Daily Archives: May 26, 2011

Some Tips for Making Ritual Feel Real

Author: Juniper

Decorate your altar, shrine and ritual space with items that relate (in your mind) to the ritual purpose. Use colors, scent, images, and tools to their best effect.

If you are doing a very masculine working, do not put pink flowers on your altar. Put images and items that have a masculine feel to and meaning to you.

If you are doing a hearth and home related ritual, put a dollhouse in the room, cut out images of fireplaces from a magazine and tack them on the wall.

Do not bother with placing items that will not be used or useful during the ritual, only use what is going to be really helpful. If there is a print on the wall that does not relate to your ritual, take it down, or hang a piece of fabric over it. Cut out the distractions as much as possible.

Do not worry about the proper correspondences as written in a book; think about what gives you the right impressions, thoughts and feelings. It is all about your mind connecting your surroundings with the ritual purpose.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do allow yourself to become distracted by silly little things, like almost tripping, almost spilling, slipping up a few words, and the clock ticking in the next room. Do not worry about making a fool of yourself, if your makeup is getting smeared, if your deodorant is holding up. These are all distractions. They do not matter.

Don’t rush! Slow down and take your time. Rushing through a ritual will not give it that deep meaning; you will gain nothing from it. If your rituals are too long, cut the fat. Trim it down to only what is really important, so that you can spend the proper amount of time focusing on that.

Move! Dance, clap, stomp, sway, and wave your arms around. Just standing there shuffling your feet does not help to build energy, it also does not help you to feel the ritual. It may seem a tad silly, but if you are finding a lack of emotion, a lack of meaning in your ritual, try doing an interpretive dance, act out your ritual. Tap your foot in time to the words you are speaking.

Do your own personal sign language. If you are saying something about the moon, draw a circle or crescent in the air with your hand or ritual tool. If you are trying to connect with the feminine divine, touch your breasts (if you are a woman) , draw the shape of a woman in the air, hold you arms as if stroking a pregnant belly or as if you are holding a baby. When contacting a god, touch your crouch (if you are a man) , or draw a hammer, a phallus or horns or oak leaf in the air in front of you.

Stand up straight, lie down, sit up, lean to one side and then the other, hop on one foot, and use those hand signs and body postures found in Paganism 101 books.

Say it like you mean it. One of my best teachers was into drama and acting. She used to shout at us during ritual “Emote dammit! Say it like you mean it!” don’t just read off of some page in a monotone, say it with feeling, drama, and meaning.

When you are inviting entities into your ritual, speak with welcome in your voice, say it as if you were inviting a friend in to your home.

Do not rush through a prayer, chant or poem as quickly as possible. Take the time to carefully speak each line, with feeling. Repeat if necessary.

Pretend you are an actor on a stage where your audience is hard of hearing and far away. Emote and project. Speak from the heart and use your belly voice, as acting and singing instructors would say. Singing and chanting rather than speaking can also help you to inject emotion into your words. So try it, even if you do not have a great voice.

Use your imagination. That’s what visualizing is all about. Using your imagination will help you to connect with your creative side, the right side of your brain, the part of you that does not worry about logic, but that relies on feelings and intuition.

Practice, practice, practice. Do not give up if things just don’t feel like they are working the first time. Try it again; try everything at least three times before moving on to something else. The first couple of times you perform a new ritual, you will feel rather awkward, that’s perfectly natural. You cannot truly find that spiritual connection until you have become somewhat comfortable with what you are doing.

Do not expect results right away, the very first time. This rarely happens for people. Also it can be a good idea to practice at home, alone a couple of times before you go and join in a group ritual.

Feel it, really feel it. Don’t just go through the motions. If you feel that you are, stop! Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself what you are doing and why. Find your motivation. Say it out loud, think it, picture it in your mind, and really feel it. Draw it, paint it, and write poetry about it.

Do whatever you need to do before a ritual to make sure the purpose of the ritual is fresh in your mind and filling your heart. At each step along they way during a ritual, stop for a second and reaffirm what you are doing and why.

Keep the ritual purpose in the forefront of your mind and heart.

A good ritual, a really truly good ritual should bring you to the brink of tears, happy or sad. People have often made fun of me for getting choked up or actually crying during ritual. They don’t get it, not at all.

If you really want results, you need to bring your heart fully into it. If you want a ritual to have meaning, you must give it meaning. You must really feel it; you must put that feeling into it.

Laugh, cry, shout, sing, dance, smile, and do it like you mean it! If you do not mean it, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you do not mean it deep in your mind, heart and soul, you will never have that special spiritual experience you seek.

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Making Sacred Space Sacred

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Making Sacred Space Sacred

Author: Phoenix Forestsong

Have you ever been in your sacred space, just starting to raise your energy, and felt that maybe this space wasn’t really sacred enough, or maybe not at all? It’s happened to me, I’m sure it’s happened to you, but here are some thoughts on the matter to help put away the fear and uncertainty of that aspect of your workings. Let’s begin with two examples.

It is twilight; the sun has disappeared below his horizon, leaving burning golden fire in the purpling evening sky. The glittering diamond light of the night sky is just beginning to make itself known, and the Goddess, her silvery countenance shining proudly down upon her people, rides high and full in the sky. The faint smell of jasmine fills the air, as the twitter and chirp of evening birds can be heard for miles around. A dog howls in the distance, though the natural world is animated this beautiful twilight evening, the mere fact that the sound carries declares just how quiet the world is right now.

You find yourself in an old forgotten garden. Wildflowers bloom in the old natural planters, blue and gold and red and purple petals greet you, dripping with evening moisture. A well-worn stone altar faces to the north, while dark green ivy creeps along the ground and up and around the large Oak that marks the boundaries of this great secret glade. Humming birds dance their spiral rhythm while the babble of a small brook can be heard to the west. To the south, a small campfire burns off the chill that threatens from the coming night. In the center of it all stands you, the Witch, at the precise heart of this most sacred of spaces, a space most pleasing to the Gods.

Or…

It is after midnight, the sun is closer now to its rising than that of its setting, the night sky is dark, heavy clouds can be seen in the shadows of the sky, delivering rain upon the earth below. The full moon, hidden, is a pale silver ball of light, while it remains obscured, the light and love of the Goddess still shines down upon the Earth. The sizzle and thump of rain drops upon glass fills the quiet room. The wind, a howling gale, rushes and whistles in through cracks in the poorly fitting window frames. The smell of fresh rain and thunderstorm greet your nose as sit relaxing, enjoying nature’s display of power and fertility.

You sit in a well-worn computer chair, the smell of faux-leather long gone from the chair. In front of you is a flat-panel computer monitor, a well-used keyboard, and a trusty mouse sitting upon a pressed wood, cherry finished desk. The soothing and relaxing sound of Nick Drake plays through black plastic speakers.

To your right, a pink and purple painted psychedelic mushroom incense burner sits; the purifying smoke of Dragon’s Blood drifts outward and upward from under the blue-edged cap, spiraling and swirling in a faerie dance amongst the currents of the room.

To your left an electric powered water fountain churns and burbles fresh tap water over river stones, atop the fountain stands a candle, its flame dances as though alive, quivering and flicking with vigor and energy.

Directly in front rests one of the largest pieces of raw Citrine you’ve ever seen, the sunny energy that it projects fills you with confidence and warmth. In the center of it all sits you, the Witch, at the precise heart of this most sacred of spaces, a space most pleasing to the Gods.

Which Witch Are You?

I think that if any Witch were to have our preference, our personal sacred space would be the first option. The chance to worship amongst nature, to go between the worlds and commune with our Gods in such a pastoral and natural setting; I think every Witch would love the first. However, in the real world, our sacred space is much more like the second example.

In my home I have several sacred spaces from which I work. I have a full ritual space in my basement, mainly because I only have the room for it down there. I also have my desk, described above, with the homemade incense burner, the water fountain, and the candle, and the large citrine stone. Nick Drake is usually playing, or if not, the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Pink Floyd, or Loreena McKennett, regardless, there is always music coming from this area at all times of the day, everyday. It is a sacred working space where I write and perform light magick.

Elsewhere in the house I have the music room, where much of my creativity and spiritual freedom are let loose, this too is a sacred space. Across the hall there is the bedroom, which is also sacred, for among other things, I do my all dream and most of my astral work in there. Also, in the Living Room, I have a small corner set up where I work on pottery and painting. I consider this to be a sacred space as well, as I do a good bit of meditating, thinking, and creating in this space. Most of my work in this area is also Craft related, or at least Craft inspired.

Perhaps the most sacred of all spaces that I keep is the shower. Many people would not consider their shower to be a sacred space, considering all the soap scum, mold, hair clogs, and other nasty, icky things that can, could, and probably do reside there whenever I’m not around. However, I consider this to be my most sacred space. I keep nothing magickal in the shower, I have no wiccan-made soaps, herbal shampoos, or magick lotions…nothing except for myself.

In my shower you will find a regular store brand bar of soap, a name-brand moisturizing bar of soap, a bottle of Pert, bottles of some swanky shampoo and conditioner set that my wife uses, and a washcloth. That’s all. So what makes this space so sacred to me and how can such a mundane utilitarian space be sacred? First of all, let us look at what sacred space truly is.

Sacred Space is a clean space, it is an area scrubbed free from negativity that is suitable to work magick from and to commune with the divine. Additionally this space will be saturated with your personal energy, so that it is your personal sacred space. It is a place for you, personally, to worship and work with the energies of the universe in absolute comfort for the most effective results. So how can a shower be sacred?

I begin my day with meditation, and usually that meditation is performed while showering, it works best for me, and it saves time. While the space itself may not be the most pleasing or comfortable, it is I that created this sacred space. It has been said before, by Silver Ravenwolf I believe, that the Witch is the Magick, well in the same vein, where the Witch is, is sacred. When standing before the universe, I am creating a bond, not only with my Gods and the natural world around me, but with the space that I reside in as well.

Making It Sacred

To begin to make a space sacred one must use a little energy and a lot of visualization. Begin by closing your eyes, grounding, centering, and start to feeling your surroundings. In your mind, see it flooded with a purifying white light, scouring away all traces of its previous energy. Raise your energy, slowly at first, and begin to think of the sacredness of the new place, the cleanness, and concentrate on how holy a place it should be.

Allow your energy to build, little by little, then, when you know the time is right, release that energy into the area; see it being absorbed into the materials of the space, see it infused with your power and the power of the Divine. Exert your will and make this space clean for your use.

But how can this now be a sacred space, must it not be cleansed, purified, and empowered just like a ritual tool? No. As stated above, the Witch is the Magick, and where the Witch is, is sacred. Ritual cleansing, consecrating, and empowering is a very important and required process, however, the space that you are using, the space where you will reside for a working, is inhabited by you.

Whether you realize it or not, anywhere the Witch is, is sacred. Wherever the Witch goes, he or she brings their sacredness with them, wherever the Witch stands, he or she stands on holy ground.

As a solitary practitioner of Wicca, I must be reminded sometimes that I am a Priest in my religion, aside from all the other roles that I will play during a ritual. I am, within the circle or without, a Priest of the Gods. Therefore, as a living, breathing, sentient individual, I contain within me Life, the spark of the Divine, the essence of that which is holy. Using this logic, it makes sense that I carry the spark with me at all times, that as long as I use this body in this incarnation I will always carry that Divine Spark within me. Therefore, as a living being, I bring that same Divine energy with me wherever I go, thus making every place that I go sacred, at least while I inhabit the location.

Does it sound a little too simple? Good. The truth of a thing can be determined upon how simple its explanation is. While the argument that got us there might not stand up in a court of law, the heart of the matter is that it is so simple it makes sense. Because we are living, and all life is divine, then we too are divine.

As a people we contain within us Life, Life that is aware of more than just our physical bodies and our meat instincts. Life beats strongly and flows deep from within to interact with the living world around us. It is this Life, this Divine energy that allows us to make a space sacred, just as we are sacred to the Gods.

Are there situations where a quickie cleansing won’t work? You bet! Especially in an area heavily trafficked by the public or in a place where something bad has happened. But for normal everyday, anywhere and any when cleansing, the quickie cleanse works just fine.

It was this line of reasoning that allowed be to become comfortable, not just with spell casting and ritual working, but with living in general. It used to be that I would go somewhere and feel like I really didn’t belong there. Now, knowing that I can make any space sacred, and that where I am, is sacred, I no longer worry about such issues.

If I’m spell casting and the question of “is it sacred enough?” enters my mind, I quickly cleanse the area again and get back to work. If I’m out and begin to feel uncomfortable, well, I just make my own personal area sacred, I make it mine, and that uncomfortable feeling fades.

So, what makes a sacred space, sacred? The answer, of course, is You!

Blessed Be,

-Phoenix Forestsong



Footnotes:
Silver Ravenwolf: To Ride a Silver Broomstick

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Shielding Method 1: Pagan Grid of Protection

Author: Nita

I want to share a protection method for those who practice a religion that is not oriented towards angels. I hope this will be a big help for people who are learning how to shield themselves from harmful energies and vibrations.

I have felt that many people who begin in magic pick up what others think, and do not understand their abilities and talents. The most difficult talent is being an empath where others feelings are sent to you. Many people have problems because they do not know the difference between their emotions and others.

I hope this shielding method helps everyone to keep balanced, centered and grounded. Blessed Be.

Arianhod, Goddess of Heaven, I ask that you send a grid of energy that nothing harmful may pass. May I be defended from the East, in the realm of air by your beauty and might. May this day go well with no slander, communication problems, misunderstandings, quarrels or arguments. May your mighty shield deflect all energies of air meant to harm me or cause discord and may I be sealed and contained from all harm through the element of air. Let me be protected in my body, mind, and soul. May all the positive spirits, Gods, Goddesses of air and the east bring the positive effects of wisdom, thought, and communications to be glorified this day in service to the light and goodness of life.

Lugh, God of the light, may your innovations, defense, and fiery nature defend me from all harm through the element of fire and the direction of the South. I ask that a grid of energy be sent to me so I will be protected from all accidents, war, terrorism, acts of violence or cruelty, May all energies of fire meant to harm me or cause discord, hatred and jealousy be deflected by your mighty shield of energy and may you add this grid around the grid of air so I may be protected from all combinations of fire, and air this day. May I also be protected from all harm through the direction of east and south or any combination of those directions and elements. Let me be protected in my body, mind and higher self. May all the positive spirits, Gods, and Goddesses of the south and east bring the positive effects of fire and air to be glorified this day in service to the light and goodness of life.

Morrigan, Lady of the Lake, may you send an invincible grid of the element of water to surround the elemental shields and grids of air and earth. May nothing use the emotions, thoughts, fears, and upset that can be sent through the element of water and west against me. May no combinations of air, fire, and water harm me or influence me negatively in any way.

May no harm come through the directions of East, South, and West or any combinations of these directions and elements. May I be protected in my body, mind and soul. May all of the positive sprits, Gods, Goddesses of Air, fire and water bring the positive effects of these elements to be glorified this day in service to the light and goodness of life.

Danu, Mother Goddess of all, may I be shielded from all harm from the North and through the element of earth by your might and loving protection being sent to me in an invincible grid of protection that goes around the grids of air, fire and water. May it protect me from all harm through the elements of air, fire, water and earth. May no single element or combination of elements be able to harm me in any fashion.

May I be freed of poverty, problems through metal and wood, inertia, and any other harm that links to the negative powers of the earth and the north. May all of the positive spirits, Gods, Goddesses, bring the positive effects of the elements of air, fire, water, and earth to be glorified this day in service to the light and Goodness of Life.

I ask that this grid be sealed by all the Gods and Goddess with an impenetrable energy shield so that no harm may come to me in any way. Be it simple energies of life or others emotions, harmful magic, or evil spirits, ghosts, hexes, curses or harm. Nothing shall past these shields. Nothing may use the energies of spirit, life, or elements against me. The Gods and Goddesses protect me and keep me safe this day and every day.

Face each direction and say:

Arianhod seal the grids completely from the East and the element of Air.
Lugh seal the grids completely from the direction of South and the element of fire.
Morrigan seal the grids completely from the direction of West and the element of water.
Danu seal the grids completely from the direction of North and the element of Earth.

Say this shielding spell every day. It will keep you safe and help you to build your energies and have a permanently strong shield of safety and protection.

You may substitute any Gods or Goddesses from any practice with these Gods and Goddesses. This method will seal the elements and directions that should keep you safe and well.

I know the basics for any grid of protection using the elements and the directions is to pick God’s and Goddesses that correspond to those directions and abilities. Ones of Earth for earth, water for water, air for air, and fire for fire. You then can assign them to the directions or find if they are present or known to defend a certain element or direction.

It means that any pantheon of Gods or Goddesses can be used for these methods. The sealing of the directions and elements is useful in most forms of magic. It will contain and seal off the direction the person who is sending the negative magic is living in or doing their magic in a certain area.

The elements are important because all of them cover every method that can be used to harm others. Earth is the elements of spell casting equipment. Air is the element of the spoken word and spirit connections. Fire is the light of the fire or candle. Water is any liquids or oils. So all of the elements combined to seal the person and protect them are very powerful. It can also be used on vehicles, houses, and places of business to protect everything that needs to be protected from harm.

I always encourage people to improvise and add in sentences or variations that fit their needs. Inspiration is important but always write down what you said and what you do. It is the only way to be sure that your method worked and to verify the results.

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Herbal Remedies: Painful Menstruation

Apply a hot poultice of hops, tansy or boneset.

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Thought of the Day for May 26th

” When no one is around, who are you? You are yourself. The person you are when you’re alone should remain constant to the person you are when others are around.”
Written in 2011 by Joseph Torres — Pennsylvania

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Affirmation of the Day for May 26th

The sun is my guiding light. The moon is my emotional balancelook to the stars and reach my full potential.

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Herbal Remedies: Head Congestion

Smoke cubeb berries in a clay pipe and swallow the smoke. Dried mullein leaves may be used instead.

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