Lighten Up – Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

Never summon Anything you can’t banish.

Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.

Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.

When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”

Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.

Never, ever set the Witch on fire.

Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.

A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons like those.

Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.

Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.

Carry an all purpose translators dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.

Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.

If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbors name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.

Blood is thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.

While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.

Lighten Up – Redneck Charge of the Goddess

Redneck Charge of the Goddess

 

(Tune:  The Beverly Hillbillies by E. Scruggs) (Lyrical adaption by Hare)

Now listen to the words of the Great Star Mother, In days long past called by one name or tuther, “I am your Mammy, Queen of Earth, Air, Fire, Sea, So you better quit your yappin’ an’ listen to me.”

(Isis that is, Astarte, Cerridwen)

“Now y’all listen up, ’cause I’d hate to be a bitch, When we have our shindigs t’aint none should wear a stitch. Y’all will eat an’ drink an’ dance an’ love, to show that you’re free, ‘Cause all acts of pleasure are sacred to me.”

(Skyclad that is, Great Rite, Cakes an’ Wine)

“If you wanna know my secrets, then look in your own hide, ‘Cause if what you seek aint there, well, it won’t be found outside. The greatest Mysteries t’aint really dread nor dire, I’m with you at the start, and at the end of desire.”

(That’s right, listen to your heart. Y’all will come back now, y’hear?)

 

A Midsummer Night’s Lore

by Melanie Fire Salamander

Cinquefoil, campion, lupine and foxglove nod on your doorstep; Nutka rose, salal bells, starflower and bleeding-heart hide in the woods, fully green now. Litha has come, longest day of the year, height of the sun. Of old, in Europe, Litha was the height too of pagan celebrations, the most important and widely honored of annual festivals.

Fire, love and magick wreathe ’round this time. As on Beltaine in Ireland, across Europe people of old leaped fires for fertility and luck on Midsummer Day, or on the night before, Midsummer Eve, according to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.Farmers drove their cattle through the flames or smoke or ran with burning coals across the cattle pens. In the Scottish Highlands, herders circumnabulated their sheep with torches lit at the Midsummer fire.

People took burning brands around their fields also to ensure fertility, and in Ireland threw them into gardens and potato fields. Ashes from the fire were mixed with seeds yet to plant. In parts of England country folk thought the apple crop would fail if they didn’t light the Midsummer fires. People relit their house fires from the Midsummer bonfire, in celebration hurled flaming disks heavenward and rolled flaming wheels downhill, burning circles that hailed the sun at zenith.

Midsummer, too, was a lovers’ festival. Lovers clasped hands over the bonfire, tossed flowers across to each other, leaped the flames together. Those who wanted lovers performed love divination. In Scandinavia, girls laid bunches of flowers under their pillows on Midsummer Eve to induce dreams of love and ensure them coming true. In England, it was said if an unmarried girl fasted on Midsummer Eve and at midnight set her table with a clean cloth, bread, cheese and ale, then left her yard door open and waited, the boy she would marry, or his spirit, would come in and feast with her.

Magick crowns Midsummer. Divining rods cut on this night are more infallible, dreams more likely to come true. Dew gathered Midsummer Eve restores sight. Fern, which confers invisibility, was said to bloom at midnight on Midsummer Eve and is best picked then. Indeed, any magickal plants plucked on Midsummer Eve at midnight are doubly efficacious and keep better. You’d pick certain magickal herbs, namely St. Johnswort, hawkweed, vervain, orpine, mullein, wormwood and mistletoe, at midnight on Midsummer Eve or noon Midsummer Day, to use as a charm to protect your house from fire and lightning, your family from disease, negative witchcraft and disaster. A pagan gardener might consider cultivating some or all of these; it’s not too late to buy at herb-oriented nurseries, the Herbfarm outside Fall City the chief of these and a wonderful place to visit, if a tad pricey. Whichever of these herbs you find, a gentle snip into a cloth, a spell whispered over, and you have a charm you can consecrate in the height of the sun.

In northern Europe, the Wild Hunt was often seen on Midsummer Eve, hallooing in the sky, in some districts led by Cernunnos. Midsummer’s Night by European tradition is a fairies’ night, and a witches’ night too. Rhiannon Ryall writes in West Country Wiccathat her coven, employing rites said to be handed down for centuries in England’s West Country, would on Midsummer Eve decorate their symbols of the God and Goddess with flowers, yellow for the God, white for the Goddess. The coven that night would draw down the moon into their high priestess, and at sunrise draw down the sun into their high priest. The priest and priestess then celebrated the Great Rite, known to the coven as the Rite of Joining or the Crossing Rite.

Some of Ryall’s elders called this ritual the Ridencrux Rite. They told how formerly in times of bad harvest or unseasonable weather, the High Priestess on the nights between the new and full moon would go to the nearest crossroads, wait for the first stranger traveling in the district. About this stranger the coven had done ritual beforehand, to ensure he embodied the God. The high priestess performed the Great Rite with him to make the next season’s sowing successful.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, traces of witchcraft and pagan remembrances were often linked with Midsummer. In Southern Estonia, Lutheran Church workers found a cottar’s wife accepting sacrifices on Midsummer Day, Juhan Kahk writes in Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Gustave Henningsen. Likewise, on Midsummer Night in 1667, in Estonia’s Maarja-Magdaleena parish, peasants met at the country manor of Colonel Griefenspeer to perform a ritual to cure illnesses.

In Denmark, writes Jens Christian V. Johansen in another Early Modern European Witchcraft chapter, medieval witches were said to gather on Midsummer Day, and in Ribe on Midsummer Night. Inquisitors in the Middle Ages often said witches met on Corpus Christi, which some years fell close to Midsummer Eve, according to Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, by Jeffrey Burton Russell. The inquisitors explained witches chose the date to mock a central Christian festival, but Corpus Christi is no more important than a number of other Christian holidays, and it falls near a day traditionally associated with pagan worship. Coincidence? Probably not.

Anciently, pagans and witches hallowed Midsummer. Some burned for their right to observe their rites; we need not. But we can remember the past. In solidarity with those burned, we can collect our herbs at midnight; we can burn our bonfires and hail the sun.

Lighten Up – You Might be Giving Pagans a Bad Name If…

by Cather “Catalyst” Steincamp

 

You Might be Giving Pagans a Bad Name If…

You insist that your boss call you “Rowan Starchild” because otherwise you’d sue for religious harassment. (Score double for this if you don’t let that patronizing dastard call you “Mr. or Ms. Starchild.”)

You request Samhain, Beltaine, and Yule off and then gripe about working Christmas.

You expect your employer to exempt you from the random drug testing because of your religion.

You think the number of Wiccan books you own is far more important than the number you have read, regardless of the fact that most of your books are for beginners.

You’ve won an argument by referencing “Drawing Down the Moon,” knowing darned good and well they haven’t read it either.

You said it was bigotry when they didn’t let you do that ritual in front of city hall. It had nothing to do with the skyclad bit.

You picketed The Craft and Hocus Pocus, but thought that the losers who picketed The Last Temptation of Christ needed to get lives.

You’ve ever had to go along with someone’s ludicrous story because it was twice as likely to be true than most of the nonsense you spout.

You complain about how much the Native Americans copied from Eclectic Wiccan Rites.

You’ve ever referenced the Great Rite in a pick-up line.

Someone has had to point out to you that you do not enter a circle “in perfect love and perfect lust.” (Score double if you argued the point.)

You claim yourself as a witch because how early you were trained by the wise and powerful such-and-such of whom nobody has heard.

You claim to be a famtrad (hereditary), but you’re not. (Score double if you had to tell people you were adopted to pull this off.)

You claim to be a descendant of one of the original Salem Witches. (Score to a lethal degree if you don’t get this one.)

You think it’s perfectly reasonable to insist that, since every tradition is different, and no one tradition is right, there’s no reason not to do things your way.

You’ve ever been psychically attacked by someone who conveniently held a coven position you crave, and suddenly had a glimpse into their mind so you could see how evil they were.

You’ve ever affected an Irish or Scottish accent and insisted that it was real.

You think it’s your Pagan Duty to support the IRA, not because of any political beliefs you might share, but because, dammit, they’re Irish.

You talk to your invisible guardians in public. (Score double if you have met the Vampire Lestat or Dracula, triple if you got into a fight and escaped, or quadruple if it was no contest.)

You’ve ever confused the Prime Directive with the Wiccan Rede.

You’ve ever tried something you saw on “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch”

You’ve suddenly realized in the middle of a ritual that you weren’t playing D&D.

You’ve failed to realize at any point in the ritual that you weren’t playing D&D.

You’ve suddenly realized that you are playing D&D.

You hang out with people who each match at least fifteen of these traits.

You recognize many of these traits in yourself, but this test isn’t about you. But, boy, it’s right about those other folks.

Lighten Up – Circle Etiquette

Never summon Anything you can’t banish.

Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.

Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.

When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”

Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.

Never, ever

set the Witch on fire.

Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.

A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons like those.

Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.

Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.

Carry an all purpose translators dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.

Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.

If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbors name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.

Blood is thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.

While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.

Lighten Up – You might be a Redneck Pagan if….

You might be a Redneck Pagan if…

  • If you think “widdershins” refers to the calves of the bereaved lady next door….
  • If you think fetch deer is a command you give yer dawg….
  • If you think a goblet is a young turkey….
  • If you think Drawing Down the Moon means demolishing the outhouse….
  • If you call your coven mates “Bud” and “Sis”….
  • If you think a Great Rite is turning onto County Road 13….
  • If your Quarter candles smell like kerosene….
  • If you pronounce “Athame” as “Athaym” and “Samhain” as “Sammon” or “Sam-hayn”….
  • If you think a “Sidhe” is a girl….
  • If your idea of the “Goddess” is the Coors Swedish Bikini Ski Team….
  • If your Bard plays the banjo….
  • If your ‘Long Lost Friend really IS….
  • If your lawn is decorated with at least one, preferably two or more, plastic pink flamingos, whom you regard as your familiars….
  • If your Wand of Power is a cattle prod….
  • If your ceremonial belt has your name on the back and a belt buckle bigger than your head….
  • If you call the Quarters by invoking “Billy, Joe, Jim and Bob”….
  • If you call the Gods by hollerin’ “Hey y’all, watch me!”….
  • If your favorite robe has the logo of a manufacturer of major farm equipment on the back….
  • If you’ve ever harvested ritual herbs with a weed wacker….
  • If your ritual staff is a double barrel shotgun….
  • If your ritual garments include any one of the following: plaid flannels, long johns, a pistol belt, or cowboy boots….
  • If you’ve ever blessed chewing tobacco or snuff….
  • If your ritual wine is Maddog 20/20, Night Train or White Lady 21….
  • If the instructions to get to your Covenstead include the words “After you turn off the paved road”….
  • If your altar-cloth is a rebel flag….
  • If you use junk cars to mark the four corners of your circle….
  • If your Eternal Flame just happens to be under a still….
  • If you use an engine block for an altar….
  • If your High Priestess is your cousin – as well as your wife….
  • If, when drawing down the moon, you say, “Ya’ll come on down, ya hear?”….
  • If your pickup truck has an Athame rack….
  • If your crystal ball is made of polystyrene (i.e., a bowling ball)….
  • If your High Priestess has a spittoon on her altar….

You might be a Redneck Pagan!

author unknown

Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

Never summon Anything you can’t banish.

Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.

Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.

When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”

Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.

Never, ever set the Witch on fire.

Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.

A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons like those.

Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.

Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.

Carry an all purpose translators dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.

Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.

If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbors name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.

Blood is thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.

While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.

Calendar of the Sun for Monday, February 6th

Calendar of the Sun
6 Solmonath

Day of Aphrodite Genetrix

Colors: Sea green and white
Element: Water
Altar: Lay with a cloth of sea green, strings of pearls, white lace, many scallop shells, colored glass sea floats, abalone, small shells with hearts and fishes painted on them, and a large chalice of Greek wine with frothy sugared egg whites floating in it.
Offerings: Shells. Fishes. Promises to aid expectant parents.
Daily Meal: Ocean fish. Shellfish. Sweet things, especially desserts. Whipped cream.

Invocation to Aphrodite Genetrix

Lady of Sea-Foam,
Green as the ocean from which
You sprang, with pearls
Of whitest foam,
Aphrodite Genetrix
Love that creates all Life,
We thank you for the Love
That sparked our existence.
We remember that we were all born of love
Whether it was brief and poignant
As a firefly’s courtship
Or solid and lasting
For half a century,
Whether it sprang from the body
Or the heart, or the soul.
You who bind the proton to the electron
And so bind the world together,
May we never forget your gift of attraction
That makes us all human
Even as you are divine.

Chant: Amor Invictus Amor Invictus

(The ritual for this day is the Great Rite, performed by one man and one woman, as Aphrodite Genetrix is the matron of procreative sexuality. If done symbolically, the man plunges a blade into the chalice held by the woman, and then it is poured as a libation. Ideally, it should be done literally, either by members of the house or by two who have come in for this purpose. If outsiders, it would be an auspicious time to conceive a child. All sit facing outwards in a circle and chant as the couple are wrapped in a red cloth and lay together in the center, and when it is done all repair to their rooms and either contemplate love or have ritual sex, alone or together.)

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 26th

Calendar of the Sun
26 Luis/Gamelion

Gamelia: Day of the Sacred Marriage

Colors: Red and green
Elements: Fire and earth
Altar: On cloth of red and green, place a chalice of water or wine, a blade, a red candle and a green one, incense, a wreath of flowers or herbs, and a branch on which are slipped two rings.
Offerings: Do something in partnership with someone else.
Daily Meal: Sweet cakes, breads, and fruit. Two of everything.

Gamelia Invocation

On this day we invoke the sacred marriage
Of the Lady and Lord,
Whether we call them Hera and Zeus,
Jupiter and Juno,
Dagda and Boannan,
Shiva and Parvati,
Ariadne and Dionysus,
Odhinn and Frigga,
Or any other two who joined not only in love
And the bonds of the fiery flesh,
But chose to be bound together
In the sight of their community
And create the keel of the ship
That was anchored by love
And that carried the hopes of many others.
For to be married is to make a commitment,
Whether that marriage is to another soul
Or to the soul of the Divine.
Come forth and show us divine love,
And may we all be in awe
Of its holiness and power.

(The ritual for this day is the Great Rite, performed by one man and one woman. If done symbolically, the man plunges a blade into the chalice held by the woman, and then it is poured as a libation. Ideally, it should be done literally, either by members of the house or by two who have come in for this purpose. If outsiders, it would be an auspicious time to conceive a child. All sit facing outwards in a circle and chant as the couple are wrapped in a red cloth and lay together in the center, and when it is done all repair to their rooms and either contemplate love or have ritual sex, alone or together.)

A Midsummer Night’s Lore

A Midsummer Night’s Lore

by Melanie Fire Salamander

 

Cinquefoil, campion, lupine and foxglove nod on your doorstep; Nutka rose, salal bells, starflower and bleeding-heart hide in the woods, fully green now. Litha has come, longest day of the year, height of the sun. Of old, in Europe, Litha was the height too of pagan celebrations, the most important and widely honored of annual festivals.

Fire, love and magick wreathe ’round this time. As on Beltaine in Ireland, across Europe people of old leaped fires for fertility and luck on Midsummer Day, or on the night before, Midsummer Eve, according to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.Farmers drove their cattle through the flames or smoke or ran with burning coals across the cattle pens. In the Scottish Highlands, herders circumnabulated their sheep with torches lit at the Midsummer fire.

People took burning brands around their fields also to ensure fertility, and in Ireland threw them into gardens and potato fields. Ashes from the fire were mixed with seeds yet to plant. In parts of England country folk thought the apple crop would fail if they didn’t light the Midsummer fires. People relit their house fires from the Midsummer bonfire, in celebration hurled flaming disks heavenward and rolled flaming wheels downhill, burning circles that hailed the sun at zenith.

Midsummer, too, was a lovers’ festival. Lovers clasped hands over the bonfire, tossed flowers across to each other, leaped the flames together. Those who wanted lovers performed love divination. In Scandinavia, girls laid bunches of flowers under their pillows on Midsummer Eve to induce dreams of love and ensure them coming true. In England, it was said if an unmarried girl fasted on Midsummer Eve and at midnight set her table with a clean cloth, bread, cheese and ale, then left her yard door open and waited, the boy she would marry, or his spirit, would come in and feast with her.

Magick crowns Midsummer. Divining rods cut on this night are more infallible, dreams more likely to come true. Dew gathered Midsummer Eve restores sight. Fern, which confers invisibility, was said to bloom at midnight on Midsummer Eve and is best picked then. Indeed, any magickal plants plucked on Midsummer Eve at midnight are doubly efficacious and keep better. You’d pick certain magickal herbs, namely St. Johnswort, hawkweed, vervain, orpine, mullein, wormwood and mistletoe, at midnight on Midsummer Eve or noon Midsummer Day, to use as a charm to protect your house from fire and lightning, your family from disease, negative witchcraft and disaster. A pagan gardener might consider cultivating some or all of these; it’s not too late to buyat herb-oriented nurseries, the Herbfarm outside Fall City the chief of these and a wonderful place to visit, if a tad pricey. Whichever of these herbs you find, a gentle snip into a cloth, a spell whispered over, and you have a charm you can consecrate in the height of the sun.

In northern Europe, the Wild Hunt was often seen on Midsummer Eve, hallooing in the sky, in some districts led by Cernunnos. Midsummer’s Night by European tradition is a fairies’ night, and a witches’ night too. Rhiannon Ryall writes in West Country Wiccathat her coven, employing rites said to be handed down for centuries in England’s West Country, would on Midsummer Eve decorate their symbols of the God and Goddess with flowers, yellow for the God, white for the Goddess. The coven that night would draw down the moon into their high priestess, and at sunrise draw down the sun into their high priest. The priest and priestess then celebrated the Great Rite, known to the coven as the Rite of Joining or the Crossing Rite.

Some of Ryall’s elders called this ritual the Ridencrux Rite. They told how formerly in times of bad harvest or unseasonable weather, the High Priestess on the nights between the new and full moon would go to the nearest crossroads, wait for the first stranger traveling in the district. About this stranger the coven had done ritual beforehand, to ensure he embodied the God. The high priestess performed the Great Rite with him to make the next season’s sowing successful.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, traces of witchcraft and pagan remembrances were often linked with Midsummer. In Southern Estonia, Lutheran Church workers found a cottar’s wife accepting sacrifices on Midsummer Day, Juhan Kahk writes in Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Gustave Henningsen. Likewise, on Midsummer Night in 1667, in Estonia’s Maarja-Magdaleena parish, peasants met at the country manor of Colonel Griefenspeer to perform a ritual to cure illnesses.

In Denmark, writes Jens Christian V. Johansen in another Early Modern European Witchcraft chapter, medieval witches were said to gather on Midsummer Day, and in Ribe on Midsummer Night. Inquisitors in the Middle Ages often said witches met on Corpus Christi, which some years fell close to Midsummer Eve, according to Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, by Jeffrey Burton Russell. The inquisitors explained witches chose the date to mock a central Christian festival, but Corpus Christi is no more important than a number of other Christian holidays, and it falls near a day traditionally associated with pagan worship. Coincidence? Probably not.

Anciently, pagans and witches hallowed Midsummer. Some burned for their right to observe their rites; we need not. But we can remember the past. In solidarity with those burned, we can collect our herbs at midnight; we can burn our bonfires and hail the sun.