The Orishas

The Orishas

Gods of Santeria

The orishas are the gods of Santeria, the beings that believers interact with on a regular basis. Each orisha has its own distinct personality and has a wide variety of strengths, weaknesses and interests. In many ways, therefore, understanding an orisha is like understanding another human being.

Olodumare

There is also a more removed being known as Olodumare, who created the orishas but later retreated from his creations.

Some describe the orishas as being manifestations or aspects of Olodumare.Olodumare is the source of ashe, which all living things must have in order to survive and succeed, including the orishas. Olodumare alone is self-sustaining, not needing ashe to be provided by another source.

Humans and orishas, however, provide ashe to each other through a variety of rituals. The best source of ashe is in sacrificial blood, which is why animal sacrifice plays such a prominent role in Santeria. Humans provide ashe through blood or other ritual actions, and the orisha becomes a conduit of ashe from Olodumare to the petitioner to assist in the petitioner’s endeavors.

Old World and New World

The number of orishas varies among believers. In the original African belief system from which Santeria originates, there are hundreds of orishas. New World Santeria believers, on the other hand, generally only work with a handful of them.In the New World these beings are commonly seen as family: they marry each other, give birth to others, and so forth.

In that sense they work more like Western pantheons like those of the Greeks or Romans.

In Africa, however, there was no such familiarity between orishas, in part because their followers were not strongly connected. Each African city-state had its own single, patron deity. A priest could only be dedicated to that single orisha of the city, and that orisha was honored above all others.

In the New World, Africans from many city-states were thrown together into common slavery. It made little sense or practicality for a slave community to to focus on a single orisha in that scenario. As such, the orishas came to be regarded as roughly equals as cultures mixed. Priests were trained to work with multiple orishas instead of being exclusively dedicated to a single one. This helped the religion to survive. Even if a priest of one orisha died, there would be others in the community trained to work with that same orisha.

The Patakis

The patakis, or stories of the orishas, are not standardized and are frequently contradictory. Part of this comes from the fact that these stories come from a variety of different African cities, each of which had their own ideas about the nature of the orishas. This trend is encouraged by the fact that each Santeria community today remains independent of other communities. There is no expectation that each community would function exactly alike or understand the orishas in exactly the same way.As such, these stories give multiple origin stories for the orishas. Sometimes they are depicted as once-mortal figures, often leaders, who were elevated by Olodumare to divinity. Other times they are birthed as higher beings.

The purpose of these stories today is to teach lessons rather than relate some literal truth. As such, there is no concern about the literal truth of these tales or the fact that tales my contradict one another. Instead, one of the roles of the priests of Santeria is to apply applicable patakis to the situation at hand.

Catholic Masks

The orishas are equated with a variety of Catholic saints. This was a necessity when slave-owners refused to allow slaves to practice African religion. It is understood that the orishas wear many masks in order for people to better understand them. Santeros (Santeria priests) do not believe that the orishas and the saints are identical. The saint is a mask of the orisha, and it does no work the other way around. However, many of their clients are also Catholic, and they understand that such clients better identify with these beings under the guise of the saintly counterparts.

Source:
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Santeria

Santeria

An Introduction to Santeria for Beginners

Santeria, like Vodou, is an African Diaspora religion, meaning that it is based on native African religious traditions that were brought to the Americas by African slaves. Native American beliefs, Catholicism and the experiences of slavery merged with these African religions to form what they are today.

Location

Santeria developed in Cuba, although it can be found in many countries today, primarily spread through emigration from Cuba.It is primarily based on African Yoruba religion, although the beliefs of the Dahomey and Benin people also influence it.

These source religions can still be found in Africa today.

Membership

The terms santero and santera are reserved only for full priests of the religion, and priests confer the priesthood upon a person through specific ceremonies after the candidate has met certain requirements.There is no special term for people who simply believe in Santeria. Santeros provide their services to anyone who asks, regardless of belief.

Beliefs

Santeria honors a number of worldly gods known as orishas. Each has their own myths and command over certain aspects of life. There are also multiple aspects of many of the orishas, with further specialization in terms of interest and influence. In the West there are less than two dozen orishas commonly approached, although in Africa there are hundreds.Above the orishas is Olodumare, creator of all and the supreme being. Olodumare is a distant, removed being no longer involved in the affairs of mortals. As such, he is not approached as orishas are.

Ashe is the substance of Olodumare and thus the substance of all things created by Olodumare.

To appeal to the orishas is to attempt an exchange of ashe. Humans, through their offerings, provide ashe to the orishas, which they need in order to survive. In return, the orishas grant ashe that will assist the petitioner in some specific task.

Christian Influences

Santeria shops commonly carry a wide variety of Christian items such as prayer candles dedicated to particular saints. This practice was originally developed by slaves in order to hide their pagan practices from Christian masters. Today, Cuban communities continue to be strongly Catholic, so the practice continues to have benefit, both in shielding believers from scrutiny but also allowing santeros to assist Catholic members of the community through the use of Catholic language.Santeros believe the orishas wear a variety of masks that other cultures recognize as their own holy figures. So, for example, when Aganyu is described as St. Christopher, it is understood by the santero that St. Christopher is one of the masks of Aganyu, although a Catholic petitioner would understand this figure only as St. Christopher. In this way santeros do not believe other holy figures are false, merely different perspectives of the orishas. Religious Sacrifices In order for ashe to be provided to orishas, sacrifices must be made. There are a variety of things that the orishas like, but one of the most common and powerful sources of ashe is blood. As such, animal sacrifice is fairly common in Santeria rituals.

Because the orishas primarily want the blood of the animal, the flesh of sacrificial animals are frequently eaten after the ritual is concluded. There are exceptions to this, such as when the sacrifice is part of a ritual to draw away a contaminating influence. In such cases the bodies are discarded as spiritually contaminated and left to rot.

 

Source:

, Alternative Religions Expert

Article found on & probably owned by About.com

Thoughts on Mixing Deities

Thoughts on Mixing Deities

Author:   Ignacio Ceja   

I grew up reading mythology. Greek, Roman, Aztec, Egyptian, it didn’t matter where it came from. Nearly every afternoon could find me in the school library. The head librarian came to the practice of setting books out just for me.

When I became Pagan, and the choice of deity was mine to make, I assumed I’d pick a pantheon and go with it. The idea seemed simple enough. I had background lore in several pantheons; all I had to do was make a choice. This proved easier said than done. I was a solitary, with no Pagan friends with whom to discuss this. Even having friends, I realize in retrospect, would have only further complicated my choice. The affinity I felt for various figures and Gods was too strong for me to be content with a single pantheon. There was also my all to critical Gemini nature, which lead, and leads, me to boredom quickly. I imagined it must be easier for someone who is brought up, brought into, or finds his/her way into a coven or practice where the choice of deity is already made. There was also the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable with all the Gods of any particular pantheon. I wasn’t ready then to accept every aspect of myself. I certainly couldn’t accept every aspect of a pantheon. I know that if I had been a whole person, it wouldn’t have mattered. But what teenager is a whole person? I’ve never known one. I also didn’t want to be devoted to only one deity, I’d had enough of that already.

It seemed pretty obvious to me that if I liked specific deities, I should honor them, despite their origins. Initially I felt guilty about this. A part of what I felt stemmed from not having a personal touchstone to what I was reaching for. I am not Egyptian, for instance, so although I can relate to Egyptian Gods, I feel no personal connection. The same could be said of just about any pantheon. The only one I had a personal link to was Aztec. My biggest drawback with relation to this pantheon was my lack of ability to relate. The first thing I thought of when I considered Aztec mythology was human sacrifice. Hearts offered up to Huitzilopochtli, the Sun and War God. I simply couldn’t relate to a culture and a time period where and when such a practice would have been necessary. So I dismissed the feelings of guilt. After all, I’d left organized guilt behind me; it would be harmful to dredge it up and attach it to my new beliefs.

In mixing Gods from different pantheons, I suppose the first order of business is, “Will these Gods get along and play nicely together?” There are legends of Gods within a particular pantheon who don’t get along. In Santeria, Yemaya tricked Oya into swapping the cemetary, which was Yemaya’s, for the oceans. The resulting bitterness between these two Goddesses is so strong that they will not socialize, and cannot be honored together1 . Mt Olympus is filled to overflowing with stories of Gods with grudges against one another because of a love affair here, a stolen treasure there. Take a trip down to Egypt and look at the intense competition between Set and Horus for the throne after the fall of Osiris. That particular conflict involves more than just these two Gods. I’ve never read about inter-pantheonic rivalries, where the Gods of one culture have grievences with the Gods of another, say Norse vs. Egyptian. Each culture seems to have quasi-isolated beliefs in regard to “their” deities. I’ve never seen anything about the Gods of different cultures interacting, except on TV’s Hercules and Xena, Warrior Princess.

In my early years, I just worked with God and Goddess using the terms “Lord” and “Lady”. As time passed and I learned new concepts, I honored new deities. After a while, I began to want my own personal approach to deity. To establish this, I turned to my family heritage. My mother is a German woman, half German actually, and since she raised me, I felt my strongest family connection through her. I began reading about the Norse Gods. It took a while before I felt anything personal though. It must be something about actually having to do the work involved, so I took a year to work with them. Ritual took on a whole new feel after that. Having a personal link to the deities I was reaching out to allowed me to feel like I belonged, like I was a child of the powers I was addressing. This experience had been lacking, noticeably, up to that time. It was the first time since I was a child that I actually felt fulfilled by an act of faith. To say that this really worked for me would be an understatement, so I did the same with my father’s Mexican heritage. In doing so, I came to know Guadalupe. This proved to be a much more difficult task, because there is a strong bias in the information that is available. Although one could argue that every face is her “true” face, I found that I had to sift through both church and historical myth to find her most “complete” face.

I found that Guadalupe is the current incarnation of Tonanzin, an Aztec mother Goddess. I use the term “current” lightly, as Guadalupe made her first recorded appearance in the mid 1500s. She appeared to a young Indian named Juan Diego, and asked him to carry a message to the local priests. She wanted a temple built to her on Tepayac Hill. Juan Diego did as she asked, but the priests didn’t believe him. Tepayac Hill was a site sacred to Tonanzin. The priests avoided it. Besides, why would the Mother of God reveal herself to a common person when they were always listening for her will? Twice more, Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, and twice more he carried out her wishes. The last time, however, she caused roses to grow from the desert floor. If he carried her roses to the local priests, they would believe him. Juan Diego gathered Guadalupe’s roses into his blanket and set off. Again, the priests didn’t believe him, but when he showed them the roses, they all saw that his blanket had been imprinted with the image of Guadalupe. The temple was built, and the blanket was kept there as a sacred object. It can still be seen there today. Although I still have more research to do on Guadalupe, I’ve kept a shrine to her in my room for the last four years.

I began reading about various Afro-Carribean faiths a year before I went to Mississippi to study weather. The ones I spent the most time with were Voudo, Santeria and Condomble. My only link to these faiths is my Hispanic heritage. Santeria has flourished in Latin America, and although it is recognized for its African roots, Santeria and the Yoruba faith practiced in Nigeria are marked in their differences. I’m not saying that Santeria belongs to Latin America. I don’t believe that any faith belongs to any particular group; however, I do believe that Santeria has become ingrained in the background of Latin American culture.

While I was in weather school, I made two altars. One I erected to Chango and Oya, and the second to Yemaya. Chango and Oya each rule fire. Oya, additionally, has charge of the winds. Yemaya rules the oceans. As heating, moisture and air are all necessary for weather, these three Gods were ideally suited to assist me in my course of learning.2

I have three main altars in my room now. My Goddess altar has a shrine to Guadalupe, surrounded by Goddess images from various cultures. My God altar has a statue of Pan, with a few different Green Man/Horned God images. The third altar is to my ancestors, as the dead hold a special place in my beliefs. I have created my own pantheon. They are my personally selected support group of deities and spirits. I worship a Greek God and a Meso-American Goddess. Can mixing deities work? I suppose it’s a very personal thing. As I feel that I’m doing just fine, I’m inclined to a resounding “Yes.” You know the saying, “You can’t pick you family, but you can pick your friends.” I’m happy to say that you can also pick your Gods.

Blessed Be.

1Oya and Yemaya are both important Orishas in the Yoruba pantheon. Both will be honored in a practitioner’s home, but their sacred objects are kept separate.

2The bitterness referred to above is the reason why I created separate altars. I also honored them on different days.

Ignatious Fireweaver

Let's Talk Witch – Your Personal Code

magick21

 

Your Personal Code

Every magickal tradition, from the Druids to Wicca to Santeria, has its own code— principles that guide the practitioner, boundaries that he or she won’t cross, a core of beliefs that permeates everything he or she does. These core beliefs define the parameters of the magickal practice. In Wicca, the primary principle is to harm nothing and no one.

But individuals also develop their own personal codes. Have you defined yours As previously noted, cultural differences have a hand in sculpting a particular individual’s beliefs. In the end, however, each of us must refine our own code as we evolve from children raised in the belief systems of our parents to adults who decide for ourselves what we believe.

This is not to say that any of us is omnipotent, that any of us has all the answers or even a good chunk of them. We’re all seekers and we all have a need for some sort of belief system. Your belief system may include an adherence to an organized religion or to some other spiritual discipline, or it may not include any sort of spiritual ideas at all. But at the heart of any belief system lies a code by which you live your life, and it may not have any connection whatsoever to other people’s concepts of good and bad. After all, even thieves have codes.

Do you believe in an afterlife In a supreme being In good and evil Do you believe that reality is exactly as it appears, that what you see is what you get Do you believe people can’t be trusted, that all Dobermans are vicious, that it’s every man for himself, that you’re a victim and there’s nothing you can do about it Then your experiences will confirm those beliefs.

If, on the other hand, you believe that nothing is fated, that your free will and your innermost beliefs effect your reality, then your experiences will confirm that, too.

Because you have picked up a book on magick and spells, you probably already believe that you can shape your own destiny and are looking for practical information on how to do it more efficiently and pragmatically. Magick is one route. But there are hundreds of ways to get to where you want to be. The bottom line of any exploration is defining what you believe and what works for you.

 

The Only Book of Wiccan Spells You’ll Ever Need (The Only Book You’ll Ever Need) Singer, Marian; MacGregor, Trish (2012-08-18).

The Eternal Return

The Eternal Return

Experiencing the Magick of Giving Back

by Sylvana SilverWitch

The smell of the earth is moist and mysterious, the plants are bursting with a vivid kaleidoscope of flowers, the fruit is sweetening on the branch, the sun is shining hot on my back, and I am happy. This time of the earth’s bounty makes me think of giving something back… to the earth, to the greater community, to my clan, to my lover, to a stranger on the street.

One of the things I know unequivocally is that to be competent at creating what you desire in life, you must give, give, give and then give some more. Giving works as if to illustrate to the Goddess/God/universe that you trust absolutely in the greater scheme of things and that the universe will provide for you and your needs, and as if to create a spell of abundance in your life. Sometimes the giving has such an effect on the person given to that it changes his or her life. Such change has happened to me; I have, remarkably, been on both ends.

To receive, you must give; it helps to ask as well. In this time of impending harvest, I offer you a spell in three parts: appreciating and giving thanks for what you have in your life already, giving the universe your desires and giving back to the world just as it gives to you.

I work at making the spell of giving and receiving a part of ordinary life, and I do my best to give to my community, my friends, my coven, my lover and whoever else seems right – whether it’s love, food, money, advice, help, time or energy. I cannot always immediately see the results of giving, and unquestionably, we shouldn’t give with a mind to what we will get back – that ruins the energy of it. But we may give humbly, knowing that our energy will return to us threefold, at least.

Occasionally, something I do or say has an immediate profound effect on a person, and I receive my reward right away in the awareness that I have aided the person. Sometimes I am rewarded in an unusual and unforeseen way. For instance, the phone company keeps sending me money whenever I really need it, and I still have not figured out why. Oh, well – I just trust that everything will come out as it should, and it does.

The following is a very simple spell that anyone can do, any time, any place. It is chiefly about consciousness and awareness and about being present to the gifts that are yours every day of your life. To perform the spell successfully, it helps to be centered in being conscious of what you have rather than focusing your energy on what you don’t have.

First, take a few moments to contemplate and give thanks for all of the amazing, powerful gifts you have received so far this year. Your body, your breath, your life. Your family, friends, children, lover, clan, community. Did you get the job that you really wanted? Did you finally learn some hard lesson, so you can now move on? Did you meet just the right person to help you on a project? What favors have the gods bestowed upon you recently? Take a minute or two from your day every day to focus on what you do have, and what you have received that you asked for or needed.

Then make a list, and on it list everything you can think of that you wish for. Begin with the things that you can easily accomplish in a day or a week. Start with the very next day, as in “I want (fill in the blank) tomorrow,” then move on to next week, then next month. Follow with wishes for three months, six months, nine months, a year, three years, five years, ten years and so on. List material things, job goals, relationship goals, whatever you can think of (you can always add more things later as you remember them). I always make mine a list of dates with items next to them – for example: August 1, 1996, new job making great money in a place I like with people I respect and like.

Next, sense yourself into the future and into what you want to achieve, as if it is already happening. It is! As soon as you put power into it, you begin the movement in the direction of that actuality.

Once you’ve done that for every wish, locate a spot to hang your list where you will view it every day, preferably more than once a day. Seeing the list daily reminds your subconscious of where you are going without you having to think about it. Place the list in a location away from the eyes of those who would deter or discourage you.

Then, once the list is hung up, let the desires go. Doing so is important, and the point where a lot of spells get hung up. Forget about the list except when you glance at it or when you cross off a desire that you have accomplished. (Do cross off listed wishes as you achieve them, but leave them readable, as you want to be able to see the results of your spell and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from success.)

Once you have hung up your list, sit down, preferably in a quiet place where you can sit on the ground, but anywhere will do. Close your eyes, and give thanks and appreciation to the earth, to the sky, to the God and Goddess, to the elementals, to the fey kingdom for all that is, for your place to live here on the earth.

Give thanks, and then go and give away something that you truly treasure; give away a little something every day. Give a present to your best friend or your lover for no reason. Give some coins to a person less fortunate than you; there are always the less fortunate. Do not judge them, or what they will do with the money; that’s not important; it’s only important that you give freely.

Hugs, kisses and love are things you can give freely whenever you feel affection for someone. Bring a gift when you visit; send a cheerful card or letter to a parent or other family member; give a flower to a child; give a treat to an animal friend; leave out offerings to the fey and to the other wild things. Try the charming Santería custom of kissing your money as you make an offering (or spend it); Santería devotees believe that kissing money ensures it will return to you (and I do too!).

Explore how much you can give with love, joy and generosity, and this will tell you where your prosperity potential is. The more difficult it is for you to be generous, the harder it is for you to be prosperous yourself.

See how it feels to feel as if you have enough, as if you are rich, as if you have all your needs fulfilled – as if you are the opulent Earth Mother giving to all her children!

Thank all for whatever you have. Put out the energy of generosity and good will, and that is what you will manifest in your life.

Give love, every day, to someone who needs some, and if nothing else, give a smile.

The Morality of Sacrifice

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the Santería religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú, which can include candles, fruits, candy or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times, they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person’s aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth, there is blood.

In our modern society, we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear, it is preprocessed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal’s death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animal’s life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse, there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever-growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than Santería has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!

On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect: respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well-cared-for, because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well-cared-for and pampered as theirs.

At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgment that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animal’s. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.

Afterwards, if the animal wasn’t used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten, as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.

Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.

What is Santeria?

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

Santería, or La Regla Lucumí, originates in West Africa in what is now Nigeria and Benin. It is the traditional religion of the Yoruba peoples there. The slave trade brought many of these people to the shores of Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, among other places. But along with the bodies being brought over for sale into a life of misery, something else was being brought along. Their souls. And their religion.

First of all, Santería is not a “primitive” religion. On the contrary, the Yorubas were and are a very civilized people with a rich culture and deep sense of ethics. We believe in one god known as Olorun or Olodumare. Olorun is the source of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe, all life and all things material.

Olorun interacts with the world and humankind through emissaries. These emissaries are called orishas. The orishas rule over every force of nature and every aspect of human life. They are approachable and can be counted on to come to the aid of their followers, guiding us to a better life materially as well as spiritually.

Communication between orishas and humankind is accomplished through ritual, prayer, divination and ebó or offerings (which includes sacrifice). Song, rhythms and trance possession are also means with which we interact with the orishas and with which we are able to affect our day-to-day lives so that we may lead deeper and fuller lives during our stay in this world.

In the New World, the orishas and much of the religion was hidden behind a facade of Catholicism, with the orishas themselves represented by various saints. The slave owners would then say, “Look at how pious this slave is. She spends all of her time worshipping Saint Barbara.” Unbeknownst to them, she would actually be praying to Shangó, the lord of lightning, fire and the dance, perhaps even praying for deliverance from that very slave owner. This is how the religion came to be known as Santería. The memory of this period of our history is also why many in our religion regard the term Santería as a derogatory.

The traditions of Santería are fiercely preserved, and full knowledge of the rites, songs and language is prerequisites to any deep involvement in the religion. Initiates must follow a strict regimen and are answerable to Olorun and the orishas for their actions. As a person passes through each initiation in the tradition, this knowledge deepens and their abilities and responsibilities grow accordingly. In fact, during the entire first year of their initiation into the priesthood, the initiate or iyawó or “bride” of the orisha must dress in white. The iyawo must not look into a mirror, touch anyone or allow themselves to be touched, and they may not wear makeup or go out at night for this year.

La Santería is famous for its “magic.” This magic is based on a knowledge of the mysteries or orishas and how to interact with them to better our lives and the lives of those who come to us for the aid of the orishas. We live under the premise that this world is a magical one. This knowledge seems “supernatural” only to those who don’t understand it, but it really is quite natural.

Although the people were yanked away from their homes in Africa and enslaved in the New World, the orishas, the religion and its power could never be chained down, and the religion survives now – not as an anachronism, but ever-growing, even now in such places as France and the Netherlands.

Maferefún gbogbo orisha!

Water Magick

Water Magick

The properties of water are both constant and variable at the same time. Water exists on the Earth in three forms: solid (ice), liquid, and gas (evaporated). Water magick is very versatile; it incorporates techniques that bring about changes both within and without. For water magick to occur within, one must consume the water or call upon that aspect of the self. For it to occur without, one must bathe in it, swim in it, cleanse with it, etc.

Not all liquid magick belongs in the realm of water. For instance, brews that incorporate vinegar or alcohol as the primary ingredient fall in the domain of fire.

The magickal properties of particular types of water can be used for the following purposes:

Creeks and streams:  Purification, harmony, cleansing

Dew:  General health, eyesight, beauty. Dew is said to be especially powerful if gathered at dawn on Beltane.

Fog and mists:  Creativity, balance, partnerships

Ice:  Transformations, balance, creativity

Pond or lake water:  Peace, contentment, relaxation, self-reflection.

Rain water:  Energy, protection, cleansing. The first rain that falls in the month of May is considered sacred to the Water Witch

River water:  Cleansing, moving forward, protection

Seawater:  Health, magickal power, manifestation of goals. An old Welsh belief states that a spoonful of sea-water a day will ensure a long and healthy life.

Snow:  Transformations, balance

Spring water:  Growth, holy water, cleansing, protection, prosperity

Swamp and  waste water:  Banishing, binding

Waterfalls:  Power, energy, success

Well water:  Healing, wishes, intuition

The Water Witch also has an attachment to the ares surrounding the water, which can be used for the following magickal purposes:

Beaches:  Rituals, spells, fascinations, meditations

Harbors:  To promote abundance and prosperity; to serve as an aid in banishing things

Riverbanks:  To increase personal power

In Santeria practices, water from particular environments is offered as food to specific Orishas, as follows:

Ogun and Babalu-Aye:  Pond water

Oya:  Rain water

Oshun:  River water

Yemaya:  Seawater

In addition, Santeria incorporates the use of a special cleansing water called omiero. Omiero is comprised of sacred herbs, belonging to the Orisha being petitioned, and water. It is steeped upon coals to bring out the magickal properties. The making of omiero is complicated and has a full ceremony attached to it. The resulting product is used for initiation purposes.

Santeria Stationary Cleanser

Santeria Stationary Cleanser

 
Many Santeria space cleansings use water as a defensive mechanism, on the premise that evil and psychic toxins will dissolve in water in the same manner as salt or sugar.
 
1. Dissolve a square of camphor in a pan of water.
 
2. Keep it under the bed.
 
3. Change the water weekly. However, if an unpleasant odor emerges, dispose of the water immediately and replace it.
 
4. Disposal of the water is part of the spell: ideally it’s thrown out the back window. If this isn’t possible, flush it down the toilet but smudge the disposal area immediately.
 
5. Never dispose of the water in the kitchen sink or elsewhere in the house. You want to eliminate any possibility of lingering toxins.

The Eternal Return – Experiencing the Magick of Giving Back

The Eternal Return

Experiencing the Magick of Giving Back

by Sylvana SilverWitch

 

The smell of the earth is moist and mysterious, the plants are bursting with a vivid kaleidoscope of flowers, the fruit is sweetening on the branch, the sun is shining hot on my back, and I am happy. This time of the earth’s bounty makes me think of giving something back… to the earth, to the greater community, to my clan, to my lover, to a stranger on the street.

One of the things I know unequivocally is that to be competent at creating what you desire in life, you must give, give, give and then give some more. Giving works as if to illustrate to the Goddess/God/universe that you trust absolutely in the greater scheme of things and that the universe will provide for you and your needs, and as if to create a spell of abundance in your life. Sometimes the giving has such an effect on the person given to that it changes his or her life. Such change has happened to me; I have, remarkably, been on both ends.

To receive, you must give; it helps to ask as well. In this time of impending harvest, I offer you a spell in three parts: appreciating and giving thanks for what you have in your life already, giving the universe your desires and giving back to the world just as it gives to you.

I work at making the spell of giving and receiving a part of ordinary life, and I do my best to give to my community, my friends, my coven, my lover and whoever else seems right – whether it’s love, food, money, advice, help, time or energy. I cannot always immediately see the results of giving, and unquestionably, we shouldn’t give with a mind to what we will get back – that ruins the energy of it. But we may give humbly, knowing that our energy will return to us threefold, at least.

Occasionally, something I do or say has an immediate profound effect on a person, and I receive my reward right away in the awareness that I have aided the person. Sometimes I am rewarded in an unusual and unforeseen way. For instance, the phone company keeps sending me money whenever I really need it, and I still have not figured out why. Oh, well – I just trust that everything will come out as it should, and it does.

The following is a very simple spell that anyone can do, any time, any place. It is chiefly about consciousness and awareness and about being present to the gifts that are yours every day of your life. To perform the spell successfully, it helps to be centered in being conscious of what you have rather than focusing your energy on what you don’t have.

First, take a few moments to contemplate and give thanks for all of the amazing, powerful gifts you have received so far this year. Your body, your breath, your life. Your family, friends, children, lover, clan, community. Did you get the job that you really wanted? Did you finally learn some hard lesson, so you can now move on? Did you meet just the right person to help you on a project? What favors have the gods bestowed upon you recently? Take a minute or two from your day every day to focus on what you do have, and what you have received that you asked for or needed.

Then make a list, and on it list everything you can think of that you wish for. Begin with the things that you can easily accomplish in a day or a week. Start with the very next day, as in “I want (fill in the blank) tomorrow,” then move on to next week, then next month. Follow with wishes for three months, six months, nine months, a year, three years, five years, ten years and so on. List material things, job goals, relationship goals, whatever you can think of (you can always add more things later as you remember them). I always make mine a list of dates with items next to them – for example: August 1, 1996, new job making great money in a place I like with people I respect and like.

Next, sense yourself into the future and into what you want to achieve, as if it is already happening. It is! As soon as you put power into it, you begin the movement in the direction of that actuality.

Once you’ve done that for every wish, locate a spot to hang your list where you will view it every day, preferably more than once a day. Seeing the list daily reminds your subconscious of where you are going without you having to think about it. Place the list in a location away from the eyes of those who would deter or discourage you.

Then, once the list is hung up, let the desires go. Doing so is important, and the point where a lot of spells get hung up. Forget about the list except when you glance at it or when you cross off a desire that you have accomplished. (Do cross off listed wishes as you achieve them, but leave them readable, as you want to be able to see the results of your spell and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from success.)

Once you have hung up your list, sit down, preferably in a quiet place where you can sit on the ground, but anywhere will do. Close your eyes, and give thanks and appreciation to the earth, to the sky, to the God and Goddess, to the elementals, to the fey kingdom for all that is, for your place to live here on the earth.

Give thanks, and then go and give away something that you truly treasure; give away a little something every day. Give a present to your best friend or your lover for no reason. Give some coins to a person less fortunate than you; there are always the less fortunate. Do not judge them, or what they will do with the money; that’s not important; it’s only important that you give freely.

Hugs, kisses and love are things you can give freely whenever you feel affection for someone. Bring a gift when you visit; send a cheerful card or letter to a parent or other family member; give a flower to a child; give a treat to an animal friend; leave out offerings to the fey and to the other wild things. Try the charming Santería custom of kissing your money as you make an offering (or spend it); Santería devotees believe that kissing money ensures it will return to you (and I do too!).

Explore how much you can give with love, joy and generosity, and this will tell you where your prosperity potential is. The more difficult it is for you to be generous, the harder it is for you to be prosperous yourself.

See how it feels to feel as if you have enough, as if you are rich, as if you have all your needs fulfilled – as if you are the opulent Earth Mother giving to all her children!

Thank all for whatever you have. Put out the energy of generosity and good will, and that is what you will manifest in your life.

Give love, every day, to someone who needs some, and if nothing else, give a smile.