October, 2017

Welcome

October, 2017

 

 

 

 

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Cover art: The God & Goddess    By: Sondra Hefner of NautyCrow Studio
I don’t always know where a painting will end up when I start. I wanted this one to express the balance I try to maintain in my life and hopefully also express some love.

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Welcome to the October/Samhain Issue of PaganPagesOrg.  

This month we are fit to Burst with great Information, Spells, Book Reviews, and So Much More!  Including all the information you could possibly need for Samhain

Here is a peek at what’s inside:

 

 

Samhain, for many on a Pagan path, is “the biggy”, the festival of all festivals, and much of this is to do with the day’s association with the dead and thus ghosts, spirits and other things otherworldly. Thus begins a Book Excerpt from “A Modern Celt” by Mabh Savage, Titled “Day of the Dead“.  Click HERE to read more.

 

While Samhain most often involves honoring the ancestors and divination, the night is also the eve of the new year.  So our Spell Columnist Lynn Woike Shares a Ritual for Releasing the Old Year in SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

 

Do Witches use Pinterest?  Do they like it?  What types of information do they find on Pinterest and is it helpful?  The Bad Witch’s Guide Takes on Pinterest this month, Let’s see what Lucy Drake has to say.  

 

“Magic exists everywhere around us, and Leafar draws on many cultures and traditions when showing how to tap into it.” This month we review The Magical of Crafting Charm Bags: 100 Mystical Formulas for Success, Love, Wealth, and Wellbeing by Elohim Leafar.  A must read review!  

 

We constantly miss the ones we love who have passed.  Samhain is the perfect time to sit back, relax, meditate, and have a nice conversation with them!  Try A Time to Talk to Dead People Meditation.

 

In this month’s Worth the Witch, we review Spiritual Wake’s Mystery Witch Box, so have a read and find out if it’s worthy of this witch. 

All this and SOOO much more!!  

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Tarot Talk

October, 2017

Death

(The Death Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

This month, since we are heading toward Samhain and Halloween, we will return to the Major Arcana, and talk about Death. The Tarot Major Arcana card Death, that is. Once we take a closer look at this card, you will come to understand that the Death card rarely foretells death of the physical body, and it really is something to be celebrated, not feared. Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves of some terms. If you know them, go ahead and skip down to where we talk about the traditional image of the card.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, a personality, or a behavior. In the analysis of personality, the term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype” (a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; for instance, “girls make good cooks” is a stereotype), or an “epitome” (the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; for example, Venus is said to be the epitome of feminine beauty). Archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has personally experienced (or will experience) these archetypes.

Besides the symbolism in its traditional image, each Major Arcana card corresponds to a number, an archetype, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth.

The traditional image on Death is of a skeleton in black knight’s armor, sometimes also wearing a black robe, riding a white horse whose bridle is decorated with skulls and crossbones, and carrying within his bony hand a flag or banner featuring a white rose. Standing before the horse is a priest, his hands together in prayer. At the feet of the horse are people who are dead or in the process of dying, one of which is often a child. Also at the feet of the horse is a discarded crown. Where the horse walks, the ground is brown, yet in the background are green trees, mountains, and a river on which a boat moves, its white sail filled with air. On the horizon are two white castles, and what could be either the rising or setting sun. In some decks, the horse being ridden by Death is also a skeleton. Other Death cards show the traditional version of Death himself, a Grim Reaper skeleton in a black or a blood-red robe, carrying a scythe, with skulls and bones and body parts littering the ground around him; often he is standing beside a stream or body of water, and sometimes the sky is filled with dark clouds.

Most of the symbolism within the traditional images of the Death card tells of endings and beginnings, transitions of some kind, and often, a return to balance. Death is a frightening figure, and yet his banner is emblazoned with a rose, the symbol of promise, hope, love, and new beginnings. The rose is also often found on The Magician, Strength, and The Fool, all three of which could offer us advice for dealing with the Death card. The sun on the horizon could represent the ending of a day or the beginning of a day. Water tells of emotions, visions, and dreams, all ways to communicate across the Veil between those who are alive and those who have passed. Water also tells of birth and death. The scythe represents the harvest, which happens at the end of the growth season when the harvest is leveled, and the discarded crown tells us that no one, even a king, is immune to death.

The Death card is numbered XIII. The number 13 has a lot of baggage attached to it, not all pleasant. We can break this number down several ways. We can add the digits, 1 + 3, and get the number 4. The number 4 is about balance, stability and depth, not concepts we would connect to Death. However, cycles of being born, living, and then dying and resting only to be born again are a part of our natural world, and death is a key part of the renewal that comes with birth, a part of the balancing of those cycles. We can break the number down as a combination of the numbers 10 and 3. The number 10 tells of the completion of a cycle or effect, and the number 3 tells of broadening our ability to perceive, or the physical manifestation of an idea, or a new creation out of the union of opposites. Or, we can take the number on its own. 13 is seen by many as representing bad luck, rooted from that Friday the 13th in 1307 when the Knights Templar were mostly assassinated. However, the number 13 can represent the “enlightened guest”; Christ had 12 disciples, which means there were 13 people at the Last Supper: 12 disciples and the “enlightened guest,” thus offering keywords such as ascension and resurrection to the Death card. In ancient Greece, Zeus was considered the 13th god of the pantheon, and the most powerful. This offers keywords such as completion, attainment and realization to our card. The number 13 is also a prime number, which tells of purity and an incorruptible nature.

The Death card represents the archetypes of The Reaper and Rebirth. The Reaper clears the growth from the fields and brings in the last harvest. Again, we are shown the cycle of life, and the importance of endings and completions. Only then, once the harvest is gathered and the fields are cleared and allowed to rest, can Rebirth begin. For even during the darkest winter night when the fields are covered with snow, the seeds of the last harvest begin to germinate. These archetypes tell of letting go of the old to make way of the new, of moving from the known into the unknown (which can be frightening), and that new beginnings will follow a period of grieving for what has gone.

Death corresponds with the element of Water. In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

Feelings and emotions are the main correspondences of the element of Water. Emotions flow and have currents, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions. Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious, the dark and unknown depths hidden below the smooth reflective surface.

In astrology, Death corresponds with the astrological sign of Scorpio. Scorpio is a fixed Water sign; in Astrology, Fixed Signs are associated with stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. For Scorpios, these traits are found through achievement, and through going deep into the timeless mysteries of the imagination, dreams, and passions. Scorpios are powerful and willful in all they do; they stick with a task to the end, often achieving much more than Cardinal and Mutable Signs. On the other hand, they are also inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Scorpios will ruthlessly fight on behalf of their beliefs, regardless of any contrary evidence, but they are most at home when immersed in a sustained, worthwhile situation. Scorpios love to learn about others; the curiosity of Scorpios is immeasurable. Scorpio is about beginnings and endings, and about understanding the deep, dark secrets of the self. Scorpios stick to the plan (Scorpio is a Fixed Sign, after all); they are intense and passionate, even if they appear quiet on the surface.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. These creative forces express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. Death of the Major Arcana corresponds with the Hebrew letter Nun, the fourteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet which falls into the level of manifestation, representing the fish. In Aramaic, the fish is a symbol of activity and life. Nun is said to represent both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness. The origin of the pictograph representing the letter Nun is said to be a seed sprouting, representing perpetuation, offspring and the verb “to continue.”

On the Tree of Life, Death represents Path 24, running between Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process where energies harmonize and focus to illuminate and clarify) and Netzach (the stimulating factors of emotion and inspiration). The 24th Path explores the differences between materialism and spirituality; it connects Netzach, the bottom of the Pillar of Force, with Tiphareth, the center of the Tree. The 24th Path helps us to face our fear of change; it shows us that death is a natural part of the evolutionary process, and of living. Through working with this Path, and with the Death card, we learn that death is actually a beginning, and we learn that change and transition are healthy.

The alchemic process of Putrefaction can be seen as a form of death. In biological death, putrefaction is one of the stages of decomposition in which the cohesion between tissues is broken down and the organs are liquefied. Within the alchemic Great Work, Putrefaction destroys the old nature and form. “Everything that has lived, dies; everything that is dead putrefies and finds a new life.” Dom Pernety.

In the Tarot of the Magicians, Oswald Wirth shows us a skeleton with a scythe, surrounded by body parts and the head of a woman with long hair and a man wearing a crown. In this deck, many of the cards are named: the Magician, the Priestess, the Empress; however Death is not named, only numbered. Wirth tells us that death is not to be feared for it is liberation, rather, Death “extinguishes nothing, but sets free the energies overwhelmed by the weight of Matter’s increasing inertia.”

The Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana Death/Rebirth card is **the** change card of this beautiful deck; the keywords for this card are endings, beginnings, cycles, transformation, transmutation, change and growth. Death/Rebirth tells of the death of the things that no longer serve and the birth of the new and exciting things that will replace the things that died. The process is not reversible (which is one reason we fear death); once we pass through Death and into Rebirth, there is no re-do. The LWB offers pointed advice: “. . . it is time to take a long, hard look at your life, and understand that it is time to let go.”

The image of the Death card in Thoth deck is what attracted me to this deck initially. The Death card shows death as a dancing skeleton bearing a scythe. He wears the Crown of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead and is shown in the waters of Amenti, an Egyptian after-death state. The sweep of his scythe creates bubbles which contain the seeds of new life. This version of Death does not show the usual version of the Grim Reaper; instead this being dances!

I adore the image on the Wild Unknown Death card; it absolutely captures the idea of transformation without bringing in the fear. Here is the duckling of The Fool and the swan of the Cups Court Cards of this deck, or at least what is left of them after their life forces have departed and their bodies have mostly decayed and gone back to where they began so new life can spring from their ingredients. There are still some feathers left, and a beak on the skull, like the fading memories left in our minds of someone who was once alive. Most of what was here once has gone on to another plane of existence, the life force back to the Divine and the body back to the Earth. We don’t know what it is like to die, but there is a rightness to this image that reassures. Life may not be forever, but neither is Death.

The Legacy of the Divine Death card has everything you would expect: a skull, spiders and scorpions, a grim reaper on a rearing steed, wearing armor and carrying a tattered banner, a dead bird and winter-bare branches along with a beautiful, perfect white rose blossom. This card tells us that we have indeed died, maybe not physically but we have been irrevocably transformed. We are not existing in the same form. The keywords are letting go, death, rebirth, regeneration, and metamorphosis, among others.

Endings are as necessary in life as beginnings, and the Death card reminds us that the cycles of life, no matter how pleasant or feared they may be, have a beauty about them. Our life cycles have an elegant simplicity about them. Nothing is wasted, and everything has value. As we move through the changes and transformations of life, we need to remember to not dwell too much on the events of the past, or the possibilities of the future. Instead, we should embrace this moment in time and look for the possibilities hidden within it. Those possibilities have so much to offer, and they are right here, in our hands.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .

Samhain – Divination & Superstition

October, 2017

 

 

Without question, my favourite Sabbat of all, is Samhain, a time where the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.  The celts celebrated this as New Year, it’s also the last of the harvest festivals before winter sets in.  One of the things I love the most is reading up on the folklore around this Sabbat, and we all know how thick with stories it is, but I love it, I love to think of people setting a place at their dinner table for their dead ancestors and people putting candles in their window to guide the souls on Samhain night.  I do think it has become more of a candy fest for most countries now, and in a way that’s sad, what I think we need to do is educate the children on the true meaning of the festival, its less about going door to door begging for money (don’t get me started) or candy and more about honouring the wheel of the year and death in all its forms.

 

 

During Samhain, the Goddess has entered her incarnation of Crone. She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on. The God, at Samhain, is the Horned One, the stag of great antlers, the god of the wild hunt. He is the animal that dies so that we may eat, and the grains and corn that once lived in the field before our harvest. We can honour these late-fall aspects of both the Goddess and the God in one ritual.

 

 

I have a fascination with some of the old traditions for divination, like this one.

 

 

Throwing the Shoe; It’s an Irish tradition of very simple divination, so, a person wishing to know their future remove one of their shoes on Halloween night and tosses it over the roof of their house.  If the shoe lands pointing away from the house it means there will be a period of travel in that particular direction.  If it lands pointing towards the house it means no travel is forecasts.  Good fortune is indicated if the shoe lands with the sole down, however, if the sole is pointing up this is said to be a sign of impending misfortune or even death!

 

 

Food divination – A Scottish twentieth century tradition was to beat the following objects into a pot of mashed potatoes (champit tatties) a button, a thimble and a ring.  The lights in the room would be turned out and boys and girls would scoop out a bit of mashed potatoes and eat it in the dark.  If the boy got the button this would be an indication he would never take a wife, if a girl took the thimble this meant she was destined for spinsterhood.  However the ring was a sign of marriage and happiness in the future for whoever was lucky enough to find it.

 

 

Lead divination On Halloween night fill an old spoon with scraps of lead and then hold it over the flame of a new white candle until the lead is completely melted.  Pour it into a pail of cold water.  The shape it assumes after it cools will reveal the trade of your future husband.  For instance if it takes on the appearance of a ship, this indicates that he will be a sailor, a book indicates a teacher, a lancet a doctor and so forth.

 

I have to admit they do make me smile and for me the weirder the better, superstition has been around as long as Halloween itself, and I’m sure that news superstitions creep in every year… here’s a couple of my all time favourites.

 

It is believed that if a person lights a new orange candle at midnight on Halloween and lets it burn until the sun rises they will be the recipient of good fortune.  However, according to an old legend any person who bakes bread or journeys after sunset on Halloween runs the risk of conjuring forth bad luck in great abundance.

 

 

If the moon is new on Halloween night this indicates that the coming year will be fertile ground for new beginnings to take place, such as the start of a project, a new career, or even a new way of thinking.  Good Luck throughout the coming year is promised by a waxing Halloween moon.  It also indicates growth and an increase of all things that are a positive nature.  A full moon on this night ensures that the powers of all forms of magic and divination practised on this night will be at their greatest.  A secret wish made at midnight on this might will be realised within the coming year, and do not be surprised if an experience of a psychic nature awaits you in the very near future.  However, if a Halloween night sees a waning moon, this can be an omen of good or bad consequences.  It can indicate the elimination of such things as bad habits, unhealthy relationships, and obstacles within the coming year.  Or it can point to a decrease (such as health) or a loss of some kind soon to take place.  If what is known as the ‘dark phase of the moon’ takes place on Halloween, this is believed to be a very negative omen.  Exercise extreme caution in all your endeavours within the next twelve months, and it wouldn’t hurt to protect yourself by wearing or carrying any type of amulet or talisman designed to ward off bad luck and misfortune.

 

 

Aren’t they great, I mean some of these date back so long, I wonder who originally decided this was the truth?

Book Review: Minerva’s Owls by Mary Petiet

October, 2017

“All of the Darkness, while we are created by Light.

“Minerva’s Owls” tells the story of where we came from and how we got to where we are now; of how we came from the Goddess, the world-wide worship of the Mother and matriarchal, women-affirming societies to a war-like God and technology driven societies.

It tells the story of how the balance of the world, and our own individual balance was disrupted, while the Feminine was buried within, and by the Masculine. It is why the balance is disrupted still.

Using her personal experience with yoga and what it has taught her, along with individual chapters on each chakra, Ms. Petiet explains the early matriarchal cultures and how they were taken over and destroyed, changing the world, as the masculine supplanted the feminine, which is where we are, still, to this day.

As she describes both feminine and masculine archetypes, she touches on Native American Spirituality and Eastern thought to explain that not only do we all need, and seek, connection, but why it is necessary.

Ms. Petiet has given us a guide on what we must be done to return our planet and ourselves to a balance of both energies, something that is needed for our survival.

We must return to the Wisdom, return to the Feminine, return to the Source.

If you have an interest in how we have gotten from there to here; if you have a desire to find a way back to personal balance and a deeper consciousness; if you have a wish to help the planet move forward in an evolved, more connected way, then by all means pick up “Minerva’s Owls”. You will be glad you did.

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, WriterTeacher, 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 Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, 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

Book Excerpt from A Modern Celt: Day of the Dead by Mabh Savage

October, 2017

Day of the Dead

 

Samhain, for many on a Pagan path, is “the biggy”, the festival of all festivals, and much of this is to do with the day’s association with the dead and thus ghosts, spirits and other things otherworldly. It’s generally celebrated on October 31st although in Gaelic the word actually means “November” so the festival being named thus would seem to indicate that is to be celebrated at the start of November. This is probably because the Celts believed a new day started at sunset, so when fires were lit on the 31st October as the sun went down, it was already Samhain, the next day, and time to celebrate another point in the year when the veil is thin and one can almost speak to one’s ancestors, as they walk amongst us. Sometimes the night time celebrations are still called “Samhain Eve” rather than Samhain, and I think it’s key to understanding the Celts that we recognise that they weren’t taken too much by the time of day or the date, but more by splitting things into light and dark. Sunset was the end of the current day, therefore it was the beginning of a new day. Samhain was the halfway point between equal night and day (the autumn equinox) and the longest night (the winter solstice). Winter was darker; summer was brighter.

 

This is how I believe they saw the world, and this is how, as someone trying to understand their ancestors, I am also finding myself looking at the world. Even though we are, as a modern society, so obsessed with timekeeping and date stamping, it’s nice just to think “It’s cold and the sun is low after only a few hours, it must be winter. The moon is full and the sky is clear- it will be cold tonight. The leaves are yellowing; it is autumn.” It’s so much more special to watch the world change around you, to feel the turn of each season, than to mark its continuation by the flick of the page in a diary and waiting for dates to happen. The most physical evidence of any sort of calendar kept by a Celtic people is the Coligny Calendar, bronze plates dating from around the year 200 (although it’s thought the calendar usage may go back as far as 800 BCE) which show a calendar based on a 5-year cycle using both the solar and lunar cycles to describe an approximately structured year. This is not unlike our modern Gregorian calendar if you think about it- we have months roughly based on the cycle of the moon, although as we only have 12 now we stick in random days here and there (i.e. the 30 and 31-day months), and every 4 years when we’ve not managed to travel quite all the way around the sun, we get an extra day!

 

So here we are at Samhain. We now understand that the Celts were looking forward into the darker part of the year and preparing for winter, whilst at the same time feeling the touch of the other world; the fae, the Tuatha Dé Danann and indeed their own ancestors. Ever since I can remember this has always been a time to remember one’s own ancestors and honour them the best you can. This can be simply saying their names out loud, or holding a feast with their favourite food included. A common practice is to leave an image out of the ancestor or ancestors in question, and if no image is available or appropriate then something that either belonged to them or reminds you keenly of them. This is their physical link to you; this is how they know where to come through when they reach the veil. Offerings are left with this image or symbol, as a way of thanking your ancestor for what they have brought to you. Hopefully, your ancestor will see the gesture and be grateful, but also be at peace seeing that you are doing well and honouring your traditions; understanding yourself as a whole person, and acknowledging what came before you and what will come after; after all, by whole heartedly embracing this practice you accept that one day you will be on the receiving end of the gesture- whether through a direct blood descendant or even from friends or students- anyone you may have had significant and positive influence on.

 

As well as honouring our ancestors, we also accept that in the long run, they no longer belong here. Not that they are unwanted, but that they now reside somewhere else, and only at Beltane and Samhain can we be this close to them again. Samhain, starting at sunset, has the longer darkness, and therefore the greatest opportunity to light fires and candles as beacons to guide the dead, which I think is why this winter festival is more widely recognised as the day of the dead, rather than its summer counterpart, which is more about the continuity of life and fertility.

 

So at Samhain, there tends to be a threefold celebration. We welcome the ancestors- we draw them towards us somehow, we feel their presence and we celebrate their return. We spend time among them, enjoying their company like one would a friend you have not seen for years. Not only ancestors but friends and acquaintances past, including pets and working animals that may have been close to us. Because of this it can be a very bitter sweet time of year: although it’s wonderful to feel the presence of someone or something deeply missed, it also brings sharply into focus the original grief when you lost them. Because of that though, it can be a great way of dealing with grief. Sometimes we bottle things up too much, and Samhain has a tendency to bring to the fore feelings we would not normally have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a good idea, because of this, to surround yourself with friends, family and loved ones or whoever can best support you through this.

 

Of course, you may be someone who genuinely deals with grief better on your own, but when you are also dealing with the potentially supernatural, it’s good to know that you are not alone; that you are not the only person who is feeling the presence of someone long gone but clearly not forgotten. So this is the second stage of Samhain: being with those we lost, and dealing with it either with happiness or grief while ensuring we are supported and making it as joyous as possible with feasting, drinking, and even gifts. Some celebrate Samhain as New Year too (understandable looking at how the Coligny calendar split the year into two halves), so again, more drinking, gifts and excuses for tomfoolery! The third stage is a little more solemn, and just as important. This is the stage where we feel the veil closing, and we say farewell to our ancestors (and other loved ones) and ensure we guide them on their way.

 

There are many different ways of doing this and I would not recommend that you practice rituals, rites or magic with the intention of guiding the dead without the guidance of someone experienced in such matters- quite frankly it can be a bit scary. More simply and traditionally, candles can be lit as symbolic beacons to show the dead their paths. can be played, for in Celtic tradition music is a gift from the otherworld and thought to be very magical indeed. Ancestral feasts are cleared away and images of ancestors are cleaned and put away until after the season is over, to remove temptation for the spirit to stay. It’s like saying, we’ve been happy to have you here, and we wanted to let you know how grateful we are for your influence in our lives. But we are the living; you are the dead. It’s time for us to get back to our lives, and for you to return to whence you came. I think it’s very healthy in that way; we accept that our loved ones are gone. We in no way cling on to them or expect them to return to us to be a permanent part of our lives, and in this way we can deal with our grief and move on, although it can take several years for grief to lose its keen edge of course. But we also accept that here is a time when we can celebrate them. Whether you believe that the dead physically (or metaphysically) return or not, how can anyone sneer at the idea of having a whole festival dedicated to love, remembrance and joy?

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

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

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Book Review : Who is a Witch by Rowan Moss

October, 2017

 

Who is a Witch is beautifully written by Rowan Moss. The illustrations are also beautifully done by T.S. Lamb. This is the first book in the Pagan Children Learning Series.

 

This book covers the topic of who is a witch and what witches do. The book explains everything in easy to understand language. For words that may be harder to understand, the writer included a glossary at the back of the book.

 

Who is a witch explains that almost anyone can be a witch, and that you cannot tell just from looking at someone. It shows that witches come in all shapes, forms, colors, and backgrounds. It shows that witches are not someone to fear because they do the same kind of stuff that the readers do! It goes on to explain that witches practice magic and what magic consists of. The book does a great job of explaining the types of things witches do like keeping a garden, being in nature, and practicing magic with a coven.

 

One of my favorite parts of this book series is the activity in the back of each book. The activity this time consisted of making a bird feeder. This was one of my favorite things to do as a kid and I was excited to see it included. I feel that this activity is perfect for teaching children about witches because the book is showing children that witches are helpful to nature and care about the environment.

 

I shared this book with my son and he gave it a big thumbs up. We spent one afternoon discussing who in our community may be a witch and what they did in their free time. That evening we sat out and watched the sun set and the moon rise. We talked about the book and what witches might be doing at that time of the day. The next day we completed the activity in the back of the book. We discussed how witches take care of the Earth and what else we could do to support witches and nature.

 

This book comes highly recommended from me. If you have small children and are struggling with how to explain who witches are, use this book! It not only explains everything in an easy to understand way but the activity is a lot of fun also!

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You can read Deanna’s Review on What is an Altar HERE.

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(samhain)

October, 2017

(samhain)

 

 

 

the leaves fly as i drive home blowing formica gold seventies orange & a washed-out green just a few bright reds this drought has made for a dull autumn still the sun reflects the jewelry in leaves yet clinging to trees the leaves fly after a frost so long in coming oh demeter i will miss you as you search for your daughter oh hecate i do revel in your golden splendor oh artemis i long to join you in this season’s hunt the leaves fly as i drive home the sun sets in a mass of growing clouds red & gold & purple & midnight blue the onset of a cold front

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

 

Finding Your Spot

October, 2017

Indoors or out of doors, the witch must find her spot. This is the place where she feels grounded and centered, and for her it is therefore the center, either of her dwelling or of the world. If you have an easy chair set up somewhere in your living room, this may be your spot, provided it is not placed against a wall. Mark your spot with a piece of tape or something similar if you must, though it is enough to note how you feel there and let that be your marker. Now, standing on your spot, use your magnetic compass 1 to face the four directions. Gaze into each direction rather than looking. This means to let your eyes face north, east, south, west in turn but do not track on any object in those directions; instead, see everything there is to see equally in each quarter.

The associations with the four cardinal directions, in many witchcraft traditions, are as follows:

North – Earth, the power to be still, silent, steadfast.

East – Air, the power to know, understand, express your knowledge.

South – Fire, the power to will, enthusiasm, sacrifice.

West – Water, the power to dare, seek new life, the unknown, initiation.

Each morning, stand on your spot and mentally salute each of the directions in turn, beginning in either the north or east, and finishing with the direction you started with. Ask for help during the day to embody the powers of north, east, south and west. You can pray “Help me to know, help me to will, help me to dare, help me to be still” as you face each direction, ending with “Help me to know” again as you face east; or you can begin “Help me to be still,” and so forth, ending with that same prayer, as you finish by facing north.

Take your magnetic compass with you and use it to face in the appropriate direction and ask for help from the elementals of a particular quarter when you feel the need.

As with all rites, observe a period of silence right afterward, open yourself to your feelings. The direction in which you began and ended this first rite is your new primal direction.

1 What? You don’t have one? Get one.

 

*Graphic from Pinterest.

Getting Acquainted With the Dark

October, 2017

(art by Sarah Mcmenomy*)

 

It is October and Samhain is drawing near. Who among us who observes the Wheel of the Year doesn’t get excited about this most sacred of witchy days?  At Mabon we entered the dark half of the year, a time for reflection and looking within.  Not only is the world around us darkening, it is time for us to face our own inner darkness.

 

Darkness.  It’s a word we throw around a lot, but what does it mean for us as we move deeper into fall and toward winter?  We hear that “dark” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” but then, why is darkness sometimes associated with negativity?  Anger, death, sadness: these are just a few examples of things that cause us pain.  But are they truly “negative”?  If we use the principle “As above, so below” and look to nature, we see that some things grow and flourish and other things die.  Forest fires spring up spontaneously, killing some plants, but activating others that can only reproduce under conditions of extreme heat and allowing them to carry on.  Is any of this positive?  Negative?  Right?  Wrong?  It’s different when it’s us, we think.  We feel pain, sorrow, purposelessness.  And I’m not dismissing pain.  I’m just suggesting that perhaps these things aren’t negative in and of themselves.  Anger can motivate us to work to improve something that provokes us.  It’s natural and okay to experience sadness, to cry, to feel afraid.  Maybe these “dark” things hurt us when we have an excess of them in our lives. Too much sadness, and one can easily feel overwhelmed.  Constant fear without reasonable cause, and one can miss out on much of life.  You can even have too much of a good thing, as we so frequently say. Laughter, for example, is great, but would you really want to keep up a good belly laugh for thirty minutes straight?

 

Samhain and the dark of the year are times when we focus on both that which is hidden and the necessary role destruction plays in our lives.  We encounter the realm of the dead and perform  divination, self-reflection, and purging.  It is difficult to see what hides in the dark, just as we cannot see what lies beyond this life.  We reflect because we may not have considered all that is important, leaving it hidden beneath the busyness and activity of our daily lives.  When we take part in the tradition of considering what we need to “let go of” at Samhain, we recognize that destruction and loss play an important and necessary role in our lives.  We are surrounded by this destruction every day. All life feeds on other life.  We eat animals or plants, and the plants feed on organic material in the soil. When we die, we will be swallowed into that soil and become the material that feeds other life. Is this scary?  Naturally.  But Samhain is a time for facing our fears of the dark.

 

When we honor our beloved dead, commune with them, think about our beliefs about where they are now and where we’ll be when it’s our time to pass over, we integrate this vital and opposite aspect of  life into our consciousness.  Instead of fearing death, as much of our society does, we engage with it. Witches are often referred to as walkers between the worlds of the living and the dead and Samhain is the perfect time to find out just how comfortable you are doing that walking.  Is facing death frightening?  Invigorating?  Calming?  When death is encountered regularly while we’re alive, every year at Samhain and perhaps much more often than that, we become, while not entirely fearless, more comfortable with its inevitable presence.

 

We accept that this physical aspect of life we experience is not all there is, and so the world on the other side of the thinning veil is real to us.  Holding rituals to honor your loved ones who have passed and inviting them to a “dumb supper” are both excellent ways to get an introduction to the other side. Creating an altar of photos, favorite things, and other mementos is a great way to make them feel at home.  But as you look to the world of the dead, don’t forget to also look within.  You might like to do divination for the coming year or to find a focus for the long winter ahead.  Journaling, meditation, and bouncing ideas off of other people to reflect on later are other great ways of doing this.

 

This time of year is about all things scary, and we have fun with that just like everyone else.  But let us remember, as the dark begins closing around us, that we only fear it because it is hidden.  It has its place, like everything else, and we must simply strive to understand it and to keep it in balance.  I hope you have a blessed Samhain, and may your encounters with the darkness change you.

 

*art by Sarah McMenomy

I attempt to capture mystical and visionary experiences from the auric to the occult in my digital art. I use scrying, meditation, dream work, and photography as the basis for my intensely detailed line drawings. If you’d like to see more, please visit my site sarahmcmenomy.myportfolio.com.

MagickalArts

October, 2017

A Special Pathworking for Samhain

Hecate’s Labyrinth

This time of the year is one of connection. The veils between the worlds have thinned and many will reach out to the Goddess Hecate as they seek the deeper wisdom of her triune form.

Some will call to the Goddess to guide them to the land of the ancestors as they seek the gifts of those beloved who have passed on. Others will call to the Goddess seeking greater knowledge of their own strength and the power held in the trinity in the human form. And, some will use the energy of Hecate to transform and renew what will be carried into these months ahead that may be used as space of reflection.

I invite you on a journey to the Crossroads. The link below will take you to a recording of a pathworking I wrote entitled:

 

Hecate’s Labyrinth

 

The recording is an mp3 and is downloadable for future use. May the blessings of Hecate fill you as you stand at Her crossroads and seek Her wisdom.

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