‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 7th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

First things and first times….the newness of the present moment holds such a breath of youth, such a challenge, there are moments in everyone’s life they wish they could relive. Just to recall those times when the newness, the memory of first things were beautiful and exciting.

But life never stands still. It moves forward or it decays. It cannot hold on to the past in any way. If the newness of first things has not grown into finer and more beautiful moments, then it cannot go on.

Everyone can recall something so dear that it becomes new again just by thinking about it. Courage, love, joy, contentment, all these can call to mind the special moments that were beginnings of new eras, new times in living. The scales of life tip this way and that to make those times full of meaning and sometimes vividly painful. And then sometimes it takes a season to mend the heart and spirit. When they are ready, the experience of new times and new beginnings and first things will bloom once more and the youthful challenge again enchants.

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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

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 7

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 7

“We are responsible for the condition of the Earth. We are the ones who are responsible and we can change that. If we wake up, it is possible to change the energy. It is possible to change everything.”

–Hunbatz Men, MAYAN

The environment we want outside will be created by the mental pictures we have inside our heads. We must have the right environmental picture as well as the right values. These values will give the mental picture its true meaning. If we respected Mother Earth, we would not throw garbage on Her, nor would we put poison in Her. We would not misuse Her in any way. Mother Earth is like She is today because of the mental pictures of previous generations as well as the mental pictures of our own generation. If we want the environment to change, each individual must change their mental picture. “As within, so without.”

Great Spirit, today, let me be alert to Your guiding voice.

March 7 – Daily Feast

March 7 – Daily Feast

The first thing in the morning when our feet touch the floor, our feelings begin to feed us impressions. Not only do they review our situation in a few seconds, they decide if this is a good day or if it should be one of anxiety. This is the precise time to hush feelings and paint the day the way we want it to be – not to be fed from the negative side. We tell the wrong impressions that they are not acceptable, that we feel different than we have in the past. This is a new day and we are free and happy, able to change what needs to be changed, to do what needs to be done. There are times when we must go against our own feelings and dictate what we will have, shaping and reshaping the hours as we see fit.

~ When I make peace, it is a long and lasting one. There is no end to it. ~

SANTANA

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

Daily OM for March 7th – Choose a positive outlook

Choose a positive outlook

Life will always challenge you, yet it never has to defeat you. Even when  things are extremely difficult, there is no good reason for despair.

In fact, your best choice is always a positive outlook. That is what will  give you the most power to deal with whatever life brings.

Yes, it is certainly possible that things could get worse. However, it is  just as possible, and much more preferable, that you act to make life  better.

The future hasn’t happened yet. A large part of the way it unfolds is up to  you, your attitude and your actions.

Make your future the best it can be by making your outlook the best you can  imagine. Though it can be easy to be discouraged based on past and present  experience, you have a much better choice.

Choose to look forward with the highest, most positive expectations. And get  busy bringing those high expectations fully to life.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for March 7th – Spider Energy

Spider Energy
Weaving Your Life

by Madisyn Taylor

The feminine energy of spiders reminds us that we have the ability to weave our lives into strong beautiful works of art.

We may not realize that the sight of a spider’s web glistening in the sun, the beads of morning dew catching the light to shine like diamonds on an intricate necklace, may carry a message for us. Their beauty belies their strength because though they are spun from thin strands of silk, they can hold the weight of the dew and capture nourishment in their nets as well. This paints an accurate picture of the traits of the weaver, the spider. Their feminine energy reminds us that we have the ability to weave our lives into strong, useful, and beautiful works of art. Though people may have an instinctive fear response to spiders, we can look beyond the physical instinct to understand the spiritual message they may be bringing us.

Among the various Native American traditions, spider medicine has been known to represent creativity. Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel, while her body is in the shape of the infinity symbol, which represents infinite possibilities. Spider was said to have woven the alphabet, creating the means for people to communicate and record their history through language. Just like the Greek myth of the Fates, three women who weave the tapestry of life, spiders are said to weave the creative forces that bring forth the intricately symmetrical patterns of our lives.

So if a spider has wandered into your line of sight, she may be bringing you one of several messages. She could be reminding you of the infinite possibilities you can draw from to create your life. Perhaps her message is to check your email or “the Web to see if communication you sent has captured something. You might even want to refer to old journals to look for patterns recorded in your personal history. As spider weaves her web, you too can weave your reality and your future. Her medicine could be reminding you that as the creator of your life you need to have the courage to reach out and create your own intricately beautiful and strong tomorrows. If you don’t pay attention, spider may feel the need to bite you to get your attention. If this happens, investigate what that part of the body represents to gain further information about your message from spider medicine.

The Daily OM

How Witchcraft Works – Learning the Craft

How Witchcraft Works

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Learning the Craft

Witches can either practice their craft in groups, called covens, or by themselves as solitaries. New members are welcomed into covens with a formal initiation ceremony. In the Gardnerian tradition, there are three phases of learning, each of which lasts a year and a day. Covens generally have their own rules, procedures and names for these phases, but they tend to fall into the following categories:

  1. student/witch
  2. practitioner/priest(ess)
  3. teacher/high priest(ess)

Once a new member has completed all phases, he or she is a full-fledged witch with the power to perform and participate in formal rituals.

In the next section, we will explain the basics of the Wiccan rituals. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at some of the different tools of the witch’s trade.

Witch Accessories

Athame (knife)

A knife isn’t one of the traditional witch’s props you can get at the costume shop, but the athame is an important part of many rituals. The athame is a double-edged knife with a blade about 6 inches long. It is not terribly sharp — it is used to mark the edges of the circle and to stir the salt and water that are used to consecrate (or make sacred) the circle. It is also used sometimes to carve symbols or words into candles. The athame’s owner marks either the handle or the blade with his or her witchcraft name and stores it in a white container or cloth. The athame is also used in the Great Rite ritual (more on the Great Rite later) as a phallic symbol, representing one half of the union of the God and Goddess from which new life comes.

Bell

Some witches use a bell during rituals, but there is no official or required use of one. Some examples of when a bell might be rung is when the circle is opened or closed, to invoke the God or Goddess or simply to signify when certain phases of the ritual are ending or beginning.

Besom (broom)

Witches don’t actually fly on brooms, although many do have them. They’re used to purify an area of lingering energies (similar to the use of sage below) before “casting a circle.” Circles are cast before any ritual.

Boline (knife)

The boline is another knife used in Wiccan rites. In contrast to the athame, the boline is very sharp and is usually made of copper. Its sole use is to cut herbs.

Book of Shadows

The Book of Shadows is essentially the witch’s guidebook. It contains all of a particular witch’s (or coven’s) ritual and spell information. It is the written record of everything the witches in that coven need to know, such as descriptions and explanations of all of the sabbats (more on sabbats later).

Candles

When a circle is cast for a ritual, there are four quadrants representing north, south, east and west. Quarter candles of specific colors are used: north is green (earth), south is red (fire), east is yellow (air) and west is blue (water). The candles are placed at the perimeter of the circle. There are also three candles used on the altar — the color of these candles represents the ritual being performed.

Cauldron

The cauldron is a necessary part of witches’ paraphernalia. While many years ago, cauldrons were a part of every home, now they’re seldom seen except at Halloween or as a yard decoration. But cauldrons with magical powers go back to the myth of the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen, whose cauldron represented the cycle of birth, renewal, rebirth and transformation. Witches today often burn small fires (balefires) or incense in their cauldrons. The cauldron can also represent the womb during the Great Rite ritual, which calls up the union of the God and Goddess from which new life comes.

Chalice

A chalice (cup) is used in ceremonies to represent the female principle of water. The chalice can also be used in place of the cauldron in performing the Great Rite, as well as in a “Cake and Ale” rite where a cup of wine is blessed by the High Priest and passed from member to member in the circle.

Clothing

Clothing is optional for most rituals, although most covens require that everyone is in agreement to going skyclad (naked) before anyone does. Otherwise, witches wear long, hooded robes of varying, usually dark colors.

Paton

An altar paton is a plate (or disk) of either metal or wood with a pentagram design on it. It is used on the altar to hold the tools needed for the ceremony and to act as a focal point.

Pentacle/Pentagram

The pentacle is a five-pointed star (a pentagram) enclosed within a circle. The “upright” pentacle or pentagram (one point up, two points down) is a widely recognized symbol of witchcraft. The points represent earth, fire, water, air and spirit. The circle represents the God and Goddess that allow the energy of the pentagram to be focused. It is symbolic of the idea of bringing together spirit and earth.

Sage

Before a ritual, the area must be purified. Sage is often used (as is a besom, above) to cleanse the area of unwanted energies. When burned, the sage creates a thick, grayish smoke.

Salt container

Another purifying agent is salt. The salt is usually in either a seashell or a glass dish. Salt is mixed with water to represent the elements of earth and water in order to consecrate the circle.

Staff

Witches can use a staff like they would a wand. The staff is usually shoulder height.

Sword

Some witches choose to use a sword rather than an athame to mark the boundaries of the circle.

Thurible (incense burner)

Incense represents the element of air. When burned, it also represents fire, both of which are used to purify the area or the tools being used. The thurible is often a small cauldron of metal or any other fire-resistant material.

Wand

Many witches use wands. Wands represent fire and the life force of the witch. It is a symbol of power, wisdom and healing. The wand, like the sword, staff and athame, can be used to cast the circle. It may also be used to direct energy during a spell.

Water container

The water container used in the consecration of the circle can be any type of container as long as it is large enough to hold three pinches of salt and be stirred with the athame. Water is another purification agent.

 

Source:

howstuffworks

 

How Witchcraft Works – Practicing Wicca

How Witchcraft Works

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Practicing Wicca

Both men and women can be witches. Men are also called witches, not warlocks. The word warlock actually means “oath breaker” and dates back to the witch hunts: It was used to refer to those who betrayed other witches, and in the witching world it still has a bad connotation.

A person does not need a “gift” in order be a Wiccan witch, only training. The Wiccan Rede is the witch’s law and code of ethics. It says (in part):

 Bide the Wiccan Law ye must, In perfect love and perfect trust. These eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An ye harm none do as ye will. And ever mind the Rule of Three, What ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

What this means is that witches should not perform magick that would harm another person. And if they do, it will come back to them threefold. So, if a witch hexes someone, he or she will experience misfortune that is three times worse. This is a very important part of the Wiccan belief. The magick they perform is supposed to be for personal change only.

 

Types of Magick

Magick can be used for both good and evil. The type of magick (black magick or white magick), along with the witch’s intent, determines the outcome. Many witches, however, claim that black magick can be used for good just as white magick can be used for bad — that it all depends on the intent.

Source:

howstuffworks

 

How Witchcraft Works – Wicca

How Witchcraft Works

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Wicca

Wicca, a modern Pagan religion that worships the Earth and nature, was established in the 1940s and ’50s by Gerald Gardner. Gardner defined witchcraft as a positive and life-affirming religion. The central Wiccan theme is, “if it does no harm, do your own will.” Gardner also ascribed to this definition many witchcraft practices and skills that had existed for centuries and been part of many different religions and cultures. These practices included such things as divination (foreknowledge), herblore, magic and psychic abilities. Modern witchcraft in Britain, Europe, North America and Australia all evolved based on the Gardnerian definition and belief system.

No Devil

Wicca has no belief in a Devil and does not subscribe to the Christian idea of Hell, so the idea that modern witches worship the devil is nonsense. There are many conflicting definitions of “Wicca” and “witch,” and even modern-day witches don’t all agree on how to define themselves and their religion. Most, however, call themselves witches and their religion Wicca. There are actually several Wiccan traditions now that have varying beliefs, all loosely based on the Gardnerian ideals. Most of what we cover in this article is based on the Gardnerian tradition.

Magickal Energy

The Wiccan belief is that when witches become one with the deities through rituals, they become in tune with the overall life force or cosmic energy. This allows the witch to somewhat control that energy (meaning the energy from themselves and their environment) and direct it for “personal” change through magick.

The theory follows the scientific concept that all matter vibrates with its own energy. The speed of that vibration is dictated by the movement of the molecules that make up the object. Whether the object is solid or not is also determined by the movement of the molecules. According to the book “Spellworks for Covens,” energy from the witch’s body also has a vibration — both a physical rate of vibration and a spiritual rate of vibration. During power-raising rituals, witches believe that the molecules from both their physical and spiritual sides meld together to increase their overall energy and create a pathway for energy to flow through them. In order not to deplete their own personal energy stores, they can also pull energy from the Earth and sky.

 

Source:

howstuffworks

How Witchcraft Works – Modern Witchcraft

How Witchcraft Works

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Modern Witchcraft

Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship multiple deities rather than a single god. Paganism is one of the oldest religions and includes all religions that are not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, meaning Paganism includes the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and American Indian religions as well as all other nature-oriented religions. According to the 1998 Cambridge Fact Finder, Paganism accounts for 50 percent of all religions.

The word “Pagan” actually stems from the Latin Pagini or Paganus, words meaning “hearth” or “home dweller” or, more simply, “country person” — those labeled as Pagans were considered inferior to those living in cities. It didn’t, however, mean those people were “bad.” It wasn’t until the 1450s that fear of witchcraft became more prevalent, and people began associating witchcraft and paganism with devil worship, evil hexes and spells.

Types of Witchcraft

There are many types of witchcraft, many of which overlap and all of which can be defined in different ways by different people, but here are some rough guidelines for their designations:

  • African witchcraft: There are many types of witchcraft in Africa. The Azande of central Africa believe that witchcraft causes all types of misfortune. The “gift” of witchcraft, known as mangu, is passed from parent to child. Those possessing mangu aren’t even aware of it and perform magick unconsciously while they sleep.
  • Appalachian folk magic: Those who practice witchcraft in the Appalachian mountains see good and evil as two distinct forces that are led by the Christian God and Devil, respectively. They believe there are certain conditions that their magick cannot cure. They also believe that witches are blessed with paranormal powers and can perform powerful magick that can be used for either good or evil purposes. They look to nature for omens and portents of the future.
  • Green witchcraft: A Green witch is very similar to a Kitchen/Cottage witch (see below) with the exception that the Green witch practices in the fields and forest in order to be closer to the Divine spirit. The Green witch makes his or her own tools from accessible materials from outdoors.
  • Hedge witchcraft: A Hedge witch is not part of a group or coven. This witch practices magick alone and works more with the green arts, herbal cures and spells. In the early days, Hedge witches were local wise men or women who cured illnesses and gave advice. They can be of any religion and are considered traditional witches (see below).
  • Hereditary witchcraft: Hereditary witches believe in “gifts” of the craft that are with a witch from birth, having been passed from generations before.
  • Kitchen/Cottage witchcraft: A Kitchen witch, or Cottage witch, practices magick around the hearth and home. The home is a sacred place, and the use of herbs is used often to bring protection, prosperity and healing. Kitchen witches often follow more than one path of witchcraft.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch hexcraft or “Pow-wow“: When the Germans first arrived in Pennsylvania, Native Americans were there, so the term “pow-wow” to describe this practice may come from observations of Indian gatherings. Pow-wowing includes charms and incantations dating back to the Middle Ages, as well as elements borrowed from the Jewish Kabbalah and Christian Bible. Pow-wowing focuses on healing illnesses, protecting livestock, finding love or casting or removing hexes. Pow-wowers consider themselves to be Christians endowed with supernatural powers.
  • Traditional witchcraft: Traditional witchcraft often follows science, history and the arts as its foundation. While sharing the same respect for nature as the Wiccan witch (see below), traditional witches do not worship nature nor the god or goddess of Wicca. They contact spirits that are part of an unseen spirit world during rituals. Magick is more practical than ceremonial and focuses greatly on herbs and potions. This sect of witchcraft also has no law of harming none, but does believe in responsibility and honor. Hexes and curses, therefore, can be used in self-defense or for other types of protection.
  • Wicca: Wicca is one of the modern Pagan religions that worships the Earth and nature, and it is only about 60 years old. It was created in the 1940s and ’50s by Gerald Gardner. Gardner defined witchcraft as a positive and life-affirming religion that includes divination, herblore, magic and psychic abilities. Wiccans take an oath to do no harm with their magick.

 

Source:

howstuffworks

How Witchcraft Works – The Witch Hunts

How Witchcraft Works

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Witch Hunts

Once Christianity took hold in the late Middle Ages, the witches who performed magic were seen as devil worshippers who held Black Masses, hexed people and flew around on brooms. This was also the time of the Reformation, which began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church but resulted in the creation of Protestant churches. Although it occurred primarily in the 16th century, it had its roots in the 14th century — about the time when the witch hunt craze started.

Witch hunts in Europe and in the European colonies began around the 1450s and lasted until the 1750s. Because there were so many epidemics (like the Black Plague) and natural disasters, outbreaks of mass hysteria lead to pinpointing witches and witchcraft as the culprits.

During the various witch trials, prosecutors often used extreme torture to extract “confessions” from presumed witches. Innumerable witches were executed by public hanging or burning.

The Salem Witch Trials

In 1692, in Salem, Mass., there was an outbreak of witch hunts and witch trials that all started with some strange behavior from two young girls. The girls were having convulsions and screaming that they were being pinched or bitten. The doctor who examined them eventually decided they were under some sort of spell or bewitchment. One by one, women in the town of Salem and even in surrounding areas began being accused of witchcraft.

The servant of one of the girls’ families was West Indian and admitted in court to dealings with the devil, flying on “sticks,” and being upset because “they” made her hurt those girls. This testimony clinched the hysteria that was already building. Salem residents were then certain that the devil was alive and very active in their land — and who knew what would happen next.

Over a period of nine months, more than 100 people were imprisoned for being witches, and 20 were executed. Finally, a new court was constituted to replace the General Court, which had been holding the trials. This court, the Superior Court of Judicature, reversed the policy of the previous court. From this point on, only three more people were found guilty of witchcraft, and those three were later pardoned.

Theories today are varied regarding what was actually wrong with the two young girls who started it all. Some say they were good actresses, and once they had started it and saw all of the attention they were getting, they had to keep it up. Another theory is that they actually had clinical hysteria, which would explain the convulsions.

Source:

howstuffworks