August, 2011

Welcome

August, 2011

Merry Meet Readers and Welcome to the August Issue of PaganPages.

This issue of PaganPages is brought to you by:

http://www.BetterHagsandGargoyles.com

Better Hags & Gargoyles provides Tarot Consultations via phone & in the Denver Metro area, in person; Reiki Master/Teacher services; and incense & oils, prepared in astrologic accord, for your magickal & ritual purposes.

Thank you so much to Better Hags & Gargoyles for making this month possible!

Our Assistant Editor, Michele Burke, was recently interviewed for Lunar Wisdom Podcast , on July 22.  If you didn’t happen to hear it yet, please go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lunarwisdom/2011/07/23/delving-into-paganpages

We hope you enjoy it!!

In this issue:

You will find a few new columns from our new talented authors!!

Book Reviews for:

Vampyre Sanguinumicon:  The Lexicon of the Living Vampire

Weisser Field Guide to the Paranormal

and Wiccan Shadows

This Month’s Contest!!!!

First, this month’s prize is a package of gemstones and a velvet bag to keep them in.

This month’s prize is from:


http://www.ravenandcrone.com/

ONLINE WICCA SUPPLIES, WITCHCRAFT SUPPLIES , WICCAN SUPPLIES and PAGAN SUPPLIES STORE

Ok now to this month’s challenge. We are looking for pictures of your homemade tools.  They can not be store bought!  You had to have made it!

All contestants must have their pictures sent to [email protected] by the 20th of August.

Good Luck to you all!

Have a wonderful August and, as always, HAPPY READING!!

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Rayne’sRitualWay

August, 2011

Shadow Ritual

What is your shadow? To answer this question we simply need to look within nature. Where there is good there is bad. Where there is light there is darkness. Where there is nurturing and growth there is cruelty and destruction. Your shadow is the embodiment of your negative energy. It is the whisper in your mind that says “Take it, no one is watching.” It is the voice that tells you you’re not good enough, it is your insecurities, your darkest secrets, every time you did the right thing but wondered just what it would feel like if you hadn’t. This is your shadow. And for this reason it’s dire to be in balance with your shadow as all of nature is symmetry, your own energy must reflect this same energy in order to find true peace, and balance.

Purpose:

After Litha the year begins to wane, and the nights grow shorter. It’s integral for the spirit to maintain balance. This calls you to look within and face your darker self, your shadow. To locate what part of your self is holding you back from your true potential and excel past it; to look your biggest fear for yourself in the eye and be at peace with it.

Colors: White, black, gray.

Herbs: Sage for cleansing, Myrrh for inner peace. (Myrrh also increases the power of any herbs its burned in conjunction with.)

Tools:

8 White tea lights (four will represent your quarter points North, South, East, and West, and the other four will be for the intermediary points), a mirror or reflective object (black scrying mirror, regular hand mirror, a bowl of water) 2 white taper candles. Charcoal disks, and a burning plate.

*It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, with this seemingly simple ritual you’ll be doing just that, seeing into the eyes of your shadow. Don’t be afraid of what you see there, if you feel like crying; cry, laughing; laugh, Whatever your emotion release it naturally, do NOT hold anything inside, or be ashamed of what you see in any way. This ritual is intended to make you at peace with your shadow, it’s time to let go, and embrace all of who you are.*

Ritual:

Set up the altar to face the north, as this is the direction of silence, darkness, and reflection. Your altar should consist of an altar cloth in a neutral color preferably white, your reflective object in between your two white taper candles. Cast your circle as preferred and invoke the elements if desired. (I recommend doing this as working with your Shadow creates psychic vulnerability, and I always find the extra protection comforting when I’m doing a working.) Once your circle has been cast, and the elements have been invoked, lay your scrying apparatus (mirror, etc) face up on your altar. If you are using incense now would be the time to light it. I really recommend if possible burning on a charcoal disk, and wafting the smoke in your circle; as well as over your mirror. After you have cleansed the area It’s time to begin focusing on your intention: to connect/understand your shadow.

Close your eyes. While working your hands over your mirror say:

“A spirit as black as the night skies.

I see into the depths of your eyes.

From the deepest chasm of my soul.

I bring your fourth to make me whole.

So mote it be.”

You can repeat this chant as much as you like as you visualize your physical device becoming a spiritual window.

This ritual works best for me when I see my shadow as a replica of myself. After you’ve charged your mirror so close your eyes, while holding your mirror in your hands imagine a wall, a veil being shown to you. As the window gets thinner you see your shadow on the other side, as you move it moves, as you breath it breathes. The veil becomes thin enough to talk through. State your name to your shadow, and your purpose. After you have stated your purpose open your eyes, and begin to communicate with your shadow, as you stare into its eyes know that it’s only a piece of what makes up you. Ask your shadow a question. Understand why your darker self thinks the way it does. Talk about your insecurities, talk about your deepest secrets. But always remember no matter what happens let your emotions run freely. If you feel like crying cry, whatever it is that you’ve been holding inside release it, acknowledge that no one is perfect and we all have shadows. It’s time to be at peace with yours.

When you are done communicating and wish to return your shadow back into your spirit. Close your eyes and see the veil growing thicker. The portal you’ve created now closing. Say to your shadow:

“I release you back through time and space.

Back into the depths of my gaze.

Within my spirit you shall reside,

With peace in my heart you won’t hide.

As it is willed so shall it be.”

With your shadow released you can now ground and center. I suggest eating something natural and small, bread and juice works wonder after ritual! Thank the elements and close your circle.

Closing Thoughts: Though this ritual may seem very easy, you may be surprised as to what you find out about yourself. So much of our life we spend half awake never fully aware of who we truly are. It’s time to shed off the darkness, the unknown, and face even the unthinkable pieces of yourself to truly find peace, within your spirit.

Blessed Be.

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Meditation Moment

August, 2011

Washed Away

If meditating in motion wasn’t really your thing, here’s another approach to meditation that also takes advantage of summer’s more temperate weather!

Most of what I wrote about in terms of beginning meditation was about how to reduce your distractions: quiet time, calm space, and one simple thing to focus on. The approach I’m suggesting this time seems like it’s just the opposite: it’s all about your senses. It’s about letting your senses be your focus, but not any one particular sense or object, the whole flow of things it’s possible to be aware of, all around you.

There’s a constant stream of sense-data that we are capable of getting. Most of the time we aren’t even aware of it. In order to pay attention anything at all, we have to block out the vast majority of all the potential impressions coming at us. One way to meditate, especially in connection with nature, is to turn those potential distractions into our means of meditating. We can let our usual thoughts and concerns be washed away in the constant stream of physical awareness by opening ourselves to more of it than we usually perceive. This is another way of applying the skill of forgetting in order to be truly present in the single moment and single space you occupy right now.

To try this, find a place where nature is present in all your senses. It doesn’t need to be isolated or totally insulated from obvious examples of human activity, like road noise, it just needs to be a place where there’s at least as much nature for you to see, hear, touch, and smell as there is constructed stuff for you to sense. It should also be a place where the sense impressions you get are ones you can at least mostly enjoy. And finally, it should be a safe spot for you to sit and close your eyes for a few minutes: not in poison ivy, not on top of an anthill, not where you’re going to get sunburned if you sit longer than you thought or fall in the river if you go to sleep.

When you find a spot, settle yourself there however is comfortable for you. It will probably help at first to close your eyes, since vision is a very focused sense. Try to start with your breathing and relax, and gradually open yourself to your senses.

Start with touch: what do you feel? Let yourself be absorbed in your sense of touch, all over your skin. It’s not just whatever you’re sitting or standing on, but the flow of the air around you, the warmth of the sun or the cool of the shade. As you grow more aware of what you’re sensing, don’t just focus on each individual thing in turn. Let all the impressions flow through your awareness; let each impression go as soon as it forms, so that you continue to be receptive to what you’re feeling. Open your awareness to as much as you can all at once. Any time you start to focus on one sensation, let go of it and relax, opening yourself to all the other sensations.

Add in other senses and forms of awareness gradually. Start noticing how humid or dry the air is, how it feels and how it tastes, and what scents it carries. Listen to the world around you; don’t try to block out any sounds, even the annoying ones. Just let your awareness of them go, as you do with all the awarenesses. An annoying one may come back time and again, but don’t give it any more attention than you do the pleasant ones. Treat them all alike, as things simply to be observed in turn, but not concentrated on, even by trying to ignore them. Let that awareness go so that more impressions, each fleeting in their turn, can form.

Concentrating on any one thing, like looking at something in particular, is an active behavior. It’s something we do, with purpose, with intent, even subconsciously. For this meditation, try to let go of that intent, that purpose, and be a passive observer. This is why it’s very hard to do this with your eyes open, especially at first. We automatically focus, literally, our vision on things around us.

If you want to try it, you might let your eyes drift slightly out of focus, or try to look into an indistinct place in the middle distance, so that you’re not looking at any one thing in particular, simply gazing and being aware of as much in your field of vision as is possible. If that’s too difficult or gives you a headache, do this meditation with your eyes closed instead. You might be amazed at how much information is available to you through your other senses, even while you’re sitting still. We depend so much on our vision that it often blocks out our conscious awareness of senses like touch and smell.

Even without vision, the amount of information flowing through our senses is tremendous. By letting go of every impression as soon as it is formed, we let that flow proceed smoothly, like sand through an hourglass or water through a calm river. Opening ourselves to more of that flow means that we can use it to help dislodge persistent thoughts or worries, just as water can move obstacles out of its way. Just for a little while, let yourself be overwhelmed, in a good way, by your senses, so that you can reconnect with the world around you. Let yourself be washed away.

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August

August, 2011

Originally called Sextillis by the Romans, was later named Augustus in honor of Augustus Caesar.
August is the eighth month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Summer’s rule.
Traditional birthstone amulets of August are the peridot and the sardonyx.
The gladiolus and the poppy are the month’s traditional flowers.
August is shared by the astrological signs of Leo the Lion and Virgo the Virgin.
During the month of August, the Great Solar Wheel of the Year is turned to Lammas, one of the four Grand Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.

Gathered harvest are celebrated during August.

Corn Moon

Astrological Signs: Leo, Virgo

Nature Spirits: Dryads

Herbs:Chamomile, St. Johns Wort, bay, angelica, fennel, rue, orange

Colors:Yellow, gold

Flowers: Gladiolus, poppy, sunflower, marigold

Scents: Frankincense

Stones: Peridot, sardonyx, cat’s eye, carnelian, jasper, fire agate

Trees: Hazel, alder, cedar

Animals: Lion, phoenix, sphinx, dragon

Birds: Crane, falcon, eagle

Deities: Ceres , The Corn Mother, Demeter , Diana , Ganesha ,Hathor ,Hecate, Lugh ,Nemesis ,Thoth and all Goddesses who preside over agriculture.

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Given to the Gods

August, 2011

given to the Gods, she waits
the fear inside a slow flame,
burning her resolve.
and then, suddenly, they are here
the Grandmothers, old as Time,
marking her face, ochre-striped,
hanging about her neck the sacred band
of amber, teeth and gold.
they light the bowl of herbs
and smoke, soft as silk, courses through the hut
filling her head with dreams
rising, she walks towards the setting sun,
painted in blood-light,
messenger of her people.
an arrow, sent to the Gods.

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WiseWoman Traditions

August, 2011

Be Your Own herbal Expert

Part 2


herbal medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple, safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors knew how to use an enormous variety of plants for health and well-being. Our neighbors around the world continue to use local plants for healing and health maintenance, and you can too.

In your first lesson, you learned how to “listen” to the messages of plant’s tastes. And you discovered that using plants in water bases (teas, infusions, vinegars, soups) – and as simples – allows you to experiment with and explore herbal medicine safely.

In this lesson, we will learn how to make effective water-based herbal remedies and talk more about using simples.

Tea for You?

Teas are a favorite way to consume herbs. Made by brewing a small amount of herbs (typically a teaspoonful to a cup of water) for a short time (generally 1-2 minutes), teas are flavorful, colorful drinks.

Herbs rich in coloring compounds – such as hibiscus, rose hips, calendula, and black tea – make enticing and tasty teas. They may also contain polyphenols, phytochemicals known to help prevent cancer. Since coloring compounds and polyphenols are fairly stable, dried herbs are considered best for teas rich in these.

Herbs rich in volatile oils – such as ginger, chamomile, cinnamon, catnip, mint, lemon balm, lemon grass, lavender, bergamot, and fennel, anise, and cumin seeds – make lovely teas, which are effective in easing spasms, stimulating digestion, eliminating pain, and inducing sleep. Since much of the volatile oils are lost when herbs are dried, fresh herbs are considered best for teas rich in these, but dried herbs can be used with good results.

I enjoy a cup of hot tea with honey. But teas fail to deliver the mineral richness locked into many common herbs. A cup of nettle tea, for instance, contains only 5-10 mg of calcium, while a cup of nettle infusion contains up to 500 mg of calcium. For optimum nutrition, I drink nourishing herbal infusions every day.

Infusion for Me!

An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar, which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions. (See experiment 2.)

I make my infusions at night before I go to bed and they are ready in the morning. I put my herb in my jar and my water in the pot, and the pot on the fire, then brush my teeth (or sweep the floor) until the kettle whistles. I pour the boiling water up to the rim of the jar, screw on a tight lid, turn off the stove and the light, and go to bed. In the morning, I strain the plant material out, squeezing it well, and drink the liquid. I prefer it iced, unless the morning is frosty. I drink the quart of infusion within 36 hours or until it spoils. Then I use it to water my houseplants, or pour it over my hair after washing as a final rinse, which can be left on.

My favorite herbs for infusion are nettle, oatstraw, red clover, and comfrey leaf, but only one at a time. The tannins in red clover and comfrey make me pucker my lips, so I add a little mint, or bergamot, when I infuse them, just enough to flavor the brew slightly. A little salt in your infusion may make it taste better than honey will.

Having trouble finding herbs in bulk at your local health food store? Try ordering online:

²  Mountain Rose Herbs – http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

²  Pacific Botanicals – http://www.pacificbotanicals.com/

²  Frontier Herbs – http://www.frontierherb.com/

²  Garden Medicinals – http://www.gardenmedicinals.com/

Simple Messages

When we use simples (one plant at a time), we allow ourselves an intimacy that deepens and strengthens our connections to plants and their green magic. There are lots of interesting plants, and lots of herbalists who maintain that herbal medicine means formulae and combinations of herbs. But I consider herbs as lovers, preferring to have only one in bed with me at a time.

When I use one plant at a time it is much easier for me to discern the effect of that plant. When I use one plant at a time and someone has a bad reaction to the remedy, it is obvious what the source of the distress is, and usually easy to remedy. When I use one plant at a time, I make it easy for my body to communicate with me and tell me what plants it needs for optimum health.

I even go so far as to ally with one plant at a time, usually for at least a year. By narrowing my focus, I actually find that I learn more.

Coming Up
In our next lesson we will learn more about the difference between nourishing, tonifying, stimulating/sedating, and potentially-poisonous plants; how to prepare them; and how to use them. In the following installments we will explore the difference between fixing disease and promoting health, how to apply the three traditions of healing, and how to take charge of your own health care with the six steps of healing.
Experiment Number One
Make and drink a quart of nourishing herbal infusion made with stinging nettle, oatstraw, red clover, raspberry leaf, or comfrey leaf. If you wish, flavor it with mint. On the same day, make a tea from the same herb, using dried herb. Compare and contrast the colors, flavors, and sensations.


Experiment Number Two
Make an infusion of stinging nettle, oatstraw, red clover, raspberry leaf, or comfrey leaf, using one ounce of dried herb as usual. At the same time, make a quart of “brew” using the same herb, but fresh, not dried. To make it fair, use 4 ounces of fresh herb. After one hour of steeping, look at both jars, taste and compare/contrast. Repeat three more times at hourly intervals.
Minerals are released slowly into water. They darken the color of the water and give it a dense, rich taste. Oil-soluble vitamins float to the top and make a thin glaze of swirls.

Experiment Number Three
Buy, or grow, a tasty, aromatic herb, like ginger, peppermint, or rosemary. For this experiment you will need one tablespoon of fresh herb, and one teaspoon of the same herb dried. Place the fresh herb in a cup or mug and the dried herb in another. Fill both to the top with boiling water. After one minute, taste, smell, compare the teas. Wait another minute and compare again. Then wait five minutes and try each one again.

Experiment Number Four
Make a tea with aromatic seeds – anise, caraway, coriander, cumin, fennel, or fenugreek. Use a teaspoon of seeds in a cup of water. At the same time, brew some using a tablespoon of seeds per cup. After a minute, taste, smell, contrast. Repeat in five minutes, then in thirty minutes, then after an hour, then after four hours. Teas and infusions of dried seeds are almost the same.

Further Study

  1. Drink 2-4 cups of nourishing herbal infusion for a month and see if your health changes in any way. Best if you don’t drink coffee or tea during this month.
  1. Choose a green ally to focus on this year.
  1. Read Healing Power of Minerals by Paul Bergner.
  1. Read about stinging nettle and oatstraw in my book Healing Wise.
  1. Write out the botanical names of the herbs you used in making your teas and your infusions.

Advanced Work

²  Learn more about essential oils in plants. Grow several plants rich in essential oils.

²  Learn more about tannins. Make an oakbark infusion.

If you want to be your own herbal expert then you may want to start a correspondence course!  See www.susunweed.com for information on courses available.

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Proving Grounds

August, 2011

Well, hello. Nice to see you here.

What I hope to accomplish with this blog: passing on about forty years’ worth of practice in the Craft of the Wise, AKA being a witch.

Like most people, I’ve learned a few things, and messed up a few others before I finally Got It. I hope to share with you the ups, the downs, the occasional cosmic misfires, and the equally occasional cosmic successes, past, present, and future.

Spellcraft, writing a novel, that wicked slavemaster called “personal evolution,” doing the dishes, and cleaning out the litter box: it’s all fair game.

Along the way, I’ll tell you a few stories.

I’ll see you here every other month. Wanna come along for the ride?

To begin with, here’s the little jobbie I use to get all the details into place before I stand in front of my altar and get to The Work. (And then, yes, I copy it into my BoS, by hand.)

Clean copy first, detailed copy second.

Since it’s not fair to throw people off the pier without teaching them to swim, feel free to delete any references to astrology that you are not familiar with, and don’t care to learn. (It’s a math-heavy subject.) The really necessary questions are in bold. The incidental stuff’s in plain text.  And if you feel swamped just looking at it, go to the bottom, and read the disclaimer.

Then breathe.  See you here in a minute.

Goal of the Work

Detailed description of goal:

Why do I want this?

What purpose will it serve in my life?

How will it change my life?

Simplified description of goal, taking into account above two answers:

Chant derived from goal:

One-word description of goal:

Goal Correspondences

Phase of Moon:

Deity:

Method of raising energy:

Magical action:

Color:

Herb/Incense/Essential oil:

Planet:

Day of week most favorable for Work:

Planetary hour most favorable for Work:

Astrological Conditions at the Time of the Work

Is the Moon visible? If not, the Work must delayed until it is again seen as a slender crescent.

Will the Moon be or become void-of-course during the Work? If it is or will be, the Work must be rescheduled to fall outside a VOC period.

Will any planet be stationary direct or stationary retrograde over a planet or point in my natal chart? If so, how can I incorporate the energies of both into the Work?

Will Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto contact any planet or point in my natal chart? If so, how can I incorporate the energies of both into the Work?

Will the Moon transiting be through a sign (or house in my natal chart) which rules the goal?

Personal Considerations

Is any element represented in my chart by 4 or more occupied signs, or signs on the Ascendant or MC?

Can I use herbs, colors, or magical actions from this element?

Is any element represented by no or one occupied signs, or signs on the Ascendant or MC?

Can I use herbs, colors, or magical actions from this element?

Results

Worked immediately:

Didn’t work within 14 days:

Worked after _____________ days

TEMPLATE WITH DETAILS:

Goal of the Work

Detailed description of goal: I need a job. (Sometimes, it’s this simple.)

Why do I want this? What purpose will it serve in my life? I need the income. I don’t want to live on the street. Plus, I love what I do for a living, just not the people I currently do it with. (Note that there are two streams here: the person loves what s/he does for a living, AND s/he needs money to live. Both are equally important to hir, but the need for money can be said to be critical for most of us.)

Simplified description of goal, taking into account above two answers: I need an income-producing situation doing what I love.

Chant derived from goal: (The quality of your poetry isn’t all that important, but do try for rhythm. Just shut that inner critic up, and go for it. What I’ve produced below certainly isn’t, oh, Wordsworth, or even T.S. Eliot.)

What I love and money too

Comes when I have work to do!

One-phrase description of goal: Work I love for money.

Goal Correspondences (My choice of author for correspondence lists is always Scott Cunningham. Scott’s been gone a while now, but his friends keep his lists up-to-date. Do be aware that his work is largely Egypto-Graeco-Roman derived.)

Phase of Moon: Waning to banish unemployment or waxing to draw a job. (Every magical goal can be stated in two ways: to draw the desired outcome, which can be worked during the waxing Moon, or to banish its opposite, which can be worked during the waning Moon. I have done Work at the wrong phase of the Moon when I was in grave need of help, and I did get results, although I had to wait until the phase changed to get them.)

Is the Moon visible? If not, the Work must delayed until it is again seen as a slender crescent. (In the Dark of the Moon period, those three days while She is not visible, there are simply not enough lunar energies to fuel any kind of Work. No work-around exists for this. Work done during this period will not be effective, your time, energy, and supplies wasted.)

Deity: (It’s best, if possible, to work with Someone Who has already come into your life. If that’s not possible, ask for help this time, but be prepared to give back the energy you asked for in devotion and sacrifice. As for sacrifice, virgins are a Christian fixation and dead animals cruel and unnecessary; wine or tobacco [though Venus doesn’t like it, as it’s an herb of Mars] work well for almost every deity, as does a candle in Their color, perhaps rolled in herbs sacred to Them.)

Magical action: (In our example, employment spells are usually seen as workings of the element Earth. The witch might use magnets, an Earth device if ever there was one, to pull a sigil scribed with hir name toward one bearing the symbol for the new job; once they are bound together with the magnets, s/he might lay them on a copy of hir resume. S/he could also bury them. If your goal is fiery, burn something, you pyromaniac [light a paper, or a second candle, scribed with your goal, from a candle scribed with your name; use one candle to partially melt the side of the other, fuse them, and allow them to burn together]; if it’s watery, consider drinking water imbued with your goal’s energy; if it’s airy, blow the symbols of goal and self together, or scribe a fan with your goal and use it to blow incense smoke over yourself. The possibilities are limited only by your own creativity; have fun!

Method of raising energy: (Usually, this involves repetitive movement or activity of some kind. Dance, do a simple sidestep around or in front of your altar; bust your favorite yoga moves; clap; play your Tibetan singing bowl; play a single short phrase over and over on a flute, guitar, rattle, or other musical instrument; chant; sing; dig in the garden. Almost anything will work, and work pretty well. Of course, it’s also possible to do this entirely in your mind, which, while quite difficult, is also ferociously good training in concentration.)

Color: (Very briefly: red for passion, pink for friendship, orange for attraction, black for repulsion, gray for dissipation [of energy], yellow for intellectual endeavor, green for growth of any kind, purple for horses, law, or publication, blue for honor, brown for practicality, and white for purity. White is also the go-to color when you don’t have the color you need. Looking to minimize? Orange, green, gray, black, and white cover all the possibilities.  Colors of what, you ask?  Candles, altar cloths, clothing … I suppose you could also, at need, paint yourself the necessary color.  Up to you.)

Herb/Incense/Essential oil: (Essential oils are wonderful for those among us who can’t tolerate incense smoke, or share a home with someone who dislikes the smell of burning herbs. They can be dripped into the pool of melted wax at the base of a candle flame, rubbed onto the candle itself, diluted with a little olive and dabbed on the pulse points, or used in a diffuser. Do be aware that they always carry the elemental signature of Fire; if you are working to put out a forest fire, for instance, they are not a good choice!)

Planet: (Very briefly: Sun for masculinity, Moon for femininity, Mercury for trade/writing/intellectual pursuits, Venus for affairs of the heart, Mars for war and affairs of the sex organs, Jupiter for expansion of any kind [including necessary weight gain], Saturn for contraction/discipline, Uranus for new ideas/astrology/TV/new technology, Neptune for film/poetry/dance/inspiration/drugs, and Pluto for the kind of can’t-go-back change embodied by nuclear power. Caution: it is incredibly difficult to work successfully with the outermost three planets. Don’t try this at home unless you are very sure you know what you are doing.)

Day of week most favorable for Work: (Very briefly: Monday corresponds to the Moon, Tuesday to Mars, Wednesday to Mercury, Thursday to Jupiter, Friday to Venus, Saturday to Saturn, and Sunday to, ta-da!, the Sun.)

Planetary hour most favorable for Work: (There is no “very briefly” for the subject of Planetary Hours. I have downloaded and use a free program called “Chronos XP’ which pops up the planetary hour on my desktop every time it changes, and allows me to look at days in the future to see when the hours fall. However: look up the sunrise and sunset times, subtract sunrise time from sunset time, and that is the length of the day. Divide that amount of time by twelve, and add the increment thus derived to the time of sunrise. That’s the hour of the Sun. Do it again for the hour of the Moon, and so on. When you get to sunset, find the amount of time between sunset and the following sunrise, divide by twelve, and repeat. The first hour after sunrise is always that of the planet the day corresponds to; see para above.  Told you it wasn’t brief.)

Astrological Conditions at the Time of the Work

Will the Moon be or become void-of-course during the Work? If yes, the Work must be rescheduled to fall after the VOC period. (Very briefly: period. During this time there is insufficient lunar energy to power the Work. There is no work-around. Work done during this time is energy, time, and supplies wasted.  Seventy-two hours after the moment the Moon becomes New, which is why New Moons are listed as “New Moon, Thursday, 2:27 PM EDT”), She is again a visible crescent.  It doesn’t matter if She is or is not above the horizon when this happens; it’s when She again has sufficient power to fuel a spell.)

Will any planet be stationary direct or stationary retrograde over a planet or point in my natal chart? If so, how can I incorporate the energies of both into the Work? (Planets’ stations generate an enormous amount of energy. If I wanted to make a change of career, for instance, I’d hope for Jupiter SD on my Midheaven – money and progress in one swell foop.)

Will Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto be contacting any planet or point in my natal chart? If so, how can I incorporate the energies of both into the Work? (These outer planets present rare opportunities. Their energies are quite powerful.)

Will the Moon transiting be through a sign (or house in my natal chart) which rules the goal? (Think of the Moon as a match: in terms of power, it hasn’t much, but it’s just what you need for setting things alight.)

Personal Considerations

Is any element represented in my chart by 4 or more occupied signs, or signs on the Ascendant or MC?

Can I use herbs, colors, or magical actions from this element? (Your personal power is concentrated here; this is the easiest path for you.)

Is any element represented by no or one occupied signs, or signs on the Ascendant or MC?

Can I use herbs, colors, or magical actions from this element? (Lack of representation often gives a clue as to what you will work quite hard at unconsciously.)

Results

Worked immediately: (Yay you)

Didn’t work within 14 days: (Something probably went wrong; can you isolate what it was?)

Worked after _____________ days (Note any changes in Astrological Conditions which occurred, particularly changes of the Moon’s phase.)


So. Now that you know all of this, please don’t freak out and decide that it’s far too complicated, too freakin’ much work, ever to cast a spell. It isn’t. If you can’t deal with the above plethora of information, concentrate on choosing the correct wording for the phase of the Moon, a scent, and a color. Those last two work below the level of the conscious mind, and therefore have quite a lot of power; the first one is what is, and your magic won’t work if you ignore it.  Those three will give you maximum reward for minimal effort.

Do choose, down the road if not right this minute, to make a special friend of a particular deity: and don’t worry if one Chooses you, rather than you Him or Her.

May you find wisdom in the crafting of your goals, and happy casting.

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Gems of the Goddess

August, 2011

CIRCE THE ENCHANTING SORCERESS


CONNECTING WITH CIRCE If you have any questions about spells or ways of magic don’t hesitate to ask Circe, she is defiantly willing to help out her kindred.   Another way of honoring her is by honoring the Goddess within yourself.  I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times, but really there is one in there!  Trust your intuition like Circe always did, and that inner nudging to do certain things.  This especially goes towards magical workings as well.  If you feel that you need to tweak a ritual or spell in any way because it feels right to you, then by all means go a head, because what makes a spell powerful is your own personal power and touches.  Plus one of the ways our guides and deities speak to us is through our feelings.  So trust your inner Circe.

SYMBOLS AND THINGS TO PUT ON YOUR ALTER Falcons, lions, pigs, wine,  blue, dark moon, belladonna, juniper, myrrh

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Hally’s Hints

August, 2011

The Cleansed Connection

As energetic beings a lot of what we do, what we feel, need, want and so forth are governed by electrical impulses we direct within ourselves. The purpose of which is to create energetic responses which provides us with a sensation or seemingly emotional response.

This transaction that occurs on an unconscious and ethereal level impacts everything external to ourselves. We do this in milliseconds every day without ever stopping to think or even contemplate about this. It is something that simply happens.

In addition to this is our ethereal self, the many layers (for the purpose of this article the context of ethereal is in terms of aura) of our aura that vibrates from us responds to these impulses. Be it the mentality of cause and effect or the line of communication internally and externally derived and combined.

Consider when you are feeling down, sad, upset or otherwise how small you feel. It is as though you are carrying the world on your shoulders. In comparison to when you are happy, excited and feeling confident. Consider how big you feel, the sensation that is flowing through you and it is as though you are going to explode in the best possible way; it is that incredible.

This is a vague example of how powerful when aligned the connection is and the impact this can have on us.

To this take this one step further, consider that you can, have and do control this process. Irrelevant of what is happening around you, you have the power to respond in any way that you would like.

With this said that does not mean that this is always in a perfect state. Whilst we aim and strive for this, we can find that heavy feeling sticking around a little too often. This is because, on occasion, this communication can become blurred due to your ethereal layers being what I call ‘dirty’, or blocked. This can then be absorbed internally and externally into the physical. (Whilst this part of ourselves is extremely detailed, this article is one very small aspect of what happens).

What I mean by this is that we have a tendency to pick up other energies, whether we realise it or not. This can be positive and negative. In addition to this we can also take on the traits of these energies which may include negative thought patterns or illnesses. If this wasn’t enough as easily as we can pick up energies so too can others; we can have our energy taken from us from someone else. Keeping in mind this is rarely done consciously and with malice, it is a survival mechanism.

To keep yourself balanced, in check and feeling like yourself, include regular cleansing into your daily routine. Be it chakra balancing, ethereal cleansing, meditation on all parts or simply using white sage. There are numerous methodologies to assist with this and it comes down to what is right for you in that moment.

The purpose of this is to ensure that what you feel, the emotion that you experience is yours and holds the intent of your purpose rather than being a blurred version and interpretation.

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Review: Vampyre Sanguinumicon: The Lexicon of the Living Vampire

August, 2011

Vampyre Sanguinumicon:  The Lexicon of the Living Vampire

by  Father Sebastiaan

© 2010  Weiser Books

ISBN:  978-1578634804

Paperback        320 pages

$24.95 (U.S.)x

There has been a resurgence in the interest in vampires of late (witness the Twilight books/movies and “True Blood”, etc.), although it never really went away.  This book is for the Living Vampire – the one who seeks to live in glamour and ritual on a daily basis – not the “kid in a cape” who plays at being an immortal being.

The first thing which struck me as I began reading this book was the  consistent use of jargon as a means of establishing the “difference” between those who follow this particular tradition and those who do not.  This is an obvious first step in separating two individual worlds, and has been in use for hundreds of years – most recently distinguish between members of the neo-Pagan community and the “mundanes” or “muggles”.  It is refreshing, however, to see that the author makes no attempt to convince the reader that this tradition has existed unchanged for centuries.

Perhaps it is a flaw in my personality or my perceptive abilities, but I find Sebastiaan’s attitude that members of Strigoi Vii may feel free to appropriate the symbology and belief structures of others without compunction (other than doing it for the betterment of the Strigoi Vii) while denying a need

to acknowledge any real understanding of these systems to be unacceptable.

I am in no position to question the sincerity of Father Sebastiaan, since I am not a member of the Strigoi Vii.  I am familiar with the elitist tone of the writing in  this book and can testify that it is often a sign of sincerity – if not always objective truth.  Whether or not this book is objectively true, for a certain number of readers it will be subjectively true.

The first portion of the book is dedicated to providing the background and underpinnings of the lifestyle of the Strigoi Vii.  Parts of this section will likely seem highly fantastic and/or delusional to some who read it.  Other readers may have an “ah, ha!” moment as a result of what is laid out here.

One minor quibble, and I freely admit that it is strictly personal, is the excessive (in my opinion) use of capitalization.  Words such as “we” and “immortal” really don’t rate capitalization by the rules of English grammar as I learned them.

I must also admit that I resorted to skimming while reading this book, as (for a variety of reasons) I found it less than a compelling read.  This is, in no way, a condemnation of the contents or the style of writing.  It simply didn’t resonate for ME.  Your experience may be different.

If you have felt a call to the Vampyre lifestyle, for reasons beyond a fashion trend, or a desire to shock friends and family, you will find this book will offer you insights, and provoke your thought processes.  It is not a book for everyone, but then, it sets out with the intent of not being one of those.  For those who are looking for inspiration, this may be what you have been looking for.

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