Drawing Down the Sun

Drawing Down the Sun

 

Choose the time of day that is best for your purpose. Clear conditions are ideal though of course you cannot look directly at the Sun at any time. Eventually you will be able to visualize the orb. Though Sunday is the special day of the Sun, you can choose any day that feels right.

Decide on the kind of Sun energy you want to focus on for this particular ceremony, a loving Sun Mother to bring joy, abundance and a sense of well-being, and aesthetic Sun God for spiritual and mental clarity and focused creativity or a warrior to empower you and give you the courage of purpose. You don’t have to pick a God or Goddess from a particular culture but can picture you own or use the Sun itself as your focus of light, life and health bringing powers. You can adapt your chant accordingly or use one that refers to these attributes.

1.  Occasionally, just draw down the Sun or recite your chant as a way of giving thanks for life or to send the Sun to those who need it spiritually or in actuality.

2.  Find your Sun place where at particular times of the year the Sun casts radiating beams or dancing rays. You may have to wait for just the right conditions for your first Sun encounter.

3.  Mediterranean and oceanic tropical sunrises can be spectacular and can be appreciated while on vacation. A few minutes of solitary sunset connection can be a very deep healing experience.

4.  It may help to hold a clear crystal or rainbow quartz (any with fractures inside will reflect rainbows).

5.  Set on the ground, on a rock or on your outdoor altar a dish of any gold jewelry, golden crystals, gold-colored coins, flowers and fruit to be empowered by the Sun.

6.  Next to it place a glass bowl of sparkling mineral water Afterwards the water will be charged with the power of the Sun and you can use it in baths or to splash on pulse points.

7.  Raise your arms high and wide, palms uppermost and set your feet quite widely apart.

8.  Speak your words aloud, unless there are too many people around.

9.  Then wait until you feel the light beginning to enter you.

10.  Now move your arms so they are extended horizontally either side of your body with your palms still upward to absorb the light. At this point breathe in the golden light through your nose, slowly and gently, and exhale the darkness through your mouth.

11. As you continue breathing, visualize the light spreading to every part of your body from your toes right to the tips of your fingers and the crown of you head.

12.  Allow the light to extend now beyond your body, forming a shield of golden rays all around you and above you so that you are enclosed in a shimmering sphere.

13.  Gradually move your arms and hands so they cross at about waist height. Repeat this in succession and in the rhythm that is right for you, raising, extending and enfolding yourself with light as if you were splashing it over yourself.

14.  When you feel that you are completely filled with the radiance, cease to breathe in gold deliberately. Stand with your arms still raised, close together in front of your body with elbows bent.

15.  Say slowly and with confidence three times:

“I am filled with the light of the Sun. I am pure light.”

16.  Allow the energies to flow between your body, the pool of light and the golden sphere.

17.  Kneel or reach down and splash a few drops of the newly made Sun water on your hairline, brow, throat and wrist, saying:

“The Sun enters my spirit, enriches my mind, transforms my words and warms my heart. Blessings Be.”

18.  Listen and you may hear a message from the Sun Mother of Father.

19.  If you face opposition or spite, shake your fingers and see golden sparks emanate from your fingertips like miniature Sun rays.

20.  Extend your arms in a circle over your head so you create a psychic protective force field of sparks all around you that will gently repel any malice.

21.  Make a sign, perhaps touching the place between and just above your eyes that is your third eye. Or you may prefer to touch your heart or make a circle in the palm of you hand.

22.  As you do so, say:

“When I touch my brow/heart, I will invoke the Power of the Sun with me.”

23.  Look upwards and picture the  Sun Mother or Father or a whirling, spinning solar disc and gradually allow the radiance and the Goddess to fade, knowing that you can recall the Sun into your life any time you are in need, just by making your psychic sign.

24.  Spend the rest of the day or at least part of it in the Sunshine and the next day do something amazingly brave to make the most of your new power.

 

Drawing Down the Power of the Sun Goddess or God

Drawing Down The Power of the Sun Goddess or God

 

In witchcraft, as you know, there is a ceremony known as ‘drawing down the moon’ in which the High Priestess takes into herself the power and wisdom of the Moon. In some traditions the power of the Sun is called down by the High Priest at the beginning of the Esbat or monthly celebration and on other major seasonal ceremonies into the Priestess. There is another ceremony where Sun power is called down into the Priest by the High Priestess or into herself, especially at seasonal solar change points such as the Equinoxes or Solstices.

However, in both cases, whether you work alone as a witch or in a coven or practice less formally, you can at any time of the day or year call into yourself the strength, fertility and joy of your chosen Sun God or Goddess.

At dawn:  Draw down the powers of the rising Sun for a new beginning or for a fresh approach or for optimism or inspiration

At noon:  Plug into the rush of pure life and light force for a make or break situation or to spur yourself on if you are tired or dispirited – or for sudden illumination.

At dusk.  The Sun consoles, heals and harmonizes desperate demands or people and draws gentle abundance to you.

How Do We Include Kids in Ritual Without Making Adults Run Screaming?

How Do We Include Kids in Ritual Without Making Adults Run Screaming?

 

by L. Lisa Harris

Ask a group of ritual facilitators what their philosophy on children in ritual is, and at best you’ll get as many different opinions as there are people in the room. At worst, you will have pushed a hot button that operates an opener attached to a huge can of worms. This topic is near the top of my “ways to start an argument at a pagan gathering” list. I’ve seen this issue turn a harmless candle-making party and ritual planning session into a virtual war zone, and don’t even get me started on what it can do to an e-mail list.

Groups that put on large public rituals, those who work in small family coven structures and every sized group in between all eventually face this issue. Public ritual comes to most people’s minds first when they think about controversy over kids in circle. But even in small covens, where all of the members consider themselves a family and parents or “aunties and uncles” to the children of other circle members, disagreements as to if and when children should be in circle do crop up.

One of the many issues that parents who want to include their children in ritual can run into is what circle members wear (or don’t wear). Bob, a member of a “medium-sized traditional coven” is concerned about the legal ramifications involved in having children present in a group that works skyclad.

“There are certain considerations when allowing children in ritual,” he said. “For instance, being skyclad in front of a child can get a person charged with sexual abuse in many states.” Just because a child is taught that nudity is perfectly normal and not necessarily sexual, it doesn’t mean that society as a whole and the judicial system will see it that way. If a small child casually mentions seeing “Uncle John’s wee-wee” to a teacher or member of the medical profession, the parents are likely to receive a visit from Child Protective Services.

A greater danger arises when the parents of a child are separated or divorced. Even if there is no ritual nudity, a parent who wants full custody can claim that what goes on in ritual is damaging to the child. Seeing someone hold a blade to Mommy’s throat and issue a challenge to her when she enters a circle, or even witnessing a light ritual scourging, can not only be frightening to a child, these things are also not going to look good if a complaint is filed by an ex-spouse with an axe to grind.

Some small groups prefer that ritual be a place for adults only. “Circle is a place for women to relax and take a break from their daily parenting responsibilities and nurture themselves,” said Luna, who facilitates a women’s circle. She doesn’t want new mothers to be left out of circle but has very clear rules regarding the presence of children. “Babies at the breast are welcome in our women’s circle, but once a child is old enough to be left with family or a sitter, we expect that mothers will come alone. They need to be able to bond with other women and to have time that is theirs alone.”

Sage, a father of two, feels strongly that children should be included in circle. “It is vital that we teach our traditions to our children, or they will be left open to conversion by more aggressive religions and there will be no one to carry on after us.” His partner Oana agrees: “We have a responsibility to provide for the spiritual education of our children. Christian churches have Sunday school, so why is it wrong for us to teach our religion to our kids?”

When it comes to public ritual, not everyone has or understands children, and many people have very different ideas as to what is appropriate behavior and how much parental discipline is called for. Stardancer, a mother of three, feels “watching children joyfully play in a circle is a beautiful sight. We don’t want to suppress their natural energy, it can be quite infectious.” Kim, who is married and “childless by choice” does not agree. “Poorly supervised kids in ritual distract everyone else, and they don’t learn or experience anything. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but ritual should be a sacred space that is not filled with running around and yelling.” She doesn’t place the blame for disruptive behavior on the kids. “It’s ludicrous to expect a 3-year-old to stand quietly in a circle or to understand what’s going on.”

Some groups don’t allow anyone under the age of 18 at any event. “Our circles can get a little wild and crazy sometimes, and the owner of the place where we meet doesn’t want to worry about having minors around,” said Wolfehawk, a member of a small group that hosts open events. Other groups restrict the age of the children to middle-school-age or older and specify which events are appropriate for kids. Freya, a Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans member, said, “We let older kids par-ticipate in most of our rituals, with the excep-tion of Samhain, as it tends to be a bit too intense. Although middle school seems to be a good cut-off point, it’s not always that easy. Reaching a chronological age or grade in school is not always a good indicator as to how a child will behave in circle. I’ve seen very young children pay attention and be respectful, while older kids in middle school have behaved atrociously. It’s really all about the individual level of maturity and how the child has been allowed to behave in public by their parents.”

A few groups have experimented with various forms of paid and shared childcare. “The problem with the concept of co-op child care is that one or two parents get stuck with all the kids all the time while the parents that tend to have the most badly behaved kids just dump them off and go have fun,” advised Morgan, a solitary witch and mother of two. “Sooner or later, you get tired of doing all the work and missing out on the festivities and ritual workings.”

Some groups that have considered hiring a babysitter to provide paid childcare have run into liability concerns. They are afraid that if a child gets hurt when childcare is being paid for at an event they sponsor that the group members will get sued. Anne, an attorney, advised, “The fear of lawsuits for an injury or allegation of abuse is very real, particularly if someone is providing care without a license. People will sue over anything, and you never know what a jury will do. Liability releases aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.” Another problem with paid childcare is the policy that most pagan groups have of not turning anyone away due to inability to pay. Either you give some people free childcare and not others, or you allow some parents to bypass childcare. Either way, someone is going to feel that it’s unfair.

Yet another possible solution is making all kids under a certain age check into childcare and requiring all parents to work a shift. This concept did not go over well with me at all when one local group suggested it about a year and a half ago. My daughter, 11 years old at the time, was still in elementary school and would have been required to check in as a kid. I have trained her as a witch, taught her circle etiquette and even given her small roles in ritual at the Unitarian Universalist Association of Tacoma (UUAT). She generally behaves better than many adults in circle, and I most certainly was not going to “reward” her hard work and good behavior by allowing her to be labeled and treated as a “child.” My rule is that if a young person has continually behaved like a responsible adult in circle, then he or she deserves to be treated as such. In addition to my objection to what I considered an insult to the maturity of my daughter, an older, well-behaved young woman, I didn’t feel that I should be required to baby-sit the children of parents who couldn’t be bothered to teach their children manners or to supervise them.

Several local groups have had great success with separate rituals specially designed for kids. I was at a Mabon event earlier this year where just such a ritual was put on. The quarters were marked with colorful balloons, and the adult leaders led the children in a merry dance to lively music. I overheard several adults say, “I wish I was a kid, so that I could be in that ritual.” In this case, the children’s ritual, along with other kid’s activities, was held before the adult ritual, which still left the issue of what to do with the kids during the adult ritual.

One of the major obstacles to successfully including children in ritual with adults is the lack of a standard of behavior. What one adult interprets as children freely expressing themselves is often viewed by other adults as a lack of parenting. “I have to ask myself, do these parents let their children behave like this in school, restaurants or in other peoples’ homes?” said Laura, a mother of a 7-year-old daughter whom she is raising in a goddess tradition.

David, whose children are grown, has had negative experiences at public festivals where children were not supervised by their parents. He said, “I was at one outdoor festival where a very expensive drum was ruined by kids whose parents were nowhere in sight. There was a band of unsupervised kids running around all over the place banging on the drums and playing with things on the altars. It was like their parents just walked off and figured that the community would take care of their kids for them.”

I am one who feels very strongly that we should include our children in our rituals when possible. I tried for almost three years to bill events at the UUAT as child-friendly and trust that parents would ensure reasonable behavior from their children. It became increasing apparent to me that this was not going to work. After several complaints from adults who felt that ritual was disrupted and after having to clean up several messes left by unsupervised kids, the Gaia’s Grove earth-spirituality group had to implement a set of rules for at UUAT events. The following statement is available at the check-in table, is posted on our Web site under the heading “parents please read” and is also addressed in pre-ritual discussion:

We love our children.

We want them to be part of our community and events.

We design our rituals to be child/family friendly.

Due to past damage to chairs, carpet and other UUAT property, and to ensure that all ritual guests get the most out of their experience, we must now abide by the following rules.

  • Children must physically be with a parent or adult guardian at all times.
  • Children must respect altars, drums and personal item as hands-off.
  • Children must not climb on stacked chairs.
  • Children must not walk on the furniture.
  • Children may not run nor roughhouse in the building.
  • Children in circle should participate in the circle, not play with other children and/or disrupt the person/people who are speaking.
  • Children may play in the nursery downstairs WITH ADULT SUPERVISION. The nursery must be picked up afterward.
  • The circle guardian will gladly cut parents with fussy kids in and out of the circle as necessary.

Even with the new rules in place, it seems that some parents are just not sure exactly where the line of “disrupting the ritual” gets crossed. I found that often the parents with the most disruptive children were oblivious and did not think their kids were a problem, while the parents with well-behaved kids, who weren’t quite perfect, stressed out trying to make them behave well. We decided to enlist the help of a circle guardian who gently and discreetly offers assistance to parents whose kids are pushing the limits of being disruptive. After Gaia’s Grove implemented the rule, a handful of people decided not to bring their kids anymore, which is too bad. The ones that still bring their kids are making a concerted effort to help them to respect the ritual and others in the circle.

The challenge to groups of any size is to balance the needs and desires of parents and communities to involve children in ritual with the needs of adults who don’t want their ritual experience disrupted. It is ultimately up to parents to decide if their children’s behavior is appropriate for the circle they are bringing them to, but it is also vital that ritual facilitators address this issue and make expectations and behavioral standards clear in a supportive, yet firm, manner.

Full Moon Ritual

Full Moon Ritual

 

The full and new moon rites are a celebration of the moon and Her cycles, as well as a celebration of us.

What you will need:

Your tools

Silver or white candle

White altar candle

A view or picture of the moon

 

Setup:

Place the silver or white candle next to your altar candle.

Position your altar so that you can see the moon.

Perform a meditation.

Cast your circle.

Raise your arms over your head, palms up, while saying:

“OH GREAT MOON,I AM HERE BEFORE YOU,IN YOUR LOVING GRACE.”

Take the cauldron of earth hold it toward the moon and say:

“OH GREAT MOON,BLESS THIS EARTH.”

Take the silver or white candle and place it in the cauldron. Light it and say:

“OH GREAT MOON,HEAR ME.””OH GREAT MOON,THEE I ADORE,I HONOR,I RESPECT.”

Kneel and say:

“I HONOR YOU ON THIS SPEACIAL NIGHT.””HEAR ME. BLESSED BE.”

Now close your circle. Point your athame down and release while saying:

“MAY THIS ENERGY BE USED BY OTHER ON THEIR PATH.” “SO MOTE IT BE.”

Let the silver or white candle burn itself out.If you decide to do a spell, perform it before closing the circle and point your athame up instead of down. Then close your circle.

Witches’ Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

Witches’ Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Paul Hume

The following text was an addendum to some Wiccan friends of mine  written in 1986. It followed a fairly standard instruction in the  Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, with which they were not  familiar. We were feeling out some linking techniques leading to a  proposed joint ritual involving several Wiccans and two ceremonial  qabalists (one Thelemite — ie. myself, and another). While events  conspired to torpedo this project, some interesting ideas came along  on both sides. The goal was a set of brief rituals meaningful to both traditions which we could practice individually, thus building up a group current prior to the date of the proposed rite (Samhain of that year). Herewith my notes on “The Wiccan Pentagram” ritual which evolved during this project. My primary source of God Forms was Paul Huson’s “Mastering Witchcraft” which was my main source of information on Wicca at the time (I’ve done considerable study elsewhere since).

Non-Solar symbolism

A ritual can be modified in many ways, to refit it for a different set of symbols, for example. I have taken the liberty of doing some  research into alternate symbols for the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram since I know that you work a lunar-feminine current (Wicca) whereas I use more solar-masculine symbols in my current (Thelemite). The  Qabalistic Cross This might be used as is, though you could use the  English if you don’t feel that the Hebrew is relevant. I am sure you recognize the words as being similar to the end of the Lord’s Prayer in the King James Version: ‘Unto thee, the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever! Amen.’ I would point out that this formula was around a long time before Christ, much less the translators of the  Standard Revised Version of the Bible. If you dislike such a  specifically Christian form, it may be replaced with the words KETHER (KEH-THER), MALKUTH, GEBURAH, GEDULAH (or Crown, Kingdom, Power,  Mercy), the spheres of occult energy that you are invoking with the  Q-Cross. The mental images remain the same. You could even avoid these Hebrew symbols entirely, using Names and formulae more suitable to raising the Cone of Power, which is what you are doing here in Wiccan terms. See the ‘Wiccan Cross,’ below.

The principle is:

  1. Invoke strongly the presence of the Supreme Creative  Principle as you conceive it (or in your case, Her) to be.  Your Name for the Goddess as Creatrix would be most suitable.
  2. Draw down power from this Godhead and project it through  your body into the Earth. Invoke strongly the Supreme symbol of Creation in your Tradition: maybe the God — as Son of the  Goddess and Lord of the Trees, and as John Barleycorn, the ever-born and dying One.
  3. Establish on your right side the Active Principle — Yang — the Projective Energy of the Universe. A God image, I should think.
  4. Establish on yourleft side thePassive Principle — Yin — the Receiving Energy of the Universe. A Goddess force I feel.
  5. Strongly visualize yourself at the center of these axes  between the Infinities. This centers you at the middle of the  Sacred Space to be created — the still point at the center of the  universe.

 

The Pentagrams

Again, the pentagram should be used. This symbol is universal to many, many systems of magick, including Wicca, as you know. The  five-pointed star has supreme power over the Elements: Spirit, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. It drives off negative influences and attracts positive ones. It is an essential part of the rite and there is no symbol that can take its place as effectively.

The Names

I prefer using the Hebrew God-Names as is. In this connection  they express formulae that govern the Elements and are no more  religious than E=MC squared. However, there are equivalent Wiccan  God-Names, which I describe in the next section, as substitutes for  the Archangels. The use of the same Names to activate the stars and to invoke the Elemental force is quite in keeping with the Wiccan  tradition, which does not use the same hierarchical system of  God-Name, Archangel, Angel, Ruler, Spirit, etc. that Qabalism does.

The Archangelic Invocation

Instead of the Hebrew Archangels I described, you could use  Wiccan Deities to invoke the ‘pure’ form of the Elements.

AIR-EAST: The Air image in Wicca seems to be masculine and  relates to Herne, the Black Man, the messenger of the Gods, or  the Sky Gods: Odin, or Lugh as the rising Sun God. The God can be imagined as riding through the night sky, at the head of the Wild Hunt, or rising above the branches of the world-ash. Instead of the Sword given to Raphael, the God might carry a staff, spear or wand, which is attributed to Air in most Wiccan traditions.

FIRE-SOUTH: The Fire image is definitely masculine and relates  to the Horned God: Cernunnos, Lucifer, call Him what you will.  He stands in the hot light of the noonday sun, radiating fiery  energy. He would bear an Athame or sword, which is the weapon of Fire in most Wiccan styles.

WATER-WEST: The Water image is the Maiden, the mistress of the  Moon and the Tides: Aradia, Artemis, Venus rising from the  waves. Her image is lit by the silver light of the moon, upon a  tranquil reach of water or the foaming sea. She might hold the  chalice, symbol of water (alternatively, the cauldron might be  envisioned).

EARTH-NORTH: The Goddess in Her aspect as Earth Mother is here:  Hertha, Habondia, Demeter. She stands beneath the golden, life-giving sun surrounded by the fruits of the Earth. Before her, a platter flows with good things of the Earth, for the  disk/shield/platter is the pentacle, magick instrument of Earth.  These are only bare sketches of the magickal images that a witch  might use to replace the Qabalistic images of the traditional  pentagram ritual. I offer them for what they are worth.

A few points to note:

  1. The phases of the sun used in the Archangelic images  (East:Dawn; South:Noon; West:Sunset; North:Midnight) are not the same, nor are they as important to Wicca. Instead, the poles of day and night are established: Night for the East-West axis and Day for the North-South axis.
  2. The male-female poles are established with the masculine images (Herne and Cernunnos) attributed to the active Elements (Air  and Fire) and the feminine images (Aradia and Habondia) to the passive Elements (Water and Earth). Note that one figure of each gender stands in light, and one in darkness. This male-female/positive-negative/active-passive polarity is central to  virtually all systems of magick, eg. the yin/yang symbol in oriental systems. I may be betraying solar-phallic tendencies by these  assignments, and you may want to use different attributions: The  Maiden can be Air and the Mother switch to Water, with the Hunter  moving into Earth, for example. Heck, the dual God Forms should  perhaps be invoked in each quarter. eg. Venus/Adonis imagery in East or South, Hertha/Herne in West, etc.

 

The Star Of David

The last line of the Invocation refers to a ‘six-rayed star’ and the mental work calls for imagining a Star of David. This is not a specifically Jewish symbol in this context. The six-pointed star, or hexagram, is the Qabalistic symbol par excellence of initiation and  spiritual illumination. The upward-pointing triangle represents the aspiration of the magician to the Gods, and the downward-pointing  triangle represents the divine power, flowing down to the world.  These meet at the moment of magick and the interlaced triangles  forming the hexagram symbolize the power of this meeting. Should you prefer not to use the Star of David, you can replace the mental image with any symbol showing the meeting of your soul and the power of the Goddess. This can even be a private symbol, one that is meaningful  only to you. Alternatively, you can just envision the sphere of white light from the Q-Cross, as a symbol of divine power. Replace the words about the ‘six-rayed star’ with some descriptive form: ‘the seal of the Goddess,’ or ‘the sign of my Awakening,’ or simply ‘the light Divine.’

Wiccan Pentagram ritual

Rubric [This is a form of the rite incorporating the changes in symbolism discussed above]

WICCAN CROSS

 

Face East. Touch forehead. Say IO EVOE HERTHA  (‘Blessed be Hertha,’ or other Name by which you worship the Goddess as Creatrix) Touch solar plexus or genitals. Say IO EVOE CERNUNNOS (‘Blessed be Cernunnos,’ or other name by which you worship the Horned God as the Earth) Touch right shoulder. Say EKO EKO AZARAK (‘Hail, hail force of fire’) Touch left shoulder. Say EKO EKO AMELAK (‘Hail, hail to the glory’) Extend arms in form of a cross. Say IO EVOE (‘Blessed be.’) Clasp hands upon breast and say ‘So mote it be.’

CIRCLE OF PROTECTION

 

Trace pentagram in East. Say HERNE. Trace circle of protection until facing South. Trace pentagram in South. Say CERNUNNOS. Trace circle of protection until facing West. Trace  pentagram in West. Say ARADIA. Trace circle of protection until facing North. Trace pentagram in North. Say HABONDIA. Finish tracing circle, closing it in the East.

INVOCATION OF THE GREAT GODS

 

Return to center of circle and face East. Extend arms in form of a cross. Chant: Before me HERNE The Huntsman Behind me ARADIA The Maiden On my right hand CERNUNNOS, the Horned God On my left hand HABONDIA, the Great Mother About me flame the pentagrams And above me shines the light of the Goddess.

Repeat the Wiccan Cross. Rather than performing this in the rather  measured cadences of Qabalistic Ritual, a form of dancing and chanting more pleasing to the God-forms of Wicca might profitably be devised.

On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Tim Maroney

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is one of the chief rituals of Western Magick. It has been with us at least since the Golden Dawn of the nineteenth century, and it has penetrated into all the many Golden Dawn spinoffs, including Neo-Paganism. Yet there is still no widely available, clear instruction. The directions of the magical orders are mere mnemonics for those who are assumed to have personal instructors. To formulate my personal approach to the ritual, to aid any others who may be considering practicing the LBR, and to satisfy the idle curiosity of any gawking onlookers, I have put together this short discussion of the ritual and its symbolism and performance.

A. Intent of the Ritual

The real action of a magick ritual takes place in the mind. Ritual is a form of moving meditation. The effect is also primarily psychological.* The LBR is a tool to facilitate meditation.

[*Not all players would agree with this statement. Many would say that the effect of the LBR is a fortified and cleansed area on the astral plane, which they think is as real as Hoboken, if not more so. It doesn’t really matter in practice.]

The experience of a proper LBR is pleasurable and soothing, yet energizing and empowering. One is made at home in the mystical realm, protected from lurkers and phantasms by strongly imagined wards. This solace from mundane experience is a precondition for more serious works of meditation or ritual, but it can also form a healthy part of the life of the mind by itself.

B. The Ritual

I’ll just reprint the description of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram from Liber O, a publication of the occult order A.’.A.’.

  1. Touching the forehead, say “Ateh (Unto Thee).”
  2. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom).”
  3. Touching the right shoulder, say “ve-Geburah (and the Power).”
  4. Touching the left shoulder, say “ve-Gedulah (and the Glory),
  5. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say “le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen).”
  6. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) “IHVH” (Ye-ho-wau*).
  7. Turning to the South, the same, but say “ADNI” (Adonai).
  8. Turning to the West, the same, but say “AHIH” (Eheieh).
  9. Turning to the North, the same, but say “AGLA” (Agla).
  10. Extending the arms in the form of a cross say:
  11. “Before me Raphael;
  12. Behind me Gabriel;
  13. On my right hand Michael;
  14. On my left hand Auriel;
  15. For about me flames the Pentagram,
  16. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.”
  17. until xxi. Repeat steps (i) to (v), the “Qabalistic Cross.”

[* Modern scholarship has a different take on the pronunciation of the Big Guy’s name. I use “Yahweh” rather than the “Ye-ho-wau” of Liber O because that’s what the Catholic priests of my youth taught me to say, and I’ve never been able to shake it off. Use whatever pronunciation you prefer, or a different name altogether.]

C. Politics of the Ritual

With practice, you will no doubt come up with your own style of performance, and your own different symbolism for ritual acts. Different people do rituals as differently as actors play parts, even though the lines and motions may be fundamentally the same. (The alternative is an authoritarian, dogmatic horror which is alien to the deep occult understanding of religion, but is still common in magical groups.) Slavish imitation will get you nowhere in Magick  — except, perhaps, to some high spiritual degree!

The Christianity — or at least angelic monotheism — of the ritual  symbolism may give a start to some. Many of us involved in occultism have strongly negative feelings about Christianity. These are perhaps justified, but there are a few saving graces here.

First, as with any ritual, you should feel free to make it yours, to mess around with it. If you don’t start to at least play with the styles of a ritual after a while, you are probably not doing it very well. It is perfectly legitimate to substitute cognate symbols at any time. However, the saying in the martial arts is that one first learns another’s style, and after mastering it, moves on to create one’s own. For a beginner, it will be easiest simply to use an existing ritual form in order to explore the meaning of a banishing ritual.

Given that experience, which transcends any mere set of symbols, one may devise a form more in keeping with the emergence of one’s personal style. For instance, Neo-Pagans use a highly reified form of the same basic ritual in many of their traditions, but with non-Christian deities, spirits, and heros at the quarters. Aleister Crowley wrote a new version which made the performance more dancelike, and used the names of Thelemic deities and officers rather than monotheist gods and angels. My private version, called “Opening the Threshold”, is entirely atheistic and philosophical.

In any case, of those people who so abhor Christianity, how many have looked at some of the practices of historical pagans in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas? No religion should ever be “accepted” by an occultist. When using any religion’s symbolism, the adept should cut to its sacred poetical core and discard the political dross. By this standard, Christianity looks about as good as any other religion. Without this standard and by factoring in historical excesses and power plays, almost all known religions look just about as bad as Christianity.

In other words, someone who will happily use Norse gods, Arthurian heroes, Taoist immortals, Voudoun loas, or what have you in rituals, but will never touch a Christian angel, is guilty of the same narrowness he or she probably imparts to the Christians.

The Vibration of God-Names

In the LBR, the vibration of the god-names “charges” or “enlivens” the pentagrams in the air. This is difficult to describe, but easy to recognize. There is a feeling of presence in one of these charged warding images — though not necessarily a feeling of true externality or separate intelligence.  Weare told to “vibrate” the names. The description and illustration of the “vibration” given in Liber O have been known to mislead people into hilarious postures. What the picture most resembles is the skulking monster from the movie The Mummy. To the modern eye, it is remarkable how truly unclear a photograph can be.  I didn’t learn how to vibrate a god-name until I signed up with yet another occult order and was taught it in person. I wouldn’t wish the ensuing experience on anyone, so here is a description which I hope will be adequate in print.

Vibration phase i — The Sign of the Enterer (1-4)

1. Stand upright. Blow all the air out of your lungs. Hold your arms straight out at your sides.

2a. Close your eyes and inhale nasally, imagining that the breath is the name. The exact nature of this imagination differs from person to person. Thus, you imagine yourself inhaling the name into your lungs.

2b. As you inhale, sweep your forearms smoothly and deliberately up so that your fists rest on your temples.

3. Imagine the breath moving down through your torso slowly, and through your pelvis, your legs, and finally to the soles of your feet. (Don’t do this so slowly that you are hurting for air when the name reaches your feet!)

4a. The instant the inhaled vibrational name hits the soles of your feet, imagine it rushing back up and out.

4b. Simultaneously, throw yourself forward, thrusting your left foot forward about twelve inches (or thirty centimeters) and catching yourself on it. Your hands shoot forward, together, like a diver. You bend forward at the waist so that your torso winds up parallel to the floor.

4c. The air in your lungs should be blown out through your nose at the same time, but imagine the name shooting out straight ahead.

Steps 3-4 are known as the Sign of the Enterer, or of Horus. This  symbolizes powerful active energy. The Enterer should be something of a “rush”. The vibrational name is projected outwards into more tangible manifestation — in this case, in the pentagrams of the LBR, which are charged by the force of the projected god-names.

It is highly inadvisable to omit the portion of step(4b) which reads “catching yourself on it.” But again, I have no desire to infringe on your freedom of choice.

Vibration phase ii — The Sign of Silence (5)

5. Finally, withdraw into a standing position, left arm hanging at your side, right forefinger on lips, left foot pointing ninety degrees out from the body.

Step 5 is called the Sign of Silence, or of Harpocrates. This Egyptian god was mistakenly believed (at the turn of the century) to pertain to silence, because his finger or thumb was touching his lips. This gesture is now believed to be a symbol of childhood; this correction appears in the World card of Crowley’s “Book of Thoth” Tarot deck. Harpocrates was the god of the Sun at dawn, and so symbolizes wonder, beauty, potential, growth. So, step 5 may be done in this academically corrected light instead.

However, the “hush” gesture of the Golden Dawn Sign of Silence is adequate for the modern occultist, even if deprived of A Divine Identification. It is a common gesture, at least in the European culture, meaning silence. Silence perhaps balances the ultra-active Sign of the Enterer better than does the more scholarly positive/active “Sign of Harpocrates the Rising Sun”, and silence is surely no alien concept to mystics.

The Invocation

The pentagrams are given form by the drawing, life by the vibration, identity by the four-part prayer of steps (x) to (xiv). Some people do very elaborate visualizations of angelic guardians on each of (xi) to (xiv). Because of my tragic personal deficiencies, I am content with strong feelings of presence, identity, and divinity in each of the four directions.

A horizontal cross is built up step by step as you say, “Before me Raphael”, etc, with you at the center; and the position of your arms forms a vertical cross, a renewal of the Qabalistic Cross from the start of the ritual. You may feel a quite peculiar rising and expansion when both of these crosses are formulated. One has become the center of the geometry of the space, and it is like a little world in itself, cut adrift from the mundane currents of everyday experience.

Steps (xv) and (xvi) are when the real banishing takes place, during “For about me flames the pentagram, and in the column stands the six-rayed star.” A great pulse of force is emitted during these steps, imposing the personal will on the space and clearing it of all hostile influences.

After this is done, the invoked “archangels” maintain the banishing effect, guarding in all four directions. Of course this talk of angels is all bullshit — the importance lies in the psychological effect. Whether there “really is” an archangel standing there keeping out inimical spirits is not important. The “feeling of cleanliness” is what matters.

Concluding Cross

The final Qabalistic Cross is an affirmation of the completeness and symmetry of the ritual, and also a new self-consecration. This is more efficacious than the previous Cross because it is done in a banished environment.

One is now ready to do a formal invocation, an evocation, a meditation, or whatever the overall purpose may be. The LBR is a preliminary ceremony, although it has a beneficial effect in itself. It can profitably be done as a stand-alone ritual, but you should move on. The LBR should keep away the horrible ickies that turn so many novices away from Magick. Its mastery is a first step to adeptship.

The Witches Spell for November 3: Cloud Eye Rite

Cloud Eye Rite

This is a version of a rite by an unknown author which involves transferring one’s ‘essence’ to another form, such as a rainbow, an animal, another person, a cloud, even a tree. In this case, you move your perception to a cloud.

You will need: An open space

Dry ice

Passivity

 

Open by whatever means feels appropriate. (You might just cast a circle.) Set the dry ice in the center of the working area. Participants circle deosil around the ice, chanting “Ka-ao-opua-loa” (the sharp-pointed living cloud). In the Hawaiian legends, this was the name of the kupua of the cloud people. Circling and chanting continue for 10-15 minutes, at the end of which all sit down in a circle as close to the ice as possible. All stare into the fog rising from the ice until tunnel vision sets in (the field of vision goes black except for the object focused upon). At the moment that tunnel vision occurs, say:

As below, so above The cloud is in my eye Ka-ao-opua-loa carry my sight

Participants begin spinning at increasing speed with eyes closed, all the while repeating:

Tenfemet-Douck

When spinning is no longer possible, participants lie on their backs and open the eyes completely (no squinting) and focus on the first cloud they see. All repeat:

As above, so below My eye is in the cloud Phenomenize the cloud-eye

Visualize a fog exactly like that rising from the dry ice leaving the eyes and rushing up to join with the clouds. Observe it entirely passively, and with the inner voice repeat:

This self is Tenfemet-Douck, The cloud that sees.

When tunnel vision again sets in, close the eyes and open them again quickly. Look down over the terrain that passes below your cloud-eye. Note details if desired, but do not attempt to influence direction or speed of motion. All control of these should be left to the wind. When you have achieved your desired results, switch out of the passive mode and attempt to influence direction or speed. Find yourself back in your human body looking up at the clouds. Banish by laughter, and leave the circle.

Simple Self Dedication

Simple Self Dedication

A simple self dedication rite for beginners or for those who would like to rededicate themselves to nature path


SELF DEDICATION RITE

 

Prepare yourself by doing the Ritual Bath and Self Blessing. If you are performing this ritual at the sea or a river, bathe there if you so desire. As you bathe, prepare for the coming rite. Open your consciousness to higher levels of awareness. Breath deep. Cleanse your mind as well as your body. After bathing, dry and dress for the journey.

 

Go to a place in the wild where you feel safe. It should be a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed by others, an area where the powers of the Earth and the Elements are evident. It may be a mountain top, a desert canyon or cave, perhaps a dense forest, a rocky outcropping over the sea, a quiet island in the center of a lake. Even a lonely part of a park or garden can be used. Draw on your imagination to find the place.

 

You need take nothing with you but a vial of richly scented oil. Sandalwood, frankincense, cinnamon or any other scent is fine. When you arrive at the place of dedication, remove your shoes and sit quietly for a few moments. Calm your heart if you’ve exerted yourself during your travel. Breathe deeply to return to normal, and keep your mind free of cluttered thoughts. Open yourself to the natural energies around you. When you’re calm, rise and pivot slowly on one foot, surveying the land around you. You’re seeking the ideal spot. Don’t try to find it; open your awareness to the place. When you’ve discovered it (and you’ll know when), sit, kneel or lie flat on your back. Place the oil on the Earth beside you, Don’t stand – contact the Earth. Continue deep breathing. Feel the energies around you.

 

Call the Goddess and God in any words you like, or use the following invocation. Memorize these words before the rite so that they’ll spill effortlessly from you, or improvise:

 

O Mother Goddess, O Father God, Answers to all mysteries and yet mysteries unanswered; In this place of power I open myself to Your Essence. In this place and in this time I am changed; From hence forth I walk the Paths of the Craft. I dedicate myself to you, Mother Goddess and Father God. (rest for a moment, silent, still.)

Then continue:

 

I breathe your energies into my body, commingling, blending, mixing them with mine, that I may see the divine in nature, nature in the divine, and divinity within myself and all else. O Great Goddess, O Great God, Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence.

 

You may feel bursting with power and energy, or calm and at peace. Your mind might be in a whirl. The Earth beneath you may throb and undulate with energy. Wild animals, attracted by the psychic occurrence, might grace you with their presence. Whatever occurs, know that you have opened yourself and that the Goddess and God have heard you.

 

You should feel different inside, at peace or simply powerful. After the invocation, wet a finger with the oil and mark the symbols of the Goddess and God somewhere on your body. It doesn’t matter where; you can do this on your chest, forehead, arms, legs, anywhere. As you anoint, visualize these symbols sinking into your flesh, glowing as they enter your body and then dispersing into millions of tiny points of light.

 

The formal self-dedication is ended. Thank the Goddess and God for Their attention. Sit and meditate before leaving the place of dedication. Once home, celebrate in some special way.

Self Blessings

Self Blessings

The purpose of the ritual is to bring the individual into closer contact with the Godhead. It can also be used as a minor dedication, when a person who desires dedication has no one who can dedicate him. This self blessing ritual may also be used as a minor exorcism, to banish any negative influences which may have formed around the person. It may be performed by any person upon himself, and at his desire.


Self-Blessing This ritual should be performed during the New Moon (at least when the moon is waxing) , but it is not limited to that phase. Need, not season, determines the performance. There is real power in the Self Blessing; it should not be used other than in time of need and should not be done promiscuously. The purpose of the ritual is to bring the individual into closer contact with the Godhead. It can also be used as a minor dedication, when a person who desires dedication has no one who can dedicate him. This self blessing ritual may also be used as a minor exorcism, to banish any negative influences which may have formed around the person. It may be performed by any person upon himself, and at his desire. Perform this ritual in a quiet place, free from distraction, and nude. You will need the following:

 

1. Salt, about one quarter teaspoon

 

2. Wine, about an ounce.

 

3. Water, abut one-half ounce.

 

4. Candle, votive or other. The result of the ritual is a feeling of peace and calm. It is desirable that the participant bask in the afterglow so that he may meditate and understand that he has called the attention of the Godhead to himself, asking to grow closer to the Godhead in both goals and in wisdom.

 

When you are ready to begin, sprinkle the salt on the floor and stand on it, lighting the candle. Let the warmth of the candle be absorbed into the body. Mist the water into the wine, meditating upon your reasons for performing the self blessing.

 

Read the following aloud: Bless me, mother, for I am your child. Dip the fingers of the right hand into the mixed water and wine and anoint the eyes, Blessed be my eyes, that I may see your path. Anoint the nose, Blessed be my nose, that I may breathe your essence. Anoint the mouth, Blessed be my mouth, that I may speak of you. Anoint the breasts, Blessed be my breast, that I may be faithful in my work. Anoint the loins, Blessed be my loins, which bring forth the life of men and women as you have brought forth all creation. Anoint the feet, Blessed be my feet, that I may walk in your ways. Remain…and mediate for a while

 

Note: Although this is probably as basic as dedication can get, this nevertheless is very useful even if only used for banishment of negativity.

Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season

Witch Works:  Spells and Rituals for Every Season
By: Banshee, White Moon School
It’s Samhain once again! The Wheel of the Year has come full circle. Be sure to take a few moments this Samhain and give thanks for all your many blessings. That being said, it almost goes without saying that Samhain is the best sabbat for divination. The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, making communication with the other side easier. I feel that Samhain is also an excellent time to make the divination tools you will use for years, particularly, the scrying mirror.
Making a Scrying Mirror
The first step in this process is to select a frame that speaks to you. Preferably, the frame would be oval, but it does not have to be. The only requirement on the frame is that it must have real glass, not plastic.
You will also need black paint. Oil-based enamel will work the best for this project. I personally prefer the glossy paint, but matte is fine too. Disassemble the frame and physically clean the glass with soap and water. Do not use cleaning solution such as Windex, as this can cause the paint to break down over time. If you want to spiritually cleanse the pieces that would be fine as well. Paint the glass black on one side. Several coats will be needed. You will know you have used enough paint when no light passes through the glass.
If you purchase or make a plain frame and would like to decorate it with symbols, now would be the time to do that. Place the glass into the frame so that the painted side is to the back of the frame. This will make the darkness appear deeper. Assemble the rest of the frame. If the frame does not have a leg on it so that it can free stand, you will need to purchase a stand for the mirror.
The mirror is now finished! Perform a ritual to cleanse and consecrate the mirror. I do not suggest trying to make the mirror inside of a magick circle. The processes of painting the glass can be quite messy and long. Once the glass is painted though, all the other parts of creation, decoration, and assembly could be performed in a ritual.
It has been my experience that “tools” created on Samhain are more powerful than most. Recharge your mirror every Samhain and see what the other side of the veil reveals to you!
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Have a blessed and safe Samhain!
About the Author:  Banshee is a solitary practitioner from the Midwest.  She is currently a student at The White Moon School, studying to become a High Priestess. Banshee has been a practicing witch for 4 years and performs tarot readings and long distance energy work via the Internet.