Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fire

Planet: Sun, Mars, Jupiter
Time: noon
Season: summer
Quality: destructive, choleric, masculine, phallic
Direction: South
Jewel: fire, opal, pyrite/firestone, amethyst, fire garnet
Tool: censer, wand
Zodiac: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Colour: red, gold, crimson, orange, white
Incense: copal, frankincense, olibanum, rose
Symbol: swastika (fire wheel), candle, crucible, matches
Plant: alder, almond tree in bloom, dittany, fire thorn, flame tree, garlic, hibiscus, mustard, nettles, onion, hot peppers, red poppy, rose
Animal: salamander, lion, snake, fire-breathing dragon, horse, serpent
Rules: energy, activity, motivation, sight, quickening, blood, sap, spirit, purification, heat, flames, bonfires, lust, life, enthusiasm, passion, the hearth, inspiration, transformation, vitality, sexuality, leadership, combustion, healing, volcanoes, destruction, authority, metalwork, incandescence, deserts, eruptions, explosions, anger, the masculine, the power of will, inspiration
Invocations: djinn, hearth and smith god/desses, the Manes, Salamander
Goddesses
Astarte, Ashtoreth, Bastet, Berecyntia, Brighid, Hestia, Ishtar, Kali, Minerva Belisima, Oynyena Maria (Fiery Mary), Pele, Pyrrha, Sekhmet, sylphs, Vesta
Gods
Agni, Ariel, Baal, Bel, Belenus, Chango, Govannon, Hephaestus, Horus, Michael, Mulciber, Ogun, Prometheus, Raphael, seraphs, Shiva, Surya, Uriel, Velchanus, Vishnu, Vulcan

Fire Exercises
·         Spend time out in the noon sun
·         Visit a desert or rocky place, observe and attune yourself to the arid landscape
·         If you have the opportunity to visit a volcano or old lava flows, do so
·         Dance around a bonfire
·         Light a candle and sit in a darkened room. Look a few inches above the flame and spend time in meditation on the element of Fire
·         During a summer night, try to visit a beach or shoreline during the times when the phosphorescence is high in the water
·         Attend a Fire-Walk

Chakra: Heart
Gift: Illumination, attentiveness, purification
Emotion: Yearning, passion, will, energy
Sense: Sight
Sound: Static, crackling

Practical Work
1
On a hot and/or sunny day go to somewhere which is sheltered from the wind, where you can lie down in the sunlight. Absorb the heat and light of the Sun, feeling also the warmth of the land you are lying on. Take your time to think about all the things which depend upon heat and light, but do not risk sunburn or look at the Sun itself. Imagine what life might be like with much less, or much more, Sun.
2
If you have a real fire this is best, otherwise place several candles in front of a mirror so that you can see lots of flames. Now recall a time when you were really very angry – anger is often the easiest passion to recall. Think through the whole situation from the first thing that upset you until you can really feel the anger rising up inside you. Once you are truly angry, stop for a moment and think about how your whole body and mind feel. You may find that you are shaking, sweating or have other physical symptoms. If another person was the cause of the anger, ask yourself how you would feel about working a healing spell for that person right now. Once you have explored the sensations, either work through the feelings or let it subside naturally. Make notes on the build-up of feelings, how you felt when they were at their most powerful and how you felt as they were released or subsided.

The Calling of the Flame and Faerie Fire
Sparkles of the faeries’ flame
Will o’ the Wisps on summer nights
The golden glow of forest green
Glimmering in the sunlight
Powers of flame rise up in me
Powers of flame rise up in me

Balefire crackling on the hill
The flickering light of candle’s flame
Passion drumming in the night
Lava flows, wild, untamed
Powers of flame rise up in me
Powers of flame rise up in me

Here before the flickering flame
Where ancient powers reign
I call to me my destiny
Ecstasy unchained

Ancient ones of red and gold
Of sparkle, crackle, trance
Grant me your powers I’ve seen
The mystery of the dance

Knowledge of the powers of Flame
I beseech the Goddess, give
Guide me to their mysteries
And let my magick live

Fire Magic
Greeting the Sun
This exercise should be done every day for at least one week.
Begin each day at sunrise, just as our ancestors did, before electric lights allowed us to reprogramme ourselves. Let the Sun recondition your body, and your soul, to a natural rhythm. Rising with the Sun each day requires a great deal of determination, and will reward you with tremendous passion and magical power.
If possible, greet the Sun by going outside. Reach your arms out and watch the sky change colours. Focus your attention on the transformation that the Sun and its fire bring about. Feel the warmth of the Sun on your skin. Listen to the birds singing to greet the new day.
“Cup” the Sun between your hands. Bring your hands, and the Sun, into your heart. Feel it open, and glow, and radiate passion and power through your body. Feel the optimism and empowerment the Sun gives you to do anything you commit yourself to. You might say ‘Blazing spirits of fire, bless me with your passion and powers of transformation.’
Give thanks to this new day of life. By the end of the week, meditate on how your courage, passion and determination can transform your life.

A Purification
If you wish to be free from a habit, thought, idea; if you wish to be rid of past associations, guilt or blockages; take the symbols of the problem – whatever they may be – and throw them onto a raging fire. The fire will consume the symbols and so shall it consume the power they had over you.

A Fire Divination
Set a fire and watch how quickly the wood begins to burn. If it catches the flames quickly, this is a good sign, and you should proceed with the divination.
If it is hesitant, or if you need several matches to get it going, abandon the project till another time.
Once the fire is burning watch is flames carefully. If it burns to one side of the fireplace, or pit, or area, love may be in the air.
Much crackling indicates misfortune ahead; perform protective spells.
A distinct hollow in the midst of the flames foretells an ending of a problem bothering you.
If the fire suddenly roars up the chimney or up into the air, for no apparent reason an argument may soon occur. Watch your words carefully.
Sparks on the back of the chimney or, if outside, flying aggressively up into the air mean that important news is on the way.
If a loved one is far from home, poke at the fire with a poker or stick. If shafts of flames shoot up you can be assured they are well, safe and happy.
Finally, if three bolts of flame rise up and burn separately expect a momentous event to occur soon in your life.

Another Fire Divination
Once the fire has died to a glowing reddish-white mass of coals, stare into its heart. Scry in the coals. See what shapes the charred wood seems to form and determine their meaning through the language of symbolism.

To Communicate with Others
Write a letter to a distant friend as if you were going to mail it. Next, light a blazingly hot fire and throw the letter into it, firmly visualising the persons face. You should receive a reply.

The Sun and Glass Spell
Make a drawing of a problem or negative influence in your life on a piece of paper. On a bright sunny day take the paper outside with a magnifying glass. Lay the paper on a heat-proof surface and hold the magnifying glass so that its power is concentrated on the centre of the paper.
As the paper begins to burn say;
Through glass the Sun’s bright rays of light
Put ill and misfortune to flight.
No more shall you harm me or mine.
Begone! I charge you in this sign.
The problem should clear up.

Fire Meditation
 All you need are red, yellow or orange candles and a quiet, undisturbed place to sit.
Place the candles in a circle round you, with one in the centre of the circle in front of where you will be sitting. Then light them.
Sit calm and relaxed, but alert, and concentrate on the candles, even the ones behind you that you can’t see.
Visualise their fiery colours weaving a ring of light and energy around you. Does the space feel different now that the candles are lit and, if so, in what way? Sense the glowing candle flames, feel their quiet power reaching you and enfolding you in their special kind off intensity. Do you feel focused or remote?
Now bring your attention to the centre candle. Gaze at its flame for a while, noticing the colours it produces as it burns. You may find that your concentration causes the flame to jump or flicker or spark. Do any images come into your mind, or do you seem to sense any presence behind the candle flame? Do you feel sleepy or alert? Take your time and allow whatever impressions suggest themselves to you. Don’t judge.
Reach your hands towards the candle until you can feel its heat on your palms. Visualise yourself drawing the heat and energy in through your fingers, your palms, up your arms and into our body. What colour is the energy to you? What does it make you feel like?
Continue to draw the energy in on each indrawn breath, feeling it begin to circulate around your system, reaching through your cells and flesh until it irradiates your skin and flows into your outer electromagnetic field, your aura.
Now imagine the energy lighting you up so you seem surrounded by glowing tongues of a fire that soothes and relaxes and revitalises you without searing or burning.
Now see the flames growing smaller, being absorbed through your skin again, and their activity becoming quieter and less radiant.
Finally, see any excess energy dying down to a steady glow.
Place your hands on the floor or ground and feel the stability of earth, the solidness of your body.
Than the God for his gift of fire and the life force it gives us.

Then put out the candles and write up the experience. 

Bibliography
The Wicca Handbook by Eileen Holland
Your Book of Shadows: How to Write Your Own Magickal Spells by Patricia Telesco
Embracing the Moon by Yasmine Galenorn
The Real Witches Craft by Kate West
Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic by Phyllis Curott
Earth Power by Scott Cunningham
The Sacred Round: A Witches Guide to Magical Practice by Elen Hawke

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Wicca = Bad?

I have a friend who is very anti Wiccan. He is a nice guy but Wicca seems to be his blind spot. If you use anything even slightly ‘Wiccafied’ in your own personal path he believes it is because you are ignorant of its origins, and will try to educate you. On many occasions we have had (long) discussions about it, both in person and on Facebook.

The last time I spoke to him he wrote me a list of all the things I should eliminate from my path if I wanted to be a witch with no Wiccan influence. This included;

  •          The four elements and their directions
  •          The eightfold wheel of the year
  •          Covens
  •          The duality of the God and Goddess
  •          A book of shadows
  •          The Wiccan Rede
  •          The Threefold Law
  •          Circle casting

Interestingly I have never said I want to remove Wiccan influence from my path. As I have stated on this blog I few times, I am eclectic. If something is part of my religious structure it is because I have trailed it and found it works for me. To assume we all practise it through ignorance really riles me, but there is no getting this through to my friend. He honestly believes he is helping.
So, back to the list and my own thoughts on why I do/do not keep them.

  •         Working with the elements brings me balance, and the directions make sense to me based on my location in the East of England. I have worked with the elements this way for that last 15 years and it works, so I have chosen to continue to do so.
  •         The eightfold wheel of the year is one I am still unsure about. I like some of the festivals more than others. I understand and can ‘see’ some from a seasonal point of view more than others. I am still trying to decide if a) I continue to follow the wheel and b) why I would and what it would look like. This one also brings me nicely on to the next one…
  •         My coven follows the wheel of the year. We try to meet at least for all eight Sabbats and perform ritual, and I like being part of the coven. I am not part of a group because I think it is the ‘right way’ for pagans/witches/whatever to practise. I am part of a group because I am a social creature who likes the sense of community and support it gives me. My path is still very much my own but my covenmates are my friends, my family, and I enjoy working with them.
  •      I am polytheistic, meaning I do not believe in the duality of the God/dess. This works for me but my way is not the only way. I respect your right to view deity as you please. I am sure you have your reasons for your choices just as I have mine.
  •         I am not sure if it is the name my friend is objecting to or the concept of writing things down all together. I don’t have a book of shadows really, I have a folder of stuff, but I do like the name. It gives it a sense of specialness that appeals to my more theatrical side. As regards to ‘real witches’ writing stuff down, granted they probably didn’t but that would be because most of them were illiterate! I live in the now, not 300 or whatever years ago. I also have electricity, a computer, the internet, a steady income and a whole host of other things they didn’t have then. Am I going to reject them as ‘not authentic enough’?! Bugger off am I!
  •         I don’t follow the Wiccan Rede as I am not Wiccan. I have my own set of ethics that I try to follow, although I recognise the concept of situational ethics. Having said that, the Rede when properly understood is not a bad thing, just not to my taste.
  •         The Threefold Law, or Law of Return, is something I have written about previously. My views on that have not changed I will just point you to this post
  •       Casting a circle is also something I have written about before . My views on this are changing, however, since I began working with the coven and it is now something I do incorporate more into my own path. I would like to re-visit this in more detail in a stand-alone post at some point so keep a look out for that.


Which parts of the list do you use? Which have you scrapped? Why in both cases? 

The Year Ahead

Sundays are normally the day I get the Tarot out and have a practise reading the cards. I often try a new spread or a different way of reading and make notes in my diary to refer back to at a future date.

As last Sunday was my birthday I decided to pull 12 cards for an overview of the year ahead, and I thought I would share them with you.

OCTOBER = Nine of Cups (The Wish Card)
Whatever I desire most this month will be mine. The card promises material benefits and physical luxury. Relationship wise it means you will get the man you most desire.
Key Words  = Enjoyment, Contentment, Pleasure, Happiness, Satisfaction, A dream come true

NOVEMBER = Queen of Wands (Career Woman)
The court cards often represent people, and this is particularly true of Queens and Kings. November will be a month where I really concentrate on my career but not at the detriment of my social life. The Queen of Wands is able to balance family and career interests well.
Key Words = Ambition, Competence, Self-assertion, Passion, Warmth, Generosity

DECEMBER = The Empress (Mother. Fruitfulness, Abundance. Healing)
December is set to be an important month for me, indicated by the appearance of a major card. It will be a month of creativity and one where all my focus and hard work in November will pay off. I have a presentation due at work in December and this card suggests it will go well. It will also be this month that a decision is made regarding my teams secondments. The card suggests good news on that front.
Key Words = Prosperity, Creativity, Love, Status, Good Fortune

JANUARY = King of Cups (Wise Counsel)
I am really not clear whether this card represents me in the month of January or a man who will play an important role for me in that month. I do know that it represents someone who is mature and emotionally stable. It is also someone who is easy to talk to and gives good advise. They are dignified, well-respected, kind, trustworthy and empathic.
Key Words = Feelings, Imagination, Trust, Respect, Kindness

FEBRUARY = Eight of Pentacles (The Work Card)
February is going to be another month whose focus is around my work and career. It will be a time to begin to look at moving up the career ladder, and I will take on more responsibility and more opportunities to develop skills and gain experience. I may also start to work closely with someone who can help me develop. Alternatively, I may work closely with others to help them develop.
Key Words = Job training, Self-Improvement, Learning, A Promotion, Applied effort

MARCH = The Devil (Self-imposed Limitations)
This will be my second of three major months this year, and it won't be a good one. I will experience a lot of self-doubt and feel trapped in a situation that is hampering my life. I will need to take stock of all that may be holding me back in my life and let go of the things that no longer serve me. It will be time to confront my Shadow if I want my personal growth to continue.
Key Words = Pessimism, Finding it hard t let go, Darkness, Self-doubts, Hang-ups

APRIL = The Hanged Man (A New Perspective)
This is the third, and final, major month of the year for me. It is a time for pause and reflection. A time to take stock of everything that has happened over the first six months. A time to decide what I want to do moving forward. I will have made it through the dark month of The Devil and will be ready to move forward.
Key Words = Enlightenment, Breaking with the past, A unique viewpoint, Adaptability

MAY = Knight of Pentacles (Slow, Steady Progress)
I don't think the Knight of Pentacles represents a person in this reading. I believe it indicates that not much will happen in May but things will slowly be moving forward. My hard work will once again pay off but I will need to be patient and persevere if I want to see results.
Key Words = Diligence, Dependability, Patience, Perseverance

JUNE = Queen of Swords (Intelligent and Solitary)
Now is the time to stand up for myself and be clear about what I want and need, I have learnt to be independent during periods of loneliness and this, along with my intellect and sense of fairness, has put me in good stead. This will be a month of rationality and ambition, and my emotional side will almost have been put on hold,
Key Words = Ambition, Keen intellect, Aloofness, Independence

JULY = Queen of Pentacles (Practical Manager)
My determination and drive in June will pay off in July. I will begin to feel more financially stable and will be able to focus on things that bring me pleasure.
Key Words = Prosperity, Sensuality, Abundance, Confidence

AUGUST = Five of Cups (Loss and Disappointment)
August will be a difficult month. I may feel lost or betrayed but I will be able to salvage something from the situation. It will all depend on whether I choose to see the glass half empty or half full. It will feel like a time of grief but I need to allow myself time to go through the process and to re-evaluate my emotional priorities.
Key Words = Regret, Self-blame, Sadness, Emotional let-down, Separation

SEPTEMBER = Three of Wands (Birth of an Enterprise)
Out of the darkness comes new opportunities. Things at work will be great this month. The team will work well together and there will be new opportunities for us to get our teeth into. Now is the time to begin laying the ground work for eventually moving on in my career.
Key Words= A new project, Teamwork, Negotiations, Initial success

So that is my year ahead according to the tarot. I will let you know how each month turns out in relation to the cards drawn as we make our way through the year.



Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Air

Planet: Mercury, Jupiter
Time: dawn
Season: spring
Quality: contemplative, sanguine, masculine
Direction: East
Jewel: Topaz
Tool: athame, sword, censer
Zodiac: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Colour: pastels, white, clear, pale blue, bright yellow
Incense: frankincense, fumitory, galibanum, myrrh
Symbol: incense, feathers, balloons, bubbles, kites, windmills, sails, fans
Plant: anemone, aspen, bodh tree, epiphytic plants, plants and trees that provide incense, pansy, poplar, primrose, vervain, violet, wall fern, yarrow
Animal: bird, insect, eagle, hawk, sphinx
Rules: thoughts, ideas, flight, knowledge, wind, intellect, breath, learning, intuition, towers, aeries, high and windy places, the mind, the abstract, the mental plane, the sense of smell
Invocations: fairies, the lilitu, sylphs, sprites, undines, wind god/desses
Goddesses:
Aditi, Aerope, Aphrodite, Aradia, Arianrhod, Cardea, Cybele, Hathor, Hera, Iris, Lilith, Maman Brigette, Mary, Nut, Oya, Semiramis, Urania
Gods:
Aether, Anu, Ariel, Baal, Boreas, Enlil, Favonius, Gabriel, Haddad, Horus, Hurakan, Indra, Jupiter, Khepera-Marduk, Mercury, Michael, Mithras, Njoerd, Orion, Quetzalcoatl, Thoth, Typhon, Uranus, Yahweh, Zephyrus, Zeus

Air Exercises
·         Go outside on a breezy or windy day and face the wind. Let it rush past you and open yourself to its influence
·         Play with feathers of different birds and attune with the energy of each
·         Listen to and play wind chimes, xylophones, bells or recorders and other wind instruments
·         Play with the difference between hot and cold air. Stand in front of a fan, then in front of an oven that’s hot and cracked open. Focus on what the differences are besides just temperature
·         Line up a number of different granular incenses. Light a piece of incense charcoal. Drop just a pinch of incense on the coal, one at a time, and see what the different smells do to your psyche
·         Play with your breath – make different sounds, first vowels and then consonants. See where the sounds resonate in your body.
·         Pay attention to your breath. Vary the rate at which you breathe. First breathe through your nose, then through your mouth
·         Exhaust your mind by reading for a long time, or focusing on some idea for a long time, then take a hot bath and let your thoughts wander. See where they lead you

Chakra: Throat
Gift: Truth sense, clairaudience
Emotions: Cheer, hopefulness, a sense of freedom
Moon: Waxing crescent
Sense: Hearing
Sounds: Bells, winds, chimes

Practical Work
1
On a windy day, go to a high point, preferably one which is not sheltered by trees or buildings, where you can experience the Element of Air. If it is cold, make sure you wrap up well. Feel the air blowing through your hair, moving your clothes and trying to buffet you. Take with you a few leaves or flower petals and cast them into the wind, watching how it takes them, lifts them and moves them. As you stand there, give thought to other types of winds, both stronger and gentler.

2
*Imagine you are going away for a few days. Try to choose somewhere particular but that you have not visited before. Take a pen and paper and make a list of everything you think you might need with you. Plan for every situation, event and weather you can sensibly imagine happening. Be as detailed and thorough as you possibly can. When the list is finished, make a second list, this time assuming you can only take one very small bag. When both are complete, compare the way you felt whilst compiling each.
*In your head, calculate the number of seconds in a year or, if you find this easy, the number of seconds you have been alive.
*Imagine a conversation with someone you know fairly well, but make it about a subject neither of you knows a lot about. Try to imagine what each of you will say, and try to make it last for at least ten minutes.
Afterwards consider how it felt to be strictly focused on mental activity: were you at all aware of your body, or other aspects of yourself?

The Calling of the Wind and Gale
Rising wind and cool night breeze
Hurricane and vaporous clouds
The tingling hint of dawn’s first light
Mist boiling in a milky shroud
Powers of air rise up in me
Powers of air rise up in me

The first squall of autumn’s gale
The gentle zephyr of spring’s new breeze
The chill blast of winter’s breath
The whispering heard through summer trees
Powers of air rise up in me
Powers of air rise up in me

Here before the waking dawn
Where ancient powers fly
I call to me my destiny
Between the stars and sky

Ancient ones of blue and white
Of breeze and calm and storm
Grant me your powers I’ve seen
Mysteries without form

Knowledge of the powers of Air,
I beseech the Goddess, give
Guide me to their mysteries
And let my magick live

Air Magic
Breathing the Cycle of Life
One of the simplest and most enjoyable ways of making air magic is to breathe. It is also a profound way to meditate and to alter your consciousness.
Go outside on a breezy day. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Feel the wind on your skin, feel it lift your heart. Inhale the perfume of flowers. Notice how the gifts of air make you feel – happy, free, like singing or laughing. Listen to the sound of the wind in the trees. Open your eyes and see how the wind makes the trees dance and sing, how the birds’ coast on thermal currents, and the clouds fly past above you.
Invite the air to be with you and to teach you. You might say: “Spirits of air, bless me with your inspiration and wonder. Bring me a clear and open mind; help me hear the birds singing, the children laughing. Help me spread my wings and fly forth into life.”
Don’t be surprised if you are given a gift – a poem, a song, a joyful thought. Be sure to say thanks, and make more magic by writing about your experience, your feelings, and your gift in your magical journal.

Tie up Your Troubles (North Wind)
On a sturdy preferably dead, bush or shrub still planted in the ground, in a place where the winds blow clear and free, tie or push onto the tip of a branch or twig one leaf for every one of the ills that is bothering you. If you tie the leaf, do so loosely and use a natural fibre cord.
This is all you have to do, for the North wind will rise and, perhaps slowly, untie and free the leaves, thereby releasing energy and going to work to alleviate the ills besetting you.
This spell works over a period of days or even weeks, not minutes, so leave the shrub after performing the spell. If you watch and wait, the wind might never rise.

A Loving Bell (West Wind)
Hang up a bell with a pleasant ring in a window which remains open for a good part of each day, and through which the wind blows (preferably the West Wind).
As you do so speak these words;
Little bell of love, I hang you to whisper my need for love on the breezes and winds.
Little bell of love, speak of my need for love to your brothers and sisters.
Little bell of love, I ask you to speak softly and draw to me someone who listens.
Every time the bell rings, it is ‘whispering’ of your need for love. The brothers and sisters are other bells who will add their own power to the spell.

To Vanquish Fear (South Wind)
Light a yellow candle indoors and sit in a quiet contemplation for a second. See the candle’s flames drawing in your fear and anxieties; see it and the candle becoming infused with them.
Take the candle outside and let the wind quench its flame. It is done.

To Communicate with an Absent Friend (East Wind)
In the open air face the direction where the person is present. If this is unknown, repeat the below to each direction starting in the North.
Extend your arms and hands and, in a clear but soft voice, call the person’s name.
Visualise his or her features. Call the name again, with more force, and then a third time, quite loudly.
Next state your message as if speaking to them in person. Keep this short and precise. When you have finished listen for a reply.
Don’t imagine one, but listen.
This works best with practise, or with friends with whom you are intimately close.

Air Meditation
Place the following on a small table or on the ground in front of you;
·         A censer or other fire proof container
·         A charcoal block
·         Incense, preferably with a light, sharp smell or with lavender as part of the mix
·         One or more feathers
·         Candles in shades of pale yellow, pale blue, pale violet, or all three
Sit somewhere quiet and undisturbed, and light the candles, letting their pale, airy colours penetrate your thoughts.
If it’s daytime and you can see the sky from where you are sitting, then this may add to your experience, but it isn’t essential.
If you are using incense, then ignite the charcoal; if not, light the joss or smudge stick. When the charcoal is glowing and turning white all the way across sprinkle some incense on.
Sit quietly for a while watching the smoke from the incense and breathing in its fragrance. See how the smoke weaves and drifts, making shapes and patterns that may suggest pictures that can be read clairvoyantly. Even in a very still room smoke will coil and spiral.
Now, lean forward and use one of the feathers to waft the smoke around, seeing how shapes and patterns change with the increased displacement of air.
Fan the smoke over yourself to clear your aura of any negativity.
Try passing the feather only, without the smoke, through the air all around yourself from head to toe, about six inches from your body. How does that feel? Imagine you are sweeping away any psychic debris by stroking the currents of air over your aura. Do you feel cleaner, more alert, or does this action affect you in some other way? If so how?
If you have more than one feather, pick up the rest.
Now hold the feather or feathers to your third eye. Do you receive any images, colours, or sensations? Try to sense what it might be like to fly, to be the bird each feather belongs to. Open your mind and let impressions come to you; become a bird for a while; feel the beat of your wings, the pressure of up currents, the whisper of air through your wingtips. Try to imagine what it must be like to spend a large proportion of your life above the surface of the earth, supported only by the air around you.
Finally, bring your awareness back to your earthbound body and the room around you.
Concentrate on your breath, feeling it enter your nostrils and then brush your top lip as you breathe out again. Draw the air deeper and deeper into your body, feeling it expand your lungs. Sit up very straight as you do this so you can give your lungs room to fill properly. Eventually you should be breathing so deeply that your belly expands and then contracts as you breathe.
Visualise the prana (life force) that enters your body with each breath you take. This life force can be seen as a bright white light, like sunlight. As you breathe in, concentrate on drawing prana down into the body, then on each outward breath ‘see’ the pranic energy circulating through your system bit by bit, until it reaches the pores of your skin and then your personal force field, until your whole aura is irradiated by light and energy.
Gradually let the light energy fade back, leaving you refreshed but calm.
Put out the candles.
Place the censer, smudge, or joss sticks somewhere safe and let them burn out.

Give thanks to the Sky Father for all you have experienced.

Bibliography
The Wicca Handbook by Eileen Holland
Your Book of Shadows: How to Write Your Own Magickal Spells by Patricia Telesco
Embracing the Moon by Yasmine Galenorn
The Real Witches Craft by Kate West
Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic by Phyllis Curott
Earth Power by Scott Cunningham
The Sacred Round: A Witches Guide to Magical Practice by Elen Hawke 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Here We Go a 'Mooting

Tonight I am off to a Pagan moot. I go to a few every month (at least 3 by my last count)  but this one happens to be one of my favourites as the people are wonderful and the atmosphere very relaxed. The only down side, not just at this moot but at most I have been to in my area, is that the topic of conversation is very seldom about paganism or spirituality.

One could argue, and in fact I have done in the past, that the point of a moot is for it to be a social event. It is not a study group but a chance to meet like-minded individuals and, hopefully, make some new friends. I have, in fact, made a great number of friends in the 14 years (on and off) that I have been attending local moots, I met the members of my coven through one, and I have spent many happy hours in the company of people I may not have met otherwise. Moots really are a great way to build a community of Pagans within a small area, at least in my experience.

What I am trying to say, somewhat unclearly I think, is that I like the social side of a moot, but sometimes I want more. The problem is, I am not sure what that more would look like. I tried the local study group and found the topics didn't interest me enough to motivate me into doing the work. I also tried a semi-local moot, held in a room at the library, where a topic was posted before hand and people had the chance to discuss it, first in smaller groups and then with the whole room. I found this made me uncomfortable, especially when there were 15-20 strangers in attendance. The conversation felt forced, a bit like a classroom discussion, and,again, I wasn't really motivated to make any real contribution.

So I guess what I am looking for is a social moot, like the ones I attend, where the conversations naturally lead us to 'pagan' topics. Of course, one novel idea that I should probably try is to start one of those conversations!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Earth

(I am going to do a post for each element as I work to bring them more into balance in my life. Be forewarned, these posts will be long)

Planet: Earth, Saturn, Venus
Time: midnight
Season: winter
Quality: emotional, melancholic, feminine
Direction: North
Jewel: salt, rock crystal, agate, bloodstone, smoky quartz, carnelian, tiger’s eye, emerald
Tool: pentacle, salt, coin
Zodiac: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Colour: black, brown, green, white, gold, mustard
Incense: benzoin, fumitory (earth smoke), storax
Symbol: grain, globe, orb, stones, acorns, cornucopia, soil, pottery, sand
Plant: aonis, amaranth, barley, comfrey, grain, hops, ivy, corn, licorice, millet, oak, oats, rice, root vegtables, rye, wheat
Animal: cattle, bison, stag, earth-dwelling snakes, mole, dragon (earth energy), sphinx
Rules: life, birth, growth, nature, money, food, prosperity, silence, wisdom, agriculture, creativity, canyons, caverns, chasms, rocks, caves, metals, crystals, matter, stability, strength, trees, bones, mountains, the body, physical reality, standing stones, the sense of touch, the first astral plane, sustenance, material gain, death, fields, meadows, animals, manifestation, materialism
Invocations: gnomes, grain and mountain god/desses, the sidh, sphinxes
Goddesses:
Anath, Artemis, Bona Dea, Ceres, Cybele Magna Mater, Danu, Demeter, dryads, Durga, Ertha, Eve, Fauna, Flora, Gaia, the Great Goddess, the Great Mother, Hamadryads, Inanna, Isis, Maia, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Nokomis, Parvati, Persephone, Pomona, Prosperine, Rhea, Rhiannon, Sheela Na Gig, Tellus, Terra, Themis
Gods:
Achilles, Adonis, Arawn, Ariel, Atlas, Attis, Baal, Bacchus, Cernunnos, Chango Dagon, the Dagda, Dionysus, Enki, Enlil, the Green Man, Green Zeus, Hades, Herne, Marduk, Osiris, Pan, Robin Hood, Uriel, vegetation gods, Vertumnus, Yahweh, Zeus Chronius

Earth Exercises
·         Take a walk in the woods
·         Talk to your plants and listen, meditate on them
·         Work in your garden, focus on each plant in turn to see if you can attune to their individual essences and their needs
·         Make herbal charms for yourself
·         Take a class in herbalism
·         Go on berry picking expedition. Stay in the patch at least one hour, working in silence
·         Begin collecting interesting stones that catch your eye
·         Lie in the grass and observe the activity going on around you in the insect world

Chakra: Root
Gift: Faith
Emotion: Confidence, determination
Moon: Dark
Sense: Touch
Sounds: Echoes

Practical Work
1:
The first part of this exercise is best undertaken in your own garden, or in that of someone who is prepared to let you dig the earth. If that is not possible then use a tub or container of earth. Dig a hole wide enough to put both your hands in to, and deep enough to actually go beneath the first 2-3 inches. As you dig, look carefully at the things in the soil, both living and inanimate. Use your hands to feel the texture, both on the surface and further down. If you can, place your feet into the earth to.
For the second part, find some rock formations. Place your hands on the rock surface. Look at the stone to see what is growing there, noting colour, texture, and the direction of any lines and cracks. Consider the forces and energies that resulted in their being. If you have the chance, try to also visit a cave so you can experience being surrounded by earth.

2:
Prepare for bed in the usual way. Lie on your back with no pillows under your head. Try to ensure that you are lying straight with your feet slightly apart and your arms beside you but not touching your sides. Focus on your breath until you are breathing slowly and evenly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now, starting with one foot, move one toe at a time, then stretch and flex the foot. Do the same with the other foot. (if you can’t actually move your toes one at a time do your best) Now flex your ankles one at a time, and then rotate them. Going slowly up your body, bend and flex each muscle group or joint as best you can. Continue right up to moving your neck, chin, mouth, eyes, eyelids and eyebrows. Complete the whole process in reverse, working back down your body. When you are finished, your whole body should feel completely relaxed. Lie there for a few minutes and think about how each body part felt before, during and after you moved it. Imagine your mind travelling through each part and try to see them in your imagination. Ask yourself how they really feel; are there any aches, pains or discomforts? Which parts felt good, which don’t? The following day, and only after you have written up the first part, stand naked in front of a mirror and make a point of looking at all parts of your body. Compare how you feel about the way you look with how you actually felt in the movement exercise.

The Calling of the Forest and Mountain
Mountains rising to the sky
Fir and cedar, oak and thorn
Ravines deep-green in forest’s night
Dusty path, old and worn
Powers of earth rise up in me
Powers of earth rise up in me

Caverns dark and crystals bright
Meadows filled with wildflowers
Maple willow bracken ash
Fern-shaded passion’s bowers
Powers of earth rise up in me
Powers of earth rise up in me

Here amidst the foliage wild
Where ancient Powers run
I call to me my destiny
Between the moon and sun

Ancient ones of green and gold
Of dirt and root and bone
Grant me your powers that I’ve seen
Mysteries carved in stone

Knowledge of the powers of Earth
I beseech the Goddess, give
Guide me to their mysteries
And let my magick live

Earth Magic
Touching the Earth
Find some way of working with the earth. Start a garden, join a city garden group. Work with a local environmental group on a project that gets you outside and working with the land. Begin slowly, gradually increasing your commitment.
As you work, pay attention to the Earth, and to your body. Feel your heart beating, your muscles stretching and aching, your bones supporting you as you work on the earth. Feel the strength and stamina and strength of your body increasing.
Plant something and see how the Earth responds to your care. Share what you grow with others, especially those who are housebound or in need.

To Heal
Healing with the Earth works through the process of transference. The wound or disease is transferred magically to another substance, usually an organic one, which is then buried. As it rots it releases the wound or disease.
To remove a disease or heal a wound, rub the affected part with an apple or a potato. Then, as quickly as possible, dig a hole in the ground, put it in, and cover it with earth. It is done.

The Earth Bed
If you are sick, find a spot where the Earth is bare, uncovered with concrete, plants, leaves – pure fresh soil.
Sit or lie down on the Earth. Mentally see your wound or disease sinking in to the Earth. Feel the pain and anguish, the physical and emotional effects of the problem running down in to the ground beneath you.
Sense the rhythm of the Earth – feel the steady beat of nature pounding away. It should pulsate in tune with your heart, pounding until you feel your whole body undulating with energy. Then feel the cool, deep, soft energy rising from the ground up into you.
Rise, dust yourself off and check to see if you feel different.

To Lose Your Troubles
Take a handful of earth and gaze into it; pour into it all your problems. Outline in minute detail all of the problems plaguing you.
When you are finished, throw the dirt behind you and walk away from it without turning back.

An Earth Charm
Tie up in a small green square of cloth some fresh, rich soil. Firmly tie this so no soil can escape.
Carry this with you if you have troubles with stability, security, and self-control; if you are apt to let your emotions rule your life; if you are constantly angry or nervous.

An Earth Protection Bottle
Into a long, small bottle pour fresh, clean soil. Fill it to the top and cap it. Place the bottle near the entrance, preferably in a window, to guard against evil entering your home.

Earth Meditation
Place the following on a small table or on the floor or ground in front of you;
·         A bunch of flowers
·         A bowl of earth
·         A similar bowl with salt in it
·         Green, brown or deep orange candles, or all three
·         Some crystals or stones
·         Some bread
·         A chalice or cup of red grape juice
Light the candles and then sit comfortably and calmly.
Feel the weight of your own body.
Breathe slowly and deeply, imagining your breath going deeper into your body at each inhalation so you eventually seem to be breathing in and out through your belly. Let your body feel heavier and heavier; just experience the gravity and heaviness of your own flesh and bones.
Look at the candles and “see” the flames weaving a pattern of green or orange or brown (or all of those) so you are surrounded by those earth colours. Try to sense the vital energy of the flowers; touch their petals if you like.
Now pick up the stones or crystals and cup them in your hands, feeling their shape and texture. Hold them to your heart. Do you feel any energy flow? Hold them like that for a while.
Then put them to your third eye. What images come to you? Don’t try to anticipate, but just let impressions come and go as they will.
Put the stones or crystals down and pick up the bowl of soil. Get your hands into the soil, run it through your fingers, rub it over your skin. What does it feel like? Are you aware of its energy? If so, how different is it to the vital force of the stones, crystals, or flowers? Touch some to your third eye. Is this energising or grounding? Do any thoughts, images, or impressions come to you?
Next pick up the bowl of salt. Touch a little to your third eye, and cup some in the palm of your hand. Does this feel different from the soil? What physical sensations do you feel against your skin? Salt can be very grounding, but in a different way than earth, as it is also used for purification, so you may feel clearer and lighter than you did with the soil. Put a little on the tip of your tongue.
Finally, take a piece of bread, sprinkle it with salt, and eat it, observing how it feels in your mouth, on your tongue. Drink the grape juice.
How do you feel after eating and drinking? Are you more grounded? Did you gain any of the impressions of the energy that went into growing the wheat and grapes you have just consumed? Think about the soil that grew these crops, the hands that picked them or drove the machines that harvested them. Feel the food sink into your body, becoming part of you, as you, in turn, are part of the cycle of growth, harvest and decay.
Give thanks to the earth, our Mother, for her gifts.

Put out the candles, bring your attention back to your everyday surroundings, and then write up all you have experienced in your Book of Shadows.

Bibliography