Daily Archives: May 20, 2011
Gemstone of the Day
FOLK NAME: Volcano Spit
POWERS: Healing, Grounding, Divination
MAGICAL/RITUAL LORE: Hematite is a strange stone. It is heavy, solid, and silvery black. Its name alone is something of a mystery. To ancients, hematite was what we now know as bloodstone, so virtually all magical information relating to “hematite” in old books refers to bloodstone. This hematite, though, when worked on a lapidary wheel, “bleeds” and produces stains that look much like blood.
Hematite is a fine, showy stone. In Italy and elsewhere, it is fashined into necklaces which are sold as “volcano spit.” Magical information relating to this stone is scarce.
Hematite possesses the curious property of “healing” itself. Make a small scratch on the surface of the stone, then rub your finger over it. The scratch may disappear.
MAGICAL USES: Hematite is said to be powerful in drawing illness from the body. As with all stones, it is held in the hands while visualizing, then placed on the skin directly over the afflicted area. A necklace of smallstones can also be worn for healing.
Hematite is worn for grounding and stabilizing purposes, and to focus the attention on the physcial plane.
A scrying: In a darkened room, light a red candle. Settle before it and hold a large piece of hematite so that the candle’s flame is reflected on it. Gaze at the reflection and visualize a question. The answer will come to you.
Herb of the Day
Folk Names: Bugloss, Burrage, Herb of Gladness, Star Flower, Borak, Lisan selvi, Lesan-El-Tour
Powers: Courage, Psychic Powers
Magickal Uses: Carry the fresh blossoms to strengthen your courage, or place one in your buttonhole for protection when walking outdoors.
A tea of borage induced psychic powers.
Goddess of the Day
The Morrigu / Morrigan / Morgaine / Morganna
Celtic Goddess of Water and Magic. Supreme War Goddess, Shape-shifter. Reigned over the battlefields, helping with her magic but did not join in the battles. She is the Crone aspect of the Goddess. Great Mother; Moon Goddess; Queen of the fairies. In her dark aspect, her symbol is then the raven or crow. She is the Goddess of war, fate, death; she went fully armed & carried two spears. Goddess of rivers, lakes & fresh water. Patroness of priestesses & witches. Revenge, night, magic, prophecy. A Triple Goddess made of three largely autonomous Goddesses. Their names vary, but they are usually called Macha, Badb and Nemain. Morgan was said to be married to Merlin, and it was from him she learned her magic. She was also doubled with The Lady of the Lake.
Kenaz foretells the coming of clarity and knowledge. It is time for you to grow by exchanging knowledge with others. Opportunities are upon you.
My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!
Author: Devon, The Maid Of Epona
I’ve been a practicing solitary witch for a little more than ten years. I have just recently decided to wear my pentacle openly.
Does that mean I’m out of the broom closet? Heavens no! I like to describe myself as having one foot in and the other out of the proverbial broom closet. I believe this to be the smart way to be, living where I live. Hey! Pennsylvania isn’t California!
I’m not a militant pagan although I do have a serious warrior’s streak. But being a warrior also means picking and choosing your fights. I work in the small animal business in one job and in the horse business in the other.
When working in the horse business, keeping your mouth shut about what faith you are, especially if it is an alternative faith that is greatly misunderstood by others, is the wiser way to go.
If I were to be open to everyone about my faith, it would have a detrimental effect on my career. People in the horse business would immediately assume that I was one of those “tree hugging, wackos” and I suddenly wouldn’t get hired or be able to buy or sell horses because gossip runs rampant in stables and sometimes is taken to be truer than the Bible! I also deal with many of the Amish community and I hide my pentacle out of deference to their beliefs.
So I pick and choose when and where to display my symbol of faith openly. I have also made an agreement with myself that, when I wear my pentacle openly, and someone questions my faith, then I must answer truthfully and intelligently.
I tell them that my pentacle stands for the four elements and the element of spirit. I tell them that it is a symbol of wholeness and balance, not of negativity and hatred. And its meaning cannot be twisted by reversing its direction, at least not in my eyes!
The first day I wore my pentacle, I walked about with a heightened sense of awareness, waiting for everybody to judge me. I guess I was expecting the whole world to gasp, point their fingers and declare me a witch in that tone of voice that meant nothing good. The actual reaction of people was much more subdued and confused.
Instead, the only question I had to deal with was, “I didn’t know you’re Jewish!”
Do you know how hard it is not to roll your eyes at someone and exclaim, “What? Can’t you count”?
I took a real risk this past Christmas. My husband had given me two gifts I picked out from our favorite knife catalog; an unusual knife and a pentacle decorated with red gems that I thought was pretty. So what it wasn’t silver!
Well pictures in catalogs can be deceiving!
I thought the pentacle to be modestly sized and the knife to be around the size of a Bowie knife. Well the truth was things were reversed.
The knife was the size of a pocketknife. The pentacle was big. REALLY BIG!
Try a pentacle with some serious attitude and lots of bling to the red gems on it. There was no mistaking it when I chose to wear out. It just reeled you in. Ooooh boy!
Then I decided to wear it out and obvious to a family function. Hey! It was a Christmas gift from my hubby that I still really liked in spite of the size. I wanted to show off my sparkly!
Now, not all of my family knows my religious denomination but most are aware. My parents are a blessing from the Goddess! They approve as long as I don’t go around trying to convert everybody. My brother and sister know and are open minded enough to not make a big deal about such things. My cousins even know and are cool with it.
My uncle? Well, lets just say his religious views scare me! He attends an ultra conservative church that has several ministers, several auditorium sized rooms for worship and boasts an attendance of several thousand people.
I was told to never tell my uncle what religion I was.
He was coming to the party as well.
I probably should NOT have worn the pentacle. But I did.
I also chose to disguise it with my new fashion statement, which was to wear cowboy clothes. You see, in the western horse show world, they have this design that is called a Texas star. It’s like a sheriff’s badge. Hmmm. Guess what? That’s a pentacle!
So I immediately went out and got my western show attire decorated in “Texas Stars”. I’ve got them on my hat and even my horse’s saddle and bridle sport little “pentacles”. No, I won’t wear ten million pentacles on myself but I’ll completely festoon my poor, long suffering horse with them!
Anyway, I showed up at the party with my hunka, big, new pentacle and my “Texas Star” hat. And my uncle showed up later. He looked directly at my new pentacle and then me and my newly dyed, black hair.
And then he asked if I’d had any of the steamed shrimp he brought.
I felt like I had had the rug pulled out from under me. I tried not to laugh my relief.
The pentacle was a big hit though.
Two people asked about it and my religious persuasion. I found out that they also were open-minded and we had a lovely evening chatting about esoteric things. Those conversations would have probably never happened if I hadn’t been daring enough to chance wearing it out.
But the real point of the matter is this: A pentacle, or a cross, or a Jewish star, or whatever symbol you choose to wear is nothing but a piece of jewelry unless the belief is behind it to make it more.
Those Wiccans that chose not to wear a pentacle or any other symbol of faith, does that make them any less of a Wiccan? No.
Sometimes I wear my pentacle and sometimes I wear my favorite jade horse pendant. They are both symbols of faith in my opinion and are as important to me as the cross is to someone else.
But I am not a Wiccan because I choose to wear a pentacle. I am Wiccan because that is what language my heart sings.
And no one can change what you feel in your heart. You can only choose whether or not to speak it.
Do you wear your pentacle on your skin or in your heart?
The State of Paganism: A Perspective From an Old Witch
As Paganism slowly but surely emerges out of the grip of suppression brought on by what is now commonly referred to as organized religions. We may want to be aware of several pitfalls and realities as we once again step into the light of day.
First of all, the top three organized religions are themselves fairly new in the grand scheme of history. Prior to their appearance on the world stage, basically everyone in the world followed some type of pagan belief, which was for the most part an individual spiritual belief and not an organized religion per se. Such beliefs were influenced by ones personal environment and the immediate world around them. There was an interpersonal awareness that helped to shape one’s values and thus their corresponding beliefs. In today’s artificial world we no longer have such a mainstay or influence to guide us.
The current “accepted” beliefs being touted by the main three organized religions and the suppression of former popular beliefs did not occur as a natural effect of events in human history.
It was and continues to be a planned and concerted action, which began in one instance with the advent of the apologists and has continued on through the ages by acts of repression, fear and some very clever propaganda. These deliberate actions have been supplemented by the tactics of politicians who are overtly biased in favor of the institutions of organized religion.
After all, power begets power.
As such we should be aware that the basic tenet of these man made religious organizations is to hold onto such power at all costs. We as a community would like to think that we are accepting of all religious beliefs and spiritual paths, as we should be.
But we should not be so naïve as to think that just because we are so accepting that organized religions will welcome us back with open arms from the isolation of an exile that they themselves imposed upon those of pagan beliefs.
In all reality they (organized religions) would very much like to see paganism fade away as just another passing fad. An example of this is the gathering in Rome in the summer of 2007 of the Roman Catholic Church of which the primary topic was “how to draw folks away from Devil worship (allegedly paganism) and back into the grasp of the one true church”.
Granted there are some individuals within organized religion who are realistic and enlightened enough to accept the fact that not everyone is going to believe as they do. And thus are willing to work with members of alternate beliefs such as paganism.
However the harsh reality is that these folks generally belong to one of the very aggressive religious organizations whose leaders do not endorse such openness. And as such we are being accepted only in isolated situations and only at the very grass roots of these religious institutions.
Acceptance of the fact that the oldest religious/spiritual beliefs in the world were not obliterated and are making a re-emergence is going to take some considerable time, effort and patience.
We will re-emerge into the light of day one enlightened heart and soul at a time. To believe otherwise is in my personal opinion, both foolish and self-defeating.
Another pitfall we should be wary of is manipulation by the organized religions. They have by virtue of their position in the world today, proven to be very adept at such tactics.
And quite obviously (to some of us anyway) they are employing these tried and proven techniques to the very community that they would like to once again vanquish back into the throes of exile.
What is this manipulation you may ask?
Over the recent years, a crumb will fall off of the table of organized religion and a pagan will be ‘allowed” to sit at the same table as these folks. Each time it has been a Wiccan who is chosen to take such a seat and in each case the chosen Wiccan will proclaim themselves as representative of the whole pagan community. And then folks in the pagan community will swoon like young schoolgirls and say, “oh what a great thing this is for the community”.
In my personal opinion, such proclamations fall right into the hands of those of the organized religions who are sponsoring such meetings.
I have serious reservations about such an approach and reaction for several down to earth reasons.
First of all, realistically we as a community are dealing with folks who are well schooled in such manipulation. It is quite apparent that if you can’t outright obliterate what you object to then you find a way to control it.
For example Brighid the Goddess did not become a Christian saint by happenstance. It was an act of sage manipulation by an organized religion. Hence we have the old adage of, “keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer”.
And so with all due respect to those of the Wicca, I personally have to wonder why organized religion seems to only choose members of Wicca, which is by all accounts barely a generation old and thus but a babe in the world of paganism as the ones who are proffered a seat with these folks.
Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here, I think that it is great that a pagan of any path gets the crumb that is offered, to a certain extent.
But then this brings me to my next concern.
One of the primary tenets of paganism is diversity. And if we are to avoid the pitfalls of hypocrisy then perhaps those Wicca who are chosen to be seated with organized religions should state responsibly, that in fact they represent but a small portion of the pagan community.
Again, with all due respect to those of the path of Wicca, not only would this be a realistic statement but it would also leave the door open to those of other pagan beliefs. And as such would be a confirmation of the pagan community’s stated belief in the tenet of diversity.
Paganism is after all an acronym or umbrella for many “diverse” beliefs. And no one path can honestly state that they alone represent the many different beliefs that align themselves under the banner of paganism.
In all reality, and yet once again with all due respect, as an Irish witch who also engages the path of shamanism, Wicca does not remotely represent my personal path. Nor does it accurately reflect the beliefs of those who are Asatru, Voudon, Santerian, Odinist, Yoruba, Shamanic, witch and so forth.
If we as a community are going to endorse diversity as one of our founding tenets then we need to surpass the temptations of ego and thus avoid the snare that is being put into place by those religious organizations that have shown such skill in manipulation.
Those who are tapped should show some responsibility and use their opportunities to ensure that organized religion is aware that we are in fact a diverse community and do not fit into one spiritual/religious shoe fits all.
By the same token, we as a community need to overcome our petty ego driven differences and be willing to proffer folks from various pagan beliefs as representatives of our community. Granted this will take a measure of maturity that has for the most part been lacking in our community.
But I personally believe that if we are true to ourselves and our community that we can indeed find the inner strength to exhibit such maturity as a community to express ourselves in such a manner.
The final concern that I would like to express in this treatise is this.
Why do we buy into the perception that organized religion has of us?
Realistically, it is “their” perception and should not be the view that we as pagans hold of ourselves.
Why do we as a community get all flustered and swoon whenever organized religion allows us a seat?
They are in all reality the newcomers to the world stage of religious/spiritual beliefs.
Paganism is in fact the oldest such beliefs in existence, period!
When one of us is invited to their table it should be with the approach that they (organized religions) should be honored to have a member of such an ancient belief seated at their table.
We need to stop playing into their blatant manipulation and express ourselves with aplomb and dignity and not as eager children grateful for a brief moment of attention.
I personally believe that this is why they (organized religions) only invite the Wicca (who are the babes of pagan society) into their midst. In this manner they can point and say “but they have only been around since 1952” and so the manipulation continues and unadulterated attempts at control continues.
In closing I would like to make it clear that I am not casting about disparaging thoughts against those of the Wicca or any other members of organized religions and/or other pagan paths.
My words are simply a reflection of the realities that we as pagans did not create but which we have to live with. How cognizant we are and how we approach such issues as a community in regards to organized religions will determine whether we remain in the daylight or whether we once again resume our existence in the darkness of religious/spiritual exile.
If you don’t want to think of these issues in regards to yourself then maybe you should consider the religious/spiritual freedoms (true freedoms) of your children and your children’s children.
For in all reality, such manipulation and control did not occur over one generation nor is it likely to ebb within just one generation. Freedom of religious/spiritual beliefs is an ongoing struggle against those who would have it otherwise.
I think the last 2000 years or so has made that quite clear…