How the Internet Changed Paganism

How the Internet Changed Paganism

Author: Vivienne
The Internet is a wonderful tool used by numerous people worldwide. Although some might not admit it, most people rely on the Internet for most things that they do. Now, how does this relate to Paganism, one might ask? Well it seems that the Internet has made information on Paganism and the various traditions that it encompasses (i.e. Druidism, Wicca, etc) more accessible to people now a days. There are many articles on Paganism available to read on the Internet (not all are good but there are many informative pieces out there) .

If it weren’t for the wonder that is the world wide Internet, I probably would not be on the spiritual path that I am today- I cannot say that for sure but it is improbable. To be honest, I can’t quite remember exactly how I ended up typing “Wicca” into the Google search engine on my laptop computer. However, what I do know is that for some reason I did and it led me to reading various articles on the religion, that I now call my own. It led me to discover that there is a spiritual path that seems to encompass basically everything that I believe- in terms of what the divine is. It felt to me like I finally had found the spiritual path that I was meant to be on. Many people will understand what I am saying by this; that something which had been missing was finally filled. In fact, Wicca helped me become a better person and Paganism in general, is something that I find myself feeling extremely passionate about.

Now, I am a very music oriented person and immediately after making my little “discovery”, if you will, I went to YouTube and listened to various Pagan chants. It was the reassurance that I needed to go out and buy a few books on Paganism in general and Wicca specifically. Now, my story may seem a bit off topic, but I assure you it is perfectly relevant. The point I am trying to make it that through the Internet I had found Paganism- without the Internet I probably wouldn’t have. I even learned much of what I know from Pagan Podcasts, which I listened to on iTunes.

I do not consider myself what some would refer to as a Techno Pagan, to be honest, however I do believe that technology heavily contributed to my finding my current spiritual path; and I do not doubt for one second that many others would have similar stories to mine. So this may be a bit repetitive, for I mentioned it in various forms throughout this article, but I am very grateful that the Internet helped lead me to my Pagan spiritual path.

Some people may argue that the Internet making information on Paganism more accessible to be a negative thing; that it is becoming too “mainstream” because of how easily people can learn about it through the Internet. However, I strongly disagree with the people who say that, sure it is their opinion and they have a right to it but it is something that I will argue with- because quite frankly I disagree with it.

For one thing, just because something is mainstream doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing at all. Sure some people may find that Paganism being a bit mysterious adds to its appeal. However, it is my belief that it also leads to some of the problems that people who do not consider themselves Pagan have with the spiritual path that we choose to follow. It is fair to say that generally people are afraid of what they don’t understand or what they don’t know. For example, most people are afraid of death because there is no one can definitively say what the afterlife is like, furthermore if there is even an afterlife. Sure we have many guesses about what comes after death but we never will really know. Therefore many people are afraid of death.

My analogy can apply to Paganism as well; some may see it as something that is to be feared and that it is something evil when in truth it’s not. But when something is shrouded in mystery then it is easier for people to be ignorant about not just Paganism, but anything in general. So basically what I am trying to say is that information about Paganism becoming more accessible to anyone isn’t a bad thing at all and in fact it is probably a good thing. If people at least have an idea of what something truly is, then it is probable that people will not jump to ignorant assumptions so much.

So basically, I think the Internet’s impact on Paganism in general has potential to be quite positive. In fact, I think it actually already is quite positive. Not only does it give basic information on our beliefs it also can help unite the Pagan community. Think about it, the Internet’s principle purpose is communication.

Even this article that I am writing is a form of communication using the Internet. I am communicating to you, the readers, my opinion on the matter of the Internet’s impact on paganism. Not only does the Internet help unite the Pagan community through *Witchvox (for example) , but other websites are helpful in allowing us the ability to communicate with one another.

Sites such as forums help us get to know about other members of the Pagan community as well as allow us to discuss and debate different issues and the like within our community. As well as communication, the Internet makes life easier for those of us who choose to remain “in the broom closet” do so. The web allows us to purchase things such as books, music, and tools for ritual, etcetera through the Internet. It allows those people anonymity that they may not have if they had to go to a Witch shop. Speaking of which- not everyone has a Pagan store where they live which is another way in which the Internet positively affects Paganism.

Any tools and such that one may need who do not happen to have a Witch shop where they live, have the ability to purchase whatever they might need through the internet. So in conclusion, the Internet has enabled us as Pagans to do so much. Communication, anonymity, and access to information being only some of the positive impacts that the Internet has made on Paganism.

Sure, one could argue that there may be some negatives when it comes to Paganism and the Internet. However, I ask you to ask yourself, is the Internet really making more of a negative impact on the Pagan community than a positive one? I certainly think not.

Inciting a Riot Podcast- Hosted by Firelyte

Daily Devotional Practises

Daily Devotional Practises

Author: Mr Araújo
For as long as I have been chatting online with other Pagans, I have been told stories of how life was somewhat sad without the presence of a religion with which a person can identify itself. I believe that this must be the case of nearly everybody here at The Witches’ Voice and it happens to be my case, of course. This is going to be an essay that explains my point of view on my own practices and how they came to be.

When one first decides to take the first step and enter the Craft, it is hard to avoid the temptation of jumping headfirst to the Initiation Ceremony. Although I have not discussed this with anyone else, I imagine that it might be quite true. After I decided that Wicca was a good Path for me, I immediately began searching online for its history and I was shocked – nearly all of the “founders” and their “heirs” belonged to covens and from what I could tell, their knowledge seemed so vast.

“How will I ever be as good as them?” I thought, worried that Gerald Gardner’s, Doreen Valiente’s, Raymond Buckland’s, Dayonis’ (amongst many others) legacy would be doomed in my hands. Whatever could I do not to venture off, far away from Wicca? And, most importantly, from the God and the Goddess?

First of all, I did a small Dedication ceremony – which was my very first ritual, in fact. I then began to focus very hard on my study of the Craft and I chose my sources very carefully. After I had read some of writings of the Founding Fathers and Mothers of Wicca, I decided to study earlier Pagan rituals.

Eventually my studies, beliefs and emotions led me to instituting my own set of devotional practices that filled in the blank left by the joy of the previous Sabbath and the yearning for the next one (I have never had the chance of safely celebrating an Esbat) . And so I began to wonder, yet again, if others did the same. But since I didn’t know of any other Pagan, let alone a Wiccan, I kept going. Today I know quite a few Pagans and most like to frequently keep in touch with the Gods, one way or another.

Yet, there are those – I have never met them, but I have been told that they are out there – who only celebrate the Sabbaths and Esbats and probably exclude any other contact with the divine. Forgive me for sounding too full of myself, but I don’t know how they do it. Perhaps it’s because they celebrate 20 or 21 rituals per year and that satisfies them – whilst I only have an average of 6 or 7, since I’ve never managed to celebrate Yule and I sometimes can’t celebrate Ostara or Mabon.

Personally, I feel a need, a thirst and a hunger to be in almost constant contact with the Gods! I’m not a religious fanatic, but ever since I discovered Wicca, I can’t have enough of the joy that is Their presence wherever I am.

So what are my daily rituals? To me, they aren’t very orthodox, since I am quite fond of my European background and heritage, but my research led me to the Ancient Egyptian practices. In case you’re familiar with them, yes, you’re right – I’ve adapted some of their rituals to my little “tradition”. Basically, I try to recognize the God and the Goddess in Their different aspects as the day goes by, and so I’ve adapted and made up small rituals for each aspect – devoid of almost all previous Egyptian symbolism.

When I wake up, I thank the Goddess for having protected me during my slumber. When I’m done with my morning routine, I go outside and greet the Sun Child and ask for His energy throughout the morning. If I happen to pass by my town’s river, I greet the Maiden; if I don’t, I do it in the bathroom (yes, that’s right) .

Once it’s time for lunch, I pray to the Sun Father for his strength, outside. If I have a patch of earth close to where I am, I drop by and give thanks to the Earth Mother for the meal I will enjoy in a few moments from then.

Finally, at dusk, I say my goodbye to the Elder God and give thanks for His gifts. At night, I greet the Goddess in whichever aspect She has taken, according to the Moon’s phase, of course – this can be considered a mini-Esbat, in fact. When I have the time, I actually gift the God and Goddess with offerings and I might use a Sacred Circle.

I know there are still other aspects of the Gods, but I doubt I could ever make up a ritual for each and every one of them and insert them into my daily routine. I also take some time to take care of my plants and to go to one of my town’s parks, where I enjoy the silent company of the trees.

I’ve never encountered anyone else who has such a need for daily devotions, or any website that details how they can be performed. That might be because they’re personal and intimate things that you simply don’t do if you’re not into them. Perhaps they can only be found after some research and introspection, but I bet most can find a personal little niche – be it praying, making offerings, meditating…

However I consider this to be an interesting subject, since Wicca has been evolving for many decades and its current diversity is overwhelming, even if we don’t take the unknown Traditions that have sprouted all over the world into consideration. Wicca began with just four Sabbaths and the Esbats; then, another four Sabbaths were added. Wiccaning, funeral, marriage and divorce rites followed.

Are daily devotions the next addition? Only time, the Wiccans, and the Gods will tell.

Merry meet and merry part, until we happily meet again!

Blessed be!

Wandering Through Faerie Land: Metaphor and the Semantic Landscape

Wandering Through Faerie Land: Metaphor and the Semantic Landscape

Author: Rhys Chisnall
On Midsummer’s Day, the corn stood half grown and green, knee high in Suffolk fields. The bumblebee buzzed as it flew from flower to flower and overhead high above the corn the skylark sang. The midsummer’s sun beat down from high in the clear blue sky as I walked along besides the footpath than ran between the field and the hedgerow. I hadn’t drunk enough water so as I walked I noticed the sleight effects of dehydration. I continued onwards, creeping thorns grasping at my boots, while the stinging nettles failed to penetrate my jeans. The heat of midday, the smell of the corn, the summer flowers, the humming bee, the singing skylark all swirled in my awareness. And then it seemed to me that time stopped; it stood still.

I was in eternity, in faerie land, out of time. The experience and the realisation of timelessness was both beautiful and horrible. Beautiful as there is no ageing and no sting of death. But it was also horrible for nothing reaches its potential in faerie land. The corn never ripens and babies are never born; trapped in between time beautiful and horrible, both and neither.

Then the air moved again and a breeze stirred the corn which began to ripple and sway. I heard the buzzing of the bee again and the skylark continued to sings up high. I was back in time, back in the field. Did I ever really leave it? Had I really been in faerie land? Is it really a real place?

For some people it is, they believe that fairyland is an actual literal place. They may have had experiences similar to mine or more likely have read about it in books on popular Wicca or even in books on mythology. Many of the ‘Celtic’ myths feature stories of fairies, the Sidhe or the Tuatha de Danaan (what fairies are is another story) . How are we to view such things as intelligent people who are interested in a view of the world, which is life-enhancing but still congruent with what we know about reality? There just seems to be no way that faerie land can be a literal place. Remembering as Doreen Valiente reminds us in her book An ABC of Witchcraft that faerie comes from the Old French meaning enchantment, perhaps it could still be saved as a metaphor.

Metaphors are essential to how we use language; linguists tell us that we could not have complex language without them. Simply put they are when we describe something (called the target by linguists) by analogy (the source) . So, for example, we might say that my child is a fairy. The child is the target and the fairy is the source. This does not mean that we believe that our child is literally a fairy rather we are suggesting that she has some fae like qualities. Interestingly we somehow know which fairy qualities to apply to the child, so unless we are on the autistic spectrum we would not think that the child is an immortal with wings or likes to steal babies and put changelings in their place (remember no babies are born in faerie land) . Rather we would assume that the metaphor meant that she was small and cute looking or perhaps cute and full of mischief. So the description of my experience is a metaphor, an analogy. But what is it a metaphor for?

This metaphor is how I would try to communicate what my experience is like and what it means to me. Quite simply, we use metaphors to hint at things we can’t describe directly or in any other way. To understand this we need to look at three types of metaphor although there are in reality many more. The three we are interested in are conceptual metaphors, paralogical (or absolute) metaphors and extended metaphors. My experience falls under the heading of paralogical and extended metaphors but let’s first discuss conceptual metaphors.

Conceptual metaphors are used to illustrate one concept with reference to another. It sounds complicated but you may be surprised to learn that you use conceptual metaphors all the time. Consider for example when we say, “it was the high point of my life”. This is a classic example of a conceptual metaphor. If you think about it unless you were parachuting or bungee jumping you were not literally high up. It is a metaphor that we use to describe how we feel about a particular time in our lives. Another example is “I turned the music down”, after all music noise does not literally have a direction. What is especially interesting about conceptual metaphors is that they are indicative of our subjective view of reality. They illustrate some of the filters through which we perceive the world.

Consider for a moment what we mean by high point. It rests on an assumption that high is something that is good and desirable, while conversely low, as in “it was a low point in my life” we see as bad and something that we intuitively see as undesirable. The American magician and Linguist Patrick Dunn in his book, ‘Magic, Power, Language, Symbol’ (a book well worth reading) suggests that metaphors in general are so ingrained in our though patterns and assumptions that they often fall under the radar to all but linguists. Yet language and thought are fundamental to how we subjectively experience the world.

The underlying metaphors which make up beliefs are so important and taken so literally that Professor Joseph Campbell has lamented, “People are dying for metaphors all over the place”. Conceptual metaphors are worth a great deal of consideration and I recommend keeping your ears open for them and meditating on how they underpin your assumptions of reality. This is a very worthwhile and illuminating exercise.

Without paralogical metaphors the Craft, the occult or religion in general could not operate. Paralogical metaphors are utterances where there is no obvious link between the source and the target. So when we say, “the weather is pants”, you have to be in on the metaphor to understand what is being said. There is no way to infer the link between weather and pants if you were not already in on the expression and understood what it means. It also makes some underlying assumptions on pants suggesting that they are not very nice things. I wonder what assumptions people who use the term, “the dog’s bollocks”, make.

Paralogical metaphors can be seen as being symbols and the study of symbols is called semiotics. The discipline of semiotics includes not just written things like pentagrams and ankhs as symbols, nor even just spoken language, but body language, haircuts and the deliberate arrangement of trees; in fact anything that carries information. Some postmodernists such as the magician Patrick Dunn argue that as everything we perceive and experience is represented by information (via symbols to consciousness) in the brain, so our whole subjective experience is a symbolic representation. There may be an objective world out there, in fact there probably is, but we can never know it directly. We only know it indirectly through our senses that provide us with symbolic a representation filtered through an attention bottleneck based on biology, biases and the symbolic information of our beliefs formed by experiences. We live in our own little reality bubbles, in our own stories and narratives created from our symbolic representations. This is an idea that is finding considerable favour with many modern occultists, mostly because it seems to be backed up from the finding of perceptual, cognitive and discursive psychology.

The most obvious examples of paralogical metaphors in the Craft are tools, symbols, the elements, and the gods. Let us take tools to illustrate what I mean. In the Craft, as in ceremonial magic, there are several symbolic tools, which represent certain things. These are paralogical metaphors because these symbols are not obvious and difficult to infer the target (the concept/experience we are trying to understand) from the source (the tool and metaphorical expression) . There are several tools and symbols used in the Craft. As the Craft is organised into small autonomous covens which tools are used depends upon the Craft tradition and the coven.

In the coven in which I am a member the tools used are the besom, the athame (sword) , the dish, the chalice, and the censer. We also use other symbols such as the stang, the cords, the skull, the hare and others. Like all good symbols these parabolic metaphors have a loose associations, allowing room for individual investment of meaning. Roughly speaking the stang is a metaphor for the Dark Lord (who is himself a metaphor) , raised during the winter months between Halloween and Beltaine, the besom is the union of male and female, the cords for masculinity or femininity depending on the colour and the skull for death. The elemental tools are the athame for will and phallus (a metaphor for masculinity) , the dish for the body, the censer for thought and the cup for both emotions and the mystery of femininity, life and the Lady (again more metaphors for metaphors) . The tools themselves are not important, it is what they are metaphors for, in other words what they represent which is.

This is all very well but you would be justified in asking why bother with this talk of metaphors? The answer is that these metaphors have a semantic content in the mind of the practitioner. In linguistics, semantics means meaning. So in other words the tools and symbols of the Craft hold meaning for the practitioner. These symbols activate the meanings in the mind of the Witch when they are used. For example, if the Witch uses the athame to cast the circle (another paralogical metaphor) then its meaning infers and invokes the will of the Witch. These metaphors are like keys that flip the mind into the state that the metaphor represents, provided they have been invested with their semantic content.

As such the Witch can deliberately buy into and build up these semantic connections. As paralogical metaphors are not obvious, so then associations need to be built and assumptions about reality implicit in the metaphors need to be examined. The witch builds up a semantic landscape, a landscape of meaning and metaphor. It is in this semantic landscape, itself a metaphor, in which the Craft operates. The world of faerie, the world of enchantment.

Occultists, philosophers and scientists have a long history of using metaphorical places in order to better understand difficult concepts and meanings. For example in the Western Mystery Traditions we have the astral and inner planes. The problem with using metaphor, especially in the Occult, is they are often taken as literal, in other words some people believe that the astral and inner planes are real places. Rather they are analogous to the ideas of ‘prime space’ in mathematics, ‘design space’ in evolutionary biology and ‘possible worlds’ in philosophy, though used to understand different concepts.

Prime space is a metaphorical space which helps mathematicians understand how reality would be effected if the mathematical language of the universe was different in some way. It is a useful tool because by understanding what would happen under different conditions it helps mathematicians to get to grips with why the math of the universe behaves the way it does. Likewise with design space, in enables the evolutionary biologist to understand why organisms are the way they are by exploring the way they could be but are not. The ‘possible worlds’ in philosophy allows philosophers to conduct thought experiments, which highlight our intuitions about concepts, and the way the world is. These are metaphors, conceptual tools and so are astral and inner planes. In a sense like myth, they are extended metaphors. They go beyond just one symbol, into many symbols that are analogous to states of mind, complex concepts and help us to understand complex information.

The astral plane is a metaphor for the emotional mind while the inner planes are a metaphor for the deeper levels of the psyche. They describe states of mind where the characters of deities, elementals and other spirits (more metaphors and memeplexes) can communicate with the occultist, or where the unconscious mind can come through, communicating according to Freud and Jung through the language of symbols. Likewise the semantic landscape is not a real place, but rather entering into a state of mind where one is aware of the symbols as metaphors and what they represent. The more one connects with and builds up these metaphors, the richer ones semantic landscape. For example, if you learn the folklore, the medicinal and magical properties of local plants, a walk in the countryside becomes richer in the sense that you will also be taking a walk through a semantic landscape full of meaning and association. Each plant will be a metaphor for various states of minds, various experiences, various connections, enriching your life and being put at your disposal.

You may be tempted to ask the question so what? And that would be a good question to ask. Why bother building up our semantic landscape and considering what assumptions our metaphors make about reality? The answer is as mentioned before, we are as Stewart and Cohen suggests ‘the storytelling ape’. We perceive and communicate our reality as a narrative. This is why Jung’s ideas about archetypes are so powerful even though we know they are not literally embedded in our brains (if you cut open a brain you won’t find a single archetype anywhere) . Rather they are embedded in how we tell stories, including the stories of ourselves. Stories are metaphors, they are full of meaning, which operates on many different levels, but they are not directly the way the world is. If they were then we would have discovered evolution, germ theory, the heliocentric solar system much, much sooner than we did.

By building up our semantic landscape, by taking control of our stories of reality, we can then change them if we wish. And if we are really good at it, and understand other people’s stories, we can change those as well. By understanding that our experience of the world (and entities) is a collection of narratives we can also avoid the obsession and eventual mental breakdown that has afflicted some literally minded dabblers in the occult. When we build up our semantic landscape, when we weave meaning and metaphor it gives us some power over the narrative, though the narrative will always have some control over us.

My experience of wandering through faerie land is a metaphor for an experience. It is a metaphor for the state of mind where I experienced the wonder and horror of eternity. Faerie land is not a real place, there are no literal fairies out there, but the experience nonetheless like many other experiences that many others and I have had was real and very useful. The experience of faerie is the state of mind that we enter into when we cast the magic circle. Putting aside the results of operant conditioning of casting the circle in that after a period of time and experience it automatically puts us into a certain state of mind, the circle becomes the semantic landscape. It is the world of metaphor, representing not only the totality universe but also the state of mind that is out of time and all of time.

The circle represents the whole of time, a metaphor for all the year, the whole of our lives and so, like faerie land, it is a mind state in eternity. We are metaphorically between the world of the physical and the semantic landscape of our narrative minds, wandering through the story, wandering through fairyland. And it is from here, in those states of mind that we can experience and change the stories and encounter the characters of our narratives including our self. It is when we are wandering through faerie land that we meet that grand narrative which we call the Divine.

Finding My Way To Wicca

Finding My Way To Wicca

Author: Elle Sea

Like most kids, I grew up Christian. Even as a child, religion was a big part of my life. I went to church on Sundays and went to an additional church group (Awanas) each Thursday night after dance class. I knew that all the “bad guys” went to Hell and that the “good guys” went to Heaven to live with God and His angels. I wanted to study the bible and be a good girl, so I could go live with God and the angels too.

I became the model student in Awana. I always remembered verses from the bible that no one else could remember. The preacher was very kind to me and he was like a father to me, in a way (I never knew and still don’t know my father, so it was a big deal to me) . He told me all about Heaven and that I was going to go live with the angels and God too. He said that all Christians would be saved, that God loved them and he would forgive all their sins. But, he never said one word about anyone in the other religions. At the time, this didn’t trouble me. He is a good man, and I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by not talking about the other religions. The point is that I didn’t think of them either. Some part of me, deep inside, didn’t care, because my family would all be going to Heaven, as they are mostly Christian (I don’t know any that aren’t, excluding myself and my mother) .

I, of course, believed every word he said. A relative worked in Awanas too, because he lived near the church. I loved talking to him. I also loved being able to go and see kids my age. They were all nice and we would hang out and mess around before we had to go in church and study. We became close friends.

Eventually, I started to lose faith in what the preacher said. I no longer craved his approval, as I had when I was young. Although I didn’t realize it the time, I stopped believing in God and worrying about going to Hell.

Then, one night, my mother gave me an article about Wicca. I’ve always loved learning about religions and mythology. She knew someone that was Pagan and thought I’d think it was cool. She never really meant for me to learn (and, not in the least, to start believing) it. Things about Wicca just simply drew me in. I’d never been so curious in my life, not that I could remember, anyway.

So I began to learn more about Wicca. I was young then, too, but I was at the stage where I went to the computer when I wanted to learn something. I went to a couple websites and became even more intrigued. My mom then bought me a few books about Wicca. I devoured the first one faster than when I’d read Harry Potter, one of my favorites, so this was saying something.

The more I learned of Wicca, the more interested I became. Of course, this was the same with some of the other religions I’ve studied. I want to know as much as possible. But, still, there seemed to be something different. Something that made me want to know everything that I could, and then some more. It didn’t seem strange to me. It still doesn’t, it felt natural to me.

Automatically, I felt a deep connection to the Goddess. Maybe it was just that she was a woman, someone I could relate to. Or maybe it was because that I could more easily picture a mother than a father, as I don’t know what one is like. Whatever it was, I knew that She was special. So one night, I sent a prayer to her.

It wasn’t really a prayer, exactly. I just spoke to her like I would to a normal person. Like I would to my mother, with whom I share a very close relationship. I’d like to say that I felt a spiritual awakening or something, but I didn’t. It wasn’t any different than talking to someone who wasn’t really there. I eventually lost hope that She was even real.

Then, more than a week later, I was pushed to talk to her again. Somewhere, deep inside, I knew She was there. The first time hadn’t been like that. It had been something I wanted to experiment with. This time, I knew that She would listen. I felt it, knew it. From what I learned, I thought the best place would be outside, in nature, surrounded my earth.

So I spoke quietly to her. As time went on, I became more confident that She would listen. It was different than the first time. It was like talking to someone, just to get it off your chest, but still knowing that they sincerely wanted to hear you out, to know what you had to say. That may be a bad way to explain it, but that’s the only way I can think of.

Time flew by and I studied for a year and a day. Then, I did a horrible self-initiation. When I’d thought I’d messed it all up and was about to forget it, I changed my mind. I decided it didn’t matter whether I had a big ceremony or whatever; it was just that I believed in the Goddess and God enough to try. So I finished my ridiculous initiation with some strips of pride still intact.

I think that, more than anything, made me feel better. I have been studying Wicca ever since, and still am. Wicca has helped me feel more in tune with nature. Plus, I feel more confident within myself. I care less about what people think and more about how I feel about myself. Altogether, Wicca did some really good things for me. I know that whatever I do, the Lord and Lady will be there beside me to guide me through it. To me, this is a comforting thought.

Blessed be. ) O (

Cranberry and Cool Weather Kitchen Magick

Cranberry and Cool Weather Kitchen Magick

Author: Kiki’s Cauldron

For many, cranberries become a part of the meal between Samhain and Yule. Prior Samhain, fresh cranberries are harvested from northern bogs and available for many autumn dishes. At Thanksgiving, stuffing is sweetened with a heaping spoonful of delicious cranberry chutney. And at Yule, many enjoy the fragrant smell of cranberry cooking in dessert dishes or in its perfume smell by the hearth with cranberry-scented candles. The cranberry’s deep red color is admirable, exotic, and comforting. It’s unique tale of growth in bog and harvest in water, it’s lavish mythical lore, and even its long list of health benefits make it a berry worthy of examining for magickal qualities.

Cranberry Growth
Cranberries are one of only three berries native to North America (the other two being the blueberry and concord grape) . They grow on low-level vines and flourish in bogs (that is to say: they need acidic peat soil and fresh water to grow) . Cranberries are also a berry of the north, commonly growing in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Canada. A smaller variety of the cranberry also grows in Scandinavia. Oftentimes when we see commercials on television with cranberry gardeners knee-high in cranberry-filled water, we assume that the cranberries actually grow in water. However, this is an image of a specific farming technique known as “water harvesting.” In this process, the cranberry vine-filled bogs are flooded with water. Special farming equipment known as watering reels turn and stir the water in the flooded bogs, loosening the berries from the vine. Because the cranberries contain pockets of air inside them, they float to the surface, which then makes it easy to corral and harvest. Cranberries can also be harvested the old fashion way. “Dry harvesting” is the simple method of plucking the berry from the dry vines during the fall.

The Cranberry in History, Lore and Mythology
The bog is the home of the cranberry, but was also sacrificial stomping ground of ancient societies in Northern Europe. Consider all of the archeological findings that have been discovered in bogs from Denmark Scotland, England, Sweden, and Northern Germany: daggers, swords, shields, spears, javelins, drinking vessels, sickles, y-shaped dowsing rods and jewelry have all be recovered from bogs. Also recovered from a bog was the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, a silver cauldron of Celtic origin, which had mythological narratives on it. Even more shockingly, excellently preserved human bodies, which appear to have been victims of sacrifice, have been discovered in bog. It appears that to ancient society, the watery bog was a place of significant importance, where sacrifices and treasures were willingly deposited.

Some researchers and academics have suggested that the bog deposits were offerings for protection, or rituals to bring fertility to the land and well-being to the land’s inhabitants. One cannot avoid the idea of a spooky, dank bog on a cold dark night either. Perhaps it is the fact that the unstable, marshy territory could lead to hazardous falls and injuries. Legend has it that the murky, watery parts of a bog were bottomless, so to step in one meant imminent doom. Hans Christian Andersen shared many stories of the bog, most of which involved witches, elves and fairies. And in English and Welsh folklore, Will-o-the-wisps are said to be glowing lights that would float above the bog. Some believed that they were benevolent fairy or nature spirits that acted as guides to lost travelers; on the other hand, some saw the Will-’o-the-Wisps as ill spirited fairies, dark elves or spirits connected to the devil.

It’s also interesting to note that the cranberry has a special place in the hearts of the Finnish and students and admirers of ancient Lapland mythology. The Kalevala, epic legend of Finland, and reputed inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, is a compiled collection of Finnish oral stories that have been sung by Lapland bards for centuries. In the final passage, or Rune, of The Kalevala, we hear of the tale of a virgin Goddess’ encounter with the cranberry. Described as a beautiful maiden, Marjatta is a Goddess who is chaste, yet connected with her Northland home. While roaming the forests, she hears the singing of the cranberry, which begs her to eat him. Because of her maidenhood, she couldn’t pluck the berry, but instead used a charm to have the berry rise from the vine and into her mouth. After she ate the berry, she was impregnated. (*See endnote) . When her family found out of her pregnancy, they did not believe her story of the cranberry and was shunned. Similar to the story of Christ’s birth, Marjatta gave birth to her sun in a stable in a forest. The heroic god of The Kalevala, Väinämöinen, is summoned to decide the destiny of the baby. When it is told that the child’s father is a cranberry, Väinämöinen sentences the baby to banishment in the forest and seals his death. However, when the baby pleads for his life by pointing out Väinämöinen’s unfair judgement, he is saved. Väinämöinen also recognizes that the son of the cranberry would grow to be his successor: a royal king and mighty ruler.

Some of the American history and lore of cranberries is fascinating as well. Native Americans were very familiar with the cranberry, and used it graciously as food, medicine, and dye. They used the berry to flavor meats, in a poultice to heal wounds and lower inflammation, and as a dye to make deep burgundy rugs. When Dutch and German settlers came to America, they named the berry “Crane Berry.” This name was inspired by the berry’s pink spring blossoms, which were said to resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill Crane.

The Cranberry’s Astounding Health Benefits
There are so many health benefits for cranberries that after seeing how they can help your general health, you may consider keeping cranberry juice, tea or supplements in stock in your kitchen. Cranberries are very effective in the healing and relief of urinary tract infections. Cranberries are chock-full of antioxidants, which could mean that cranberries could have anti-aging qualities. The juice is said to prevent peptic ulcers, while eating the berry is said to cut back dental plaque. Recent research has suggested that cranberry can reduce the development of kidney stones and the risk of cancer and heart disease. Cranberries contain no cholesterol, trace amounts of fat and minimal sodium. They have a hearty amount of Vitamin C and fiber, and historically were taken to sea by mariners who wished to fight scurvy.

Cranberry Recipes
There are countless recipes for cranberries available. If you have not indulged in the tart, yet sweet taste of cranberries, autumn and winter are the seasons to incorporate them into your meals, as they will usually be in stock between September and December. Two websites I highly recommend for recipes are the recipes available at Cape Cod Cranberry Grower’s Association ( and my favorite kitchen magazine: Cook’s Illustrated ( .

Cranberries can be frozen, so they can last in the freezer for a long period of time. And, they are a “Prepper” and “Homesteader” friendly food, as they can be purchased canned, or be made into a preserve. Keep in mind as well: cranberries were used as a form of barter amongst Native American tribes!

Cranberry’s Magickal Components
Oftentimes, the cranberry’s beautiful red color has associated it with the planet Mars, and as a result, its magickal correspondences are similar to that of Mars. Because of this, cranberry can be used for protection, positive energy, courage, passion, determination, goals, and action. Consider having Cranberry Sauce as part of a protective meal, or drinking cranberry juice or tea while doing magick for anything associated with Mars.

If color were considered as a way of marking the cranberry’s magickal associations, it would be foolish to not highlight the deep, sensual and erotic red color as corresponding to love and lust magick. If you are cooking a meal for a loved one, consider incorporating cranberry into the meal. There is actually cranberry wine available, which fermentors of homemade wines and meads would find easy to brew (see “How to Make Cranberry Wine” for details: . In Magick Potions: How to Prepare and Use Homemade Incense, Oils, Aphrodisiacs and Much More, Gerina Dunwich supplies a recipe for “Lovers’ Meditation Blend.” In the context of her book, she suggests using this while working with the Lovers Tarot Card. You may also want to sip this tea while performing love magick. Simply add two teaspoons cherry juice to 1-cup hot cranberry tea. Stir it with a cinnamon stick clockwise. There is something incredibly comforting and warming about Cranberry, so to show your love and appreciation for your family and friends, consider adding Cranberry sauce or chutney to a dinner. It will bring a feeling of peace, comfort, warmth, good health and love to those who enjoy it.

Tale of Marjatta reminds us of the nutritional value of the cranberry- so fertile and powerful is the cranberry, that it is the vehicle for immaculate conception. Since it is tied to immaculate conception, and the birth of a child who will replace the old King, it can be linked to rejuvenation, reincarnation, and the themes of Yule and Christmas. Cranberry also has clear links to fertility magick in this context. Spell work aside, the nutritional benefits of the cranberry are worthy enough to be incorporated into a routine diet, as it will aid in overall health and well being.

Finally, it is important to not forget the magick of the bog, the motherland of cranberry. Here, we see cranberry’s tie to the supernatural, mystical, and ancient. In a place where humans and precious objects were sacrificed, there was much value put on the mystical powers of the bog. It is a place where the protection of people and armies, the fertility of land and nature, and the well being of those who visit it, could be determined and sought after through ritual and sacrifice. Perhaps you will include a bowl of cranberries next to your pomegranate on your Samhain altar to show thanks to the supernatural powers of the bog. Or simply, while cooking cranberries during the colder season or enjoying its fragrance in oil or a candle, you can reflect on the mystical, protective, and fertile powers of the deep red berry.

*Please note: Many translators cannot agree on which berry Marjatta actually enjoys in The Kalevala. Translations include cranberry, bilberry, lingonberry, blackberry and strawberry. The original Finnish word used was “punapuola, ” which is indeed a variety of cranberry, though smaller and sweeter than the one grown in Northern America.

Bonser, Wilfrid. “The Magic Birth ‘Motif’ in The Kalevala.” Man 18 (1918) : 20-22.
Chamberlain, A.F. “Notes on the History, Customs, and Beliefs of the Mississagua Indians.” The Journal of American Folklore 1.2 (1888) : 150-160.
“Cranberry Benefits and Information.” NutraSanus.
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen. Llewellyn Publications: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2003.
Dunwich, Gerina. Magick Potions: How To Prepare and Use Homemade Incense, Oil, Aphrodisiacs and More. Citadel Press Books: New York, 1998.
Glob, P.V. Trans. Rupert Bruce-Mitford. The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved. New York Review Books: New York, 1969.
“History of Cranberries.” Cape Cod Cranberry Association.
Holland, Eileen. The Spellcaster’s Reference: Magickal Timing for the Wheel of the Year. Weiser Books: San Francisco, 2009.
Kelly, Eaomonn P. “Secrets of the Bog Bodies: The Enigma of the Iron Age Explained.” Archaeology Ireland 20.1: 26-30 (2006) .
Meredith, Dianne. “Hazards in the Bog- Real and Imagined.” Geographical Review 92.3: 319-332 (2002) .
The Kalevala. Compiled by Elias Lönnrot. Trans. John John Marin Crawford. Project Guttenberg. 31 May 2002.
“Where do Cranberries Grow?” Ocean Spray Food Service.

Your Daily Influences for September 4th

Your Daily Influences
September 4, 2011

Tarot Influence

Rune Influence

Charm Influence
Two of Pentacles Reversed
Faked happiness. Inability to manage more than one thing at a time.
Jera denotes positive, recurring cycles, fertility and a time to harvest rewards from your hard work.
The Cornucopia
This aspect suffers from excess. You need too sift through the influences and eliminate the frivolous ones before this aspect will become pleasant again.
Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Sept. 4th is 21: Cutting Through

21: Cutting Through

Hexagram 21

General Meaning: The situation calls for confronting a knotty conflict and cutting through it. Somehow, the way to harmony and unity is blocked or frustrated — perhaps by a tangle of misunderstandings or outright deceit. Like Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian knot, assert yourself now and you will meet with good fortune. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit. The ability to take corrective measures when they are needed is an essential trait of true leadership.

But those who bring discipline to bear must, above all, be honest — with others, and with themselves. Honesty is the hallmark of the strong and self-confident. The successful person masters the art of honesty much as a swordsman masters fencing. When lies, delusions and game playing are getting in the way of teamwork, a swift sword of honest action, perhaps even correction, must be wielded to protect one’s integrity and values. Decisiveness with integrity brings good fortune.

Though your actions be vigorous, they must not be hasty, severe or arbitrary. Be sure to carefully consider all the circumstances. In the case of a serious disruption of relations, you must forgive, but not forget to give a person a chance to make reparations for his mistakes. If some penalty or punishment is necessary, make certain that it fits the crime. When boundaries have become slack and useless, only through the institution of clear and swift correction can their effectiveness be restored.

In situations where serious issues of justice are at stake, keep careful records and do not hesitate to go public with the truth

Your Daily Number for September 4th: 3

You’re at your creative best today, and are a master problem solver. Help may arrive from an unexpected source, as may news or information from someone far away. Today is a day for optimism and honest sharing of feelings.

Fast Facts

About the Number 3

Theme: Expansive, Sociable, Dramatic, Diversified, Creative
Astro Association: Venus
Tarot Association: Empress

Today’s Tarot Card for September 4th is The Lovers

The Lovers

This Tarot Deck: Etteilla

General Meaning: Although it has taken on a strictly romantic revision of meaning in some modern decks, traditionally the Lovers card of Tarot reflected the challenges of choosing a partner. At a crossroads, one cannot take both paths. The images on this card in different decks have varied more than most, because we have had so many ways of looking at sex and relationships across cultures and centuries.

Classically, the energy of this card reminded us of the real challenges posed by romantic relationships, with the protagonist often shown in the act of making an either-or choice. To partake of a higher ideal often requires sacrificing the lesser option. The path of pleasure eventually leads to distraction from spiritual growth. The gratification of the personality eventually gives way to a call from spirit as the soul matures.

Modern decks tend to portray the feeling of romantic love with this card, showing Adam and Eve at the gates of Eden when everything was still perfect. This interpretation portrays humanity before the Fall, and can be thought to imply a different sort of choice — the choice of evolution over perfection, or the choice of personal growth through relationship — instead of a fantasy where everything falls into place perfectly and is taken care of without effort.

Your Daily Horoscopes for September 4th

We are now in between some very intense planetary aspects, giving us time to integrate recent experiences and consider the issues we must soon face. However, we should be cautious about sweeping unresolved issues under the rug, even if today’s expansive Sagittarius Moon brings a new wave of optimism. The Moon forms squares with the Sun and Venus in detail-oriented Virgo, reminding us of the consequences of only thinking about the big picture.


Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

The influence you have on others now is not limited to what they can see; opinions are being formed today by picking up on more subtle information, too. Placing too much emphasis on the performance may have you looking good but won’t necessarily convey the real substance of what you have to offer. Be smart and save your act for another day. For now, concentrate on working with the major changes that are slowly yet methodically unfolding around you.

Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

The Moon’s square to your key planet Venus can prompt you to declare your feelings right out loud today, even if this isn’t your normal style. However, you would be smart to think twice before doing anything that could upset the delicate balance between you and others. Your life is already more complicated than you like, so don’t add another layer of drama on top of everything else. For simplicity’s sake, keep your desires to yourself for now.

Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

You might feel as if you’ve recently navigated your way successfully through a tricky situation. Now that you have demonstrated your skills as a negotiator by convincing someone to avoid direct confrontation, it’s your turn to take a stand for one of your beliefs. Although this may require methodical follow-through on your part, you could be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

You want to move beyond your recently hurt feelings, but it’s not easy to let go of them if someone is being inconsiderate today. Still, it’s crucial to realize that you can’t control how people react to you, even if you’re tempted to manipulate their emotions. Instead of attempting to change anyone else, find a place of acceptance within yourself that can transform your fears into a positive expression of love.

Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You are ready to put your best foot forward today because the Moon in your expressive 5th House wants you to be noticed now by all those you love. Luckily, your charm can cut right through a stressful situation, leaving others to appreciate your presence. Unfortunately, you can try too hard. Knowing when to step out of the spotlight is just as important as having an entertaining act to perform. Once you’ve had your moment to shine, be gracious and let someone else be the center of attention for a while.

Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You’re stressed by today’s conflict between your desire for adventure and your need for perfection. You’re tempted to sacrifice quality in order to squeeze more activity into your day, but you may regret this kind of foolish behavior later on. Your friends and family might not even be aware of your current struggle unless you decide to make your feelings public. Keep in mind that your experience doesn’t depend on anyone else knowing about it.

Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You may be worried about an uncomfortable situation with a friend, but it’s hard to tell if it’s real or if you’re just making it all up. Interactive Mercury in your 11th House of Social Networking forms an otherworldly septile with realistic Saturn in your sign. While it’s true that someone could be trying to undermine your position today, it’s smarter to avoid the drama. Have fun, but keep working until you fulfill the promises you made.

Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You’re feeling a lot of pressure that seems to fall squarely on your shoulders now, but fortunately you know that your efforts are appreciated. The uplifting Sagittarius Moon in your 2nd House of Self-Esteem reminds you to look on the bright side of things, boosting your confidence. But don’t waste energy pretending that you are okay with things as they are if you’re not. Take time to process your feelings; ultimately, releasing them will bring you increased vitality.

Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

The Moon’s monthly visit to your sign raises your spirits and encourages you to share your positive outlook with those around you. Unfortunately, your overconfidence can carry you away today, allowing you to appear a bit foolish. It’s great to have such an optimistic attitude, but you could lose support from your closest friends unless you are also willing to acknowledge the more difficult aspects of life, too.

Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You are motivated by your desire to maintain your balance, but this can be tricky when the ground is constantly shifting beneath your feet. You can see many exciting possibilities ahead, but are also fearful that you could lose your sense of direction if you let yourself be distracted by pleasure. Thankfully, you have enough discipline to stay on track now as long as you remain true to yourself.

Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Although your friends are probably being straightforward today, there’s a good chance that you’ll still misinterpret what they say. Relationships are complicated by unexpressed feelings now, especially if others think that you won’t approve of their desires. If you want someone you love to share their secrets with you, you’ll need to create a safe space by demonstrating your willingness to be open-minded and non-judgmental.

Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Even if you don’t feel like doing your chores or fulfilling your duties, you’re still able to make it look like you’re having fun while doing your work. You are willing to turn your routine into a game, which alleviates boredom and can actually make your life more pleasurable. However, caution is advised, because there may be a price to pay for keeping your real feelings secret. It may be wiser to just be honest from the beginning because unexpressed negativity can often turn into resentment if it doesn’t have an outlet.

the daily humorscopes for sunday, september 4th

the daily humorscope 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Today will be Mexican Food day, for you. In fact, chances are better than 1 in 3 that someone will refer to you as “Frijole-breath” before the day is through.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Twelve freshly cut rods (made from ash) will be found in a peculiar pattern on the lawn. Two large black crows will watch you solemnly from the top of a parked VW Microbus. The weather will turn colder, and the air, although clear, will seem grey. Don’t worry, though, it’s probably nothing.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Time to throw down the gauntlet. Or, if you can’t find a gauntlet, a ski mitten will do. Just make sure you throw it down. (That’s one heck of a lot more fun than throwing it up.)
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
What fun! You’ll be called in to a special meeting at work soon, where someone will have a “pink slip.” Sounds like party attire to me!
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
You’ll become best pals with a large invisible rabbit, today. Well, actually he’s a “puka”, which is a type of Celtic spirit, but he’ll look like a large invisible rabbit.
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Good day to work on your catapult. You never know when it could come in handy. Besides, it’s good to worry your neighbours a bit — keeps them civil.
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Your neighbour thinks his dog is so smart, it’s starting to bug you. The thing to do is cover a book with a book cover that says “Quantum Physics for Dogs”, and train your dog to lay next to it, along a pad of paper covered with scribbled equations and a chewed-on pencil…
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
You will be buffeted by hordes of people, who will all simultaneously show up in your office “just to chat”. Eventually, you will make your escape by locking yourself in the bathroom.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Rhubarb pie is the only antidote for your ailment. Trust me on this one. Also, someone’s been teasing your cat.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 20)
Good day to put strange labels on your binders and file cabinets, such as “launch codes”, “who’s been naughty”, or “Snerge”. This will be quite effective in distracting visitors, so they will often forget what ever they were preparing to bother you about.
Aquarius (January 21 – February 18)
Excellent time to hum popular songs, just slightly off key. If you do that long enough, the people around you will change in appearance. You’ll be able to see the veins in their neck, for one thing.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
It’s time to start setting higher goals. Don’t get stuff to make a salad and then let it rot in the fridge. Get stuff to make several salads, and start your own compost pile!

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Sept. 4th

 Astronomy Picture of the Day 

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

 2011 September 4

 In the Shadow of Saturn
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours in 2006 and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn, slightly scattering sunlight, in this exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the image. Seen in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, at the left, just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.