Altar Setup

Altar Setup

I’m a big supporter of Keep It Simple. Altar setups that are overflowing with magical goodies seem to collect a ton of dust, and dust is a magnet for negativity. If you’re a busy person , with friends staying over, siblings or children running through your room, and the cat jumping on and off your altar surface at will, collecting a bunch of stuff to set on your altar may not be such a good idea. If you are in college, especially in a dorm room, there’s no telling what might happen to your magical items. We tend to form an attachment to our magical tools, and a missing wand or cauldron can send anyone into a tizzy. If a magical tool of yours could decide to “walk off,” don’t despair. If it’s gone, it’s suppose to be gone. Sometimes magical things leave us for a good reason. Perhaps something better is coming your way.

In the last few years, the idea of having a personal altar has gained popularity outside of the Craft environment. However, often what people are calling “altars” are actually shrines dedicated to a deity or a particular energy the person would like to bring into the home. The altar, for a Crafter, is a working magical surface, where a shrine is more of representation of your spirituality and a place for daily, weekly or monthly offerings. In some Craft traditions the shrine is called the high altar, and the separate, working surface is called the low altar. Where prayers and petitions are given at the high altar, the messy work (such as grinding herbs, working with wax or spell work that required you to make and then put together a particular object) is done on the low altar.

A basic altar setup requires only the four elements. The beginning Craft altar adds a statue of deity; two illuminator candles (one for the God and one for the Goddess); a flat centerpiece for focus (usually a geometric symbol: pentacle, hexagram, lunar crescent, the zodiac ring, and so on); the wand; and if your family environment supports it, the athame.

If you have more space and plenty of privacy, you may wish to use the traditional altar setup use by most Wiccan practitioners when they first learn about the tools of the Craft of the Wise.

Altar Cleansing

Altar Cleansing

Supplies: Holy water, scented oil, incense, miniature broom (you can find these at craft stores), salt, two bowls (one for the salt and one for the water—any small, waterproof container is acceptable, many like to use seashells) red candle (taper or votive) candle holder, inspirational music.

Note: If you are not permitted to burn candles or use a lighter, it is okay to think of something else that represents fire to you. For example, you may use a picture of a candle, an electric candle (which are sold around Halloween and Christmas), or a combination of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper fashioned into your idea of fire. You could even wrap colored tissue paper over the head of a flashlight to help you visualize that fiery glow. I wholeheartedly agree that nothing beats the real thing, but if you can’t, then just use your imagination to think of something that will be acceptable for you and your environment.

Timing: Full Moon or New Moon

Instructions: The most important aspect of any magic or ritual is that you take your time, and perform the working without interruption. If someone knocks on your door, or insists on repeatedly walking through the room while you are working, you will most likely become frustrated and lose your concentration. As focus is a major part of magic, you will need to choose a time when you will not be disturbed, especially for the very serious things like cleansing and consecrating your altar.

Place your supplies on a tray or on the floor by your altar. Before you begin, take three deep breaths. As you breathe out, release any negativity or unhappiness you may feel. Now close your eyes and rub your hand lightly together. The deep breathing helps you relax and the friction you create with your hands activates the chakra points (energy fields) in your palms. Closing your eyes helps you to ground and center, and prepare for a magical working. Say:

I feel the power of Spirit in and around me. So Mote It Be.

Open your eyes. Hold the red candle in your hand and say:

May you be cleansed, consecrated and blessed in the name of Spirit (or “in the name of the Lord and Lady”).

Light the candle, then hold the candle out in front of you, over the altar, saying:

From the black and formless void, light blossomed into existence. By igniting this candlewick. I bring the Grace of Spirit (or “our Mother) into my life and into my altar. Element of fire, work your will by my desire.

Pass the flame three times in a counterclockwise (widdershins) direction over the altar, saying:

I banish all negativity from this (wood, stone). Nothing evil or nasty, real or imagined, can ever abide here.

Set the burning candle safely to the side. You will be using it again.
Hold your hands over the incense, and say:

Element of air, may you be cleansed, consecrated, and blessed in the name of Spirit.

Light the incense from the candle flame. Pass the incense smoke over the surface of the altar three times in a counterclockwise direction, saying:

Element of air, work you will by my desire. I banish all negativity from this (wood, stone). Nothing evil or nasty, real or imagined, can ever abide here.

Set the burning incense safely to the side. You will be using it again.
Hold your hands over the salt, and say:

Element of earth, may you be cleansed, consecrated and blessed in the name of Spirit.

When your palm, begin to tingle or grow warm, sprinkle the salt lightly over the top of the altar surface. Just a little will do. Say:

I cleanse this altar with the salt of the earth. Element of earth, work your will by my desire. I banish all negativity from this (wood, stone). Nothing evil or nasty, real or imagined, can ever abide here.
Set the bowl aside. Pick up the bowl or water and say:

Element of water, may you be cleansed, consecrated and blessed in the name of Spirit.

Place the bowl of water in the center of the altar. Add three pinches of salt, stirring clockwise with your finger after each addition to the water. Imagine the water glowing with a soft blue or white light. Pick up the small broom and sprinkle with both salt and water, saying:

Besom, may you be cleansed, consecrated and blessed in the name of Spirit. Work the magic by my desire.

Dip the broom into the consecrated water, and begin sprinkling tiny drops of the liquid onto the altar in counterclockwise (widdershins) circles, saying:

I banish all negativity from this (wood, stone). Nothing evil or nasty, real or imagined, can ever abide here. So Mote It Be!

Altar Blessing and Empowerment

Altar Blessing and Empowerment

Supplies: Scented oils or perfumes (ingredients you hold sacred to yourself).

Instructions: Pass the four elements (red candle, incense, salt and water) over the altar three times in a clockwise direction. Imagine that you are sitting positive energies into action. Once this is done, place the incense in the east, the fire in the south, the water in the west, and the salt in the north. Dab the scented oil on each corner of the altar, and then in the middle, saying.

I bless and consecrate these, O sacred altar, in the name of Spirit. May you repel negative energy and collect positive energy from this day forward until the end of time. So mote it be.

Draw an equal-armed cross in the air over the altar surface to seal the positive energies to the stone/wood. Tip the edge of the altar four times, once for each direction. Then say:

As above, so below. This altar is sealed. So mote it be.
You are now ready to work any kind of magic.

Lady A’s Spell of the Day for 4/5: ANGER BANISHMENT SPELL

ANGER BANISHMENT SPELL

The following ingredients are needed

One onion

This is the banish anger from yourself.

Take your onion and wash it in fresh spring water (purchased also from the witches’ friend, the local supermarket). This spell is best performed during a waxing moon. Wear earth colors to ground you and, if you wish, burn some sandalwood oil or incense. By the light of a black candle (black absorbs negativity, remember!) peel your onion at midnight. As the tears_come, take away a layer of the pain you are feeling with each layer of the onion that you peel away. Onions represent Mars, which represents war and feelings of angst and anger at our enemies, so peeling through the onion will open the heart chakra, allowing you to experience the feelings you have been hanging on to, and layer by layer, release them. This spell is all about not wishing to get even, or to obsess any longer over those who have harmed you. After you have peeled your onion, place the peels on a plate (stainless steel or silver) and put on a window ledge in the kitchen where overnight the moon’s energy will draw away the negativity banishing it from your environment for good._complete this simple spell with a long, languid bath into which you have emptied three handfuls of sea salt. This will purify, protect, and strengthen you further. As you lie there, think of how much better you feel now that the desire to get back at someone has dissipated.

Crone’s Corner – Spring Gardening Tip

Crone’s Corner  Spring Gardening Tip  
 
For Muscle aches add a total of 30 drops of any of the following oils:
 
Lavender, Eucalpytus radiata, Chamomile, Rosemary or Sweet Marjoram
with 1/4 cup carrier oil or unscented lotion.
 
Try differnt combinations of oils to create your own blend. Massage sore areas
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GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Archives  and Crones Corner – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Crones_Corner/  

Pagan Studies – Protection of Ancestors Spell

Pagan Studies – Protection of Ancestors Spell
 
Place pictures of your ancestors and those who have passed and are important to you in a circle on an altar table.
Light a candle in the northern corner of the table. Light some incense, clear your mind, and say:
 
Here I see the line of love,
Stretching down from above.
Kinsmen whose love never leaves,
Protect me in my time of need.
 
Place a photo of yourself in the middle of the table. See the circle of love around you and know you are blessed. Blow out the candle and imagine the smoke from this and the incense carrying your wishes to your kin.  
Today is tomb-sweeping day in Taiwan. Further honor your ancestors by tending their graves or keeping their memories alive by writing their stories for the generations to come.
 
By: Nancy Bennet

Today’s Goddess: Kwan Yin

 

By Patricia Telesco ~ From “365 Goddess” and GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

Today’s Goddess:  Kwan Yin

Festival of the Goddess of Mercy (China/Japan)
  
Themes:  Children; Kindness; Magic; Health; Fertility
Symbols:  Lotus; Black Tea; Rice; Rainbow
  
About Kwan Yin:  Kwan Yin is the most beloved of all Eastern goddess figures, giving freely of her unending sympathy, fertility, health, and magical insight to all who ask.  It is her sacred duty to relieve suffering and encourage enlightenment among humans.  In Eastern mythology, a rainbow bore Kwan Yin to heaven in human form.  Her name means “regarder of sounds,”  meaning she hears the cries and prayers of the world.
 
To Do Today:  If you hope to have children or wish to invoke Kwan Yin’s blessing and protection on the young ones in your life, you can follow Eastern custom and leave an offering for Kwan Yin of sweet cakes, lotus incense, fresh fruit, and/or flowers.  If you can’t find lotus incense, look for lotus-shaped soaps at novelty or import shops.
 
For literal or figurative fertility, try making this Kwan Yin talisman:  During a waxing-to-full moon, take a pinch of Black Tea and a pinch of rice and put them in a yellow cloth, saying,
 
As a little tea makes a full cup, so may my life be full.
As the rice expands in warm water, so may my heart expand with love and warmth.
The fertility of Kwan Yin, wrapped neatly within.
 
Tie this up and keep it in a spot that corresponds to the type of fertility you want (such as the bedroom for physical fertility).

 

Seasons of the Witch! Ancient Holidays (and some not so ancient!)

    

 
Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)  
 

Zurich: SIX RINGINGS FESTIVAL: Boog (Old Man Winter), a giant snowman stuffed with explosives, is jeered, taunted,
& then blown up. Much feasting & revelry.
  
Tibet: SUNNING OF THE BUDDHA. Lamas bring buddha statues out of temples of abstract tranquility to enjoy the sun.
  
Festival for Good Luck in Rome; the Goddess Fortuna.
 

Resources : GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Archives 
  
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NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple .  

Seasons of the Witch!   Ancient Holidays (and some not so ancient!)        

Lunar Lore for 4/5

Lunar Lore  

 

 

An old moon in a mist
Is worth gold in a kist [chest];
But a new moon’s mist
Will ne’er lack thirst.
 – Collected in R. Inwards, “Weather Lore”
But how many months be in the year?
  There are thirteen, I say;
The midsummer moon is the merryest of all
  Next to the merry month of May.
 – “Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar.”
In the decay of the moon
A cloudy morning bodes a fair afternoon.
 – Tusser, “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry” (17th century).
Some works in dead of night are better done, or when the morning
  Dew prevents the sun. Parch’d meads and stubble mow by
Phoebe’s light, which both require the coolness of the night;
  For moisture then abounds, and pearly rains
Descend in silence to refresh the plains.
– Dryden’s trans. of Virgil’s “Georgics,” Book I

Daily Feast, Elder Meditation & Think on these Things for 4/5

  April 5 – Daily Feast

Power of some kind affects everything we do. But this power is not political or electronic so that one little glitch can wipe it out in seconds. The real power is what the Cherokee calls adadolisdi – which is prayer. Quicker than lightning, it if is handled the right way it can do anything. Born of spirit, this power is dynamite. It does not rely on outside currents of energy to keep it going, but thrives on self-generated faith that is properly fed and well-kept. We have no idea how dynamic this inner power is until we begin to rely totally on things and people outside ourselves. It is then that we feel the lack of joy needed to connect us to powerful adadolisdi, the language of love and worship. We can overcome the impossible with fire and nettle. We can grow in stamina with every breath – when we learn to use the power that is within us.

~ We may quarrel with men about things on earth, but we never quarrel about the Great Spirit. ~

CHIEF JOSEPH

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 5

“As we plunge ahead to build empires and race for supremacy we should stop and listen to [the female] song of life. For without the female there is no life.”

Women are created with the ability to produce life. Women have a special tie to the Earth Mother. They have something in common. They are the source of life. The Earth Mother gives songs to the Woman to sing. These songs are about life, about beauty, about children, about love, about family, about strength, about caring, about nurturing, about forgiveness, about God. The World needs to pay attention and listen to Her. She knows.

Great Spirit, let me listen to Her songs.

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‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

It doesn’t seem that a simple thing like going fishing could have such excellent results when the world suddenly seems too much. It is a very difficult thing to worry when your mind is fixed intently on a little red and white plastic float bobbing in the water.

Just taking one’s mind off the general routine of living for even a short time is like a much needed and appreciated vacation. We seldom recognize the need for getting away from the monotony of following each day with another day exactly like it. We lose the value of the hours and minutes and lump them all together and plod along expecting miracles to come someday and save us.

The effort we have to give is in releasing the problem and concentrating on something beautifully simple and uncomplicated. Living doesn’t seem so ominous when we can go fishing for a little peace and quiet, and sidetrack the things that weigh so heavily on our minds.

Good health is such a blessing. We don’t all realize how much we aid or harm our own health. In fact, we give much more thought to being careful not to get wet than being careful not to get angry. And it is said that anger can lower resistance to colds much quicker than getting wet.

It is a proven fact that to feel love builds a resistance to illnesses while resentment and hate can destroy both mind and body.

Longfellow once wrote that joy, temperance, and repose would slam the door on the doctor’s nose. There’s no doubt but that most doctor’s noses are safe. But they, too, would be glad if more patients would exercise their abilities to lift themselves out of much of their ill health by knowing some measure of joy rather than self pity, some healthy thoughts and less thought of self.

We lower our resistance to ill health in many ways, but none works against us as surely as worry, anxiety, and care, plus our inability to recognize the fact that we are our own greatest enemy.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.