December, 2016

Merry Meet

December, 2016

marciayuleornies

 

                       Welcome

 

Our beautiful Front Page Image is the artwork of Marcia Stewart (RocknGoddess)interviewed in this issue of PaganPages.  

 

 

We have a Fantastic & Packed Yule Issue for you this month with some great features, such as…

 

mandalastones1

 

A Book Review on the book Meditative Mandala Stones By Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango.  

 

 

starcat

 

An Interview with author  Nikki Starcat Shields.

 

paganway

The Final Episode of Patrick Kavanagh’s short story series Kiara!

 

gifts1

 

 

It’s that time of the year again, when everyone is running themselves ragged trying to find the “perfect” gift for each person on their list. Well Susan Morgaine decided to help us out this year with her article “Crafty” Gifts for Witches & Pagans: A Guide to Yule & Holiday Gifts

 

and much much more!!!

 

Join us on Facebook  & Twitter!!

 

 

 

  • Uncategorized

Book Review: Pagan Portals: Moon Magic by Rachel Patterson

December, 2016

Book Review: Pagan Portals: Moon Magic by Rachel Patterson

 

moon

 

 

Pagan Portals is, as the name suggests, a series of books (by various authors) with the aim of introducing various aspects of Paganism. Moon Magic seems a staple in this diet, as there are few branches of Paganism that don’t require at least some familiarity with the cycles of the moon. My initial concern is that this book may have little to offer the experienced practitioner. Just looking at the contents page dispels these fears instantly. Not only does Rachel (also known as Tansy Firedragon) cover what I would think of as ‘The Basic’ such as the phases of the moon, Esbats and some of the more well-known moon rituals, she also brings a fascinating amount of detail including working with cords, charms and supernatural creatures.
So rubbing my hands together gleefully at the prospect of learning something new about my favourite satellite, I dive right in. Rachel writes in a very accessible style that is very inclusive to readers of all aptitudes. Facts are listed in well written, easy to consume bites, and each section that stems after is broken down in such a way it could almost be used as a reference book. Each moon phase has its own correspondences and magic, so it’s easy enough to flick through to find what you need at a specific time. I would find the information on oils and crystals particularly useful.
The meditations included are beautiful; someone really needs to make a podcast of these though so they can be downloaded and played at whim!
We move from the phases of the moon into the seasonal moon and examine different ways of using a moon calendar including relating it to the controversial Celtic Tree calendar. I’m glad she includes this though; it shows that moon magic and timings are not just for Wicca, but for any path.
I am particularly pleased with the Planting with the Moon chapter; this is such a simple aspect of bio-dynamic agriculture but so many people forget the impact the Moon has on plants and the soil. I’ve often used lunar agrarian principles for my own garden and others’, but this chapter teaches me things I never knew and will definitely implement myself.
This book is very short and as such you really have no excuse to not read it. If you have even the slightest interest in Paganism, Magic, natural living or astrology, this book will be relevant to you. The moon affects all of us, after all! Rachel brings a wealth of information together in such a way that you can go back to this book time and again, without it ever feeling old. The style is simple and full of common sense, yet magical and wondrous at the same time. Quite an achievement.

  • Uncategorized

The Kitchen Witch

December, 2016

Holiday Hash and Eggs

It’s the holidays and you have lots of holiday leftovers! So let’s make something fun for brunch! One of my favorites is hash and eggs. Of course, the easy way is to simply open a can of Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash and heat it in a pan and cook some eggs with it – which is always really good! But hash is really quite easy to make. Whether you have leftover corned beef, turkey, ham, roast beef or venison, mixing up a quick version of hash is easy and fun. I made this particular hash out of the leftovers of a turkey dinner but you can literally use anything you have on hand.

cooking1

First, melt a little butter in the pan and sauté some chopped onions. If you have some green pepper, throw that in as well. Then add your chopped meat.

cooking2

cooking3

Generally, when you are making hash, you add chopped potatoes, but since I had mashed potatoes, that’s what I added. I also added stuffing from the turkey, which gave it a very nice flavor. There were also some green beans in there – why not?

cooking4

Turn the heat down and let it cook until it browns on one side. Turn carefully. Then let it brown on the other side. While it is browning, make a hollow in the middle and crack an egg – or two – in the middle.

cooking5

Then put a cover over the pan so that the egg cooks. This will take at least ten to fifteen minutes. It’s the same concept as baking an egg, only you’re doing it on top of the stove.

cooking6

When it’s done, it looks like this:

cooking7

And served up on a plate, even on my desk with my phone and my laptop, it’s even more appetizing! Let me tell you, it was yummy good! I can always eat hash and egg, no matter what the hash is made from! So use your holiday leftovers in a new and innovative way! Yule blessings!

cooking8

  • Uncategorized

Book Review: The Only Wiccan Spell Book You’ll Ever Need by Marian Singer & Trish MacGregor

December, 2016

Book Review:  The Only Wiccan Spell Book You’ll Ever Need by Marian Singer & Trish MacGregor

 

bookwiccan

First off, I found this book very informative and well written. I was quite impressed by the amount of information they fit in such a small book. I was pleasantly surprised. The book starts off with their explanation of what Wicca is. “Wicca is an ancient practice, a gentle, earth-oriented religion that seeks truth and understanding, and a way of life meant to affect inner change. Yes, it’s a framework for using magickal powers. It also involves worshipping ancient Pagan deities, and it recognizes the duality of the Divine as one force that incorporates male and female, both God and Goddess. It encourages respect for nature, stresses concern for the planet, and acknowledges that the life force should be reverences in all things, as well”. They then touch on a few good points including some “rules”, like not harming others. They explain that the book can be used as a guideline as well. Also in the introduction is what I think may be my favourite quote in the book. “The true magick of Wicca lies in developing your own inner potential and spirituality. Remember that deep inside yourself, you already have the power to tap into the energy of the universe and the natural world around you; you just need to recognize that potential and direct it”.

Part 1 is all about understanding Wicca, witchcraft and spells; with the first chapter of that getting into philosophy and ideology. It really gets into things like what a witch, Wicca, magick, etc really is. You learn a bit about some gods and goddesses and the Threefold law. A really nice feature that you start to see here is the “Wiccan Wonderings” They go throughout the book and answer random questions. It breaks up the chapters, as some are related to what the chapter is, and some are just random. They get into The Wiccan Creed in this chapter as well. Which goes through 6 points (preserving the environment, honoring yourself and others, etc.) This chapter ends with a Zen prayer that they tell you is the first spell you are going to cast. It is meant to increase a person’s energy and they ask you to write the name of the person who whom you’re saying the prayer for at the top. It’s a great way to end the chapter.

Chapter 2 gets into the belief, intent and the magickal world around us. With one of the first things stating that “belief is the core of any spell” They talk about how you need to find your own belief system, instead of what you learned from someone else. You need to develop your personal code and find an understanding of magick and spells. Of course, they talk about the moon cycles, which as we all know if vital when learning about spells and how you should cast certain spells depending on what phase the moon is at as “The moon, after all, is our closest celestial neighbor.”

Chapter 3 touches on creating a sacred space. The authors write about power spots, ambiance, casting a circle, building an altar, calling the quarters, and releasing the space. “The more you work magick in an area, the more saturated with energy it becomes. Similarly, the more you invoke the quarters in that space, the more protective energy lingers therein”.

The next chapter is all about tools and symbolism and in the opening paragraph the authors state “In magick, the witch is the enabler. A focused will is all that an effective witch needs for magick. Everything else just makes the job easier.” Then they get right into the tools of the trade, covering all sorts of items. A really nice addition to this chapter is them listing various oils and herbs, showing which ones to use depending on what you’re needing. Once they get into incense and candles they explain the importance of colours. “Science has proven that colors have a particular vibration, a tone that touches us in a particular way”. Then of course, they get into what colour means what. Lastly, the authors get into gemstones, crystals, metals, minerals, stones, shells and fossils, while listing the importance of each in this chapter.

Chapter 5 touches on spellcraft fundamentals, which gets into banishing, enchantment and healing. They talk about good luck knots, portable magick like charms, written spells, amulets, talismans and fetishes. Also in this chapter they get into adapting and creating spells from scratch and even give you 9 steps to help you create spells.

Moving onto the next chapter, it’s time to get into the types of magick. First off elemental, then kitchen witchery, which gives you the 3 ingredients for successful kitchen witchery (simplicity, creativity and personalization). A nice feature as well is there is a section on how to make your own candles. After kitchen, they get into Green witchcraft. “The heart and soul of green magick is an intimate connection and appreciation of nature”. I love how they have a part about sprouting spells, which encourages people to grow their own garden. Next, creature craft is brought up and you learn about familiars, spiritual signposts, power animals, totems, wild magick and incorporating animal elements into magick like antlers, eggshells, feathers, fur, nails, teeth and whiskers. Ending the types of magick you learn all about the elemental animals.

So that was part one. Part two is all about spell crafting, with the first chapter being on love spells. “…love spells aren’t meant to enchant of bewitch someone into falling in love with you. We all have free will and nothing can violate that will- not even magick or spells. The true purpose of a love spell is to enhance and empower your own energy so you attract the individual who is the best for you”. I really like how in this book they say things straight out and the talk about loving yourself and taking emotional inventory, figuring out power days and astrology. Then it gets into the 11 spells in this chapter.

Spells for health is next. In this chapter they get into the human energy field, which was very interesting to read. This is something that stood out to me and it made me feel like this is one thing I need to do to take of myself. “The energy centres are said to contain everything we have ever felt, thought and experienced. They are our body’s data banks in this life and are imprinted with our soul’s history throughout many lives. Illness manifests first in the body’s energy field, where it can be seen by the individual who can perceive the field.” This chapter contains numerous spells in regards to yours and others health. There are 7 spells in total.

Chapter 9 touches on a few similar subjects; those being luck. Prosperity and abundance. You need to think about what this means to you so there is an exercise in the start to help you figure that out. “True prosperity begins with feeling good about yourself…it is never an amount of money; it is a state of mind. Prosperity or lack of it is an outer expression of the ideas in your head”. I think that that quote is something you don’t always hear about in spell books. So I appreciated that they focused more on the mental side of it instead of money. This chapter contains 15 spells including one where you can create your own lucky charm.

Next you reach spells for lean times, which focuses on initiating cycles in your life and spells for fear. There are 7 spells in this chapter. The next chapter kind of ties in with spells for personal power, which again focuses on developing yourself. “To know yourself and to use what you learn requires an act of will. “After that they get into a section about The Power of Your Will that merges right into the spells. There are only 3 spells in this chapter as it really focuses on your field of energy, personal empowerment, the flow, and stretching your energy field.

Chapter 12 is next. Spells for creativity. I really enjoyed this section and they start right into seeing what your ultimate creative goals are by asking questions like “What do you consider the most creative part of your life and why”? “How can you apply your creative talents in another area of your life to get out of that rut?” And then they talk about breaking out of your rut. The authors write about dreams as well. This chapter has 6 spells.

Following creativity we move into business. “The quality of your personal professional life is intimately connected with your beliefs about prosperity and success. If you feel unworthy, this will be reflected in your pocketbook and in your work.” The beginning of this chapter starts with a list of questions you need to ask yourself before anything. It’s nice because they have questions for both self-employed people and those who work for someone else. There are 6 spells in this chapter, and there are several spots to read a little bit more about negativity, recognizing your genius, new ventures and goals.

Chapter 14 is all about spells for your home. Also a great chapter as it opens with thinking about your home’s unique personality, which some people may not think about. There are also 6 spells in this chapter with small breaks between them touching on several topics. The next chapter is all about travel, extending your energy field, dealing with people in front of you, calming a crying baby and creating space in your head. There aren’t a lot of spells in this chapter (3) but there is a lot of great material.

The last category of spells is all about kids and kids doing spells. I thought this was quite unique as there isn’t as much material out there for this topic. It’s great for those who have children and want to get them involved in magick. It’s pretty basic, but at the end the authors have a section with helping kids create their own spells.

All in all I would recommend this book. It’s well put together and is not only a book of spells, but has a lot of information for those new to magick and those who have been practising for years. The spells are generally pretty basic and the items needed are easy to find. I mean, it says the only spell book you’ll ever need, which I could see for some, but not myself. I enjoy having a wider variety and of course you can’t fit spells for everything in 209 pages. It’s a fantastic read though and for a great price and is a great asset to anyone’s collection.

  • Uncategorized

Interview: Artist Marcia Stewart – RocknGoddess Etsy Shop

December, 2016

Marcia Stewart – RocknGoddess Etsy Shop

 

marciapentaclewreath

Large Yule Pentacle

Gracing our cover this month is the beautiful art of Marcia Stewart, also known as, RocknGoddess on etsy.  We loved her work so much we thought we would get to know a little more about her.

Marcia Stewart:  Thank you for inquiring about my art and Etsy Shop for PaganPages.Org.
PaganPagesOrg:  Please share with us about yourself.

Marcia Stewart:  As with many other pagan/witch folk that I speak with, I was raised in a Christian home, however, it never really resonated with me. During exploration of my spiritual beliefs, in 2000, I came across Earth-based religions, paganism, and witchcraft. I consider myself “pagan” as I am eclectic in my beliefs and spirituality. I am a stone artist and I create pieces that are inspired by nature and my spirituality. I started my Etsy shop in January of 2013 and I have over 900 sales to date. Outside of my art, I work part-time at a community college assisting disabled students in the classroom. My biggest joy in the world is being a grandmother. Some of your readers may remember me from years ago when I ran a blog and Facebook page called The Simplified Witch. I changed the name to RocknGoddess since it is more representative of my art.

marciapoinsetta

Yule Goddess with Poinsettia

PaganPagesOrg:  What brought you to this wonderful art form?

Marcia Stewart:  I always loved art but got away from it for a long time. In 2012, my husband and I had the opportunity to semi-retire, down-size, and move to a home right on the Delaware River. We would go down to the dock and take strolls along the shore.  I found the stones there very vibrant and energizing so I decided to bring a few home and paint them.  Then I painted more….and people liked them and asked me to paint some for them….so I did. I began to sketch and turn my sketches into paintings on stones.  The more I sketch and paint, the more detailed my art is becoming.  It is magickal.

PaganPagesOrg:  Your Process?

Marcia Stewart:  I go out and collect stones along the Delaware River. I always thank Mother Earth and her bountiful river for providing me with such a wonderful medium for my art. When I get the stones home, I sort them by size and scrub them clean with castille soap and water.

I select stones appropriate for a customer’s order or a new design I am creating for the first time.  First, I base coat with acrylic paint.  I use both craft and canvas acrylics.  Next, I sketch the design on the stone with either a graphite pencil or white colored pencil, depending on the background color.  Now I am ready for the detail painting.  Sometimes it takes many coats of a color to achieve the opaqueness I desire for my designs.  For example, gods and goddesses that are red, yellow, or gold take up to 5 coats of paint.  Sometimes I let the paint air dry between coats, and sometimes I use a hairdryer to speed up the process, depending on how busy I am.  After the all design work is painted on the front and back, I spray coat the stone with Crystal Clear Gloss Enamel for endurance.

When the stone is completely dry, it is blessed and then packed with love and care and shipped to its new owner.

 

 

marciayulegodgoddess

Yule Holly God and Goddess Set

PaganPagesOrg:  What inspires you?

Marcia Stewart:  Unfortunately, shortly after my husband and I moved to the river, he was severely injured when a tree fell on him while walking the dog one afternoon. He survived in the intensive care unit for five months but ultimately he succumbed to his injuries. Those precious five months and the life lessons they presented to our family are a huge inspiration to me. Life is precious and it can be taken away in an instant so always live your life with love and gratitude. My husband knew how much I loved painting stones for customers and he would want me to continue doing what I love. Painting stones and the accident have transformed my life.  I have found my peace and calm.  I have found what I am supposed to be doing in this life and I love it. Unfortunately I had to move from the river home, but I am still close enough that I take weekly trips to “stone island” where I find peace and solitude and awesome stones to paint! I hope that my art brings inspiration, peace, joy and happiness to others.

PaganPagesOrg:  Our deepest sympathies on the passing of your husband.   

marciayuletree

Yule tree ornaments

PaganPagesOrg:  Other ways people may see my work, make purchases, or contact you?

Email me at [email protected]
My work can be seen on the social media sites hyperlinked above.  Etsy is my main source of sales, but anyone interested in purchasing stone art from me is welcome to contact me through any of the above social media platforms, blog, or email.  I would say next to Etsy, Facebook would be the best way to contact me for an immediate response.
I am happy to make any design in a small stone with a bail on the back to hang from a Yule tree.

I will be making Yule tree ornaments for my shop very soon.

marciafaerywinter
Fairy stones for winter

 

  • Uncategorized

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

December, 2016

Winter Solstice 2016

Bright Blessings!
The Solstice Season is upon us, and all I can think about is planning my ritual and gathering. Then, I can’t wait until the hubbub dies down from shopping, and parties that last until January.
I have done my annual bowing out of all Christmas themed celebrations, and reminded people I do not send cards, or do gift exchanges.
I have had the gripe fests with others who want to avoid the mainstream holiday, but can’t get away from it. A friend hit the nail on the head yesterday, and said, “I am just NOT in the Xmas Spirit this year.” I told him that I am NEVER in the Xmas spirit. A lot of us aren’t.
Then, I started wondering, where does the Xmas Spirit come from? How did it go from the celebration of Pagan things, to the observance of the birth of the Xtian god, and then to become so commercialized?
My theory is all about greed, and herd mentality, and keeping up with the Jonses with who can buy the best presents, and whatnot. Truthfully, that is not well-researched, and it shows my bitter personal bias.
So instead of fussing, like I prefer to do, I’ll be an adult and share some history of the Ancient Roman celebration we draw many of our modern traditions from, and investigate WHY, in winter specifically, gift giving and charity are done so prolifically.
Ancient Roman Saturnalia
IO Saturn!
Major partying was done from December 17 through the 23 in ancient Rome in honor of the god Saturn.
Saturn is a god of agriculture, and it is believed when he reined, an Eden-like land of bounty and innocence was where people lived. He was also believed to be a god of liberation, and of the Capital. As he was the Roman aspect of the Greek god, Cronus, he was seen as a god of time as well, and they deemed it fit to have Saturnalia right at Solstice time, just before New Years. Both of which are markers of time.
Many things from our modern day “Xmas Spirit” come from Saturnalia.
Gift Giving and Liberation
As Saturn was a god of agriculture as well as liberation, he was unbound for the celebrations. For some reason, wool bound his feet year round, except during Saturnalia, when it was removed. In further observance of liberation, servants were allowed a short period of being allowed to say whatever they wanted to their employers, without risk of punishment. Blending the liberation and gift giving practice, masters served and fed splendid feasts to their servants. In some banquets, servants dined before masters, in others, they all ate together.
Gift giving day was December 19, and typically, gifts were kept fairly inexpensive. Children got toys, of course, and some favored gag gifts. Some employers would give extra money to their employees to use for them to buy their families gifts. We see this still done to this day in the form of holiday bonuses and the nice dinners some businesses host for staff.
Light of the World
After the Fourth Century in Ancient Rome, a festival for a sun god called Sol Invictus took place on December 25. Lights were kindled, and the birth of this god was celebrated. To me, this is another Solstice Celebration, and it was written that Xtians also took part in the festivities. The Church saw this and decided to observe the birth of Christ on December 25 as a result. Jesus became “The Light of the World” for Xtians, and the Church moved towards more separation from Pagan celebrations.
The Feast
Feasting seems to be a major part of every major holiday. This in particular was including not just the feats for the servants, like the holiday meals our employers give to us, but as veneration of a god of plenty.
Sacrifice
As with most all Pagan celebrations, there was sacrifice. Suckling pigs were offered- and are still eaten at Xmas to this day. But what many don’t know, is it is written there were some periods Saturn demanded human sacrifice. Gladiators were given to Saturn, and it was later said he specifically preferred just human heads. It is supposedly the demigod Hercules who said masks would be offered rather than real human heads. Today, people continue the tradition of sacrifice by donating to charity, or doing charitable works.
What’s all this got to do with today?
Aspects of the pre-Xtian Solstice time festivities were taken by the Church and used for Xmastime. The things that had originally been sacred to a Pagan god like gift giving, having time off work, and sacrifice, became secular, and done just for fun.
As the Ancient Romans were a people of commerce, I can’t say our modern society is the first to have commercialized the holidays. All I know is it all feels cheap to me today.
If each thing had a meaning besides lining some businesses pockets with money, maybe some of us would feel better about it.
Solstice time had been about giving thanks to gods like Saturn, and welcoming the sun, in anticipation of the growing season.
Jesus became the blanket “lord of everything”, and the “one true god” to Xtians. Observance of the seasons gradually fell out of favor in our world of grocery stores and hydroponic indoor gardens which give us fresh produce year round. They still observe the pre-Xtian festivities, and they don’t even know they are doing so.
So, for those of us who do not worship Sol Invictus, or Saturn, whose veneration a lot of Xtian modern Christmas things come from, getting “in the Christmas Spirit” might not happen. As far as I am concerned, that is completely okay.
Some of us stay away from shopping malls to avoid the pandemonium, avoid restaurants in busy areas, do not do the gift exchanges or parties, and do not send cards. We likewise travel after, or before the holidays rather than during them. Some do their charity work year round rather than just at the holidays, as well.
Some are sick to death of the demands of friends and family , and downright refuse to be guilted into attending something, or doing some holiday themed thing we do not feel in our hearts is right for us.
Instead of a ritual or spellwork, I am going to provide some affirmations for those who are not in the Xmas spirit, and who likewise do not want to be.
Ten Reasons Why it’s okay to not have “The Xmas Spirit”
It is a personal choice to have certain feelings or not. Nobody can force “cheer” or “jolliness” on you if you genuinely are not feeling it. It is what is, and other people who cannot deal with your choice will just have to suffer.
It is supposed to be for sacred purposes. Something is either sacred to you, or it’s not.
You don’t owe it to friends or family to do things with them just because they think you should. This is a huge reason some people eventually burn out from Xmas. Many refuse to be pressured by other people who feel it will be more fun for them if we are having fun along with them. It’s not fun for some of us, and that is okay.
Maybe the holiday brings bad memories, and you feel better off emotionally if you don’t put yourself in certain settings which force you to relive them. In this situation, you have to do what is best for you, and people who really care about you will understand.
Maybe your finances do not allow for gifts and cards for everybody. Maybe you also have limited space in your home, and just don’t have room for gifts from people. The shopping, and party crowds might make you crazy, and the traffic might make you feel worse. Staying out of it all might be necessary for you.
Maybe you don’t want to put the time and expense into decorating. You may have kids or pets that tear up things and you don’t have to deal with that if you don’t want to.
Maybe you just don’t have the time to do everything people invite you to do, and you don’t feel right choosing to turn down select invitations, so you respectfully decline them all indiscriminately.
Your job may prevent you from doing things, and it might not bother you. This is also something you cannot control.
You might have an extenuating circumstance and have to be absent this year, but plan to join in next year. That is okay too.
The last and most important reason why it is okay to not have “The Xmas Spirit” is if you just don’t want to, you just don’t have to.

Many of us dread the weeks following the day after Halloween, clear up to mid January when all has dies down from “holiday mania”, as I like to call it. Every year, it gets more stressful and difficult for me, and the only thing that saves me, and many like me during this time, is the fact that we exclude ourselves. I also understand many of my loved ones LIVE for Christmas, and they look forward to it year round.
May the holidays be joyous and blessed for those who celebrate them, and may they be over with quickly for those who don’t!
Blessed Be!

  • Uncategorized

Finding the Pagan Way

December, 2016

The Faeries

Winter can often convince us that we are older than we truly are. It is so much easier to take a walk in the summer and sit in the sun and drift back in time. But even though the Winter is a time for quietness and reflection,- there is still much that we can do to reconnect with nature and ,hopefully, our childhood appreciation of the magic which is all around us.
On fine days, tuck up well, and walk in the winter forest. Listen to the wind in the trees. Watch the ash swaying and dancing with its beautiful silvery bark.
Find a Holly tree, all bedecked in bright berries against a shimmering green, ready for the festive season. As it shivers in the breeze, you can hear it make a sound like tinkling tinsel on the Yuletide tree. Relax and open your senses, you will feel the fairies nearby.
When the weather is too cold or wet, – there are still things we can do to tune into the mystery which lies unnoticed all around us.

Sit quietly in a room where you will not be disturbed, or better still, in your garden or patio.
Place your feet firmly on the ground.
Breath slowly and deeply.
Imagine a golden light surrounding you like a large globe, protecting you and keeping you safe and secure.
As you breathe in, imagine that there are roots spreading down into the ground from your feet. Feel them go deep into the earth.
See them in your mind’s eye, spreading wide under the ground and drawing energy from the earth. Listen carefully for any sound around you. Pay attention to any sensations that you might feel.

Call the faery folk to you. Tell them that you mean them no harm. Pay attention to any images that come into your mind. Then ask them to help you to feel more connected to the earth.
Bid them farewell. Then, slowly come back to normal awareness. Have a drink and a snack before you drive or operate machinery. And do not forget to leave a small gift for the Fairy Folk. Scatter some wild flowers or sparkly things on the ground for them. They Love that!

paganway
Art by Bill Oliver

  • Uncategorized

Interview with Author Nikki Starcat Shields

December, 2016

Nikki Starcat Shields: Centered in Reverence and Joy

 

starcat

 

Starcat is a Pagan based in Maine, and the author of numerous books, including Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living. She’s the co-creator of the 30-Day Core Belief Kit and a personal spiritual coach. Despite her busy life, Starcat took the time to talk to Mabh at Pagan Pages about her world and her inspiration.
Mabh Savage: Where does the beautiful name Starcat come from?
Starcat: When I was choosing my Pagan name, more than 20 years ago now, I was inspired by Starhawk’s writings and her name. I too resonate strongly with the stars, and I have had a lifelong love of all things feline. So I decided to choose the name Starcat. Years later, when I attended a Reclaiming Witch Camp, I was worried that some of the people there who knew Starhawk might think my name was a bit of a rip-off of hers, but actually when I chatted with them about it, they thought it was a lovely tribute.
MS: When did you start documenting your experiences as a Pagan? What inspired you to do this?
NSS: I began in the early 1990s, when I discovered that there were others who had beliefs similar to mine. I found a local newsletter that was published by the EarthTides Pagan Network, a group of Pagans in Maine who had formed in order to network with other Pagans in those pre-Internet times. I wrote a letter in response to one of the articles in the newsletter, and the editor wrote back and encouraged me to share my own thoughts by writing regularly for their publication.
MS: When did you realise you could make the transition from blogging to a book?
NSS: Well, first came the transition from writing for the EarthTides newsletter into starting a blog, which happened in 2006. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but was discouraged from it by family and teachers who felt that I should focus my efforts on a career that would earn me a living. When I began to revive my dream, it occurred to me that I had been writing for a while, and could share those thoughts and ideas with readers in the form of a book.
MS: Were there any challenges putting the book together? What did you enjoy most about it?
NSS: I loved putting the book together, because I could really see my evolution as a writer and a Pagan, and I figured that my journey might help to inspire others on their own path. One challenge was making sure that readers understood that the writing was done over the course of more than a decade, so the writing “voice” wouldn’t be exactly the same throughout the book. I think we accomplished that through the way the book is organized and the explanation given in the introduction.
MS: Are you planning any more books? If so, would they follow the same format or something new?
NSS: I have actually since written and self-published a couple of books, which are intended for a wider audience interested in personal spirituality, not just for Pagans. As for more Pagan books, I’ve been branching out into writing fiction. It is urban fantasy, and the main characters are Pagan. I’m still in the early stages, but I look forward to sharing this new endeavor in the next year or two. Also, a long-time Pagan friend of mine asked me when I was going to stop writing introductory-type books and start branching out into sharing more intermediate ideas and practices. So that’s a new and intriguing idea.

starcat

 

MS: Who do you think will get the most out of your book [Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living]?
NSS: I think that it’s targeted to those who are either new to Paganism, or have practiced for a while but are looking for some inspiration. It’s for those who want to bring their Pagan beliefs and practices more fully into their everyday lives. That’s the main focus of the book.
MS: Tell us a bit about the EarthTides Pagan Network.
NSS: The EarthTides Pagan Network was formed in 1989 in order to help Maine Pagans find each other in those years before the Internet. Maine has a small population, but is spread out over a fairly large geographical area. The Network helped us to find one another and stay in touch when Paganism was still fairly obscure in the area and there weren’t easy ways to stay in touch. These days, the Network hosts the annual Beltane on the Beach celebration each May, which is well attended, and offers a booth at an autumn organic-living fair.
MS: How do you keep a connection to nature in our modern and ever changing world?
NSS: I am blessed to live in a beautiful rural area where I am surrounded by natural landscapes. So, simply spending plenty of time outdoors, especially barefoot, helps me stay connected. I also honor the passing of the seasons and the phases of the moon, which helps me to stay in tune. Daily meditation is my favorite spiritual practice; I do at least 20 minutes of silent meditation each morning.
MS: What is your favourite spiritual place?
NSS: My favorite spiritual place is Acadia National Park, located in Down East Maine. The energies there are incredible. It’s very fae. You can hike through the forest, emerging onto a pink-granite hilltop, where the view is the ocean all around you, sparkling and gorgeous. I love it there.
MS: What music are you listening to at the moment? Do you have a favourite piece that is magical for you?
NSS: I like all kinds of different music. I really love Michael Franti and Spearhead, and their latest song, Once a Day, is very uplifting and magickal for me. I’ve also been enjoying Anoushka Shankar’s album Traces of You. It’s excellent.
MS: Do you have a favourite season or time of the year?
NSS: Late summer into early autumn is my favorite. It’s still warm enough to spend time outdoors, and that vibrant harvest energy of fall is in full swing. My birthday is in mid-September, so it feels like a special time of year for me.
MS: What inspires you on a day to day basis?
NSS: Meditation, my dreams, reading lots of books of various genres. I love stories, and they always inspire me. Actually, the Doctor Who TV series is very inspiring, because it makes me think about alien life and other planes of existence and all kinds of magickal philosophies.
MS: If you could give one piece of advice to someone venturing onto a Pagan path, what would it be?
NSS: I would encourage them to listen to their inner wisdom. It can take some practice to tune into your inner voice, because we’re not encouraged to do so in modern society. But with time and attention, you’ll discover a rich inner well of inspiration and connection. Your intuition can lead you to more joy, love, creativity, and magick.
MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in the coming months?
NSS: My partner and I have a business called Feline Dreamers, and we help people connect with their own inner wisdom with a variety of tools, including guided meditations, Reiki, and spiritual mentoring. I was inspired to create a new program called The Heart of the Goddess, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with our clients this year, and helping more people to get in tune with the Divine Feminine that resides within each of us. I believe that’s what our planet needs, the expansion of human consciousness, so that we’ll begin to live more in harmony with nature and the cosmos. We’re all contributing to this evolution in our own ways.
Starcat can be found on her website, and you can purchase Starcat’s Corner at Amazon and other reputable bookstores. Follow her blog at http://www.starcatscorner.com
Mabh Savage is a Pagan writer and journalist, and the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. You can follow Mabh at soundsoftime.wordpress.com.

  • Uncategorized

MagickalArts

December, 2016

Lunar Magick: Part Two

A Little Astrology

This is the second of a series of articles that explores our connection to the Moon and how to use HER energy for magick and spiritual growth….

 

magickalarts

 

So What’s Astrology Got To Do With It?

One of the important considerations when doing lunar magick is maximizing the effects of the working through use of the most beneficial astrological sign that your Full or New Moon is transiting through. Each of the astrological signs is identified by two basic qualities: the element (Earth, Air, Fire or Water) to which it resonates and the quality of that particular element (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) called the Modalities.

Below is a basic table that outlines the basic qualities of the astrological signs:

 

magickalarts3

 

The Elements of the Astrological Signs

One way to approach deciding what the components of a working should include is to be sure to select something that aligns with each of the four basic elements. We work so closely with the elements in Wiccan practice that this is yet another way to integrate those energies into our magickal and mundane worlds.

Keywords: The Elements

Earth=Manifestation/Physical Plane

Air=Mind/Thought/Intellect

Fire=Will/Action/Transformation

Water=Emotions/Intuition/Healing

Keywords:   The Modalities 

Cardinal=Becoming/Initiating

Fixed=Stable/Solid

Mutable=Flexible/Flowing

As you can surmise…

It All Comes Together with Past Lessons and Teachings:

You can use these as a guideline for planning what workings would be supportive of the element of the astrological sign the moon is in.

EAST – Mind

Those practices that utilize your intelligence, that move to inspire and make use of air.

Reading and Breath Work

SOUTH – Will/Action

Those practices that fiery up your passions, make you move and stimulate you to take action  and make use of fire.

Exercise, Dancing and Creating

WEST – Emotional/Intuitive

Those practices that utilize your feeling nature, that open the intuitive nature and make use of water.

Journaling and divination

NORTH – Physical

Those practices that utilize your physical energy and/or make you move and make use of manifest reality.

Movement, Drumming and Hand crafts

The list is endless and the combinations of work are only limited by your own creativity. Review the lessons about the elements and their energies. Remain open to the many possibilities and allow your inner guidance to direct you towards a practice that will be reflective and in resonance with your magickal self.

The Modalities of the Astrological Signs

The Modalities of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable map closely in their dynamics to that of the waxing, peak and waning of the moon. The Cardinal qualities are those of initiating whatever they are exerting their energy upon. The Fixed signs are stable and the product of the initial burst of movement to a place of permanence and center point.  And, the Mutable signs are those that are flexible in nature. Their movement is that of having come from a stable center point to a place of stretching towards endings, completion and anticipation of the next phase of new catalytic action.

Below is a basic table that outlines the modalities of the astrological signs:

 

magickalarts2

 

The Cardinal Signs

Aries – Cancer – Libra – Capricorn

The Cardinal signs of the Zodiac offer an energy that is initiating and growing in nature. This is the initial thrust of energy that moves  in accord with the bursting forth of the energies that surround. We see this in the inquisitive nature of Aries, the healing intuitive nature of Cancer, the equalizing balance of Libra and the solid expansive range of Capricorn. Cardinal signs are those best used when you want an added boost to kick-start your endeavor, a fresh perspective and energy to put into motion your hopes, desires and dreams.

The Fixed Signs

Taurus – Leo – Scorpio and Aquarius

The Fixed signs of the Zodiac offer an energy that is strong, reinforcing and consistent in nature. This energy forms the container that stabilizes the initial outpour of the Cardinal signs. It coalesces and brings this burst of energetic force into a state of form and cohesion. Permanence and resilience are native to this modality with the ability to transform and remake into something innovative and different. We see this in the steadfast nature of Taurus, the fierce protective nature of Leo, the transformative powers of Scorpio and the far reaching vision of Aquarius. Fixed signs are those best used when you want to strengthen and transform your workings seeing far into the future.

** It is worth noting that the Four Fixed Signs of the Zodiac are the astrological attributes of the Four Holy Creatures.

Taurus is the winged Bull- earth

Scorpio is the Eagle – Water

Leo is the Winged Lion – Fire

Aquarius is the Winged Man- Air

The addition of wings to these creatures represents the elements of nature and man in their highest form and the aspirations and achievement of spiritual purpose having transcended the lower planes.

The Mutable Signs

Gemini – Virgo  – Sagittarius – Pisces

The Mutable signs of the Zodiac offer an energy that is fluid and adaptable in nature.  Unlike the initial thrust of the Cardinal signs and the solid stance of the Fixed signs, those of the mutable energy move in accord with the ebb and flow of the energies that surround. We see this in the quicksilver duality of Gemini, the analytical nature of Virgo, the exploratory sparks of Sagittarius and the fluid emotions of Pisces. Mutable signs are those best used when you wish a certain amount of flexibility in outcome, with room to rethink, remold and reinvent.

How does this apply in planning a Lunar working?

 Timing:

The Moon is New in Capricorn.  So how can you use the energy of this New Moon (New Moon= new beginnings- starting projects, goals, planting, seeding, etc…) in the Cardinal (becoming/initiating) Earthy (manifest/physical foundation) sign of Capricorn.

The New Moon in Capricorn is a good time to start that project which has been on your mind for sometime now, but procrastination has won out.  Diligence and hard work will bring the necessary steps towards scaling those high ambitions for manifest and material return.  Capricorn energy is the foundation of earthly delights having been attempted from all possible angles until just the right place of passage is found. Because it is a cardinal sign there is potential for tangible results, but the energy is often slow to start and sheer determination is what will win out.

So, with all this enhanced energy in earthy Capricorn- the sea goat- set your sights on the highest peak of the mountain, but first stabilize and anchor yourself in the foundation of digging deep into your watery, emotional roots and then set foot on the path, sure, steady and strong.

For more ways to use Astrological timing, look at the posts in The Temple of Cosmic Spheres Blog. (www.templeofthecosmicspheres.com)

  • Uncategorized

Book Review: Meditative Mandala Stones By Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango

December, 2016

Meditative Mandala Stones

By Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango

I am always looking for different and new ways to meditate. While I have heard of mandala meditation, i.e. meditating while looking at a mandala, I have never tried it. This set brings a new dimension to it, in that you make your own mandala on large river stones. My assumption is that it is akin to being stress-free by coloring, another trend.

Ms. Arango gives us a brief introduction as to how she came to mandalas, after having a life-long love of stones. She began to draw mandalas in her journals and studying their history.

mandalastones1

Mandala in a broad sense means “circle” in Sanskrit, more closely “center”. They can be drawn, woven, made temporarily in sand. Where and how you make them is infinite and only limited by your imagination. Mandalas have been used in ritual and ceremony for hundreds of years and can be found the world over. She describes other examples of mandala usage in different cultures around the world. I was most familiar with the art of mehendi, or henna.

Ms. Arango states, “Each of us is a unit or monad, a whole, a microcosm. Our mandalas are like maps of our souls; they are representations of our “self” in a given moment, the moment when we create them”. She also relates that, “individual mandals are personal expressions of our psyche and are not related to any tradition or model”, and that, “each one is unique to its creator”.

Archaeologically speaking, many ancient mandalas were made on natural stone the world over. The author speaks of the differences between petroglyphs and pictograms. She also mentions some of the reasons that ancient cultures would use them, such as seasonal ceremonies, birth, the onset of a young woman’s moon-time, spiritual quests and magic rituals.

Her suggestions for allowing these shapes to organically come to you, is for you to meditate, letting your mind wander, letting the shapes and colors come to you. Allowing your feelings to translate into shapes and images.

The kit is not complete, in and of itself. It comes with a booklet, two large (and quite lovely) river stones, and a dip pen. You will need to purchase acrylic ink, as well as any other tools you may wish to try, such as artist pens. If you wish to continue, you will need to purchase more river stones, which I have found in craft stores, such as Michael’s.

The booklet gives examples of several designs you can choose from to draw your own mandalas, using different culture-inspired ones, using color, flower and geometric shapes. This is followed by several blank pages on which you can practice your mandalas before attempting to do one on a stone.

mandalastones2

(Photo Credit: magamerlina.com)

I must be honest and say that I have not as yet attempted to paint a mandala on a stone, however, I have gone out to buy acrylic ink and some markers, as this is something I plan on doing very soon.

Although anyone could put together a kit like this on their own after some individual research in stones and mandalas, having it come, more or less, complete is a good headstart.

mandalastones3

All in all, I liked this set quite a bit. As someone who has taught yoga and meditation for years, I am of the mind that anything that will bring less stress and more peace to everyone is well worth it.

Namaste

)O(

  • Uncategorized

Next »