Tuesday Is Ruled By Mars

Tuesday Is Ruled By Mars

Archangel: Samael

Candle colour: Red

Incenses: Dragon’s blood or cinnamon

Crystals: Jasper or garnet

Use Tuesdays for spells for courage, change, independence in home or business life, for overcoming seemingly impossible odds and for passion.

Where possible, work near a fire or a bonfire or with a huge red beeswax candle as a focus; alternatively work next to a flowerbed or large vase of red, orange and/or yellow flowers.

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Making Ointments

Making Ointments

Ointments are easily made. They consist simply of herbs or oils and a base. In the past, hog’s lard was the preferred base because it was readily available, but vegetable shortening or beeswax produces the best results. The base must be a greasy substance that melts over heat but is solid at room temperature. Some herbalists actually use dinosaur fat (i.e., Vaseline, which is prepared from petroleum)!
There are two basic ways to create magickal ointments, the shortening method and the beeswax method.
The Shortening Method

Gently heat four parts shortening over low heat until liquefied. Watch that it doesn’t burn. Add one part dried herbal mixture, blend with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed, and continue heating until the          shortening has extracted the scent. You should be able to smell it in the air.
Strain through cheesecloth into a heat-proof container, such as a canning jar. Add one-half teaspoon tincture of benzoin to each pint of ointment as a natural preservative. Store in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator. Ointments should last for weeks or months. Discard any that turn moldy, and lay in a fresh batch.
The Beeswax Method
This process creates a more cosmetic ointment without a heavy, greasy feeling. It is best to prepare it with oils rather than herbs, as it is difficult to strain.
If possible, use unbleached beeswax. If not, use what you can find. Chip it with alarge, sharp knife so that you can pack it into a measuring cup. Place one-fourth cup or so of beeswax in the top of a double boiler(such as a coffee can set into a larger pot of water). Add about one-fourth cup olive, hazelnut, sesame or some other vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the wax has melted into the oil.
Remove from the heat and let cool very slightly, until it has just begun to thicken. (This step is taken so that the hot wax won’t evaporate the oils.) Now add the mixed oils to the wax. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon and pour into a heat-proof container. Label and store in the usual way.
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Tuesday Is Ruled By Mars

Tuesday Is Ruled By Mars

Archangel: Samael

Candle colour: Red

Incenses: Dragon’s blood or cinnamon

Crystals: Jasper or garnet

Use Tuesdays for spells for courage, change, independence in home or business life, for overcoming seemingly impossible odds and for passion.

Where possible, work near a fire or a bonfire or with a huge red beeswax candle as a focus; alternatively work next to a flowerbed or large vase of red, orange and/or yellow flowers

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Working With The Days of the Week – Tuesday

Tuesday Is Ruled By Mars

Archangel: Samael

Candle colour: Red

Incenses: Dragon’s blood or cinnamon

Crystals: Jasper or garnet

Use Tuesdays for spells for courage, change, independence in home or business life, for overcoming seemingly impossible odds and for passion.

Where possible, work near a fire or a bonfire or with a huge red beeswax candle as a focus; alternatively work next to a flowerbed or large vase of red, orange and/or yellow flowers.

Daily Aromatherapy – Scented Beeswax Heart

Daily Aromatherapy – Scented Beeswax Heart

 

Scent a room with this decorative accent. Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart shape from a sheet of natural beeswax. Wrap the heart in cheesecloth and infuse it with a few drops of Rose Otto. Place the wrapped heart in a plastic bag for a week. Remove and discard the cloth and glue a ribbon hanger to the back of the heart. You can even decorate it with dried flowers and a bow. Hang it in the kitchen or
even the bath!!
)0(

 

Brought to you by AromaThyme.com –  http://www.aromathyme.com

C is for Candle Magick

C

 

 

Candle magick

 

 

Candle magick is one of the simplest and easiest types of magick to cast. Any type of candle can be used for candle magic as long as it has been cleansed and consecrated prior to use.  Although beeswax candles are higher in price than store bought candles, they are more powerful because they are produced from nature.  As with any other tool, the candle made by the practitioner for a specific purpose captures the energy of the practitioner.  Many experienced Witches will use only candles they have crafted themselves because of this.

Make Beeswax Votives to Manifest Your Desires

Make Beeswax Votives to Manifest Your Desires

by Sylvana

When I first began in the Craft, you couldn’t just go down to Larry’s Market or Fred Meyer’s and buy spell candles, as you can now. Neither could you find witchy stores like Edge of the Circle, Travelers or Odyssey Books. In those days, we made our own spell candles, oils, incenses and tools, or we had things handed down to us and given to us as gifts by our high priest and priestess or coven mates. We also sometimes converted everyday items to our magickal purpose, like the silver dinner bell I still use in ritual today and my antique trivets that serve as wards for our covenstead.

Sometimes, I am glad to have the luxury of purchasing ready-made seven-day candles, like the green “Money Drawing” or “Protection” or the blue and white “Harmonious Home.” But I fondly remember the days when all of us witches made our own candles. This time of year is traditional for the making and blessing of candles, and my coven still gets together at Imbolc for celebration, feasting and to make and bless candles for our coven and personal use. Making them yourself imbues them with your own energy and purpose, as well as making them a more powerful tool for your magick — besides, it’s fun!

If you’d like to create your very own spell candles and don’t have a coven or group to make candles with, this article will tell you how, with a little effort, you can construct and bless your very own magickal spell candles. The instructions following discuss making short spell votives, but you can easily adapt the approach for bigger candles.

You will need:

*      A sharp knife or craft knife

*      A metal-edged ruler or straight edge

*      Small pieces of paper in various colors

*      Pens, colored pencils or crayons

*      Beeswax sheets in various colors

*      Wicking

*      Herbs and flowers

*      Oils

*      Small tokens, coins or stones

*      Wax paper

*      Cutting board

*      Scissors

You can purchase the beeswax in craft stores or candle supply shops; it generally comes in 6-x-9-inch sheets. Look for colors that correspond to your magickal purpose:

*      Red: Lust, passion, health, animal vitality, courage, strength

*      Pink: Love, affection, friendship, kindness

*      Orange: Sexual energy, earth energy, adaptability, stimulation

*      Brown: Earth energy, animals

*      Yellow: Intellect, mental energy, concentration

*      Green: Finances, money, prosperity, fertility, growth

*      Blue: Calm, healing, patience, peace, clairvoyance

*      Purple: Spirituality, the fey, meditation, divination

*      Black: Waning moon, release, banishing, absorbing and destroying negativity, healing

*      White: Waxing or full moon, protection, purification, peace, awareness; good for most workings

One sheet of each color wax that you want to use should be enough to begin with, as it will make about four votive-size candles. Fresh beeswax should have a distinctive scent and be soft and pliable, not brittle. Fairly thick cotton (not lead) wick is preferable as beeswax burns fairly fast. Ask the store for recommendations if you’re unsure what exactly to get.

Assemble all of your ingredients and tools, with plenty of room to work. Choose a sheet of beeswax and some herbs or flowers and maybe an oil that are all in accordance with your purpose. To learn more about the associations for herbs, flowers and oils, check tables of correspondence such as are found in many basic books on the Craft. You’ll need only tiny amounts of the herbs and flowers, because if you add too much, your candle will turn into a torch! Also, if you like select an appropriate token or write the candle’s purpose on a tiny piece of paper to add to the candle.

To create a candle, lay a sheet of beeswax onto a sheet of slightly larger wax paper on top of your cutting board. Measure in 2-inch increments down from the top of the beeswax sheet along the edge of the long side, and make a mark on both sides of the wax  (see Figure 1). Lay the straight edge along both marks, and cut so that you have about four wax pieces, each about 2 by 6 inches. This will be enough to create at least four votives per sheet of wax, depending on how large the sheet is and how small you cut the pieces. Next, cut a piece of wick about 2&fraq12; inches long, and lay it onto the beeswax along the edge of one side (see figure 2) so that the wick is flush with what will be the bottom of the candle and is protruding from the top by a bit.

Begin rolling the candle by folding the very edge of the wax over the wick and pressing down gently to stick the wax in place (see figure 3)

Then begin to roll the wax firmly around the wick so that it creates a tight roll; once you have one layer of wax around the wick, stop. Sprinkle a tiny amount of herbs or flowers evenly down the length of wax next to the wick roll (figure 4). Place your paper or token inside the candle, near the bottom. Then roll some more, sprinkle some more, brush a tiny bit of oil on at about the middle of the roll and continue until the candle is completely rolled and is about the size of a regular votive candle (figure 5). Seal the wax edge by pressing it down firmly against the candle, while not smashing the candle.

Once you have finished all of your spell candles, do a ritual and raise energy to bless and consecrate them to your purpose. I like the simple blessing following.

A Candle Blessing

Set up an altar with your usual tools, where you can easily move around it. Place your candles on the altar, along with a small amount of wine or juice and a few cookies or pieces of bread. Cast your circle in your customary way. Call whatever elements, gods, quarters and so on that you normally call. When you are ready, raise your athamé or wand to the eastern sky, draw it down in an arc to point toward your pile of candles and say the following:

“Element of air, imbue these candles with magick! Let them carry my intention on the winds and back to me. Infuse them with inspiration and the strength of my will. Thank you for your presence! So mote it be!”

Draw the athamé to the southern sky and down toward the candles, saying:

“Element of fire, energize these candles to my purpose! Bring your warmth and light to me. Let your heat turn reality to my will. Thank you for your presence! So mote it be!”

Turn now to the western sky, and draw the athamé down toward your candles, saying:

“Element of sacred waters, heal my magick. Make my purpose clean, and let my magick flow free. Cleanse all for the best; heal all I touch. Let your healing power flow. Thank you for your presence! So mote it be!”

Turn finally to the northern sky, and draw the athamé toward your candles, saying:

“Element of earth, bring my magick into being. Bless these candles, and let them burn true. Bring grounding and practicality to me. With your deep power please imbue them. Thank you for your presence!  So mote it be!”

Ask the god and goddess of your choice (and any other beings that you work with) for their blessings.

Then chant the following, slowly and softly at first, then picking up energy as you go:

“Candles burn oh so bright, bring my desires every night and day. Candles light my magick spell, now draw success my way.”

When the energy has reached its peak, direct it into the candles. Ground out any excess energy. Have cakes and wine, and offer a libation to the elements and gods for their participation. Then close your circle.

Now your magickal spell votives are ready for you to use for your spells or whenever you need them. Have fun, and may all of your magick be wondrous!

Caution: When burning candles, make sure to always place them on something nonflammable and do not ever leave one of these candles burning alone, even for a second, as they sometimes flare up or fall over and can easily ignite anything in range. Be careful also of wearing flammable clothing around these candles!

A Spell To Break The Powers of A Spell

A Spell To Break The Powers of A Spell

Items You Will Need:

Black Candle

Cauldron

Beeswax

Fresh Water

The Spell:

If you believe that a spell has been cast against you, place a large black candle in the cauldron (or a large black bowl).  The candles must be tall enough to extend a few inches above the cauldron’s rim. Affix the candle to the bottom of the cauldron with warmed beeswax or the drippings of another black candle so that it will not tip over.

Fill the cauldron to the rim with fresh water, without wetting the candle’s wick. An inch or two should remain above the water. Deeply breathe, meditate, clear your mind and light the candle. Visualize the suspected spell’s power as residing within the candle’s flame. Sit in quiet contemplation of the candle and visualize the power flowing and growing within the candle’s flame. (Yes, the power against you) As the candle burns down, it’s flame will eventually sputter and go out as it contacts the water. As soon as the flame has been extinguished by the water, the spell will be dispersed.

HERBAL HEALING SALVE

HERBAL HEALING SALVE

2 oz dried comfrey leaves, 1 oz dried calendula flowers
2 cups olive oil
1 oz pure beeswax
4 drops each tea tree & lavender essential oils

Heat herbs in olive oil over low heat for about 5 hours. Do not let the oil boil
or bubble. A crock-pot or the lowest temp setting on a range should be suitable
for heating this mixture. (If the lowest setting is too hot, turn off the heat
once it has warmed the oil – it should keep warm for at least an hour – then
repeat the process twice.) After cooking, strain out the herbs while oil is
still warm.  Place 1 1/4 cups of the herb oil in a pan add beeswax and heat just
enough to melt the wax. Add essential oils and stir. Finally, pour the salve
into widemouthed jars. Store at room temp.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage One

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage One

 

Stage 1: Formally defining the purpose of the spell.

Take your symbol that should be made of natural material, natural fabric, crystal, beeswax, dough, clay, flowers, herbs, twigs or metals.

Set the symbol in a dish or flat plate in the center of the altar (you can use a pentacle dish is you wish).

Raising the symbol dish in the center of the altar as you face north, name the purpose of the spell and the time scale, for example, “by the time the leaves are on the trees,” “by the next full moon or “within seven days.”

At the same time, define the person for whom you are casting the spell – this could be yourself.

If you wish, you can now, while you are speaking, pass the symbol on its dish slowly in turn over all four elemental substances, beginning in the north or east.

You may now speaking slowly and confidently, ask for any god or goddess or maybe an angelic power that could be helpful.

Put the symbol back in the center. Touch the symbol with your wand or with a crystal point or the outstretching tip of your index finger to make the connection between the symbol and the energies to be raised. Say:

Be filled with powers and blessings that _________(name) may be/ have/ do__________.

In a ritual you would announce the purpose of the gathering and draw everyone together in a initial chant or action during this first stage.

Basic Herbal Ointment

Basic Herbal Ointment

 
This is a basic ointment that you can make with any herb you want to use for a magical purpose. Just choose the herb you want by consulting the correspondences and add it as directed. You’ll need 1 ounce of lanolin or cocoa butter and 1/2 oz of beeswax, 3-4 ounces of apricot kernal oil, 1 ounce of strong herb infusion of your choice, and 5 drops of essential oil of your choice. You can match the infusion and essential oil or use different herbs. Melt the lanolin or cocoa butter and the beeswax in the top of a double boiler. When completely melted begin adding the oil, pouring a very stream into the pan while stirring constantly until all the oil is added. Turn off the heat and slowly add the herb infusion stiring constantly until the cream has cooled. Add the essential oil and stir in completely. Spoon or pour the cream into an opaque white jar or clear jar covered with paper. You may add 6-8 drops of tincture of benzoin to the mixture when you add the essential oil as a preservative if desired.

Making Ointments – The Beeswax Method

Making Ointments

The Beeswax Method
 
 
This process creates a more cosmetic ointment without a heavy, greasy feeling. It is best to prepare it with oils rather than herbs, as it is difficult to strain.
 
If possible, use unbleached beeswax. If not, use what you can find. Chip it with a large, sharp knife so that you can pack it into a measuring cup. Place one-fourth cup or so of beeswax in the top of a double boiler(such as a coffee can set into a larger pot of water). Add about one-fourth cup olive, hazelnut, sesame or some other vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the wax has melted into the oil.
 
Remove from the heat and let cool very slightly, until it has just begun to thicken. (This step is taken so that the hot wax won’t evaporate the oils.) Now add the mixed oils to the wax. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon and pour into a heat-proof container. Label and store in the usual way.

Making Ointments

Making Ointments 

 
Ointments are easily made. They consist simply of herbs or oils and a base. In the past, hog’s lard was the preferred base because it was readily available, but vegetable shortening or beeswax produces the best results. The base must be a greasy substance that melts over heat but is solid at room temperature. Some herbalists actually use dinosaur fat (i.e., Vaseline, which is prepared from petroleum)!
 
There are two basic ways to create magickal ointments, the shortening method and the beeswax method.

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

by Sylvana SilverWitch

 

If you have been living in the Northwest for long, you must be used to frigid aluminum-gray skies glistening with cold soggy drizzle. Barren tree branches scratch the side of the house as if the chill will come in, past the walls, past your skin into your very bones — and it shouldn’t scare you anymore. Clouds obscure the pale, faint sun till you can’t remember the feeling of it fiery hot on your shoulders. Darkness falls for so many months on end that every so often you must turn every light in the house on just to have some brightness in your world. Wild windstorms knock out the power for hours and days at a time, so you have to use candles for light and heat with the fireplace.

It is the time of year that, for me, best reminds me of how things were, way back when. It is the time of year that I can best appreciate the contrast between cold darkness and warm light. I am ready for change! I am ready for the return of the light to my world!

Seattle winters are dreary, and by the time we get to Imbolc, we are all more than ready for a little lightheartedness and to leave the darkness behind, at least for a few hours. We are ready for purification from the heaviness of the long winter months, and we are ready to celebrate, if not the warming of the land, at least the hope that the heat will soon return and we will yet again bask in the sunshine.

There are many traditional ways to celebrate Imbolc or Bride. These include decorating natural springs and sacred wells, leaving wishes tied on the branches of trees and making corn dollies in honor of the Celtic goddess Brigid (another name for Bride). Making Celtic crosses or Bride’s crosses from wheat straw and braided cornhusks and making and charging (or blessing) candles are other traditional tasks for this time of year. The holiday is also known as Candlemas, this name taken when the Christian church adapted the pagan holiday and made it a candle blessing and the feast of Saint Brigid.

In this culture, most of us were raised to go outside on this day and look for our shadow. If we saw it, there would be six more weeks of winter, as this is a weather marker day — also known as Groundhog’s Day. One of my sisters had the audacity to be born on Imbolc, and she’s seemingly been running from her shadow every since!

You can find more about Imbolc traditions in a multitude of published books. Following, I will tell you about some of my favorite ways to celebrate, purify and get in touch with the energy of fire, water and the earth and that of the Goddess at this time of year.

Creating Beeswax Candles

One of the things we almost always do in our coven is make candles. We save the glass containers from seven-day candles and at Imbolc wash and reuse them to make our own magickal candles. On this day, I also like to create rolled beeswax candles with herbs, oils and stones and infuse them with a specific purpose, for my own personal use all year long.

Making candles is easier than you might think. We ran an article on making your own seven-day candles last year. This year, I’ll talk a bit about the beeswax type, since you can make one, a few or a bunch with little muss and fuss.

First, you’ll want to visit some place that sells candle-making supplies, I personally like Pourette, located in Ballard, that bastion of pagan life. Pourette has been in business for a long time, and the employees there can tell you most anything you want to know about how to make candles and what you will need for a particular kind of effect. Not the magickal effects, unfortunately, but then that’s your department, right?

First, decide what magickal intentions you want to make the candles for — you can have more than one, just concentrate on one at a time. Choose colors accordingly and get a few sheets of the colors of beeswax that you want to work with. For example, if you want to work for money and prosperity, you might choose green. For healing, you might want blue. Psychic work and divination would be white or purple; for love and sex, you might choose red or pink. Look up color correspondences in the back of some of your books; Scott Cunningham has some good correspondence tables for herbs, flowers, stones and oils as well as colors and astrological influences. Don’t forget that your own associations are also important. If gold means money to you, then use that. You’ll want some kind of cotton wicking as well.

You can also include in your candles runes, little bits of paper or parchment with the purpose written on them rolled up in the candle, symbolic charms or figures representing what you want and bits of paper money (corners work well) or stones. The more thought and effort you put into creating your candles, the better results you will have.

Gather all of your ingredients together, planning to make one type of candle at a time. You’ll want a clean, soft surface to work on so as not to crush the beeswax pattern; for this, you can put down an old towel or T-shirt as padding. Also, you should decide at this point how large a candle you want to end up with. I usually cut the sheet of wax into two pieces, so I have two sheets about 4 inches high each. Otherwise, you end up with a fairly tall candle. With herbs, oils and magick inside, they tend to burn very hot. An 8-inch candle can burn up rather quickly.

When you begin, you will want the room to be reasonably warm, so that the wax stays pliable and does not crack when you roll it. I commonly put down the beeswax, then cut a piece of wick the desired length, about an inch or so longer than the wax is tall. Then I get out a bit of everything I want to put into the candle. I use eyedroppers for essential oils and rub a small quantity of oil on what will be the inside of the candle after the wax is rolled around the wick (the part of the wax that’s facing up).

Next, I sprinkle a small amount of each flower or herb I am using onto the wax, so they are evenly distributed from top to bottom. I generally try to keep things simple and only use one or two kinds of herbs in any given candle. Then I include the other things: stones, symbols, paper, and so on that have meaning for me. Next, I slowly and carefully roll the candle tightly around the wick. It helps to fold the wax over the wick a little bit prior to adding the ingredients. Being careful to keep the wax level so I don’t disturb the ingredients’ distribution, I keep rolling until the whole candle is rolled around itself. During this process, I think about the desired results of my magickal candle, as if they have already manifest. I keep the purpose in mind during the whole process and put as much positive energy into it as possible.

When you finish rolling, you’ll want to gently heat the edge of the wax (a hairdryer works well for this) so that you can press the wax into itself and seal the candle, being careful not to crush it in the practice. This process gets easier the more you do it. Don’t be discouraged if your first efforts are a tad messy. You’ll get the hang of it!

When you have finished all of the candles you wish to create at this time, you’ll want to bless and charge them with energy. To do so, cast your circle and do a ritual imbuing them with your purpose. Then you can burn them in your spell work for the rest of the year. Make sure when you burn these candles that you attend them closely, keeping in mind that they should be on a nonflammable surface and being cautious that there is nothing in the vicinity that can catch on fire. When candles have flower petals, herbs, oils and paper inside them and are magickally charged, they tend to burn like an inferno. Your candle may be burning nicely and then all of a sudden flare up and be consumed in a matter of seconds. So guard them closely!

Making Bride’s Water

Another thing I like to do at Imbolc or Bride is to make Bride’s water, water holy to Brigid. We usually do this during a ritual where we invoke Brigid and raise energy for the many things that she represents to us. She is the patron goddess of wells, fire, the forge, music, storytelling, poetry, arts and crafts and much more. She is central to my artistic inspiration, and so I honor her at this time of year by purifying myself with her holy water and with fire (more on that later).

To makes Brigid’s water, we place a huge cauldron in the center of the altar, filled with alcohol and Epsom salts; when lit, it emits a beautiful blue flame. We have ready purified and blessed water in a large container, several pieces of charcoal, some long barbecue tongs and enough small containers with corks that we can each take some Brigid’s water home.

Once we cast the circle and invoke the goddess, we raise energy for Her by chanting, dancing or whatever we have determined. During the energy raising, the charcoal (self-lighting incense charcoal, not barbecue charcoal!) is lit from the fire in the cauldron, and it is allowed to burn for a few minutes until it is glowing red. At the apex of the energy raising, we chant, “Bride, Bride, Bride, purify me… Bride transform me!” Then when we all stop, the charcoal is thrust into the water with a great amount of sizzling, smoke and steam. We then file past the fire and water and are anointed and blessed with the Brigid’s water for purification and inspiration. Each covener takes some home to use much as one would any holy water, to bless and purify house, tools, self family, and so on.

Purifying with Fire

My very favorite form of purification is that of fire. It is odd to think that I — a Pisces with Cancer rising, very watery signs — would enjoy fire so much, but I do have a lot of Aries in my chart, as well as Moon in Leo. A veteran firewalker since 1984, I have a good and close personal relationship with the powerful fire elementals. They are a means to profound transformation, bringing change wherever they occur, whether we like it or not!

I have been working with fire for so long that it takes me by surprise when people are irrationally afraid of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy fear and respect for what fire can do if I am not careful! I have seen people badly burned, and when I lead my coven in firewalking rituals, I admonish them to be very, very afraid. But I add that if you allow fear to stop you in life, you’ll never do anything worthwhile. Don’t be careless with fire, though, or it will most definitely teach you the hard way!

With this in mind, I offer my version of purification by fire. You can do this as the first part of the former ritual or all on its own; it is very powerful all by itself! If you want to do a combination, do the water ritual second, as a blessing after purification by fire.

For the fire purification, you’ll need a cauldron full of 90 percent rubbing alcohol and Epsom salts, which you will light. You can also use 151-proof rum for the alcohol content. Use alcohol and salts about 50/50 by volume; the alcohol should just cover the salts.

Be sure to take safety precautions, such as having a number of wet towels and a fire extinguisher available within reach. Move all furniture out of the way and pull back the drapes, or just do the ritual outside, away from anything flammable if you can. Take off any loose clothing that could catch and tie up your hair if it’s long. It helps if the participants are skyclad, or at least topless, as it is easy to accidentally catch clothing and extremely difficult to put it out! Then get ready for an intense encounter with fire.

Depending on whether you want to in fact light people on fire (very temporarily, and safely) or just allow them to experience the energy of fire, you’ll need one or two torches — one torch if you’re not lighting people, two if you are. If you are not lighting people, you can pass the lit torch slowly over various parts of the body so that the fire just touches the skin. It is instinct to pull away, and it sometimes takes a few moments for people to allow the fire to interact with them. That’s okay. Take time and go slowly, and you will have better results.

If you do want to actually light people on fire, you’ll need a couple small torches. You can make these by wrapping cotton batting around a wooden rod that’s about 10 to 12 inches long and small enough around to be comfortable in your hand (see drawing below). Wrap the cotton around the rod five or six times, then follow that with a complete wrapping of plain gauze. Wrap the gauze around the cotton six to ten times until you have covered it all, and you have a good torch. Finish the torch by tying it with cotton thread wound around the handle at the top and bottom and around the middle several times, so the thread goes from the bottom up, around and ends up back at the bottom. The thread winding ensures the torch stays together.

To light people on fire, you’ll need 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Do not use a higher concentrate than this, or you’ll really burn people! Put the alcohol in a small spray bottle with a mist capability. Before working with a whole coven, it’s not a bad idea for you and a friend or two to try this out yourselves first, just to get familiar with how it works, timing, the feeling it has on different body parts and so on.

During the ritual, you’ll want to have a person or two who do nothing but “spot” people and be ready to put them out if necessary. You put the fire on skin out by using a petting action from the top down, smoothing out the fire. Don’t allow any body part to burn for more than about 5 to 10 seconds, or it may scorch the skin, and you’ll end up with a sunburnlike burn. Be sure and go over the safety procedures before anything is lit! If anything gets out of hand, use the wet towels on people, the fire extinguisher on objects.

When you are ready, the cauldron is lit and the chanting or music begins. Whoever does the lighting holds two torches, one to spray with alcohol and apply to people’s skin, one to remain lit.

To light the ongoing torch, spray it generously with alcohol, being very careful not to drip or get any alcohol on anything else. Then, light the torch from the fire in the cauldron. Next, spray the second torch with two or three mists of alcohol. You’ll then use this torch to apply alcohol to the body part to light.

The safest body part to light is the hands. Have participants hold these out, palms up very flat and together. When you apply alcohol, make sure not get ritualists’ hands too wet or to let alcohol pool on their hands.

After you have applied alcohol, light it with the lit torch, saying something like: “Be transformed!” Let the flame burn for a moment or two and then have the ritualists clap or rub their hands together to put it out. Don’t let them shake their hands in the air while lit; that just makes the fire burn hotter.

The fire will go out of its own accord fairly quickly as the alcohol burns away, but it is more empowering for people to feel able to control it and put it out on their own. The first inclination will be for them to want to put it out right away, as soon as it’s lit. Let them try it a few times, and as they learn that it won’t hurt them, they will be more inclined to allow it to flicker for a few seconds. Suggest that they put their hands on a body part that they want purified by the fire energy, such as over their heart, but only after the fire on their hands is completely out!

We have done this ritual many times with only minor incidents. One year, when we were doing symbols on people’s backs, one man who had said he only wanted to light his hands changed his mind and wanted us to light a symbol on his back. He had longish hair that wasn’t tied up, and though we had him bend over, he stood up before the fire was out and his hair caught slightly and was singed a bit. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was scary enough that I want to reiterate the precautions. If you intend to light anything, including hands, be very careful and do a practice session out of ritual space first.

We use this very powerful energy to transform ourselves, our projects and our lives — coming out from darkness and lighting up our purposes. This ritual has a tendency to be very intense, so keep in mind that people can get carried away by the energy and forget the safety precautions! Make sure to be responsible with the fire and always err on the side of caution.

Afterward, breathe and ground well and share your experiences of the fire energy with one another. It’s amazing the different perceptions people will have.

Whether you choose to enjoy one or more of these suggestions or something else entirely, have a great Imbolc and a wonderful year!

To Return a Hex

To Return a Hex

 

Light three black candles, and as they burn, speak this charm for thrice return:

Broken this spell, broken this curse,
By these candles, by this verse.
Reflected back, three times three,
Your hexes have no effect on me.
Curse return, by candles three,
Burn away and set me free.
Live and learn, crash and burn,
Three times three, this hex return.
With harm to none, this lesson be told;
Whatever is sent out, returns three-fold.

Allow the candles to burn themselves out. Do this five nights in a row, during the Waxing Moon, at dusk – as the sun dies and darkness descends