August, 2019

Plant Spirit Medicine in Shamanic Practice

August, 2019

What’s in the Brew?
Scientist: Mescaline.
Shaman: God.

Shamans…believe that the information given to us… by other teacher plants or in non-ordinary states such as dreams and meditations is as valid (or more so) than that received from ordinary perception and thought. Furthermore, such information is given to us to be used in daily life not to be ignored, denied, or seen as lacking in merit or purpose. To deny our dreams, after all, is to deny a large part of our human and spiritual experience. Thus, for San Pedro shamans, the visions and insights gained from the plant are there to inform our everyday behavior in the ‘real world’ so we can make changes, heal, or do what is necessary to improve and enhance our lives.

“San Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom” by Ross Heaven

(“Spirit Plant Realms” art by Yvonne McGillivray)

*This article is an excerpt from the book “Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing” by Jennifer Engrácio

Shamanic practitioners the world over know that there is a matrix of creation that infuses all of life. We humans can tap into it for guidance and wisdom if we choose. When I connect with it, it looks to me like a spider web weaving all of creation together in an energetic fabric that forms a tapestry. I remember the first time I saw this with my own eyes. Near the beginning of my shamanic studies, I participated in an ayahuasca ceremony with an ayahuascero (ayahuasca shaman ceremonialist).

Ayahuasca is a sacred plant of the Amazon that ayahuasceros call “the vine of death.” It is called this because it supports the transformation of all that is untrue inside of ourselves in the particular ways we have each created our inner worlds. For centuries, this plant has been used in ceremony by the tribes of the Amazon rainforest to support people in connecting with their Dreamer and with this fabric of creation often referred to in [indigenous] traditions of North America as Great Spirit. Other faiths call the matrix by other names: God, Allah, the Divine, Yahweh, the Source, the Goddess, and so on.

I’ve sensed this web with my intuition my whole life but my mind had done a good job of creating serious doubts around what I was experiencing. I have never experienced such fear before a ceremony. I now know the fear was simply my ego’s grip tightening because it knew some lies were going to be revealed, thereby lessening its power over me. The ceremony itself was beautiful and powerful. The icaros (medicine songs) that are sung during the ceremony sent me to a place deep inside that I’d forgotten. The ayahuasca spirit sent me on a journey of seeing what was really real and helped me to peel away layers of falsehood I had bought into and built up around myself as forms of protection in a world that largely believes that Spirit does not exist.

Part way through the ceremony, I began seeing bright lines of light appearing all around the room. They were strangely familiar to me though I couldn’t place where I had seen them before. I noticed that the lines were connected to every living thing in the space–including the plants and the crystals. Everything with consciousness in the room was infused with the energy of the matrix. I traced those lines back to myself and I was shocked to see my luminous egg stretch in front of me. I put out my hands and watched this energy expand outwards. The auric field was a real thing! I don’t know how long I watched all of this in awe, but when I came out of that ceremony, I was never the same in the best way possible. Many years later, I was holding a swath of fabric made by Peruvian artisans and I recognized the matrix pattern I saw in their designs! I won’t say that it was an easy ceremony for me. It was probably the hardest one I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is simply “curious” about plant medicine. I learned the power of going into ceremony with a strong healing intention for myself. [This is something I highly recommend folks do before entering any ceremony.]

As I went back into my everyday life, I began seeing how often I slip out of that [Spirit] stream…My journey with shamanism has been all about learning how to co-create with Spirit from the magic and connection I feel with every fiber of my being. In a world that does not respect the spiritual aspects of life, this is a daily challenge in some ways. As someone living in an urban setting, I stay connected by getting out into nature every day. I pray. I attend group ceremonies. I work my medicine tools and practices. I ask for guidance. I listen to what I hear deep inside myself. Then, I put this wisdom into action in my everyday life…Since I began listening, I am able to support myself through mistakes more easily. I am more willing to let go of lies about who I am and what I am capable of. I am able to be neutral with other peoples’ energy and just be in the moment as it is. I can see more clearly what my role is in events and can shift into more positive ways of interacting with others, the Earth, and the world.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing on Amazon

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August Native Moon: Excerpt from the Forthcoming Book ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy

August, 2019

August Native Moon

From ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy
Available August 20 from Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

The thirteen Native Moons in Cosmic Crystals are by far the most difficult to describe. With so many different Native tribes, cultural traditions, and important stories, finding common threads is not always easy. In most instances, the main moon name given is the most commonly used name among the Algonquin tribes, and the listed alternative names come from other well-known tribal peoples from North America, Central America, and South America.

As you read about the Native Moons, put yourself in the shoes of those who lived in harmony with the natural cycles. Consider the lessons from the deities and totem animals that can be applied to present day life. What are the commonalities between yourself and the tribal people who were some of the first in the world to name the moons each month? What is different in your own life compared to the lives of those who gave these moons their names? What wisdom can you take away from recognizing those differences?

When working with the lunar rituals for the Native Moons, push yourself to find new ways to incorporate the corresponding totem animals and healing herbs into your ritual. Remember, your ritual may be as simple or as complex as you like. The point is to create a moment of sacredness between you and the moon, so listen to your inner guidance for how to customize each ritual to meet your needs.

AUGUST

The Grain Moon

The Grain Moon is named for grains, such as corn and barley, which can now be harvested. Fishing tribes know this as the Sturgeon Moon, named after the fish that are abundant at this time. Other tribes know the August full moon as the Red Moon because it often takes on a reddish color. Still others call this the Lightning Moon due to frequent late-summer thunderstorms.

To connect with the energy of the Grain Moon, place a small bowl of dry grains (e.g., corn, barley, or rice) in your sacred space or on your altar. Surround the bowl with Ruby Fuchsite stones to represent the sharing of this abundance with those you love. You may even choose to have one stone to represent each specific person in your circle of close friends and family.

ALTERNATE NAMES Barley Moon, Lightning Moon, Red Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Swan Flight Moon, Women’s Moon

ANIMALS squirrel, sturgeon, swan

COLORS gold, green, yellow

CRYSTALS Green Grossular Garnet, Heliodor, Ruby Fuchsite

DEITIES Laqan Kachina, Mashe-Namak, Mikew, Nisk-Na Peu – the Goose Master, Urubutsin

ESSENTIAL OILS rosewood, tangerine, tea tree

HERBS eucalyptus, lemongrass, rose petal

KEYWORDS abundance, connection, magic

GREEN GROSSULAR GARNET This abundance stone connects to the Grain Moon by reminding you that with hard work, there will be plenty to harvest down the road. Green Grossular Garnet enhances your connection to the plants and animals of the earth. Work with this stone if you’d like to find balance between modern life and more traditional ways of living.

HELIODOR A yellow variety of Beryl, Heliodor shines with the color of golden grain. This crystal helps you recognize abundance all around you and connects you to all that is. The more connected and grateful you feel, the more you have to be thankful for, because things are drawn to you like a magnet. Helidor is also a stone of magic and facilitates mystical experiences.

RUBY FUCHSITE This rock, also called Anyolite, is a combination of two minerals, red Ruby and Green Fuchsite. This crystal corresponds to the heart center and instills empathy and compassion. Wear Ruby Fuchsite in a medicine bag over your heart to facilitate a connection with others. This energy is perfectly suited to the Grain Moon, a time of celebration and sharing the abundant harvest.

About the author of ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’:

Ashley Leavy (Madison, WI) is the Founder & Educational Director of the Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy. Teaching others about crystals is Ashley’s passion and her purpose. Ashley’s experience is based on almost a decade, and 100+ classes, of professional crystal healing training. Because of her expertise, Ashley has been a featured guest on NBC, has been interviewed about crystal healing for dozens of radio shows, has had articles published in many newspapers and magazines, and has been featured as a guest blogger on hundreds of energy healing and wellness blogs. She is also the author of Crystals for Energy Healing.

Learn more at quartokno.ws/CosmicCrystals.

Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting With Lunar Energy on Amazon

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Wreathing the Wheel

August, 2019

A Miracle Tomato, First Harvest, and Kitchen Witchcraft

This is my miracle tomato. I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes for years, but after repeated failures, I gave up on the idea, and figured I’d just have to remain happy with store-bought. Which is why this is my miracle tomato: I did not plant or buy this tomato; I have no idea where this tomato came from. This planter was supposed to have nothing in it but dirt, but a month or two ago, it started pushing up this little mystery sprout. It didn’t look like any of the weeds I tend to eradicate from my garden, so I decided to water it and see what it was. It grew quickly and seemed healthy, so I kept watering it. As it grew, the tell-tale fuzzy stems and five-petaled yellow flowers made me pretty confident in a diagnosis of Solanaceae, and now the first tomato is finally starting to grow!

This unexpected harvest, and its coincidence with summer’s harvest festivals, is what inspired this article. While the summer harvest festival is generally associated with grains — wheat, oats, or corn — it’s probably best to use whatever your actual harvest is for this if you are a gardening witch who wants to bless your garden. However, there’s absolutely no reason why this spread couldn’t be used for pure kitchen witchcraft and store-bought ingredients.

One commonality of most harvest festivals is the sharing of food: if you want to keep reaping a good harvest and growing in abundance, you must both pay it forward and pay it back! I plan to do this in two ways. First, I am planning to return to the earth what it gave me, and replant some of the tomato seeds from this plant. Separating the seeds is pretty easy, but it does have a couple of specific steps for the process of curing the seeds and saving them. Second, I decided to use these tomatoes to make some finger-food, to make it easy to share with others. Since the plant is so small, I don’t really expect it to produce very large tomatoes, so this recipe is intended for small cherry or plum tomatoes; I also added rice to bring some grain into this dish in honor of harvest festival traditions.

As an atheistic animist, my approach is to invoke the spirits of the plants themselves, so I don’t address my rituals to a god or goddess as many witches do — but this type of ritual could easily be adapted to any type of magical system. For a ritual that involves working with multiple deities or other types of spiritual forces, this information could even be included in the correspondence information above.

This recipe spread is perfect for kitchen witchcraft: the left page deals with the recipe, the right page with the craft. There’s plenty of room for correspondences, art, and ritual, so I decided to craft a moderately complicated ritual and recipe so you can see how easy it is to build this kind of layout. As usual, I drafted this layout with pencil before I inked the whole spread, and made notes for the text on my laptop before adding it as well. I realize that many people who keep a journal don’t have the patience or time for this extra step — or feel it’s somehow unnatural to the whole journaling process — but there are a number of advantages to developing this type of process, and I’d like to mention a couple.

For one thing, it helps you avoid mistakes (and this is probably the number one reason that people do it); you can keep your layout fluid and adjust borders and spaces as needed to accommodate the information that you’re presenting. But for another, you may find some reward in the process of distilling your information to fit. As an example: I noted the many intentions that correspond with each plant that I used in this recipe when I was designing this ritual. However, I only included one intention for each plant in the final version, because I wanted to focus on the intentions that are most important to me, rather than just turning on a fire-hose of magical correspondences and hoping that something sticks. If you are the sort of person who likes to design your own rituals in the first place, you may even find that this becomes a useful part of your process.

***

About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

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The Future is Goddess: An Excerpt from Seven Ages of the Goddess

August, 2019

The Future is Goddess
An Excerpt from Seven Ages of the Goddess

Isis

Astarte

Diana

Hekate

Demeter

Kali

Inanna!

So goes the chant around so many fires at so many gatherings of witches, wiccans and pagans. Each name a chapter in the history-book of goddess worship, and each name still worshiped and revered today. Some believe that these goddesses are all one goddess. Some believe they are all aspects of the sacred feminine that is embodied within all goddess worship. Some believe they are all individual beings, each worthy of their own offerings, sacrifices and reverence. Whatever the practitioner’s relationship with these goddesses, the fact is that these goddesses have survived thousands of years, some possibly since before 3000 BC.

That’s over 5000 years ago, yet a mere 2000 years ago (approximately) a Middle Eastern guy who thought we could probably be much kinder to each other and all get along a little better, started a bit of a cult, which became the spiritual basis for much of the modern, mainstream religion practiced across the globe today.

The largest religion in the world right now is Christianity, closely followed by Islam. Two Abrahamic, patriarchal religions that have been repeatedly regurgitated into ever new and adaptive forms by our modern societies; at times twisted in the name of hatred, at times used for kindness, but always in the name of God; of Yahweh (Jehovah) or Allah. It’s inherently understood that God is male, all powerful, and alone. There are no other gods; to say so is blasphemy. There is also no companion; no counterpart: no goddess.

If you look hard enough at the bible, there are the odd mentions of goddesses, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), who Solomon followed and was denounced as evil thereafter (1 Kings 11:5 and 11:6). Artemis is mentioned as a ‘man made god’ who is no god at all, though in the same verse it is written that she was worshiped in Asia and across the whole world. (Acts 19:26 and 19:27). In alternative translations of the bible it is Diana that the Ephesians worshiped. From the brief mentions we see, it’s clear that the goddess was the usurper; to be mocked, derided and forgotten.

To get a better understanding of why this might be, you have to look back beyond Christianity, beyond Judaism even, and spread your scope across the world. Take in the spirituality of the Paleolithic (stone age) humans. Look at the oldest depiction of a human being yet discovered: The Venus of Hohle Fels. This extraordinary item is a female figure carved from a mammoth tusk, and she is possibly 40,000 years old. 40,000 years. That’s approximately 20 times longer than Christianity has been around.

She has a loop which is clearly intended for a thong or similar, which tells us she is a pendant and possibly an amulet, emphasizing that this figure was obviously very important and possibly sacred or protective. She was found near the world’s oldest known musical instrument, a bone flute.

Scholars look at her oversized breasts and genitalia and immediately rush to the conclusion that she is all about sex; reproduction; fertility. Because that’s what women are all about, right? When you can see the breasts and the vulva, they must be advertising something sexual. At least that’s the current societal viewpoint, based on patriarchal morality and the lack of understanding regarding the divine feminine.

I think it’s much more likely this figurine comes from a culture where it wasn’t considered pornographic to bare breasts or expose vaginas. Stone-age artifacts like this one show an understanding of the sacred nature of a woman’s body: the legs and arms are missing because those are not unique. All humans have arms, legs and faces. Only women have breasts and a vulva. These differences are being revered, not mocked, and this is what makes these figures sacred. Only the woman has the power to bear a child into the world, and subsequently feed it. This was once seen as a powerful magic indeed.

In today’s world, under the thumb of a predominately male-led religion and society, women are told that their bodies are shameful. Menstruation is seen as disgusting, and even a weakness, despite it being a natural, biological cycle. Sex is seen as something done to women, rather than something they participate in. Breasts have become sexual objects, to be ogled in push up bras, and hidden away when feeding our babies. The voice of women is constantly shushed, muted, mocked and disbelieved. Yet the evidence above shows that when our species was at its most basic, women were the key to the sacred and the divine.

It is no wonder then, that so many people in the modern world are turning to goddess worship as an alternative to the dry, dusty and now outdated religions that have popped up in the last several thousand years. Paganism is marked currently as one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and while not all Pagans are sole goddess worshipers, most have a great reverence for the divine feminine in some form. The most recent census figures show that over 100000 people in the UK identify as Pagan, and approximately 1.25M people in the U.S.A., and that figure is growing exponentially as more people draw away from the religions they grew up with. About half of these recorded people name themselves as Wiccans, with the rest being druids, heathens and those who walk a veritable road map of other spiritual paths.

Disillusioned with destruction, people want a religion that teaches how to nurture and grow oneself spiritually. Tired of hate, people look to a source of love; not only for those around them, but for themselves. Catholics are told they are born with sin in their very essence. Goddess worshipers are told they are sacred, divine and connected to the universe. Christians are told their god forgives sin; the goddess teaches you to forgive yourself, and to make your own morals based on what is right and good; not what you are told.

It’s important to understand that the goddess is not just for women. Men have it just as hard in our gender unbalanced society. Western culture in particular states that men should be strong and bread winners, and women should be kind and motherly. But what happens when the man becomes a father and wants to stay at home with his child? In the UK, they can do this for two weeks, and only within the first 56 days of the baby’s birth. Mothers in the UK can take up to a year, depending on their employer. When it is built into our very government that fathers are not as important as mothers, you can understand why men as well as women are looking for alternatives. The Goddess smiles on all her children, male and female alike, and is likely baffled at the notion that a man would be considered weak for crying, being emotional or, as above, wanting to spend time with their child; time you can never get back.

Faults like these in our political system is exactly why Goddess worship is the future. So many of our policies and procedures in western politics come from men; male religion, male leaders of church and male leaders. It is the ever-present belief that man is superior, which stems from the relatively new belief that God is a man, that has spun our world into turmoil. Yet we can still hear the voice of the Goddess, even via the deeds of those that may not consider themselves worshipers.

This excerpt is by Mabh Savage and is from Seven Ages of the Goddess, published by Moon Books and available via Amazon and all good books stores. Various pagan and spiritual authors explore the journey of Goddess worship throughout the ages and into the future.

Seven Ages of the Goddess on Amazon

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WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2019

Witch Balls

Merry meet.

One of the botanicals I collect every year are the seed pods from the sweet gum tree, known as witch balls, witch burrs and gum ball.

The tree has a unique star shaped leaf. Its sweet resin and inner bark that has been used medicinally for treating ailments such as coughs, inflammation, skin problems and diarrhea. It’s also used in perfume.

Its spiny seed pods are typically an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, changing from green in late summer to brown in the fall before dropping to the ground. Their structure is credited with adding the strength of sacred geometry to charms and other workings.

Magickally they are used in protection and banishing spells. Witch balls also increase the potency of magickal energy in any spell and can be used along with crystals.

Pam Jones drills a hole through them and strings them along with wooden beads and bells, hanging them beside and above doors. They can also be used as a garland to hang over a window, incorporated into grapevine wreaths alongside crystals and other natural materials such as cattails, dried ornamental corn and feathered ornamental grasses. The garlands can decorate Yule trees.

The beads she uses are elm, chestnut and ash – all known for their protective properties. Bells add additional protection.

“The bell drives away negativity and keeps evil spirits at bay,” said Jones, who buys them by the dozen.

“Witch ball garlands not only look great around the house, they serve an important purpose. They also make great gifts for friends and loved ones,” she said.

If you come across these gifts in nature, you can now appreciate them.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike

thewitchonwheels.com

All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, gems, and as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. I am transitioning to the life of a crone on the road, living chunks of time in a 30-year-old school bus converted into a living space that is also sacred space. Follow me as I share the journey that is just beginning. thewitchonwheels

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Avalon’s Corner

August, 2019

The Magic of Intention Setting

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘A goal not written is only a Dream’. Now, personally I have nothing against dreaming.

In fact as a Creator I spend much of my time unabashedly day dreaming but there are times when putting pen to paper can have a dramatic effect.

Many of you maybe familiar with the book called The Secret. As a quick synopsis The Secret is based on the power of positive thinking, a pseudo-scientific theory called the ‘Law of Attraction’, where the principle is that like attracts like.

The reason I mention this book is that setting intentions has a part to play in manifesting the Law of Attraction, or simply put, the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.

Naturally then, if there really is a cause and effect by what we think, then we would want to focus on all the positive therefore creating more positive in our life.

Now you might be thinking this is all hogwash and poppycock but we’ve all met people who are consistently lucky, whatever they touch turns to gold, they may fall down time and time again but they come up smelling of roses, the further they fall the higher they rise, right?

And then, we have the donkey Eeyores (You know Donkey Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh) well they always seem to have the worst of fortunes, a little rain cloud follows them wherever they go. Maybe, just maybe all it takes is a slight change in mindset.

So this brings me back to setting intentions. An intention is an outcome that we would like to see in our lives.

Personally, I dedicate time every month to set intentions. It could be one intent or many, the important thing is to pinpoint exactly what you’d like to see.

Because I tune in to the energies around me, the logical time that feels right for me to do this is on a New Moon. The New Moon brings a sense of a clean slate and a perfect time to start over.

However, every day and even within a day, each moment is a new start, so follow whatever feels right to you. There is no wrong way to do this.

Then I write down what my wishes are. Some examples are to see more abundance in life or good health. Maybe its focused on attributes you are working on, or more love in your life. The list is endless. From the smallest of desires to the largest. To us we may think it’s too big a wish but to the Universe big or small it’s all the same.

My personal beliefs, wild and wacky as they may be, and I fully appreciate that this may or may not resonate with others but here goes! I postulate that this is a free will Universe. I believe in other Universes that are run entirely differently, however…

On this Planet Earth, Free will is respected and with that the Universe must honour that law; Unless you ask verbally through intention and spoken word, mindfully through meditation, thoughts or dreaming or physically written then gifts may be delayed in manifesting until asked for by you.

As someone who likes to journal I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing my intentions down.

The very act of writing, of putting thought into written word is an alchemic act. Focused thought becomes an action at that moment. From the brain through the heart and out of the hands and then the magic happens!

Now I am not saying that if your intent is to win the lottery all you have to do is write it down and BAM you are suddenly a millionaire (although I am working on this and as soon as I perfected it I’ll share how its done and if any of you figure this out before I do then I’m all ears and please come write a blog post for us 😉

There may be some caveats to this as I believe any intention set has to be in your true alignment, sometimes what we think we want might not bring us to our highest potential. So when setting intentions feel it with your heart, you will come to recognize if it truly is for you.

Much of the time now I actually use that knowledge to set my intention..so my intention would be.. I intend to reach my highest potential and release all that stands in my way and then I watch as the world around me changes, which it does frequently.

So the simple steps I take are

1) Pinpoint what I want

2) Ask for the Universe to make it happen

3) Final and most important step, know that it will be so, put your trust in the process. So Mote it Be. Incredibly powerful words.

On a final note, the Universe has a very mischievous sense of humour so be specific in your asking! To give you an example, I have a love of learning, especially anything to do with physic abilities, knowledge on other dimensions etc etc and I sent out the intention with my words being “I want to expand in all ways” They, it, the Universe, whatever feels comfortable in how you relate to something bigger than ourselves, truly did assist in my expansion by shifting me up a full dress size..hilarious right! Naughty, naughty Universe! That wasn’t what I had meant at all!

For those that are advanced in the ways of intention setting or for those that are absolute novice, I’m here to support you and have left me contact information in the Bio. ..Remember your success sends out ripples and therefore your success is all of our success.

Much love and Blessings, 

Avalon

***

About the Author:

As a child Avalon was very aware of other dimensions of realities, seeing Spirits, having vivid dreams, given messages, warnings, promptings. Very intuitive and it all felt very natural and normal to her. 

Raised in the UK, she lived in England, Ireland and Scotland and traveled to Wales on many occasions. Her family were extremists in their Religious beliefs and she was introduced to her husband to be when she was merely 15. Avalon not wanting to disappoint family remained in that faith until she requested excommunication at age 25.

In June 2015 Avalon had an awakening experience that forever changed her..all the psychic gifts that had been put aside as she dealt with the stresses and strains of ‘real life’ came back with greater intensity. She had a thirst for knowledge like never before. Anything to do with the metaphysical and she would drink it in and study for hours and hours. Crystals, Chakra’s, meditation, theories on the multiverse, time, time lines, energy.

During this time she connected with some of the Mabigonian Deities, In particular Blodeuwedd. This path came to her, rather than her seeking it, but as she studied she began to understand that her experiences were very much a Pagan path.

Avalon practices as a Solitary Witch and is an active advocate of the Pagan Path and the rising of the Divine Feminine and Goddess within.

Creator and co owner of Aurora and Avalon Creations a Pagan based planner shop.

Avalon can be contacted at instagram.com/ThePaganPlanner

And her shop link is www.etsy.com/ca/shop/AuroraandAvalon

As a side note Aurora and Avalon Creations are having a shop wide sale of 35% off on August 8th -11th

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She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

August, 2019

Dakini

(Photo Credit: The Divine Feminine Oracle Deck by Meggan Watterson – Photo by Susan Morgaine)

Female, Powerful. Supernatural. Wisdom. Enlightenment.

The Dakini are beyond intelligence; they are the embodiment of female wisdom and enlightenment.

Dakini, translated, means “sky dancer”. They are seen as the attendants of Kali. Like Her, they can be vengeful and protective. The Dakini can be unruly; they make their own rules and love their freedom. They can appear as intense or nurturing as they represent energy in in all of it’s ever-changing forms.

Their resemblance to Kali is seen within the garland of skulls that they wear.

She/they is also seen carrying a vessel of menstrual blood – the elixir of life.

In other representations, She holds a gold Tantric staff, which symbolizes the ultimate union she has attained within herself.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dakini is the most sacred feminine principle. As Tantric Priestesses, they are limitless possibility.

She represents the inner realm as a meditation guide, and the outer realm as a Tantric yogini.

A Dakini can also be a sacred female spirit, a woman who has reached a certain amount of spiritual development and who teaches truth and spiritual wisdom in every aspect of her life. She carries power and grants insights to the serious yogini, especially those who practice Kundalini Yoga.

It was believed by Padmasambhava, who was a pioneer in Buddhism, that women were better able to go more deeply into meditation than males and, thus, were able to realize the wisdom of his teachings.

There were many Dakini temples, round structures, with no roof, open to the sky. The most famous is the 64 Yogini/Dakini Temple, which has 64 niches with carvings representing various aspects of this Goddess.

(Image Credits: tsemrinpoche.com)

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

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Beyond Belief: Trees

August, 2019

By the time you read this I will have had my first spot on British national radio. Specifically, the Beyond Belief radio show for BBC Radio 4. American readers, you may be able to get this online! The show was about the religious and spiritual significance of trees, from the perspective of different faiths. I was one of three experts recruited to debate and discuss the topic.

So, how did this come about? Well, I was lucky enough that one of my esteemed colleagues from the Pagan Federation pointed me in the direction of a particular post on Facebook. It was from the Arboricultural Association, a British organisation dedicated to caring for and managing amenity trees- those that are not used for timber, but which simply contribute towards the quality of life.

This particular Facebook post pointed to the producers of Beyond Belief, and they wanted to speak to people with a passion for trees and a knowledge on their religious significance. I immediately began typing out an email outlining my experience and interest. I received a call from a lovely man from their production team the next day, and I basically waffled at the poor soul for the next hour.

A couple of weeks later, I was driving to Manchester to the famous Media City to join two other experts for the panel. It was a bit surreal, and it probably goes without saying that I was incredibly nervous. I suffer from chronic anxiety anyway, so even getting in the car to go had been somewhat of a trial!

Upon arrival I met Rabbi Charley Baginsky of the Liberal Judaism Movement, and John Parker of the Arboricultural Association. Their views were absolutely fascinating. I learned a huge amount about how trees are important in other faiths, particularly within Judaism. I don’t want to spoil the show for you if you manage to get to listen to it, but there was so much more than the Tree of Life, although this was discussed too.

I certainly let the nerves get the better of me a couple of times. When discussing Ogham, I tried to dumb it down too much and ended up referring to them as runes (they’re not). I also very badly explained why the Hawthorn is a goddess tree. In contrast, I feel like I made some good points about how planting trees is the ultimate selfless act, although this was an expansion upon points made by my fellow panelists about how those who plant trees now may never see them fully grown, but they do it anyway.

I really hope you enjoy the show if you get to hear it. It was wonderful to learn how so many faiths, cultures and spiritualities all share the same love and reverence for trees and woods. Trees seem to be one thing that could really bring us together; faiths sharing common ground through the branches and roots of the forest.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author and musician, as well as a freelance journalist. She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

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Tarot Talk

August, 2019

Knight of Pentacles

(The Knight of Pentacles card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

Back to the Court Cards! Let us examine another Tarot “Royal” by getting to know the Knight of Pentacles. Just in case this is the first time you are reading my column, we will first review some basic information.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements dealing with day-to-day issues.

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit (“families” of all kinds) and individually representing particular personality traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is usually called the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the card we are talking about this month, who is the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Some decks change the names around, but the meanings in the hierarchy of the Tarot Court are pretty standard.

We are talking about the Knight of Pentacles today, and we already know that our Knight will manifest his suit with strength and focus, even to the point of being excessive. Like his King, our Knight is concerned with results, but unlike his King, our Knight is not responsible for also caring for his people, only for obtaining those results.

The traditional image on the Knight of Pentacles shows an armored Knight holding a Pentacle in one hand, sitting on a powerful dark warhorse that is standing still and steady with all four hooves on the ground. The sky is golden, the ground beneath the horse is green; in the nearby background are rolling farmlands, plowed rows visible, with a few mountains in the distance. Some decks show the Knight kneeling or standing beside his horse. There is little movement to be found in the image, but lots of strength, stability, and awareness of surroundings.

The suit of Pentacles/Disks/Coins corresponds with the playing card suit of Diamonds, the cardinal direction of north, and the element of Earth. Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change, but they are also steady and strong.

The cards of this suit are about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain our earthly world and those physical bodies, including health and exercise. Pentacles cards talk about fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. Pentacles cards can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; they can give information about material manifestations of all kinds. These cards can represent discipline and diligence, and an interest in quality rather than quantity, but they can also indicate the influence of greed and avarice, and the lack of an ability to access or be aware of resources.

Earth is not the only element that corresponds to our Knight. In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, Pages correspond with Earth, and Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). For this column, we will assign the element of Fire to our Knight, making our Knight of Pentacles representing Fire of Earth.

In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire transforms everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us. The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity.

Earth is passive and feminine in nature; it is cool and dry. When amassed Earth has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. Fire is active and masculine in nature; it is warm and dry, and separates and shapes. Combine the health, fertility, prosperity, steadiness, and introverted nature of Earth with the intensity, transformation, energetic effects and gregarious nature of Fire, and you have a good picture of Fire of Earth, and of our Knight of Pentacles. Here we have a stimulating force where the will supports the senses and passion that manifests through the physical world.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Knight of Pentacles corresponds with the cusp of Leo and Virgo.

The Sun sign of Leo is connected with the Lion (the king of the jungle), our Sun (the center of our solar system), and the element of Fire. This means that Leos are powerful and willful in all they do, often achieving more than expected. Of course, they can also be inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Leos are passionate and courageous; they can combine dignity and strength in order to be effective leaders who have a talent for inspiring others to also go above and beyond what is expected. They tend to plunge into a situation without a second glance, but since they thrive on risk and competitive situations, the end result is often good.

Virgo, the Virgin, is the sixth sun sign in the zodiac. Those born under this sign have a strong sense of service, and feel satisfied when helping others. They sometimes come off as cold or unemotional, but they are actually cautious, sizing things up. Virgos are meticulous, practical, intelligent, reliable, analytical and intelligent; of course, they are also over-critical, too conservative, and harsh. Virgos exist within the mind, appearing calm and collected on the outside, but lots going on inside. They are pure and honest, never malicious, and always trying to figure out how to improve things.

The Leo/Virgo cusp can be complicated. Leo corresponds with our Sun and Virgo corresponds with the planet Mercury, which means we are dealing with enthusiasm, ambition and the need to create, as well as speed, logic and an analytical mind focused on communicating. Practical, secretive and earthy, or intuitive, social and fiery; this combination can be either, or even both.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Knights correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, the first actual manifestation after the pureness of Kether (Kether represents the cause or catalyst of manifestation). Chokmah is found at the top of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. It is seen as dynamic thrust, and as the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus this sephira is connected to the Wheel of the Year. It represents dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity. In Chokmah, pure being becomes pure force (and thus, pure formlessness), and independence is possible. This is a perfect description of the Knight cards.

The Llewellyn Welsh Knight of Pentacles shows the traditional image of an armored Knight sitting on a warhorse holding up a Pentacle, with planted fields in the background. The Knight of Pentacles is described as a hardworking young man with a traditional or orthodox outlook. Here is someone who is dependable and who offers solid progress (but not fast progress). His approach is methodical, and he can be a bit dull, but he gets the job done. Reversed, his stability is turning to stagnation and he focuses more on money than on honorable accomplishments.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Knight of Pentacles rides the crest of an earth dragon, grounded and slow but with unstoppable progress as wherever the dragon sets his sights will be reached despite blockages. The Knight has eyes only for his goal and thus misses out on the beauty of the forest surrounding him and the dryads who reach out toward him. It may appear that he lacks creativity but actually he is conservative and tends to do things in a tried-and-true way.

The Thoth Tarot Prince of Disks is riding a solid and heavy chariot filled with round seeds and being pulled by a bull. Crowley describes this Prince as the ultimate handyman, “competent, ingenious, thoughtful, cautions, trustworthy, imperturbable; he constantly seeks new uses for common things,” and sees the Prince of Pentacles as intensely secret, and not always in a good way. We should note here that Crowley saw the rank of this Prince (the Thoth Tarot equivalent to the Knight) as Air of Earth and representing the cusp of Aries and Scorpio, so the feeling of this card might be different from the Knights of other decks.

The image on the Knight of Coins in the Legacy of the Divine Tarot is of a Knight’s helmet decorated with bull horns (representing physical prowess); in the forest surrounding the mask, a pair of stallions compete for dominance. This Knight offers stamina, endurance and physicality without requiring ambition, physical glory or personal gain. He is in it for the long haul and is always able to fulfil his promises. His advice to us is don’t hold back; allow yourself to be completely engaged in life.

The Pentacles cards of the Tarot Minor Arcana deal with matters of health, fertility, wealth/career, and building something useful and lasting. When the Knight of Pentacles appears in a spread, we know the focus will be on material concerns, investments and finances, tangible work (especially work done by hand), health, and even a focus on the physical senses. The Knight of Pentacles tends to be practical and conservative, focusing on how to do something rather than why it needs to be done. He works steadily and sees a job to its end; he invests with a long-term outlook and is both patient and trustworthy.

Knights are seen as messengers, mercenaries, defenders of Court and King, and the arm of the law for the kingdom. They are able to move in different directions as they accomplish their tasks because their purpose is focused only on the accomplishment of those tasks. The appearance of the Knight of Pentacles could be indicating that events connected with health, careers, the home, or even the reliability or lack thereof of those upon whom we depend regarding home, work or play, need to be addressed or adjusted.

The Knight of Pentacles considers it his job to protect what is valuable, and his laser focus and ability to shut out distractions means he does his job well. If the Knight of Pentacles shows up in a spread, look to the card at his left. Here would be an indication of whom or what he is protecting. Likewise, a card to the right would be an indication of whom or what he is warding away.

Like a slow-moving stream of lava, the Knight of Pentacles may not be quick, but he is almost unstoppable. He moves forward no matter what the obstacle, and leaves behind him fertile earth filled with seeds that will someday bear valuable fruit. All we have to do is nurture and protect this potential.

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

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Book Review – Field Guide to the Spirit World: The Science of Angel Power, Discarnate Entities and Demonic Possession by Susan Martinez, Ph.D.

August, 2019

Book Review
Field Guide to the Spirit World
The Science of Angel Power, Discarnate Entities and Demonic Possession
by Susan Martinez, Ph.D.

It is always interesting to me to read books regarding the occult/paranormal/esoteric that are written by those scientific academics that offer the opportunity to confirm the alliance between science and the spiritual/magickal. As the sub-title suggests, Field Guide to the Spirit World: The Science of Angel Power, Discarnate Entities and Demonic Possession does a fine job of forming a dialogue between the confirmable and the unknowable. The book’s author, Susan Martinez, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, the perfect foundational ground from which to explore the realms of spirits and ephemeral beings. And, as would be expected the bibliography is diverse in selections from the scientific community and those luminaries within the paranormal community.

… I have long been writing to prove that the spirit world is

not an invented thing, but a reality with which

we have fallen out of touch…1.

In reading Field Guide to the Spirit World we are brought to the realization that many of the mental/medical conditions for which there have been no rational explanation are often misdiagnosed and remain untreated, save for those few who look deeper and at the very least raise the question of inquiry into otherworldly sources. Conversely there have been cases of true illness that has gone untreated being subscribed to possession, overshadowing or more. And, the futile attempts made by one who does not have the scientific knowledge has caused death on more than one occasion.

Field Guide to the Spirit World is divided into eleven (11) chapters and concludes with three (3) appendices that encapsulate some of the core concepts. The title itself is indicative of a scientific journey into lesser-known territories and such is the case as you move through each of these chapters. What you may have already believed to be the truth of the Spirit Realms, Death and Demons is further dissected with case studies, valid scientific correlates and a healthy does of respect for what in ineffable and fleetingly complex in its very nature.

We are introduced to some familiar diagnoses such as PTSD, OCD, multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, to name a few and the general sense of Dr. Martinez is that these are often times a combination of personality/consciousness and manipulation from entities.

I am not entirely clear who the intended audience is for Field Guide to the Spirit World as it felt to be a selection that could add more clarity to those engaged in the world of wellness and add a differing perspective to those who work with Spirits in whatever way they have been trained. Coming more from the practitioner side vs. the scientific, it was an interesting read, although I did not necessarily agree with all of the premises. The problem being, that there are subtle nuances to any of this work that can’t be measured or that don’t clearly map to symptoms and patterns regardless of the seeming patterns provided by multi-case studies. And, just as there are frequent patients who don’t fit the mold, the same is true of the limited knowledge we have of the who’s who and what’s what in the realms of spirits and other discarnate beings. All in all, it is obvious that a lot of research and time went into the crafting of this book and I honor the bridging of the concrete and the mysterious.

Footnotes:

1. p. 3

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

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