Ritual Working

Pagan Ritual Gathering for Imbolc

Just a reminder that Coven Life Coven is holding it’s Imbolc online coven gathering tonight, Monday, February 1, 2016 at 6:00 PM CT. All pagans are welcome to join us. Ritual starts at 6:15 PM CT sharp!

It is being held in the Coven Life chat room. For information on how to join us in the chat room please go to covenlife.co  On the “Home” page scroll down to the post for Imbolc Gathering.

We hope to see you this evening

 

 

 

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Ritual for Imbolc Gathering on Monday, February 1, 2016

Coven Life®

For information on when and where the ritual is taking place see post further down this page.

Items Needed

1 ribbon any spring color 20 inches or 50 cm long and, at least a half an inch or 1 cm wide If you do not have time to get the ribbons use strips of paper and then as soon as you can replace the paper with ribbons. Pieces of clear tape to tape paper to planter or wherever and to attach the natural object to the paper.

 
1 permanent marker-white or any brightly colored marker
2 natural items that can easily be tied into the ribbon and will not slip out of the knot holding it (examples shells or feathers or trees sprigs or sturdy flowers or flat stone)
1 Small planter ready to plant seeds of your choice in – OPTIONAL

A few Seeds of Your Choice –…

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Let’s Talk Witch – Smudging Rituals

GOTHIC WITCH
Smudging Rituals

While burning incense is traditionally associated with Wicca and other forms of contemporary Witchcraft, the practice of smudging has been used in sacred rituals around the globe since ancient times. Both incense and smudging involve the use of dried herbs, but incense is usually made from a more complex blend of powdered herbs, oils, resins, and bark, which creates a richer, more perfume-like scent. Incense is often an ingredient in spellwork, and various types of incense have specific correspondences with particular magical purposes. Smudging, on the other hand, is usually done before spellwork, and generally has a singular purpose: purifying the energy of a space, or a person.

The particular herbs used may depend on the reason for the purification, which can range from healing from a physical illness to eliminating negative, “haunted” energy from a house. (Incense can also be used for purification, but because it doesn’t tend to burn as cleanly as simple dried herbs, many Witches prefer smudging for this purpose.)

These days, you can find smudge sticks— bundles of dried herbs tied with string— at most New Age shops, as well as other places where medicinal herbs are sold.These are easy to handle and tend to last a long time, so they can be used repeatedly.

However, you can also burn loose sprigs of dried herbs for a “single use” smudge, which requires a bit more caution, but allows you to choose exactly which herb( s) you want to burn, depending on your purpose. (The two workings described below make use of loose herbs, but you can substitute a pre-made smudge stick if you prefer.)

The easiest way to approach smudging with loose herbs is to find sprigs of the dried herbs, ideally four inches long at a minimum, that you can hold with your fingertips. However, you can also place the herbs inside a fire-proof dish, and then place the dish in a skillet, using the handle of the skillet to carry the smoldering herbs. Whichever method you choose, be sure to thank the spirits of the herbs before lighting them. Remember that it’s the smoke from the herbs that does the cleansing, so only light them enough to get them smoldering, rather than trying to set them completely on fire. As with anything involving flame, use extreme caution. And if you’re working indoors, be sure to leave at least one window cracked open so that the energy being removed from the space has a way to get out.

When the smudging is finished, you can put out the burning herbs in a pot of soil or leave them to burn out on their own in a heat-proof dish. Many smudging traditions use a feather to fan the smoke around the space, or over the person, being purified. This is symbolic of the element of Air.

Likewise, many use a sea shell to catch the ashes from the smoldering herbs, which honors the element of Water. (Earth and Fire are already represented by the herbs and the flame.)

Whether you incorporate these items is up to you— you can also use your hand to wave the smoke around, and a bowl to catch the ashes, if you like.

Lisa Chamberlain, Wicca Herbal Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Practicing Wiccan Herbal Magic, with Simple Herb Spells

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Let’s Talk Witch – The Four Quarters

Winter

The Four Quarters

 

At the start of a ritual, we ask the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – to join us in circle. We call these the four quarters (for the four directions of north, east, south, and west), or watchtowers. towers. As the term watchtower suggests, we are asking them to protect and watch over us as we do our magick. This way, we can relax and concentrate on our Witchcraft instead of having to guard ourselves against negative energy or the like.

We also ask the watchtowers to lend us their assistance in our magickal work. As I mentioned in the section on elements (which, again, I know you have memorized), each element has certain aspects associated with it, such as air being the property that rules over intellect.

So, if you were going to do magick to help you succeed on an important test (in addition to studying hard, of course, not instead of studying at all), you might ask that quarter for particular help during your ritual.

Here is an example of a typical quarter call or invocation:

I call the watchtower of the north, the element of earth.

Come guard me in my circle, and keep me safe as I work my magickal craft.

Help me to stay grounded and centered, and lend me your strength.

Come now, and enter the circle. So mote it be.

Once we have completed our magickal work and are ready to open the circle, we dismiss the quarters. Don’t be misled by the terms calling and dismissing-we don’t actually try to boss the quarter powers around. After all, you don’t want to irk the power of water and have your toilet explode, now do you? Always invoke and dismiss the watchtowers respectfully, and say thank you when you are done. As Witches, we have the power to summon the elements, but hopefully we also have the wisdom to treat them with the awe and deference they deserve.

 

–Deborah Blake, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

 

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Let’s Talk Witch – Gestures In Magick

Witch

Gestures In Magick

 

Gestures are silent counterparts to words. Gestures can enhance Wiccan rituals when performed in conjunction with invocations or dance, or can be used alone for their real power. Pointing (as mentioned tioned above), the use of the first and middle fingers splayed to create a “v,” and the vulgar presentation of an upraised middle finger demonstrate the variety of messages that can be conveyed through gesture, as well as the range of our emotional responses to them.

My introduction to Wicca happened to include some of these old gestures. In 1971, I saw some photographs of magical protective gestures tures such as the mano figa (a hand clenched into a fist, the thumb jutting ting out between the first and middle fingers) and the mano cornuta, a “v” formed by the first and little fingers and held upside down. Both have long been used to avert the evil eye and negativity, and the latter is used in Wicca, with points up, to represent the God in his Homed aspect.

The magical significance of gestures is complex, and stems from the powers of the hand. The hand can heal or kill, caress or stab. It is a channel through which energies are sent from the body or received from others. Our hands set up our magical altars, grasp wands and athames, and pinch out candle flames at the conclusion of magical rites.

Hands, as the means by which most of us earn our livings, are symbolic of the physical world. But in their five digits lie the pentagram, tagram, the supreme protective magical symbol; the sum of the four elements coupled with akasha, the spiritual power of the universe.

The lines on our hands can, to the trained, be used to link into the deep consciousnesses and reveal things to the conscious minds that we would otherwise have difficulty knowing. The palmist doesn’t read these lines as streets on a roadmap; they are a key to our souls, a fleshly mandala revealing our innermost depths.

Hands were used as the first counting devices. They were seen to have both male and female qualities and symbolism, and images of hands were used around the world as amulets.

Gestures in Wiccan ritual can easily become second nature. When invoking the Goddess and God, the hands can be held uplifted with the fingers spread to receive their power. The Goddess can be individually invoked with the left hand, the thumb and first finger held up and curled into a half-circle, while the rest of the fingers are tucked against the palm. This represents the crescent Moon. The God is invoked with the first and middle fingers of the right hand raised, or with the first and fourth fingers up, the thumb holding down the others against the palm, to represents horns.

The elements can be invoked with individual gestures when approaching the four directions: a flat hand held parallel with the ground to invoke Earth at the North; an upraised hand, fingers spread wide apart, to invoke Air at the East; an upraised fist for the South to invite Fire, and a cupped hand to the West to invoke Water.

Two gestures, together with postures, have long been used to invoke the Goddess and God, and are named after them. The Goddess dess position is assumed by placing the feet about two feet apart on the ground, holding the hands out palms away from you, elbows bent slightly. This position can be used to call the Goddess or to attune with her energies.

The God position consists of the feet together on the floor, body held rigidly upright, arms crossed on the chest (right over left, usually), hands held in fists. Tools such as the wand and magic knife (athame) are sometimes held in the fists, echoing the practice of pharaohs of ancient Egypt who held a crook and flail in a similar position while trying ing disputes.

In coven work, the High Priestess and High Priest often assume these positions when invoking the Goddess and God. In solo workings they can be used to identify with the aspects of the Goddess and God within us, and also during separate invocatory rites.

Gestures are also used in magic. Each of the fingers relates to a specific planet as well as an ancient deity. Since pointing is a magical act and is a part of many spells, the finger can be chosen by its symbolism.

The thumb relates to Venus and to the planet Earth. Jupiter (both the planet and the god) rules the forefinger. The middle finger is ruled by the god and planet Saturn, the fourth finger the Sun and Apollo, and the little finger by the planet Mercury as well as the god after which it is named.

Many spells involve pointing with the Jupiter and Saturn fingers, usually at an object to be charged or imbued with magical energy. The power is visualized as traveling straight out through the fingers and into the object.

Other ritual gestures used in Wiccan rites include the “cutting” of pentagrams at the four quarters by drawing them in the air with the magic knife, wand or index finger. This is done to alternately banish or invoke elemental powers. It is, of course, performed with visualization.

The hand can be seen as a cauldron, since it can cup and contain water; an athame, since it is used to direct magical energy, and a wand since it can also invoke.

Gestures are magical tools as potent as any other, ones we can always take with us, to be used when needed.

 

–Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

 

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Spells and Formulas Record Sheet

Spells and Formulas Record Sheet

 

TYPE OF SPELL OR FORMULA: This should state very clearly what the type of spell is e.g. blessing, binding etc. When developing formulas for lotions and potions, for instance, you need to be clear as to the exact purpose.

 

DATE AND TIME MADE: This gives a cross-reference should you wish to use the correct planetary hours or magical days.

 

REFERENCE: you should develop your own system of reference; this might be, for instance, according to the time of year or alphabetically. Do also remember to keep safely somewhere a record of how you have developed your reference system so that others may benefit from your experience.

 

ASTROLOGICAL PHASE: if you have an interest in astrology you will probably want to record where the planets are when you prepare the spell or formula. A decent ephemeris (list of planetary positions) can be of great help here though there are also many sources of information on the internet.

 

SPECIFIC PURPOSE: you should always state the specific purpose of the spell or formula very clearly. This is partly because it helps to focus your own mind, but also because it leaves no one in any doubt as to your intentions. Should you have more than one main purpose, you should also record these.

 

LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND/OR SUPPLIES NEEDED: Having all your ingredients to hand ensures that you are working with maximum efficiency and not misusing or needing to adjust the energy by leaving the sacred space. Also, when you repeat a working you will need to replicate what you did the first time; even one small change in ingredients can make a tremendous difference to the outcome.

 

SPECIFIC LOCATION REQUIRED: You may well need to perform some spells within a certain area or setting. Also you may discover that your own energy responds to some locations better than others.

 

DATE, TIME AND ASTROLOGICAL PHASE WHEN USED: In all probability you will not want all your spells to take effect at the time you cast them. suppose you have applied for a job and wish your spell to work at the time of interview. You would need to carefully calculate the date, time and astrological phase of the interview as well as the time you are actually casting your spell and incorporate both sets of information into your working.

 

RESULTS: Record carefully all aspects of results you feel are associated with your working. This record should include how successful you consider the spell to be and how it might be improved. There will be some unexpected results, some which appear not to give a tangible result and others which come into play some time after they were expected.

 

DEITIES INVOKED DURING PREPARATION AND/OR USE: Often a particular god can be helpful in bringing about a needed result for a spell. You will chose the most appropriate for your purpose and can always petition a different one at another time.

 

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARATIONS AND/OR USE: Often when spell-working, movements and words are intuitive and instinctive; the more you are able to remember what you did the more likely you are to achieve similar results. Also, should you require them for someone to work on your behalf or to undertake someone else’s magical training, you will have an exact record.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Here you should record for each occasion anything that seems strange, bizarre or noteworthy so that you know what to expect next time.

 

In each of the spells we give a list of ingredients and special articles which may be required to achieve a result for that particular spell. Because each individual brings their own energy into the process, you may find that you intuitively want to change something, whether that is an ingredient, a container or the words used. This is absolutely fine, and means that your spell has a very personal ‘feel’ to it.

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Casting A Circle

Casting A Circle

 

Purify yourself first. You can do this by meditating, or taking a ritual bath. One way is to, try to keep the water flowing, possibly by leaving the bath plug half in, or by having a shower. This reinforces the idea of washing away any impurities so you are not sitting in your own psychic rubbish. (Scent your bath water with your selection of a sacred or special herb or oil.) Ideally, your towel – if you choose to use one – should be clean and used only for the purpose of your ritual bath.

 

• • Wear something special if you can, something that you only wear during a ritual or working. You can always add a pretty scarf or a throw in the correct color for your working. This sets apart spell working from everyday confusion.

 

• • Decide on the extent of your circle, which should be formed in front of your altar. Purify this space by sprinkling the area with water followed by salt – both of these should have been blessed.

 

• • Sit quietly for as long as you can inside the area that will become your circle.

 

• • Imagine a circle of light surrounding you. This light could be white, blue or purple. If you are in a hurry and cannot purify and cleanse fully, reinforce the circle of light by visualizing it suffused with the appropriate color for your working.

 

• • Circle the light around, above and below you in a clockwise direction, like the representation of an atom. Feel it as a sphere or as a cone of power. Sense the power Remember to leave a ‘doorway’ through which your magic energy may exit. You should always feel warm and peaceful within your circle.

 

• • Use your own personal chant or form of words according to your own belief system to consecrate your circle and banish all evil and negative energy, forbidding anything harmful to enter your space. Remember, you are always safe within your circle if you command it to be so.

 

• • If appropriate, invite the Gods and Goddesses to attend your circle and magical working.

 

• • Relax and be happy.

 

If you wish, you can use objects on the ground to show the boundaries of the circle, such as candles, crystals, cord, stones, flowers or incense. The circle is formed from personal power. This may be felt and visualized as streaming from the body to form a bubble made of mist, or a circle of light. You can use the athame (ritual dagger) or your hands to direct this power.

 

The cardinal points of the compass may be denoted with lit candles, often white or purple. Alternatively, place a green candle at the North point of the circle, yellow candle at the East, red candle at the South and blue candle at the West. The altar stands in the centre of the circle, facing North in the direction of power.

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Consecrating Altar Objects

Consecrating Altar Objects

If you are not using completely new objects on your altar – here we are referring to the basic ‘furnishings’ of candle holders etc – you should cleanse them before you dedicate them to your purpose. Treat them in the same way as you would any crystals you use, by soaking them overnight in salt water to remove anyone else’s vibrations and then standing them in sunshine (or moonshine) for at least 12 hours to charge them with the appropriate energy.

 

When you are ready, hold each object and allow your own energy to flow into it, followed by the energy of your idea of Ultimate Power. (That way you make a very powerful link between yourself, the object and the Ultimate.) Ask this Power to bless the object and any working you may do with it and perceive yourself as truly a medium or channel for the energy.

 

Hopefully, each time you use any of the objects, you will immediately be able to reinforce that link rather than having to re-establish it. It is like a refrain continually running in the background. Now place the objects on your altar however it feels right for you.

 

Finally, if appropriate, create and caste your circle so that it includes yourself and your altar. The magic circle defines the ritual area, holds in personal power and shuts out all distractions and negative energies. You now have a sacred space set up which is your link to the powers that be. Again it is a matter of personal choice as to whether you choose to re-dedicate your altar and what it contains on a regular basis

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Ritual Working, Spellcrafting, The Witch's Tools, Witchcraft | 1 Comment

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