journaling

Wreathing the Wheel

July, 2019

Watching the Summer Skies

Summer is a great time to get outside, go camping, and watch the stars come out. This is something I like to do at least once a summer, and more than that if I can manage it. This year, my interest in stargazing has a new dimension: I have been studying astrology, and am now watching stellar bodies with renewed interest. In the interests of getting serious about learning the ropes of astrology, I decided to make some bullet journal spreads as a reference to help me study.

Natal Chart and Astrological Reference

One of the things that most new astrology students do is to study their own natal chart, which captures the positions of the planets and stars at the moment of a person’s birth. I’m lazy and didn’t want to do all the complicated calculations to figure out the positions myself, so I used the natal chart calculator available at Cafe Astrology so that I could focus my efforts on making my pages look good. As I usually do, I used a ruler, protractor, and mechanical pencil to sketch out these layouts, and tried to fit in the information as densely as possible. When I felt certain that I liked how it looked, I used my set of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens to ink the spreads. I also used “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need” by Joannaa Martine Woolfolk as a reference, along with a handful of astrology websites. 

The right side of this spread is completely dedicated to an exploded reading of the planetary positions in my natal chart, complete with the names of the positions and some basic keywords. The center figure started as a basic circle drawn with a protractor, and I used a circle template to add the concentric inner circles around the central point. Most of this was drawn with the 180 degrees of the circle divided into twelve equal 30-degree angles; the houses don’t perfectly match the division of the signs, but were drawn in by hand using the computer-generated chart as a reference. The positions of the planets, houses, and signs are all included here, along with the ascendant line and the midheaven point. In the lower left corner of the spread, I added the aspects in my natal chart.

I wanted to add a lot of basic reference information as well, so that I could refer back to these spreads over and over again. I included several lists: the signs with their symbols, associated elements, ruling planets, dates, and keywords; and the houses, with keywords and their native signs, as well as a list of the symbols used. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a newbie to astrology, so hopefully experienced astrologers will excuse any mistakes made in these spreads. While I did spend a fair amount of time inking these spreads, I won’t lie — the majority of the time that I spent on these spreads was spent on research, which is pretty unusual for a bullet journal spread.

The 2019 year calendar was difficult to fit into a small space, but I used the Llewellyn’s 2019 Witches’ Calendar as my reference for most of the included planetary transits. My calendar simply includes which sign each planet is in during each half of each month of the year, along with the moon’s path and phases. Below this, I added the year’s meteor showers and eclipses. After filling out the symbols on the facing page, I found I still had a lot of space left — so I decided to add the constellations of the zodiac and a big more art here. These spreads are now basically full of information, though there’s room to add a few additional notes. I may be a beginner, but I feel like I’ve now got a great reference to help me move forward with my studies, something I can come back to again whenever I have astrology to do!

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Book Review – The Ultimate Guide to Chakras: The Beginner’s Guide to Balancing, Healing, and Unblocking Your Chakras for Health and Positive Energy by Athena Perrakis, Ph.D.

March, 2019

Book Review
The Ultimate Guide to Chakras
The Beginner’s Guide to Balancing, Healing, and Unblocking
Your Chakras for Health and Positive Energy
by Athena Perrakis, Ph.D.

Most books about the Chakras generally stick to the seven (7) more broadly known. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this guide includes two additional that make the study more cohesive and aligned with those who are exploring this subject area with the intention of reaching beyond the standards.

The first statement by the author is one of reminder that the system of the Chakras is one that reaching deeply into ancient practices and by virtue of that reach is inclusive of the work we do to maintain our ancestor’s wisdom as we move forward on our own paths of evolution.

….“When you are mindful and reverent of the past, you both honor your ancestors and do a great service to your lineage”….

This book is chock-full of experiential exercises that bring the gifts of the Chakras into a palpable energy that provides opportunities to sense the energies and guide and direct your own process. Additionally, it is a treat for your visual sense with illustrations of the chakras by Roberta Orpwood, a professional visionary artists and Master Reiki teacher.

Each chapter has a beautiful cover page aligned to the color traditionally associated with that specific chakra, correspondences, experiential practices and more. I particularly appreciated the sections that allowed for journaling and /or deeper contemplative action with questions of reflection relating to each of the chakras. Another bonus is the section that provides suggestions of gemstones that relate to each of the chakras and how they can be used to enhance and awaken the energy.

Moving beyond the traditional correspondences you will find in many books, Dr. Perrakis includes Mantras, Tarot card, Rune, Goddess and Archetypal energy of the chakras making this truly a comprehensive and “ultimate” guide. Many of these correspondences can be found randomly in multiple books but having everything available in a single chapter of a brilliantly organized tome is invaluable.

Being someone who operates highly from the Throat center, I was intrigued by the reflection questions set forth in this chapter…

…. “(1.) Are you keeping secrets in your life, and if so, from whom? (2.) When you think about secrets, how do you feel? Anxious, heavy and weighed-down, perhaps? (3.) If you carry such secrets, where in your life can you release them or set them down?”…

I tried the embodiment experiential and had some opportunity to explore some revelations relating to my truth and the conditioning I experienced at various parts of my life that silenced the speaking of that truth. I’ve worked a lot with the chakras, but many of the concepts and reflections I found presented in this book provided a fresh perspective and deepening of the cursory understanding that is generally put forth.

The final chapter, features “Giving the Chakras a Voice”. The premise here in listening and envisioning what the chakra would say. I found this a fascinating exercise given that energy is vibration that adapts and moves in accord with the direction required. Speaking, voice and breath all incorporate the modality of moving vibration hence moving energy. Giving voice to the chakras enables yet another vehicle of integration and synthesis within our energy fields.

This book is a valuable asset to both the beginner and the more seasoned practitioner of energetic protocol, healing and studies of the energetic anatomy. There is plenty to stimulate the senses and pique your interest in exploring the many correspondences that are associated with the Chakras. This alone, is a treat in being able to connect the dots and see the synchronicities and connections between so many of the disciplines used for spiritual and magickal workings. A must have for any book shelf!

The Ultimate Guide to Chakras: The Beginner’s Guide to Balancing, Healing, and Unblocking Your Chakras for Health and Positive Energy on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

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.

What Your Pagan Teacher Wants you to Know…About Practice

March, 2018

(Leather Bound, Pentacle Journal by Samantha & Jason of Earthwork’s Journals, Home of the Handmade Journal on Etsy.)

 

My mum was a music teacher. A strict one at that. She had this way of showing her immense disapproval with a slight tut and a look away. You ask any music teacher, any teacher at all really if they know that their student has been practicing or not, and they can tell a mile away.


“And you practiced every day?”


Maybe that’s where I get it from.


I’m a pretty good student. I take anything I study seriously (I make Hermione Granger look like a slacker) and I love to learn. Yet even as young as 18 I was already teaching my peers. I was good at encouraging and explaining. I was pretty fearless (but not reckless). It just kept happening really.
My last year of 6th form college (high school) I was sitting as a medium with psychic circles between three or four times a week on equal footing as some who had been practicing some 50 years (Glenis was lovely). I was doing card readings every lunch and break every day. I started reading cards at 14 (playing cards) from my friend’s mum who was a real gypsy.


It didn’t think of it as “work” back then.


Back then it was like finding out you’re are a prodigy at something and going full tilt.


This means I don’t get it.


I just don’t understand the excuses. I’ve heard a lot over the years.


“I didn’t have time.”


“I have a lot on at work.”


“My husband/boyfriend/girlfriend was…”


“My parents were around.”


“I didn’t understand it.”


I mean I could go on and on and on. The only excuse I allow is sickness. It’s damn hard to work on a breathing technique if you’ve been throwing your guts up!


Let me start with “I didn’t have time”. There is no perfect time to do the work. It’s like doing the dishes or brushing your teeth; it doesn’t care how busy you are and it shows if you do it “only on the weekend”. The magick techniques I give out to students are accumulative and knowing more in the craft means I expect you to do more, not less. Most of my assignments I give take between 10 minutes daily, maybe slightly longer on the weekend or a pilgrimage somewhere. The other thing is the techniques are of for you to use in the world, in your life. They are designed to change how you see, and think and interact with the world. When you give me this excuse I hear one thing: “I couldn’t be bothered”. I don’t care if you do it in the shower, in the car, on the loo, getting your mind in order is important.


“I have a lot on at work.” In truth I don’t really know why this is seen as an excuse. If I am trying to give a tool that helps focus your thinking and mind I am actually trying to help you, not hinder. This reads in a couple of ways. “I’m important in my job so you can’t make me feel bad for not doing what I said I would do.” Or “I am so stressed out that I worry if a take a minute to think about it my head might actually explode.” Either way your clear and clever excuse sounds like what it is to me: fear. I hear the fear and the bluster. Either way you have to show a little faith. Set aside your ego for a few minutes and I promise the world won’t fall apart.


“My boyfriend…” I understand that the drama of some relationships impacts a lot. However this relationship is your choice. If it is damaging, violent or difficult don’t bring it to me. You will not want my honest opinion. Relationships are hard work but they shouldn’t consume your whole life. If things are tense or very emotional maybe the work I’ve given you is supposed to help soothe that? Trust me a little? The truth is you can not (and should not) control other people’s behaviour. What you can control is yourself and I’m guessing that’s what I am trying to teach you.

 

My parents…” I don’t teach kids, except my own. So I am supposed to be talking to a grown ass adult? Most of the work I set is not a big witchy ritual with lots of pagan drumming. If you mean you have to clean your whole house because you are about to be “inspected” I can sort of understand. Yet again I say grown ass adult. If you mean, I must remove all pagan, witchy, spiritual stuff from my judgmental folks because I’m afraid, still in the broom-closet, don’t want to deal with that fight, I say “Oh boy, you need some good therapy”. Families are difficult and hard work and some are even legitimately dangerous for your wellbeing. If you are feeling fear, shame or any combination thereof I would kindly suggest that while they might share your D.N.A. that isn’t family. Family is safety and support. Family is love and trust. If you have to hide such a fundamental part of who you are from these people, then my home work is the least of your problems. I’ve known pagans come out to deeply religious or difficult parents, it tends to go one of two ways. They range from loving and surprising supportive or amazingly indifferent at one end to violent screaming loathing at the other. The truth is they might surprise you. Good parents are usually that, and crappy ones are well, crappy. None of which is about you.

 

I didn’t understand it.” This comes down to the idea that magick and its practice should enlighten and fix things immediately, well, like magick. They try something once and if it doesn’t fix everything at once it can’t be “real” or “special”. It is hard to see the benefit of brushing your teeth if you only do it once. I mean they get dirty again, what’s the point? Spiritual practice is like that. Magickal and mental cleanliness are not just good practice but important foundations. This is a trap more mature or experienced practitioners can fall into. They know the how and the why, and they do other deeper work and neglect the basics. Understanding something doesn’t always happen the first time you try something, or the tenth, or the hundredth. In fact understanding a practice ca be layered and nothing it teaches you is “wrong” or useless. It can’t teach you anything if you don’t do it!

 

In other startling revelations if you’re going to do your “daily journal” in the car before you turn up, park further up the street so I can’t see you! Magickal practice is not difficult. It’s not for only one kind of pagan or witch. It doesn’t care if you are bookish or not, or if you are smart or not. Able bodied or not. It doesn’t care how rich you are or what kind of background you have. It is open to everyone. The only factor is this, will you leave your excuses at the door and do the work? Then magick and knowledge will come. Maybe not easily, maybe not quickly but if you work at it you will be rewarded in ways you can not imagine.

Book Review: One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal by Mike Medaglia

November, 2016

one year wiser book cover

One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal

Mike Medaglia

ISBN-13: 978-1910593219

As the calendar year comes to a close and a new witches year begins, you may find yourself thinking about appropriate gifts for friends and loved ones. Some people are easy to please, but some people seem to already “have everything” or at least have no need for more possessions to weigh them down. What to do with those people? Well, what better than a gratitude journal?

One Year Wiser is a journal interspersed with reflections by the author on finding balance and gratitude of each moment of each day. Quotes from Kahlil Gibran to Maya Angelou and the Dalai Lama are arranged in the margins and in the occasional whimsical image, which are also designed to be colored in. It has 365 entry spaces (240 pages from cover to cover), but no set dates, so you can pick it up at any time or remain guilt-free for missing a week.

With a silk white placeholder, I think One Year Wiser is a neat little journal and has a good production value. It would probably make a good gift for those with a penchant for coloring and those wanting a reminder or a practice to be present and thankful for each day.

The gratitude journal is part of a series including: One Year Wiser the Coloring Book and One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations, so for the coloring enthusiast, the coloring book might be a better idea.

Click Image for Amazon Information

Liber II: Recording Magical Data

November, 2015

The word of Tahuti,

Paved in the black obsidian sky,

The aether being the pillar of night,

His great ibis voice is nigh,

The demanding verbiage led in the plight.

Whisper of the whirlwind led by fire,

Daunting halt before the bejeweled Queen.

The lesser Will of the magician burnt in a pyre,

Out of his books and through his mind he is keen.

Ink soaked symbols stained in a papyrus,

Desire be thy passion in heat of superseding.

The twelve signs of elements abound by Cyprus,

Contemplation gone to Rome thither in weaving.

XVIII!

Liber I covered the art of writing and how it is beneficent to the magician on his/her personal growth in a more elaborate way than planned. So in the procession of this magical method I will take the assumption that Liber I: Magick and Writing have been read and thoroughly studied by the practicing magician. There are two prescribed records I encourage each and every magician to hold by his/her side for their spiritual growth. I will dig into the trenches of the magical record and the daily record, properly notating the journals.

The magical record is an adequately detailed book of personal experiences in magick. This is to be separated from the daily record of writing because of the nature which is contrasted between the two compositions. It stands as a testament to the magician to understand what methodologies are more compromised to his/her Will, so the magical record systematically analyzes each magical practice as an experiment. For example, I find when there is some exhaustive energy stored from the day and the witching hour is my companion in a conscious state, that is when the best magical results seem to manifest for me.

Whenever you conduct a magical experiment always have your magical record on hand. It is best to record the date, time the experiment began, location, emotions, factors that are controlling your feelings from that day (if applicable), the details of the magical experiment, the intent of the experiment, and the time the magical experiment ends.

The date and time of the magical record can serve a number of purposes.

The first thing the date provides is a reference point for that experiment. If the desired Will manifests then it should be noted in that particular entry for future purposes in the daily record. The date and time of the entry also provide data on deeper levels than simple record keeping.

Secondly, you can see what was occurring an astronomical level to affect the energy; the magician can look at planetary placements, trines, conjunctions, squares, and etc, that are effecting the magical experiment or ritual. The magician is more then welcome to put all this information into his/her magical record before hand if it is a planned experience, but sometimes it is best to use the date, time, and location for future uses of astrology. We do not live in the dark ages where every contrived spell has a specific hour planned, but sometimes that is the best option in some experiments for magicians.

Thirdly, the date and time show the patterns that affect the magician’s habits in magick. For example, a magician may find the peak of his magick is obtained in the wee hours of night before he retires to his bed chamber. Other magicians my find their highest focus and Will could be occupied during dusk. Each individual will have their own conclusions in this process and it should be well noted.

Fourthly, the location of the magical record is especially a primary and well-observed part of the record because it tells provides the details of the astrology chart of the magician for later use. Not only does this hand out a detailed cosmological information, but also serves as a potential dialogue for emotionally charged environment. If a magician is in his hometown the verifying his location in the magical record then it could tell a story of the chaos or the order that is in his experiment. To clarify this stance, if a magician has a fairly decent domestic life then his writings will attest to be more neutral and focused, while a magician in an unsteady home life will be more driven to the wild emotions. If a magician is traveling abroad and does his experimentation then he is more apt to feel adventurous or even suffer from home sickness; the subject of the location tells the story of the magicians emotions an extent.

The fifth part of this are the emotions, these feelings are the mood of the magician, the feelings of the magician should never be neglected, nor should they so overpowering that that the intentions are fogged. The intellect and feelings need to reach a balancing point for the best intentions, if there is an unbalance in that emotion that is preventing clear thoughts then it should be heavily noted. A mighty desire manifests wonderful results when it is properly focused. The magician will find that different emotions will bring forth varying results in timing in strength. It is always wise to make sure the emotions and mind remain acute at all times, otherwise the desires toiled in the working without reason are spread so thin the effectiveness of the spell will quickly dissipate. Meditation is an effective  tool of the mind that should be taken to slow the mind and body of excess emotions, even if the desires will still remain overtly governed over reason then it should be recorded in the magical record.

Lastly, the intention of the magick working should always be taken into consideration in any magical record. The intention is the Will of the magician. Each and every formula or variable to the ritual/spell should be accurate noted because it is the most important of all the sections in the magical record. A person can do magick without a record, but they will always have a direction to be the rudder for the magical Will. I will later elaborate on every minuscule portion of the Will in a detailed liber, but for now the focus is the general observations of cause and effect. For the magick to work, the intentions have to be so immensely superfluous with the idea that at least a slight placebo effect can occur at a minimum (which I do not think is magick in the roots). The results of the magical intention is a scientific-like methodology and will be seen in the daily record.

The daily record is equally as important as the magical record because it proves whether or not the magick is manifesting in life. It does not serve as a mere book of conclusions from the magick, but it is the true reflection of the magician’s thoughts and why he/she chooses those intentions. Much of the information will be repetitive, so for more detail about the importance of writing please refer to LiberI: Magick and Writing. The magician should keep a  notation in the daily record that is date, time, and location. It is recommended to use military time/universal time because of the precision that separates the A.M. and P.M. can be easily misconstrued. There is a big difference between 0500 hours and 1700 hours, it is prescribed that magician learns this skill, it is much easier than determining 5:00 A.M. and 5:00P.M. So the daily record is much more simplistic than the magical record. In this written document the magician can be as sporadic and/or organized as possible. In mundane terminology, this would be labeled as a journal, the focus of this composition is life and feelings of the magician.

Conclusively, the magical record and daily record are a demonstration of the the vitality of the magician on all levels. For years to come the magician will have notes on his life and magical work (no matter how great or how small the work is in their vernacular). It is recommended embrace the habit of writing over a 30 day period consecutively before any major practice is to be taken into consideration. The power of the mind and the pen can supersede many magical acts and change your life for the best or worse.