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.