Storm Moon Winter Mist

Storm Moon Winter Mist

Use this mist to encourage the blessings of the Goddess as you sleep and dream. Make this magickal mist at midnight.

You will need a misting bottle, one-half cup of spring or well water, six drops of lavender essential oil, and six drops of pure vanilla extract.

Hold the bottle and pour the water in. Add the drops of lavender. Count out the drops of lavender oil and vanilla as you add them to the mist by saying:

One, two, three,
Four, five, six,
All get added
To this magickal mix.

Put the cap on the misting bottle and shake it eighteen times while chanting:

Goddess of the Storm Moon,
Bless this winter mist.

To bring the blessings of the Storm Moon Goddess into your dreams, close your eyes and spray the mist on the top of your head several times, as well as on your body and bed linens before you go to sleep. As you breathe in the mist, say:

Goddess of the Storm Moon,
Please bless my dreams tonight.

In the morning, write everything you recall from your dreams in your journal.

Winter Night’s Blessing (Storm Moon)

Winter Night’s Blessing

(Storm Moon)

While preparing for bed, read this blessing aloud as part of your nightly prayers:

When the nights are dark and stormy,
And things become hard to see,
Dear God and Goddess
Help to keep the light within me glowing.
So that no matter which way the wind’s blowing,
I am on the Path I should be;
I am one of the blessed,
Who seek complete union with the Divine,
I am one of the shining ones,
Whose light continues to brighten the night.
In the name of the Lord and Lady, Blessed Be!

As you drift to sleep, imagine that you are the candle that the Goddess has lit. Imagine your light burning bright and shining like a star in the night sky. Every night, your light grows brighter and brighter and your life becomes filled with the joy of Divine Love.

Historical Roots to Modern Practice of Witchcraft

Historical Roots to Modern Practice of Witchcraft


The roots of the religion called Wicca, or Witchcraft, are very old, coming down to us through a variety of channels worldwide. Although any general statement about our practices will have exceptions, the following will attempt to present a basic foundation for understanding. Some of the old practices were lost when indigenous religions encountered militant Christianity and were forced to go underground for survival. The ancient mystery religions were lost when the practice of the rites was stopped and the old oral traditions were no longer available. Parents transmitted their traditions to their children, with parts being lost and new parts created in succeeding generations. These survivals, along with research into the old ways, provide a rich foundation for modern practice. Other factors contributing to the revival of the Craft are archaeological and anthropological studies of the religious practices of non-Christian cultures, the works of the Golden Dawn and other metaphysical orders, and the liberalization of anti-Witchcraft laws.

Modern Witches hold rituals according to the turning of the seasons, the tides of the moon, and personal needs. Most rituals are performed in a ritual space marked by a circle. We do not build church buildings to create this sacred, ritual space — all Earth is sacred and in touch with the Goddess and so any place, indoors or out, may be consecrated for ritual use. Outdoor spaces tend to be used from Ostara to Lammas, indoor spaces from Samhain to Imbolc.

The Witch’s Craft Name

CRAFT NAME

It is the custom in witchcraft to adopt a new name upon initiation. This reflects one’s new identity as a witch.

You may only disclose your craft name to other members of the coven. Certain covens have strict rules about disclosing craft names to outsiders.

The main reason for secrecy around craft names is is because of the power of names. It is believed that knowing the craft name of a witch gives a magical power over that person.

Many spells involve writing a persons name upon a piece of paper or object. Craft names tend to be individualistic in nature and may reflect heritage or aspirations.

You select a craft name through meditation, study or divination. Some are given craft names by the high priestess. Witches may also change their craft name as they advance in the levels.

PENTACLE AND PENTAGRAM

PENTACLE AND PENTAGRAM

The pentacle is probably the most important symbol in witchcraft. It is a five pointed star with a single point facing upright. A written or drawn pentacle is a pentagram.

In rituals and magic the pentacle is a round disk of earthenware, wax, silver, or clay. It is inscribed with magic symbols including a pentagram and is used to consecrate the magic circle. In some rituals the high priestess may asume the pentacle position.

 

Some witches may wear a pentacle as a sign of their religeon. Some covens use the pentacle as the sigal of the witches who are initiated in to the second degree. The pentagram is the witches symbol of power and protection and used to control elemental forces.

 

Pentagrams are usually drawn in the air with a sword. The method used to draw the pentagram depends on its purpose.

 

Such as pentagrams to invoke are different from pentagrams to banish. Pentagrams are also used in meditation exercises where each point of the star is associated with a specific quality, attribute, concept, emotion or name of a pagan deity.

 

The magicians pentacle is also referred to as the pentacle of solomon. It represents God or man and the four elements of nature, five senses, five wounds of Jesus, and the five points of man.

 

The magician attaches pentacles on his robes. Pentacles are also engraved on rings. As a talisman the the pentacle enables the magician to command the spirits.

 

 

Pocket Guide to Witchcraft

Pocket Guide to Witchcraft

Copyright Frater FP 1999

Last Modified 17/Oct/99

Pocket Witchcraft

1.Go for walks in the country and town (nature is everywhere)

2.Learn about the phases of the moon

3.Learn about the agricultural cycles and festivals

4.Learn about the astronomical cycles and festivals

5.Learn about herbs and healing

6.Practice candle magic

7.Intuitively develop your concept of a God and Goddess to represent Nature

8.Spend time outdoors or indoors making a shrine to these divinities

9.Worship these divinities in a suitable manner

10.Practise the healing and spellcraft you have learnt in the community

Notes

Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism; you’ll need to decide what aspect to follow. In my view, Paganism

encompasses all aspects of a pagan lifestyle, and suits those with a view to bringing their entire life,

family and career into a pagan (country-dwelling) perspective. Witchcraft is the magical aspect of the

pagan lifestyle, and can be studied independently of becoming a Pagan – although many Pagans are

Witches, you don’t have to be a Witch to be a Pagan! Wicca is a more generic term for a modern angle

which takes from both Paganism and Witchcraft to make a blend more suited to a modern lifestyle and

modern mindsets. Many people become Wiccans before becoming Witches or Pagans! There are many

ways of looking at these definitions, of course, but the important thing is to establish your own personal

relationship to nature and the environment, and the courses of time and seasons – this is the heart of

the tradition. Having a representation of the God and Goddess is also a matter of personal orientation.

Some prefer Pan, an all-begetting, all-devouring masculine God, whilst others prefer Hecate, who can

be cruel and severe, or take the aspect of a gracious grandmother!

In Real Life …

The book ‘Drawing Down the Moon’ established in a survey that many following Pagan Paths were

working in the technological or educational sphere of work. There are many ways of integrating your

personal beliefs about paganism into your daily life, no matter how urban it might be. Remember, there

are now often as many foxes roaming towns as there are in the countryside! At my desk at work,

wherever I have worked, I have always had a bowl into which instead of paperclips or pot-pouri I have

placed items to remind me of the season. At the moment, approaching Samhain, I have an autumn leaf,

a small twig, a horse chestnut (conker) and a slightly rusting nail I found on a walk. The nail represents

the passing of summer, of course, but the whole piece is a small altar, where the bowl is the Pentacle,

the twig the Wand, the Horse Chestnut the Cup (it’s a hollow ).

Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca

Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca

How many times have you seen a sentence start with “Witchcraft, or Wicca, is..” leaving the reader with the impression that these are one and the same thing. Such generalizations are unfair to the practitioners of both, and more than a little confusing to those who wish to learn some form of the Craft. Yet, in an age of electronic information, it becomes difficult to set the boundaries that would allow one to study witchcraft or Wicca as distinct disciplines. There are many pagan web sites that proclaim connections to Wicca, although few are truly Wiccan. I must admit that my own web site often fails to make a clear distinction.

Chat rooms and message boards are filled with arguments over whether this or that act is within the perimeters of the Wiccan Rede, yet the chatters are not Wiccan. Perhaps the argument concerns how many traditional witches are needed to call the guardians of the Watchtowers, but the well-meaning participants are unaware that traditional witches usually do not call the guardians. It’s difficult to even find terms to use that haven’t already been so blended as to obscure any divisions.

If you are a newcomer, you might ask why this is so important. When you start out to study to be a doctor, you wouldn’t want to study only psychiatry if you planned to become a surgeon. If your goal in life is to be a great violinist, would you forego violin lessons in favor of piano lessons? In the first case, both are medicine and in the second, both are music, but you certainly wouldn’t want a psychiatrist performing your appendectomy nor would you wish to sit through a violin concert performed by a pianist. You need to know where you are going in order to map out a path that will get you there. If you don’t follow some plan, some path, but just pick up a little information here and there, you’ll never get anywhere at all.

The following sections give some of the differences between Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca, though certainly not all. Before beginning, let me explain my choice of terms. The term Wicca is obvious in that its practitioners use the term to define their religion, and as it has been recognized as a religion by the US government for some years now, the term is widely accepted.

Traditional Witchcraft is a bit more difficult to justify. To some degree it is a continuation of the religion practiced by early European pagans, called witchcraft by the conquering Christians. However, as practiced today it is still a form of neo-paganism, as is Wicca. In other words, it has been revived and reinvented in modern times. It is traditional in the sense that it is not derived from the work of a single founder. The term as I use it should also not be confused with the traditional witchcraft of hereditary witches. Families of witches may indeed practice what I call Traditional Witchcraft, but the designation is not limited to such families.

In discussing the differences between these two religions, it should also be remembered that they have many things in common, particularly when contrasted to the world religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In fact, they are far more alike than they are different. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to explore the differences. These differences fall into several categories: history, beliefs, ritual, and ethics.

Wicca

Most students of the Craft are at least vaguely aware of the historical origin of Wicca, but have much less precise ideas about the origin of Traditional Witchcraft. This is not particularly surprising. Wicca originated in modern times and has the advantage of being set out in written texts and even in the memories of living people. Traditional Witchcraft, on the other hand, is tied to ancient cultures and myths, and to largely unverifiable ideas about practices and beliefs.

Wicca began with the writings and teachings of Gerald Gardner in the 1930s. Gardner was initiated into the New Forest coven in England by Dorothy Clutterbuck. He published both fictional and non-fictional accounts of witchcraft, the first non-fictional book, “Witchcraft Today,” appearing after the last of the anti-witchcraft laws in England were repealed in 1954. Believing that the Craft was dying out, he dedicated himself to reviving it. In his coven, many things were secret, so his writings combined some things from the coven along with elements of ceremonial magick (Kabbala), Masonic ritual, various versions of the Craft, Celtic mythology, eastern philosophies, Egyptian ideologies, and even fictional ideas from mystical works along the lines of Lovecraft and Hubbert. The elements (earth, air, fire, water) which form an important part of Wiccan ideology are from Classical Greece. Gardner was clearly a learned man to combine diverse philosophies and religions in such a way that it not only stopped the decline of the Craft, but led to the powerful and influential religion that Wicca is today.

Gardner’s students had an important role to play in the evolution and spread of Wicca. Doreen Valiente added the poetic quality to many of the rituals that have been passed down. Others whom Gardner initiated took the new practices to distant lands, while still others branched off forming their own traditions such as the Alexandrian tradition begun by Alex Sanders. In America, many new traditions appeared, among them Dianic witchcraft and the faerie traditions, both of which are further from Gardnerianism than the direct descendents, but still clearly influenced by Gardnerian Wicca.

Traditional Witchcraft

What we’re calling Traditional Witchcraft has an older history than Wicca in some ways, but a much less well-defined one. Witchcraft has been around since the beginning of mankind, long before people could write about it. Our ancestors did leave a few clues such as goddess statues and drawings, but not much can be learned about the nature of their beliefs and practices. Anthropologists surmise that primitive cultures of modern times have at least a passing resemblance to the long dead cultures of the past, and nearly all have some form of witchcraft or magic. However, the witchcraft practiced by most neo-pagans today is clearly of European origin, and even the most traditionally minded witches rarely try to trace the origin of their practice back further than the Middle Ages.

We do know a few things about these times. The native peoples throughout Europe believed in spirits or gods, usually associated with the Earth, Sun, and Moon, and they saw their lives and the lives of the gods as having a cyclical pattern, following the yearly cycle of seasons. The latter part is typical of native peoples everywhere. When one lives by agriculture or hunting and gathering, knowledge, and if possible, control of the seasonal forces of Nature are vital to existence. Thus, the development of a religion in which the seasons are recognized and celebrated and through which one might attempt to control the more violent and destructive aspects of Nature is quite understandable.

Most of our knowledge of European witchcraft comes from the writings of Christian conquerors and priests. In fact, it was the Christians who first called the practice witchcraft. Before the invasion there was no need to give the religion a name. It was simply what all people were brought up to believe. Some specialized roles existed with special names, though the names reflect the language of the region rather than a common system of belief.

Christians suppressed the native religion, in part, by adopting many of their rituals and customs. Yule became Christmas and Oester became Easter, and all became a part of Christian tradition. However, not all pagans abandoned their beliefs when they “became” Christians. Many of the practices simply went underground and were passed from generation to generation in families. Since most people could neither read nor write, these oral traditions were the only means of keeping the knowledge alive. Without written records, we know very little of these ancient traditions. The records we do have are often distorted, having been written by priests of the inquisition or taken from the inquisitions records themselves.

That isn’t to say that we know nothing of Traditional Witchcraft. A little knowledge trickled down and scholars often preserved the mythologies of conquered peoples. Archaeological evidence helps a little too. The neo-pagan revival has attempted to recapture the spirit of the ancient religion, if not its actual practices. Be a little skeptical of those who profess to practice the Old Ways, unless they recognize that they are reinventing those ways rather than reviving them.

Beliefs

There are some fundamental differences in the beliefs of traditional witches and Wiccans. It is vital that any student of the Craft understand these differences, especially if the student is still seeking a path to follow. How can you know if your path is to be Wiccan or that of Traditional Witchcraft if you have no knowledge of the beliefs associated with them?

Perhaps now is a good place to comment on the eclectic witch. All too often newcomers to the Craft grab onto that label because it seems to mean they can believe and do whatever they want without having to adhere to any particular belief or ritual system. That’s simply not the case. To say something is eclectic does mean that it is composed of elements drawn from various sources. However, there must be sources for such eclecticism in the Craft. It does not mean that you can make up your own way of doing everything, your own way of thinking, and still call it the Craft. It does not mean that you can incorporate every New Age idea, regardless of how appealing it may be to the individual, and then claim that what you do is the Craft. An eclectic witch carefully chooses a path that has elements from different witchcraft traditions, making sure that there are no contradictions or conflicts among the element chosen, and that each is well understood. There are some limits. Not only can the path not be entirely idiosyncratic, but it must be clearly pagan.

Some will argue against this, but in my opinion, it is impossible to be simultaneously Christian and a witch without sacrificing important components of one or the other. Conflicts between the two belief systems are immediately apparent, and some are impossible to resolve. Witches of whatever tradition are not monotheistic nor do they follow any revealed scripture (Torah, Gospels, Quran, Book of Mormon, etc.). There are many other conflicting elements, but that must be put aside for another essay.

It’s worth noting again that neither Wicca nor Traditional Witchcraft is traditional in the sense of strictly adhering to the beliefs and practices of our ancestors. Like it or not, this is neo-paganism, for we simply have no choice. Most likely the religion of the original European pagans was quite different, but we have arrived at the point where we need to look at the traditions being practiced today rather than the “old ways,” though with some references to the latter when possible.

The first, and I believe the most important, difference between Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft is the relationship to Deity or deities. Wiccans worship a Goddess and sometimes a God, regarding them as supreme beings. Traditional Witches do not worship any entity as their superior, though they recognize the existence of other entities. They believe in the equality of all beings in the Universe, seeing them as different, separate, but never superior or inferior. This difference is often a source of confusion. A traditional witch may speak of the god and the goddess, usually referring to the female and male aspects of Nature, and while they revere and respect Nature, they do not worship it or its representatives. A Wiccan may speak in similar terms but Wiccan rituals make it clear that the Goddess and God are seen as superior beings to be worshipped. This dualism forms the basic foundation of Wiccan theology, the necessary feminine and masculine components of creative energy. Traditional Witchcraft, however, is polytheistic and animistic, incorporating a number of spirits/deities into a meaningful whole.

Let me make this a little clearer by example. When a Wiccan calls upon the Goddess and the God in ritual, she/he means exactly that – “the” Goddess and God, the ones who appear so prominently in the mythologies that inform this belief and the rituals associated with it. The Goddess is a Triple Goddess and may be called by different names in different circumstances, but most Wiccans believe these different names and personalities are aspects of the one Goddess rather than different entities. Traditional witches, however, may call the Goddess and the God as representatives of the creative force of the Universe, but will usually call on other spirits as well, each being seen as a separate and equal entity.

In Traditional Witchcraft there is a Spirit World or Other World where these other entities reside. Most do not see this as actually separate from this world, but rather a part of it that is usually unseen. Thus, the spirits who are contacted during ritual are already there but may be conjured or evoked to facilitate communication. This is an important point in that Traditional Witches see the interaction between this world and the Other World as constant and not wholly dependent on ritual. Wiccans rely more on ecstatic ritual to obtain contact with the Goddess and to increase ones spirituality.

There are some who say that traditional witchcraft is not a religion at all, because no deities are worshipped. From a strictly anthropological standpoint, that would be a fair statement in that religion may be defined as a system of belief which includes the worship of a superior being or beings. However, to say that the practice of witchcraft lacks spirituality is simply untrue, at least among modern witches. For many witches today, it is the spiritual enlightenment offered by the practice of witchcraft that draws them to it, even if their approach to the deities is somewhat different than that found in other religions, including Wicca.

Ritual

Any discussion of the gods inevitably leads to consideration of the rituals performed in connection with them. In Wicca, rituals tend to be compulsory or at least advised. One must celebrate the Wheel of the Year with its eight holy days that represent parts of the mythic cycle. Traditional Witches often observe the same days as they correspond to solstices and equinoxes, but do not relate them to a specific mythology. In Traditional Witchcraft it is the seasonal changes themselves that are honored, not the lives of gods and goddesses associated with them. Both Wiccans and Traditional Witches observe Moon phases and other natural phenomena.

The sacred circle is central to Wiccan practice. Wiccans generally create sacred space for their rituals by casting a circle, using techniques of visualization and raising energy. Placing more significance on ritual and ceremony, Wiccans create and perform beautiful rituals, filled with symbolism, to mark the seasons of the Earth and the seasons of life.

In Traditional Witchcraft, all space is sacred and all life is ceremony. When ritual or magick is performed, the Traditional Witch is likely to go to a place that has special qualities such as a stream or mountain, but practitioners also recognize that the local park or someone’s backyard is equally sacred. I’m not saying that Wiccans don’t see the Earth as sacred; they do. However, most Wiccans still cast a circle (define sacred space) before performing a ritual. These differences are often a matter of degree and emphasis.

It is often difficult for urban witches to gain any practical experience of the countryside. Perhaps the absence of daily opportunities to be in direct contact with the Nature draws so many of them to the more formal and symbolic rituals of Wicca. The separation from natural settings may also have led to the intense concern with environmental issues among both Wiccans and Traditional Witches.

No consideration of ritual in witchcraft would be complete without some discussion of magick. Magick is central to Traditional Witchcraft, whereas many Wiccans do not practice the magickal arts. However, there is a sense in which all religions use magick, as it may be defined as any attempt to effect the outcome of a given situation by supernatural means (though in Traditional Witchcraft these means are seen as natural). Prayer, for example, is a form of magick.

When practiced, the magick of Wicca tends to be more ceremonial, whereas in Traditional Witchcraft it is more practical. Herbal healing, for example, is a traditional practice which may or may not be part of a Wiccan’s custom. Also, the magick of Traditional Witchcraft may include hexes and curses without a specific rule to prevent such acts (see Ethics section).

A more important difference, however, concerns the presence or absence of spirituality in magick. Some say that magick is never spiritual. Since there are often spirits or deities involved, a better way to look at it might be to consider the relationship between the witch and the spirit in performing magick. The idea noted above in relation to defining religion is also applied to magick, that when witches work with spirits in performing magick, it is not spiritual unless the spirits are worshipped. Regarding spirits as a natural part of the witch’s environment and as equal beings in the Universe would deny any spirituality to the magick of Traditional Witchcraft. Wiccans, on the other hand, perform magick in which a goddess or god is appealed to for aid and paid homage to during the magickal act. By the previous definition, this would be seen as spiritual. I’m not at all convinced that seeing spirits as natural and enlisting their aid without worshipping them reduces the magick of Traditional Witchcraft to something that is merely practical and without a spiritual component.

Rites of passage are also an important part of the ritual structure of both Wiccans and Traditional Witches. Initiatory rites of passage are central to Wicca, at least as practiced in covens. Within each coven there is a hierarchy among the members based on the levels or degrees each member has attained, with the High Priest and Priestess at the pentacle. As a member goes through the levels, she/he learns the Mysteries from someone in authority. The degrees are determined primarily by what the witch has studied and for how long so that the hierarchy, at least theoretically, is one of knowledge.

In Traditional Witchcraft, there are usually rites of passage of some kind, though groups tend to be less hierarchical than Wiccan covens. In some cases, rituals are performed at different stages of a person’s life, while in other cases, rites may reflect the individual’s choice to dedicate herself to some aspect of the Craft. The only thing that can be said with certainty about rites of passage in Traditional Witchcraft is that they are variable, and are determined more by the specific group or individual than by a conventional structure.

Ethics

Wiccan ethics is based primarily on one rule, the Wiccan Rede (advice or creed), “an it harm none, do as ye will.” A true follower of the Wiccan path will know that this does not translate into “do anything you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” A person’s “will” is the path chosen after careful reflection, not just the whim of the day. Discovering your true will is part of the path you take to spiritual enlightenment, tolerance of others, service to the Universe, and ultimately a fulfilling life. The second most important feature of Wiccan ethics is the Threefold Law, that what you do will come back to you threefold (with three times the energy). This is a karmic principle that has it’s origin in eastern religions and replaces the concept of sin and retribution found in Christianity. In other words, if you harm someone (sin), you will be repaid times three (retribution).

Traditional Witchcraft has neither the Wiccan Rede nor the Threefold Law. There is no morality test, only personal responsibility and honor. Also, there is no good or evil, only intent. Humans have the ability to make decisions and act on them, and they may choose and act with good or evil intentions. Traditional Witchcraft does not set out laws as to what actions and intentions are evil, but followers of this path take responsibility for them. In practical terms, this means that using curses, hexes, and the like are not ruled out on principle. If provoked or threatened, the Traditional Witch may act for self-preservation or the protection of family and home. These are considered honorable acts. Yet if there are negative consequences, the Traditional Witch is willing to suffer them.

A final word

I hope this essay will serve two purposes. For those of you studying the Craft and trying to learn a little about the rather confusing terminology applied to its practitioners, perhaps this will be a starting point, but only that. Don’t take what I’ve written as gospel. Many others will have a different view of these issues, but these few words may help you find the questions to ask. For those of you who saw a movie last week or read a web page somewhere, I hope it will make you think twice about calling yourself a “witch” or “Wiccan.” Without the training, knowledge, and dedication, neither designation is appropriate.

May the ancient gods guide you in whatever path you choose.

Finding Your Power hand

Finding Your Power hand

Contributed by: lucy

 
 
Finding Your Power hand

” Usually working out which hand is your power hand (projective hand) is an easy task. If you are right-handed then it is your right hand and for left-handed people it is the left. However which is your power hand if you are ambidextrous? Or what if you are right-handed but don’t feel your right hand is your power hand.

The simplest exercise to discover your Power hand is generally the most accurate as well. It is so simple it will take you less than 10 seconds to complete!

Simply sit comfortably and fold your hands together on your lap so that your thumbs cross over each other. The hand that is attached to the thumb that sits naturally on top of your other thumb is your power hand, or your projective hand.

Projective Hand
Generally the right hand for right-handed people and the reverse for left-handed people.
The hand through which energy is sent from the body.
In ritual, personal power is visualized as streaming out through the palm or fingertips for various magickal goals. This is also the hand that would hold tools such as the athame and wand.

Receptive hand:
The left hand for right-handed people, the reverse for left-handed people. The hand through which energy is received into the body.Exercises to Try
1. Hold your hands about 10 centimeters apart, palms together and visualize energy (white light or another image you are comfortable with) flowing from your projective hand to your receptive hand. See if you can feel this energy which may possibly feel like tingling or pushing your hands apart.
If you can’t feel anything after a little while slowly begin to move your hands closer together.

2. Hold your hands together as if you are gripping a ball. Using your projective hand visualize energy forming a ball within your hands. I generally use golden light for this exercise. When you have, visualize a ball move it from hand to hand and even throw it up in the air and catch it as if it is a real ball. When you tire allow the ball to be reabsorbed by your receptive hand.

3. As with a Grounding Exercise, sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. First use your projective hand to sent healing energy into the Earth. Feel the flow of energy streaming from your hand.
After a few minutes use your other hand and ask to receive healing energy from the Earth.
Feel the Great Mother’s compassion and love and feel relaxed as the healing energy enters and flows around your body.
Remember to thank the Earth for this experience afterwards.

Beginner Witchcraft – What to read:

Beginner Witchcraft – What to read:

But reading is less important than observing. You will be tempted to try to become a witch by reading, because those of us w/ big brains and big educations always operate that way. Try to keep a balance between hours spent reading, and hours spent walking in the woods.

Other references:
–Joseph Campbell’s PBS series on mythology is now available on video. He’s a good storyteller and has a wonderful philosophy of how to incorporate myth into your life.

Objects/tools/toys:
Anything can be a tool for working magic and gaining understanding (a leaf, a stone, a pen, a plastic dinosaur)–it’s all in what you invest it with –be slow to acquire toys (blades, wands, etc.)–it’s better if they find you, then your finding them –more important than a lot of gidgets, is setting aside a special place in your home as an altar. Start with candles and incense, and invent simple rituals: lighting a candle while you read, burning incense while you meditate. –because it’s nonverbal in form, the Tarot is actually a better source for learning about the Craft, than any book. Seek out one of the less Christianized decks–I personally like the Barbara Walker and the Motherpeace.

Sacred space:
The first formal “magic” you should learn, is how to set aside sacred space. Pick a place in your home or your yard where you will practice this, and practice often, even if at first it makes you feel self-conscious.

I realize that a lot of this sounds terribly vague. I used to get frustrated when I read books about the Craft, and they didn’t have, like, RECIPES to perform. The hard part of it is, that you learn more from the Goddess, than you do from any human being. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some simple spells, right from the very beginning: both Adler’s and Starhawk’s books have some straightforward descriptions of working magic.

Don’t get hung up on issues of reality, or the unknown, or the verifiable, or whatever. Just DO. It’s far more important to TRY things, than it is to READ about them.

Beginner Witchcraft – What To Do:

Beginner Witchcraft – What To Do:
Learn some simple form of meditation, and practice it often, the idea being to master the art of a QUIET MIND. In order to be attentive to the world around you, you have to learn to let go of the inner chattering.

T.S. Eliot (in “East Coker”) puts it this way: “…the mind is conscious, but conscious of nothing– I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

Listen to everything. Above all, listen to your body. Starhawk recommends a regular program of exercise, and I agree. Again, it quiets the mind.

Get in touch with the movements of the Earth and the Moon. Get a calender that has Moon phases, and make a point of knowing what phase you’re in, at all times. Notice the differences between the dark of the moon (empty but ready for new birth), the new moon (time for initiating things), the waxing moon (growing in power), the full moon (peak of intensity), and the waning moon (fading, turning inward, consolidating gains). If you are a woman, pay attention to your menstrual cycle, and how it matches up with the phases of the moon. If you are a man, get in touch with the cycle of a female friend or lover. Get out under the moon as much as possible. When She is full, lie in a grassy field or on a rooftop and LISTEN to her.

Pay attention to the natural world: the seasons, the plants, the insects, everything around you. If you can, go out hiking and camping as much as possible–alone, or with someone else who can be silent and observant. Even in the city, even in a very restricted urbanized environment, you can see things of nature all around you. Try to walk to work, if possible. Go out in your back yard and sit on the grass and look at the world close up. When inside, observe your pets and your fellow human beings. We are all flesh: we have smells, we have appetites. When you have sex, try to forget the cultural context (lace underwear, etc.) and focus instead on the body, the pleasures of the body. When you play music, let your body dance.

Beginner Witchcraft

Beginner Witchcraft

Beginner Witchcraft – Western vs. Eastern Mystery Traditions
One of the first things you need to conceptualize, if you’re interested in witchcraft, is that it’s a WESTERN mystery tradition. The important dichotomy here is outer-vs.-inner. In the Eastern traditions, the adept commonly seeks some sort of mystical union with the great Oneness, which implies a withdrawal from the common, everyday life of human beings, and a focus on one’s internal processes. In the Western traditions, the adept is very much a part of the activities and community of humankind. A witch does indeed have a special awareness of their inner world and their connection with the all-permeating Oneness (Goddess), but a witch is also a member of society–a farmer, a healer, a parent, a warrior, a writer, a scientist, an artist, a computer programmer, etc. In becoming a witch, you don’t dissociate your spiritual life from the rest of your life–rather, you apply the principles of the Craft in everything you do. You seek to take what you have learned on an inner level and MANIFEST that awareness on an outer level. This is not to be confused with the Christian dichotomy of works vs. faith. Witches don’t have to BELIEVE in anything–they are much too concrete, too practical for such notions. The rituals of the Craft all get down to the same thing: sanctifying the everyday activities of your life. When a witch makes love, writes a program, cooks a meal, rides a bike, these are all the rituals of the Goddess.

NASA Image of the Day for Feb. 6th

 Remnant of a Supernova

Remnant of a Supernova

Vital clues about the devastating ends to the lives of massive stars can be found by studying the aftermath of their explosions. In its more than twelve years of science operations, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has studied many of these supernova remnants sprinkled across the galaxy.

The latest example of this important investigation is Chandra’s new image of the supernova remnant known as G350.1-0.3. This stellar debris field is located some 14,700 light years from the Earth toward the center of the Milky Way.

Evidence from Chandra and from ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope suggest that a compact object within G350.1+0.3 may be the dense core of the star that exploded. The position of this likely neutron star, seen by the arrow pointing to “neutron star” in the inset image, is well away from the center of the X-ray emission. If the supernova explosion occurred near the center of the X-ray emission then the neutron star must have received a powerful kick in the supernova explosion.

Data suggest this supernova remnant, as it appears in the image, is 600 and 1,200 years old. If the estimated location of the explosion is correct, this means the neutron star has been moving at a speed of at least 3 million miles per hour since the explosion.

Another intriguing aspect of G350.1-0.3 is its unusual shape. Many supernova remnants are nearly circular, but G350.1-0.3 is strikingly asymmetrical as seen in the Chandra data in this image (gold). Infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (light blue) also trace the morphology found by Chandra. Astronomers think that this bizarre shape is due to stellar debris field expanding into a nearby cloud of cold molecular gas.

The age of 600-1,200 years puts the explosion that created G350.1-0.3 in the same time frame as other famous supernovas that formed the Crab and SN 1006 supernova remnants. However, it is unlikely that anyone on Earth would have seen the explosion because of the obscuring gas and dust that lies along our line of sight to the remnant.

These results appeared in the April 10, 2011 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/I. Lovchinsky et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb. 6th

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.

2012 February 6
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Dust of the Orion Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Nicolás Villegas 

Explanation: What surrounds a hotbed of star formation? In the case of the Orion Nebula — dust. The entire Orion field, located about 1600 light years away, is inundated with intricate and picturesque filaments of dust. Opaque to visible light, dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by a strong outer wind of particles. The Trapezium and other forming star clusters are embedded in the nebula. The intricate filaments of dust surrounding M42 and M43 appear brown in the above image, while central glowing gas is highlighted in red. Over the next few million years much of Orion’s dust will be slowly destroyed by the very stars now being formed, or dispersed into the Galaxy.

Green Tip – 9 Uses for Old Jeans

9 Uses for Old Jeans

  • Chaya, selected from Networx

By Adam Verwymeren, Networx

There are few things more comfortable than a beloved, broken-in pair of jeans. But some day, when the denim’s faded, the seams have split and the cuffs have frayed, you’re going to be faced with a harsh reality: All good jeans must someday meet their end. But rather than let that precious fabric go to waste balled up in the back of your closet or, worse yet, getting tossed in the trash, you can (and should) repurpose and reuse those precious pants.

The durability, heft and stylishness of denim make it a great and versatile fabric for a variety of projects and purposes. Here are some great uses for your old jeans.

Coffee Cozy: Cut down on wasted cardboard coffee sleeves by making your very own denim coffee cozy from an old pair of pants. Simply snip the fabric to fit your favorite sized cup or mug and hem the top and bottom. [via Doctor Popular]

Knee Pads: Gardening is a great hobby, but sometimes digging around in the dirt all day can be tiring on the knees. Transform an old pair of jeans into a padded mat to spare your tired limbs while you garden. This handy guide will show you how to make a handsome knee pad, but for a quick and easy alternative that requires no sewing, simply cut off one pant leg, stuff it full of something soft and tie off each end with a zip tie. Of course, another way to save your knees is to hire a local landscaper. [via Martha Stewart]

Patching Other Jeans: Don’t let a small tear force you to toss an otherwise perfectly good pair of jeans. Cut patches from an old pair to fix up a current pair of pants. Use a bit of fabric glue to adhere the patch, and just like that, your pants have been fixed.

Sharpen a Razor: Stropping, the practice of removing microscopic burrs from a razor, is essential for getting a close, smooth shave that doesn’t leave your skin burning. Usually done with a piece of leather, stropping can also be done with a pair of old jeans. The coarse texture of denim smoothes and polishes the surface of a razor, extending the life of a disposable blade. [via Instructables]

Desk Organizer: Using the back pockets on a pair of blues, you can make a handy desk-side organizer with a board and a glue gun. The pockets are a great place to store pens, pencils and other office supplies. Or use it in the garage to store tools, nails and other hardware.

iPhone Sleeve: Cut up a pair of blue jeans and resew them to fashion a cheap, effective sleeve for your iPhone, iPad or other gadgets. Use a swatch from the jeans’ rear and the back pocket can double as a storage place for credit cards and cash. It’s an iPhone case and a wallet.

Heat Pack: Cut off a pant leg, tie off or sew up end and fill the leg with dried rice. Seal up the other end and you have a convenient hot pack to soothe achy muscles. Simply pop it into the microwave for a couple of minutes and apply wherever it hurts. A homemade heat pack would be perfect in a DIY gift basket for someone who deserves a little TLC. We’d like to give these (as well as a huge pat on the back) to the Dallas roofers who helped to rebuild several Texas churches that were lost to arson.

Make a Quilt: Anyone who has had to part with an old pair of jeans knows that it’s hard to let go of such a well-loved and well-worn piece of denim. Transform that soft, supple fabric into quilt so that you can continue loving those jeans long after they lived their last day as a pair of pants. [via HGTV]

Keep Out the Cold: Fill a pant leg with sand and sew it up. Slide it against the base of a door to insulate your home in the winter months.

Your Home is Attracting Your Future!

Your Home is Attracting Your Future!

  • Erica Sofrina

A missing component from the popular book The Secret is the important role our environment plays in manifesting the life we desire.

According to the laws of attraction, every thought radiates a signal and attracts a matching signal. Every object in our homes is a physically manifested thought-form of our conscious and unconscious belief system about what we believe we deserve to be, do and have in life. The single woman who desires a relationship but surrounds herself with single objects and pictures of single women is vibrationally anchoring into her home unconscious affirmations of the opposite future she desires.

Feng Shui is powerful because it teaches us to become conscious of the hidden messages in our physical surroundings that may not be serving us, giving us valuable insights as to why our lives may be headed in the directions they are! It provides valuable tools for getting our lives back on track and teaches that we can literally shift our future by shifting the vibration of our physical environments. As we arrange our space to reflect what we truly want, our lives follow suit. It is simply the law of attraction: like attracts like.

Feng Shui addresses the subtle things in our environment that wear on us over time and bring our chi (energy) down. Examples might be clutter piles, the sharp-edged furniture that can injure, plants dying or limping along, objects from past relationships that bring us down, dis empowering or disturbing art, heavy objects like beams or ceiling fans overhead create a feeling of being unsafe. Beds and key pieces of furniture placed with our backs to the door will also create a feeling of dis empowerment. Highly manufactured products like plastics and synthetics not only pose health issues because of the out-gassing, but will also carry a denser vibration.

Once we clear our space of the things that are depleting our chi or energy we bring in objects that enhance it. Pictures and fabrics depicting nature and especially live plants and trees, will always raise the energy. Bring in objects you love such as shells from favorite beaches, palms and orchids that remind you of Hawaii, inspiring nature photos that uplift. The more passionately you feel about these environmental affirmations the more chi they will generate for you.

In western Feng Shui we recommend clients use symbols and objects from their own culture rather than Chinese cultures, unless of course, the client is Chinese. Things that resonate personally for you will carry a much higher vibration that those superimposed from another culture.

Strategically placing these objects in your home in accordance with the Bagua map will give it even greater energy. An example might be placing an inspiring picture of Tuscany in your Wealth area with the intention of going there every year. This strategically placed object, infused with your passion and intention, is sending a vibration into the universe that is attracting a similar vibration, literally drawing this future to you.

Feng Shui is neither about magic nor superstition. Neither is it about hanging crystals and wind chimes in strategic places that mysteriously bring us good fortune. It is a powerful teaching about how to focus and direct energy in our physical environments to produce the maximum benefit in our lives.

By creating a beautiful, organized and safe living space that is infused with the higher vibration objects from the natural world, and then strategically placing objects that reflect our deepest desires, we create a powerful energy vortex in our homes.We can become conscious co-creators of our own lives by creating homes that broadcast messages to the universe that attract our intended futures to us!