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Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book: Your Complete Guide to Crafting and Casting Spells by Skye Alexander

May, 2019

Book Review
The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book
Your Complete Guide to Crafting and Casting Spells
by Skye Alexander
Published by Adams Media
Pages: 301

This
first part of this book covers the basics needed to prepare a novice
for working the spells in the second part. Skye Alexander starts out
by explaining that a spell “is something you do with clarity,
intent, and awareness to generate a result. A spell consists of a set
of thoughts and symbolic actions performed in the physical world to
initiate change on a higher level. Once a change takes place at that
higher level, it filters down and materializes here on earth.”

“Spellcasting,”
she writes, “is a method; it’s a secular activity with no dogma
attached to it. … and everyone possesses magical ability.” Spells
are done by people across many cultures and religions. They can be as
simple as making a wish before blowing out candles on a birthday cake
or saying a prayer to casting a spell that requires time
to formulate, research, write and execute.

Readers of The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book: Your Complete Guide to Crafting and Casting Spells will be introduced to 13 steps for successful spellwork, techniques to hone the ability to sense energy, helpful tools, astrological magic and creating sacred space. Sections also cover the power of words; working with spirits, deities and other beings; and tapping into energy by aligning with nature and the universe using gemstones and botanicals.

Part
II contains spells for the three most requested intentions – love,
money and protection – in addition to spells for healing,
self-improvement and success. There are spells to do with others and
spells for the sabbats – more than 125 in all – involving
incantations, potions and charms. For each, Alexander gives a short
intro, a list of tools and ingredients, the best time to perform the
spell, and understandable directions.

A
spell to release sadness involves flying a kite and one for success
entails making a talisman with three rune symbols painted in gold on
three gemstones corresponding with an objective and keeping them in a
gold pouch wrapped with a red ribbon with intentions knotted in.

Practitioners
of all levels will find the correspondence charts useful for
incorporating the magic of astrology, and ingredients for various
intentions.

The
book does a good job of introducing the subject. It concludes with
eight pages dedicated to “Taking the Next Step.” Alexander
stresses practice, gives steps for creating spells from scratch and
encourages readers to craft ingredients.

“Knowledge
is power, as the saying goes. The more knowledge you have, the more
powerful you’ll become as a spellworker,” she writes.

About the author Skye Alexander :

Skye Alexander is the award-winning author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books, including Your Goddess Year,The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need, The Modern Guide to Witchcraft, The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book, The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire, The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot, and The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells. Her stories have been published in anthologies internationally, and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She is also an artist, writing teacher, feng shui practitioner, astrologer, and tarot reader. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts.

The book gets a 4.7 out of 5 by 59 customer reviews on Amazon.

The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book: Your Complete Guide to Crafting and Casting Spells on Amazon

***

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.

Book Review – Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad by Witchdoctor Utu

May, 2019

Book Review
Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman
and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad
by Witchdoctor Utu

I
know that there are going to be many glowing reviews of this fabulous
book, published earlier this year by Weiser Books, an imprint of Red
Wheel/Weiser. There is so much in this incredible book –
history, biography, herbal knowledge, rituals, occult secrets, Voodoo
and Hoodoo and Christianity too! When I had just finished reading
the book, I sat and thought about how to write this review. I fell
asleep or maybe just into a trance but … I had a dream about
Harriet Tubman. In it, she was very old – like the picture inside
the front cover. She did not speak but she had a cane and she rapped
on the ground with it. Three times. Then another three times. Then
three times more. That was all. I have been thinking about this
dream ever since. Three sets of three. What was she telling me?

I
think she was telling me to keep things simple. Three sets of three
is nine. So here are my main nine ideas about Witchdoctor Utu’s
fantastic book.

  1. I was interested in this book initially because to me, the Underground Railroad is local history. Having spent most of my life in New York State, Southern Ontario, New England and Ohio, the story of the abolitionists and how they strove to free as many slaves as they could always captivated me. The fact that so much of this history happened in what I consider to be my back yard. Indeed, I have visited most of the places Witchdoctor Utu mentions in his book. The only places I have never been to are New Orleans, San Francisco and Kansas. I currently live in Buffalo, New York. I know without a doubt that many of the streets I walk may have been known to Harriet Tubman and the spirits of the Underground Railroad.
  2. I was also interested in the book because although I really had no intention in “conjuring” Harriet Tubman or any other spirit, I always had an admiration for her – she was one of my childhood heras – for her strength and resilience and for the fact that, after she freed herself, she kept going back to help others gain their freedom. Nothing stopped her. To me, she was the kind of role model that any girl, any color, any race, any religion, would want to emulate.
  3. Witchdoctor Utu is a wonderful storyteller. If you have no other reason to read this book, you will want to read the stories of “The Lovers”, “High John the Conjurer”, and John Brown. He has a way of bringing history alive and even stories that are shrouded in mystery are fleshed out and made real by his amazing gift of literacy. I can well imagine that he commands the floor at every pub and coffee shop he visits.
  4. One thing I noticed is the links between Voodoo, Hoodoo and European Catholic/Christian Witchcraft. Although I don’t practice Voodoo or Hoodoo, I am always trying to find links to the European Witchcraft that I know existed within the Catholic culture from which I come. This book is very helpful in that regard. Many pagans think that if you are pagan, you are anti-Christian; Witchdoctor Utu explains thoroughly that is not that case. He makes it clear that Harriet Tubman and the other spirits were Christians who worked folk magic; I believe this is true for my European ancestors as well.
  5. Another thing I noticed is the closeness between the names of the people in the book and the characters of the Tarot. The Freedom Seeker pictured on page 37 could easily be The Fool. “The Lovers”, written about so eloquently in chapter four, are obviously the Lovers. The other people mentioned in the book could be other Major Arcana cards. Harriet Tubman herself could be several cards – her younger self, The High Priestess and her older self, The Empress.
  6. Many of the rituals that Witchdoctor Utu describes can be used exactly as he writes them or they can be tweaked to use for your own gods and goddesses. What I really like about this book is that he takes real people – historical people – and elevates them to the position of gods and goddesses. With that in mind, we can do this with our own ancestors and anyone we revere personally.
  7. Like so many other books I have read on witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, and other forms of the occult, Witchdoctor Utu presents all the rituals as group activities. But they can be easily modified for the solitary practitioner. I think that it’s much more fun, and certainly more powerful, when you are with a group of like-minded spiritual practitioners, all set on the same spiritual goal. However, working alone also has its strengths and power.
  8. Here are some links to local tours if you are ever in the Western New York area:

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Michigan Street Baptist Church Org

I
used to live in the neighborhood of the first link. It’s very old
and the houses date from the pre-Civil War era. It’s rather
rundown but worth the visit. Just knowing that some of the most
courageous people ever to walk the earth walked those very same
streets is humbling. And you can go see the famous Falls when you’re
there, too.

I have been to the Michigan Street Baptist Church numerous times. Again, it’s not in the best part of town but well worth the visit. Check out the home page of the website – it has a really cool map of the routes of the Underground Railroad. It really gives you an idea of how wide and vast this system was.

9. Like I said before, I have never had any kind of interest in conjuring Harriet Tubman or any other spirit – I am not that kind of witch. But I do commune with my own ancestors. The rituals in this book are helpful for anyone who wishes to establish a relationship with any spirit they feel close to. Also, in these days of uncertainty here in the United States, many of us wish to leave – to go to Canada or other safer, freer countries – my own son wishes to leave. Therefore, this book is a valuable resource right here and now for all people who wish to be free – in all ways. Thank you, Witchdoctor Utu for writing this valuable book.

References:

Witchdoctor Utu. Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad. Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2019.

https://www.michiganstreetbaptistchurch.org/

Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

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

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

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

Book Review – The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magical Ingredients and Spells by Shawn Robbins and Charity Befell

March, 2019

Review
The Good Witch’s Guide
A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magical Ingredients and Spells
by Shawn Robbins and Charity Befell
Published by Sterling Ethos
Pages: 305

Rituals,
History, aromatherapy, crystals, candle magic, spiritual alchemy,
potions, tinctures, herbs and recipes are just some of the topics
covered in this hardcover book that’s approximately six inches by
six and a half inches. It’s an inch thick and just feels good to
hold.

As
a “wiccapedia,” it covers all the topics you need to know, and
then offers lists for additional reading and reference materials.

The herbal folklore includes information about botanicals for health and healing, and passes along an old but potent charm. The chapter on aromatherapy explains how to use essential oils both for health and in magick, offering dozens of recipes. In presenting crystals, their properties are explained, along with instructions for using them to make waters for to balancing chakras, and for relief from everything from asthma to stress.

Practical
magick covers spells for mind, body and spirit. There’s a
housecleaning incense spell, a healing poppet spell, money spells,
and spells for protection and for love. Twenty-three pages focus on
candle magic while forty-seven pages are dedicated to teas, tinctures
and tonics for health and magick. A chapter offers ways to cook up
some magick – literally – with recipes for soup, bread, Yule
shortbread cookies, Imbolc cake and more.

The
book introduces readers to a variety of tools and topics, helping
them make their own magick, and it makes a reliable reference source
as well.

Shane
Robins is a psychic and a paranormal researcher whose grandparents
immigrated from Russia and Hungary with bottles of botanicals and the
knowledge of herbal healing. Her grandmother’s tea cured the polio
she contracted from one of Salk’s first vaccines. That changed her
life, and set her on a course to teach holistic medicine and healing.
Robins put her research and extensive knowledge into this book.

Charity
Befell has been practicing witchcraft for seventeen years – a
journey that began when she was given a copy of Silver Ravenwolf’s
“Teen Witch” on her thirteenth birthday. Her witchcraft now is
wild and free, incorporating shamanic techniques, prayer, meditation,
trance work and offerings to connect to the spirits of the land.
Befell is committed to the Temple of Witchcraft traditions. A
lifetime of herbalism and alternative healing practices also stretch
back to her youth.

Each
woman has written other books before this. Coming together, their aim
was to inspire and empower readers, giving them a vast collection of
information. The new as well as the seasoned witch will find
knowledge of value. My copy has the corners of several pages turned
down.

The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells (The Modern-Day Witch) on Amazon

***

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.

Yule Correspondences

December, 2018

(Primitive Witch Hat Tree Topper, “Winter”, by Loren Morris of PrimWitchery on Etsy.)

 

Lesser Sabbat – Winter Solstice, circa Dec 21

Other Names:
Jul (“wheel”, Old Norse), Saturnalia(Rome ~December 17 & 18), Yuletide(Teutonic), Midwinter, Fionn’s Day, Alban huan, Christmas (Christian~December 25), Xmas, Festival of Sol, Solar/Secular/Pagan New Year

Animals/Mythical beings:
yule goat (nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters(greek), trolls, phoenix, yule elf, jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin

Gemstones:
cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone

Incense/Oils:
bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron

Colors:
gold, silver, red, green, white

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations:
bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia,mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree. spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images

Goddesses:
Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (teutonic), Isis(egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(christian), Tonazin(mexican), Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)

Gods:
Sun Child, Saturn(rome), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(egyptian), Jesus(christian-gnostic), Mithras(persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian)Old Man Winter

Essence:
honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection

Dynamics/Meaning:
death of the Holly (winter) King; reign of the Oak (summer) King), begin the ordeal of the Green Man, death & rebirth of the Sun God; night of greatest lunar imbalance; sun’s rebirth; shortest day of year

Purpose:
honor the Triple Goddess, welcome the Sun Child

Rituals/Magicks:
personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends, Festival of light, meditation

Customs:
lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule

Foods:
nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine

Herbs:
blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow

Element:
earth

Threshold:
dawn

Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Fenugreek

Hailing from Western Asia, Fenugreek is an odd tasting herb with some interesting history. Seeds have been found in archaeological digs dating back to 4000 BC and were even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Called Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Sickly Fruit, the herb is considered to be a bit of a panacea, being a tonic for everything from abscesses to kidney problems.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Fenugreek is an annual herb which means it grows, flowers and seeds all in the same year and does not return the following season. The plants can grow to two feet tall and has little white or yellow flowers. It’s a pretty but unassuming addition to any herb garden

You will find Fenugreek in Indian shops under the name Methi in either seed or leaf form. It’s widely used in cooking, particularly in Eastern dishes. By itself it has a bitter taste, particularly the seeds, but within a dish it adds levels of depth which can’t readily be described. The seeds are high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron and various other essential minerals so make a great addition to your diet. It is possible that if you have a nut allergy, you may also be allergic to fenugreek so approach with caution if that is the case.

The greens are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or used dried as an herb. The seeds can be sprouted in a little water and the sprouts are tasty and very good for you.

 

The Apothecary

One of the most common uses of fenugreek is as a galactagogue. This sci-fi sounding word means an herb that promotes and boosts breast milk production. When my own milk supply was depleting due to my youngest weaning, I took a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds every day and it seemed to help. It’s most palatable to make a tea out of them, which you can sweeten or add other herbs into in order to make it taste a little better. I ate the seeds straight down and they are bitter!

Other modern-day uses for fenugreek include relief for digestive issues, increasing libido and even fighting baldness.

Recent research has shown that fenugreek may be useful in sufferers of diabetes, but this research is ongoing. It may also be useful for relieving menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham tells us fenugreek is a masculine herb, but look at all the medical uses that relate specifically to women’s issues such as breastfeeding and the menopause. If the plant is indeed masculine, then it’s a great example of how men and women need to help each other out, rather than bemoaning our differences. This male plant is definitely a feminist!

The plant is associated with Mercury which links it to communication, and also wealth and commerce. Fenugreek is therefore useful when crafting spells to do with business, jobs and joint ventures.

In Judaism, fenugreek is eaten during Rosh Hashana and is associated with increase. This is more about increasing our own talents and skills rather than the increase of wealth, but they can be closely linked depending on how you look at it.

Fenugreek is known as a ‘lucky legume’, as it is a member of the bean family and provides protection and attracts luck.

 

Home and Hearth

Scatter fenugreek seeds around the threshold to your home to ensure any who enter can only speak the truth.

Carry a pouch of fenugreek seeds in your pocket when attending an interview or important meeting to ensure you speak your mind. Just be sure you have nothing to hide, as you may be compelled to be honest about things you didn’t want to reveal!

Steep Fenugreek seeds in boiling water then add this water to whatever you use to clean your house with. This will attract material wealth into your home.

Combine fenugreek with alfalfa to craft oil or powder which will attract money. Just be on the look out for mischief, as Mercury is known to play pranks and cause messages to be mixed or muddled.

 

I Never Knew…

In ancient Egypt, a paste made of fenugreek seeds was used in the embalming process of dead bodies.

 

Image credit: Fenugreek from the Vienna Dioscurides, public domain; Freshly Sprouted Qasuri Methi by Miansari66; Junge Pflanzen des Bockshornklees by Yak

***

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.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Book Review of Pastel Spells by Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Book Review

Pastel Spells

by Rose Orriculum

 

 

Taken from the back cover “Pastel Spells is a pocket spell book filled with a variety of spells for witches of all levels of experience, from beginners to long-time practitioners.” That statement really sums up Pastel Spells so well.

This is one of my favorite spell books to date. It doesn’t focus on any certain type of spells and even includes curses. Some of the of the spells are romantic, sexual, anti-love, platonic love/friendship, help with relationships, sour relationships, self-love, self-care/habits, self-care/emotional, healing, and, as I mentioned, curses. There is also a few spells on gender and some on orientation. I felt these spells were something very unique that I had not seen in other books.

I have personally tried some of these spells and I am in love with them. I tried the Stuffed Animal Sleep Spell for my son. He loves his new stuffed animal and now will not sleep anywhere without it.

I have also been using the Restarting Spell at the end of each month. I feel this spell is a great way to end the month and get ready for the new one.

Rose Orriculum has such a way with words and spells. I enjoy her work and cannot wait to see what else she comes up with. To learn more about her, check out my interview with her in this issue!

Pastel Spells on Amazon

Book Review: A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book by Ceisiwr Serith

February, 2018

 

This is a lovely little book, one that can easily fit inside a woman’s bag, or a man’s briefcase.

It is broken down into two parts – The Foundations of Worship and Building Rituals.

Part One is broken down in “Prayer” and “Rituals”. It describes how, yes, pagans so pray, a description of prayer and how to write your own.

Part Two is all about Rituals

— How to Begin

— Home

— Callings

— Praise

— Thanksgiving

— Consecrations & Blessings

— Separate sections for Time of Day/Month/Year/Lore

— Endings

The last section is “Petitioning the Gods” and includes, requests, offerings, healing and society and land.

The book is chock-full of prayers for all occasions. For those who prefer to use the words of others in their rituals and daily offerings, there is much here to choose from. For others, many of these can be the base from which you craft your own prayers.

For myself, I tend to just speak from my heart in my daily prayers. However, I can definitely see myself referring to this book again and again in composing more formal rituals.

This little book would make a nice addition to your occult library.

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

***

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, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

Click Image for Amazon Information

The Divine Flows Through Me

November, 2017

 

The Divine Flows Through Me!

My Gods and Goddesses flow through me
Strong and powerful rising up in me
I offer my devotion and my love.

My mind is open to receive
The wisdom and guidance of Divine grace.

My body is the Temple that offers
Its gifts in service to the Greater Work.

My Gods and Goddesses flow through me
They are with me always and
Shine brightly for all to see. 

They are the Fire of my Will….

Kali’s Rites (1.)

Blood spills freely from a wild fierceness
That knows no mercy or gentle hand.

I am not a timid and delicate Maiden
I am one who will claim your love
And take what I wish in satisfaction.

I am not the loving and gentle Mother
I am one who will birth you and then
Feast on the remains of what is not viable.

I am not the wizened and strong Crone
I am wisdom itself and fear is birthed
In the knowing of my mysteries.

I will cut and reshape and spare nothing
That does not serve your completeness.

You may fear and loathe me but know that
In that fear is the secret of your justifiable
Rage and your power as a merciful Warrior.

They are the Moving Waters Within…

Where do I seek your solace?
Where will I find my vision?
What flows silently rising at your call?

What feeds my intention?
What makes me feel?
Where is the healing of my pain?

The waters rise pulling me into
Currents that move with purpose.

The waters expand and fill every
Cell of my being with light and healing.

The waters emanate from an endless
Waterfall of Divine love and my fears
And doubts are swept out to the seas
Of eternities Divine gates.

They are the Structure that is Body and Form..

This gift of form and shape was created
In the primordial waters of sacred intent.

Flesh and bone
Blood and vein
Muscle and cartilage
Strength and power
Beauty and grace.

A smile brought into energy’s light
An embrace soothing the Divine work
A birthing that calls forth new life
A loving that entwines the beloveds
A gesture
A word
A body

Moving in ecstatic energy
As the Divine descends
And learns the mystery of
Its blessing of corporeal form.

They are Mind’s Creative Breath..

I write
I create
Pen to paper
Hand to keyboard.

My Gods and Goddesses speak
Through the words crafted
Of their own intent.

OI open and allow the down pouring
Of what flows strongly waiting its
Divine expression in creative release.

I think and images flood the landscape
Of an artist that is unseen yet palpable
And sacred in ITs visioning.

I speak the words that are powerful
In their truth as mouth and throat
Are offered in service to the Divine.

I breathe and life fills me
I exhale and the Divine fills the void
I inhale and I am illuminated
I breathe and I AM at peace.

This is how I express my devotion to the Divine. These are my offerings to them. This is my daily interaction that is a continuous drinking of the bounty of their gifts. This is my expression of living a Divinely connected life 24/7-365 days a year. And, because of this intention I am richly blessed by the people in my life, the community I serve and the work I am able to do!

1. Excerpted from Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

Sleeping with the Goddess is a book of nightly devotions to be used in seeking greater insight into the Goddess in all of Her forms. Its content is separated into Four Sections: General Devotionals; the Phases of the Moon; the Seasons and a special section of three Pathworkings for those seeking a longer experience. Each entry is followed by a blank page labeled, Dreamtime Notes, that may be used to record any dreams or visions that may arise after your reading. These journalings will serve as the foundations from which you develop greater rapport with those Goddesses that you most resonate with. Settle into the comfort of your nighttime routine and begin your journey of forging an intimate relationship with the Goddess.

 

 

For Amazon information, click image below.


 

 

***

 

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

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

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

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The Enchanted Gate

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SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

June, 2015

Croning Part 3

Merry meet! 

This month is the third of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone. It touches on some of the symbols of the crone you can consider incorporating into your ritual.

Croning : Symbols

Amethyst:

amethyst

This is often considered the gem of the crone because it is associated with spirituality and wisdom. Everyone who attended the weekend event at which I croned was given a small piece of amethyst and the instruction to give it to me with a personal message. I was given an etched champagne glass to collect them in.

Braid / stole / shawl: A wearable symbol of the level of crone is a stole or braid, that is placed over her shoulders. It can be round woven from ribbons representing the elements, or it can be of colors that have meaning for the crone. Charms, beads and crystals can also be added. I chose a black shawl as the garment I wished bestowed upon me because old women of all nationalities have worn shawls.

Cauldron: This customary witch’s tool is associated with the crone goddesses Cerridwen, the Celtic Keeper of the Cauldron; Hecate, Greek Goddess of magic and the underworld; and Kali, the Indian Goddess of destruction and rebirth. It is a symbol of germination, transmutation and transformation. It is the merging of the Great Goddess and the Great Mother. Crones stir their wisdom in the cauldron. I used mine to hold wisdom scrolls (to be described next month).

Crown:

crown

The placing of a crown on the head symbolizes rising to a higher rank – in this case, the rank of crone. It can be made by the crone from dried flowers, branches or other materials that are available as well as meaningful. Mine was made for me by two dear crones.

Owl: The owl – the bird of magic, darkness, prophecy and wisdom –is considered to be the totem of the crone.

Staff:

Staff

A staff is another symbol of initiation into cronehood. I chose to make a ceremonial one modeled after a medicine stick I had seen. The skull of a grandmother goat was a gift from a fire witch and farmer. Leather laces were strung through three holes to which I attached a variety of charms, amulets and other meaningful objects that previously had been on my altars or tucked in various places. It is both personal and powerful, and remains a work in progress. Staffs need not be elaborate. They can even be disguised as walking sticks.

Waning moon: As the moon decreases in size going from full to new, it is known as the waning moon and is associated with the crone. It’s a time of intuition and divination.

Next month I’ll prompt you to reflect on your life and the wisdom you have to share. My croning ritual will be a large part of the August column, along with some ideas for your own and some references. We’ll wrap up in September with any questions you may have as well as some details that did not fit into previous columns.

Merry part. And merry meet again…

The Magic Theatre of Witchcraft

March, 2015

Introduction:

The rites of witchcraft, whether performed alone or with others, are a form of magic theatre. One goes to them not to sit in the audience but to participate in the performance. Audiences can arrive tired, perhaps somewhat dispirited, prepared to relax and, if possible, receive some form of uplift from the spectacle. This is not the case with performers; they must be vigorous, well-balanced in their energies, with energies pitched high and practically electric. The rite itself should, if performed well, both deepen and further heighten those energies, but one goes to the magic theatre to give and share energy rather than to be lifted out of some swale of ennui.

To call witchcraft a magical theatre means that practical results are secondary. This is at variance with many accounts of witchcraft, which emphasize the desired result to be attained, even though one is cautioned that such results should be forgotten at the conclusion of the spell. The double-bind of forgetting is avoided in this approach, which sees the magic circle as neither primarily religious nor as an act of collective engineering, but as art. A concert performance is directed towards the production of music, but the musicians are not producing music as workmen produce things, instead uniting with the music and with each other in music. There is no separation between them and the music they make, or which makes itself through them, as there may be separation between an artisan and his artifact. The same is, or should be, true of the art of magical theatre. The theatre is not the place where the rite occurs, nor the script followed, nor even the objects employed in the rite; it is the act of creating the rite, in all its perceptible beauty, united with the persons creating it. For this reason, needless to say, one must memorize any scripts before attempting to perform the rites pertaining to them.

Though the emphasis should be on art, this does not exclude the sacred. Indeed, we should recall that theatre began in a sacred setting, as picaresque rites to Dionysus; and in this connection we should note that Pagan religion can be quite picaresque without losing one whit of the sacred. The use of salacious language in ancient rites of marriage, preparation for the mysteries, and sacred theatre, had as its main purpose to offend and thus drive off spirits of infertility, who were known to be great prudes. This perhaps gives us a key to understanding the nature of antipagan deities, who insist on excluding such behavior from their own sacred rites. If we can incorporate this element of ribaldry in our own circle rituals, we shall succeed in drawing nearer to the spirit of the old religions.

Pagan Belief:

In ancient religion, stress was laid on performing the rites, not on repeating credal formulations of belief over and over until the mind is hypnotized by words. So long as one respected the gods and observed their rites, one was free to entertain a wide variety of beliefs about the origin of the world, life after death, and so forth. Beliefs that insulted the deities were, naturally, excluded, but this left one with a great deal of freedom to believe what one liked, and to change one’s beliefs if one were so inclined. Pagans tended to be a little vague about such matters, for belief per se was not regarded as particularly important. What did the gods care what a mortal thought, so long as he or she was pious? Not a whit.

Performing sacred rites induces a certain atmosphere of suspended disbelief. This was the general attitude to the myths (which were originally not separate from ritual). Even Socrates remarked that the traditional tale was good enough for him; he was more interested in ethical matters anyway. The proper attitude to take into ritual is a readiness to act towards the focus of the rite as if the god or goddess exists. That is all that is required: not to doubt, and to behave towards the object of prayer as if that being were real.

This should be good news to modern witches and other neopagans, for they need not try to work up the intensity of belief characteristic of antipagan religions. Indeed, if they try to approach the Circle like church, they will soon become exhausted, and conclude that paganism is too complicated and therefore too hard to practice. It is not hard at all, if we bear in mind that we are about to participate in sacred theatre.

The Temple:

The temple of witchcraft is built up partly from sacred objects, partly from ritual movement and acts, and partly from visualization. All three elements work together to create the real illusion of a spherical temple. A real illusion is defined here as an object-event that is experienced and has real effects, even if it is not amenable to outside scientific observation and measurement. Another example of a real illusion is the aura of energy enfolding the bodies of lovers which is both felt and seen by them but only them.

The sacred objects which go into a temple are various but there are certain objects of central importance that are present on every occasion. These include candles of various sizes and colors, incense and an incense burner, chalice, fossil stone or pentacle, magical weapons or tools, a bell, a salt censer, and various auxiliary items such as a water ewer, matches, an ashtray, cakes and ale, cushions for sitting around the altar, and of course the altar itself. This list is not exhaustive.

The form of the temple itself, a sphere, is largely visualized through a series of ritual acts. The equator of the sphere is marked out on the floor or ground by eight candles, set at the quarter and cross-quarter points of the compass. The equator, or circumference of the circle, is generally nine feet in diameter. Directly overhead, over the center of the circle, is the zenith or ‘height’ of the sphere. This is visualized partly through the sweeping of miasma – old, stale energy – from the circle before it is cast by the use of a besom. The besom is used to sweep the circle three times deosil (that is, clockwise), beginning in the east and finishing in the east again. The first time around the besom sweeps at ground level; the second time at shoulder level, and the third time, at a forty-five degree angle above shoulder level, pointing upward. This helps the coveners to visualize the upper parts of the sphere, and the zenith is established in the mind’s eye by acts of pointing straight upward using the athame.

In the same way, the nadir of the sphere or ‘the deep’ is visualized by the act of pointing down with the athame, and later by the act of raising energy when building the Cone of Power. The lower half of the sphere is an act of pure visualization, since the floor or ground presents the lower limit of the sphere so far as outward vision is concerned. Each witch visualizes the lower hemisphere based on his or her experience in meditation, for the witch descends into his or her depths in meditation instead of ascending to the heights. In this way, a witch becomes intimately aware of his or her lower levels of subconscious feelings and urges. It is the aim of the Craft to raise the energy trapped at the lower levels into the full light of consciousness, both in meditation and in the raising of the Cone of Power.

The altar is generally placed in the center of the circle, though in some traditions it is placed in the north. The advantage to having it in the center is that this helps the coveners to visualize the axis of the sphere, which passes through the center of the circle, up through the center of the altar, all the way to the height, connecting the height with the deep. The axis is magically connected with the World Pillar (or trunk of the World Tree), round which the heavens revolve in pagan cosmology. It is also magically cognate with the spine of each witch present. The energy of the deep is raised through this axis, which is perceived as identical with the spine of each witch at the crucial moment.

Background of the Circle and Release of the Cone of Power:

The spherical temple of Witchcraft finds an ancient prototype in the description of a temple or hall of the Magi in Babylon in the first century C.E.. The description is by Damis, the secretary of the pagan mystic and wonder-worker Apollonius of Tyana, and was gotten second-hand from his master. Apollonius was traveling east to India in search of arcane wisdom, with an aim to restoring the temples of the West to their original purity. He lingered in Babylon for 18 months, conferring with the Median priests there, whom he described as “wise, but not in all things.” As a non-initiate, Damis could not enter the temple. Here is its description:

The roof was dome-shaped, and the ceiling was covered with ‘sapphire’; in this blue heaven were models of the heavenly bodies (‘those whom they regard as Gods’) fashioned in gold, as though moving in the ether. Moreover from the roof were suspended four golden ‘Iygges’ which the Magi call the ‘Tongues of the Gods.’ These were winged wheels or spheres connected with the idea of Adrasteia, or Fate.” 1

Mead goes on to identify the Iygges with the teachers of early humanity of Hebrew legend. They are intermediaries between humanity and the greater gods as well as tutors. In these qualities they resemble the Watchers of modern witchcraft, as that concept has developed in a number of traditions. The Watchers sponsor the initiate from the first degree onwards, and through the elementals provide him or her with the energies of elemental Air, Fire, Water and Earth. But the witch must cultivate this connection with the four Quarters and their inhabitants in order to grow in the Craft.

The temple of witchcraft, though physically only a circle, is visualized as a sphere by the ritualists. This visualization transforms the cast circle into a magical theatre, in which the powerful energies of the elements are added to the raised and combined powers of the witches present and directed to some constructive purpose. In what follows I will present one particular way of raising the temple into the magical theatre, and of building up and releasing the Cone of Power. There are many variations, but the particular method presented engages, or so I think, all the essential elements of the process.

Everyone and everything used in witchcraft must go through phases of purification, consecration and charging. This begins with the witches themselves, who first cleanse themselves individually of miasma, that is, of stale energy connected with everyday concerns. Next, the witches purify themselves as a group, settling any differences (as least provisionally) between themselves and finally join hands in a circle to share bioenergy. Meanwhile, the physical temple is erected.

The ringing of a hand-bell signals the inception of sacred time, and summons the witches to the temple. They come in quietly and, moving sunwise around the altar, take their stations. The time signaled and begun by the ringing of the bell is the time of the beginning, for this is a new world about to be created between the everyday world we know and the Otherworld of spirits. The sea of Chaos lies between and underneath all worlds. 2 Some of that chaos is about to be ordered into a cosmos, which though physically small will be complete in all the essentials of an ordered habitation.

Attention is now directed to the altar, where one or two large candles are lit in the center to honor the Lord and Lady and connect with their energy. The elemental tools and magical weapons are purified and consecrated. The chalice is filled. The candles are lit round the circumference of the circle 3 The temple area is swept, asperged and censed. There is a general feeling of anticipation, for the next step is to build the magical theatre.

First the circle is cast, from East sunwise to East again, by a priest or priestess with his or her athame. This is a crucial moment for all present, for all must follow the casting with rapt attention, visualizing the bluish-silver light spilling from the tip of the athame along the perimeter of the circle. It is not enough, though, to visualize the circling tip of light; the whole illumined circumference must be seen and retained as it grows to a full circle. Thereafter, it must be kept in peripheral view throughout the rite. It is this act that lays the foundation for the magical theatre. Next, the quarters are called to the four cardinal points of the circle, again beginning and ending in the East and processing sunwise.

Because the purpose of the rite is to effect change in the everyday world through the launching of a thought-form into the Otherworld of spirit, the energies raised within the circle must be augmented by the elemental energies of beings who remain outside the circle but who supercharge the energy of the raised Cone of Power through the four cardinal portals. These powers also guard the portals and the integrity of the temple boundary from unwanted intrusion and from collapsing when the Cone of Power is released. These wards, the Watchers and elementals, are next called to their stations on the cardinal points. They are beckoned and invited to perch, as it were, on the portals, which are both doors to the temple and inlets for their more highly-charged energies. The more sensitive witches may begin to feel a sort of throb along the circumference of the circle, like the pounding of surf.

Next the Lady and Lord are invited in and reside in the large candles at the center of the altar. Now the pillar or axis of this little “world between the worlds” is visualized as passing up through the center of the altar between the Lady and Lord and extending from the nadir to the zenith of the spherical temple. 4 As the witches join hands and circle the temple slowly, the Pillar is visualized as revolving, from the polarity between the Lady and Lord. The circling is slow at first as the High Priest or High Priestess states the magical purpose of the rite. This purpose is then summed up in a word, which is repeated by the witches as they circle.

The pace now picks up as the High Priest/ess recites a Witches’ Mill:

On an oak-leaf I stand

I ride the filly that never was foaled

And I carry the dead in my hand

Under the earth I go.” 5

Each witch in turn takes a line and the mill is recited three times as they circle.

High Priest/ess then calls out the one-word magical purpose again and witches repeat it while circling a little faster. It is repeated three times and then witches fall silent as they circle, each one visualizing an image to stand for the purpose. After a moment, High Priest/ess begins the Witches’ Rune, two troubadour discoveries from the 12th or 13th century:

Bagahi laca bachahe

Lamac cahi achabahe

Karrelyos

Lamac lamec Bachalyos,

Cabohagi Sabalyos,

Baryolas

Lagozatha cabyolas,

Samahac et famyolas,

Harrahya!” 6

Witches repeat the rune three times, circling a little faster.

High Priest/ess immediately goes into the second part of the Rune, picking up the pace which now approaches the maximum speed consistent with safety:

Eko eko Azerak,

Eko eko Zomelak

Zod ru koz e zod ru koo

Zod ru goz e goo roo moo

Eeo eeo hoo hoo hoo!” 7

This is likewise repeated three times by the witches, at the end of which they stop, throw up their hands with the last “hoo!”, and each mentally projects his or her visual image of the magical purpose upward through the zenith. At the same time, each witch mentally releases his or her gaze of the Watchers and their eyes. A whoosh results, the release of the elemental energy at the cardinal points upward and inward to the zenith of the circle. There it joins the uprush of witches’ energy, directed by the uprushing column of the World Pillar, and all join at the apex of the Cone of Power, which is then released through the portal of the height, at the temple’s zenith, the summit of the magical theatre.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

FARRAR, Janet and Stewart, Eight Sabbats for Witches, Custer, WA,

Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1988.

_____________________, The Witches’ Way; Principles, Rituals, and

Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft, Custer, Washington, Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1984.

JACKSON, Nigel, Call of the Horned Piper, Berkshire, UK, Capall Bann, 1994.

MEAD, G.R.S., Apollonius of Tyana; The Philosopher-Reformer of the First

Century A.D., New Hyde Park, New York, University Books, Inc., 1966.

VALIENTE, Doreen, Witchcraft for Tomorrow, Custer, Washington, Phoenix

Press, 1987.

1 G.R.S. Mead, Apollonius of Tyana, pp 84-5.

2 “World” is understood in the ancient sense as a cosmos or ordered habitation in space-time. not necessarily a planet.

3 Or sometimes after the circle is cast, with the calling of Quarters.

4 At certain times of year, when there is only one candle, the axis of the temple is visualized as rising through it.

5 From Nigel Jackson, Call of the Horned Piper. p. 22 et passim.

6 Farrar, Janet & Stewart, Eight Sabbats for Witches, p. 44. Often misquoted, this troubadour chant can be viewed in manuscript in an illustration in plate 8 of Farrar, The Witches’ Way.

7 Recorded in a footnote by Doreen Valiente to Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Eight Sabbats for.Witches, p. 45.

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