Posts Tagged With: Scott Cunningham

Lammas’ Extras

Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments

Lammas’ Extras

Lughnasadh Incense

Recipe by Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense
1 part Heather
1 part Apple blossoms
1 pinch Blackberry leaves
a few drops Ambergris oil

Burn Lughnasadh Incense during Wiccan rituals on August 1st or 2nd, or at that time to attune with the coming harvest.

(The above recipe for “Lughnasadh Incense” is quoted directly from Scott Cunningham’s book “The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews”, page 76, Llewellyn Publications, 1989/1992)

Lughnassadh Oil

Put in soap or annoint candles
5 drops frankincense
5 drops rose
5 drops yarrow

Add a piece of wheat and a blackberry leaf with a cat’s-eye, citrine, and moss agate crystals. Very soothing.

Lammas Ritual Potpourri

Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

20 drops clove bud oil
25 drops sandalwood oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried pink rosebuds
2 cups dried red peony petals
1 cup dried amaranth flowers
1 cup dried heather flowers

Mix the clove bud and sandalwood oils with the oak moss and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

(The above recipe for “Lammas Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 163, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

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Another Beltane Incense

Beltane Incense

Recipe by Scott Cunningham
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Sandal wood
1 part Woodruff
1 part Rose petals
a few drops Jasmine oil
a few drops Neroli oil
Burn during Wiccan rituals on Beltane (April 30th) or on May Day for fortune and favors and to attune with the changing of the seasons.
(The above recipe for “Beltane Incense” is quoted directly from Scott Cunningham’s book “The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews”, page 60, Llewellyn Publications, 1989/1992.)
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Ostara Incense

Ostara Incense

Recipe by Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense 1 part Benzoin 1 part Dragon’s Blood 1/2 part Nutmeg 1/2 part Violet flowers (or a few drops Violet oil) 1/2 part Orange peel 1/2 part Rose petals

Burn during Wiccan rituals on Ostara (the Spring Equinox, which varies from March 20th to the 24th each year), or to welcome the spring and refresh your life.

(The above recipe for “Ostara Incense” is directly quoted from Scott Cunningham’s book: “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews”, page 83, Llewellyn Publications, 1992.)

 

Source

Ostara Lore

Researched and Compiled by StormWing

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Ostara Lore

Ostara Lore

 

Ostara (pronounced “O-STAR-ah”) is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, most often March 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd. The variance, as with all Solar festivals, is due to the differences between the actual astronomical event and our calendar, so be sure to check the calendar each year.

Other names this Sabbat is also called by are the Vernal Equinox or the Spring Equinox, Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Equinozio della Primavera (Aridian Strega), Alban Eiber (Caledonii Tradition or the Druids), Bacchanalia, Festival of the Trees, and Lady Day. Christians celebrate their holiday – Easter – near this same time and it is based on basically the same principles as ours in the Old Religion. Easter is actually determined in a very Pagan manner… it is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox.

This Sabbat is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. The forces of masculine energy and feminine energy are also in balance and this day marks paves the way for the coming lushness of Summer. Ostara is a time for the celebration of fertility and balance, a time when all elements within and without us are brought into harmony. A time of new life and rebirth, as well as the end of Winter.

Symbols used to represent Ostara include the egg (for fertility and reproduction) and the hare (for rebirth and resurrection), the New Moon, butterflies and cocoons. Symbolically, many Pagans choose to represent Ostara by the planting of seeds, potted plants, ringing bells, lighting new fires at sunrise, either in the fireplace (if the weather us still cold enough), in the the cauldron, or light a balefire (if outdoors). I always give myself a gift of a newly potted plant or take a seed and plant it within my cast Circle. Ritually, a fire may be lit in the cauldron during (not before) the rite itself. You may want to decorate your altar with a colorful bouquet of Spring wildflowers. Other traditional activities include working on magickal gardens and practicing all forms of herbal work — magickal, artistic, medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic.

Here is a traditional Vernal Equinox pastime according to Scott Cunningham: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers. Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them and it is also best to leave an offering to the plant and/or the Earth for taking the flowers, such as some milk and honey, a small crystal or even a coin. Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you’ve chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions. A particular suggestion from Scott Cunningham that I really enjoy each year is to do the following… at this time in the turn of the Wheel of the Year, when all things are green and renewed life is all around us, it is a very good idea to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. This is not simply for exercise, and you should be on no other mission. It isn’t even just an appreciation of Nature. You should make your walk celebratory, a ritual for Nature itself. Other Pagan activities may include the planting of your herb and/or vegetable garden.

Another very popular Ostara activity is decorating and coloring or dying hard-boiled eggs – or other eggs such as wooden or paper mache (I call them “Ostara Eggs”), and drawing Pagan and magickal symbols on the colored eggs. You could then choose to either keep the eggs, bury them in the Earth or cast them into a fire as offerings to the Goddess – the choice is yours. If I use hard- boiled eggs, I usually bury them in the Earth when the ritual is over, but – alternately – here is my personal choice… I usually make my eggs from the paper mache ones (the cost factor comes in to play here, they are a LOT cheaper than the wooden ones, but the wooden ones are much smoother). I buy them at the local craft store (such as Hobby Lobby). These eggs can be reused next year and you can even add new ones to the old, if you like. The first thing I do is paint them each a different color – whatever shade strikes me – whether it be dull, bright, pastel, or primary. Then I use gold and silver paint pens to draw Pagan designs and magicakl symbols all over them. You may opt to use other color combinations. It is entirely up to your personal choice. I have one egg that is totally covered with interconnected triangles (Triple Goddess), a couple with pentagrams and God and Goddess symbols, some with words written in Theban script, etc. Just let your imagination take you there – it’s a lot of fun!

Appropriate Deities for Ostara include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.

Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now. The most common colors associated with Ostara are lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. However, also appropriate colors include grass green, all pastels, Robin’s egg blue, violet, and white. Stones to use during the Ostara celebration include aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone. Animals associated with Ostara are rabbits and snakes. Mythical beasts associated with Ostara include unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus. Plants and herbs associated with Ostara are crocus flowers, daffodils, jasmine, Irish moss, snowdrops, and ginger. For Ostara incense, you could make a blend from any of the following scents or simply choose one… jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.

Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with Nature) include eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables. From Scott Cunningham: flower dishes such as stuffed nasturtiums or carnation cupcakes also find their place here. (Find a book of flower cooking or simply make spice cupcakes. Ice with pink frosting and place a fresh carnation petal on each cupcake. Stuff nasturtium blossoms with a mixture made of cream cheese, chopped nuts, chives and watercress.) Appropriate Ostara meat dishes should contain fish or ham.

May the Lord and Lady bless you all with fertility, abundance, success, and all things new!

 

Source:

Ostara Lore

Researched and Compiled by StormWing

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Journey To Witchcraft

Journey To Witchcraft

Author:   The Wild Sorceress  

Hello from an Australian Eclectic Witch. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I’ve been thinking about writing an essay for some time but as all procrastinators will tell you, it’s always the thinking, never the doing.

I have always been interested in witchcraft. I think the awareness and the interest started when I was 13, (inspired from seeing The Craft. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. But we all find our path in different ways).

I went to see the movie with three friends and at the end of the movie, like all teenage girls who are not considered ‘popular’ we thought “Wow this is for us”. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble the teenage way. And like all teenagers, my three friends lost interest fairly soon after.

The interest always stuck with me in various ways over the next few years but being in high school one has enough stress and doesn’t always find the time to delve into the spiritual.

So as the story goes, years later I was cleaning out my room and came across a book my parents had bought for me when I was 13 called The Nice Girl’s Book of Naughty Spells. (Yes you read correctly, my parents bought it for me).

I also came across articles I had ripped out of magazines and a booklet I had sent off for from the Church Of Wicca in Perth, WA. It grabbed me, and then it lost me. I began working and again, it took a back seat. I think at that stage in my life, it wasn’t time for me to walk the path. (Procrastination again).

I was about 22 when the interest became more of a spiritual need, a path I felt I needed to walk. I bought books to read. My first 2 were Witch A Personal Journey and A Magickal Year by Fiona Horne, followed soon by Book Of Shadows by Phyllis Currot and then finally Wicca by Scott Cunningham. It really hit me: this is what I wanted, and I felt it was right for me.

Luckily I didn’t have any religious conflicts. For all intents and purposes my mother was a single mother and she felt, not being religious herself, that she did not want to baptize her children (I have an older brother). She felt that we should feel free to pick our own path when we were old enough to understand what religion was. Suffice to say, Christianity was not for me.

I’ve always been an independent free thinker and the rules and rigmarole of organized religion was not for me.

The way I got here was interesting. As a general rule when I was younger, nature and its elements were actually very boring to me. I knew there were trees and flowers and things of that nature but it didn’t really impact me in any fashion. I used to hate helping my mother garden. Also, every time I tried to grow something it would die. The natural world, seemingly, was not my friend.

As I began to study witchcraft the natural held more interest and I felt better and more alive when I would go outside. We have this massive Oak tree in our yard and it is magnificent and really old. Now when I stand with it and look at it or touch the leaves, I feel an affinity I never thought I would. I feel a spiritual recognition, a connection with its beauty and its sense of history. I grow herbs under it and they flourish nourished by its shade. Being a fire sign, Oak is also one of my Celtic trees.

I feel my personal power growing. I have always had a strong sense of intuition and occasionally have psychic flashes that more often than not just leave me with a head spinning sense of déjà vu.

I am now able to grow herbs. I’m currently growing about 8 different kinds from seed and they are going really strong now. To me, this is a sign that the Goddess is helping me walk this path.

The one thing that originally boggled my mind was the amount of ‘things’ needed in witchcraft. There are athames and wands, chalices, censers, candles, herbs etc and I thought that my new path — although giving me great spiritual fulfillment — was going to drain my finances. But I have found that these items have come to me when I have needed them, not before. I think that instead of rushing out and buying everything all at once that if you wait, the Goddess will deliver. If not, I have 2 great recommendations for you.

EBay is a great place to get different ritual items. I got my first lot of herbs, most of my books, runes and two lovely wooden pentagram boxes from EBay.

Another is an Australian website called Uncle Festers. They have a club called the Cauldron Club and each month for 13 months they send you a package, slowly building up all your ritual supplies. Since being with them I haven’t really bought anything. I wait; it comes. I love it; it’s like my birthday every month.

My mother and stepfather have always been incredibly supportive of my choice (as has my brother and friends). I never had to worry about their disapproval. It breaks my heart when I read articles on here about new witches who fear rejection and anger from their parents if they share with them the news of walking the path of the Goddess. It’s sad that people are not flexible minded enough to realize that what may be good for them religion-wise is not always good for someone else.

My advice is to stay strong and be true to who you are because ultimately in this world, the only person who you have to please is yourself.

Wow, do I go on. So this is the story of a 24-year-old Eclectic Witch from Australia who wanted to write an article for Witchvox.

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The Herbal Code

This list will include the following: What planet and element works best with the herb, the magickal use and the general use of the herbs. Of course, there are multiple uses for all of the herbs, to list them all would be impossible.

The Herbal Code

In old magickal recipes and spells, strange ingredients are often called for that cannot always be taken literally. In one ancient Greco-Egyptian spell, the recipe called for “the navel of a male crocodile”, which really meant pond weed; “the heart of a baboon” meant oil of lily. The “sacrifice” in folklore was usually an egg buried in the ground.

Here’s what those unusual nouns really meant!

Adder’s tongue; Plantain
Bat’s Wing: Holly Leaf
Bat’s wool: Moss
Blood: Elder sap
Bloody fingers: Foxglove
Bodily Fluids: Houseleek
Brains: Congealed gum from a cherry tree
Bull’s blood: Horehound
Corpse candles: Mullein
Crocodile dung: Black earth
Dead Man: Ash or Mandrake root carved in a crude human shape or poppet
Dragon’s scales: Bistort Leaves
Ear of an ass: Comfrey
Ear of a goat: St. John’s Wort
Eyes: Eyebright
Fingers: Cinquefoil
Hair: Maidenhair fern
Hand: The expanded frond from a male fern used to make the true hand of glory, which is nothing more than a candle made of wax mixed with fern
Heart: Walnut
Lion’s tooth: Dandelion
Skin of a man: Fern
Skull: Skullcap
Snake: Bistort
Snake’s blood: Hematite stone
Tongue of dog: Hound’s tongue
Tooth or Teeth: Pinecones
Unicorn horn: True unicorn root
Worms: Gnarled, thin roots of a local tree

Information from The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch by Silver RavenWolf

Herb Harvest

Through you
Oh Mother Goddess,
All abundance is known;
Your love cheers the heart
And sustains the soul.
 

Misty summer mornings are ideal times for harvesting herbs. To enhance the magical power of your herbs, it is best to make every step in the gathering of herbs a magical one. Rise early and rinse your hands in cool water. Wearing clean colothing, or nude if location permits, go out into the garden. Bring with you a small basket, a clean cloth, and a cutting tool. The tool you use to harvest herbs should be one specially designed for this purpose, and duly consecrated. Any sharp blade will do, but a lovely way of honoring the Moon Goddess who presides over the growth of green things is to use a small sickle-shaped knife. The shining surface of the blade and its shape both connect it to the power of the moon tides.

Consecrating Herb Tools

Any consecration rite for objects can be used to bless your cutting tool. A simple rite is to wash the tool in fresh water, ideally rain water or water from a stream. As you rinse the implement, visualize all past influences and impurities leaving it. If you prefer, do this rite at night where you can catch the moonbeams in the shining surface of the blade.

Say these words or similar:

Mighty Goddess of all that grows
Bless this blade as moonlight glows
With this blade of shining power
Let me cut both herb and flower
So mote it be.

Take your newly consecrated blade and wipe it dry with a clean, white cloth. Place it in your basket, along with the cloth.

Harvesting Herbs

Approach the herb you have decided to harvest. Praise its beauty and abundance. Explain that in exchange for the careful care you have given to it, you will now, with its permission, take a small portion of it in return. The following is a harvesting prayer based on one favored by Scott Cunningham, and should be said while touching the herb to be harvested with the point of the harvesting knife.
You have grown by favor of the Sun, the Moon, and the dew. I make this request, herb, I ask you to be of benefit to me and my art, for your virtues are unfailing. You are the dew of all the gods and goddesses, the eye of the Sun, the light of the Moon, the beauty and glory of the sky, the mystery of the earth. I purify you so that whatever is wrought by me with you may, in all its powers, have a good and speedy effect with good success. Be purified by my prayer and be powerful.

Cut some of the herb. Shake off any excess dew. Set the sprigs carefully on the cloth or into the basket. To retain maximum magical power, the herbs should not touch the ground. Do not harvest from plants that are not fully grown, and never take more than about a quarter of the plant. If you are harvesting roots or bulbs, always leave enough to ensure next year’s growth. After collecting the plant, you may want to leave an offering, particularly if you are gathering wild plants that you did not tend while they were growing. A silver coin, small crystal, bit of bread, or a few grains of a fertilizing compound are all appropriate offerings to the spirit of the plant.

 

Drying Herbs

Dry your herbs by tying them in bunches and hanging them up in a warm, dry area that is free of sunlight and dust. If you are harvesting the herbs for seed, tie brown paper bags loosely around each bunch of hanging herbs. The bag will catch the seeds, which fall away from the foliage as it dries. When the herbs are dry. Gently shake them before removing the bag to loosen any additional seeds.


If you need to hasten the drying process, place the herbs on a cookie sheet in a low-heat oven, checking them frequently to be sure that they do not turn brown. Store in clean, dry, airtight jars, preferably of amber or cobalt blue glass. Keep jars out of direct sunlight.

 

Some Magical Uses of Herbs

Love: Cardamom, chickweed, cinnamon, clove, lavendar, lemon balm, rose, rosemary, tansy, vanilla, violet, yarrow.

Good Luck: Allspice, heather, nutmeg.

Healing: Angelica, bufdock, cinnamon, eucalyptus, hyssop, lemon balm, peppermint.

Prosperity: Basil, benzoil, bergamot, cinnamon, cinquefoil, lemon balm, mint.

Protection: Alyssum, angelica, basil, bay, garlic, mullein, rue, sunflower, white sage.

Psychic Skills: Angelica, anise, bay, borage, cinnamon, fennel, mugwort.

Purification: Anise, bay, chamomile, clove, copal, fennel, lavender, white sage.

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Obtaining Herbs: Collection

Obtaining Herbs

Collection

Walking in the woods, striding through deserts, climbing mountains or strolling along beaches are refreshing activities in and of themselves. When combined with a quest for magickal herbs they can be exciting adventures.

There are some basic ideas to follow here:

*Collect only what you need. Do you really need five paper sacks full of mugwort?

*Attune with the plant before collecting from it. You may do this by placing your hands around it and feeling its energies, chanting a simple rhyme or a few words that describe why you’re taking part of its energy(leaves and flowers), and/or by placing an object of worth in the soil at the base of the plant. If you have nothing else with you, put a coin or dollar bill beneath the plant before havesting. This represents your willingness to give of yourself in exchange for the plant’s sacrifice.

*Never collect more than 25 percent of the plant’s growth. If you’re collecting roots you must, of course, take the whole plant, so be sure to leave other nearby plants of the same type untouched.

*Don’t collect after rain or heavy dew. At least, not until the Sun has dried the plants. Otherwise they might mold while drying.

*Choose your collection site carefully. Never collect plants near highways, roads, stagnant or polluted waters, near factories or military installations.

To dry herbs you’ve harvested, strip off the leaves of flowers and lay on ceramic, wooden or steel racks in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight. Or place them in baskets and shake the herbs daily until dry. Store in airtight, labelled jars.

Scott Cunningham

“The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews”

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Obtaining Herbs: Purchasing

Obtaining Herbs

Purchasing

Many of the ingredients used in herb magick come from far-flung parts of the globe. While I’d love to grow a sandalwood tree on my front porch, it’s just not possible.

So many herbs have to be purchased. This doesn’t lessen them in any way; in fact, the herb trade ensures that plant materials which would otherwise be unavailable can be obtained and used in magick.

Use mail-order herb and essential oil suppliers, you will be able to buy magickal herbs from around the world while sipping herb teas in your living room.

Then again, most larger cities and towns have at least one herb shop or health food store which stock herbs.Check your phone book.

Take care when buying essential oils. If the salesperson say, “Yes, it’s real jasmine oil!” and it carries a $3.00 price tag, it’s real synthetic jasmine oil. Even those oils labelled “essential” are usually the products of the laboratory rather than of the fields.

One good yardstick is price. Most true essential oils sell for between $10 and $40 per 1/3 or 1/2 ounce. Some, such as camomile, yarrow, cardamom, neroli, jasmine and rose can be far costlier. Buy carefully!

Synthetics have long been used in magickal herbalism, but I urge you to use only true essential oils.

Regarding herbs: Many stores can’t be relied upon to lay in fresh stock at regular intervals, so the rosemary you buy may be several years old. In general, choose dried herbs with bright colors, with few stem pieces and with fresh smells.

Avoid all herbs that are mostly stem, that have varying discoloration, are insect-damaged or moldy. Also avoid any with little scent if the herb is usually heavily fragranced.

Buying by mail complicates this process–its tough to determine whether the frankincense you’ve ordered is top quality. Simply avoid ordering more herbs from suppliers who send you lesser quality herbs.

And remember–suppliers are at the mercy of the growers. Obtaining a year-round supply of first-grade herbs is often difficult. So use what you can find and hunt for better supplies in the future.

Scott Cunningham

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews

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