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Mindful Meditation

December 1st, 2018

Winter Solstice Meditation

(Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)

The Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration, merriment, and relaxation across cultures for millennia. The shift into winter has always brought a turning inwards for myself. The change from Sagittarius to Capricorn is a great way to use this energy for forward movement, instead of downward spiral. This is a great meditation for the Solstice, the couple of days before or after, or whenever you need a boost of inspiration and drive. If you are solitary and prefer to listen to the meditation, you will find that option below.

Find a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and feel where you are making contact with the ground. Feel a root come down from your feet or the base of your spine and burrow into the cold soil below. Feel the hibernating animals all around you, tucked in for the winter. Let the safety of the earth enfold you as you let go and fall deeper into yourself and the arms of Mother Earth.

You are in a winter field at night. You see a centaur, half man, half horse emerge from the tree line. He approaches you with eyes that are both wise and wild and smiles a confident and knowing smile.

“Where is your passion leading you next?” he asks as he takes off his quiver of arrows and hands them down to you.

What comes to your mind first? Do you embrace it or doubt it? Let other passions arise and be aware of your ego’s reaction to them. Does intuition or fear hold you back from any? Are some on fire, already filling you with excitement at their prospect?

See each arrow as a potential direction that you can explore, and choose the one that is singing loudest to your heart. As you pull it from the quiver, the arrow-head bursts into flame. The centaur smiles at you again and he hands you his bow, pointing off to the distant mountains and says, “Take your aim and fire.”

You notch the arrow and pull the bow back. You take a deep breath as you aim towards the mountains and as you exhale you let the arrow loose. You both watch it zoom across the darkened landscape until it hits high up on a mountain.

The centaur nods in approval and reaches his hand down to you saying, “Jump on, let’s go get it!”. You swing up onto his back and he takes off at lighting speed in the direction of the fire you lit on the mountain.

You are full of excitement and elation as you gallop across the land at an amazing speed. You keep your eyes on the blaze and you feel your passion growing as you near it. How does it feel to run unwaveringly to your dream?

Sooner than you thought possible, you’re at the base of the mountain. You notice a goat standing on a rock next to the path that leads up the mountain. The centaur turns to you and says, “This is as far as I can take you, he’ll show you the rest of the way. Remember your excitement when the path gets challenging. The view from the top is worth the work.” You slide down from his back and approach the gruff mountain goat, who with barely any acknowledgment, turns abruptly, jumping from his perch and trotting up the rock path ahead.

You take a deep breath as you gaze up the path. You see high above you the flickering of the flame you lit. How do you feel standing at the base of the mountain, looking up to where you long to be? Honor that feeling, and then start your ascent.

The path quickly becomes very steep. You’re thankful for the mountain goat leading you. He finds a way over any challenge, taking only a second to assess the situation and then calmly finding a solution. Any resistance you were feeling melts away as you take on his determination, finding a way up or around any difficult terrain you encounter. Anytime exhaustion begins to creep in, you shift your gaze from the path in front of you, to the glow above and you remember the excitement you felt rushing towards that blaze, when anything seemed possible.

You’re keeping pace with the mountain goat now, and where he seemed serious at first, you now see through his determination to the joy that is rising as the fire gets brighter and brighter as you climb. He is proud of the work you’ve done and so are you. You find yourself smiling as the warmth of self-confidence rises up through your solar plexus, up through your heart and fills your whole being. As you bask in that glow, you crest a peak and see your fire burning right in front of you. Feel the exuberance of success! You’ve made it! Take a moment to sit with the fire, giving gratitude, releasing any fears, and receiving any messages.

When you are ready, you shift your gaze from the fire to the horizon and notice that dawn is breaking. The sun has returned and the long night has ended. Feel the first rays hit your face and take that warmth and the warmth of the fire into your heart. Feel it grow and expand in your chest. Know that it will keep you warm through the cold months ahead as the sun, and you, get stronger and stronger each day.

Take a deep breath and feel the ground beneath you. Wiggle your fingers and toes, feeling yourself come back to your body. Keeping your eyes closed, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Feel the warmth that is still glowing in your heart. Take a deep breath, release your arms, and open your eyes, knowing that you’re ready to take on anything to reach your dream.

[audio mp3="http://paganpages.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Winter-Solstice-SagCap-Meditation-online-audio-converter.com_.mp3"][/audio]

***

About the Author:

Rebecca Coates is a Tarot reader, massage therapist and fire dancer. She has been in a coven for the past two years and is about to embark on a journey around the United States and is looking to meet other witches and lovers of magic. Visit beckycoateslmt.com to connect with her.

Chapter 7

Meditating With A Spirit Drum

One of the easiest and most effective ways to meditate is by using a ‘spirit’ drum.

Having been a part of many workshops and drumming circles, I can personally attest to the simplicity and effectiveness of using ‘spirit’ drums for healing and journeying.

If you have a few interested friends and somewhere to go to practice, – you will find that it is an amazing and uplifting experience.

Should you wish to form a circle, you will find that spirit drums vary greatly in price.

A lot of people use ‘bodhrans’ instead, as they are cheaper and can be bought from most music shops. They are hand drums used in traditional Irish and Celtic music.

If you look online, there are many useful videos to get you started. Compact discs are also widely available with shamanistic drumming and Spirit music. I would recommend Native American drumming tracks, but that is just a matter of personal taste, – there are drumming tracks available from many cultures.

If you decide to drum in a group, the biggest obstacle to success will be your own self-consciousness. Having just a small group of two or three close friends will help.

The rewards of overcoming your initial feelings of reserve are well worth the effort.

In a drumming circle, the energy of the drums take over, and the rhythm takes on a collective life of its own.

It is always a good idea to set out your intentions before drumming. Whether you wish to feel uplifted, journey, or send healing to someone, – make your intentions clear before beginning the drumming session. Imagine yourself working within a golden circle of love and protection.

Upload a few tracks online until you find a beat that appeals to you and practice it quietly in private until you feel confident with it. There is no great art or skill required. The most powerful beat is a simple steady rhythm of single beats on the drum. This is called a shamanistic beat.

Spirit Drum Meditation

To begin, choose a quiet area where you will be undisturbed.

Take several deep breaths and tell yourself to relax.

Take a little time to read the poem below and to absorb the images from the artwork

You may play a drumming track quietly in the background if you wish, but it is not essential.

Imagine a golden sphere of protection around you as you work.

Begin with the third eye meditation.

As you breathe out through your third eye, visualise a shining path ahead of you.

Allow yourself to be drawn onto this path.

You can see a fire ahead of you, in the distance, and you walk slowly towards it.

If you see any creatures nearby, take note, as they may be important to you later on in your journeys.

You will see a group of figures around the fire. Some may be drumming. Some may be dancing. How they appear to you will depend on what it is you need to learn on your path.

Spend some time by the fire and take note of whatever you experience there.

Stay near the fire until you are ready to return.

Turn back and walk down the path and you will find yourself back where you started the meditation. Breathe slowly and easily and open your eyes when you are ready.

If you feel uncomfortable at any stage of the exercise, simply open your eyes and you will return to your room, safe within the circle of light.

Finish the meditation by thanking your subconscious mind for its cooperation. Also, thank any Deities and helpers. Then draw the golden circle back to you and close the session.

What you experience and where you go on this journey will vary greatly according to your personal needs. It is always helpful to spend a few moments in setting the boundaries for your journey before you begin. What is it that you wish to achieve? What type of journey are you expecting? Is there some challenge or personal goal that you wish to focus on?

This meditation is particularly powerful when done in a drumming circle.

Be sure to have a drink and a snack before travelling home or handling any machinery.

Write down anything you saw, heard or felt. Especially, note any creatures that you encountered.

Drumbeats

The drums are beating softly in the distance,

Like a peaceful heart. they draw me to them,

leaving life’s conundrums far behind.

Like poetry, with inspirations, much too large for words,

The rhythm opens up my soul and fills my mind.

As I sit and write, the rhythm of the drums still beats within my heart.

In the forest of my mind, I see the shamans dance and whirl.

Orange flames that go so high, they almost reach the moonlit sky.

Somewhere in the Once, or in the Now, they beat their drums for me.

And now the healing magic of their chants is reaching out to me.

Wolves with emerald eyes are in the shadows.

I can hear the eagles piercing cry.

Brother Bear is everywhere, and I can also see.

All the spirits of the native forest watching over me.

Lending me their powers, so I can live the life I never thought could be.

There is poetry in every beat, and magic in the rhythm of the drums.

Through the cadence of his chants, I find the link, the shaman comes.

Healing for the body, for the spirit and the mind,

As I leave this world of consternation far behind,

and find again, the wisdom and the beauty that was meant for all mankind.

This is another meditation for the spirit drum which came to me a few years ago.

It is almost impossible to meditate without finding a great connectedness with the wider universe and the earth around us. This poem is a warning about the way we are treating the earth.

We are all interdependent, – if a single species dies, then we are all so much poorer and so is the legacy that we leave to our children. If the earth dies, – then we die with her.

Whether we have one life or many, we have a duty of care for the planet and those around us.

As we develop through meditation we will feel this much more keenly.

Reaching out to the world and the people, plants and animals around us will bring us much joy.

However, our increased sensitivity brings with it a need to learn to protect ourselves, and a tendency to avoid certain people and situations. Unexpected changes will begin to happen in our lives, as we move into areas of activity that were once difficult to even imagine.

Be prepared too, for resistance from family and friends as you move away from old habits and develop new areas of activity. Much of it will be in a misguided spirit of over-protection, so be patient in your dealings with those who fear the changes in your life will begin to balance out as you forge a new agreement with your subconscious mind. You will be forging a new path in life which is based on your own needs and not the expectations of others.

A Warriors Tears

What will we make of the world when the last rose has died?

When all alone we stand upon the naked earth where once the weeping willow cried.

Where once the sparrow chirped upon the leafy bough,

And now, across the barren wastes, the wind blows soft and low

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Where vast majestic rivers flowed, now runs a ragged little stream.

No fish still swim within its dark and murky flow.

No dragonflies above the bare, baked clay that guides its weary way.

No butterflies delight our eyes with a colourful display.

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Take the seeds of mother earth and scatter them wherever you may go.

We can plant ten trees for every tree that dies.

Cut the fences, chop the posts and let the buffalo run free.

Take the earth back from the greedy; let us share it as we did in days of old.

For when our Mother dies,

Where will we go?

I channeled this in a couple of minutes. The first two verses came in an instant. I added the last verse after a moment’s reflection as a reminder that there is always hope.

For those who drum, it chants well to a basic shamanistic beat or, “drums across the water” (such as you might hear in an old cowboy movie)

My wife, Tina, told me to sing it, and I grabbed my drum.

To my amazement, it just flowed through me. It was a very powerful experience.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

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

Chapter 4

Western Meditation Techniques

There are thousands of books on eastern meditation, but I wish to concentrate on the western traditions as they are less well documented and require much less time to master. These traditions have been hidden for hundreds of years until the early nineteenth century. Some were the sole province of the religious orders and others were carried on in secret, by various groups and individuals. Although the reasoning behind the various systems may seem flawed to the modern mind, I can assure the reader that these exercises work. My own belief is that these were discovered by trial and error and whichever techniques worked were passed down to others, enmeshed in whatever ideology suited the teacher. Also, I have found, through personal experience, that there is a huge fund of knowledge within the collective unconscious mind (Carl Jung) that we can tap into during dreams and meditations.

The Treeing Exercise

This is a well-known meditation and it covers an important area of western tradition.

It helps us increase our feeling of ‘connectedness’ with the earth and gives us greater control over our altered states of mind as we journey. It is always a good idea to begin any meditations with the treeing exercise. As the name suggests, it helps us anchor ourselves emotionally before exploring our inner worlds. It also gives a great feeling of calm energy and optimism. This can be used anywhere, either sitting, standing or lying down. Sitting against a large mature tree during this meditation will certainly add to its effects.

Close your eyes and breathe as slowly, and as deeply as is comfortable.

Imagine that you are a tree.

Visualise the sun above you are pouring light and warmth onto your crown and branches.

Feel the warmth flowing through you and down into your legs and feet.

Picture your body filling with bright light.

Imagine your feet are rooted to the ground.

In your mind see the light form tendrils which push deep into the earth, like the roots of a tree.

Push the tendrils deep into the earth as the energy of the sun pours through your body.

See the tendrils spread out into tiny roots and anchor firmly into the soil.

Now, as you breathe in, draw the light of the sun down your spine and deep into the earth.

As you breathe out, draw the energies of the earth up through your roots, along your spine, and through the top of our head… sending their vibration through your body and out to the universe.

As you breathe in, feel the light flowing down into the ground and clearing and tension and pain from your body and into the earth to be transformed and healed.

When you feel totally relaxed and energised, then you may continue to another meditation, or slowly open your eyes when you feel ready to do so.

Seeking Peace in a Garden of Roses

Morning sunlight sparkling on a single drop of dew,

Light cascades like a rainbow on a rose.

Toes curling on the cool, wet grass.

The world is still asleep.

You walk in solitary silence, but you are not alone.

You share your thoughts and cares with One who truly Knows.

The One whose Spirit warms your blood and fills your heart.

The One who pours Their love into your very bones.

And you are blessed.

Memories come back to you unbidden,

Happy times that filled your heart with joy.

The chattering of your brain is stilled,

The worries and the sorrows drift away.

Then slowly, gently you become aware of now,

You face the world without the needless furrows on your brow.

And you are blessed.

Touch the rose with tenderness,

Kiss it gently as you taste the dew upon your lips.

Breathe in deeply as you fill your lungs with beauty.

Taste the fragrance of the morning garden,

Heady with the scent of earth and grass and summer flowers.

Stretch and raise your hands up to the sky,

and know that you are blessed.



 

This is an ideal meditation to follow the ‘treeing’ exercise. It can bring a feeling of relaxation, expansiveness, and connection to nature. It will increase our feelings of calm and inner peace.

Sometimes we are not ready to face our feelings head-on. Perhaps we have been under a lot of strain and feel tired and depleted. Too many demands from life may have left us feeling drained and ’empty’. Issues with friends and family that we have avoided dealing with may have exhausted our energy, – leaving us in no fit state to deal with them. Be gentle with yourself. We all hide away from things that are too painful to deal with. Simply take the time to heal and regroup your energies before tackling difficult issues.

We sometimes need to take the time to rest and nurture ourselves. Sadly, it is not always possible to take the time needed to do this. Use this meditation to take your own personal “mini-break” when you get a few spare minutes.

Breathe deeply and relax as you exhale a few times. Then take a few minutes to absorb the poem and gaze at the picture. Then use the relaxation exercise or one of the other meditations in the book and allow your mind to take you to a pleasant safe place where you will find inner healing and often, wisdom and guidance.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

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

 

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

Chapter 5

Setting Boundaries

Not every adult believes in the existence of the spirit worlds, but almost every child does.

That we still have that child within us and are influenced by forgotten beliefs, has a major impact on the results of our meditation. If we wish to ensure that our journeys are positive and uplifting, it is best to set boundaries before we begin. The poems and art in this book will naturally tend to lead to the areas mentioned and always have a positive aspect. However, as we forge our own path to mental and emotional balance, it is best to have this ability completely under our own control.

Keep an open mind about the imagery and words used. This is not a book which favours any belief system. I have witnessed many different beliefs helping people who needed to make a change of perspective at that point in their lives. I am a pragmatist. I have only included those things which I know to be helpful. I leave it to others to argue as much as they wish about “absolute truth”.

The Auric Egg

This exercise has many applications apart from setting boundaries during meditation It will help the reader in stressful situations and in dealing with those who would try to overpower our emotions and sensitivities. Once mastered, I would advise using it in any situation in which we feel anxious or threatened.

I once had a student who believed he had to enter some type of bird’s egg and complained about the yoke being in his way, so I will try to describe the auric egg in as great a detail as possible.

Before you start the exercise, take a few moments to peer at a fine mesh colander or a flour sieve.

Try to picture the fine mesh in the shape of an egg with the wide part at the bottom. If you find it easier to do so, – just imagine it as a sphere around you.

It is best to start this meditation with the treeing exercise. (section 5)

Feel the light from the sun pouring in through the crown of your head.

As you picture the light from the sun filling your body, begin to push it out from your solar plexus.

As you breathe in, push the light out until it forms the shape of an egg around your body.

See the light turn to gold and form a shell around you made from fine golden filaments.

Tell yourself that this light will let nothing negative or dark enter your mind. Only positive thoughts and feelings are allowed through it. All else is filtered out.

Take your time. Spend as much time as you need to master this.

If you have trouble in visualizing, then think of yourself in a warm, safe bubble. Feel the warmth around you. Tell yourself that you are loved and protected.

If there are any smells or sounds that you associate with comfort and safety, then take the time to remember them.

Remember… there is no rush and no pressure. It may take a few attempts for some people to get this exercise flowing smoothly.

Was there a special place where you felt safe? Remember that.

Was there someone in your childhood who was a protector? Remember them. Say their name. Remember how you felt when they were around. Fictional characters will work too!

Even if you visualize well, adding these memories will make what you are doing easier and even more effective in setting a safe boundary for your meditations.

Then allow your mind to wander.

Now might be a good time to start keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings.

Paint the Sky with Summers Hues

Paint the sky with the deepest blue,

Paint your world with all the brightest colours and the lightest hues,

Golden corn and buttercups, a gleaming yellow sun,

Silver streams that sparkle, – cool and clean as when the world began.

Sweet green grass and roses of the deepest red,

Shady fern-filled forests with the softest, mossy pillows where you rest your weary head.

Why imagine gloom and doom,

when you can paint your future with your brightest hopes instead.

The ocean beckons us with promises of warm dry sand that trickles through our hands,

A bucket and a spade create a fairy castle or a soldier’s keep with turrets and a moat.

The simple joy of lying on the beach and listening to the waves,

and love hearts on the sand, that wash away as quickly as we write.

Long mild days to trek, to travel, to explore,

or lay and bask; – I dare to question, who could ask for more,

The heaviest of hearts can find that on a summer’s day it lifts.

The rich and poor alike can both enjoy the summer’s gifts.

Summer is a season and a place deep in your heart.

Summer lasts forever when our final winter thaws,

Even in this fleeting, fickle world of pain and flaws,

Summer is the journey of a heart that needs no laws.

Summer is that secret place of calm within the storm,

Summer is the goal of those who seek to live beyond the norm,

Even as the icy grip of winter howls, and swirls around our homes,

Summer is the warmth within our hearts and hope of better things to come.

Just take a few minutes to absorb the images from the text and the art.

 

This meditation will help boost optimism and courage. It will help us to see beyond present difficulties and start to manifest more positive and helpful responses to challenging situations. Nothing material lasts forever in this fleeting world, especially not hardship or misfortune. What does last are the valuable lessons that we learn, and the joy in our hearts from happy times. The wheel of life will turn. Winter thaws into spring and then the summer comes.

Now is the time to remember all the good in your life and all the times that you felt loved and protected. This will help to release the energy from your subconscious mind and free you to find the best solutions to any obstacles in your journey to a happier and more balanced life.

Take the time to compile a short list of your successes in the past and present. Remember books and films where the main character won through after many difficulties. Concentrate on the positive things in your life and only on actions you can perform immediately to help the situation. Then tell yourself that you have done all you can for the moment and relax until a solution comes to you from within.

This meditation is very helpful for increasing the effectiveness of the Auric Egg exercise.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

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

And the Wheel of the Year turns again to Samhain. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, that means people are starting to think about pumpkin decorations while wondering if the 80-degree temperatures will turn to 60’s. Whenever this season comes back around our minds turns to the season past, and in a way that spring never really does. Spring is about the movement forward, birth and growth. Fall allows us to take stock of where we have been, and who we have been in the past. This ties in with scents so strongly because of the relationship between smell and memory. You simply cannot have one without the other.

Scent is 90% memory and only 10% recall, because in the process of understanding each smell we encounter we have to unpack the box of our experience, day by day, because each time we encounter a scent, we are encountering the last time we unpacked the memory of that scent, not the first time. We are looking at a copy, of a copy so to speak. The recent days are right there on top of the box fresh and clean because they were only placed there yesterday. Items that were put in the box five, ten or twenty years ago may take longer to find in the box, or they may be covered in dust, so it could take a minute to figure out what you’re looking at so to speak.

But we go through all of these processes because it simply could not work the other way around. Could you imagine being shocked and amazed at the smell of your own house every time you encountered it? There are hundreds of fragrances a day that we take for granted that our noses have (thankfully) written off for us as non-threatening.

With Samhain, it’s the season of taking stock, because we no longer need to take stock of our pantries and larders to make sure our families will make it through the winter, doesn’t mean we can’t take stock of our lives, our groups of friends and families. One of the easiest ways to do that is to relax our brains, our emotional centers and remind them that it is safe enough to take stock of where we are and let our sense of smell and nostalgia take over from there.

How do we do that? Call on the powers of fall. Here are some essential oils, and the magical applications you can do with them. (See ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic‘ for a full list of warnings for each essential oil.)

Anise- (Pimpinella anisum) Anise is a protective plant, as well as a purifying and divining one. If you have someone in your life if you aren’t sure of their true purpose, place a drop of anise in an essential oil diffuser and use the mist created to scry or meditate on the truth of their mission. Anise will tell you the truth and help you protect your family and purify your home at the same time if needed.

 

 

Black Pepper– Improves mental alertness, physical energy and is great for protection spells. Can be used to drive away evil and as such is great for hex-breaking spells and uncrossing work of all kinds. This is perfect for Samhain as it’s this time of the year when the Veil between the worlds is thinnest that energetic nasties can be lurking outside your home. Diffuse this potent protector (again, just one drop! Don’t overdo it and cause yourself or someone else respiratory distress) to do a quick uncrossing to make sure there is nothing lurking from your latest ‘humble-brag’ at work.

 

 

Cinnamon- Boosts creativity of all kinds (artistic, linguistic and more), provides good luck, increases libido. The warming action burns away threads of negativity so is associated with protection. Is very uplifting and is associated with increased intuitive gifts. The next time you want to head into your workspace to get to the newest project consider diffusing some cinnamon essential oil 30 minutes before you are planning to get to work, so you don’t have to overcome the ‘get to know you’ part of your work day and can jump into the creative process.

 

 

Clove- The warmth of clove burns away that which doesn’t belong so its magic is dispelling that which doesn’t belong, especially people who don’t belong in your life anymore.

Ginger- This is energizing, healing and associated with love, passion, and power. What a great time to make sure that the people in your circle have your best intentions at heart. Take stock of the people who have been there for you for the past year, through phone calls, late-night PMs when you needed someone to talk to, who never had the time when you needed someone. Everyone has low times in their life, only you’ll know the difference between ‘dealing with something’ and just someone whose friendship has run its course.

Oakmoss- Not everyone is going to know this one, but I wanted to throw in a wild card. This lichen smells like leather backed with violets and is used for magic dealing with divination, grounding, hex breaking, and big-time manifestation. It also makes a great fixative for magic, so if you want to make sure that your magic is in it for the long haul, use this. (If you work with poppets, and live in a place like Florida, I’ve seen Oakmoss falling off trees, you can stuff poppets with it. Make sure to google a photo of it just because it’s on a live oak, doesn’t make it oakmoss.) I have gotten a decent price online for Oakmoss Absolute, feel free to reach out to my author page if you can’t find it.

By working with the scents of the season we can remember the times of Samhains and Halloweens past and embrace the best parts of ourselves. We can not only be the best of ourselves that we deserve, but that our friends and families deserve. By weeding and tending the garden of our hearts we keep those precious reserves for those people who truly deserve the fruits of our labor and our time, attention and devotion.

For more information on working magic with essential oils, the history of plants and their by-products, please consider ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic‘ available where books are sold. Weiser Books has thoughtfully provided a generous sample of the first 50 pages at http://tinyurl.com/blackthornsbotanicalmagic

 

Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic: The Green Witch’s Guide to Essential Oils for Spellcraft, Ritual & Healing on Amazon

***

About the Author

Amy Blackthorn has been described as an arcane horticulturalist for her lifelong work with plants and magic. She incorporates her past in a British Traditionalist Witchcraft coven with her horticulture studies to form one path. She has been trained as a clinical aromatherapist and is ordained.

She has appeared on HuffPostLive, YahooNews, Top10 Secrets and Mysteries, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. She has also appeared in print interviews for over 20 years. Her tea company Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends creates magical tea blends based on traditional formulas after 20 years of teaching, of study and of practice. She lives in Delaware.

www.amyblackthorn.com

Meet the Gods: Mithras, the Pagan Christ Child

 

(This figure of the Persian god Mithras is at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.)

 

Merry meet.

Mithras, god of the sun in ancient Rome, was born around the winter solstice and experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox. The ancient Persian-Roman religion called Mithraism thrived before Christianity, dating back some 4,000 years. It gains attention because the similarities between his story and that of Jesus are numerous.

He was born of the virgin Anahita on December 25. He was, according to an article on truthbeknown. com by Acharya S. and D.M. Murdock, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and attended by shepherds.”

He traveled far and wide as a teacher and a master who performed miracles and had 12 companions. He was omniscient. Both the lion and the lamb were his symbols. Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, the Lord’s Day, or Sunday, was said to be Mithras’ sacred day. Baptisms were important, midnight services were held and he was often said to carry a lamb on his shoulders. Mithraism’s scared rock was Petra.

As the ‘great bull of the Sun,’ Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace. He ascended into heaven. Mithra was viewed as the Good Shepherd, the ‘Way, the Truth and the Light,’ the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah,” according to the article.

Mithra was worshiped as Mitra or Itu in the Indian Vedic religion. It is believed he was born in a cave on December 25 and was the mediator between man and god.

 

(In this relief from the 2nd century AD, Mithras kills the sacred bull and from its blood and semen arise the plants and animals. Source: Neues Museum, Berlin)

 

His cult spread from India west to Germany, Spain and England, and was supported by soldiers of the Roman Empire, becoming the primary rival to the newly developing religion of Christianity. In 307, Diocletian consecrated a temple on the Danube River to Mithra, “Protector of the Empire,” as stated in britannica.com.

According to myth, Mithra was born, bearing a torch and armed with a knife, beside a sacred stream and under a sacred tree, a child of the earth itself. He soon rode, and later killed, the life-giving cosmic bull, whose blood fertilizes all vegetation. Mithra’s slaying of the bull was a popular subject of Hellenic art and became the prototype for a bull-slaying ritual of fertility in the Mithraic cult,” according to the entry written by the editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Mithra, also spelled Mithras, was the god of light in ancient Indo-Iranian mythology.

The Persian version of Mithra was a benevolent solar deity bestowing wealth and health.

He was mighty, strong, unconquered and king of the gods, and was often portrayed as a sun disc in a chariot drawn by white horses.

Winter festivals, common in cultures around the world, were intended to strengthen the fire of the sun so that it would return. They were celebrated in the name of Mithras, who can be called as a god to your circle this Yule.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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About the Author:

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

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