April, 2016

Merry Meet

April, 2016

springPentacle

 

 

                                            Welcome

 

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In This Issue…

 

We have tons of great features this month for you to enjoy…including two great interviews

RebeccaBeattie

one features author of Nature Mystic, Rebecca Beattie.

 

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The other features “Bad Witch” Blogger and author of Candle Magic, Lucya Starza.

 

candles

Magicks has a little Candle Magick 101 for you to either learn a little about candle magick or to simply brush up on some color coordination!

 

sweep

 

Aromatic Life has some helpful hints on Spring Cleaning the Natural way.

 

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And….What is the difference between Offerings and Sacrifices find out more in SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

 

You will find those articles and tons more in this issue of PaganPages.  Enjoy!!!

 

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Join us on Facebook, Twitter, & Etiary!

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

April, 2016

Beltaine

Bright Blessings!

We just celebrated out Ostara last night, and I admit, I am dog tired today. We had TOO much fun, and I am reminded of how the film Excalibur portrayed Merlin as going into a deep sleep after becoming tired after doing magic! I actually slept in until about 2 P.M. today!

But more than that, I am worried. I am having difficulty reserving the group campsite we have been reserving for years for our Beltaine. You may remember my article from 2014 that lamented we were too ill to camp- wellk this year WE WANT TO CAMP!

Unfortunately, there is confusion about booking at the site EVERY year. Don’t ask me why, but this year, we were told they no longer even allow reservations. I called the main office to find out what the heck was going on and ask if they can pretty please allow us to reserve the site- and I was told they do , indeed, still take reservations, but I was transferred to somebody who had a really bad attitude. Not only was his tone of voice rude, but he said he would take my name and number, but did not care what I was calling about and did not want to know. I told him I will just call back tomorrow. I don’t trust that guy to relay my message.

I really should not feel sorry for myself. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I have heard much worse. One year, a Pagan Pride was booked at a site and the reservation was paid for months in advance. The event coordinator was later told that nobody at the office saved any information from the booking, the employee who had booked the thing was long gone, the event would not be allowed there, and there would be no refund. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! I am not the one who had to deal with this, but it makes me cringe just to think about it!

My struggle with this campsite is very minute compared to what some other facilitators have endured, but I am still pulling my hair out, and I will tell you why. It is because of three things that begin with the letter C. Cost, convenience, and most importantly, consecration.

Costwise, most of the campsites nearby my home cost hundreds of dollars. I wanted to offer a free camping event once a year in my hometown people could attend. This site costs only $48 to rent for 24 hours. Nothing would cost less unless somebody hosted it at their home, but that is not the best idea either. Sometimes, we like to invite new people along who would be more comfortable meeting in public than at a stranger’s house! So this is the least expensive way to do this.

This site is the most convenient one we found for lots of reasons. First, it is only ten miles away. Everyplace else is much much farther. Think ninety miles away! Next, it is private, and we can have all the fires we want. We do two fires that are blessed, and the people walk between the blessed fires. While we could get a metropark space that was nearby and allowed fires, they are much more expensive, and everybody has to clear out of there by 10 P.M., so no camping. WAAAAHHHH!!!!

Most importantly, we have had multiple Beltaines at this site. Beltaine is the event my Priest and I do best together. People really look forward to it, and I admit, I don’t think anybody looks forward to it more than I do.

As mentioned in previous articles, we have done raffles, workshops, and other groups have joined with us some years as well. The main attraction is the Maypole ritual and blessing we do.

Our tradition has a May King and May Queen to represent the forces of fertility that create new life.

We begin by the Priestess taking all the females to a spot, and the Priest taking all the males to a spot. The ladies select who they think best embodies the goddess in the form of the Maiden in all of her splendor. She is beautiful like the blooming flowers. She is strong, and fertile, a perfect vessel for life to bloom in. And once the ladies decide who will be May Queen, she is crowned with a crown made of real flowers and vines the people have created. I always have the children in attendance help create those crowns!

My Priest is a stickler for tradition. The flowers have to be fresh and real. He’s also thrifty, so he has us go find the flowers and vines in our yards and neighborhoods so as not to spend cash.

While the ladies are crowning the May Queen, the gentlemen are crowning the May King. He is to be the embodiment of the the father god in his prime. Sexy, lusty, powerful, and charismatic. He is full of energy and focused on….well…rutting.

Before I go any further, let me mention that our tradition does not do the Great Rite by having people actually engage in sexual intercourse- although some traditions do. I will never forget one year when I got a concerned e-mail from somebody who was planning to attend. He wanted to know if we were having an orgy. Of course not! But I have heard that some people absolutely do.

We instead, present the May Queen to the May King, and they do a little dance around the Maypole, and then everybody else joins in.

Some traditions may have set dances they do. Ours has my Priest choosing funny rock music with sexual undertones. Since my Priest is what we call an aging hippie and I was a child in the 1980’s, the glam rockers, and hair bands provide lots of material for us. like Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls, Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, probably anything from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Unskinny Bop by Motley Crue, Whitesnake’s Slide It In, and even some pop songs like George Michael’s I Want Your Sex.

Here is a link to a really hilarious article that lists some great 1980’s songs about sex.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/sex-songs

Obviously, if you want kids to attend your Maypole ritual, you can just keep it cleaner and do a nice, polite chant like the popular goddess chant, or even nice love songs. Of course, it won’t be as funny if you are playing nice, clean love songs, but I understand that not every group is the same!

The Priest and Priestess do not get to vote for who is May King and May Queen. They just lead the people in the coronation and show the “royal couple” how to become the goddess and god for the ritual. One year, the ladies all voted for a sixteen year old girl to be May Queen, and I about died. I asked the young lady’s mother if this was okay, and mom said okay! I was hysterically terrified the kid would wind up pregnant in the next few months- magic is funny like that. But the kid did not- and she was one damn good May Queen, too!

One year, our May Queen was actually the sister of a best friend of mine. Everybody sure liked her, and she was perhaps the oldest lady eligible to be May Queen. The gentleman who was voted May King that year pantomimed chasing after the May Queen, and the gal who was May Queen pantomimed “Come here, now get away!” She lead him on a merry chase. All the while, the hair band hard rock sex anthems were blaring on the boom box, and inbetween fits of giggling, we all danced along. I think that was the year I fell flat on my butt, was laughing so hard, I could not get up, and so two of the guys hauled me back up on my feet.

After the dancing and merriment is all done, the Maypole is danced. I use the same consecrated Maypole every year. I do not know if that is traditional, or if you are “supposed” to do it this way, but it just feels right to me. I suppose the Maypole might have a traditional amount of ribbons that belong on there, but I have never taken the time to find out. Our Maypole was a branch my Priest had seen years ago that he thought was calling him, and he went through nests of spiders to bet to it. Afterwards, it sat in his basement, forgotten for quite some time. Then, the year we decided to do our own Maypole, he gave it to me. I took it to a friend’s house, and with ribbons she had and that I bought, we used nails, tacks, and gorilla glue to create the most gorgeous Maypole on earth. It is short. A lot of groups have ten foot tall poles. Ours is about six foot tall. Every year, we have my husband bury it in the ground so it stays still, and it has never come loose of fallen during ritual. We have about 22 ribbons on it. One year we had less people who wanted to dance- many were tired after the hard rock music dancing, and some people took two ribbons in the dance.

And it was fun. Maypole dancing emulates the divine joining of the goddess- the earth- with the father sky god, represented by the pole being plunged into her. The people dancing the dance, weaving the ribbon represents us blending our magic with the magic of the goddess and the god, and it is also a form of adoration as well!

I share this one video from Glastonbury a lot. I love it. It shows the weaving technique used for the dance. OVER, UNDER, OVER, UNDER. And by the time the ribbon is all used up, it has created an absolutely gorgeous plaiting around the pole. Here, you can see what this group did!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxcIqMmlVOs

After all that, the May King and May Queen have done their job and done it very well! Next, in our tradition, the Priest and Priestess bless each person. We bless cakes and drink- usually cookies and juice, and have each person approach for their own blessing. First, the person gets a cookie and are told “May you never hunger.” Then they get a sip of juice and are told “May you never thirst.” As our particular tradition is all about balance, if the person is male, they then get a personal blessing from the Priestess. If they are female, they get one from the Priest.

Not all traditions are this specific, and I admit, a couple people got very insulted by this. One was transgendered and said she did not appreciate being asked to join males based on being born with a penis. She identified as a woman trapped in a man’s body and said she did not feel the least bit male. Another person who complained stated they are gay and therefore do not understand a ritual that emulates joining of male and female to create life.

I told them our tradition does this because in the plant and animal kingdom, you need both male and female parts to create offspring. I also said I would never ask anybody to participate in a ritual that they were upset about or that did not serve them. But our tradition of Wicca really is appropriately referred to as a “fertility cult.” Maybe that is why Beltaine is so big for us!

The Maypole ritual and May Day as we personally celebrate it include things emulating the sex that everything has that makes babies. We use sympathetic magic to send energy out to the powers that be to ask them to make those things happen. We are not just gathering to ask to get pregnant. We want baby plants and animals made, too, for our foods! But also, we ask for the energy of birth and growth in what we need in our lives.

Maybe somebody wants to go back to college and wants the gods to help them make it happen. Maybe somebody has been ill and wants a new body and new life in the form of healing.

Our particular tradition focuses on the magic the god and goddess create together for this and all our Sabbats and workings, but I accept that not everybody finds that focus meaningful. I think each person has to celebrate the Sabbats in a way that is meaningful for them, and not worry aboutm other people’s traditions.

Having said all of these things, I realize that I usually discuss history first and then provide suggested working. I did it backwards this time. So here is some Beltaine history!

What is Beltaine?

It’s based on ancient Pagan practices. It was the beginning of the summer for the folks who raise livestock back in Pre-Christian times. They brought the animals from winter grounds to summer fields, and a purification ritual involving bonfires that were blessed was used. The people and animals were paraded between two blessed fires and it was believed this ritually purified them. I read recently that sometimes, a dough was made and cooked over the blessed fire into a bread and everybody was fed the blessed bread as part of the processions.

Can you imagine how happy the animals must have been to get out of those barns and into the summer grazing grounds? And the animals who were young who had never seen those fields must have been so excited- and relieved to pass by the warm fires and see, for the first time, all the land they had to run free in! How excited, too, the people were. Songs, dances, and feasting were part of it all, as well as thanks to the gods for making it through ANOTHER winter season.

The work on the foodcrops was at hand, and while I am sure the backbreaking labor was not exactly relished, the fact it was time to start production of such good things was eagerly anticipated.

Talk with any gardener, whether they grow flowers or food, and they will be bursting at the seams come Beltaine time. Here in Central Ohio, May Day is about the time when danger of last frost is past and EVERYTHING can be planted out of doors without worry.

Today, while I took a short break from writing this article, I made my timetable for what seeds I will plant when. It is March 21 today, and while a few things can be put in the ground earlier, I still have about five weeks before I can put it all out!

For us, we can just run to the grocery for fresh fruit and veggies- but our ancestors could not. They preserved foods and had something to eat, but preserved foods are not the same as fresh. I can only imagine how excited the ancient people were when planting season was in full tilt.

I also read the Maypole comes to us from the Germanics. I learned it was outlawed in the 1500’s when King Edward the VI came to power and was reinstated under Queen Mary when she took over the throne. Support and opposition of the practice changed with whoever was holding office, and it varied by region. The Presbyterians who ran Scotland were against it, and today, of course, it’s just used as a Springtime celebration because it’s fun and festive all over the world.

I will say, though, that we THINK the Germanics used it in connection with fertility rites, but we are not entirely certain. It might have represented the Yggdrasil, or the World Tree. In Sweden, Maypoles are used at Midsummer, not May Day.

Technically, in Germanic and Scandinavian places, it’s Walpurgisnacht- or the day Witches supposedly used to gather in the Brocken, or the highest peak in the Hartz mountain. What witches supposedly did while communing with their gods, I do not know. Perhaps the association with “witches” after Christianization is due to the fact that this region was once a sacred site for veneration of the Allfather, Odin.

The weather at The Brocken is extreme to say the least. It gets no warmer than about 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the Summer, and it gets more precipitation than anyplace else in Northern central Europe. Many months, the land is completely covered in snow. Being somebody who dislikes cold, myself, I have to wonder why ancient Saxons chose such a frigid place to hold sacred rites to Odin. But perhaps the very fact it was so extreme made it seem all the more sacred to them.

Today, some European towns have Walpurgis Night festivals still. They celebrate the feast day of the Saint Walpurga instead of honoring their ancestral gods. Some have music festivals and some do things more like what you see in Fourth of July celebrations where mom and dad bring the kids and the local auxiliary clubs put on concerts. I imagine back in Saxon days, the revelers behaved just as the people in this video I share did.

We sometimes imagine ancient Pagans as being somehow more wild and barbaric, but I seriously doubt they were. They were just ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Religion was an ordinary part of everyday life. While the bonfires might look big, what they did, even when there was human or animal sacrifice was not lewd, wild, exciting, or romantic.

It was just normal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs9wn9W2t60

People all over Western Europe still light bonfires around the last week of April or first week of May because cultures and practices may have changed, but basic human nature has not. There is some small part of us that still needs the sympathetic magic of the bonfires to emulate the lifegiving heat and power of the indestructible sun.

Seeing as people now celebrate this Saint Walpurga, let’s explore who she is a bit more.

She was born in either 710 in England, the daughter of St. Richard the Pilgrim, who was the brother –in-law to Saint Boniface. Saint Boniface was the first one to establish organized Christianity in the German lands, and recruited woman as well. He sent Walpurga to Germany as well.

Walpurga’s early portrayals show her as holding sheaths of grain and it is speculated veneration of her replaced worship of a grain goddess. Due to belief she prayed while on a voyage, which calmed a storm, she is the patron saint of fear of water, called on for protection from storms, and a matron of sailors.

In Antwerp, Belgium, a church was built and named after Walpurga. The church was confiscated and used as a warehouse by the French in 1798, then by the Dutch, who destroyed it shortly after. Little was salvaged from the church which stood as a sanctuary for about 700 years!

What little survived, including one of the painter Ruben’s masterpieces and a small piece of the original altar was taken to The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. Ruben’s painting can be seen here at this link to the Wikipedia article about it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elevation_of_the_Cross_(Rubens)

Whether the old gods, or a missionary to the Xtian god are being celebrated, one thing is for sure- all over the world, May Day is a big deal. People are so happy the days are warmer and the growing season is begun that they have to sing and dance and make merry well into the night.

However you celebrate, may your gods bless you, and may this season of new life bring many new things and joys into your life.

Blessed Beltaine!

Blessed Be!

Bardic Song of the Month

April, 2016

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Wheel of the Year Turns”.

In our Coven, we have a 24″ diameter Circle made of plywood. It has all eight Sabbats listed on it as pieces of pie. When we celebrate a Sabbat, we experience the changes in the year. We turn the Wheel to acknowledge the changes. As we turn the Wheel one turn Deosil, we remember the path we walked and the new path ahead.
Somebody gets to turn the Wheel as the rest of the participants chant the poem. This year, I put the chant to a song.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away.
 Wheel_Of_The_Year_Turns
If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.

The Kitchen Witch

April, 2016

Cosmic Crabmeat Stir-fry

crabstirfry

 

This is an easy and simple meal that can be put together in under thirty minutes. It’s a recipe I got from the father of my son – it’s the only thing I think he knew how to make!

You only need a few ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small green pepper, chopped

¼ red onion, chopped

4 ounces (half a package) moonlight mushrooms, sliced

1 package imitation crab meat, broken up a bit

1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes

Dried parsley, oregano & basil to taste, as well as salt & pepper

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. Sauté the green peppers, red onions and the moonlight mushrooms until half-way soft. Add the crab meat and stir and cook for about a minute. Then add the tomatoes, smashing them up a little. Add the seasonings and then let simmer while you prepare the pasta or rice on which you will serve the stir-fry. Don’t forget the grated cheese!

The day I made this, I didn’t have any mushrooms but it was still very good. I served it on angel hair pasta. One thing about this dish – it doesn’t work very well the next day. I love leftovers but Cosmic Crabmeat turns into Cosmic Catfood after twenty-four hours. So if you plan to make this, plan to eat it all immediately. What you’re looking at here will feed four decent appetites – especially if you have a salad for a side dish. And maybe a nice hunk of bread as well!

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

April, 2016

Travel Altars

Merry meet.

This months witchcraft is about making altars that you can take with you when youre away from home.

Tins from mints such as Altoids, eyeglass cases, cigar boxes and jewelry boxes all can be made into travel altars, holding items that help you create sacred space and perform magic no matter where you are. While we can agree you need nothing more than your mind and your will, objects can be helpful by providing a focal point and by contributing energy.

A coven member made multiple travel altars in eyeglass cases to give as gifts. She included a piece of fabric, symbols for the elements, a candle, a container of salt and a container of water. She put in stones that could be used for god and goddess.

travelaltar5

travelaltar2

travelaltar1Your options are endless. You can find items to represent each element or paint symbols of them on small stones or even bottle caps. Charms and pendants can be used, along with mini tools, tarot cards, game pieces, beads and incense cones. Scrapbook and jewelry making sections of craft stores have items that will work. You can also mold items out of clay or salt dough. Mod Podge or other decoupage glue is a favorite medium for getting fabric or images to adhere to the surface of your box or tin.

However, you need not buy a thing.

Denis proved that with the traveling altar he made from a jewelry chest rescued from a swap shack at the dump. Every item in it was found, repurposed or gifted. While it wont fit in your pocket, it is still portable, and has traveled with him to rituals and as hes moved.

Your tiny altar can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. For some inspiration, check out the travel altars board I created on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lw222/travel-altars/

travelaltar4

travelaltar3

Once you state your intention to the universe, you will find yourself attracting the items you desire. I invite you to tell readers about it by posting in the comment section.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Beltaine Correspondences

April, 2016

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.
Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

 

Finding Avalon

April, 2016

Reflections

 

vivimoss

 

Fae Fyre

Gossamer webs of blue-green

Fae Fyre

Weave through the

Fabric of time,

Connecting all that is—

And all that shall be

Spiraling out to

The worlds beyond,

The Fae Fyre

Touches the Children of Earth,

Reminding us all that we are,

Kith and Kin

Wrapping its ethereal light

Around the Kindred Heart’s

Of Faery and Middle Earth,

We become entranced

With the Knowledge of Oneness–

And Fidelity

Seeking what lies Within,

Yearning for the Touch

Of Fae Fyre

We become One—

Co-walkers,

In the Land of Dreams

United in the Quest for Truth

The Fae Fyre

Burns bright in the Soul’s

Of All,

Revealing the Sangreal—

The Holy Blood

Knowing we share

The Sangreal and

The Fae Fyre,

We become the Shining Ones—

The People of Peace…

Arda is once again

As She should be,

Burning with Fae Fyre—

Flowing with Sangreal—

Living in Peace—

Shining; forever more…

~by: Vivienne Moss~

As I reflect upon my life as a Witch and Pagan, I come to comprehend the deep love I have for our community. Though we may have profound differences, at the heart of it all we are connected in the truth of the divine. Whether that divine is many, one, or the world itself, we acknowledge that it is a part of us. Divinity lives within and without, it surrounds us in all its inspiring and terrifying beauty.

To me, the waking world is as full of the magic that is Avalon just as much as the dreaming world. The All Mother, whose names are many, breathes life into this world, awakening us to the possibilities of myth and enchantment. In myth there is truth; the divine stories remind us of what our ancestors experienced and the new myths we create will help our descendants understand the ways of our lives. The myths we leave them will define the world they will be born into.

What kind of world will we leave our children and their children? Will it be one of peace and beauty or one of war and strife (much like the world we are now living)? We must fight for a better way of life, demanding that we deserve better than this– that we are better than this.

We must make allies of the Spirit and Faery realms, standing side by side with them in the protection and re-enchantment of Mama Earth. In the finding of Avalon we will find our way to Peace and Sovereignty; we will know that we are Holy and filled with the Blood of Faery and the Star-Dust of Eternity. We will stand with our brothers and sisters of Earth (all Beings of Earth are our Kith and Kin), united in the love and compassion for All.

May the Flame of Avalon burn at the Hearts of All: and may the Waters of Avalon quench our thirst for the Deep Peace of the Lands Eternal…

Book Review: To Suffer a Witch by Claudia Hall Christian

April, 2016

To Suffer a Witch by Claudia Hall Christian

sufferawitch

 

This book was written by Claudia Hall Christian. Now, I haven’t read anything by her before, but I can tell you right now that will change. I really loved this book. This is the first work of fiction that I have written a review for and I will make sure not to spoil anything.

To suffer a Witch has great characters that I came to genuinely care about. It’s all about some people that were hung during the Salem witch trials in 1692. But, twenty of them came back as immortal witches. You do learn a lot of what happened to them over the three hundred and twenty two years, but it takes place in 2015 in the city of Boston. You get to go into the past and read all about what they went through and how they came to where they are now.

The main character is Em. And she is a very strong female lead character. She is caring, brave, powerful and smart. Her love for her friends is strong and in general you can tell right from the start that she has a good heart and you want the best for her, and her companions. There are for sure moments in this book that made me sad. It took me to a place where I can’t even imagine what all those people went through during the trials. The pain and suffering they felt is overwhelming. You can tell Claudia did her research and she is very good at putting detail and emotion into this book. It made my heart ache thinking about all the innocent lives lost during that time. The first part in the book that made me super sad is when you learn about the loss of a young daughter. Thinking of innocent children also being killed just makes me sick. It seems so real and you feel their pain and misery in this book.

The book keeps you hooked on pure curiosity and excitement. If you start the book, there is no way you won’t finish it. Right from the start I found myself asking lots of questions. How did this happen to them? Will they find a way out of the danger they are in? Who are these witches and will they survive? Why were these 20 specifically chosen to be immortal when so many others died? And Christian does a great job of answering questions, and keeping you turning pages to find out more and see what happens. There is for sure a lot of suspense in here, and that’s one of the reasons I love it. I find some books have some major dull parts, but even when delving into the characters past and stories there isn’t a part in this that made me feel that.

This book is well written, and for once I don’t have complaints about the editing! The concept of the novel is great and I’m glad she put this story out there for all to read. I think it would be a good read for anyone. Whether you are familiar with the happenings of the Salem trials or not. Whether you want some suspense, some history, or even some love. More people need to discover this wonderful book and author. I find I don’t read as many novels anymore as I used to, but after looking at her website (http://claudiahallchristian.com) I know I have a few more to look forward to adding to my list.

Honestly, this 520 page book is unique and interesting. It’s a major page turner and I recommend you check it out. It’s an adventure worth going on.

MagickalArts

April, 2016

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

Candle Magick 101

candles

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pink – Used for love of the heart, relationships.

Orange – Sacral Chakra, attraction, communication, energy.

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

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

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

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

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

Brown – Stability, the earth, growth, potential.

Grey – Represents intuition, the astral, shade.

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

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

Interview with Author Lucya Starza: The Bad Witch

April, 2016

Lucya Starza: The Bad Witch

lucy

 

Lucya is the author of the very popular Pagan Portals: Candle Magic, which has now spawned a series of workshops. Lucya also has a ‘bad witch’s blog’ which I hoped she would be able to tell me more about…

What inspired the name of your popular blog, badwitch.co.uk?

The name A Bad Witch’s Blog was inspired by the book How to be a Bad Birdwatcher, about birdwatching for people who only know how to identify normal garden birds. I wanted to get better at being a witch. I had been a witch for some time, but wanted an incentive to do more witchy things and learn more. Writing a regular blog forced me to read books that I’d meant to read for ages, to get to more pagan events and generally to be more active.

When did you first become drawn to witchcraft?

That’s a difficult question, because it depends how you define witchcraft. I came from a family that was into all things magical. My grandma was a Theosophist and had worked as an astrologer. My parents would probably best be described as New Age. My dad taught me palmistry and dowsing when I was a kid. Back in the 1960s, the word witch was still not a polite thing to call people. My school friends called my family witches – actually they also called my family The Addams Family – but that wouldn’t have been what anyone in my family called themselves.

When I was in my 20s I became interested in Celtic spirituality with a boyfriend. We would go into the countryside or onto the beach and spend time honouring the Celtic gods and goddesses in prayer or meditation. However, I didn’t technically become a witch until I was about 30. I trained with Shan at House of the Goddess, in London, and then later joined a Wiccan coven, where I was initiated.

Tell us a bit about Pagan Portals: Candle Magic. What prompted you to write this volume, and who is it aimed at?

Friends had been saying for a long time that I should write a book based on the type of things I write about in A Bad Witch’s Blog. Candle magic is my favourite type of magic, so it was the obvious choice of subject for me. The book is in Moon ’ Pagan Portals series, aimed at beginners to the Craft.

Can anyone perform candle magic?

Yes – and pretty much everyone does. Who hasn’t made a wish over the candles on a birthday cake?

How was the launch party at Treadwell’s?

It was lovely. Treadwell’s is a wonderful venue for the launch of any esoteric book. As well as being one of London’s best occult bookshops, it has a great basement room that is ideal for book launches. The staff looked after me very well too. Christina, who owns the shop, told me to just let the staff organise everything so I could be the “belle of the ball”. I must admit I did get a little tiddly, so perhaps it was best that I wasn’t doing the organising!

Are you planning workshops or courses on candle magic or similar subjects?

Christina invited me to run workshops on candle magic at Treadwell’s. The first one was a couple of days after the launch and was fully sold out. The next one is on April 9, but I think that’s sold out too. I expect I will run another later in the year. Here are the details: https://www.treadwells-london.com/event/practical-candle-magic-2/.

Was it a shock to find Sainsbury’s selling your book in the Satanism and Demonology section? Do youthink this is indicative of a wider misunderstanding of esoteric topics? Or is it more reassuring thatSainsbury’s is quite happy to even have a Satanism and Demonology section?

I think it is quite funny, but it is a bit sad that there is such a misunderstanding and that some people still think that anything to do with spellcraft and magic must also be Satanism.

Are you planning more books? What other projects do you have on the horizon?

Yes – when I get time to start writing it! I still write A Bad Witch’s Blog and put new posts up every day.

You recently used Thunderclap to promote your book. How do you think social media has transformed the way we market our products, whether these be books, crafts, music or any other creation?

Social media has transformed marketing massively. I used to work on a local newspaper and before social media most marketing involved sending out press releases to journalists and trying to get reviews in magazines and papers. That’s all changed. Now you need to promote products online first and foremost.

What are you looking forward to most in 2016?

I’m going to the Druid Camp (http://www.druidcamp.org.uk/) in the summer. I’ve been invited along to give tarot readings, but I am likely to also give a talk or workshop on candle magic. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Do you have a favourite season or time of the year, and why?

I love all the seasons; the first flowers in springtime, the long hot days of summer, the golden leaves in autumn and the festivals of midwinter. However, if I had to pick one as my absolute favourite it would be spring, when blossom is on the trees and the woods are a carpet of bluebells.

And is there a particular place that you find more magical than any other?

Yes indeed. To quote Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Follow Lucya at her Bad Witch’s Blog and find her book on Amazon and all other good retailers.

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