spells

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 – 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

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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 – 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

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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 – 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

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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 – The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38, Spring 2019 to Spring 2020 – Animals: Friends and Familiars

February, 2019

Book Review
The Witches’ Almanac
Issue 38
Spring 2019 to Spring 2020
Animals: Friends and Familiars

Brightest Blessings


This issue contains a wealth of knowledge. You want to take your time reading this issue, snuggle next to the fire with a cup of tea or hot cocoa. You can tell that each article or story they chose was thought out. Some of the articles make you ponder your thoughts on subjects, while others just entertain you, they are so adorable.


You can learn a lot of lore, history and gain new insight on many topics. Some of the articles are shortened for the book, but they include links for further reading on those articles. The authors applied a lot of time and research to create each of their contributions, it inspired me to do further research on the various topics on my own.

The articles I found most interesting are…


Why & How Animal Omens Work – This article gives ideas and signs on how animals work with spirit and deities, share their knowledge and share insight when we are in deep thought or need help during moments of our life.

The Jade Emperor Race’s, How the Zodiac Signs Came to Be – This story I found entertaining and adorable. I didn’t know this story even existed. I think it is the perfect way to explain them. The book gave information on this year’s Chinese zodiac sign and a table listing this year’s preview and coming future date’s of animal signs in following years.

NikolaTesla – Was a very interesting read, very well thought out using his birth chart for astrology. This information I found uniquely designed to add intrigue to the story.

Merry Meeting of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki – I loved this article. Having her spend author interview time sharing her experiences and her knowledge about the society of the inner light. The article felt perfect just like you were in room with her. Even though they shorten her interview for the book, they provide a link to an audio file to further listen.

Corvids – This article was about using knowledge of certain beautiful birds, lore, and how to divine knowledge from birds of choice and messages associated with certain deities.

There are many more articles within this issue I found so inspiring I wish I could list them all! This book contains information on zodiac influences for coming spring 2019-2020, weather, mooncycles, explanations for gardening by Moonphases, astrological key information, eclipses, retrogrades for this spring 2019-2020, book reviews, and question about the craft you can send in to be answered From a Witches Mailbox!

In ending this book is worth having in your collection of almanacs, you can even order past issues to add to your collection. I was honored to read this book.

The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38, Spring 2019 to Spring 2020: Animals: Friends and Familiars on Amazon

***

About the Author:


Norma Clark I’m Wiccan, My style follows my spiritual path, and what comes to mind.. I live in a small rural town, Paris, Idaho. I share my life With my Wiccan husband, 2 hyper Children, and gang of critters. I love to create new designs by looking at nature, cultural ideas for my Jewelry and create unique Metaphysical items. COME Sit For A  Spell or Two , And See the Magick of Forevrgoddessboutique

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 Review – Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery by Mary- Grace Fahrun

February, 2019

Book Review
Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery”
by Mary-Grace Fahrun
Publisher: Weiser
Published: Paperback, 2018
Pages: 122
Published: Paperback, 2018

I am of Sicilian descent, as well as German, so I was drawn to this book to learn more about the practices of the country from which my mother’s parents came.

By recording oral history, Mary-Grace Fahrun shares what she learned about customs and traditions from the matriarchs of her family. It started by collecting recipes and folk remedies. They came with stories, superstitions, incantations and prayers. She began Rue’s Kitchen to preserve these customs and practices as well as those of Italians of all faiths all over the world.

Religious rituals, magical spells, blessings, folk medicine and cooking are all “inextricably woven into the fabric of Italian culture – no matter where Italians are geographically located,” and Fahrun, who presents them woven together like a tapestry and a way of living.

“I was taught everything in Italian,” wrote Fahrun, who is fluent in Italian and about a half dozen of its dialects. The book is her guided tour through her magical life, presenting the principles so the reader can create their own magical life. Italian witchcraft “is not a religion. It is a practice anyone can incorporate into their spirituality regardless of religious belief,” she states, but adds, “There will be strong themes of devotions to saints and earth-based spirituality because they are both important to the fabric.”

The first chapter focuses on the kitchen, the most important and sacred room of the house. Here, every element is present. Herbs are magical, and magical tools are the same utensils, dishes and cookware used to prepare meals. You’ll learn how to clean, set up and treat your kitchen like the temple it is.

Other chapters deal with sacred spaces and home altars, and the magic in food. When addressing magic or medicine, there are a variety approaches for conditions that range from mental and spiritual intervention to the red ribbon and incantation used to relieve headaches and the ointment made of garlic paste and olive oil to apply to skin infections.

A page explains what she calls the most powerful incantation: “non è niente” or “it is nothing.” I remember my grandmother telling me that and thinking, “Well of course it’s something. I’m hurt.” But Fahrun, who is a nurse, found those three magic words healed even chronic wounds when said with “a detached, almost dismissive, attitude.”

There are recipes for days of the week and months of the year, explanations of proverbs and superstitions, and chapters that delve into amulets, divination, spells and charms, rituals and curses.

I came to better understand the meaning of things my grandmother and “the Italian aunts from Hartford” did. It’s inspired me to learn more about my grandparents’ hometowns – legends, patron saints, customs, history, etc. – from research and from two relatives who have visited.

The book’s cover design by Jim Warner also deserves a mention. It honors the book’s contents with the hand from the cimaruta, the cornicello (the red horn amulet or talisman worn to protect against the evil eye) and the hand gesture to ward off evil on ribbons wound through a garlic braid studded with blooming rue.

If you are Italian, or drawn to the culture, this book makes a wonderful entry point.

Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery 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 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.

Book Review – The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star

January, 2019

Book Review

The Witchcraft Handbook:

Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want

By Midia Star

This is a beginner’s book, someone who has some experience may use the spells in this book just as a jumping off point to create some new spells. At the very beginning of the book, the first thing the author writes is “Witchcraft is the practical side of the Wiccan religion.” I have to say that I disagree with that statement because not all witches are Wiccan.

I had a hard time on telling what demographic the writer was going after with this book. There are spells for home, sex, work, and love. While at the back of the book there is a section on Dreamboards. In this section, the writer states that the Dreamboard should be for your dreams and not those of your friends or parents.

While the author’s writing is well done, I do have to wonder about the information this book contains. As far as information on herbs, crystals, oils, and Moon phases the author is spot on. But there are other little small things that I feel are misinformation.

Page 79 of the book the author writes in the Did You Know? box: “Christians once used the pentagram as a religious symbol. Each point represented the five wounds of Christ. To pagans and to witches it represents Morrigan, the war goddess who fights for peace in good fortune for others. If you see the pentagram drawn with the top point of the star pointing to the bottom of the circle, this represents dark and sinister magic, so always draw your pentagram with the top point of the star pointing upwards.” The part about the Christian’s is correct. I honestly don’t know about the Morrigan part. But the inverted Pentacle I do know something about. This is misinformation because on specific paths the pentacle with the star pointing down is a sign of protection or even a sign of attaining another degree within that path.

On page 97 the author writes when talking about A Garden Space: that in the William Shakespeare’s witches’ famous incantation’ eye of newt and toe of frog’ actually refers to mustard seeds and a type of buttercup plant. I had never heard that myself, I would like to know what research the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

On page 123 Midia Star writes in the Did You Know? box: “The Druids where the first to believe and the power of the four-leaf clover.” Now whether this is true or not I don’t know, again I would like to know other resources the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

The book contains no bibliography, or other sources were the author may have gotten their information. The author does state that they have tried the spells and they have worked for them. Again, as I said at the beginning, the information on herbs, oils, candles, and the Moon phase are all spot on. But, I do take exception to the things I have listed, due to the lack of the bibliography.

The Witchcraft Handbook: Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

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