August, 2015

Merry Meet

August, 2015







In This Issue…



An interview with the incredibly talented artist Cristina McAllister: Beautiful Connections.  She opens up to PaganPages about her artwork and her life.




New Series ‘Project Afterlife’ Premieres a  Six-Part Original Series Sunday, August 9 at 10/9c Only on Destination America.  Read about it and our review of it.




Learn to make a Lavender Wand for yourself in Witchcrafting: crafts for Witches.




We premeire the first part of a Short Story this month: Kiara, Episode One





We are always looking for new writers to join our family of writers.  We are currently looking for columnists to cover the following:

God’s Column

Podcast Review Column

Website Review Column

App Review Column

Book Reviewers

Or pitch us your own Idea

Email us at [email protected] if you are interested




Please join us on Facebook & Twitter

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Musings of a Hereditary Witch

August, 2015

Lughnasadh on the Mountain

Some years ago my Druid sister, RhosynTan and I combined our two training groups to celebrate a Lughnasadh camp out on the mountain. Our theme was the funerary games for Lugh’s foster mother.

We secured the site for the weekend and charged our grove members $25 per adult (14 and under Free). This covered the campsite, fees, munchies, dinner and dessert for Saturday night and breakfast, lunch, dinner and more munchies for Sunday.


RhosynTan and I worked on the “games” that the men would participate in for over a month. The fun part was taking some traditional games (boar hunt, axe throw, horserace) and modifying them fit the various ages within the group (20’s to 50+). We also wanted a couple of things for the kids to do. The best piece we created was the five-and-a-half foot tall Wickerman.

On Saturday, people were to arrive by 5:00pm to say hellos, set up their tents and go over last minute ritual preparations. Our opening ritual to honor Lugh and Rhosmerta, began just as the last light faded from the sky. For us dinner is part of ritual so there were lots of hearty eating and toasting to our Celtic god family. As part of the meal a loaf of homemade bread was passed around for everyone to tear off a chunk to see who would get the boon coin in his or her chunk of bread. They could use this coin to ask a special favor from Lugh & Rhosmerta.


After dinner there were poetry recitations, music and storytelling. The night ended in toasting marshmallows, making Smores and stargazing.

Sunday morning, we greeted the sunrise with hollers and shouts and then made altar offerings and blessing followed by a huge hearty breakfast.

The kids games began mid-morning and consisted of whacking a Sun piñata and ‘feeding’ the Daghdha (a painted picture of the Daghdha on a cardboard box with his mouth cutout for the kids to toss plastic fruit into). They had a blast!

In the afternoon it was time for the ‘Manly Studly Games’ to begin for the men to show off their masculine prowess. For each man who won a game, they were awarded a colored ribbon tied around their bicep. The one with the most ribbons at the end of the games would be crowned as the Sun King. The women were encouraged to shout, clap and make catcalls to the men. The games went as follows:

The Foot Race (sorry but we didn’t have horses available to us) was up a hill where the men had to untie a ribbon from a tree and race back to the finish line.

Next was an Axe throw, closest to the center was the winner. Have to admit there were a few wild throws.

The Stone throw to see who could throw the heavy stone the farthest. This one got a little dangerous, coming to rest against someone’s ankle, but all was good.

The Bow & Arrow shoot. The men had to shoot an arrow though the Yoni of the Sheila-na-Gig.


The final contest was the Boar Shoot. Which consisted of a boar drawn on foam core board with the kill shots (heart & eye) drawn on the boar. Each man was given 3 darts. Winner was the one closest to the kill shots.

Before we announced and crowned our Sun King, we held one game for the ladies. We had a ring toss game where the ladies had to toss a ring around the Wickerman’s penis (a large red ear of Indian corn). Now it was time for all the men to hoot and holler and they did!

The winner of the manly games was crowned with a cornhusk crown. He was gifted with an ale tankard and a handmade leather pouch filled with symbolic items He was then given a floral chaplet and told he could choose from any of the women to be his Queen. After strutting around the area, checking out all the women, he opted to crown his girlfriend (in my opinion, a wise choice).


We, each in turn, approached the altar and asked blessings from Lugh & Rhosmerta before closing our ritual.

We had our final community meal together, cleaned up the camp, packed our tents and said farewells to each other. What an amazing time we all had.

Blessings of Lughnasadh to all of you.

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Spiralled Edges

August, 2015


Spiralled Edges – The Narrow Life Path

Think about being on your life path for a moment. What does it look like?


When I thought about my own life path, for some reason I always pictured myself on a tight rope, carefully balancing my life on that thin rope and avoiding the extremes of leaning too far either direction. I didn’t want to fall off my path!

I’ve been working on changing this narrow view of my own life path over the past few years. I had a first clue that perhaps I wasn’t seeing things as they were when I did a shamanic journey for the purpose of discovering what I was supposed to be doing on this life path I was trying so hard to stay on.

I found myself on a spiralling walkway, and soon discovered where I was going “wrong”. When I blundered in trying to walk a straight and narrow line, I kept falling off. It was only when I followed each spiral around that I was able to remain on my own path.

Oh, maybe I had things wrong. Maybe life paths aren’t straight Roman roads efficiently taking us from Point A (birth) to Point B (death). Maybe, just maybe, they’re spiraling roads that lead us through experiences and events.

Just as important for me was the realisation that this path I was on was not a slender, narrow precipitous trail, but a wide road with plenty of room on either side for wandering. I didn’t have to worry about falling off the side as there were no edges.

But even this view doesn’t feel quite right to me anymore. As I have pondered the idea of walking a spiralled path, I can see now that my life path isn’t like the pristine and curved spirals of a brand new slinky.

No, mine is more like the slinky that has been taken out of the box and used a few years. There are kinks and twists, tangled areas, places that have been untangled but not quite gone back into the original pattern. Each of those twists and tangles and bends represents an event in my life, or a place of learning. All of the evidence that I am a person who has lived!

So this gets me to thinking, is a life path laid out in front of us, predetermined as to its destination and route before we were born. Or, as is more and more looking to be the case, does our path unfold before us as we go, with each twist, each turn, each step into the future determined by our actions and words right now in the present.

I can’t fall off my path because now is the only part that exists. Each detour, each opportunity missed or taken, each decision, each learning experience has led me to where I am right now.

So for those who come to me asking, “How can I find out my life purpose?” I can say to them in all sincerity, “You find it by living your life now.”

Image credit: “2006-02-04 Metal spiral” by Roger McLassus – Picture taken and uploaded by Roger McLassus.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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Bardic Song of the Month

August, 2015

Bardic Song of the Month – July 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Element Song”. It is a simple tune that has a nice poetic feeling to it for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy. Keep repeating the tune over as often as you wish. As the Energy of the Song reaches a peak, the leader should hold their hands up high and bring them down on the last word of “Peace!”

I wrote it in 3/4 Timing to give it a waltz feeling. Each line echoes the direction and ends with its corresponding Element. The verb offers a simple action for each Element. The song is intended to be rather fast, like a Viennese Waltz, but it can be sung at a tempo that feels most comfortable.

As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
MP3 File:


PDF File:

**All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.**
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Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

August, 2015

I live in Westerville, Ohio. In the past weeks, big things have happened that have reminded me that I was a historic tour guide and am the daughter of a cemetery worker. My understanding of the dead and the past is unusual due to these things.

First off, as to the cemeteries, mom sold cemetery property and directed funerals for over twenty years. I went along for appointments in people’s homes while they were discussing grave markers, caskets, what type granite they preferred, what size urn or vase they preferred, etc. I knew how to behave at a funeral and how to be a comfort to strangers mourning the death of loved ones when I was not even ten years old. At one of the cemeteries where mom worked, the grounds keeper, affectionately called “Old William” used to let me tag along while he did his maintenance work. I remember our walks in the Georgia sunshine.

Years later, I would work in nursing homes, doing bedside visits with dying people.

Now, I can tell when a death is about to occur within my own family and friends circle sometimes.

A friend of mine introduces himself as “John, who speaks to dead people.” Well, so do I. And I always have, ever since I was a child. A lot of people who come to Paganism, witchcraft, New Age disciplines, and the other groups we circle with do, too.

What a lot of people forget is that this is nothing special. It is a normal human ability. I always say dead people are still people. They just don’t have bodies anymore. They still communicate with us. The thing that makes me and other people like me unique is that I have not forgotten how to communicate with the dead, despite the fact modern society does not support or encourage this. It encourages us to take a pill or go to a psychologist if we “hear voices”. While I do believe in the existence of psychotic illnesses, I also believe they are over diagnosed, and I am well aware of the fact that a lot of people, like my mother, ignore their natural abilities because mainstream culture believes it is all make believe or the topics for good fiction.

Having said that, don’t let me discourage you from seeking doctoring if you think you are hearing voices that are not there. You can communicate with your ancestors, but still have an illness…like me, for example. Without dumping personal information on readers, I will reveal, I do struggle with anxiety, but I DO talk to dead people also.

If you think dead people are telling you to jump off a building…and you take a pill and the voices go away, you need pills. If voices tell you to jump off a building, and you get blessed by a holy person, and the voices go away…you need to stay blessed, keep banishing, and be careful about conjuring. This is a case by case scenario, and nothing to play around with. The human body is so complex. One little part of the body could break down at any time. There is no shame in doing what is necessary to feel better!

I also worked as a tour guide at a Cavern. The site included local Native American History as well. I do research on my own and have befriended some people who are Native Americans.

In Ohio, the mound builders disappeared by 600 C.E. , but they left behind their burial mounds. Serpent Mound is certainly one of the most famous sites, but other mounds are all over the state.

One site that people are talking about right now is Shrum mound. Some sources state it has NEVER been excavated, but it is maintained by the Historical Society and it is accepted that it is a mound builder burial mound, meaning it is basically a cemetery site. Groups of people, some of whom are friends of mine, like to do drum circles there. An uproar ensued when trees were felled from the site.

Having studied as much as I have, I immediately knew it is accepted that mound builders kept the mounds cleared of trees. Could archaeologists be wrong? Sure. But attempts to keep as close as possible to historical accuracy is important. So, I knew that is why the trees were felled.

A lot of modern Pagans do not see it this way. “THEY KILLED TREES!!!!!” HOW COULD THEY!!!!”

This raises an issue white Pagans run into every time they come to a historic site. Not only one of misappropriation, but one of inability to wrap our modern minds around historic mindsets.

For one thing, we are inundated with messages that planting trees will save the earth and that because we use so much paper, deforestation will be the death of us. Actually, much of the paper we use comes from trees planted specifically to produce paper. Yes, some companies are tearing down rainforests, but it is not to get trees for paper, it is to get land. Deforestation was actually much worse when people relied on wood burning fires in their homes, and people preach that electricity is evil, but they forget coal pollutes the air and coal miners suffer excruciating back injuries and if falls or collapsing mines do not kill them, oftentimes, black lung makes them miserable later in life. These are lies the mainstream fills our heads with and get us riled up.

So some trees were felled at a mound because some trees were dead, and it was decided to fell all of them because it is believed mound builders kept trees off the mounds. It was decided to try to keep things historically accurate, and frankly, it is respectful of the dead to keep their burial site as they intended. But some people in town disapprove because trees are living things and people like to go to the mound and enjoy the trees. Some have said they feel the trees pain.

I am guilty of visiting mounds, myself. I am basically visiting the gravesites of people who I do not know for my own gain. I like to learn. Some people go for drumming. Some because it is a pretty day. Whatever the reasons, we are all basically visiting a cemetery that none of our family is buried in for our own gain if you think about it, and none of us think anything of it.

We do not think of ourselves as misappropriating ancient ways, but in many ways, we really are. How do we know that it is okay to do our Neo Pagan services at Stonehenge, and did you see the articles about all the garbage that was left there? Was that respectful keeping the old ways alive? Do you think the old gods and the ancestors were pleased with all the trash? I doubt it.

Somebody drove their truck upon Serpent Mound and left ugly tire marks on it. New grass can grow, which is no big deal. The deep disrespect shown is more disturbing. More news will come out. Was the individual drunk or stoned? Was he ill? Was he doing it on a dare? Was he lost and thought he was on a road? Now he is in jail, so we will get answers. He is only nineteen years old. What a horrible start to adulthood.

Can we truly say the Aztecs, Olmecs, Incas, and Mayans want us climbing their pyramids and touring their temples? What about visiting the pyramids in Egypt that are actually burials for the great Pharaohs and their families? Have you seen the programs that show people who go inside and lay down in the pyramids to try and be reborn sometimes?

What about the famous white “shamans” who do sweat lodge retreats including the one where people died?

One of the speculations at my Caverns is there may be indigenous remains in some of the closed off passages. I have often wondered if this is true, would the people who left their dead there want us leading tours down there?

The Rainbow Family had their gathering this year at The Black Hills. A lot of Native American people are very upset. Native Americans have lived in The Black Hills since at least 7000 BCE. Most recently, it was taken from the Cheyenne by the Lakota and promised to be off limits from white settlers in 1868 The Treaty of Fort Laramie. But it was discovered less than ten years later, there was gold there, and of course, white Americans took over the Black Hills. Aside from being owned and promised in treaty, various tribes consider The Black Hills to be the sacred center of the world. Some are very insulted by the fact Mount Rushmore, showing four US Presidents is carved into the mountainside.

In 1980, The Supreme Court ruled The Black Hills were unfairly seized and offered settlement money to The Sioux, which still stands. The Sioux to this day refuse the settlement, which is about $ 757 million, and instead want the land. I have not researched enough to see if they want to share with the Cheyenne and other tribes who had lived there. I would like to think so.

Some Sioux have been very vocal in expressing how much they do not what the Rainbow Family having their gathering at the Black Hills. Concerns about sanitation have been raised. Due to the fact the group is known for not renting porta johns, and instead creating makeshift toilets in the ground, and just leaving the human waste, people have asked the gathering to move elsewhere, but the group has refused. I did not like remarks some people made that I thought were discriminatory. Some people disapprove because some folks who come around the Rainbow Family smoke pot and some of them are nudists. Live and let live, people.

However, an article from July 10 states the gathering came to a close and drew about 2,000 attendees and cleanup has begun and is going well. You can read it at

It appears all the fuss was for nothing, and unless the 200 or so cleanup crew members get lazy, the group seems have been spoken against unfairly. I feel this group is accused of misappropriation, but misappropriated nothing.

Unfortunately, there really is a lot of misappropriation that goes on.

A lot of us Pagans, and those we circle with do not see it this way. We oftentimes do whatever we feel like. Then we call ourselves children of the “Old Ways”. This is not old practice. This is new practice. I am not saying people are necessarily wrong for this. I am saying we cannot claim we are practicing the old ways unless we are.

What we are actually doing is going to old sites, and doing modern things. We are modern people trying to reconnect. That is okay! Unlearning everything we have been taught since the day we were born is not going to happen. While we may temporarily feel at home with camping at retreats, or time in the garden, we get there via automobile as opposed to by foot or horse. We probably wear synthetic sunscreen and bug off. We do not eat the foods they did. Likely, we are not speaking the languages they did.

We do not live like people did way back when. Yet when we visit their sacred sites, those of us who are sensitive are bound to get messages anyhow, and read energy at these sites. At a South American site, for example, I was picking up on a massive fire, and I asked our tour guide about it. I also asked about human sacrifice at one particular monument. He said no. Upon visiting a museum the next day, there was an entire room devoted to the site we had visited. I had never researched the site before, and was just “listening” to what I was picking up on. Guess what? I discovered, by reading the museum information, that I’d heard right.

For those of us who are aware of the dead, and who practice magic, going to these sites means we sort of “plug in” to the power there. Not everybody can. It is still important to keep certain things in mind and not overstep boundaries. We have an advantage over a lot of other people, and with that comes great responsibility.

Rather than a ritual, since we are in between Sabbats, I will include a guidelines for those of you who are aware and communicate with the dead and who share their magic when you are visiting sacred sites.

Touring Historic Sites for Those who share the Old Ones Magic

  1. Getting there and Planning– Dress for the weather, and dress in layers if needs be. Find out where the bathrooms are when you first arrive. Call ahead to find out hours of operation, parking costs and nearby lodging, and food arrangements. Ask admission costs and do not forget to find out what form of payments they accept. Leave before closing time. Do not make the staff chase you around to get rid of you. If this is a site that is not run by a business or Historic organization and is off on its own, make sure you are allowed to be there. You will be arrested if you are caught trespassing. I know people this happened to, and it was not fun for them.
  2. Taboos and Keeping Rules– Doing as we are told is an unpopular topic in our circles. A lot of us ascribe to modern thinking, claiming we do not follow herd mentality. This is in, and of itself, however, herd mentality. When you get an entire society of people whose collective mantra is the same, it does not matter if it is something like “Nobody can tell me what to do, because I am an INDIVIDUAL!!!!” That is still herd mentality. We often make fun of people we refer to as “sheeple”, and then in the next breath say trying to organize Pagans is frustrating and like “herding cats.” Ancient people did not share this frustration. Besides, cats are actually easy to herd. All you have to do is get out the treats! While we may feel they lived in constrictive societies in the past, they cooperated with one another very well. That is how they built things like Stonehenge, Skara Brae, and fed villages of thousands of people without the technologies we utilize. They cooperated for the good of all. When visiting a site ran by the descendants of these ancient people, it is an expectation that visitors mind the rules of the event or site. That may include staying on trails and not touching certain things. You may be asked to switch off your cell phone and not talk out of turn. Remember, we are guests at these sites, and even if we pay admission, it is a privilege to be there, not a right. The hosts, living and dead, do not owe it to us to allow us to do everything we please. I will never forget the day a man brought his kids into the Caverns with trowels and told them to dig and hammer into the Cavern walls and allowed them to yell at the top of their lungs. He came into the office to complain to me when my boss kicked them out. He felt that because he paid admissions that they should be allowed to do anything they wanted to. Not so. It is very American to say “The Customer is always right”. On sacred sites, you might get by with something because the staff cannot stop you, but then again, you might not. Usually, though everybody is on the same page with expectations and everything goes quite smoothly.
  3. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” Do not take anything, even rocks, leaves, and wildflowers. You could get fined. If you get permission to take something, that is different. Do not disturb wildlife. Some wildflowers are endangered and will not survive transplanting. As for animals, unless you are a professional wildlife expert, leave the animals alone. They are cute and fuzzy, and whatnot, and they can give you rabies, or you might unintentionally scare the little dears. You might think you are “rescuing a lost baby” when in fact the mother just went off to eat, and will soon return. Artifacts are always off limits, no ifs, ands or buts.
  4. Do Research Before Arriving– If this is a well known historic site or indigenous group of people you are going to visit, the Internet is your best friend. You can learn a whole lot. People make fun of Wikipedia, but I have found it to be pretty reliable. Most groups, tribes, and Nations have websites, and you can find out plenty.
  5. When in Doubt, Ask– There really is such a thing as a stupid question, but I seriously doubt that anybody who would take the time to read a list of suggestions would ask a stupid question. So nobody reading this asks stupid questions. By stupid question, I mean one like the question asked by a stereotypically white, middle aged male hick who was wearing “God Bless The USA” Tee shirt to a Pow Wow. He asked a seventeen year old Native American speaker what the speaker thought of the bombing of the World Trade Center. The boy said, something along the lines of ‘Well, I am an American, too. It’s my country, too. So I was bombed, too.’ Another white hick who was wearing almost the same outfit asked the same speaker the exact same question a few minutes later. I believe these were stupid questions. What did they expect the boy to say? “Terrorist bomb good! Kill many white man!!!! Make Indians big happy!!!!!!!” At a Highland Festival, a friend of mine asked a kilted athlete what men wore under their kilts. He was so used to it, he didn’t even think about it. He just lifted his kilt up and showed her that he had on custom made shorts that matched his plaid. People are curious and want to learn at these events and sites, and people who know the answers come prepared to teach.
  6. If You Feel Uncomfortable Don’t Go– It is that simple. If all your friends are going, and something does not sit well with you for whatever reason, find a way to wriggle out of going. Most especially if this is a site that is sacred. Your gut might be telling you to stay away. Just because a site is sacred does not mean it holds sacred meaning for everybody. That is alright.
  7. The Dead Like to Connect to The Living– They always have, they always will. So if you are like me, you will communicate with them. You might have life changing experiences after visiting sites. But keep your shields up, and make sure to banish or smudge or cleanse.
  8. You are on Their Turf and Their Time– Think of it as another time and another world where modern life ceases to be. We judge history and historic people through modern eyes, simply because that is the only way we know to view things. Try to suspend judgement. I am not saying you should condone crimes and atrocities like brutalities and abuse. But to assume that food was weird, their religion was barbaric or sinful, their clothes were uncomfortable, the music was lame, transportation and technology was inferior, life was unbearable, etc. is taking a bias that people failed in the past to lead quality lives because they did things differently than us. Different is not wrong. Different is just different. It can be interesting to discover how they did things. I was having a conversation with a feminist once. She was under the impression that all husbands always brutally beat their wives and children constantly in all parts of the world until the American feminist movement gave women a fair shake. She also believed that all women in all other parts of the world but America are oppressed and miserable. There are so many things wrong with this misconception. I told her human beings could not have survived as a species if they had done nothing but beat on one other constantly since the dawn of time. I have met so many people from so many different Nations. Even hijab wearing women. They are not covered in bloody cuts and bruises or brutalized and miserable. You will be pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful similarities despite our differences, which are quite interesting, and you might learn a new way of doing something you like even better.
  9. Enjoy!!!!!!!!

May you enjoy your trips and gatherings with the living and dead. Life is full of so many wonderful experiences. I have to admit, being a witch makes it all the more wonderful for me. Have blessed experiences. Blessed Be.

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Seeing the Signs

August, 2015


Divining by Pendulum

Recently, I received a beautiful pendulum from our generous editor, Jenn. I have used pendulums in the past but they were homemade ones of braided embroidery floss & crystal buttons. This is a really nice one!


It felt really good in my hand and it was weighted perfectly. And I loved the pentacle etched into it!

Although I have used pendulums in spell work in the past, I naturally had to pull out my books and do some research on using one. I was rather dismayed at what I found, or what I didn’t find. But perhaps that’s because of my own preconceived notions and I admit that right now.

First I consulted The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook by Sasha Fenton. She only has two pages on the subject and personally I think what she presents is pretty useless – more dedicated to dowsing than to using a pendulum. She writes that both methods “are normally used to locate things”. Also: a pendulum can be used “predictively” for giving a “straightforward yes or no answer to a question.” (Fenton, 198)

I have only heard of dowsing for water. And where I’m from, you use a dowsing rod, one of those sticks that have one prong at one end and two at the other end, to search for water. Although she mentions dowsing for a “long-lost gold ring” (Fenton, 199) nowadays I suppose you might have better luck dowsing with a metal detector. But I suppose you could dowse for anything if you wanted to.

The only other book that mentioned using a pendulum for divining purposes was Raymond Buckland’s The Fortune-Telling Book. I thought that one of my other occult books might mention using a pendulum but none did. (It was fun and informative looking through all of them). Buckland also connects Dowsing and the use of Pendulums but he has a separate chapter for Dowsing. When I looked up Pendulums in the Index, I was redirected to “Radiesthesia”, which he describes as a “refinement” of the “art of dowsing, rhabdomancy or water witching” (Buckland, 397) He goes on to say that although its history “can be traced” over thousands of years to its origins in the Orient, it became quite popular in the Middle Ages and remained popular into the Nineteenth Century. He writes that in the Middle Ages a key on the end of a chain was popular; but any kind of small weight will do – a ring, a pendant, a special locket. (Buckland, 397) I imagine that this kind of divination was easy to carry around with you and easy to disguise when any kind of soothsaying or witchery may have been punishable by torture and death.

The use of this kind of divination is deceitfully simple. The pendulum swings one way for “yes” and the other way for “no.” What could be simpler? However, it often gives no answer at all. “If the pendulums swings in a circle or doesn’t swing at all, it may be because the question asked is ambiguous and needs rephrasing, or is one that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.” (Buckland, 398)

He talks of using a pendulum to find lost objects. For this, you use a map, and the pendulum swings when you move it over the area where the object you wish to find was lost. Out in the field, you need to mark the area in a grid and move accordingly, using your pendulum as a guide. It should swing in the same place where it did when it was being held over the map and you will find your object. (Buckland, 399) I personally have never used a pendulum in this way.

Growing up, I always heard of using a pendulum over a pregnant woman’s belly to determine the sex of her unborn child. If the pendulum swung straight back and forth, the child was a boy. If the pendulum circled, the child was a girl. This was often done at baby showers by one of the older women. With the advent of sonograms, this is a lost art.

So, how do I use my pendulum? I use it for “Yes/No” questions. “Should I stay or should I go” comes up a lot! I also have been using it in conjunction with Tarot readings. With a daily 3-Card Spread, I will hold the pendulum over each card and note the way the pendulum swings – which direction, how strong, if it’s in a circle, etc. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with this yet! But it’s an interesting experiment. I write down my findings and hopefully, a pattern will emerge.

And isn’t that what divination is about? Looking for patterns and seeing the signs? 

Until next month, blessings from pollyapplequeen…

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Tink About it

August, 2015

What’s in a Name?

When I first got an internet connection years ago in the nineties, it was still in its infancy for private individuals. It was exciting and I was a bit insecure. There was so much to explore and I discovered lots of websites and forums. People told me “Don’t interact on the net with your own name, that’s dangerous!” So I had to choose a nickname on the spot. I couldn’t come up with anything at first. Then I looked at my little collection of Tinkerbell stuff that I had been collecting since I was a kid, so I decided I would use Tinkerbell. Hmm, there already were people with the same idea… So I shortened it to Tink and added something personal, TinkNL (Netherlands) or Tink68 (my birth year). That’s how I started, and that’s what I still use most of the time nowadays. I’ve never been one for a new nickname for every forum or interest. I was and am Tink almost everywhere: in Dutch or English, on pagan websites, on Robbie Williams forums, on other fansites but also technical stuff, my blog, social media, etc. And of course right here on PaganPages!

I was a regular on pagan forums and everyone knew me as Tink. One of the major forums in those early days was WhiteshadoW. Through there I met several people in real life, in small groups or a lot on forum meetings. I’ve never really made a secret of my own name, but everyone just called me Tink. I listen to it just as good as to my real name. ‘Tink’ became much more than a nickname; it is my other persona without being someone else. Even today, having used my real name on Facebook for years, a lot of people still call me Tink. I don’t mind at all. When I hear it in a crowd on a festival or fair for example, I turn my head immediately to see who’s calling for me.

When I joined a coven for the first time, it was with people that knew me as Tink but we used our real names too. When it was time for my neophyte initiation ritual I was asked to choose a name. I thought about it for some time, but decided to go with Tinkerbell. It felt good and fitted me like a glove, although my appearance is far from a tiny pretty fairy. 😉 So we went ahead with that. After I quit the coven I didn’t think I’d join one ever again. But as always, life makes unexpected turns and I was warmly welcomed into another coven. This time I deliberately chose another name to signify that this was another part of my journey… I will always stay Tink, but it was time for a new name, my magical name.

I was thinking about a certain name and just a moment later my HPs (High Priestess) suggested that same name. I hesitated because it’s the name of a goddess, my patron goddess. If you’ve read my columns before, you know who that is. 🙂 I always felt it is a bit presumptuous to give yourself the name of a goddess. Maybe I could add –dóttir (daughter in Icelandic) or something like that. I decided to ask the goddess herself. In an earlier journey she told me she wanted to be known again. In this new journey she repeated that and gave me permission to use her name, in her honour as her priestess.

In pagan groups on Facebook (or elsewhere on the world wide web) beginners often ask how they can find their craft name, witches name, magical name or whatever they call it. They think they need a magical name right away, but that’s nonsense. I advise them to wait and think about it for some time. In the past, when witchcraft was illegal and considered wrong, practitioners needed a magical name to protect themselves. Nowadays we can take the time to find something that suits us best. When you have found the right name, it is intended to stay with you for a long time.

A magical name is something different though. It gets extra power and meaning along your path, so choose it carefully. A teenager that’s new to it all and enters a forum with “Hi, I’m Kali, that’s my magical name” worries me. If you really want to name yourself after a god of goddess, at least do your homework first and study what this deity stands for. Get to know him or her, look for the meaning and story behind it, meditate, do a ritual, etc. Consider to use not the name itself, but something based on it.

In some traditions it’s customary to wait a year and a day before choosing your name. Other paths give you a name (or let you choose one) at the time of initiation. Some pagans have two names: a public one and one that’s only used within the group or coven they work with.

A name can be chosen because of many reasons, varying from ‘I just like it’ to a complicated search and based on numerology or something like that. Sometimes you get a name in a dream, or in a meditation. It can be a short name, or it can be longer and have more components. The possibilities are virtually endless: animals, trees, gems, deities, book characters and so much more.

Do you have a magical name, or more?

How did you find it, or did it find you?




Further reading:

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Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2015


Lavender Wand

As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul.”


Merry Meet…

Lavender has the magical attributes of sleep, peace, purification, protection, love, clarity of thought, long life, visions, wishes and attracting men. Physically it is an antidepressant and a sedative. It also stimulates the immune system.

As an offering to the gods, witches were said to throw lavender into the Midsummer fire.

One way to save a bit of this powerful summer-blooming herb is by making a lavender wand.

For this one, I selected 18 stems of lavender, but I think 24 pieces might be better.

(Note: it must be an even number of stems.) About 18 inches is a good length, but shorter will work.


Remove any leaves and line up the bottom flower on each stem. Using a long length of ribbon, tie off just below the blooms, leaving one end of the ribbon short and the other long. Hold the blossom end in one hand and, one or two at a time, begin to bend each stem down over your hand.

Take the long length of ribbon and begin to weave it under and over the stems. I chose to work with two stems at a time, but one at a time also works.


Continue going around and around – over and under, over and under – keeping the top of the ribbon close to the bottom of the previous layer to later prevent the small lavender flowers from falling out after they dry.


I think I pulled the ribbon too tight when making this wand. You’ll also notice some large spaces between layers of ribbon.


At the base of the flowers, wrap the ribbon several times tightly around all the stems, then continue to wrap their length if you wish, finishing with a bow.

Allow to air dry, perhaps by the light of the sun or the moon. It should keep its scent for years.

Merry part.

And merry meet again…

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MoonOwl Observations

August, 2015

The New Moon

The Lunar cycle has eight phases- new, crescent, waxing quarter, gibbous, full, disseminating, waning quarter and balsamic. Each of the eight phases also moves through each of the 12 astrological signs, creating a total of 96 combinations. The natural cycle of birth, life, and regeneration is symbolised by the lunar cycle. The cycle continues with the moon spending about two days in each planet.

The lunar phases can be made useful when planning your magickal work, plus it is always useful to have your rituals and spells coincide with the appropriate astrological influences. When working magick, if the spell if not urgent, it is best to plan ahead and use the additional power of the moon.

During a new moon, it is a time for magick that involves new things, fresh starts, new beginnings, a time for planning new projects and establishing new relationships and goals. It is the time to plant seeds that represent what you want to create in your life. It’s ideal to start a new job, art project, and if you want to get pregnant. The Rite of Naming is also something that is often held during the new moon.

The associated sabbat is Yule and it marks the rebirth of light from darkness as it comes out revitalized and renewed. It is 0-44 degrees directly ahead of the sun. The new moon starts off as dark, but as the days go on a small sliver appears.

From new moon to new moon, the cycle is approximately a month. This is how long it takes for the moon to orbit around the earth. During the new moon, the moon is on the same sign as the sun. It happens thirteen times a year, but since most people follow the Gregorian calendar, there is always a month with a black moon. In any given month, when there are two New Moons, the second is called a black moon. It is considerably more powerful, and any seeding spell you do under a black moon might manifest more quickly. The black moon is a great time to just be outside and feel the power of the moon. The energy is strong and can really help guide you as well.

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SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

August, 2015

Croning : The Ritual


Merry meet!

This month is the fifth of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone.

Below is the croning ritual that was used last Mabon on the first night of our weekend retreat for a group of Goddesswomen from three states known as Ladys of the Lake (Yes! Ladys … because

ladies was taken.) It was written and led by three dear sisters, all crones themselves. About 19 in all were present, including sisters who had not circled with us before. As part of the first night’s ritual, I was croned. The next evening, I had a chance to speak.

Following my ritual is that of my dear friend, Leandra. Hers was written by Christopher Penczak with whom she had studied at the Temple of Witchcraft in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

The song that is used in both rituals was written for Leandra by her dear friend, Kellianna,

I hope they will give you ideas of things you like – and just as

importantly, things you would not want – for your ritual.

If you have any questions, or details you’d like to know, please

express them and I will respond in the next column.

Merry part. And merry meet again.



Before Ritual starts:

Lynn is “banished” to her room, accompanied by a Maiden, to spend time in solitude and reflection. The Maiden will rejoin the group and Diane will

distribute and explain the amethysts.

Women are reminded to pick up an instrument if they do not have their own, and also to have their apples ready.

Priscilla will speak about the Crone, Crone Cave, Council of Crones (briefly!) Four decorated chairs will be placed in the North. In deference to the Crone, we will proceed into the ritual area in roughly age order – meaning Priscilla, Leandra and Diane will enter, followed by everyone else as they see fit.

The Maiden(s) doing the smudging will ask, “How do you enter?” and be

answered, “In perfect love and perfect trust.”

The Maiden will go get Lynn and accompany her downstairs where she will take her place in the line to enter.

Another Maiden will smudge the room, moving in a clockwise direction,

returning to a position by the door and to smudge as each woman front

and back as she enters the ritual area.

High Priestess Leandra: And so we gather for another Mabon retreat of Goddesswomen. Take a moment to get there. Let us attune ourselves to the same vibration. (Ring chime three times.) Feel the surroundings. Sense the energy that is present. Become aware of your breath, and of the breath of the women next to you.

Tonight we will cast a circle to bring our energies into alignment and create a sacred space between the worlds. The circle is a container made of

elemental, psychic and sacred energies that holds magical energy. It’s our temple where we will make magic this weekend.

One by one, we will cast the circle, hand to heart. Look at your hands and point both of your thumbs to the left. I will begin and we’ll move clockwise around the circle.

With your left hand, take the right hand of the woman next to you and bring it to your heart as you say: “Hand to hand, heart to heart, I cast the circle.”


High Priestess Priscilla: And now, close your eyes and in your mind’s eye, see the circle as a living, shimmering line of blue white light. Push it

outwards; help the circle expand and grow to surround this whole room, the whole house, the grounds, creating a safe container for our magick.

The circle is cast. We are between the worlds. May all that we do this

weekend be for the good of all beings everywhere, without exception.


High Priestess Leandra: Let us will sing

There Is No Time” by Veronica Appalonia three times:

There is no time but now

There is no place but here

In the sacred we do stand

In a circle hand in hand.


High Priestess Diane: Let’s start by putting our names into the circle. A way that I was taught was to list the women you descend from. (I am Diane, daughter of ______, granddaughter of ________.)

High Priestess Priscilla: Now let’s go around again and put into the circle the names of those who are with us in spirit, those we bring here with us, those we honor, heal and bless.

High Priestess Leandra: Let us anoint one another. (With oil – draw a spiral

on the forehead of the woman to her left, speak, then pass along the oil.) May this protect you from all harmful and unwanted energies. Blessed be.

(Anointing goes around the circle.)


High Priestess Priscilla: Next we’ll call the Elements. Some traditionally begin in the east, others the north. But, because this is Mabon and the equinox, and because west is the direction for fall, and this is the start of the quarter of the year associated with water, we will start by calling west first tonight.

Calling West will be Morrigan. (Morrigan speaks and lights the Blue candle.)

All: Welcome Water

Calling North will be Taneka. (Taneka speaks and lights the Green candle.)

All: Welcome Earth

Calling East will be Debra. (Debra speaks and lights the Yellow candle.)

All: Welcome Air

Calling South will be Janet Silverdragon. (Janet speaks and lights the Red candle.)

All: Welcome Fire

Calling Center will be Kathy. (Kathy speaks and lights the Center candle

All: Welcome Spirit

High Priestess Diane: (Mix salt into water using whatever words she prefers. Sprinkle each woman with a few drops of the salt water, saying, “Thou art Goddess.”)

High Priestess Priscilla: Monday will mark the autumn equinox. For a moment, day and night are equal. After that, we enter the dark half of the year, the time of darkness when the Crone rules, when we claim our power during the long nights.

High Priestess Diane calls Hecate.

All: Welcome, Hecate.

High Priestess Leandra calls Erishkegal.

All: Welcome, Erishkegal.

High Priestess Priscilla calls Baba Yaga.

All: Welcome, Baba Yaga.

High Priestess Leandra: We will now read together

The Charge of the Goddess

(Traditional by Doreen Valiente, as adapted by Starhawk)

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis,

Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid,

and by many other names:

Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.

You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be

naked in your rites.

Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth; For My law is love is unto all beings.

Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess. I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.

Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:

I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.

High Priestess Diane: Blessed Be.

All: Blessed be.

High Priestess Priscilla: Please be seated. Lynn, please stand. Are you ready to cross the threshold, take your place in the Council of Crones?

Lynn: I am.

High Priestess Priscilla: Do you bring a Goddess ally?

Lynn: I do.

High Priestess Priscilla: Please call your ally now.

Lynn: I call the Norns.

All: Welcome, Norns.

High Priestess Priscilla: Your sisters bestow on you this shawl, symbol of your hard-earned wisdom.

Lynn takes her seat between HP Diane and HP Leandra who wrap her in her shawl.

High Priestess Priscilla: We present you with this crone staff.

High Priestess Diane: We present you with this crown.

High Priestess Leandra: And now Marcy will lead us in singing “She Is Crone”

She Is Crone

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She stirs the cauldron of all knowledge.

She is the bringer of death and rebirth.

She stirs the cauldron of all knowledge.

She is the bringer of death and rebirth.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

In the darkness the time of Samhain,

In the dreamtime she sits and stirs.

In the darkness the time of Samhain,

In the dreamtime she sits and stirs, sits and stirs.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She will lead you to your dark mind

And at the crossroads she’ll be your guide.

She will lead you to your dark mind

And at the crossroads she’ll be your guide.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is Crone. She is Crone. She is Crone. REPEAT

At the crossroads, with the cauldron

of all knowledge, she sits and stirs.

At the crossroads, with the cauldron

of all knowledge, she sits and stirs, sits and stirs.

She is Crone. She is Crone. She is Crone.

She is Crone …

High Priestess Priscilla: The earth is ripe with the bounty of the second

harvest, the harvest of fruit and wine. Our blessings are many. Two seasons of growth have led to this abundance. There may never be more than there

is now. This is a season for celebrating the plenty that work and time have wrought. It is a season for feasting with sisters.

Tomorrow, we will prepare a feast to nourish our bodies as well as our

spirits. Our cooking will express our love and devotion. It is our ritual and our deep magic.

Among the foods we will make is applesauce. Each of you has brought an apple or two. The Maidens will collect them now. Apples are a traditional fruit of Mabon. They are a symbol of the harvest season and have long been associated with magic and wisdom. The collected apples will be placed under the altar, to be taken to the kitchen tomorrow. Volunteers to assist Lynn, our traditional applesauce maker, will be welcome!

And now, let us raise a little energy to celebrate being here, now, together.

(Women take up instruments, drum and dance riotously.) Send off energy. Ground.

High Priestess Priscilla: This is the time for announcements …

(Pass the talking stick.)

Now we are free to do as we wish for the rest of the evening.


At the Start of the Feast

High Priestess Diane: I want to thank each of you for the role you played in this sacred ritual – the creation of the feast to celebrate the second harvest.

Raises the little bowl with a spoonful of applesauce and says, “This applesauce, made from all our apples, represents our magic of our gathering this weekend. May you never hunger.”

All: Nor you.

Linda: Raises her glass and says, “We can thirst for many things: love,

comfort, wisdom, the waters of life, more time. May you never thirst.”

All: Nor you.


After the Feast

Diane: We will now have some time to prepare for the evening’s ritual. When you hear the gong, you will have 10 minutes to gather at the foot of the stairs.

Gather in the Circle

High Priestess Leandra: (A greeting.)

The meal was in celebration of the second harvest. Tonight’s work will reflect the fact Monday is the equinox.

The Goddess moves into her crone phase as the nights begin to get longer. This begins the most powerful time of the year – the dark time, when the moon shines longer. Days grow short. There are limits and endings. The veil between this world and the next begins to grow thin. The crone knows that she will not escape this life alive. She embraces it, moment by moment by moment. Rituals of grieving are appropriate now, as well as anticipating the rebirth and joy that will come.

High Priestess Priscilla: Talks about the role of the crone. (Brownie analogy)

The Crone has many stories. Sometimes her story has become distorted, as she is shown as the ugly hag, the scary witch to scare children into good behavior. One of our tasks is to dispel the damage of the Patriarchy. We will share some of those stories now.

Diane: Hecate

Leandra: Erishkegal

Priscilla: Baba Yaga

Lynn: the Norns

High Priestess Priscilla: Going around the room, each person can speak about what she hopes will manifest in her when she reaches cronehood. Crones can look back or add wisdom as they wish.

High Priestess Diane: Now we will pass the taking stick. If you would like, you may take this opportunity to share something for which you are grateful, that which you have harvested, or that for which you mourn. If you do not wish to speak, simply pass the stick to the woman on your left.

High Priestess Lynn: I have some gifts I’d like to present. (flower essences, wisdom scrolls, Strega and cookies of the ancestors.)

High Priestess Priscilla: Let us make noise! Let us move and dance! Let us song Baba Yaga’s song, also known as Hymn to the Russian Earth, a Song for Peace!

If the people lived their lives, as

If it were a song, for singing out a light…

Provide some music for the stars to be

Dancing circles in the night.



(There was a third part: Sunday’s closing. If you would like to know more,

I would be happy to share it with you personally.)


Now, here is another croning ceremony.

Leandra’s Croning Ceremony

Christopher: Altar Set Up, chalice, potion, oil, tools, candles

Leandra: Crown, Altar Cloth and Physical Altar

Cleansing and Clearing the Space

Smudging People and Place

Asperging Place with Salt and Water

Casting of the Circle

We cast this circle of the art to bind all forces that are not in harmony with our working and conjure forth all spirits of blessings and love.

We cast this circle to create a space beyond space and a time beyond time, a temple of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

We cast this circle as temple where the highest will is sovereign.

So mote it be.

Calling of the Quarters

To the North,

We call upon the element of Earth

We call upon the Stag

To bring the blessings of Health and Strength

Hail and welcome.

To the East

We call upon the element of Fire

We call upon the Lion

To bring the blessings of Courage and Power

Hail and welcome.

To the South

We call upon the element of Air

We call upon the Eagle

To bring the blessings of Knowledge and Wisdom

Hail and welcome

To the West,

We call upon the element of Water

We call upon the Dolphin

To bring the blessings of Love and Peace

Hail and welcome.

Evocation of the Gods

We call upon the Two who move as one in the love of the Great Spirit, the Goddess and the God. We call upon the Great Mother Goddess and the Holy Father God to bless this passage.

Hail and welcome.

From the lands of the Nile, we call upon the Goddess Hathor

Hathor, Goddess of Love, Dance and Joy

Hathor, Cow Headed Mistress of the West

Hathor, Lady of Dendera and the House of Jubilation

We call to you. Please be present in our rite.

Hail and welcome.

We call all spirits who come in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Hail and welcome.


We gather together on this eve to honor our friend and loved one

Leandra Walker

To mark the passage into her the autumn of life as she embraces the

figure of the Crone as her own life guide and teacher. Croning for women, or Saging for men, is a rite of passage, marking the change in life to chronological elderhood in our community. Our elders are

embraced and respected for their experience of life, both in and out of our magickal communities. We gather together today to declare

Leandra’s cronehood, before each other, the Gods and the world.


I bless you with this sacred oil.

May you always be protection and nurtured upon the path of life.


Kellianna sings “She is Crone”

Chalice of Wisdom Sacrament

The Chalice, the Grail, the Cauldron

All symbols of the Goddess’ Power of life and death

And brewed within this sacred vessel is the Elixir of Inspiration,

Immortality and Wisdom.

Though our rites brew strange potions of sacred herbs, the true Grail

is found within, and the true elixir is within our life force.

As Leandra drinks this brew, may the life force be kindled within her, and may the Goddess grant the key and open the gate to Immortality,

Inspiration and Wisdom.


Community Sharing

Community members who have been asked to speak will take this time to offer story and praise of Leandra and her rise to cronehood.




Sharing and Gratitude

Leandra will take this time to share and

offer gratitude to the community.

Community Chant

I Walk with the Goddess”

Lead by Kellianna

I walk with the Goddess

The Goddess she walks with me

She is the clouds up in the clear blue sky

She is the ground beneath my feet

She is the oceans and the falling rain

She is the spark that lights my way

Crowning of Leandra

In the name of the Goddess, God and Great Spirit

With the blessings of Hathor

And all those spirits, incarnate and excarnate, gathered here today

We crown Leandra with the fire of Autumn Leaves.

May she, like the Trees of the Forest, continue to grow wise

in balance with the Earth and Sky.

Proclamation of Leandra’s Cronehood

We proclaim Leandra Walker as crone, as an elder in our community. Many blessings to her on the path of life.

Devocation of the Deities

We thank and release the Two who move as one in the love of the Great Spirit, the Goddess and the God. We thanks the Great Mother Goddess and the Holy Father God

Hail and farewell.

We thank the Lady of the Nile

The Mistress of Jubilation

The Goddess Hathor

Hail and farewell.

We thank and release all spirits who come in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Hail and farewell.

Releasing of the Quarters

To the North

We thank and release the element of earth

And we thank and release the Stag

Thank you for the continued blessings of Health and Strength

Hail and Farewell

To the West

We thank and release the element of water

And we thank and release the Dolphin

Thank you for the continued blessings of Love and Peace

Hail and Farewell

To the South

We thank and release the element of air

And we thank and release the Eagle

Thank you for the continued blessings of Knowledge and Wisdom

Hail and farewell.

To the East

We thank and release the element of fire

And we thank and release the Lion

Thank you for the continued blessings of Courage and Power

Hail and farewell.

Releasing the Circle

We cast this circle of celebration out across the cosmos to announce this rite of passage

The circle is open but never broken

May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.

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