Let’s Talk Witch – Your Altar, Of Course

SPRING WICCAN

Your Altar, Of Course

 

They say that home is where the heart is–if so, then a Witch’s home is her altar. That is where your most precious tools live: athame, god and goddess candles, incense, crystals … whatever you use to connect with the gods in your most private rituals.

Your altar is where you go when you are most troubled and in need of help. It is where you go in your greatest moments of joy to give thanks.

You stand at your altar to summon what you want and banish what you don’t, to ask for help and to ask for answers.

What better definition of home could you have?

So tend your altar carefully. Find items that you will treasure, and set them lovingly in their places. You don’t need a lot. One candle or six (god and goddess and the four quarters)-it’s your choice. That one perfect leaf, feather, or rock. As long as it means something to you, your altar is where it belongs.

And your altar is where you belong, too. It is the one place where you can truly be you, with nothing hidden or held back. Laugh, cry, howl, or simply be silent… it’s all good.

So go to your altar often, even if only for a minute or two at a time, and check in with yourself, the gods, and the universe. Ground back to the earth and to your truest self. And don’t forget to dust on occasion, either.

 

 

Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

Deborah Blake

 

365 Days of Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for October 26th – Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

Wiccan Magic

October 26th

Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

The Ludi Victoriae Sullanae were the games held on October 26 to honor the Goddess Victoria. This festival was established in 81 B.C. to celebrate Sulla’s victory over a large army of Sammites at the Porta Collina in Rome.

Victoria was the Goddess of victory, and her temple was on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She was the equivalent of the Greek Goddess Nike and was pictured with wings. Victoria was an important Goddess to the Romans, and she appears regularly on coinage from the late third century B.C. Victoria came to be regarded as the guardian of the empire, and her altar became a symbol of Paganism.

 

Magically Decking Your Halls and Walls

By Patti Wigington To view images go to: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yulecrafts/tp/YuleCraftProjects.htm?utm_source=exp_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_term=list_paganwiccan&utm_campaign=list_paganwiccan&utm_content=20150609

There are so many great ways you can decorate your home for the Yule season. Adapt store-bought Christmas decorations, or make your own Pagan-themed home decor for the season. Here’s how you can put together a Yule log of your own, some fun and simple ornaments, a Pagan twist on the “manger” scene, some seasonally-scented potpourri andincense, and more!

Decorate a Yule log for your family’s celebration.Image by Steve Gorton/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Decorate a Yule Log

The Yule log is an ancient tradition, but you can make one for your own family’s holiday celebration. Put one together with items you find outside, and include it as part of your Yule ritual.

Use salt dough and cookie cutters to make your own Yule ornaments. Image by ansaj/E+/Getty Images

Salt Dough Ornaments

These easy ornaments can be assembled in hardly any time at all. Once they’ve baked, paint them and hang them around your home for Yule! More »

Inscribe ornaments with symbols, or decorate with icing before you hang them on your tree. Image by Dorling Kindersley/Dorling Kindersley Collection/Getty Images

Cinnamon Spell Ornaments

Use a blend of cinnamon, applesauce, and spices to make these spell ornaments – decorate with magical symbols, and hang them on your holiday tree this year

Use dried juniper berries, along with cedar and pine, to make a Yule incense blend. Image by Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Winter Nights Incense

Scents have a way of making time stand still for us sometimes, and the aromas of the winter holidays are no exception. For many people, re-creating the smells and emotions of our childhood, or even of some distant ancestral memory, is part of the magic of the Yule season. More »

Make a magical gingerbread poppet for yourself or a friend!. Image by PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

Magical Gingerbread Poppets

Gingerbread men are everywhere during the Yule season – and they’re the perfect shape to use for a magical poppet. Why not get crafty and make some magic for the season? More »

Use your favorite spices to make scented pinecone ornaments. Image by Mike Bentley/E+/Getty Images

Pine Cone Ornaments

The pine cone has long been a symbol of the winter solstice. Make these nature- friendly ornaments to sparkle and shine during your Yule celebration. More »

Make an herbal sachet to hang on your Yule tree.Image by Patti Wigington

Yule Herbal Sachet

This sachet is simple to make, and combines some of the most delightful scents of the season. Make them small and hang on a tree, make them a bit larger and give them as gifts! More »

Use three chenille stems to shape this pent — one makes the circle, and the other two get folded around to form the star.Image © Patti Wigington

Easy Pentacle Ornaments

This is a super-easy craft project you can get your kids working on, and have them create a whole bunch of pretty pentacles to hang around your house during the Yule season. More »

Use pine boughs and other natural items to make an outdoor Yule scene. Image by Cultura RM/Jonatan Fernstrom/Getty Images

Make a Pagan “Nativity” Scene

So your neighbors all have cute little mangers in their yards, complete with plastic baby Jesus, light-up sheep, and a couple of Wise Men who have probably seen better days. Are you feeling a bit left out? Don’t worry — you can still set up a Nativity scene (or something close to it) that represents your Pagan or Wiccan beliefs, and honors the birth of the sun, rather than the son of another religion’s god. More »

Make a batch of potpourri to simmer on your stovetop. Image by sozaijiten/Datacraft/Getty Images

Yule Simmering Potpourri

Make a batch of Yule potpourri, get it simmering on your stovetop, and enjoy the scents of the season! More »

Calendar of the Sun for February 13th

Calendar of the Sun

13 Solmonath

Parentalia

Color: Blood-red
Element: Fire
Altar: Set with a red cloth, and unlit red candles, and symbols of Mother and Father.
Offerings: Written words of thanks for one’s childhood. Be a parental mentor to someone young.
Daily Meal: Soups or stews, and bread.

Parentalia Invocation

Perhaps you gave us life,
Sowed our seed, gifted us with
Your chromosomes and genes.
Perhaps you birthed us
Or were there to greet us
As we entered the world.
Perhaps you fed us, cleaned us,
Held us when we cried,
Sang us to sleep, taught us
Many skills, or perhaps
You merely led by example.
Perhaps you were tied to us by blood
Or by marriage, or simply came
Into our lives when it was needed.
Perhaps you were a parent to our bodies,
Or to our minds, or to our hearts,
Or to our souls.
However it was, you were there,
And we are grateful,
For the flame you kindled
Has warmed us ever since,
And we will pass it on.

(Each steps forward, lights a candle, and speaks the name of a parent, or one who has parented them, and everyone else calls it back to them, as in “I honor Maria, my stepmother who taught me to read!” “We honor Maria!” The next person lights their candle from the last one, until the ritual is over. At the end, all chant in two-part harmony the names they have spoken.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Morning Invocation to the Sun

Morning Invocation to the Sun

You should have a white candle and a gold candle on your altar.  Sandalwood
and/or frankincense incense

Oh God of life and light
Look upon me with favor today
Shed light upon me
Disperse my forebodings
And make me light of heart.
I center my thoughts upon the light.
Make your light to shine upon me and mine.
Make nothing or dark or threatening survive in your light
I pull my curtains so your light can shine in.
I go to let my face glow in your light.
I carry it with me.
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you.

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FACING BIRTH SPELL

FACING BIRTH SPELL        Materials needed:

–Cast off Fur from a Female Cat–A Small cloth bag Statue or picture of Kitten
–Also one of Bast Incense of Jasmine or Wisteria

        Timing: Whenever necessary preferably before birth pains start.
Set up a little altar or sacred space in a place where it can be left until the birth is completed.
Arrange the statues in the center at the rear of this space.
Light the Incense and say:
Gentle Bast hold me in your loving hands
        Let the birth of the coming child be easy
        Keep all fear and negativity far from me
        Be at my side as the child enters the world
        Place my trust in you Bast
Gently brush the cast off fur against your cheeks, thinking of Bast’s love and goodness.
Put the fur into the bag and leave it by the statue on the altar. Leave it there until the birth is over.
Whenever you feel or dread of the coming birth, open the little bag and breathe you fears gently into it.

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The Witches Magick for February 8th – A Ritual of Thanks

The Witches Magick for February 8th – A Ritual of Thanks

Set altar facing East. Use the following items:

One blue candle

3 kernels unpopped corn

One apple cut on the cross, showing the pentagram inside

Light your candle with the following words:

“Great Goddess, Lady of the Summerlands,
Mother to us all. I welcome you to this place of power
and offer thanks to you for what you have given me.
I am a priestess of your path and I see with your eyes.
You guide me in the lessons I must learn.”
 

Put the bottom half of the apple in front of you. Charging the three kernels of corn between your hands, say:

“As the Maiden is ripe with potential, so is my life.
As the Mother gives birth, so do my thoughts.
As the Crone nourishes life, so do I nourish mine.”
 

Place the kernels in the center of the core-pentagram and melt wax from your candle to cover them. Replace the top of the apple while the wax is till warm. Let the apple sit on your altar for 3 days and nights. Remove wax token and bury apple. The wax token can remain on your altar for as long as you wish.

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Calendar of the Sun for February 7th

Calendar of the Sun

 
Ancestor Day

Color: Black and grey
Element: Earth
Altar: Spread a black cloth, and lay it with photographs, paintings, and other depictions of our ancestors. Add also symbols of their old tools, and statues of ancestral deities, a bowl of seeds for the future garden, pots of soil, a pitcher of water, and many candles of black and white and grey.
Offerings: Things they would have liked to eat, drink, smoke, or smell. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.
Daily Meal: Food from an earlier era, using authentic recipes.

Invocation to the Ancestors

Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.

Chant:
Those who came before
We are your children
Those who came before
We honor your names

(Each person takes seeds from the bowl and plants them in the pots of soil, speaking the name of one of their ancestors as they do so, as in: “In honor of _______.” The pots are watered, and the candles put out one by one.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Let’s Talk Witch – Your Sacred Clothing

Witchy Comments & Graphics

Let’s Talk Witch – Your Sacred Clothing

Many practitioners will not enter or use their sacred space unless they are cloaked in a special garment created by their own hands and consecrated for spiritual use. This robe is unique and special to each person who desires to honor their beliefs in this fashion. A cloak can be consecrated for specific purposes. So you can have more than one cloak, depending on what type of ritual you will be conducting in your sacred space.Self clothing isn’t the only garments you want to consider for your space. An altar cloth is also called for. You can use more than one cloth in varying colors and patterns, depending on the work at hand. But consider the use of the cloth before you cover the altar. If you are going to be mixing herbs, or creating spiritual objects such as handmade candles, smudge sticks or spiritual tools, then you want the cloth to be inexpensive and practical. If however, you are conducting a ritual to celebrate a holiday, then you might use a more formal cloth, anything from crushed velvet to black satin.

The cloth should reflect your personality, your beliefs and one that you feel comfortable with using. A male Witch for instance, may not use Victorian lace when casting spells for compassion, healing or love. Rather he might use something that strikes an essence of romance in his heart such as red silk. Whatever you chose to use, the cloth should be large enough to cover the entire altar and fit the work at hand.

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Imbolc Ritual

IMBOLC (February 2)

A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snow flake, a white
flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar.
An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil,
unlit, should also be there.   Snow can be melted and used for the water during
the circle casting.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
Recite the Blessing Chant.
Invoke the Goddess and God.
Say such words as the following:
This is the time of the feast of torches,
when every lamp blazes and shines
to welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
all Earth celebrates
Beneath its mantle of sleep.

Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar (or at the Southern
point of the circle).  Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle
before you.  Say these or similar words:

All the land is wrapped in winter.
The air is chilled and frost envelops the Earth.
But Lord of the Sun,
Horned One of animals and wild places,
unseen you have been reborn of the gracious Mother Goddess,
Lady of all fertility.
Hail Great God!
Hail and welcome!

Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle.  Gaze at its flame. Visualize
your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength.

If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time.
Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.
Celebrate the Simple Feast.
The circle is released.

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Calendar of the Moon for Monday, January 20th

Calendar of the Moon

20 Luis/Gamelion

Warding Night

Color: Black and orange-red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of black and orange red lay many bunches of rowan berries, dried from the past year and tied with red thread and a single animal’s bone. Set around the altar many candles in jars that can be carried, and a large bowl of salt water.
Offerings: Offer to protect those you love from harm.
Daily Meal: Can be any food, but it should be put into separate bowls, and all will eat while they keep separate vigils on guard.

Warding Night Invocation

Within these walls no harm shall come.
Within these walls shall set no foot
Intending to do wrong to those inside.
Within these walls shall come no ghost
Or spirit seeking to feed on the
Warm life of flesh and blood.
Within these walls no sorrow
From outside may creep in,
Save that it offer itself to be healed.
Within these walls stands the haven
Of sacred ground, and we shall stand
As guards to protect our sacred space.
Let no one enter lest they understand
That what lies within shall touch them,
And they shall not go away unchanged.
Go now, and guard our home
Like the mother bear protects her young,
Like the mother serpent defends her nest,
Like the father wolf prowls his territory.
We ward this home against all evil
And evil shall be turned by the strength of our hearts.

(Each takes a candle, chanting a wordless chant, and goes to a different part of the house, passing first through the kitchen in order to take their meal. With meal, and candle, and such handwork as they choose to do, each shall retire to a different part of the place alone, or in groups but only if there are enough that each solitary part of the home has its guardian. There they shall wait, and watch, and keep vigil, and strengthen the wards on the home with their minds and the flame of the candle. When it has burned down, or midnight comes, they may retire.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Sun for Monday, January 20th

Calendar of the Sun

Feralia: Day of Purification

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: On a white cloth put a lit candle, incense, a cup of water, and a bowl of salt.
Offering: Although this day is not a day of total silence, it is a solemn day and talking should be done only when necessary and in quiet tones. Bodies should be thoroughly cleaned during the bathing hour, and then the altar area should be cleaned and purified with all four elements. Each person, upon entering the altar space at the beginning of Sponde should remove their clothing and be naked, and each body should be purified with the four elements and marked with water and salt, at which point they may enrobe again. Chores of the day should concentrate on cleaning and repair.
Daily Meal: Vegan and extremely simple and plain.

Feralia Invocation

Breathe the air into your body
And breathe out again,
And as you breathe out,
Let all grime and corruption
Depart on that breath
(All breathe together for twelve breaths.)
Feel the blood coursing through your body
And imagine it clean
Of anything but what should be there.
Feel the energy coursing through your body
And wash it clean
Of anything that does not belong.
Feel the Earth beneath you,
Remember that She can absorb all
Remember that all rot is her provenance
Draw her energy up into you
And give it back again.

(After this grounding, all breathe together again in a yogic breathing pattern for the next half an hour, after which all will go with water and salt and incense and fire to all rooms in the house and cleanse them. Great care should be taken for the rest of the day not to disturb the energy of the freshly cleaned house.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Moon for December 12th

Calendar of the Moon

12 Ruis/Poseideion

Day of the Underworld III

Color: Grey
Element: Water
Altar: The altar is the same as the day before, with the chalice replenished, and a pile of coins.
Offering: Whatever the Gods tell you.
Daily Meal: Fasting tonight, until the next morning.

Underworld Invocation III

(The speaker holds up the chalice yet again, and says:)
Elixirs fade and potions fail,
The gold is rusted from the grail,
The wine is changed to water thin,
The blood is wasted from the skin,
And all that from this glass is drunk
May leave us only smaller shrunk.
(The chalice is passed, and each takes a sip.)
Now that we have passed through Earth,
We must pass over the River of the Dead.
Black water laps at our feet,
Faces stare up at us, seeing and unseeing,
From the depths of the River.
Are you ready to pass over the water?
Do you have ready the fare you will pay?
(Each takes two coins from the altar, and states what they will do to pay their fare. The speaker then takes the dried thistles and crushes them into a box, saying:)
Even the King is old and white
When royal noon is turned to night.
Yet better the peace of thistledown
Than power under a thorny crown.
Let him sleep his sleep of grey
Where gold and purple fall away,
And let us lie beside him here,
Past pain or joy, desire or fear.

(All come forward and lie down on the floor, in front of the altar, in a position of death, with the coins laid on their eyes. One who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual comes by with the chalice, and gently bathes the face of every corpse, and collects the coins. After a time, all rise in silence and go.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for December 3rd

Calendar of the Moon

3 Ruis/Poseideion

Pandora’s Day

Colors: Grey and white
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a grey cloth set a large wooden box covered with carvings of horror, blight, and disease. It should be filled with two layers of rolled papers, separated by a cloth. The first layer is rolled papers tied with black string, which are assignments as to what offering of aid to the unfortunate should be given. The bottom layer is rolled papers tied with silver string, each of which has a saying of hope written upon it. Aside from the box, the altar should be starkly empty.
Offerings: Give aid and hope to those who are suffering outside the House. The following day should be a day of helping other organizations.
Daily Meal: Give food to others; the House fasts tonight.

Invocation to Pandora

Sweet Pandora,
Lady All-Gifted,
You were made like a toy by the Gods
To take revenge on the world,
Yet you hold your own mystery.
You were constructed with all gifts,
Yet we must never forget
That suffering, too, is a gift.
Though it may seem like the greatest of evils,
The pain that you bring hones us,
Tries us, trials us, tests our mettle,
And teaches us the limits of Life.
Help us to honor these gifts of yours,
These thorns and hails and lightning strikes,
This pain and weakness and suffering.
And help us to always remember,
Lady All-Gifted,
The final gift in the bottom of your box,
Which is hope for the future.

(All come forward and kneel before the altar. The keeper of the box says, “Choose your suffering.” One at a time, each comes forward and takes a paper from the top layer of the box. Then the keeper of the box says, “Choose hope,” and each comes forward and takes another paper from the bottom. The box is closed and all leave in silence.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Yule Chant for Women

Yule Chant for Women

 

The cauldron is placed in the south with an unlit candle in it and wreathed with
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. You will need a veil.

Say:
“I grow desirous of my Lord,
His seed stirs within me.
The time of light is upon us.”

Draw a veil over your head and circle deosil seven times, saying:

“Return, oh return!
God of the sun, god of the light, return!
When I see Thee not
My heart grieves for Thee
Return! Return! Return!”

Stand before the altar with arms upraised, saying:

“Queen of the moon, Queen of the sun
Queen of the heavens, Queen of the stars
Queen of the waters, Queen of the earth
Bring to us the child of promise
It is the great mother who gives birth to Him
It is the Lord of Life who is born again
Darkness and tears are set aside when the sun shall come up early!”

Take a candle from the altar and light the candle in the cauldron, saying:

“Golden sun of hill and mountain
illumine the land, illumine the world
illumine the seas, illumine the rivers
sorrows be laid, joy to the world!
Blessed be the great Goddess
Without beginning, without ending
Everlasting to eternity
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!…”