Daily Archives: January 28, 2012

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

by Sylvana SilverWitch

 

If you have been living in the Northwest for long, you must be used to frigid aluminum-gray skies glistening with cold soggy drizzle. Barren tree branches scratch the side of the house as if the chill will come in, past the walls, past your skin into your very bones — and it shouldn’t scare you anymore. Clouds obscure the pale, faint sun till you can’t remember the feeling of it fiery hot on your shoulders. Darkness falls for so many months on end that every so often you must turn every light in the house on just to have some brightness in your world. Wild windstorms knock out the power for hours and days at a time, so you have to use candles for light and heat with the fireplace.

It is the time of year that, for me, best reminds me of how things were, way back when. It is the time of year that I can best appreciate the contrast between cold darkness and warm light. I am ready for change! I am ready for the return of the light to my world!

Seattle winters are dreary, and by the time we get to Imbolc, we are all more than ready for a little lightheartedness and to leave the darkness behind, at least for a few hours. We are ready for purification from the heaviness of the long winter months, and we are ready to celebrate, if not the warming of the land, at least the hope that the heat will soon return and we will yet again bask in the sunshine.

There are many traditional ways to celebrate Imbolc or Bride. These include decorating natural springs and sacred wells, leaving wishes tied on the branches of trees and making corn dollies in honor of the Celtic goddess Brigid (another name for Bride). Making Celtic crosses or Bride’s crosses from wheat straw and braided cornhusks and making and charging (or blessing) candles are other traditional tasks for this time of year. The holiday is also known as Candlemas, this name taken when the Christian church adapted the pagan holiday and made it a candle blessing and the feast of Saint Brigid.

In this culture, most of us were raised to go outside on this day and look for our shadow. If we saw it, there would be six more weeks of winter, as this is a weather marker day — also known as Groundhog’s Day. One of my sisters had the audacity to be born on Imbolc, and she’s seemingly been running from her shadow every since!

You can find more about Imbolc traditions in a multitude of published books. Following, I will tell you about some of my favorite ways to celebrate, purify and get in touch with the energy of fire, water and the earth and that of the Goddess at this time of year.

Creating Beeswax Candles

One of the things we almost always do in our coven is make candles. We save the glass containers from seven-day candles and at Imbolc wash and reuse them to make our own magickal candles. On this day, I also like to create rolled beeswax candles with herbs, oils and stones and infuse them with a specific purpose, for my own personal use all year long.

Making candles is easier than you might think. We ran an article on making your own seven-day candles last year. This year, I’ll talk a bit about the beeswax type, since you can make one, a few or a bunch with little muss and fuss.

First, you’ll want to visit some place that sells candle-making supplies, I personally like Pourette, located in Ballard, that bastion of pagan life. Pourette has been in business for a long time, and the employees there can tell you most anything you want to know about how to make candles and what you will need for a particular kind of effect. Not the magickal effects, unfortunately, but then that’s your department, right?

First, decide what magickal intentions you want to make the candles for — you can have more than one, just concentrate on one at a time. Choose colors accordingly and get a few sheets of the colors of beeswax that you want to work with. For example, if you want to work for money and prosperity, you might choose green. For healing, you might want blue. Psychic work and divination would be white or purple; for love and sex, you might choose red or pink. Look up color correspondences in the back of some of your books; Scott Cunningham has some good correspondence tables for herbs, flowers, stones and oils as well as colors and astrological influences. Don’t forget that your own associations are also important. If gold means money to you, then use that. You’ll want some kind of cotton wicking as well.

You can also include in your candles runes, little bits of paper or parchment with the purpose written on them rolled up in the candle, symbolic charms or figures representing what you want and bits of paper money (corners work well) or stones. The more thought and effort you put into creating your candles, the better results you will have.

Gather all of your ingredients together, planning to make one type of candle at a time. You’ll want a clean, soft surface to work on so as not to crush the beeswax pattern; for this, you can put down an old towel or T-shirt as padding. Also, you should decide at this point how large a candle you want to end up with. I usually cut the sheet of wax into two pieces, so I have two sheets about 4 inches high each. Otherwise, you end up with a fairly tall candle. With herbs, oils and magick inside, they tend to burn very hot. An 8-inch candle can burn up rather quickly.

When you begin, you will want the room to be reasonably warm, so that the wax stays pliable and does not crack when you roll it. I commonly put down the beeswax, then cut a piece of wick the desired length, about an inch or so longer than the wax is tall. Then I get out a bit of everything I want to put into the candle. I use eyedroppers for essential oils and rub a small quantity of oil on what will be the inside of the candle after the wax is rolled around the wick (the part of the wax that’s facing up).

Next, I sprinkle a small amount of each flower or herb I am using onto the wax, so they are evenly distributed from top to bottom. I generally try to keep things simple and only use one or two kinds of herbs in any given candle. Then I include the other things: stones, symbols, paper, and so on that have meaning for me. Next, I slowly and carefully roll the candle tightly around the wick. It helps to fold the wax over the wick a little bit prior to adding the ingredients. Being careful to keep the wax level so I don’t disturb the ingredients’ distribution, I keep rolling until the whole candle is rolled around itself. During this process, I think about the desired results of my magickal candle, as if they have already manifest. I keep the purpose in mind during the whole process and put as much positive energy into it as possible.

When you finish rolling, you’ll want to gently heat the edge of the wax (a hairdryer works well for this) so that you can press the wax into itself and seal the candle, being careful not to crush it in the practice. This process gets easier the more you do it. Don’t be discouraged if your first efforts are a tad messy. You’ll get the hang of it!

When you have finished all of the candles you wish to create at this time, you’ll want to bless and charge them with energy. To do so, cast your circle and do a ritual imbuing them with your purpose. Then you can burn them in your spell work for the rest of the year. Make sure when you burn these candles that you attend them closely, keeping in mind that they should be on a nonflammable surface and being cautious that there is nothing in the vicinity that can catch on fire. When candles have flower petals, herbs, oils and paper inside them and are magickally charged, they tend to burn like an inferno. Your candle may be burning nicely and then all of a sudden flare up and be consumed in a matter of seconds. So guard them closely!

Making Bride’s Water

Another thing I like to do at Imbolc or Bride is to make Bride’s water, water holy to Brigid. We usually do this during a ritual where we invoke Brigid and raise energy for the many things that she represents to us. She is the patron goddess of wells, fire, the forge, music, storytelling, poetry, arts and crafts and much more. She is central to my artistic inspiration, and so I honor her at this time of year by purifying myself with her holy water and with fire (more on that later).

To makes Brigid’s water, we place a huge cauldron in the center of the altar, filled with alcohol and Epsom salts; when lit, it emits a beautiful blue flame. We have ready purified and blessed water in a large container, several pieces of charcoal, some long barbecue tongs and enough small containers with corks that we can each take some Brigid’s water home.

Once we cast the circle and invoke the goddess, we raise energy for Her by chanting, dancing or whatever we have determined. During the energy raising, the charcoal (self-lighting incense charcoal, not barbecue charcoal!) is lit from the fire in the cauldron, and it is allowed to burn for a few minutes until it is glowing red. At the apex of the energy raising, we chant, “Bride, Bride, Bride, purify me… Bride transform me!” Then when we all stop, the charcoal is thrust into the water with a great amount of sizzling, smoke and steam. We then file past the fire and water and are anointed and blessed with the Brigid’s water for purification and inspiration. Each covener takes some home to use much as one would any holy water, to bless and purify house, tools, self family, and so on.

Purifying with Fire

My very favorite form of purification is that of fire. It is odd to think that I — a Pisces with Cancer rising, very watery signs — would enjoy fire so much, but I do have a lot of Aries in my chart, as well as Moon in Leo. A veteran firewalker since 1984, I have a good and close personal relationship with the powerful fire elementals. They are a means to profound transformation, bringing change wherever they occur, whether we like it or not!

I have been working with fire for so long that it takes me by surprise when people are irrationally afraid of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy fear and respect for what fire can do if I am not careful! I have seen people badly burned, and when I lead my coven in firewalking rituals, I admonish them to be very, very afraid. But I add that if you allow fear to stop you in life, you’ll never do anything worthwhile. Don’t be careless with fire, though, or it will most definitely teach you the hard way!

With this in mind, I offer my version of purification by fire. You can do this as the first part of the former ritual or all on its own; it is very powerful all by itself! If you want to do a combination, do the water ritual second, as a blessing after purification by fire.

For the fire purification, you’ll need a cauldron full of 90 percent rubbing alcohol and Epsom salts, which you will light. You can also use 151-proof rum for the alcohol content. Use alcohol and salts about 50/50 by volume; the alcohol should just cover the salts.

Be sure to take safety precautions, such as having a number of wet towels and a fire extinguisher available within reach. Move all furniture out of the way and pull back the drapes, or just do the ritual outside, away from anything flammable if you can. Take off any loose clothing that could catch and tie up your hair if it’s long. It helps if the participants are skyclad, or at least topless, as it is easy to accidentally catch clothing and extremely difficult to put it out! Then get ready for an intense encounter with fire.

Depending on whether you want to in fact light people on fire (very temporarily, and safely) or just allow them to experience the energy of fire, you’ll need one or two torches — one torch if you’re not lighting people, two if you are. If you are not lighting people, you can pass the lit torch slowly over various parts of the body so that the fire just touches the skin. It is instinct to pull away, and it sometimes takes a few moments for people to allow the fire to interact with them. That’s okay. Take time and go slowly, and you will have better results.

If you do want to actually light people on fire, you’ll need a couple small torches. You can make these by wrapping cotton batting around a wooden rod that’s about 10 to 12 inches long and small enough around to be comfortable in your hand (see drawing below). Wrap the cotton around the rod five or six times, then follow that with a complete wrapping of plain gauze. Wrap the gauze around the cotton six to ten times until you have covered it all, and you have a good torch. Finish the torch by tying it with cotton thread wound around the handle at the top and bottom and around the middle several times, so the thread goes from the bottom up, around and ends up back at the bottom. The thread winding ensures the torch stays together.

To light people on fire, you’ll need 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Do not use a higher concentrate than this, or you’ll really burn people! Put the alcohol in a small spray bottle with a mist capability. Before working with a whole coven, it’s not a bad idea for you and a friend or two to try this out yourselves first, just to get familiar with how it works, timing, the feeling it has on different body parts and so on.

During the ritual, you’ll want to have a person or two who do nothing but “spot” people and be ready to put them out if necessary. You put the fire on skin out by using a petting action from the top down, smoothing out the fire. Don’t allow any body part to burn for more than about 5 to 10 seconds, or it may scorch the skin, and you’ll end up with a sunburnlike burn. Be sure and go over the safety procedures before anything is lit! If anything gets out of hand, use the wet towels on people, the fire extinguisher on objects.

When you are ready, the cauldron is lit and the chanting or music begins. Whoever does the lighting holds two torches, one to spray with alcohol and apply to people’s skin, one to remain lit.

To light the ongoing torch, spray it generously with alcohol, being very careful not to drip or get any alcohol on anything else. Then, light the torch from the fire in the cauldron. Next, spray the second torch with two or three mists of alcohol. You’ll then use this torch to apply alcohol to the body part to light.

The safest body part to light is the hands. Have participants hold these out, palms up very flat and together. When you apply alcohol, make sure not get ritualists’ hands too wet or to let alcohol pool on their hands.

After you have applied alcohol, light it with the lit torch, saying something like: “Be transformed!” Let the flame burn for a moment or two and then have the ritualists clap or rub their hands together to put it out. Don’t let them shake their hands in the air while lit; that just makes the fire burn hotter.

The fire will go out of its own accord fairly quickly as the alcohol burns away, but it is more empowering for people to feel able to control it and put it out on their own. The first inclination will be for them to want to put it out right away, as soon as it’s lit. Let them try it a few times, and as they learn that it won’t hurt them, they will be more inclined to allow it to flicker for a few seconds. Suggest that they put their hands on a body part that they want purified by the fire energy, such as over their heart, but only after the fire on their hands is completely out!

We have done this ritual many times with only minor incidents. One year, when we were doing symbols on people’s backs, one man who had said he only wanted to light his hands changed his mind and wanted us to light a symbol on his back. He had longish hair that wasn’t tied up, and though we had him bend over, he stood up before the fire was out and his hair caught slightly and was singed a bit. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was scary enough that I want to reiterate the precautions. If you intend to light anything, including hands, be very careful and do a practice session out of ritual space first.

We use this very powerful energy to transform ourselves, our projects and our lives — coming out from darkness and lighting up our purposes. This ritual has a tendency to be very intense, so keep in mind that people can get carried away by the energy and forget the safety precautions! Make sure to be responsible with the fire and always err on the side of caution.

Afterward, breathe and ground well and share your experiences of the fire energy with one another. It’s amazing the different perceptions people will have.

Whether you choose to enjoy one or more of these suggestions or something else entirely, have a great Imbolc and a wonderful year!

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Visiting the Well of Release

Visiting the Well of Release

A Meditation to Process Pain

by Melanie Fire Salamander

 

Okay, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but the first part of the year, New Year’s through Valentine’s, way too often finds me breaking up with someone. I hate it! You’d think I’d have figured out how to avoid it by now. But the pain of leaving, or worse of being left, never seems to get easier. All I seem to be able to hope for is a few more tools for dealing with it.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid this pitfall, pain is all around us. Life, as the Buddha said, is suffering. This is a bad time of year for family pain, our having just gone through the holidays. The earth lies fallow, exposing her wounds: building sites like open sores, old mines and dumps, places whose ruin makes you weep. And it’s a dark time of year, when during long nights and short dreary days all the specific, personal drek we’ve avoided in summer and fall can rise and engulf us.

Don’t let that happen! You can process pain. Not shove it, to find it later, having grown runners to other, older pains, but truly process it — be in it, feel it deeply, then let it go. It’s not a hasty process. Expect to do this work over and over again. But each time you do, I promise you, you can and will let go a little pain. It’s hard work, because to release the pain, I find, you have to feel it again and know its roots, its causes, which usually go back to sufferings of early life or even before. But if you’re willing to do the work, you can heal.

Following is a meditation to help that process happen. In honor of the season and of the goddess Brigid, I’ve built into the meditation an image of a sacred, healing well, an image of this goddess, whose holy day Imbolc or Candlemas is. To use this meditation, either record it on tape and play it back or ask someone to read it to you. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Before starting, find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed; take the phone off the hook and if necessary shut out your pets. If you’re prone to falling asleep, try sitting up as you meditate, preferably on a chair or against a surface that helps keep your back straight; alternatively, you can sit cross-legged or in lotus position. If you have problems relaxing, stretch out on a bed, couch or the floor.

The Meditation

Close your eyes, and begin to relax. Take a few deep breaths: in, out; in, out. Feel your body, wriggle your fingers and toes, your nose, your hips and arms; roll your head. Feel where your body ends and what’s around you begins. Feel the air around you, the surface underneath you. Be here now, present in your body, in the present moment. Feel yourself begin to relax.

Continue to breathe deeply, and begin to release the cares of your day and week with your breath. Be completely here in the present moment.

Throughout this meditation, you will have a complete, deep experience, and you will remember everything you sense and learn. If you need to return, you can always recall yourself to the physical world by moving your fingers and toes. You will feel utterly safe and protected throughout.

Relax more fully still, and breathe deeply. Feel in the center of your body, behind and below your belly button, a spark of life, your life, your eternal fire. Feel that flame pulse with life. Let that flaming center send a spark of energy downward, a liquid trail like molten fire, down through your groin into your base and down into the earth. Feel this energy flow downward, through the foundation of the building, down into the deep, wet, cold earth, the soil, through hidden underground streams, cool water slick on rocks, and below that into the solid rock of the earth’s mantle. Feel the personal flame from your body push down through rock into the deep core of the earth, the earth’s molten center, where all is fire as it is fire inside you. Feel your own personal fire connect with the energy of the earth, deep and red, the red glowing heart of the earth.

At the same time, feel a spark of energy flare upward from the center of your body, up through your torso, through your neck, through your head, through the top of your head into the air. Let this energy flow upward through the air of the room, through the ceiling, through the roof of the building into the cold air. Let the energy fountain up, up, up, through the cold damp air, past clouds of rain and ice, up into the clear sky above all clouds. Feel your personal fire energy connect with the fires of the sky, the energy of sun and stars and moon, fiery, swirling sky energy.

Feel your deep energetic connections to both earth and sky, tap into those connections and deeply feel them. Let sky energy begin to flow downward into you, and at the same time let earth energy flow upward into you. Feel the two energies combine in your center, swirling together gently and cleanly, into one combined healing energy. Let this energy flow outward from your center, filling your torso, filling your lungs and throat, filling your head, filling your groin and pelvis, your legs and arms, touching and washing away remaining tension, cleansing and healing. Let all negative energy you can let go of flow with this wave out through your grounding. Let negative energy, tension and pain and anger and everything you want to let go of flow sweetly and cleanly down your grounding, into the earth, which can reuse the energy for other things.

Now let a wave of sky energy come through you again, combine with earth energy, and fill you, cleansing you, and wash away another layer of negativity down your grounding. Release everything you need to release. Keep any information you require, but release pain, tension, fear and error with the cleansing, healing energy down your grounding.

And again, let another wave of sky energy come into you, combine with the energy of earth, fill you and cleanse you, washing trouble and pain away down your grounding into the earth. Feel your deep connection to earth, and let trouble and pain wash into the earth. Keep any information you require, but let all the pain you can go into the earth.

Feel yourself cleansed and sparkling, full of earth and sky energy, and deeply connected to both earth and sky. Ground out any energy you

don’t need into the earth.

Now imagine yourself at a stone boundary marker, standing beside a gravel road. It is dusk, wintertime, and you are in farm country. The landscape is wintry, with a light dusting of snow, the tree branches bare of leaves, but you don’t feel the cold. Smoke rises from chimneys of houses here and there, some far away on bare hills of cropped brown. The air smells cold and of woodsmoke.

You turn and walk a while down this road. To either side are fields full of stubble, tan. As you pass, crows rise cawing. Far across a field, you see a lone scarecrow standing.

The road slopes gently down a hill, and you come into a small wood. Tree limbs rise gnarled and black around you, shadowing the road. A rabbit raises its head, brown against white shadowed snow, looks at you a moment and bounds away.

You come out of the wood into a flat landscape, cropped fields to either side behind board fences. You walk awhile, the scenery barely changing, all in colors of brown and grey. The smell of the air changes, and you realize you must be coming to a body of fresh water. Walking forward, you crest a shallow hill and see before you stands of rushes around a large lake.

You continue forward on the road. The gravel stops, and you keep going on an earthen path. Tall rushes stand at either side, the air brushing through them, whispering. You push down the path through the rushes and find yourself at a dock where a small rowboat is tied up, oars lying in its bottom.

From here, at the lake’s edge, you have a clear view across. A band of gold haze lies along the horizon, between long bands of grey-purple cloud. The water is steel-grey, and in the center of the lake lies a small island, crowned by a grove of birch trees. The island attracts you strongly, and you decide to row out to it.

Knowing this is the custom of the place, you get into the boat, untie it, and fitting the oars to the oarlocks begin to row. The island is not far away, but it takes longer to get there than you think it will. The boat moves slowly and dreamily through the twilit water. The twilight stays constant; the sky does not get darker. This seems strange, but you feel perfectly safe and protected, and you accept that twilight stays in this place.

You come to the island shore, step out onto gravel and pull the boat up so it won’t float away, setting the oars in its bottom. The grey water, tinged lavender in the light, laps the gravel shore. You walk toward the grove of birch, and again though the trees don’t seem far away, it takes you longer to get to them than you thought it would. Things move slowly in this place. All around you lies dusk-purple light. Know that you will remember everything you need to from this place.

You edge between two birch trees and come to the center of the island. Here sits a stone well. Over the well hangs a weeping willow. The long arms of the willow move gently in the air, rustling.

You see among the willow branches, sitting on the edge of the well, a woman clad in sage-green. Her hair is long, falling almost to the ground, and a very fair blonde, or colorless, or grey — it’s hard to tell in the light. She greets you and tells you that this is the Well of Release, and she is its keeper.

You greet her with reverence. You know she is no ordinary person but a goddess. (Pause briefly.)

She asks you what you would release, and you tell her. (Pause briefly.)

She asks you to sit on the edge of the well, sit comfortably. When you are seated, she asks you go deeply into the problem you would release, saying she will protect you as you do.

You agree to her suggestion and begin to go into the problem in your mind. See the problem in your mind. See pictures of scenes around this issue, the people involved, the places. Take some time and bring the problem you want to release fully into your consciousness and emotions. (Pause for some time.)

Feel the emotions around the problem. Name these emotions. Be in them. Avoid resisting them, but let them be present and flow through you. Feel them fully. (Pause for some time.)

The keeper of the well watches you, understanding fully and protecting you as you do this work. When you have fully gone into, recognized and felt the emotions around this problem, she nods deeply and says she will give you something to hold this issue, a symbol or object to contain this pain. She holds out her hands, and between them is this symbol or object. (Pause briefly.)

You take it into your own hands. This symbol is a container and is meant for your use, to protect you. You feel perfectly safe and protected.

She instructs you now to put the problem you want to release into the symbol, to let flow into the symbol everything you need to let go. You do so gently and fully, letting your emotions and memories and thoughts flow into the symbol, keeping only that information you need and letting go all pain into the symbol. (Pause for some time.)

Once you have put what you need to into the symbol, the keeper of the well cranks the well-handle and draws up the bucket. She instructs you to put your symbol into the bucket, and you do. It goes easily, no matter how big or amorphous it is, as if that’s where it belongs. It disappears into the bucket.

Then the well-keeper lets the bucket back down into the well. The Well of Release, she tells you, lets into an underground stream, a stream that is able to change and break up pain and trouble and old blockages and let energy go where it belongs. You look down into the well, and you see the bucket hit the water, the dark water with just a ripple of light, see the bucket go into the water, disappear into the water. As it does, you feel released of your pain, you feel it gone. (Pause briefly.)

Now the keeper of the well brings out a crystal decanter full of water, and she motions you to stand in a silver-edged basin whose drain feeds into the source of the well. “This is the cleansing Water of Release,” she tells you. You see the water in the decanter sparkle with its own inner light. She pours the water over your head; it cascades down over you, and you feel not wet but as if cleansing, healing energy were going through you, washing away the last vestiges of pain and trouble, releasing the last blocks and letting them pour downward into the underground stream and into the earth. (Pause for some time.)

The well-keeper smiles at you and says, “Now you are cleansed and healed, and in token I give you a gift.” In her two hands she holds out this gift, and you take it. You examine it, and she tells you what you need to know to understand it. (Pause briefly.)

Know that you will keep the memory of this gift as you need to, and all else that you need to retain.

Now you say your good-byes to the keeper of the well and thank her. (Pause briefly.)

Leaving her, you pass out between the birch trees, and on the gravel shore find the boat. You draw it toward the water and get in, push off with your oar and slowly row back to the lake shore.

At the lake’s edge, you tie the boat to the dock, replace the oars in the boat bottom and, turning, walk back through the rustling reeds along the path. You pass through the reeds to the long flat land, the road with brown fields on either side, and into the dark wood. You notice that it has begun to get dark. But it is a reassuring darkness, a warm and protective darkness, a blanket drawn over the land that lets it sleep.

You pass under the black, gnarled branches and out of the dark wood, and you walk up the slope of the hill, looking at the cropped fields on either side. You greet the scarecrow and the crows that rise from the fields to caw at you. You continue along the gravel road, the landscape getting darker around you, and you find yourself back at the boundary marker from which you started.

You settle down beside this marker. All around you darkness falls, comfortable, comforting and calm. Know that you will remember everything you need to from this meditation. You will keep everything you need to keep.

You begin once more to feel your body. You are coming up from trance, feeling warm and relaxed yet energetic. Feel your body; wiggle your fingers and toes. Feel the surface below you and the air above. Retain in your mind everything you want to remember from this meditation.

Feel yourself present in your body, present in the here and now. Notice your breath; feel yourself draw breath deep into your lungs and let it go. You feel present and calm yet full of warm energy.

Breathe deeply once more, and open your eyes.

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The Law of Return

The Law of Return

by Amanda Silvers

 

The threefold law of return: We hear much about this, but do we really comprehend the meaning? What you put out comes back times three (or more), means unequivocally that, good or bad, you reap what your actions have sown.

How do we define “putting something out”? A thought, a deed, a word are all actions that contain energy. Think about this: If you disburse money willingly, with the focus that you are contributing to the prosperity of the community, the prosperous energy returns to you. Not always in the exact way that you want; sometimes in the most unexpected ways!

If you choose to live in lack, feel like there is never an adequate amount of anything and attempt to hoard and hold onto everything, the flow stops. It’s akin to putting a dam on the energy flow. If you are broke, give a little away, whether it’s time or energy or money. Doing so will create a vacuum effect, which will then help to get the flow started back toward you instead of away from you.

Money is only paper with numbers on it, it is used to represent energy. You expend your energy for some of it and then give it away for something someone else put energy into. Just like everything else, it goes around in a never-ending cycle; there is an ebb and flow to it. Sometimes you have more, sometimes less, but there is always a coming and going of cash; that’s why it’s called cash flow!

This philosophy also works in other areas of life, love for instance. Do you suppose that you have only a limited amount of love? Is it to be rationed out as you go through life? Will you run out? I think not. The more affection you give, the more you generate, the more you experience, the more you give! Just like that. The cycle turns the wheel.

Try this in another area. Have you ever been frightened of having something happen and then had it happen just as you hoped it would not? Or have you ever said “I will never ______ (fill in the blank)” and found yourself doing just that shortly thereafter? Magickal components are a part of everyday life. You have an intent, put emotion (energy) into it, take action and bring it into being. You begin to create with nothing more than a word or thought. It works remarkably well for those things that you say never about, because you feel intensely about them and put a lot of energy into them. What do you think would have more power: “I wish I could win the lottery!” or “I will never have enough money!”?

Your subconscious mind does not recognize the word “not”; it’s a non-word. When you say “I do not want to do that,” it is a direct command to your brain; you are basically saying that you really do want to do whatever it is. If someone says to you, “I do notwant to hurt you,” be careful!

If you sit around all the time, agonizing about your bills, your job, your health, your love life… what kind of energy are you putting out? How might that energy be contributing in a magickal sense to your circumstances? Would you do a spell to get a job you hate, or to get into a bad relationship? Of course not! So why sit around and put energy into negative crap when you could be furthering your positive wishes? The universe is a bountiful place; the Goddess is generous with her gifts. There is plenty for all. Does this ring true for you? If not, you might ask yourself, “Why not?” What beliefs that you hold to be true are sabotaging you?

“Try” is another one of my pet peeves. When a person says they will try to do something, it is just an excuse for not doing it, as in “I tried! I just couldn’t.” Think about what you say. Instead of saying “I will try,” see how much power there is in actually committing. Say “I will do it!” Also, how much power is there in saying no to those things you really don’t intend to do. Wow, what an enormous amount of energy you free up by just saying no in the first place! Then you don’t have to worry till the last minute whether you should actually do it, then have to make an excuse for not doing it – not to mention maybe having to do something you’d really rather not. You will find people will respect you more and value your energy more when you can be believed and counted upon to do what you say, as well as for your being in control of your boundaries.

Finally, be careful what you wish upon someone else, because just as positive thoughts come back to you, so do the negative ones aimed at others. Don’t wish on someone else something you would not like to have happen to you and yours. Be careful of those things said thoughtlessly or in jest. How might you feel if the nasty thought you thought when you were angry at your friend or mate were to happen?

Make your statements in the positive. Strive to be conscious of your every thought and word and the energy around them. Focus on the here and now and what’s happening. If you can accomplish this, the law of return will work in your favor and only good things will come to you.

Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it!

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Raising Magickal Power

Raising Magickal Power

by Harley Hashman

 

Webster’s dictionary defines power as “…the ability to do or act…” or as “…strength or energy…”. Some might say that magick and power are synonymous; after all, magick without any power is nothing at all. I think Crowley’s definition of magick is perhaps the best of all (despite what you might think of the man himself) – magick is the ability to compel change to occur in conformity with the will. Therefore power is the level of this conformity which your magick achieves.

What are some of the means of raising and increasing magickal power? I have thought long and hard on this question. There are several principles which will aid the magician in the raising of energy. There is conservation, timing, visualization, emotion, will, the use of deities, and physical conditioning.

The first principle is simply conservation. If you expend energy that might be saved and employed in magickal workings, you won’t have much potency left. I myself have a terrible temper at times and might burn off a great deal of energy cursing at that chair that leapt across my path and made me stub my toe – or that ferret that just splattered chocolate pudding all over my book of shadows, after yanking all of the bristles from my witch’s broom and scattering them all over my living room rug. Some of us might waste energy in needless worrying.

Other emotions which may be destructive to magickal workings are jealousy, rancor, envy, self-pity, and depression. Emotions arise from thought, not perception – we process our perceptions of the world and then generate these feelings. Our internal dialogue reinforces our emotional responses to the world. If we practice clearing our heads of habitual thought patterns, we can minimize this source of waste. Should we find ourselves about to waste power in useless emotional habits, about to agitate ourselves needlessly, we can enter into a state of mental silence or try to divert the course of our mental dialogue.

Some habits may lead to the consumption of our energy, including smoking, alcoholism, arguing, oversleeping, judging others or excessive criticism, complaining or whining, and self-importance. I have met many witches, sorcerers, and magicians who practice such habits (self-importance being epidemic); that badly compromises not only their ability to focus power but how other practitioners view them. An important principle of all magickal practice is self-knowledge. It is much more difficult to raise significant amounts of power without this understanding, as we can then be trapped in mental patterns that deplete our resources without the tools to break free.

Timing of magickal workings is also important. The use of lunar cycles is commonplace. Typically constructive magick, which includes such workings as spells for love, wealth, health, and protection, are done during the waxing of the moon and destructive magick, which would include binding spells, are done during the waning phases.

Why? The moon is just a vast rock in space. It has to do in part with the effect the moon cycle has on biological rhythms; the menstrual cycle is just one such rhythm that naturally coincides with the 28-day lunar orbit. Called in some Wiccan circles the Blood of the Moon, the female cycle is a source of perceptual change for that sex. For many of the species on this planet, key biological rhythms are linked to the lunar cycles. It is widely believed that during a full moon, all the “crazies” come out and this is borne out by statistics generated by police records.

Another more important key to the value of lunar timing is simply that many witches include Lunar Goddesses such as Diana and Selena in their pantheons; therefore the moon is quite important to their practices.

Visualization is another component I believe to be vital to the focusing of magickal power. It is simply the ability to form mental images of people or objects. Visualization works with emotion to raise power in the first place through one’s emotional response to an image. If one were trying to bind an enemy, for example, it is important to construct a mental image of the despicable character to be bound. This acts as a lens to focus the energies on the desired target. If the image is weak or shaky the power of the spell may be also.

I have said that some emotions can restrict the flow and raising of power. Yet without emotion, the power itself cannot be stirred up. Magick works when emotion is combined with visualization and will to produce a noticeable effect. If one does not feel strongly about a working then it may be that little or no energy can be raised. I feel the key is to isolate the feeling that is best for the working at hand and not allow other emotions to divert or interrupt the spell. Magick usually requires the use of will, a single-minded determination or attitude, combined with the fury of an emotional maelstrom. A limp, half-assed attempt is a waste of time. As Yoda said, “…Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.” And he is just a muppet with Frank Oz’s hand up his arse!

The use of deities is critical to many magickal workings. In shamanism it is the use of spirit guides or allies that grants the sorcerer a gift of power. In ceremonial magic it is the evocation of preternatural entities like those listed in the Goetia. In Wicca it is the invocation or evocation of the Fey or elementals or various gods or goddesses. In each case a being whose power is much superior to any mortals donates some of that ability, if only temporarily, to a given working or quest for knowledge. Here again it is the visualization of the entities in question combined with emotion, will and timing, that makes the transference of energies possible.

Lastly, physical condition is important to magickal workings. If one is so ill that you cannot get out of bed or your legs have recently been broken by a rampant wildebeest then your energies will be largely diverted towards healing and it would be ill-advised for you to try any magickal workings. Many practitioners, myself included, are out of shape physically and this may rob us of our maximum potential. If you are panting and out of breath after small exertions then how can you be expected to have any energy in your magick?

To raise power for magick one should practice magick – a muscle gets stronger with use. Regular magickal exercise whether alone or in a group will increase your abilities tremendously. If you are an arm-chair witch you may have the knowledge of magick but not the power to make it go.

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Spell of the Day for Jan. 28th: Finding Spell

Spell of the Day for Jan. 28th: Finding Spell

Timing: Full Moon

You Will Need:
Green Candle
Green Lodestone or Crystal

Light the green candle for luck and prosperity.
Hold the green lodestone in your power-hand and charge it with your desire to find your missing property.
Feel the power flowing into the stone as you slowly chant the following three times:

“I Pray to the Moon when she is round
Luck to me shall then abound
What I seek for shall then be found
In sea or sky or solid ground”

Carry the stone with you at all times until the lost item is recovered.

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Today’s Aromatherapy Tip – Peace and Love Massage Oil

Today’s Aromatherapy Tip – Peace and Love Massage Oil


3 drops Patchouli
3 drops Sandalwood
1 oz.Unscented base oil

Enjoy!
..

http://www.aromathyme.com

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Crone’s Corner – Chamomile Shampoo

 

Crone’s Corner – Chamomile Shampoo


You will need:
2 tsp… dried chamomile
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup baby shampoo (or another mild variety)

Pour the boiling water over the chamomile and steep for 30 minutes, strain, then mix into the shampoo and use as usual.

Courtesy of Brenda Hyde of OldFashionedLiving.com

http://www.oldfashionedliving.com/

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Crystal of the Day for Jan. 28th – Sugilite

Crystal of the Day for Jan. 28th – Sugilite

  Colours: Purple, Violet, Pink
Source: Japan, South Africa
Availability: Rare
Energy: Receptive
Planet:
Element: Water
Chakra: Third Eye, Crown
 
Spiritual Uses: A usual stone for spiritual quests of all kinds. Brings light and love to the darkest situations. Peace of mind, facilitates psychic awareness.
Emotional Uses: Alleviates despair, dissolves anger and unwanted energies.
Physical Uses: Clears headaches, reduces discomfort at all levels.
Folklore: Considered to be an important healer’s stone.

Magickal Properties: Love, Channeling, Power, Protection, Healing, Spiritual Love, Wisdom
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