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MagickalArts

June 1st, 2018

 

Sleeping With the Goddess: Embracing the Sacred Feminine

I twist and turn as the Fates

Spin the multicolored threads

That are the web of life.

Strength and beauty grace my path

And Mother’s gaze softens

As she looks upon my weaving.

I awaken joyous and bursting

With life and renewed spirit

Youth my ally and wisdom

Just from hand’s reach

Not ready for the taking

I sigh into the pain as

New life issues forth

I am caretaker and guardian

Of this sacred living gift.

I close my eyes and slumber finds me

Her beating heart echoes through me

Arms cradling Her child of making

Welcoming me home into her

Womb of creation.

We, as pagans celebrate the duality and polarity of all manner of things as we perform our workings of magick, make offerings to the Deities and weave the rich tapestry of our magickal and mundane lives. Contained within these polarities are the concepts of the masculine and the feminine that transcend gender and sexual dynamics. These are the outpourings of the solar and the lunar, strength and emotion, force and form. Each dynamic is needed as the informed companion of the other and each must work in collaborative effort to form the whole. They are the mainstay of our paths and the underpinnings of the universal laws we follow as we move forward in our evolution as spiritual beings.

Historically, as we have moved through the ages the shift of focus from that of a matriarchal society to one of masculine dominance has shaped the ways we interact and respond to the energies of the Goddess. Out of necessity for survival, the honoring of the Sacred Feminine was for the most part hidden and cloaked by the stereotypes of what woman should be and what roles they played both spiritually and mundanely. Now, we see a newly developed understanding and reaffirmation of who and what the Goddess is in relation to who and what women (and men) are. We honor the reverence that was held for woman and the life giving properties contained within her womb, her hands and her heart. We celebrate the Divine expressed in the female form and call to the archetypal energy of the Goddess to manifest in our actions and our will. We acknowledge her presence as the flowing and changeable tides of our emotions and our intuitive nature. And, we cower in fear when she wields the blade of the warrior and calls into accountability those who exert their will and ego in unjust actions put upon those who cannot defend themselves.

She holds the mystery of our destiny in her breath of life and the many forms she takes are the foundations upon which we learn, thrive and grow. She is the most intimate of our companions; being ever within and around as our relationship with her endures the test of time, faith and imposed suppression. We need never look far to see the power of her radiant energy and for many the first understanding we have the Goddess is held in the beauty of the Moon.

Lady Moon

We hold dearly and heed the call of the Lady Moon as she moves through her cycle of New, Full and Dark. The phases of the moon and the ebb and flow of her tides are the experiences of return and release that we engage in at each interval of our own cycles of newness, full expression and waning light. It is her hand that we cling to as we begin the descent in the shadows of our being. And, it is her light that illuminates those things within ourselves that need refining and polishing by the gentle flowing waters that mold and sculpt.

We follow her cycle through the night sky and know of the potential held in the newness of Maiden Moon, but do not always fill ourselves with the enthusiasm and joy of that growing energy. The Maiden acknowledges that everything and anything is possible and change is not to be feared, but simply the taking of another road. In the simplicity of re-engaging the wonder of seeing with fresh eyes and new perspectives our workings grow and seek out what will encourage and support their maturation. The Full Moon brings to us the product of what has been nurtured and tenderly crafted. The wonderlust of youth now stabilized and foundations anchored more fully. Ownership and pride in what has been brought forward fills us and we stand in the fullness of her light as creator and that which has been created. The darkness hides her beaming face as the Moon wanes and the yearning to once again see the brilliance of her light growing and guiding the way for productive passage wells up deep inside. We look up at blackened sky and see the future that soon will be as the Goddess as Moon reveals herself in her many and eternal phases.

The Creatrix

We call to the Goddess as the Creatrix and experience the sacred act of union that is her creative outpouring. We raise our voices in joy at the birthing of new life and its manifestation from the dark waters of her womb. Her union is the quickening and enlivening of what makes us most truly human and opens the paths to compassion and the expression of all encompassing love. We seek her as the Divine guardian of what we bring to birth in our lives and ask her intervention when that product is less than viable and seems all but lost to manifest form.

The Quickener

We rise with her to greet the morning’s light shone brightly from her solar consort and retire with her into the labyrinth of our dreams and intuitive sight as we slay the serpent of chaos and illusion. We move through our daily activities ever mindful of our impact on the world around us as the energy of her intent places each foot in front of the other imbued with her grace. It is the radiant Goddess who stands at the prow of the Solar Barque in her aspect as Hathor and acts as catalytic opener to RA. Without her feminine polarity weaving its magick of enlivening and protection the Sun’s daily journey would fall into chaos and the cycle of Dawn to Dusk would be a hollow shell of the power that is held because of her presence.

The Serpent of Wisdom

She is the serpent of wisdom and the revealer of the truths of our existence and divine nature. She is Sophia, the gnostic Goddess of Wisdom who holds the key to the deep gnosis of regeneration and empowerment. The Goddess weaves her circuit of energetic outpouring to be received by that of the strengthened container that is the God. In the Eastern practices of raising Kundalini it is the energetic nature of the feminine (or lunar) and the masculine (or solar) that rises as the twin serpents coil in ascent; opening, informing and enlivening each of the vortices of the chakras. These twin serpents, however, begin their journey as one, the perfect union of the sacred feminine and the masculine each dependent upon the other, yet singular in expression.

Healer and Place of Return

We surrender to the Goddess in request for healing and it is to her dark waters of birth that we return when life’s end has come to claim us. Our prayers are lifted to her Divine awareness and we call out to her to heal and transform all manner of ailment and discord. Her greatest transformative and healing power comes not as we desire, but in the grace of her wisdom as she sees what we truly need. We ask that she take us quietly into her embrace and ease the suffering of those in pain. She stands with us in the darkness of our own inner landscape and breathes her light into those parts of our being that fear the scrutiny of her gaze; opening, removing and cauterizing the wounds.

SHE is All and SHE is Nothing

The paradox of her energy is that She is the essence of everything and She is also the nothing that is the great void of all beginnings and endings. It is her energy that quickens the emptiness of non-existence and her form that becomes the container that receives its potent flow that will ensure that life will issue forth. She is humanity in manifest form and we are She in our true forms as bodies of light and spirit.

These are but some of the gifts of the Goddess and her hand is present in all the workings of our life cycles. And, it is this balancing point of nurture and intuition, strength and form that the mysteries of life and death itself are held. When we call upon the Goddess we are issuing a call to that part of ourselves that is creativity, catalytic exchange and the quickening waters held within her womb of transformation. We are offering up the deep wisdom of our being to be held in the embrace of her light and then to be transformed as the union with her polarity of the masculine takes hold.

Her power is held within all of us, regardless of gender. For, we are born of woman and it is in the throes of that pain that the true nature of sacrifice and purpose are taken up so that the beauty that is the soul of man may be expressed in our life’s work. We stand in her strength, walk in her beauty and sleep in her embrace at every turn of our existence and it is to her that we return as the darkness of death takes hold and breath is issued in its finality.

Cover Art: Caitlin Fennelly, MFA

www.caitlinfennelly.com,

or on

Facebook as Caitlin Fennelly Studio

article excerpted from my book:

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotions

Available here:

www.robinfennelly.com/books

or on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

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

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

May 2018 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

Here in Central Ohio, the Cailleach continues to rule, reminding Brigid she is still queen for now. Many of my non-Pagan friends are complaining up and down, saying winter needs to go. I say give the Cailleach her time, we will all be whining we are too hot soon enough!

Soon, Beltaine will be upon us. If you have read my past articles, you know I love to plan a gathering for Beltaine. It’s been a year, or has it been two, or has it been three???? Since I have hosted a Beltaine gathering?

I will be honest. Sabbats, for me, just are not that special when I’m alone for them.

It’s all about the fellowship, and doing ritual for me.

 

The folk- the Wicca, or Soul Kin

A simple internet search for “The need for religious kin” turned up nothing. I read a few articles about mankind’s need to have companionship, and be surrounded by like-minded individuals because we feel most understood and validated by them than the people less like us.

I did not find the references to share to support the point I want to make, so I’m just going to make it myself.

Many of us find we feel the presence of whoever we worship best in the presence of other worshipers. A Xtian I once knew referred to it as “sanctification within the community.” As we become the hands, voices, and deeds of our gods, we feel their physical presence through circling with others.

In magical traditions, group magic raises more energy than magic worked alone.

I got so used to doing everything with a group, when I stopped doing so, I felt completely alone. My health and mobility dictated I had to do so, and not only did I stop hosting, or going to other people’s rituals, but I also stopped working. Then I stopped driving. Then, I went some months without leaving the house many days.

If you want to find out which of the friends and friendly acquaintances feel you are important to their lives, drop off the map, and you will find most all of them forget all about you. They easily replace you with other people who are conveniently wherever they are, and you may as well have never met them.

So, for those of us who have fallen off the map from the Pagan community, a Sabbat, which used to be the highlight of our lives, is just another day.

 

Embracing Aloneness

From my Catholic days, I remember something Mother Theresa said :

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

Now, I have already said I experience my gods through others. Examples of that are when somebody is acting as an oracle, and guidance from the goddess comes. Another example is when we are doing a fund raiser together for a good cause. This is the gods using us to help one another. Yet another example is when you need emotional support, and another human being embodies the compassion of the goddess.

Sometimes, we spend so much time working with others, that we have little to no time on our own. This was true for me for many years.

I heard the voices of my gods spoken without human tongues. They visited me in dreams, in waking, in nature, and in the gut instincts I got.

Whenever I asked for communication, they answered. It’s not like I had NEVER spoken with them on my own. It just became habit that I spoke with them in the presence of others.

I spent so many Sabbats and gatherings in the company of others, I began to hear only that particular method of communication from them.

However, I’ve been like this for a while now, and I have made some realizations. My gods have not fallen silent. I just had to listen differently, and I made some realizations about how solitude can bring communication with them.

 

In the Silence of the Heart

I have learned something I never could have before when I was always busy, always surrounded with people, always planning, organizing, working, and always moving.

How to truly be still. How to be truly silent. How to be truly alone.

And how to be comfortable with that.

Most within our circles take time to do the form of meditation where you sit, do nothing, try not to move at all, and try to make your mind blank.

That is not what I am talking about.

Can you be completely alone for many hours or days at a time, go no place, see nobody, and do very little besides the necessary?

Can you endure tedium? Being unnecessary to everybody? No contact from large amounts of people for long periods of days, weeks, or months?

Can you live for a time, basically being as a hermit? Away from the hustle and bustle of life, the influence of society, and the expectations of others?

I am not saying I think everybody should just hole up and do so forever.

Let’s explore first, what a hermit is…

 

The Hermit

We have all seen the Hermit Card in Tarot decks. He turns up quite a lot for us. He represents going into ourselves, to search our souls, or retreating into solitude for a time. Depending on who you speak to, reversed can represent isolation and loneliness, or it can represent coming out of solitude.

Historically, some of the most famous hermits have been very religious. Christians still cloister some of their orders of nuns and priests, away from society. It is believed this withdrawal from society cultivates a closer relationship with the divine by some.

In the middle ages, it was not uncommon for hermits to build huts into the side of the church, and be ceremoniously bricked up permanently. They relied on the charity of people going to church to bring them food and necessities, and they enjoyed a window into the church where they could hear liturgy. These people were called anchorites, and people visited them for advice, as they were believed to have dedicated their lives to communing with their god and the angels full-time, and were considered very wise.

One of the magickal workings to discover one’s True Self, and the Holy Guardian Angel in Thelema entails months of a hermit like existence, and devotion to prayer and magical operations. The solitude allows for removal from distractions and interference of others.

In the quest for enlightenment, the Buddha became an aesthetic, withdrawing to be a hermit for a time.

Monasteries in many different religions have a structured life of prayer, ascribed exercise, a specific diet, a uniform, or habit, and life away from he mainstream society in general. Devotees may be called to take vows of silence, or chastity as well. I refer to this as cloistering, and cloistered life away from society supposedly gets you more in touch with who you are, and what is important.

It’s not for everybody.

My life has been semi cloistered for over three years now, and there are times I wonder how I lived a lifestyle of constant noise and crowds. I have learned a different side of reality.

  1. I realized I did too much- Society pushes us so hard, demanding we do MORE, buy MORE, ARE MORE. We are never enough, and we constantly have to prove we are worthy of simply existing. I found out that is wrong. Our worth as living creatures can certainly be diminished if we are terrible people who do terrible things, but our worth is not proven by our worldly accomplishments, and I discovered that because I just could not accomplish the volume of things I once did anymore. By nature, humanity is quite competitive, but that can become toxic and unconstructive. Sometimes, we struggle to do SO much, the quality of our work suffers. Quality trumps quantity, I found.
  2. What I do does not create who I am- I was told this by a very talented psychic long ago. The things we do change every so often, and often, we suffer identity crisis as the tasks and jobs we complete transition. We are not our jobs or our accomplishments. We are people, not actions, or things.
  3. In stillness comes peace- I had initially misinterpreted it as boredom. The silence was deafening. Now, TOO much noise overwhelms me, be it sound noise, or visual noise.
  4. I leaned to slow down- Not only do I no longer focus on quantity over quality, but I realize speed does not make things any better. Oh, there are going to be times tight deadlines loom, but times when they don’t, slow down, and enjoy the process.
  5. In the quest to do more, faster, we forget one another- We leave behind our loved ones, and neglect the time we should be spending with them. I cannot tell you how many people I have spoken with who get to middle age and beyond, and state they regret NOT spending more time with loved ones than they have. If the focus is on DOING things, instead of moments with loved ones? That is all our life becomes.
  6. I have time for things I said I wanted to do for years- Since leaving the house and working was not on the front burner anymore, I found time to pick up art again. I stepped away from it when I graduated college, and both painting and writing was literally abandoned, as I focused my time on career. I did study music for some years, but I never excelled in music. The written word, and art were my first loves, and I do both again now.
  7. I learned things about myself- I used to be high energy, high accomplishment rate, and never sat still. That did not provide the opportunity for me to pay attention to myself. I discovered I work best with no noise, visual, or otherwise. Before, I was in jobs where I had zero privacy to work, and my productivity drops in that setting. I think most people’s does. I discovered I don’t give myself credit, and people had been urging me to do so for years. I discovered I prefer a small, intimate friend group, rather than moving from group to group. I also discovered I’m not materialistic, which surprised me as much as I love “things.”
  8. I do not miss the loud, busyness- At all.
  9. A lot of people envy me- I have had so many say they wish they “did not have to” leave the house. On one hand, I point out it can be horribly isolating sometimes, and I tell them to be careful what they wish for. I am a very productive, self-starter, and a lot of people NEED a schedule to leave the house, or they just sit and rot. I always find things to stay busy, and a lot of people cannot endure boredom, solitude, or lack of excitement. A lot of people who envy me could not endure this.
  10. I am online more- Lots more. I do communicate with people all day long through social media and texting. I read and research more as well.

I am not saying everybody should cloister, or semi cloister. I am saying, the Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and others are onto something in their assertion solitude can bring you closer to the divine, because it changes the way you think about yourself, the world, and life in general.

Personally, my concentration is better. I focus on the important things now. I read and study more. I have slowed down, which makes it easier for me to notice things. I pay attention to people and experiences more now as opposed to things, and tasks. I do not compare myself to others as much, being as competitive as I used to be.

All of these things create more connection with the self, and it is within us our connection with the divine lives.

Solitude can be used as torture. Prisoners in solitary confinement don’t benefit from it. The sick who are shut-ins or whose impairments keep them from communicating certainly don’t benefit either.

It seems religious hermits live as such only temporarily, or in such a way they are still able to connect with others. Monks have a community away from society, but they do so in groups, and they have each other. The public comes to them for religious guidance as well. I have already mentioned the medieval Xtian hermits whose huts were bricked into the church, and they saw and visited with people often. They just never left. The Buddha was a hermit for a time, but not for very long.

Human beings need one another, for certain, but sometimes, we need time alone, to retreat into ourselves to find the aspect of the divine we cannot experience with other people. This alone time has to be balanced with time with other people, or else it is not good for us.

Each person has their own level of time they need alone, and with others. Too much, and it’s bad, not enough, and it’s just as bad.

For Beltaine Working, I’d like to recommend how to find ways to have more alone time for scared workings.

I know it can be difficult. My friends who are parents and or have careers can attest to this. There have been times in my own life when I worked, sometimes two jobs, that the only time I had to myself was when I fell asleep, or was getting ready to leave for the day, or just getting in! I probably sound like somebody who has no place dictating to busy people how to carve out quiet, alone time!

I don’t assume everybody can find that alone time daily. As I said, I’ve been there! So what I am going to do is offer suggestions for sneaking in a few minutes here and there. This can be time to do ritual, devotions, or just sit quietly for a few minutes on a break from work or classes. It does not have to be large blocks of time set aside, but I will share some ways you can include quiet, alone time in even the busiest schedule for a LITTLE bit of that peace if that is all you can get

 

Saoirse’s Suggestions for Quiet Sacred Time

  1. When everybody else is asleep- Some of my friends who have kids swear this is the only time they get to themselves. That time is often filled with chores, paying bills, and or showering. It also, sometimes eats into their sleep time. Any spare second of time you get when it is crazy busy that NOBODY else is in the room with you can be gold! If all you get a chance to do is light a small candle or stick of incense, so be it, but it is your time.
  2. Short Mantras- Everybody loves time to relax, unwind, and sit in silence to meditate, but not everybody has the time. Even if you have time, there are days when everything is just so crazy and hectic, you simply cannot focus enough to truly meditate. Some people can do so no matter what! But for those who lack the time or ability to focus, short mantras, or sayings that are meaningful can help. One for me is the reminder “I create all that I am , and all that I will be.” Each of us needs little reminders for support all the time, and when we cannot read or meditate to reset our minds, personal sayings can supply some relief.
  3. A Weekly Hour- Is there a day of the week you can get a solid hour with very little deviation? Say you do two classes per week and have an hour and a half between them all. Can you head to a quiet spot during that break, and have your “Quiet Hour”? I have even known some people to utilize the time they commute to and from work as their quiet time with books on tape of sacred readings, or even spiritual music. Go to your car for lunch if the breakroom is busy and noisy. It might not last an hour, but a few quiet moments count.
  4. Lighting the Candles before bed- This is one thing my mother did. We had a low table in the hallway, and on it, she put a white tablecloth, and a single red taper candle. We would kneel before it to say our prayers together at night right before bed. I was small, and she was a single working mom, so I can’t imagine this nightly ritual lasted for more than a few minutes. We prayed, she blew out the candle, and we headed to bed!
  5. Go outside, touch the earth- This is a big one for me. I have always felt best with outdoor time as often as possible. Now that I have a dog, of course, that is multiple times per day! Most especially for those who follow an earth-based path, time touching the earth, or just breathing in the sweet perfumes of her air are crucial to us. Some suggest walking barefoot on the earth spiritually grounds one. I have never found that true for myself, as my feet hurt, but some people swear by it.
  6. Have a pouch, pile, stash, or stack of whatever helps- I used to keep a small bowl of crystals by my desk at a very stressful job. I would hold the crystals to help calm myself. Carry these things in your car, in your bag, wallet, or even on your person as jewelry. I have known some people to have things tattooed onto themselves that serve this purpose.
  7. FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!- Foods and drinks nourish the body, which has been called the temple of the spirit. If you are not properly hydrated or your nutrients are off, you are going to feel awful. Good tasting things, also, help make you feel happy. Joy is not THE goal for spirituality, but it can help keep you going.
  8. Maintain Self-Care- Do things for yourself. I am not talking about a bite of chocolate or a bubble bath. Do that anyhow. I am talking about respecting your body’s limitations, and not jeopardizing your health. Maybe that means shutting the TV off early and hitting the sack, or being absent from a social gathering because you are just spent. Things like this can give much provided time without stimulation the body and mind needs so we don’t get overwhelmed or exhausted.
  9. Learn to say no- This is very difficult for some of us. Ate your kids screaming to hit ONE more store, and you feel guilty, but your sugars are low, and you have to go in to work early? Tell them no, and they better stop that screaming, too! Does your circle want more of your time than you can offer, and they just can’t find anybody else but you who qualifies to write a newsletter? Well, if nobody can write except you, then they sure can’t read either, can they? So, they sure don’t NEED that newsletter. Cutting down on unnecessary activities people guilt us into provides opportunity for more you time, and thus more time for your personal spirituality.
  10. Turn it off- I discovered in a strange way, that electrical currents do not always promote rest and calm. I slept in a cave with no electric on one night, and I have got to say, it was the most peaceful night of sleep I have ever gotten. It is the only time in my life when complete darkness and silence surrounded me. I was there with three other people, and one of the men was so overwhelmed, he had to leave. It was such a foreign feeling, and not for everybody. Not everybody can have that opportunity, but you can emulate this is small ways. Turn off the radio, and open the window to listen to the birds sing. Put down your cell phone, and watch the sunset.

 

Of course, each of us has our own personal ways of adding some quiet, alone time to our days that goes beyond anything I can suggest.

I wish you a Blessed Beltaine, Blessed “Me Time”, and Blessed Be!

***

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

 

What is the Grail to you?!

The Grail stands as a beacon of hope and wholeness in the midst of the Wasteland created by modern Western materialism.  The potency of this symbol beckoning us back to living in harmony with both ourselves and the land around us is a myth very much of our time.  It speaks directly to wholeness and connection and reminds us that to bring the Wasteland back to fertility and lush abundance we must return to the Source that nourishes it.

Our modern Society and education systems gives us few really useful tools to take with us on the great journey of Life.  We need knowledge and understandings that we can directly apply to the challenges and traumas we face, that enable us to emerge empowered and strong, not weak and victimised. The Lost Wisdom of the Grail telesummit brings together a wide variety of Wisdom Keepers who are working to help humanity overcome the challenges it currently faces and envision a future where all are valued and flourish.

– Saira Salmon, https://www.sairasalmon.com/

Recently I received an invitation to be one of the speakers on a Telesummit in May 2018, titled The Lost Wisdom of the Grail, (https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/) hosted by Saira Salmon. She has organised this summit from a strong personal connection to the Grail teachings and Grail mythology.

Saira’s question to me was: “How and where does the concept of the Grail appear in your shamanic work and classes?” This was a very exciting question to engage with!  My immediate response was to request a dream on this subject from my spirit team.


The dream that came was about “the wounded masculine” – linking it to the Arthurian tale of The Fisher King. In the dream I had to make my way to this wounded male figure (first I could not even see if it was a toddler or grown man). When I got there I realized that he was my father/son/husband/male friends all in one. The dream was asking me to reflect on where I need to heal my inner masculine (born a woman) to arrive at a healthier relationship of masculine and feminine in our world. (The external world is always an expression of our internal world!)

Over the centuries many scholars and mystics have arrived at different definitions of what the Holy Grail is or was. For me personally the crucial question is: what is the Holy Grail to you?!


For me, first and last, the Grail is a CRUCIBLE – a sacred container of transformation and transmutation – the big question is: are we willing to make ourselves a crucible (sacred chalice or Holy Grail)?!

For much of 2016 and 2017 I was working intensely with a mysterious figure who called herself The Poison Mother.  She came to me in Sweden and became one of my key allies over time. I made an art video about our work together by the same name:

The Poison Mother


As our work unfolded she told me that was familiar with her under a different name:  Norse goddess Sigyn (wife of the trickster god Loki). Her big question to me (to all of us!) is: am I willing to make myself a crucible for transmutation in the world? This means rather than avoiding “toxic situations” actually choosing to be there and using myself as a chalice (or Holy Grail) to be an agent of change in service to our collective consciousness evolving.


In ancient Sumeria this sacred marriage (or Hieros Gamos) was the central idea at the heart of their religion.  I just finished an art video exploring this mystery today:

The Sacred Marriage in The Great Below


Another Grail in Norse cosmology is the cup that the Valkyrie holds out to the warrior in the moment of death. She is also known as the “The Maiden with the Mead” and she is a supernatural being (a goddess!) and Mistress of Initiation. (I invite you to check out the work of author Maria Kvilhaug (http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=35) who wrote a PhD dissertation on this subject!) This cup is said to hold the mead and her offering accompanies a sacred marriage between the Maiden and the “Hero” of the tale. He faces fierce trials and a descent into the Realm of the Dead to earn this privilege.

It is my belief that profound mystery rites of initiation involving women and feminine power are found at the very heart of Norse cosmology (more commonly perceived as quite a male-god dominated tradition!) The same thing is true for many other cosmologies that map an Other World. The details might be culture-specific but the concept and mystery teachings are very similar.

My personal intention is to call together groups of powerful talented people and harness the group power to retrieve those ancient mysteries and initiations! – If that works speaks to you – please check out my 2-year Seiðmaðr & Seiðkona 2-year program in Sweden (starting Summer 2019):

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450


For the Celtic peoples this ritual was about the sacred marriage of the king to the goddess of the land (Sovereignty). Without this marriage the land becomes a barren waste land (and look at what we are doing to the Earth and her creatures – we need to revive this mystery teaching!
This is the core of the shamanic teaching I am doing – putting ancient mystery teachings back into practice in the modern world with modern groups of people working in spirit-led ways, using the process of direct revelation).

When we lose these wisdom traditions our inner world becomes barren. Our external world becomes a wasteland, dominated by conflict, pollution and a lack of respect for all sentient beings. This way of being in the world brings dis-ease and disharmony with the great Web of Life (or Web of Wyrd in Norse cosmology).

Another question Saira put to me was: what is the Grail in terms of spiritual work with young people? In this context for me The Holy Grail is the safe sacred space – container – for young people to develop their own spiritual toolkit in partnership with their spirit allies. In our culture we make sure that children are looked after in the physical/social/emotional realm but often we leave them rudderless when it comes to the spiritual dimension. I obviously wrote a whole book about this (Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life) but to sum it up in just a few words… our children and young people need:

  • A viable spiritual toolkit to help them navigate the challenges life throws at them

  • Safe sacred space with kindred spirits – if their innate psychic /healing/shamanic abilities are to be nurtured

  • Rites of Passage offered by the Elders of our Communities – safe experiences of initiation and stepping through developmental portals in order to become fully-fledged adults who do not fear death.

Therefore The Grail is directly linked to a rich inner life, to sacred space held by elders and wisdom keepers, to a sacred marriage within ourselves but also between the archetypal figures of King and Sovereignty (Goddess of the Land)!


Are you willing to be a crucible for change and transmutation in our world?!

If this material speaks to you: please make sure to register for the Grail Summit and tune in. Expert speakers from all over the world will share their unique take on this material! And this summit is FREE!!

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

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www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Judging Women Ourselves & Others

One of the things that stand out for me in the everyday world is how women judge themselves, and other women, so harshly.

It happens between friends when one is unintentionally hurt by the words of others. In a friendship, for the most part, although there are exceptions, no one ever wants to hurt the other, but it happens. You apologize and, with hope, move forward.   

Stop a moment and think about how much and how often we judge others; those we know, and more often, those we do not know.  This is especially prevalent in women; women judging ourselves and women cruelly judging other women.  We do it; we ALL do it, even those who believe we are enlightenedand feminist in our thinking, whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not.

I am of the opinion that this is the way this patriarchal culture, this male-dominated society, has trained us to be so.  I am not going to go into the many wrongs done to women and to people of color by a white-male privileged society, not here anyway and not yet (fair warning).  This is more to the way women are trained from birth to judge and to distrust other women.

It would appear that the most important thing any female can do in this culture is to find a man, keep him, marry him and raise a family.  We are told this continually, we see it daily in movies, on TV, in books (for those fortunate enough to love to read).  This is the life we are trained for.  Little girls get toy vacuums, little plastic kitchens, tea sets; we are the ones who are taught to set the table, clean the house, do the chores, and maybe get taught how to cook, at least the basics.  As we grow older, we shave the unwanted hair on our bodies, make ourselves up like kewpie dolls, all in the name of getting a man”.  

(Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash)

As we look around at the men available to us, the women who should be our friends, our allies, somehow become our enemies, our rivals, in the getting of a man.  So, we look at them.  What do they have that I dont have?  What color is their hair?  Are they fat?  Are they thin?  Who looks at them and who looks at me?  We slowly begin to judge ourselves how do we stack up compared to them.  Media and culture being what it is, we NEVER come out on top.  There is something wrong with us, because we are TOLD something is wrong with us.   We begin to judge the other women.  If we are not perfect, then neither are they.  This does not make us sympathetic to them because we can relate; this makes us judge them even more harshly.  It becomes shes ugly”, shes so fat, shes easy, whatever the hell that might be.  The names being “fatso”, “slut”, “whore”, bitch”.  How often do the mean girlsstop and think about how they may feel if these words were hurled at them in hatred?  Unfortunately, words like this are said by even those who are not considered the mean girls and it continues into adulthood. When women, themselves, judge each other, see each other as “enemies”, how hard does patriarchy need to work to put us down? Not very hard as we put ourselves down.

This, I believe, is one of the biggest problems faced by feminism, and, really, it does not matter if you are a radical feminist, or a liberal feminist or anything in between because we are all affected. Seriously, how do you get a woman raised to believe they are second-best, inferior, not-good-enough, to get rid of the judging, get rid of the distrust and band together, stand together to fight the status quo?  

I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I believe it starts by teaching little girls they are valuable, they are worthy, they are important.  We teach them that the Divine once was, and still is, a woman.  We continue this dialogue that has already begun, with each and every woman we meet in real life and online.  We create sacred circles of women to stand together and be strong and TEACH each younger generation of women what is right and what has been wrong for so, so long in the treatment of women and it has to change and it has to begin, and continue, with women.

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About the Author:

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

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For My Witches in the Wardrobe

Being a Witch can be difficult when you have to hide who you are. It makes it a challenge to practice your Religion or Craft.

I, myself, am “Out of the Broom Closet.” Now that is a phrase that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The thought that a person has to hide who they are turns my stomach! No matter WHAT it is they are made to feel they need to hide about themselves! But, I understand not everyone has the freedoms I do. No, I am not talking american, I am talking the freedoms of everyday life! It could be the freedom of being an adult woman, who can stand on her own and not live in my parents household so can speak for herself. It could be the fact that my family accepts me in all my ways. Not all families are open-minded. Mine really isn’t. I’m just a loud mouth. They are used to me. :)

Anyway this column is to you, my Witches. My letters to you, my love letters of sorts. My thoughts, ideas, & expressions of love, faith, and devotion. Ways we can express ourselves in the corners, and cupboards, in locked rooms, or screaming out loud in code, so no one knows.

In this column I will discuss ways to bring Witchdom into your everyday lives. Ways to express your Paganness on the downlow. How to be you, but without shouting, “I am a Witch, Hear me Cast!” I will share ideas, crafts, thoughts, & experiments in hopes that we can all lead more fulfilled lives. Hopefully, I will hear back from our readers on how these ideas help, and maybe hear some of your ideas on how you bring spirituality into your everyday lives in ways that help you in hopes of helping others.

For the first installment where should we begin but with Candles!!! Yes Candles!! What is not the most Witchy item in our toolbox but The Candle?

 

(Photo by Micheile Henderson)

 

Now using candles in your daily life without anyone knowing you are a witch can be as simple as burning smelly candles in your house to soothe yourself and others or as deep as coordinating colors, scents, & inscribing sigils on them when no one is around or in the privacy of your bedroom.

 

Scented Candles & the Witch

You can burn scented candles all day long and no one will assume you are a witch. Scented candles are for everyone. Male or female, young or old!

Every grocery store, internet store, dollar store, & general store sells scented candles. Heck, most stores sell scented candles these days, even bookstores! Many will even tell you what they are for on the wrapping.

You can find nice enough lavender candles for relaxation in your near by dollar stores. Or, if you like to spend a little more on your candles, you can find some like this one that I found in Barnes and Nobles.

 

 

It cost $18.95.

Now, a quick lesson hereit says Dream on it and has a quote by Thoreau, but the scent is Bamboo & Green Tea. Bamboo is for wishes and luck. Green tea, also, is for luck and success. So that goes with realizing your hopes and dreams, rather than, having good sleeping dreams. Do not simply go by what a box says. Always look up correspondences for ingredients yourself! That is very important.

 

Color Coordinating your Candles

Something else to consider with candles for Magickal Purpose is Color. Here is a quick reference guide to Color Magick with candles to help you when choosing the hue of your candles to coincide with what you are preparing:

White – Divining, Purity, Healing, Exorcism

Pink – Love, Friendship, Emotions

Purple – Power, Spirit, Wisdom

Red – Strength, Lust, Courage

Green – Luck, Wealth, Fertility, Ambition

Blue – Tranquility, Health, Patience

Yellow – Learning, Comfort, Confidence, Joy

Black – Banish Negativity, Retribution

Now, these are just a few choice correspondence words to go along with each color. I think from these jump off points, though, you can pick which colors to work with for different goals.

 

Inscribing Candles for your Purpose

What type of candles do you prefer to use for Magick? I, personally, use Chime Candles for magick.

 

 

I like to have my candles burn through for my spells completely, I do not like to put them out. I find that votive, 3-day, or 7-day candles try my patience. Chime Candles burn for approximately 2.5 hours. They are 4.5 inches tall. On the proper day, moon, time, what have you, when I need my magick done, I want it done.

But, me, I like to enhance my Candle Magick by inscribing words or symbols on my Chime Candles for my exact purpose. I feel this carving into them is concentrating energy, focus, and my pure intent of my goal. A meditative moment of sorts.

I do not carve deeply as the candles are not thick. I have used a pin or sewing needle to do the job. I have used my feather quill from my Altar.

What I do, for example, is if a friend is feeling ill, I may take a blue Chime Candle and carve with pin or quill his or her name on one side and the word health on the other with a heart for my love for them and a pentacle to seal the deal. It does not have to be the neatest of carvings as the candles are not the easiest to carve into.

Before lighting my candle I will hold it between my hands and imagine what I want it to manifest. Sometimes a whole story will come to mind. I will let that story play through in my head. I will hold it and dream it for as long as I feel I need to before lighting it. Sometimes a few seconds, sometimes minutes, sometimes longer.

This can all be done in the privacy of your own home, in your private quarters, in a meadow, or a corner of a park. No one need know what you are doing. You can go about your business of doing what you need to do while the candle burns in the room you are in, while you babysit it for the 2.5 hours it takes. Never leave a candle unattended. If need be, you may put it out and relight it later.

I have carved my intentions around the tip in a hurry for privacy. Around the tips of candles and let it burn down passed a certain line to cast the spell, so then you need not wait for an entire candle to burn out. Write your friends name around the tip of candle instead of up and down and let the candle burn down 10 minutes.

 

Reuse the Old

What to do with all those old candles you may have lying around that you can no longer get to light. You know the ones I mean, with the too short wicks where you can no longer get your hands safely in the jars, or where the wicks have somehow just disappeared for some reason! Here’s an idea!!! You can always make new candles from them. These candles you get to infuse with spells or intentions of your own.

There are many ways to DIY candle leftovers. Here are a few sites I found with great ways to do it:

Live the Fancy Life

Sandpaper & Glue

Happy Go Lucky

 

The Summer Sun Candle DIY Way

 

 

Another good way to melt the old wax out of candles to make new candles from them is to use the Summer sun! Take your old candles and bring them outside during the heat and leave them out there for some time to melt. Keep covers on them and let nature do it’s job. When they are melted remove the old wicks. Place a new wick you have purchased, from either your local craft shop or online, into the new jar or whatever you will be using as your candle holder. Be sure it is safe to use!! Pour the wax into the new holder with the wick. You can use anything you feel fit to hold the new wick in place like a pencil or skewer. Whatever works for you. Then leave it to set. You may need to fill the new candle holder more than once. You can mix scents & colors. Play around. Make your own Witchy Creations! You can even play around with your holders when you learn what is safe to use. Like using sea shells and bottle caps as new candle candle holders for instance!

 

 

 

 

Until Next Time…

It has been a lot of fun and I look forward to next month’s column.

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

 

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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.

 

 

Notes from the Apothecary: The Poppy

With colors ranging from a delicate, golden yellow to brash, bold scarlet, the poppy is a self-contained paradox. Powerful, yet delicate and short lived, this evocative flower has been associated with sleep, death and rebirth for many centuries. This connection comes from the fact that opium, a powerful drug used for inducing sleep and trance like states, is derived from the seed pods of one particular kind of poppy, papaver somniferum. It is possible that humans have been cultivating this poppy since 6000 BC.

Red poppies are also a symbol of remembrance, ever since the trench warfare that took place in World War One in the poppy fields of Flanders. They are used to remember those who fell in defense of other; soldiers and warriors, ancestors who died in battle and those who were affected by the horrors of war. In the UK especially, some people feel like the red poppy glorifies war, but they still wish to honor those who died, in which case they wear a white poppy. This signifies that they do not agree with war on principle, but that they respect and remember the sacrifice made by those who had no choice but to fight.

The Kitchen Garden

Poppies are classed as an herbaceous plant, and are grown mainly for their flowers and seeds. Many of the flowers are highly elaborate, having double or semi-double layers of petals. The red, multi-layered poppies always remind me of Spanish flamenco skirts.

As well as being a beautiful addition to any garden, poppies are very practical. The seeds are delicious, and are often used as decoration and flavor for breads, cakes, buns and muffins. As well as tasting great, like most seeds, they are a great source of protein. They are also high in calcium, so ideal for a dairy free diet.

The oil can be extracted from poppy seeds and used as a cooking oil, or for salad dressings and in baking.

The Apothecary

It should come as no surprise to learn that poppy seeds have been used throughout history as a painkiller, considering they contain the raw ingredients of morphine. They also contain tiny amounts of codeine. The Ancient Egyptians are known to have employed poppy seeds for this purpose, but they must have used them while very fresh as the opiate contents tends to fade quickly upon harvesting.

The Witch’s Herbal

The red poppy is a sacred symbol of Demeter, and as such is perfect for decorating any altar you may have to this Greek goddess of agriculture and law. The Minoans also evidently had a poppy goddess, as shown in the clay statuette found at Gazi. This ancient goddess with arms reaching to the sky has her headdress decorated with poppy seed capsules, showing that the cult that revered this goddess placed special, religious significance on the poppy. This may have been due to its narcotic properties, or the simple significance of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. Either way, it’s clear that poppies are a powerful symbol of at least two ancient cults. Using the poppy today can help us connect to these ancient goddesses.

Also within the Greek pantheon, we have Hypnos and Thanatos, the gods of sleep and death, respectively. These twin gods were both depicted with crowns of poppies, once again reinforcing the association between poppies and sleep and death. Death is a kind of sleep that never ends, and being asleep is so close to death in many ways. The poppy reminds us that just because something looks like one thing, it may actually be something completely different. We should examine and reexamine, and be sure of what we are seeing before jumping to conclusions. It reminds us to be less judgmental, more open-minded, and to appreciate the benefits of sleep and dreams.

Dreams are a doorway into our subconscious. And, while our subconscious kicks out some weird stuff most of the time, it can also send us important messages, including messages from our gods and ancestors.

Home and Hearth

Try keeping a dream journal. This can be a hard habit to get into, as you have to remember to write your dreams down the moment you awake from them. If not, you tend to lose details and the whole dream may even fade within a few minutes.

Before sleeping, meditate on an image of a poppy. A red poppy is the one most associated with sleep and dreams, but if a different color has more meaning for you, that’s fine too. Breathe, relax and imagine each petal of the poppy as a layer of your subconscious. Imagine you will be allowed to explore each layer, just as you can clearly see each beautiful petal of the poppy. Immerse yourself in the sense that your subconscious will open for you, blooming like a great flower, with answers and insight.

Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed. That way, even if you wake up at 3am, you can scribble down the contents of your dreams. Don’t worry if you can’t always remember them. The human mind is complex and temperamental! Write what you can and use it to look for patterns, imagery and symbolism.

I Never Knew…

The pain-killing drug morphine, derived from poppy opium, takes its name from Morpheus, the Ancient Greek god of dreams and sleep.

*Image credit: Welsh Poppies in Post Hill Woods, copyright Mabh Savage 2018; the Poppy Goddess at Heraklion Archaeological Museum via Wikipedia; poppies on Lake Geneva via Wikipedia.

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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: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

 

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