SOLITAIRE IMBOLC RITUAL by Micheal Hall Note - by Matrika - this ritual was written by someone I knew from the Boston MA. area a couple of years back. It is based on a combination of the lore of the Wicca and some of the afro-caribbean diaspora traditions of Paganism and Magick. ================================================================== On your altar should be placed a circle of 13 stones and, within the circle of stones, a circle of 13 candles. Within the circle of candles should be spread some maize - i.e. corn meal - and in that a waxen female candle to symbolize the Goddess on your altar. On the eastern side of the altar should be placed a small sheaf of grain with a candle inserted inside it. You should dress in your usual ceremonial garb for Magickal rites or skyclad, as you prefer. Retire to bathe in salt-water (use sea salt) before the ritual. As you do so picture the water cleansing the soul and spirit, just as it cleanses the body. When you have dressed, anoint yourself with a holy oil. When you have prepared yourself, sit in a dim quiet place and light a candle - ONE THAT IS NOT BEING USED IN THE RITES - and meditate on how at this time of year the Goddess in her fiery aspect AS LIGHT was welcomed back into the Temples and the Homes of the land. Take this candle and walk slowly to your altar. Place it in the circle of the 13 candles. Then light the two altar candles, which are separate from the circle of lights also, and the incense. (Incense should be stick or powdered incense on charcoal in a swinging burner.) Then light all the quarter candles in the 4 directions, starting in the east and going clockwise. Cast your circle in the usual manner, but Invoke the Goddess with the following: "Sacred womb, giver of the secrets of Life, Mother of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy. SO MOTE IT BE" Invoke the God in the following manner: "Fire of the sky, guardian of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy. SO MOTE IT BE" (continue with the circle casting if it is not already finished) Light the 13 candles and then the Goddess candle in the center and say: "Warm and quickening Light awaken and bring forth beauty for thou art my pleasure and my bounty LORD and LADY OSiRIS AND ISIS" (or you may substitute whatever names your circle uses for the God and the Goddess - or those you personally prefer)Reflect a moment on the coming of the light and offer up the incense. Say "O ancient Ones Timeless Goddess and Sacred King who art the heralds of springtime and it's bounties be with me now in celebration Hail to Osiris and Isis Harvest giver and blessed Lady Let this be a time and a place sacred to your power and your beauty SO MOTE IT BE" Light the candle in the sheaf of grain and hold it up with the loaf of bread in the other hand and say (or the cakes - whatever you or your tradition uses for the cakes and wine/juice ceremony) "My Lord and Lady, as the seed becomes the grain, so the grain becomes the bread, Mark the everlasting value of our seasons and their changes. " Break a piece of the bread or cakes off and burn it as an offering in the central candle. Then say "In the deepest Icy Winter the seed of the Earth lies deep within the womb of the Great Mother. The Spring brings the heat of the Father and with their joining comes new life. The completion of the cycle brings food to the children of the world. As I taste the food I shall know the wisdom of the cycles and be blessed with the food of wisdom throughout my life" Consecrate cakes and wine/juice in the usual manner and partake of them, but first raise your chalice or drinking horn and say "Hail to thee ISIS Hail to thee Osiris For thou art blessed" After this commune in meditation with the Lord and lady for a while, then close the circle in your usual manner. GOOD IMBOLC
‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Everyone is a collector of something. And everyone’s collection looks peculiar to someone else. And yet, who knows why an item may have a certain appeal to one particular person. The shape, the color, the whole idea may have a hidden background, but it is most definitely there!
It may be old books, or magazines. Perhaps it is pill bottles, fishing hooks, or something “I may need someday when…” Who knows the reason old calendars continue to hang, and scraps of this and that may someday be just what I need.
But more dear than any of these are the happy thoughts we collect to use along the way. We can use them to cheer someone, to pass along a word of courage, a simple prayer, a smile. And when someone has time to share with us an experience that we may profit by the pain they felt – yes, these are collector’s items. These priceless bits of life’s fabric, woven by someone’s cares and offered to us in hopes that it will help.
Whatever it is that we collect, we must never forget the dearest collections are the kindnesses, the thoughtful acts, the smiling faces that can be ours by giving the same.
What could be so priceless as true friendship? Friends for which time and space do not exist! It is written, “What a great blessing is a friend with breast so trusty that thou mayest safely bury all thy secrets in it, whose conscience thou mayest fear less than thy own; who can relieve thy cares by his counsels, thy sadness by his good humor, and whose very looks give thee comfort.”
All of us have had many friends, but the special ones remain forever in our memories. The dearest are those who believe in us and are willing to trust us with their friendship.
We cannot force friendship. It is something mutually understood and silently accepted. It is our opportunity to demonstrate our very best selves – to as no questions and to pass no criticisms.
“Before us is a future all unknown, a path untrod;
Beside us a friend well loved and known –
That friend is God.”
Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 31
“In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while in fearing, the other found need of conquest.”
–Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
There are two systems of thought that are available for us to choose from. One is the love-thought system and the other is the fear- thought system. If we choose love, we will see the laws, principles and values of the Creator. If we choose fear, the results will be so paralyzing that it will cause us to take over and not rely on the Great Spirit. The fear-thought system will automatically cause attack, conflict, need to control over others. The love-thought system seeks peace of mind, unity and causes us to be love seekers.
Great Spirit, today let me see only love.
January 31 – Daily Feast
Sensible people do not get ruffled easily and are known to be reliable in a crisis. We want these stable people with us as friends and team members when the game is terribly important. We have heard the calm voice and felt the strong hand when our knees wobbled and our hands shook. It is easy to recall those who sustained us with their words, their caring. And sadly, we remember those who did not. Whatever common sense is, the heart has it, not the head. It is having the right priorities, knowing what is important, and giving as much as, or more than, we have received. Indians of old has this stalwart strength to stand like straight arrows to give support. They reached out to lift someone before they stopped to think whether he deserved it. The price is the same now as then – patience, love, loyalty – those things that seem so scarce.
~ I learned many English words….could recite some of the Ten Commandments….I knew how to sleep in a bed, pray to Jesus, comb my hair, use a toilet….I learned that a person thinks with his head instead of his heart. ~
SUN CHIEF, 1890
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Be Love Today
Today, our focus is on love. Today, I wish you to realize that the love you give to others is also a gift you are giving yourself. When you fill your heart with love, even toward those who have hurt you, then you have the healing benefits of a heart full of love, pumping love to all parts of your body. And love is a soothing and healing nutrient, stronger than any other.
And so, today, give yourself the gift of forgiving and loving others. Release yourself from the prison of resentment, anger and judgment. Let yourself walk free into the place of love and light.
Just let it go. All of the old thoughts, all of the bitterness, just let it go. Release everything that is not love. Let it float off you like a heavy, heavy burden you have carried for too long. And in its place, let love fill you. Fill yourself with a deep love of yourself, of life itself, of all people in all of their struggles, no matter where they may stand on their path.
Fill yourself with a warm embracing love which contains complete forgiveness. Let that flow within you. Feel the warmth and healing power of love as it heals you and connects you to all that is good and wonderful in this world.
The Goddess Companion
Give her something to get through the night.
Here is Biddy, dressed in white.
Give poor Biddy a little light.
Give poor Biddy something!
Look, her clothes are torn.
Give poor Biddy something!
Look, her shoes are worn.
Here is Biddy dressed in white.
Give her something to get through the night.
Here is Biddy, dressed in white.
Give poor Biddy a little light.
~Traditional Irish Song to the Goddess Brigid
In Ireland, the end of winter occurs now, when sheep begin to bear their lambs and life stirs at last after its winter sleep. In our calendar, spring is still long away, but we feel the stirring within ourselves that longer sunlight hours brings.
Such stirrings need encouragement. At this time of year, little children dressed in rags walked the byways of old Ireland, begging “something for poor Biddy,” receiving treats of money and food. In ancient times, “Biddy” was the Goddess Brigid, translated into the Christian saint Bridget. Like her, we will survive even the darkest times to be reborn again.
But our wintry souls can call out for gifts, kind words and embraces, small tokens that reveal our importance to each other. Winter’s night is passing, but winter can remain within our souls unless we reach our hands to offer the warmth of human kindness to our friends and loved ones. Truths of our existence.
Heartwings Love Notes 451 Doing The Best I Can
Heartwings says, “All you need to do the best you can is to try your hardest.”
My report cards from elementary school often emphasized that if I tried harder I would get better grades. I’ve often wished my teachers realized I was trying as hard as I could. I am not a linear thinker; if my mind wandered in class it was usually because something being said reminded me of something else relevant to me though not necessarily the teacher; if I looked out the window it was because the outside was more interesting than what the teacher was saying. With the circumstances and my abilities, I did the best I could.
In those days there was a single standard of “right” and “wrong” concerning the way children were to behave or to respond. No one seemed to care about other circumstances or situations making a difference for the student. There were no excuses or difficulties to be taken into consideration. My wretched penmanship due to my inability to repeat the same strokes over and over was said to be my fault for not trying hard enough.
I know now that regardless what was said on my report card, I did do my best. In terms of skills, coordination, or ability children are not all created equal. Today there is a much greater understanding of this and as a result many children benefit. What was lacking then was compassion for those laboring under unseen yet effectively limiting handicaps. This had a profound influence on all of us.
I grew up being hard on myself for any perceived failure to measure up. As I have learned and grown I have become much more compassionate both toward my own limitations and toward those of others. Having patience with myself has become a goal as well as an intention to be practiced as all times. I believe I am making progress. The old critical voices are not nearly as loud as they were. I have learned to give myself and others more credit for doing the best we can.
May you learn to be happy with your abilities and accomplishments and give yourself credit for trying your best.
Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert
To enjoy more Love notes or to sign up for a free weekly subscription, please be sure to visit www.heartwingslovenotes.com. To order Tasha’s very special book of inspirational writing and poetry, Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life, drop Tasha an email at tashahal@…. For a chance to chuckle over some enjoyable humorous writing please visit www.funnywrite.com and relish the humor posted there not only by my husband Stephen and his friend Ken, but by others as well. In addition, there are also opportunities for readers to contribute.
For you are safe and loved at home.
Whenever you leave, Return to me,
From this dawn onward. So mode it be!î
Wrap the photo and hair in the hankie and tie it securely. Place it near your pet’s favorite inside place.
apply your favorite essential oils to the stones. Sit them in a sunny window and enjoy the scent.
Refresh as needed. Enjoy!
Themes: Learning; Wisdom; Communication
Symbols: White Flowers (especially Lotus); Marigolds; Swans
About Sarasvati: A Hindu goddess of eloquence and intelligence, Sarasvati extends a refreshing drink from her well of knowledge to complete the month with aptitude. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati invented all sciences, arts, and writing. In works of art she is depicted as white-skinned and graceful, riding on a swan or sitting on an open lotus blossom.
To Do Today: Today is an excellent time to embark on any course of study or to reinforce your learning in a specific area. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati’s festival is held on or around this date. During the celebration, students gather in the Katmandu Valley (Nepal) bearing gifts for the goddess, who visits here today. Traditional offerings at the temples include lotus and marigold blossoms and incense, while students bring pens or books to invoke Sarasvati’s aid with their studies. Adapting this a bit, try dabbing your personal tools or educational books with a little lotus oil, and burn any sweet-scented incense to improve your awareness (rosemary is a good choice).
To generate Sarasvati’s assistance in matters of communication, find a white flower and remove its petals. Place these in any moving water source, saying:
Sarasvati, let my words bear gentle beauty and truth,
falling gently on other’s ears, even as these petals to the water.
Let the water (which also represents this goddess) carry your wish.
Seasons of the Witch! Ancient Holidays (and some not so ancient!)
Feast of Great Typos
Festival of Brigantia begins
Festival of Imbolc begins
Festival of Transmission Errors
Kitchen God Visits Heaven (China)
National Brandy Alexander Day
Nauru Independence Day
Phlegm-Green, Moldy-Grey, and Gazzard Day (Goblin)
St. John Bosco’s Day (patron of editors, apprentices)
St. Marcella’s Day
St. Tryphena’s Day (patron of nursing mothers)
Up Helly AA (Viking Festival)
Valkyries’ Day (Norse)
Greek: The last day of each month is sacred to Hekate. Tribute should be paid to her, preferably at midnight at a crossroads
Today Is:Moon Day
Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine, Travels, Visions, Theft
Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaelach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast
Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower
Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White
Colors for Tomorrow: Red
Lucky Sign: Monday Is The Lucky Day For The Sign of Cancer
Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity, insight, maternal nature, and goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal Martha
True Initiation Comes from Within
by Maren M. Ulberg
Walk into any pagan or progressive bookstore and count the number of books available on the subject of magick, paganism and witchcraft: more than a few. Less than 20 years ago, even 15, for the most part this would’ve been a rare occurrence, and yet magickal and pagan “textbooks” are now a hot commodity with the purported wisdom of the ages available to anyone who can crack a wallet. Myself, I love it; I remember the thirsty, lonely years. I admit I’m a little overwhelmed at times by the sheer multiplicity of it all, but I’m pleased that it’s there: so neat and tidy, so bright and shiny it’s a wonder we can call anything esoteric anymore.
Something bothers me, though: Where did this smorgasbord of expertise in the paranormal sciences come from, aside from acknowledged elders and scholars? And, is my uneasy sense valid that many seekers (of the Crafts) are going to consume instruction indiscriminate of the source, and worse, without serious self-insight? Why does it bother me? Why do I think that there is a problem?
Well, since I know that I don’t feel particularly territorial about the subject of magick, perhaps I’m concerned with the result via the methods. I’m concerned that a shallow survey of magick, instead of the complexities of formal study, could result in a belief that magick based in the empirical is necessarily more effective than magick based in the intuitive. I believe this has derived from a twofold influence, on the reliance on scientific methodology as the “right” way to approach a discussion and study of magick, and on the comfort of formula-based magick, which has come to rely on a complex of correspondences, spell-scripts and tools. Ideally, these are meant to focus the will of the magician into activity and entice the attention of the powers that be. At the worst, they certainly have effectiveness as imitative magick. They still fit a standard witch’s definition of magick: “the ability to bring about change in the world through an act of will.” Unfortunately, is there a danger of losing our ability to employ an act of will by relying on pedestrian brands of magick without any personal investigation of the self?
As witches, we most certainly will undergo some form of initiation or initiations in the course of our lives. I propose to briefly discuss initiation as it has been used in the classic sense, and then discuss a theory of the mystic, or transcendent initiate, aiming to return the power of the intuition to the realm of the magician.
Magick by its very nature is boundless and difficult to describe or define much the same as our notions of spirit, soul, love, the sacred or the mind; each culture and person acquires their own definition, while some do not desire to contemplate the concept at all. As a witch formally trained in the studies of anthropology, comparative philosophy, art and medicine, I have some skills that help me describe such weighty topics, and yet when I make the attempt to codify the concept, I feel something is lost. Something vital, something inexplicable. This is the same dilemma and result experienced by anyone, no matter what their professorialship, dedication, theory, census, fecundity of data or the quantity of profundity applied to the subject. Some things defy our logic and control. For these things, only the arts come close to conveying the subtlety and depth required of their subjects. Art, like magick, derives from the use of skill (by learning and experience) and becomes true through creative intuition.
Ed Fitch, of the Feraferia tradition, describes magick as “that which is beyond our casual knowledge,” or esoteric. His definition embraces both concepts of esoteric knowledge, received through study, training and the physical initiation into a magickal circle or society, and intuitive or mystic knowledge.
Initiation is a metaphor for rebirth after a simulation of death. It is a lesson of sacrifice: the willing participation in the holy mystery of existence, of life consuming and begetting life. At times, according to Frazier, its purpose within animistic cultures was the temporary transfer of the initiate’s soul or essence outside his or her body into an object or totem animal as a safeguard during the powerful changes occurring in coming to sexual maturity. This had the effect of introducing the totem animal to the initiate and ushering in the person as a full, adult member of society. Manly P. Hall, in his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages, relates the achievement of initiation into the Mysteries (here he refers to those of classical Greece): that man becomes aware of and reunited with the anthropos, or overself, without physical death, “the inevitable Initiator.” The physical body was considered to be only one-third of one’s immortal self, a periodic descent of spirit into matter. Through a process known as “operative theology,” the law of birth and death was transcended momentarily to awaken and reunite all parts of the self and connect with the whole of existence.
Forms of initiation, or rites of passage, occur at the many critical phases of a person’s life and development, such as marriage, induction into age sets and societies, professional inductions such as taking the Hippocratic Oath, onset of a woman’s menses or conference of status or degree. Themes common to formal initiations include:
- Aspects of secrecy (initiation performed only by other initiates)
- Conveyance of knowledge, revelation of mysteries
- Physical change (scarring, tattooing, piercing, the onset of menses, circumcision, taking sacramental drugs, loss of a tooth or clothing and so on)
- Passing of certain tests
- Advancement into age sets, societies, degrees, orders and so on
- Purification (leaving off the “old” person)
- Concept of death of the old self and the birth of a new, with a new name
- Ritual binding, kidnapping, killing, laying in a tomb
- Existing in a liminal phase
The “liminal” is an anthropological term devised by Van Gennep and Turner in Rites of Passage, which describes “that which is neither this nor that, and yet is both.” Those in liminal phase are statusless, sexless and outside secular space and time in a sense, they occupy the limitless existence before birth. “The liminal subject experiences ‘communitas,’ a comradeship among equals.” T.M. Luhrmann writes in Persuasions of the Witches Craft: “The techniques of the liminal [phase] can be used to make that-which-is-not persuasively more realistic,” resulting in a profound experience when the initiate has an extensive period in which to move into a state of “not-being.”
A Persian mystical writer and thinker, Azizi-Al Muhhamed Nasifi, relates a form of initiation as mystical transcendence, a form I propose can deepen and further magickal work. In his work Tanzil ur arwah, dated 1360 C.E., he describes the necessary “vita purgativa” (inner death) to move through the arenas of spiritual progress to “ghayat” (freedom):
“The essence of purification is separation while the essence of prayer is connection. A form of initiation relates as a mystical transcendence, an aspect I propose that can contribute to deeper progress in magickal arts. Where connection in a moral stage creates out of one’s self, purification in the act of escaping the fetters of the old self.”
At what point this transformation was to be recognized is unclear, but perhaps it was a state of the heart instead of a condition of the intellect. Although the light of the intellect is sharp-sighted and farsighted, he says, “the fire of love is even more sharp-sighted and farsighted.” Therein Nasifi has combined intellect and love as the question requires for spiritual transcendence. He felt the path of the mystic could reflect clearer insight by freeing the heart and mind of preconscious beliefs (dogma) and the mundane practices of the theologian. He writes, “Wherein the theologian, he who travels the path of religious dogma, learns each day something he did not know before, the mystic, he who travels the path of the initiate, forgets each day something that he knew.” Yet both strive for knowledge, for ignorance plays no part in this path of forgetfulness.
Magick in the witch’s Craft relies on the theory of immanence and the knowledge that it can be directly contacted and influenced or directed through the will of the witch, an act that requires a change of consciousness. Imman describes where there is no split between spirit and matter, magick or immanence in an ever-present quality, like a river one lives beside, draws life from and can enter at will.
If magick is a reflection of that which is possible beyond our casual knowledge, then the mystic initiate would seem to be in a position of greater strength through transcendence (intuition) as a magician than one who relies on esoteric learning alone.
When Nasifi exhorts us to polish our heart as if it were a shining mirror in order to reflect the world as it is, I can imagine that in my chest is a great crystalline globe, and rather than filling it with bits of paper inked with the interpretations of others, I leave room and shine it to allow the immanence to flow within me. To fill me so that I may dip into the pool of the sacred. The magick.