THINK on THESE THINGS for October 23

THINK on THESE THINGS
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

When there’s thinking to be done, a person does well to have a little private retreat….a place where there’s no worry that any minute someone will interrupt. And the very ease of knowing that here is a little time to do nothing but just think.

Except that I must carefully direct those thoughts so never to let them roam to things that serve only to disturb. But where does one find a place these days that affords a time alone?

It doesn’t take much room to think. Some have little special places hidden from view….a hillside maybe….a sunny spot along a path….a closet not so large…..a park bench…..or they may even take a drive.

But that place that is always available to us is that place within our own selves. This is the secret place within the heart where desires are stored. And no matter what we do, where we go, thoughts are productive.

Here is where thankfulness is stored….here is where love is born….here is where the very life of life is built and rebuilt. This is our retreat when there’s thinking to be done.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 23

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 23

“We do not walk alone. Great Being walks beside us. Know this and be grateful.”

–Polingaysi Q”yawayma, HOPI

Many religions have different names for these Beings. Some are called angels, some are called spirits. These Spirit Beings are helpers. They guide us, protect us and will help us during our times of need. Sometimes they give us dreams. We need not be afraid when these Spirit Helpers come. We need to understand they are the Creator’s helpers.

Great Spirit, send me the helpers to guide my path as I seek to walk in Your service.

October 23 – Daily Feast

October 23 – Daily Feast

Opportunities abound to us every day. There is an opportunity to be sick, the opportunity to argue with someone, the opportunity to be discourteous, the opportunity to believe something that is not true. Stop thinking you have no opportunity. You have had every chance to do many things and some of them you have received. You were led astray by thinking you could not help yourself. We can help ourselves. By the words of our mouths, by what we say, how we think, what we believe, we help or break ourselves. Victory comes because we are consistent in saying we are well, we are strong, we are enormously happy.

~ They told us not to drink whiskey, yet they made it themselves and traded it to us for furs and robes. ~

PLENTY COUPS – CROW

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily Motivator for Oct. 23 – Something for something

Something for something

Plenty of people will promise you something for nothing, yet those are always  empty promises. Even when you can manage to get something for nothing, it does  not bring any real joy to your life.

The point of life is not to figure out how to get something for nothing. The  real fulfillment in life comes not from merely consuming, but from creating.

You cannot be truly rich simply by having a certain set of material  possessions. The richness that matters is genuine inner richness, and the  satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’re making a positive difference in  life.

Don’t waste your time wishing, hoping, demanding or begging to get something  for nothing. Joyfully put your energy into creating new, useful and beautiful  value out of the unique abundance with which you’ve been blessed.

The great thing about being alive is that you can, through your creative  endeavors, transform whatever you have into whatever you desire. That amazing,  limitless opportunity presents itself every moment of every day.

If you wish to have something of value, then work to create something of even  greater value. That’s the reliable way to be truly rich in all matters small and  large.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for October 23 – Unveiling The Soul’s Vision

Unveiling The Soul’s Vision

Medicine Wheels

Though stone structures have been a dominant element of human history, few have done as much to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual realms as the Native American medicine wheel. Wholly non-intrusive, these simple configurations of stone blend into their environments, becoming objects of ritual, meditative, and ceremonial importance to those who perceive their deeper meaning. An outer ring is linked to the center of the medicine wheel by spokes that echo the four sacred directions (north, south, east, and west) and their corresponding colors (white, red, yellow, and black).

Creating our own medicine wheel can be just as profound an experience as visiting the site of an ancient wheel, for the mere presence of it changes our relationship to the universe, opening us to new depths of insight.

No matter what the configuration, the wheel represents the circular path of being. It illustrates the journey of all Mother Nature’s children, encompassing cycles of life, death, and that which lies beyond. When we walk the outer edges of a medicine wheel, sleep in its spokes, or lay our hands upon the center cairn, our inner vision is enhanced. We recognize ourselves as a vital part of a larger whole—a product of the universe as well as a force acting upon it. Peering through the lens of the medicine wheel, the harmony that unites disparate elements of the universe reveals itself to us. Each living entity will visit every spoke of the wheel in its lifetime, honoring the sacred directions and colors. However different we may be, there is no reason we cannot find peaceful concordance in our similarities.

Whether your goal is to internalize the wisdom of the self, nature, society, or soul, the transformative energy of the medicine wheel will help you attune yourself to the interconnectivity of all reality. It can consequently serve as a powerful communication tool for groups in need of channels of understanding, for the universality of the wheel’s significance facilitates bonding without asking disparate peoples to sacrifice their individuality. Your energy and that of those who accompany you will mingle with the universal flow at the focal point of the medicine wheel, reminding you that all beings are equal, and all are fated to travel round the great loop of existence until the end of time.

The Daily OM

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Author:   Alorer   

“When can I call myself a Witch? What are the basics everyone is telling me to learn first?” In this essay I will try to provide you with some answers to these questions. Please note that this is by no means the “end-all, be-all” of such views; it’s simply my own answer to a seeker’s aforementioned questions. Take it with a grain of salt people; this is the Internet after all!

So, you found a path that seems to fit you and satiate your spiritual hunger. You have probably read a couple of books, skimmed through a couple of sites, talked with a couple of people and feel a genuine, honest and strong pull towards religious Witchcraft. Thus you proceed to call yourself a Witch. Right?

No!

Before you pause in disbelief and stare the screen calling me all sorts have… names (mehehehe) for my apparent “bigotry” stop and think. What does calling yourself a Witch entails? Is it just a name for this spirituality that anyone delving into can take up? Or does it mean something more, something deeper?

Well, I’d say the second. Why you ask? Because any name or title of any empirical, practical and knowledge-filled system has specific connotations and denotes an understanding and a form of capability in the name’s/title’s fields. For our own example, what does one profess, even unknowingly, when taking up the name of a Witch? Well, you’ll find that views differ on this (just as they do on any other subject) , so I’ll present my own view here.

I believe that by calling one’s self a Witch, that person professes a level of mastery, understanding and experience in a variety of fields. Specifically, it denotes a range of various experiences, a degree of mastery over various arts of Witchcraft, a developed and well-grounded spirituality and an effective relationship with deity. I doubt any newbie that starts studying or is at the first few months of their studies have attained or reached any of those things.

I’ll provide a list of requirements that one should meet before they can take the name Witch for their path.

1. Sabbats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what the Wheel of the Year and its Sabbats deal with as well as have observed it wholly (without having missed any of the sacred days) at least once (meaning, throughout at least a year) .

2. Seats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what an Esbat deals with as well as have observed any number of Esbats between 4-7 or more within a year.

3. Arts and Crafts: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of a number of arts of Witchcraft of their choice and preference as well as have attained a level of mastery in those.

4. Deities: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of the deities of their choice and preference or calling as well as have built a working relationship with them.

5. Organization and Structure: One should have formed and follow a standard, stabilized and concrete path, with regular observances, rites and practices.

Of course, those apply on a specific form of religious Witchcraft, one that is influenced heavily by outer court Wiccan material (known as Neo-Wicca or Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft) or has Celtic influences. If you find yourself drawn to another form of religious Witchcraft, simply replace the sacred days, the requirements etc with the appropriate ones. In addition, this is geared mostly towards solitaries and not people under training with a traditional coven. If you happen to fall under the latter, please consult with your uplines/High Priest/ess regarding the requirements that specific Tradition has set.

Why do I say all this? What does it matter whether you meet certain requirements or not? I say all this and it matters because to call yourself something you have not yet attained, have not yet fully understood and have not yet fully realized will cause issues.

First of all, it will deceive and trouble those that seek you out for help be it practical or spiritual. Second of all, it will confuse you since you’ll find yourself unable to neither meet the expectations of the community nor help those in need. You’ll say, “But I don’t intend doing so!” I know you probably don’t wish to deceive others or find yourself in a tough position.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you have a medical issue and want to find what it is and how to treat it. What will you do? You’ll probably seek out a doctor. Now, think for a moment how you will feel if the person you found calls him/herself a doctor but in all actuality is still only a sophomore of medical school. Won’t it cause you problems? It’s something similar with calling one’s self a Witch.

After reading all this you’ll most probably feel confused, lost and wondering, “What the heck do I call myself then?” Call yourself a Seeker. Call yourself a Student. Or find another term that fits your case better. However, I ask that you do not mislead others and burden yourself by calling your path something it isn’t yet or something it might never be.

NOTE: Due to the fact people might overlook this part of the essay: this refers only to Wiccan-influenced paths. If your path is different, more power to you. I am not Wiccan-influenced either. I simply understand that the majority of people are indeed on such a path, at least while in their Pagan “infancy”. These are completely my own views of the “basics” of such a path. I am in no way an authority on a subject. My word is not law; it’s not written on stone.

Balancing Ourselves

Balancing Ourselves

Author:   Moonspider   

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

So says the line from the Charge. Does this mean we are wishy-washy? Quite the contrary. It indicates a balance that we all must come to deal with everyday of our lives, magickally and mundanely. If we don’t we become unbalanced and unhealthy.

Because of this, we must recognize a lack of balance in others we come in contact with daily. They have their own sh*t to deal with, and they can be off too. And, from time to time, people do need sympathy and understanding. Given appropriately this can be very helpful and therapeutic. It is when compassionate people go overboard and enable the suffering to go on that it is inappropriate.

I will share another segment of my own experience with this. Some of you may know that in 1998 my world got turned upside-down with emergency brain surgery. Parts of that are in other essays here on The Voice, so I won’t rehash it all.

In a nutshell, a sinus infection traveled (yes, infections can move), it jumped the protective blood-brain barrier. Not a good thing since blood and its products are caustic to brain tissue. This caused an abscess (simply a puss-ball). So, I took ill at work while talking to a colleague, lost consciousness, woke up 2 1/2 days later with what resembled half a yarmulke on my head. Plus my head felt like it had been run over by an 18-wheeler.

I definitely needed compassion. I received it. Friends (and at times like these you find out who they really are) were great during the healing process. Much magick was done for me, and folks were understanding. Best of all, they treated me like me. Which is probably the most helpful in all healing situations.

Some friends, well-intentioned, kept after that, how are you, you know what I mean. Well that was fine for a while, but it’s over. I am not my abscess. We are not our illnesses. These times are tools to learn with. And yes, I did learn a great deal about myself during this period. As I should have. You can’t have an experience like this and not.

Can I ever forget it? No. I mean I have a j-hook shaped scar crowning my head to remind me of it. Life does go back to normal, whatever normal is. After years of working with mental health related areas, normal is relative.

I will always be grateful for the compassion bestowed on me by the community. It was necessary. It has also helped me be compassionate to people who need it. I’ve also been able to help others who’ve had brain surgery, seizure activity and stroke, since many experiences have related aspects.

So, my compassion is not limited to this community alone. As it shouldn’t. We are a Witch always, not just at Sabbats and Esbats. This comment likened to the Sunday, or Christmas Christian. Though I found true compassion from many communities, Pagan and not, during my healing process. I was dealt with as a person who needed help.

And, I got it. My healing was very rapid. Within less than a week I was out of the hospital. Because I was now prone to seizure activity I could not drive for 3 months. People were wonderful at keeping in contact however they could. Picked me up and took me places I wouldn’t have been able to get to otherwise. I try and remember this as I work.

Actually it fits in perfectly with the work that I do as a librarian for a state agency. My customers have problems, that need to be solved with information. Because of the work our agency does, I need to be aware that the customer needs the information to help a client. They are compassionate to the client. I in turn, need to be compassionate about both needs, since what I will provide will ultimately effect both of them. And, myself to a certain degree. I can’t handle all the information that I come in contact with, without being affected by it.

I need to be compassionate to my own needs too. This does not mean feeling sorry for ones’ self. Just a realistic understanding of what you can reasonably deal with.

Remember the flip side to compassion is power as we utter the Charge. We have to understand both. My own experience certainly has made me more powerful as a person. Understand this, you can face anything. And, I do mean anything.

In my own healing process, I had to face every single demon I had. Real or imagined. I took power back from them. They had been leeching off vital energies from me. It was the most terrifying, exhilarating, and easy thing I’d done.

Terrifying, because who really likes confrontation of anything, much less your own demons? Why do we create such monsters for ourselves? Growth, I suppose.

Exhilarating, because of the freedom it gave me. Now I am unencumbered by nonsense that had been hanging on—some of it for a lifetime.

Easy, yes, easy. Ultimately it was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. What else did I have to do? I was in the hospital for a week, drugs kept me awake for half of that, probably hallucinating for half of that. Great breeding ground for demons. One by one they came. When you face a demon squarely in the eye, it usually dissolves. You may have to talk to it, hit it, or, laugh at it. Demons don’t know what to do with laughter. Laughter is great healing medicine.

What did this leave me? A much more powerful person. Things that used to bother me don’t. Oh, do I get annoyed, sure, especially at stupidity. I’ve become much more cognizant of our internal power. For remember this. No matter how much others want to help, the only one who can truly help you is you. With others being compassionate, especially at trying times, it makes that process easier.

Please remember that power is knowing just the right amount of energy to use. A truly powerful person rarely exerts much energy. They simply know how to tap the source. The power is within. Be sympathetic to those in need, for you never know when you will need it, too. Both, power and compassion, are achieved, not owned¹.

1. Kerr Cuhulain, Wiccan Warrior (St. Paul, MN : Llewellyn Publications, 2000), pp. 22, 84, 117.

Mark MoonSpider Sosnowski

Alas, All Barrels Have Their Bad Apples

Alas, All Barrels Have Their Bad Apples

Author:   Ginger Strivelli   

It is sad but true; all barrels have their bad apples hidden within.

The Pagan community is not immune to ignorant and/or immoral idiots who call themselves one of us, and then go on to be the worse kind of bad example, spewing bad PR and worse damage in the wake of their stupid if not outright evil behavior.

The problem is, most people do not judge all Muslims by the “bad example” of Osama Bin Laden, or all Christians by the bad example of David Koresh, nor all New Agers by the bad example of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Nonetheless, it seems painfully clear that too often too many people still judge all Pagans and Witches and Wiccans and Druids and other Earth Religionists by the crimes of our few bad apples. Admittedly we’ve had some real rotten-to-the-core ones…and will sadly continue to in the future, most likely. We are open and accepting and loving people and we tend to embrace everyone, even those we shouldn’t. In our inclusive accepting ways we sadly include and accept those who we should not to start with. However, once those bad apples have been pointed out to us, we should stop including and accepting them! That seems simple, but often it is not so clear to Pagan leaders, clergy and communities when faced with a situation where one within their circle surprisingly turns out to be a bad apple.

How can we as a community distance ourselves from these types of bad examples? It is a question we ask each other often. A question we are forced to address way too often when such situations arise where someone within our local Pagan Circles turns out to be an idiot, mentally ill, or actually evil. Woefully, we tend to have some people who call themselves “Pagan” who fit all three categories. Perplexingly, some of our fellow Pagans will balk at denouncing these people…they will urge us to be “understanding” or “forgiving” or “tolerant.” The fact is some things, some people, some behaviors and some crimes are just wrong and not understandable, forgivable, or tolerable. That is a hard lesson: For some of us who have fought long and hard for tolerance and acceptance to realize that everything is not tolerable and acceptable! Some things are just wrong. There is still a line between right and wrong. Just because you are trying to be progressive and open-minded and tolerant doesn’t mean you can just not draw that line between right and wrong…you must draw it somewhere. Even if you draw that line at a different place than the (in your view) narrow-minded greater community, you still must draw the line somewhere!

We in the Pagan community try so hard to be open-minded, we often get so open-minded our brains start to fall out. It is a hard lesson for us to face that we can’t and shouldn’t blindly accept everything and anything, just because we preach acceptance and tolerance of our faith.

An ancient and honorable faith like Witchcraft, Paganism, Druidism, Shamanism, or modern variations thereof, like Wiccans and such, should naturally be accepted; a religion is not intolerable. However, some things, some behaviors, some people are intolerable, and we should stop preaching acceptance when we are faced with such stupidity and/or evilness. Those things do not deserve acceptance. People who practice such behaviors should not be “accepted” or “understood.” They should not be excused with the wand of “tolerance.” They should be exposed, exiled, and executed in some extreme cases with the Athame of Lady Justice and Lady Karma instead. We real Pagans should not feel obligated to explain or excuse or expunge such behaviors and crimes. We should stand up and loudly and proudly be intolerant in such cases!

The Pagan community’s bad apples range from just the misguided and stupid bruised-apple types to those who are evil mutations of nature and are rotten-to-the-core types… and none of them should be protected or covered up for by the legitimate Pagan community, just because they call themselves one of “us.” That does not make them one of us; it does not make them representative of our religion or our community. However if we stand behind these bad apple bad examples, and “accept” them and embrace them and forgive them, then we should not be surprised when our whole community gets judged by their bad example. What is the greater community to think if we ourselves allow and foster such fools and monsters amongst us? Naturally they will think us all as ignorant and immoral as our fosterlings.

The phrase goes, “One bad apple spoils the barrel;” that is why a good farmer doesn’t let any bad apples stay in any barrel. We as Pagan clergy and leaders need to listen to the wisdom of that farmer. We need to kick such bad apples out of our barrels as soon as we know they are bad. That doesn’t make us “intolerant” or not “accepting;” that makes us a religious group with a code of honor and morals that we hold ourselves to. It is shocking that many of our Pagan clergy and Pagan group leaders hesitate to show this bit of wise leadership. In their defense, often they are trying to be all-accepting and all-inclusive, for they fear being seen as un-PC. Or perhaps they have just become so open-minded their brains are falling out.

Pagans need to encourage their leaders to set limits on what is acceptable and tolerable and what is not. We need to start drawing that line between right and wrong somewhere, instead of just arguing that everyone else has it drawn too conservatively so we are going to erase it altogether. The line is there for a good reason, so when people go over it, we know to stop associating with them and to punish them or see that the greater community punishes them before they cause any more harm to others around them.

We preach, “And ye harm none.” But perhaps we should add, “And ye let no one else do harm either.”

Acceptance: Not Just Tolerance

Acceptance: Not Just Tolerance

Author:   Aliana Soulfire   

I have been a witch (in-progress, really) for six years. My parents were “Christians” or like to think they were, at any rate. But at just barely sixteen I found something new, something that called to my soul. And that was paganism, and magick.

At the beginning of December 2006, I was married in a handfasting-type ceremony I wrote myself. My mother was displeased when she first heard this, but I stood my ground. It was a ceremony I could feel connected to, one in which I could actually feel like I was making a binding between two souls, not just repeating lines. But I digress.

This is about acceptance. Please do not misunderstand me. By acceptance I do not mean that you have to worship everything. I mean, maybe we, as in the world, should accept the fact that maybe the gods for each different religion actually exist. Doesn’t mean we all have to pay respects to each one. Just means they are out there.

Most people, on every side, think I’m a lunatic for saying such things. But really, acknowledging that Allah exists doesn’t make you a Muslim. Acknowledging the Christians’ god is the same.

Saying that Isis, Diana, Ra, The God or Goddess, or any one of them is real doesn’t mean you’re going to have to start burning incense and saying spells to the midnight moon.

What if they all exist, and we just quietly and peacefully choose to worship who we will?

There are flaws to any religion, regardless of who thinks what. There are zealots, too. The Muslim terrorists. The Christians who forced their religion on so many cultures from the past. And the modern Witches/Pagans/Wiccans bad-mouthing Christians constantly.

So what if their God exists? Should it bother you?

If you know in your heart that Diana watches over you, or that your spells work, great! If not, maybe you should study up on lots of different paths and find one that speaks to you.

The anger and hatred we have spread over the world because of religious differences is causing pain everywhere.

I personally think tolerance is just a nicer way to be condescending to another person or people. Seriously, look at what ‘tolerate’ means: to put up with. Now that doesn’t even sound nice. If someone tells another person his/her god doesn’t exist or that he/she is going to hell, it’s more than likely that person is the one who is insecure in his/her own beliefs. But I’m sure most people who read this will disagree.

Look at this country; we can’t even have a war protest that is peaceful. It hurts that we can’t seem to see a different way of life. Look to our future. What do we want our children to believe? That violence is the only way to succeed?

Let go of all the grudges you hold. We have to teach our children that peace is attainable, and the more we teach that, the more the idea will take hold in their hearts. I want this world to be a better place for my kids, when I finally have them. And I still have the hope that it can be.

But it requires effort. Lots of effort, a ton of open-mindedness, and a heart big enough to never give up. Peace is real, and it doesn’t take having a war to gain it. There will be bad people in the world, no matter what we do. Don’t hate everyone else just because of them. Don’t judge based on the worst people or actions of that society.

Seriously, though, there is nothing wrong about having faith in a specific god or group of gods. It shouldn’t matter. We should all respect the difference, of course, but please, don’t fight over faiths or paths.

Just picture this: Our children are all grown, and they didn’t have to suffer through what a lot of us did. On the television there is news of a tenth annual Paths Festival, where people from every religion can go to study, meet others, learn, and enjoy being together. The energy in the air is vibrant, full of life, tranquility, and happiness. You walk out the door wearing your cross or pentacle, or Star of David; you wear it with pride, instead of leaving it at home in fear.

While, of course, there would still be fighting over something, at least that would be one less thing we’d try to battle over. Life will never be springtime forever. As humans, we are obsessed about differences in everyone else. Celebrate those differences. Celebrate life. If we do that, it may help.

Look at our past and present for proof that we need to change. The Middle East has been torn by war with its own people for centuries. Christians killed in the name of god. Jews have had a horrible history of being oppressed by many different peoples. And today in our society, the Middle East is still in conflict.

In America, this country of the “free”, you are looked on with suspicion if you have a Quran, or worship Allah. You are “weird” or a “devil-worshipper” if you wear a pentacle. You are strange or bad for being different than the ruling powers.

What is the good of this free country if we deny those who seek that freedom? We are supposed to welcome people with open arms, not look down on them, or wrongly accuse them.

We have sauntered right off the path our forefathers tried to lay down for us. Thomas Jefferson, a man who owned a Quran, freed his slaves and above all, believed in freedom for the masses. He is what Americans today should be. Open-minded, accepting.

Our American Muslims should not have to live in fear of being thought a terrorist. Our Pagans should not fear Christians denouncing them. Our Christians should not focus on converting the whole country. That was not the original purpose.

Someday everyone will understand what I mean. A better way to peace. A better life for our children. They should be able to bring Qurans, Bibles, or their Book of Shadows to school with them. They should not fear rejection for being themselves, for following their hearts.

No one should ever have to fear that. Least of all, our future.

A Sampler of Eclectic Belief

A Sampler of Eclectic Belief

Author:   Bright-Summer Natsukamiki  

I have been on and off Wicca for many years. My mother was Neo-Pagan, and so I suppose I grew up always thinking about Paganism and what it was that I believed myself. For a long time, I didn’t even let it enter my mind. However, I was always a kid that lived within her own head, and the older I became the more time I spent thinking about my personal spirituality. It was only recently that I decided to document all that I held as strong points within my personal faith. My view on our relationship with the Gods, Animism, and Reincarnation are all points elaborated on within this article.

I hope that a look into the belief below offers some insight or contrast to enhance your own personal path. I wrote this and thought it good, so I decided to share the work as an article. I understand if you do not share the same beliefs, I only wanted to write out the path, which I came to follow over my life of study. I first wrote this within my book of shadows and have re-read it since. It is the best summary of my belief system as an Eclectic Wiccan. Many opinions here, I am aware, are universal to the Craft, but others are not so much. Please note that this is my belief at the moment, but I am still young. Practicing as a Wiccan could easily mean that this belief may become outdated to me in future years. However, for now, it is held close.

“I have come to believe that there are many Gods, but all gods are one God in different aspects, and all Goddesses are the one Goddess in different aspects. There are many paths, but each path is true because all that the deities want is for their creatures to find contentment and balance. They require nothing, but deserve all. For the ability not only to believe, but also through belief create, I feel an obligation to praise and give thanks. Thank you, God and Goddess, for the power to create change, and the ability to use our will to bring about that change. This is the greatest gift, and it is the gift that Witches implement in magic to enhance their world.

I believe that perhaps the world was created, and people developed with the animals, in order to make the gods feel a little less lonely. We are all the children of the Parent-Gods, Mother-Goddess and Father-God. However, we have been granted the freedom to bring up ourselves, and one another. We can forge our own paths. The love our Parent-Gods have shown us doesn’t need reciprocation to remain, for they aren’t simply parents either. They are All things and take many forms, Lovers, Friends, Companions to all beings who live, and all things that do not. The Gods and Spirits are ever present, because we are designed to be the companions of Gods.

Since the moment we came to be, each of us has a spirit. Who is to say that we ourselves are not the vessels of the spirits of Gods, that we are not the God/ess in human form for someone who needs us? What separates us is only what they have done, and we have yet to do.

I believe that we can, through our actions and experiences, become Gods of our own. Gods are our potential equals, and that I believe is part of why they grant us such respect and allow such freedom- but we must always consider that Wisdom is the strongest Tool. Wisdom, which is only gained through practice. It is important never to consider yourself ‘above’ any other being – we may become equals, but only after many lifetimes.

I believe that our God-like souls are taken from our bodies in order to be reunited with their home and those who created it. The soul, (our true self) , then would decide how much more practice is needed. We would know instinctively. When the soul is done practicing and learning through its various lives on Earth… that is when it joins the ranks of Gods. We, as People, as Spirits, have far more power than we truly know.

Spirits of the earth exist for things that are inanimate. Such as rocks, formations, rivers, reefs, fields and trees with the age enough to project their Spirits. Potentially, everything could have a Spirit.

The entire universe was created in order for the God and Goddess to be their companions, and potential equals. The goddess can be worshiped as the triple moon because it is symbolic of the universality of her form, and the idea of her watching from the abyss of space, watching over us and out for us. The God can be seen as the sun because his light maintains our life, and without the God we would never have found a balance for life on earth. All things owe the sun deep praise.

The 4 elements as considered first by ancient Greek philosophers were a very simplified and spiritual representation of our very existence. Not only our existence but also our source of life. Without Earth, we could not be. Without Air we could not breathe. Without Water we could not drink, and without Fire we would not have grown into a civilized society, or have found warmth in the wintertime. It is to simplify how much we connect with the world.

Our physical shells were chosen and designed by our souls for a reason. We need to learn to appreciate what we have received because it is what we had wanted, and the reason is to learn.

And so, to Worship is to thank, to Relive is to step up, and to Spellcast is to both thank and Practice Change, so that we may gain the wisdom through our cyclical lives to become a potential future deity once our soul has learned enough. Carve out your path and follow it with confidence, for it will lead you to the greatest possible end. Forever remain both patient and optimistic. Never let your life pass by too quickly. Learn as much wisdom as you can by experiencing as much as is safe. Worship your body, Pay Reverence to all around you, Respect and Grant Praise to your Gods. Do not disrespect anything, because all paths lead to a better future. Ultimately, time can be the greatest force. Diligence, Fun, and Intelligence can be one’s best friends. Train yourself. Love your gods. Your personal power can grow to be enough to change the world. Let it be for the better.”

A New Understanding

A New Understanding

Author:   Gralyn 

Yesterday I went to a site I have recently become involved with and nosed around for a while. Of course what interested me most were the courses of study they offered: Wicca, Druidism, Master Religions, etc.

Ordained as a Reverend, Bishop, and Wiccan High Priestess; self dedicated years ago as High Priestess to Goddess, I immediately was given to doubts as to my worthiness to these titles. I needed more education, more credentials!! I suddenly became most unworthy in my mind. I have never been involved in a “real” Wiccan environment, so how can I claim to be Wiccan? I am a solitary witch by personal choice. Yes, I’ve studied and read and asked hundreds of questions. Done several “on-line” courses. I’ve done all of the “steps” to be Wiccan; I’m very active in on-line covens, etc, but I’ve never been active in a hands-on coven, with people who look at me and say, yes, she’s a High Priestess, she did all the steps, we saw her do it!! I mean – to be “Christian” I had to be baptized twice!! Go to Sunday school from a little child and be an active member of a church, only then, I was told, could I be “Christian”. Knowing that I am no longer adhere to fundamentalist Christian beliefs and knowing that paganism is deep within my very being, how on this earth or in God/dess’ heaven I could even claim to be a “title” was well, on my part, stupid, ignorant, pompous!!!

Doubt ran amuck!! Which course was I to take to make myself “authentic”? A REAL Christian, a REAL Wiccan, a REAL something!! Would one be enough? How many do I take? Will I have to “give up” my personal beliefs and believe only one way? Could I continue to blend my knowings, my understandings and still be my titles? Where on earth was I going to come up with the money for all of this…I panicked.

I go to a wise and gentle friend who is a High Priest of Wicca, a Bishop, who dedicated me, whom I have great respect for. Sending his response back to me I began to ponder it and found myself “reading” between the lines…the message I received was; “This is all well and good and more education is always welcomed, you can never have enough information; but, why? I know you, you have more than met any and all requirements to hold these titles”…OK….Why?

Why do I have these doubts when in my gut and heart I know exactly who I am and who I am connected too? Why do I allow myself to fall back into the darkness and have to crawl my way back into the light? Why do I doubt something I KNOW to be true and doubt myself for being where I am right now? Isn’t this doubting my Lady and Lord?

Contemplating the “why” I begin to remember these past years of study, hard study, hard thinking, commitments I have come to, dedications I have had, promises I have made. All the bridges I have crossed with friends and family, in some cases total strangers, and realized to doubt is to find an answer. To allow one understanding to die in order for another to live is to shed darkness for light.

Goddess reminded me that I am first and foremost truly in love with Her, so much so that I cannot imagine a second without Her. She sustains me, guides me, and teaches me. She has introduced all of the “unseen” to my eyes, so that I “see” Her awesome creation (s). I know her to be in every particle and molecule of my life. She makes the words of my brother Jesus, other sisters and brothers (Masters and Teachers) who have come before and after, understood in my mind. She intervenes and allows me to understand my Father God, the lessons I am to learn in this life’s journey. She reminded me that I am just exactly where she wants me to be, right now, this moment. To “be” something, Wiccan, Baptist, High Priestess, any title is fine; mans’ words, mans’ titles; man’s religions, but She knows exactly who I am and I am Hers, of Her, Her Daughter and that I am loved…unconditionally.

You see, I forgot for one human minute, that I haven’t the right to say, ”I am not worthy”. I forgot in my humanness that I do not, under any circumstances, have the right to discount anything or anyone that She places in my life. I had forgotten exactly how worthy I am. She tells me every time I hear the bird sing, hug my grandchildren, gently touch the face of my beloved. She shows me in the clouds and in the quiet of the morning, the deep of the night in the awesome power of a magnificent storm. When I stand proudly under a full moon and raise my arms in praise and eternal connection She reminds me who I am, who She is, who They are.

The decision I made? The knowing I came to? The lesson I was taught? Accept myself with pride, humility, and love. To KNOW that all will be given to me to understand and to use for Her as She/They see fit. If this includes further studies, then so be it; but it will be for information, not for personal identification. I understand now that all I have to do is just allow myself to be. Allow myself to be held, protected, guided and most of all loved – unconditionally.

She helped me understand that people need titles and those who hold them, to feel safe and secure. If someone seeing my title of Rev, Bishop, or High Priestess brings them to me for a need in their lives, then I trust that my Lady and Lord will use me and give me words of wisdom and the action (s) I need to meet their needs – to learn to love them – unconditionally.

Will I doubt again? Probably, I am human. But no longer will I panic. Instead rejoice within the darkness knowing light and understanding are just around the corner.

As I sit here I feel Her smiling gently, softly caressing my hair and saying, ”Now my daughter, isn’t this ever so much better?”

Yes, My Mother, My Goddess, it is.

Gralyn
Rev/Bishop/High Priestess COCM, ULC

For The Beginner – Witchcraft 101 – Lesson Four

Lesson 4

Beginning Shadows

Meditation Meditation is important in ritual work. Listen when a spell calls for any sort of meditation. It is used to calm the body, cleanse the soul and remove any unwanted energies from the body before ritual is performed. It can cleanse the mind. Try different meditation positions. Many people can meditate while sitting, but I have trouble and must lie down on my back. Others cannot lie down at all to meditate. Try meditation to different types of music or to cassettes of nature sounds. You can incorporate chanting and drumming into your meditations as well as they produce a mind-numbing effect.

A Meditation I have read many books and  articles on different types of meditations and I have found one meditation in  particular very useful. Begin by lying or sitting in a comfortable position. You  may wish to play some type of soothing music or nature sounds such as ocean  waves, water running or a rainstorm. Once you are comfortable, close your eyes.  Let your entire body relax beginning with your toes. Feel your toes slack. Let  it move up your legs. Feel your legs relax, then your thighs, then your stomach.  Let your arms relax, your neck and then your face and head. Slowly, you will  find yourself surrounded by light. This light will spread until you seem to  float in a void of white light. Reach out before you and grab some of the light.  Tear it open and step through the hole. You find yourself in the middle of a  wood. The white hole remains open behind you. You are standing on a little path.  Look around you. Is it night? Day? Are there birds singing? Paying attention to  detail during meditation will help you get better in your astral travel. Follow  the path. After a while you will see an old moss-covered bridge. Step onto the  bridge. A small burbling stream flows beneath it. As you look over into the  stream, you will notice that your pockets feel weighted with stones. These  stones are your worldly troubles, worries and problems. You cannot take them  with you where you are going. Pull the stones from your pocket and drop them  into the stream. Watch the water bubble over them. If you feel any more stones  in your pocket, keep emptying it until it is empty. Continue across the bridge  to the path on the other side. Soon, the wood will open up into a large  clearing. There are mountains in the distance and before you is a small hill  with a single tree. Grassy hills with wildflowers stretch off into the distance.  This is the astral plane. Once you get proficient in visiting this area, you can  go anywhere you wish. You might meet people here, or animals. Talk to them and  listen to what they have to say. Get to know your surroundings. Explore a little  but don’t get lost. Confusion on the astral may cause you to leave part of  yourself behind when you leave. After you have finished your business on the  astral, be sure to leave the way you came. Go back across the bridge and enter  back through the hole. Seal it up behind you. Let the light die around you and  feel yourself return to your body. Open your eyes.

There are some troubles that you can run into on the  astral. Remember that there are dangers there the same as anywhere else. If you  meet a being that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable, just surround  yourself in a bubble of light. They will soon leave.

Visualization Visualization is very important in spell work. In order for your spells to work well, you must be able to conjure up images of people and objects in very great detail. This will help to make your magic stronger. There are a variety of techniques used to practice visualization. My favorite is the candle method.

Begin in a quiet, dark room. Light a candle and sit comfortably with the candle in front of you. Do not stare  directly into the flame, but choose a place near the base of the flame that is  not painful to look at. The blue area near the bottom is good for this. Stare at the frame and let the image imprint itself into your mind. When you feel that you have stared at the candle long enough, close your eyes and imagine the image of the candle burning there. See the flame flickering and note the color of the candle and the way the wax is dripping or how it melts into a clear liquid at the base of the wick. Envision the candle until you cannot envision it anymore and do it a second time. Do this as many times as you like (at least twice) for one week.

After the first week, try and envision the candle without it in front of you. You can do this in meditation or any time that you have free time in a quiet place. Once you can envision the candle, try envisioning other objects. Try, for example, an apple. Without having one in front of you, imagine an apple in your mind. Hold the apple in your hand. feel the weight of it and smell it. What kind of apple is it? What color is it? What does it feel like? Once you get the hang of fruit, try the same with people. You may want to begin with a photograph. Then work with people you see around you. If you are sitting on the bus, look at someone across from you. Close your eyes and see how long you can envision them before you loose the image. Try becoming different things. Try envisioning being an animal, say a bird. Feel yourself flying and landing. Try being a fish and swimming or a horse and running. Try being an ant. What does the world look like from where you are? After a short time, you will get quite proficient at this.

Dreaming Dreams are very important. Witches learn to pay attention to dreams. Sometimes they are prophetic and can tell the future or they allow one to astrally travel to another time or dimension. At other times, dreams are just the mind’s way of sorting out the day’s events or dealing with a problem that you have been thinking over. Whatever the reason, dream recording should become an important practice.

I keep a dream journal by my bed. I have practiced remembering my dreams since I was a child and so I have not trouble recording them later or remembering the dreams years after I dream them. Many of my childhood memories were dreams.

Once when I was about five years old, I dreamt that I was a grown woman, probably in my twenties. I was lying in a hospital bed when suddenly, I began to float out of my body. I sort of hung on the ceiling looking down at myself. The room was grayish white and there was a television in the corner. There was a door, but no windows. Some doctors were looking over my body and talking, but I could not understand what they were saying. I floated up through the ceiling and then woke up. I can’t help but think now that I must have been experiencing something from a past life or that I was having a prophecy of my own death. I could not have known at five years old that people who have come back from death described death as being the same way.

My dream journal is just a blank journal with lines. Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I open my eyes and blurt out whatever I can that I dreamt about. This helps me remember. Then as soon as I get my contacts in, I take up the book and record my dreams.

Once your dreams are recorded, you can try interpreting them. I do not use dictionaries as definitions for certain symbols can be different for different people. For example, if a woman who is terrified of rats dreams that she is covered in rats, she might interpret that as being an nightmare in which she was being warned not to take on something that will be too difficult for her so that she is in over her head. I, on the other hand, have had and love rats. To me they are symbols of curiosity, cleanliness, and play. If I had the same dream, I would interpret that I was going to have great fortune.

Try practicing determining the meanings of your dreams. Notice what happens that day and see if it has anything to do with what you thought the dream was about. You can get quite good at this. Dreams can be your mind’s way of telling you what you need to do.

Heal Thyself You can heal yourself simply by paying attention to your chakra centers. When  you are looking at your chakras in meditation, you may notice that some appear  dull or might have black spots on them or areas where no light shines through.  Sometimes dark or mottled spots may appear. This is a manifestation of a problem  with your health dealing with whichever chakra has been affected. Silver  Ravenwolf describes one way of healing yourself and bringing your chakras back  into balance by using what is known as a “vacuum ball.” Visualize a ball before  you that is devoid of light, much like what you might imagine a black hole to  be.  Visualize this vacuum ball sucking in things around it from the  spiritual plane such as light and dust. Open the chakra that has been affected.  For example, if you have a sore throat, open the throat chakra. Visualize the  vacuum ball sucking all of the spots off of the chakra until it is clean. Close  the chakra and allow the vacuum ball to sink into the ground. If you are very  ill or your symptoms are more apparent, it may take many cleanings to get your  chakras back in tune with each other.

The Temple Or the Altar Space. Most witches prefer to work out of doors, but sometimes this cannot be accomplished. Wherever you work, the rules are generally the same.

The room or space should be large enough to house the sacred circle: the circle of power in which a witch works. The circle is usually six or nine feet in diameter, but if neither of these sizes can be accomplished, then you can improvise. The altar sits in the center of the circle facing east – the direction of birth and beginnings. A candle or colored lamp or bonfire sits at each of the four Airts or directions. Blue for west, yellow for east, red for south and green for north. These will represent the four powers of the elements that are called on to protect the circle. One should always enter the circle from the east, the place of new beginnings. The altar is also set up to face east. Depending on your path, the altar may face a different direction. Wiccans, however, have the altar facing the sunrise.

Your sacred space should be a space in which you feel comfortable. A clearing in the woods or a clearing in your living room are both fine places to work as long as you are alone or it is quiet. If a coven is working, the entire coven stays within the circle. Usually, each member has their own job to do within the circle to keep it in good working order. Do not allow children in the room or pets other than cats that are free-roaming as they may cross the boundaries of your circle and inhibit your working. Cats do not seem to have an effect on the power of a circle and can easily cross between the worlds. You will learn about circles in a later chapter.

Cleanse your ritual space by sweeping. Sweep out the bad energies. Chant something like:

Sweep, sweep, sweep this place By powers of Air, I cleanse this space.

Carry a lit candle around the area, making sure to thrust it into all corners and closets. Do the same with salt water and burning incense. You may want to wash the area with holy water as well. Draw a pentacle over the area with your finger for protection.

 

Witchcrafted

For The Beginner – Witchcraft 101 – Lesson 3

Lesson 3

The 8 Sabbats

Samhain/Halloween October 31 or first full Moon in Scorpio. Ancestor night. Feast of the Dead. Halloween. Pronounced “sow-en” or “sow-un”.  This is the last day of the Pagan year. The new year begins November 1. This is the day when the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinnest. Communication with the dead is easiest and spirits are most common.  Also an excellent night for divination. Feasts and parties are held in remembrance of those who have died. This is a time for resolving problems.

Ways of celebrating Samhain can be the traditional giving of candy to trick-or-treaters, divining, or placing out cookies and cakes for the spirits. Leave doors and windows open as it is thought to allow the dead to pass through the house without getting confused and lost inside.

Samhain (pronounced SOW-EN) literally  means “summer’s end.” Today, Samhain falls on October 31st and most know it as  Halloween. Halloween, from “hallowed eve” (meaning “sacred night”) is one of the  most important and sacred holidays of the pagan year. Traditionally, Samhain  begins at sundown on October 31st and runs through a set of 2 days,: Oct 31st  and November 1st. The days between Samhain and Yule are considered the “Time  which is no time.” Depending on your traditions, the new year can begin at  Samhain or at Yule. This time between the worlds has been considered very  magickal and dangerous. it is a time when the veil that separates the world of  the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. It is for this reason  that many consider this to be a time that does not exist on our earthly realm.     Samhain is also called the “Feast of the Dead.” During this  time, the dead can return to visit their loved ones and the gates to faery  kingdoms are opened. It is traditional to leave cakes, honey, milk and cider  outside for the fey. If they are not given gifts of food, they will play tricks  on those who are not generous. most pagans set a place at the dinner table for  their dead ancestor.     Samhain is also known as the “Last Harvest.” Originally  celebrated when the Sun reached 15 degrees Scorpio, Samhain was the last day  that crops were harvested. Animals were slaughtered on this day giving the name  of the full moon in October the “blood moon” and much of the harvest and meat  was dried and preserved and stored away for the coming winter months. Samhain is  a time of feasting and of celebrating the harvest and the gifts of the earth.     Samhain is also a time for divination. it is easier to  commune with spirits, both human and non-human and it is a very powerful time  for divination, especially for divining the outcome of the winter months to  come.     The tradition of trick-or-treating originated in and is  unique to the United States. Children dress in costume and go from door to door  asking for treats. This tradition may stem from an ancient tradition of  traveling door-to-door asking donations of food for the Halloween town feast. It  may also come from the tradition of leaving sweets on the porch for the faery  folk to prevent them from doing harm during the year.     Even jack-o-lanterns come from old Irish traditions. The word  jack-o-lantern comes from the old Irish tale “Jack of the Lantern.” As the story  goes, there was an evil old man named Jack who, upon death, was neither allowed  into heaven or hell and was cursed to roam the earth with only a candle in a  turnip to light his way through the night. Irish children carved and carried  lanterns of turnips, a symbol of the harvest, over the moor sides on Samhain  night. Pumpkins were not used until settlers arrived in America and discovered  squashes along with other harvest symbols such as corn and turkey.     Most importantly, Samhain is a time to spend with family,  both living and deceased. It is a time to think about our own mortality. Altars  are set up as shrines to the dead and are decorated with skulls, skeletons and  other symbols of death flanking pictures and belongings of our deceased and  candles. It is also traditional to light a special candle for the new year and  allow it to burn throughout the night.

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Yule/Winter Solstice December 21 or Winter Solstice. Alban Arthuan. Festival of lights. The first day of winter and the longest day of the year.  This day is celebrated as the death and birth of the Sun God – the Divine Child. The full moon after Yule is considered the most powerful of the whole year. Yule is the celebration of the death of the Holly king and the rebirth and renewed reign of the Oak king.

We celebrate Yule nearly exactly as you would Christmas. When the  pagans of old were taken over by Christian rule, the Christians found it  impossible to convert the pagans. They eventually allowed the pagan peoples to  keep their holidays as long as they did them in the name of their Lord, Jesus  Christ. This is why Christians celebrate the birth of their lord on this night,  even though (even stated in the bible for those bible thumpers out there) Christ  was born in the spring with the lambs. The Yule log, made of oak, is burned as  sacrifice of the old dead Holly king. This day is a light festival, with as many lights on the tree  and altar as possible to celebrate the coming of the new child. Mistletoe is  hung because in the ancient days couples would play out their trial marriages on  this day. ceremonies were held beneath Oak trees strung with garlands of  mistletoe.

Yule is known to Pagans as the “Time of  Great Darkness.” The nights grow long and the days grow short and the Sun before  Yule seems to wither and die. Yule marks the coldest, darkest and harshest part  of the year. Yule is always celebrated on the Winter Solstice. The Christian  holiday Christmas was adapted from the ancient pagan tradition of celebrating  the coming of the newborn Sun/Son to light the world. In the Pagan traditions he  is born unto the Mother Goddess and in the Christian religions he is born to the  Mother Mary.

“The first written record for this  holiday’s occurrence on December 25th was in 354 AD in Rome when one scholar  wrote: ‘It was customary for Pagans to celebrate the birth of the Sun…when the  doctors of the church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this  festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be  solemnized on that day.'” (From “You Call it Christmas, We Call it Yule” by Peg  Aloi – Witches’ Voice writer)

Pagans celebrate Yule by blessing their  crop plants and animals. A common Yule practice is Wassailing. Apples from the  fall harvest are made into a cider known as wassail. To ensure the fertility of  their apple trees for the coming years, bits of cider-soaked bread were placed  in the branches of the trees and libations of cider were poured over their  roots. Later in history, guns were fired up through the branches to ward off  evil spirits. In the same way, cider was often poured on livestock to ensure  their fertility and good health for the next year.     Kissing under the mistletoe also stems from ancient Celtic  traditions. The Winter Solstice was a time for marriage ceremonies. There was  feasting and games and couples who wished to marry would come together at this  time. Mistletoe was considered a very sacred plant and was thought to grow  between the worlds symbolically because it grew on trees and not out of the  ground. It was considered especially lucky when mistletoe grew on oaks because  oaks have antibiotic properties which prevent fungi from growing on them.  Mistletoe on oak was a symbol of harmony in unity and became an important symbol  for marriage. Garlands of mistletoe were strung between trees and couples would  dance or pass under the boughs and kiss, thus sealing their marriage for 1 year  and 1 day. After this time if they no longer wished to be married, they could go  their separate ways. This began the modern tradition of kissing under the  mistletoe.     Holly is used in Yule decorations to symbolize the Holly King  who dies at Yule to make way for the Oak King. The Yule log stems from this  tradition. Some say that the log should be oak, some say ash and others say  holly. Burning the Yule log symbolizes the sacrificial death of the Holly King  and the reign of the Oak King over the second half of the year. The Yule log is  decorated with paper decorations and plants such as holly, mistletoe, and  evergreen sprigs. Red ribbons and tinsel are tied to the top of the  log  before it is burned in the fire. The Yule log must be lit on the first try and  must remain burning for 12 hours for good luck. a piece of the log is saved to  use to light the next year’s fire.     There are many ideas on where Christmas trees originally came  from. Some say that the practice originated in ancient Egypt. Others say that it  stems from ancient tree-worshiping practices. Today many Pagans refuse to cut  down trees and use fake trees instead. Those who still cut down trees every year  say that you must cut your own instead of buying one and afterward, the tree  should be burned.     During this night, the longest night of the year, Pagans  light as many candles as can be found both to symbolically wait out the death of  the Lord and to celebrate the coming of new light. At no other time of the year  is light more sacred. Many believe that it is taboo to extinguish any flame or  to travel at Yuletide.     Feasting has always been a Yule tradition. These meals  celebrate the harvest that was gathered in the autumn and to celebrate the  passing of winter. It is the time when the days begin to grow longer as the Lord  grows stronger and climbs further and further up the sky. Tables, altars, and  Yule trees are covered in lights and candles. As many lights as possible lie  strewn about in anticipation of the birth of the new child Sun King from the  womb of the Mother.

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Imbolc/Imbolg/Candlemas February 1 or the first full moon in Aquarius. Brigantia, Imbolc, Candlemas.

The time of cleansing and newborn lambs. The name is from “oimelc” or “sheep’s milk”. The word has also been know to mean “in the belly.” Festival of the maiden, in preparation of growth and renewal. Time of spring cleansing.  Festival of the goddess Brigit, whose breath gave life to the dead.

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Ostara/Spring Equinox March 21. Ostara, Aeostar, Easter. Spring Equinox. The first day of spring. Time when light and dark are in perfect balance, yet the light is growing stronger. Sowing time in the North. New beginnings.

Ways of celebrating are dying beautiful eggs and leaving them in the forests and the gardens for the spirits and little people. Leave dyed eggs in the fields to promote fertility of crops and abundance. You can also celebrate by allowing the children to find the eggs and then going back and leaving the most beautifully dyed eggs for the nature spirits. This is also another Pagan holiday turned Christian. One must wonder, after all, what dyed eggs and fertility bunnies have to do with Christ’s resurrection. This is also a time for lovers to get together. Celebration often involves lovemaking.

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Beltane/Mayday May 1 or first full moon in Taurus. May Day. Lady Day. A fertility festival with nature enchantments. Powers of elves and fairies are growing and will peak at the Summer Solstice. A time of great magic, it is good for divination and for establishing a woodland or guardian shrine.

Ways of celebrating are building shrines to nature spirits. This is the time to honor the house guardians. Leave small gifts of honey cakes, wine and sweets for the little people.

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Midsummer/Summer Solstice June 22. Alban Heruin. The first day of Summer. This is a time of dedication to your religion. The sun casts three rays to light the world.

Celebration includes dedication ceremonies, giving of thanks and the lighting of yellow candles.

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Lughnassadh/Lammas August 1 or the first Full Moon of Leo. Lunasa. This is the turning point of the year. The waning God and waxing Goddess.

Celebration includes harvest festivals and spell work for good fortune and abundance.

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Mabon/Autumnal Equinox September 21, Alban Elved. First day of autumn. The balance of light and dark. Time of long rest after labor and completion of the harvest. A time of thanksgiving.

Celebration includes quiet feasting, and meditation and reincarnation in preparation for Samhain.

The Esbats Esbats are the full and new moons of every month. Certain spell work is done during different phases of the moon.

-Spells for invoking or drawing things toward yourself are done on the Waxing (getting larger) moon. -Spells for banishing or repelling things away from you are done on the Waning (getting smaller) moon. -The full moon is the most powerful moon. Most spells are done during the full moon. Spell work is often for banishing unwanted influences, protection magic, and divination. Planning, releasing and working backwards in time are done on the full moon as well. Spells for renewal and new beginnings are done during the new moon, as well as personal growth, healing, and the blessing of a new project or venture. -A blue moon is a month that contains more than one full moon.

There are thirteen full moons during the month:

January – Wolf Moon February – Storm Moon March – Chaste Moon April – Seed Moon May – Hare Moon June – Dyad (pair) Moon July – Mead Moon August – Wyrt (green plant) Moon September – Barley Moon October – Blood Moon November – Snow Moon December – Oak Moon (variable) – Blue Moon

The Pentacle

The pentacle, or pentagram, is the most revered and most popular sign of the craft. It is similar to the Cross or Crucifix of the Christian religions. This symbol has nothing to do with the devil or with evil.  Devil worshippers use this symbol inverted as a symbol of Satan, but it has  nothing to do with the devil in our religion. Devil worshippers use this symbol  because it was once a popular Christian symbol used to signify the five wounds  of Christ. It was abandoned early in history but can still be found in much of  the art and architecture of old churches and monasteries. This, for its  protection and Christian meaning, was the symbol carried on sir Gawain’s shield.

In witchcraft the pentagram and pentacle represent the five  elements and are symbols not only of the religion, but also as a sigil of protection and unification. The elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. This is not to be confused with the Holy Spirit of the Christian religion. The spirit is the energy vibration attributed to each and every thing. People have them as well as animals, stones, trees, planets, moons, stars, even the universe. It is often used for protection and is included on most amulets and talismans. It can be drawn in certain ways to promote specific results in spell work.

The banishing (getting rid of something – i.e.: negativity,  evil, etc.) pentagram is drawn starting at the bottom left-hand point going up to the top, down to the bottom right-hand corner and so on. This pentacle is drawn this way in all rituals involving banishing. It is also drawn over doors and windows to prevent evil from entering a space.

The invoking (bringing something toward you – i.e.: money,  luck, etc.)  pentagram is drawn starting at the top corner, down to the bottom left hand corner, up to the top right hand corner and so on. The invoking pentacle is drawn in this way when you want to draw something toward you or to gain something. This pentacle heightens power and aids in invocative spell work.

The pentacle is also representative of the five points on the human body. The circle is considered feminine and is indicative of the womb and the points represent the male member. Sometimes the inverted pentacle is used to signify the God and the upright pentacle is used to represent the goddess. This method is not often used, however, as it has very evil connotations in other religions. In many other pagan religions, the pentacle was the symbol of the earth or the earth-womb and is often used to signify the earth. It is also used to represent the God and Goddess at each point. The top three points represent the aspects of the goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone. The bottom two are the aspects of the god: Oak King – light, and the Holly King – dark. It also represents the 5 stages of     life: birth, Maiden, Mother, Crone, death. The Wiccan kiss, or the five-fold kiss is used in ritual and is represented by the pentacle: feet, knees, womb, heart and lips.

The All – Gods and Goddesses Witches do not worship any single God or Goddess. Witches believe in the balance and equality of all things. The All is sometimes referred to as the Wiccan deity. The All is just that. It represents  everything of everything. It is all that is and is not. The All is divided into two “categories” which are masculine and feminine. All gods are of the masculine division and all Goddesses are of the  feminine division. Think of it as the yin and the yang. Dark an light, good an  evil, male and female. Though there are two parts, they are always together,  always the same and yet different, and always co-existing in harmony.

The God and Goddess do not really play a part in my religion as I choose to work with spirits and elements. It is hard and rather unnerving for me to envision gods who look and act like people (which seems also highly unlikely to me). If you choose to incorporate them into your religion then you will wish to know the following:

The God: Lord of the underworld (not hell), the sun, life itself, passion, male aspects. Fire and Air elementals. He is worshipped in rituals for passion, fertility, meditation and all other fire and air rituals.

The Goddess: Mate and Mother of the lord. (yes, it sounds strange, doesn’t it?) She gives birth to the new lord in the winter and when the male aspect grows older in the spring, becomes her lover. She is motherhood, femininity, water, earth, the moon, the night,  love and caring, nurturing, and also a warrioress and fierce protector.

List of Gods and Goddesses -by Silver Ravenwolf

GODDESSES:

Aphrodite: Greek; Goddess of passionate, sexual love. Aphrodite will assist you in pulling loving energy toward yourself.

Aradia: Italian; Queen of the Witches, daughter of Diana. Aradia is an extremely powerful entity and a protectress of Witches in general.

Arianrhod: Welsh; Goddess of the stars and reincarnation. Call on Arianrhod to help with past life memories and difficulties as well as for contacting the Star People.

Artemis: Greek; Goddess of the Moon.

Astarte: Greek; Fertility Goddess. Whether you wish to bear children or have a magnificent garden, Astarte will assist in your desire.

Athena: Greek; Warrior Goddess and Protectress and Goddess of wisdom. Someone giving you a rough time at work? Call on Athena to help you.

Atlas: holds the world up on his shoulders: symbol  of strength

Atropos: Goddess of Death

Bast: Egyptian; Goddess of Protection and Cats. Bast is great for vehicle travel as well as walking down a dark alley. Call on her essence in the form of a giant panther to see you through to your destination.

Brigid: Celtic; Warrior Goddess and Protectress. Brigid is also a Triple Goddess. She is strong and wise. Call on her to help protect your children in a rough situation.

Ceres: Roman; Goddess of the Harvest.

Cerridwen: Welsh; Moon and Harvest Goddess, also associated with the Dark Mother aspect of the Crone.

Demeter: Greek; Earth Mother archetype. Excellent Goddess where birthing or small children are involved. Goddess of the harvest

Diana: Roman; Moon Goddess and Goddess of the Hunt. Diana is many faceted. She is a seductress (as she enchanted her brother Lucifer to beget Aradia in the form of a cat) as well as a mother figure for witches.

Dryads: Greek feminine spirits of the trees.

Flora: Roman; Goddess of Spring and Birth. For beautiful flower, babies and all bounties of Earth Mother.

Fortuna: Roman; Goddess of Fate.

Freya: Scandinavian; Moon Goddess and wife/lover of Odin. Also commander of the Valkyries.

Gaia: mother earth; goddess of the earth

Hades: God of the underworld

Hathor: Egyptian; Protectress of Women in business. A Hathor’s Mirror is very important for the Witch. Hathor was cunning as well as beautiful.

Hecate: Greek; Goddess as in Crone or Dark Mother.

Hera: Greek;  Goddess of marriage and childbirth. If handfasting or some type of commitment is the issue, Hera is the Goddess to seek. Just remember that she has a vindictive side.

Hestia: Greek; Goddess of home and hearth. Building a house, remodeling or apartment hunting. Safety in the home and the family unit.

Inanna: Sumerian; Goddess representation of the Mother.

Isis: Egyptian; represents the Complete Goddess or the Triple Goddess connotation in one being.

Kali: Hindu; Creative/Destructive Goddess. Protectress of abused women. Kali-Ma should be called if a woman is in fear of physical danger. Her power is truly awesome.

Lilith: Hebrew; Adam’s first wife and said to be turned into a demoness; however, if ou have ever read any of Zecharia Sitchin’s work, you may change your mind. In my opinion, Lilith was a Star Woman bred with Adam. This would make her a goddess of Higher Intelligence o a representation of the Star People.

Maat: Egyptian; Goddess of Justice and Divine Order. Maat is the true balance of any situation. She plays no favorites and will dispense justice to all parties involved. Be sure your own slate is clean in the situation before you call her.

Morgan: Celtic; Goddess of Water and magic. Morgan was said to be married to Merlin. It was from him that she learned her magic. She was also doubled with the Lady of the Lake.

Muses: Greek; Goddesses of Inspiration who vary in number depending upon the pantheon used.

Nephtys: Egyptian; Goddess of Surprises, Sisters and Midwives.

Norns: Celtic; the three sisters of the Wyrd. Responsible for weaving fate – past, present and future.

Nuit: Egyptian; Sky Mother. Often seen depicted in a circular fashion cradling the stars.

Persephone: Greek; Goddess of the Underworld as well as Harvest. Daughter of Demeter.

Selene: Greek; Goddess of the Moon and Solutions. Appeal to Selene to bring a logical answer to any problem.

Valkyries: Scandinavian; women warriors who carried the souls of men slain in battle to heaven.

Venus: Roman; Goddess of Love and Romance.

Vesta: Roman; Goddess of Fire.

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GODS

Achilles: Great warrior

Adonis: Greek; consort of Aphrodite. Also another name for “Lord.” In Phoenician his counterpart is Astarte. A vegetation god. Roman counterpart is Venus.

Anubis: Egyptian; guardian of Isis. Jackal-headed God of Protection, death and the underworld. Call on him to protect both home and person.

Apollo: Greek and Roman; twin brother of Artemis. God of the Sun, Light and the Arts.

Apsu: Babylonian; his mate is Tiamat.

Cernunnos: Celtic; Horned God and consort of the Lady. Also Kernunnos. Lord of the wild, spirit, animals and plants; nature in general.

Cronus: god of time

Erebus: personification of darkness

Eros: Greek; God of Romance and passionate love.

Hephestus: blacksmith of the Greek gods

Horus: Egyptian; Head of a Falcon and body of a man. God of the all-seeing eye and healing.

Hymen: Greek; God of Marriage and Commitment. His counterpart is Dionysus.

Lucifer: Italian; Soulmate and Brother of Diana. Father of Aradia. God of the Sun and Light.

Mithra: Persian; Sun God and bringer of Light. A soldier’s God.

Neptune: Poseidon: god of the sea

Nyx: god of night

Odin: Scandinavian; counterpart of Freya. This is the God who hung on the Tree of Yggdrasil to obtain second sight. His familiars are the Raven and the Wolf. In his youth he is depicted as a terrible God, in his old age as a God of Wisdom and psychic sight.

Osiris: Egyptian; counterpart of Isis. Over-all God form including vegetation and after-life.

Pan: Greek; God of Nature and the woods, laughter and passion. Also music and personal abandon.

Poseidon: Greek; God of the Sea. His familiars are dolphins and horses.

Ptah: Egyptian; Expert craftsman and designer. God of creative enterprise with the hands.

Shiva: Hindu; consort of Kali. God of the universal cycle of birth-death-rebirth. Shiva can be both kind and terrible.

Thor: Scandinavian; God of Sky and Thunder. A kindly God of the common people, including farmers and sailors.

Thoth: Egyptian; God of Reincarnation. Also a Moon God and favorable to science and wisdom.

Uranus: god of the sky

Zeus: supreme ruler and father of the gods

Magical Names There are many kinds of witches and many different beliefs on the Craft name. Some will tell you that you must be given your name by an accomplished witch after a year and a day of study. I believe, as do others, that you only need to choose a name that you like. It should be a name that you feel comfortable with. A Craft name can be changed at any time (because you change as well) and many witches will change their names a number of times before they settle on one for life.  You do not have to choose a craft name, but many witches choose one for their working. It is a symbol of rebirth and using a craft name allows you to step out of your “real” self so that the pressures of daily life can be left behind you when you are performing magic and rituals. There is also a numerological method of determining if your name is right for you. Though I do not use this method, many will swear by it. Begin by adding the digits of your birth date:

May 10, 1980 = 5+1+0+1+9+8+0=24=2+4= 6

in the above case, your astrological number would be 6. Then you would take your name and refer it to a numerological chart as follows:

1          2            3            4            5            6            7        

A         B            C            D            E            F            G

J           K           L           M            N           O            P

S         T            U            V            W           X           Y

 

8         9

H        I

Q        R

Z

Take your craft name and determine the number of each letter. Then add them together as you did your birth date.

AmberSkyfire = 1+4+2+5+9+1+2+7+6+9+9+5 = 60 = 6+0 = 6

If both of the numbers from your name and your birth date match, then your name is said to be right for you.

Lady Pixie  Moondrip’s Guide to Magickal Names – go ahead, have a laugh

Witchcrafted

~ The Witches Chivalry ~

Witchy Comments & Graphics

~ The Witches Chivalry ~

In so far as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed of humankind, it behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to the Old Gods, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves. Therefore, be it noted that:

1. Chivalry is a high code of honour which is of most ancient Celtic Pagan origin, and must be lived by all who follow the Old ways.

2. It must be kenned that thoughts and intent put forth on this Middle- Earth will wax strong in other worlds beyond, and return…bringing into creation, on this world, that which had been sent forth. Thus one should exercise discipline, for “as ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

3. It is only by preparing our minds to be as Gods that we can ultimately attain godhead.

4. “This above all…to thine own self be true….”

5. A Witch’s word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath. Thus, give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.

6. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.

7. Pass not unverified words about another, for hearsay is, in large part, a thing of falsehoods.

8. Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honesty is likewise expected of them.

9. The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one’s head is a virtue.

10. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to harm another.

11. Though there may be differences between those of the Old Ways, diverse covens and circles may well have diverse views. These views, even if they are different than yours, should always be given respect. When a coven, circle, clan, or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby.

12. Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humour are much to be admired.

13. As a Witch, thou hast power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore exercise discretion in the use thereof.

14. Courage and honour endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.

15. Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.

16. Thou shalt not reveal the secrets of another Witch or another Coven. Others have laboured long and hard for them, and cherish them as treasures.

17. Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the world, and should always seek to make this so.

18. The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and within reason, for in the main they have been chosen with wisdom for the well- being of all.

19. Have pride in thyself, and seek perfection in body and in mind. For the Lady hath said, “How canst thou honour another unless thou give honour to thyself firstly?”

20. Those who seek the Mysteries should consider themselves as select of the Gods, for it is they who lead the race of humankind to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.