Katydid's Site Index

13 Goals for a Witch W.I.T.C.H Pagan Standard Time Thirteen Goals Of A Witch
The 9 Basic Components of Wiccan Ritual What A Witch Wants The Russian Witch Baba Yaga Green Man
Self Dedication Rite A 5 Day Journey to the Wisdom of the Heart Witchy Light 12 Things About Relations
The Four-Fold Breath The Dedication of the Witch Third Eye Rite to Improve Psychic Powers Smoke Scrying
Charging an Item Smoke Scrying Charging An Herb For Your Use Spellworking Basics
DANGEROUS PLANTS Feel Your Strength Witchcraft Spells Why Do We Wear a Pentagram?
Cutting A Doorway Pagan Family Protection Planter Enhance Your Imagination Celebrating Births
Thirteen Powers of the Witch Blessing Magic Thoughtforms And Spirits Thirteen Your Magickal Name
To Be A Witch Witchcraft Facts The Ten Commandments Of The Goddess The Ten Commandments Version 2
Witchcraft is Not Evil 25 Truths of Life Difference Between Wizards And Muggles Types of Witches
How Free Is Free Will? Effective Invocation Techniques Mechanics of Spellcasting General Guidelines for Casting Spells
Channeling Honey As A Magickal Ingredient How To Perform Ritual The Wheel Of The Year
Awakening Your Magic How To Raise Power For Magic Beginning Clairvoyance Wiccan Greetings
Improving Intuition Witchcraft and Broom Magick True Path Walkers Witches Handshake
Magic Witches Ladder For Comfort And Blessing Make a Grave Rubbing Menus and Table Settings Need-Fire Spell
The Veil as Seen Through the Eyes of a Witch Sign of the Chrysanthemum The Magical Properties Of Salt A Simple Example Of A Salt Spell
Magic Lessons - Thoth Spell Home Made Ink Recipe 10 Things About Being Wiccan How to Write Your Own Spells and Rituals
Candle Spell Worksheet Create Your Own Moon Spells Pagan Communities How To Dispose of Ritual Tools
How To Make A Seguro Magick Bottle Ethics of Love Magic How to obtain Graveyard Dirt How to Prepare for a Ritual or Spell
How to use a Worry/Anger Stone Magical Ethics Magick Circles, Why Use Them? Doing The Work: Building a Spiritual Practice
Ritual for New Magical Tools Shielding For Beginners Snappy Supermarket Spell Ingredients What is Cord Magick?
What Is The Difference Between A Spell and A Ritual? Basic Spell Construction Creating Spells Basic Spell Writing 101 Worksheet
Behold The Witch Candle Spell Outline
13 Goals for a Witch Know yourself. Know your craft. Learn and grow. Apply knowledge with wisdom. Achieve balance. Keep your words in good order. Keep your thoughts in good order. Celebrate life. Attune with the cycles of earth. Breathe and eat correctly. Exercise the body. Meditate. Honor the Goddess and God. W.I.T.C.H W is for the Wealth of Wisdom of the Ancients and the Blessed Old Ways I is for the Inspiration that Magick brings to us all each and every day T is for the Trust that we share with our Mother and among our own kin C is for the Caring Ways and Collective Energies we share from deep within H is for the Home we love and return to and where we know we are forever free Pagan Standard Time Pagan Standard Time is a trait peculiar to Pagans, and ranges in length from being late for a Circle, to not showing up at all. A Pagan who is less than two hours late is considered "on time" just like the Long Island Railroad. With nearly a million Pagans in the United States, and twice as many in the rest of the world, we believe it's high time a clock was designed which would show time the way Pagans are used to seeing it. And so, this proposal from the Witches' Annual editors for: It has these special features: 1.The seconds hand is eliminated, since no Pagan works on THAT tight a schedule. 2.Pagan Standard Time is measured by an extra hand, which moves at about half the speed of the hours hand. 3.There are 13 hours on the dial, thus making two extra hours in the day for Pagans who are always too busy to do anything. 4.Hours 5 through 8 have been eliminated, since any Pagan at that time is a) alseep, b) just getting to sleep, c) just waking up, d) too busy, or e) unavailable. To be sure that a Circle will begin on the stroke of Midnight, there are two extra Midnight hours. 6.For Pagans who begin Circles at 9 o'clock, there are two extra ninth hours. Also two extra tenth hours for late arrivals. 7.Since there is no eleventh hour, there is no need for the Pagan to rush. There are no deadlines to meet, there is no "last chance," and the consistent goof-off will never have to face the music. Thirteen Goals Of A Witch ~ Scott Cunningham 1. Know yourself 2. Know your craft 3. Learn 4. Apply knowledge with wisdom 5. Achieve balance 6. Keep your words in good order 7. Keep your thoughts in good order 8. Celebrate life 9. Attune with the cycles of Earth 10. Breathe and eat correctly 11. Exercise the body 12. Meditate 13. Honor the Goddess and God The 9 Basic Components of Wiccan Ritual 1. Purification of Self 2. Purification of Space 3. Creating Sacred Space 4. Invocation 5. Ritual Observance (On Sabbats and Esbats) 6. Energy Raising (during magick) 7. Earthing the Power 8. Thanking the Goddess and God 9. Breaking the Circle What A Witch Wants Witches, like women in general, are not difficult to please, all you have to do is turn your dreams into reality. 1. Forget about trying to convince us that kissing frogs or toads is an Olypmic Sport. (We may be into skinny dipping ...although sometimes WE will make do with a handsome prince who's wearing a Speedo thank you.) 2. A bit of bling just might be our thing, (and no, that fake Gucci bag you had in mind for her birthday won't cut it, so try again!) 3. A rogue, rascal and rapscallion all rolled into one (preferably one who can ride a steed and sweep us off our feet but never forget to take us out to the racetrack for some fun...no betting on Feedlebaum!) 4. A dragon-lady we can be at times but we don't appreciate a man who slays her with flowers (now a trip for two to Shangri-la, a bed of roses, a bottle of cold bubbly... well that's a whole different matter...and bring along your valid credit card with no spending limit!) 5. Ability to sing and/or dance is a definite must, (we can't countenance a knight-in-shining armour with two-left or one who croons off key...after all, making music and tripping the light fantastic are but two ways to tickle our fancy -- c'mon now, use your imagination for pity's sake.) The Russian Witch Baba Yaga Baba Yaga, does that sound familiar? Maybe not. She's an Eastern European, particularly Russian, legendary or mythical creature, a wild old woman, a hag, a witch, who lives in the forest in a cabin built on chicken legs. Baba Yaga is rather frightening, as are all these strange women who live alone in most cultures, at least until you get to know them and then sometimes they're good sometimes bad! Baba Yaga can indeed be dangerous, enslaving those who cross her path, especially if they make her cross usually by asking the wrong question. Mothers use the threat of Baba Yaga to warn their children to be good. Other times Baba Yaga appears as a source of wisdom and guidance. Green Man The Green man's foliate image is found on many ancient buildings and churches. His history is embedded in the tale of the Green Knight of Arthurian legend. He represents rebirth, fertility and nature and is recognized as the Holly King, or the King of the Waning Year - from Midsummer to Yule. Feel his presence as you look up through the green leaves towards the returning sun after the winter solstice. He provides a face and form that embodies the power we feel from nature - see his verdant strength all around you in the grass, trees and feel his energy. He symbolizes oneness between nature and humanity, and irrepressible life. At Yule he fights with the Oak King and loses - this symbolizes the return and rebirth of the sun. But he'll be back in the spring to take up the crown of King of the May - the bringer of fertility and energy. Self Dedication Rite ~ Scott Cunningham Prepare yourself by doing the Ritual Bath and Self Blessing. If you are performing this ritual at the sea or a river, bathe there if you so desire. As you bathe, prepare for the coming rite. Open your consciousness to higher levels of awareness. Breath deep. Cleanse your mind as well as your body. After bathing, dry and dress for the journey. Go to a place in the wild where you feel safe. It should be a comfortable spot where you won't be disturbed by others, an area where the powers of the Earth and the Elements are evident. It may be a mountain top, a desert canyon or cave, perhaps a dense forest, a rocky outcropping over the sea, a quiet island in the center of a lake. Even a lonely part of a park or garden can be used. Draw on your imagination to find the place. You need take nothing with you but a vial of richly scented oil. Sandalwood, frankincense, cinnamon or any other scent is fine. When you arrive at the place of dedication, remove your shoes and sit quietly for a few moments. Calm your heart if you've exerted yourself during your travel. Breathe deeply to return to normal, and keep your mind free of cluttered thoughts. Open yourself to the natural energies around you. When you're calm, rise and pivot slowly on one foot, surveying the land around you. You're seeking the ideal spot. Don't try to find it; open your awareness to the place. When you've discovered it (and you'll know when), sit, kneel or lie flat on your back. Place the oil on the Earth beside you, Don't stand - contact the Earth. Continue deep breathing. Feel the energies around you. Call the Goddess and God in any words you like, or use the following invocation. Memorize these words before the rite so that they'll spill effortlessly from you, or improvise. Say: O Mother Goddess, O Father God, Answers to all mysteries and yet mysteries unanswered; In this place of power I open myself to Your Essence. In this place and in this time I am changed; From hence forth I walk the Paths of the Craft. I dedicate myself to you, Mother Goddess and Father God. Rest for a moment, silent, still. Say: I breathe your energies into my body, commingling, blending, mixing them with mine, that I may see the divine in nature, nature in the divine, and divinity within myself and all else. O Great Goddess, O Great God, Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence. You may feel bursting with power and energy, or calm and at peace. Your mind might be in a whirl. The Earth beneath you may throb and undulate with energy. Wild animals, attracted by the psychic occurrence, might grace you with their presence. Whatever occurs, know that you have opened yourself and that the Goddess and God have heard you. You should feel different inside, at peace or simply powerful. After the invocation, wet a finger with the oil and mark the symbols of the Goddess and God somewhere on your body. It doesn't matter where; you can do this on your chest, forehead, arms, legs, anywhere. As you anoint, visualize these symbols sinking into your flesh, glowing as they enter your body and then dispersing into millions of tiny points of light. The formal self-dedication is ended. Thank the Goddess and God for Their attention. Sit and meditate before leaving the place of dedication. Once home, celebrate in some special way. A 5 Day Journey to the Wisdom of the Heart DAY 1: Your walking down a path. There is a deep hole in the path. You fall in. You are lost and helpless. It takes you forever to find your way out. DAY 2: Your walking down the same path. There is a deep hole in the path. You pretend you don't see it and you fall in again. You can't believe your in the same place again. It still takes you a long time to find your way out. DAY 3: Your walking down the same path. There is a deep hole in the path. This time... you see the hole. You fall in it anyway... its a habit. This time the hole is familiar and you immediately find your way out. DAY 4: Your walking down the same path. There is a deep hole in the path. You walk around it. DAY 5: You take a different path. Witchy Light During times of need, give yourself, your family, and your pets a daily protection by visualizing a light blue pentagram in the center of your (or their) forehead. This may be visually renewed as often as needed. It's also a good idea to place these pentagrams at the four corners of your dwelling. Blue light like this is sometimes referred to as "Witchy light." It is said to be psychic in nature, and to carry much power. 12 Things About Relations 6 Things to Weaken the Relations: 1. Misbehaving 2. Ignoring 3. Lying 4. Breaking Promises 5. Avoiding Contact 6. Doubting 6 Things Which Strengthen The Relations: 1. Good Attitude 2. Helping 3. Trusting 4 Respecting 5. Entertaining 6. Forgiving Mistakes. The Four-Fold Breath The main purpose of pranayama is to relax the body and mind. There are many kinds of pranayama, but a simple one called the 'four-fold breath' works for most people. This consists of four short quick inhalations, then four short quick exhales; then repeat, continuing until the allotted time is used up. It will take about 1 1/2 seconds for the four inhalations, and about 1 1/2 seconds for the four exhales; or about 3 seconds for the complete in-out cycle. There should be no strain of any kind during your pranayama. You will probably notice a slight dizziness, particularly at first, since the effect of pranayama is to hyperventilate. Try sitting back in a chair with your eyes closed when you do your pranayama. Begin with a minute a day for the first week and gradually increase up to about five minutes a day. If you do the pranayama before your magical activity, it will help you to get 'into the mood'. It is also an excellent aid to relaxation, tension release and centering yourself. Pranayama should not be done during times when there is heavy air pollution if you have allergies. Other exercises you might consider are hatha yoga, calesthentics, walking or jogging. The Dedication of the Witch All witches, even solitary practitioners, need to dedicate themselves to the craft, and all that it means. This should be a ritual that is taken quite seriously, but at the same time, should be joyful. Only you can choose what you will do for your ritual, what offerings you will make to the Goddess, etc, but below, you will find a dedication that can be used while you are performing the dedication ritual. Say: I call upon the Source of All Things to instill within me the power of magick, through which I can draw down the moon, call upon the Gods, and manifest my desire in accordance with my will. I call upon the Source of All Things to instill within me the awareness called compassion, through which I can discern true will, call upon my higher nature, and manifest my desire with harm to none. I call upon the Source of All Things to instill within me the wisdom of forethought, through which I may harm no one, call upon my experience, and manifest my desire to know, dare, will, and keep silent. I am (name) – born of power, compassion, and wisdom. Though born of this world, my race if of the stars, with harm to none, I manifest my will and submit to my higher self. To know, to dare, to will, and to be silent. So Mote It Be! Third Eye Rite to Improve Psychic Powers This ritual is to improve psychic powers three days before the moon is full, and preferably when it is in either the astrological sign of Cancer, Pisces or Scorpio. Begin by brewing a strong magical tea made from yarrow or mugwort (herbs that stimulate the psychic senses) and then light thirteen purple colored votive candles to help attract psychic influences. Drink the tea and then gaze fixedly into a magic mirror, crystal ball, or crystal pyramid as you chant the following incantation: Say 3 times: I invoke thee, O Asariel Archangel of Neptune And ruler of clairvoyant powers. I ask thee now to open my third eye And show me the hidden light Let me see the future. Let me see the past. Let me perceive the divine Kingdoms of the unknown. Let me understand the wisdom Of the mighty universe. So mote it be! After chanting, relax, breathe slowly and concentrate on opening your Third Eye. Do not permit any negative thought to contaminate your mind. The Third Eye, an invisible chakra located in the middle of the forehead above the space between the eyebrows, is the human body's highest source of power, supernormal sight and clairvoyant vision. Charging an Item After you have consecrated a tool or item, you should charge it. Hold the item above your head. Take a moment to feel the swirls of energy around you. You should be able to feel them tug at you like a current in a river. Say: Let the sacred powers of the universe unite and fill this (item name) with energy. By the Moon, the Sun, the Earth and the Stars I charge this (item name) to do my will. So Mote it Be! Close your eyes and envision an energy bolt striking the item and causing it to glow. You should feel a subtle vibration while you hold the item. Your tool is now charged. Smoke Scrying Smoke scrying is best done while relaxing in front of a campfire. You should be in comfortable visual range of watching the smoke rise. Do not follow the smoke up but rather allow the smoke to forms patterns within your spiritual gaze. In time you will see visions of many far off events. I have generally found people who have natural artistic skill good at this form of scrying. The American Indians practice a special type of smoke scrying. It's called a sweat lodge. Water is poured over hot rocks in a tent to create steam. Those who sit naked around the rocks inhale the steam. The combination of temperature, humidity and elevated levels of carbon dioxide produce a state in which visions can arise. This form of scrying may be dangerous and should only be undertaken by experienced people. Charging An Herb For Your Use Discovery of your interaction with it. Charging is the act of mixing your own energy with that of the thing you are charging. Anything used for magical work should be charged. To charge an herb is a process of reverence. You must acknowledge the gift of nature, understand that it will benefit your work and be willing to take its own force into you. Take a small portion of the herb in your dominant hand. Cover it lightly with your other hand. Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. Calm all other thoughts in your mind. Breathe in fully and breathe out completely. Begin to focus in on the herb between your palms. Visualize the energy from it as one color and your own as another. Concentrate and picture the energies or colors slowly mixing, swirling together and becoming one. Feel the pull of the mixed energies enter you and move up your arms. Color visualization is one of the easiest forms. Focus all your thoughts on the colors blended together, moving throughout your body. This will take some practice so don’t be discouraged if the visualization is not strong on the first attempts. Keep practicing and it will get stronger as you progress. Note: To help with your visualization, take a small pinch of the herb, crush it between your fingertips and release its scent. Take in that aroma. Your mind will file it as information and you will be able to use the scent to enhance your perception of the herb’s vibrational energy. Once the herb is charged (or fully fortified with your energy) it is ready for use. Spellworking Basics Cleanse and consecrate poppet for workings of magic. Stuff it with the herbs. Sew the opening closed. Say: Goddess of Opportunity Bring good things in life to me I'll be alert to all you send Goddess be my helpful friend, Repeat 3 times, envisioning the opportunities you wish to come to you. Meditation and Chant to the Goddess Sit with your spine straight, legs crossed, hands in your lap. Close your eyes and visualize the Goddess, however she appears to you. Feel her arms around you in a protective embrace. When you have the vision firmly planted, chant softly.. Say: Starry Goddess, full of light I honor you this Full moon night. Repeat, feeling your energy grow. This energy will be used during the following spellworking. DANGEROUS PLANTS NEVER EAT OR INGEST ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: Avoid experimenting with ANY the following plants. Some of them possess highly potent medical properties and should only be used by the truly experienced witch or herbalists. Many are poisonous in part or in whole and cause serious illness or death if not used properly. Aconite, Bittersweet, Black nightshade, Blue flag Burning bush, Calabar bean, Calico bush, Camphor, Castor oil plant (seeds), Celandine, Christmas rose (root), Cowbane, Daffodils, Deadly nightshade, Dog's mercury, Elkweed, Ergot, Flag lily, Foxglove, Gelsemium, Hemlock, Hellebore, Henbane, Holly (seeds), Honeysuckle (vine and fruits), Horse balm, Ilex, Impatiens pallida, Indian arrowroot, Inkberry, Jack-in-the-pulpit (root), Jerusalem cherry, Jimsonweed, Laburnum (seeds), Laulel (seeds), Mandrake, Mayapple, (roots, leaves, seeds), Monkshood (fine as a rub - The smallest amount is deadly if used internally), Mistletoe (seeds), Poisetta, Poison Dogwood, Flag, Hemlock, Ivy, Oak, and Sumac, Poke root, Rosebay, Springle tree (seeds), Spurge, Swallow wort, Thorn apple, Tobacco (Believe it! This IS a deadly poison if concentrated and eaten), Wahoo, Wake-robin, Water dropwort, White hemlock, White bryony, Winter rose, Wood anemone (seeds), Yellow jasmine, and Yew (seeds and berries) Feel Your Strength Remind yourself how strong you can be. Then put that strength to good and meaningful use. When you’re tempted to think that circumstances have made you their victim, stop and reframe that thought. See the reality that those circumstances have given you immense opportunity. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, feel thankful for the purposeful strength that is yours. Instead of running or hiding from the difficult challenges, let those challenges bring your strength to life. Feel your strength in action as you confidently step forward and do what must be done. Feel the effectiveness of your strength as your efforts bring results. Feel your strength as it becomes more present and apparent with each action you take. Feel that strength grow even stronger as you infuse it with positive purpose. See each effort not just as an effort, but as a reminder of what a difference you can make. Feel your strength and feel the joy of using it to move life forward. Witchcraft Spells Wiccan Spells Spells are used in witchcraft to channel the power of the Wiccan God and Goddess to initiate positive change and for resolution of problems. It is important to know what phase the moon is in while practicing spells and witchcraft. For example, it is best to do spells of a banishing or destructive nature in the waning of the moon, when it is dark and the new moon is about to wane. Examples of such spells are the banishing of negative energy, hope for the end of illness and also agricultural rites, to ward off destructive insects. Constructive spells Spells of a constructive nature should be performed during the waxing of the moon, when the moon is full and bright. Examples of constructive spells would be spells for luck, fertility rites and protection spells. In witch craft, all spells should be practiced while in a positive mood, because this will achieve the best end for what you want. Many things are used in the practice of witchcraft as aids in spells, such as different herbs and leaves, as many of these things are believed to have magical properties. An example is the bay leaf, which is believed to have a lot of positive energy associated with it, and used often in witchcraft to invoke positive energy. Consecration/Purification in Spells Consecration is defined by the dictionary as to “dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.” Consecration must be practiced before any tool can be used in the practice of witchcraft. Consecration is a form of purification, and is done with salt, water and incense, which all stand for the five elements of nature – water, earth, fire, air and spirit. It is important that consecration to be used for witchcraft be done in a positive state of mind, as this incorporates the “spirit” part of the elements. Consecration is used in witchcraft to gain the approval of the God and Goddess for what they are about to practice. Why Do We Wear a Pentagram? Why do we WEAR a Witches (Wiccan) Pentagram I feel it is important to wear a pentagram proudly. It lets other Pagans know that you are one of the old ways. It also lets the public know that you are proud of your beliefs and your faith. It gives you ...the opportunity to educate others when they ask about your pentagram, perhaps teaching the world the truth of it’s meaning. I am proud and I wear your pentacle proudly. For my own heart I have always felt that to hide it was to say I knew that some people saw it somehow as something unacceptable and perhaps that give power to those who would keep us in the shadows or keep us put away from the world. The pentagram stands for the spirit ruling the world of matter... also life, health, protection (especially against hostile energies)... The points can represent the 5 senses, stages of life or states of consciousness. When worn inverted, it can represent the horned God, male energy or the spirit hidden. Most of us who will on occasion were it inverted do so to represent that our energies are waning. This can be do to sickness, loss of someone we love, or a personal struggles in our life. It is a sign that we need to keep our energy within. I wore my inverted pentagram during my battle with cancer. This was to let the rest of our communities know, that my spirit was weak and my energy was to low to share or give to others. The pentagram has never represented a devil or creature called satan within our beliefs or the old ways. That is a modern idea put forth by those who do not know the truth. Cutting A Doorway At times you may have to leave the circle. This is fine, of course, but as previously mentioned, passing through the circle dissipates it. To prevent this from occurring it's traditional to cut a doorway. To do this, face Northeast. Hold your athame point downward near the ground. See and sense the circle before you. Pierce its wall of energy with the athame and trace an archway, tall enough to walk through, moving counter-clockwise along the circle for about three feet. Move the point of the athame up at the arch's center and down the other side until it is near the ground. As you're doing this, visualize that area of the circle's energy being sucked back into the athame. This creates a void, allowing passage in and out of the circle. Pull the athame out of the circle's wall. You're free to walk outside. Once back inside, close the door by placing the athame at the lower North- Eastern point of the archway. With your athame trace the circle's perimeter clockwise, as if redrawing that portion of the Circle of Stones, again visualizing blue or purple energy flaring out from the blade and converging with the rest of the circle. It is done. Pagan Family Protection Planter For a part sun-afternoon shade spot, plant trailing ivy, snapdragons, allysum, pink geraniums and dark purple petunias in a hanging basket or container by your front door. Why these plants? Ivy is protective; snaps ward off negative spells, allysum expels charms, pink geraniums are for love; and dark purple petunias add power and are very fragrant at night. Enhance Your Imagination Say: I command my mind , to have the best visions in my mind I send this commandment to the one and only divine to grant this commandment to my mind so I may have excellent visions in my mind as it is said so be it and so mote it be!" Note: The one and only divine means the christian god (sorry Wiccans) also this will give you extreme visions in you're mind. And visions doesn't mean psychic visions or anything just you can image in more with you're eyes open and you're mind. And it may seem useless but it is great! Especially for making and casting spells since you need a lot of imagination for spells. Celebrating Births Springtime is the time for birth, with Earth’s renewal all around us. This magical ritual makes a lovely accompaniment to Wiccanings, christenings, or other infant welcoming ceremonies throughout the year. Hold the new baby in your no dominant arm. Whisper, so only the infant can hear you, “Not above you, not below you, but within you.” As you whisper, use your other hand to gesture above and below the baby, matching the words you speak. Finish by touching the baby’s forehead and heart, or all seven chakras, if you prefer. If you can’t be physically present, make or purchase a baby blanket (blue is ideal for health and protection). Cradle it as if it was the new baby, and perform the above ceremony with the blanket-effigy. You might print a rune of protection, such as Algiz ( z )or Thurisaz ( x ), into one corner. Send the blanket to the new family, where it will serve as a power piece for the new child. Thirteen Powers of the Witch Blessing Never heard of this before. Not sure who wrote it but one site gave credit to Silver RavenWolf. I found it interesting both as a blessing and a listing of powers/abilities of a witch. I think it is one of those things that the more you read it the more you get out of it. "Thirteen powers do the Witches claim their right of lineage by Goddess's*(insert name of Goddess you work with here) name. Tie a knot and say the words or hand on head - the blessing conferred. Say: A Witch can give success in love curse or bless through God/dess above. Speak to beasts and spirits alike command the weather, cast out a blight. Read the heavens and stars of the night divine the future and give good advice. Conjure treasure and bring fortune to bear heal the sick and kill despair This is my birthright to have and to share blessings you, (the person's name), may the spirits be fair. Magic Thoughtforms And Spirits Whenever we concentrate our thoughts, we draw psychic energy together. This is called a thoughtform. Usually the energy dissipates as soon as we break the concentration, but it is possible to purposely concentrate energy in this way, producing very strong thoughtforms. Such thoughtforms are vortexes or centers of psychic energy. They can exist as entities by themselves, at least for a while. They are basically inanimate, non-thinking forces. Talking to one is about as logical as talking to a chair. In this way, thoughtforms are similar to elementals, ghosts, and spirits. All of these psychic entities consist of a psychic energy vortex which could be described as a localized field or as a discontinuity of the physical world. Psychic entities respond to certain electrostatic and magnetic fields, and to other energy vortexes. That is why they respond to Magick ritual. Psychic entities are sometimes able to affect our thought processes. Thoughtforms and elementals, are usually not very smart. If they display any intelligence at all, it is limited. They are the morons of the spirit world. Their behavior is usually automatic, repetitive, robot-like (just like some people). We see that artificial elementals are little more than astral robots. Spirits and deities are more intelligent and volitional. Directed Attention Your mind follows your attention. Wherever you direct your attention, there will your thoughts go too. By directing attention to a specific place or purpose you focus mental energy upon it. For example: you're having lunch in a cafeteria crowded with people. It is a large place, and everyone there is talking at once, so that the room is a constant jumble of noise. You happen to notice a man across the room; he reminds you of someone. All at once he drops his fork and you hear it hit the table. But would you have noticed the sound of his fork if you had not been looking? No. Only by focusing your attention there were you able to pick out that individual event and associated sound. It is a dark night. You are walking and the only light you have is from the flashlight you hold in your hand. As you move the flashlight around, the beam of light from it directs your attention first one way then another. Now, the mind is something like that flashlight in the dark. By directed attention, you point the mind to one place or another. As with that flashlight beam, you see where the mind is pointed; nothing more. The rest is 'noise'. And so we could define mental noise as anything not focused upon. In another way, noise could be considered as negative emotions, attitudes, and thoughts which make it more difficult to direct the attention. Your emotions follow your thoughts quite easily. Your emotions are not you, but are rather reactions prompted by your model and ego -- like a performance or an act, while the real you watches. In a similar way, directing your attention toward a specific emotion will cause you to experience that emotion. Thirteen Say: Thirteen silver moons in a year are, Thirteen is the coven's array. Thirteen times at Esbat make merry, For each golden year and a day. ~ from the Witche's Creed Your Magickal Name Perhaps that is so, and if so, why all the fuss about choosing the right magickal name or craft name? Indeed, why even bother to choose a name at all? What's wrong with just being "Sue" or "Bill"? Let's take the example of the rose. When you hear the word "rose" you get a definite picture in your mind, you see a color, you see the flower, you know what scent to expect, and you also know it will have thorns. Those are the attributes of a rose. So when I say "rose" and you hear "rose" we may not be seeing exactly the same mental image, but we will be talking about basically the same flower. So it is with names, craft names and magickal names especially. Not every "Sue" or "Bill" is alike, and when you hear that name, it may not bring up any mental images for you at all. If you know someone already with that name, you will naturally think of that person, and compare them to this one. Magickal names, therefore, are to conjure up a mental image of the attributes of the name itself, or the God or Goddess associated with it. The same holds true with magickal names that are of plants or animals. Each has attributes that are beneficial and will bring those to mind when you hear that name. People will take the name of an animal to encourage the good qualities of that animal in their personalities, or to strengthen tendencies they already possess towards those qualities. Not all qualities are desirable, however, and you need to remember when picking this name that you will also get the less beneficial ones along with the ones you are seeking. For example, a rose has thorns. Many animals have sharp teeth and claws for defense or attack. Some are carnivores and prey on creatures smaller than themselves. Does this mean that if you take the name of a tiger (such as tigershadow) that you will become a bully? Probably not, but why ARE you taking the name? Be clear just what the attributes are, both the positive ones that you want, and also the ones that you may not like very much. Our tradition usually encourages people to take on God or Goddess names as a craft name, especially for inner court working. This requires research in at least three different sources to be sure that all sides of this personality are known. You see, these names have been used for centuries, and myths have been told and retold, and there is definite energy associated with these names on the astral plane. The myths will give you clues as to how this Deity behaves, and what are his or her attributes. Three sources are the minimum needed because many books will give you slightly different versions or different stories. I was researching my first degree name and I had almost chosen a Goddess, when I came across a few stories where she was said to have eaten her children. I took that to be selfishness, (myths are almost never literal) and decided that as a mother of two, I didn't want to take on that much selfishness. A little is necessary for your own survival, but I judged that story to illustrate an attribute I didn't want to emphasize in my life. I kept looking and chose another name at that time. Another reason to choose a magickal name is to let your younger self out to play, and to expand and allow your rational self to be the person you have always wanted to be. You are not the mundane person who goes to work from 9 to 5 everyday - when you are in circle, you let the magickal, spiritual, real you come out! A magickal name will assist you in this, if you are careful and choose the correct one for you. From time to time, a student may ask a teacher or close friend to aid them in choosing a name, or in choosing between a few names that they like. That's fine if the person knows you well and will be honest with you, but please, don't ask another person to name you. This is too great a responsibility for another person. It's up to you to decide how you want to grow in the Craft, and what kind of person you wish to be. Others can help, but only by doing the research and the actual choosing yourself can you be certain that you have picked a name which will allow you to grow into it gracefully. One last thought on names - when you are choosing this name, know that it will not be the last name that you choose. You aren't stuck with it for life! As you grow in the Craft and change, your name can change with you. Try not to take on more than you can handle at first. "Isis" is not a name to start with, as this Goddess is widely worshiped, powerful, and has a lot of hidden mysteries. You can end up as Isis as you grow in the Craft, but you will be much better off, and have less to deal with, if you choose a more local deity, or one that is less complicated. That will give you smaller changes that are easier to handle, and attributes that may be more smoothly integrated into your life. To Be A Witch To be a witch is to love and be loved. To be a witch is to know everything, and nothing at all. To be a witch is to change the world around you and yourself. To be a witch is to share and give, while receiving all the while. To be a witch is to dance and sing, and hold hands with the Universe. To be a witch is to honor the Gods, and yourself. To be a witch it to Be magick, not just perform it. To be a witch is to be honorable, or nothing at all. To be a witch is to accept others who are not. To be a witch is to know what you feel is right and good. To be a witch is to harm none. To be a witch is to know the ways of the old. To be a witch is to see beyond the barriers. To be a witch is to follow the Moon. To be a witch is to be one with the Gods. To be a witch is to study and to learn. To be a witch is to be the teacher and the student. To be a witch is to acknowledge the truth. To be a witch is to live with the Earth, not just in it. To be a witch is to be truly free! Witchcraft Facts Witchcraft means "Craft of the Wise Ones" and is also known as the "Old Religion". Its practices can be traced to Neolithic ("Stone Age") cave paintings. In early times, the Witch was the local lawyer, psychiatrist, and doctor. The field of modern medicine can trace its origins to the herbal medicines of the Witch. Witchcraft is a nature religion, not unlike the shamanism of the Native Americans. As the concepts of male and female exist through-out life indeed, are necessary to create it most Witches perceive Deity as male and female: the Goddess and the God. Like the concept of the Trinity, these aren't "many" Gods; they are aspects of the One Creator. The Goddess is seen as Mother Earth and Mother Nature, and is represented by the Moon. She is seen in the fertility of the plant, animal, and human kingdoms. Her power is at a peak in the "fertile half" of the year, from May until October. The God is seen in the woodlands, the Sun, grain, & the hunt. Because most of the animals that prehistoric humans hunted had horns, He is usually depicted as the "Horned One". His power is at a peak in the "dark half" of the year, from October to May. *Witches don't do evil. They believe in the Wiccan Rede, which is "If It Harms None, Do What You Will". (In other words, "Do whatever you want; just as long as it doesn't harm anyone including yourself"). Witches also believe in the "Three-Fold Law", which states that whatever you do -- be it good or evil -- comes back to you three times over, so (obviously) there is no incentive to do evil. Witches do NOT believe in or worship Satan, and do not perform any sort of human or animal sacrifices. Satan is a relatively new concept that originated with Christianity. Witches put the responsibility for our own actions squarely on whom it belongs: ourselves. Witchcraft teaches us to be responsible people who take responsibility for our own actions. When the Christian Church decided to obliterate religions that were a threat to its power (including Witchcraft), they decided that their "Satan" had horns and that Witches were actually worshipping the Devil. This became the death warrant for millions of innocent people. The Pentagram (a five-pointed star in an upright, one-point-up position) is the symbol of our religion. The top point symbolizes Spirit (the Creator) being 'above', or ruling, the Four Elements of Life -- Air, Fire, Water, & Earth -- which are the four lower points. The Circle, being without beginning or end, symbolizes the Deity. It is completely encompassing the Star within it (which represents the out-stretched human body, reaching out in search of its connection with Spirit). Together, they represent the Creator's Protection & Wisdom. Inverting the Pentagram, as is done by Satanists, symbolizes that the Elements (the "material world") are superior to the Creator. Unfortunately, through misunderstandings that have been repeated by the media, the Pentagram -- in whatever position -- has become wrongly equated with Satanism. (Please note, though, that in England, there are several traditions that use the inverted pentagram as a symbol for a second degree -- which obviously has nothing to do with Satanism). A male Witch is not a "Warlock". This is a Scottish term, meaning "traitor", or "oath-breaker". (A male Witch is a "Witch"). *Witchcraft is a legal religion protected under the First and Fourteenth amendments. We are non-proselytizing; we don't seek to convert anyone. We feel that all religions are equally valid, and that you should be free to choose the one with which you are most comfortable. No religion has the monopoly of God (despite what some may claim). In our opinion, far too many religions place too much emphasis on the actual religion (or it's leader), and seem to be worshipping that, instead of God. This, in our opinion, is wrong thinking. As long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others, we all have a right to our own method of worshipping the Deity. The Ten Commandments Of The Goddess 1. You shall adore (worship) my Spirit. 2. Your Adorations should be once a month and best when the Moon is full. 3. You shall gather in a secret place. 4. You shall worship naked before me. 5. You shall sing in the joy my freedom brings to thee. 6. You shall feast sharing the bounty of the earth I pour out unto thee. 7. You shall dance my dance of divine ecstasy. 8. Play music in Honor of She who is Queen of the Wise. 9. Make Love that thy Bonds with one another become sacred. 10. Place no sacrifice of any living creature upon my Altar for I am the Mother of All Things Living. The Ten Commandments Version 2 1. Treat the earth an all that dwell theron with respect 2. Remain close to the Great Spirit 3. Show great respect for your fellow beings 4. Work together for the benefit of all humankind 5. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed 6. Do what you know to be right 7. Look after the well-being of mind and body 8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good 9. Be truthful and honest at all times 10. Take full responsibility for your actions Witchcraft is Not Evil Witchcraft is not evil. At least not any more than lighting a votive candle, praying for a sick friend, or carrying a lucky charm is. However, there are some who do view witchcraft as evil. This is only because organized religion (primarily the Christian church) has conditioned them to fear anything which strays from their narrow condemning view. After all, if you have the ability to fend for yourself, solve your own problems, and choose your own method of spiritual expression, why would you need the confined structure of a church? 25 Truths of Life 1. If you’re too open-minded, your brains will fall out. 2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often. 3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. 5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before. 6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. 7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious. 8. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. 9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program. 10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip. 11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks. 12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good. 13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway. 14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it! 15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes. 16. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. 17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places. 18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. 19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it. 20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on. 21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. 22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends. 23. Thou shall not weigh more than thy refrigerator. 24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world. 25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat. Difference Between Wizards And Muggles 1. They go to jail, you're going to Azkaban 2. They are afraid of ghosts, you are friend of them. 3. They believe that a Ferrari is faster, you prefer the Firebolt. 4. They believe that teleportation is impossible, you use it to go to Quidditch matches. 5. They see a sofa, you see the teacher at Horace. 6. They think it's science fiction, your documentary. 7. They see a tree, your the Whomping Willow. 8. They are ruined, your Hogwarts. 9. They are bathrooms, your entry into the ministry. 10. They see dogs, you Grim's or Sirius. 11. They see movies, you the live. 12. They see a stick, your a wand. 13. They believe that magic is fairy dust, you magically understand that you can change reality. 14. They see a wall, your entry into a fantasy world ... 15. They see a book, you see that is something more than that .. is your life! Types of Witches Alexandrian: This tradition was begun in the 1960s by Alex Sanders. Alex Sanders lived in England. He used what are known to be slightly changed Gardnarian traditions and calls himself the "King" of Witches. Covens involve both men and women. British Traditional: This is, according to Silver RavenWolf a "mix of Celtic and Gardnarian beliefs." Covens involve both men and women. One can study acourse and receive a degree in British Traditional Witchcraft. Celtic Wicca: Celtic Wicca focuses mainly on Celtic and Druidic gods and goddesses (along with a few other Anglo-Saxon pantheon). The rituals are formed after Gardnerian traditions with a stronger emphasis on nature. Celtic Wicca also puts much emphasis on working with elementals and nature spirits such as fairies and gnomes. Gods and Goddesses are usually called "The Ancient Ones." Caledonii: This was once know as the Hecatine Tradition. Traditional Scottish Witchcraft. Ceremonial Witchcraft: This tradition is very exacting in its ritual. All rituals are usually followed by the book, to the letter and with much ceremony. Little emphasis is put on nature. This tradition may incorporate some Egyptian magic. Quabbalistic magic is often used in ceremonial witchcraft. Dianic: Dianic can incorporate nearly any magical traditions, but emphasis is placed on the Goddess only with little or no mention of the God. Known as the "feminist" types of witchcraft. Druidic: Neo-Druids are polytheistic worshipers of Mother Earth. Very little is known today about ancient Druidism and there are many gaps in the writings that have been found. Modern Druids practice their religion in areas where nature has been preserved - usually wooded areas. Druidic ritual often employs sacrifices to the Mother Goddess. These sacrifices often include grain, sometimes meat. These ritual sacrifices are often accompanied by a verse not unlike the following:"Earth Mother, giver of life we return to you a measure of the bounty you have provided may you be enriched and your wild things be preserved." Eclectic: An eclectic witch mixes many different traditions together to suit their tastes and will not follow any one particular tradition. Whatever seems to work best for them is what is used, regardless of which magical practice it comes from. This is one of the most popular types of witches found today. Gardnerian: Gardnerian witchcraft was begun in England and is Wiccan in nature. It was formed by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gerald Gardner was the first to publicize witchcraft in an effort to preserve the "old ways." Hereditary Witch: A hereditary witch is a witch who is born into a witch family and brought up learning about witchcraft. Many witches claim to be hereditary witches when in fact, they are not. You must be brought up in a family of witches to be a hereditary witch. Kitchen Witch: A kitchen witch is one who practices magic having to deal with the home and practical life. Kitchen witches use many spells involving cooking, herbs, and creating magic through crafts. A kitchen witch is very much like a hedge witch. Pictish: Pictish witchcraft is nature-based with little emphasis on religion, Gods, or Goddesses. It is much like Celtic witchcraft, only the traditions are Scottish. Pictish witches perform solitary and rarely, if ever work in groups or covens. Pow-Wow: Here is a term I rarely hear when referring to witchcraft. This tradition is based on old German magic. Today, it is considered a system of faith healing and can be applied to most any religion. Seax-Wicca: This tradition was begun in 1973 by Raymond Buckland. Buckland and works on Saxon principles of religion and magic. Shaman: It is arguable as to whether shamanism is or is not witchcraft. I include this here because shamanism is a form of Paganism. Shamanism puts no emphasis on religion or on pantheon. Shamans work completely with nature: rocks, trees, animals, rivers, etc. Shamans know the Earth and their bodies and minds well and train many long years to become adept at astral travel and healing. Solitary: Solitary witches can be practitioners of nearly any magical system. A solitary works alone and does not join a group or coven. Often, solitaries choose to mix different systems, much like an eclectic witch. Solitaries can also form their own religious beliefs as they are not bound by the rules of a coven. Strega: This type of witchcraft is said to have been started by a woman named Aradia in Italy in 1353. Aradia is known in some traditions as the "Goddess of Witches." Teutonic: A Nordic tradition of witchcraft that includes beliefs and practices from many cultures including Swedish, Dutch, and Icelandic. Wicca: Probably the most popular form of witchcraft. Wicca is highly religious in nature and has a good balance between religion/ceremonial magic and nature. Wiccans believe in a God and Goddess who are equal in all things, although some may lean more toward the Dianic form of Wicca, worshipping only the Goddess or lowering the God to an "assistant" status. Wiccans commonly form covens and rarely work alone. How Free Is Free Will? We all know what free will means. It’s what sets us apart from any other living, breathing thing on earth. Free will allows us to make choices, to actively participate in building our life’s path. But are we totally free? Of course not. No one has absolute free will. Not even America—“the land of the free.” Physical limitations and psychological conditioning restrict most of us from making choices that are harmful, or socially and morally unacceptable. For example, we have the freedom to jump off a cliff. But would you want to? Also, we have the freedom to say just about anything. It’s our constitutional right. But would you want to? Do you really want to tell your best friend that you hate her new hairdo? Do you really want to tell your spouse he or she is not your soul mate? We think not. Clearly, our decisions in some measure reflect the belief systems of our parents, society, and country. But our decisions are also influenced by our character or personality, the part of us that is largely inexplicable. Some believe our fundamental character is determined by our genetic composition. Some believe God or a Higher Power grants us our innate character, talents, and circumstances. Then there’s reincarnation, the belief that cause and effect, or karma, determines the outcome of our lives. Basically, reincarnation holds that we are continually reborn until we achieve our full potential. The Chinese believe that our destiny is a blend of fate and free will, a harmony of heavenly, earthly, and human qi. They believe our character is a by-product of our fate. Our fate is determined by the first breath we take. Literally, we inhale our destiny, a composite of qi present at that exact moment. Effective Invocation Techniques Invocation is a battery of magical techniques which, when used, allow the individual to identify with a particular entity so passionately, that some quality or attribution associated with that entity manifests in the person - such as enhanced oracular perception or knowledge of 'hidden lore'. While this ability may be developed by anyone who practises magick, most people don't do it, and thus a shamanic practitioner may be asked to act as the incarnation of a particular entity as part of an event - or to bring about a similar experience in another person - 'invoking upon someone', as it is known. An extreme degree of this type of trance is possession, which, while quite common in shamanic cultures, is rarely found in modern approaches to ritual. It is not uncommon, for example, for a Voudoun Houngan or Mambo to search out 'hidden lore' (i.e. knowledge) by allowing themselves to be 'ridden' by entities (known as Loa) who speak through them, providing the answer. More common, in our culture, is the phenomena of overshadowing, where the individual's awareness is partially submerged in that of the entity. This also happens to actors, who sometimes find that, while playing a particular role, become so identified with that role that they, while on stage, can perform tasks - such as singing or dancing - that are associated with the character, but that they themselves are not usually able to do. This is no different from magical invocation, and the techniques involved are virtually the same - visualisation, speech, gestures, posture, and other senses - particularly smell for example, with regard to incense or essential oils. For the moment, though, I'm going to concentrate on voice technique. Dramatic Awareness: I use this term to emphasise the parallel already drawn between ritual and stage performance. Together, the performers and audience of a masque or play can build up an atmosphere which can be felt by all present. The audience listen to what is happening onstage, empathise and react. This reaction is communicated to the actors, which in turn affects their performance. Thus an atmosphere of "Dramatic Awareness" - a shifting of awareness towards the mythic arena of experience - can quickly be generated. If the audience is familiar with the myths or struggles being displayed onstage, then the experience may be cathartic for all concerned. This is particularly important with regard to voice - if you can successfully use your voice to project emotional tones - such as awe, reverence or passion then those listening; both yourself and others, will pick up on the emotive undertones and become drawn into the atmosphere you are generating. I've noticed that as people enter different stages of trance, their voice pattern changes. Others present pick up on this, if only unconsciously, and so the atmosphere of dramatic awareness is generated. In a ritual sequence, all speech can be used to project appropriate feelings which generate the group atmosphere. This is performed best when the people speaking are confident and relaxed about what they are saying. Hence the problem with (a) reading from textbooks and (b) using very long speeches. If possible, I prefer to either learn a speech so that I don't need to look at bits of paper, which tends to be bothersome - especially when reading someone else's writing in a dark room or wind-swept moor; or improvise something at the spur of the moment. Like all practical techniques, being able to do this is simply a matter of practice and confidence. Unless you are doing something that is particularly stylised, simplicity is usually the most effective approach. Delivery: The way we speak is a powerful way of projecting our intentions. The "delivery" of a speech quickly transmits to both self and audience ones degree of confidence. A fine invocation may be written, but can quickly be rendered ineffective if it is read out in a deadpan voice and punctuated by ...ers and ...ums. Words can be paced, so that speech can excite or relax the listener - which can be oneself or others. A good delivery of an invocation serves to raise dramatic awareness in both self and others. If you think of it in terms of a feedback loop, then the more enthralling the speech, the more intense the degree of dramatic awareness, and the more people will become 'caught up' into the ritual atmosphere. When one person, for example, is performing an invocation, others present may temporarily become the 'audience' - and participants can shift between active and passive involvement throughout a ritual. The key to remember is that, if such be your intent, then everything that happens inside the ritual space can be used to enhance the atmosphere. Try exploring the effect of pacing your speech, deliberately breathing louder, and, when reaching the climax of the invocation - becoming breathless and adding a bit of tremble. You don't have to shout to be effective - a whisper or can be just as effective (if not more so) than a loud voice. Structure and Rhythm: An invocation to a particular figure is often based on a resume of the qualities and energies associated with them, or referring to legends or deeds associated with them. The rhythm given to words when delivering an invocation can quickly generate appropriate moods in those using or hearing them. An invocation to Pan, for example, might have a fast and frenetic rhythm which leaves the speaker breathless, bringing to mind the wildness of Pan; whilst an invocation to Cronus, God of Time might be slow and ponderous. Remember, rhythms are known to have distinct physiological effects, serving to relax or stimulate breathing and heartbeat. You can create a powerful effect by stressing the same syllables throughout the entire piece, or by repeating certain words or phrases - particularly keywords that are appropriate to the subject of the invocation. Simple rhythms and jingles can be very effective, as they are easily learnt and can be repeated over and over, becoming mantra-like. Many folk-spells are of this nature. William S. Burroughs quotes such a spell in his "The Place of Dead Roads": Say: Trip and Stumble, Slip and Fall, Down the Stairs ... And hit the wall! There are different approaches to structuring invocations, and one popular approach is to structure the invocation into 3 parts. The first part is a description of the physical attributes of the Mythic figure being invoked and is spoken in the third person; the second is a commemoration of the deeds and powers of the figure, and is given in the second person; in the third part, the person invoking asserts the merging of self with the figure, and speaks in the first person. Thus, as the speech proceeds, you are moving from a position of describing that figure as a separate being, and becoming identified with that figure to the extent that you (for all ritual intents and purposes) become that figure. Following which, for the rest of the group, you are the earthly avatar of a Mythic figure. Having taken on the role, you can now act, using the power and attributes of that figure, which can range from delivering an oracular speech to leading a frenzied dance. In the western mystery tradition (such as it is), it is usual for one person to act as vessel or channel for a mythic figure, and other participants to take on the role of celebrants (or congregation). However, in other cultures, it is not unknown for several people at once to become 'possessed' by the same deity. In Haiti, there was once a celebrated case of about 300 people, all possessed simultaneously by the God Legba, who marched in protest of the political situation to the presidential residence! In western magick, people tend to stick to one approach - usually what they've been taught in a group or coven. This is often a pity, because there are often good alternatives to be found in, for example, the study of drama or oratory. Status shifts also ocuurr in invocations, as noted by Aleister Crowley in his excellent essay on Bhakti Yoga, Liber Astarte. During a vocal invocation, you might begin with the status position of a supplicant reaching up to a deity, and eventually act with the status of that deity, whilst others will (or should) regard you appropriately. This often leads to a confusion of roles, as some people find it hard to distinguish between the role someone might take within a ritual setting, and how they behave outside of it. Someone who becomes, within a ritual a goddess, should not be treated like one in the pub afterwards! Hence the prime danger in identifying ones self with Mythic figures is one of blowing up one's ego to massive proportions. If you continually identify with a figure who reinforces some idea which you have about yourself, all you will do is imbalance yourself towards those particular tendencies. I have known at least three people become quite seriously disturbed because they worked exclusively with lunar, oracular figures who accentuated their already-present tendency to slip into passive, oracular trance states. As in all practices, an understanding and continual assessment of one's self in terms of strengths, weaknesses, and ego-identifications is necessary - especially if you are working with others in a teaching or 'group leader' role. I think it's fair to say that the more you put into an invocation, the more intense the effect will be. There are more elements to consider, such as the use of gestures to reinforce speech; the use of lighting and props; smell, taste, music and stage-setting. Of course the absence of speech can be as equally effective, as can be the use of grunts, howls and cackles. Having an infectious laugh can be a very useful skill, as well - you can literally laugh your way out of some situations - the anti-hero Thomas Covenant the unbeliever defeated his enemy Lord Foul by encouraging an assembly of shades to laugh at him until he withered away. Humour is an important element of ritual, which is often neglected by some of the ever-so-serious people one runs into occasionally. One approach to experimenting with invocations is to assemble a variety of speeches written by other people and try reading them aloud until you hit on a delivery that feels effective. It can be useful to tape such experiments, and even use them as background effects in ritual work. Using appropriate music can also be very productive. While it's useful to look at other people's written invocations - so you can grasp the way that structure and rhythm can evolve through the way lines are delivered, it's generally considered better to use your own attempts at invocation. Not only does this build confidence and give you a good 'feel' for what works and what doesn't, but it allows you to build up a close 'contact' with the figure you are identifying with. Generally, it's easier to invoke humanic figures than non-human ones. Using the same principles as an approach to shape-shifting, it would be appropriate for you to observe a particular animal - look at it's characteristic postures, facial expression, its' vocalisations, and characteristic behaviours. You would become the animal by close identification with its characteristics. The intensity of trance would probably very much depend on the degree of abandonment that you allowed yourself to have. ~ From: The Magical Use of Voice Mechanics of Spellcasting Spellcasting is the lesser, not the greater magic; but the greater magic builds on the lesser. The paradox is that in spellcasting we may start out working with the personal self, but in order to work the magic we are forced to expand and recognize the Self that moves through all beings. Magic involves the deliberate self-identification with other objects and people. For example, to do a healing, we must become the healer, the one who is healed, and the energy that is to do the healing. To attract love, we must be able to love ourselves and to become love its self. Spells work in two basic ways. The first is through suggestion; symbols and images implant certain ideas in Younger Self, or the subconscious mind, and we are then influenced to actualize those ideas. Spells can also influence the external world. The theoretical model that witches use to explain the workings of magic is a clear one and coincides in many ways with the "new" physics. It is simply an elaborate but extremely useful metaphor. The metaphor is based on a world view that sees things not as fixed objects, but as vortexes of energy. The physical world is formed by the vortexes of energy, and if we cause a change in the energy patterns they, in turn, cause a change in the physical world. When our own energy is concentrated and channeled, it can move the broader energy currents. The images and objects used in spells are the channels. They are the vessels through which our power is poured, and by which it is shaped. As energy is directed into the images we visualize, it gradually manifests physical form and takes shape in the material world. Directing energy is not a matter of simply emoting. Emotion can be likened to a strobe light which provides a very inconstant light, while directed energy is more like a laser beam. Even concentrated power is a small stream compared with the vast surges of energy that surround us. The most adept witch cannot be successful in all her spells, for the opposing currents are often too strong. The craft teaches to first identify the flow of energy and then to decide whether or not it is going where we want it to go. If it is not, then we can try to deflect it, or we may have to change our own course. Sensing the energy climate is a matter of intuition and experience. Some witches make a study of Astrology in an effort to plan their magical workings at the optimal times, while others prefer to work when they feel the time is right. Of all the planets, the Moon's influence on subtle energies is the strongest. Subtle power increases as the Moon waxes, so the time of the waxing Moon is best for spells involving growth or increase, such as money spells. The power peaks when the Moon is full and that is the best time for workings of culmination and love. During the waning Moon, power subsides and turns inward. The waning Moon's period is used for banishings, bindings, and discovering hidden secrets. The practical witch soon learns to adjust her spells to fit the time of the Moon. If, for example, she needs to do a money spell during the waning Moon, she would put a little 'English' on it and make it a poverty banishing spell. Energy pursues the path of least resistance. Material results are more easily achieved on this plane of existence through physical actions than through magical workings. For example, it is simpler to lock your door than suffer the constant drain from maintaining psychic seals on your doors and windows while you are away from home. Of course, once you have locked your door, you might feel more reassured by placing seals on it. No magic spell is going to bring results unless channels are opened into the material world. For example, a job spell is useless if you are not willing to go out and interview for jobs or at least let potential employers know that you are in the market for one. In the same vein, a healing spell is no substitute for medical care. Most medicine today can be broken down into two broad categories, emergency medicine and that which is not needed for immediate life-threatening situations. Emergency medicine has excelled at stabilizing the body's condition so that it can repair itself at its own pace. Most other forms of medicine consist of treatment through surgery or chemotherapy or a combination of both. The procedures noted above work on the physical body and do not take the other levels into consideration. Psychic healing works at healing the higher levels of the person so that the physical heals itself or allows the person to let go of their physical body if it cannot be repaired. In either case, the choice rests with the person who is being healed and not the healer. Visualization used in creating a spell should focus on the desired result, not the individual steps leading up to the result. We give the spell free rein in how it goes about achieving the results with the understanding that it is not to bring harm to anyone or any being. For this reason, spells have a habit of working in very unexpected ways. To assure that the power we have unleashed does not inadvertently cause harm, we bind the spell. This serves to 'set' the form we have created so that the energy becomes fixed in the pattern we desire. The energy we project to others affects us even more strongly than the other person. This is because we have generated the energy, and thus we have become the object at which the energy is directed. If healing energy is sent out, then the health of the person casting the spell is enhanced. By the same token, any hex or curse that is sent out ALWAYS affects the person who sends it no matter whether it affected the person it was sent at or not. MAGIC IS NOT TO BE USED TO GAIN POWER OVER OTHERS. Magic is a technique used in developing your own 'power from within.' Spells that are directed at gaining power over others weaken the 'power from within.' Aside from the damage done to oneself, it is important for another reason. Many people who do not understand the laws of magic are afraid of being attacked magically and are given to paranoia. The witch's main stock-in-trade used to be removing a competitor's hexes and preparing charms to protect their clients. While true psychic attacks are EXTREMELY RARE, a person's guilt makes up for any lack, and after using 'forbidden' help, their paranoia leads them to seek protection from the same person they just turned to in desperation. Do yourself a favor, and resist the temptation to 'help' these types. Most magical formularies consist of formulae gathered and tested by witches as well as many charms to protect the common man from those same witches who sold them their charms. Times and Correspondences: I mentioned earlier that timing and the right props are considered important in spellcasting. Over the years, systems of Correspondences were developed which assigned certain attributes and aspects to the seven ancient planets of Astrology. Each planet was assigned a God or Goddess, who embodies the attributes the ancients wished to invoke. Each of the Gods and Goddesses were assigned an hour of the day, color, incense, metal, number, signature, plant, mineral, musical note, and animal or bird. General Guidelines for Casting Spells Set aside a room for your magical work. Decorate it with things that put you in a magical mood. Remember to use things that stimulate all five of your physical senses. Some obvious things would be the use of appropriate colors for sight, incense for scent, music for hearing, wines for taste, and textures for feel. If you do not have a room you can set aside exclusively for your magical work, then choose a room that can be locked while you do your work. This will allow you to work undisturbed. In any case, you should clean your work area periodically with a purifying powder/floorwash to keep away negative vibrations. Set up an altar to be used as your worktable. It's size and shape should be those that appeal to you. Placing candles and other items that assist you to concentrate on the work at hand is a good practice. Some people like to cover their altar with a white cloth and place fresh cut flowers on it every day. Always use the best candles, oils, and incenses that you can afford, or make your own, for scrimping on materials has a negative effect on the subconscious. Don't forget that the subconscious is very good at making do with raw materials that it can shape to its own use. Never cast a spell until you have a clear and concise picture of what it is you wish to accomplish. This ties in with the saying "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Always ground out any extra energy you raise for the spell, and bind the spell so that it expires within the pre-determined amount of time. Once you have cast the spell, do not discuss it with any one until after it has worked. Most spells peter out because the person who cast it boasts about it to so many people, that the spell is robbed of power before it has a chance to work. The ancient bond placed on the magician was to dare, to know and to keep silent. Above all, at all times, remember the Rede: "An ye harm none, do what you will." You do not know all the effects of your spell, therefore, use magick sparingly, if at all. Channeling Channeling has become a popular phenomena in the last several years. We see it featured in News-Magazines and on talk shows. We read articles about it, and bookshelves everywhere now hold volumes of books written by channeled entities, with more appearing every month. Some channeled sources have gained a great deal of notoriety, drawing large crowds for seminars and workshops, often at a steep price. How can we better understand this sudden outpouring of information? Webster defines "channel" as: "a means of access, a route". In the context of New Age work, channeling provides an access-way through which communication can be achieved between planes of existence. Channeling is a route through which those who are NOT focused in physical reality can give information to those who ARE focused in physical reality. Though it may seem to be a fairly recent phenomena, channeling in various forms has existed as long as humankind. The most common form of channeling, in fact, is one we all have experienced: That sudden helpful insight that occasionally comes to us from "out of the blue". This form of channeling has created many works of art and has helped us find solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. Unlike other forms of channeling, this inspiration is always available to us and whether we receive it rarely or often may simply depend on our receptivity and openness. Dreams are another avenue through which channeled information can reach us. In the dream state we are open and spiritually attuned, creating an un-obstructed gateway through which Universal knowledge can flow. While the dream channel and inspiration are both valid routes of channeling, dreams, for many people, are more easily ignored. We tend to respond to and use those insights which inspire us. The most spectacular form of channeling is, of course, "Trance Channeling". In this technique, the channel gives up the use of his or her body by entering a trance state, allowing the "source" to speak directly to a third party. Although most trance channels work with only one source, sources can be a number of things or beings. Many believe that channeled "sources" reflect the channel's subconscious mind or a "collective unconscious". Channeled material may also flow from one's "Higher Self". Information communicated to us through this Source definitely "counts" as channeled material, for our "Higher Selves" are not focused in physical reality. Others may channel material from the Cosmic Mind or from the God -Goddess-All-That-Is. . Most channeled material, however, comes to us from spirit guides or Masters and, ultimately, it is the material which is important regardless of who or what we believe our source to be. Another way of communicating with ones "source" is through "Automatic Writing". In this form of channeling, the channel first meditates then sits with a pen and paper or a typewriter and allows the source to write. Meditation should be practiced each time before automatic writing since meditation puts us at peace and makes us more receptive to true spiritual sources. The technique for automatic writing is fairly simple: After meditating, sit in a comfortable position holding a pad of paper and a pen, resting the point of the pen on the paper. Keep the body relaxed and ask if there is a "source" present. Stay relaxed and just wait for writing to begin. At first the writing may be unreadable, just fine little scribbles that mean nothing. After some practice, however, the scribbles will become readable words and phrases which allow the source to identify themselves and discuss whatever subject we wish. Success may not be achieved in the first few sessions. It may take time and daily practice to develop a strong connection but it is well worth the effort. No matter what technique we use to channel our information, it is very important that we not follow blindly. Until we are satisfied with their believability, each of our sources should be regarded with a certain amount of healthy skepticism. We should examine all channeled material with a detached and questioning mind. Although the material may vary in content, there are certain qualities which will always be present in information which is "channeled" by a true spiritual source. Such information will be positive in outlook and will always direct us toward the spiritual path. Since our sources will always try to help us as much as they can by giving us sound and usable advice, sources who attempt to dazzle us with incomprehensible garbage should be regarded with suspicion. A true source will not lie nor will they gossip. Our guides will not tell us to do things, and they cannot predict the future because the future is always changing. When we attempt to channel our spirit guides, it is important to keep these points in mind. Non physical entities have "personalities" just as physical ones do. Someone whose attitudes were negative, or depressed, in LIFE, might carry remnants of these qualities into spirit life. Edgar Cayce was once quoted as saying: "The only difference between a LIVE Episcopalian and a DEAD Episcopalian is that one is DEAD and one is ALIVE." . In reality, there is no such thing as communication with the "dead". We tend to see life in physical terms but LIFE is a SPIRITUAL reality which, for us, is presently housed in a physical form. Though misguided entities can not harm you physically, their influence could produce negative side effects which could make your experience of channeling less fulfilling or pleasant, just as being around ANY negative personality might tend to do. For this reason it is important to establish a secure system of protection and awareness when attempting to channel. Observing and following these giudelines can protect us from the inevitable confusion which results from contact with these misguided "sources". A certain amount of preparation is also necessary if we hope to be a clear and responsible channel. With this as our goal, it is probably not advisable that we attempt any form of channeling until we have attained some degree of proficiency at meditation. Meditation makes us more centered and loving. It also acts as a shield against contact with negative spirit personalities. Meditation should be practiced daily, for besides facilitating our ability to channel clearly, it is the most important thing we can do to expand our spiritual lives. Your spirit guides can become life-long friends and advisors as they have a wonderful outside view of our lives and life in general. They have access to information that we could not otherwise obtain. They help to deepen our understanding of ourselves and help us through our times of crisis. Contacting these spirit friends is not difficult. There is no loss ofcontrol of our bodies and nothing to fear for we can quit any time we choose. Spirit friends, just like our friends in the physical world, should always be treated with respect. They should not be expected to entertain our friends or answer a lot of trivial questions. (If it is important to us, then it is not trivial.) Probably the most serious mistake we can make, however, is to become too dependent on our guides as this is the one thing that will cause us to lose them. Like any true friend, our guides do not want us to count on them too heavily. The process of channeling our spirit guides is truly a great adventure. It may take weeks or months to develop but it is an amazing process and will bring invaluable results to those who persevere. Good luck and happy channeling. Honey As A Magickal Ingredient Ruler: Oshun, bee Goddess Type: Food Magickal Form: Any type Use this sweet and sticky substance to attract good fortune, fertility, and love. Dishes filled with honey beckon angels and other beneficial spirits. For wealth, create an altar with coins drizzled with honey. For a conception spell, cover a pumpkin with honey and offer it to a river. For love, bathe in warm water and honey. This is also a favorite offering for the love Goddesses. The passion and fertility-enhancing properties of honey may owe that reputation to the hexagons of the honeycomb, six being the sacred sexual number of Aphrodite. Note: An assassination attempt was once made on the African love Goddess, Oshun. The plot was to poison her with honey. In remembrance of this, always taste the honey first before offering libations to any goddess. How To Perform Ritual Ritual has existed in our culture for thousands of years. Evidence of ritual can be found in our everyday activities, and our not-so-everyday activities as well. But what is ritual? Ritual is a sequence of events aimed at reaching a certain goal. To go a little further, one could add that it is a sequence of events aimed at reaching a certain goal a certain way. The act of ritual is a highly personalized venture. Not everybody does the same things the same that another does them. Because of this, there exist many methods by which one may reach the same objective. Despite the fact that there are certain requirements, both technical and personal, one must meet before one can hope to achieve one’s magical objectives, the differences in magical style continue to grow, as does the number of people who practice. In regard to the technical requirements, it can be said that there truly exists only one – that being the assertion of will towards a defined goal. It can also be said that it is not necessary to do anything other than assert one’s will toward a goal for one to be successful, either in magic or whatever one chooses to do. But for those of us who are not wholly privy to that notion, there exists ritual, and though there is truth in that statement it should be realized that other factors do apply. One of these factors is the removal of self-doubt. Doubt undermines spells by negating them with contrary energies. If one doubts that one has effectively performed a spell correctly, then those feelings of doubt will be sent out along with the positive energies, countering them. Then, it becomes a case of the best energy winning. Thus comes the value of thinking no more of a magical act once it has been committed. One way that doubt may be quelled is through performing ritual. Through the aid of ritual, one can erase doubt by taking certain steps to ensure one’s success. These steps serve to put it in the mind of the operator that he or she has done everything in his or her power, magically speaking, to see that the objective will be reached. This point is where such steps such as banishment, purification, consecration, sacrifice, and so on come in. All of these steps exist to ensure the success of the ritual as a whole, as should all the steps employed by the operator. The steps employed in ritual magic vary from person to person and system to system, and not all are used all of the time. For example, not everybody consecrates the tools used in magic every time they use them. Also, not everybody calls upon outside influences and energies to aid in their workings. It is my desire to provide you with a basic framework by which you may design your own rituals. A point to remember is that it is more difficult to contemplate ritual than it is to simply go out and do it. In ritual, if what you’re doing seems like what you should be doing, then it probably is. The following is the basic framework: 1. Banishment 2. Cleansing and purification 3. Consecration 4. Setting the circle 5. Invocation of the self 6. Evocation 7. Sacrifice 8. General working 9. License of departure 10. Banishment 11. Reclaiming of the self Banishment is a very important process in ritual as it serves to neutralize all of the standing and active energies in the work area. These energies may either be leftovers from a previous working or simply brought about by daily living. Whatever the case, they need to be rendered inert if they are not to interfere with the energies put forth by the operator. If they do happen to interfere with energies of the operator, then the desired outcome of the ritual could be compromised. Whether this occurs, of course, depends on the intensity of the two energies, the potential and the resident — the potential being the operator’s immediate expenditure, and the resident being the energy present before the ritual was commenced. This interaction could be looked at like the act of drawing. If you draw a picture over preexisting artwork, the previous work shall undermine, quite literally, the present endeavor. If, however, you somehow remove said working before beginning anew, then the result will be markedly different. The other way is to simply cover up the previous work tit for tat. The acts of cleansing and purification can be either one and the same or completely different. It really all depends on how you view it and how you do it. For me, cleansing is more of an outwardly physical thing, whereas purification is more of a spiritual matter. The cleansing is done to remove physical impurities, hence the word clean. In contrast, the purification is done to purify the energies neutralized during the banishment. In effect, purification is another form of banishment. But, besides this, it is middle ground between the banishment stage and the consecration stage, completing one while beginning the other. Just as the cleansing portion of this stage cleanses the thing undergoing the process physically, the purification cleanses it metaphorically and in doing so prepares it to become a sacred thing. The processes of cleansing and purification are sometimes overlooked by certain magicians, who would endeavor to eliminate the middle-man. While this may be entirely acceptable in some cases, it should not always be considered to be so, as cleansing and purification can add to the overall success of the ritual through the fortification of the banishment and the consecration. Consecration is equally important as banishment, for it gives the energy that was made neutral during the banishment a direction. This direction is the goal of the ritual at hand. This direction is created by dedicating an item or items to be used in the ritual. That which is consecrated need not be only an item but can also be a person or place. In fact, all things involved in a ritual should be consecrated. This includes all tools, the operator and any assistants involved, and the work space. By taking care to do so, you have essentially realigned all possible influences to meet the intended goal of the ritual. To simply sum up the first three steps of a ritual, you first neutralize the resident energies, then filter out the impurities, and realign those same energies to fit the needs of the task at hand. The fourth stage of ritual, at least as I see it, is the setting of the magic circle. Circle-setting entails the defining of boundaries. These boundaries are designed to keep the useful energies in and the unuseful energies out. Within this circle, the energies to be sent out to work the will of the operator are built up. The circle should not be so big that the operator cannot easily manipulate the energies within it, nor so small that he or she lights himself or herself on fire on one of the candles. Remember, fire has the ability to incite certain emotions that may not be conducive to the success of the ritual as a whole, especially when the operator has burst into flames. The circle is the place where the operator is the prime creative influence. It is his or her little universe inside of a larger universe. One could say that in this space he or she is God; essentially this assertion is true, but the terminology is stretching truth. As the creative force in this little universe, it is basically up to the operator what is and what isn’t. But how what is affects the grand scheme of things, that is the question. The artist can paint what is to him or her a masterpiece, but what is crap is crap. Conditions will always place a damper on the efforts of the magician if he or she endeavors to work against them. That’s why, when letting somebody have it magically, it’s best to amplify an already existing condition. But that is another subject altogether. In the next step, the invocation of the self, I am referring to the magical or sacred self — that little part of you that you pull out of the closet when you wish to do something extraordinary. When I think of the invocation of the self, I think of the Havamal, where Odin sacrifices himself to himself. That is essentially what must be achieved, the metaphorical death of the mundane self for the birth of the magical self to occur. I’m tempted to call it the higher self, but some of the selves out there can be pretty low even in their more profound states. The magical self has its roots in the elementary; in other words, it is generated through the conscious or unconscious will of an entity purposely or accidentally, embodied or no. The magical self, being as it is an energy to be tapped, is invoked. The invocation of the self can be bypassed or substituted with shape-shifting, providing of course you don’t end up like me and become contrary to your own goals when you shape-shift. The next stage of ritual, should you choose this route, is evocation. Evocation is the calling forth of a certain energy or entity. This energy or entity called upon should be able to assist you in your working. A spirit of a malignant nature is not a good candidate to assist you in a love spell, at least not a nice love spell. You should also consider that it is quite possible that the disposition of a conjured spirit may be equal to that of a total stranger off of the street. In essence, the position of the operator is that of the lowly beggar petitioning for help in his or her workings. This attitude is a far cry from the operators of the Middle Ages, whose workings resemble the more aggressive approach of, “Give me you spare change or burn in Hell in the name of my loving god.” (Well, everyone needs a hobby.) The main thing that I want to say is to look upon yourself and your situation as another might see it before you conjure and to determine then whether or not it would be worth it to petition for outside assistance. But if you do get ready to do so… Sacrifice, ahh, that’s the stuff. I could write a book on this, but I won’t. I shall, however, grace you with the two types of sacrifice that exist as I see them. The first is personal, and the second impersonal. The latter is the sacrifice of something separate from the operator, such as somebody else’s property or a life force other than the person doing the sacrifice. As this is not a method I subscribe to, I shall discuss instead sacrifice on the personal level. First, what is sacrifice? The dictionary defines it as the destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else, or suffering the loss of something, and as a verb to give up, to renounce, to injure, or to destroy, especially for an ideal, belief, or end. But what is the value behind sacrifice? When you go out to dinner, you get what you pay for; the same holds true for magic. When you enlist the assistance of an outside influence, it is best to give and not just take, take, take. Call me shallow, but I have always held sacrifice as a medium of exchange. Here, on the material plane, that which is given up is money. Money has little value to those who have no use for legal tender, so what instead shall we give? The answer is life force. Now, before you go slashing your wrists, I would like to present an alternative. The life force given up can be dispensed without the shedding of blood, which in this day and age can be a dangerous thing. Instead, one may give up one’s own energies. Some people feel that we have only a limited supply of energy that is irreplaceable, but if that were so there would be a lot more dead or out-of-work magicians. The trick is to find a receptacle such as an apple and charge it with your own energy. That receptacle is then offered up to the power in question and your energy becomes theirs to benefit from. In the case of the apple being the receptacle, an operation of this sort would go like this: 1. Obtain the apple 2. Obtain the knife 3. Carve the symbol of the power to which the sacrifice is being made 4. Commit the statement of dedication 5. Charge the apple with your own energies 6. Contemplate the action 7. Give thanks, make toasts, and so on Sacrifice is an important subject and a facet of magic that may very well predate all other forms, and it definitely deserves some looking into in regards to its process, as well as the reasons it is performed. I would like to close this section with the note that I do not condone the killing of animals for the purposes of magic. The next stage is that of the general working. At this point, the operator does what he or she has gone there to do — that is, unless you’ve already done that during the evocation or sacrifice. The general working is basically the spell that is performed, designed to carry out the will of the caster. The license of departure is a polite way of saying go home. This process lets a conjured entity know that the ritual is over, and that the entity can please go now so that you can shut everything down. It is in a sense a lesser, more polite form of banishment. I might compare this to when you are entertaining guests at your home. Time passes, as it always does, and you find that you desire to bring the evening to an end. Banishing your company would be bad manners — for that matter, it might appear downright rude. Instead, you pleasantly insist that you are done now. The license of departure should contain a hint or two of congeniality, along with the usual sternness required to maintain control of the situation. I have found the popular line “Go now unto your places and be you ready to come when you are called” to be effective, although I usually like to throw a thanks in there somewhere. It should also be noted that this line can throw people off when used in a social environment. The last banishment is done after the license of departure to make sure that everything is back to a preconjuration state. One needs to take care not to undo all that one has done. Therefore, this banishment is a selective one, directed at removing foreign energies rather than neutralizing the resident and potential energies sent forth by the operator during the general working. For the last banishment to be more than selective would be counterproductive. The banishment of an entity can be a tricky thing, and sometimes it needs to be done more than once. Attention needs to paid to the atmosphere of the work area when a banishment is performed. If you still feel the presence of the entity in question, then you must banish again and if necessary again and again until you get it right. There are plenty of spells out there designed to do the trick, if you find that you are having difficulty. Another thing to watch out for is when you feel nothing at all. Like people, spirits cannot always be trusted. The final stage, the reclaiming of the self, is the point at which one winds down the ritual, takes off the mask and the robe and what not, and returns to an everyday state. Energy that was put out to construct the circle and other such things is reabsorbed by the operator. Candles are extinguished, and the oil used in their anointing is cleaned off. The reclaiming of the self is a time when the operator goes back to being Bob, the normal average everyday self. It can be a relaxing period of final contemplation and recording of results, or it can be just a clean-up time. That really depends on the person. But after this, one should think no more on what was done, save for the process by which it was done and how it in the future can be done more effectively. It would be premature to bring this article to a close without mentioning tables of correspondence, which no one who practices magic should be without. (Unless you feel you have risen above these, in which case you don’t need to be reading this anyway.) For those of us still living on the material plane, a table of correspondence can prove at times invaluable. Such a table provides one with a great deal of basic knowledge and lore, which one can use in the creation of spells and rituals. Some of the things that can be found in tables such as these are the best days and hours, weeks and months to perform a ritual or magical act. They can also shed light on the proper colors, herbs, and stones that may be employed, as well as certain spirits that can be evoked or invoked to assist in your operations. There are many books out on the market today on the subject of magic and occultism that may provide you with charts of this nature. Also, one can trudge through the mythologies and folklore of the world finding bits and pieces of usable information. It is important to cross-reference the information that is presented to you in books, as it can vary greatly from author to author. All of the fun of compiling a table of correspondence should not be left up to the experts, as they may leave you with too much irrelevant information. The tables you construct are a testimony to your personal style. I would like to say that it is important to have fun with the rituals you create, but that really isn’t the case. What is important is that you find a ritual style that works well for you. Fun is optional. The Wheel Of The Year The Wheel of the year is basically a calendar of the 8 festivals called Sabbats celebrated by Wiccan’s and some other pagan paths. The wheel looks like a cartwheel with 8 spokes marking the sections of the year. The wheel is in 2 sections the first is the Quarters know as “the lesser Sabbats” or “quarter days”, these quarters mark the movement of the sun through the year with the vertical spokes marking the solstices and the horizontal spokes marking the equinoxes. The second section represents the cross quarters “cross-quarter days,” “fire festivals,” or “Greater Sabbats”, these are a mix of Gaelic and Germanic festival but basically or from my understanding the cross quarters are the cycles of life and death. The truth be told the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as been made up and in fact at the very starting of Wicca only the Cross quarters where celebrated online pharmacy without prescription it was the Bricket Wood Coven that added the quarter days basically because the wanted more meeting They did this while Gerald Gardner was away although he did not object to the additions as this brought Wicca closer to Gardner’s Long time friend Ross Nichols’s Neo druidism groups the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Although this Wheel has no historical value in terms of reclaiming the Craft it is a valued addition to Wicca and in other pagan paths. For me the wheel is a great source of meditation, understanding of life and death, a reminder of the cycles in life and most important reason of them all 8 reasons to party and celebrate the divine source. But the Wheel is more than that the symbology of the circle and it relation to the sun and moon a reminder that the wheel is eternal it has no beginning and no end. The solar aspect of the wheel relates to the God forms of the Oak and Holly kings, twin gods sharing or battling for control The Oak King will rule the light Half of the year he is born at the winter solstice and begins his rule in spring and dies in autumn to be reborn again at the winter solstice. Whilst the Holly King rules the dark half of the year he will take control at the death of his twin and will rule until the re-birthed Oak Kings is strong enough to control and then will step down and withdraw. Although there are version of this story that state that the 2 twin are fighting for the favour of the goddess, I see the Holly King as a wise and caring father figure Protecting and helping his brothers and the earth he is a reminder that The God form is eternal, While the Oak king is a reminder of how fragile life is we are born grow die and are reborn with all that that entails. The Luna Aspects of the wheel, which relate to the goddess aspect are easier to identify the wheel turns as the moon turns with midwinter being the new moon the vernal equinox the first quarter Midsummer the full moon the autumnal equinox the last quarter and back to the new moon Now for the eight spokes each of the spokes relate to a different festival in ancient times these festivals where used to mark agricultural events such as planting and harvesting and storing food as well as the solar events of the solstices and equinoxes. Since different pagan paths and Wiccan groups and individuals have different names and rituals on these date their no correct formula to the festivals in fact the festivals change depending on what hemisphere your in. If we take a quick look at the festivals and how I see them I will cover them in greater detail in the future. For me the wheel starts a Samhain (Sowain) the Celtic New Year and the Festival of the dead a time to remember friends family past and present. But it a reminder to me that at the start of any thing you will face hardship and you will need support, it also a reminder that in time passed this would be a harvest your last one for a long while and what you have will have to last if you did have enough to last you through the winter you could die. I celebrate this time by having a feast where guest bring some raw food and a meal is created from the food gathered, silly games are played and everyone has fun customers are often worn. The Next spoke is Yule the winter solstice this to be is about the rebirth of the god and the potential that is still hidden. Since Christmas is around this time I combine the both I send Yule Cards to friends. I have my own Yule tradition that Mix the Christmas feel for the Children in my life I buy tiny presents from the pound shop wrap them up and hang them from the tree, these are what I call tree presents they are gift from the tree. The Next is Imbolc this signifies the beginning of spring it a time of new beginnings and the beginning of planting this is about preparing the food for the year to come. I use Imbolc to plan what I am going to do in the coming year. Traditional I would find a daffodil and just meditate on the story of Persephone. The next is the Vernal Equinox or Ostara for me this is a time for fertility rites and the creation a time of change this is also the time that the Goddess and god are reunited as lovers. This is the time where I would work closely with my partner on intimate rituals to strengthen our love and relationship. Beltane is next this is a fire festival and has great focus on masculine energy and Sex although there are many May day rituals that are still preformed today the may pole is one of the most know, For me beltaine is a time for sacrifice and surrender it is a time for me to accept what I need to give up to achieve what I planed to achieve at Imbolc. This would be the time when I would choose to walk through the woods charging myself with the potency of the God. Now we are at Litha or Mid Summer the point where the Goddess is swollen which the fruits of the earth the God are at his Full potential, for me it’s a time to Enjoy and celebrate a day where theirs nothing to do everything is in balance and as it should be. It for me a day where I just enjoy the goddess and god. Then we have Lammas the first harvest it’s a time when I would go in to the garden and pick my fruits and veg I would normally prepare a meal with what has been gathered and share with friends and family. Sharing your hard work is a wonderful of honouring The God and Goddess. And the final spoke before returning to the new year is the Autumnal equinox the final harvest so back into the garden for the last harvest and clearing the garden ready for next year again I would share this food with family and friends either as food baskets, or as a meal depending on size of harvest. Awakening Your Magic Find some time alone, where you have some peace and quiet in a room that you will be able to make dark .(close blinds, drapes or place blankets over windows)? Find a candle that you feel represents you. It could be one of your favorite colors...or it could be the one that when you pick it up you feel something special - it just ''feels'' right.? Take the candle, and sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Put both of your hands around the candle, and hold it in your lap. Clear your mind of all thought and slow your breathing. Take long, deep, even breaths. Relax.? Once you feel relaxed, think about your past and your present. As you recall it, visualize each thought you have ''transferring'' it into the candle...if it helps, you can visualize a white puffy jet stream flowing from your head, into the candle in your hands...? Focus on this for a few minutes (or longer), you'll know when you've put enough of yourself into the candle. One?s true self, who you really are as a person. Next, place the candle in a candle holder and set it on your altar in the room. Light the candle and turn off the lights, close the curtains, and create a dark room. This dark room represents the clarity of emptiness, and the candle represents all that you are.? Focus on the flame. Feel the magick filling the room and filling you. Think of everything sacred and belive you are filled with magick. Build the belief till you have no doubt about your ability. When you are done snuff out the candle...? You can repeat this process at any time you feel the need.? How To Raise Power For Magic Before you speak a spell or touch anything, you need to be in the right state - you should be tingling with power. This is easiest done in the following way: 1. Breathe deeply, through your nose as well as through your mouth. 2. Stand comfortably and get a sense of energy flowing into your through your feet, coming in with your breath, pouring into you from above. 3. Focus your mind on your power to do magic. Say to yourself and think in your mind: "My power" with every breath. 4. If you can feel any physical signs such as pains and pressures in your body or head as you do this, take some time to breathe into those ereas and make those disturbances flow away. Concentrate only on your power to do magic. 5. When you are tingling all over, bright aware and bursting with energy, feeling electric, you're ready to go. It gets better and faster with practise; if you don't do this before you start, your spells won't run on full power. Beginning Clairvoyance A common mistake people make is assuming that 'seeing' involves the use of the eyes when in a closed state. Do not strain to see. You do not have to have your eyes closed to access your third eye however in the beginning it is recommend to shut out all distractions. Finding Your Minds Eye: Sitting comfortably, close you eyes Remember where you were yesterday What does it look like? Realize that you have created a picture in your minds eye to recall this time Notice where this image is projected within your body This is your inner screen or minds eye Exploring Your Clairvoyance: Sit comfortably with your eyes closed Notice the inner screen of your mind Bring your attention to the space between your eyes at the center of your forehead (your third eye) Visualize your third eye expanding Do you see anything shapes, colors, anything at all? Do not judge yourself or expect to much of yourself Just be aware of images of any sort that come to mind If nothing comes don't be discouraged Developing this skill may take some time Know that by bringing your attention to your third eye the skill of clairvoyance has already began to awaken Like all skills the development or rather the remembrance of it will involve persistence Further Exploration: Once you are feeling more confident and begin seeing images in your minds eye you could try this activity with a friend to test clairvoyance Have a friend set up a room in the house Change things about it, move things and add things Have your friend sit in a certain position in the room Remain in a separate room Bring your focus to your inner sight See the room in your minds eye What do you see? Where is your friend sitting? What has moved? Record what you see and than check with your friend To test clairvoyance may make you feel pressured to get it right. If it does try the experience of simply seeing what is happening at your friends house through your third eye in your own time and then giving him/her a phone call to see how they are and what they are up to. Did you sense any of what was happening? Eventually though it may be nice to measure your success to see how far you have come i.e. test clairvoyance Free your 6th sense and begin to tune into your inner eye Wiccan Greetings These are some of the common greetings used by witches: Merry Meet= A common Wiccan greeting, sometimes abbreviated mm. Merry Part= A common Wiccan parting, sometimes abbreviated mp. Blessed Be= A common Wiccan greeting and parting, sometimes abbreviated bb. LL= New Age and Witchcraft greeting and parting, meaning love and light. EM hotep= Is an Egyptian greeting. Translates into “in peace” or “in love”. 93= Thelmic greeting. “It’s the Gematria (numerology) for the word thelma (Will) and Agape (Love), used as a Thelmic greeting.” “93 is the numeric value of the Greek words for Love and Will. 93 is shorthand for ‘Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the Law. Love under Will. Improving Intuition If you want more intuition in your life you must enhance your mental capabilities. Some tested and true types of items to add to your life to enhance your intuition are: Use more color in your home. If you have all tan in your home, how boring would that be, add color in accents, pillows, scarves draped over a chair, a bright new candle, small things first. Use music more often in your life, make or listen to music, feel the rhythm of the music, sway to it, intone to the music. Use aroma in your life, add scents, scent is the strongest of our memories, use incense or oils with a burner or censor. Open up your drapes, let the sunshine in, stand in the sunlight, feel the warmth on your body, lay in the sunlight and challenge your cat to the sunny spot. Drink more water, feel the water sliding down your throat, feel it quenching your thirst, most times if you are hungry it is actually your body asking for water. Breath deeply, learn to breathe from the belly, a good book on this is Breathe in, Breathe out. Find your sleep cycle, note for a month when you wake up naturally, if you use an alarm note on the weekends when you wake naturally, write it down, don't rely on memory, then note when you feel tired at night, get more sleep. Take a walk, take notice of things around you, keep alert as you walk, listen to sounds, take notice of animals in the area, most times we are so unaware of what is going on around us. Move your body, dance to music, learn Tai Chi, or do yoga. Start a journal, write your thoughts each day, even if it is a paragraph and go back often to read your thoughts, you can learn from your own writing better than from someone else’s. Keep your home clean and clutter free, find a place for everything, if you are trying to find something and spend half the day looking for it, you have wasted half the day. If you haven't used something in the last year, chances are that you won't use it anytime soon, get rid of it, someone else may need it. When you are with friends, listen more than you talk, if you are asked your advice, think about your answer, is the answer what you want to hear, or what your friend needs to hear. Watch people when you are out, watch their body language, what are they saying with their bodies. If you don't have one start an altar, it can be a family altar, or deity altar, use it daily, even if you just ring a bell or put a flower on it, do it daily. Be truthful, keep your word, if you promise to do something then carry it out, don't let others down, once you are shown to be trustworthy others will trust you. Listen to your body, eat what it wants, feel the digestions in your stomach, feel the foods that are digested move through your bowels, listen to the sounds your body makes. Find time to meditate, even if it is just sitting and listening to your house for a half hour or more, find the time to do so. If you want to have a ritual the best place to start it is in your mind, visualize what will be said, visualize what will happen, see the altar in your mind, hear the words you want to say. Simplify your home, if you have nicnacs all over get rid of them or put them in storage, lessen your time dusting and spend that time doing more for you instead of taking care of little dust collectors. Witchcraft and Broom Magick The common, everyday household broom is a good luck as well as a fertility symbol and has been playing a magickal role in the lives of people since ancient times. One of the earliest known rituals can be traced back to the broomstick. While men could occasionally be seen straddling pitchforks, most often they hopped aboard their brooms and went dancing and leaping through the fields in a fertility ritual for abundant crops. The leaping was supposed to simulate how high the crops were going to grow. This is probably where the idea that witches fly around on broomsticks came from. The Magic Broom: During the harrowing times of the witch trials of Europe and America, many refused to sweep after the sun went down in order to keep from being suspected of witchcraft. This strict adherence to that rule has been passed down through generations. Today, despite the fact that brooms are thought to bring good fortune, according to many people, it is unlucky to sweep after sunset. In Europe, our recent ancestors would wall brooms up in their houses during construction and even hang crossed brooms over their front doors to ward off evil and provide their homes with protection. Swinging a magick broom while outside is supposed to bring rain. If you happen to have an unwanted guest in your home, one way to utilize your broomstick is to lean the handle toward them and visualize them leaving. According to this old folk charm, it is believed the guest will promptly feel uncomfortable and get on their way soon. Try Out Your Own Magick: Negative energies and bad luck be gone with some old-fashioned broom magick! With this bit of broom magick, you can clear your home of negative influences and bad luck. If you do not already own a good broom, obtain one made of corn or straw. It is essential to give the broom a smudging to clear it of all prior influences. Prepare yourself for sweeping. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind to concentrate on the task at hand. Work your way slowly from the front of your house toward the back, ritually sweeping each room. If you have carpet, sweep over it as well. The going may be more difficult here, but try to persevere. Focus intently as you sweep on the bad vibes, unwanted energies, and negativity being swept away with the dust. At the back door, have a dustpan waiting for the physical and ethereal “dust” you have collected and sweep it in. Then, empty the dirty dustpan into the trash, which will be taken out of your home permanently. True Path Walkers Obligations of the True Path Walkers To bring back the natural harmony that humans once enjoyed. To save the planet from present practices of destruction. To find and re-employ real truth. To promote true balance between both genders. To share and be less materialistic. To become rid of prejudice. To learn to be related. To be kind to animals and take no more than we need. To play with one's children and love each equally and fairly. To be brave and courageous, enough so, To take a stand and make a commitment. To understand what Generations Unborn really means. To accept the Great Mystery in order to end foolish argument over religion. Witches Handshake Extend your right index finger and lightly touch the wrist of the person exactly where the pulse is felt . by touching the pulse it throws the acquaintance completely off his balance for just an instant , but in that instant plant an initial thought. Magic Witches Ladder For Comfort And Blessing If you want to do a spell to comfort [a sick friend], try making a witch's ladder. Take a long blue cord or ribbon, and collect 7 symbols to hang from it -- things like Grey feathers for protection during sleep, sprigs of healing herbs, garlic for healing and protection, small talismans, conjure bags, charms you get the idea. The important thing is that the symbols should represent comfort, protection, and healing. Tie them to the cord and charge it with comforting power. Make a Grave Rubbing Many modern Pagans and Wiccans include ancestor worship as part of their Samhain celebrations -- it's not out of the ordinary to meet members of the Pagan community who can recite their genealogy back ten or more generations. In addition, because it's common for Wiccans and Pagans to view death not as ending but as the beginning of the next phase of spiritual development, grave rubbings are popular with many Pagans. It's great to use those of your own relatives and family members, but if you find a headstone that strikes you as interesting, there's nothing wrong with making a rubbing from it. It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re tromping about a cemetery, you should be respectful. Not only of the people who are lying there, but also of those living beings who may happen to come along while you’re there. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but please make an effort not to disturb someone who may be grieving. Not everyone views death in the same way, so while your family may accept it as part of nature’s cycle, another family might be overcome by a sense of loss. Also, bear in mind that many cemeteries are private property. Before wandering into them, check to see if you need to get permission. If you do, be sure to get it before you end up trespassing. Headstone rubbings are a unique way of preserving the past and getting some pretty neat décor out of it as well. While doing a rubbing usually doesn’t cause damage to headstones, there are certain precautions that should be taken. If a stone is worn or crumbling, pass on it. Rubbing an already-damaged stone can cause it to flake and chip to the point where it’s irreparable. Instead, choose stones which are in good condition – the best results come from either polished granite stones or solid slate markers. You Will Need: lightweight paper (white butcher paper works nicely, but you can experiment with other colors as well) 1 large crayon (preferably black, but again, feel free to try new stuff) or rubbing wax masking tape 1 soft-bristled paintbrush to clear debris off the stone. 1 cardboard tube notepad and pen 1 pair of garden scissors You might also want to take a cardboard tube with you to store your rubbings for transport home. I also like to bring a notepad and pencil to jot down notes about the cemetery and the person whose headstone I’ve rubbed. A pair of garden scissors can be helpful for trimming off weeds at the base of the stone. Procedure: Once you’ve chosen your stone, brush it off lightly with your paintbrush. You’d be surprised how much dust and organic material can accumulate in the carvings, to say nothing of bird poop. Once it’s cleaned off, use the masking tape to keep the paper in place over the area you wish to rub. Try to extend the paper past the top and sides of the stone – that way you won’t get random crayon marks on the stone itself. Start your rubbing by filling in the outer edges of the carved area. This will give you a point to work towards. Once you’ve done that, move to the center and begin working outward, back towards your edges. Use the flattest surface of the crayon or wax, and make light, even strokes. If it looks like your rubbing isn’t showing up well, don’t worry. You can go back and add more definition later. Keep your strokes uniform to prevent variations in coloring. Once you think you’re done, step back and look at the rubbing from a distance. Chances are that by viewing it from a few steps away, you’ll notice some irregularities in the shading or detail. Go back and fix them, without putting too much pressure on the stone. When you’re satisfied with the result, carefully remove all the tape. Be sure to clean up stray bits of paper or other garbage. Roll your rubbing up and place it in your tube for safekeeping. Once you get it home, matte and frame your work and hang it up on your wall. A collection of grave rubbings is a good conversation starter all year long, but particularly at Samhain. If you have access to the gravestones of your ancestors, a wall of framed rubbings can become the perfect altar to your heritage. Menus and Table Settings Your menu choices are up to you, but because it's Samhain, you may wish to make the traditional Soul Cakes, as well as serving dishes with apples, late fall vegetables, and game if available. Set the table with a black cloth, black plates and cutlery, black napkins. Use candles as your only source of light -- black if you can get them. Realistically, not everyone has black dishware sitting around. In many traditions, it's perfectly acceptable to use a combination of black and white, although black should be the predominant color. Host/Hostess Duties: When you're hosting a Dumb Supper, clearly the point is that no one can speak --- and that makes a host's job very tricky. It means you have the responsibility of anticipating each guest's needs without them communicating verbally. Depending on the size of your table, you may want to make sure each end has its own salt, pepper, butter, etc. Also, watch your guests to see if anyone needs a drink refill, an extra fork to replace the one they just dropped, or more napkins. Need-Fire Spell The Anglo-Saxon tribes that invaded Britain called Hallowe'en 'need-fire.' They lit bonfires to magically endow the sun with the strength to survive the winter. Such bonfire customs survive in Great Britain, but have been moved to the 5th of November and associated with the burning in effigy of Guy Fawkes. Revive the old magic by lighting your own 'need-fire' out of doors and add a colorful touch of the modern with fireworks. The Veil as Seen Through the Eyes of a Witch As I near my twilight years I begin to think of death. Not as a final stage, but rather as a doorway standing before me. The door is closed but through it I shall enter, as we all must at some point in time. Our Sacred Mother decides upon such a time, for it is she who sends her children forth into the Chautauqua of Life. And it is she who calls them back home. For some the journey is but a moment in time, like a shooting star that appears ever so briefly. One of my sons was such a shining star, here and gone ever so quickly. Like a ripple across a quiet pond, he touched our hearts and then was gone. His moment of existence resonated in our souls like a song that will never end. For others the stay is longer, like errant children with so much to learn. Perhaps it is life lessons to be repeated or maybe a lesson of our selves unto others. For we all are students of life, seeking to find the answers that allow us to grow. However, at the end of the day, it becomes time for us to return home. Sometimes we face this return with trepidation, like children who want to stay out past dark. However it is children that we are and when our mother calls it is time to go home. For our knowledge of what lies behind the door that leads through the veil is not a reality. We are like small children whose whole sense of reality has been confined to a small fenced in back yard. We have no real awareness of the whole wide world that lies just beyond our gate. As we go through this life, we sometimes find ourselves in a state of physical pain. The reason for this I cannot fathom or answer as to why. For the ways of Deity, are not for us to know at this stage in our development. For us to have such knowledge is to be as one with our Sacred Mother. Perhaps the pain that such folks endure is a lesson from another life. Or perhaps it is the beginning of a lesson in this current life. We often feel love and compassion for those who experience such, and then perhaps that is the lesson intended for us. In the end, only Deity has the answers to such. As it is, when it becomes my turn to stand before the door leading to the corridor of transition from this life to that, I can only hope that I do so with a sense of dignity. The dear Goddess has given us many gifts in the way of experiences. Some of these lessons were tinged with pain while others carried a note of joy. She has created a complex harmony with numerous opportunities to learn about ourselves and indeed to learn about others as well. Many folks in this life will mill about at the foot of the mountain of life, their hearts and minds poisoned with fear of what lies ahead. And so their journey through this life will be compromised and with closed eyes, dwelling on what may or may not be. I personally believe that this persona of fear has been initiated and exploited by those who would seek to control the thoughts and actions of those who succumb to such implanted paranoia’s. As a witch though, I walk through this existence as an individual. And will indeed climb to the top of the mountain of life, seeing each arduous step, as merely another stride in the spiritual growth that awaits each of us. And once the peak is reached I will extend my hands to the skies and whisper a heartfelt thank you to Deity. Thus in this manner, giving a sign of appreciation for the opportunity to have experienced the lessons of this realm as we become that much closer to the final goal of being one with Deity. From the moment that we take our first breath, we are walking towards the door that leads through the veil. And so when Deity extends their hand and beckons me forth, I will do as was planned prior to my existence in this realm. Granted, there will be feelings of sadness, for one cannot enter this realm without creating a comfort zone composed of family and friends. But then there will also be feelings of curiosity and anticipation and of course many unanswered questions. For instance will Deity be awaiting our crossing with open arms? Will those friends and family who have made the journey before us be waiting to greet and acclimate us to our new existence? Will our Spirit Guides who have planted the seeds of lessons and watched as these lessons blossomed into newfound knowledge be there to congratulate us? Will there be yet other teachers and/or personas from ages past waiting to test us anew? Will we be allowed to take a moment to contemplate the experiences garnered while in this realm or will we awaken in yet another existence as if our level of awareness was momentarily put on hold? Will our existence in this realm resonate in our ken as but a moment in the over all framework of existence? Of course all of these questions are pure speculation, as we do not have the knowledge at this point in our spiritual growth to answer such musings. But we do have the ability and knowledge as pagans to break away and reject the mind and heart numbing fear that others would impose upon us for their own limited and selfish devices. Deity created this path of life, death and rebirth, not man. And therefore I place my trust in the grand scheme of things as designed by Deity rather then the tunnel vision of those who would pervert such ideals into something to be feared and distorted. And so in summation, I will live my life as a Witch and when it comes time to walk through the veil, I will stroll through as a Witch… Sign of the Chrysanthemum "My mysteries are forever unfolding." If you were born between October 23 and November 21, you were born under the sign of the Chrysanthemum. You have many layers to you, and just as soon as someone thinks they have you identified, you pop out with another blossom of surprises. You like clarity and honesty in all things. In fact, when situations are murky or unhealthy you are the perfect sign to come in and clear the air or heal the situation. You are focused and tend to be serious in your emotions, but you are very intuitive and help others identify areas they need to work on for their own emotional growth. You are active and amorous with no end to suitors. The Magical Properties Of Salt Without exception, every civilisation on Earth has very similar ideas about the magical properties of salt - namely that it absorbs psychic energy and binds it into its own structure. From the Roman Catholic rite of preparing holy water, which contains both water and salt to the Indian custom of using salt on wounds to draw away unhealthy spirits, and with evidence that salt has been used in just that way for as long as humans have employed magic, there is clearly a strong consensus and that tends to be simply based on truth, fact, and experience. Protection Against Psychic Phenomena Salt has always been used as protection against psychic attacks, and to disable unwanted psychic phenomena. Ordinary salt may be sprinkled across thresholds and around the perimeter of dwellings, inside and out; Salt mixed with sand is used for forming magic circles; Rock salt crystals can be added to "medicine pouches", carried in pockets or worn in a small bag about the neck. Sprinkling salt around someone's bed protects from unwanted night time visitors and reduces the likelihood of unwanted spontaneous OOBEs. Please note: Salt dampens/draws ALL psychic energy forms - it doesn't distinguish between "good" or "bad" psychic energies. For active magicians and priests, it is therefore to be handled with care so that it doesn't inadvertently dampen their abilities and disturb their magical works. On the other hand, salt can be very successfully used to counteract overactive psychic emissions, such as in very young gifted children who are experiencing unwanted psychic phenomena, teenagers and women in menopause *temporarily*. Salt For Purification: With salt's extreme ability to draw away remnants of psychic energy, including "ghost manifestations" of many different kinds, salt has always been used for psychic clearing and for purification. Magicians and priests routinely prepare for ceremonies by taking a bath which contains salt as one of the main ingredients; Magical objects and crystals are cleansed by immersing them in salt water; Bowls of salt may be placed into a room to absorb negative energy or psychic energy disturbances; Food and objects can be purified by adding a small amount of salt, or placing a small amount of salt nearby. Throwing salt is generally regarded as a device to clear the aura of a person or an environment of leftover psychic energy. A box containing salt can be used to purify anything that is placed upon it; Crystals placed on a bed of salt or on a salt box require less, or no clearing at all. Salt, Water & Fire Spells: As salt absorbs psychic energy, it can be used to transfer or transmute a wish or spell to the higher powers by first making the spell, then throwing the salt into the fire where it burns up and in doing so, releases the psychic charge into the higher dimensions. The most basic form of this type of spell is to hold a little salt in the hand, make a wish, and then throw the salt into the fire. In the same vein, salt can be thrown into water - a well, a river and into the sea and can be used to carry wishes, or take away burdens, clear attachments from the aura. It is an immensely flexible system with a hundred and one uses. Salt & Healing: Just a small amount of salt added to healing brews, potions and lotions of any kind will serve to "take care of the other realms" and extend the effectiveness of said brew, potion or lotion into the psychic dimensions - something that modern medicine and medications lack altogether. Salt is of course a major practical part of our bodies and our health; too much salt however can reduce psychic activity and make it harder to perform psychic tasks. This is one of the reasons why in the olden days, magicians and priests used to fast and drink only pure water prior to major ceremonies. It is interesting to note that having a good flow of salt in and out of the body is extremely important to the full functioning of a magician or priest, both on the physical levels as well as on the metaphysical levels. Regular bathing in salt water is a first class prophylactic to all manner of psychic disturbances as well as being good for the physical body; in this way, salt is a simple introduction and a bridge between the physical and metaphysical realms for beginners. A Simple Example Of A Salt Spell - Spiritual House Clearing This simple magic ritual demonstrates some of the main points of using salt. It is easy to do for anyone, and makes a big difference to a home, and its occupants, but most of all to the magician who performs this spell. 1. Find a beautiful glass bowl of any size. In psychic workings, the physical size of an object really does not matter - a huge bowl won't do any more than a small one. Psychic energy absorption is not like filling a suitcase! 2. Fill the glass bowl with salt - simple cooking salt or pretty rock salt, it matters not. 3. Place the bowl with the salt near the hearth of the home - the center of the home. In some houses, that is in the kitchen; in other homes, it can be the sitting room, or perhaps a den where everyone gathers. You know where your hearth is. 4. Leave it there for three days. 5. On the third day, take the bowl and the salt somewhere where you can release both the physical salt as well as the psychic attachments it has absorbed. You can throw this salt into a river, or a fire, or simply into a sink with the tap running. As you empty the bowl (you can do this a handful at a time), tell the salt about your worries and troubles and your fears, your negative thoughts. It will take those as well and while you're there. 6. Re-fill the bowl and replace it near the hearth. 7. From now on, empty the salt bowl once a week to keep your home free of harmful energy under normal circumstances; or more often if there is extra stress, as you feel is right. You will notice a distinct improvement in the atmosphere of your home within a few days. Salt is a fascinating substance and one of the best beginner's devices to learn about the effects of a substance on the metaphysical planes. Even though it is simple and straightforward and suitable for beginners, that doesn't mean that it isn't also extremely profound and very useful indeed. Working with and understanding the magical properties and uses of salt is one of the core skills any person engaged in magic is encouraged to become familiar with. Magic Lessons - Thoth Spell Allegedly if you call Lord Thoth by name, he will respond. Thoth is the inventor of magick and the master of the Moon. He may also be Hermes Trismergistus. Offer him lunar-shaped candles and charms. Decorate an altar with images of his animal manifestations: baboons and ibises. Calamus/sweet flag and papyrus are his sacred plants. Thoth knows all magickal skills; request whatever you wish. Home Made Ink Recipe Brown...boiled-down walnut or butternut hulls that have been mashed first. Add vinegar and salt to boiling water to 'set'. Black...add indigo or lampblack (soot). Blue...powdered Indigo. 2 parts, 1 part madder, 1 part bran. Mix with water, let stand then strain it well. 1. Taken from the twelfth century manual On Divers Arts by monk/scribe, Theophilus: "When you are going to make ink, cut some pieces of [haw]thorn wood in April or May, before they grow blossoms or leaves. Make little bundles of them and let them lie in the shade for two, three, or four weeks, until they are dried out a little. Then you should have wooden mallets with which you should pound the thorn on another hard piece of wood, until you have completely removed the bark. Put this immediately into a barrel full of water. Fill two, three, four or five barrels with bark and water and so let them stand for eight days, until the water absorbs all the sap of the bark into itself. Next, pour this water into a very clean pan or cauldron, put fire under it and boil it. From time to time also put some of the bark itself into the pan, so that if any of the sap has remained in it, it will be boiled out. After boiling it a little, take out the bark and again put some more in. After this is done, boil the remaining water down to a third, take it out of that pan and put it into a smaller one. Boil it until it grows black and is beginning to thicken, being absolutely careful not to add any water except that which is mixed with the sap. When you see it begin to thicken, add a third part of pure wine, put it into two or three new pots, and continue boiling until you see that it forms a sort of skin on top. Then take the pots off the fire and put them in the sun until the black ink purges itself from the red dregs. Next, take some small, carefully sewn parchment bags with bladders inside, pour the pure ink into them, and hang them in the sun until [the ink is] completely dry. Whenever you want, take some of the dry material, temper it with wine over the fire, add a little green vitriol [iron sulphate] and write. If it happens through carelessness that the ink is not black enough, take a piece of iron a finger thick, put it into the fire, let it get red-hot, and immediately throw it into the ink." For those who prefer a more technical explanation: The ink would be composed mostly of iron tannate or gallate. The acids are extracted from the partially decomposed bark and, after drying for storage, are freshly mixed for use with wine and green vitriol. The ink could be made blacker by adding iron or iron oxide directly. It was commonly added as metallic filings, but the method of quenching an iron rod as recommended by Theophilus will also work, as it will produce a reactive oxide scale. 2. A traditional ink recipe, this one is much simpler. Take a quantity of albumen [egg white] and mix thoroughly with the soot. Then add honey and mix into a smooth paste. The ink is then ready to use. 3. Another traditional ink recipe. Gather some "lawyer's wig" mushrooms (Corprinus comatus) and place in a glazed pot or small cauldron. Leave somewhere warm for several days to allow the mushrooms to liquefy. Pour off the liquid and either use it as it is or boil until it is about half its original volume for a blacker ink. Note: this ink is less permanent than some of the others, but is easy to produce. There were many other types of ink in use at the time, many of them obtained by suspending black pigments in some other medium (e.g. recipe 2). Black pigments included charcoal and bone-black (obtained by burning bone in the absence of oxygen). Compounds of gallic acid were also used as the basis for many black inks, which worked by oxidizing the surface of the vellum. If you are using a modern ink, beware of pure Indian ink -- this is far blacker than most of the early medieval inks. If you do use Indian ink, add a quantity of red or brown ink to it before writing. 10 Things About Being Wiccan 1. No conversation or recruitment is necessary… Wiccans have no insecure compulsion to convert everyone to their way of thinking. People come to Wicca when and if they are ready/interested. Furthermore, you are not required to accept or do anything that you’re not comfortable with. 2. No artificial code of morality… Out of all of the creatures of this Earth, only humans are forced to live under unnatural moral codes. Wiccans believe simply: “An It Harm None, Do As Ye Will”. 3. Progressive Reincarnation… Wiccans believe we are here to learn and to progress, not suffer eternal damnation if we ‘slip-up’ in someone else’s eyes. 4. No Discrimination… There is no such thing as being the ‘right’ race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin to be Wiccan; ALL are welcome! 5. No middle man (or woman)… Once you know all of the basics, you can be your own ‘minister’ or ‘priest’ you need never bow before (or rely upon) some religious dictator for spiritual guidance, you go straight to the source. 6. Be yourself… By sharing a common interest with others in Wicca, you do not lose your identity as an individual. You are unique and can and should stay that way without becoming a blob in homogeneous mass. 7. No repression… Wiccans are not forbidden from reading, learning, eating, drinking, or saying anything. You can actually even disagree with someone without being ‘excommunicated’. 8. Contribution… NO! Not money, but knowledge. The craft has always , and will always, be an experimental religion. If it works, we use it. Then share it so that all in the Craft many benefit. 9. No rigid Dogma… Wiccans DO NOT believe that their path is ‘The One and Only Path’. The only ‘True’ path is the one that works best for you. All paths are valid as long as they Harm None. 10. Self-empowerment… Wicca allows you to truly feel your own power, if you will, and a true sense of self. You are ‘allowed’ to be the best person that you wish to be with all of the love and support that you can possibly hope for. Wicca allows you to take your hopes, dreams, and most heart’s desires and manifest them in this reality. All is possible. All is real. How to Write Your Own Spells and Rituals Know the Basics Know what magick is. Know different ways to raise, direct and ground energy. Know how to cast a magick circle. Know how to open a circle. Know the basic outline of a spell. Know the Intent or Purpose What is it you are trying to do? Heal an illness? Increase your concentration? Bring love into your life? Sell a house? Celebrate a Sabbat? Before you begin any magickal working, you should have a firm grasp on what outcome you are seeking. Know the Best Time to Work the Spell Do you know what type of magick should be worked during the waning moon and what type during the waxing moon? What type of magick is best worked on the full moon? The new moon? What days of the week are best for what types of magick? Learn how the moon phases and days of the week affect magickal workings so you will know when to work your spell. Know Correspondences Learn which colors will bring what results. Learn a little about herbalism; which herbs can be used for what magickal purposes. Learn about image magick and how it works. Learn about elemental magick; which elements can be used for what types of magick. Basic Working Spell Outline We all have different ways and routines when doing spells and rituals. Below is a basic guideline suggested by many books and web sites that you may find helpful if you feel that following a structured routine will work best for you, or if you aren't sure where to start and need a guideline. These are not set in stone and can be changed to suit your needs. Ritual Preparation Choose a time. Decide the intent. Choose an aspect of the Divine, if you wish. Decide how to raise energy (ie: dance, chanting, drumming, etc.) Choose how to cast and close the circle. Cleanse yourself and your magickal space. You can do this with a ritual bath for yourself, or through meditation to still and focus your mind. You can cleanse your space with your magickal broom or with incense or burning herbs. Cast the Circle Starting at the North side of the room, point your finger or wand and say the following as you imagine white light energy streaming forth from your finger and forming a circle around you: Say: I cast this circle to create a sacred space. No unwanted energies can enter this space. The circle is now cast! So mote it be! By the time you've walked three time around the circle, you should be finished saying that. You may also choose to sprinkle salt or water on the ground around you or in the four corners. Here's another method for How to Cast a Circle Invocation of the Divine Invoke the Dieties by asking them to join you for your magical workings. Say: God and Goddess, I ask that you join me here to assist with my magical workings. Statement of purpose This is simply to tell the Divine why you have called Him/Her to the circle; what you are trying to accomplish. Magickal Working Raise energy, through chanting or drumming or however you have chosen to do so. Direct or channel this energy by using candles, herbs, stones or whatever other correspondences you found to fit your specific need. Ground your energy when you have completed the working. Cakes and Wine (optional) Eat a small piece of bread or cookie and drink a little wine, milk or juice to help restore your energy. Thanking the Divine Closing the Circle Starting from the West, walk widdershins (counterclockwise) around the circle three times saying.. Say: The circle is open, but never broken. So mote it be! Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again! Candle Spell Worksheet Having the following information will help you to create a successful candle spell... Magickal Intention: Candle Type: Burning Time: Color: Symbols: Moon Phase: Deities: Elementals: Herbs: Oils: Stones: Visualizations: Where will the candle be placed during the spell? Magickal Intention: Of course you don't have to follow this to a tee...but it does help your spell get more centered on the intention of it. Create Your Own Moon Spells Because of the very nature of Magick, each working should be highly individualized and personal. Even if following a traditional spell, it should be tailored to your specific needs to be most effective for you. Understanding the basics of Spell Construction will enable you to formulate your own specific, effective spells for any purpose you desire. Preliminary planning is necessary. The very first step is to decide precisely what your desired end result is to be. Before you can start, you must decide where you are going. You must be very explicit. It is important, also, that you choose your time carefully. You should take into consideration all Astrological implications, energy currents and Moon phases. The Moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, has a profound influence upon us, it is very important to choose a time when the Moon is in an astrological sign which is appropriate for your working. For example: Aries/Action - Enthusiasm, Taurus/ Renewal - Sensuality, Gemini communication - Curiosity, Cancer/ Emotion - Nurturing, Leo/Vitality - Determined, Virgo organizing - Studious, Libra/Balance -Cooperation, Scorpio/Sexual - Philosophical, Capricorn/Authority - Ambitious, Aquarius/Innovation - Social, Pisces/Sensitivity - Idealistic. Bear in mind that magickal workings for gain, increase or bringing things to you, should be initiated when the Moon is Waxing (from Dark to Full); when the Moon is Waning (from Full to Dark), it is time for magical workings of decrease or sending away. The highest energy occurs at the Full Moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magical workings. The New Moon is the next most powerful time for Magick. Pagan Communities In the Pagan community, there are a number of different spiritual traditions that fall under the umbrella of Wicca or Neowicca. Here are some of the most commonly discussed groups that you may find as you meet people of different Wiccan or Neowiccan traditions. There are different types and styles of Wiccan traditions — some may be right for you, and others not so much. Learn about the variations in spiritual paths even amongst Wiccans and NeoWiccan — some of the differences may surprise you! Alexandrian Wicca Founded by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine, Alexandrian Wicca became a popular tradition during the resurgence of modern Paganism. Heavily influenced by Gardner and his tradition, Alexandrian Wicca uses a degree system and has ties to ceremonial magic systems. Blue Star Witchcraft The Blue Star tradition is one that is modeled on Gardnerian Wicca, but still manages to be different. Learn more about the Blue Star tradition of Witchcraft. British Traditional Wicca British Traditional Wicca is a term often used by Pagans in the U.S. to describe a specific set of covens in Britain. Find out what BTW is, and who qualifies to be part of it. Circle Sanctuary If you read much about Wicca and witchcraft, you’ve probably heard of Circle Sanctuary. But who are they, and why are they important? Correllian Nativist Tradition The Correllian Nativist Tradition is a well-known tradition of witchcraft today – find out who they are, and what they do. Covenant of the Goddess Covenant of the Goddess is a name that comes up often in discussion of Wiccan groups. Who are they, and what do they do? Dianic Wicca With origins in the feminist movement, Dianic Wicca has been embraced by many women trying to find an alternative to oppressive, patriarchal religion. One branch of the Dianic movement centers around the writings of Z Budapest, while other groups tend to be more eclectic. One facet they all have in common is a celebration of the Goddess only, instead of the dual God/Goddess practice often found in Wicca. Eclectic Wicca The phrase “eclectic Wicca” is a commonly used one, but it can have different meanings depending on who’s using it. Find out what Eclectic Wicca is, and who practices it. Gardnerian Wicca When Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the 1950s, he set the wheels turning for countless other traditions to form. Many of today’s Wiccan covens can trace their origins back to Gardner, but the Gardnerians path itself remains initiatory and oathbound. Is Christian Wicca a Valid Tradition? A reader writes in asking about whether or not she can be both Christian and Wiccan. We also discuss that whole Biblical injunction about “thou shall not suffer a witch to live.” How To Dispose of Ritual Tools Sometimes, for whatever reason, you may decide that you have a ritual tool you no longer need. Perhaps you’ve got three athame too many, or someone has gifted you with a new chalice and you’re tired of the old one, or maybe something just doesn’t speak to you the way it used to. Whatever the reason, it can sometimes be a bit of a dilemma as to how to dispose of your ritual tools. Difficulty: Easy Time Required: Varied Here’s How: Pass It On If you’ve got a particular tool that still has a good feeling to it, or that has some sort of sentimental value, and you’ve decided it’s time to get rid of it, why not pass it along to a friend? You’ll be happy to know your item has gone to a good home, and your friend will be happy to receive a new magical tool. Before you pass it along, you may want to hold a short parting ritual to separate yourself from the object. Once your friend has the item in her possession, she can re-consecrate the tool to make it her own. Into the Wild Some items seem to like being released into the wild, like animals. If you have a magical tool that came from nature — a wand made from a branch, a special stone, a bottle of sea water — then put it back into nature. While you may not be able to return it to the place you originally found it, you can always find a quiet place in the woods to leave it. Another option might be to toss it into a creek or river, as long as it is indeed a natural object. Release by Fire Sometimes, you might have an item you don’t want any more, and you don’t want to give it to anyone else. You might not want to leave it out in the wild where someone can dig it up, either. In this case, the best thing to do is use fire to get rid of it. Burning a magical item doesn’t have to be complicated – build a fire and place the item in it. If you wish, say a few words to separate yourself magically from the object, and then allow it to burn. Burial Another good method of getting rid of old ritual tools is burial. Typically, you’ll want to select a place that isn’t going to be disturbed later on — if you have property of your own, you can bury the item in your yard. If you don’t have your own land, or you’re going to be moving soon, you may want to find a remote spot somewhere that you can bury the object. Use good judgment before digging on any public property. How To Make A Seguro Magick Bottle According to South American shamans, a seguro is a friend you can turn to when you need advice and who will share your problems. But you'll never have to buy them a drink or a even a birthday gift, because a seguro is actually a clear glass bottle that contains perfume, sacred water and a selection of plants chosen for their healing or magickal qualities. These bottles are then kept in a 'sacred' space and are held in high esteem as objects that transmit great power. Any time you have a problem simply hold it against your heart and speak to it as you would a treasured friend. The premise here is that the seguro will absorb the energy of the worry or concern and then help to transform those energies into active solutions. According to those same shamans, this plant ally that will offer healing and support to the natural world with all its power and potential. To create your Seguro magick bottle you'll need a glass bottle about five inches high with a sealable lid or any bottle that you think will fit your contents. Fill this bottle one third full with your favorite perfume and top that off with some sort of 'sacred' water, such as traditional holy water or water from a spiritual spot. Mineral, spring or rainwater can be used as well. Once you've built this base think of the qualities that you would like in your life and of the plants that might bring them to you. Bamboo or jade bring healing to your money agendas while heather brings luck. Goldenrod can also be used for wealth while mums bring fortune and roses bring love. Add whatever plants resonate with you and arrange them attractively. Before sealing the bottle be sure to blow your intentions into it three times. Place your bottle where you can consult with it often and then see how quickly the two of you become inseparable. Your life will change for the positive once seguro has your back. Your friendship with this ally will grow and you'll have a life long companion. Ethics of Love Magic – Is it OK to Perform Love Spells? Love spells. They’re one of the things that often draws new folks to Wicca and Pagan religions. However, there’s a lot of question within the Pagan community about the ethics of casting a love spell on someone else. After all, if you’re performing magic on someone without their knowledge, aren’t you messing with their free will? Most Wiccans will tell you that the best way to approach love magic is to avoid focusing on a specific individual as a target. Instead, use your energy and skills to focus on yourself — to draw love your way, or to help you present yourself as a person worthy of love. You could use your magical abilities to feel more confident and attractive, much like a magical makeover. In other words, fix yourself, not someone else. Bear in mind that many Pagan traditions have no restrictions on the use of magic to change someone else. If you’re part of such a tradition, the use of love magic may well be within the boundaries of your ethical guidelines. In some traditions of folk magic, love magic is perfectly acceptable. It’s something that’s done as a matter of course, and is no more unethical than wearing a sexy perfume or a cute push-up bra. Magic is viewed as a tool, and can be used in tandem with the mundane to bring you what you want — after all, if you didn’t want to change things, you wouldn’t be doing magic in the first place, right? Before casting any sort of working that affects another person, though, be sure to think about consequences. How will your actions affect not only you, but other people? Will it ultimately cause harm? Will it cause someone to be hurt, either directly or indirectly? These are all things that should be evaluated before performing any working at all, whether it’s a love spell or some other type of magic. If your tradition or belief system prohibits you from performing magic on someone without their consent or knowledge, then you’d be better of skipping the love magic, and focusing instead on self-improvement and self-empowerment. Rather than aiming a love spell at someone and expecting them to become your devoted servant and doormat, consider looking at love spells as a method of (a) getting someone to notice you AND (b) getting the person to, once they’ve noticed you, find all the things about you that they like. If you maintain this perspective, you should be able to work love magic and still keep within your ethical boundaries. How to obtain Graveyard Dirt Graveyard Dirt must be purchased. It is obtained through a contract with the spirit of the person that was buried there. There are just as many techniques for buying graveyard dirt as there are ways of using it, but I will give my own two versions I use here. You Will Need: 1 trowel 1 plastic bag 1 small bottle of whiskey (like the kind they give out on airplanes) 1 mercury (silver) dime 9 pennies 1 bouquet of flowers 1 candle and some way to light it 1 label or piece of paper and a pen to write with Procedure: I personally like going to cemetery to get graveyard dirt on the dark moon, but any time at night is fine. Have all of your supplies in your plastic bag and the flowers in hand (so that folks think you are just going to visit a grave and clean it up. If anyone asks why you are there at night, tell them that you just got off work and wanted to pay respects to your grandmother on the anniversary of her death. That's enough to shut most folks up. As I reach the gates of the cemetery, I leave 9 pennies in honor of the spirit who owns and guards all cemeteries. I ask for her permission and protection while I do my work and then I proceed in. Finding the Live Grave I start in the center of the cemetery, walking on foot and hold the lit candle in my hand. I reach out with my thoughts and talk to the spirits of the graveyard telling them the work that I wish to accomplish with my magic and asking who among them will assist me in my work. I wait for a tug leading me in the right direction and I proceed slowly, feeling my way toward the grave that calls to me. When I get there, I place the candle on the grave and sit on top of it and meditate/pray with that spirit for a while explaining my situation. I ask for their permission and assistance and if I get an affirmative, I then begin to buy the dirt. Buying the Graveyard Dirt I tend to take dirt from the head of the grave. Others say to take dirt from the head and foot of the grave. Still others say to take dirt from the right hand side of the grave. If it is a love spell, it will be the grave of someone I love, and I will take it from over their hearts. I cut out a small plug in the sod, dig down about 6 inches into the dirt with my trowel. I put the dirt in my plastic bag. I them drop the silver dime into the hole in payment for the dirt, thanking the spirit and saying "As I have paid you in silver, so shall you pay me in labor!" I then pour the bottle of whiskey into the hole, and I replace the plug of sod to cover the hole. I write down the name, birth and death dates of the grave on a piece of paper or label and affix it to the bag. I then hold the bag of dirt in my hand and pray hard and loud for the spirit of the grave to come with me, that he has work to do, and that it is through his work that his spirit will be elevated and redeemed. I leave the candle to burn on the headstone and I place the flowers at the grave. (I was once instructed to leave the flowers at the neighboring headstone and then discovered that the neighboring headstone was that individual's wife. So it's always good to have flowers on you.) Leave the grave knowing that you have that spirit's assistance and his power in his grave's dirt. Don't look back. Leave the cemetery and go home by a different route than the one you came by. I usually lay out the dirt on a piece of foil to thoroughly dry out. Once fully dry, I sift the dirt to remove any roots or rocks, and store the dirt in a bag with the name, birth and death dates on it. Every time I use the dirt, I call the spirit by name and command it to assist me with my work by the contract we made in the cemetery. This is powerful, old-time hoodoo, and it's a trick up your sleeve that not many magic crafters ever expect. How to Prepare for a Ritual or Spell The best process of preparing for spells varies by the witch or sorcerer. However, the goal is the same: to awaken the practitioner's intuitive sense, and to prepare him or her to direct the mental energies the spell requires. Spells can be prepared days or even weeks ahead. How much you choose to prepare depends on the importance of the spell and the limits of your schedule. Early-stage preparation is similar to preparation for any life-changing event. Ingrain the spell and the steps involved within your mind: mentally run through the instructions associated with the spell, whether it requires a chant or some other form of mental direction. Every so often during the course of the days, promise yourself that you will successfully carry out the spell. The idea is to bolster your confidence without actually going through with the spell. Pick the date of the spell in accordance with the phases of the moon and the days of the lunar calendar. Finally, on a more mundane level, try to clear your schedule for the day of the spell, if that spell is of high importance. While there is no harm in going to work and otherwise going about your normal life, unnecessary distractions can impede your concentration and therefore your spellcasting, especially for a beginner. You want to strive for a steady state of emotion and a stable mind. The day before, make changes to your normal routine. Some practitioners choose to cleanse themselves with a particular preparation ritual. Others vary their eating schedule or cook a favorite food for dinner. Anything that makes the day feel more important in your mind. When going to bed, run over the spell's instructions in your head and visualize the intended result. If you live with others, instruct them to not disturb you while you are sleeping or mentally preparing. Make sure you get a full eight hours (at minimum) of rest on the night before the ritual is to be done. Sleep-deprivation saps you of the vital energy you need to successfully cast the spell. Even after you have awakened the next morning, refrain from moving or talking for at least fifteen minutes. Focus on the spell itself and do not let your mind wander. Some practitioners keep the requisite spell components close to or under their pillow to charge them with their energy in advance. Before the spell itself, you must clear your mind of everything except your desire to cast the spell and your image of the spell taking effect. The means by which one may do so varies. If you know yoga or have experience with meditative exercises, these tend to yield reliable results. The more you practice spells, the easier it becomes to do. Next, create an atmosphere that facilitates your spellcasting. This can involve music or incense, or the burning of a candle that is designed to improve one's spellcasting prowess. If the ritual involves multiple people working together on the spell, the group should partake of a harmonizing activity—whether that is playing a game together, chanting a familiar song, or donning the same perfume or oil—to align the energies of the participants. The underlying thread in all spell casting or ritual preparation is to mentally divide the spell you are going to cast from unpredictable outside influences. Preparation does not guarantee results, however. The spell itself could be bad, or the circumstances may be wrong. Don't overdo it; don't try harder than you feel you need, and for each spell give a proportional amount of preparation. This article only outlines what is possible. How to use a Worry/Anger Stone Worry Stones, or Anger Stones are stones that you place your worries or anger into. This article shows you how to use such a stone to relieve you of worry/anger, or even stress or negativity. What is a worry stone? Simply put, it is a stone you cast your worries into, as a way of cleansing yourself of those worries. An anger stone is the exact same, but for anger. It is most often a black stone, or very occasionally a dark grey. Below is a simple exercise to use to help release your worry or anger. Take the stone in your hands and hold it to your forehead, to the third eye position. Focus all your worry/anger into the stone, feeling the weight of the emotion lifting as you release it from your mind and into the stone. When you feel the worry/anger has left you, take the stone to some salt water, preferably a beach location, but a large bowl of salted water will suffice. Wash it in the salted water and visualize your anger/negativity drifting away with the waves, or simply dissolving in the bowl. Salt water is a natural cleanser, so the negative emotions will simply dissipate, rather than being carried elsewhere. If you wish to use the stone as part of a spell, while washing stone... Say: As above, so below, I free my worry/anger, I watch it go, Let it harm none, nor return to me, As I will it, so mote it be. Below is a slightly different way of working with the stone, and this can be used for stress as well as worry: Hold the stone in one hand. With the other, rub your palm over the stone in a clockwise circular motion, thinking of all your anger/worries as you do. With each motion, let those worries sink into the stone and let the rhythm ease away any negative energies. Visualize the stone filling up with all that concerns you, all that bothers you. When you feel that all the negative energy you need to be rid of is within the stone, take it to salt water, and, as above, wash away those worries. The spell can also be adapted for stress- simply substitute worry/anger for , stress, or even for the more general 'negativity'. Laying on of Stones The technique of using crystals and gemstones on the receiver's body for healing is called laying on of stones. It is a powerful method of cleansing negative energy, clearing and balancing the chakras, effecting emotional release, and bringing light and healing into all the aura bodies. Cleared, programmed, and dedicated stones move the receiver's vibration into alignment with the planet and the universal grid. This results in a freeing of life force energy in the chakras and aura, a healing of the Body of Light, and a transformation of negative or dis-ease into health. The process may be done with clear quartz crystals only, colored gemstones only, or a combination of both. The stones may be used alone or with a hands on healing (ie;Reiki). The stones are placed upon the receiver's body from feet to head. The healer then begins using her hands as usual starting at the head and moving toward the feet. (Use gemstones with colors matching each chakra's color. The stones can be in any form—faceted, raw, tumbled, eggs, or beads.) Energy in this type of healing needs to move in one direction through the body, either Earth to sky or sky to Earth. If the energy is Earth to sky, all the gemstones that have points are placed with the points turned towards the receiver's crown. The effect of this direction is to move the receiver's energy to a higher vibration or more spiritual level. If the direction is from sky to Earth, it is the opposite, with the crystals pointing toward the feet. This direction moves life force energy from crown to feet for grounding and rooting into Earth. To begin, the receiver lies on her back on a padded floor or massage table, with pillows under her head and knees for comfort. The space should be quiet, comfortable, and warm. Use only stones that have been dedicated to positive energy and programmed for healing. Invite spirit guides and angels into the session if you wish. Start by placing a clear quartz crystal above her head and below her feet. In the right hand place another crystal and in the left hand place a rose quartz gemstone. (my personal method). Then go chakra by chakra, moving from the feet to crown and placing the appropriate colored gemstone for each center. (Be sure you have your healing stones spread out where you can reach them easily.) There may be stones that you are drawn to for a particular reason, let yourself be guided, there are no real rules. You cannot do it wrong. A stone that is not needed for the session or is inappropriate for the receiver's energy will roll right off or roll to another place where it is better utilized. Allow this to occur. If the receiver feels uncomfortable with a particular stone, remove it, the energy is not right for her needs. In some cases you may feel the stone has rolled off too soon, if your intuition is telling you the stone's job is not complete, gently replace it. When the stones are all in place, the healer has two options. She (he) can go to the head and begin a hands on healing. Be sure to cover the stones with your hands carefully in order not to scatter the gemstones. While your hands are covering each chakra over the stone, visualize the bright color of the gemstone entering the chakra, making it appear bright, balanced, centered, and healthy. (If you could see chakras they would appear as luminous wheels, circles, or disks. Each chakra is brightly colored and are strung together like shiny beads all in a row from your feet to your head.) Do this visualization until you feel confident to move to the next chakra. Be sure to flick fingers to release any negative energy before going to the next center. End with a complete brushing of the aura. The other option a healer has once the stones are placed is to sit beside the receiver and simply wait, allowing the gemstones and spirit guides to do the healing. As the receiver's chakras and aura absorb and are balanced by the crystal and gem energies, the stones begin to roll off one by one. When all the stones are off, or the receiver feels finished with those that remain, the healing is over. End with a complete brushing of the aura and allow the receiver to lie quietly without the stones. Ask for feedback and discuss anything that you feel should be discussed. While she is doing this, the healer can gather up the stones from the table or floor and clear them again before putting them away. Put them into your protective box. A laying on of stones healing can be quite intense. There is often a major energy shift during this type of healing. More frequent emotional releases, past life and this life trauma openings and other transformative events. The healers role in this is to wait for the release to end and to be entirely non-judgmental. After a session, there may also be a physical detoxification process that can continue for up to a week. Be aware of what is happening and again, allow it. The changes are always positive and are usually gentle. Magical Ethics There’s a saying among the contemporary Pagan community that “black magic is whatever works, white magic is anything else.” This stems in part from a misconception that black equals bad, white equals good, and that there are no gray areas at all. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Let’s look at the word black itself, and figure out why it connotates evil. A big part of that is thanks to pop culture — after all, in popular shows like Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the good guys are the “white light” people. The bad guys are surrounded by darkness. Another part of the whole black = bad concept is because of people who can’t let go of their Christian upbringing, in which those who are righteous are surrounded by the light of God, and those who are damned will dwell in darkness. The problem with this logic is that darkness in and of itself doesn’t have to be bad at all. After all, how beautiful is a quiet night out in the country, miles away from the lights of a city? Have you ever walked in the woods at midnight, embracing the comfort of the shadows? Darkness is what lies in the soil, below the earth, before a plant grows in the spring. It is the long nights of winter, when we are drawn into our homes to embrace our families and count our good fortune. It is the inside of the womb, warm and nurturing. Even the darkness of the grave, of death itself, may be seen as welcoming. Once we accept that dark isn’t all that bad, it’s a lot easier to look at the concept of “black magic” vs. “white magic.” Even if we replace the words “black” with “negative” and “white” with “positive”, we’re still in a bit of a pickle, and here’s why: because it is the intent that matters as much as the action. In other words, if someone performs magic that others might see as “negative,” but does it for what they believe is an honest and just reason, then is it really negative magic? To do magic is to say that you want to bring about change in the Universe — after all, if everything were perfect, there’d be no need for magic at all. Any magic capable of causing change is also magic that can harm, simply by its very nature. Magic isn’t some Super Spooky Power that we have — it’s a tool we can use to precipitate changes. Any tool can be used for helping or harming — if I have a hammer, I can use it to build a house. I can also use it to whack people in the head. It’s not the hammer that’s “negative”, but what I choose to do with it. Case in point: in the early nineties, a serial rapist was terrorizing the women of a coastal city in the Carolinas. His reported victims, over two years, numbered at least two dozen, including a teenage girl who later committed suicide. A group of witches got together one night, and did a working calling for this man to be stopped by the Universe. A couple of weeks later, the prime suspect — who was later convicted — led police on a high-speed chase and wrecked his car, nearly dying from his injuries. He has lived since then severely handicapped, but he never raped another woman. Negative magic, or no? There are people within the Wiccan and Pagan community who feel that any magic that affects other people at all is unethical, and they have the right to not perform any magic on, against, or for others. However, there are an equal amount of people who believe that change brought about by magic is acceptable, just as change brought about by mundane methods is acceptable. Chances are, the two camps will never agree, but what you can do, as an individual, is respect the beliefs of those who may disagree with you, whichever side you may happen to fall on. Look at magic as a way to improve your life. You can use it to bring love to you, to gain financial abundance, to eliminate problems from your life. You can use it as a method of growth and self-empowerment. It can be used to help you fulfill your dreams, desires and goals. Can you use magic to help other people? Sure — if they ask you to. If they haven’t asked — or if they’ve specifically told you NOT to do anything on their behalf, then don’t. Ultimately, only you can decide which forms of magic fall into your personal system of ethics. If you feel a particular course of action is wrong, then avoid it. If you feel it is ethically acceptable, and you’re willing to accept the results of your actions, then so be it. Magick Circles, Why Use Them? They say that the longest journey begins with a single step. So, too, the exploration of Magickal studies begins with a single step. Though the first step in a physical journey is often self-evident, the First Step on a Magickal journey is often not quite so clear. While formally organized groups often have a path of lessons to instruct newcomers, the solitary or isolated student is often left standing in perplexity on this broad plain of knowledge, wondering just where in the heck to begin. And wondering, too, if it's "okay" to start just anywhere. While it's true that studies can begin in a direction that attracts you, the necessary first step must be learning to make psychic shields. There are "Things of the Dark" out there. There are any number of explanations for what these things might be-- ghosts, demons, or simply uncontrolled urges of the subconscious mind. In truth, it doesn't matter what they are. What does matter is that their effect is very real and unless they are put under your control, they will drag you over the borders of sanity into psychosis. You are most vulnerable to them while you're in an "open" trance or meditative state. That's why the wise practitioner always begins by taking steps to define exactly what will be permitted through the portals of their "psychic shields"-- no matter how simple the ritual. And this, in a nutshell, is what "protective magic" is about. There are a number of ways to do this. The most common is to begin by drawing a circle (around a group or yourself) and invoking the one or more protective powers. Generally, this is done by candlelight, in front of an altar that holds certain magical objects. The circle may be further "secured" and "cleared" by using salt, salt water, rum, incense, or some other method. You may be wearing a special robe and will have taken a bath (or performed a cleansing ritual) earlier. The powers that protect you will be called on and then you will begin your ritual. Is it psychological? Absolutely! Is there a reason why protection rituals always take this form? Positively! Let's take a step back and see what you're actually doing and how the process works-- from a psychological standpoint-- and how to use this knowledge to help you refine your circles to enhance your rituals. Psychologists and psychics alike view the mind's structure as a three-part entity: The ego (that which you think of as yourself), the superego (the "higher self") and the Id (the child within). The Id is, in a sense, a computer. Like most computers, it operates on the "garbage in - garbage out" principle. There's an old superstition "as you name something, so will it become." Tell yourself that you're very unlucky and your id will obligingly give you bad days by enhancing any negatives in your environment. Tell yourself that you are clumsy, and your id-computer will obligingly arrange for you to break a leg while stepping off the sidewalk. The bad news is that the Id can't make a judgment as to whether or not this is a good idea. It only knows that it's received these "instructions" and must carry them out. The good news is that you can actually program/reprogram this portion of your mind. You begin programming this Internal Servant of yours by first drawing its attention to what you want done and then explaining what you need done in a simple and clear manner. Repeating the instructions in a chant help fix the goals for the Id-- rhymed chants seem to be easier for it to process. Each time you perform the ritual and repeat the chant, the programming is strengthened. Never mind that your ego and superego understand that you're going to program the child-like Id. It works just the same. To direct the Id's attention to the process, you first have to impress it. Using special tools and clothing alert it that something unusual is going on and that it must pay attention. Acquiring hard-to-obtain items, drawing symbols, performing a symbolic sacrifice (donating money, say, to a good cause) are all ways of reinforcing the Id's impression that this ceremony is very special and that the result will be very powerful. Organized, meaningful symbols, speak to your subconscious mind in ways it understands, reinforcing the goals you have set. Drawing the circle itself establishes boundaries within your environment ("The rest of the world can do what it likes Out There. All within this circle is in MY control!"). Purifying the circle and consecrating it (sprinkling water which has been blessed and salt added) further enforce your territory, defining the borders where you are "safe". Nothing can enter this area except what you invite inside. You further tighten these borders by calling on certain powers. You can call on any powers you like. Some use traditional Christian images. Others call up deities from the religion they are most comfortable with. And many people use the thought/image of a beam of light that represents either God/Goddess (whichever one they like) OR The power of light and life and goodness in the Universe. The number of powers called as guardians varies. You may choose to invoke one powerful being to protect your circle. Or you might call on the Universal Being/Light AND four guardians (one for each quarter of the compass). A third approach is to use a guardian for the four quarters of the compass and no higher being. There is no "absolutely correct" system; the correct system is the one that YOU are comfortable with. Take time to choose the guardians of your circle carefully. You should select guardians (gods or animals or some form of life) which have a deeper meaning to you and whose qualities are in harmony with your goals. For the new student, it's best to have all your Powers and Guardians from the same belief system/religion/mythic universe so that the symbols will be consistent and not confuse the Id. You CAN use people-- saints, movie actors, figures from favorite books as guardians. DO, however, pick someone who's dead or non-existent. The dead can't argue with your interpretation of them, whereas the living may be highly offended to be approached as gods/ guardians). As your studies continue, you will find that your totems or guardians change. This is to be expected; as you explore new realms in your studies, you may find you need guardians who deal with very specific areas to strengthen and guide you in these new fields. But don't make the mistake of assuming that you'll become so powerful that you will never need the protection of the psychic shielding circle in some form. And don't assume that you will not need a circle for "positive" magick such as healing. Open is open-- and open is vulnerable. And circles strengthen and protect you by defining what psychological influences will be allowed to work with you. NOTE: It is equally important to close your circle when you are complete. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Key elements are a statement of intent, for example: "The circle is open" and the releasing of the energy contained within the circle either by sweeping the perimeter, retrieving objects, or whatever feels appropriate. Doing The Work: Building a Spiritual Practice What defines a Pagan? Is it just the belief in the old Gods and Goddesses? Is it doing Ritual work? Do you even have to believe in Magic to be a Pagan? At this point in time, it often seems like anything goes. And while I agree with the general premise that we should be careful about how we limit who and what we define as Pagan, because it can have detrimental effects on our community, I also believe that we need to have a clear look at what we define as being a practicing Pagan versus holding Pagan beliefs. Because I think there is a difference. While there is no such thing as being “Pagan enough” there is something to be said in terms of qualifying our practice in regards to Sunday or Holiday Paganism (to borrow a Christian term) or Armchair Paganism (to take from Pop Culture) . There’s nothing wrong with being an Armchair Pagan if that’s what you want from this path. And if you only want to sign up for public rituals, so be it. I’m not here to judge those choices. However, the fact of the matter is, whether you’re a 101 or 1001 Pagan, if you’re still stuck in your armchair, you’re not going to get as much from your craft as you could be. And that’s a choice you have to make for yourself: What do you want from your spirituality? Is Paganism even about spirituality for you? Or is Paganism a set of beliefs that help you understand the world, but nothing more? We bandy about terms like Priest and Priestess, identifying Pagan practitioners (often, not always) as being Priesthood holders. But what does it mean to be the person responsible for your own faith, your own spiritual path? Well, in a very literal sense, I suppose it could mean whatever you want it to mean. It could simply mean holding a certain set of beliefs. For example, it could mean believing in Lugh, Brighid and Tuatha de Danann without actually doing any more than praying to the Deities within that pantheon. Is that Pagan enough? For some it might be and I’m not in a position to judge that as being wrong. If it works for you and defines the space spirituality takes in your life, all the more power to you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what you are looking for from your Paganism. However, I would argue that there is a great difference between holding Pagan beliefs and carving out a Pagan lifestyle. Wherever we are on our path, and however we define the nature of our path, I think it’s important that we make the effort to understand what our pathwork entails and then hold ourselves up to that level of commitment. And even within the ways we carve out our Paganism, there may be vast differences that can lead to arguments between members of the community in terms of what is “right” and “wrong.” I’m not here to look at that. I’m here to think about what it means to you (and me) to do the work if the work itself is something that interests you. For me, that means making an effort to actually claim my path, do the work, develop a practice, and make it mine, which is very different than Sunday (or Ritual) Paganism. After all, how in Hades are we ever going to be any good at things like magic if we don’t take the time to hone our skills? Or have a relationship with the Divine if we don’t take the time to get to know them? How will we know ourselves enough to live a life of spiritual intention if we don’t spend time getting to know ourselves and contemplating what our spiritual intentions are? Seriously. I’m not asking the question to be rude or confrontational. Because honestly, these are questions that I ask myself on a regular basis, every time I fall off the wagon and let every day mundane (muggle) life draw me away from my practice. And it’s harsh but honest, and it keeps me in check. These questions keep me doing the stuff and developing the path that I am committed to following. Every week I create new prompts for a 52 weeks of Pagan Art Journaling project I’m hosting, and in this week’s art journal prompt, I asked: what do you want people to know about your path? And my answer was this: that it requires serious levels of commitment and self-discipline. It requires that I do the work. Often without support systems, often at odds with the materialism in the world around me, often despite my own personal laziness and apathy. Because more often than not, I am my own worst enemy and as a member of a “fringe” religion, I don’t have the benefit of mainstream culture keeping me accountable or reinforcing the value system I’ve “created” for myself. (Which sounds like a lot of big pompous words to just say that sometimes this path is a bit more challenging because it isn’t necessarily aligned with what the world around us is doing and how our society is encouraging us to live). But more importantly, a Mystery Tradition, by its very nature requires a great deal of inner work in order to understand it. No one expects a yogi to reach enlightenment without yoga and meditation. So why do so many modern Pagans expect to being able to do magic and understand the Divine without doing the “Pagan variation” of the same things? Exercise and contemplation (or rather, if you will, practice and meditation) . If we can’t discipline our minds enough to focus our will on the intent of a spell, how will we actually create strong and effective spell work? And more importantly, beyond the magic, how do we complete the “Great Work” of our Mystery Traditions if we don’t understand what the hell that means? Don’t just take my word for it. Pick an area and focus on it, work it. Get to know the feel and shape of it. Study it like you’d study a university subject. Be dedicated to learning your craft on a daily basis (or at least somewhat regular basis) , be it doing the Sabbats and Moons, or meditating daily, or taking time to observe the lunar cycles. Start small and build up. Don’t try to do it all at once because that’s a recipe for failure. But pick one thing, get that down, and then add another. At this point in my practice (in loose, ambiguous terms that you can read between the lines of) , this is what my daily practice includes: Meditation Exercises Dream keeping Study Weekly Classes Journaling (art and written) reactions, thoughts, questions, emotions, etc Tarot Work On average, I spend at least 30 minutes a day devoted to my practice, if not double or triple that. If you’d asked me at the start of this work if I’d be capable of that, I would have emphatically denied my ability to be that self-disciplined. I am not good at self-discipline and never have been. But I started slowly. I have a buddy system. I am accountable to others when I fall off the wagon. And all of these things are things that help me stay focused. And it’s been worth it. Because trust me, if you don’t know it already, this path is amazing in terms of what it can bring into your life. My practice has turned my world upside down and inside out, but the things that I have learned about people and myself have been phenomenal. I returned to this path after years in academia feeling jaded and wanting to believe but having a hard time reconnecting. Now I don’t just believe. I know again. And knowing is half the battle! Ritual for New Magical Tools Whenever you buy a new tool for magical workings it is important that the tool is purified. This is a simple purification ritual that I use to cleanse my new magical tools: You Will Need: caldron or any heat-proof dish dandelion leaf wormwood sage Procedure: Ignite the herbs and let them smolder awhile. As the smoke curls about you pass your tool through the smoke. Say: Smoke rise, Let me be wise. This (name of tool) is cleansed. I will use it only for good. The item is now ready to use! Shielding For Beginners A psychic shield is a non-material substance/force/power with which you surround yourself for protection. Many types of force can be called into play in its construction, any many forms can be used, all at your discretion. It’s important that a friend, instructor or adept not do this for you; your shield will be with you permanently and you need to have the intimate connection that creating your own provides. Why make a shield? The best reason is for protection against psychic flak of all kinds, especially important when you are first starting down the Path, and aren’t yet well-versed in defensive measures. Its protection from mind-games and psychic vampires and a good shield helps you to separate mundane flak from psychic flak. It exercises the faculties of self-reliance and visualization. All told, it’s one of the most essential tools of the working witch. What do I need to know about shields? Your shield is your basic piece of protection/comfort/defense. It is a permanent part of you, and something like wearing a Circle like a second skin. It should be flexible and semi-permeable, moving and growing with you, and breathing with your energy usage. Be aware that what you visualize when you start out is what will be there, but that the shield will probably change of its own accord to keep up with your changing capabilities and needs. Snappy Supermarket Spell Ingredients Chocolate is excellent for money. Spinach can help you get a job. Bitter foods will make you work harder, sweet foods will ease the pressure on a workaholic (try honey, not junk food). Apples are sacred to Aphrodite, so cut one in half and give it to your lover to enrapture them. Get the one you want out of your life out of it by serving them a bowl of turnips. They'll leave you-you won't have to do a thing. Ginger tea, or bathing with ginger will relieve stress. Oat in a sock, popped in the bath, promotes gentleness and soft beauty. Herbs ANEMONE: Protects against sickness ANGELICA: Lengthens life, protects from disease, exorcises evil BASIL: Protects from evil, aids love BORAGE: Generates courage, lifts spirits CARAWAY: Guards against theft, promotes love CEDAR CHIPS: Attracts money CINQUEFOIL: Brings love, aids in divination, protects from evil CLOVER: Brings luck, wealth, prosperity COMFREY: Aids healing CORNFLOWER: Promotes good eye-sight DILL: Protects from evil FENNEL: Purification MARJORAM: Ensures happiness in the afterlife MUGWORT: Alleviates female disorders, shows the future, protects from wild beasts MYRTLE: Love and peace PARSLEY: Protects from poison, promotes long life PLANTAIN: Cleanses and purifies ROSEMARY: Loyalty, devotion, love, strength SAGE: Promotes long life ST. JOHN'S WORT: Exorcisms, dispels evil SOLOMON'S SEAL: Heals Wounds SUNFLOWER: To find a thief THYME: Courage, chivalry VALERIAN: Restores peace, harmony, togetherness VERVAIN: Reconciles enemies, protects from harm, ensures fidelity WILD THYME: Protects against nightmares. What is Cord Magick? Cord Magick entails the tying of knots in a length of cord, twine, or string. Choices involved in this type of magic include,color, length, number of knots, as well as the choice of using a disposable or a reusable cord. The most common number of knots employed is nine, and they are traditionally tied in the following order: 1---6---4---7---3---8---5---9---2 How to Perform Cord Magick Standard cord magick involves the use of chants and visualization as you are tying a predetermined number of knots (which may follow numerological symbolism) at equidistant points in a length of cord, twine, or string. When deciding upon which color to use in please refer to the section on candle burning and follow the color correspondences given for that practice. The chant you use can either be generic or specific to your goal. An example of a generic chant for the purpose of performing knot magick is as follows. Say: This knot I tie, this spell I lay, to capture the essence of what I say; (name of goal) is now drawn to/away me, as I will so mote it be! However, you will also find the following classic poem in many older Books of Shadows. Say: By knot of one this spell's begun By knot of two, it cometh true By knot of three, so mote it be By knot of four, this power I store By knot of five, this spell's alive By knot of six, this spell I fix By knot of seven, events I'll leaven By knot of eight, it will be fate By knot of nine, what's done is mine. If you wish to draw something to you, you may wish to ritually tie a knot in a length of cord over a period of days as the moon Waxes, or grows, so that the energies that you are attempting to influence will come to you. If your desire is to move something away from yourself, you may tie the knots as described while chanting the spell given and visualization the person or thing that is bound to you. Next, you can ritually untie the knots one at a time over a period of nine days during the Waning Moon. The influence of the person or thing will loosen and lessen as the moon wanes, or decreases. If your spell is to affect another individual, such as for a healing, you may take the individual's measure by measuring them from head to foot with a length of cord and then adding the length of their foot. This cord can then be folded over to a certain length and knots tied in it to cast spells over the individual. In addition, there are several spells used in various forms of folk magick which entail measuring a man's erect penis and tying knots in the cord to bind his desire to you. As you become more proficient in the use of Cord Magick, you may complete the ritual in one single night rather than over a period of days. The cord is then either carried on your person, or kept in a special place until the goal is manifested. Once the goal has manifested, you can either burn it or bury it to return it's energy back to the universe. Cord Magick can be used alone or in conjunction with other mediums such as Candles, Crystals, Potions (by anointing the cord with oils, infusions, etc...), Sympathetic Magick, Mojo Magick, and Element Magick. This form of magick lends itself well to binding and un-binding spells. What Is The Difference Between A Spell and A Ritual? In practice the terms “spell” and “ritual” are used interchangeably in magick and throughout used as a umbrella term for magickal working. A spell tends to be a less formal kind of magick, usually cast for a specific purpose or need, for example to protect a named traveler (maybe yourself or a family member) on a particular journey or trip for a specified length of time. The energies are raised and then released so they will bounce back to activate the purpose of the spell which has been represented by a symbol of that journey. This physical focus of the spell might in natural magick be a feather or some chopped fennel herbs to symbolize travel. In contrast a ritual is based on a more general or long-lasting focus. A ritual may be carried out at specified times, for example the first day of spring or to celebrate the birth of a baby. A ritual, even in natural magick, follows a more structured format. What is more, whereas a spell builds up to a climax and release of energy, the ritual may release energy more evenly throughout the weeks and months ahead. Basic Spell Construction Because of the very nature of Magick, each working should be highly individualized and personal. Even if following a traditional spell, it should be tailored to your specific needs to be most effective for you. Understanding the basics of Spell Construction will enable you to formulate your own specific, effective spells for any purpose you desire. Preliminary planning is necessary. The very first step is to decide precisely what your desired end result is to be. Before you can start, you must decide where you are going. You must be very explicit. It is important, also, that you choose your time carefully. You should take into consideration all Astrological implications, energy currents and Moon phases. The Moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, has a profound influence upon us. Witches often prefer to choose a time when the Moon is in an astrological sign which is appropriate for their working. For example: Aries/Action - Enthusiasm Taurus/ Renewal -Sensuality Gemini/Communication -Curiosity Cancer/Emotion - Nurturing Leo/Vitality -Determined Virgo/Organizing -Studious Libra/Balance - Cooperation Scorpio/Sexual -Philosophical Sagittarius/ Strength - Humor Capricorn/Authority - Ambitious Aquarius/Innovation- Social Pisces/Sensitivity - Idealistic. Bear in mind that magickal workings for gain, increase or bringing things to you, should be initiated when the Moon is Waxing (from New to Full). When the Moon is Waning (from Full to Dark), it is time for magickal workings of decrease or sending away. The highest energy occurs at the Full Moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magickal workings. The New Moon is the next most powerful time for Magick. Whenever possible, follow Nature's natural Energy Currents. There is a natural time for starting things (a planting time), for maturing things (a growing time), for reaping things (a harvest time) and, of course, a time for rest and planning. Flowing with these currents will make your magickal work much easier. Remember to plan your project for a time of uninterrupted privacy. It is important that you have no distractions. Generally speaking, it is best to work as late at night as possible. A time when there is less frantic energy is most appropriate. You might consider Midnight or later. In choosing a place to do your magickal working pay particular attention to your needs, for you must be comfortable. Your place should be private, quiet and secure. If at all possible, set aside a special place for this purpose only. An unused room, a special corner of your bedroom, a quiet, secluded spot in your garden. A place that is yours. A place that you can come to whenever need arises and that is as free from intrusion of others as possible. Prior to the night of your magickal working, gather together the things that you will need. All of the things used are tools. They have no inherent magick. They are to help you create a mood. If correctly made and used, they will trigger primitive responses from deep within you. They should be chosen with care. Consider the purpose of your ritual and choose your tools accordingly. If your magick is to be sexual, your candles, oils, incenses and so forth, should bring forth a sexual response. If the desired result of your Magick is Tranquility, then the tools should make you feel calm, peaceful and serene. Any candles you might use should not have commercially added fragrances as these may not be appropriate for your working. Prior to your ritual, prepare yourself and your equipment by any means necessary to clean and purify. Historically, people have fasted, followed meticulous and detailed bathing practices, practiced chastity and used many other methods. Most often a Ritual Bath is the preferred method. A bath frequently utilizing candlelight, fragrant herbs, bath salts or sensuous oils. A sumptuous hot bath, special bathing preparations and appropriate lighting, combined, can create the soothing effect which will help in the very important step of relaxing and clearing the mind completely of all mundane thoughts and experiences of the day. Your ritual Bath should, also, begin to set the specific vibrations conducive to your purpose into motion. You must not only cleanse and purify but must, also, begin to create the type of energy necessary. Once your purification process has been accomplished, you are now ready to begin. Proceed to the special place you have previously chosen in which to perform your magick. If at all possible, you should make use of the primitive responses set into motion by a well chosen piece of music. Your music should start slowly and build to a rousing climax. As you use your oils, light your candle or incense (or utilize any other tool you have chosen), you should begin to further intensify the energy that you have set into motion around you. A high degree of intensity is vitally important. The Altered State of Consciousness that you must reach is not a meditative state. Anything that interferes with your ability to concentrate upon, reach and control the high energy state necessary to perform magick should be avoided. Such as, screaming children, a sink full of dirty dishes, use of alcohol or drugs, etc. Do not scatter your energy by attempting to do more than one magickal working at a time. Remember that Magick is the manipulation of energy, a thought is a form of energy and a visualization is an even stronger form of energy. Your visualization can be a method used to intensify further and direct your will. Your visualization can be the method by which you control the magickal energy you have produced. You must know what you want. You must see it. You must feel the high energy flow. You must direct it. One of the most important elements in the practice of any form of Magick is the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. This means that whatever you do (or don't do) you cause something to happen. The most important consideration is the Universal Law of Retribution. This means that no matter what you do, it comes back to you in like kind. It is the nature of things that as you send something out it gains momentum, so that, by the time it comes back to you, it is three times stronger. If you do something nice for someone, someone will do something nicer for you. "As you weave and spin your spell, Three fold return the tale will tell." Creating Spells Write spells on parchment or loose, unlined, paper (unbonded and not recycled) about 4 x 5 inches in size. Write: I ask in the name of (God or Goddess or The All) that I, _______ be granted __________. I ask that this be correct and for the good of all. So mote it be. Using images and rhymes that sound powerful to you is also a good idea. Also remember that timing is another important element of spell casting. Basic Spell Writing 101 Worksheet What is your intent? What is the best day to perform your spell? What is the best hour to perform the spell? What is the best moon phase for the spell? What sign of the zodiac should the moon be in for the best results for the spell? What is the proper sidgel for the spell? What is the best candle type for the spell? What is tthe best candle color for the spell? Should you make a sidgel? What is the best herb mix for the spell? What do you do withe the herbs.....do you burn it as inscence, load it into the candles or do you roll it on the candle? Cast tthe circle. Open aproprate gate or no? Spells should rhyme as rhying make easier to remember. Do you need a magick mirror? Closing Devoke the circle Clean up Behold The Witch Behold the Witch...as strong as any man. Know the Witch...as she walks upon the land. Respect the Witch...her powers to beguile. Admire the Witch...her understanding smile. Honor the Witch...as pure as Mother's love. Applaud the Witch...as destiny she moves. Acclaim the Witch...as the future she designs. Envy the Witch...her patience over time. Reguard the Witch...her inspiration deep. Commend the Witch...her family she keeps. Approve the Witch...as standard she upholds. Revere the Witch...her faith and will, extol. Appreciate the Witch...as nature she appraises. Eulogize the Witch...as children she raises. Venerate the Witch...for she keeps the ancient lores. Become the Witch...and these values will be yours Candle Spell Outline The following questions will help you create a successful candle spell. By answering them you will acquaint yourself with the elements of magick. Print this page and add it to your spell book. It can also be useful for other types of spells as well Magical Intention Candle Type How Long It Will Burn Color Symbols Phase Of The Moon Astrological Phase & Color Phase Of The Moon Deities Elements Herbs Oils Stones Magickal Decorations Visualizations Where Will The Candle Be Placed For The Duration Of The Spell Cleansing and Consecrating Tools and Altars (Anytime new items are to be consecrated this must be done first) Take a small handful of new or sea salt and casting into a bowl of fresh water, BREATHE these words (or yours) onto the water's surface, mentally visualizing - AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANT THING - with all the faith, will, and imagination you can muster, a dim bluish light beginning to hover over you. "Water and earth where you are cast No spell for adverse purpose last Not in complete accord with me. As my word, so mote it be!" This is now your charged salt and water with you will use to make your working tools. Similarly, light your incense (White Sage, Sage, Frankincense tears or Myrrh) and chant as you hold your hand outstretched over it: "Creature of fire this charge I lay, No phantom in thy presence stay. Hear my will addressed to thee; and as my word, so mote it be!" Again, strongly visualize the incense radiating that strange blue light as you speak. On your altar, you will want incense, a red candle in a sturdy holder, a small bowl of full moon water (bottled spring water or even tap water can substitute), a bowl of salt (preferably uniodized, sea salt or kosher salt) and the tool you are planning to consecrate. Cast a circle and then invoke the elements and whichever gods and/or goddesses you choose. Light the incense (I like White Sage as you know) and your altar candle. Relax and enter a light trance state. Hold the item up to the north and say: By the powers of earth, by the powers of salt, I consecrate and bless this _______ For use in my rituals, rites and everyday life. Empower it with the ability to manifest And stabilize my magic. Spirits of the earth, I call upon you To bless this ______ now! Plunge the item into the bowl of salt and draw an invoking pentagram over the item with your hand. Spirits of Earth, blessed be. Hold the item up to the east and say: By the power of air, by the power of smoke, I consecrate and bless this ______ For use in my rituals, rites and everyday life. Empower it with the ability to cleanse And clarify my magic. Spirits of the air I call upon you To bless this _____ now! Hold the item in the smoke wafting up from the incense and draw an invoking pentagram over the item with your hand. Spirits of air, blessed be. Hold the item to the south and say: By the powers of fire, by the powers of flame, I consecrate and bless this _____ For use in my rituals, rites and everyday life. Empower it with the ability to energize And strengthen my magic. Spirits of fire, I call upon you To bless this _____ now! Plunge the tip of the item in the candle flame (if it can catch on fire, hold it above the flame) and draw an invoking pentagram over the item with your hand. Spirits of fire, blessed be. Hold the item to the west and say: Buy the powers of the sea, by the power of water, I consecrate and bless this _____ For use in my rituals, rites and everyday life. Empower it with the ability to bring intuition And understanding to my magic. Spirits of water, I call upon you To bless this _____ now! Plunge the item into a bowl of water and draw an invoking pentagram over the item with your free hand. Spirits of water, blessed be. Hold the item up in the air above your head and say: I ask the lord and lady To consecrate and bless this _____ For use in my rituals, rites and everyday life. Great mother and holy father, I call upon you To bless this _____ now! Draw an invoking pentagram in the air with the item and say: Lord and Lady, blessed be. Charge the tool: Hold the tool in front of you. Facing the altar say (again with as much will and power as you can put behind your words): “I charge you by the Old Ones: By the omnipotent Goddess and God: By the Virtues of the Sun, Moon and Stars: By the power of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water, That I shall obtain all that I desire through you. Charge this by your power, Old Ones.” Cleansing and consecrating an Altar: Waving your hand three times deosil (clockwise) over the altar and say: “I cleanse and consecrate this altar with the powers of Air, Fire, Water & Earth. I cast out all negativity from this world and the either. This space is now sacred and cleansed of all negative forces. It is done, So mote it be.” “I charge you by the Old Ones: By the omnipotent Goddess and God: By the Virtues of the Sun, Moon and Stars: By the power of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water, That I shall obtain all that I desire through you. Charge this by your power, Old Ones.” Charge the altar: Facing the altar say: “Altar, I charge you by the Old Ones: By the omnipotent Goddess and God: By the Virtues of the Sun, Moon and Stars: By the power of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water, That I shall obtain all that I desire through you. Charge this by your power, Old Ones.” How Do You Draw Your Pentagram? If you’d like to initiate a lively discussion among Wiccans, just ask us how we draw our pentagram and why we draw it that way. Our answers and explanations will fly fast and furious. First of all, what is our orientation of the star—one point up or two? For Wiccans the single point up orientation is the standard position. There is a short time when we feature the pentagram in its two points upward orientation; when an initiate into a coven enters their Second Degree of training. But for most purposes, the orientation of our pentagram displays one point up. But beyond that general preference, how do we draw it? And why do we draw it that way? Different Strokes for Different Folks An investigation of past practices by different authors reveals a wide variety of drawing choices and explanations. Most agree that the five points of the star can represent Spirit, earth, air, fire and water, with the top point designating Spirit. However, they differ on their placement of the four elements. They also differ in the manner of drawing the pentagram. While many begin the pattern by starting at the top (Spirit) , some do not. Wherever you position each element around your pentagram will influence your drawing of it, especially if you are aligning your star to invoke a particular element for magickal work. Vivianne Crowley, author of Wicca (2000) , outlines a ceremony for consecrating ritual objects. She starts at the top (Spirit) , with her first stroke moving down and to the right—the point she designates for fire. She is drawing the “invoking pentagram” of the element fire. Her second stroke is drawn diagonally up and across to the upper left for air, then horizontally across to the upper right for water, then diagonally down to the lower left for earth, then back up to the top. She finishes by drawing an additional “sealing stroke, ” from the top down to the lower right point again. Raven Grimassi (b. 1951) , author of Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe (2005) , outlines a rite of dedication for those pagans who wish to become practitioners of Stregheria, the Italian word for the religion of witches. As part of their initiation ritual, Grimassi instructs the seekers to anoint themselves in the manner of the pentagram. His sequence is the same as Crowley’s: forehead—right breast—left shoulder—right shoulder—left breast—forehead. Raymond Buckland (b. 1934) , author of Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (2004) , details a different manner of drawing the pentagram. Instead of drawing the first stroke down to the lower right, he moves down to the lower left, then diagonally across to the upper right, straight across to the left, down to the lower right, and back up to the top. In his book Witchcraft From the Inside (1995) he features the classical pentagram image taken from old books of magick, with the figure of a man standing with arms raised sideways and legs spread apart, with a five-pointed star superimposed on top of the figure. The various points of the pentagram display the astrological symbols for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, not directions or elements. He states that this pentagram is a symbol of the life force, a very positive symbol. Janet Farrar (b. 1950) and Stewart Farrar (1916-2000) , authors of A Witches’ Bible: A Complete Witches’ Handbook (1996) describe their version of diagramming the pentagram for use in sabbats. Their sequence of strokes is the same as Buckland’s. In their discussion of an opening ritual, they describe two methods of drawing the pentagram. The first method comes at the beginning of the ceremony. It is called the “Invoking Pentagram of Earth.” The element of earth is placed at the lower left point of the star. It is delineated by the Priestess as she (1) starts at the top and (2) draws a diagonal line down to her lower left to earth, (3) then up and across to her right, (4) then horizontally to her left, (5) then diagonally down to her lower right, and (6) up again to the top. She finishes by adding a final sealing stroke; drawing down again from the top center to her lower left point. Their second method of drawing of the pentagram occurs towards the end of the ceremony, when the Priestess draws the “Banishing Pentagram of Earth.” It is a reversal of the invoking pentagram. She begins (1) at the bottom left of the star, (2) then draws the line up to the top center, (3) then diagonally down to her lower right, (4) then across to her upper left and (5) horizontally across to her upper right, (6) then diagonally down to her left, where she started. Again, she finishes the act by retracing the line from the lower left to the top center, the sealing stroke. The Farrars state in a footnote to their text that they are basing their pentagram strokes on the practice followed by the members of the Golden Dawn. Doreen Valiente (1922-1999) , author of Witchcraft for Tomorrow (1993) , uses the same method as that described by the Farrars and Buckland. She provides additional information by detailing the reasons behind the sequence of her strokes. Valiente states that the topmost point of the pentagram is regarded as representing Deity, the divine Source of life. The first stroke starts from the top and proceeds down to the lower left, representing life descending from its divine source into the lowest and simplest forms of living matter. The second stroke ascends up and across to the right, representing the ascent of life from primitive forms, by the process of evolution. The third stroke moves across to the upper left, representing man’s earthly progress, his accomplishments on the physical plane. The fourth stroke moves diagonally down to the right point, signifying the fall of man, as his focus and his pride in his material achievements leads him into danger. The final stroke rises back up to the topmost point, indicating that because mankind descends from a divine source, he will always strive upwards to reunite with that source. Starhawk (b. 1951) author of The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (1979) also teaches an invoking and a banishing pentagram design. Her sequence of strokes is akin to that of Buckland, the Farrars, and Valiente. Further, she advocates using the pentagram in a variety of ways as an aid to visualization and meditation exercises. Depending on the exercise, each one of the five points of the star can be assigned to different ideas. For example, in an exercise she calls the “Pentagram of the Pearl” she designates the top point of the star as the concept of Love, the upper right point becomes Wisdom, the lower right point is Knowledge, the lower left point is Law and the upper left point is Power. The seeker is told to meditate on these concepts, as they move clockwise around the pentagram, to think of the meaning of each word and how it interacts with the words adjacent to it. She also encourages the seeker to lie down in the pentagram position, with their head as the upper single point, to feel the points as part of their being. She states that during meditation in this fashion, one may also become aware of imbalances in their personal well-being, in relation to these concepts. Silver Ravenwolf (b. 1956) , author of Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation (2003) discusses the various historical origins of the pentagram. She states, “If you draw the design from the top down, you are saying that Spirit comes down to matter, and if you draw from the bottom to the top, you are symbolizing matter in its highest form. The horizontal line across represents our development of intellect and the connection of force and form.” She designates the element of air at the upper left, water at upper right, earth at lower left and fire at lower right. She also details several methods of drawing the pentagram to invoke/banish different elements. The Case for Consistency Many Wiccans trace the design of their pentagram in the same manner every time they draw it. What might change would be the orientation of their top point (Spirit) towards a specific direction—north, south, east or west—if they wish to invoke the spirits of a particular element during their ritual. This attention to a particular element can sometimes be found in lunar ceremonies, esbats. The zodiac sign occupied by the moon on the night of the ritual influences Esbats. And each of the twelve zodiac signs corresponds to one of the four elements, earth, air, fire and water. For example, if their ritual is celebrated during a Full Moon in the sign of Scorpio, they may focus on the element of water. The goal of the esbat could be to ritually charge water for use in future ceremonies. The Priestess could cast the circle, and then stand in the quarter of the circle that is assigned to water—west. She might face west and draw a pentagram by orienting the top point of the star towards the west, paying homage to the moon in Scorpio and the energies of water. Also, pentagrams created to invoke and then banish specific elements don’t have to begin at the top point. For example, if you are employing an invoking pentagram of air, you might begin at the point across from air on your star and make your first stroke travel towards the point of air. At the end of the ritual, you will banish that same pentagram by beginning at the point designated by air and make your first stroke move away from there. Reflector on the Roof For me, like many Wiccans, the pentagram is a symbol of the feminine divine and a sigil for the planet Venus. Since grade school, my hobby has been astronomy. As a child, I spent many nights on the roof of my home, with my little 3-inch reflector telescope, mesmerized by my view of the heavens. (My mom would make my dad put me on the roof because she was afraid some wild animal would bite me.) Venus quickly became one of my favorite subjects for observation. Sometimes she was close and large. Other times she was far away and faint. I could discern all of that, even with the limited capabilities of my little telescope. Sometimes she rose in the morning just before the sun. Other times she appeared at dusk just as the sun had set. She even changed shape, exhibiting phases like the moon. I was hooked! Asymmetrical Pentagram Although my pentagram traces the path of the planet Venus, I do not use the shape we can see her outline from standing on our planet. That view is rather distorted. It does not have the shape of a symmetrical five-pointed star, because we are viewing it from within the same orbital plane as Venus; we are moving parallel to her motion. An analogy would be to imagine that we were standing on the ice of a skating rink with stadium seating. We are watching a skater move around the rink. From our perspective standing on the surface of the ice in the same flat plane as the skater, they would only seem to be moving towards us or moving away from us. However, if we are seated high up in the arena, we can look down on the skater and see that they are tracing a pattern on the ice. In similar fashion, I draw my pentagram from the viewpoint of hovering high above our solar system. That way, my pentagram has the more classic symmetrical shape. Points in Space Try to imagine yourself hanging suspended a few millions miles above the north pole of the sun, floating effortlessly in space. From your perspective, you can see the counter-clockwise spin of the sun. You also see the counterclockwise orbital motions of most of the planets and their moons, sweeping around in a celestial ballet. Now focus in on Venus and Earth. Watch their pas de deux. It takes the Earth about 365 days to swing completely around the sun. Venus, being closer to the sun, manages the same feat in a shorter amount of time. And periodically, Venus is positioned precisely between the Sun and Earth. This alignment is called an “inferior conjunction.” Whenever she lines up on the other side of the sun, with the sun positioned precisely between us, she is creating a “superior conjunction.” Because Venus and Earth take different times to complete one orbit around the Sun, 8 years must pass before the two planets are finally lined up back at the same point. In those 8 years Venus has completed 10 orbits around the sun as compared to 8 Earth orbits. And within her 10 orbits, Venus has achieved 5 inferior conjunctions and 5 superior conjunctions. Connecting the Dots I use the same sequence as Crowley and Grimassi, but my reasons relate to astronomy and conjunctions. My five pentagram points can use either the five inferior or the five superior conjunctions of Venus, in a row. Pick at random one of the two systems and start there. On paper, make a dot and label it the sun. Draw a large circle around the sun to represent the orbit of Venus. Put a point anywhere on that circle. That point will be your first conjunction spot and become the top point of your pentagram. Label it No. 1. Next, put four more dots on the circle, so that all five dots (conjunction points) are equally distant from each other. Now you will draw your sequence of pentagram strokes. In doing so, you will mimic the orbit of Venus. In order to draw the lines to your dots in the sequence that the conjunctions actually occur you must move from your first dot at the top down to the lower right point (2) , then up and across to the upper left point (3) , then straight across to the upper right (4) , then down and across to the lower left point (5) , then back up to the starting point at the top, where Venus returns to her original position in her orbit after 8 years. That sequence of strokes is my pattern; how I draw my pentagram. So, why do I bother to trace my pentagram in keeping with the orbital motion of the planet? Because it resonates with me. It reflects my personal experience of life. It reminds me of why I took the Pagan path, because of Paganism’s devotion to the sky and the natural world. It recalls my early fascination with the heavens, a fascination that steered me ultimately to Wicca. Every time I draw my pentagram I can recall my youthful excitement under the starry skies and I feel the embrace of the heavens. At that moment my pentagram becomes more than a star; it becomes an energized, charged sigil. Where, O Where Do the Elements Go? Where do I assign my four elements: earth, air, fire and water? That decision is also a personal preference. I was born in the sign of Taurus, an earth sign. I like to connect my first line from Spirit down to my personal element, earth. Since the first actual Venus conjunction spot is down to the lower right, I designated that point to be earth for me. I also like to trace my strokes in the sequence of the chant: earth, air, fire, water. I wanted to be able to trace out the conjunctions and say the chant as I make my strokes. So, air is placed at my third conjunction point on the upper left, fire is placed at my fourth conjunction point in the upper right, and water is placed at my fifth conjunction point in the lower left. Then I make one last stroke from water back up to Spirit at the top, which completes the sequence for Venus conjunctions and brings her back to where she started in space and in my pentagram. Venus Makes Her Point When is the next conjunction for lovely Venus? An inferior conjunction, when Venus is placed directly between us and the sun, occurred in March of 2009. The next two conjunction events will occur in 2010. The first one will be a superior conjunction, when Venus is lined up on the far side of the sun from us, in January. Then the next event, an inferior conjunction, will occur around the end of October, just is time for Samhain—a Wiccan sabbat and the beginning of the new year in the old Celtic religions—very auspicious! Let Your Path Be Your Guide If you have been initiated into an established circle, then you will draw it the way you were instructed. It is part of the tradition of your Wiccan community. But all those teeming multitudes of solitaries out there, like me, what do we do? Well you can purchase books from reputable authors. I have mentioned several in this article. You can certainly browse the Internet. There are several sites devoted to the pentagram. But before you follow someone else’s example, think about what the symbol means to you. What do you want it to represent? How does the symbol resonate with you? Which of the four elements do you wish to assign to which points and why? Do you want it to focus on the element of your birth sign? How has your life experience influenced your ideas about the pentagram? What thoughts do you ponder as you move through your sequence of strokes? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter HOW you draw it as long as your method incorporates meaning. Formulate your own approach to the pentagram, so that every time you draw it you are creating a symbol of power, blessing and protection. It will become for you a useful tool in your journey to achieving altered states of awareness. If your sequence resonates with you, then it is the correct way for you to draw it. Blessed Be. Ritual To Become A Witch *Do it once you know what you have learned the basics and are most sure* 1. Set up your temporary altar and quarter points. The quarters can be stones or candles but stones have the advantage of not blowing out if there’s a breeze. 2.Cast a circle of protection 3. Undress-remove all jewelry. watches, etc., and put into a bag with your purse and other items that are easily lost. 4.Consecrate the circle. 5.Summon the guardians with these words, and don’t forget to pause to visualize the element for yourself dedication: “Guardians of the North, sacred spirit of the Earth. Into the stillness of your cold dar womb shall you except my death, the death of my former self. I shall bid you hail and welcome. Guardians of the East, sacred spirits of the air. As the sun rises in the east so shall you guide my rebirth into my new life as a witch. I bid you hail and welcome. Guardians of the South, sacred spirits of Fire. you shall be my protector as I go forth from here along my new path. I bid you hail and welcome. Guardians of the West, sacred spirits of Water. Cleanse my spirit and keep it ever pure from now and into the future.” 6. Now for your symbolic death: Lie on the floor on your back. you can lie with your head to the altar(North) if you wish to be close to the God and Goddess or to the East if the principle of rebirth is more important to you. Recite the words again: “I am entering the stillness before creation I am entering the ground of the God and Goddess May my body be still May my mind be peaceful May by heart be ready” 7. Now be at peace; feel the peace of the Goddess flow into you. Feel yourself merge with the cold earth beneath you. Chant this slowly and quietly: “Hecate, Cernunnos, Dark Mother and Father take me in Hecate, Cernunnos Let me be reborn.” Keep chanting until you feel yourself melting into the Goddess. 8. When you feel the time is right get up and begin to walk around the circle chanting the God and Goddess chant: “We all come from the God and Goddess, And to them we shall return, Like a drop of rain, Flowing to the ocean.” Walk gradually faster and chant faster round and round the circle. Faster and faster until you get dizzy. Don’t stop even then. After a while you’ll get tired, but don’t stop. Go on the same time again until you drop exhausted to the floor. Why? Because chanting and dancing raise power. 9. Lay again on your back as you regain your breath. As soon as you have your breath back stand in front of the altar and anoint yourself thus: Dip a finger in the oil and mark a cross on the left breast (male or female) then on the right breast then just above the pubic hair. This is the sigil of the first degree, the downward pointing triangle. Say: “I anoint myself priest/ess of the old religion, and I take the name (speak your magical name quietly)” Then say: “I (real name) in the presence of the forces of the Universe and the Divine, do of my own free will and mind most solemnly swear that I will ever abide by the religion and science of the Craft of the Wise. I shall neither harm my fellow humans with the secrets that I learn nor shall I flaunt my beliefs or powers before them. From this day on I shall be reborn as (magical name) and shall honor, respect and cherish the oath I have taken.” 10. Kneel up in front of the altar. Pour a little wine into the goblet and place it at the front of the altar. Now take your athame and holding it with both hands, pointing down and arms outstretched plunge the blade into the wine. Say: “As the cup is to the female so the blade is to the male.” “And so conjoined bring blessedness.” 11. Now say to yourself: ” I am reborn. I am a Witch. I am a priest/ess” Rise to your feet and say as loud as is safe bearing in mind that sound travels “I AM A WITCH!” 12. Now consecrate the wine and cakes as you have already learned. Take some wine and eat a cake. Close the circle and dismiss the quarters, remembering to thank them. Get dressed and eat and drink some more and remember to keep some back for the libation which you make on the very site of your self initiation before you leave. Remember to harm none!!!! Click for the Site Index