Posts Tagged With: Esbat

Full Moon Magick For A Wednesday Eve


Full Moon Magick For A Wednesday Eve


For this Wednesday night esbat, we are working magick with the Norse god Odin. Odin is a trickster god, and in his search for wisdom he gained deep magickal knowledge. edge. This spell also works with the images of the tarot card the Hanged Man. This illustrated card has many links to the god Odin, as Odin hung on the tree for nine days to gather wisdom and was eventually rewarded with the runes.

The Hanged Man card tells you to look at things from a new perspective. It speaks of a time of a transitional period, astral travel, and meditation. If you look carefully at the Hanged Man card, you will see that while the fellow is hanging upside down from his foot, he looks pretty peaceful about the whole situation. This card symbolizes letting go of that which no longer serves your highest good. This card’s image illustrates the quiet search for inner wisdom and knowledge and the gaining of a new perspective on your current situation. Wednesdays are all about movement, communication, and change, so let’s take this energy and put it to good use. Combining this with the light and influence ence of the full moon only sweetens the deal and turns up the power of the witchery.


Insight and Gaining New Perspectives Spell

This spell works with the runes as one of its props. If you have a set of runes, this is definitely the time to break them out. If not, no worries. The runes are a nice link back to the god Odin, but in a pinch you could also draw a few rune sigils on a piece of paper and set that on your work area. Improvise and be creative. What do you think you could also add to this full moon spell?

• 1 purple candle (purple for spirituality and to align with the energies of Mercury)

• A coordinating candle holder

• A nail or pin to engrave the candle with Wednesday’s planetary symbol of Mercury

• A black feather or a picture of a raven (this bird was sacred to Odin, and the raven represents mystery and magick)

• The Hanged Man tarot card

• Your tarot deck, set off to the side

• Runes scattered across the work surface or a drawing of a few runes

• A lighter or matches

• A safe, flat surface on which to set up the spell

Carefully engrave the Mercury symbol on the candle. Place the candle in its holder and then arrange the rest of the spell components to your liking. You may certainly embellish this spell by adding a statue or image of Odin, if you choose. This full moon spell is designed to help you look at things from a new perspective and to receive some inspiration, so put on your thinking cap and be imaginative. Take a few moments to ground and center yourself. Then light the purple candle and speak the following verse:

Odin, hear my call on this full moon night

Grant me wisdom and improve my insight

May I gain a new perspective at this time

Bless me with peace and inspiration divine

I now release that which no longer serves

This change begins with the sound of my words.

If you choose, this would be an excellent time to meditate and see what Odin has to tell you. Lay your hands on the card, feather, and runes. Take a deep breath and relax. Now let your mind open, and see what you learn. When you are finished, close the spell with these words:

By the power of Wednesday’s witchery

This spell is sealed; I set the magick free!

Allow the candle to burn out in a safe place. Clean up your other spell supplies. Save the feather or raven picture for future magick. Return the card to the tarot deck, and gather up all your runes. If you like, now is the perfect time to do a simple reading with your runes or your tarot cards. Ask for clarity and for insight, then draw three cards or stones and see what Odin has to say.


-Ellen Dugan, Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week


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WOTC Extra – Ten Questions You Should Be Able to Answer After a Year and A Day

WOTC Extra – Ten Questions You Should Be Able to Answer After a Year and A Day

1.) How would you define Witchcraft?

How would you define Wicca?

What would you say if asked? Are you able to discuss the history of the Craft and how Wicca relates to Magick?

2.) Upon what premise does the moral foundation of the Wicca rest?

Do you consider yourself a practitioner of the dark arts or the white- (or light) magickal arts? Why do you think this?

03.) Explain what is meant by divination.

Explain what is meant by the following terms:

aura reading,



magick mirror,



Have you found a favorite method of divination?

What is this method?

Have you become skilled at this, and how skilled?

Do you consider yourself a Master of the Art?

Are you practicing this form of divination for yourself and others on a regular basis, and if not, why not?

04.) Are you thoroughly familiar with some form of the healing arts?

What do you know about the following:

color or sound therapy,


herbal healing?

Which of these have you studied enough to have become quite familiar with the healing art?

Are you a Master of the Art?

Do you intend to become a Master?

Have you begun your hand-written herbal or other log of your healing practice?

05.) Have you accumulated all your magickal tools?

How many of these tools have you made yourself?

What was given to you?

Why did this object become a part of your magickal collection?

Are these tools all consecrated?

Why are they consecrated?

Are you knowledgeable enough about the uses of all these tools to be able to explain their uses to another?

06.) If someone, a friend perhaps, comes to you for help in the following areas, can you help them?

The areas might be love, health, wealth, protection, uncrossing, legal aid, self-help or development.

Could you devise a spell to help him or her? Would you? Why? Why not?

Could you include all the proper correspondences, talismans, stones, crystals, candles?

Would you be able to cast the spell during the correct phase of the Moon, the most auspicious day of the week and hour of the day?

Have you kept accurate records of your magickal work in your Book of Shadows or hand-written Magickal Diary?

If not, why not?

07.) Are you able to explain the Sabbats and Esbats?

Can you perform an impromptu ritual for each?

Have you begun your personal hand-written Book of Shadows?

08.) Are you familiar enough with any of the Pentagram Rituals to explain them to others?

09.) Have you composed at least two complete Sabbat rituals and a full or new Moon ritual, incorporating all the proper correspondences;

astrological timing,

proper god and goddess forms for the particular ritual,

the correct candles,

scents, invocations, etc?

10.) Can you explain why Wicca is important to you -and why you wish to become a Witch and Wiccan?

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The Law

Witchy Comments & Graphics
The Law

 We are of the Old Ways, among those who walk with the Goddess and God and
receive Their love.

Keep the Sabbats and Esbats to the best of your abilities, for to do otherwise
is to lessen your connection with the Goddess and God.

Harm none. This, the oldest law, is not open to interpretation or change.

Shed not blood in ritual; the Goddess and God need not blood to be duly

Those of our ways are kind to all creatures, for hurtful thoughts are quiet
draining and aren’t worth the loss of energy.

Misery is self-created; so, too, is joy, so create joy and disdain misery and
unhappiness. And this is within your power. So harm not.

Teach only what you know, to the best of your ability, to those students who
you choose, but teach not to those who would use your instructions for
destruction or control. Also, teach not to boost pride, forever remember: She
who teaches out of love shall be enfolded in the arms of the Goddess and God.

Ever remember that if you would be of our way, keep the law close to your
heart, for it is the nature of the Wicca to keep the Law.

If ever the need arises, any law may be changed or discarded, and new laws
written to replace them, so long as the new laws don’t break the oldest law of
all: Harm None.

Blessings of the Goddess and God on us all.

(* Wicca – S. Cunningham)

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The Importance of Pre-Ritual Preparations

The Importance of Pre-Ritual Preparations

Author:   Colleen Criswell   

Most, if not all of us, who perform rituals and spell work, lead busy and eventful lives. During the day we go to work or school, we run errands, do housework, take care of our families, take care of our pets, deal with our responsibilities that we have in life. We all have stresses, worries, anxieties, regrets, angers, disappointments, frustrations, sorrows that we face. We have our excitements, joys, pleasures, passions, involvements, hopes, dreams, and wishes. All of these different emotions and energies that surround us in our day-to-day lives.

At the same time, we are all on our own personal spiritual paths. We have taken upon ourselves to open our minds and gain more knowledge of our chosen religion and belief and faith system. In our practices with rituals and spell casting, we have a knowledge and understanding of the energies we are raising and sending out, however life does go on and with it are the natural ups and downs that we face with our responsibilities as functioning human beings living in the world today.

How is it that we can deal with a balance of these energies? How do we manage working with positive energies and focusing on our ritual energies when we have had a stressful or bad or even a wonderful and exciting day?

How is it we can separate and have a nice balance of our personal energy with our magickal energy we are working with?

Remember, none of these things have to be done at all. But by even just doing one thing suggested here, you may find that your spell and ritual work is more potent because of the little extra boost that these suggestions can add to your experience.

At the school we hold rituals online for every Sabbat and every Esbat. We also hold other rituals that your fellow students create for class projects. These rituals are usually done in the evening, and where time zone issues can be a factor, there are things that can be done to help ease your self from “Muggle” life to “Magickal” life.

As always, you know when each ritual the school is holding will be, normally, a month in advance. This means you have plenty of time to get the materials you need for the ritual. By immediately gathering things that you need for a ritual ahead of time, you are taking away a lot of the stress and anxiety of being unprepared for the ritual. It also gives you time to charge any new tools you may need or find suitable substitutions for items that are on the list that you do not have.

Waiting to the last minute will have you scrambling around to find what you need. You may find you do not have an important element for the ritual or a suitable substitution. You may be working with tools that have an energy that may not be compatible with the work you are doing. This may hinder the desired result.

So, you have all the items you need. So what, you come home from work, get dinner, put the kids to bed, walk the dog, set up and do the ritual, right? Sure you could do that. But what about the stress that you had from the workday? The fact you burnt the chicken? You son just dumped baby powder all over the rug? You have a test or a presentation to give tomorrow? You are out of toothpaste?

All of these things effect you, effect your emotions, your energy, and in essence your ability to concentrate on your ritual and the magick you are working on. No, it won’t make these things go away, but if you do some pre-ritual preparation it can help you adjust from those stresses and allow them to be put aside for the time being.

This way we can focus on what it is that we are doing.

There are a number of different ways you can make this transition, the thing is you have to take the time to do it, make the known effort and possibly make adjustments to your schedule. I do understand that due to time limitations and schedules and things that need to be done in every day life may cause obstacles for you.

You might feel that you are unable to do these things. The rituals run at 8pm EST, but you live in California, so that makes the ritual start at 5pm PST. You get home at 4:45. You have to fix something to eat for the family or check the kids’ homework first or a million other things.

List out what it is that you normally do when you get home. Is it possible to make any adjustments to these things? A typical ritual runs one hour. So, if you get home at 4:30, your ritual begins at 5:00, it is easy to estimate that it will conclude at 6:00 or around there.

Can you adjust your schedule so that you check the homework a little bit later? Is it possible that someone else will be willing to make dinner for the family that night or is it possible to create the meal the day before so it just needs a few minutes to heat up? Is it possible to get off work a little early that day? We are talking about something that we do once or twice a month.

Is it a lot to ask for one hour from your families to pursue this?

Many people share computer space with other members of the family, so you may not be able to use your computer desk as a permanent personal and sacred space. If this is the case, since you know when the ritual is going to be, gather your tools the night before the ritual to make sure you have every thing you need.

If you can have them set up the night the before and you know they will be undisturbed, by all means get your space ready and set up. This makes it one less thing you need to worry about. If you cannot have it set up the night before, then bring your tools into the room where you will be having it.

It is good to keep them in a container so that people know that this is for something specific and not to move or mess with it. Keep it in the area where you will be having the ritual. Now, as you know when we have the online rituals I ask that you join the room no later than fifteen minutes before the actual ritual begins. Just because you are logged into the chat room does not mean you have to be sitting at your computer.

So when you get home, set up your space, log into the chat room. I usually open the chat room an hour before the ritual is to take place. You now have your tools set up.

Ready to start the ritual? No, not yet.

One aspect of pre ritual preparation that we hear of a lot, but many do not incorporate is the pre-ritual bath. Now many people might say, especially if they are the ones getting home at 4:30 and only have 30 minutes or less before the ritual, I am not going to spend the time to draw a bath!

Then there are people who do not have bathtubs or simply do not like to take baths. One thing that you can do is a ritual shower. Another argument is “But I took a bath or shower this morning, do I really need to take another one?”

Now why is it that ritual baths and rituals showers are important before a ritual? What purpose do these activities accomplish? What all is involved in a ritual bath or shower?

When we hear these words, the images that usually pop into mind are, for a bath a long relaxing lounge in bubbles with maybe some candles maybe some music playing. A shower is usually considered something quick, cleansing your body fast and efficient. A ritual bath and ritual shower are not about physically cleaning yourself.

The purpose of a ritual bath or shower is to remove negative energy from you and to put you in the proper mindset before a ritual. Now this can also be done simply by using sage incense to smudge yourself, however where this is a fast and simple quick fix, it may not be enough.

The element of water is in tune with our emotions. It can be an amplifier for your emotions and it can be soothing to them as well. After a long day where maybe you had a rough day at the office, maybe you got a nasty call from a bill collector, you daughter’s teacher called you and she is failing math, your sister’s water just broke and is off to have her first child, you have a hot date tomorrow night. All of these things are running in your mind. With all of this built up energy, how might it affect your magickal work?

Taking a bath or a shower is relaxing. Allowing the water to carry some of that excess energy away from your system. When you add other elements to it, you can purify and cleanse your energies to prepare you to do what magickal work that you have planned.

For a bath, I would recommend adding salt to the water. You can use something as simple as table salt or use sea salt. However, for this type of thing I would not suggest bath salts that are commercially made or bath beads or bubbles. To purify, just water and salt is all you need. If you feel that your energy needs a positive or protective boost I would add a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar. This helps cleanse and balance the aura. You would put these elements into the bath as you are running the water to help disperse the energies.

Next, think of the type of ritual you will be doing. What sort of energies are you going to be working with? Check your correspondence charts for proper oils, stones, incense, even music that might help aid in the energies you are planning on raising.

For instance, if we are doing a ritual to help increase your psychic abilities, I know that lavender and amethyst both help aid in this. I also know that the color purple promotes strengthening your psychic abilities. So, for my bath I would light some purple candles, light some lavender incense, put some amethyst stones into the bath water, and then once my bath is completely ready I would drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil. I would then soak for no less than ten minutes. Allowing myself to relax. Breathing in the scents, absorbing the energies, meditating on opening my Third Eye Chakra.

This can also be done for a shower. If you can close the drain, do so. Gathering the water in the bottom as you shower. Again place the salt, vinegar, oil, stones that you are going to use to aide you in the energy that you need to bring in. Also, get a washcloth, and create a bundle. In the bundle put the salt and some of the essential oil that you are planning on using, and then using the base of the bundle you have created scrub yourself. Focusing on the energies you are removing and on the energies you are bringing in.

Now we have finished with our bath or shower and have dried off. Next what is it we should be wearing? Depending on your personal tradition, you might choose to practice skyclad. However, there are times when skyclad may not be appropriate.

Having ritual wear is not mandatory, however it is a way you can prepare yourself for what it is you are going to do. Our clothes that we wear from day to day also attract energies. Also, remember, colors have specific energies as well.

When you are doing magickal work it is good to make sure that all the energies you are working with are in sync. Taking the time to wear something special for your ritual work also puts you in a more relaxed and proper state of mind. Removing the “Muggle” clothing, as it were, into your ritual robes is a ritual all unto itself.

I have created not only my ritual robes, but I also have specific jewelry that I wear only for ritual work. I also have created slippers for my ritual work. Many of us may like to go around barefoot, but there are times when we may need the protection. Deciding on ritual wear doesn’t have to be extravagant. If you can afford a bulky medieval costume and feel comfortable with it, then by all means wear it, or if you find a simple cotton nightdress that you like, then by all means use that.

One thing I will mention about ritual wear, proper care and storage is important. Our ritual wear is part of our magickal tools. Just as your athame or wand or incense, it is to be respected and cared for. Also, just as you would with any ritual tool, you should charge it with energy and consecrate it. We will discuss more on ritual wear in another discussion.

When putting on your ritual wear, don’t just throw it on, take your time and focus on each item you are putting on, and what it represents to you. Feel your own transformation from the busy executive or housewife into a practitioner of magick.

Now you are ready to sit down and perform your ritual.

Now, before I end, please note, that these are not the only ways of preparing yourself before a ritual. When you understand the different correspondences, the different vibrations that certain colors, scents, stones, foods and music give off, you can incorporate it all in your entire day.

Wear colors that promote the energy that you are going to be raising during the day, even if it is just one item in the color. Wear a scent that will draw the energies to you. Wear or carry gems or stones.

If you do daily devotions, focus on the deities that will help you create that energy. Also, your whole day can reflect the energy you are going to be raising that evening. If you can find ways that are appropriate, do it, try it.

One of my favorite things, as I am a Kitchen Witch is to eat foods that might be known to assist with the energy I am planning on working with. I usually plan a menu for a special dinner around it, but also I do start in the morning with breakfast and through out the day I try to think of what the energy is I am going to work with and what things I can eat that will add to it.

This is why I make you create so many charts here at the school. When you understand your correspondence charts; know the colors, numbers, symbols, herbs, foods, drinks, teas, deities, times of the day, when you have this information, why not use it to your advantage?

Now let me give you an example of a day of preparation for me that I would do. Keep in mind I am a stay at home mom, so I do know that what I do may not work with your own personal schedule, I am just giving you an idea to help you come up with your own plan.

Lets go back to the example I gave before, on a ritual for increasing your psychic abilities. Things I might do to prepare during the day would be:

I know that purple is a color that I associate with psychic awareness. So, I would wear my purple shirt or add a purple scarf to my clothes, or even wear purple underwear.

I know that the Third Eye Chakra is used when working with your psychic abilities. So during the day I would do meditations and exercises that I know help open and balance the Third Eye Chakra.

I know that the number 7 is associated with psychic energy, so maybe during the day I would do things in 7’s or possibly I would have a snack of 7 slices of apple.

Speaking of foods, I know that dandelion leaves, grapes, olives, lavender, beans, cheese, eggs, tea, anise, cloves, marigold, onion, peppermint, yarrow, cinnamon, poppy, saffron, thyme, celery, rosemary, chamomile, corn, lettuce, among other things can help promote psychic abilities. So I can choose recipes and plan my meals using some of these items.

I know amethyst is a gem associated with divination and psychic abilities. So I would wear jewelry that has this stone in it.

I know that the runic symbol Laguz; the planetary symbols of the Moon, Neptune and Pluto; symbols of the Dark moon, spirals in the Deosil direction, representations of the Moon, the ocean, the pentacle, the rainbow, the scales, spirals, the Waning Crescent Moon, and the wind also help with this purpose.

I can put these images on the candles I will be using for my ritual, when I put on my scent, maybe draw the pattern, visualize the symbols during meditation, carve them into the food, trace the pattern as you stir something, or how about a snack? Take a piece of bread, and using a squeezable bottle of grape jelly draw the pattern onto the bread?

I know that lavender is associated with this, so I would possibly burn lavender incense during the day, or put a little lavender EO on my wrist. Maybe pick some fresh lavender and bring it into the home.

Prepare my ritual space in advance.

Create a special meal for my family that uses the ingredients, numbers, and symbols that I know will help enhance my psychic abilities.

Take time during the day for reflection and meditate on Selene and Pan or other deities who are associated with divination and psychic abilities.

Research psychic abilities and new forms of divination.

Take a pre ritual bath with salt, lavender oil, amethyst crystals, lavender incense and purple candles.

Turn on some soothing New Age music

Dress myself in my ritual wear

Perform my ritual

When you put your mind set into what it is you are planning on raising, energy wise, you will find that not only does it add to your entire experience, it transforms the entire day into a magickal day. Our magick doesn’t have to be only on Sabbats or Esbats. Our magick doesn’t have to only be practiced at the main altar you have set up. Magick can be done all day, every day. These tips and ideas don’t have to be only done pre-ritual. You can incorporate these things into just about any part of your life. It is simply deciding to take the effort to do so.

So, to recap:

Have your items in advance. Make sure your tools are ready for your work before the ritual is to take place.

Try to give yourself time to prepare yourself for your ritual.

Take a pre-ritual bath or shower to help balance your energies and use tools to help increase the energies you are going to be working with.

Put on your ritual wear.

During your day, incorporate the elements or theme of the ritual into what you wear, what you eat, and what you do.

Even if you just take the time to do one little extra thing, you will very likely notice the difference in your magickal work. If you start doing this in your everyday life, you may find it a bit more magickal.

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The Circle of the Witch

The Circle of the Witch

Within this sacred circle, two main activities occur: celebration, and the practice of magic. Celebration is most important at the major seasonal holy days,  the Sabbats. At these times, the myths of that particular holiday are enacted in ritual drama, and dancing, singing, feasting, and revelry are all part of  the festivities. On these occasions we celebrate our oneness with life on Earth, as well as assimilating on the deepest level myths and archetypes which map  and assist our own life-passages.

Magic is more often performed at smaller gatherings, called Esbats, which coincide with the phases of the moon. Types of magic  practiced include psychic healing sessions, the focus and direction of energy to achieve positive results, and work toward the individual spiritual  development of the coven members. Magic is an art which requires adherence to certain principles, and a conscious direction of will toward the desired end.  We believe it to be an attribute of magic that results toward which the will is directed return to the sender threefold. Therefore, Witches are very  conscientious in their use of magic.

When the celebration, teaching, or magical work is finished, the blessing of the Goddess (and God) is called into food and drink which  are shared by all. The circle is opened, and the space is no longer consecrated.

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WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT – The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide


The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide

Steven S. Sadleir

Wicca, or Witchcraft is the old religion of Europe, which apparently evolved from Druidism.  Wiccan is generally a term applied to a “Wise One” or “Magician”, and Wicca is the practice of “magic”, which is the application and utilization of natural laws.  As Witchcraft competed as a religion with Christianity (the ‘new’ religion) in the Christianized Western World, witchcraft became repressed as a form of paganism (i.e., a Primative Teaching) and was given an evil stigma, and therefore was not practiced openly.  However, with the repeal of the English Witchcraft Act in 1951, many covens, or congregations, have opened up to teh public and many new groups have formed. There are now dozens of Wiccan orgnaizations in the United States and Europe, with perhaps, thousands of active Wiccans and Witches.  Most witches practicing the craft publicly are considered ‘white’ witches, that is, they yse their knowledge for good ends and practice the Wiccan Creed: “Ye hurt none, do as ye will.”  Black Witches (which has recieved most of the notoriety, but are considered a minority) are generally not visible to the public and use thier knowledge for selfish or evil means.  Satanism is NOT considered a form of witchcraft, but was created by people who believe there is a Satan, or Devil.

Wicca/Witchcraft generally involves some form of God or Goddess worship, and many involve the workings of spiritual guides as well.  Wicca/Witchcraft is a very individualized religion, and each person chooses his or her own deities to worship.  Generally, the supreme being is considered ‘genderless’ and is comprised of many aspects that may be identified as masculine or feminine in nature, and thus a God or Goddess.  Originally, the horned God of hunting represented the maculine facet of the deity, whereas the female qualities were represented in the fertility Goddess.  The Gods and Goddesses from the personalities of the supreme being, and are a reflection of the attributes that worshippers seek to emulate.  Wiccans may draw upon the ancient civilizations of the Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or other polytheistic cultures to commune with the particular aspect of the deity that they identify with.  Some favorite gods include Osiris, Pan, Cennunnos, and Bacchus.  Facotie Goddesses include Isis, Caridwen, Rhea, Selene, and Diana.

Wiccans generally observe the four greater Sabbaths of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Laghnasadh; and the lesser Sabbaths – the Spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.  There celebrations are typically free-spirited, and are sometimes held ‘skyclad’ (naked) or in various styles of robes.  Other services include handfasting (marriage), handparting (divorce) and wiccaning (birth rite).  Regular meetings, called Esbats are also held, at which magic and healing are performed.  Wiccans/witches meet in small groups (up to twelve) called a coven, whcih typically join with other covens to form a ‘Grove’.

Rituals are typically held outside and consist of forma a circle and erecting the temple (consecrating the circle); invoking, praising, and soliciting assistance from gods, goddesses, and elementals; observing the change of season and energies represented by the various seasons; singing; dancaing; ‘cakes and ale’ (sharing of bread and wine); and clearing the temple. Personal practive includes meditation and prayer, divination, development of personal will and psychic abilities through spells and various forms of healing.  Most Wiccans/witches have altars where they burn candles and incense and practice thier rites.  To perform thier rites, other tools of the craft are used, such as an athame, yag-disk or, seaux (a handmade and consecrated knife), a sword, a wand, and sometimes special jewelry, amulets or talismans (magically empowered objects).  Sometimes these objects are inscribed with magical writings. Joining a coven or grove typically involves an initiation, which is stylized by each individual group, but generally involves the confirmation that the initiate understands the principals and an oath of secrecy.

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Balancing Ourselves

Balancing Ourselves

Author:   Moonspider   

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

So says the line from the Charge. Does this mean we are wishy-washy? Quite the contrary. It indicates a balance that we all must come to deal with everyday of our lives, magickally and mundanely. If we don’t we become unbalanced and unhealthy.

Because of this, we must recognize a lack of balance in others we come in contact with daily. They have their own sh*t to deal with, and they can be off too. And, from time to time, people do need sympathy and understanding. Given appropriately this can be very helpful and therapeutic. It is when compassionate people go overboard and enable the suffering to go on that it is inappropriate.

I will share another segment of my own experience with this. Some of you may know that in 1998 my world got turned upside-down with emergency brain surgery. Parts of that are in other essays here on The Voice, so I won’t rehash it all.

In a nutshell, a sinus infection traveled (yes, infections can move), it jumped the protective blood-brain barrier. Not a good thing since blood and its products are caustic to brain tissue. This caused an abscess (simply a puss-ball). So, I took ill at work while talking to a colleague, lost consciousness, woke up 2 1/2 days later with what resembled half a yarmulke on my head. Plus my head felt like it had been run over by an 18-wheeler.

I definitely needed compassion. I received it. Friends (and at times like these you find out who they really are) were great during the healing process. Much magick was done for me, and folks were understanding. Best of all, they treated me like me. Which is probably the most helpful in all healing situations.

Some friends, well-intentioned, kept after that, how are you, you know what I mean. Well that was fine for a while, but it’s over. I am not my abscess. We are not our illnesses. These times are tools to learn with. And yes, I did learn a great deal about myself during this period. As I should have. You can’t have an experience like this and not.

Can I ever forget it? No. I mean I have a j-hook shaped scar crowning my head to remind me of it. Life does go back to normal, whatever normal is. After years of working with mental health related areas, normal is relative.

I will always be grateful for the compassion bestowed on me by the community. It was necessary. It has also helped me be compassionate to people who need it. I’ve also been able to help others who’ve had brain surgery, seizure activity and stroke, since many experiences have related aspects.

So, my compassion is not limited to this community alone. As it shouldn’t. We are a Witch always, not just at Sabbats and Esbats. This comment likened to the Sunday, or Christmas Christian. Though I found true compassion from many communities, Pagan and not, during my healing process. I was dealt with as a person who needed help.

And, I got it. My healing was very rapid. Within less than a week I was out of the hospital. Because I was now prone to seizure activity I could not drive for 3 months. People were wonderful at keeping in contact however they could. Picked me up and took me places I wouldn’t have been able to get to otherwise. I try and remember this as I work.

Actually it fits in perfectly with the work that I do as a librarian for a state agency. My customers have problems, that need to be solved with information. Because of the work our agency does, I need to be aware that the customer needs the information to help a client. They are compassionate to the client. I in turn, need to be compassionate about both needs, since what I will provide will ultimately effect both of them. And, myself to a certain degree. I can’t handle all the information that I come in contact with, without being affected by it.

I need to be compassionate to my own needs too. This does not mean feeling sorry for ones’ self. Just a realistic understanding of what you can reasonably deal with.

Remember the flip side to compassion is power as we utter the Charge. We have to understand both. My own experience certainly has made me more powerful as a person. Understand this, you can face anything. And, I do mean anything.

In my own healing process, I had to face every single demon I had. Real or imagined. I took power back from them. They had been leeching off vital energies from me. It was the most terrifying, exhilarating, and easy thing I’d done.

Terrifying, because who really likes confrontation of anything, much less your own demons? Why do we create such monsters for ourselves? Growth, I suppose.

Exhilarating, because of the freedom it gave me. Now I am unencumbered by nonsense that had been hanging on—some of it for a lifetime.

Easy, yes, easy. Ultimately it was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. What else did I have to do? I was in the hospital for a week, drugs kept me awake for half of that, probably hallucinating for half of that. Great breeding ground for demons. One by one they came. When you face a demon squarely in the eye, it usually dissolves. You may have to talk to it, hit it, or, laugh at it. Demons don’t know what to do with laughter. Laughter is great healing medicine.

What did this leave me? A much more powerful person. Things that used to bother me don’t. Oh, do I get annoyed, sure, especially at stupidity. I’ve become much more cognizant of our internal power. For remember this. No matter how much others want to help, the only one who can truly help you is you. With others being compassionate, especially at trying times, it makes that process easier.

Please remember that power is knowing just the right amount of energy to use. A truly powerful person rarely exerts much energy. They simply know how to tap the source. The power is within. Be sympathetic to those in need, for you never know when you will need it, too. Both, power and compassion, are achieved, not owned¹.

1. Kerr Cuhulain, Wiccan Warrior (St. Paul, MN : Llewellyn Publications, 2000), pp. 22, 84, 117.

Mark MoonSpider Sosnowski

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A Coven of Solitaries

A Coven of Solitaries

Author:   Lady Abigail   

Over the last year since we began Ravensgrove Coven here in Florida, I have received hundreds of emails asking how it works and how is it possible to have a Coven of Solitary Witches. I am Lady Abigail, High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven and how it works is with perfect love and perfect trust and some gentle patience given by all.

First and foremost we are each Solitary Witches in our own right with our own traditions, beliefs and Deities. We do not seek permission at any time from anyone to practice or work our Craft individually or together. We simply share with and commit ourselves to those we call family within the Ravensgrove Coven.

There are many Witches who are self-dedicated and self-initiated. There are more Solitary Witches now than ever within the Craft. We are Witches proud of our diversity, personal independence and strength. Nevertheless we don’t always have a voice in our magickal society. While we Solitaries are a valid and legitimate spiritual group within many differing paths, we also face a few unique dilemmas. We have trouble finding others of like mind and heart with whom to share our faith. We normally spend Sabbats and Esbats on your own. We have a hard time finding others to converse with who have experience or who could help us with rituals, spells and magick.

For good or bad most of our knowledge and information comes from books or the Internet; although these are excellent places for finding information, they are not always accurate. Sifting through the truth and someone’s perceptions of the truth can be difficult at best. Many times this information will push us toward a belief within the Craft that is not completely our own. I have met some who have found themselves choosing Deities because of books or the Internet rather than seeking their own.

Ravensgrove Coven is made up of Solitary Witches. Each member brings their own unique skills and understanding into this new and eclectic gathering of Witches. A Coven consisting of a group of Solitary Witches with differing beliefs may sound like new territory. The idea of Solitary Witches coming together and having their own Coven, being a part of the whole yet still independent, sounds unusual to most.

On the contrary; this is not a new concept, but a very old one. If you consider those who were Witches in the Old World or harken to my great-grandmother’s time, each and every one was a Solitary Witch with her or his own beliefs. They had families, homes and lives. They were the healers, the teachers, and the wise men and women others would turn to in times of trouble. They came together without controversy whenever needed, to work magick, ritual and worship.

How can such a proposal work, Witches being both Solitaires and Coveners? Extremely well… This allows each member their personal freedoms within the Craft and yet they are all a part of a working, learning and growing Coven.

In truth, we are each individuals; our practices and beliefs are equally individual. We are all following our own personal spiritual and magickal path. Ravensgrove Coven is a gathering of like-minded souls who come together to meet, talk, study and work. However, at the same time, we all strive to be open-minded and accepting of each of our personal differences.

This is not always easy, being an eclectic combination of many different traditions. Within a Coven of Solitary Witches, most of whom have worked alone and independently – sometimes for years – it can at times be difficult. It’s not always easy to put aside one’s personal feelings and not eclipse another’s individual needs. If any one person within the group becomes rigid in their personal desires for how things should take place, someone else will feel their needs are unimportant. So a balance is always necessary. Learning what each individual Covener needs within rituals, magick and gatherings will bring the balanced blending needed. This is sometimes made easier when we remember we are each distinct Solitary Witches who independently work as we think best for ourselves. Even so, within a Coven of Solitaries everyone must be accepting and respectful of the requests and desires of all within the group.

A Coven of Solitaries should be a collective management; each member should learn, take part, and lead a meeting, ritual or work, as they feel comfortable. This will assure no problems in the personality area (ego) or someone feeling they are doing it all – both common problems within Covens.

When running the gathering, you should operate the Coven by the guidelines set within the group. There are “rules of consideration” when it comes to traditions and Witchcraft (be it Wicca, Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Celtic, Cajun, etc). Your Coven should have its on traditions. Commonly all Covens honor the Deities, the Gods or the Lord and Lady, in some fashion. The calling of the watchtowers or elements, casting circles and so forth are also common.

Having a good group of Coveners who share the foundation is an important requirement and is the cornerstone on which the Coven ensures progress. Members must feel comfortable with each other, as the interrelated energy of the whole circle is paramount in the success of any ritual or magickal work.

We have found that a Round Table is the perfect time to discuss things and works best when scheduled apart from the rituals, gatherings and work. This is the time for Coven business and a time to set forth plans for the rituals, meetings and gatherings. The Round Table is a time to discuss needs and work out problems that may arise. It is also the time for preparation of what work needs doing, who brings what when and where, who’s doing what and who cleans up afterwards.

For those wishing to begin such a Coven of Solitaries you must make sure you have the heart, background and degree of study to complete such a task. Personally I don’t believe just anyone should start a Coven. It is a lot of hard, constant work and you must be ready to give up a part of yourself to the Coven and its members.

Then you will need to find others that are also seeking to be a part of a Solitary Coven, with the understanding that they will not be giving up their own personal identity within the Craft. This can be done by contacting local metaphysical shops, book stores, and even online. Remember, this is a new concept so be ready to answer questions on what your goals are for this new group. Do be careful what personal information you give out about yourself to others – phone numbers, emails and so on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of nuts out there. It is a good idea to have each person interested in joining the Coven answer some questions that you feel would give insight into their personal beliefs within the Craft.

Set a time and date for the first meeting of those interested. It would be best if this could be a public place like a coffee house, library or book store. This is only a time to get to meet people and get to know them. See who you feel comfortable with, who seems open to others and accepting of everyone’s ideas. This is not the time to discuss details, just an overlay of plans. Once you get a feel for others you will be able to see how you want to go forward.

Finally one extremely important point to remember as you begin a new group or Coven: STORMS ARE NORMAL. Once your Coven moves past the “NEW” stage, you will find there will be a few bumps along the road; you will have members come and go for various reasons and you will have to make some adjustments. All this is normal when a new group of any kind is forming.

You will have to help members see that no one should assume the responsibility for what happens or for any little problems that may arise. All groups experience disappointments, setbacks, and some level of conflict occasionally. Especially in the beginning.

When groups come together for the first time, they are starting the step of forming. While forming, you know very little about each other, about common beliefs and hopes for the Coven that may have drawn everyone together. Everyone is on their best behavior, a little on eggshells because there is so much you don’t know about each other.

As you become more familiar with each other, you become more comfortable. Individual differences emerge, sometimes in contrast with your own Solitary practices. As a group, you will find you sometimes make assumptions with regard to each other’s beliefs and sensitivity.

As a fledgling group with little experience with each other and with untested agreements on dealing with conflicts, differences can boil quickly and tend to take their own course at times.

In distinguishing your Coven’s path you must work to resolve problems as you stumble through the storm. This storming is a natural occurrence in every group. It’s a passage that helps the group to come together to validate common beliefs and to determine new agreements in dealing with challenges as they arise.

This storming or growing results in the “personality of the Coven” emerging as group members put their individual preferences secondary to the greater vision for the Coven’s personality. But remember that you are different spirits with different personalities.

Once a problem arises you work to resolve it. But more importantly, you grow with new agreements and understanding on how to deal with such issues next time they arise. The coming together and new agreements allow the Coven to move forward, to be strengthened and to center on its true vision.

It’s the common vision that will keep you all together. It’s the diversity within the group that will make it strong and will enable you to achieve a greater vision than any of you could ever hope to attain! You are again Solitary Witches working within a single group, a Coven.

When the storms come, don’t quit. Don’t assume blame. Recognize the storms for what they are – storms. Don’t forget the feelings of excitement and great expectations you all had when you first came together…

May all those that walk along this path find truth and light.

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