rituals

August Native Moon: Excerpt from the Forthcoming Book ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy

July, 2019

August Native Moon

From ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy
Available August 20 from Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

The thirteen Native Moons in Cosmic Crystals are by far the most difficult to describe. With so many different Native tribes, cultural traditions, and important stories, finding common threads is not always easy. In most instances, the main moon name given is the most commonly used name among the Algonquin tribes, and the listed alternative names come from other well-known tribal peoples from North America, Central America, and South America.

As you read about the Native Moons, put yourself in the shoes of those who lived in harmony with the natural cycles. Consider the lessons from the deities and totem animals that can be applied to present day life. What are the commonalities between yourself and the tribal people who were some of the first in the world to name the moons each month? What is different in your own life compared to the lives of those who gave these moons their names? What wisdom can you take away from recognizing those differences?

When working with the lunar rituals for the Native Moons, push yourself to find new ways to incorporate the corresponding totem animals and healing herbs into your ritual. Remember, your ritual may be as simple or as complex as you like. The point is to create a moment of sacredness between you and the moon, so listen to your inner guidance for how to customize each ritual to meet your needs.

AUGUST

The Grain Moon

The Grain Moon is named for grains, such as corn and barley, which can now be harvested. Fishing tribes know this as the Sturgeon Moon, named after the fish that are abundant at this time. Other tribes know the August full moon as the Red Moon because it often takes on a reddish color. Still others call this the Lightning Moon due to frequent late-summer thunderstorms.

To connect with the energy of the Grain Moon, place a small bowl of dry grains (e.g., corn, barley, or rice) in your sacred space or on your altar. Surround the bowl with Ruby Fuchsite stones to represent the sharing of this abundance with those you love. You may even choose to have one stone to represent each specific person in your circle of close friends and family.

ALTERNATE NAMES Barley Moon, Lightning Moon, Red Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Swan Flight Moon, Women’s Moon

ANIMALS squirrel, sturgeon, swan

COLORS gold, green, yellow

CRYSTALS Green Grossular Garnet, Heliodor, Ruby Fuchsite

DEITIES Laqan Kachina, Mashe-Namak, Mikew, Nisk-Na Peu – the Goose Master, Urubutsin

ESSENTIAL OILS rosewood, tangerine, tea tree

HERBS eucalyptus, lemongrass, rose petal

KEYWORDS abundance, connection, magic

GREEN GROSSULAR GARNET This abundance stone connects to the Grain Moon by reminding you that with hard work, there will be plenty to harvest down the road. Green Grossular Garnet enhances your connection to the plants and animals of the earth. Work with this stone if you’d like to find balance between modern life and more traditional ways of living.

HELIODOR A yellow variety of Beryl, Heliodor shines with the color of golden grain. This crystal helps you recognize abundance all around you and connects you to all that is. The more connected and grateful you feel, the more you have to be thankful for, because things are drawn to you like a magnet. Helidor is also a stone of magic and facilitates mystical experiences.

RUBY FUCHSITE This rock, also called Anyolite, is a combination of two minerals, red Ruby and Green Fuchsite. This crystal corresponds to the heart center and instills empathy and compassion. Wear Ruby Fuchsite in a medicine bag over your heart to facilitate a connection with others. This energy is perfectly suited to the Grain Moon, a time of celebration and sharing the abundant harvest.

About the author of ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’:

Ashley Leavy (Madison, WI) is the Founder & Educational Director of the Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy. Teaching others about crystals is Ashley’s passion and her purpose. Ashley’s experience is based on almost a decade, and 100+ classes, of professional crystal healing training. Because of her expertise, Ashley has been a featured guest on NBC, has been interviewed about crystal healing for dozens of radio shows, has had articles published in many newspapers and magazines, and has been featured as a guest blogger on hundreds of energy healing and wellness blogs. She is also the author of Crystals for Energy Healing.

Learn more at quartokno.ws/CosmicCrystals.

Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting With Lunar Energy on Amazon

Book Review – Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish by Lucy Cavendish

July, 2019

Book review
Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish
by Lucy Cavendish
Pages: 208

“There is an immense natural power in the Universe … You have this natural power within you, and it is your birthright to learn how to work with it,” Lucy Cavendish writes in her book, Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish.

Working spells connects you to that power that flows through everything, and Cavendish offers enough information to harness that power. She gleaned the contents of this book from her personal journals, offering a grimoire – her collection of rules and laws that apply to magic and the craft, rituals, spells, potions, meditations and magickal notes.

This book provides a solid introduction to understanding nature’s powers and using them wisely. Beginning with laws and a history of spells, Cavendish presents a spell to connect to your magickal bloodline.

Chapter 3 continues with information to time the crafting and casting spells by the moon and the circle of the year. Building altars, magickal tools, casting a circle, calling the quarters and the art of magickal dressing are all covered. Working with deities is Chapter 8 while Chapter 9 covers creating sacred space for spellcasting.

Spells are treated matter-of-factually – without mystery – as an empowering path to greater abundance and joy.

Disagreeing with those who claim intent is everything, Cavendish writes, “Intent is vital. But it is not everything. … Without your commitment to gathering your ingredients, learning and studying, and casting, you only have the strong desire to do something. When your desire teams up with your commitment and your action, then you begin to create magick.”

Seven days worth of daily meditations, magic and spells offers readers the opportunity to create a magickal life in a powerful week that has the potential to be life changing.

Spells for love, protection, success and abundance complete the book. A few I found interesting include a spell for letting go of grief and one for empaths to protect themselves. A glossary and a list of magickal ingredients round out the book.

I think anyone ready to take spell crafting seriously will find this a helpful guide.

About Author Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is an eclectic solitary witch – drawing from a variety of belief systems and magickal traditions – who sometimes works with others. She created Witchcraft magazine, has published several books and has been a feature writer for Australian magazines.

“I work with the word ‘witch’ because its root meaning is to ‘change or bend’ and ‘wisdom’. Thus I see witchcraft as being a path of change and manifestation, from natural sources, and in harmony with natural cycles, and with awareness of the Laws of the Universe – which, to me, are wisdom incarnate,” she wrote.

For more information, visit lucycavendish.com.au.

Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish on Amazon

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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.

Book Review – The Seasonal Soul: A Mystic’s Guide to Inner Transformation Written by Lauren Aletta, Illustrated by Teagan Svyny

May, 2019

Book Review
The Seasonal Soul
A Mystic’s Guide to Inner Transformation
Written by Lauren Aletta
Illustrated by Teagan Svyny
Chronicle
303 pp.

“The Seasonal Soul: A Mystic’s Guide to Inner Transformation” comes to us from the author and illustrator behind the lovely Lumina Tarot, and it’s just what you’d expect if you’re familiar with that Tarot. It is a lushly illustrated book which explores the themes of winter, spring, summer, and fall through a collage of visualizations, meditations, self-care rituals, and musings. The book’s structure is simple and its goals are clearly laid out: to use awareness and observation of the seasons as a template for personal growth, and to use nature as your guide.

There are many exercises to choose from in each season, and they contain suggestions for activities, journaling prompts, meditations, and more. These exercises center around self-exploration, personal growth, or intuitive connection to self. Svyny’s illustrations are beautiful, and make reading the book a real pleasure; although it’s completely black and white, the book was clearly printed with visual impact in mind, and the result is effective. There is a visual treat on every page of natural imagery, quotes, and other illustrations rendered in watercolor and ink.

Unfortunately, the book does have a few problems. Aletta’s decision to write in the second person is questionable; I found it off-putting to be told what I was supposed to be feeling, particularly when the author’s lived experience only aligned with my own on rare occasions. It felt forced to me, and I didn’t feel like I could “play along” to an emotional narrative that didn’t ring true. Additionally, much of the advice contained in the book seems to involve adjusting one’s own attitudes about life and feelings about things, which I fear may encourage spiritual bypassing more than spiritual growth; there is little material here that will guide a seeker through the deep mysteries of life, or help them deal with serious challenges. While there is nothing wrong with developing a positive attitude towards one’s daily life, there are many problems which a positive attitude can’t solve, and this book doesn’t really delve into difficult questions or serious craft.

Aletta discusses meditation, crystal use and chakra energy work at some length. While much of this information is accurate according to tradition, it is disappointing to note that she doesn’t mention the original names of the chakras or discuss their origins in her descriptions. There are many chakra-like systems in the world, but the symbolism and type of chakras discussed make it clear that Aletta is working with the Tantric Chakra system. The roots of this system are in Hindu esoteric tradition and Vedic literature, but the cultural origins of this system and their literary source are not mentioned anywhere in this book. I know it’s almost passé to crow about cultural appropriation, but in this case the problem is easily corrected with as little as a footnote or bibliography, so there’s no excuse for their absence. Additionally, the critical disconnection from the origins of these mystical traditions deprives them of power due to their lack of context.

If you are looking for light-hearted spiritual exploration, eye-popping illustrations, and heart-centered positivity to act as your spiritual cheerleader, this might be the book for you. There are some good suggestions here, and it would make a great companion for journaling with prompts, or as a source book for an ongoing meditation and visualization practice. If, however, you are a seeker who desires spiritual growth that grows from deep roots and ancient traditions, you may find yourself disappointed by the lack of context and type of material presented here.

The Seasonal Soul: A Mystic’s Guide to Inner Transformation on Amazon

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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 – 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 , 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

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About the Author:

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

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

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

Book Review – Making Magic by Brianna Saussy

April, 2019

Book Review
Making Magic
Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary
by Brianna Saussy

With an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
we see into the life of things”
-William Wordsworth-

This quote was a beautiful entry into a book that entices the reader to look more deeply at everything that surrounds them and recognize the potential for the magick held in every moment, in every experience and every interaction. Fourteen (14) Chapters are packed jam full with info, ideas and ritual to implement the focus. The prelude sets the tone of what we can expect…

…”Somewhere in the world right now there are people from every conceivable culture, walk of life, and set of experiences who all have one thing in common: they have remembered they are making magic. Are you ready to make it too?”…” We all have a deep capacity to make magic and to do it as easily as we breathe or open our eyes”…

I appreciate the freshness and candor of this introduction and its gentle demystifying of something many consider to mysterious, unreachable and requiring everything, yet not recognizing the single and only key ingredient-us! The Introduction ends with a familiar tale infused with magic and a promise. It’s entitled “Golden Locks and the Bear People”-go figure.

Chapter One prepares the reader to begin a journey of “Remember(ing) Your Magic”, and the call to return to the place of knowing and integrated wisdom that allowed a wild and natural magic to flow. Ms. Saussy uses the analogy of a wild animal. The experiences it endures and how it finds way to survive in a world that is not always welcoming…. “Magic moves through the wilderness of the soul soil of everyday life and experience”. Emphasis is placed on looking and listening to gather evidence and reveal the clues that as the author states will bring us back to making magic. The standard encouragement of journaling is part of the work here, always being the staple resource for any seeker knowledge of the sacred arts.

Two rituals are provided in each chapter as a way to deepen your practice and there is also the thoughtful addition of “Stepping Stones” that supports a more time-friendly alternative to keep the magic going. According to Ms. Saussy….Across time and culture the seeker’s journey is understood to be a spiral path…an apt description of the experience that our souls undergo in the search for truth and beauty … the experience of a growing wisdom, in consciousness, we never lose sight of the beginning, our starting point.”…

I love that this book was organized in a way that it holds the necessary theory required for a good foundation of building a magical practice, albeit, not in the usual set of semantics that prod the reader to think in only one way about what magic is and who uses it. The author clearly has an understanding based in a diverse practice of esoteric wisdom that spans cultures and beliefs beyond the Hermetic practitioner. This makes the material that much more useful and accessible by everyone.

Titles such as: Memory and Imagination (visualization); Finding the Doors (home protection/warding); Taking Your Time (time magic); Kith and Kin (ancestor magic) and more piqued the interest in exploring the magic of these crafts more deeply. The final chapter, entitled: Weaving the Worlds Back Together was a beautiful ending to this book. The weaving together of all of the experiences had in the preceding chapters is the guiding force of the ending. Remember that spiral that was spoken of in the beginning? Now, the reader is drawn to return to the beginning and acknowledge all that has come into their memory of their magic and in that weaving, something new is created. Wild, free and finally in tune with the magic of the world….

…” We move from seeking magic to finding it, from remembering it to making it and as the worlds are woven together, living it”…

In conclusion, the “Notes” section boasts a bibliography, organized by chapter, which provides the reader with lots of additional resources to continue the exploration and support coming into our natural gifts.

Making Magic” is a wonderful introduction to what magic can be in its simplicity and beauty. Often the statement is made that living a spiritual/magical life is a 24/7-365 endeavor. This book leads the reader into that space where magic and the mundane are fueled and informed by the other.

About Brianna:

Briana Saussy is a writer, teacher, spiritual counselor, and ritualist dedicated to the restoration and remembering of the sacred arts. She combines a practical and creative approach to spirituality that includes the riches of the perennial world religions, the contributions of modern psychology to the search for meaning, and the often-overlooked bodies of wisdom contained in folk magic, divination, and storytelling practices. Briana studied Eastern and Western classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science at St. John’s College (Annapolis and Santa Fe), and is a student of ancient Greek and Sanskrit

Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary 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.

Book Review – Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

March, 2019

Book Review
Protection Spells
Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
224 Pages

The first thing that catches your eye about this book is the strikingly beautiful cover, but as the saying goes “never judge a book by its cover.” In this case, I can say that the content is as impressive as the cover and you will not be disappointed in reading and owning this book.

As a newcomer to the world of spellcrafting, I was pleased about the breakdown and content of the information in this book. The book is divided into three parts: Spellcrafting; Spells and Rituals; and Protective Objects. Part One explains what a spell is, how spells work and the basics regarding spellcraft; which is very useful to a newbie like me. Part Two consists of spells focusing on defense and protection and are divided into four categories. Lastly, Part Three provides the reader with three protection rituals. One for protecting a home, one for protecting an object and one for protecting a person. Protective objects are also discussed in Part Three.

In the first chapter of the book, which also serves as the Part One, types of spells are explained. This is particularly helpful to someone who has little to no knowledge of spellwork. Chapter One reinforces that the most important part of a spell is the practitioner’s will and intention to be the agent of change.

Part Two consists of four chapters each covering the following categories of spells: Body and Spirit, House and Home, Family and Friends, and Out and About. Each chapter begins with information regarding the spell category. Spell names are highlighted and written in a consistent format which is easy to read and follow. Under each individual spell is information on how or what the spell will help with followed by materials needed to execute the spell. Each highlighted area concludes with “What to Do” which is a step-by-step explanation of how to complete the spell. Tips regarding the spell may also be included in a separate highlighted information box.

Part Three consists of two chapters. Protection rituals are provided in Chapter Six. They, like the spells in the earlier chapters, follow the same familiar, easy-to-read format that the reader has come to rely on. Chapter Seven, the ?nal chapter, discusses protection objects. Protective colors, crystals, gods, saints, angels, animals, herbs and symbols are explored. This chapter is an introduction protection objects, and it gives the reader some basic information regarding these objects. It is intended for this chapter to spark the reader’s interest in wanting to learn more about protection objects.

In conclusion, Protection Spells is a well written and highly organized book that I would recommend to others. Upon completing the final chapter, I was left wanting more information. I was saddened that the book had come to an abrupt end; which is my only disappointment in reading this book. After having the opportunity to learn so much about protection spells from Ms. Murphy-Hiscock, I was left wanting a conclusion or parting words. Given the inclusive outline and impressive organization of the book, it was the one lacking piece. Overall, the lack of a parting chapter is a minor oversight given the wealth of information gained in reading this book.

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, and Embrace Your Power on Amazon

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About the Author:

Tammy Andrews is a beginner in the area of all matters related to Wicca and witchcraft. She is interested in many areas of natural spiritual practice including the use of incense and oils, pendulum divination, oracle cards, and crystals. She is Reiki I certified with plans to obtain further Reiki levels. With her love of learning and reading, she is excited to join PaganPagesOrg as a book reviewer. Tammy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed in a community agency that provides counseling and case management services to clients who live with serious mental illnesses and addiction issues. The power of human survival and resilience never ceases to amaze her. She views social work as her passion and life calling. Tammy resides in CT with her husband, who is her greatest supporter, her cat and her dogs. She has enjoyed the opportunity to assist in the nurturing of her step-son to become a prospering young adult. Tammy and her husband spend many Summer weekends at their cabin in VT where she loves the opportunity to renew her spirit in the peace and solitude of the trees. You can contact Tammy via email at tandrews192@comcast.net

Book Review – The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

February, 2019

Book Review

The Bardic Book of Becoming

An Introduction to Modern Druidry

by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

Ivan McBeth died peacefully at home on September 23.2016, and his name and work remains as that one of the penultimate Druids. Reading the introduction and the words of his partner, Fern Lickfield drew me into this book well before the actual meat of the book. And, the closing words of Orion Foxwood, completed a beautiful book of hope, teaching and wisdom in the way of the bard.

This is a book of beginnings that offers those new to the path of Druidry solid foundation in a style of mystery and magick that has survived and evolved into a modern practice that honors the earth that was, is and can be. This book is chockfull of visualizations, rituals and stories filled with the keys of understanding that will open the doors of personal experience.

A most endearing approach is that of Ivan offering his own stories of how he came to a path of Druidry, what it meant to him and how he wished to enchant the world with these teachings that emanate from a history that systemically wove the natural world and man into a dance of collaborative embrace and mutual support.

Ivan begins the teachings in Chapter One, entitled We Are One. A simple, yet profound statement that he continues to peel back the layers of in reminding us that we began inseparable from the Earth’s Mother and although we have recently lost our way, the choice is ours to return to that place of symbiotic union and relationship with everything.

We learn that there are three levels/grades of training that form the Druid Path, the Bard-the Ovate and finally the becoming of a Druid. This study and path is one of commitment, the early Druids training for at least twenty years and all of that training oral in its passing on. Nothing was recorded. That was the way of the ancient Druids. There have been revisions to this in keeping with the demands of modern society and the inability n most cases to devote all of one’s life and time to this training.

Part One moves smoothly and clearly through al that is required to begin the foundations of a Drudic practice. It is rich with visualizations, exercises, and opportunities to create your own experiences that will form the scaffolding of who and what you become as you evolve and grow in a natural and wholistic world. The mere telling of Ivan’s experiences is a mystical gateway filled with passkeys and inspired ways of practice. This style adds a personal approach and engages the reader into a palpable experience in the re-telling. This also exemplifies the ways of the Druids in past years and the power of their teachings handed down through storytelling and oral rendition. We are one and our stories all lead to the mysteries of who and what we are on this planet and in this time.

Part Two dedicates its chapters to the Elements and the role they play in the practice of Druidry. These are the cornerstones of the natural world and as such are held in the utmost sacredness to those on a Druid’s path. I particularly liked the way in which Ivan drew you in with experience and a very simple, yet rich in layers of meaning accounting of the energies.

In keeping with the tradition of experience that is so richly laden within a Druid’s path, I am purposefully keeping this review brief. The greater worth of its information is to be found by your diving into its pages and immersing yourself in an ancient practice of cultivating awareness of all that is of this natural world; most importantly ourselves. This book is a treasure of wisdom for anyone on a spiritual path that integrates our responsibility as stewards of our planet and our inter-connectedness. It is a read I would highly recommend, not as encouragement of taking this path as your own, although you may find that resonance, but simply as a book dedicated to living in accord with the mysteries and magic of the Cosmos and how we may empower that work within ourselves.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry 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 

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Book Review – Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollin

February, 2019

Book Review
Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death
by Tracey Rollin

I have always had a great attraction for the image of Death. When I was eleven, I received a Dover coloring book of Medieval prints and a box of watercolor paints. Many of the pictures I painted and used in collages but the picture of “Death and the Maiden”, I put on my wall after I painted it and it has been on one of my walls of whatever house I have lived in ever since. Let this sink in – I was eleven in 1971 and I am now fifty-eight years old.

In my twenties, I followed the Grateful Dead. One of the highest points of that era was being backstage at the Barton Hall concert at Cornell University on May 16, 1981, just days before my twenty-first birthday – I met the entire band, including of course, Jerry Garcia, who had eyes that twinkled like Santa Claus. I bought this t-shirt at this concert and I wore it until it was at a rag but I still have it because – because of all the memories attached to it.

I went to Mexico in the mid-1990’s and while I saw mostly images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I do remember seeing the garishly painted skulls of what I now know were images of Santa Muerte in the markets that surrounded the resort town in which we were staying. I thought they were interesting but I was more attracted to the images of the Lady of Guadalupe. I loved the mosaics of Her that were built into the walls of the town. I took pictures of that and one of them I cut down into a small devotional picture. Later, I attached it to a magnet so I could put it on my fridge, where it is today.

And of course I know about El Dias De Los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. When I was young girl, I used to read Trixie Belden mysteries – they were competition to the better-known and more popular Nancy Drew mystery books. Originally written by Julie Campbell, the sixth book in the series, Mystery in Arizona – which was the last mystery Campbell wrote for the series – deals with the mystery of the Mexican workers leaving without a trace to eat “the dead” and “skeletons” and “skulls”. The one problem with this story is that it takes place over the Yule holiday and not during Samhain, which is when El Dias Los Muertos actually happens. But that was my first introduction to the term “the Day of the Dead” and the customs that surround it, even though there were many mistakes in the entire story.

I also am a suicide survivor. I have tried at least six times. The last time was April 6, 2004 and I celebrate that date every year now. I joke that “Death doesn’t want me” but of course the fact is, if it’s not your time, it’s not your time. And I know better than to try to die, even though I often long for Death in a most basic way. I know I just have to wait for my time.

I realize now that I was looking for Santa Muerte. I realize that my longing for Death is not an actual wish to die but is a longing for Our Lady of the Holy Death.

When I heard about Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollin, published in 2017 by Weiser , I jumped on the chance to read it. Because I had so many other books to read first, it sat untouched for nearly six months before I had the time to give it the attention it deserved. But once I cracked it open, I couldn’t set it down.

Of course I Googled Tracey Rollins. Her website is here: http://traceyrollin.com/ She looks to be about twenty or maybe thirty years younger than me – at any rate, she looks young enough to be my daughter. I mention this because on her website and in Santa Muerte, she talks about her Catholic childhood, and I too, was raised as a Catholic. But being older than Rollins, my Catholic childhood would have been a bit different – I remember the Latin Mass and when the “New” Mass was introduced – and we have a different background, since she was raised in New Mexico by a German immigrant mother and I was raised in Western New York in a predominantly German-Polish community; my personal ethnic background is German-Scots-Irish-French. But as I read, I could identify on so many levels that I felt that I was conversing with someone who had been down many of the same roads I had been. A soul sister, as they say on the streets.

I think one of the things I liked best about this book is that it is so well-grounded in history. Rollins talks extensively about all the roots of Santa Muerte – the Aztec roots, the European Pagan roots, the Catholic Sainthood roots, as well as the African Orisha roots. Like her better-known counterpart, The Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Muerte is definitely a New World goddess! There is so much to love about Santa Muerte. She doesn’t care who you are or where you are from. In fact, if you are poor, addicted, homeless, abused, on the run, living on the streets or in the shadows, working in bars, or in policework or EMT work, or doing construction work or any other kind of dangerous work, Santa Muerte is your guardian saint. How many times have you been in a terrible place and that scary face turned into the most caring person you ever met? That homeless person who shared her coffee with you or helped you find your way home? That’s Santa Muerte. She’s in the subways and the streets and the shelters. She’s the nurse who seems so tough but is the softest touch on the floor. She’s the old woman you never notice until you need her. She’s the face of the ultimate mother – Death.

There are seven aspects to Santa Muerte – seven colors for seven aspects. White is purity. Blue is daily living and relationships. Green is ethics, justice and law. Gold is wealth. Red is sex and passion. Purple is magic. Black is negation and dissolution. But Rollins points out that:

“Even within the seven colors of Santa Muerte, there is some variation and substitution. One common variation is to replace the gold aspect of Santa Muerte with a yellow or amber aspect that is primarily dedicated to healing. Some practitioners use pink version of Santa Muerte instead of the red aspect for spells involving love and affection instead of lust. There exists a brown version of Sante Muerte, chosen specifically for invention in earthly matters and for the manifestation of the practitioner’s desires. Some claim she is the mistress of all practical business matters, splitting this away from the blue aspect and this isolation its knowledge and empathy-enhancing qualities.” (Rollins, 82).

Rollins tells you how to choose a color for properly resolving your problems but she also advises getting a Santa Muerte statue that displays all her seven colors, at least for your first statue, especially when you are setting up an altar to Her. Chapter Six is dedicated to the art of creating a proper Santa Muerte altar. Anyone who has set up any kind of altar will be familiar with many of the aspects of altar-building; however, there are a few details to remember when you are working with Santa Muerte. First of all, she likes Florida Water. I always thought Florida Water was a brand of cologne that you bought in Florida – my grandmother always brought back a bottle when she went to Florida every winter – but it’s the name of a scent formula that was first produced in 1808 and has always remained popular (Rollins, 99). For some reason, the spirits of the death love the scent of Florida Water. Rollins includes a recipe for making your own Florida Water on page 100. Most of the ingredients can be found in any major supermarket or pharmacy.

Of course you need candles – it is possible, nowadays, to find Santa Muerte novena candles in the Goya aisle of your supermarket with the other novena candles – I thought they were just happy skull candles for El Dias De Los Muertos, but now I know better. The next time I go to the large Tops supermarket on the West Side of Buffalo, I am going to get myself one. But if you can’t find a candle with the image of Santa Muerte on it, you should be able to find one with the seven colors. I’ve seen those for several years now and I just didn’t know what they meant. I’m going to get one of those, too – and do a seven-day novena, meditating each day on each aspect of Santa Muerte.

Other items commonly found on a Santa Muerte altar are apples, aloe, butterflies, a black mirror, a bowl of dirt, a bowl of salt, a bowl of water, and a censor for burning incense. Santa Muerte likes the scent of rosemary incense, myrrh and sweet grass. And naturally she wants candy – sugar skulls if you can get them

You will want a statue of Santa Muerte but if you can’t get one, a picture of her will do (Rollins, 104).

The next two chapters are about two rituals that are commonly associated with Catholics: praying the rosary and a novena. Within the Catholic Church, these are specific kinds of prayers that produce powerful results if done with the proper devotion and dedication; however, these kinds of devotional prayers are not exclusive to Catholics, as Rollins points out:

Meditation beads are actually a common spiritual accessory. They have been used for thousands of years by people following a variety of spiritual beliefs worldwide. For instance, many Buddhists, Hindus, and
Sikhs employ a long 108-bead strand of prayer beads referred to as mala beads. They are often used to count repetitions of short prayers called mantras, or the names of gods or saints…Muslims also use medi-
tation beads, called misba?ah. These beads are used to recite the ninety- nine names of Allah. Catholics use chaplets and are famous for their use of the rosary, but the use of meditation beads has spread to some
Protestants denominations as well. (Rollins, 137).

Like most Catholics, I can’t remember actually learning to pray the Rosary. It seems like I have always known how to do it, although when I was very little, I used to pray the “Our Father” to start it off instead of “The Apostle’s Creed”. By the time I made my First Communion at the age of seven, I was praying it properly like a good little Catholic girl. My mother instructed me to pray the Rosary whenever I was angry or upset with one of my brothers or sisters and that seemed to be most of the time. She also told me to pray the Rosary when I was unable to sleep, since I have been an insomniac since a young child. I was usually able to fall asleep within chanting a few decades of “Hail Marys” but some nights, I prayed through the entire circlet and stared into the darkness.

When I decided that I had enough of patriarchal religions and really threw myself into learning everything I could about Goddess religions, Wicca and Paganism, one of the things I really missed was praying the Rosary. I rewrote the prayers to reflect my new views. “The Apostle’s Creed” became a recitation of the names of my favorite goddesses. The “Our Father” became “Our Mother”. “Hail Mary” remained pretty much the same, although I changed “the Lord” to “the Lady” and left out the name of Jesus after “blessed be the fruit of thy womb”. The “Glory Be” uses the Maiden, Mother and the Crone, instead of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It took a while to get used to saying these prayers like this but now I’m so used them like this that I can’t say them any other way.

Rollins has alternate prayers for the Santa Muerte Rosary as well. All the prayers have been changed – not one is in any way, form or shape like its original. They are all dedicated to Santa Muerte. Here is an example of one, meant to take the place of the “Hail Mary”:

I call upon Santa Muerte, the Holy Queen of Death,
Who commands all influence and authority.
Please grant me your power and your protection,
Blessing me and keeping me now and always.
Amen. (so mote it be, etc.) (Rollins, 149).

Rollins recommends using rosaries that are dedicated to Santa Muerte. I found them easily when I Googled “Santa Muerte Rosary”. There’s a lot of them on Etsy. The most popular colors are red, white, and black, or rosaries with all seven colors. They run anywhere from $10 to $40.

The next part of the book concerns novenas. Novenas are a set of prayers that are said over a certain amount of days – nine days, twenty-one days, forty days, even fifty-four days. Rollins writes, “The purpose may be something as simple as praying for the souls of the dead or something more specific such as asking a particular saint for help.” She continues, “Performing a novena is actually an ancient, pre-Christian habit…Although the term originally (and correctly) refers to prayers over nine days, it has also become more generalized to mean a series of prayers said every day for an extended period.” (Rollins, 151).

Novenas to Santa Muerte are said over the course of seven days, instead of nine days, focusing on each of her colored aspects each day as a gift of Death. For instance, perhaps on day one you focus your prayers on Niña Blanca, Sweet Sister Death, your prayers will help with purification, illumination, initiation, cleansing and protection (Rollins, 172). Rollins lists favorite offerings of Niña Blanca, which are incidentally all white: white candle, flowers, and candies. And then there are three whole pages of prayers for Niña Blanca. Rollins repeats this for every aspect of Santa Muerte – Niña Violeta, the Royal Queen, Niña Azul, the Gracious One, Niña Dorada, Lucky Lady Death, Niña Roja, Queen of Passion, Niña Verde, the Just Judge, and Niña Negra, the Mother of Tears.

I would think that finishing a novena to Santa Muerte – reciting all these prayers and meditating fully on the aspects of all these Queen Mothers – would bring an enlightenment to the practitioner that is quite powerful. Although I have never been a devotee of Santa Muerte, I plan to start a devotion to Her. Her promises are persuasive. There’s no “fluffy bunny” bullshit with Santa Muerte. If you want it, you can get it with Her – no matter what it is. The motive doesn’t matter. Rollins writes. “Santa Muerte is notable because she is not concerned with the underlying motivations driving the requests of the devotees.” (Rollins, 3). While we should always be concerned with our own motives, it is refreshing to discuss a deity who doesn’t care about human motivation whatsoever and does whatever She wants to do because that’s what She does. And when you think about it, when does Death care about human motivation or about anything that humans do anyway? Death laughs at humans.

In closing, I have to say that I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s wonderfully researched, beautifully written, and without a doubt, a book I will be referencing and reading again and again in the months and years to come. I am so glad that Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollins was sent to me and I had the chance to read it and write about it. I hope everyone reading this goes right out and finds it in their local library, bookstore, or orders it online.

Brightest Blessings!

Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death 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.

Imbolc Correspondences

February, 2019

( Bringer of Light for Imbolc Limited Edition Print by Amanda Clark of Earth Angels s on etsy. )

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.

Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.

Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container, evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle anointed in oil (see above)can be used to symbolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.

Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).

Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros (Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).

Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.

Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.

Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.

Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.

Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.

Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.

Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.

Element: Earth

Gender: Female

Threshold: Midnight

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

January, 2019

A Look Inside a Monthly Working Book of Shadows


Many newcomers to the Pagan Path, as well as new Witches, often mistakenly believe that a Book of Shadows is an ancient concept that goes back eons. There is the very real possibility that herbalists and wise women in ancient times utilized recipe books, journals, or otherwise kept written records containing their secrets or logging their workings. However, the Book of Shadows is actually a neopagan concept that has its beginnings with Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Gardner is the founder of the Wiccan religion along with several other famous pioneering Wiccans who seemingly thrust the neo-pagan movement forward and opened the broom closet for many witches as well. The age of the conception of of Shadows should not cause anyone to question keeping a Book of Shadows. As with any other reference material, a Book of Shadows can be an invaluable tool in any practice, whether it is your craft or your spiritual walk. My working Book of Shadows is a vital part of my Pagan path and my practice as a Witch.

As a practicing Witch and a practicing eclectic Pagan with a Matron who guides both paths, I rely heavily on my working Book of Shadows and I carry it with me every day. For the most part, my working Book of Shadows contains all of the information that I need at my disposal such as Sabbats, Esbats, the New Moon, color correspondences, Tarot, Oracle, and Rune draws, as well as trackers for stones, herbs, spells, and Goddesses. I also incorporate my mundane schedule and life in this working Book of Shadows to keep me on track. As any one else in these modern times, I try to keep my spending in check, live a simple life, and incorporate my definition of “enough” into my walk. In true frugal fashion, I decided that in 2019 I would take a completely different tact than in any other year and I created my 2019 working Book of Shadows from MAMBI® Classic Happy Planner® extension packs. For clarity and convenience, I have added all of the resources and links for materials and supplies that I have used at the end of this article.

Throughout this series, you will notice some “upcycling” of materials as I find cards that I have received, artwork here and there that I notice in magazines, and even the creativity of friends, who make beautiful shaker cards that are great for lifting the energy when I am feeling like energy is being dissipated. A little blingy shake and the smile returns to my face. Also, when you network and discover that friends have hidden talents, such as making quality covers with special meaning that directs your focus to the work at hand, that energy of love, friendship, and community lends itself to a healthy Book of Shadows.

Again, as a frugal person, and someone who believes that the Pagan Community could benefit from helping each other, I created a Facebook group called “The Pagan Plannertarium.” I created this home for Pagan Planners who are interested in planning and who could benefit from free stickers and layouts for their own of Shadows. All of the stickers that are in my working Book of Shadows can be found in the Pagan Plannertarium along with an ever-growing catalogue of stickers, layouts, and inserts. They are all free for your personal use, if you would like to plan along with me each month, join the Facebook group by answering the questions for entry, and plan along with me. I will continue this series for the year 2019, showing you the evolution of my working Book of Shadows.

Since there are no Sabbats in January, and it is the very beginning of my “Seed Work” which will commence in February for planting on Imbolc, I have chosen a winter theme for the monthly layout, and I have also made complimentary weekly spreads for the entire month of January. In keeping with the winter energies surrounding me, I chose to focus on the correspondences for the month of January which include fox, birch trees, and the colors bright white and blue. January is a time for self-reflection and spell work involving inner workings rather than casting for others, winter is a time to go inward and to work on those things that require change for growth. February’s seed must be planted in order to yield a bountiful Harvest as the wheel turns and we experience each Sabbat in its turn.

The January month-at-a-glance spread is where I keep all of my appointments which are upcoming, the Esbat, the New Moon, and I keep a place for notes. In the two blank spaces before the 1st day of January and the last 2 blank spaces after the 31st, I use these spaces for my own personal “Power” words – these are words that I use for the month to keep me focused on my seed work. They relate directly to the seed that I will plant, so I choose the words that I need to focus on to narrow my focus. Times and circumstances change every month and this is a working Book of Shadows so these blank spaces are often in a state of metamorphosis and they change from month to month. January is the month when planning my seed comes to completion and the seed is readied for planting on Imbolc.

Each week there is a side dashboard that is sectioned off for my Goddess of the week, Crystals, Notes, and two (2) weekly trackers. My goal is to draw a Goddess card from a deck that I utilize each week, write the Goddess’ name on the dashboard, and key words throughout the week that may arise as I ask for Her protection and energies to guide my week. The Crystal section is for the pouch that I carry on my person each day, some days call for different energies and I may change the contents of the pouch that I use during the week and, if I do so, I like to have a place to log any changes that may occur in my carrying pouch. The Notes section on the side dashboard is to make note of any significant changes that I make, events that I need to make a special note of, or any other information that may change from time to time during that week. Finally, the two trackers that I have are for reminders to check in daily on any spell work that I may be undertaking. Other uses for the trackers include making Crystal Water, Moon Water or other recipes for ritual use. You can use mundane trackers even in a magical practice and, on occasion, when I have no other use for them, that is how I utilize these trackers. The best part of this whole process is that stickers can be lifted, marks can be erased, and things are meant to change and grow as we change and grow. It is my hope that by sharing my Book of Shadows with you, before the pen, you will be able to glean some creativity, some energy, or ideas for your own of Shadows and join me in sharing for the greater good.

You may have noticed that the end of December, 2018, is contained in the first weekly spread. I included it because the energies are prime for spell casting, writing new beginnings, contemplating seed work, and writing down ideas for spells or, if I feel the energy in a specific way, I will use this night for spell writing. At the end of the week, there is a New Moon and I always use the energy from the New Moon to begin cleansing my house for the cycle of the waxing moon, to bring the energies into my home and life that I would like to manifest throughout my practice. I start by taking a ritual bath, meditate, and smudge my home from the center to the front and out the door and beginning from the center again and to the back and out the door. For the other days in this week, I will enter those things that I do to prepare for the upcoming New Moon, such as journaling, blending herbs for incense, smudging, writing spells, and working on the February installment of this series

Each weekly layout has a coordinating Tarot card insert. I utilize this insert to pull a Tarot Card each week and reflect on this card throughout the week. The first side of the insert reflects my first impressions and my expectations. The second side of the insert is a retrospective examination of the drawn card and how that has influenced me during the week. This insert is an invaluable tool for me. Not only do I receive guidance from the Tarot cards, but I come to a deeper, more committed understanding of the meaning of each draw and how that may relate in future readings not only for myself but for others

Each weekly theme for the month of January embodies not only the correspondences appropriate for this month, but some of them also contain themes of strong Divine Feminine figures such as Athena and Hekate. I decided that this month would also contain the energies of the Divine Masculine and The Horned God made a special appearance this month as well. As I called to the Divine Spirits of the East, requesting the energies of communication, divination, and creativity, these layouts pretty much made themselves.

Looking forward to providing monthly installments of my Book of Shadows as the wheel turns.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Mesa:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

January Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

January Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections® “Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

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