The name of this lyric is The Witch’s Moon by Ms. Julie Carol. It is absolutely beautiful. Turn up your speakers, feel the music and read the wording, this piece will stir your very soul. Enjoy!
READING THE RUNES
Runes, along with many other forms of divination can be valuable allies. In preparing to do a runecast you are preparing to ask your higher self for answers and assistance. There are many factors to take into account when interpreting a runecast, it takes practice. So, don’t be discouraged if you come up with a few “duds” in your first readings. Because of divinations’ similarity to counceling, I highly recomend that you practice readings on yourself before doing spreads for anyone else. You should prepare yourself before you begin to read or cast the runes. Start by relaxing. Find somewhere free of distractions, and then clear your mind of any unrelated thoughts. It is important to concentrate on your specific question or issue while drawing and casting the runes. Focusing your mind and having a clear intent will greatly enhance the accuracy of your readings. Interpreting a runecast is like telling a story. Your job is to find the characters, themes, events, and advice of the reading. Take as much time as you need to interpret a spread, and pay close attention to all the connections. The times I am most satisfied in the accuracy of my readings are when each rune clearly plays a part in the runecast, or rather when the runecast itself becomes a comprehensable story.
Sometimes the runes will clearly answer your question, and sometimes they will ignore it completely, choosing to focus on other issues instead. Often times these are issues that you knew existed but didn’t want to face. Look within to see if the runes haven’t met the mark. Runes (in divination) work by connecting you to that part of you that is in touch with your subconcious, higher self or that part of you that is in tune with the all. However you want to look at it. Even the most accurate of runecasts can not tell you what is destined to be. They only predict what is likely to happen based on current information. A negative runecast should never be taken as irreversable, you always have the choice to change your situation in life. In divination, runes are used to tell you what path you are currently on. Remember, it is always within your power to keep with or alter that path.
You may use these, or other techniques and rune spreads that you come across. There are an abundance of tarot spreads available, for example, tarot spreads adapt very well to rune divination. You could certainly form your own spreads and techniques for a reading, or maybe incorporate methods from various spreads. Generally, the more runes used in a runecast or spread, the more involved, the reading.
Runes are read either upright or reversed. When casting the runes, it is helpful to have a system of deciding which runes you will consider upright, and which you will consider reversed. I usually interpret all the runes with their top pointing up or to the left, upright; and all the runes that have their top pointing down or to the right, reversed.
THE ELDER FUTHARK
This is the oldest Futhark – the European common heritage. We don’t know for sure when or by who it is originated, but it might be among Germanic tribes in the beginning of our era.
The Elder Futhark has 24 runes. This “runic alphabet” got its name after the sound of what is traditionally held to be the six first runes in this “alphabet”:
F – U – Þ – A – R – K
What Is Rune Meditation?
by: Donald Tyson
Before the runes can be effective for works of magic or divination , they must be understood on the intuitive level and made to come alive in the unconscious. This will occur over time simply by using them, but the process can be encouraged through regular meditation upon the individual rune symbols. Meditation gives the runes reality in the astral world, where magical forces and actions manifest themselves most clearly to the awareness.
When you carve a rune materially for a magical purpose, you must also be able to cut it into the astral with your will so that it glows and shimmers on the material where you made the physical rune. When you draw a rune in the air with your right index finger or magic wand, you must be able to see it sustaining itself with the eye of your imagination. This does not mean that you pretend to yourself that the rune exists on the astral level, or picture it there in the way you would imagine the face of your cat. Magical visualization is more intense and real than regular images in the imagination. The magical image persists and can be so real that it appears material.
Meditation on the runes serves the dual purpose of expanding an understanding of their meanings, both conscious and unconscious (this is needed in divination) and allowing the clear formation of the runes on the astral level (this is necessary in ritual magic).
There are many ways to actively meditate upon the runes. One is to contemplate the forms of the runes visually. Rune cards are an excellent way of keeping images of the runes before the sight during meditation, where they impress themselves through the eye upon the mind, when the mind reaches a receptive state. Here I will describe a second technique that I find effective in bringing the meanings and forms of the runes alive.
In preparation you must be familiar with the shapes of the runes, their names and short meanings, their order, the place of each rune in its aett, and its pair rune. This can be done by playing with a set of rune wands, or ideally with the rune cards, which are excellent for this purpose. Once you have a general knowledge of the futhark, you are ready to begin considering the runes individually.
To be most effective, meditations should be done in a series at regular times, one per day. It is possible to do two meditations a day if they are separated in timeófor example, one at noon and one at midnight. If this is done, a pair of runes should be considered each day. However, until you have had some experience in meditating upon the individual runes, you should not attempt to consider two or more runes in combination at the same time.
Wear loose clothing and take off your shoes, belt, watch, jewelry, and anything that irritates the skin or restricts the circulation. Even if your watch and earrings do not irritate you during your daily routine, they may be a distraction during meditation. When the mind is stilled and focused, small sounds will seem like thunder and the slightest itch will become a torment as your mind, like a restless child, seeks any escape from the task you have imposed upon it.
Do not meditate where there is noise or bustle, or where you are likely to be disturbed. Do not meditate until at least two hours after eating a meal. Do not meditate just before sleep when you are very tired, and do not meditate when you are physically ill, or when your mind is filled with worry, anger, or frustration.
Find a tranquil place and sit comfortably with your back relaxed but straight. It does not really matter how you sit. I usually sit Japanese style upon my heels, but some people find this posture hard on the knees. The important thing is that you forget about how you are sitting and concentrate on the meditation. Face a blank wall or featureless surface. If there is no flat unbroken surface, turn out the lights and the darkness will serve. If you are outside, face a wall, a distant forested hill, the ocean horizon, or lie on your back and look at the sky – but it is better not to lie down during meditation. The important thing is that you not be distracted by something in your field of view. Distractions are not necessarily fatal to meditations, but they disrupt them and delay your progress. There are bound to be distractions in any case – you want to minimize them.
Take half a dozen slow, deep breaths to clear your lungs and relax your body. When you are ready, extend your right index finger and draw the rune you have chosen for your meditation in the air at a comfortable armís length, making it a size that will fit easily into the center of your field of vision – about 18 inches tall is a good height.
Now try to actually see the rune in the air where you have drawn it. Hold the form of the rune in your imagination, and mentally retrace over and over the rune you have drawn whenever its strokes become indistinct or slip from your mind. It is not necessary to use your finger to retrace the rune. Pretend you have a blackboard in your imagination, and an imaginary piece of chalk that you use to continually redefine the rune as it fades.
Runes should always be drawn, both in the world and in the mind, with strokes that move downward and to the right. A little practice will make this second nature.
During the meditation do not actively try to consider a predetermined list of associations with the runes. These will rise in their own time and order into the stillness of your consciousness. Hold your attention upon the shape of the rune and your task of keeping it visually before your inner sight. You must not be thinking of your grocery list while you are doing this. It is inevitable that your mind will wander to other things, but when it does, gently and firmly guide it back to the purpose of the meditationóan active contemplation of the rune you have drawn in the air. When an idea about the rune itself, its nature, or its relationship with other runes comes into your mind, consider it, but do not try to force these ideas. Let them rise by themselves.
This meditation should be stopped before it begins to become physically tiring. There is no point in forcing the work. A period of 15 minutes to half an hour will be about right for most people. Take care that you remain relaxed, your breathing regular, and your eyes focused normally without strain. Strain of any kind is counterproductive. Only sustained attention is required, and you will find that this is effort enough.
Success is not marked by how many new ideas you have about the rune, not even by how clearly you are able to visualize its form in space, but rather by how sustained and effortless your awareness of the rune has been during the period set aside for the exercise.
It is a good idea to do these meditations in the same place and at the same time of day. Several meditations, even half a dozen, should be done on each rune, but these can be mixed up with other runes. You do not have to meditate upon the same rune for six days running – unless you want to, of course. It can be useful to consider the runes in groups, doing them in pairs, or in families, or even doing the complete futhark on 24 consecutive days, then repeating it several times. If the sequence of the meditations becomes tedious, mix it up. Boredom should be minimized, because your mind will seize on any excuse to stop these exercises.
You will soon discover that your mind is without disciplineónot that its discipline is low, but that it does not have any discipline at all. If you try to force it too hard, it will turn around and bite you. You will accomplish nothing. Firmness, patience, persistence, and an understanding of how your mind functions are needed to achieve the best results. Be wary of little tricks. You may suddenly find that your bowels are tumbling every time you sit down to meditate, that your ears itch, that people are constantly interrupting you, that you feel very tired and sleepy, or that the entire exercise seems pointless and stupid. These are all ways your mind will use in trying to squirm out of doing the work you have set for it.
What Makes Runes Powerful?
by: Donald Tyson
Runes are the manifest symbols through which rune magic is worked. They can be employed for all of the magical purposes that other magical systems serve, but they possess unique aspects that make them superior for certain uses.
Because they were forged over the centuries in the same creative fire that shaped the pagan gods of the Teutonic peoples, runes are indispensable in magical dealings that involve the northern hierarchy. They are a key that unlocks the powers of these gods, and they are a book that unfolds the secrets of their personalities. Before the rediscovery of runes, the Aesir, lords of Asgard – who number among their ranks Odin, Thor, Tiw, Heimdall, Baldar, Loki, Frija and Hel – were difficult to integrate into modern ceremonial magic. An elemental wildness distinguishes them from the more civilized gods of Greece and Rome and the abstract, almost technical natures of the angels and spirits of Hebrew occultism. It would be absurd to invoke the Aesir with Hebrew numerology or Greek words. Yet before the rebirth of runes, the magus had little option.
Because runes form the magical language of the northern gods and express the forces upon which those gods are framed, manipulating the runes gives direct control over the actions- not just of the deities but also of the spirits and lesser entities of Norse mythology, which all arose out of the same primeval crucible of mythic archetypes. They are more than just arbitrary symbols chosen to represent occult forces by the Germanic shamans; each rune contains in its structure the same essence that is in the god, spirit, or magical potential to which it corresponds. It is the magical name of that god or natural power. Anyone seeking to contact and communicate with the northern hierarchy – whether for purposes of worship, divination, or active magic – must use the runes. It is possible to invoke the Aesir without runes, but this is akin to driving a nail with a rock when a hammer is sitting within easy reach. It makes no sense. More and more, those with Teutonic roots are seeking to know the gods of their ancestors. Runes are indispensable in building this bridge to the past.
Perhaps because they rested forgotten for so many centuries, the runes remain undiluted by modem skepticism and rationalization. Of all the symbolic tools of magic, they are the most powerful for causing material change in the world. Rune magic makes things happen – often violently, sometimes unpredictably. Most potent physically, rune magic is also most dangerous to the unwary. The elemental powers contained and defined by the runes are not conscious in the human sense, but they possess a type of animation and awareness not unlike the self-awareness of animals, plants, or embodied spirits – a watchful, quick, sometimes malicious awareness that might almost be called mad in its unexpectedness. But madness is a human concept, and the runes are true to themselves and terribly sane.
All types of occult work that seek material change – or transformations on the human level of emotions and urges that are linked to the body – can be fulfilled with rune magic. Rune magic also embraces the spiritual level of the human soul, and great works of the spirit are possible using the runes. The point that should be grasped here is that runes are weighted more toward the physical, tangible end of the scale than any other ancient magical system. It may be that in their beginnings all magical systems were mainly concerned with material change, but it is only the runes that have descended through time in their pristine, primitive state.
Another unique aspect of the runes has to do with their structure. Because they are simple letters that can be carried in the head and inscribed on any surface as easily as the alphabet, they are the most compact and accessible of magical systems. Bulky temple instruments are not needed in rune magic. They can be written anywhere on virtually anything in moments when an emergency arises. No one can ever take the runes away or destroy them; they live in the mind.
In their portability runes resemble the Hebrew letters, which are combined into magical names and words of power based upon the numerical values of the letters in the system of Jewish occultism known as the Kabbalah. At one time each letter of the Hebrew alphabet also had its elemental meaning, independent of its numerical value. But in modern times, the natural powers embodied in the Hebrew letters have largely been forgotten, displaced by the number values.
As is true of the Hebrew letters, the runes can be combined both occultly in numerical and symbolic groupings and phonetically to form words and sentences. The same runes can both embody a magical desire in their combination of elemental potentials and explicitly define that desire in words. These methods complement and support each other, and are frequently encountered together on rune artifacts made for magical purposes. For example, the sixth-century Lindholm amulet of Sweden bears the intelligible inscription of its magician maker: “I am an Herulian, I am called the Cunning One.” But it also bears a string of runes that cannot be translated, because they convey only an occult, not a literal, meaning.
The Rune Galdr
The galdr is probably both the most powerful and subtle way to access the magical energy of the rune. These chants have been described as being like a soft-flowing river with a powerful current underneath. Used in every phase of runic magic together with the form of the rune, the galdr is the main medium through which runic power finds expression. Everyone intones slightly differently, so feel free to experiment. By chanting and toning a rune, you can better experience and express its meaning.
When learning to galdr, focus on one rune at a time. Observe each rune’s tone, form, flow, and relationship to you and to
the other runes. Trust your intuition, and decide when to sing
each rune as a song in and of itself, complete with melody and a beginning, middle, and end, and when to sing the rune by toning only one note. There is no right or wrong way to galdr.
When you galdr, breathe from your diaphragm and really stretch out the sound of each rune, toning as many consonant/vowel combinations as possible. For example, Fehu can be sung as “Feeeeeeee,
Faaaaaaaa, Fuuuuuuuuu, Faaaaaaaayhuuuuuuuuu!” (akin to the giant’s
“fee-fi-fo-fum” as he counts his golden coins, a symbol of mobile
wealth). Draw out and expand each of the vowel sounds, exploring
all registers and resonances in your voice. Discover where each
rune fits in your vocal register, and note where you feel it in your
body. Above all, remember galdring is a lot like learning how to sing
for the first time. Relax and enjoy the process. Galdring together
with your children, in the woods or at the ocean, can be great fun. As
you become proficient, you can combine the chants of several runes into
one song. With 24 runes in the Elder Futhark, there are many possible
combinations, but generally galdr songs using one rune, three runes, or
nine runes work best in magic. Be aware of the numerical significance
of the combined runes when crafting songs.
RITUAL DEDICATING YOUR RUNES
Start with a set of 24 blank Runes of your choice from any material you are comfortable with and begin to inscribe or dedicate them. If your set is already inscribed, then you will begin the dedication ritual. Remember you can do this in a 24 hour period or over a 24 day period. Always begin with the First Aett and first Rune Feoh. Then continue with the Second Aett and then the Third Aett till you have completed either one Rune per hour or one Rune per day. The corresponding hour to begin a 24 hour dedication would be to start at 12 noon and finish 12 noon the next day. For a 24 day dedication start on a New Moon or Full Moon (After viewing Moon Calender, make sure you use “Back” to return to this page!) as the first day and continue for 24 days. During either vigil, write down your very own thoughts and feelings about each Rune as you also study many different books and versions written by other people.
Make sure you have the proper tools handy to inscribe your Runes properly. You might burn, etch, engrave, gouge, paint, hammer, draw, or cut the runes onto the appropriate material of your choice.
Whether you dedicate store bought runes or the ones you made yourself, follow this ritual or write your own to dedicate each Rune according to your very own spiritual path.
1. Center and ground yourself.
2. Thank your Higher power(s) Odin/Woden, Freja, Thor, Norns, or favorite Norse God/dess and the Nine Worlds as you light your incense, candles or smudge sticks. The Norse traditions always starts with the North, so face North! Put your shield or cone of protection up.
3. Dedicate your Rune with it’s appropriate name. Repeat the name inside your head as you inscribe your Rune. Imprint yourself with it’s name, e.g. “This Rune is Feoh.” Keep repeating the name until you are finished inscribing.
4. Once the Rune is inscribed or ready to dedicate, hold it up, look at it, and say it’s name our loud three times. Then while still holding that Rune say it’s meaning out loud three times. Then say the Rune’s name plus the meaning three times. Write this down in your journal along with the date and time. Then write down whatever comes to your mind and the research you have done on this Rune.
5. Meditate the meaning of the Rune as you write. Clear your head of undesirable junk and see the impressions of the Rune come to mind in either symbolic archetypical or spiritual images. Hold them in your head, remember them and write them down.
6. Thank your higher powers Odin/Woden, Freja, Thor, Norns, other favorite Norse God/ess and protector; thank and bless the Nine Worlds, for their protection and insight; snuff out the candles, incense and/or smudge sticks.
7. Keep this journal containing your impressions from this sacred dedication. Remember the story of how Odin received these Runes. Remember that the Norn Sisters of Wyrd were there when Odin received the Runes.
I absolutely cannot condone a fast while doing a dedication of the Runes although some people like to experience what Woden/Odin did as a Shaman. I have done both the 24 hour and 24 day rituals and I recommend the 24 day dedication ritual for most people. You will have more time to memorize the runes and get acquainted with them. Staying awake for 24 hours is difficult and must be planned when it won’t interfere with one’s work or academic schedule. The plus side to staying awake for 24 hours is that you will probably experience a Shaman experience as the result of sleep deprivation.
Courtesy of the World of Wyrd
Many people like to have a special cloth that is used solely for rune readings and runecasts. This is called, simply enough, a rune cloth. It is usually made of a piece of white or single colored material. It may be square, round or whatever appeals to you. In size, it need only be large enough for a runecast or spread. ( A traditional size is 18″ X 18″.) It is possible to have a rune cloth replace your pouch. You could bundle your runes in your rune cloth and tie a string around the bundle.
Some people find it helpful to have a “map” figured out on their rune cloth. This “map” allows them to determine what the placement of the runes in a runecast mean. For example, you may wish to have a circle on your cloth. You could consider any rune inside the circle as being something that is near you, and the runes that fall outside the circle could be considered further away from you ( in terms of time, distance etc.). You could consult a book on tea leaf reading, a “map” of the tea cup can be incorporated into your runecasts or painted onto your cloth. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. If you decide to make a rune cloth, I suggest it be as simple and uncluttered as possible. If you choose to include a “map”, bear in mind, the runes should be the main focus of the reading. Rune cloths that are patterned or too busy may detract from your readings by pulling your attention away from the cast.
Runes are always kept in a pouch. This is for the obvious reason of keeping them together (you should always have 25 runes), and it is also a handy way to carry them around. In the rune readings and runecasts I have included, you will notice instructions to “draw” a rune. Drawing runes directly from the pouch allows the choosing of runes to be done on a subconcious level. (You can’t see them in the pouch.) To enhance the connection to your subconcious, it is suggested that you draw your runes with your passive hand (left hand if you’re a “righty”, and right hand if you are a “lefty”). You may wish to put your name (using the runes) on your rune pouch. Or you may wish to make yourself a new one of a prefered color or size. Feel free to decorate your rune pouch in any way, personal touches on your pouch can only enhance the bond between you and your runes.
Trail Magic: Creating an incense trail
Author: Incense Dragon
Everyone knows what incense is, don’t they? It’s the little sticks and cones you get at the grocery store that smell like Apple or Musk, right? Well, it hasn’t always been that way.
Incense is one of the oldest tools of magic and ritual but its lore, history and modern hobbyists are virtually unknown to much of the Pagan community. The incense “trail” represents an ancient incense burning technique that is highly applicable to modern magic practices and ritual. I should also mention it’s a great deal of fun.
An incense trail is simply a line of incense powder that is burned. A trail can be as simple as a line of powdered sandalwood on a rock. While this is not the preferred method, you can make it work with practice. This is likely the first form of incense trail, but ancient practice eventually elevated the incense trail to a critical role in society.
Before the availability of high quality, spring-powered clocks there were many different methods employed to keep track of time – especially at night. Among the many devices created were clocks powered by dripping or running water. Although some were fairly accurate, they were no good in freezing conditions or on a swaying ship. There were also candles used to mark the time, but environmental conditions could greatly affect their accuracy. The incense “clock” was another attempt to mark time.
In a bed of pure ash, a line can be pressed into the surface. That depression would then be carefully filled with a powdered incense mixture. When used for timekeeping, a special incense blend was used since its burning times were well known. Special markers were then inserted along this trail of incense. The markers could be used to signal a changing of guards, mealtimes or working hours, but their primary use was to mark times to pray.
Eventually incense clocks were developed that used incense sticks to give even more consistent timing. Incense alarm clocks were eventually created. These sometimes used bells hung from the incense stick with thread. When the stick burned to the thread it would break and the bell would clang to the floor.
This is an extremely condensed look at a fascinating topic. If you have more interest in the ancient use of incense clocks read Silvio Bedini’s book The Trail of Time. It is a rare look at this amazing lost art form.
The good news about all of this is you can start using incense trails yourself. You will need ash, incense powder (powdered sandalwood works great), a heat resistant dish or large incense censer and a match or lighter. It’s best to put your censer where it will be used before you begin to minimize movement.
What should you draw? Just think of the magical possibilities. Symbols are an important part of magic. You can draw symbols for deities, astrological signs, runes or geometric shapes. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. Think of the energy of the slowly burning shape as you raise power in your circle. Use trails to time rituals or to cleanse a space. Trails can elevate your incense from being a part of the magical background to a central part of any ritual.
You might have everything you need in your house except for the required amount of ash. You can harvest ash from some other activity if you wish. Never use ash from your charcoal grill or ashes containing synthetic “fire logs.” Ash from incense censers, campfires and fireplaces can be used but I don’t recommend them. If you use such recycled ash, be certain to sift it through a fine screen and then bake the ash in a warm oven for 20-30 minutes to remove as much scent as possible.
A better solution is to purchase ash specifically for incense use. Ash is an important part of Asian incense traditions (such as the Japanese Kodo ceremony). As a result, many shops that sell Asian incense sell pure ash as well. That’s the best possible source if you plan to make incense trails. The pure white ash is scentless and ready for use.
Simply fill your dish or censer with ash and lightly tamp the censer (you can tap the censer lightly a few times on a sturdy table, but pressing down on the ash with something solid works even better). This is to level the ash and make it a bit firmer. You can then make shallow impressions on the surface of the ash. For this, you can use simple stamps (complex designs don’t work very well) from your local craft store, cookie cutters (insert the cutter about 1/8 of an inch deep and move it very slightly from side to side) or simply draw in the ash with a skewer or toothpick. The edge of a paper card will work as well.
No matter what tool you choose, keep the impressions no more than 1/8 inch deep and try to move the excess ash to the sides of your impressions. Especially when using a toothpick or skewer, the ash might try to build up in front of your tool making it more difficult to draw. Push the ash side to side instead. Just try and create a smooth impression – you might need to trace the shape several times to clear the entire trail.
You are not limited in what you can draw. The important thing to keep in mind is that every one of the lines you draw needs to be connected to another line. You might think of it as a line of dominoes you want to topple. If they don’t touch, the chain will stop. It’s the same with incense. Unlike dominoes, burning incense travels in multiple directions. If you draw a circle of incense, when you light it the incense will burn both directions around the circle. Every junction of lines will be lighted at the same time. I have a pentagram stamp that I made that would originally burn in eight different places at once.
While you can use those burning characteristics to your advantage, in general you want only one point on the line of incense to burn. Otherwise plumes of smoke result. The simplest way to control this it to put “blocks” in place. Use your drawing tool to break the lines of incense with a barrier of ash. You can also place small pieces of metal (in a pinch, a penny will work) in the trail of incense. Once the burning incense reaches the metal, it will go out.
Once you have made an impression in the ash and established any ash blocks you might need, fill the impression with incense powder. This is the trickiest part, although it’s not as tough as it seems at first glance. I’ve experimented with a lot of techniques but have found one to be the easiest. I was actually inspired to it while watching Tibetan monks making a sand painting. They use long metal tubes, tapered at one end, which they fill with colored sand and then gently rub to release the sand from the narrow end. It gives them great control over where every grain of sand goes. I tried this with tubes and met with some success, but when I transitioned to paper cards I found the method I prefer.
Use a 3” X 5” paper card. Fold the card in half in line with the long edge. This gives you a 1 ½ X 5 card. Open the card partially and you have a large cavity you can fill with incense powder. Fill the card about 1/3 full with powder (as I said before, you can just use powdered sandalwood and get great results). Push some of the powder away from one end of the card, so that only a thin line is left at the edge of the card. You can then use that end of the card to fill your impression in the ash.
Put the end of the card just above the impression with the folded edge of the card down. That will make the card a large V-shape with the incense powder held in the center. I like to hold the card in my right hand with the two folded up edges touching the palm of my hand. I then extend the “drawing” end of the card slightly past the palm of my hand. With the end of the card just above the ash and the card at about a 25 degree angle, I tap the end of the card with my left hand. Each tap causes a small bit of incense powder to fall precisely where I want it to go. By gently tapping the card and moving it over every part of the impression in the ash, I can fill the impression to the exact depth I desire.
Once the impression is filled, you can tap or press its surface lightly to get perfect contact, but that’s an optional step. With practice you can fill the impression very well without the need to press it together. The trail looks better without pressing, since that process “blurs” the shape you draw in the ash.
After you’ve drawn an impression and filled it with powder, the incense trail is ready for use. Once the impression is filled, you should move your censer as little as possible. Each time you move it, you could displace the trail and make it harder to see or break the line. If the trail won’t be used immediately, consider covering the censer to keeping wind or drafts from disturbing it.
To light the trail, you can simply apply flame directly to the lighting point you’ve chosen. It’s usually best to light the trail at one end, but you can get a great effect from starting in the middle of the trail. You will need to hold the flame in place for at least 30 seconds to get it burning well. You might notice that where ash and flame meet, the ash becomes discolored. The same will happen as the incense trail burns past the ash. Once the flame is removed, the incense will continue to burn along the path you’ve set for it.
A more elegant way to light the trail is to use stick or cone incense. You can use the stick or cone as a fuse. Set the incense cone directly atop the lighting point on the trail. If using a stick, break off a small section and insert it into the starting point of the trail. If you use so-called “masala” incense sticks (the kind with a wooden rod in the center of the stick), make certain you break off a piece that is completely covered in incense material. The top two inches of stick is best. If you’re using a “joss stick” of incense, any two-inch section will be fine.
Put the cone or stick in place at the starting point (the trailhead, if you will) and light it as you normally would. As the stick or cone burns down to the incense trail, the trail will light. You can also light an incense stick and place it atop the powder parallel to the trail. Some traditions call for lighting an incense stick and then inserting the burning end into the powder.
Incorporating incense trails into your rituals, both large and small, is not only rewarding magically, it’s also a lot of fun. Like any skill, it requires practice to get the exact effect you desire but even first-time trail makers will find it easy and enjoyable. Bring an ancient form magic to your next circle and you won’t be disappointed.
Bedini, Silvio A. – The Trails of Time: Time measurement with incense in East Asia – Cambridge University Press, 1994
Neal, Carl F. – Incense: Crafting and Use of Magickal Scents – Llewellyn Worldwide, 2003
Seeing Through Symbols
Author: Lady GoldenRaven
In my twenty-plus years of practicing, I have tried many forms of divination. Over these years, there are only four types of divination I use on a regular basis. These are: my pendulum, nature, my scrying mirror/bowl, and runes.
Before I continue though, I want to make it clear, that as Wytchs, shamans, and other holistic health workers: We are not allowed to diagnosis illness, etc. But after many years of experience, you can format your opinion and do what is needed. I have the ability to work in conjunction with many physicians who are open-minded about holistic health. Let them make a diagnosis, and go from there.
My pendulum is my goddess pendant which I wear around my neck. I use it more for healing practices. If the dis-ease of the person is unknown, I take my pendulum and hold it over the five points of the pentagram. Depending on the speed and direction of rotation of the pendulum over the five points, I determine what this person needs as far as treatment. As you know, the points represent Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit. Each of these rule specific systems of the body. When one is overabundant in or lacking in one or more areas, you can figure out what the problem is.
I also use it in my Reiki practice at times. I will hold the pendulum over each of the chakras. If it spins deosil, it means the person is either at normal “rotation” or possibly too fast, depending on the speed of the pendulum’s rotations. If it spins widdershins, this person is depleted in energy in that chakra. Although I am a Reiki Master/Teacher and do not need to do this, I will in cases of severe illness or certain “emergency” works. I have used it over poppits of those I am helping “in absentia” as well.
In both instances, I use it to “divine” the problem so that I may know what to utilize in their therapy. I also use it as any other would for divination. I have held it over parchment with questions written on it. I have held it over poppits in order to find answers to questions such as “Is this person faithful?” or “Is this person pregnant?” You get the idea. This is one of the most accurate forms for my purposes as far as divining for others.
I use the forces and critters of nature on a daily basis. I am not employed at the moment, so I have most of the day to watch and learn. Many times, I have no question to ask, but the powers that be will send signs which I note for future reference. Where I live, it is not uncommon to see eagles soaring on the wind. However, to have one swoop down to me, almost landing on my balcony, was a sign to me. I recently went through a period of major crises. This is when the eagle swooped down. I was literally on the edge of sanity. I am a very strong woman, but for some unknown reason, this time, I felt like I was losing my grip. I could not even bring myself to do Sabbats, Esbats, or other workings. After seeing the eagle, I knew things would be okay eventually. Within one week, three out of five of my crises were over.
I also have a hawk which will land on a tree branch right off from my balcony; we do communicate quite frequently, like old friends. She has also given me many words of wisdom for use at a later time.
I am so closely attuned with nature, it amazes even me. So, I took that to the next level. One day, I was standing in the middle of the woods, a beautiful sunny August day, no clouds, slight breeze. I decided to do a Drawing Down the Sun ritual. I stood there in the star position and did my thing. I also asked the Sun God a question. It was around my daddy’s birthday, who by now, had been on the other side for seven years. Did I ever get an answer! As I stood there, I felt a cold wet sensation on my left fingers. I slowly opened my eyes and turned my head. Was I surprised to see a doe and her fawn. She had touched my hand. They both stood there as I turned my head. Now this is rare for deer. Most of you know they are gone in a flash at the first notice of movement, and especially human scent. There we stood, eye to eye. It seemed like a lifetime that we stood together in the clearing. After a few seconds, though, they scampered on their way. I looked back to the Sun, thanked Him for His answer to my concerns. My ex-husband and his best friend watched in awe from camp. I was only back a few feet from the treeline, so they had a perfect view. My point: I took the signs given to me from the Sun God in the form of the doe and fawn as my answer. Now, why a doe and fawn and not a buck? Maybe due to the nature of my question.
It is not just animals from whom I seek answers. I also look to the winds, the flames of fire, and the trees as well. We all know what it means when the winds blow from a specific direction. The same with the flickering of a candle flame or campfire. You can also find answers from talking to the trees. Depending on which gift is given will determine the answer to your question. An acorn finds its way to you; a symbol of strength, the Mighty Oak. Also birch, willow, ash, all give answers in their own unique ways.
The scrying bowl/mirror and runes, I use for those people “seeking” answers. Similar to tarot readings, the answers can be found through the runes in the same manner. These I use more for mundane problems.
Over all, when I seek spiritual answers, I tend to look to nature and my pendulum first. When looking for answers to mundane questions, I use the other divination methods. Do I take the answers I receive and apply them to the question/problem at hand? The answer is: It depends. I will take the advice given, combined with knowledge of the subject already understood. Then I make my decision. For spiritual answers, yes I tend to act on the signs/omens received, but for mundane topics, no.
Learning To Walk Alone
Author: Mistress Ravenfyre
Requests. Requests. Requests.
Is this all the Gods and Goddesses ever hear? Over and over again they listen to us who worship them tell of our woes, tales of sorrow, our despair. In times of sorrow, stress and loneliness, we reach out for them. Calling their names individually, seeking their guidance. Pouring out our trials and tribulations hoping to be heard. Hoping to have some kind intervention. Will there be a miracle to save us from whatever is going on in our lives that is making us call them in this manner? Are we seeking instant gratification instead of taking the long road ourselves?
Do the Gods and Goddesses ever tire of these requests placed upon their shoulders? When they know that they are unable to intervene even in a small way, do they hang their heads and say a silent prayer for us? Do the thoughts run through their heads that certain people only call upon them when they are in trouble but no other time? Knowing that the reason that there will be no help from them is because these people have to learn to help themselves. Just as we parents must let go of our toddlers, letting them experiment. Using trial and error. They too do the same for us.
I am sure that they do tire of all this. Hearing it from thousands upon thousands, day in and day out. This can be wearisome. Not to mention – do these same people give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses when times are good? Or simply when the going gets tough? Hearing the pain in their voices, seeing the tears cascade down their faces. Holding their heads in hands, weeping. No, I am not talking about us, mortals. I am speaking of our Gods and Goddesses. Are we so selfish and wrapped up in our lives and ego that we forget that they too feel these pains from us? They feel our despair. Yet they at times know that it is our job, here on our planet, to solve our problems without their help.
They are giving their help. They are helping us by not helping. Letting us make mistakes, solve these mistakes and pave the road smoother for our travels. Each individual, as they know, has a path to walk. This path may be filled with ruts and holes, but it is the path we must travel. To learn to fill in these ruts is our job. Not the Divine Ones. We need to learn to fill these ruts with concrete. Filling one hole at a time. Once we do this, our travels are not as burdened.
Our Gods and Goddesses, whoever they may be, know that we must learn to solve our own problems. Solving our own problems alone teaches us those life lessons that are needed for us to grow inside. Each time we solve these problems we have laid another new section on our road.
This re-building of our paths seems to be never-ending. Obstacles seem to be placed in front of us. Making us stop, not being able to go around whatever is there. Sometimes we must open our mind’s eye to see the solution. Causing us to bring out our inner strengths and trust. Worry, doubts, fears are those main obstacles that, in any given situation, prohibit us from coming up with a viable solution. Once we are able to overcome the fears, doubts and worries, we are able to free our mind and let the soft inner voice caress us with the answers. Listening to this voice can be all the help that you need. For you have opened up to see and hear the signs that are leading you to the solution. You are now able to walk straighter and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Nobody said that life was easy all the time. If it were easy what would we learn? Would we in fact have our faith?
If we did not have these opportunities to overcome obstacles would we recognize a Divine Intervention? Would we appreciate it? The awe would seem to be gone.
Our Gods and Goddesses may revel in our accomplishments. For they know that even by the tough love that they sometimes send out, we have survived another passage. Instead of tears of sadness, they shed tears of happiness in our advancements.
We will grow each time by learning to be strong, independent and happy individuals.
They see us and smile, knowing that we are doing fine alone most of the time. Our faith guides us. Our intelligence and perseverance to face the hardships are only stepping stones on the way to enlightenment.
You know and feel that their eyes and hearts are never closed to us. They are doing us a favor by allowing us “free will.” Their silent prayers are our answers to our requests. We just have to learn to open our minds and listen for them. They have done more for us by doing nothing.
After the hardships are behind you, please remember to thank your Gods and Goddesses for the blessings that you have in your life. One should do this daily. Whether in time of need or not. Don’t just call upon them in times of sorrow or hard times. Share your happiness with them. Your love and faith should be shown to them continuously by the things you do each day. Use personal words or prayers created just for them. Speak to your chosen Gods and Goddesses as if they are with you, because they are. Choose to do whatever makes you feel closer to them.
While you are alone, look again at the path you are traveling. See where you have been, where you are and where you are going. See how far you have come. See the things that brightened your life.
Finally, raise your eyes and arms to the heaven; say a silent prayer of love and gratitude to your Gods and Goddesses for their safe travels.