October, 2015

Merry Meet

October, 2015

samhain36

 

 

             WELCOME

 

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For Samhain Information click below

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In This Issue…

We feature two great Interviews

Kenn-Day-Show

Author, Kenn, is a Shaman and a healer.

z

Author and Hereditary witch Z Budapest.

 

 

fluorite

An interesting read on the must have  Ten “Stress Stones”.

 

Ink

Learn how to make your own ink in Thriftcrafting.

 

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We are always looking for new talent.  If you are interested in writing email us at [email protected]

 

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Join us on FaceBook,Twitter, & Etiary!

 

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She Who is All – Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

October, 2015

Hecate/Hekate

Hecate IS the magickal power of the Word. She was worshipped in Ancient Egypt, the Black Sea, Africa, Greece.

She is said to be the mother of the Heka, the Egyptian word for magic, and for those who perform magic. Heka was also the name for an ancient Egyptian god of magic and healing.

She is known by many names:

Queen of the Night

Queen of Death

Goddess of Witches

Goddess of Witchcraft

Mistress of the Night

Dark Goddess

The Crone of the Triple Moon Goddess

Guardian of the Crossroads

She is all of this and more. She is the keeper of ancient knowledge. She is the sacred cauldron of secrets. She is the dark aspect of the Goddess, the Crone of the Maiden, Mother, Crone, the waning of the moon, when all is dark. She is a fertility Goddess, her torch being carried over fallow fields to symbolize the moon’s fertilizing power.

hecate(photo credit: tvtropes.org)

 

 

The rituals of Demeter

and the terrifying nights

of the goddess Hecate

are among the mysteries

I have experienced.

~~ Roman Priestess Sabina

She is honored at the Crossroads, which She guards, holding her torch and accompanied by her faithful hounds. It is said that her hounds have three heads so that they are able to look in all directions. She, too, has the power to look in three directions, representing Past, Present and Future.

hecate1(photo credit: etsy.com)

Hecate was an ancient dark Goddess before the Olympian gods conquered and took power, She was the only Goddess that Zeus allowed to keep her authority and powers, one of which She shared with him, that of granting or denying what She wished for humanity.

When the Catholic Church was rising to power, they (mostly) succeeded to put down the Goddess, whom they described as evil, ugly and a hag. (I say mostly, because She was never gone and was always there for those who knew and revered her.) When the church described the Goddess, it was Hecate of whom they spoke. As such, Hecate stands for women in their fight against patriarchy; She helps women free themselves from the bonds of traditional, patriarchal religion, culture and society.

She was/is also honored at “Hecate’s Suppers” where the Witches of Hecate share their magickal knowledge, leaving the leftovers outside for Her hounds. If you hear dogs howling at night, it means that She is near. She is celebrated on November 16th, which is the Night of Hecate.

Hecate is the Goddess of death and the Underworld, as well as guidance and protection. Call upon her for protection when you believe someone is out to do you harm, to cease negativity against you and reverse the spell back to its’ owner. With her torch, she encourages us to make our way through obstacles and lights the way for our inner journey.

hecate2(photo credit: noblepagan.tumblr.com)

As a Goddess of herbs and poisons, She is associated with belladonna, cyclamen, mint, garlic, wolfsbane, hemlock, and dandelion. The tools most closely associated with Her are Her torch, the broom, and, of course, the cauldron.

Hail, Hecate! Underworld goddess,

you make dogs tremble when you

walk through cemeteries, you make

the blood of the dead run black.

Hail, Hecate! Assist me

in making this potion. Make it

as strong as Circe’s, as strong as Medea’s,

as strong as that little blonde Perimede’s

~~ Greek poet Theocritus, Idyll


Wishing everyone a most blessed Samhain.

Resources:

The Grandmother of Time – Z Budapest

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham

Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood – Merlin Stone

goddessgift.com

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines – Patricia Monaghan

ancientegyptonline.com

sibyllineorder.org

The Goddess Companion – Patricia Monaghan

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A Moment for Meditation

October, 2015

The 4th Chakra

As I mentioned in the previous columns, when doing any chakra work, it is imperative to keep yourself grounded. While you can use any grounding exercise that you prefer, I have always used this one in my chakra classes:

**Stand up, grip toes to the ground, long deep breathing, visualize your roots going deep into Mother Earth, keeping you grounded and centered. Inhale and bring the earth energy up to the base of your spine; exhale and let the energy return to the Earth. With each inhale, receive healing energy from the Earth; with each exhale, release all negativity. This will not hurt Mother Earth, as long as it is done for healing and revitalization. Activate your feelings of consciousness and open yourself up to the limitless possibilities surrounding you.** *From my 7-Week Chakra Course*

chakra1(photo credit: yogaandlove.com)

The Fourth Chakra is also called the Heart Chakra. It’s name in Sanskrit is Anahata, which means *unhurt or unstuck(. It is located right at your heart. This chakra helps you to tune into your own rhythm. It merges and balances your mind, body and spirit and helps to open your consciousness.

The color of this chakra is green; it’s element is Air and it is considered a “feminine” chakra.

The Fourth Chakra aids in your ability to act with compassion, devotion and love. The love you give and receive will be unconditional. You will act with acceptance and understanding. You will find a balance within yourself.

When this chakra is balanced and functioning properly, you will feel a sense of compassion for others. You will be caring, accepting and calm. Your inner balance and serenity will be obvious to those around you. You will adopt an “attitude of gratitude” and be able to move in harmony and unity with those around you, who may comment that you have a glow about you.

Conversely, if this chakra is unbalanced, you will be unable to form attachments and will have difficulty in all relationships. You may feel sad, lonely and resentful; you may feel alienated from those around you. You will have no belief in love and will find it hard to receive love, as you are unable to give it freely.

One of the first and easiest things you can do to open the Heart chakra, is to straighten your posture and get those shoulders back. We spend so much time hunched over our screens with our heads forward, shoulders slumped and our chest collapsed. Bring that head up, straighten your spine and gently move your chest forward and open that heart center – take several deep breaths. Try to do this a few times a day and notice the change!

chakra2

A wonderful exercise to open the heart chakra is to sit comfortably, cross-legged on the floor or in a straight chair, with a straight spine. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms together.

(photo credit: theyogalunchbox.co.nz)

chakra3

As you inhale, stretch those arms open to your sides, parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch, expanding your lungs with the breath, opening up the heart center.

(photo credit: awaken.com)

As you exhale, bring your arms back to the front, bringing the palms back together. Do this for at least three minutes.

You can also do the following “Gratitude Breath Exercise”:

Inhale through the nose

Exhale completely through the mouth

Inhale deeply and smoothly through the mouth

Exhale completely through the nose.

(You can use the mantra “Sat Nam”, mentally vibrating “Sat” on the

inhale and “Nam” on the exhale. Sat Nam = Truth is My Identity

(The above heart chakra exercise and gratitude breath exercise from 3HO/Kundalini Yoga)

Additonally, for this chakra, you can do the following breath visualization meditation:

**Sit in easy pose (or comfortably in a straight chair, feet on floor). Close your eyes. With long deep breathing, bring calm to your heart center. Do this for several minutes. Visualize the verdant green of Spring, when everything is healthy, new and reborn. Let this green radiance enter through your heart center. Feel yourself being reborn and full of vibrant energy. Breathe all of this into your heart center, letting it nourish and cleanse you. Release any emotional pain as you let yourself feel as new and clean as the earth after a spring rain. (*From my 7-Week Chakra Course*)

After the meditation, lie down on the floor and relax for at least five minutes or alternately, sit quietly with a relaxed breath. Stretch your arms up toward to ceiling several times before moving.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Until next month, when we continue with the Fifth Chakra, I wish you peace, joy and happiness.

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Short Story: Kiara, Episode 3

October, 2015

Kiara

Jeremiah felt very ashamed at himself for running away from his new friend.

He was twelve years old and, just at that moment, feeling very ashamed at his own cowardice.

Especially now that there was a big war coming. His dad was a soldier now. He had said that they all must be very brave. They all lived above the little bakers shop. Jeremiah loved the smell of the freshly baked bread that filled their home. His big sister, Jane helped his dad to run the shop, and his mum just generally ran around fussing after everyone. Every evening after the shop was closed his dad would put on his uniform and set off to the town hall. He looked really smart in his uniform, and Jeremiah had decided that he would be a soldier when he finished school.

He had almost not made it to the woodland, to search for Kiara. He had gone home drenched with sweat the previous evening and had hardly touched his tea. This had brought on an embarrassing attack of fussing, and he was packed off to bed with a mustard poultice. Luckily, his mum had deemed him well enough to be allowed out,- although he had to tolerate being wrapped up like a mummy. The heavy woollen scarf chafed his neck and made him feel half strangled. He pulled it away and wore it dangling around his shoulders.

“Kiara!”, He shouted as he wandered through the places where they played. “ Kiara!”, If only she had not kissed him. It had felt strange and had made him feel dizzy. Everything around him had seemed to begin to fade away and it frightened him. He wondered, if perhaps he did not like girls that way. One of his uncles had been like that, and was forced to leave the village and live in the city. Jeremiah wanted to live in the city too, one day. When uncle Jim visited, he made it sound very exciting. But first, he would be a soldier and serve his country. All the older boys were talking of joining the army when they left school. He wandered on, shouting for Kiara. The woods seemed different today, dark and dreary. Winter was coming, and he began to feel quite chilled. As it got darker, her decided to go home and try again next day. He had only been allowed out on the condition that he returned home early. Feeling disappointed, he turned and headed for home.

*****

Back in Matron’s office, Kiara looked at the strange doctor.

“Hi !, said the little man, “I am Doctor Boglin. Matron and I will soon have you speaking, and back with your new family!”. Doctor Boglin gave Kiara’s hand a big friendly shake. He led her into his office. It had big green leather armchairs and a gleaming mahogany coffee table on one side of the room. The opposite side of the room was dominated by a huge desk. Facing the door was a ceiling high bay window, that looked over the grounds. He noticed her looking at the window. “Go have a look and I will be with you in a few minutes”, he said.

As she stood beside the tall windows, Kiara could see the grounds as far as the woods that they had driven through the previous day. The woods drew her eyes. They seemed larger than they had when she had arrived. She could not see any sign of a road,- just miles and miles of trees. Some of the trees looked very large and old. She hoped that they might be guardian trees, and then she might be able to contact her clan with their help. Perhaps there were faeries in the forest and they could help her. If it had a large enough clan of faeries, then there might be an elder who could remove the spell and free her.

There was a fenced area with swings and a slide, but it held little interest for her, compared to the possibilities hinted at by the presence of a large forest so near to her.

Doctor Boglin seemed to read her mind. “ The forest is beautiful,- Isn’t it!”. Kiara stiffened in surprise. Yet again, he had come right up beside her without her even noticing. “It is pretty”, she said, trying not to sound too interested. “It must be very strange for you in your new home” he said.

She looked at him, puzzled. How much had Mr Welton told him??? “You will soon settle and be able to attend our classes”, he said with a smile, but Kiara did not feel very reassured. Was he playing with her?.

“Come sit down and let me check you over”, he said. “Can you make any sounds?. Try to say ‘Aaaah’ for me…” Kiara took a deep breath ad found that nothing would come out. “no no no”,he said. He smiled to soften the harshness of his words. “ Relax! .. take a tiny breath and blow”.

She did as he said. “And again…”

After a few minutes she felt relaxed and dreamy. He spoke softly, “Imagine you are in the forest and the bees are buzzing. Listen to the sound… Bzzzz…Bzzzz…. Now listen to how it ends…. Zzzzzz….Zzzzzzz…. As she listened, she seemed to drift away and she was back with the other faeries and safe at home. She could smell the flowers in the warm breeze. Birds were chirping in the trees and hedgehogs were snuffling through the leaves as they looked for worms. Kiara leaned against an old tree, and felt its energy flow through her as she touched its rough bark. She felt peaceful and safe. A faint echo of her former joy was trickling back into her heart.

Mr Fox walked by. He stopped and looked at her. He seemed uncertain for a moment. “Be very careful”, he said, “you are almost under his spell!”.

She came back with a start!. Doctor Boglin was right in front of her. His coal black eyes were only inches away from hers. All she could see was his face filling her view. She was faintly aware of a sound coming from her throat. He seemed almost wild and dangerous, and again, she caught that strange smell. Had she been human, she might have recognised it as the faded smell of rotting meat, covered up by a salad of wild mint. She pulled away in fright.

He did not seem to notice her reaction. “Well Done!”, he said.”we will soon have you in class!”.

“You may go now and explore!. I will see you again tomorrow”. Shaking with relief, Kiara left his office as quickly as she could.

Kiara went back to her room and found some warm clothes. She put on a warm woollen coat, long boots, and wrapped a big scarf tightly around her neck. A big fluffy hat which almost hid her eyes finished her attire. She smiled when she saw herself in the mirror. She looked a sight! She would be warm, though, and that was all that mattered. She considered waiting for Annabelle to finish her lessons and ask her to keep her company, but if there were faeries around, it was best that she went alone. She went down to the kitchen and quietly slipped out b the servants entrance. When she was clear of the house, she realised that she had been holding her breath. She relaxed with a big sigh then headed for the forest. She tried to avoid walking into view of Doctor Boglin’s windows, but she could not be sure if she had.

The air felt cool and clean after the stuffiness of the big house. The grass was wet and the ground was soft beneath her boots, nevertheless, Kiara began to feel quite warm as she walked. She would turn and look nervously at the big old house then hurry on. She kept up a good pace until she was well into the forest.

Once she felt safe, Kiara had once last look behind and then she stood perfectly still.

Despite the cold she had started to perspire, and the wind seemed to freeze the dampness on the small patch of her face which was exposed. Her breath came in huge clouds of mist. Slowly, she began to relax. As her breathing slowed down she began to feel calm. Her awareness of the forest around her opened up like the petals of a flower. She could smell the first fall of leaves on the damp ground. Then she caught the sharp tang of the burnt fields after the harvest. Tiny creatures rustled among the leaves around her feet.

Deep in the forest a fox was furiously trying to dig out a mouse who had evaded him by a split second. She felt his tiny heart pounding as he pressed deeper into his hole.

Nearby, underneath a hollowed log stuffed with wind-blown leaves a hedgehog dreamed. He was not fully into hibernation. There were still some mild nights to come, when he would wander out and hunt for food before the deep winter was upon him. She stood there for a while longer, letting her mind spread and grow. She could not sense the guardian tree that she thought she had seen from the window. She set off in what she thought was the right direction, and hoped for the best.

Deeper into the woods, the trees were larger and more ancient. She felt their energies healing and balancing her human body as she went past them. They were still too young to be Guardian trees, but she was sure that she had seen one. It was odd that she could not sense it. For the faeries and pixies and other woodland sentients, the guardian trees were like beacons. They gave them a focal point and a pathway into the inner worlds, should they ever get lost. At the very least, she might be able to send a message for help, and get some advice. But first she must find the tree whilst hampered by this slow, insensitive, and clumsy body.

She almost gave up! Then she had a fleeting glimpse of the faery who had visited the first day.

She walked onwards in the direction of the sighting. Finally, after what seemed like hours of weary trudging, she found the tree.

She stood and stared at the tree for ages. She was baffled. She could feel nothing,- not even the adolescent energy field of a younger tree. Cautiously, she walked over to the tree and touched it. No tingling, no feeling of warmth and love,- nothing. It felt cold and rough to her touch. She hugged the tree,- willing it to reach out to her and guide her to her home. Nothing. She removed her gloves and spread her arms as far as she could around the tree. She strained to open her senses further.

Still she felt nothing but the cold, and a deep sense of isolation. Her fingers touched something smooth and hard, embedded into the tree. She stood back and looked carefully. When the realisation came,- she felt sick. Studded around the dead tree were rows and rows of copper nails. Someone had murdered the guardian tree. She found her voice and she began to wail. She fell to her knees as the awful sound of her sorrow spread through the forest. She knelt beside the tree for hours as the sound of her keening echoed through the forest. Desolate and heart-broken,- she set off for the big house as night was beginning to fall.

Kiara went straight to her room and spoke to no one. When tea came, she sat picking at it, but she had no appetite. A little later, after her tray had been collected, Matron came up and checked her temperature. She came back with a funny tasting drink for her, and stood over her while she finished it. Matron put her to bed and within minutes, she was fast asleep.

The faery from the hallway was shaking her. She felt drowsy and unable to wake up properly.

“Kiara! Kiara!”. She could hear her calling as she struggled to awaken. Finally her eyes were open.

There stood the fae girl she had seen on arrival. Behind her, Kiara could see a forest of giant trees spreading into the distance. “ My name is Moira”, she said,” and we need to help each other”. “Hi Moira”. Kiara was startled by the sound of her own voice. “ I can speak!”, she cried!

Moira looked sad for a moment. “I am sorry”, she said, You are dreaming. That is why you have a voice again. But Listen!!!. I do not know how long I can stay. The Goblin will return your voice with his magic machine, but there is a terrible cost,- unless you let me help you! “The Goblin?, Kiara started to ask… “Ssssh! There is no time! Take this flower and hide it somewhere very safe!

Kiara took the tiny daisy and as Moira faded away, she sank back into her deep, drug-induced sleep.

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Interview Author Kenn Day: Body and Soul

October, 2015

Kenn Day: Body and Soul

Kenn-Day-Show

Author of Post Tribal Shamanism and Dance of Stones, Kenn has been a working Shaman and healer for many years, with his own practice since 1989. He now also offers workshops for those wanting to understand and experience his practice. Kenn was kind enough to chat to me about his work.

 

Mabh Savage: What does the term Post-Tribal Shaman mean?

 

Kenn Day: I coined the therm “post-tribal shamanism” many years ago, specifically to differentiate from the many rich and varied tribal traditions. I did this because, on the one hand, I knew that the modern, Western, post-industrial and post-TRIBAL world that I live in, still requires the presence, gifts and skills of shamans, offered in service to a rather different client base than that of a traditional tribal shaman. It was clear to me that there are important differences in how we can work, effectively and appropriately, with folks in this culture as compared to those raised in a tribal setting. In some cases, techniques which are completely appropriate and effective for the tribal shaman, working the tribal culture, would be not as effective, and even potentially damaging when applied to people living in our modern setting.

Further, and equally important, I wished to be absolutely sure that I was not committing cultural appropriation. Respecting those cultures which still have active and thriving shamanic traditions is essential to the post-tribal path.

 

MS: You’ve been ‘delving into the mysteries of the human spirit’ for over 30 years; what prompted you to write this book, Post-Tribal Shamanism, when you did?

 

KD: I actually avoided writing this book for many years, before finally realizing that it would be a valuable resource — both for my own students, as well as others with an interest in exploring how shamanism emerges into our lives as modern humans.

 

MS: What was your biggest challenge during the production of the book?

 

KD: The biggest challenge was clearly the movement from the spontaneous, conversational way of speaking that I use when teaching, into the necessary rigidity of the written word.

 

MS: Who do you think this book will appeal to the most? What kind of person will get the most out of it?

 

KD: First and foremost, it was written for my students; for all of those who attend my workshops and work with me, either in person or at a distance. But secondly, I wrote it to respond to those who have a soul-level hunger to connect with their ancestors, the Earth, Spirit and all the other aspects of the world that we have become so disconnected from.

 

MS: Would you say this is a follow up to your previous book, Dance of Stones, or is it an entirely separate volume?

 

KD: Well, Dance of Stones was my most effective tool of procrastination. I literally wrote that book in order to avoid writing this one. At the time, back in the late 90’s, I was concerned that I would come out with “just another book on shamanism,” which would quickly fade into the background of all the other books on shamanism that had been popping out like mushrooms after a rain. Dance of Stones was (I believed it would be) more interesting, in that it is a narrative rather than a textbook.

It helps that Dance of Stones is also based on my own experience. I was trying to decide what I could do about writing a book, when a new friend invited me for a road trip in Europe. Soon after starting off on that trip, it became clear to me that it would form a good basis for a book on shamanism — and it has!

 

MS: Shamanism is very ‘in’ at the moment. Why do you think this is?

 

KD: My spirit ally and mentor, Grandfather likes to say, “The nature of the soul is to awaken. The nature of the ego is to avoid that!” At every moment in history, there has been a tension between those parts of us that want to awaken to see everything as it is, and the parts of us that want to remain in the trance of ego — pretending that the world is exactly as it appears to be. Sometimes the soul nudges us toward wakefulness and we find ourselves looking for something beyond the superficial answers of ordinary “reality”. This search for deeper reality eventually transforms the ego into more of a reflection of the soul, rather than its adversary.

Another answer for that question is simply that, the world has always needed shamans, and it needs them now more than ever. We have become very disconnected from some of the most important elements of what it means to be fully human. The response of our collective soul is to put out a call to those who might be able to help us move back into relationship with our humanity. This means connecting to our ancestors, to the Earth, to Spirit and so much more!

 

MS: Do you consider yourself a Shaman, or do you avoid labels and simply see Shamanism as one aspect of your identity?

 

KD: I do call myself a shaman, and have done so ever since Grandfather got it through my head that it was more ego-driven to refuse to call myself a shaman, when I was clearly filling that role, than it was to just let it be. After all, shaman is just a word. We use it because it conveys a certain Mystery more effectually than any other word. It connects us with the ancestors and the traditions that come before us and it allows us to work deeply, at a soul level, with those who we are in service to.

 

MS: Tell us a bit about the training courses that you do.

 

KD: The training course has always been an expression of my need to share these teachings with others, who might also put them to use in the world.

I began with just a couple of workshops, which have gradually evolved into a foundation series covering 8 weekends, with a variety of advanced coursework for those who are still interested after completing the initial series.

One thing that became clear early on is that I am incapable of teaching the same workshop twice. I can cover the same material, but somehow it comes out very differently with each new class, and of course it evolves over time as well. My intention with the workshops is to provide opportunities for the students to directly encounter the teachings and the Mysteries, in a way that gives them some practical skills to take home with them. Very little of that can be communicated by me talking, or by the handouts I pass around at the beginning of the class. Rather it is done by gradually introducing, one layer at a time, a complex pattern of practical exercises, discussion, trance and direct experience of those elements of the human experience that lay outside of what most of us have learned to think of as “reality”. In other words, the workshops are designed to gently and gradually blow your mind, making room for expanded awareness and deepening connection.

 

MS: As well as Shamanism, you are versed in shiatsu and qi gong. Do you find that generally a healthy body leads to a healthy spirit? Do you look at fully holistic healing- mind, body and spirit?

 

KD: Focusing on just one part of the pattern — Body, mind, soul or anything — is counter to the shamanic perspective. In shamanism — at least in post-tribal shamanism — attention is always being directed toward deepening integration, awareness and transformation. Getting too caught up just in the health of the physical can be a very effective way to avoid looking at the whole. That said, if one part of the whole is unhealthy, it generally indicates that all the parts are unhealthy. The challenge is often in determining how that shows up in each part, and what can be done about it.

Going back to your mention of Qi Gong though, the Chinese have been practicing shamanism continuously for thousands of years, and have a well-developed language to describe the various processes we encounter. Since I am versed in Chinese medicine, which in turn is based on those earlier shamanic practices, I often use terms derived from the Chinese traditions. I also regularly teach my clients and students Qi Gong exercises or Tai Chi forms, in order to help them embody principals of shamanic practice.

 

MS: Have you ever had any clients that were not open to the healing process? How do you deal with this?

 

KD: This all depends on the individual. What works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone. I try to be open to allowing the client to drive the process as much as possible. If they need to leave and work with someone else in order to move forward, I need to support that. If they need to be challenged to do work that is uncomfortable for them, I will do that. If they need to have appropriate boundaries clarified so that the work is safe for them (and me) I do that as well.

Going back to the idea that the soul and the ego are often at odds over which direction we are taking in our lives, I try to acknowledge and respect the ego, while continuing in service to the soul.

 

MS: What’s the most common ailment, malady or condition you are asked to help with?

 

KD: I would describe it as the “invisible wound” of disconnection; the deep trauma that arises from feeling a lack of belonging. I go into this in great depth elsewhere. I even have an entire weekend workshop and a chapter in my book about it. It can show up as anything from addiction and depression to chronic pain and fatigue.

 

MS: What are the challenges with remote healing?

 

KD: The biggest challenge for me is pretty easy to overcome, rather surprisingly. That is the simple shift of two people in very different places into a space where we can work together. I do this by extending Medicine Body around both of us and rooting into the land spirit in both locations.

 

MS: Tell me about your role as a Spiritual Technologist.

 

KD: I borrow the term from my mentor and dear friend, Elisheva Nesher. Essentially, I use it to refer to ritual, ceremony, rites of passage and related practices. I have served as ritual director for pagan gatherings, officiated weddings and funerals, as well as many rites of passage in between those two. These are powerful tools that allow us to recognize the important shifts. For instance, a lot of people go through their adult lives feeling like they are still teenagers or children. Having some effective rites of passage into adulthood can make a big difference with this.

 

MS: And also a bit about Soul Solutions?

 

KD: Soul Solutions is the name of the Systemic Constellation Work practice that I have with my wife Patricia Sheerin. We both went through a two year training with Heinz Stark (http://starkinstitute.org/) in what is essentially a form of group shamanism. It is powerful work, and can often cause healing movement in areas where nothing else seems to work. www.soulsolutionshome.com

 

MS: Are you currently working on any other books?

 

KD: I am working on two different books, on and off these days. One is on a set of teachings I received through terma transmission back in the early 80’s. I still have very mixed feelings about publishing anything on those, but I’m closer to it now than I have been in the past. The other book I’m working on is called Grandfather Tales and is simply a series of stories about and from my spirit ally, who I address as Grandfather. And to answer your question, no, he is not my biological ancestor.

 

MS: What do you hope the coming year holds for you?

 

KD: More opportunity to teach — to pass these teachings on to receptive students, and to continue to learn more myself through at process. That has always been what draws me forward.

However, more and more, my attention is focused on being the best husband and papa I can be. With a wonderful wife and six year old daughter, that is the most important part of my life right now. I am enjoying life and all the blessings of my ancestors more now than ever before. I would like to continue that for many years to come.

Before I forget though, we are taking another group over to Ireland next year, which is always a lot of fun! We still have a few places open, if you know anyone who might be interested. They can find out more on the event page at https://www.facebook.com/ events/1468464340140809/1488264091494167/

 

Kenn’s books are available through Amazon and all good retailers. Keep up to date with him at www.shamanstouch.com.

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Liber I: Magick and Writing

October, 2015

The modern world subsists through the need to simply survive, contrive a constructed order in life, and to show deference to the most rudimentary ideas; whether the sensationalism is a form of vestige of antiquated religions or the most coveted product/service which most up-to-date. The non-sophisticated have been so beguiled by coaxers to be entrapped in the grasp of media and the freshest frenzy. At the crack of a whim people flock like sheep being herded to the closest destination with the autonomous life; the sheep have little thinking to do, but they serve 2 simple tasks: to be sheared of their wool and enjoy the pleasures of provender without any thought. The shepherds, media masters, tame and keep the sheep in order with resolve with experience and practice.

Oft a person who can see through the veil is bereaved by the sheer gluttonous travesties plagued in ignorance; however, the virtue communed from cultural egoism does not reflect an individual. The magician who gulps from the chalice of magick becomes infatuated with written composition that made the occult sciences prevail and, consequently, caused civilizations to remunerate their peoples in various social classes. What can I verily say is this native source that transforms the average man into a chiefly powerful person?

The answer is quite simplistic and well-shunned in the eyes of the wide-eyed (who cannot see in the blizzard of propaganda); the answer is reading, writing, and literature.

Writing is the vitality of the mind into reality manifested; it is the wind conceived from the air flowing from high pressure to low pressure; writing is the womb of order in a chaotic environment. Most of all, it is the doorway to innumerable discoveries to be acknowledged with endless capabilities. It also allows the perusal art of reading for trenchant critiques that could not be concocted within the parameters of the mind alone.

It is from my experience whether a writer has abridgments in his works or elaborate expressions to the conveyance of an idea that should be considerable. A person of literature is a person of power when their knowledge is perched in the tongue and the mind, but that is not the key equation to success. The primary concept in writing is to comprehend the information tightly enough for the application of life.

Magick is quite simply meant to derive the Will in a very sprightly way to enrich the fortunes of a person through hard work; it is almost implausible to count the good-will we obtained without organizing our thoughts into words. Writing is a cognitive sign of intelligence and problem solving, a written language is an elaborated speech. The desensitization and discern for literature is not the trait a magician of understanding desires not, thus, he has no need to adapt it either. The greatest of the magi are those who understand the tactical utilization of writing to his advantage in verbiage and a magical record. The magical record of the magician should be the utmost habitual act adapted in his daily life before the pursuit of magick.

The books, scrolls, and records were preserved in Alexandria, Egypt for the betterment of their citizens seeking wisdom of the ages. Books were even held more dearly than money to the Egyptian government. This is by far one of the finest acts of benignity an ancient establishment could serve their community. The Library of Alexandria was representative the propitious nature to produce the next great magician, mathematician, or scientist. It was a true lamentable act against humanity when the legendary library was engulfed in the fires and became speck of dust in time. It is an arduous task to fathom the myriad of books entrenched on shelves filled with deep occult mysteries and sciences that were inflamed on the tragic day.

A magician should not be petrified by the act of writing or espying upon it as a minor inconvenience, but rather it should be embraced as an infant habitually. The magician and mystic who is the inveterate penman is a seeker of the mysteries of self, external world, and the nature of things. Gnosis is the highest eminence of dedication housed in the magical Will; the beginning manner to attain this level of crowning begins with self-knowledge. Writing is the most immaculate and acute approach to begin this journey of knowing the self.

Journal everything meticulously without apprehension, cast out all doubt instilled by societal assessments. In magick keep a personal record of all practices, some magick practitioners may refer to this magical book of data of the ‘Book of Shadows’ and others by ‘grimoire’. When the magician comes across a spell, incantation, herbal recipe, ritual, resonating formula, or information they can integrate into their magical system it needs to be documented thoroughly without hesitation. Each and every part of the data should be articulate enough to the individual’s needs. Various customs of magick require unique contrasting levels of complexity. It is wise to note that every word in a magical journal is expedient to the particular practice.

The mystical practice of writing is an extension of speech. Magick formulas have been conjoined synchronously with oral words, the classical Abracadabra triangle, this literally translates to “I will create as spoken.” This is amulet design is derived from Bereshit (Genesis) in the lines, “God said let there be…,” as the Bible and Tanakh thoroughly quote. The Abracadabra amulet is one of the oldest known for manifesting in the occult.

However, the power of word and speech is not only relevant in monotheistic values of magick. Basic sigil work presented from Austin Osman Spare is a modern method of making words labor in the magicians best interests through the unconscious, thus, the sigil of words are regressed to pictographs that serve a magical Will. Although this is a 20th Century method, his methods have been widely accepted with little vilification form modern occultists.

One of the greatest figures in most occult traditions is Thoth (or Tahuti); he is ancient Egyptian god of writing, science, mathematics, and magick. He is oft equated to graceful Roman god Mercury, the Greek messenger god Hermes, and the Hermetic defied man name Hermes Trismegistus (or thrice-greatest Hermes). It is a daunting task to conceive the correlation between Words (that are written or spoken) and magick; but it is the art of writing and speech that manifest a world of possibilities. It so happened these revered deities understood the power of words. A magician carefully chooses his manner of virtue in his speech to manifest, as he is careful about every word ink soaked word into his paper because it all stands for his manifesto of he intent.

Essentially, the power of words in oral verbalization and written can make a man into a god of sorts. The ancient Egyptians believed this so heavily they had the inscription showing deference to the ren of the pharaoh. The Ren was an ancient Egyptian word for “name”. For as long as the pharoahs name was not effaced from the memories of people he was always alive. The Ren is only one of many parts of the Egyptian soul every man and woman possesses. In Homer’s Iliad, Achilles so freely believed his the name being linked to immortality that his own vice was his name being engraved in history (with the consequence of death).

To the ears of the individual who is not in the mystical chasm of the occult then this entire work presented would be a mere bough of extreme conjecture. While the non-occultist or overly-skeptic person are in a congregation of lust to the material world or in a little box of conformed ideas, the magician is espoused to the mysteries hidden within himself or herself and seek answers of mystical nature or factual enough that house their Will. If a person declares they cannot do something then they have limited themselves, but a tactful problem solver is unstoppable with ambition that is superfluous. Writing is the marriage of the body, soul, mind, and external world for adaptation as we change, it is through this art we find the answers to life with much less obstacles.

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Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2015

Samhain 2015 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

 

This article is cheating. I admit it.

I was looking over last year’s article to ensure I did not write close to the same thing this year, and I stumbled upon the file for the talk and ritual I gave at our Samhain last year. It was conveniently and entirely different from last year’s article.

Of course, memories came flooding back. Each Sabbat and gathering is packed with good memories with loved ones. Samhain, the time for honoring the dead, is a good time to connect with the living as well. In pre-Christian times, it was a time of communal work and celebration of a good final harvest and bringing the herds in for winter. It was also a time to give thanks, and ask the powers that be for protection from sickness, starvation, and death in the cold months.

I reworked my talk into an article. That is the cheating! The article discusses some history, as well as ancient practices, and then the ritual we used to honor the Sidhe has been reworked and is given at the end.

A LITTLE HISTORY AND WHY THEY HAD SAMHAIN

Samhain originally comes from Ireland and was celebrated as the beginning of winter. It dates from times when the folk were dependent upon herds. May 1, Beltaine, was of course when the herds were brought out to Summer fields, and Samhain was when they were brought in for the winter. It was also the cold part of the year. People got sicker and were more likely to die. So, people would be doing rituals for protection at Samhain.

They also believed that the dead had more access to the world of the living at that time. They not only honored the dead, but also did things to ward off spirits that were not so nice. Bad spirits could bring disease and death of livestock or people.

Back before refrigeration, insulation, electricity, and preservatives, all of this was a very big deal. The people believed very strongly that the spirits, gods, and the ancestors directly influenced what happened to the living. They could bring suffering and sickness, or bestow life, health, wealth and blessings. It was very important that all the proper taboos were observed and honor was paid to the gods, the dead and the spirits. All the proper workings and rituals had to be observed so everybody made it through the cold winter. And of course it was at the end of final harvest, so there was eating, drinking, feasting, and revelry!

ANCIENT SITES

We know what neo-Pagans do now, but we rely on the writings of people like the monks to let us know what the pre-Christian Pagans did. Some of the writings depict things we’d never do in modern times.

One god who was honored Samhain time was Crom Cruach- who favored human sacrifice. At the historical plain in what is now in Ulster, called Magh Slecht ( maw shlaykht), an image of Crom Stood, and that is where some Samhain rites were said to begin. At Magh Slecht, there are monuments dating back to before 4000 BC and there are 80 known monuments on the site. It became the center for worship of Crom, and devotees were said to prostrate themselves to Crom by kneeling and putting their foreheads on the ground. Thus, the name Mag Slecht means, “The plain of prostrations”. The monuments still there include not only Christian sites, but also artificial islands, burial sites, stone circles, and even a couple of castles. According to the monks, St, Patrick struck down the statue of Crom, ended the worship of him, and founded a church there. It is said when he struck the statue down, a ring of stones encircling the statue sank into the ground. Interestingly, it is said the Killycluggin Stone is the one St. Patrick struck down. Others say the stones around the Killycluggin Stone were actually the image of Crom. There is of course, an amazing looking replica placed where the original was excavated in 1921, as well as remainders of the stone circle. The original Killycluggin Stone is now in the County Cavan Museum in Ballyjamesduff. An online source at

themysticwood.com/shop/2015/08/01/10-tidbits-about-crom-dubh-sunday

has beautiful photos and a little more about Crom and the stone.

Other sites where Samhain was celebrated was The Hill of Ward in Ireland. It was an Iron Age ringfort where a lot of things happened, and its massive Samhain gatherings were to light the winter fires, which took place in Medieval times. Its structures date from 200 AD. It is said the god Lugh was honored on Samhain on the Hill of Ward. The Hill of Tara was also a site where Samhain gatherings occurred. It is 12 miles away from the Hill of Ward, and when fires are lit atop the hills, the fires can be seen all the way 12 miles away at one another. I lucked into an awesome You Tube Video the University of Dublin created called “The First Halloween”. You have to see it!

Another site watched was a cave where the dead were said to emerge. It’s called Oweynagat, The Cave of Cats. It is part of a complex of sites known as Rathcroghan that has burial sites, and was used for huge ritual gatherings. It complex is estimated to be 6,000 years old. The cave itself is just part of that. It was specifically the door to the other world guarded by Queen Maeve who was said to transform into the Morrigan. She held off the beasts from beyond to protect humanity. It was said she was born and also died at the entryway. She is said to emerge in her chariot every Samhain pulled by a one legged chestnut horse. Inscribed in Ogham on the lintel above the door is “Hellmouth Door of Ireland”. They also call it the cave of cats because it is said a three headed long fanged cat guards the door. I watched a video of somebody brave enough to enter. It’s a small cave where many have entered and finally, some workmen started installing electricity, and a portion collapsed to form a dead end. If you’re like me you think maybe the dead do not want people snooping around in there. It was not a place you wanted to be when those creatures emerged.

You can find the footage I am talking about at YouTube. Type in Oweynagat, cave of the cats, Rathcroghan. A journey into mother earth. Mike Croghan is the one who made this video.

Scientifically speaking, very little excavation has been done on the whole complex, but they have used radar surveys, which show a lot of similarities between Rathcroghan and the Hill of Tara complex.

BONFIRES

At these ancient sites, there was not just sacrifice on Samhain. Of course, bonfires were lit on the hills to drive out or burn up unwanted influences, as well as having two bonfires people and livestock walked between to bless them. People took flames from these fires back to their homes and lit new fires from them.

THE SIDHE AND THE DEAD

As for the honoring of the dead, it was originally the Sidhe who were honored. People left food and drink for them, sometimes leaving a portion of crops in the fields for them. If the people had to walk outside , they would turn their clothes inside out or carried salt or iron to keep the Sidhe from harming them.

The dead were welcomed into the home by setting a place for them at the table. They were honored and kept happy, because if they were upset, or wanted to come for revenge, little could be done. The Sidhe, in particular, were those creatures who you did not want to offend. Nowadays, many Neo Pagans like to decorate with fairies and dress in pretty costumes with gossamer wings, many of whom look similar to Tinkerbell. A lot of people think of the Sidhe as sweet, pretty, little earth folk who are charming and enchanting and sprinkle pixie glitter and whatnot, and that is not the way things are at all. To this day, the people of Irelend go out of their way to not piss off the Sidhe.

Some believe they are the descendants of the Tuatha De Danann- or children of the goddess Danu and when the Milesians defeated them, they went to live in the mounds. Historically, the Milesians are actually an ethnic group of people said to have come from Iberia, and settled the Island. And it is historically accepted by some that the Tuatha de Dannan were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Ireland. They were said to go live in the mounds, which have been proven to be ancient burial sites. According to the lore, as the children of Danu were forgotten about, they shrunk in stature. Some Xtians believe they are fallen angels. Some believe they are spirits that go about their lives just like everybody else. Many believe that we live in parallel worlds with the Sidhe and our world comes in contact with theirs at times and boundaries have to be respected. Money is thrown in wells for them, great care is taken to build roads AROUND sites said to be theirs, food and drink is left for them. If people believed the Sidhe had blessed them or done work for them, gifts of a bowl of cream or new clothes was left for them. Baked goods, apples, and berries were also left for them.

The Sidhe could smile upon you, but they could also harm you. They may not only kill you or your livestock, but they could take you home with them. The belief was that the fairy mounds were completely open at Samhain time. It was a big worry that you might be carried off. If you wound up there, you might find your way back…eventually- but the Sidhe’s time is not our time. What would seem like moments in their time can be decades in our time.

A tale is told of a man who was perhaps the greatest fiddler alive. The Sidhe liked him- a lot- and so they took him with them- and he was seen sometime after his disappearance- looking horribly exhausted, filthy, starved, and a look of horror about him- and his arms seemed to be playing the instrument all on their own, detached from his body.

Encounters with the Sidhe did not always go this way, but there was a chance they could, So it was very important if to stay in or close to home if not at ritual come Samhain time if at all possible, but if you had to leave home, you could do things like- leave gifts, of course, wear your clothes inside out and carry iron, or salt to ward them off.

COSTUMES

You could also disguise yourself. Costumes started from people disguising themselves to confuse or ward off the supernatural creatures- you might get carried off to the other world if they were not disguised well. It further developed into mumming, or going from door to door costumed as part of the festivities, which is still observed all over Britain to this day. Sometimes, it was done in costume to collect things for the celebration from each household, and sometimes it was done for fun.

FUN AND PRANKS

Alcohol was used to celebrate since the time of the ancient Irish, in more recent times, they did so as well. Fueled by booze, the pranks could get pretty wild. For example- folks would throw rotten fruit or veggies around houses, throw bags of flour all over people, or make noises outside their houses.

The Sidhe could also play pranks on people. They might do something as mild as put thorns in your bed or like those horrid creatures from the Otherworld, they could wreak damage on property of livestock. They might even swap their kid for yours.

Maybe it was the Sidhe and the dead that got us started doing tricks and pranks Samhain time, but folks sometimes, to this day go too far-

Like in 2012, a 17 and 18 year old were arrested for throwing an egg in a 71 year old woman’s face who thought she was answering the door for trick or treaters.

In 2010, two women were arrested for a prank. They wrapped a mannequin in a “bloody sheet” and dropped it off on the highway and waited at the top of a hill with binoculars to see how many people they could scare.

Maybe in the days of yore, you could blame a prank on the Sidhe or spirits- but nowadays, I don’t think the police are going to buy that.

DIVINATION

Samhain was also a good time to do divination. Since the otherworld was much more active in this world, the realities shifted, messages would be clearer. They did not do “readings” the way we do. They sometimes used food. An apple was peeled, and the peel thrown over the shoulder to see if it would reveal the first letter of the person’s future spouses name. Eggs whites were dropped in water to see if it would reveal the number of children a couple would have. They sometimes had each person present put a rock representing themselves in a ring together. Everybody would run around the stones and in the morning if any stone was mislaid it was supposed to show who would not survive the winter.

TODAY AS OPPOSED TO THEN

For us Neo-Pagans, we do Sabbat. Usually an evening ritual and gathering. But in days past, the festivities might last a week from first bringing the cattle in, to blessing them and getting them situated- down to slaughtering the last of the meat- especially the animals they felt would not make it through the winter and then having the feast prepared- which might last for more than one day.

So from its humble beginnings – in Ireland thousands of years ago, we now have people all over the world celebrate this blessed time of year when the living and the dead commune and when we prepare for the ice and snow and dark and cold.

We may celebrate differently today and for perhaps different reasons but this ancient occasion is what brought us all together tonight.

One other thing about the Sidhe- it is really not polite to talk about them, and I have talked about them a whole lot, haven’t I? It is a good thing the ritual honors them!

In Honor of the Sidhe

This ritual comprised the closing for our Samhain in 2014 and I am sharing it here. The ritual is a good one to do with anybody, including kids and people who have no formal training in ritual. They do their reading, and give their offering. Simple.

Preparation

Gather things for four offerings. Food, drink, coins, and incense.

Do not cast circle, as your people will stand in a circle and that will comprise your circle. You do not want a closed circle for this out of respect for the Sidhe and so they may come and go as they see fit. Plus, when you leave your offerings, each person needs to be able to move around to place things wherever they deem fit. That might just be a distance from where you are standing to do ritual. Plus, you do not want to banish.

Do not set up an altar. You just need your papers with the readings written on them, and your offerings. It is really best to do this outside in your garden or in nature. You can have garden torches if you like, or outside lights if available. Then again, if you are in a deep forest, or if the stars and moon are not bright enough, you can always let people have their own flashlight or candle to illuminate. But if you cannot be outdoors for this rite, just turn off the lights and light enough candles to see by.

You can have three people to give offerings of drink, food, and money and you can offer the incense at the beginning. Ideally, you want to leave the offerings out in nature for the Sidhe to accept without being watched. You can split up the readings for your group. You can also do all the parts yourself if you are doing Solitary ritual.

You certainly can have people stand facing the appropriate directions when they give their offerings, but you really don’t have to. Wiccan use of the four directions comes out of traditions that came later on in Pagan practice. While the purpose of this is to honor the Sidhe, not to necessarily stick with any given dogma, if you prefer, you certainly can do things “by the book” as they say, moving only clockwise, and standing facing in the traditional Wiccan directions.

The Ritual

Opening Reading

If history, lore, and science are believed, some of us, perhaps all of us in this very room are the descendants of the Sidhe. Some writings say they were the first inhabitants of Mother Ireland. The ones originally responsible for the very fact we have Samhain. If all this is to be believed, they walk among us morseo this time of year, and more than that their blood flows in our veins. It is because of them that we are alive today. And because of us, they are alive today.

It is them who we will honor and ask for blessings in this rite.

Reading #1

(Light the incense, and put it in the center of your group of people.)

Hail to the Sidhe.

Beautiful and Terrible.

Small, and Great.

Seen and Unseen.

Hail to you Fathers of Fathers.

Mothers of Mothers.

Guardians of the Otherworld.

Reading #2

(Put the drink in the center)

You can heal or you can harm.

You can grant life or death.

Accept our gifts and respect

As we enter the cold, dark months.

Reading #3

(Put the food in the center)

Spare us and our loved ones another winter

That we may make it to the Summer.

Increase our wealth and give us good health.

Help us to pass this winter in good company

And to create good memories

Accept our gifts and our respect.

Reading #4

(Put the money in the center)

Smile upon us, give us safe passage home this night

And this season.

(Now those offering gifts will gather up gifts, and with all attendees, take the things and place them where the Sidhe can find them.

Come back together.)

Closing

(Have all join hands.)

The Sidhe have been gifted and honored, and now, may your gods and guides bless you. May the ancestors be ever present all of your days. May the Sidhe smile upon you, and may we all see one another soon.

Merry Have We Met,

Merry Shall We Part,

and Merry Shall We Meet Again.

Blessed Be.

Blessed Samhain.

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Stones Corner

October, 2015

Ten “Stress Stones”

Amethyst

amethyst
Having a cluster of Amethyst at hand is good for keeping negative energy away. Amethyst helps you think and act at your clearest. Wear an Amethyst pendant continuously for migraine prevention, tension headaches, and alleviating arthritic pain.
Citrine

citrine2
Also known as the “Success Stone”. Citrine encourages a bright outlook and promotes happiness. It attracts wealth and joy. It can help stabilize emotions and soothe family problems. Citrine is also good for improving stress-related digestive problems.
Clear Quartz

clearquartz
Quartz is an excellent general physical system fortifier and protector. It increases mental clarity. Hold a clear crystal at your solar plexus and breath evenly for several minutes to calm your emotions, to relax the body, to clear the mind, and to refresh your energy. Stare into the crystal to clear writer’s block and to increase creativity.
Fluorite

fluorite
Fluorite is a stone to unblock stuck energies. For digestive systems problems use the yellow/green color combination. For pains in the skeletal and muscular system, use the blue/white color combination. For head area complaints, use the purple/clear combination. For asthma, wear the green colored Fluorite. To help congested mental thoughts, use a purple cluster in your work area, or position a cluster at your crown chakra while sleeping.
Garnet

garnet
Garnet is an energy revitalizer. Excellent for strengthening the base chakra. It promotes sexual energy (for your self and partner). It helps increase circulation to the legs and pelvic area. It reduces menstrual pain when held or taped over the ovaries and uterus. Garnet can increase sexual stimulation and fertility, too.

Hematite

hematite
Dubbed, “The Anti-Stress Stone”. Hematite reflects back negative energies to the sender (so you don’t end up taking them on yourself). Hematite dissolves the issues when one meets with confrontation. Tape a small piece over the leg and back areas to reduce pain and to increase electromagnetic circulation. Hematite helps balance the meridians.
Malachite

malachite2
Malachite is excellent for Type A personalities and for those prone to heart disease and stresses to internal organs. It helps to detoxify the liver and to increase blood circulation. Malachite is excellent for breaking up old energy patterns. Use it with Rose Quartz to soften the effects of a broken heart! Due to the possibly toxic copper content of this stone, keep Malachite away from pets and children, and do not wear it against the skin for long periods of time. This stone is for external use only.
Rose Quartz

rosequartz
“The Love Stone” – Rose Quartz is very protective and soothing for many issues. Place a large chunk of the stone at your Heart Center for 15 minutes to relax after a stressful day. Rose Quartz helps to unblock anxiety and to promote healing of private emotional issues. It allows one to become more receptive and open to challenges.
Smokey Quartz

Smoky_quartz_01
Smokey Quartz is an excellent stabilizer for mood swings. It helps ground feelings of depression, and both absorbs and transmutes negativity. This stone is best worn at the solar plexus, the seat of the emotions. Smokey Quartz is excellent for PMS and cranky persons; and good for persons imbalanced due to extreme stress and burn-out. It provides a protective field for recovery.
Turquoise

turquoise2
“A Stone of Protection” – Turquoise is an excellent toner for all systems of the body. It helps prevent organs from absorbing toxins and breaking down. Wear this stone at the throat to strengthen your will and to communicate effectively. It helps to sweeten the voice and speak your truth. Turquoise helps reduce premature aging.

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ThriftCrafting: Witching on a budget

October, 2015

Making Ink

Merry meet.

Growing wild near me are pokeweed bushes with their bright berries that have been ripening for weeks now. Found widely in North America, its poisonous red berries can be used to make ink for magical purposes.

pokeweed

Collect up two cups of berries. Using a strainer to filter out the skins and seeds, mash the berries and collect the juice. Caution: as berries pop, they splatter their purplish-red juice everywhere, and it stains. I recommend wearing latex gloves and keeping wipes handy to catch drips. (Those wipes sold in beauty supply shops for getting hair dye color off of skin got the stains off my hands before I got smart and put on gloves.)

berries

The recipe I found online called for adding one teaspoon of vinegar to the juice and stirring well before bottling. The ink will foam, but the foam will go down. Store out of sunlight.

I found that the ink fermented a bit, causing one bottle to leak and the other to “pop” when I opened it, so I urge you to open yours with caution. I think refrigerating it might keep it from fermenting.

Further research indicated that a similar recipe calling for adding 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to 2/3 cup ripe pokeberries was known as the colonial recipe, and that the ink would darken and fade over time, especially in the sun.

That information appeared on a website for the Open-Ink project that tested several recipes and said the ink made from 100 percent berry juice stayed the brightest, but that the ink required refrigeration.

Ink can also be made from huckleberries, raspberries, cherries and black walnut shells. I have made ink by dissolving powdered dragon’s blood into alcohol, and would imagine some powder could be added to any homemade or purchased ink. Pens can be made from feathers, bamboo and reeds. My quill is a simple, clean feather; I used an X-Acto knife to make a small arched cut. More detailed instructions can be found online.

Ink

Making the tools you use for writing out a spell makes it all the more powerful because of the added energy you’ve contributed to the process.

Merry part.

And merry meet again…

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HedgeWitch Days!

October, 2015

SAMHAIN, PLEASE RSVP!

Hi my lovelies….well it’s finally here! The time between times, the entry to the darkest part of the year lays before us at the end of this calendar month. The shops are awash with all things Halloween, Ghosts and Ghoulies adorning every aisle of every supermarket and every shop window in the high street, happy sigh!!!

This is the time of the year where at last we can go a little bit crazy and shop till we drop, as for us it’s time to stock up on our everyday essentials lol! Not only are the shops full of Halloween goodies, the food aisles come alive with the seasonal food of comfort and celebration. Pumpkins and squashes, corn and root vegetables call to us to make warming stews and hearty soups as we ready ourselves for the winter, and celebrate our third and final harvest of the year.

hedge

On the path we walk, everything is gearing up to the 31st of this month, the night when the veils are at their thinnest, and the ultimate witching hour. It’s so much fun planning Samhain or Halloween, with the feasting and games, and the trick or treating that seems to grow more popular here in the UK with each passing year. I love to bedeck my altar with fallen leaves, candles of light and dark and heavy incenses….but there is something I love even more than all of that, I love the feast of the ancestors!

On this most witchy of nights when that threadlike veil between our world and theirs is at its most translucent, communication with the other side is easier and our own insight is more in focus. Cooking, laying the table, dressing the Altar, a ritual bath, dressing up, feasting and celebration followed by divination and communication with the other world make up my perfect Halloween. Laying a space at the table for all those that have gone before us is mandatory for Samhain in this home, as is the welcoming of all Fae and keepers of the other worlds via offerings of food, crystals and flowers….BUT

It occurs to me that we are not very good in this realm of ours at social etiquette when it comes to the other worlds! Think of it this way, it’s like planning a party or a wedding, setting everything up with perfect attention to every detail. Preparing a feast, decorating the venue and fine tuning every aspect of this amazing celebration…and then once ready, sending out invitations to attend NOW, right NOW! No warning, no thought if they our guests might have other plans, just a shout to get here and celebrate with me immediately, how rude we are! If the other world is anything like this one, a sudden request to attend such a event would be met with at best a polite declining of the invitation, but more likely a sharp slam and lock of the door,

How dare someone drag me away from my evening in my PJs and my favourite TV show without so much as a warning, where are their manners?”

Ummmm, time to rethink this immediate request thing!

Those of you that have read ’Hedgewitch Book of Days’ will know how I do like to try and bring our wheel of the year celebrations into our 12 month calendar year, to make our spiritual path more integrated into our everyday life and modern world. So, as the month of October holds Samhain at its end, it makes sense to me to celebrate this season throughout the month, every day, not just one big bang of a party at the end….although that is certainly something to look forward to.

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All that being said, I think the focus of your Samhain ‘month’ can be your altar. It provides the perfect place for reflection, for spells and provides the base from which to send out your invitations to the otherworld. Any area can become your altar, I work from a couple at home. One is the top of the chest of drawers in the bedroom, the other is the hearth of the fireplace. Even though the fire in my house is electric it is still the heart of the home and for me is the focal point that works well for my magic. I also have a small altar set up in the kitchen which is mainly used when I am cooking and you wouldn’t really recognise it as one unless you were in the know. For my Samhain altar I will be using my hearth.

Altars should, I think, be living breathing things, constantly changing and evolving, moving fluidly with you and your magic. Its energy will increase with every word uttered by it, and every spell cast.

For Samhain, there is a wealth of things you can add to your altar to increase your focus and energy, you only have to look around you. Obviously it’s good to have the basics represented, the Goddess and the Horned God, the elements, the seasonal representations and most importantly at this time of celebration, the ancestors. Bring to your altar your photographs, mementos, books, letters, family tree and anything else that holds a family connection. It might be a piece of jewellery or a pot, anything with sentimental value that has a link to your past and those that have gone before. Remember too your beloved animal friends, photos, keepsakes or even just a drawing of an animal can help bring their energy to that spot. Included on your altar a candle for the ancestors, one big enough to be lit each day, even if only for a few moments.

Once you have set up your basic Samhain altar it is time both to build the energy, ready to work with on the 31st and to send out those all-important invitations to the otherworld.

Every day, spend some time at your Samhain altar. A few moments is all that’s needed if you’re pushed for time. Light your candles and incense and bring something new to place with your original altar set up. It could be a leaf, an acorn, a homemade cookie, a bead, anything you can think of really that represents this time of year and the energy build up you are trying to create.

Then every day at your altar send out your invitation for Samhain to the other realms, these are the words I use;

The energy builds as the veil grows thin,

The festival of Samhain will soon begin.

Ancestors and spirits I call on you

To join me with a heart that’s true.

I ask for your presence on Samhain night

When the veil draws away and opens my sight.

May my words fly to you, and may you see

That I ask this with love…So mote it be!

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Spend a few moments concentrating on your ancestors and their energy before giving thanks and extinguishing the candles. Do this each day on the run up to Samhain and your ancestors should be waiting to commune with you as the veil reaches its thinnest…after all it gives them plenty of time to prepare!

On Samhain night remember to use the energy you have built up around your altar to aid you in your call to the otherworld, any residual energy can be released with love and thanks to be used for good in this world and the next.

Have a magical Samhain guys and fun and safe Halloween!!

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