Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Imblc – Brigid’s Well Spell

Imbolc – Brigid’s Well Spell

To Heal Or Bring General Good Health

Purpose:  To ease ill-health or bring well-being in the coming year.

Background:  Imbolc is also known as the Feast of Brigid, a well-beloved Irish Goddess renowned as a patron of healing. Many springs and rivers are sacred to her, bearing features of her name, in Brittany, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but her strongest association with the healing power of waters is with wells.

In pre-Christian times, people venerated the genii loci, or “spirits of place,” of natural locations that were considered particularly sacred springs and wells, sources of water that came up from the earth, were considered very special, and healing properties, including cures for eye and skin problems, became attributed to many of those associated with Brigid. In this spell, you will be recreating Brigid’s Well in symbol, in the form of a pottery or stone bowl or cup. Since Brigid’s Healing Well is a spiritual symbol, this recreation is just as valid as if you had applied to the spirit of a well in Kildare, in Ireland, or a river in Wales. You may make up to three requests for healing, including one for general good health, as appropriate.

How to cast the Spell

Items You Will Need:

  • Six white candles, 6-8″ in length
  • One stone or pottery cup or bowl
  • Three small beach pebbles
  • One small cup of salt
  • Spring water
  • Matches

Timing:  Cast this spell at Imbolc

Casting the Spell:

  • Place the candles all around the cup.
  • Name each stone as an ailment you wish healed, as appropriate, sprinkling a pinch of salt over each. Breathe onto them, saying:

By my breath.

  • Cover them with your hands, saying:

By my flesh.

  • Place the in the cup, and cover them with water, saying:

By the living waters of Brigid, may health prevail and good reside.

  • Light each candle, saying:

Hail, Lady of Fire.

  • Hold your palms toward the flames and close your eyes, then visualize dark stains on the stones dissolving in the water, rising to the surface to be burned away in the candle flames.
  • Chant the following until you feel the energies in the circle rise:

Earth, water, flame

Work in Her name

Earth, water, fire

Work my desire.

Discharge the energy raised by raising your hands into the air and mentally releasing it.

  • Return the stones to a beach as soon as possible after Imbolc night.
 The Spells Bible
The Definitive Guide to Charms and Enchantments
Ann-Marie Gallagher
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High Magic, Low Magic: Designations Help Define Our Styles

High Magic, Low Magic: Designations Help Define Our Styles

Author: Treasach

I personally find designations handy. They express no limit, only a specialization. It certainly helps you anticipate how easily you can work with another and how your styles and knowledge will mesh. I know, for example, that I don’t usually get on well with high magicians, or Iron John style wizards. That’s darn handy to know when someone tells me that he is a necromancer and a cabbalist.

As I label myself a ReClaimist, matriarchal, bardic green witch, most of you will have an idea of what I am currently working on, where my knowledge areas lie, what my focus is, and how I express my spirituality. That doesn’t mean I’ll stay like that forever, or that I’m not interested in other forms of worship, but it certainly makes it easier for us to find others of the same style. Rather like nametags at a convention.

I not only see no harm in it, I encourage folks to find a useful label for their personal style practice. Makes them feel more validated, too, especially when they are first starting out.

High magic is usually the term for what the wizards do. It’s rather like a Catholic mass, with all the ritual words in a sacred language, pomp and finery, ordained divine conduits, and strict adherence to detail. The power in high magic comes from without… the great universal energy that is harnessed by the correct performance of the ritual itself, with some measure from the performer (s) , but not much. They are mostly lending energy for the conduction of the spell to take place, which is why there is such an emphasis on hierarchy in high magic. It is vital that the ceremony be followed exactly with the correct people taking care of their assigned functions. The more powerful as spell, the less room for error.

The big draw for this kind of magic is that it offers a great deal of power in a relatively short period of time, but with a corresponding danger level as you ascend. The goal is to eventually control and submit the entire Universe. Nearly all wizards are male, white, and have terrible ego issues. They are usually still at the age where they feel invulnerable, since it’s required that you eventually wrestle with demons, for example, and incur the wrath of extra dimensional entities by enslaving them or their friends. It is often spelt with a ‘k’ to delineate it from low magic. Wizards find that sort of window dressing appealing.

Low magic is usually what witches do. Its goal is to make you one with the Universe, and therefore blissful, content, wise, with all your needs provided for. To unleash and accept your Goddess within, which is the same as the Goddess without, by giving full release to your Goddess self. This means that much attention is paid to your own instinct and the answers that are right for you, as your Goddess cannot ever be wrong, you just have to get better at hearing her. So our spells are more like mediation, sometimes with helpful symbols or foci like incense, statues, herbs, and other paraphernalia.

Most experienced witches don’t bother with it, however, unless they are trying to working on something much harder than usual. To effect change in the Universe, we try to use the Butterfly effect, to tug on the string of the Great Weave that will most affect the change we want. In trying to find the string, we learn how the Universe works and so increase our wisdom. And the Universe is vast, so She often can’t get to something as quick as She’d like.

It is therefore our job as Her representatives to draw her attention to inequities by blessing those who need it, to injustices by cursing those who deserve it, and other maintenance of the Continuum, thereby increasing our understanding and interaction with it.

Wicca is like high magic for witches. It calls upon the spirits and entities in a very ritualized format with specific assignments to the members, but primarily uses the inner energies of the group or individual to do the prescribed task. There is therefore no backlash if done incorrectly. But they do seem very fond of their accoutrements…

Most women choose the style of Low magic because it is more like their usual style of being: persuading and joining, rather than controlling. The sex of the practitioner doesn’t enter into it, other than gender training in their culture helping them have certain inclinations… That explains the overwhelming majority of practitioners in the Middle Ages being clergy. They often went into the priesthood for reasons OTHER than piety, like power and wealth, they were learned, and they had access to all sorts of magical formula, arcane materials, etc. So High magic, or ceremonial magic, was almost entirely Christian and clerical in the Middle Ages.

It is indeed all the same power. However, I can cure myself, clean my house, or get rid of my weeds and insects in my garden through chemicals created in a lab, or I can use chemicals in herbs and natural liquids. Some are just as dangerous to the environment, and myself but most aren’t.

Chemicals, like magic, are all made of the same components essentially but how they inter-react and perform is completely variable depending on how they were generated and used. They can be naturally gentle and persuading, or they can be artificially harsh, brutal, and destructive.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the phrase “As above, so below”. Only one interpretation is rendered as “As in Heaven, so it happens down here.” Another, more widely used and helpful meaning is “Change or events Outside affect the Internal, and vise versa.” ‘High’ in the case of magic means ‘external’, ‘low’ means ‘internal’. ONLY when hierarchy becomes so predominate in this culture, and High implies more powerful, and consequently more male, does High and Low magic take on some connotations that some people today take umbrage with. It’s not a personal insult to our style.

Now. When was the last time any of you enslaved a demon, deity, or angel to unwillingly do your bidding? How about binding your local ghosts, fairies, and spirits as your personal gophers? I don’t remember when it was that I forced the dead to come back in an unquiet rest to speak about the secrets of the Universe… High magic involves the use of formula and ritual to achieve just such dog collars on the Powers of the Universe. It isn’t the end in and of itself. The spell is usually to DO something, but it is the elemental being that figures out how to achieve the goal.

This kind of style offers much to recommend it to those that want a lot of power fast. Sure, High magicians have to keep their will focused on the spell for it to work, but only for the ritual itself. For the results of the spell to be efficacious, it doesn’t have to be PERSONAL, internal power that is bringing it about. That’s what the Harnesses of the Universe are for, like Jewish magic squares, Keys of Solomon, which can energize, activate, and execute many different kinds of spells simply by being performed correctly. However, the perils increase correspondingly.

I’ve seen a young wizard tell me that Hunters from the sprit world are stalking him, and we did a little complex ritual around a lamppost to confuse them so they can’t follow. I mean, I never saw them, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there, so I won’t doubt his word. Much. But I’ll tell you. I’ve never done anything in my magic work to invoke their wrath in the first place.

I am not comparing levels of power here. A very experienced or instinctive witch who is close to the Warp and Weft of the Universe can indeed stop a storm with a thought. Unfortunately, that takes a great deal of Enlightenment to reach that point, so most of us don’t get there in a hurry, if ever. Now, it takes a wizard of far less experience, personal power, and self-mastery to achieve the same ends by going through the rigmarole to capture the power of the Storm God and just fire away or let Him do the work. It’s not easy, but it’s a hellova lot easier than becoming one with the Forces of a Hurricane and personally knowing on an unconscious level what strings to pull.

With these kind of benefits attached to High magic, including the hierarchy, the feeling of mastery and the practice of invincibility, it’s no wonder that most wizards are men. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. Most powers that are so bound in High magic are not only interested in becoming Unbound as soon as possible, they would also like to wreak revenge on the mortals who dared to commit such an atrocity.

Which is why my little wizard friend was almost PROUD at the Things following him. The quality of a wizard is told by the quality of his enemies, after all… I don’t know of many women who have the same disregard for personal safety as many men do, either, btw…

Now, the next time any of you try to harness the Angel of Life and Death to cure yourself of cancer by invoking the Necronomacon and creating a doorway to Hell in your closet, rather than simply lighting a candle and envisioning the cancer going away, then you can tell me that High magic and Low magic are the same.

You must admit, the first one, if done correctly, has a much greater probability of curing you quickly and permanently, but so much can go wrong. The latter requires a deeply Enlightened, experienced, or otherwise powerful witch, and you might not be able to find one before you croak, but at least you don’t have to worry about your relatives falling through to the Second Circle when they put their coats away at your wake.

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Why I’d Want Darkness In Me (Or, At Least, Not Mind It)

Why I’d Want Darkness In Me (Or, At Least, Not Mind It)

Author: Fire Lyte

While listening to an old clip from The Way of the Master Radio – a Christian Fundamentalist show, the radio host asked why anyone would want darkness in them. He asked this because Kirk Cameron, the co-host, had infiltrated a Mabon ritual and recorded the whole thing. This question came about, because pagans supposedly celebrate the balance of light and dark within them and in the world on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes – contemporarily known as Ostara and Mabon, and the two hosts could not fathom why anyone would want to accept darkness within. This is a really good question, and one that should inspire a lot of internal questioning.

Why in the world would anybody want to celebrate the balance of light and dark within him or her?

This is one of those trick questions kids ask one another on the playground that takes some fact or circumstance, twists it, and asks it in such a way that there is no good answer. For example: Does your mother know you lie? If you say yes, then you admit to lying and you assume the guilt of having let down your mother. Alternatively, if you say no, then you admit to lying to your mother about lying, and you assume the guilt of keeping a secret from your mother. There is no secret option C in which you neither lie, nor have to admit your deceit to your mother.

Well, this question is the same thing. We celebrate the balance of light and dark within us, firmly acknowledging that both exist. It is not that we want one over the other, and it is not that we want only one. This is one of the beautiful facets of paganism that I see as a benefit to our collective ideals. We may not agree on a lot of things, but we agree that we worship something solid, something real. At the heart of many of our religious tenets lies a central Earth worship, or the notion that we tie our sabbats and magical practices to the physical universe. Prosperity spells when the moon is waxing and so on. As such, we have a tendency to honor the natural laws of existence. We celebrate birth and death equally, and know that they are not points of singularity, but rather spokes on an ever-turning wheel.

Let’s try an experiment.

Think hard. Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to take an item off the shelf and just leave the store with it without paying. I mean, this economy is pretty tough, and I see lots of things I wouldn’t mind having without burdening my wallet with an inconvenient charge.

Raise your hand if you laughed when someone tripped or saw someone go through hard times and thought, “They had it coming.” Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to be the one who collects on karmic debts or if you’ve ever wanted to take a break from monogamy for just one day. Raise your hand if swift revenge seemed like the only option. Raise your hand if you’ve ever really wished someone would die. Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought about what a razor blade would feel like going inside your wrist. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a dark moment…

Now, keep your hand raised if you didn’t go through with it. And aren’t you glad you didn’t?

Aren’t you glad you had enough inner balance to view the dark thought, shed some light on it, and put it neatly back in the box of dark thoughts where it belongs? It doesn’t matter if you briefly weighed the option of stealing the bottle of soda or if you dwelled upon a guilty conscience for years. The point is that at some point or another, you balanced out. You were not swallowed up by that singular point of darkness.

It would be a wonderful thing if we only ever had good thoughts. It would be great if the world were a fluffy pillow and the sun shone everyday and the radio station only played your favorite songs. But it isn’t. I’ve said before that reality isn’t fun, but it’s what we’ve got, and that’s really very true. As pagans, we acknowledge that we have our dark moments, and we can view them from a balanced perspective, because we also acknowledge our light. We differentiate them, because of one another. How would we know what moments are truly triumphant, truly joyous, if we did not have the hard times to compare them to?

It would be a foolish act on our part if we turned a blind eye on darkness. It exists, and it is as real and corporeal as if it were caressing you in the night. We are only prepared to face it, because of the balance of light and dark, because of the knowledge of past dark times, and the light we brought in to turn the dark away. If you knew an army was going to invade your country, rape your women, kill your men, and burn your cities, would you acknowledge the threat or talk about what a beautiful day it is? There is something to be said for reveling in the good times, but we must not let the good get in the way of reality.

On a different tangent, dark and light can quite literally also mean the times of year. The darker parts of the year are times when we don’t want to be as active, when the earth is bare, and when times are a bit hard. Without the sun, it is easy to become melancholic and shut off. Again, in these instances, we celebrate the light and the dark, because we know that light will come again. We remind ourselves to not get complacent in the dark, and to actively seek to bring light into every corner of our lives during times when it doesn’t come naturally. (Both literally and figuratively.)

Celebrating the balance of light and dark is celebrating the very nature of the universe, celebrating the most natural parts of nature. We acknowledge both, because both exist, and we do not wish to be foolish when the time comes to face one or the other. The good can be just as overwhelming as the bad, and can cause as much harm. Have you ever been so ecstatic that you forgot about your other daily duties? Have you ever let time get away from you when having fun that it turned into neglect of yourself or others?

If we are not conscious of consequences, the choices we make are one-sided and potentially harmful, dark. I see this with a lot of college-aged kids who stay out all night partying, enjoying the goods of youth, but forget to study or don’t get enough sleep or forget to come to work.

Balance, true balance, is what happens when we weigh our decisions carefully before making them. It is acknowledging hard times, dark times, and finding the light in each situation so that we can move forward. It is the quintessential idea of living in the present moment, of accepting the realness of reality.

So, to that radio man, I say that I don’t want darkness anymore than I want light. I simply acknowledge that both exist, because I have a brain and the ability to think and reason and accept the nature of the natural world.

Now, on the topic of sin. I ask you what, exactly, sin is, whether we should be forgiven for it, and, if so, who does the forgiving. However, I want you to think about the definition of sin without using the words Christian, or Abrahamic, or Jesus, or Bible. Remember doing those exercises in English class where you were supposed to come up with the definition of a word without using the word in a sentence? I want you to do that here. Strip away the conventions of Christianity, because sin is most definitely not simply a Christian concept. The notion of sin exists in all faiths.

So…think about it. What is sin? The majority of definitions ascribed to the word sin are that it is a transgression against some sort of moral code of conduct. In some cases this code is set forth by divine law, but in other cases it is simply that which goes against one’s personal ethics or values. But, this is just a theological idea of sin.

Chocolate can be sinful. It can be a sin to throw out a perfectly good jug of orange juice when it’s half-full. Recent statistics show that more and more people are leaving their religion of origin – yes, specifically the Christian and Catholic faiths. Half of all adults have changed religions at least once. Half of all adults! On top of that, most people that change religion do it more than once. 44% of Americans, according to a study done by the Pew Forum, do not belong to their childhood faith. 9% more say that they do belong to their childhood faith, but they changed at some point to another one.

And, in all of this mixing of doctrines, beliefs, and practices, we’ve muddled down the definition of sin. Or, perhaps we haven’t muddled anything. Perhaps, since we are in a constant state of reinvention and evolution, we have created a new and modern definition of sin. As pagans, this is what we are all about. We call ourselves neo-pagan in a nod to the fact that we take the traditions of the past and meld them with modern thinking.

Enough with the set up. What is sin? Well, I am going to say it is an action that goes against our values, morals, ethics, or other personal or social code of conduct. I include social, because some might claim that it is well within their personal system of morality that murdering someone for personal gain, revenge, or other innocuous vendetta. Some claim they should be able to take as much as they can steal, because that’s their own morality. That’s not acceptable; I don’t care if you claim you’re on the most left of left-hand paths or what. It is not ok. Your rights do not expand and envelope another’s right to be left alone.

So, if we commit one of these moral transgressions, should we be forgiven for it? Simple answer: yes. Now, notice I have yet to say I believe sin is some sort of divine act against a deity’s will. I think we should be forgiven for our wrongdoings, because we are supposed to be the best people we can be.

We need to release ourselves from the guilt of carrying around our sins, and we need to allow the person we wronged the opportunity to experience the positive karma of forgiveness. (More on karma in a future article.) In order to move on and be balanced individuals, we cannot be weighed down by too much dark or too much light, and thus we cannot carry around all the darkness of sin. To be balanced is the goal, the epitome of religious study and introspection.

However, balance is not something that occurs by purely singular means. You do not balance yourself by yourself. You shed off what doesn’t work, take on what does, and meld them together in a cohesive lifestyle. Many of us do this by focusing on the positive during the waxing and full moons, as these are times of growth and prosperity. On the flip side, we are taught that the waning and dark moons are times to banish the bad aspects of our personality, to get rid of guilt and worry and the wrongs that are done to ourselves and to others. These are times when we both forgive others and forgive ourselves. Oh…and we ask the Goddess and God for guidance.

Who does this forgiving? I’d say it is a combination of people. I might ask the Goddess to help me shed myself of some sin or other, or I might ask for the opportunity to have a positive encounter with someone I wronged so that I can seek forgiveness from them. However, when that person doesn’t give forgiveness, I simply work harder to be a better person and not wrong someone else in the way I wronged him or her.

I would venture, then, to say that sin is we dipping our toes too far into the pool of dark. It is when we tip the scales too far to one side, and we seek forgiveness from that sin in order attain the true balance that is our end goal.

What we want is not to have the darkness, but to work towards temperance. Wow…isn’t that one of the major Arcana in the tarot? Isn’t that one of the lessons of the fool? We seek true, alchemical balance by transforming ourselves, and understanding that there is no true dark and light but merely lessons we must learn. Sometimes we must learn that something needs to be learned, to be taken on. Sometimes we learn that we must rid ourselves of something. Either way, once balance is achieved, we evolve, we transform into our highest selves.

So, I don’t want darkness anymore than I want pure light. I want to be my highest self, and the only way I can think of to do that is acknowledge my sin, seek forgiveness from myself, my Gods, or those who I have transgressed against. I learn the lessons of life that come from experiencing both light and dark, and I work towards balance and becoming my best self.


Footnotes:
References in article

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Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Author: Ravenix

I can imagine that the title of this article has already raised a few Wiccan eyebrows, so before I launch into the discussion proper, let me say this to them: Don’t worry. I’m not flaming you. I’m not going to ridicule your beliefs, and to do so would be hypocritical, as I myself devoted several years of my life to Wicca. It’s a good, sound, well-structured system, with a wonderful sense of community and empowerment.

So don’t panic.

If you want to follow the Wiccan Rede, great! It’s an admirable ethic. But it’s not for me anymore. Yes, I have cursed, yes, I do curse, yes, I will probably curse again. But don’t run away just yet; hear me out, and bear what I’m saying in mind.

In Neopaganism, there has been something of a shying away from the ‘dark side’ of spirituality; there is a great emphasis on being ‘nice’, on focusing only on the ‘good’ and ‘light’ side of things. Yet in comparison, our ancestors before us cursed each other like there was no tomorrow. To this day, archaeological digs uncover smashed clay portraits, bottles of punctured animal organs and other such wonderfully wicked hexes (just type ‘curse’ into the Boscastle Museum Of Witchcraft’s database search and you’ll soon see what I mean) . If you mention these items to a Neopagan, they’ll be likely to change the subject sharpish, or blame it on the witch hunters of old.

Everywhere you look, the Law of Threefold Return is drilled into you, as well as other such warnings and cautions about the ‘dangers’ of cursing. Terms such as ‘white’ and ‘black’ magick don’t exactly help. But is cursing as horrid and malicious an act as it is made out to be? Do we have to sacrifice this art completely to be spiritually ‘good’?

As a Wiccan, I always found that the Wiccan Rede was a hard act to follow; the Rede stated that, as a Wiccan, I could not harm anyone, in any circumstance, ever. The questions that came to me were these; what if they harmed me first? Doesn’t that entitle me to some kind of counter? Moreover, what if they deserved it? Then again, who’s to decide?

If we look at Western Heathenism as a whole, there is very little evidence that an idea like the Law of Threefold Return existed before the 1950’s, and it is in fact derived from Eastern spiritualism. Traditional Cornish Witchcraft, perhaps the only Traditional form that has truly thrived in the British Isles, makes great use of cursing.

Have any of these witches, or any of our ancestors, been made to pay for their actions?

Historically, only by the witch hunters. There are no reports that I know of relating to Traditional Witches being punished by the Gods for cursing in itself. Of course that’s not to say that cursing doesn’t require a certain degree of caution- indeed all spellcraft does.

My partner, for example, performed a curse on a group of people that had refused to act when his friend was date-raped at her own birthday party; he consequently suffered from minor blackouts for months afterwards. This, you might say, is proof enough of celestial punishment. However I propose a slightly different view.

Keep in mind that anger and hatred are incredibly violent emotions; they could be argued to be more ‘powerful’ than happiness and calm due to their speed, severity, and unpredictability. Compare how exhausted you are after laughing for five minutes, and after shouting and screaming in rage for the same amount of time. You would probably agree that the latter leaves you feeling much more empty and drained. Also think of the amount of times you’ve flown off the handle for trivial things. This is what makes cursing so risky: the power behind these negative emotions, and their tendency to amplify far beyond what is fitting to their cause.

Basically, if you wish death on someone for stealing your car, the Gods probably will turn around and admonish you for being harsh. On the other hand, if someone hurts your family and you want payback, the anger and hate you unleash in that spell will burst out of you far more readily than a healing spell. In all cursing, then, moderation of your emotions and a good deal of consideration beforehand are key; I believe that my partner’s blackouts occurred because he either wore himself out completely from the spell’s severity, or the Gods deemed him too severe and made him pay accordingly- but they weren’t admonishing him for cursing in itself.

In particular, the idea of your family being hurt is one that does not sit well with the Rede. What if someone did willingly hurt your family? Would you sit and wait for the Gods to avenge you?

This view is one that I imagine the Gods find slightly arrogant; they’re not there to hold your hand, and they don’t heal your friends for you- you have to do most of that yourself, even if you do ask for help, so why isn’t cursing the same?

Or, would you turn the other cheek, letting the instigator get away with their cruelty?

Now I’ve never been the most forgiving person, and I don’t see why I can’t give back what I get from people who wish to hurt me and mine. The trick is to cast a curse that is equivalent to the harm done; something that is very hard to do when the human condition makes us bloodthirsty for revenge of the worst kind.

I would definitely say that cursing is harder than well-wishing, as it requires more control; it also requires you to make contact with a part of yourself that you may not like. This I think is why many Wiccans and Neopagans turn away from it, to the point of fearing it; they refuse to accept the ugly side of their nature, as do most people. This is understandable, but it’s also an imbalanced way of life to me; it’s a sad truth that the world is both beautiful and terrible, and I believe that true balance comes if your spirituality reflects that.

Curses are nothing to fear (unless you’re on the receiving end of course!) , and they can be quite trivial; I performed a curse on a flea infestation in my house a few months ago, with the help of Tiw, and I haven’t had trouble since.

All in all, pins in poppets and mutilated animal organs are extreme examples of what is, really, just another form of spellcraft; if you look past the hype and fight your fear, you’ll find that curses aren’t as terrible as they’re made out to be. Remember that the more severe curses are a last resort; like everything else, you must think twice and use caution.

And like all spells, curses are just a means to an end, usually getting rid of something undesirable when there’s no other way of doing so.

Of course I can’t convince you to agree, and if you’re still dead against cursing, so be it; you’re welcome to your views. But at least consider what I’ve said, and try not to be afraid of something that is, at its heart, an integral part of the Traditional Craft.


Footnotes:
http://www.museumofwitchcraft.com

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Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Author: Treasach

I’m not above quoting fantasy books myself if they say it well. “The most professional curse ever snarled or croaked or thundered can have no effect on a pure heart.” — The Last Unicorn. This is essentially true.

Curses work the same way other magic works. A Contact spell, for example, sends out feelers across the chaotic systems. A lot like a computer match up. If the potential person/s you are interested in meeting is also interested, as some of your energy is going along with it, you both work together to pull the chaos strings so that you will both meet up in an appropriate location and time for you to pursue an acquaintance. Rather like “your people” and “their people” calling a meeting. It is a two way street.

Curses are much the same. It is a two way street between the curser and cursed. The curser has decided that someone really need a kick in the ass for something, and sends out feelers. Their energies comes in contact, and if the ‘cursee’s’ own guilt, that is, their own inner Goddess of Vengeance, decides that they must be punished, both humans use that energy to create the curse effect. Rather like a karmic string tied around one’s finger to remind one of this guilt, which might not have remembered otherwise, or not gotten to it as quickly. Which is why someone must go to the trouble of cursing another in the first place, and why a curse has no effect on a pure heart. No self-need for punishment, no curse.

I believe we should most definitely treat others by the Golden Rule. There is indeed a version of that in every major tradition. But that’s almost entirely for our own benefit. We cannot become enlightened and self fulfilled without it. With neophytes terrified to practice spellcraft on their own without the aid of their ‘teacher’, the Three Fold or Karmic Laws has become an enslaving chain left over from our reClaiming days that should be abandoned as quickly as possible.

The 3 fold, ten fold, or even 11 ‘Law’ is a MYTH, told to keep newbies in line.

I’m sorry I’m breaking the conspiracy of some of the Adepts in disabusing you of this notion. There are many reasons for it, but I break from much of the crowd and teach like a heritage. I believe we must always and only discuss the true metaphysics of witchcraft to prove ourselves a mature spirituality and not a mystery cult.

Spewing the pat fluffy Threefold or Karmic Law is such an oversimplification of the complexity of the Universe that it is an obscenity to the dignity of seekers of Enlightenment and those who assist them. How does witchcraft compare as a viable path for those of intelligence and wisdom with such an obvious disprovable flaw as it’s main tenant? It’s deeply embarrassing for a spirituality of maturity and strength.

That doesn’t mean that the Universe doesn’t slap you if you choose to be an ass. You often do get what’s coming to you. But that is most definitely NOT the same performing so-called ‘black magic’ (which sounds abominably racist) and expecting to be punished for it.

Cursing, for example, is simply a form of dispensing justice where you believe it required, same as you would protect someone from getting beat up. You should get punished for NOT redressing a serious imbalance, in my opinion, same as you would for not getting stopping someone being physically victimized.

No. It’s simply that the ‘Rule’ or ‘Law’ or whatever that many teachers tell newbies when they are first starting out is merely fantasy. There are numerous reasons for this, but it is designed to scare them, control them, and ensure that they don’t go trying spellcraft on their own.

The truth is really much harder. The Universe does pay people back, but certainly not in such a lovely symmetry like three or any other number. It is ridiculous to assume that a quantitative quality can be put on someone trying to harm another, and take into account whether it was deliberate, or only slightly, or not at all, and ‘repay’ that back in some sort of mathematical formula. Like some suffering or blessing of mine can even compare to someone else’s in sensitivity, or life disruption, or level of joy, or some other feeling or quality in the first place.

If you are nasty to people, they will be nasty to you. Most times. Sometimes you can be nice to everyone, and you will be assassinated. Sometimes bad guys really do win. Totally and completely. The Universe is not so cut and dried as the ‘Law’ makes it out to be. It is not fair. And it certainly doesn’t balance. And even if it could, it is so vast that we would never be able to see it, with our limited shells.

But that’s where we come in, as Her representatives. We can see what’s in front of us and report back, so to speak, to draw Her attention to something that we would like to see remedied right now, and we specify a manner that we can comprehend. That’s one of the functions of spellcraft, particularly blessings, curses, and healings.

All people are intelligent and sensitive to some degree and deserve to be treated like seekers of truth and self-fulfillment. We do them and ourselves a great disservice when we do not teach the metaphysics and theology of witchcraft correctly from the start. In all it’s complexity.

My curses are extremely good. They can take up to two years to manifest, and they attack whatever it was that caused the person to be cursed in the first place. Completely. And, due to my style of asking the Goddess to take care of it Herself without my suggestions or too much interference, they manifest in a far more creative and complete manner than I ever could have imagined, exactly matching the infraction with the punishment. So I never worry about justice for infractions against me, though it would be nice to have the wisdom to avoid them in the first place…

And as aggressive as I am, curses come far more naturally than Blessings. Perhaps that’s where my real challenge lies…

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Candles and Lights

Candles and Lights

 
Candles (leading to the name, “Candlemas”) are sometimes burned in every window in the house, starting the night of February 1st, until the candles burn themselves out. (If you practice this, be watchful of fire hazards. We use battery-operated candles, and the if the bulbs and batteries are new, the lights remain on all night.)
 
This is yet another time to enjoy outdoor luminaria, as well. That’s when you take bags (lunch bags work fine, and you can cut designs in them), put a couple of inches of sand in the bottom of each bag, and then put a tea candle in each bag. If the bag is on a wooden porch or other flammable surface, make certain to use plenty of sand to insulate. Also check the bags regularly, in
case a stiff wind tilts a bag and the paper goes up in flames.
 
A similar tradition (in older houses where families have lived for generations) is to light a candle, one in the window of each room
where someone has died. One candle for each person who died in that room. Again, the candle is allowed to burn itself out.
 
A related tradition is to make candles the night before the holy day, thentake them to church to be blessed on the feast, and use those candlesthroughout the rest of the year.
 
Snow candles
 
Yet another candle tradition, which we have used with delight, is to collect a bowl of snow. (A white cereal bowl is perfect.) Bring the bowl indoors, place a “floating candle” in the center of the pile of snow and light it. As the snow melts, the candle will remain alight because it floats in the water. This is a very visual symbol for the return of light and heat to the earth, melting the snow.
 
Bride’s Bed
 
There are a variety of traditions related to making a “Bride’s bed” (also called “Brighid’s bed”) with a homemade cradle, an ear of corn, a wand (smaller but related to the coronation wand given to the kings of Ireland), and small tokens of respect and/or adornment. Many books on Celtic traditions give the details of this ritual.
 
St. Brighid’s Cross
 
“St. Brighid’s Cross,” is another tradition. It is a woven cross made from straw, sometimes with a diamond shape woven around the center. (Compare thiswith the Native American “God’s eye” crosses.) In some places, wells and other water sources (such as faucets) are decorated with ivy and early flowers.
 
Blessed clothing
 
Brighid’s healing arts are called upon in yet another delightful tradition.As night falls, place an item of clothing outside, for Brighid to bless as she passes over the earth on Imbolc. In the morning, bring the item indoors, and wear it whenever you need an extra blessing to heal. People with migraines are supposedly helped by this tradition, in particular. (Due to winter winds, it’s
a good idea to tie the item to a tree or fence so it doesn’t blow away during the night.)
 
And, in the morning…
 
In keeping with the milk theme of the holiday, some people pour a small amount of milk onto the soil early on February 2nd morning, as they thank Mother Earth for having fed them for the past year. The dairy theme of the festival also makes it appropriate to enjoy rich dishes and desserts such as cheesecake.
 
As with many holidays, it’s always appropriate to drum or ring in the festival, with a drum, rattle, or bells.
 
This is also a time for housecleaning and preparing for the new growing season. (Some women do a ritual “spring cleaning” of house, or use a cleansing tonic at this time, to mark a fresh start and a new year.)
 
In many ways, New Year’s Eve is somewhat misplaced. We do far better to begin our “resolutions” at Imbolc, which celebrates new beginnings.
 
Written by Fiona Broome http://www.fionabroome.com
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Celebrations Around The World, Feb. 2

Groundhog Day
Purification Day
Brew Hog Day
Lupercalia
Feast of Pan
Bonza Bottler Day
Wives’ Feast Day
Candlemas
Wand Dedication Day (Fairy)
St. Joan de Lestonnac’s Day
Dia de la Candelaria (Mexico)
Yuma Crossing Day
Feast of Torches
National Heavenly Hash Day
Shaving of the Candlemas Bear Masque (Pyrenees)
Presentation of Our Lord (fka the Purification of the Virgin Mary)

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GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

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Candlemas / Purification /Presentation / Our Lady of Candelaria

 Candlemas / Purification /Presentation / Our Lady of Candelaria

 
Jewish women went through a purification ceremony 40 days after the birth of a male child (80 days after the birth of a female child) and brought a lamb to the temple to be sacrificed. According to Mosaic law, Mary and Joseph would also have brought their first-born son to the temple forty days after his birth to offer him to God, like all first-born sons, along with a pair of turtledoves.

The Presentation was originally celebrated in Jerusalem on November 21st but once Christ’s birth was fixed on December 25th (near the winter solstice), the Presentation and Purification rituals would fall forty days later, in early February when torches were carried around the fields.

First celebrated on February 14th, in 350 at Jerusalem, when it would have coincided with the Roman festival of Lupercalia, it was later moved up to February 2nd. Pope Sergius declared it should be celebrated with processions and candles, to commemorate Simeon’s description of the child Jesus as a light to lighten the Gentiles. Candles blessed on this day were used as a protection from evil.

This is the ostensible reason given for the Catholic custom of bringing candles to church to be blessed by the priest on February 2nd, thus the name Candle-Mass. The candles are then taken home where they serve as talismans and protections from all sorts of disasters, much like Brigid’s crosses. In Hungary, according to Dorothy Spicer, February 2nd is called Blessing of the Candle of the Happy Woman. In Poland, it is called Mother of God who Saves Us From Thunder.

Actually this festival has long been associated with fire. Spicer writes that in ancient Armenia, this was the date of Cvarntarach, a pagan spring festival in honor of Mihr, the God of fire. Originally, fires were built in his honor in open places and a lantern was lit which burned in the temple throughout the year. When Armenia became Christian, the fires were built in church courtyards instead. People danced about the flames, jumped over them and carried home embers to kindle their own fires from the sacred flames.

The motif of fire also shows up in candle processions honoring St Agatha (Feb 5) and the legends of St Brigid (Feb 1). The fire represents the spark of new life, like the seeds blessed in northern Europe on St Blaise’s Day (Feb 3) and carried home to “kindle” the existing seed.

The English have many rhymes which prognosticate about future weather based on the weather on Candlemas Day:

If Candlemas Day bring snow and rain
Winter is gone and won’t come again
If Candlemas Day be clear and bright
Winter will have another flight.

These are all similar to the American custom of predicting the weather on Groundhog’s Day, in that you don’t want the groundhog to see his shadow. In Germany, they say that the shepherd would rather see the wolf enter his stable than the sun on Candlemas Day.

The ancient Armenians used the wind to predict the weather for the coming year by watching the smoke drifting up from the bonfires lit in honor of Mihr. The Scots also observed the wind on Candlemas as recorded in this rhyme:

If this night’s wind blow south
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much milk and fish in the sea;
If north, much cold and snow there will be;
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man, woman and brute.

This was also a holiday for Millers when windmills stand idle. In Crete it is said that they won’t turn even if the miller tries to start them.
Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999 Kightly, Charles, The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, Thames and Hudson 1987
Spicer, Dorothy Gladys, The Book of Festivals, The Woman’s Press 1937, GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

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