Back to Basics: Are You Forgetting Something?
It is amazing how often we forget things we learned as a child. Proper manners “Yes Sir. No Sir.” To make our beds daily and do our homework. As adults, we have more responsibility and more chances to be slack in said responsibility. We often find ourselves not eating a healthy breakfast and staying up until all hours. Then we pay for it the next day (or later that day with a sick stomach).
Our mothers told you to brush twice daily, eat your veggies, and remember to say thank you. When was the last time you said thank you and really meant it? Heck, when was the last time you purposefully ate veggies? I’m talking to all of you out there, like me, who procrastinate and put want ahead of need. However, I’d like to focus on a part of your life your mother may not have included, but is just as important.
It has to do with the basics of magical workings.
What was the first thing you learned while doing energy work? Hopefully it was to ground your energies. Grounding is the act of basically connecting your energies to the Earth, generally in a root-like manner, to keep one’s energies from spiking and also to tap into a source of energies. It is alternately brimming forth energy and also a cord for any excess energy to safely be distributed into the Earth. Just think ‘root.’
Yes, I’m sure you ‘automatically’ ground and get on with things, but when was the last time you reveled in the act of tapping into the Earth? Grounding is much more sacred and important to do offhand. People like very much to hurry through life, why not savor the moment when your energy merges with something larger?
A few months ago I was reminded of the importance of grounding. I was asked to do something for a friend and readily offered my aid. I didn’t feel anything at first, only sleepiness. Then, bam! The headache happened. It’s like an energy hangover. Other people’s backlash can be different and it can simply be prevented. In fact, following this first suggestion can prevent much more.
1: Be aware of yourself.
If you are tired before you start the crafting, perhaps it is not the right time to do a circle. Need before want, remember? I know spells and workings are fun. I also know that people like to show off their talents. So, before you do anything crafty, take a moment and look over the situation.
Is anyone goading you into something? If someone were calling you out, what purpose would performing the spell be? Would your deity/ies like what you were doing? Would this potential moment embarrass you later on? Then there’s the situation where no one is goading you, and the one who initiated the showing off is just you.
All spells should have a purpose. What would showing off do but show that you are insecure and flamboyant? Often when we do spellcraft on the spur of the moment, we forget things. I don’t know, perhaps grounding for one. Also, we forget to be aware of our surroundings (the spiritual side and the more physical side alike).
If you pull out tools in the middle of school or at a busy restaurant, the teachers and other customers might get a little suspicious. I know we like attention, but is this the attention you really want? To be called to the Vice Principal’s office and asked about chanting in the middle of the courtyard during lunch?
Witchcraft is a mystery art, ‘showing off’ makes you part of the jokes that more experienced Witches chuckle at. Please, I know that there’s more to you than showing off. In fact, you probably don’t even know you’re doing it until it’s all over.
Discretion is the better part of valor and keeps outside people from interfering. Besides, is that the sort of energy you want associated with whatever craft you are planning? Which leads me to the next suggestion.
2. Does it feel right?
Often we find ourselves just looking for a spell to do. Ok, not everyone does this, but many people go through a stage where they “Just gotta do something!” Being still, being calm, simply being isn’t enough. They have to do something. So, they go crazy looking through spell books in the local Barnes and Noble or divine at anything that moves.
You ignore the feeling your guides touch on you ever so gently in lieu of more. More what, power? Attention? Basically, more fuel to feed your pride. In the end this can cause burn out or worse yet, a chaotic mind that forgets to do suggestion 1, to be aware of yourself.
I’ve had moments like that. It wasn’t enlightening. It was just busywork. Why make more work for you to do when you can minimize your energy expenditure by keeping your craftwork nice and neat? Try to reduce the number of spells you do and increase purposeful grounding. I’m sure you’ll notice a difference in how you think, feel, and act.
When your mind kicks up a lot of chaotic energy, it’s like a muddy pool of water. Once the waters still and the dirt settles, you can see more clearly. Also, you can trust yourself more readily. Which leads me to 3.
3. Trust Thyself.
This is the biggie. People are going to tell you you’re wrong, misguided, or just stupid for anything and everything. They might just disagree with you concerning a tarot reading you are giving them (other Practitioners will do this more than you would think). They might say that you are casting a circle wrong because you do it differently from them or think that you are a flake when in fact you are earnest in your ways.
It’s interesting to note that some of the harshest criticism I’ve seen comes from inside the Pagan and Witchcraft community. It can cause rock hard cliques, withdrawal of those who can be great teachers and worse yet, hesitation to reach out for others who could be great circle members.
In order to trust others, you must trust yourself. In order to know what feels right, you must trust yourself. In order to ground properly, you must trust yourself that you are in fact grounding properly. If you have done any successful working, you must have had trust in yourself to some point. Having complete trust in yourself is difficult when many in society call you wrong or when your best friend says you are doing things incorrectly (which just feels like another way of saying wrong). If it works for you, it works for you.
Trusting thyself is what brings everything together. Trust is being aware of yourself and knowing what you are doing is right. So, doing suggestions 1 and 2 will lead to true self-trust. If you already have self-trust, it never hurts to take a moment and reflect. Refine your baser skills of grounding, meditation, and remembering to draw in energy like you used to when all of this was new and shimmering with possibilities.
Learn to listen to your gut, because often it knows if something is a bad idea before your brain does.
4. You Are a Sponge.
Don’t forget to look at whom you practice with. Are they good to you? Would they help you move out of your house if you asked? More importantly, would they offer to help you move out if you didn’t ask? These are the kinds of people you want to be around. People who want to help you and not harm you.
Many go on the notion of perfect love and perfect trust, is this perfect love and perfect trust? Or is it just playing games? Find people that you can really learn from, and look to people who don’t boast or cover themselves in “Look at me” vibes (or perhaps clothing for that matter).
The most inconspicuous person might hold a treasure of knowledge and friendship if you trust your instincts to say, “Blessed be.” to them. Just make sure you’re not saying hi to them because they’re quiet.
Trust your instincts and your common sense; you have them for a reason. Remember, you are a sponge. You share energies with other people, and you start picking up those attributes. Haven’t you noticed that you start sounding like people you’re around often? It’s called mirroring. You copy what you see most around you to fit in.
American society says a T-shirt jeans or shorts are the norm in the warmer months. Wearing a civil war reenactment outfit would stick out like a sore thumb. Mirroring what you see others do is how you stay socially viable, and not an outcast.
It’s the same when you are with your circle or coven. If someone’s morals differ in a way that you would see as unacceptable, the more you are around them (and their energies), the less harmful their acts seem. Then you are no longer the person you were.
Are you the person you wanted to be?
Look at people like aspects of an art piece. Will your final work be magnificent and beautiful? Or will it make you feel full of dread when you look on it? Friends and circle members should not make you feel trepidation.
Try to follow the previous three suggestions, and the right people will start to come out of the woodwork.
I suppose some of these suggestions aren’t in the books we read when we first started out. Trusting yourself is something that comes in time. Being aware is simple enough, but often overlooked.
Asking yourself if something feels right can be relative. It can only be answered by the Practitioner doing the craft. Sometimes we forget about the need and do a want, just because we felt like it.
Sometimes we get smacked upside the head by backlash of some sort. We’re always in such a hurry. But, one thing that we can choose is our friends. Just because someone looks interesting doesn’t mean that they are trustworthy.
Never settle for less than the best. You are worth it. So, remember that next time you take a few seconds extra in that pre-spellcraft grounding.
The Top 5 Things Your Local Witch Wants You to Know
Author: Holly Risingstar
I am a fairly ordinary woman. I’m in my early thirties; I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Services; I work with families in crisis. I’ve got two kids, a husband, and family nearby; I love the arts, shopping, beadwork, travel, and photography. I’m addicted to the Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes. I drive a black Honda that has seen better days. I wish gas prices would go down. I’m in desperate need of a haircut.
Oh, and did I mention, I’m a witch?
I was born into a nominally Jewish family and had five years’ worth of Hebrew school growing up, but it never felt right to me. I never felt connected, spiritually, to God. By the time I was hitting my teens, I had started to read more and more about the occult, and finally came across Scott Cunningham’s book Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (considered by many to be the best introductory book on Wicca there is). Finally, I Got It. Something inside me knew this was my path, where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. I’ve been Wiccan for 17 years now, and I’ve never looked back.
Wicca is an earth-based, non-Judeo-Christian religion. The modern form was created from various pieces of pagan religion by Gerald Gardner in the 1930s, but from there has exploded into a rainbow of traditions, each with its own particular blend of magic, faith, and morals. Wicca is a legally recognized religion in the U.S and you can even have it imprinted on your dog tags in the Armed Forces. It is often cited as being the fastest-growing religion in the country.
When asked to write this piece on Wicca, I considered carefully what I might want to say. Should I launch into a defense of my beliefs? Normalize Wicca with other religions? Simply compare and contrast? Deliver an anecdotal “Day in the Life of a Witch” kind of thing?
I settled on this:
THE TOP FIVE THINGS YOUR LOCAL WITCH WOULD WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT WICCA
1.We are not Satanists.
You heard it here first! Wicca does not subscribe to a Judeo-Christian belief in God; therefore, we don’t believe in a Devil, Hell, or Heaven. Wiccans revere nature and treat the Mother Earth with great respect. Many (though not all) of us believe in some aspect of the Goddess; many also believe in some form of the God, Her consort.
The most common belief system involves the Triple Goddess; a Mother Goddess, symbolized by the moon, who watches over mothers and children, family and all matters pertaining to that phase of a woman’s life; a Maiden Goddess, who reigns over joy, youth, vitality, freedom, and so on; and a Crone Goddess, who holds the secrets of magic and is the Guardian of the Crossroads (in other words, a death-related Goddess. Not one who causes death, mind, but who assists those who are in this stage of existence.)
Often the Goddess has a God consort, symbolized by the Sun, who is her lover and assists her with Creation of all things. Often he is associated with forests, certain animals, and a vast variety of human experiences ranging from sex to war to creativity. One of the great joys of Wicca is the ability to choose which Goddesses and Gods have meaning and connection for you – though they’ve been known to choose the practitioner!
2.We have one law – An It Harm None, So Mote It Be.
Which means don’t harm anyone, including yourself. Sounds fairly simple, right? Not so easy. It’s a tough moral code to live by. We cannot, in good conscience, take revenge, cause harm, or cause another person problems on purpose. No killing, no stealing, respecting other human beings – sound familiar?
3.You probably know one of us.
Wiccans (and pagans of all flavors) are everywhere. We come from all walks of life; nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers, convenience store clerks, computer programmers, business owners, you name it. We are not necessarily the odd chick down the street with the long hippie skirts and twelve cats. . .ok, well, she might be one of us.
We have our share of hippies, vegans, Goths, and assorted subcultures. But you won’t necessarily know us just looking at us – most people I tell about my religious leanings are surprised. As a co-worker (and devout Christian) recently said to me, “I was so surprised that you are – you know, what you are. I kept saying, “How can Holly be a heathen? She’s so nice!”
4.Yes, we do cast spells.
It’s very similar to praying. Spell casting simply means using rituals to help bring about a desired outcome; no more, no less. A conscientious witch never casts on another human being without that person’s consent and full knowledge, and she won’t do it for money, if she’s the real deal. Witches try never to violate another person’s free will. There are no big flashes like in the movies; I can’t fly, float, or make things disappear (though there’s a shot if I put it on my desk!), and lightning has certainly never flown out of my fingertips.
What I can do is help protect, heal, bring about some occurrences (like employment or good legal results), marry couples and bless children, and things of that nature. I do not hex, curse, or cause harm through magic. It’s not cool with the Goddess.
5.You may have participated in a Wiccan or Pagan tradition.
We have holidays, creation myths, and rituals just like any other religion.
Wiccans generally celebrate eight high holidays: Samhain (pronounced so-when) on October 31st is one of them. That jack o’lantern on your porch? Started out as turnips, decorated to keep away evil spirits. Next comes Yule, the Winter Solstice, on December 21st – and if you have a Christmas tree, know that it started as the use of evergreen to symbolize life and rebirth in Roman and Druidic rituals.
Following are Candlemas on February 2nd, which celebrates the lambing of the ewes and the returning spring; Litha, the spring equinox, on March 21st; Beltane on May 1st, which celebrates life, generativity, and is where the Maypole comes from (you are dancing around a phallus to make the fields fruitful, folks!) Next, the Summer Solstice on June 21st, then Lammas on August 2nd, which celebrates the height of summer.
Lastly we have Mabon, the autumnal equinox, which ends the cycle of growth and prepares us for Samhain and the winter to come. We also celebrate and worship on the night of the full moon; we may also celebrate life events like births, weddings, maturation of our children, and death. In this way we remain close to the cycles of the earth, never forgetting who we are and what is happening in the world around us.
Wicca and Paganism are rapidly becoming mainstreamed. Your local bookstore probably has a decent-sized section on Metaphysical Studies, and you’ll find plenty on the religion there.
We have our own magazines, hundreds of websites, bumper stickers, T-shirts, music, and so on. Being Wiccan or Pagan does not necessarily mean we’re strange; it means that we have a different belief system than the general American public.
If you run across a Wiccan or a Pagan, don’t be afraid to ask us questions. We won’t come to you, but if you ask we’re generally happy to share what we know with others. Most witches are delighted to have a chance to combat the stereotyping and misconceptions the public has of us.
When we part, Wiccans often say, “Blessed Be.” And so I’ll leave you with a Blessed Be – merry met, merry part, and merry meet again.
Previously published in a Mensa newsletter.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
If you’re a neat freak, you may want to warm up your space with plants, photographs, and personally made handicrafts.
|Jade Runes are most commonly used for questions about love, friendship, and relationships. Hagalaz is the rune of hail. Hail is a destructive and elemental force, so one can expect this rune to represent the disruption of one’s life. In the harsh northern winter there is a halt to activity, and so delay or hindrance is frequently associated with this rune. The opposite of chaos is yet more chaos, as illustrated by the fact that this rune cannot be reversed.|
22: Grace and Beauty
General Meaning: A splashy sunset bathes the mountains in a soft radiance; the light of a full moon dances on the surface of a rippling river. Grace and beauty adorn the natural world. Grace is not an all-powerful force, nor is it the essential or fundamental thing. By itself, it is form without content. Grace is moonlight on water, not the sunlight at noon. Yet grace brings artistic expression into the world, and enhances the quality of our lives.
In the arts, grace arises out of adherence to form: the dancer becoming the form of the dance, the musician giving life to the form of a musical score, the painter becoming one with the brush and canvas. In human affairs, grace is also aligned with form — with mastery of aesthetic and cultural patterns honed by time and honored by tradition. Through appreciation of graceful customs in human relationships we apprehend the pure beauty of the ideal, of life raised above the mere struggle for survival.
Possession of grace, like the bearing of a beautiful gift to a wedding, can add stature to those in humble positions. Take care to lend grace and dignity even to small happenings, while giving the weight of deep and careful consideration to matters of greater consequence. Though it should not be confused with true substance, an artistic flair can take one far in this world.
Wheel of Fortune
This Tarot Deck: Moon Garden
Every one of us will occupy all the points on the wheel at some time or another. The cycle of the wheel is its lesson — and we can learn to take comfort in it (as we do when we celebrate our birthday). If you don’t like the look of things right now, just wait — things will change. Of course, if you do like the look of things right now, enjoy it while it lasts, because that will change too!
You often push boundaries without even realizing it when you get excited about something new. However, today’s enthusiasm might be more about what you say than what you do with talkative Mercury in the spotlight. The problem is that you may not be on target with your idea, even though you think it’s a good one. Don’t be so cocky that you make incorrect assumptions. Be patient, review your plans one more time and proceed slowly.
Your career goals may seem more tangible than they actually are with the most unrealistic ones right at the tips of your outreached fingers. On the plus side, you can believe an impossible dream is so real that your legendary persistence makes it so. But on the other hand, it’s easy to become complacent by convincing yourself that you’re close to your destination when you’re not. Use your common sense before wasting any more energy pursuing a pipe dream.
The Moon’s visit to your 9th House of Higher Education prompts you to reconsider an old plan you had to return to school. Remember, it’s wiser to study a subject that expands your mind and widens your perspective beyond your old way of seeing things. But make sure that you don’t jump to conclusions or even something as simple as a weekend getaway can turn into a comedy of errors. There’s no rush to make a final decision, so give your ideas enough time to develop before doing anything rash.
It’s a lot safer to keep your unexpressed emotional desires to yourself now, for your surprising intensity can be unsettling to someone else. Unfortunately, you still must take a chance if you want to experience new levels of intimacy with someone that you trust. Revealing your vulnerability is not without its danger; thankfully, the benefits now outweigh the risks.
You might be afraid that something magical could slip through your fingers today, but no amount of logic can help you figure out a sensible strategy to stabilize your position. Attempts to understand a relationship that eludes comprehension can be quite frustrating. An approach based upon analysis will only bring you back around to the same old dissatisfaction that you’re trying to escape. Let go of your desire to discover any truth other than what’s already in your heart.
You have an opportunity to impact your physical well-being now by simply changing your attitude. The Moon’s current visit to innovative Aquarius and your 6th House of Health helps you focus your energy toward self-improvement. The powerful effect that positive thinking can have on your life today should not be underestimated. In fact, it just may be the key to a happier and healthier you.
You could easily fall in love today, with the Moon’s presence in your 5th House of Romance, yet ironically, your feelings may not have much to do with the people in your life. You are more open to the possibility of romance, whether or not you’re willing to express your desires. Since a current infatuation could be the result of your daydreams, you really don’t require anyone to act out your fantasy. If no one’s there, just go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your imagination.
You think you know how a domestic situation is going to play out over the next few months, especially if you have recently been re-evaluating your long-term goals. However, it’s challenging to know what to do because your future still seems like a fantasy and the details of how it will unfold are elusive. Don’t try to make up your mind now; instead, give yourself permission to dream without attempting to make anything real yet.
Communicating your plans can be frustrating today if you want others to become involved in your project. You may have a lot of information at your disposal, but most of your current data probably lacks substance. Normally you’re quite comfortable floating in the realm of abstract ideas because you’re a natural philosopher. However, your need to reach a concrete goal now is in conflict with your dreamier thoughts. Nevertheless, making a commitment to something specific will have positive consequences.
Your ego can get blown out of proportion today as others motivate you to reach for your dreams. Obviously, self-confidence is useful, but too much optimism can annoy those who might otherwise be your allies. Moderating your grandiose thinking with modesty can be a wise strategy. A healthy perspective on life can make all the difference between your success and failure.
You may have to review your recent commitments and reconsider what you can actually deliver today, for you might have promised others too much. You didn’t intend to mislead anyone; everything is just taking longer now than you expected. You may be tempted to quit, but overreacting isn’t a good idea. Take a few deep breaths, re-evaluate what is possible and let others know what they can expect from you at this time.
It may be an uphill battle to control your dreams today because they are overflowing out of your sleep and right into your waking life. Obviously, this can be quite confusing if you attempt to rationalize your feelings when your emotions are being fed by unconscious urges. If you’re unsure about what to do, step back a bit until your path becomes clear. A temporary retreat is a better strategy than making believe that you can tell what’s real.
Mercury in Virgo
Thursday, September 8, 10:59 pm PDT, Friday, September 9, 1:59 am EDT
Mercury’s return to its earthy home sign is conducive for restarting activities that may have been stopped or delayed when the messenger planet turned retrograde in Virgo on August 2. Mastery of details and precise communication are assets that are useful for resolving knotty problems. Careful study and concentration will increase technical proficiency, which is especially valuable in this super-efficient sign.
the daily humorscope
Thursday, September 08, 2011
The Threefold Goddess
To understand the concept of Goddess requires more than the
ability to visualize God as a woman. The Goddess concept is built
around the myth and mystery of the relationship between God and
Goddess, and beneath that, and part of it, Her Threefold Aspect …
Maiden, Mother and Crone.
One of the oldest recognized Goddess forms is the first Greek
Goddess – Gaia, the Earth Mother; the Universal Womb; Mother of All.
The most ancient Goddesses were most often Earth and Mother Goddesses.
The were worshipped and revered as bearers of life … fat, healthy,
pregnant and fruitful. As the Goddess concept developed, then came the
Harvest Goddesses, who were also Earth Goddesses. Understand that
this was a time when people did not even understand the basic
mechanics of procreation. Life was very sacred and mystical indeed!
Gradually, myth and mystery developed and revealed themselves,
creating the legend which we honor in the modern Wiccan Craft.
We recognize the Goddess as the mother of all, including her
Mighty Consort, the God. To Her he is Lover and Son, and together
they form the Ultimate, the Omniverse, the Dragon, the Mystery.
Now that is a pretty tough concept all things considered.
Especially in our society as it sounds rather incestuous. From a
mundane perspective, it gets worse as the Wheel of the Year Turns, and
the Oak and Holly Kings battle … eternal rivals and
In the pages that follow, we will explore the Goddess foundation
concepts and try to reach an understanding of the basis of the
I don’t want to get off into all the names of all the Goddesses
in all the mythology in all of history. While that is certainly a
noble endeavor, it is not the objective here. What I do want to do is
look at the Goddess, in whole and in part, and see just who and what
First and foremost, the Goddess is the symbol of the Cycle of
Everlasting. She is constant, ever present, ever changing, and yet
always the same. She could be compared in that respect to the oceans.
As a part of that, she is that from which we have come, and to
which we will return. She is the Universal Mother, the Cosmic Womb.
While those are largely symbolic images, as opposed to literal ones,
they are important to bear in mind about any aspect of the Goddess.
She never harms, she is Mother.
One of the most difficult throwback mentalities to dispell in a
student is the difference between “dark and light” and “bad and good”.
Societally, and often religiously, we are trained to see bad and dark
and evil as being the same. Hence, we are also taught to hate and
fear our own mortality. All too often I see practicing Wiccans, who
ought to *know* better, fall back on these concepts when trying to
explain or understand a concept.
The Goddess is dark, she is light, she is birth, she is death,
and she rejoices in all things. With death comes joy, for with death
comes renewal. With life comes joy, for with life comes promise.
With growth comes joy for with growth comes wisdom. Sorrow and fear
are not a part of her, not the way we feel those emotions. She is
incapable of sorrow without joy, she fears nothing, because fear is
not real. It is a creation of the mind.
Whether you see the Goddess as a Warrior Queen, or like the Good
Witch of the North in the Wizard of Oz, she is the Goddess. And she
has many parts and facets which defy comprehension as “One”. She
simply IS, and in that, can be whatever you need her to be in order to
establish a relationship with her. But none of that changes what she
“I greet thee in the many names of the Threefold Goddess and her
Mighty Consort. Athe, malkuth, ve-guburah, ve-gedulah, le-olam, Amen.
So here, at the Circle Door, greeted by the High Priest or
Priestess we first see mentioned the Threefold Goddess. Full-sized
covens have three priestesses who take the specific roles of Maiden,
Mother and Crone, the High Priestess being Mother.
The Threefold Goddess however is NOT three entities, she is one.
Her aspects represent Enchantment, Ripeness and Wisdom.
Taking first things first is usually best, so we shall start
with a look at one side of the Maiden.
Quoting “The Myth of the Goddess” as found in Gardenarian Wicca
(Gerald B. Gardner, The Meaning of Witchcraft, Aquarian Press, London,
Now Aradia had never loved, but she would solve all the
Mysteries, even the Mystery of Death; and so she journeyed to the
The Guardians of the Portals challenged her, “Strip off thy
garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught may ye bring with ye into
this our land.”
So she laid down her garments and her jewels and was bound, as
were all who enter the Realms of Death the Mighty One. Such was her
beauty that Death himself knelt and kissed her feet, saying, “Blessed by
thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me, let me
place my cold hand on thy heart.” She replied “I love thee not.
Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade
“Lady,” replied Death, “it is Age and Fate, against which I am
helpless. Age causes all things to wither, but when men die at the
end of time I give them rest and peace, and strength so that they may
return. But thou, thou art lovely. Return not; abide with me.”
But she answered, “I love thee not.”
Then said Death, “An’ thou receive not my hand on thy heart
thou must receive Death’s scourge.”
“It is Fate; better so”, she said, and she knelt, and Death
scourged her and she cried “I feel the pangs of love.”
And Death said, “Blessed be” and gave her the Fivefold Kiss,
saying “Thus only may ye attain joy and knowledge.”
And he taught her all the Mysteries. And they loved and were
one, and he taught her all the Magicks.
For there are three great events in the life of Man: Love,
Death and Resurrection in a new body, and Magick controls them all.
For to fulfill love you must return again at the same time and place
as the loved one, and you must remember and love them again. But to
be reborn you must die, and be ready for a new body; and to die you
must be born; and without love you may not be born. And these be all
So there in the Gardnerian Myth of the Goddess we have her
Maiden aspect, seeking, searching and opening herself to the
mysteries. But it is well to remember that the Goddess herself is a
mystery, and the primary gift of the Goddess is intuitive Wisdom.
Beltaine (Bealtain) is the only Sabbat where the Goddess is
entirely devoted to the Maiden. Here, she revels in the enchantment,
in the joy of coming into fullness and mating with the God. Here, she
is maiden bride and we can most easily understand that facet of the
Maiden aspect. I should probably note here that some see this
festival as maiden turning into mother, with the maiden being in full at
Candlemas, but I do not agree with that.
Youth, newness, innocence and beauty are fundamental facets of
the Maiden aspect. But beneath those are seeking, and love, and love of
seeking. There is more to understand of the Maiden though.
Enchantment does not end with maidenhood, it is simply the beginning
of the Mystery of Life, for that, above all, is what the Goddess
In Circle, in the Balanced Universe, the Maiden takes her place
in the East. In examining this most comfortable quarter, you learn
more about the Maiden Aspect. East (Air) rules the free mind and
intellect. It is the place to seek the ability to learn and to open
spiritually, to open your mind and find answers. It is a masculine
quarter, ruled by intellect, and analytical logic, but she brings to
it an intuition which is required to use these to best advantage.
“The river is flowing, flowing and growing, the river is flowing
back to the sea. Mother carry me, a child I will always be. Mother
carry me, back to the sea.”
This Circle chant, sung in joy, sung in sorrow, is a cry to the
Mother Aspect for comfort and warmth, a power chant calling upon the
steady power and fullness of the Mother and a plea for guidance.
While the Earth Mother, and the fully aspected Goddess are placed
North in the Earth quarter, the Mother aspect alone belongs in the
Comfort and love rule here. Emotions, sorrow, joy, tears, these
belong to the ripeness of the Mother. Caring and loving for all her
children, watching in pain and pride as they struggle to gain their
own, knowing full well she could reach out and do it for them, but
being both bound and desirous to let them do it for themselves.
There is a considerable difference, as you might have interpreted
from the above, between the Earth Mother and the Mother Aspect of the
Goddess. That is why we’ve started with her quarter, because it
reveals the limitations of the Aspect.
The Mother aspect is ripeness, the ancient bearing of fruit,
child and grain. She represents emotion and sexuality. The Goddess
in that aspect is most of the altar (as discussed in the Great Rite
lesson.) It is interesting to note the practice in numerous ancient
cultures of lovemaking or outright sex magick in cornfields to help
make the corn grow.
The Dark Mother should also be placed here, although culturally, I
have a tendancy to think of the Dark Mother as more in keeping the
Crone Aspect. It is a bit of work to see the Dark Mother in the West,
to separate Dark Mother from Crone, but it is worthwile. If you have
any background with the tarot I would suggest you take it in that
context, it is beyond the scope of this text.
Our exploration of the Goddess and her Aspects brings us now to
the Crone. For me, the Crone is the most fascinating of the Aspects
of the Goddess. Partly I suppose because she is the most mysterious
“Blessed Goddess, old and wise, open mine, thy child’s, eyes.
Speak to me in whispered tones that I may know the rune of Crones.”
With life and growth comes age and wisdom, and the Crone is this
in part. She holds fire and power, which wisely used can be of great
benefit, but hold great danger for the unaware. Hers are the secrets of
death and of life, and the mystery beyond the mystery.
Part of the pleasure in knowing the Crone aspect is that while,
unlike the fully aspected Goddess, she is not also Maiden and Mother,
she does retain the experiences of both those Aspects in order to be
Crone. The Crone, wizened though she is, must still be able to reach
into herself and recall the innocent joys and high passions of the
Maiden and the love and warmth of the Mother. To be Crone and to not
have forgotten, to still be able to experience Maiden and Mother is,
to me, very appealing. More importantly, to be comfortable in that
Aspect, where you have truth and knowledge but have left youth and
physical beauty behind, and to still _feel_ youth and beauty without
being desirous of them is an admirable quality.
Crone is the least paralleled Aspect of the Goddess to our human
society. We discard our old and wise, not understanding their value
as teachers and models, and fearing their appearance as a reminder of
our own mortality.
Knowing Crone is a door we much each open for ourselves for to know
and love her is to cast aside a great many of our cultural and societal
While the individual Aspects of Threefold Goddess are certainly
valid concepts and paths to knowing Goddess, I should caution that most
mythological Goddess figures are composite Goddesses. Earth Mother
Goddess figures are fully aspected Goddess by definition because they
represent the full cycle of the Wheel. Most other Goddess figures can
be classified as having a dominant (or operative) aspect and recessive
(promised, or in some cases past) aspect. Future and past should not be
taken literally, mythological Goddess figures are always whatever they
are eternally, they do not tend to change (ie age).
Maiden Goddesses possessing their operative in the Huntress or
Warrior aspects most often have a promise of Crone. Maiden Goddesses
expressing their dominance in beauty and/or love usually have their
recessive aspect as Mother. For example, Athena is a Maiden Goddess
with Crone attributes (the combination produces many Mother-type
qualities, and this results in the Crone aspected Maiden being the
most complete of the Mythological Goddesses, with the exception of
Earth Mother Goddesses.) Aphrodite is of course a Maiden Goddess with
Similarly, Dark Mother Goddess figures mostly find their promise in
Crone and Light Mother figures their recessive in Maiden. Crone
recessives work the same way, although sometimes it takes a bit of
close examination to find the “hidden” aspect.
One should note that this is not a formula, rather a tool to
assist in examining and understanding Goddess figures and creating
one’s own personal spiritual link with Goddess. It is also a useful
consideration when invoking a specific Goddess with purpose in ritual.
The purpose of this course has been to open avenues of approach
in discovering and developing a relationship with Goddess. For me
personally, I do not “believe” in the reality of mythological Goddess
figures as they were presented, but I do believe they are a valid way to
establish communication with Goddess. I also believe Goddess will
appear in whatever form we are most ready to accept. The real
Goddess, by my belief (and this is personal, not trad) is an entity
beyond my comprehension, perhaps composed of light (could 5000 sci-fi
films be wrong?), most assuredly unlike anything I could ever imagine in
true form. However, I do find mythological Goddess figures highly
useful for ritual, and of some help in my personal relationship with
Goddess. I hope you will too.
THE LEGEND OF THE MAIDEN
The Mysts of Annwfn
Book of Shadows
In Ages long past, the lovely Lady Brighid came to Hibernia
to dwell in that land among her people. She brought to them many
special treasures from the Outer Realms to enrich their lives.
She gave them the art of Smithcraft, Poetry, and Inspiration.
Brighid also shared a sacred Cauldron that overflowed with
inspiration and love. She was adept at the healing arts, and in
the Magick of Medicine. Her people loved her deeply, and kindled
a fire in her honor which was constantly attended by nineteen
maidens, and was never allowed to go out.
The Lady Brighid eventually became a mother, and her people
rejoiced, knowing their lands would be fruitful just as their
Goddess was fertile. However, Brighid also knew the misery of
loss. When one of her beloved sons was killed, the whole land
wept. She lamented so deeply that she invented “keening,” the
mournful song of the bereaved women of Erin. Her Flame burned so
brightly, however, that happiness soon returned to the land. She
bestowed upon her people, yet, another gift: The Art of
However, in the fullness of time, the beloved Lady could no
longer dwell openly with her people, and she made her home in the
Sidhe. There, she would dwell close to her people and her land,
and they could call upon her name at the appointed times, and
keep her Flame burning within their hearts.
The Eternal Flame continues to burn!
In days gone by, when the world was much younger
Men wondered at spring, born of winter’s gold knife
Wondered at the games of the moon and the sunlight,
They saw there the Lady and Lord of all life.
CHORUS: And around and around and around turns the good earth
All things must change as the seasons go by,
We are the children of the Lord and the Lady,
Whose mysteries we know but we’ll never know why.
In all lands the people were tied with the good earth
Plowing and sowing as the seasons declared
Waiting to reap of the rich golden harvest
Knowing Her laugh in the joys that they shared.
Through Flanders and Wales and the green land of Ireland
In Kingdoms of England and Scotland and Spain
Circles grew up all along the wild coastline
And worked for the land with the sun and the rain.
Circles for healing and working the weather
Circles for knowing the moon and the sun
Circles for thanking the Lord and the Lady
Circles for dancing the dance never done
And we who reach for the stars in the heavens
Turning our eyes from the meadows and groves
Still live in the love of the Lord and the Lady
The greater the Circle the more the love grows
THE WITCH’S BALLAD
Oh, I have been beyond the town,
Where nightshade black and mandrake grow,
And I have heard and I have seen
What righteous folk would fear to know!
For I have heard, at still midnight,
Upon the hilltop far, forlorn,
With note that echoed through the dark,
The winding of the heathen horn.
And I have seen the fire aglow,
And glinting from the magic sword,
And with the inner eye beheld
The Horned One, the Sabbat’s lord.
We drank the wine, and broke the bread,
And ate it in the Lady’s name.
We linked our hands to make the ring,
And laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.
Oh, little do the townsfolk reck,
When dull they lie within their bed!
Beyond the streets, beneath the stars,
A merry round the witches tread!
And round and round the circle spun,
Until the gates swung wide ajar,
That bar the boundaries of earth
From faery realms that shine afar.
Oh, I have been and I have seen
In magic worlds of Otherwhere.
For all this world may praise or blame,
For ban or blessing nought I care.
For I have been beyond the town,
Where meadowsweet and roses grow,
And there such music did I hear
As worldly-rightous never know.