Herbs For Every Sign

Herbs can be mixed and allbined to produce a “recipe” that’s just right for each of us. Since the Sun sign you were born under has such an amazing influence on your health and
well-being, using the herbs that correspond with that sign alone can be a tremendous help in
times of stress or illness. Here’s a short list of herbs that seem to be tailor-made for each of the
signs, due to their associations with both the planetary ruler and the positive qualities of that sign.
Aries – Mars
Allspice, basil, cayenne, garlic, ginger, mustard, onion, pepper.
It’s no secret that Aries is the astrological equivalent of a bullet.
It’s a red-hot burst of energy that’s capable of ove alling any
obstacle by charging straight for it. The ruler of Aries is Mars, the “red”
planet, the ancient god of war who was known for his equally fiery
temperament. No wonder, then, the herbs that correspond with your sign
are also a bit “hot” to the taste. Use them in cooking to raise your
endorphins, the substance Mars loves best.
Taurus – Venus
Apple, apricot, blackberry, cherry, heather, hibiscus, raspberry, rose.
Taurus is the sign that’s fondest of the pleasures that life inside
these bodies can provide. Whether it’s a blazing sunset, a symphony by
Mozart, or a delicious meal, you folks are experts at enjoying the
physical delights of the senses. It’s no surprise that the herbs you’ll
enjoy most are the sweet ones, since your planet, Venus, is the
purveyor of sweetness. Use each of them to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Gemini – Mercury
Clover, eyebright, fennel, lemongrass, lemon verbena, marjoram, parsley.
Your quick-witted, fleet-footed energy just loves variety – in fact, the
expression “variety is the spice of life” was written with you in mind.
Each of these herbs provide a different type of taste, and most can be
allbined in a light, aromatic tea you can sip on the run. Use clove or
slippery elm to protect against gossip and to keep your thoughts and
actions grounded.
Cancer – Moon
Aloe, lemon balm, chamomile, mimosa, lavender, lilac.
Nurturing is your business, Cancer, and you distribute your soothing
touch to one and all. There’s nothing you like better than a home that
smells good, too, whether it’s because there’s something wonderful
simmering on the stove, a vase of fresh flowers on the dining room
table, or a warm, fragrant bubble bath waiting for you upstairs. Each
of the herbs listed above are known for their ability to calm, heal, or
bring a wonderful aroma to the environment. Use aloe to soothe burns
and scrapes and chamomile for a wonderful bedtime tea.
Leo – Sun
Chicory, cinnamon, goldenseal, rosemary, St. John’s Wort, sandalwood.
Your planet is the Sun, Leo, the source of life and warmth that keeps
us all alive and provides us with the energy we need to keep pursuing our
life’s quest. It makes perfect sense, then, that the bright, cheerful
sunflower would be the perfect representation of your equally bright
and happy sign. Herbs like goldenseal and St. John’s Wort are tailor-made
for you, too, since their ability to keep the body resistant to illness
and depression are well known. Mix a bit of chicory with your morning
coffee to help remove any obstacles that up.
Virgo – Mercury
Caraway, dill, eyebright, horehound, lily of the valley, marjoram, savory.
Your quick-thinking meticulous sign likes nothing better than a mental
challenge, Virgo, whether it’s_mysticmagicspells.organizing a pile of papers at the
office, solving a puzzle, or learning a new skill. The herbs listed
above are all well known for their subtle abilities to strengthen the
mind, and many can be mixed together in teas to give you a boost you
often need at the end of a long day. The lily of the valley seems
perfect for you, too, with its subtle, “clean” scent and delicate flowers.
Libra – Venus
Catnip, passion flower, persimmon, rose, sugar cane, violet.
There’s no sign as fond of pleasing others as yours, Libra, whether it’s
by saying just the right thing to bring warring factions together, or by
using your polite charm to draw the object of your desires closer. Of
course, catnip is famous for its effects on our feline friends, but its
also traditionally used in conjunction with rose petals to bring loving
relationships that last forever. Since you’re ruled by Venus, you’re
capable of being every bit as sweet as the sugar cane – but if you need
a bit of help to attract a beloved, use this potent plant (sugar cane)
that’s long been used to conjure love – sweetly.
Scorpio – Pluto/Mars
Ginseng, dill, patchouli, pomegranate, saffron, vanilla.
As fond as you are of intensity and intimacy, Scorpio, it’s no wonder
the herbs you’ll love best are famous for their use in stirring up
passion. Drink ginseng tea (or offer some to your beloved) to induce a
magnetic physical attraction. Wear patchouli to arouse lust and silently
conjure the magic of the Beltane rituals. Present the object of your
desire with a pomegranate, the fruit traditionally associated with
seductive Pluto, your ruling planet.
Sagittarius – Jupiter
Anise, clove, fig, hyssop, mugwort, myrtle, nutmeg, rosemary, sage.
There’s no sign that hangs on to youth with more fervency and
determination than yours Sagittarius. To keep that youthful appearance
and disposition going as you travel the world in search of yet another
experience, drink a tea made of anise, rosemary, and Vervain. To aid in
making your dreams more prophetic than they already are, use mugwort.
Burn clove incense to attract the wealth you’ll need to pay for your travels.
Capricorn – Saturn
allfrey, horsetail, mint, poppy, sassafras, woodruff.
You’ve always been described as a very “focused” sign, Capricorn, intent
on self-sufficiency and material success. The influence of your planet,
Saturn, gives you the ambition and self-discipline to attain those
goals, and to ensure success and prosperity in business matters, too.
Each of the herbs mentioned above are known for their ability to attract
that success, and most can be mixed together in a tea.
Aquarius – Uranus/Saturn
Anise, bittersweet, citron, dandelion, lemon verbena, rosemary, sage.
Your sign is a cerebral one, Aquarius, and your ability to turn “odd” or
eccentric ideas into strokes of genius is well known. Since
allmunication (and mass allmunication in particular) is your specialty,
the herbs above are all associated with the air principle, which rules
the intellectual side of life. To increase your already powerful
intuition, use citron, clover, or rosemary. Above all else, listen to
that intuition. It will seldom prove to be wrong.
Pisces – Neptune/Jupiter
Aloe, bay, cotton, eucalyptus, lavender, Norfolk Island pine, rue.
As the most sensitive and psychic of all signs, Pisces, yours is the one
that requires help to ward off the adverse thoughts and intentions of
others. Since you have no boundaries to keep you separate from others,
you also need protection against negative influences. To that end, use
rue, a powerful herb known to ward off ills of every kind. To stay
positive and healthy keep a lavender plant growing either outside or
inside your home.

HOW TO DESIGN RITUALS AND SPELLS

The Lesser Banishing Pentagram Can Be Used To Cleanse A Working Area When
Preparing, Or To Close A Spell Or Ritual Down. Be sure that all energies are
removed from the area. The LBR can also be written in before the opening and at
the closing. The LBR should definitely be incorporated in the following
instances:

There has been an argument or an extremely emotional outburst in the same room
you are working in within the last 24 hours.

There are guests attending that you have never met before.

One of your guests occasionally follows the left hand path (they could be
dragging something along with them).

The group contains possible inflammatory personalities.

Whenever you sense negative energies or the presence of hostility.

All Rituals Should Invoke A Deity. If other forces are invoked as well, always
invoke the deity first (this does not apply to calling the quarters). Elemental
energies should normally be invoked last (they are most likely the lowest form you will ever use). If calling elemental forces, always call on the Kings of the
Elementals before the elementals themselves.

Don’t Overkill In A Ritual/Spell. Figure out the ritual/spells purpose and build
slowly, incorporating all necessary items. Recheck your work. Add only a few
asides if necessary. Do not include overly long passages, poems, etc. No one
likes to stand around for forty-five minutes listening to a droning recitation.

Make Sure the Ritual Officers Are Not The Only Ones Doing The Work. At the very
least, every one should be joining in responses (such as so mote it be’ or ‘hail
and farewell’). Group participation can also be called upon at the calling of a
quarter. The group minds works together better if everyone is included at some
point.

Never Put Anything In A Ritual/Spell That You Do Not Understand. For example, if
you have never worked with elementals and don’t know how to address them or what
they are to do, don’t throw them in because it makes the ritual/spell look
elaborate. If invocations or other passages are in foreign tongue, don’t use
them because they sound cool. First, you must know exactly what you are saying.
Second, you must know how to say it. Often passages are important for their
tonal quality as well as their meaning.

Outline A Ritual/Spell Before You Write It, whether it is short or complex. You
do not want to miss any steps.

Make Sure You Know What Sort Of Energies and Step Elements Your Ritual/Spell
Needs For The Purpose You Have In Mind. You wouldn’t be dealing with ghosts at
Beltane. Keep the elements, steps, and goal in mind when writing rituals/spells.
You should have several source books from which to work. The best rituals/spells
are those you write yourself, or those the group mind has written for your
Tradition. However, in the past, groups and covens have dissolved out of sheer
boredom. Don’t let this happen to your group. Keep it interesting and keep it
Fun!

Major Rituals And Most Minor Works Should Have A High Point Or Climax Of Some
Sort. Ritual is dramatic vehicle and the intent of the participants is
strengthened by the excitement. The climax of the ritual should coincide with
something goal related to the group, the deity, or the season. If your ritual is
casting a spell, the climax of the ritual is the body of the spell, the rest of
the ritual should revolve around it. At Yule, the climax is the Goddess giving
birth to the new Son/Sun. Everything in ritual should revolve around a
particular theme.

Make Sure That The Words And Gestures Of The Ritual Suit Each Other. For
example, you wouldn’t cast a spell for Universal Love with a sword, or display
fruits or harvest props at a Yule ritual. Choose the correct incense, candle
colors, etc. These are as important as the invocation, which should be
especially designed for the ritual/spell.

Be Able To Recite Your Altar Devotion, Circle Casting, And Quarter Calls In Your
Sleep. Even if you mess up the rest of the ritual/spell or stumble somewhere
else, YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE ON THESE.

Try Not To Throw Rituals/Spells Together If You Can Help It. Good planning leads
to a great ritual. However, be prepared for missing people, upsets of various
kinds, missing notes, forgotten lines, etc. Humans are not perfect and errors
will occur. Do not act like it is the end of the world if a glitch nuzzles its
way into the ritual. A good high priest or high priestess can overcome all
difficulties without emotion.

Choose Your Quarter People And Other Players Wisely. Don’t always let the
experienced people do it. Make sure everyone in the group has several chances to
fill these positions. It is the only way they can learn. When you are teaching
someone else, or an entire group, learn when to step back and allow them to
perform, even if it is your favorite thing to do. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim. Sometimes the only
way you can tell if they are learning is to let them make mistakes. Likewise,
learn when to step in without being a know it all. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim.

If You Are Working With A Mixed Group (Yes, Boys and Girls) Try To Keep The
Ritual/Spell In Balance As Much As Possible. However it is okay to design a
ritual/spell where only the three faces of the Goddess, or the three faces of
the God, are the focal point. This will keep your rituals/spells interesting and
refreshing. Just don’t do it all the time.

Do Not Throw Your Degree Around In Rituals. In home rituals (seat of the coven)
do not delineate with unusual garb between degrees and do not relegate them to
special quarters.

When Attending Someone Elses Rituals/Spells Do Not Tell The Host How Bad Their
Ritual/Spell Was. Neither should you give it a rave review, then pick apart the
finer points. This is very bad breeding. They went to a great deal of trouble to
have you as a guest. Don’t consider yourself the most important person there,
because you are not. If you think they did a good job, say so. If you think you
could have done better, thats your business, but do not share this opinion on
your host. If you do, you’ve just put yourself beneath anything they could have
done wrong. If you are attending one of your own students rituals, likewise say
nothing that evening. Later, when the rush is over, you can go over the ritual,
step by step, and work out any bugs.

From 1996 Lwellyn Magical Almanac, by MaraKay Rogers and Silver Ravenwolf, page
200-203

THE WITCHES BALLAD

Oh, I have been beyond the town, Where nightshade black and mandrake grow, and I
have been 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 heathe 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 Old One’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 the 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-righteous never know.

Enjoy!!!!!!!
Blessed Be

Charging Your Tools

What you will need:
The item in which you wish to charge, whether it be some jewelry, your pentacle
or some crystals.

Salt for the Earth element

A candle for the Fire element

Water or rose oil for the Water element

Incense for the element of Air

How to do the ritual:
This is a really simple charging ritual.
You may wish to elaborate on it once you have created your own ritual style!

Start by taking your item that you want to charge and place it in front of you.
Shake or sprinkle a little salt over your item and say the following:

“Earth spirits from the North/South I ask you to charge this …..
with the power of Earth. By the Goddess and/or God so mote it be.”
Imagine a green light filling the item and empowering the item with the
qualities of Earth.
Dip or trickle some water over your item and say this:
“Water spirits from the East/West I ask you to charge this ….. with the power
of Water. By the Goddess and/or God so mote it be.” Imagine a blue ocean like colored light filling the item and empowering the item
with the qualities and power of Water.
Pass the item through the smoke of the incense and say:
“Air spirits from the West/East I ask you to charge this ….. with the power of
Air. By the Goddess and/or God so mote it be.”
Imagine a pale light filling the item and surrounding it. Empowering it with the
powers of Air.
Move the item through the heat above the candle flame and say the following:
“Fire spirits from the South/North I ask you to charge this ….. with the power
of Fire. By the Goddess and/or God so mote it be.”
Imagine a red or orange light filling the item and empowering it with the power
and energy of Fire.

Once you have done this imagine a bright white/blue light surrounding the item
charging it with your own energy.
After this the item will be charged with the elemental powers and your own.
You can now use the item for whatever purpose you needed it.
You can perform this ritual as often as possible.

By Bronwyn~
* Berkana Golden Owl *

Air Wands

There is some controversy in both Ceremonial Magick and Wicca as to whether the
Wand relates to the direction of the East or the South and whether it relates to
fire or air as an element. I am going to share here what I use and what works
for me. Others who work differently are more than welcome to share their usage.

The way I use the wand in my Magickal working is as the tool for the EAST the
element of air. I can’t PERSONALLY see the fire attribute, as I have problems
with the idea of a tool relating to an element that can destroy it. Since some
wands are made of wood and almost ALL of them were until the popularization of
Crystal work with the adoption by some NeoPagans of Native American practises
made the metal wand with a Crystal in it the latest thing. If I WERE to work
with people who used the wand as fire, I would certainly used a metalic and
stone wand of this type and NOT a wooden one. Again, this is personal taste.

The air element relates to communication, intellectual ideas, Linear Logic,
Clear and intelligent THINKING, and telepathy. It relates to the concept of
unity too, in that ALL of us – and all species of life – breathe the same
atmosphere. (note – I realize the plants use the Carbon Dioxide while we use
the air, which is why I said ATMOSPHERE)

The wand relates to the suit of RODS in Tarot and vice versa.

The Wand is a MALE tool, like the Athame. The FEMALE tools are the Chalice and
the Pentacle.

The wand is used to summon the Rulers of the 4 directions and to invoke the
Deities in casting a circle. In CERTAIN types of Magick it is sometimes also
used to cast the circle, but it is more common to use the athame for this. (or
the sword if it is a coven and they have one)

The Wand can also be used when invoking the spirits.

It is particularly helpful at times when wisdom is needed and in invoking the
spirits before tranceworking where specific information or guidance is desired.
It is also good for doing this for VERY important divinations when they are done
in a fully cast circle.

The wand is used in some traditions in a Spring Equinox celebration to create a
hole in the soil in which seeds, symbolizing people’s hopes, are planted –
obvious fertility symbolism.

The wand can hold a lot of power and be a very special and personal instrument.

There are some Witches/Pagans I know who use only the wand and the chalice as
their tools. Their thoughts on this being that the Pentacle is drawn from
ceremonial Magick – which is correct – so they want to eliminate it as they feel
it is necessary FOR THEM to get back to the roots of Wicca/Paganism. These
people also eliminated the knife/sword because they pointed out that in ancient
times Wicca was the religion of the Masses and the Peasants – who were not
allowed to carry weapons. These people use the wand to cast all their circles,
replacing it for ALL the purposes for which the athame is used.

Their are other groups, most noticably the Community of ISIS and it’s inner
circle the TEMPLE of ISIS in Salem MA., that use the wand for casting the circle
although they retain the athame – which they seem to use only for blessing the
chalice in the symbolic re-enactment of the fertility theme central to Wicca.
(PLEASE NOTE I SAID SYMBOLIC)

These are the major uses of the wand.

Altar Pentacle

The Pentacle is a Magickal tool that some folks do not use. Their reasoning is
sound since it is obviously an adaptation from ceremonial Magick, as is the
athame. These people use only the wand and the chalice in their work. But I
like the use of the pentacle and athame because Wicca has always been quite ecclectic and drawn from several Pantheons and systems. So it doesn’t make any
sense to me to say we can draw on all systems EXCEPT the Kabbalah as used in
Ceremonial Magick. Also I like the way using all 4 of these main tools that
most traditions and practitioners share brings correspondences to the 4 suits of
Tarot cards and to the 4 elements.

The Pentacle is a flat disk, traditionally inscribed on copper and coated with a
clear finish of some type to prevent corrosion after it has been inscribed with
the continuos 5-pointed star or pentegram. This is not an open pentacle like
many witches wear. It is ENGRAVED on the disk. The reason being you put SALT
on this disk in circle and if it was open all the salt would be on the altar, on
the floor, everywhere but where you need it.

I have also, recently, seen some pentacles inscribed on slices of agate put out
by cauldron Crafts in Maryland that are JUST GORGEOUS. Since the pentacle is
feminine and relates to earth either the copper or the stone is appropriate.
However brass I find less so as it is usually considered a solar metal and
masculine. That is why I also prefer to avoid brass chalices. Copper chalices
are avoided because they give off a metallic residue that is poisonous into the
liquid, if they corrode – and alcohol in wine or ale and acid in wine or juice
WILL do this. But copper is perfect for the pentacle.

What you engrave on your pentacle is entirely up to you. The NeoGardnerian and
NeoAlexandrians (as well as the originals of these traditions) have very
specific symbols that they always use. Other traditions sometimes have specific
symbols they require as well. But others just use a plain pentacle, or tht
pentacle with runic symbols of their choosing or whatever has meaning to them.
I have seen beautiful pentacles – in fact our distributor of jewelry carries
them – that are pentegrams surrounded by inscribings of Celtic knotwork.

I have also seen some gorgeous stained glass altar pentacles – my favorite of
these was one where the points where the colors of the elements. The 4 lower
points were the Red, Yellow, BLue and Green my tradition ascribes to the
elements and the top one was silver for Spirit/Divinity. The center and
background were a lovely violet color. Obviously SOMEONE put a lot of work into
it.

One note – a specific coating I have found to work well on copper pentacles so
that the salt doesn’t destroy them is CLEAR NAIL POLISH. This has to
periodically be reapplied however.

Create Your Own Magical Tools

Author: Beverly Hill

Practitioners of magic know the value of having a finely crafted magical tool for spell work. Learn how to create your own magical stave or wand.

The decision to create a wand or stave should not be made impulsively. Each magical tool must have a clear purpose behind its creation. A wand, for instance, is a focusing tool for drawing in and directing magical energy. A stave’s purpose could be similar, or it might consist of a more protective nature used for radiating protective energies around it’s wielder. Whatever the purpose, the magical tool should be constructed in a respectful manner.

Selecting Wood For Crafting Magical Tools

The choice to use live or dead wood is a hotly debated topic amongst many practitioners of magic. Some would say that you should never use live wood, while others would contend that dead wood lacks any energy to lend toward a magical working. Ultimately the decision to use live or dead wood will lie with the tool wielder’s own beliefs and personal path.

When selecting a wood for creating a wand or stave, take time to review the magical properties of wood species and select one that will be consistent with the type of magic the wand will be used for. The lunar phase should also be noted. Most new projects should be begun on a new moon and culminate by the full moon.

If collecting from a live tree, ask the tree for permission before making any cuts. Take only enough of the tree to create the desired tool, being careful not to cause any additional damage or trauma to the tree. It is customary to leave a small token or offering in appreciation of the sacrifice.

Creating a Magical Wand or Stave

A good goal for a wand is to have a relatively straight piece of wood that measures from wrist to elbow, and then adjust the size downward from there. Using a piece of fine grain sandpaper, sand off any rough areas along the wood. It is not necessary to remove the bark from the wand, but it may be done if desired.

Once sanded, wipe down the wood with a good mineral or wood oil and then set aside. Each time the wood begins to dry, oil it again and set it aside. It could take several days for the wood to dry from repeated oiling before it finally stops soaking it in. The oiling process helps preserve the wood and keep it from drying out and becoming brittle.

A stave length should be no higher than head height, and may be shortened to whatever feels most comfortable for the practitioner. The stave should be sanded and oiled just as with the wand construction. When the stave or wand is sufficiently dry to the touch, finishing touches may be added such as the carving of runes and symbols, or the mounting of stones.

To seat a crystal into the tip of the wand, choose a crystal that is slightly smaller in diameter than the wood. Carefully bore out a small hole and fill it with gem glue. Insert the largest end of the crystal into the hole and tape it securely until dry. After the glue is dry, remove the tape. From this point wire wrap can be used to better secure the crystal to the wand if desired, or it can be left plain.

During all steps of construction, keep in mind the purpose for constructing a magical tool. Once the wand or stave construction is finished, it can be formally dedicated if the practitioner so desires. Wipe the wood with a fresh bit of oil every few months to help preserve it, and it will last for years to come.

Wiccan Home Altar

Author: Joanne E. Brannan

A Wiccan Home Altar may feature the Magickal Tools Athame, Chalice and Wand. It is used to perform rituals and Magick, and for quiet spiritual reflection.

A Wiccan Home Altar is a very personal place, and should be created to reflect the Magickal practitioner. Although Wiccan Symbolism may be used to guide the choice of items to place on the altar, personal instinct and creativity should always be paramount.

What to place on a Wiccan Home Altar

Traditional Magickal Tools that may be used include an Athame (a ritual blade), a Chalice, a Wand and a Statue of the Goddess. Other items include fresh flowers or herbs, natural sea salt, crystals or carved symbols, but the choice is truly only limited by the imagination!

Use an Altar cloth of a natural fabric such as silk, cotton or linen, perhaps choosing the color to reflect the season and its Wiccan festivals.

Wiccan Athame

It is important to note that the Wiccan Athame is not used for physical cutting! The Athame is a masculine symbol, used to harness and direct power in spells and rituals. As with all Magickal Tools it is important to select an Athame with feeling and intuition. It is perfectly acceptable to order Magickal tools by mail, but do reflect and meditate well on the choice before buying.

Wiccan Chalice

A Wiccan Chalice may be simple, or elaborate, to suit the Magickal Practitioner.

Fill your Wiccan Chalice with a natural beverage to symbolize fertility and the feminine. Suitable choices, dependant on the season, include apple juice or fresh milk.

Wiccan Wand

A Wiccan Wand is a key Magickal Tool. A Wand may be purchased or made by the Magickal practitioner him or herself. See Beverly Hill’s lovely article Create Your Own Magical Tools for detailed instructions on how to make a wand.

Statue of the Goddess

An expression of the sacred feminine, a statue of the goddess may be a focus for meditation and reflection on the enormity of the spiritual world, as well as being reminder of the simple everyday generosity of Nature.

Where to place a Wiccan Home Altar

A Wiccan Home Altar may be a permanent or temporary structure, according to the space available. Possibilities include a shelf, a table or simply a cloth to be laid out on a bed. It is also important to consider the level of support offered by those who share the home of the Wiccan practitioner as it is essential to feel safe, and not to be disturbed, while carrying out spells and rituals.

Size and permanence do not affect the power of the Wiccan Altar; rather it is the intention and will of the Magickal worker while carrying out spells and rituals that manifest the power and sanctuary of this sacred space.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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 June 9

Venus at the Edge

Image Credit: JAXANASA, Lockheed Martin  

Explanation: As its June 6 2012 transit begins Earth’s sister planet crosses the edge of the Sun in this stunning view from the Hinode spacecraft. The timing of limb crossings during the rare transits was used historically to triangulate the distance to Venus and determine a value for the Earth-Sun distance called the astronomical unit. Still, modern space-based views like this one show the event against an evocative backdrop of the turbulent solar surface with prominences lofted above the Sun’s edge by twisting magnetic fields. Remarkably, the thin ring of light seen surrounding the planet’s dark silhouette is sunlight refracted by Venus’ thick atmosphere.

Lilith, Queen of Our Hearts

 

Author: Zanaffar

Lilith is one of the most mysterious and enigmatic beings who, in one way or another, put her imprint on the human race. Most spiritual beings that we perceive as gods and goddesses have very distinct roles, and their relationship with humans is merely a supportive one. Since they all belong to a certain sphere, or represent a certain force of the Universe — some even in our planet’s nature — they offer their support to each human who performs an activity, or studies and works within their sphere or the force they represent. This support comes in form of energy and never, or extremely rarely, takes the form of an intervention or personal implication. This is perfectly understandable, because they are not human. Their knowledge and experience seems limitless compared to ours and so they know better than to interfere with human matters.

Many practitioners may say that a specific god or goddess offered them direct help, but this is only how we look at things. By drawing a certain power to themselves and combining that energy with their personal desires and will the result may seem like a divine grace or intervention. Power and energy is free for all to possess. Since you are free to do what you think is best (supporting the consequences of karma of course) with it… in this sense, a specific representative of a force may seem to have helped you. But Lilith is an entity who proceeds very differently.

We can find the story of Lilith in Jewish mythology, according to which she was the first wife of Adam. She refused to submit to a male’s will and chose a different path for herself. Her image is also associated with Ishtar, Astarte, and many other goddess images. Thanks to these legends, the Christian currents made her one of the most feared and dangerous of female demons, and this continual spiritual ‘gossip’, so to speak, nowadays creates a very false image of what she really is.

The following information is based purely on my personal spiritual research and cannot be found in any book. So here comes my version of Lilith’s story based on my experiences and research:

The origins of Lilith, where she came from, in what form she came, the nature of her spiritual essence is unknown. It’s certain that her true origins are alien from the spheres we know, and the structure of our world. What is certain that she is a female entity, she has a very well defined and strong personality and she has human characteristics … and because of these attributes, she probably is close to humans, our world, and our plane of existence.

Many say that her native element is fire. My opinion is that it is all of them, especially their combination that we might call the psychic plane. It is for certain that Lilith was in contact with humans and eventually those entities that are dominant in the Jewish mythology, and it is also certain that she rejected all for of dominance from others. From her first contact with the entities native to our world (even before humans) she underwent an intense and rapid process of evolution, thanks to which she mastered the energies of our natural spheres just like other entities. From the legends, we can understand that she learned from both demonic and angelic forces, embracing all the aspects of the Universe and placing herself in the middle… surprisingly similar to what humans do.

Some legends say that she had “sexual intercourses” with certain angels and demonic beings all suggesting an energy transfer, a process of learning. (We all can understand that a sexual intercourse from a spiritual point of view is something very different than we perceive from a physical point of view) . This energetic transfer, which the legends speak about, is a totally different phenomenon that clearly underlines her unique nature since neither angelic nor demonic beings are known to manifest in this way. (They are in permanent contact with each other, and in order to keep the sacred balance of our world, there are numerous phenomena of energy transfers, but nothing of this nature.) This manifestation… is highly unusual.

Thanks to her unique evolution, this female entity earned herself a very distinct position in our world. Unlike other beings, even goddesses who represent love, attraction, fertility, birth, reproduction, Lilith represents attraction in every form, both human, physical, psychic, spiritual energetic… you name it.

To many, this nature and role of hers is against the rules of nature, against the balance of our world. It can be seen as a spiritual and energetic perversion. This might be true, but it can also be seen in a very different way. By sacrificing her purity, in the sense that she might interfere in the delicate rules of our world, by releasing patterns of unusual, and unlikely attraction she catalyzes, encourages and helps evolution.

This act of hers can be considered as a huge, unspeakably valuable boost to all evolution in our world. And this doesn’t just affect humans; it affects every spirit who by its nature is susceptible to attraction. Only if two different, separate elements that resonate on an energetic level meet each other, can a third one, totally new and unique, be born. Without her attraction, this “mutation” so to speak, would take place in very, very slow paces.

Her power makes sure that if two elements are formally incompatible, this difference of manifestation can turn into attraction, reciprocal exploration and atone point unity, a change of experiences, a change of energies, fortifying both, offering something new and unique to both and, in some cases, even result in the birth of something new.

Thanks to this role of hers, she is a goddess, an entity of true love, because only love is that special force which attracts energies, matter, particles, spirits. Excluding another element because it’s different or formally incompatible is NOT unconditional love anymore, and this is what she is all about.

As I told you before, she doesn’t submit to any rule or regulation and this is what makes her relationship with humans so different. She is a guardian of women and believes in the superiority of the female element and she does encourage its perseverance in an active fashion. In other words, she sticks her nose into other beings’ businesses and this gesture of hers could be considered extremely outrageous spiritually. Very few entities present in our sphere do this; but all who do, in one way or another, consider themselves free from all rules and obligations and follow their own personal paths.

Lilith may be a harlot, temptress, seductress, goddess of prostitutes, source of the primordial sin, but her attraction and the forces she mastered make her the true queen of love and devoted defender of women.

For her free spirit, her incredible activity, and for her sense of justice and for her unequaled talent and power, I respect her and thank for what she is offering our world.

The Proper Timing for Magick

Author: Taliesin McKnight

Timing is one of the most important things to consider when doing magick. Astrology can be likened to a great cosmic clock. It reflects the cycles and rhythms of nature. The proper alignment of the stars, the sun, the moon, and the planets should all be taken into consideration. Does this sound complex? I assure you it is not as complicated as it may sound. In fact, this may reduced to two things: the days of the week and the cycles of the moon.

The seven planets rule the seven days of the week. The names even derive from the planets in many different languages. In English these come from the names of the Norse planetary deities. Sunday is the day of the Sun; Monday is the day of the moon; Tuesday is the day of Tue (Mars) ; Wednesday is the day of Wodan (Mercury) ; Thursday is the day of Thor (Jupiter) ; Friday is the day of Freya (Venus) ; and Saturday is the day of Saturn. Therefore, for maximum astrological benefit, a love spell should be done on Friday, the day of Venus (planet ruling love) . In the same way, magick involving education may be done on Wednesday, which is ruled by Mercury. The planetary correspondences are as follows:

The Sun rules Sunday and is good for Success, luck, spirituality, knowledge, and healing. The moon rules on Mondays. This is a good time to do spells for intuition, dreams, astral travel, and communication with spirits. Mars rules on Tuesdays. It is a good time for effective magick involving battle, conflicts, protection, strength, overcoming adversity, and binding.

Mercury is the planet presiding over Wednesdays. This is a time for rituals for education, knowledge, divination, communication, and healing. Thursday is the day of Jupiter, and governs success, prosperity, luck, and leadership. Venus dominated on Fridays and can bring love, romance, heal relationships, and grant new friends. Saturday is governed by the baleful influence of Saturn. This planet grants protection, destruction, binding, curses, purification, and overcoming weakness.

In addition to the seven days of the week, the seven planets also rule the hours in the day. There are several different methods to calculating the planetary hours. One of these involves following the hours from sunrise to sunrise; another divides the hours between sunrise and sunset and divides them into 12 sections and the same is done for the period between sunsets. To avoid all the math and difficulty, a very simple and effective system omits this and simply uses the 24 hours from midnight to midnight. This has worked wonderfully for me and I see no reason to list the other methods. If you would like to examine other methods for calculating planetary hours, that information is readily available online or in other books on magick. For simplicity, just know that the planet for the day also rules the hour at 6 am, 1 pm, and 8 pm.

Now, to illustrate this, let us take an example. If you wanted to do a love spell, it would be a good idea to do this on Friday (the day of Venus) at 8 pm (the hour of Venus) . This acts as a magickal doorway in which the proper astrological conditions are right. In this way the magus moves with the cycles and the rhythms of nature. If one were to bind (or restrict) someone from causing harm to others, Saturday at 6 am would be a good time. The days and hours should be at least partially memorized. The easiest way to do this is to simply memorize which planets rule each day and to simply remember that the planet for that day also rules at 6 am, 1 pm, and 8 pm. In this way, it will not be necessary to look this up every time one wishes to do a spell!

The phases of the moon also have an important impact on the effectiveness of magick. The waxing (growing) phase and the full moon are good from creative magick and bringing things into your life; the waning (decreasing) phase and the new moon are used for destructive spells and getting rid of things in your life. This is the most stressed point in ritual timing in the Wiccan tradition.

The concept of moving with the phases of the moon is very ancient and is found in many different cultures. This can be seen as a more important element in timing than anything else. It is much better to go with the phases of the moon on the wrong day than to do it on the right day of the week and the wrong lunar phase. This aspect of magickal timing should not be over-looked. The full and new moons are peaks of the creative and destructive cycles. The mid-way points (the half moons during increase and decrease) are also times of great magickal power.

The last aspect of ritual timing is the moon sign. The moon passes through the 12 signs of the zodiac, remaining in each sign only for a few days. This is not as important a consideration as the other 2 timing concerns. Nonetheless, this can lend power to rituals and spells. When the moon is in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) are good for financial concerns; when the sign is in an Air sign (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are ideal for education and spells consistent with the characteristics of the element of Air. When the sign is in a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) it is a great time for spells that are connected to the Element of water and to emotions, artistry, and relationships; While the moon is in a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) it is a good time to do rituals of a fiery nature.

The individual characteristics of the sign (rather than just the element) should also be considered. This is not a very important aspect to magickal timing, so don’t stress too much over it. As I said before, though, utilizing this can only help and never hinder!

There are other lesser aspects to astrological timing. These would include the weather and the current Sun sign. The reason Sun signs are rarely considered is not so much that it is a weak influence, but rather that it is not practical to wait months just to do a spell, when it will probably no longer even be needed or be too late. This could also be a great aid if followed.

Weather is an issue as well. Storms are usually great for magick because it is a time of great elemental power. Furthermore, if one is doing a ritual involving the Sun, this should be done during the day and when it is sunny. One would assume this would go without saying. On the contrary, however, many people fail to recognize this simple concept. After all, it is only common sense. Thus, weather and the Sun sign can lend a lot of extra power to spells, if you would only harness that power with the use of correct ritual timing.

Now that this has all been laid down and explained, let us take another example to make sure these concepts are well understood. Let us say that someone is looking for a new job and decides to do some magick to help the job search. The moon should be waxing (this is for bringing things into your life) and the spell may be done on a Thursday (the day of Jupiter) at 1 pm (the hour of Jupiter) on a cloudy day because Jupiter is a sky god. The moon should also be in the sign of Capricorn. This would be an extremely good time for such a spell. The conditions are perfect.

Does timing have to be followed? Of course not! In the preceding example, the job is probably needed immediately. It would be foolish to wait for the right conditions during such an emergency. Do spells whenever they are needed. However, WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT, the astrological conditions should be considered. If a spell can wait for the perfect conditions, then great. If they spell can wait a few days for the right day ruled by the proper planet, that is good too. But if the spell can’t wait that long, then do it now. The spell can be repeated when the stars, sun, and moon are aligned right if needed. The spell will still work. The point is lending extra power to your spells. That’s it.

Following the cycles and rhythms of nature is also another way of aligning oneself with the universe. In the ancient Mystery Traditions, from which magick derives, Man was seen as a reflection of the cosmos. One is moving in accordance with the universe. We are moving with the tides of nature. Can magick be done against these cycles and still be effective? Sure. But it is like swimming against a current. Why not “ride with the tide”? It may even carry you a ways if you would only let go and let the currents of the Great Mother take you. Thus, in magick we try to follow the ways of Nature. Magick is merely using Her ways.

Remember, that which separates the initiate from the vulgar is simply that the occultist is aware of the laws of the universe and uses them to his or her advantage while others do not use this power that lies in their hands.

 

The Damascus Road

Author: Revelation Witch

“The good road and the road of difficulty you have made me cross. And where they cross the place is holy.” – Black Elk

My journey into the realms of Paganism is an interesting one to say the least. Born and raised a devout Protestant Christian, I dedicated my life to Christ at the age of six. By the time I reached my twenties I had already begun to preach the word of God from the pulpit and had two overseas mission trips under my belt, one of them into the heart of Africa. While I was never, I hope, an obnoxious Christian demanding others change to suit me, I was zealous in my own personal faith, believing that I must live my life to such a standard as would draw others to Christ. And while I was fully prepared to face the evils of the world, I was not prepared for those same evils to be present in the Church itself.

It was this lack of preparedness, my belief that the followers of Christ were, at their core, righteous people that led to my expulsion from Christianity. In a moment of crisis, I took a stand against a corrupt church elder and condemned him for his cruelty and immoral conduct. When the church leadership condemned my stance, I refused to yield, believing as it said in the book of First Corinthians “The immoral must be cast out from among you.” Unable to force my silence, the church cast me from the fellowship. As painful as this was, it was nothing compared to the pain of betrayal that followed. In the end I lost three fathers, a beloved pastor who turned his back on me, the corrupt elder, my mortal father who cherished his corruptions above his son and God himself who seemed deaf to my prayers.

Battered and broken in spirit, I found myself upon the side of a desolate road in life. Each of my brothers and sisters in Christ passed by me, either ignoring their fallen brother or else telling me it was the wickedness of my ways which had left me thus. It was here, in the moment of my greatest torment, that a good Samaritan appeared, several in fact and not a one of them Christian. A group of circus performers of which my brother was a part, reached out to my family during this time. Many of them were practicing Sufi; others practiced other forms of the Elder Ways, as I would come to call them. They knew of my family’s faith, of our devotion to God and cared not. They simply saw fellow human beings in need and reached out with no hesitation, no agenda.

As gracious as this gesture was it cut me to the core. For all my faith, for all my devotion to God it was a group of heathens who showed me the truest love of Christ. For three months I wrestled and prayed in spirit. And then, on a cold spring morning as the prairie winds swept across the rolling hills of my family’s ranch, I stood upon a knoll and while facing the risen sun I renounced my faith in God, Christ Jesus and his Church. I forged across the river forbidden to those of my faith and in the words of Caesar planted my banner upon the other side. “Here I abandoned peace and desecrated law, fortune it is you I follow. Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge!”

My journey into the world of the Craft began shortly after. Working as a newspaper reporter I covered a debate in a local school over whether a certain book should be banned. What fired my interest was when a local pastor stood up in the school board meeting and began to preach on the evils of the book and how it was teaching the children the corrupting influence of Wicca. Having never read the book, and in order to make an informed opinion of it, I checked it out of the local library and devoured in a day and a half. What was found was a poorly written children’s book that read like an inquisition novel on evil witches. If anything the book preached on the evils of witchcraft and did not extol it. At this point in my life I had never studied Wicca, while I had been an avid student of Christian apologetics in my youth, the bulk of my study had been in debunking other major religions. I had largely left the “New Age” movement, as I knew it then, to itself.

It was not without some trepidation that I logged onto my computer that fateful evening to begin my research of Wiccan beliefs for my article. More than once I had run afoul of witches who practiced a less than wholesome craft and had even seen my faithful dog die horribly from one of their curses. Yet, despite my fear, the overriding conviction of being a reporter who sought understanding and truth urged me to press on.

What I found left me speechless.

Far from being an evil art, the Craft spoke to me in a way my old faith never had. With its emphasis on peace and harmony, it challenged the remaining shackles of my Christianity with a velvet touch. The moment in which I first read the Wiccan Rede, “An in harm none, do as ye will, ” is still burned within my memory. Hour upon hour did I spend reading upon this new faith and when at last the data was collected and the article written, the Craft had a new initiate.

Four years now have I journeyed the pathway of the witches. It has not been an easy road, for the nails of Christ pierce more than flesh and it is not without pain that they are removed from body, mind and soul. In the beginning, my conversion was fueled, both, by a desire to know peace and a fiery hatred of everything Christian. But, in time, I came to understand my hatred was more directed at myself than those who called upon the name of Christ. I cursed my shortcomings and blindness to what the church was, condemned myself for ever believing what I had once believed. It is a feeling, perhaps, familiar to any cult survivor, for Christianity is a member of that wretched mob, no matter how hard they seek to disclaim it.

There have been times where it seemed the birth pains of spiritual growth would drown me in my quest. And more than once I found myself at the bottom of the mountain staring up at what seemed an impossible height. And yet, with each new start I left another piece of my old faith behind. Hatred gave way to regret, regret became grief and within the tears of my blindness I found peace.

It is an irony then that I now find myself working in a store, side by side with a Baptist Preacher. Had I found myself in such a situation even a year ago, I might have treated his efforts to re-convert me to the faith with open hostility. Yet now, perhaps better than ever, I understand these words that are ever engraved in my heart:

Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and anyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth him. He who loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love.” – Book of First John, chapter 4, verses 7 and 8 (KJV) .

The thing that gives us witches the greatest power is that we are, truly, ruled by a spirit of love. We are beholden to no god and while we do pay the Goddess and God our respect we are not slaves bound by their will. Rather it is our will, our strength of purpose that shapes our lives and destiny. The power to transform the world is in our body, mind and soul. Darts of our enemy may wound us, their swords may strike us down, but we shall endure long after they have turned to dust. For we know what it is to be rulers of ourselves and in this kingship we find true and everlasting freedom.

We do not judge another by their belief or lack there of, rather we see all men, women and children as our brothers and sisters in humanity. And while we recognize that evil exists and there are those who have rejected the Elder Ways and seek only their own advance over the lives of their brethren we hold to this truth; Evil exists, and Good shall prevail.

To those who have aided me in this, my Damascus road, I thank thee and ask the protection of the Divine upon thee.

For they who have set themselves up as mine enemy, I say Merry Met, for a true witch has no enemies.

And to all who share in the brotherhood of mankind, may we each find our way to the Creator, by whatever road and by whatever name. And may we never judge those whose path is different.

Blessed Be and So Mote it Be (Amen)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory, nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

How to Banish

Author: Taliesin McKnight

The first thing that one should learn to do in magick is to banish. This is a simple precautionary measure. Before conjuring things up, intentionally or unintentionally, banishing should be well understood. Banishing can be defined as cleansing an area (or person) of negative energies or entities. There are various hostile forces in the spirit world that need to be warded off at times.

There are three basic ways to get rid of negative vibrations. These techniques are used in virtually all systems of magick: Wicca, Voodoo, Santeria, ceremonial magick, to name just a few. Once the art of banishing is understood, then it can be done for others as well. After all, magick is not just about your base desires and self-glorification (sobering thought, I know!) , but about helping others. You will be a cunning man or woman, an instrument of the Divine. The three basic methods of banishing are the burning of herbs, the sprinkling of holy water, and ritual.

The burning of herbs is a very ancient form of exorcism (exorcism is another word for banishment) . But not just any herbs are used; they must be cleansing herbs! This may include such plants as vervain, onion, patchouli, and hyssop. You may now be asking yourself, do those herbs really have any power in themselves? This issue is highly debated in the occult community. Some are of the opinion that different herbs have various mystical properties, which can be harnessed and employed by the witch. Others, however, think that it is simply the belief in the mind of the practitioner that makes the employment of herbs effective. Whatever the case may be, virtually all forms of witchcraft regard herbs as highly powerful agents to be made use of in magick.

The basic technique involves burning the herbs and allowing the smoke to touch the area (or person) being cleansed. The smoke is said to drive away impurities. Warning: Do not merely use the incense sticks or cones! Many would-be magicians are conned (intentionally conned by the manufacturers) into using these. Typically, there is no herb in the incense at all. It is merely the “fragrance.” Thus, if you buy lavender incense, chances are there is no lavender in it. So try to avoid merely using the incense named after the plant.

There are various methods for procuring your herbs. The plants can be bought or grown. Most pagans like to grow their own so they can incorporate the seasonal practices of planting and harvest into it. They may also be purchased at your local metaphysical store or online. Another alternative is to simply go to the grocery store and just see what you can find. If nothing else then many of the herbs can be found in the “spices” section. Onion, garlic, black pepper, and rubbed sage are easy to find; these are all powerful herbs used for banishing. Tobacco can be blended with such herbs to help them burn. Tobacco is often used to replace sulphur in old grimoires. It is connected to Mars (the god of war) . The herbs may be burned upon charcoals. Smudge sticks are also quite popular. These are often composed of a mixture of rubbed sage and bluegrass.

The concept of holy water is found in many different systems of magick. Please note that this does not necessarily refer to holy water from a church. The use of holy water predates Christianity and is used in virtually all forms of Paganism. At its most basic, it is water mixed with sea salt. Various other formulas exist in which one mixes the water with various cleansing herbs such as sage, hyssop, and vervain. This is all up to the individual witch. The herbs are boiled in water and then are strained. This is how such herbal mixtures are made. Marie Laveau water (highly prized in New Orleans Voodoo) is one such example. It is composed of 1 cup of rainwater, 1 cup of spring water, 1 cup of lavender water, 1 cup of rose water, and holy water from a church.

Holy water should always be blessed in some way, which can be accomplished by an elaborate spell or a simple prayer. The water is then sprinkled in the area to drive away evil and any negative, hostile forces. This ancient practice goes back to the very beginning of magick.

Ritual is the last of the three methods. Of course, sprinkling holy water and burning herbs do serve as rituals within themselves, but there are other more elaborate forms of ritual. One of these is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. This ritual comes to us from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was a secret society that taught initiates the practices of ceremonial magick. Although this rite is derived from ceremonial magickal tradition, practitioners of many different paths and systems have used it. This is simply due to the fact that the ritual is so effective at cleansing the environment of negativity. Another technique is the ringing of a bell, a method used by a number of cultures.

Those of a Christian background may call on the power of God by invocation and prayer. Another practice is to cut an onion into quarters and to place these in the four corners of a room. The idea is that the onion will absorb the negative “vibes” and is later discarded or burned. Chanting may be employed or various candle spells may be used. Once again, there are countless rituals that can be utilized as rites of exorcism.

Remember, banishing is the first thing that should be learned in the practice of magick. From that point on you may proceed, somewhat safely, on the path of the occultist. The three methods outlined above (the burning of herbs, the sprinkling holy water, and ritual) are used in virtually all forms and systems of magick around the world. They are tried and tested methods that have been successfully employed by witches for many thousands of years. When all else fails, appeal to a Higher Power, however this may be defined.

Always remember that the Ancient Ones are there to aid you upon your path.

Understanding Negative Energy: Choose Your Words Wisely!

 

 

Author: Ryan Hatcher

How often, as energy workers, are we told that negative energy is ‘bad’? “Cleanse it of all negative energy!” “It’s been tainted by negative energy.” “I can feel a lot of negativity here” and so on. Personally I feel this use of the word ‘negative’ to be wrong.

Let’s look at the word negative, and then you might see what I’m getting at. The word negative is the opposite of the word positive. In terms of physics, negativity is a description of a charge, such as positively charged particles and negatively charged particles (protons and electrons respectively) . The poles of a battery are labeled + and – or positive and negative. However, as energy workers we generally consider ‘negative’ to mean ‘bad’, ‘harmful’ and, in an extreme, ‘evil’.

Does this mean that half of a battery is evil? Or since electricity is a flow of electrons and so has a negative charge, does that mean electricity is inherently evil? Well…no, if we think about it, they’re not inherently bad, harmful or evil, although electricity can be harmful if it is misused, like any other energy.

If we look to the Far East, we can look at the ideas of positive and negative from a more spiritual perspective. What I refer to is the concept of Yin and Yang from Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine. Yang, roughly meaning Sun, is positive, masculine overt and open in Chinese. In the Taijitu (the typical Yin-Yang symbol) , Yang is represented by the white section. The concept of Yang energy is that of active, dynamic, masculine aspects, the sun and fire are forces associated with Yang as well as the God principle. Yang is the positive side of the polarity.

In Chinese medicine the Yang part of our body is the right side of our body. There are also Yang organs in the body, associated with active and energizing attributes. Yang is the energy within us that drives us forward, is our passion, and keeps us energized. But if we have too much Yang in our lives, we can end up feeling hyperactive, aggressive, suffer insomnia and eventually burn ourselves out.

Yin is roughly translated as shade, moon, feminine, negative, lunar and hidden in Chinese. In the Taijitu, the black section represents Yin. The concept of Yin energy is that of the passive, stillness and the feminine. The moon and water are forces associated with Yin, as well as emotions, intuition and the Goddess principle. Yin is the negative side of the polarity.

In Chinese medicine, the Yin part of our body is the left side of our body and, as with Yang, there are Yin organs in the body associated with passive, fluid attributes. It is the serenity within us that keeps us calm, allows us to sit and just observe the world around us, are the deep waters of our mind and keep us grounded. However, too much Yin in our lives leaves us feeling lethargic, depressed, lonely and alienated, suffering from hypersomnia and getting nowhere in life.

A balance between the two is imperative to be able to experience life to the fullest and to feel as present in the now as is possible for us as human beings at that moment. The Yin and Yang, together in the Taijitu, are inseparably linked, entwined together to form the whole, the perfect and infinite circle. One cannot exist without the other, just as a shadow cannot exist without a source of light. Also, if we look at the Taijitu we can see that the individual Yin and Yang parts contain a part of the opposite. This shows that opposites exist within everything and the importance of a balanced polarity.

There, polarity, that is the point I’m trying to aim for. Is it possible, looking at the Yin-Yang model to see negative as inherently bad as we have done for so long? If we did, it would mean that everything feminine, including the Goddess, would be bad, harmful and possibly inherently evil. I’m sure no one has any intention of doing that any time soon.

Positive and negative, light and dark. They are just opposites in the balance of polarity and have no sense of moral right or wrong, any more than do the poles of the aforementioned battery or the north and south poles of a compass, or even the earth. They’re just opposites of the same force.

So what do I propose we use instead of the word negative? Personally, I use the words ‘impure’, ‘unclean’ and ‘harmful’ when it comes to describing unwanted energy because that is really what we’re talking about isn’t it? Unwanted energy. Unwanted because it is harmful, impure and unclean. It is the energy that taints our work and our tools, whereas simply ‘negative’ energy could in fact be beneficial, providing a feminine aspect to our tools and working, and thus providing that balance of polarity which is what paganism and ‘the great work’ is supposed to be all about: unifying opposites to create a balanced whole.

Sometimes I feel that, though we understand thoughts and words have power, we still need to choose our thoughts and words more carefully when working directly with the energies of the universe. We need to make sure we know exactly what it is we are asking and that the words we use match our intention and directed will. The universe has a cruel, and sometimes ironic sense of humor (for a non-corporeal, non-specific entity anyway) , and sometimes you get what you’ve asked for, and if you’ve asked using the wrong words, then you’re likely to get a nasty surprise!

So from this moment I ask that we are all more mindful of the words we choose to use, both in our day-to-day lives as well as in our magical lives. Doing so we may just find things flow in the way we want them to and we can each live a happier, more peaceful existence.

Blessed be

Footnotes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taijitu

Knowing Right and Wrong

 

Author: Stewart Bitkoff

On one level people want simple answers and to be told what to do. On another they want freedom to choose and make their own decisions. People are multi-level and have the capacity to make their own choices as well as accept direction from others. Discordance sets in when the guidance from others or authority does not fit what the individual wants or feels is right for them. In this case, the individual is in conflict and looks for something else.

Most people are taught a philosophy of ‘right and wrong.’ At an early age aspects of this protective mechanism are projected into daily life and are part of social and religious training. For example, if you do not get-up on time and arrive timely at school this is bad. As an adult, being late will eventually result in loss of job. Or as a youth, if you take street drugs, this will lead to personal problems and addiction.

It is difficult to disagree with these two maxims about daily life. Get places on time and do not take potentially damaging street drugs. However, to complicate matters other factors may be at play. Perhaps the individual is getting to work late because of an inner, hidden unease with this type of work. In time, after warnings by the supervisor, the worker realizes this and moves on. Or the youth experimenting with recreational drugs uses this learning in a future career in brain chemistry. Or in a more damaging scenario, after years of addiction the person sobers up and becomes a drug counselor who, because of personal experience, helps dozens of others.

From a higher perspective, looking at events: travelers are taught to take a more longitudinal and holistic view of the effect of specific actions. In real life, often it is not a simple matter of an action being ‘right or wrong.’ Actions are complex and involve others, having both a collective and individual effect. Before making many decisions it is wise to consider their long term and multi-level effect.

As an example, how about the common situation where your beloved asks- do you think I have put on a few pounds? Does this dress/suit make me look heavy? Sometimes telling the truth can be unnecessarily hurtful, particularly if the individual has been struggling with their weight. In this situation, I’ll leave it to you to figure out what is right or wrong; in most things, we are free to pick and choose.

Further when viewing the effect of personal action, it is impossible to know all the variables involved; particularly over a long period of time and actions that affect countless others. However, for the spiritual traveler, it is possible to know some of this and begins by asking the question: will this action bring me closer or distance me from my higher destiny?

The answer to this question may be thought out as well as perceived. First, we rationally consider and list the effects using what we term our common sense. Next, we use our intuition, requesting if the action will bring us closer or distance us from our higher self. Perception is intuitive knowledge that emerges from our collective consciousness. By turning inward, the traveler unlocks this holistic awareness and uses this answer along with their rational thought to arrive at an action.

At an early age, it is important to learn about the difference between right and wrong. It is important to learn some things are good for us and some things are not. Yet, spiritual teaching must go deeper, illustrating and considering the aspect of longitudinal effect and destiny. While one piece of chocolate may be tasty and even nutritious, twenty is not, particularly, if we are diabetic or prone to dental problems.

Most spiritual training programs teach the traveler to pray, or turn inward in some fashion or another before taking an important action. Within each person, there is an inner voice or capacity to know if an action will bring us closer to our own higher self and the higher destiny of the universe. Most people have forgotten to develop and listen to their own inner voice and have relied upon others to teach them about right and wrong.

This original social, moral and religious teaching, about what is useful in life, was intended as a beginning; and the traveler, as they matured was to be instructed on how to make their own more complex, intuitive decisions. For many, this has been omitted from their training and they continue to rely upon limited and simplistic learning constructs.

Many of which have been tied to a hidden and sometimes not so hidden ‘fear and reward’ system. In a sense, for these travelers, their thoughts on certain subjects have become fixed, often engineered by others.

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Humanity is conscious energy
Burning like sunlight.
By reflecting the Light into this world
Humanity neutralizes personal spiritual darkness.

Embrace your own inner beliefs
And then travel beyond them.
Embrace higher knowledge
And as the Source Wills
You will become a sun unto yourself:
Knowing right from wrong,
Dissipating your own lower needs and desires.

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What some call religious training and tradition:
Often is based upon historical and no longer accurate,
Incomplete information; also, in some presentations
There is tendency to misapply traditional exercises to this culture.
Further, many sacred books include
Selective reportage by believers and historians;
With altered teachings to control desired behaviors
Which were insisted upon by the ruling entity or clergy.

Remember many cherished religious traditions and behaviors no longer serve any real or spiritual function. However, they do increase people’s feelings of comfort/tradition and need to be viewed within their emotional framework.
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The Law

Traveler: Holy One, tell me of the Law

Master: The Law is Inscribed on the heart of each person. Beneath the layers of dust- from selfish living- that surround each heart, is the Golden Rule. The Law is also Written in the Books and is known to all. It is written: That which brings you closer to your higher self and the Beloved is the Measure.

Travelers know what is right; yet, allow themselves to be deceived by their desires. If a traveler would ask their Higher Self or The Light to help make their decision- each would correctly and reach higher.

If you will pray, the Light will cleanse your heart and The Law will be inscribed upon it- Lighting the Darkness. SB