April, 2010

Happy April!!!

April, 2010

In this issue:

Interview with Author Orion Foxwood


Ostara with Goddess Cards


The art of Erin Martinez


And many more great articles!!!


Taurus 2010 Horoscope (Apr 20- May 20)


Taurians you possess very significant characteristics special to this sign only. Uncertain times will plague you throughout the first quarter of the year, but don’t lose hope better times will arrive as the seasons change; you will find success in not only work but in family and love as well but be watchful of those who would have you to believe there is a pot o gold at the end of the rainbow, you will have to work hard for all you achieve but in the end success will be yours.

By: CelticMoon

Monthly Prayer

Earth, Water, Fire and Air
We thank you for this wonderous fare
Goddess, God, Moon and Sun
We are grateful for all you have done
Blessed be my Goddess, Blessed be my God
And blessed be our Path

John is a contributing writer to Pagan Pages, currently sharing his thoughts in the “Rites and Ritual” section. He resides in Oregon, living outside town, within the forest near the base of Mt Hood. He hopes that his words reflect the magick and wisdom Nature offers.

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Meditation on Messages

April, 2010

Spring is in the air and with it comes a multitude of possibilities.  The days are longer, and everything seems brighter.  We’re more open and receptive to what is happening.  The messages that are waiting for us are more accessible if you are willing to listen.For this meditation you’ll want to be outdoors or in a sunny area of the house.  Feel the sun on your face and feel it melt away any worry or anxiety you may have.  Feel the warmth fill you up and expand within you.  Feel it enter from the top of your head and flow down into your body.  Let it ease the ache in your shoulders and your back.  Allow the warmth to relax your muscles and ease your mind.  When you are completely relaxed, take a deep breath in and out.

Being completely relaxed you’ll be open to any messages that the gods may want to share with you.  To receive messages from the gods we have to bridge the gap between our realm and theirs.  One of the easiest ways to go about this is to create a bridge between the middle and upper realms.  You will need to picture, in your minds eye, a rainbow.

The rainbow will become our bridge because it is a naturally occurring phenomenon that already spans those boundaries.  The rainbow will begin to emerge from the ground near your feet and it will extend into the clouds.  As the colors begin materializing in front of you see them become more opaque and solid.  Test it with your foot till you can visualize that it is as firm as the ground you currently stand on.

Slowly place one foot after the other on the bridge.  Feel the stability of it and know that it is a solid structure that will hold firm as long as you need it.

As you take each step you have a clearer focus about the questions you want to ask of the gods.  You also open yourself up to any and all possible things the gods wish to share with you.  When you are completely receptive a messenger will appear.

The messenger is the goddess, Iris.  She stands before you in flowing white robes, with golden wings and a herald’s rod.  She is silent, but extends her hand out to you.  What she offers is a small scroll.  Reach out and take the parchment and unroll it.

The images or text you see are messages specifically for you.  What do you see? More importantly what are the impressions you are getting from the object in conjunction with those images?

Before you can make the retreat back to the mortal realm, you need to return the scroll to Iris.  Politely thank her for the gift.  She then collects the message and moves off into the clouds to reconvene with the gods.

You can remain there and ponder what has been reveled to you until you are ready to return.  When you are ready make your way back down the rainbow bridge.  As your feet make the transition from the bridge to the earth it will dissolve behind you.  Take the knowledge you have received and put it to use in your daily life.

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Wicca 101

April, 2010

Witch Not to Wear


How many of us remember having to wear stiff dress clothes in church, especially on Easter?  As children, we couldn’t wait to get home and out of them.  We hear people use the terms “Sunday best” and “goin’ to meetin’ clothes”.  Often there is an expected wardrobe for the clergy as well.  Even outside of church, Christian clergy often wear special clothes or business attire (suits).  Similarly, Buddhist monks and Muslim clerics wear distinctive clothes.  We have choices in both our daily and ritual garb, but also face stereotypes and misconceptions.

The most common misconceptions are that witches wear black all the time and we are always naked during rituals.   Both have an element of truth, but are not the whole truth. (1)

Gerald Gardner believed in ritual nudity, commonly known as skyclad, and it became a common practice of Gardernian groups to this day.  Many other groups and individuals, especially in the 60s and 70s practiced skyclad and it is common to find photos of this in publications from those decades.  Even books published later when it was declining in popularity, such as ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present by Doreen Valiente (2), Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft and Witch by Fiona Horne have photos of skyclad witches.  Since Gardner was a nudist it is possible that he simply incorporated this into his practices and there are those who call him a “dirty old man”.  But, there are spiritual reasons for nudity as well.  Since Wicca is a nature/fertility religion, nudity is viewed as a natural state for the practice of such beliefs.  Also, since being naked removes the evidence of socio-economic status often displayed by clothes, it is a way of making everyone equal, since we should disregard class distinctions in the circle.  We tend to be less “hung up” over nudity than most religions and it is certainly a way to challenge taboos.  It has been said that clothes hinder the transmission of magickal energy, but that raises the question of how does it pass through walls and space to function?  Claims have been made that covens in centuries past met in the nude, but given the climate of Europe most of the year, especially hundreds of years ago, this is unlikely. There is art from this period which depicts nude witches, such as Albrecht Duerer’s “Four Witches,” but these are artists fantasies.  (3)  Many, if not most, people are uncomfortable with the idea of being naked in front of others,  which is not conducive to a pleasant experience and there are places, such as a public park, in which it is unadvised.  Please note that nudity does not equal sex and just because a group is skyclad does not necessarily mean that it involves sex magick.

Witches wear black in the popular imagination, but only a little more often in real life than the average person.  While most witches I have met, including myself, wear black often, it is not the only color in our wardrobe.  Besides, Catholic priests, Lutheran ministers and Episcopalian/Anglican vicars often wear black and nobody says that makes them evil or sinister.  Black cloth absorbs all colors so some witches feel it better attracts energy.  (4)  Also, if you are outside at night, it does make you harder to see, so one theory was that it was easier for witches practicing in secret at night to remain hidden.  However, wearing all black in public tends to draw more attention and questions as to whether you are Goth or Emo.

Recently, the TLC show What Not to Wear featured a Witch from Salem, MA who usually wore black and witchy/goth clothes.  This is how show host Stacy London described Leann’s attitude toward her clothes, “It was on her shop-day two when she started to talk a lot about the idea of using actual witch clothing as a defense mechanism and that it was like her wall and it was her protection; it was her armor against people, and we talked to her about the idea that it wasn’t necessary for her to do that in order to be a powerful practicing witch.” (5)  I watched this episode and felt that it was respectful toward her and our beliefs and I could also understand that Witches in Salem, especially those who work at metaphysical shops are expected by the tourists to dress the part.

A common attire during ritual is a robe.  From photos I have seen and my limited experience, this is the most common choice for coven/group rituals.  Wearing a robe lends a mystical air to the workings and can serve as a uniform for a group.  Some witches prefer different colors depending on the purpose, such as green for healing, black for banishing, green and red for Yule, etc.  Robes are simple to make for those who can sew or can be purchased in cotton, poly or velvet.  During the only group ritual in which I participated, the priestesses were in similarly styled robes in different colors, while the participants were in regular clothes.  A robe can be worn over regular clothes, so it can be carried to a ritual or festival to be worn only during the event.

A choice that has become more common in recent years is alternative clothes.  More Pagans are choosing to wear renfaire, steampunk, Nordic, Celtic or fairy attire.  This often reflects their interests or beliefs but can also stem from them attending festivals with these themes that have little or nothing to do with Paganism.  All of these except fairy could to a certain extent be adapted for daily wear.

It is of course possible to simply wear your regular clothes both day to day and during ritual.  If you walked up to me, the only clue as to my religion would be a pentagram and a triquetra on chains and my “Harm None” and “Blessed Be” tattoos.  For both rituals and simple acts of magick, I have worn whatever clothes I already had on, except for two times I chose to go skyclad by myself.  In my early years, this was usually my Post Office uniform, which fits well with my craft name, Postalpagan.  To me, being a witch is simply part of what I am, not a separate part of my life and identity, so I have never felt the need to have different clothes for the purpose, but I have admired robes on others and in catalogs.  One thing that I insist upon from myself during ritual is that I am barefoot unless is it definitely too cold.  To me it is a representation of being connected to the earth and free.  But it also reflects that I wear shoes as little as possible.

A non clothing item commonly worn by Pagans is religious themed jewelry.  When I see another person wearing a pentacle, I strike up a conversation if possible.  This is the most common means I have of knowing that another shares my beliefs, although sometimes it turns out that they wear it for shock value or because it is “cool”.  There are other symbols, although they are seen less often, such as an ankh, triquetra, triple moon, Thor’s hammer, goddesses or horned gods.  It is your choice to wear something like this under your top or out in the open, depending on the situation and whether you are out of the broom closet.  Legally, you have the same right to wear Pagan jewelry to work or school as a Christian has to wear a cross, which has been upheld in numerous court cases unless all religious symbols are banned. (6)

As you can see, the choice of attire for us in both ritual and day to day wear is varied and should reflect our tastes, interests, comfort level, views and needs.   Make your choices with an understanding of why you wear or don’t wear certain things.

(1) Common Questions about Wicca, the Old Religion.

Q: “Do Witches really dance around naked or wear long, black robes?”


(2)  ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present, Doreen Valiente http://www.amazon.com/ABC-Witchcraft-Past-Present/dp/0919345778/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268965211&sr=1-1

(3)  Web Gallery of Art, Albrech Duerer. The Four Witches http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/d/durer/2/13/1/019.html

(4)  The Basic FAQ of Witchcraft, Why Do All Witches/Wiccans Wear Black?


(5)  What Not to Wear Blog TLC, Shopping List: Stacy London on the Witch who Became a Chic Enchantress  http://blogs.discovery.com/tlc-what-not-to-wear/page/2/

(6)  Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Religious Clothing and Jewelry in School  http://www.religioustolerance.org/sch_clot5.htm

(7)  About.com  Rights of Pagans and Wiccans in the Workplace  http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yourlegalrights/a/Work_Rights.htm


Why do all Wit wear black?

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The Witch’s Cupboard

April, 2010



Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is also known as Albahaca, American Dittany, St. Joseph’s Work, Witches Herb, Our Herb, Feslien, Balanoi, Njilika and Sweet Basil.  It has many different varieties depending on how it is used.  For example, in Italian cooking, sweet basil is used.  In Asian cuisine, lemon basil, Thai basil and holy basil are used.  It is native to Iran and India and is also known in Asia, where it has been grown for over 5,000 years.   The word Basil derives from the Green “Basieus”, or King.  It was thought to be found growing where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross.  It has long been associated with nobility and royalty.

Basil can be used as ingredients in magickal food spells.  Put your energy of the spell into the ingredients and serve happily.

Sweet Basil can create sympathy between people so it was thought to help quell anger and arguments.  It is also used in love incenses and love divination.  For example, if you place two basil leaves on coal, it can predict how harmonious a relationship will be.  If the basil burns quickly and is together, it will be happy.  If it flies apart, then the relationship will be full of conflict and not favorable.  If it burns slowly or crackles, the couple may stay together but it will be a rough road.

If a business is trying to attract customers, place Basil in the cash register or on the window sill.  It can also be carried in the pocket to attract money and abundance to you.

It is that wherever Basil sits, no evil can wander in.  Therefore, Basil is used in protection spells, especially on the floors on homes.  Use a small amount Basil in every room if this is the intended use.  Basil can also be given as a gift as good luck for a new home.

There is lore that Witches would drink a half cup of Basil juice before flying off into the air.

If you work with Dragons (especially Basilisk), Salamanders and other mythical creatures, Basil can be used to invoke them.  People use it as incense or tea to invoke these creatures.   It is also used when being initiated to release fear in the next step of spiritual growth and also releases fear of psychic experiences.

Finally, Basil is used in rituals with death and dying.  It can be burned as incense or also offers protection when someone is transitioning into the Otherworld.

Remember, this is not a substitution for medical advice so always check with a medical professional to make sure working with herbs or oils are safe for you.

Keywords for Basil:

Magickal Uses/Spells:  Exorcism, Flying, Fertility, Love, Protection, Courage, Healing, Relationships, Purification and Wealth (if carried in your wallet)

Deities:  Krishna, Vishnu, Erzulie

Planet:  Mars

Sign:  Aries, Scorpio

Gender:  Masculine

Element:  Fire

Tarot Correspondence:  Two of Wands, Death, Strength

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The Indigo Child

April, 2010

What is an Indigo Child?

It has been said that Indigo children display innovative and bizarre psychological attributes, which up until a relatively short time ago had not been documented. Many skeptics suggest that the indigo child is nothing more than a child suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or some other type of mental disability but that could not be further than the truth. While yes some indigo children may well be diagnosed with ADHD the truth of the matter is that these children are just old souls striving to bring the world into the next level of human evolution. A majority of the indigo children posses what some would describe as paranormal abilities such as clairvoyance, clairaudience and other psychic abilities and are generally more creative and empathetic than their non-indigo counterparts.

Now some of you might read this and say how does she know so much about indigo children any way? Well the answer to that is I am an indigo adult and am the mother of three indigo children each of whom are as different as night and day but are special n their own ways. My one son has been diagnosed with everything from ADHD to Asperger’s syndrome when in all actuality he is just a normal kid who happens to have been blessed with the gift of healing; while my other son who is now 21 years old and now an indigo adult has never suffered from any misdiagnosis and is a happily married man with a beautiful son but has the gift of clairvoyance and finally my 12 year old daughter  is generally a happy child but due to the constant ridicule of her peers at school and often times their parents she has  in the past suffered from severe migraines and depressive mood swings. However, after talking with a therapist who also happens to be an indigo adult she has been able to accept her gifts of clairaudience and now embraces her specialness.

How can you tell if Your Child or Yourself are Indigos’?

Below I have compiled a list of questions for you and your child to answer:

* Are you or your child always searching for your greater purpose in life but feel as if the world is not ready for you?
* Do you or your child sometimes feel wise beyond your earthly age?
* Do you or your child have trouble meeting the requirements of everyday society?
* Do you or your child often feel out of place in the world today?
* Do you or your child see the world exceptionally differently than most individual’s around you?
* Do you or your child have strong intuitions about things that the majority of others do not?
* Do you or your child often feel as if no one understands you when you try to express your feelings about what’s real?
* Are you or your child a seeker of the truth?
* Do you or your child feel as if you were born to achieve a special mission in life?
* Do you or your child feel cut off from the rest of the world when it comes to your beliefs?
* Are you or your child misunderstood by family and friends?
* Do you or your child more often than not feel unsociable except when you are with like minded individuals?
* Are you or your child emotionally sensitive?
* Did you or your child have a difficult childhood?
* Do you or child oftentimes feel disempowered by excessive authority?

If you or your child answered yes to at least 10 of these questions it is a very strong possibility that you too are Indigo and if that s the case embrace your gifts as they were given to you for a reason, a reason we may never know in this lifetime or even see come to pass but one day it will if not for us for our children.

Starting now if anyone would like to ask a question or voice a concern about an indigo child or being an indigo child, please feel free to post your questions in the comment section below and the first three comments will be addressed in the May issue. Feel free to speak your mind as will I.

Bountiful Blessings

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WiseWoman Traditions

April, 2010

Sweet Taste of Spring

March winds blow the sweet scent of maple sap boiling to my questing nose. When the days are warm and sunny and the nights below freezing, the sap rises in the trees. If those trees are sugar maples, then it is worth drilling a hole in the bark, inserting a tap, and collecting their sweet sap. There is so much sugar in sugar maple sap that it can be boiled and turned into maple syrup and maple sugar.

There’s about one gallon of maple syrup and ninety-nine gallons of water in one hundred gallons of maple sap.* A hot fire and a slow but steady boil send that sweet-smelling water vapor high in the clear, cold sky. The March wind blows it to me. I close my eyes and remember my years of “sugaring”, making maple syrup.

There’s something special about a task that requires one to stay up all night. Maple sap starts to ferment if it is left at normal temperatures for very long. Once ten or so gallons of sap have been collected, the boiling begins … and cannot be stopped until the finished syrup is achieved many, many, many hours later.

I have never sugared without at least one overnighter, and sometimes two. A large operation boils sap for weeks without stopping, just drawing off the syrup as it forms, if the run is steady and copious.

It was a picture of Helen Nearing driving a team of horses through the woods standing on a sleigh loaded with buckets of maple sap that made me long for a homestead where I could lead The Simple Life, like her. Two years later, I had my own “sugar bush” (an acre or more of woodlot where large sugar maples grow). Spring equinox found me with my drill in hand, a pocket full of taps, and a bunch of funny buckets with lids to hang from the taps. “Ting, ting,” the ping of sap filling the metal buckets echoes, tying me through time to every woman who has ever sugared, and bringing a smile to my heart and face.

My groves of sugar maples have never been large enough to require a team of horses or a sleigh. I’ve always lugged a big bucket out to the trees and poured the sap from the collecting buckets into it. When I have two or three buckets full, I pour them into a big galvanized tub set up on cinder blocks over a fire and commence to boil it down.

Native peoples valued maple sugar so highly that they set up camp in the sugar bush and lived there until the sap stopped flowing. Lacking metal drill bits, they cut a shallow groove in the bark and pressed hollow elder stems into service as taps to direct the flow of sap into birch bark containers.

I can heat the sap directly in my metal tub, while they had to hollow out a log, put smooth rocks into the fire, heat them, and put the hot rocks into the sap in the hollowed out log to boil it down into maple syrup and sugar. Whew! I am impressed with the power of the desire for sweet. It takes far more calories, in fuel and human energy, to make maple syrup or maple sugar than it returns.

Grandmother Twylah taught us that maple trees are friendly and companionable, colorful and expressive. They always have a positive attitude and are adept at helping us see solutions to impossible problems. Maple trees are devoted and true. Make friends with a maple and you will have a friend for life, she advised.

Ellen Everet Hopman, green witch, reminds us that maple-syrup-making time is Eostre’s time. Eostre (ee-oh-stir) is the Teutonic goddess of fertility and manifestation. Her symbols are the egg and the rabbit; her time is Spring Equinox. A lovely custom, still enacted, but without the underlying magic, is to paint a picture of something you desire on an egg and plant it in the ground so Eostre can help it grow and become real.

If it’s too late to tap your maples, or you live too far south for the sap to flow strongly, you can still be blessed and embraced by maple. A decoction of maple bark boiled in water can be used to ease sore eyes externally and to tonify the uterus after birth internally.

A magical wand of maple wood is used for spells that bring harmony, especially in the home. And maple leaves sewn into a charm made of green flannel, tied with a golden string, will bring abundance into your life.

Indulge your desire for sweet. Celebrate spring equinox and Eostre, who loves sweet things. Have a stack of pancakes swimming in butter and maple syrup. Or pour maple syrup over plain vanilla ice cream and savor the sweet taste of the friendly maple tree.

Green blessings.

* How much sugar per gallon of sap is quite variable, depending on the type of maple, the growing conditions, and especially the amount of sun the tree gets. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) sap is the sweetest, followed by the saps of silver maple (Acer saccharinum), Northern red maple (Acer rubrum), and Norway maple (Acer platanoides).

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April, 2010

How to see the aura
Mental aura reading is a relatively rare skill to come across in a person. You need to learn not only how to see the aura but also how to interpret what is is that you see.
While aura photography does exist it is met with much skepticism and does not replace your own personal intuition.

Anyone can learn to see and read auras. The best way to begin is with people who are close to you whose personalities and histories you are familiar with. Not only are you already familiar with their energy, knowing their history and personality will help you interpret your findings.

Begin with a sketchpad, colored pencils or oil pastels, and a dimly lit room. The dim room is important to avoid the auras your eyes naturally see after looking at a bright light. Set up safe space. Try lighting a candle or saying a prayer.
Start with your own hand. The hands and head radiate the most energy from the body and thus are easiest to see.* Hold it slightly above an off white piece of paper and let your eyes and mind relax. Try to find a place where you can be uninterrupted. If you wish, try meditating, smudging, lighting incense, or practicing yoga before beginning. The clearer your mind is the easier this will be.  The first thing you may notice is something that looks like heat waves, but instead of rising they may radiate from your fingertips. This is generally the spirit layer that is seen first. Your spirit or soul is the core of your energy. We will talk more about this later.
Continue to practice this exercise. Take notes upon finishing. Note observations such as how far the aura extended from your hand, any colors, was it translucent or opaque, did it move and shift or was it stAtionary, etc. As you practice, try seeing if you can will the aura to shift, change colors,grow, or shrink.
All living things have auras. Next try using your favorite houseplant. Its aura will not be as strong as a humans but should still be visible to you. In the dim room, place the plant on a table with a neutral colored sheet or wall as a backdrop. Relax your eyes and mind as you have with the hand exercise.
When writing notes try to note not only what you see, but what other impressions you get from your subject. Is the plant healthy? Vibrant? Dying? Your intuitive sense is every bit as important as what you see with your eyes.
At some point in your practice you may begin to see colors of auras, not just the waves of energy.
Take your sketchbook and draw the aura you see around the plant.

Some people may never see more than just the “heat waves”, others may go as far to see all three layers as well as sparkles, shapes, and gain an intuitive sense to what these visions mean.
As you gain ability and confidence move onto the aforementioned family member or friend. Have them sit in the dimmed room and safe space with the neutral wall or sheet behind them. Start by focusing only on their head. The head contains the crown, third eye, and throat chakras. First note and draw if you see these. Are they open? (bright and glowing, proper color) are they closed or dim? Write this all down. Then, extend your focus slightly above and past their head. Let your eyes relax. The aura will appear around them. Try this time to focus first on their physical being. Is your friend healthy? Do they have headaches or sinus problems? Note or draw what you see or feel.
Next attempt to focus on their emotional/mind aura.
What do you see? Are they happy?sad? Angry? In love? Continue o draw and note what you see or feel.
Lastly we will be looking at the spirit layer. This should e the strongest, largest, and easiest to see.
When you are finished with your drawings and notes, show them to your subject. Ask questions about your accuracy and see if your interpretation feels correct to them. How do the react to it? Are they surprised by what they see? Sometimes these readings bring up issues your subject was unaware of.
If you choose to pursue aura reading as a profession of can often help to have some counseling experience as well in order to help your clients process the information you give them. You can easily obtain (often free) training at a local crisis center.

*in fact there is a theory that this is why people have  traditionally painted halos over saints and angels in historical art pieces. Persons who are very pure tend to have a white aura, strongest at the head.

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Gems of the Goddess

April, 2010

Hel – Norse Goddess of the Underworld


As we transition to Spring, let us look at one of the biggest transformational Goddesses in Norse Mythology – Hel.  Hel is the Norse ruler and Goddess of the Underworld. The top half of her body is a woman, the bottom half of her body is only skeleton.  She is the daughter of trickster Loki and the frost giantess Angrboda.  Odin found her to be hideous and because of her appearance and the fact she was daughter of Loki, he banished her to the underworld of Hel (same as her name), also known as Helheim.  (This should not be confused with the Christian interpretation of the punishment of Hell.)  However, it seems that Hel was okay with being Queen of the Underworld and gave Odin a gift of two ravens named “Huginn” and “Muninn” (translated to “Thought” and “Memory”).  These ravens opened the passageway between both realms.

Hel ruled so powerfully that when Odin’s son Balder died at the hands of his brother Hod after being tricked by Loki, she would not return him unless everyone and everything in the world cry over him.   Only one giantess, Thokk, would not cry and so Balder was not returned.  It turned out that Thokk was actually Loki in disguise. Hel did this to prove the point that Gods are powerless over death.

When people died from illness, old age or from criminal behavior, they were brought to Hel instead of Valhalla, where people went if they died in battle.  Hel would then judge these souls to their fate.  If people died as cowards, Hel would judge them to a life in the underworld that was cold, dark, dismal and full of torture.  Life would be miserable and full of pain if you were to go to Hel based on bad behavior.  (Hel’s realm was twisted by those religions that wanted people to be afraid of going to “Hell” if they didn’t live a righteous life.)

Hel also would watch over children and mothers who died in childbirth and was also known to be a protector of children because of her caring for children of all ages.  Hel would also watch over the souls getting ready for reincarnation.  So, as much as Hel was seen as only a cold and dark place, it actually did have places that were peaceful.   She also is associated with mothering (Isis) and transition between the worlds (Hecate).

Hel would be the deity to ask for help in contacting your ancestors.  If you have a loved one who has died or who is dying, you can work with her in mediumship work, ask her to help those transitioning to the other side or do Shamanic work, since this connects ordinary and non-ordinary reality (for example, Soul Retrieval).  Stones that would be good when working with Hel are jet, obsidian and onyx.

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Callie’s Cavern

April, 2010



Coral is viewed by many cultures as a gift from the deities.  Ancients believed that if you polished, ground, cut, or carved Coral its magical energy would be destroyed.  It is also believed that if a piece of Coral breaks during magic, the broken pieces should be returned to the sea and a new piece should be used.  Pacific Islanders used Coral as an important piece in many religious and magical rites.

In the Mediterranean it was thought to contain the life essence of the Mother Goddess who lived in the ocean.  Some Hindu cultures follow the belief that after death a soul lives in the ocean.  Coral was used as a powerful amulet to protect from evil spirits occupying the living.  In some cultures temples were built from Lava Rocks and Coral and it was placed on the graves to guard the deceased.  Some modern Pagans object to using Coral in magic because it is the skeletal remains of a sea creature.

Coral helps ease depression, negativity, and concern with what others think.  It effects inner changes and dispels foolishness, nervousness, fear, and panic.  Other people’s issues are dispelled.  Coral is excellent for emotions and energy flow.  It represents wisdom, diplomacy, imagination, reason, prudence, and courage.  Romans wore Coral to attract love.

When worn so it is plainly visible it is a protective amulet and can be used against the evil eye and some magical creatures.  It protects sailors and travelers and even crops increasing their yield.  Coral is said to guard against accidents, violence, poison, theft, and possession.  It is even said to pale in color to warn of ill health.  If you have suffered physical trauma, Coral can repair the aura.

Visualizations is enhanced when done with Coral and disturbing dreams are driven away producing a more peaceful sleep.  Coral has a strong association with luck.  To bring this energy into your home, touch Coral to every door, window, and wall then place in a place of honor and let it work.

Coral is an excellent first stone for children because it protects them from the adventures of life.  It is said to ease the pain of cutting teeth and helps guard a child’s health.  It offers a very strong magical protection for children.

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Song of a Daily Druid

April, 2010

Song of a Daily Druid: How I Found a Home in Druidry

In the beginning, I was a wild child, a woodsy child, a child who could concentrate all of my attention on holding perfectly still so as not to startle the robin in the grass. I could disappear into the tense air of rapt attention, forget my own little body completely as my eyes widened and my breath stilled. Once, the robin’s twitching eyes turned towards me, and I thought I heard it whisper… Cheer-up. Cheer-up, calmly, almost with amusement, you know, I can see you.

That was when I was a very little girl. As sometimes happens, eventually I grew up and stopped listening so closely to the world, to the landscape and the wilderness. It would be years before I rediscovered the rapture of stilled breath or the ecstasy, the going-out-ness, of listening closely and attending with reverence to sacred nature. Druidry would restore my sense of connection and intimacy with the natural world; it would open me to new ways of living with creativity and wisdom, playfulness and respect; it would bring me home to myself, to this person dwelling in my own particular body in my own particular place in a vast landscape infused with Spirit. Druidry was a home-coming for me, as so many Pagans and Witches before me have described their own rediscoveries. One day, I would look into the eyes of the world and discover–like some startled scullery maid or the only daughter of a widower–my real destiny wearing a strange new face, a face of beauty and dignity, but smiling at me with the same old familiar affection.

But first, I had to learn about poetry.

Way of the Bard

As an angst-ridden teenage girl, I began to write. A lot. Falling in love for the first time, the tension of the unnoticed witness–the tension I had first learned from the robin–returned in full force as I gazed longingly after my latest crush. Details became sacred; the color of an iris beneath eyelashes, the upward twitch of a sardonic smile, warm sunlight accentuating the heat of a blush, the smell of newly-washed clothes and teenage-boy-smell lurking underneath. Relationships, not just romantic love but connections of all kinds, became things of mystery and awe. How things were in themselves, and how they fit together. The world took on a new vitality and importance. Teenage love made it hard to figure out, difficult to navigate. I read poetry the way someone drowning grasps at complex molecular equations about the buoyancy of water. I was learning about the nature of the unexpected, the curious and the strange. Juxtaposition and concrete details revealed the power of words fitting next to each other on the page, evoking memory and sensation separated by space and pause and breath.

I read Mark Strand’s poem, “Keeping Things Whole,” the first lines: In a field, I am the absence of field. There was the field, and there was myself; I thought I knew, as a child, what that was like. I thought that was all there was to it. Then suddenly, there was something else that was neither the field, nor me as I had known myself up until then. There was absence. Absence was a thing, too, a kind of presence. poetry taught me about the invisible, the barely-there spirit that filtered through all things, the life-force that bound up all our edges and clung like spittle, sweat and mud to our beings. Druidry has words for this: animism, and pantheism. The belief that divinity is imminent within the material world, that spirit is like water and breath that pervades all of reality from the highest reaches lost in cloud to the mundane vulgarity of homework and screaming matches with parents. One day Druidry would teach me these words, but first I learned from experience: Wherever I am, I am what is missing.

And from the writing I’ve learned about metaphor: how one thing can embrace both is and is not, how two things held in tension create a third that is not either, not both, but something new. I was becoming something new then, too, holding a past and a future in suspension within the present, within my own adolescent presence of mind and body. Druidry would teach me about triads, the sacredness and mystery of the third. I would learn to recognize the dualism so prevalent in our culture, where spirit and matter were always divided and distinct, kept in isolation as though belonging to two different realms. From out of an either/or situation, a war between opposites, I would learn to find a third that could unite and transcend them.

But long before I’d heard of these things in Druidry, I worked my way through poetry, studying carefully, creating new poems from familiar words, new worlds from common images and everyday details. I didn’t know it then, but I had already begun along the Druid Way. I was learning what the bards and poets of my ancestors had learned. I was learning to value the individual, the particular, and to find in it a path to the community, and a glimpse of the universal. In Druidry, the first phase of training is that of the Bard–the keeper of history, the story-teller, the verse-maker of praise and satire. The Bard holds past and future in tension, bringing both powerfully and fully into the present, the sacred here-now of story and song. Out of memory and anticipation, loss and hope, something new is created. The Bard embodies the magic of imagination–working with words and images, working with matter as a blessed medium. And the Bard embodies the power of creativity–engaging with the here-now with playfulness and freedom to make something new in the world.

Way of the Ovate

The deeper I sank into the practice of poetry, the more often I found myself stumbling again and again across a sense of vastness and openness. If poetry taught me first about triads, triads soon taught me about space and the sacred sense of place. As any mathematician can tell you, two points make a line, but three define a plane. Discovering that third point, the point of divergence and difference, is the discovery of landscape.

In his poem Mark Strand wrote, we all have reasons for moving. Within space, movement becomes possible. Dance becomes possible. Without space, we are stuck, trudging back and forth along the same dull old line. Without a sense of space, we know only what logic can tell us, the conclusions all bound up and inevitable within the premises. We know only what cause gives rise to what effect along the line of controllable variables and repeatable experimentation. Without room to move–around, over, under, through–every limit of the material world feels like a restriction or imposition, an impediment to freedom. Without a sacred sense of space, I marched along my life-line from past to present into the receding future, never glancing around, excelling in grade school to place well in high school honors classes, excelling in high school to boost my college applications. When I finally made it to college, I made a mistake, I faltered along the line: I chose to major in a subject that, people joked nervously, had no practical future. I studied religion and philosophy.

I could have lost my footing, then, if it hadn’t been for my grounding in poetry. I could have slipped away into abstraction, the expansive mental landscape of exacting rational thought, where I might run myself ragged from one fascinating theory to another until I was left only with the exhausted Cartesian formula: cogito ergo sum. I could have agreed with the dualists who insisted that the only real freedom was freedom of the mind, cut loose from the restrictions of the material world. Instead, I grew very quiet while the storm of thought and knowledge raged thrillingly around me. And as I grew quiet, things around me began to happen. One day, I sat on a blanket in a field, mourning my well-adjusted-middle-class-white-girl state of being, a status that defined me as “normal,” as having no unique insight to contribute to the world unless I came down with cancer or backpacked across Europe. Why doesn’t crap ever happen to me? I was thinking–when it did. Out of the vast space of open sky, a robin let a perfect globule of white-speckled excrement fall; let it fall through a hundred yards of still air to land, thick and gooey, in the middle of my forehead on my third eye, dripping down my temples like a blessing. My spirit leapt up along the line of that fall and there high above, my still little body far below on the blanket in the grass, I discovered space, and began to laugh.

Space gives us room to move, room to dance, room to navigate life’s difficulties. Without space, limit is wretched. But without limit, space would be overcome, would be bloated and useless. Without limit, we would all be pressed flat against the ideals of heaven, or reason, all the time. But landscape is full of limit–for limit is just the natural expression of form, of matter, which is sacred. Druidry would teach me this sacredness explicitly, celebrating the uniqueness and individuality of all life, the inspiration of physical being. From Druidry, I would learn of the three realms–the realms of land, sea and sky–and the three elements–nwyfer, gwyar, calas; wind, water, stone; breath, blood, and bone. I would learn how these elements moved and worked creatively, dancing through one another, creating the realms of earth, ocean and atmosphere, and giving birth to the liminal spaces, the in-between places of mist and stream, cliff and cave. I would learn my own reasons for moving, oddly enough, through practices of stillness such as meditation and prayer. From Druidry, I would learn the art of journeying through dream and other inner landscapes–the art of the shaman and the oracle.

In Druidry, the second phase of training is that of the Ovate. The Ovate stills the chattering linear mind, and centers deeply in the immediacy of place: this very place and this very body in this very moment of time. Centered this way, space opens up into a vastness through which possibility and potential dance and weave. The Ovate studies landscape and how the beings of landscape live together, and live off one another. She learns the ecology of spirit as well as of physical life. She searches the shadows for the Shining Folk, and reaches her hands out to touch the hem of the Gods’ veils as they pass. She sees the future not as something solid but as the coalescing of patterns and potentials. The Ovate knows the currents and eddies of energy, and learns to navigate them gracefully, following a path that spirals in and out of simple causality, leaping from plane to plane through the joyful splendor of space and void. And because the Ovate has a sacred sense of place–because she knows the bounds of her own self and her own landscape intimately–her insight into the liminal places can sometimes seem uncanny.

Way of the Druid

But before the mysteries of the shamanic Ovate or the poetic Bard, I had to discover Druidry itself, the path that would connect it all. In my scholarly studies, I had learned about modern Witchcraft and, to some small extent, the greater community of Paganism with its many diverse and sometimes befuddling groups and labels. Nature spirituality appealed to me, but Wicca didn’t seem to fit quite right. It didn’t feel like home.

First of all, I was no agriculturalist. I was a poet, a philosopher, perhaps a bit of a mystic. Born in the suburbs on the edge of a wooded park, I was drawn to wild spaces more than gardens and farms, to the bluffs overlooking a rhythm of ocean waves, to old trees growing gnarled among ferns and mossy stones. I had learned, as I’d learned about landscape, the cycles of the seasons. But the summer storms and winter snows, the bursting colors of autumn and muddy fingerprints of spring–these did not leave me with a sense of fertility and harvest, so much as changing harmonies echoing through the great halls of hills and valleys unfurling beneath a weathered sky. Echoes of wild things growling in my marrow and tendons. When after college I moved to the city, I tried to grow window boxes of herbs, but the heat reflecting off tall apartment buildings soon baked them to brown dust. Meanwhile, through cracks in the pavement, weeds reasserted themselves and the sycamores loomed over every broad boulevard, rabbits left footprints in the snow on sidewalks overnight and crows picked through the garbage.

Here again was juxtaposition, the kind of tension between urbanity and wilderness that might make a poem, or a dreamscape. Within this landscape, I finally found this odd way called Druidry. The ancient Druids, as some imagined them, were not only priests, but scholars, judges, advisors, poets, historians, and mystics in their communities. They lived integrated lives devoted to wild wisdom, truth and peace. And they were political creatures, not living in social isolation; they were respected and accepted, rather than rejected or feared for their thriving spiritual lives. These were not domestic elders spinning yarns and brewing herbal remedies for foot fungus, or cast to the edges of town for being too outrageous or seductive. These were inspired lovers trembling in adoration of the world, who felt deeply not only the music of the mountains and trees, but the piercing harmonies of the celestial spheres. These were warrior-bards and philosopher-poets, who understood landscape as space and movement as vibration, who saw in the refraction of light and the migration patterns of geese myriad reverberating melodies. These were the peace-makers standing calmly declaring truce between two armies, those who saw the weaving interconnection at the core of each being which makes trust and mercy possible, for whom justice was a kind of balance and harmony, never to be mistaken for condemnation or rejection.

In Druidry, I learned that everything has a Song, and that the world, too, has a soul-song. The Song of the World might be called a Divine or True Will; we join with it our own voices, the music of our bodies humming, pumping blood, inhaling and exhaling, neurons and nerves buzzing and vibrating: the songs we cannot help but murmur to ourselves as we go along our way, same as the heron and the oak and the rain and the stars. The air we move through shifts around us with every stride, and our laughing and crying shape it, too. When we sing and move and live in harmony with the World Song, our own songs are amplified, modulated and carried along. Mark Strand wrote, we all have reasons for moving. I move to keep things whole. The Druid listens for the song her soul is singing, and she attends with reverence to the part her soul-song has to play in the greater whole.

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