Season Ritual

Season Ritual
By: Willow Myst, White Moon School
This is a ritual for Hallows. I was thinking that, if he’s willing, my husband and I could do this together, late at night after our children are done with trick or treat and fast asleep.
 
Intent: Banish our fears and inspire our hopes for the new year
Need: Jack-O-Lantern already lit
        black and white candles
        Paper and pen/pencil for each person
        Bowl of cooked pumpkin seeds (from Jack-O-Lantern)
        Cauldron/pot for burning paper
Fold papers in half lengthwise. Then on the left half, write fears you’d like to banish and on the right half write your hopes for the future. Then light the black candle to represent banishing the fears. Tear the sheet in half and take the fear half and light it on fire from the Jack-O-Lantern. Light the white candle to represent your hopes. If you are doing this with a partner,  take turns reading out loud your hopes and eat a pumpkin seed for each one. Hang your lists of hopes somewhere you can read them everyday.
About the Author: Willow Myst is a mother of two wonderful children and currently studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon.

Hecate: Goddess of the Witches, Our Dark Mother

Hecate: Goddess of the Witches, Our Dark Mother
By: Granny Moon, HPS, Order of the White Moon
  
Kindly old Grandmother, The Crone, a woman of wisdom, Our Dark Mother, she of many names and guises. Goddess of the Crossroads, Queen of the Witches, the Dark Goddess, The TripleGoddess. The protectress of the flocks and the sailors, she is invoked as the bestower of wealth and favor. These are but a few of the names by which she is known. She has been with us from the beginning.
Hecate is the oldest Greek tri-form Goddess. She is at the same time the three-phased Moon, and, in particular, it’s dark phase. She is the Dark Mother, or Crone aspect and a major deity of the Dianic tradition. In the Greek pantheon, Hecate Tri-form is known as Artemis, Persephone and Hecate. Hecate is sometimes seen as the third aspect of the Trinity Persephone/Demeter/ Hecate for it is Hecate who leads Demeter to her daughter. She is a “dark” Goddess, associated with magic and the night. She is often portrayed with 3 heads or with a 3 headed dog. She was worshipped mostly at crossroads where offerings were left for her – these offerings were known sometimes as “Hecate’s Suppers” – and were left there late at night on the eve of the Full Moon. The person leaving the food walked away without looking back, for fear of confronting the Goddess face to face. This was a way of honoring the threefold Goddess where one could look three ways at once. Other offerings included honey, dogs, black ewes and sometimes even humans. Some say she is not originally Greek, she has been classified as Thracian or as a Titan. She may also be linked to the Egyptian Goddess Heket.
She is a Goddess of the Moon, of the Underworld, and of Magick. She is also considered the protectress of flocks, sailors and of course, witches. Hecate is the protectress of far-away places, roads, and byways. She is considered the Goddess of The Crossroads. Statues of her stood at crossroads where travelers were faced with three choices. In latter-day paganism, Hecterions (a form of pillar) depict the Goddess with six arms, three torches and three sacred symbols: A Key, A Rope and A Dagger. With the Key to the underworld, Hecate unlocks the secrets of the occult mysteries and knowledge of afterlife. The Rope symbolizes the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal and the Dagger or Athame is a symbol of ritual power.
Hecate belongs to the class of torch bearing deities, and carries a burning torch in accordance with the belief that she is the nocturnal Goddess of The Moon. A huntress, she knows her way into the realm of spirits. She is depicted wearing a gleaming headdress of stars. All the secret powers of nature are at her command. She has control over birth, life, and death. Her work includes the world of the dead (just a resting place of the dead), of the night and of the darkness. She is the Mistress of all the Witchcraft and Black Arts.
On her walks at night, Hecate has many accomplices. Her two black, ghostly dogs who have been sacrificed to her, (her priestesses Circe and Medea) are sometimes referred to as being her daughters. At night during the Dark Moon, the Goddess can be seen walking the roads of Greece with her howling dogs and torches. The black howling dogs at night mean that Hecate is approaching. She and her dogs journey over the graves of the dead to search for souls of the departed and then carry them to refuge in the Underworld. She also haunts scenes of crimes as a Goddess of Expiation and Purification. She can be called on during the Dark of the Moon to banish or render justice.
The women who worshipped her often stained their palms and soles of their feet with henna. An adaptation of this ritual is held on Halloween or Hallowmas held on October 31, to honor Hecate at a time when the veil between the Worlds is the thinnest. In private worship her followers prepare and partake of Hecate’s suppers and the leftovers are to be placed outdoors as offerings to her and her hounds.
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Wishing you health, wealth and the magick of the Season!
About The Author: GrannyMoon is a High Priestess and Charter Council Member of The Order of the White Moon. Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, attended LDS Seminary and is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity. Doula, Reiki Master and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. Founder of Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine and is currently taking students. Feel free to contact her at: GrannyMoon@…  Website:http://goddessschool.com

Dancing With Your Shadow

Dancing With Your Shadow

by Sylvana SilverWitch

 

“The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”

— Dr Carl Gustav Jung

As I understand it, the Shadow is a psychological term first introduced by the late Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Carl G. Jung. The Shadow is that in us which is unconscious, repressed, undeveloped and denied. Our Shadows are often sinister and rejected aspects of our being, so there is explicit undeveloped potential in them. We are not aware of it, because anything that is unconscious is just that. Everyone has a Shadow. It is not something unusual or only typified by serial killers or rapists. I believe that “talking” with and somehow coming to terms with the Shadow self is essential for self-awareness.

As a Witch, I represent the dark or Shadow side for some people in my culture. At this time of year, when I see the stereotypical green-faced, big-nosed Witches on broomsticks, I am reminded that this is still very much a Christian-based country. Many Witches have suffered the discrimination of being the mirror of someone else’s Shadow.

Though many Christians have damned the unknowable or unconscious — along with Witchcraft — neither is specifically related to malevolence, as some fundamentalists would have us believe. Darkness has been condemned as evil for eons, and the Shadow has been demonized along with every other “scary” aspect of human behavior, including sexuality, for thousands of years. Hmmm…could it be sex? Is that where the Shadow self lives, in our sexuality? No, it’s much more than sex!

Experiencing your Shadow self means facing all of the nuances of yourself. Yes all — especially the deep, dark ones. Sliding down the rope of emotion into the black abyss of the mysterious or scary parts of you. Most people cannot tell you what they fear will happen if they were to ever give up control and just take that leap of faith into the unknown. But they can tell you that the mere idea scares the pants off of them!

I believe that the more fear you have, the less comfortable you are with the unknown…the less in touch with your Shadow you are. When you come face-to-face with it time and time again, it begins to seem familiar; friendly and darkly inviting.

Many of us pagans are familiar with and have danced with the Shadow. Some of us do a lot of Shadow work over the years. Some of us avoid it at all costs as too edgy, scary or weird. When you face your demons (the things you hate the most about yourself or the things you judge yourself most harshly for doing), they seem to shrink until they’re less and less scary and powerful. When you can stop judging yourself and welcome the lessons of the Shadow, only then can you walk in the power of your Shadow.

I think that the whole idea of integration of the Shadow self is nothing more than being in touch with all aspects of yourself. Integration is about being a whole person. It is feeling and expressing emotions and taking what there is from an experience, whether others would consider it good or bad. Remember, good and bad are totally subjective, and in looking back on something that you once considered really bad, you might now see it as a turning point or learning experience that was very good for you in the long term.

I remember when my dad first found out that I was a Witch. I was all of 16, and he said some very distasteful things to me about it. To him, it was the worst thing that ever could happen to me. But I was free and light and happy, and it was one of the best things ever to happen to me. Now, these many years later, I am the person my dad warned me about!

The Wiccan Rede says: “Do as thou will, harm none.” Can we accept accountability for our reality, in more than theory? Can we accept that a part of our will is our Shadow? If so, what can we do to recognize, accept and let go of needing to control our Shadow?

Altering our outlook from one of fault to one of responsibility can help transform what happens in our world. Our future is of our own making, and what takes place inside of us will be reflected outside of us as our reality. Ok, so this is sometimes an incredibly complex thing, and it usually takes some time and practice. Almost no one gets it overnight, so be patient with yourself.

You might want to meditate on this ancient adage given to us from the Emerald Tablet by the magician and alchemist Hermes Trismegistus: “As above, so below, as within, so without, so that the miracle of the one can be established.” What it is saying is that whatever is within us will also be outside of us. Inner states of consciousness will be imitated in outer situations time and again. If we are able to look at the implications of these repeating patterns and cycles, we will see the synchronicity of actions and situations. Eventually, as we become integrated, the miracle of the one is established as we become one with ourselves.

The first useful thing to do, in order to begin to see our Shadow sides, is to begin to take total responsibility for our lives and our selves. As Witches, we are supposed to do this anyway, but how many victim sob stories have you heard from would-be Witches? I sometimes cannot believe the number of people who claim their power, only to give it away to “them”– the what/whoever that supposedly subjugates them.

Being in the human experience of the corporeal world, most of us have had numerous painful, difficult experiences where it appears unmistakably as if the situation is another person’s fault, or maybe it’s bad luck in life or whatever else we want to name it. In light of this, taking full accountability for what appears to come to us is not generally an easy task. It is well worth the effort though, because when we take responsibility for what happens to us, we can then be in a position of power instead of a victim of circumstance. We can learn to make choices instead of accepting the default. We may learn and grow from the experiences and make an inventive decision when confronted by a difficult situation.

We cannot learn fully about ourselves if we do not understand and accept our Shadow. I believe that if we resist our Shadow selves, we are going to continue to attract these same negative situations through the mirrors of other people. New situation, same feelings?

The Shadow can also be an archetype. An archetype is a symbol or icon that represents something universal and typically occurs in the same way in everyone’s consciousness. The green-skinned, big-nosed Witch that we all see at Halloween is an archetype. Many of us have a dark aspect to our witchcraft, whether it’s that we do love magick or lust after power. For some of us who live in the broom closet out of fear or necessity, our very craft is a Shadow.

The foremost of our Shadow demons is death. It could become a big problem if we allowed our fear of death to rule our lives. We’d never go outside, we’d never kiss a lover or a child, we’d never risk at all. We rise above these fears because the experience of life is more gratifying than the experience of locking ourselves up in alarm. But we let apprehension stop us in so many other areas of life. I am not advocating doing brainless or reckless things, but sometimes a bit of a risk is beneficial for the soul. I think a lot of people get that from other outlets; food, sex, gambling, playing sports or having exciting or dangerous hobbies. Those are safe expressions of the Shadow side. Guys can beat the hell out of one another on the hockey field or in the boxing ring and it is perfectly acceptable, but a “fight club” like the one portrayed in the Brad Pitt movie is somehow unacceptable. Why do we make these distinctions between good and bad?

So what does this Shadow theory look like in real life?

I feel safe in saying that we have all had incidents with people that truly irritate, annoy or exasperate us. Each time we feel ourselves overreacting emotionally to a feature or trait in someone else that pushes all of our buttons (and there will usually be a disgusted aspect to it), we can be sure that we are seeing a part of our own Shadow. (I certainly am guilty of this!)

We will not be able to stand these other people or be able to be around them at all. The response is generally intense revulsion because these characteristics or qualities that we loathe in others are our own and they are typically working external to our awareness. Because they are rooted in our unconscious, usually they will be the exact opposite of what we consider to be true about ourselves.

Upon meeting a person exemplifying the light part of our Shadow, we will be very drawn to and may even fall in love with him or her. This is the good part of our Shadow. But many of us have more difficulty with the negative experiences that occur as we bump into our Shadow. This is the psyche’s own way of bringing itself into the light — meaning the light of consciousness. Think about the two people that you dislike the very most, and why you dislike them. What are those qualities that you abhor about them? What part of yourself are you denying that exemplifies those qualities? This part of Shadow work is not so much fun!

Living in the shadows of normalcy has never really been much of a problem with me. Because I am an artist, a dominant woman, a psychic and a Pisces, almost no one ever expected me to be “normal.” So I got comfortable in my Shadow early on and wrapped it around me like a soft blanket.

Certainly, being so immersed in my Shadow side occasionally has caused me some problems over the years. A few times it’s caused me some grief over someone’s incorrect assumptions or perceptions. Usually it’s helpful not to squick the person who is in charge, — like your boss — if you want to be a part of their program.

Sometimes it’s felt like a dip in an icy river when I have been forced into the daylight and had to consider what cowans were seeing when they stare at me: extra long red nails, gothy makeup, waist-long red and blonde streaked hair, piercings, tattoos, cleavage ala Lily Munster and of course the de rigueur all black, vampiric wardrobe. I haven’t lived in any closets for a very long time, and I find it funny and a little strange when people are so fascinated with me because of it. More importantly, I can tell how in touch with their own Shadow selves they are by how they react to me. It’s kind of like holding up a mirror to some of them. So, yes…I tend to push people’s buttons just doing my grocery shopping — though I shop generally at three or four in the morning these days, and I encounter fewer rude stares at that time of night, but there is still the occasional drunken laughter.

The Shadow is certainly not about appearance. Everything I just listed as an example of why people stare at me and why I make them exceedingly uncomfortable has nothing much to do with my actual Shadow side. I like costuming, and some of that may relate to some of my Shadowy aspects, but clothing alone isn’t it.

Because my Shadow energy is so strong, sometimes people look at me and just “know” that there is “something wrong” with me. I am too much, too sexual, too edgy, too dark, too Witchy, too scary, too “insert your favorite word here.” I don’t mind too much usually, because it is true. I am very much in touch with what drives me. I know most of my faults and shortcomings well; I recognize and accept that I am less than the perfect person I’d like to be. Even goddesses have their dark sides, and some of the darkest are my inspirations.

Lilith is a goddess best known in our present culture from the Jewish tradition as a strong, lusty, demoness who preys on men at night and kills babies. She is scorned in stories and folklore. because she was supposedly the pariah first wife of Adam. According to Barbara Black Koltov, Ph.D, in this tradition she represents the Shadow woman, one who refuses to be subjugated or dominated and who personifies the illogical, defiant aspect of womanhood and the horrors that abound in the dark of the night, and especially in the dark of the moon. She arouses apprehension and revulsion, because she alternately is a nubile young woman who seduces men and leads them away from their virtuous, pious lives and a hideous hag who begets death and kills babies descended from Eve, out of retribution on Adam.

In The Book of Lilith, Koltov explains this mythology of Lilith and the rituals, practices and purification rites carried out by men and women to protect themselves from her. These include following specific guidelines before engaging in marital sex and the use of birthing amulets and talismans for mothers and infants in which protection spells and petitions to placate Lilith were inscribed to prevent her for taking the infant’s life.

I can identify with Lilith, Hecate, Kali and the Morrigan…the mysterious goddesses that have been there from the beginning to help guide us through our darkest times. I feel comfort and safety in the darkness. I wrap it around me like a protective amulet to keep out those who would do me harm. My Shadows take many forms, everything from tattooing and piercing to BDSM and vampiric blood play. My bitchy nature is part of it, as is my procrastination, my inability to throw things away, my sexual proclivities and of course my tastes in clothing and music.

If you’d like to get more in touch with your Shadow there are many things that you can do. Do a sex magick ritual, commune with the dead, do a hypnotic regression to your death in a past life, ask a few trusted friends to give you some honest feedback about your faults (without you saying anything or responding at all except to say thank you), do a ruthless self analysis, make amends to people you have harmed or slighted in the past or find a friend that will allow you to be just as bitchy as you need to be for one whole evening or afternoon. Do some BDSM play, get a tattoo or a piercing, have selfish, wild circus-monkey sex with your lover and ask for everything you want, go inward and remember past hurts and get angry about them, examine your childhood for whatever was lacking and mourn it, remember old lovers, play sad love songs and lament lost love. Be selfish, mean, bitchy, lazy or whatever you have been accused of in the past for one whole day without feeling at all guilty. Try to be “bad” occasionally just for fun, and I guarantee that you will feel more balanced and healthy than ever.

I include a Shadow rite here for those of you who enjoy more formalized work. Blest be the darkness!

Shadow Dancing Ritual

Perform this rite on the dark Moon to integrate your Shadow self.

Materials:

Black robe, black altar cloth, anointed candles, cakes, etc.

Silver glitter, Bell, Cauldron, Matches, Mirror.

Hecate, Lilith or Innana incense and oil, black paper and silver ink pen

Music: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, or any Goth or black metal music or other suitably sinister and/or soothing melodies.

Set up your ritual space with everything you need. Take your ritual bath, and then anoint yourself with the Hecate oil and dress in your ritual robe.

Have the room dimly lit.

Turn on the music, then ground and center.

Cast your circle in your usual manner, but invoke the dark goddess — Lilith, Innana, Hecate — with some thing like below:

Tonight, on this darkest of nights, I am ready to journey into the darkness, to meet my Shadow and listen to his/her story.  Dark one, you who have given me courage, guide my passage deep into the Shadows and out again. Ancient ones, I invoke you to guide me into my darkness tonight to meet my Shadow self.

Make it so.

Make it so.

Make it so.

Ring the bell three times to summon your Shadow self. When you feel yourself ready, take the pen and paper and write down everything you can identify as Shadow traits. Faults, idiosyncrasies, downfalls, etc. Everything that you think is wrong or bad or needs to be changed about yourself should all be listed on the paper. Now read it over aloud. Read it again and again…as many times as it takes for you to not be ashamed, upset, guilty or to have any reaction to the words.

Once the energy has been drained off your Shadow qualities, then read the paper over again, but add “I forgive myself and release all judgment over _____. (whatever the quality was.) Do this as many times as is necessary for you to feel like it “takes.”

When you have finished, sprinkle the glitter over the paper list and bless each of the qualities that make you unique. Fold the paper, and place it in the cauldron to burn. Ring the bell three times, and take three deep breaths as you release your Shadow from its previous bondage.

Dance around the circle, allowing your body to release the judgment and express your newfound freedom. Dance with your Shadow, waltzing with it in your arms like an old lover. Raise energy by dancing to anchor the ritual in your reality.

When you’re finished dancing, look into the mirror and tell yourself sincerely how fabulous you are, perceived faults and all.

Have a celebration of cakes and wine and allow your Shadow to integrate into you fully. Release your circle, elements, gods, etc. Bury the ashes outside in a safe place.

Be your whole self from now on.

Sylvana SilverWitch is a local Sylvan Tradition High Priestess and has been HPS of the Sylvan Grove for many years.

Samhain: An Underworld Tarot Ritual

Samhain: An Underworld Tarot Ritual

by Yasmine Galenorn

 

November 1, Samhain — the Festival of the Dead. The year is waning, venturing towards the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year. Leaves lay crisp on the ground, their burnished reds and bronzes a reminder of the fallow fields of autumn. It is the time of spirits, the time of witches, the time of crackling bonfires around which we dance to the thundering pulse of the drum.

On Samhain we not only remember our ancestors, but we seek a better understanding of our psyches. The veil between the worlds of spirit and of mortal-kind is at its thinnest, and we can now see into the darkness of the void, into the shadows of our own self. We seek understanding, we ask for guidance, we remember our roots.

Late on Samhain Eve — October 31, near to the witching hour, set up your scrying altar. Cover it with a black cloth, preferably velvet, and in the center, prop up a magick mirror so that you can easily see into it. On one side of the mirror set an orange candle, on the other a white candle. In back of the mirror, raised so that you can see it, place a black candle. Prepare music (such as Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors) for your evening’s work. Set your tarot cards in front of the mirror. Light a stick of copal or myrrh incense and smudge the area. Cast a circle, light the candles, turn on the music and invoke the elements of fire and ice:

“Spirit of the Flame, you who are the passion of the bonfire, you who are transformation, come to me. Light my way into this, the night of the dead, that I might see beyond the veil into myself, into the corners of my psyche.”

“Spirit of the ice, you who are the chill of the mists, you who are illumination and clarity, come to me. Freeze-frame those images which I need to see, on this, the night of the dead, that I might understand and come to self-knowledge.”

Spend a little time in a meditation and lower yourself into trance. Then, take your place in front of the altar. Hold your cards as you look into the mirror at your own image. Keep your eyes focused about an inch above your head in the mirror so that you don’t strain them.

Take three deep breaths and knock three times on your cards. Ask aloud:

“What are the karmic lessons I need to learn in this cycle of growth?” Shuffle three times and remove three cards from the deck, set them face down on the altar.

Again, knock three times and ask:

“What are the strengths which I possess that will aid me in my growth?” Shuffle three times and remove three cards from the deck, place them above the first three.

Once again, knock three times and ask:

“What are the obstacles I face in my current cycle of growth?” Shuffle three times and remove three cards from the deck, place them above the second line of cards.

Knock three times and ask:

“What guidance will aid me in my journey?” Shuffle three times and remove three cards from the deck, place them above the third tier.

Lastly, knock three times and ask:

“What is the overall nature of the energy that I am working with this cycle?” Shuffle three times and remove one card, and place it at top-center of the third tier.

Now set the rest of the deck aside and turn over the cards 1 – 3. Meditate on them. These will show you the lessons you are supposed to learn in this current cycle. Cards 4 – 6 will tell you the strengths that you possess in order to meet the life lessons you are learning. If a card seems negative, you will want to look for ways in which the attributes might be blessings in disguise. Cards 7 – 9 will warn you of obstacles forthcoming, so that you can either avoid them or lessen their impact. Cards 10 – 12 will provide guidance. Card 13 is the summation card, providing a summary of what this cycle is all about.

When you are finished, you may wish to record the reading in your journal or Book of Shadows. Extinguish the candles, thank the elements of fire and ice for being with you, and open your circle. It would be a good idea to watch your dreams carefully over the next few days for messages and omens.

Bright blessings this Samhain, and may you walk between the worlds with caution and with brilliance.

Yasmine Galenorn writes the paranormal Chintz `n China Mystery Series, and the Bath& Beauty Mystery Series (written under the name India Ink), both from Berkley Prime Crime. She is also writing a contemporary fantasy series, The Sisters of the Moon Series, (Penguin Group, coming 2006). She’s written eight nonfiction metaphysical books, (Crossing Press and Llewellyn Publications). She lives in Bellevue, Wash. with her husband, Samwise, and their four cats and can be contacted via her Web site: www.galenorn.com.

This article previously appeared in the Llewellyn 2002 Tarot Calendar.

Freeing Our Spirits and Breaking Our Chains

Freeing Our Spirits and Breaking Our Chains

by Bronwynn Torgerson

 

Rituals are born in unexpected ways. They may be birthed by dreams remembered, longings unfulfilled or deep conversations with friends. Two weeks before Samhain, it became clear that catharsis was needed. The Great Between of the Samhain season was manifest in our lives as well, and so many of us had entered the place of uneasy inertia. The Scholar, a single mother strapped with bills, wrestled with her yearning for a degree, while questioning if it might be fairer to her kids and the utility company if she quit school and returned to work full time. The Sage confided his fear of the gastric bypass surgery that his doctor was urging him toward. He told me he felt that without it, he might have 10 or 15 more years of life left. I, priestess of many open circles, challenged and stretched thin by the wide spectrum of ability, knowledge and intent of those attending, stood at the crossroads. Should I continue in this format, which was needed in our community, but didn’t quite feed my soul, or should I ask the Goddess for a different way to serve? Others phoned, came by for coffee, poured out their confusion. A pattern emerged. We all were stuck fast, unable to move, bound by our own individual fears, insecurities and “what ifs.” Something had to be done to end the psychic and spiritual paralysis.

This ritual emerged, simple yet powerful. We elected to perform it just before Samhain, while the Parade of Souls was passing by and the aid of our ancestors might be obtained. It might also be performed near the 4th of July, to liberate oneself from overshadowing or restricting conditions.

We found it visually effective to use a descent mechanism into ritual space, lining the passage with candles. Our ceremony took place outdoors, in a park where there were upper and lower armadas and a staircase running between. The psychic effect was eerie and otherworldly. We lowered ourselves into the dark well of the soul, into a hallowed place, not knowing what we might find. It was vitally important that each participant bind his or her own wrists, wrapping the raffia around. No one else had placed us in this situation. No one else could comprehend the complications, hopes and dreads we sought to journey through.

This ritual began in the Southeast sector, signifying that we had pondered the problem, considered our options, and were now ready to actively seek a solution. The blessing incense was placed in the South, so once chains were cast aside, we could take part in an ancient lesson in letting go: Before you can release, you must first bless. Bitter are the lessons sometimes, but wisdom is a teacher and must be acknowledged. Into the void of the chains can come illumination, courage, optimism and openness to support. Hence the guidance of the runes, placed in the West. Finally, in the North, we were strengthened and embraced, honored for our choice to make the journey and reminded that in the hearts of the Lord and Lady, none of us walked alone.

If you emulate this ritual, resolutions will result, unexpected messages will be whispered on the wind. You will find that which bound you fast was an empty thing without power. Your answers may come in the flicker of a burnishing, blessing fire. You may see them in the eyes of a friend, who knows what you’ve been though and journeys with you. The journey and the bonds are uniquely your own. Break your chains and set your spirit free.

As for the results of our own ritual, the Scholar graduated and now has a job she loves. The Sage waited out another year before descending into the nether realm of the operating room. He is now healthy, whole and the love of my life. The Lady walked us, hand in hand, to coordinating Pagan Pride Day events, hosting at a myriad of circles and sowing the seeds of new life.

Ritual Setup

This is a self-releasing, very empowering group ritual that can best be done at waning Moon. You will need: a bundle of raffia and a bell in the east; a bowl with a mixture of fragrant herbs and dried petals to give to seekers in the south; a set of runes which may safely be submerged in spring water in the west; cakes and wine in the north; participants to man the elemental stations and offer elemental invocations; sacred drummers to maintain the heartbeat of the experience; a rattle to pass from hand to hand, in confirmation of blessings already on the way.

Begin the Ritual

People enter through the southern gate, passing by the fire (already lit by this time) and an abalone shell of smoldering sage. As they enter, they sing: “Passing through the fire, we reach the other side. Passing through the fire, Ancients be our guide.”

High priestess (HPS): “Sometimes, it is we who shackle ourselves. Through our fears real or imagined, our uncertainties and doubts take hold. Sometimes our bonds are forged of complacency, inertia or doubts that we are worthy of more. We forget that we are children of the Goddess and the God, and that their love surrounds us. We forget that the universe provides, and that the wise man or woman inside us knows only perfect timing, perfect love and perfect trust. We forget to relinquish what is old and no longer serves a purpose. We fail to reach for what we need, to heed the inner call, and be reborn.”

High priest (HP): “Tonight, at waning Moon, we shed our old skin and break the bonds that we ourselves have fashioned. We will begin by blessing and purifying this place, inviting our watchers, gods and guides to stand witness to our rite of transformation.”

HPS: “Drummers, now become the heartbeat of this place, and all creation. Echo through our blood and bones. Be the calling, that which spurs us on. Be the balance, that which connects us to all life. Be the voice of all unseen.”

Drummers take their places around the four stations. As the drummers decide one by one that their tie of binding and loosening has come, one of the people who has completed their journey, steps up to take the drummer’s place so that the beat is continuous.

Quarter Calls

Air: “In this windswept hallowed space, winged ones come and lend your grace. Bless with vision, heal our hearts; as some things end and some things start. Hail and welcome and blessed be!”

Fire: “Bright ones, burn away all mundane dross, old restrictions, shame or loss. Leave us gleaming, forged anew; strong and bold, strengthened by you. Hail and welcome and blessed be!”

Water: “Ocean’s womb, from whence we came, call to each of us by name. Reveal to us what needs to be; transformation and liberty. Hail and welcome and blessed be!”

Earth: “Mountains of the Mother’s breast, place of comfort, place of rest. In your refuge, let us stand; heart to heart and hand to hand. Hail and welcome and blessed be!”

Goddess Invocation

“Oh, Great Mother, you are the answers sought and found in the darkest hour of night. You are wise woman, friend, eternal companion and guide. We call to you to counsel and to bless! We call to you as witness the breaking of our chains! We call to you to midwife this time of rebirth! O, Great One, we pray you, join us this night. Descend we pray you, into this thy priestess.”

Sung Goddess chant begins: “Ancient Mother, we hear you calling; Ancient Mother, we hear your song. Ancient Mother, we hear your laughter; Ancient Mother, we taste your tears.”

God Invocation

“Oh, Great Father, you are the true friend forever at our side. It is you who teach us which battles are just, when we must speak out for another, when we must reclaim ourselves. You are our teacher and brother and guide. Be the stout staff we lean on; be the unfailing heart, wise head and far-seeing eye. Oh, Great One, we pray you, join us on this night. Descend we pray you into this, thy priest.”

Sung God chant begins: “Ancient Father, we hear you calling; be our counsel, be our guide. Ancient Father, we feel you near us; God of courage, now abide.”

The Circle is Cast

HP and HPS bless the cakes and ale, which are later taken to the northern table.

People join hands one by one, saying, “Separate, but united in our hopes and in our fears, we stand as one people. The circle is cast!” HPS instructs all those present to envision a glowing dome or rainbow light overhead, below and surrounding the sphere in which all stand. A toning may be used to raise protective energy.

When the energy has been raised, HPS turns to the people and says, “Before you lays the journey. In the east, you may contemplate those bonds you have placed upon yourself. What constricts you? What impedes you? Look into the mirror, light incense to carry your prayers on the wind … then take up a length of raffia and wrap it about yourself. It is this and nothing more that holds you back from claiming your true destiny and fulfillment. When you are ready, ring the bell and journey on.”

HP: “Next, approach the southern fire. One who guards the holy hearth stands vigil there, ready to cut the needless cord that binds you to your former self. Cast off your old chains into the fire, gaze into its heart and be reborn. Into the hand that is empty, shall be given blessing…cast your offering to the flames and rejoice that by your choosing, you are free.”

HPS: “Then, approach the Well of Wyrd … in its watery depths, distant and unseen, are runes … a symbol to guide you on your way. Engrave them on your mind and your heart, then cast them to the waters once more.”

HP: “Finally, come full-circle to the healing of the north. Accept the love of the Old Ones, sustenance for the new life ahead, and a message of courage from the God, to speed you on your way.”

When all have completed the journey, together again we shall stand. As the rattle is passed from hand to hand, each may speak what he or she has found courage to claim. We shall bless and affirm, by repeating the blessing each one seeks … for example, “We send you abundance! We send you full health! We send you more pleasing work!”

Priest and priestess undergo the binding and loosening ritual last.

God and Goddess are thanked, elements are dismissed, but watchers are asked to remain until the last guest is safely home again.

A Little Humor – Trick Or Treat By Your Astrological Sign

Trick Or Treat By Your Astrological Sign


Aries Pushes the others aside to get to the door first.
Taurus Will only eat the finest of Swiss chocolates.
Gemini Goes around the neighborhood once, changes costumes and goes around again.
Cancer Stays at home and gives candy to the other trick-or-treaters.
Leo Plans their costume for months, then won’t go out because someone else had the same idea.
Virgo Wears a neatly-pressed suit and tells everyone they’re a bookkeeper.
Libra Is still standing in front of the closet trying to decide              on a costume.
Scorpio Isn’t in it for the candy.
Sagittarius Will manage to wander to the next town.
Capricorn Makes a list of all the houses that give good candy and the optimal route to take.
Aquarius Builds their costume out of spare flashlights and spends all night tinkering when it shorts.
Pisces Skips the whole thing to compose poetry to the Moon.
Taken from

The Night of the Full Moon

The Night of the Full Moon

by Lloyd Frankenberg

O come with me into this moonlight world.
The trees are large and soft tonight,
With blossoms loaded soft and white,
A cloud of whiteness furling and unfurled.

The houses give their sounds upon the air
In muted tones and secrecies,
Their lights like laughter through the trees.
The evening breathes its vows into our hair.

The evening puts its lips to throat and brow
And swears what it has sworn before
To others and will swear to more.
The evening has its arms around us now.

Nightstar

Night Poems

 

Feng Shui Tip for October 29th – ‘World Psoriasis Day’

Today’s tip might have you scratching your head, but hopefully that will be the only itchy place on your skin. Today is ‘World Psoriasis Day’ and I’d like to share potentially positive innovations from the world of alternative therapies for treating this disease. It is believed that drinking an ounce of aloe juice after every meal while also applying the gel from an aloe plant to the affected area twice a day will help clear lesions from the skin’s surface. As well, increasing intake of Omega-3 fish oils has also been said to eradicate this imbalance. The herb Burdock root is also believed to help with severe psoriasis cases. You can find this tea in almost any health food store. You might also find that drinking some on an empty stomach just before breakfast and dinner can conceivably help with healthy digestion.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com