Friday, October 24, 2014

History of Samhain

In Paganism and Wicca, Samhain is celebrated as a major Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year. It is from October 31st to November 1st and is marked as the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest making it an opportune time to connect and contact ancestors that have passed on. It is also seen as the Witches' New Year because it marks the final Harvest and the beginning of winter where the Earth slips into darkness and things begin to die so they can be reborn. The term "Samhain" comes from the Gaelic word "Samhuin" and is pronounced "sow-in" or "sow-ween" (sow rhyming with cow).

The festival itself signifies the old saying "out with the old and in with the new." It's time to set new goals for the New Year and to cast spells to bring those goals to fruition. I suggest to make a list of goals and list solutions to reaching those goals to help put you on the right track. Invoke the God and Goddess to assist you on the path to reaching your goals or any other spirits, faeries, animal guides who are allies to you.

It's also a good time to honor your ancestors on this date and remember them. One of the main aspects of this festival was to invite ancestors who have passed into your Circle to aid you with your upcoming goals. I usually end the ceremony with a Feast of the Dead to use as offerings to those souls and since it is the last Harvest I believe it to be appropriate to show your bounty and your appreciation for it.

For more about the History of Samhain, which truly is extensive in many countries, try visiting these links:

Wheel of the Year

So I thought it would be easier to show the Wheel of the Year rather than trying to explain it, dates, and so on. There will be information on each of these Sabbats, both major and minor, when the time approaches.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Banishing and Invoking Pentagrams

This is something that I always get mixed up with even though I've been practicing the Craft formally for about 4 years. So here's a chart for everyone. Of course, in different traditions there's bound to be different ways of doing this. This is one of the most common ways. Some traditions don't use a different invoking and banishing pentagram for each element. These traditions would have only one way of doing so. In my tradition we use the fire invoking pentagram for all invocations and the banishing earth pentagram for all banishings. We use the technique based on movement -- it's not based on elements.

When invoking, visualize blue flames coming from the tip of your wand, athame, sword, or from your fingers. When banishing, visualize the flames going back to where they came from.

Book Review: The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

So this is one of the books that I would recommend to everyone -- beginners, intermediate, advanced (if you haven't already read it). It's one of those classic books about Wicca that you really can't ignore. It has so much information about many different aspects of Wicca and the Craft that you need to have this book on hand just in case you forget something.

Not only is there a ton of information but there are also a ton of exercises in each chapter pertaining to what it's about. These exercises are simple, easy to do, and can be done alone or with a group. Each exercise is associated with meditation, trance, ritual, spell work, and more. As always, if I read something that I find to be very useful, then I'll incorporate it into my Craft or at least try it out to see where it best fits in.

This is how I think people should approach most exercises. Try them out and see if you want to keep it or discard it. I'm always looking into different meditation techniques and the ones that I don't find particularly empowering, or insightful I discard. It's okay if you don't want to do a technique. Find what works best for you!

I thought the chapters about the history of Witchcraft were very revealing. There was information that I certainly didn't know about before reading this book and there were even things that clicked for me upon reading it. Do you know where the term "In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" originated from? This book will tell you and much more.

I'm a Starhawk fan I must say. I've read several of her works and I find her to be very "down to Earth". She doesn't lecture and she's very easy to relate to in her works. I love the "tell it like it is" attitude she has toward the Craft and Wicca which I think makes her admirable.

Try any of her books and see what I mean.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Self-Initiation vs. Lineage

So I've been meaning to post this for awhile but I wanted to make sure that my thoughts were in order before doing so. This topic is pretty controversial which I'm discovering and want to highlight that this is my opinion rather than something to be misconstrued as claiming to be fact.

The debate of the legitimacy of self-initiated vs. that of having lineage to me seems rather...dumb. I will state my opinion bluntly because I figure it's only fair to be clear when doing so. There are pros and cons to both but I'm not here to discuss that. I only want to state the obvious difference. When one is self-initiated, they are simply initiating themselves with the power and energy directed from the divine or Goddess. They have completely dedicated themselves to Her service and devote their lives to studying the Craft and also to teaching/helping others along their journey. Those who come from a lineage were formally trained and endured disciplined and structured teachings from a mentor, teacher, priest/HP or priestess/HPS who also have dedicated their lives to the Craft and to teaching others.

However, I do not believe that one way is necessarily better than the other. Lets say that you are very disciplined toward your Craft. You read all the books, did all the practices, recognize the esbats and sabbats, and are very devoted to the Divine. Does the fact that someone has obtained this knowledge from books and their own experiences make them any less of a Witch?


Some people are unable to find teachers in their area, some people cannot find the "right" teacher, and some people simply wish to worship and practice alone. When a person is ready to be initiated that means that they are confident in themselves and their abilities. Even normal functioning covens place emphasis on their coven members to ask to be initiated before being initiated because that person has to feel that they are ready in their heart.

When one is ready to be initiated, or ready to progress, I would not expect them to wait for a teacher to come along and tell them to train for a year and a day. I would expect them to find their place in the Craft and be comfortable.

One argument I've heard is about the flow of energy or "passing the wand". Energy comes directly from the Divine. Why must one need a mediator between themselves and the Divine? Even if you have been ordained/initiated I would suggest doing a self-initiation as well that suits you.

Another argument is what if someone self-initiates themselves in order to gain power over others? Well, truth of the matter is people should stay smart. Seekers are given red flags to look for in those people. And it's true that self-initiation has become one of the main red flags that websites talk about but that shouldn't be the case. Trust your instincts. Ask yourself questions like is this person trying to teach me in their best interest? Is the person asking for money for training me? Does this feel right?

Most people have good judgement and can find the truth.

Some people argue that those self-initiated downplay the hard work that goes with those formally trained. How do you know these people haven't put forth as much work as you? Why does it matter that you be recognized for this work in the first place? The Craft is about your spiritual journey. Initiated shouldn't be a boy scout badge or a title. It should be a symbol that represents the new home you have found, the spiritual peace you have found.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, who was the very first Witch initiated by? And if you can't answer that question then you should stop judging those who choose to go through self-initiation.

Blessed be everyone.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Review: Spirit Guide by Raym

So I read this book on kindle which I bought for free. I love free books so if this book sounds like something you'd be interested in definitely try it out. Raym practices a healing technique called Crystal Dreaming. It is a technique used to open up the chakras and heal those emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through the use of crystals and trance. However, this book offers little knowledge about that.

Instead, it talks about different exercises, daily affirmations, and ways to live your life holistically. The exercises focus on intentions because your intention is one of the most important aspects of bringing about a change. Since the Earth is entering the Age of Aquarius, change and manifestations can come about more easily for those who will it. This book talks about methods you can use to direct your energy and intentions towards a specific goal. The goals in the book are directed toward healing.

The title of this book is a little deceiving I must say. When first buying it I thought it was going to have more to do with Shamanism. Although it mentions Shamanism, that's not the central theme. This book is more of a "catch all" for interfaith religions and traditions and is more about helping the reader find a spiritual path and/or techniques that better suit what they're trying to do. This makes the book pretty informative, however it does not go in depth in these techniques or paths.

There are some pretty interesting chapters in this book about different peoples, tribes, and even extraterrestrials. I must admit some of the chapters I took with a grain of salt such as the one about extraterrestrials. I believe that there may be other intelligent lifeforms but I'm not so sure about all the different types that he talks about in the book. Also, there was something about a government cover up and conspiracy theory that I'm not so sure about.

Other than that, there were valid points on how to approach one's spirituality and become in touch with this side. I thought some of the affirmations and meditation exercises were very helpful such as the one about opening energy blocks in the chakras. If this seems like something you'd be interested in, give it a shot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: The Shamanic Witch by Gail Wood

So I finally finished reading The Shamanic Witch and I have to say I loved every minute of it. Sometimes I grow bored with books on the Craft or Wicca because they seem to become repetitive but this one was a nice change. There was more information on Shamanism than there was on Wicca. I believe the author expects people who read this book to be fairly versed in Wicca and the Craft already.

If you're interested in incorporating Shamanistic practices with your Wiccan practices I suggest reading this book. I thought it was very insightful about the world of Shamanism and how it can be related back to your Craft. It was full of useful meditative/trance exercises and guided you on how to enter the Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds. It was also very clear and concise about methods and the process of entering a trance state with intentions directed towards your goal.

Not only did it have exercises to help people become in tune with their spirit animals and guides, it also gave background information on the world of Shamanism, their ethics, and what it means to be a Shaman. I thoroughly enjoy reading about history and especially that of different traditions. However, I don't like when history is long winded or takes up most of the reading. In this case, the book was great in keeping the history to an appropriate level without it being too long or straying away from the ultimate message of the book.

Some exercises that I thought were random or maybe a little out of place were the exercises on body empowerment. The book didn't really speak much about this but rather jumped into it. I agree that everyone should be empowered spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically, but these exercises seemed better suited for a different book or at least have a section dedicated to this.

Many parts of this book spoke about the drum and rattle that Shamans used on their journeys which I thought was very interesting. I would love to take a class on Shamanic drumming one day. Many of the exercises included drumming or the alternative with a drumming CD. If you're like me it takes a while to find a CD that's right for you. It's more of a hit or miss with a CD that is appropriate for journeying. I would've appreciated maybe a referenced CD that provided long drumming sequences appropriate for journeying. If any of you know where I could find one leave a comment below!

If you are considering reading this book, try the exercises that are in it. The purpose of this book is to help in training someone who is willing to try shamanic journeying and wants to experience this. That's why there are so many exercises in this book. Good luck on your journeying!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mabon Altar Blessing

"Blessed be the Harvest
which keeps us full and fit,

Blessed be the Goddess,
her vitality and wit,

Blessed be Her God
who provides us with light,

Blessed be the Quarters,
who protect us with their might,

Blessed be sweet Mabon,
with the elements and love,

Blessed be the Below,
and blessed be the Above."

*So mote it be!*

Monday, September 15, 2014

Releasing Karmic Debt

I'm currently reading a book on Kindle on my phone. Actually, I'm in the process of reading three different books. The book I'm reading on Kindle is called Spirit Guides by Raym. If you haven't read it, I would suggest reading it if you're interested in meditation techniques, healing energies, and philosophy. It has a lot of really good meditation exercises and breathing exercises that are very detailed.

Anyway, one of the chapters has a meditation exercise/affirmation about releasing yourself from karmic debt and about forgiving others. I think this is a highly important and noteworthy subject as you can't reach full spiritual enlightenment when you have a huge debt that you owe to Karma. Here is my own suggestion in learning how to forgive others and releasing your own karmic debt.

You can repeat this affirmation as many times as you wish.

"I, (name here), call upon the Guardians of the East, South, West, North, Above, and Below to witness and assist me in my Karmic Cleansing. I call upon the God and Goddess to help release me from any karmic debt that I may have incurred directly and indirectly through my speech or actions. I release all karmic debt that is owed to me as I forgive all those who have wronged me. I ask this of all the spirits and deities who are present within this sacred space with love and trust in my heart. So mote it be."

You may change this affirmation to suit your needs as well. At this point you may wish to light a candle to signify that you are finished and as the candle burns itself out all your karmic debt is released with it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Earth Connection Ritual

This ritual was designed to help people connect their energies with the Earth. I try to connect with the Earth on a daily basis but sometimes it takes a stronger tie to feel your energy and the Earth's energy connect. We transfer energy as a way to help Mother Earth heal from her wounds, wounds that our species has made.

Here is a simple ritual that can help you have a stronger connection with our Mother as well as a way to help with the healing process which is never ending. This ritual will also keep you tied to the Earth as long as you wish for it to be so.

Here is what you'll need to begin:

  • Pentacle
  • Bowl of Water
  • Green Candle
  • Blue Candle
  • Red Candle
  • Bowl of Salt
  • Incense (your choice)
  • Sacred herbs (of your choice that reflect your impression of the Earth)
  • A Planting Pot
  • Soil
  • Paint or Markers
  • Seeds or Sprouts (your choice of plant)
Set up your altar with the Pentacle in the center, the bowl of water to the West and the bowl of Salt to the East. Place the green candle to the right and the blue candle to the left North of the Pentacle. Place the red candle to the South.

The blue and green candle represent the Earth while the red candle represents its core, the heat and magma within. Cleanse your sacred space and the materials that you are using with the water, salt and incense. Call in the Quarters and speak your devotions to Mother Gaia or any Earth Goddess that you feel a connection to. 

Take the planting pot and draw on it or color it however you wish. You may wish to charge and consecrate this pot with the powers of the elements and the power of the Earth Goddess. Take the soil and fill it three quarters of the way full. During this time you can place talismans, healing stones, or other trinkets within the soil to charge it with healing energy. Place your seeds or sprouts in the soil and cover with soil.

Place your hands over the soil with the seed or plant and speak to the Earth Goddess, infusing the soil and plant with your healing energy and the energy of the Earth. After you have finished, open your Circle. Place your plant in a spot with the right requirements (sunny or shady) and speak to your growing plant often. Whenever you speak to it, you are also speaking to the Earth Goddess within.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Autumn Leaves

Gracefully gliding on soft Autumn air,
falling and sliding from the branch's snare
to a sacred place very far below
at peace with fate beneath the snow.

Tumbling over dried Earth and decay,
waving farewell to the light of day,
settling upon the barren ground,
they lay shriveled and shrouded in brown.

Shades of green turned to red,
as creatures retreat to their warm beds,
the season signals their time of death
as the God and Goddess take their last breath.

Transforming to be born anew,
budding beneath the soft spring dew,
where Autumn leaves once kindly graced
stand soft flowers in their place.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mabon: The Welsh God

So just what is Mabon? Or rather who?

Mabon is the Great Son born to Modron, the Great Mother. It is said that Mabon perhaps was an actual leader whose story was turned into mythology. When he was an infant, he was stolen from his mother and rescued by King Arthur although some stories differ on this account. Mabon is considered to be the counterpart of Persephone and Modren is the counterpart of Demeter.

To learn more about the story of Persephone and Demeter click here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mabon: Story of Demeter and Persephone

"The Return of Persephone"
Painting by artist Frederic Leighton

I know that everyone is just as excited about Halloween as much as I am but before we can get started on our pumpkin carvings and decorating we have another important date coming up. September 23rd otherwise known as Mabon, the second Harvest Festival and the Autumn Equinox.

Usually Mabon is between the dates of the 21st and the 24th. This year it will be on the 23rd. This day marks the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld. There are many mythological stories that tell this tale but the one that resonates with me the most is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter is the Goddess of the Earth and Grain and with her brother Zeus, gave birth to Persephone. Persephone is taken by Hades into the Underworld with the intention of marriage while Demeter is left to search for her missing daughter and try to restore her to the light.

She searched for nine days and with the help of Hekate and Helios she soon discovered that Zeus had given Persephone to Hades for marriage. Her rage soon turned to sorrow and despair which impaired her from doing her work of bringing in the harvest. She went through many trials to find her daughter and while she was sorrowful, grain would not grow from the Earth. Eventually, Zeus told Hades to give Persephone back to Demeter but Hades offered her a meal beforehand. She ate the seeds of a pomegranate and therefore was doomed to return back to the Underworld and to Hades for the last four months of the year. Demeter agreed to this and in return food grew from the Earth once again during the time Persephone was safe at home with her mother.

So on Mabon, in honor of this story, I eat pomegranate and offer the seeds to Demeter along with grains and wheat. I decorate in fall colors such as reds, browns, and golds. You can choose to honor Mabon in different ways with any of the stories associated with it and with any God(s) and Goddess(es).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sacred Drumming

I've been reading a book entitled The Shamanic Witch authored by Gail Wood and I must say that it's one of the more compelling books that I've read so far. I'm very interested in a couple of different mythological and spiritual paths such as the mythology of the Celts, the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Native Americans. This book speaks mostly about Neoshamanic practices or the practices of the Shaman Witch.

I will post a book review on this title once I am completely finished reading the book but I did want to write a piece about sacred drumming. I have participated in several open Drum Circles and several closed ones. If you, dear reader, have ever been interested in Drum Circles or just in practicing drumming for your own spiritual journey and meditations then I highly recommend reading this book. It gives a lot of useful information on finding the right drum for you or rattle. It also gives several drumming exercises that you can use to attune yourself to your drum.

Sacred drumming has been practiced by many spiritual paths for thousands of years. The beating of the drum is the heart beat of the ritual, ceremony, and journey. It helps the individual to center and ground themselves while in trance and it also brings the person back to their body after their spiritual journey. However, I understand that drums, especially ornate and handcrafted drums, are especially expensive, so I use drum recordings during my meditations. These will have the same effect during trance but it is best to be familiar with the drum beatings so they do not become distracting when the songs change over in the middle of the trance. You can actually move through your spiritual world to the changing of the beats if that helps.

If you are interested in taking drumming classes I say go for it. Even if you don't have a drum you may still attend and learn the techniques of drumming with a spoon and a plastic bowl. Always search for what speaks to your heart and take a chance. You never know what you'll find on your journey!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Remembering Dreams

Have you ever had a dream where it seemed really important to remember but the symbols were complicated? I had a dream sort of like that last night although I've been dwelling on it for most of the day and I think I've finally figured it out.

It's important to pay attention to not only the symbols and references you receive in the waking world but also to those you receive in your dreams. I know it can be difficult for some people to remember their dreams and that's why I've picked up a few tips from people along my journey.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help yourself to remember those really important dreams.

Tip 1:

Green jade is notorious for improving visual dreams and for helping you dream more frequently. Take some green jade and place it inside your pillowcase at night to help with dreaming. You may also want to spritz your pillow with lavender to help catch some more deep sleep.

Tip 2:

I don't remember who told me this but I thought it was a really cool technique to remember and pass on. Before you go to sleep, place a glass of water beside your bed. Take a couple of sips before drifting off to sleep. Water is a psychic medium and may catch remnants of your dreams. As soon as you wake up, sip the water to try and remember your dreams.

Tip 3:

There's nothing like good ole' meditation. Try meditating before you go off to bed to clear your mind of thoughts that may interfere with your sleep and your dreams. You may find that you're able to see dreams more clearly.

If you have any other useful tips, please don't hesitate to share them with a comment! Remember, keep on dreaming!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Having a Familiar

Right now I'm sitting on my bed with my intelligent black kitten, Onyx. I adopted him a couple of weeks ago from a kill shelter. I wanted to save an animal's life and I wanted a companion. He's the most wonderful cat a Witch could ever ask for. Just so everyone knows I didn't choose him because he was all black. As a matter of fact he's the one who chose me. I saw him for the first time back in the beginning of July. After taking him out of his cage he immediately showed me affection and began climbing over my shoulders and rubbing his head on my cheeks.

Unfortunately, I could not adopt him on the first day I saw him. Two weeks later I went back after moving into my new house. Of course I didn't think he'd still be there but there he was, in a different cage, staring up at me and remembering who I was. I took him out of his cage and he immediately began to purr and rub on me and licked my face. I took him home that day.

He's definitely special. His eyes tell me that he knows exactly what's going on when he watches my rituals from outside the Circle. He follows my hands when I read tarot cards. Even now, he's sitting in my lap watching me type this on my computer.

Familiars were believed to be spirits or entities associated with Witches. They appear in the form of animal guides which can range from cats to dogs to toads. In some countries these spirits are guiding figures while others would compare them to demons.

The Love Potion by Evelyn De Morgan

Some people may not wish or see a need to have a familiar but others may want to build that psychic connection and strengthen their rituals/spells by incorporating their familiar as an animal spirit. Personally, my cat and I already know a substantial amount about each other even after only being together for this short time.

Animals are a part of Mother Earth and are a Witch's best friend. It's definitely something to think about!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Body Booster Tea Recipe

After staying up all hours of the night with friends, I needed a little booster this morning to help start off healthy and strong. What better way to start your morning with a great herbal tea? Herbs are loaded with antioxidants, immune supportive enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and free radical fighting power!

Here's a recipe for a Body Boosting Tea. You'll need:

  • St. John's Wort (antidepressant/emotion control)
  • Hyssop (lowers blood sugar/metabolism)
  • Stevia (lowers blood pressure/fights diabetes)
  • Lemon Balm (immune booster)
  • Fennel Seed (antioxidants/fights free radicals)
  • Honey (assists the digestive system)
Place pinches of each herb into a pestle and mortar to grind them together. Then place the contents into a tea ball. Bowl a pot of water and let the tea ball simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add honey to the tea and enjoy!

For more information about these herbs and many more, please click here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Simple Moon Ritual: Honoring Hecate

I've been dwelling on the Goddess Hecate for the past couple of weeks and something is telling me that it's time to pay my respects towards the Mother of Witchcraft. While meditating on these thoughts, I decided to put together a simple ritual that would be both relaxing and powerful.

First, I'd like to say a little about Hecate and the wonders of the Moon Goddess. Personally, I believe she's one of the most influential and powerful Goddesses around. She has rule over the Earth, sea, and sky and was worshiped in Athenian households as a power of protection. Also, she is associated with the waning moon and particularly the dark moon where she can be called upon in the most powerful way. She's associated with crossroads and it's said that if you find three roads that meet, all with a different street name, that Hecate resides there. That place may be used as a place of power. For more about this special Goddess, click here. Another great resource can be located here.

Here's what you will need for the ritual:

*Three Black Candles
*Mugwort (herb or incense)
*Bowl of Water and Sea Salt
*Materials to Create Your Circle

Once you have cleansed the area and established your sacred space, arrange your altar with the above materials. Place the black candles in a triangle pattern with the point of the triangle farthest away from you facing North. Place your pentacle in the center of this triangle of candles and place your cauldron upon it. Cleanse all items in the ritual with the elements. Place the bowl of water to the West outside of the triangle and the bowl of salt to the East also on the outside perimeter. You may place the stone where you see fit.

The mugwort, an herb of Hecate, will be placed in the cauldron to be burned. While the mugwort burns, light the three black candles clockwise. As they burn, breathe in the scent of the mugwort and meditate on the purpose of the ritual, to become in tune with Hecate and her power. Place the moonstone in the bowl of water and place a pinch of salt to cleanse it of negative energy. Hold the stone in your hand and fill it with the power of Hecate. You may use this power for any purpose whether it be for protection or a spell.

Once the ritual has finished you may open the Circle and give the water, salt, and herb to the Earth to honor the Great Goddess.