The Witches Spell for Nov. 20th – Spell to Start A New Beginning

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Spell To Start A New Beginning

To start a new endeavor

Items You Will Need:

Yellow candle

Seeds

Small pot of soil

Water in a decorative pitcher or jar

This spell can be used to give a boost to a new endeavor (or even a new relationship) or to help you find a new start if you’re not sure what to do next. It can be done at any time, but for an extra boost, try doing it at the New Moon.

Focus on what you are starting ( or on what you might want to start or achieve, if you aren’t sure), then light the candle and follow the directions in the spell.

(Hold the Seeds in your Hands)

Bless this new beginning
A gift from the Gods
Which I accept with gratitude and appreciation

(Put seeds in soil)

Let it be productive like the Earth
And nurtured by the warmth of the Sun

(Pour Water on seeds)

Let it flow smoothly like the water
And carry me in a positive direction
Like a seed blown on the winds
Bless this new beginning
That it may broaden my horizons
Strength and enlighten me.
And help my spirit to grow and blossom

So Mote It Be.

 

The Boline

The Boline

The boline is the tool used for cutting things in the physical realm. It usually has a white handle, a blade curved inward, and it’s very sharp, and usually very expensive. It’s used for cutting wands, carving words in them as well as candles, but mostly herbs and branches for wands. In my opinion, as a city Witch, this tool is not really necessary, and just a waste of money (which is why you don’t see a picture of it). You can carve with the tip of an athame, and cut or carve, with magickally charged heavy duty scissors (like the one’s above). But for Witch’s with giant herb gardens and lot’s of trees, the boline may call to you much more than a city Witch.

Old WOTC Yuku Site

Calendar of the Sun for November 10th

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]

The Witches Magick for Samhain – Honoring the Harvest’s End

Samhain Comments & Graphics

How To Honor the Harvest’s End

A Samhain Ritual for Wiccans and Pagans

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Celebrate the final harvest with a ritual.

Samhain represents, among other things, the end of the harvest season. If you haven’t picked it by Samhain, you probably won’t be eating it! The gardens have died off by now, and where we once saw lush green plants, there is nothing left but dry and dead stalks. The perennials have shut down for the season too, going dormant so that they may return to us in the spring. Animals are brought in from the fields for the winter — and if you’ve ever had a spider come wandering into your living room one chilly October night, you know that even the insects are trying to find a place to stay warm.

Here’s How:

If we had lived a few hundreds of years ago, we would not only have brought our cows and sheep in from the pastures. Most likely we’d slaughter a few of them, as well as some pigs and goats, smoking the meat so it would last through the cold months. Our grain that we picked back at Lghnasadhu has been baked into bread, and all of our herbs have been gathered, and hang from the rafters in the kitchen. The harvest is over, and now it’s time to settle in for winter with the coziness of a warm fireplace, heavy blankets, and big pots of comfort food on the stovetop.

If you want to celebrate Samhain as the time of harvest’s end, you can do so as a single ritual, or as the first of three days of ceremony. If you don’t have a permanent altar in place, set up a table to leave in place for the three days prior to Samhain. This will act as a your family’s temporary altar for the Sabbat. Decorate the altar with symbols of late fall, such as:

Skulls, skeletons, grave rubbings, ghosts

Harvest food such as pumpkins, squash, root vegetables

Nuts and berries, dark breads

Dried leaves and acorns

A cornucopia filled with an abundance of fruit and veggies

Mulled cider, wine, or mead

To begin your ceremony, prepare a meal for the family — and this is something that everyone can get involved in. Put emphasis on fruits and vegetables, and wild game meat if available. Also make sure you have a loaf of a dark bread like rye or pumpernickel and a cup of apple cider or wine. Set the dinner table with candles and a fall centerpiece, and put all the food on the table at once. Consider the dinner table a sacred space.

Gather everyone around the table, and say:

Tonight is the first of three nights,
on which we celebrate Samhain.
It is the end of the harvest, the last days of summer,
and the cold nights wait on the other side for us.
The bounty of our labor, the abundance of the harvest,
the success of the hunt, all lies before us.
We thank the earth for all it has given us this season,
and yet we look forward to winter,

a time of sacred darkness.

Take the cup of cider or wine, and lead everyone outside. Make this a ceremonial and formal occasion. If you have a vegetable garden, great! Go there now — otherwise, just find a nice grassy spot in your yard. Each person in the family takes the cup in turn and sprinkles a little bit of cider onto the earth, saying:

Summer is gone, winter is coming.
We have planted and
we have watched the garden grow,
we have weeded,
and we have gathered the harvest.

Now it is at its end.

If you have any late-fall plants still waiting to be picked, gather them up now. Collect a bundle of dead plants and use them to make a straw man or woman. If you follow a more masculine path, he may be your King of Winter, and rule your home until spring returns. If you follow the Goddess in her many forms, make a female figure to represent the Goddess as hag or crone in winter.

Once that is done, go back inside and bring your King of Winter into your home with much pomp and circumstance. Place him on your table and prop him up with a plate of his own, and when you sit down to eat, serve him first.

Begin your meal with the breaking of the dark bread, and make sure you toss a few crumbs outside for the birds afterwards. Keep the King of Winter in a place of honor all season long — you can put him back outside in your garden on a pole to watch over next spring’s seedlings, and eventually burn him at your Beltane celebration.

When you are finished with your meal, put the leftovers out in the garden. Wrap up the evening by playing games, such as bobbing for apples or telling spooky stories before a bonfire.

What You Need

A table to use as your Samhain altar

Decorations that represent the late autumn season

A meal with lots of veggies, fruit, and bread

A cup of wine or cider

Let’s Talk Witch – Water Magick for Autumn

Samhain Comments & Graphics
Let’s Talk Witch – Water Magick for Autumn

The Wheel of the Year begins to make its final turn and now we enter the twilight of the year. The Spirit World is closer to us now. Autumn water magick includes working with spiritual energies, contacting ancestors, scrying and harvest blessings.

Since ancient times, it has been believed that Spirits of the deceased make their journey to the Otherside by water. So it would be appropriate to use water to contact a deceased loved one. Begin by writing a letter to your loved one, using white paper and black ink. Either in the early morning or at dusk, go to a quiet body of water such as a pond—if it’s foggy or misty that’s even better. Kneel at the water’s edge, fold your letter, and let it float away. If there are any fallen leaves upon the water, you may place your letter on them instead. Your message has been received.

Scrying at this time of year by using water can be very effective. Fill your cauldron or a dark colored bowl with water, drop a silver coin into the water, and gaze at the ripples. Allow your eyes to focus on the coin and begin to gaze at the water. If you wish, perform this ritual after dark outside during a Full Moon. Using the water and the Moon together will aid your psychic powers.

Since colonial times, as the harvest season came to a close, water was used to anoint the last stand of grain to ensure a bountiful crop the following year. You can do this in your own garden. Simply leave one plant standing in your garden. This could be one herb, tomato plant or a flower. Before a killing frost, sprinkle this plant with water you’ve blessed. Don’t remove this plant until next Spring.

 

Excerpt from:

Four Seasons of Water Magick
James Kambos, Author

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 29

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 29

“Mothers must protect the lives they have helped to bring into the world.”

–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

Every child is subject to the seeds each adult plants in his/her mind. If we plant praise and “you can do it”, the child will grow up with certain predictable behavior patterns. If we plant ideas that there’s something wrong with you or you’re good for nothing, the child will grow up with predictable behavior patterns. We need to honor and respect the mothers who protect the children and plant positive seeds for their growth.

 

Great Spirit, bless each mother and give her courage and faith.

A Story For Autumn

A Story For Autumn

Author: Janice Van Cleve   

Let me tell you a story . . .

Once upon a time there was a little yellow flower petal named Dandelion. Her full name was Dandelion 232 because she shared the crown of the mother plant with 231 of her sisters. Dandelion was very happy. She basked in the sun with her siblings and gloried in her comfortable and easy life. Her mother fed her every day and brought her water to drink. Every night the mother closed her green sepals around the petals to protect and shelter them.

One day there was a distinct chill in the air and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. Soon she began to feel herself changing. Her lower half grew into a seed while her bright yellow petal transformed into a stem with a white parachute on top. This was very strange and she knew not what it meant. Yet she still felt the security of home. She still shared the cozy flower crown with her sisters and her mother always closed her sepals around them at night.

One night, the mother did not close her sepals. The petals stretched open their parachutes and by the dawn, they had spread out into a great round puffball. A couple of them even blew away in the breeze! “I won’t leave you, Mother! ” cried Dandelion. Mother tried to explain to her little daughter what was happening. She tried to tell her that this was part of the cycle of all things. Dandelion would not listen. She feared the changes that were happening. The next day the wind blew stronger and more of her sisters floated away. Terrified, little Dandelion pleaded, “Please, Mother, don’t let go of me!” She held on with all her might but to no avail. The mother plant died, and there was nothing left to hold onto. Another gust, and Dandelion was plucked from the secure home she had always known and was cast to the wind.

For many days Dandelion was blown about, tumbled around, and bumped by all manner of obstacles until finally her parachute and stem broke off. She lay on the ground bruised and sore and very much afraid. “I’m lost and alone, ” she wailed, “woe is me. It cannot get any worse.” Then along came a bird.

The bird was hungry. It spied Dandelion and decided she would be tasty. Before Dandelion knew what was happening, she was swallowed down. “Oh no! ” cried Dandelion, “this is much worse. At least on the ground I could still see the light. It’s pitch dark in here.”

Several hours later the bird lightened its load and Dandelion found herself buried in a bird deposit. “This is it – the absolute worst, ” sighed Dandelion. “I’ve been torn from my home, abandoned by my mother, abused, battered, and bitten, and now here I am, alone in a strange place and in deep poop!” So Dandelion relinquished all she had known and held dear. She resigned herself to what is and let go of what she wished it to be. She unclenched her grip on life as she knew it and let it unfold as it would.

Time passed. After several months the sun returned to warm the land again. The bird deposit had dried and cracked and now it decomposed itself to become nutrient for the soil. Instead of being the worst of fates, it had been a protection for Dandelion from the harshness of the winter. Dandelion could see the light again. Then she felt a stirring within her. Her seedpod swelled and split open. One long tendril grew out and extended itself down from her into the dirt. Another stretched up into the air and leaves sprouted from it. As the days grew warmer, Dandelion grew bigger. Soon she was a strong and healthy plant with a deep taproot and many lush green leaves.

Summer came and Dandelion began to feel a new stirring. Up from her center grew a stalk. On that stalk grew a crown with sepals and many little petals. She opened the sepals and discovered to her delight a crown of hundreds of little yellow petals basking in the sun. She fed them every day and brought them water to drink. She held them high so they could receive as much sun as possible. They grew and swelled with pride in their bright yellow finery. Every night Dandelion closed her sepals around her daughters in protective embrace. She was very happy.

One day the air turned chill and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. She knew what was coming. She released the special hormone that triggered seed and parachute formation and fed it to her daughters. She continued to protect them as long as she was able, but at last her sepals would not respond any longer. She recalled how once before she had let go of home and mother and all that she had loved and held dear, and now she knew it was time to let go again. She remembered her mother’s last words about the cycle of all things and she was prepared now for the next turning of the cycle.

The wind began to blow. One by one she felt her daughters plucked from her crown. She knew what they would face but she was confident also in their future and that they would be reborn and become mothers in their own right. She knew that they would have petals of their own and that the cycle of all things would renew as it always had and as it always would. One of her daughters, however, was still holding on to her crown tenaciously and repeating, “I won’t leave you, mother! I won’t leave you!”

And the mother sighed and said, “Dandelion, let me tell you a story

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Author:   Diotima Mantineia   
 
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It
is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as
good as dead; his eyes are closed. 
    – Albert Einstein

In the early 1980s, I was initiated into an arcane order of alchemists who refer to themselves as “soil scientists”; practitioners of a discipline called Agronomy, or the study of crops and soils.  This initiation was marked by the presentation of a Bachelor of Science degree (I requested Spinster of Science, but was turned down), and my entrance into graduate school at the University of Maryland’s Agronomy Department.

I suspect the designation of Alchemist would distress many of the good men and women who taught me the mysteries of this discipline, for they all were all careful, dedicated scientists, who would shy away from anything quite so…well, magical. But anyone who works with the soil for long knows that at some point, science breaks down under the weight of too many variables and unknowns, and gives way to art. The truly successful farmer or grower has, along with scientific knowledge, an instinctive, artistic, often magical relationship with the soil they nurture.

The professor who introduced me to the workings and wonders of the Earth’s mantle communicated his enthusiasm and deep respect for the ways of Nature to his students, and my Pagan soul found magic in both field and laboratory. Science led me to art, art led to magic, and one morning I woke up and realized I had become that bane of conservative Christian Republicans, a bona fide tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping Pagan.

Like most Pagans, I love to be connected, both physically and psychically, with the Earth. Rituals and meditations that allow us to blend our consciousness with that of trees, plants and animals, and honor the changing of the seasons, give Pagans a relationship to the land that few who have not learned this way of being can know. Magical training in visualization and journeying, meditation and trained awareness gives an expanded understanding of the world around us.  Journeys into the world of Spirit open our spirits to the vastness and variety of creation, and assure us of our inalienable place within the world, while reminding us that we will never fully grasp the totality of All That Is. We learn humility and the necessity of right relationship. Rediscovering our connection with the Earth and the Web of Life, we develop ceremonies to reflect that connection and build the appropriate relationships and energetic bonds.

Ritual and the Soil

Many in our community go outdoors as often as they can to do ritual, make magic and/or do spirit journeys and meditations on whatever piece of land they nurture. Even city-bound Pagans usually find a small patch of ground, in a park, or outside the city limits, where they go to connect with Nature, leave offerings both energetic and physical, and thank the land for its bounty. Others find a small bit of land to tend for vegetables and flowers, some visit the wildlands, while some of us are fortunate enough to have some acreage under our care. But whether it is through a flower pot or a working farm, most Pagans make an effort to tend to, bless and connect with the Earth.

What I often find overlooked in Pagan ritual, however, is an awareness of the complex ecosystem of the soil itself. Pagans are more aware of the soil’s value than most people, and Pagan altars frequently are graced with a cauldron full of soil, but the focus seems to be on the plants and animals that live on top of the ground, with little or no attention given to the rich and complex ecosystem that exists under our feet. So before you go out and do your blessings, spirit journeys and other magic in your garden this year, or return to that special place in Nature where you go to reconnect, let me introduce you to some of the beings — mineral, vegetable and animal — that inhabit the soil that makes life on Earth possible. Then we’ll look at how science and magic can meet on the land.

Were you to go and sit in your garden, or somewhere in a forest, or on a grassy plain, and sink your consciousness into the land, your awareness, flowing like water, would burrow under the leaves, mulch or other organic detritus that covers the soil (or should!) and find, in a healthy soil, almost as much empty space as matter. Particles of sand, silt or clay, the three mineral constituents of soil, and particles of organic matter in various stages of decomposition, are surrounded and held together in discrete clumps by both the electrostatic properties of the clay particles and by various glue-like organic substances that result from the process of decomposition or are exuded from the bodies of organisms such as plant roots, fungi, bacteria and earthworms. Unless a soil is badly compacted (by heavy equipment, for instance) these clumps are arranged in a loose structure in which the spaces between may take up as much volume as the clumps themselves. This structure allows gases and water to diffuse through the soil, where they are utilized by plant roots and the many living creatures that make their homes in the earth.

A healthy soil has a thriving population of various critters, from the microscopic — fungi, actinomycetes, bacteria (almost as many in a gram of good soil as there are humans on the Earth), rotifers, protozoa and nematodes — to a wide variety of insects, the occasional reptile, and mammals such as moles and gophers. Some of these organisms feed on dead organic matter, transforming it into carbon dioxide, and breakdown products that feed plants and other organisms. Others feed on living matter, everything from microbes on up serving as a food source for another organism.

The area directly adjacent to plant roots has such a rich and diverse ecosystem it is given its own name: the rhizosphere. Miles of root tips move inexorably through the soil, secreting a gelatinous substance to ease their way, and growing fine root hairs to absorb water. The roots also can exude substances that inhibit or encourage life; some give off chemicals that inhibit growth of nearby plant roots, most form a symbiotic relationship with fungi that nourishes both plant and fungus, and the nitrogen-fixing plants, such as peas and clover, form nodules on their roots containing bacteria that claim nitrogen from the air, transform it at the molecular level, and then feed it to the plant.

This incredibly diverse, complex and sustainable life cycle comes to a crashing halt under current, “factory-farm”, methods of agriculture. The earthworm population is devastated by nitrogenous fertilizers, useful microorganisms and insects are eliminated along with the destructive ones by broad-spectrum pesticides, and the critters that live higher on the food chain decamp as soon as their food source dies off. Because of the reliance on chemical fertilizers, organic matter is not carefully managed, and the soil of the average modern farm becomes almost a dead zone. The dearth of life and organic matter leads to more erosion and fertilizer runoff, filling our waterways with pollution, and with the top layer of soil, which took eons to form.  The prevailing views of the scientific community are only just beginning to catch up with what spiritual stewards of the land have known for centuries: that Mother Nature will work with us, but only if we work with Her. Wholesale destruction of the Web of Life can never, in the long run, result in a higher quality of life for any one part of that Web. Those of us who work and commune with the spirits of nature know this beyond a doubt.

Question Authority

My interest in organic agriculture began even before I started college, when organic methods were still considered pretty far out in left field. Now, when even the most mainstream of scientists must admit that much of what they scorned about organic methods decades ago has turned out to be valid, my interests and investigations have taken me even further afield into the truly alchemical realm of Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic agriculture, the effect of sound and chanting on plant growth, the effect of magic and intent on plant and soil health, and work with the Devic and Faery realms.  Of course, none of the above methods of working with plants and the soil would be considered scientifically valid – they would, in fact, be looked on as anything from wishful thinking to outright delusion. But the logic behind these methods seemed clear to me once I seriously considered the possibility of a Universe birthed from Consciousness, instead of one in which consciousness arose simply from chance and the laws of physics.

I had not come to this concept of a Consciousness-based reality quickly or easily; in fact, I spent many years attempting to reconcile my interest in science and my interest in religion, metaphysics, magic, and what is commonly known as “the occult” before this connection became clear to me.

Magic does not require an unquestioning belief in anything – quite the opposite.  Questions and careful observance are part of the work, but there is a need to suspend restrictive judgments about what can and cannot be, what is and is not possible, and to allow pure experience to bring the answers to questions that can be answered in no other way.

The basis of most metaphysical, magical and “occult” disciplines lies in the concept of a form of life energy called, variously, chi, prana, orgone, life energy. Mainstream science says this energy doesn’t exist. Those who work with it – who experience it – believe it simply has not yet been measured or quantified. The use of this life energy, and the mind’s direction of it, is the framing of magic. Learning to use it, learning magic, requires an openness to the possibility of the existence of this life energy.

When I began my formal training in Witchcraft in the mid-1980s, I knew I had to find a way to blend my understanding of science with my growing knowledge of magical principles, because I knew instinctively that there must be an underlying basis to reality that tied the two together. I certainly didn’t spurn the Western scientific way of thinking, but I learned that it was only one way of approaching and understanding reality.

Sitting at my altar, or walking in the woods, I worked hard to learn to sense and shape energy, training my mind to focus and shape or diffuse the energy I sensed. I dug deeply into my psyche to discover how my thoughts, beliefs and emotions shape the energy I surround myself with – that energy with which we all meet the world — and how to change and control that energy by working with and changing my thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

I cast spells, and used divinatory techniques. I meditated, studied martial arts, and participated in many rituals, all as part of my magical training. I read voraciously in psychology, science, mythology, magic, philosophy and comparative religion. My life began to change…

The proverbial dark night of the soul came, and, on the other side of it I found myself living my dream. I now felt certain that magic was a valid, useful way of interacting with the world. My life continued to change in the direction of my dreams, as I continued to use applied techniques that seemed to shift reality without any specific, physical effort on my part.  The fact that many would think me at least slightly mad bothered me not at all. My beliefs and interests now made my lifelong interest in organic agriculture seem tame by comparison.

Which still left me looking for the connection I knew was there but could not trace. Finally, the basic dichotomy became clear to me. The primary difference between reductionist scientific thinking and the world of the Witch is that the Witch – like most other religious people – believes that the physical universe is created from consciousness. The reductionists, on the other hand, cling to the increasingly less credible idea that consciousness is nothing but an epiphenomenon of the brain. I realized from all the reading I had been absorbing on modern physics that science, on its bleeding edge, was walking a path towards First Cause that took it closer and closer to an understanding of the primacy of Consciousness.

Most Pagans believe that Consciousness is primary and that the energetic nature of the Universe can be influenced by the human mind, will and emotions. This does not make us “wacky” or unscientific, and the prejudices of mainstream science should not discourage us from approaching the use of our unconventional methods with an attitude of “Does it grow corn?” (or tomatoes, or lilacs, or oak trees). The scientific method is valid in any area of endeavor-the primary difficulty with approaching Reiki healing, sacred geometry or the influence of the Devas through the scientific method is always identifying and controlling for the variables. Replication is basic to the scientific method, and it’s darned hard to replicate something when you don’t know what all the influences are!

So if your intuitive feelings or mystical observations of the natural world lead you to sing to your plants , ask the advice and help of various spirits, or magically transfer and pattern Earth energies , do not feel as though you are being inherently unscientific. I’ve found that Pagans can be reluctant to look for the reasons behind the effects of the magic and rituals we perform. There is a fear that the magic will disappear under the “cold light of science”, and we may find that we are deluding ourselves. But both valid science and valid magic require an unflinching willingness and ability to look for the underlying truth.  While magic may seem to disappear under the scrutiny of a poorly-designed experiment, the true light of science is not a strobe, under which things appear to be other than they are, but is the steady, warm and illuminating light of the Sun.

What we call magic does not disappear in the light of day, and science will eventually expand to encompass and confirm any truth we may find in our mystical explorations, even if the methods of science sometimes fall short in explaining the reasons behind those truths. Real science, and real magic, will expand along with our growing understanding of the nature of reality. Those who try to force reality to fit their fears, prejudices, and pre-conceived notions, whether in magic or science, will find their path both destructive and ultimately futile.

While I am a firm believer in the scientific method, I also know that it can be and regularly is misused, either deliberately or unconsciously, in the service of human greed and fear. Quantum physics is questioning whether or not true objectivity is possible, but any student of human nature knows that, even if possible, it is rarely achieved. The litany of scientific error is long – which, in itself, is not a bad thing. Science is a process, an ongoing investigation, and if we are unwilling to make errors -even spectacular ones – we limit ourselves, for trial and error is at the heart of scientific experimentation. What is problematic in science is the all-too-common unwillingness to change, to admit error, to see past truths as being superseded by more current discoveries, or worse, to see the error, but actively suppress truth for reasons of simple greed and fear.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of an Agronomy professor at a Midwestern university who, speaking to an editor of Acres magazine about the realities of agricultural research said, “Give us a $100,000 grant, and we’ll prove anything you want.” While I persist in thinking that such a level of corruption within academia is not common, nonetheless, it is a fact that much agricultural research is funded by corporate agri-business. Clearly, it is a challenge for a scientist whose livelihood is in the hands of a large corporation to be entirely objective, and the research that supports the continuing use of poisons and petroleum-dependent fertilizers and unregulated genetic manipulation reflects, at best, a blindered view of the agricultural process, at worst, an extraordinary level of venality and corruption, the consequences of which are tragic, and will take generations to overcome.

Science, however, is not solely in the hands of those who have the correct letters after their names. Anyone with a bit of land or even a few pots can learn the basic principles of scientific experimentation and observation, and apply them to various methods and techniques that are regularly ignored or scorned by mainstream science. You can take that piece of land you nurture and learn through careful observation what the land needs to create and maintain the Web of Life. If your experiments are carefully thought out and executed, you will add to a body of general knowledge and experience that can be discussed and built on by yourself and others. Don’t be afraid of doing it “wrong”, or of what you might find out. The gods and spirits are not dead, and investigative science does not have the power to kill them. Just keep an open mind, observant eyes, and good records. If this type of research interests you, learn what you can (see the resources section below) of experimental design, and use it to test any questions that may come to you when you are working with the land, or with the spirits of the land.

An excellent example of this attitude can be found in Sandra Ingerman’s book “Medicine for the Earth”, which details her work with spirits to alleviate water pollution, and the encouraging results of her experiments. Hopefully, the results of these preliminary experiments will encourage some professional scientists to develop more sophisticated research and establish a baseline of data from which we can work to develop replicable methods of spiritual, energetic healing that will help reverse the effects of pollution. Who knows, perhaps they will even be able to find funding for it.

Everyone who can identify with the label “dirt worshipper” has a job they can do to help in reclaiming the Earth. Magical workings, tending whatever spot of Earth you can, and donating time and money to environmental causes are all valid and much needed responses to the current crisis. Whether you are interested in working from a scientific perspective, or prefer to work with the land in an instinctive, magical way (or both!) your attention and energy are needed. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness, who honor the mysteries of both life and death, must continue to do the work that will strengthen the Web of Life on this planet.

The work begins with honoring and attending to the planet and the land we have been given to care for, observing and understanding the cycles, and the complex and beautifully balanced interactions of the ecosystems around us. It continues by expanding our minds to encompass influences and forces which we may not fully understand.

Standard scientific research and knowledge will play a large part in rebalancing the Earth’s cycles, but standard scientific research cannot account for things it does not know or will not acknowledge. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness and energy are pioneers. A strength and certainty of vision is needed to do the work that must be done, though it will often be done in the face of scorn and fundamental skepticism. Know that when you do this work, you are not alone.

Resources:

Web sites:

Natural Resources Conservation Service: “Helping People Understand Soils” http://soils.usda.gov/

The Rodale Institute http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/

Community Supported Agriculture: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association http://www.biodynamics.com/

Sustainable Agriculture Network http://www.sare.org

Perelandra http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Findhorn http://www.findhorn.org/

Recommended reading, in no particular order:

The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry. ISBN: 0871568772

The Nature and Properties of Soil by Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil. ISBN: 0130167630

The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin. ISBN: 0062515020

Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins by Sandra Ingerman ISBN: 0609805177

Earth Light: The Ancient Path to Transformation Rediscovering the Wisdom of Celtic & Faery Lore by R.J. Stewart ISBN: 1892137011

The Faery Teachings by Orion Foxwood ISBN: 1-89213-704-5

Secrets of the Soil: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. ISBN: 1890693243

An Introduction to Scientific Research by E. Bright Wilson ISBN: 0486665453

Your Symbol Card for October 24th is The Rose

Your Symbol Card for Today

The Rose

The White Rose indicates the need for or the presence of purity of intention. The question to ponder is, “Am I/he/she being self-serving, or other-directed?” The caution is that even if we are reasonably certain our motives are generous, if we are yet attempting to impose our idea of what should be, we are not acting at the level of the White Rose. When the White Rose appears, examine your own and others’ motives, and then trust the answer that brings you true peace of mind.

As a daily card, the Rose denotes a time in which you will be best served by allowing your actions to be guided by what is best for the greatest number even if the path indicated is not the one you feel is best for you.

Calendar of the Moon for October 24th

Calendar of the Moon

24 Gort/Puanepsion

Apaturia Day 3: Koureotis

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a white cloth set the carved root of a tree, the leafy branch of a tree, scattered seeds, a bowl of water, a loaf of bread, and either fresh milk or nourishing herbal tea.
Offerings: Oneself, to the Order.
Daily Meal: A feast of any correct foods of the harvest, prepared for all.

Koureotis Invocation

Hail to those who have come together today!
Hail to those who live outside the Houses,
Yet follow the Rule as best they can,
Spreading the seeds of our Light beyond our walls.
(One comes forth with a handful of seeds, and gives them out to the lay members who have come to the House on this day, and says, “Take these with you, and plant them well.”)
Hail to those who are like the branches of a tree,
Reaching for the light, seeking for grace,
Who come to us like birds alighting,
Perhaps to stay and nest, perhaps to fly away.
Hail to you, and may you touch that Light
With your outstretched arms.
(The tree branch is carried around, and all Branch members brushed with the water.)
Hail to those who are rooted here,
Flesh and bone, heart and soul,
Giving up their lives for this our Life.
Hail to those who are the ground beneath our feet,
The stone beneath the field, the mountain
Beneath the path that climbs. Hail!
(The carved root is carried around, and all Root members are touched with water via the root.)
Bring forth those who would enter,
Who would come further, who would go deeper!
Bring them forth and hear their vows!
(All cry, “Bring them forth!” and those who would enter the Order as lay members are brought forward, and then those who would enter the Houses as Branch members, and then those who would take Root vows. Each in turn makes their vows before all.)

Song: Blessing Song

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 17th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Autumnale

Colors: Brown and Orange
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown and orange, patterned with autumn leaves, place a basket of fallen leaves, barrels of straw, shovels, spades, a bowl of rainwater, and seeds for cover crops.
Offerings: Turn under and mulch the used land.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Aequinoctium Autumnale Invocation

Earth, we have eaten of your bounty!
You have fed us, and we are content.
We have worked you hard, and you have responded
With generosity and fruitfulness.
Now, as the year draws on, and the Sun
Shortens its days and counts the moons
Until its chilly death and incandescent rebirth,
We gift you as you have gifted us,
We care for you as you have cared for us,
We give back that we may continue to take,
Year after year, cycle after cycle.
Do not think, O Mother, that we are merely selfish,
And would only rape you of your bounty.
Our hands shall toil that you may have,
If only in this one small place,
Richness to take back for yourself.
For we know the hard secrets of the cycle,
And we will someday give ourselves
Back to your quiet embrace.

Chant:
Leaves falling
To our hands
Autumn calling
Cover all the land

(All take up the buckets of leaves and straw, and the spades, and go out to the garden. Some will turn over the soil, and others shall follow with cover crop seeds and rainwater, or with mulch to cover the ground. This shall be done throughout the Aequinoctium Autumnale days until all the ground from this year’s crops are covered.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Let’s Get Crafty – Making a Smudging Stick

Making a Smudging Stick

Be aware of any dangerous chemical reactions or allergies to the plants being used. If you intend to burn a plant in a smudge stick do your research into the plant first to ensure that what you are burning is not dangerous to your health. Always find out if you are allergic first, and have another person on hand or ready to help you if something goes wrong. Call 911 or the appropriate telephone number if a dangerous condition occurs.

Always be careful of how you burn your smudge stick, ensuring that you do not burn yourself. Always use proper fire preventative measures; place burning objects within or upon the appropriate fire burning apparatus. Be aware that holding the smudge stick within your hands can result in burning your hands.

When wrapping the bundle, you should be careful to wrap tightly enough to hold the stems and leaves in place, but not to cut them.

Humidity is a factor in dry time, ensure that your bundle has dried fully before attempting to burn it.

Ensure that there is no mold/mildew growth upon your bundle before burning it.

~Ingredients~

  • Herb(s) appropriate for the smudging
  • String that will safely burn, such as jute line or cotton string

~Process~

  1. Select your fresh herb from the plant (unless you can get long stems of plants elsewhere).
  2. Cut the plant according to size. Plants which are more leafy should be cut in smaller sections, and those that are less leafy can be cut in larger sections.
  3. Cut the string to a good length, such as five to six feet.
  4. Place the pieces according to like, stems to stems and leafs to leafs.
  5. Wrap string around the base, leaving a few inches of string loose.
  6. Wrap up from stems to leafs, then back again in a crisscross pattern.
  7. After returning to the base, tie the few inches from before to the end of your string.
  8. Trim if necessary to give a uniform look.
  9. Place your bundle in a place where it shall dry.

Calendar of the Moon for October 16th

Calendar of the Moon

16 Gort/Puanepsion

Day of the Blackthorn Tree

Color: Dark Blue
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a dark blue cloth set a vase of blackthorn twigs, a single dark blue candle, a knife, a pot of soil, herb seeds, a bowl of water, and a bell. Several wooden staves lean against the altar.
Offerings: Plant seeds. Face conflict.
Daily Meal: Vegan

Invocation to the Green Man of the Blackthorn Tree

Hail, Green Man of the Autumn!
Blackthorn tree of the hedges,
Whose thorns dissuade cattle
And intruders from trespassing,
Tree of the walking staff
Whose name is Strife
And whose job is Boundary,
You teach us that sometimes
Guardianship can lead to battle,
And that not everything can be held
Peacefully, be it land or goals
Or objects or rules or values.
Sometimes there will be strife
By the very nature of the universe,
Which encompasses both equally
And sees conflict as the necessary
Adjustment that points out our blindnesses.
Tree of thorns, hulking and sullen,
You will not stand to be mistreated
Or taken advantage; your nature
Does not lend itself to yielding.
We hail you, sacred blackthorn tree,
Green Man of the Autumn,
On this the day of your bloodshed.

(Let one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual arm themselves with a staff, and guard the altar. Each approaches the altar, and is swung at; they take up a staff and meet the blow with it. After this they are allowed to approach and plant a seed in the pot of soil, saying, “Hail Green Man of the Earth!” Water is poured onto the pot, and then the rest is poured out as a libation. Ring bell and dismiss.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 10th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Autumnale

Colors: Brown and Orange
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown and orange, patterned with autumn leaves, place a basket of fallen leaves, barrels of straw, shovels, spades, a bowl of rainwater, and seeds for cover crops.
Offerings: Turn under and mulch the used land.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Aequinoctium Autumnale Invocation

Earth, we have eaten of your bounty!
You have fed us, and we are content.
We have worked you hard, and you have responded
With generosity and fruitfulness.
Now, as the year draws on, and the Sun
Shortens its days and counts the moons
Until its chilly death and incandescent rebirth,
We gift you as you have gifted us,
We care for you as you have cared for us,
We give back that we may continue to take,
Year after year, cycle after cycle.
Do not think, O Mother, that we are merely selfish,
And would only rape you of your bounty.
Our hands shall toil that you may have,
If only in this one small place,
Richness to take back for yourself.
For we know the hard secrets of the cycle,
And we will someday give ourselves
Back to your quiet embrace.

Chant:
Leaves falling
To our hands
Autumn calling
Cover all the land

(All take up the buckets of leaves and straw, and the spades, and go out to the garden. Some will turn over the soil, and others shall follow with cover crop seeds and rainwater, or with mulch to cover the ground. This shall be done throughout the Aequinoctium Autumnale days until all the ground from this year’s crops are covered.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 8th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Autumnale

Colors: Brown and Orange
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown and orange, patterned with autumn leaves, place a basket of fallen leaves, barrels of straw, shovels, spades, a bowl of rainwater, and seeds for cover crops.
Offerings: Turn under and mulch the used land.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Aequinoctium Autumnale Invocation

Earth, we have eaten of your bounty!
You have fed us, and we are content.
We have worked you hard, and you have responded
With generosity and fruitfulness.
Now, as the year draws on, and the Sun
Shortens its days and counts the moons
Until its chilly death and incandescent rebirth,
We gift you as you have gifted us,
We care for you as you have cared for us,
We give back that we may continue to take,
Year after year, cycle after cycle.
Do not think, O Mother, that we are merely selfish,
And would only rape you of your bounty.
Our hands shall toil that you may have,
If only in this one small place,
Richness to take back for yourself.
For we know the hard secrets of the cycle,
And we will someday give ourselves
Back to your quiet embrace.

Chant:
Leaves falling
To our hands
Autumn calling
Cover all the land

(All take up the buckets of leaves and straw, and the spades, and go out to the garden. Some will turn over the soil, and others shall follow with cover crop seeds and rainwater, or with mulch to cover the ground. This shall be done throughout the Aequinoctium Autumnale days until all the ground from this year’s crops are covered.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]