws were pliable. I was drawn to having them hold crystals. The shape of some of the polished stones I chose made them unworkable. Thankfully, the pagan store I frequent did not mind me bringing in the legs and holding up crystals to determine what would be a good fit. Certain stones seemed to want certain claws, so I went with it.


There is a lot to be said for a more intentional approach, but as I sensed only one was for me, I did not consider uses and intentions that you would if you were making one for yourself.


I positioned each toe and talon to curl around the stone and then began wrapping it all in string to secure it while it dried. In one instance I used tape and while it worked, I think the string was easier to use and adjust.


After a few months had gone by I unwrapped them and found each was stone securely held.

It would be natural to use them as a wand – as is, embellished or attached to another wand – to direct power. A woman who bought one planned to tie it with a cord that went around her neck so it hung almost to her waist.


Bones carry the animal’s magical attributes which is one of the reasons I have worked with bear claws, a turtle shell and a coyote’s jawbone. Smaller bones have fit in mojo bags created to address various needs.

Turkey is considered a good omen, signaling that gifts are imminent. It’s also “a symbol of sacrifice for renewal and that generosity will open the doors to growth and rebirth,” according to a few websites posting the same information.


Turkey as a totem animal means you are “the abundance generator” for your community.

You have a gift for attracting all the bounty of the universe available to you and you are willing to share. You will often meet the needs of others in a giveaway self-sacrifice form simply because all life is sacred to you. You easily translate your life experience into growth and understanding. You recognize that what you do for others you also do for yourself,” according to spirit-animals.com and other sites.

Awareness, creation, generosity, harvest, pride, purpose, sacrifice, understanding and virility are also associated with turkey.

Knowing this, if you would like to make something similar, ask the Source and then be ready to receive what the universe brings it to you.

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.

She who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

February, 2017

LIBERTAS

As I write this, it is the day after the presidential inauguration of 2017, and the day of the Women’s March(es) across the country and around the world. Millions of people, the majority of them women, took to the streets to protest what many see as a threat to the personal freedom of many communities, not only in the US, but everywhere around the globe. They see a threat to justice. They see a threat to liberty and freedom. They are afraid, and rightfully so. With this in mind, it seems a perfect time to speak of Libertas.

Libertas was a Roman Goddess; her name is the Latin word of Freedom.

She symbolized independence, freedom from restraint, and personal and societal freedoms. Her Greek name is Eleutheria. She was, and is, the personification of Liberty and Freedom.

Goddess1

(Photo Credit: insightfulvision.com)

She is depicted wearing a long, flowing gown and holding a rod, called a vindicta, and a cap, called a pilleus, which were two of Her symbols. She sometimes is shown wearing a crown of laurel leaves and with a cat at Her feet.

The reason behind Her symbols was that, within Roman society, when a slave was given his freedom, her/his head was shaved, they were tapped with the vindicta, and given a pilleus. Appropriately enough, She was honored and worshipped by all freed women and men.

Her first temple, located on Aventine HIll was ordered by the Tribune, Tiberius Gracchas and was dedicated in 238 BCE. There is smaller shrine to her located at Cicero’s home on Palantine HIll, and there is a small statue of her inside the Roman Forum. Many Roman coins and seals of the time bear Her image.

Libertas’ likeness was used many times and in many places around the world to symbolize Liberty and Freedom.

Columbia was used as a poetic name for the United States and was one of the names of its’ female personification. She became a symbol in the 1700’s when Paul Revere created an obelisk using Her image to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. It is believed that the name, Columbia, originated from Christopher Columbus. It is from Her that the name District of Columbia was born.

Goddess2

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

In France, She became Marianne, standing for reason and liberty, and a symbol of the French Revolution in the 1780’s-90’s. The Great Seal of France bears Her likeness.

Goddess3

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

It was this Great Seal of France that became the inspiration for Frederic Bartholdi, when he designed and built the Statue of Liberty, the most visual and the most famous of all depictions of Libertas, because make no mistake, the Statue of Liberty *IS* the Goddess Libertas.

Even though She was a gift from France to the US, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom, liberty and justice to the entire world. Her original name was “Liberty Enlightening the World”.

This Libertas statue wears a crown of seven solar rays, which represent the seven continents and the seven seas. This crown is similar to that of Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess, who crown was ringed with 8 stars. She holds the Flame of Freedom, or the Torch of Enlightenment in Her right hand. Her gown is remarkably similar to the original Roman Libertas. Her feet are surrounded by broken chains to symbolize Freedom.

Goddess4

(Photo Credit: everymanempire.com)

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886. The era’s suffragettes, in a boat riding around Liberty island, proclaimed Her their symbol in their demand for the right to vote.

As a symbol of light and liberty, of freedom from tyrants and any tyranny, Her likeness abounds — on state flags, on the state seals of Virginia and New Jersey, on stamps, on both coins and paper money. She stands upon the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. When students demonstrated in Beijing, China in 1989, the Statue of Liberty as Libertas, became the Goddess of Democracy.

Many Pagans, Wiccans and Witches, invoke Libertas, in her guise as the Statue of Liberty, in their personal rituals for freedom and liberation from any form of tyranny.

Circle Sanctuary (circlesanctuary.org), located in Wisconsin, is a well-known Pagan church and community, which offers workshops, rituals, gatherings and more. Their religious freedom network is called “The Lady Liberty League”, and has done much for freedom of religion for all Pagans.

The Festival of Libertas is celebrated on April 13th, and, of course, the Statue of Liberty is celebrated on July 4th. Both of these are set aside to honor Her.

Goddess5

(Photo Credit: evilyoshida.com)

One way to honor Her is to stand up for personal freedoms, your own and others’; work against injustice, wherever you find it; fight for what you believe in, in whatever way you can, such as protesting, marching, writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Carry that work into the rest of the year, for liberty and freedom is hard won, but easily lost.

In personal work, place Her likeness on your altar as either Libertas, or in Her guise as the Statue of Liberty. You may ask for Her help in liberation from an addiction, from a hated job, from an unhealthy relationship, in whatever you personally feel that you need freedom from.

May we all continue to have the Liberty, Freedom and Justice that we hold so dear and is so important in a democracy.

Tink About It

June, 2014

Charmed Forever

The last year or so I have been re-watching the whole Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Charmed series. I have them all on dvd. I was (and still am) a huge fan of all three of them. They came out around the time I was getting more active on the pagan path for quite some time. So they weren’t my first encounter with wicca and witchcraft, but they arrived at the right time for me. They complemented my interests at the time and furthermore I just love fantasy series.
Above all, Buffy and Charmed are about girls/women that take matters into their own hands. No being dependent on men or just being sidekicks, no way: they are the heroes, they take control of their own lifes. The situations and people may not be real in a literal way but they stand for real life situations. Everyone has to face his own ‘demons’ and survive frightening ‘apocalypses’. A lot of the fantasy stuff in the series is a striking and powerful metaphor for something real.

I know a lot of pagans weren’t happy with these series, because it led to a bunch of fluffy bunny’s (wannabe witches that have no clue what real witchcraft is all about) overflowing the pagan community. I can understand that, but I also disagree. There are more sides to it. Yes, of course there were fluffy bunny’s that wanted to learn how to freeze a room, levitate or throw energy balls etc. They were a bit annoying, but once they learned this isn’t how it works in real life they disappeared over time. However, there are also people that got interested in witchcraft through these series and wanted to learn how it does work outside the fantasy setting. The series were just an introduction into something new, which was more than worth it to explore further.

TinkWillow Rosenberg

 

In Buffy The Vampire Slayer we follow Buffy as lead character, but in my opinion it was Willow that underwent the more significant character development. From a nerdy and shy little girl she grew into a strong woman that learned how to handle both her dark side and her incredible power. The ‘witchy’ things we see her do in the series are mostly pure fantasy, and the same goes for most other witches in the series. There are only a few references that are a bit closer to reality. The group at school that Willow visits is more about healing and nature, although later on they perform impossible spells too. Giles and Willow meet a powerful coven in England. We never really see them in the series, but they have hereditary knowledge and power. Their powers are again mostly fantasy ones though.

Tink2Prue – Piper – Phoebe – Paige

 

In Charmed we still see fantasy witches with mainly fantasy powers, but there are a lot of references to more ‘normal’ or real life witchcraft stuff. Of course they are sometimes exaggerated and unnatural, but still… We have to remember that Charmed is a work of fiction, not a documentary about magic or wicca. Its creator Constance Burge often alluded to her intention to use wicca as the primary philosophical grounding for the series though, so it can be interesting to look at the references. If you are interested in a full in-depth analysis I can recommend the book ‘Investigating Charmed: The Magic Power of TV’ by Stan & Karin Beeler, but just to name a few examples:
The sisters have a Book Of Shadows that most witches could be jealous of, with beautiful crafted and calligraphic pages and powers of its own. I can assure you most real life BoS are a lot less glamorous, but also much more useful instead of just pretty!
Prue often warns her younger sisters that ‘just because we’re witches, it doesn’t mean we’re above the laws of nature or the wiccan ones.’ Sometimes they are able to play tricks on those laws (travelling through time and those kind of things), but they try to follow the basic rules. It is often emphasized that magic has consequences, and rightly so! This is also visible in the fact, that the sisters can’t use magic for personal gain. Whether that’s possible and/or ethical in real witchcraft is a whole new discussion in its own right.
If you keep in mind that Charmed is made as a supernatural drama series I think it has the right amount of realistic witchcraft things. Sure, still a lot is fake but if it were more realistic perhaps it would have been too much to handle for the general public at the time it was first aired. It was not made for pagan viewers only but had to appeal to a wider audience, so more commonly understood symbolism was used that can also be found in other religions. All in all I really believe that Charmed has done more good than harm to the general point of view about witches. It successfully opens the audience to a positive impression of witchcraft and wicca.

Due to the revival of supernatural vampires and witches series these last few years there have been rumours about remakes of Charmed and even of Buffy & Angel. I sincerely hope Joss Whedon & Co are more creative than that… A complete remake is just too easy, both unnecessary and undesirable. They can’t get any better, no need to try. No copy-paste but new people, new stories! Follow the example of the Star Trek concept: create prequels, sequels or a parallel series situated in the same universe.
Concerning the original series… I would definitely appreciate a TV-film or special to tie up some loose ends and missed opportunities. A final episode ‘Charmed: The Power Of Four’ where Paige finally meets Prue and all sisters unite. And of course a special in which the epic love story of Buffy & Angel finally gets the much anticipated and hoped for happy ending. Yeah, I’m a hopeless romantic (and proud of it!)…

Moon Owl Observations

August, 2011

The Burning Times


The Burning Times, or Witch Craze is a dark time in history. What really got it going were two main things. In 1320 Pope John XXII authorized the Inquisition and then of course the publication of the Witch’s Hammer (Malleus Maleficarum). This book was written by two Dominicans named Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer.  They  were inquisitors of the Catholic Church and worked in the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The purpose of this office was to defend the Catholic and trial other religions. The Holy Office was one of the most feared in Europe.

The Burning Times lasted almost four Centuries, but the presence of the witch trials was reduced in 1682 because Louis XIV enacted an edict. The actual witchcraft act wasn’t repealed until 1951.  The very first trial against witches was even before Pope John XXII, happening in 1245 in Southern France.  Pagans were not the only religion that was affected in this time, other religions that suffered included Hindus and Jews. Also homosexuals were tortured and killed at this time.

85% of those killed in the Burning Times were women. Women’s power was associated with darkness and death. Witchcraft was bad because it brought up ideas of women actually having power. Women healers were brutally burned at the stake, even though the vast majority of these healers were practicing Christians.  During these times, women could not gather together, especially not at night. Those who did continue to practice had to do it in severe privacy and be careful with who they communicated with. Neighbours and family turned on each other. It was a hard time, and it was especially difficult to be a woman. Woman was the obstacle of mans holiness.

Over 40,000 people were burnt, hung or tortured to death in Europe alone! Sadly, people were still being charged with being witches and for performing black magic in the 1980s and 1990s and were killed in places like South Africa and Indonesia. The word ‘Witch’ was confused with ‘Satanist’, and so people were taught to fear the word. There are obviously still numerous misconceptions on the word. Cultural rituals were dismissed as witchcraft. Even in today’s time people still cannot escape the vision of an old woman with warts and a pointy hat and riding around on a broom.

The witch’s hammer is a book that has been rewritten and published numerous times. Citizens would refer to it religiously, which started horrific deaths and torture that lasted for almost 400 years. Mass hysteria spread after the first publication. It is divided into three parts: details on how a witch is real and so is the dark magic they cast being the first part. Secondly, it depicts such details as pacts with the devil, that the witches were responsible for. Lastly, it has various methods and techniques on how to trial a witch. Having flipped through this book personally, I noticed various mentions of St. Augustine and St. Raymond.  It is declared that torture and execution are acceptable methods of punishment and trial.

Signs of being a witch were vast and always growing. Some of the signs included:

– Owning a cat

– Fighting

– Begging

– Having warts, moles or other blemishes

– Having a crooked nose

– Gossiping

– gathering at night

– Being poor

And because the average lifespan in this time was around 40 years old, being elderly meant that you were a witch.  Being blamed or pointed out by anyone for any reason as being a witch, pretty much meant that you were to face a trial.  The majority of those punished were actually Christians. People in the community would blame someone for the crops being bad, someone being sick, or just looking odd, and then the community would watch them being burned or tortured in the town square. The burnings and hangings were a form of entertainment and people would cheer and bring their children to watch.

Before you were condemned to death, you would be ‘asked’ to confess to your crimes. Methods of persuasion included:

– Sleep deprivation

– Mutilation

– Disembowelment

– Limb Dislocation

– Use of hot pincers

– thumb screws

– sexual humiliation

– removal of eyes or tongue.

There were witch hunters who gained money by charging magistrates for every person who was executed of confessed. Of course if you confessed, you were sentenced to death, it just meant less torture. If you did not confess and declared you were innocent and not a witch, you may be forced to a test. This was to see if you really were innocent of not. There were countless methods and outrageous ideals when it came to these tests. Some of the ways to see if you were a witch included things  like ‘the water test’. which mean that you were dropped into the water, with your arms and legs usually tied. If you sunk and drowned that meant that you died an innocent death, but if you floated and lived, you were found guilty and were killed.        Another method was ‘the scales test’, where you would be weighed against the bible. If you weighed more than you must not be righteous and are guilty and to be killed.  One other popular method was a tricky one. ‘the piecing of skin’. someone would piece a blade into your skin, if there was no blood or no pain than you were a witch. The tricky part was that people would use things like retractable blades.

The Burning times were a horrific period of history that has caused irreparable damage and has tainted the name of Witch, Wiccan and Pagan to this day! During the witch craze churches were built overtop of Pagan shrines. Hundreds of thousands were killed and tortured. Unfortunately the  Holy Office of the Inquisition is still operating, but it now goes under that name of The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They currently focus on issues like homosexuality and abortion.