A Prayer to the Lunar Eclipse

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I had forgotten about you.

But you were always there.

Still,

a speck of something that never

went away.

Maybe I forgot

about you

because I was too afraid

to face the darkness that still lingered

behind my closed door.

You don’t serve me though.

You don’t make my days full

or wondrous.

And so,

upon this time

where the Moon’s bright face

is shadowed,

I ask for the strength

to let you go.

To move through

to a new place,

a wilder, freer place.

Even as the black falls across

the White Orb as full as can be,

the constant

guiding light of our Mother’s Nighttime Face

is ever there.

Bright One, Shadowed One

who asks that I look deep,

bless upon me

the Truth,

the Magick,

the Power.

I am ready to face you,

to see you for what you are,

to let you pass through

me.

Sweet Moon,

I heed your message.

I face the closet door,

and I see the Shadow,

and I am One Light

too strong to be diminished.

Blessed Be.

Celebrating Lammas/Lughnasadh in the Kitchen

Celebrated on the Eve of August or August 1st in most traditions, Lughnasadh is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which signals the death games of Lugh, the Celtic god of light and child of the Sun.

lammas lughnasadh ritual sabbat celebration altar

Happy Lughnasadh or Lammas, whichever you wish to call it!

As the full sun rises on this beautiful Summer day, I can feel the heat around come to the crest in its pendulum swing. Things will start to cool after this burst of warmth and the harvest time will be upon us. To celebrate this wonderful Sabbat, I am getting in touch with my Kitchen Witch side (thanks very much to the amazing treasures contained in this month’s Sabbat Box).

::The Story of Lammas-Lughnasadh::

Celebrated on the Eve of August or August 1st in most traditions, Lughnasadh is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which signals the death games of Lugh, the Celtic god of light and child of the Sun. The Sabbat is often called Lammas, or Loaf Mass, as well.

The Wheel of the Year;’s story tells of the Sun God transferring his power into the grain during this time. He is then sacrificed when the grain is harvested. A dying, self-sacrificing and then resurrecting god of the harvest. Who by doing so saves his people. This tale, as you can probably tell, influence later religions. It is also said that this funeral was not actually for him but for his Mother, Tailte.

As the grain grows and ripens, the power of the sun goes into them. The first bread of the season is made from what has been harvested. This is where the Saxon hlaef-masse, or loaf-mass, now Lammas, comes in. Seed grain was also typically saved for planting the following year’s crop. Allowing the Sun god to rise again in the Spring as the new green shoots are seen. There are many traditions and customs all over the world which celebrate this time and you can also see this in the tales of the Harvest Goddesses and a procession of the Maiden turned to Mother now becoming a Crone.

This is the time for bread-making and corn-dollies. Goddesses celebrated on this Sabbat commonly include: Demeter and Ceres, and any other harvest deity. Trees associated with Lammas are Hazel and Gorse, with the herbs Sage and Meadowsweet being associated with this Sabbat. Additional herbs associated with Lughnasadh include: All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears. Colors associated with Lughnasadh are gold, yellow, and orange for the God and red, brown, and also gold for the Goddess.

::My Altar and Ritual::

Today, I’m getting in touch with my love of cooking and home. The gifts I mentioned above came with a sweet, little cookie stamp in the shape of a pentacle and a recipe for Honey Almond cookies. I’m going to be making these for my celebration at the Sekhmet Goddess Temple tomorrow. Although, I will admit that I am a little hesitant to go into a hot kitchen while it’s in the 100’s outside and I’m pregnant and hot anyway. Oh well.

I’ve also decorated my altar with a beautiful corn dolly statue, which is a nice change from the real thing which can flake and breaks down. This dolly can hang out all the way through to September. The altar is also be covered in beautiful golden trinkets that remind me of the Sun and all it has given us to survive and flourish, and with it being Leo season one of them is a golden lion leaping up inside the round circle of the Sun.

A specially created Lughnasadh incense and candle is burning on the altar and filling my nose with spice and flowers and sunshine. Sashes of yellow and red and orange lay draped across the top of my altar and I’ve anointed myself with a custom Lughnasadh blessing oil. Sitting in the setting sun and soaking up all the goodness, I’m taking this time to thanks the Harvest Deities and the Sun for another prosperous year under their guidance.

This is the time to reap what we have sown and take stock for the coming Fall and Winter. I am feeling very connected to the cycles this year as my belly has grown with the sun and it will soon be time to harvest this little one and welcome Baby Moon into the world.

Bright Blessings All Around!

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::Celebration Activities::

Aside from doing a ritual to recognize the changing season, here are a few other ways to celebrate this Sabbat.

  • Create and/or decorate ritual items like a Stang, or if you’re feeling the Kitchen Witch vibe your cooking tools like a wooden spoon.
  • Take a walk through the woods and spend time meditating on beautiful surroundings.
  • Make bread and enjoy it with friends and family
  • Make a wicker man and put all of your bad habits into him and then toss him in your ritual bonfire.
  • Make a corn dolly.
  • Harvest any plants you’ve been growing and use them to make something yummy or beautiful for the coming Fall.
  • Drape yourself in yellow or the rays of the Sun and pull in the warmth and growth this Sabbat offers.

This Sabbat is a wonderful time to be grateful for all that is coming into begin because of the seeds you planted earlier in the Wheel of the Year. Take stock, enjoy, and as always enjoy the tiny, crazy ways the world is expressing its joy and beauty.

Blessed Be.

New Moon Ritual January 27th, 2017

new moon ritual desert 2017 Chinese New Year magickHello!

As I head off to my New Moon Ritual with my ladies at the Sekhmet Goddess Temple, I though I would share the ritual I created for this evening. I’m leaving it in the template I use so you can see what the breakdown of time is like. This is just one example of a ritual and you can use it to create your own or simply enjoy thinking on the words and information presented for the Chinese New Year.

  1. Smudging– Have priestesses smudge in participants and have participants form a circle inside the temple and remain standing.
  2. Toning– use Mah to create sound vibrations. Repeat for 3 breaths.
  3. Call in Elements:
    1. East- Spirts of East, powers of air. You are the cool breeze that rushes over our skin in the dark of night, fueling an inner spark. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    2. South- Spirts of South, powers of fire. You are energy and transformation made manifest. You fill us with the courage, strength, and passion to our sparks build into roaring fires. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    3. West- Spirits of the West, powers of water. You are the blood flowing through out veins. You are an emotional quiet and stillness that balances our growing flame. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    4. North- Spirts of the North, powers of earth. You are the firm earth that creates a foundation for our fiery expansion. A root to ground the explosive transformation of our roaring fire. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    5. Above- Spirits of Cosmos, powers of above. You are the arching totality of the universe. You guide us and create a big picture where we can direct our fire. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    6. Below- Spirits of Silence, powers of below. You are the void and the quiet from which our souls, our embers are born. You are the cauldron from which this miraculous potion boils over. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
    7. Within- Spirits of Enlightenment, powers of within. You are at our core connecting us to our sisters. You are the light that keeps our inner flames glowing bright and proud. Welcome to our circle. Blessed Be.
  4. Call in Sekhmet– Sekhmet, Great One of Magic, Awakener, Lady of Transformations, The Aware, and Enlightener. You are our Great Mother.  We ask that you join us now so that we may be aware and awakened to the growing flame within us all, so that we may release that which doesn’t serve us and move forward toward transformation.  Sa Sekhem Sahu.
  5. Call in Self:
    1. If small group, go around circle and we will repeat your name back after you say it three times.
    2. If large group, go around circle saying name once.
    3. Both end with in saying “Mother we are here,” in unison.
  6. Declaration of the Year of the Fire Rooster: Information from the Numinous- A flock of hot-tempered fowl strutting around like they own the place in not what we need right now. We need love, compassion, and action. We should take heart however. Fire Roosters can be show-offs, but if we look past the plumage, beautiful in its own right, we’ll be relieved to see they are not the competitive trickster like 2016’s Fire Monkey. This change in sign for 2017, indicates a change toward playing fair again, realizing that “winning” and slinging mud isn’t worth our pride and personal relationships.

If you were born in 1933, 45, 57, 69, 81, 93 or 2005, you could very well be born under the Chinese astrology sign of the Rooster. But January or February birthdays should look at when the New Year fell that year.

The Year of the Rooster holds:

Hard work will pay off—so tend to that nest egg.

Good old-fashioned hard work—with some Rooster-style flair—will rule. The rooster rises with the Sun, so get an earlier start to your days. Create a morning ritual and become mindful with money. This is not the year to rush ahead without a plan. Good habits and regular exercise will keep us productive during uncertain times.

Beware: This may be a year of inflated egos and power tripping. Be clear about the pecking order in joint projects, even if some people have more authority than others. If you’re in charge, don’t be “all squawk, no action.” And watch the cutting critiques of other people in power.

The Year of the Fire Rooster is a fine time for joint ventures. Gather the flock and pool your resources. With the thrifty and financially strict Fire Rooster leading, there could be large cuts in government spending to get national debt under control. Collecting back taxes and recouping old debts may also be deployed with vigilance.

Love will get flirtatious, showy, and hot.

The feisty Fire Rooster is a shameless flirt who loves attention. Let yourself be a little more flamboyant as you court the sizzling spotlight or strut through the metaphorical henhouse. As modern-day humans, let’s take gender out of the equation. No matter your romantic preferences, welcomed, titillating, and tawdry exchanges can get some serious sparks flying. However, don’t mistake Rooster swagger for the real deal. Occasionally, a little tempting and teasing is just for fun, so enjoy this “cage-free” fun for what it is.

Flamboyant fashion will be a trend.

Break out the feathers, headdresses, and showboating style! The preening Rooster loves to be noticed. Mega-entertainers like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez were born under the sign of the Rooster. A little of the area’s natural Vegas-style glitz or a return to the 1970s wild patterns could return.

The role of men will get a much-needed upgrade.

With 2016’s Monkey-minded misogyny hopefully fading in our rearview mirrors, and though the barnyard king can be cocky, the Rooster is known to take care of his hens. In 2017, the fight for gender equality wages on—and it won’t come solely from women. We can expect to hear more men and non-binary people standing up for women’s rights and embracing the feminist label. This works especially well when women as feminist’s open and embrace diversity beyond womanhood. Think on your transgendered, gender-fluid, intersex, and ethnically diverse sisters, and even brothers, listen to their voices, welcome them, and we’ll all be the better for it.

Simultaneously, a return to chivalry, which can appear chauvinistic at times, could also occur. There’s a fine line between helping and treating women like helpless “little ladies.” Certain men must learn this.

On the world stage, 2017 could bring more swagger from governments who puff themselves up to look strong. Global leaders must be careful not to get swept into petty “cockfights,” while also being strategic and focused on details. Homeland security will be a big issue for many countries, got to keep that coop safe! Left unchecked it could bring another wave of xenophobia however. We have to work harder to keep open dialogues in 2017, instead of continuing to polarize across racial, philosophical, gender, and class lines.

Health and wellness will continue to be thriving issues.

Are you caring for your body? The fastidious, Virgo influence of the Year of the Rooster helps us incorporate wellness as part of our regular routines. Find a gym or set one up at home, move every day. Schedule checkups and find a doctor who listens to you and wants to help you discover underlying chronic health issues.

In 2017, preventative medicine like massage, acupuncture, and a vitamin-rich diet is the smartest prescription. Clean eating gets another boost from the Rooster year, and with the fire element afoot, the menu will likely include more spices, spicy and savory, cooked foods, raw juices, and smoothies. Results won’t come overnight this year, but by putting healthy practices in place, we’ll be crowing AND glowing by the time 2017 is through.

  1. Activity- A tradition when celebrating the Chinese New Year is a complete cleaning of the house and removing the old and welcome the new. This can also mean cleaning your physical self through a ritual shower or bath, and cleaning your mind. To great the New Year, consider cleaning the house, taking that special bath, and work out releases old emotions and thoughts and welcoming new, positive ones. You can try it a little right now. Think on a thought or feeling that’s been holding you back. Focus on a single idea. Then, let it fill your mind, not to let it take over but to understand it entirely. Next, as you breathe in think to yourself I welcome the new, and as you breathe out think I release the old. Let go of that thought. Release it to the universe where it can be safely recycled. You can take a few more breaths to fully let it go. Try this with different thoughts, with bigger habits, each time releasing and welcoming new, better thoughts and habits.
  2. Discussion– Open chat about what we want to create and transform, go around circle. If don’t want to say anything, simply say blessed be.
  3. Release Elements:
    1. East- Spirits of East, powers of air. Thank you for your presence and blessings of knowledge, happiness, and renewal.  Blessed Be.
    2. South- Spirits of South, powers of fire. Thank you for your presence and blessings of courage, passion, and transformation.  Blessed Be.
    3. West- Spirits of West, powers of water. Thank you for your presence and blessings of peace, compassion, and balance.  Blessed Be.
    4. North- Spirits of North, powers of earth. Thank you for your presence and blessings of stability, abundance, and resilience.  Blessed Be.
    5. Above- Spirits of Cosmos, powers of above. Thank you for your presence and blessings of expansion, creativity, and hope.  Blessed Be.
    6. Below- Spirits of Silence, powers of below. Thank you for your presence and blessings of quiet, confidence, and beginnings.  Blessed Be.
    7. Within- Spirits of Enlightenment, powers of within. Thank you for your presence and blessings of acceptance, magick, and oneness.  Blessed Be.
  4. Release Sekhmet– Sekhmet, Mother of the Gods, Lady of the Place of the Beginning of Time, Finder of Ways, Keeper of the Light, and Beloved Teacher. We thank you for you ever present love and guidance.  You are in all our days and nights, within and without.  Sa Sekhem Sahu.
  5. Closing song and cackle

Winter Solstice Meditation

“I lay to rest all the worries and all the negativity of the old year.”

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Let Go & Be Still

Winter Solstice, a time of quiet on the longest night. This is the moment where the pendulum hovers at the time of darkness ruled over by the Holly King and the Dark Mother.

As this cold, long night reaches its peak, the pendulum swings back. Now we journey toward the time of light, of energy. The Bright Mother and the Oak King will reign over this other half of the year.

To the rest of the world the year itself is coming to an end. But we know this is only a tipping point. Nothing is “ending.” In fact, each day will get longer and longer. This is a time of beginnings.

We look forward to ushering in the hope and promise of this lighter half of the year. Our solstice is a time of renewal. It is also a time to let go of that which is no longer serving you.

 

This winter solstice meditation will allow you to ease yourself into this new half of the year. Welcome the turning of the Wheel and step into the light as your best self.

As you begin your meditation, follow your typical habits. Get comfortable, relax, and take a deep breath. Feel the Earth beneath you as you sit or lie down. Feel the air around you. Feel the fire within you. Feel the water as your blood flowing through you.

Breathe deep.

Think on this affirmation, “I lay to rest all the worries and all the negativity of the old year.”

When ready, hold your hands to your chest to form the Dharmachakra Mudra.
To do this mudra, pinch your left middle finger with the index and
thumb of your right hand. Put your index finger and thumb together with both hands, this symbolizes the Wheel of Life. The left hand represents your inner
world, and the right hand represents the external environment. This mudra brings the two worlds together. During this meditation think of one wheel as the ending half of the year, and the other wheel as the new half.

Take another grounding breath and think on something you wish to release. As you inhale, pull all the energy connected to that item into your lungs. Then, exhale and as the air leaves your lungs imagine yourself blowing out the negativity, the habit, the thought, holding you back. Blow out all that doesn’t serve you.

Take six more breaths, totaling seven. Inhale and release as before. Think of something you wish to let go and blow it out of your life. Imagine your breath as a cool rush of Winter air. Let it sweep clean the things from your past you don’t need.

When you have completed your seven breaths, think on a symbol, a sigil, that represents what you wish to achieve in the coming months. Brew the image in your mind like a hot cup of tea, filling you with warmth and power.

With the image solid and strong in your mind, open your eyes and draw it on a piece of paper. Hold it tight to your chest and fill it with your intention.

Work on this goal each day and when you feel you have accomplished it, or are ready to move to a new goal, burn the paper in a sacred fire.

The time of darkness is ending and a new light lies around the corner. The Wheel of the Year turns again and each time it does we have a chance to learn something about the world and ourselves.

Let go of the past, welcome the future. Be present, be hopeful, be the light.

Blessed Be.

 

Empathy: More Than Just a Word

If we’re going to do these things and really help we must really work toward inner balance.

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Empathy is Strength

Empathy has been tossed around a lot on the Web these days. A lot of it has been good and can help many people. But what’s the deal with empathy and can our spiritual practice help us with it?

There are many different ways to interpret the word empathy. However, the basic idea remains the same. Empathy is the process of emotionally reflecting, experiencing, or absorbing the emotions surrounding you. In addition, the experience of empathy necessitates a return of compassion. Think of it like this. Sympathy can be explained as “feeling for” a person. Empathy is more emotionally intimate and could be explained as “feeling with” the external emotions present. Empaths then are those who continually absorb emotional energy and frequently “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

If you’re like me, then you’ve come to realize that what you’re feeling and experiencing is more than just general sympathy. We’ve realized we are empaths and we’ve experienced all the ups and downs.

For those of us who are very emotionally sensitive, to the point of absorbing external emotional energy each day, personal balance isn’t just a great goal it’s a necessity.

Don’t think of empathy like a curse though. It helps us find social unity, reinforce love, and assist to heal the world. If we’re going to do these things and really help we must really work toward inner balance. To manage strong levels of empathy, the metaphysically inclined empath, and others seeking balance, can work toward the items below.

~Shielding and Protecting~

It’s so common to want to hide away when the emotion load gets heavy. But instead of forcing yourself into perpetual self-isolation, which is actually really destructive, choose to protect yourself. This is when shielding comes into play. Constructing shields using ritualistic visualization each day or week is a way to help maintain balance. Most psychic shield visualizations are crystalline, spherical, glassy, or “mesh-like.” When using these techniques, avoid  visualizing impermeable or reflective shields, unless the need is dire. This can actually push your energy way too far away from the outside world. Additionally, remember that we empaths are notoriously emotionally vulnerable. If you feel like your shields have been compromised by a challenging social situation, they can easily be remade with added visualization and re-connection.

~Practice Spiritual Connection Every Day~

Life is a spiritual experience. No matter what spiritual path you’re on, you can connect with divine every day. Choosing to manage your emotions and personal energy on a daily basis will be the most important daily action for empaths. To help break free from the daily cycles that can bog you down, take time out for morning and/or evening meditation, tarot reading, prayer, ritual, and even simple solitude. Instead of throwing yourself into it right away, gradually build up how much time you spending taking a moment for yourself. Plus, everyone’s spiritual needs will be different. Do what works for you. There isn’t a correct way to connect and revitalize. As you grow, challenge yourself and allow the spiritual work to come from your heart. The heart is after all where empaths find their strength.

~Service Work as Personal Healing~

Empathy’s greatest gift is that of connecting with others. We are natural healers. When we are in a balanced state, we can help facilitate unity and understanding in those around us. We can choose to express this energy with others not only socially, but also through charitable volunteer work, educational activities, vocational social work, art, political activism, and the healing arts. We can also dedicate ourselves to support strictly progressive and earth-conscious companies with our everyday consumer purchases.

~Tailor Your Surroundings~

To the best of your ability, choose to surround yourself with kindhearted individuals who empower your strengths, encourage your happiness, and positively challenge your perception. Naturally, choose to do the same for them! Decide to minimally interact with overly pessimistic and discouraging people, and come up with a game plan of how to react and respond when you are faced with difficult individuals. Also, don’t forget to take breaks when needed; some amount of alone time is deeply beneficial for every empathic soul! Additional environmental suggestions include taking good care of pets (love them and receive love!), not spending too much time gaming or using computers, and even considering therapy, counseling, or life coaching during extenuated periods of emotional stress.

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Project Change

~Alchemize, Transmute, Transform~

Did you know that as an empath you can not only absorb emotions but transmute them? Empathy is not just absorptive, but projective. Often, empaths can change the mood of a room simply by being there. This displays how empathy is an influential force as well. You can take this to the next level by deciding to utilize emotion-based alchemy in a ritualistic environment when you feel overloaded or very negative.

If it’s in your tradition and you feel comfortable, cast a circle or use visualization to create a sacred space. Place an image, object, or a deity’s statue which personally represents transformation in front of you. Put your intention for transformation into this item and dedicate it to that purpose. Gaze at the focal point and sit with your emotions. Open yourself up to insight into the origin of the emotions you’re experiencing. Are they yours, someone else’s, or a combination?

From the right side of your body, or your dominant side if you use this, project your emotional force to the chosen focal point. Then, pull the transformed energy out and into the left, or receptive, side of your body. Sit with these new, magickally transformed emotional energies. Let them carry you through the day. Experiment and try other techniques which appeal to you. Determine which work best for you when working to remove your emotional stress.

~Let Creative Juices Flow~

Art and creativity naturally spring from empaths. Creating art of any type encourages energy from the internal to transfer the external. When we express ourselves, our psyches and spirits can project emotional energy outward rather than having to stay locked inside. Plus, art exists in every imaginable form. Go with what feels right, paint, dance, sing, write. Let intuition be your guide.

~Get Physical~

It’s not uncommon for very empathic individuals to become disconnected from their physical bodies. It makes sense. Empaths are guided by emotions. But, our bodies are our temples for a reason. They exist on the manifest plane and serve as sensory receptors for our consciousness. To function as empaths, as people, we must be mindful of the holistic picture. Body, mind, and soul all working together. Manage your unique physical body with balance. Get the right amount of sleep, consistent exercise (especially Yoga, which is great for empaths), and with medicines, natural or otherwise, as needed. Relaxing baths and cleansing showers are also super helpful and can assist to connect your energy to water, the element of emotions and empathy.

~Know Your Strength and Own It~

Lastly, remember that empathy does not make you weak. In fact, you are incredibly powerful, charismatic, mystical, and socially influential, even if you don’t feel that way sometimes. Say this and feel it. “I am a significantly powerful being in a world which desperately needs emotional awareness and compassion.” And remember, don’t get overly paranoid or depressed when you’re overwhelmed. Not everyone is out to get you or hurt you.

The more proactive we are each day and the more clearly we look at life’s tough moments as lessons, the more we can develop our power as empaths. Thus, helping to change the world. That’s right. You’re changing the world every day just be you. Congrats!

Super Full Moon Magick

We can work to bring about changes in our attitudes as well as manifest and welcome new things into our lives.

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The moon is upon us.

During this night’s full moon, the eve of November 14th, the Moon will appear very large and bright . This is the closest the Moon will be near the Earth until November 25th 2034. There is some powerful magick blooming on this night. Take advantage.

The Full Moon a spark to our creative inspiration and magick. The powers of nature have reached their peak. The unconscious mind now opens to gentle, quieter influences. In it’s round presence it symbolizes abundance and fulfillment. By observing the Full Moon as the powerful time to invoke ceremonial affirmations, we can align ourselves to this natural magic.  We can work to bring about changes in our attitudes as well as manifest and welcome new things into our lives. To experience the Full Moon’s full potential, you can light a candle each evening upon the rising of the full moon. You can also include the three nights prior to the Full Moon. I will be saying these affirmations as well as personal ones for fertility tonight and the three nights following. You can say the following or choose your own words:

Full Moon, Moon of Fulfillment,
Your beauty wonders me with enchantment.
Your magick works in the world and through me.
I am reminded of my own power
To shape my own reality.

Now, if you wish, recite affirmations which you have chosen to fit your situation. I would write them down in a list  in advance. An example of mine is “I am fertile and strong. I am the mother of a new child. I am pregnant at the time of my ovulation.” Then finish by reciting:

Oh Moon of Completion,
So this is and so shall it be.
Oh Moon of Celebration,
I dance in the joy of being
As I affirm the completion of my magick and my desires.

For an added power boost, you can write your affirmations down on a piece of special stationery. Maybe writing them ten times each. Then, fold the paper and burn it in a brazier, flame-proof vessel, or sacred fire. Now, your desires have been given over to the universe.
Candle Magick Addition

White and silver candles connect with lunar powers. You can also use any color which connects to your ideal of high energy and fulfillment. Large, spherical glow candles are also very symbolic. For candle scents, anointing oils, or incense, fragrances which connect to the Full Moon include frankincense, lemon, rose, lavender, sandalwood, and ylang ylang. You can also choose fragrances which connect to your desires.

If you have an altar, a Full Moon celebration provides the opportunity to be creative. You can decorate it with round white stones, sea shells, silver coins, silver touches, a strand of white globe-shaped Christmas lights or fairy lights, round mirrors, white flowers or those with sphere heads, and objects which symbolize things you want to bring into your life or the moon in general. A small round cake can also be eaten on the night of the Full Moon, if you so choose. Cakes are frequently used to celebrate the completion of goals and moon cakes are a symbol from many Asian countries. Also don’t forget the rabbits.

Samhain Altar and Celebration

night-sky-1111702_1920Most Blessed and Happy Samhain! Our Witches’ New Year is here!

As the Wheel of the Year begins again, so too do we have the joyous opportunity to take our harvest and make something magickal.

Now is also the time to honor our ancestors and be grateful for all the bounty they have wrought.

And as promised here is my Samhain altar and autumn images that I took.

altar-and-autumn-collage

And to help as all get connected with our ancestors on this most enchanting evening my Samhaim ritual. You can change this up however you like and it can work for a solitary practitioner.

Samhain 2016

Samhain, a Celtic-based holiday, is the festival where we honor the ancestors. Some traditions and groups really embrace this aspect of the holiday, while others do not. This will often depend on the strength of the group’s relationships with their ancestors. Some Wiccans and pagans revere their ancestors, honoring them each day, frequently communicating and receiving messages from them. Others may feel disconnected, and in a world when the ancient wisdom can be difficult to hear, it is even more difficult. But think on this. We all have loved ones who are now spirits, and this is the time to honor them.

For ritual, gather one candle for each person there, smaller candles work best. Also gather a bowl to place the candles in, where they will stand upright, or candle sticks for larger candles.

I often make an ancestor altar, as pictured above, and you can do the same. This process can be a ritual all in itself. It is sad and joyous to remember those we loved and look at their images decorating our altars. You can do this on your current altar or create a entirely separate one for this purpose. There should be room for the candles in addition to an offering. If you are doing this in a group, people can bring their own photos and place them on the altar as well. You can also use special items that were once theirs or which represent them. One large candle should also be atop the altar.

Once everyone has been given their candles, .address the idea of ancestors. Saying your own words or:
“On this eve of all evenings, when veil be thinned between the worlds, we honor those who have gone on before: our sacred ancestors.

Our ancestors shaped us and made us who we are. Physical ancestors, family going back who have now crossed over and spiritual ancestors, those to whom blood is not shared but are connected to us through love. Those who have shaped us through their example and actions. All have made us who we are and we honor our physical and spiritual ties to them.

Visualize your ancestors. The people in spirit you will honor and remain forever linked. They are here. They have always been here. For in the Otherworld there is no space, no time as we know it. The spirits are limited by neither. Think on your particular ancestors. Imagine them here, standing among us. See them clearly. Hold them in your hearts.

Beloved ancestors, we address you. Honored ones, holy ones, we know you are always with us. In some moments we can hear you speak to us. And even when we can’t, we know you are here. We call upon you and ask you to enter our circle. On this eve set aside just for you, we honor you. We remember you. Accept this offering in token of our love and respect.”

Now, light the large candle on the ancestor altar. Next, make your offering. A libation of water or wine, or an offering of flour or cornmeal is a good choice. Do what feels right. As you offer them, hold them up and imagine light pouring into it, filling it with positive energy.

Now direct those around you to do the following, saying whatever you wish or:
“One by one we’ll approach the altar. At your turn, think of your ancestors. Then, light your candle in their honor. Place it in the receptacle and leave it to burn. Speak to them. You can speak your words aloud or project them from your heart. They will know your message.”

If I’m in a group I typically go first so they know what to expect. Then I step to the side, moving clockwise, so that the others can go. Once everyone has gone and moved clockwise like I did, we should all be back in our original places.

Then, join hands and begin a chant. You can also dance if you wish. I like to say:

Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!

Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!

Our soul lives many lifetimes and the bond of love always remains!

The veil does not dim your light but lets us feel your soft glow in times of need!

Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!

Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!

Honored ancestors, we wish that our offerings please you. That you will keep us always in your hearts, as we keep you in ours. We will think of you always and honor our connections as the Wheel of the Year turns. Now at this time that we can feel you, see you, hear you the most, we honor you. We thank you for your contributions to our lives. Honored ancestors, may blessing be upon you! So mote it be!”

Then all repeat: “So mote it be!”

A Blessed Samhain to you all sisters and brothers and loved ones.

Blessed Be.

My pantheon

I have always felt pulled to their stories and have been connected with them since childhood.

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Walk with Me.

My personal pantheon is definitely what you would call eclectic. I feel connected to the Goddess or God and don’t necessarily stick to a single tradition or region. When I was first studying Wicca and I could see where my love of ancient mythologies and traditions came from, namely a deeply rooted pagan nature, I saw that there were so many with so much to offer. I did more and more research and I learned more and more about Goddesses and Gods of areas I had never thought about before. I celebrate quite a few female deities and they all have one thing in common. An affinity for creativity and the darker aspects of life and death. None of them could be considered push-overs either. A trait I work toward every day. Below I’ve listed the female deities I work with and who have spoken to me directly. You’ll see a great many are from Greek and Celtic Mythology. I have always felt pulled to their stories and have been connected with them since childhood.

Hekate- The Goddess who I love so, she is the first part of my magickal name. She is the Greek goddess of the Underworld, Magick, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. Per the most genuine traditions, she is an ancient Thracian divinity and a Titan. She, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea. She bestowed mortals with wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle. However, all these blessings might be withheld by her if mortals did not deserve them. She was the only one among the Titans who retained her power under the rule of Zeus. She was honored by all the immortal gods.

I personally felt her call to me right away. She was the first of the Goddesses that spoke to me when I began exploring paganism and Wicca. She always seemed to me to be the great Gatekeeper of Wisdom in Magick and a remarkable sorceress. She also helped me to learn the value of death and how the cycle always continues, a fact I had a hard time coming to terms with when I was young and still have my moments with today.

Nyx- The second part of my magickal name. Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night, one of the primordial gods who emerged as the dawn of creation. She is the child of Khaos (Chaos, Air). In some myths, she coupled with Erebos (Darkness) to produce Aither (Aether, Light) and Hemera (Day). Then, alone she spawned a brood of dark spirits including the three Fates, Sleep, Death, Strife and Pain. In other myths, it is said that without any husband she gave birth to Moros, the Keres, Thanatos, Hypnos, Dreams, Momus, Oizys, the Hesperides, Moerae, Nemesis, and similar beings. Nyx is an ancient deity typically envisaged as the very substance of the night, a veil of dark mists drawn across the sky to obscure the light of Aither, the shining blue of the heavens. Homer calls her the subduer of gods and men, and states that Zeus himself stood in awe of her.

Again, a darker, powerful Goddess, Nyx subtly called my name as she led me into the darkness. Not for punishment or suffering, though you do have to pass through those things to get to the heart of her, but for salvation. Giving me an understanding of the night, of the black, of the empty. From darkness, there is light, from black there is white, and something must first be empty to become full. I identify with her because she is the base, the root, in which the stars anchor themselves. She is the slate wiped clean, so we can begin again.

Kali- Our Dark Mother, who is so misunderstood. I’ve written an entire paper on her and still her mysteries are vast. My short blurb from a newsletter I wrote-

“Dark Mother,” Kali is the Hindu Triple Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction. Though many only her of her Destroyer aspect, she is so much more. She was the consort of Shiva and is often depicted standing over his dead form. While her fearsome side is truly not to be forgotten, it is this strength and power that represent her Mother aspect. Birthing her children only to call them back home to her at the time of their deaths, then taking them in to use in future create. An embodiment of the life, death, life cycle. For her Tantric worshipers, they believe they had to welcome her curse of death and much as her blessings of life. For a coin does not have one side and life cannot exist without death. They are integral parts of the same wheel of time. In her Crone, or Kalika, aspect she rules all forms of death and destruction, but she too rules all forms of life in her Maiden and Mother aspects. Kali’s creative word is that which we have heard often, Om. This chant giving life to what we put our intentions into. Kali gave birth to the gods and would devour them again to be reborn when their time had come. Vishnu, who often said in writings that he brought the whole earth out of the abyss, said of Kali, “Material cause of all change, manifestation, and destruction…the whole Universe rests upon Her, rises our of Her and melts away into Her…She is both mother and grave…The gods themselves merely constructs out of Her maternal substance, which is both consciousness and potential joy.”- from E.A. Rawson. She tells us when the time to let a thing die has come and when to begin creating anew. The priestesses tended her temples the Yoginis or Shaktis as Maidens, the Matri as the Mothers, and the Dakinis as the Crones. These women were also known as the “Skywalkers” and they took care of the dying, managed funerary rites, and acted as angels of death. Kali has also been worshipped in different lands, as her great influence stretches far. As the Black Goddess, known in Finland as Kalma, the biblical tehom or Tiamat, Durga, Sati, Uma, Devata, Tara, Lakshmi, these are all her names. In cemeteries and cremation ground she was worshipped, where even Roman tombstones invoked her with “Mater genuit, Mater recepit”- meaning the Mother bore me, the Mother took me back. So remember her is times when tough love is needed. Hear Her Truth– The time has come to let go of what must die. Life cannot move forward without Death.”

I am connected to her so much. She shouts at me regularly to cut that sh*t out and do what needs to be done. I call on her in times of confusion and when I am scared to move forward, knowing that she’ll look me in the eye with that “are you serious?” face and get me into gear.

Morrighan- She’s dark, powerful, and misunderstood. I think I’m sensing a theme. Morrighan is a Celtic deity, often depicted as a Triple Goddess. She is in fact linked with several different Goddesses. A goddess of battle and death, sex and fertility, prophecy and wisdom. Her name means “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen.” Queen of the Otherworld, the world of phantasms, faeries, and the dead. I have also studied her extensively and she is a beautiful mystery. Straight forward and fierce, proud and forgiving. The pains of life, the serenity of death, and the passion of sex.

She has also called to me most of my life. I remember learning of her because of an episode of Hercules and having to know more. She is still so shrouded but I feel she is guiding me down a path of wonder and painful knowing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For more information, check out Feast of the Morrighan by Christopher Penczak.

Isis- Isis is a Great Mother Goddess. Isis, in Egyptian Aset or Eset , is one of the most important goddesses of ancient Egypt. Her name is the Greek translation of the ancient Egyptian word for throne. In mourning, she is a principal deity in rites for the dead. As a magical healer, she cured the sick and brought the dead to life. As a mother, she was a role model for all women. Isis had strong links with Egyptian kingship. She was most often seen as a beautiful woman wearing a sheath dress and either the hieroglyphic sign of the throne or a solar disk and cow’s horns worn on her head. In the Egyptian mythology, she follows a similar path to Inanna, descending to the Underworld to save her husband, Osiris, and then being reborn into the world. She is also connected to the Egyptian horoscope and I am born under her sign.

Another of my most favorite mythological traditions along with Greek and Celtic is Egyptian. I have always loved their stories and lessons. I even visited the Egyptian exhibit in the Natural History Museum in Chicago as a small child. I have been surrounded by books about their mythology all my life.

 

Now, not to leave out male deities. I do feel connected to one in particular and the aspect male energy tends to represent.

Cernnunos- Cernnunos, though mostly as a nature and fertility god of Celtic Mythology, has appeared in an array of forms and made himself known by several names to nearly every culture throughout time. He is best known in his Celtic aspects of the untamed Horned God of the Animals and the leaf-covered Green Man, Guardian of the Green World. However, He is much older. Cernnunos worked his magick when the first humans were coming into being.

This image of the wild Hunter has always appealed to me. I am most connected to this form of the God. I can see myself running alongside him in the forest not a care for material things or rules. I can feel the protective energy he radiates and the fierce determination to provide for his people. I call on him when the situation calls for a more masculine energy and when strength of body is needed. Not to say I only call on him then. In fact, I find the Gods and Goddesses work well together.

 

My pantheon. They fill me with hope, acceptance, trust, love, pride, esteem, wonder, and awe. With their sure hands guiding me I can become my best self.

Halloween/Samhain 2016

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Hello All!

I’ll do a post about my Samhain altar and celebration once we get a bit closer to the lovely day, but…

It’s October!!!

I just can’t contain my excitement. We’ve reached my favorite month! My home is officially filled to the brim with witchy, classically creepy decorations. I actually got a late start this time. I usually have that stuff up just after labor day, but since I was hosting my housewarming party I waited. Much to my chagrin.

This month holds so much magick and wonder for me. I have always been deeply connected to the dark time of the year, especially since I was born in October. I’m right on the cusp of Libra and Scorpio. That means this month, especially the end with Samhain, is especially powerful for me. But don’t forget, it’s powerful for everyone.

At this turning of the Wheel of the Year, beginning our descent into the dark time of the year, remember all that has come before. Be grateful for past sacrifices and lessons. Learn and journey forward, steeling yourself against the Winter ahead.

Remembering our ancestors is a huge way many pagans celebrate the season. I, since I am a bit on the goth side, decorate the house with skeletons and skulls. They’re creepy and keeping with the spooky feel I want to create for fun but they also signify the passing of ancestors who have enabled me to live the life I do. I also like to put my spell supplies and bottles all around the house. Again, this looks creepy in terms of Halloween but its also a sneaky little way to fill my home with witchy vibes for Samhain.

This season is definitely a balancing act for me.  I love to play up the gothic, spooky decor and I also want to remember the significance of Samhaim. Hopefully it’s working.

Plus, another interesting challenge I faced this year was the bigger space to decorate. Now I am certainly not complaining. I love my new home but I didn’t have nearly enough Halloween stuff.

*Guilty Smile*

Alright, I was fine. But any excuse to get more Halloweenie stuff and I’m in. And at least I was smart about it. I went to the dollar store and searched for items that could be spruced up or paired with something else for an improved look. I also love making decorations and creating little arrangements throughout the house so that each surface tells a little story.

For Example:

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So as you can see, Halloween is kinda my thing.

Now that the house is all set up, it’s time to slowly stock up for altar items. I’m going to do a relatively traditional altar set up. Things you can include on your Samhain altar include:

  • Colors of late autumn like rich, deep colors purples, burgundies. and black. Also harvest shades such as gold and orange.
  • Altar cloths in dark colors welcoming the darker nights and spirits of those passed on.
  • Candles in deep, rich colors and some special ones in white, silver, and gold.
  • Photographs of your deceased ancestors
  • apples, pumpkins, squash, or root vegetables
  • Tools of divination or spirit communication
  • Offerings to the ancestors
  • Animal horns, skeletons, skulls, candy skulls, ghosts, feathers or talons as a power symbol
  • Statuary of deities connected to death: Hades (Greek God of the Underworld), Demeter (Greek Goddess),  Persephone (Greek Goddess), Hecate (Greek Goddess of the Cauldron, Crossroads, Magick, and the Underworld, of whom I am named), Thanatos (Greek God of Death), Freya (Norse Goddess), Hel (Norse Goddess), Yama (Hindu God), Kali (Hindu Goddess), Anubis (Egyptian God of the Dead), Osiris (Egyptian God of Underworld), The Morrigan (Celtic Goddess of the Crossroads, Triple Goddess), etc.

So with that my lovelies, I wish you a happy October! Have fun during this glorious month and enjoy the turning of the Wheel. When Samhain draws closer, I’ll give you a peek at my altar and the Samhaim ritual I have written for solitaries as well as the group ritual I will be participating in at the Temple of Sekhmet.

Do You Hear the Wolf Howl?

When I hear the wolf howl I know the time has come. The time to run.

do you hear the wolf howlI feel we have forgotten. So many things. We have forgotten running. Long strides across a great, green field in the moonlight. Running across brown earth hardening our feet. We have forgotten about sitting, laying, beneath a great oak smelling dirt and wet. We have forgotten hot sun on our bare skin, no area not touched by the fiery kisses.

We have forgotten to be wild.

We were not always so clean and boxed in. We were not always co-workers, toilers, factories, consumers.

We were not always tied tight in a form that doesn’t fit us.

We used to run, we used to jump, we used to be wild. We used to be wild.

Wild is not savage, but it is. Wild is not dangerous, but it is. Wild is not to be feared, but it is.

Our wildness gives us power and darkness. It gives us instinct and territory. Wildness gives us a place of spirit and creation and innate being.

We can still find it. Find the wild run and dance deep within the soul. And we must embrace this inner beast. This inner animal. Our instincts are ancient voices of ancestors. They are unique languages of blood and soul and self. They are to be heeded. They are to run free.

But we have forgotten.

We are animals. Glorious, upright animals. And animals need to fuel their instinctual power. We must feed it. That dark place deep within of anger and virtuous hunger.

It screams at us.

Run! Be free! Be fierce! Be strong! Be cruel when there is need.

Listen to the night, to the dark places and hear its voice.

Listen to the howling wolf, proud in the moonlight.

When I hear the wolf howl I know the time has come. The time to run.

Time to run for change and freedom. Time to run for love and death and dark and light. Let us be the creatures of divine existence we are meant to be. Let us listen and learn from the dark instead of cowering. Let us remember that the Goddess is all. Bounty and scarcity. Birth and the pains of birth. Seed and sickle. Growth and the rot. Stillness and wildness.

Let us be strong.

Let us be strong.

Let me be strong.