Carnelian

Crystal of the Day

Carnelian

 

SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: Carnelian is the clear red to brownish red member of the Chalcedony family. It is a microcrystalline variety of Quartz (Silicone Dioxide) and may contain small amounts of iron oxides. The hardness is 7, and the streak is white.

ENVIRONMENT: Chalcedony is formed in several environments, generally near the surface of the earth where temperatures and pressures are relatively low. It commonly forms in the zone of alteration of lode and massive hydrothermal replacement deposits and as bodies of chert in chemical sedimentary rocks.

OCCURENCE: Fine carnelian comes from India and South America.

GEMSTONE INFORMATION: Carnelian is used as an alternate birthstone for the month of May. It is normally cut into cabochons, engraved, or made into seal stones or rounded, polished, and pierced for necklaces and other items of jewelry.

NAME: The name means “flesh-colored”, from [caro], meaning “genitive” and [carnis], meaning “flesh”.

LEGEND and LORE: Carnelian has long been associated with courage and cleansing of the blood. It was believed that the stone would improve one’s outlook, making the individual cheerful and expelling fears.

MAGICAL PROPERTIES: Katrina Raphaell says that Carnelian can be used to “see into the past”. The “Crystal Oracle” says that Carnelian refers to the Self, and Current Conditions. It is a grounding stone, and associated with the Earth. As such, it is considered practical, sensible and balanced. Cunningham associates the stone with the element of Fire. He suggests it as a talisman against Telepathic invasion.

HEALING: It is recommended for infertility or impotency. In addition it is used for purification of the blood. It has also been suggested that this stone will stop nosebleeding.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I call this the “sexy” stone…since I believe it stimulates sexual appetites. I use it in the lower Chakras for infertility and impotency for men(I use Coral as the feminine counterpart.) I always get a good chuckle when I notice a man wearing a LARGE Cornelian belt buckle. In addition, I would use this stone for relief of pain from arthritis in men.

——-bibliography——-

1. Scientific, Environment, Occurence and Name are from (or paraphrased from) “The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals”.

2. Precious and semi-precious gemstone information may come from “Gemstones” by E. H. Rutland.

3. Other Precious and semi-precious gemstone information may come from “Gem Cutting”, sec. ed., by John Sinkankas.

4. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic”, by Scott Cunningham.

5. Some of the healing information may come from “Color and Crystals, A Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.

6. Some of the healing information may come from “A Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.

Where Gods Dwell – Creating Altars and Shrines

Where Gods Dwell

Creating Altars and Shrines

by Amanda Silvers

An altar is, customarily, an area set aside for meditation or worship, or for working magick. A shrine is ordinarily an altar, specifically dedicated to a particular energy or deity. What is the purpose of an altar or shrine, besides creating a special place for your ritual or worship to take place? There are many answers, and I offer this as a guide for beginners and more experienced people as well.

When you transform a physical area or location to focus on a divine spirit, it is then possible for that spirit to manifest in the material world. Whether it is a god or goddess, an elemental or one of the fey, it has a space and energy to create from. The idea is to cause this to be a special and sacred place of honor and adoration of the deity or spirit, so put plenty of desire and effort into your creation.

To build an altar or shrine, begin on the correct day and hour for your chosen purpose. You may determine the day and hour by looking it up in a table of correspondences, in one of Scott Cunningham’s books or in The Spiral Dance. Start fashioning a place by contemplating how much space you have to devote, where you might like it, how accessible the area is to you and how secluded it is. Importantly, if you do not wish people to ask a bazillion questions, situate your shrines where they will be private. When you think about the purpose of the altar or shrine, the deity will help guide you where best to build it; just follow your feeling or instinct.

Next, clean the space, both physically and energetically. Do a clearing or banishing with water, incense or whatever you usually use, and at the same time clean the area well. Wipe it down and take away anything that was there before. (If you wish to replace an item on the altar, cleanse and bless it first.) Once you have accomplished this, purify and bless each item for the altar and place it in its correct position. Each piece is like an ingredient in a dish; it adds to the final product. There is a distinctive energy that is produced by an altar once it is blessed, and you will come to enjoy sharing the energy there.

If what you want to create is a shrine, say a prayer of dedication to the specific deity, and with your intention and desire affect the space to be sacred to that deity. Also, as you bring in each item you may anoint and dedicate them one by one, for more power, or you may wait until the whole shrine is set up and dedicate it at the end, as a whole. Chant, sing, play appropriate background music, burn incense, do whatever helps you be in the energy of the deity you wish to venerate. Put as much energy into anointing, placing and praying over the items as you can to make the shrine very powerful indeed.

Once you have accomplished this, it’s time to invoke the deity and ask that deity to lend his or her presence and power to your shrine. Be respectful, be sincere, be reverent, but do not forget that the gods do have a sense of humor. So do not be totally surprised if something unusual happens. When you are finished, spend some time communing with your chosen deity, and hearken to the small (or not so small) voice that will speak to you.

You might try creating small altars or shrines around your house and yard. Even the workplace can become an area of worship if you are discreet and use your symbology wisely.

I have a main altar that contains my ritual working tools, a couple statues of the god and goddess I traditionally work with, offerings and some other magickal items that are special to me. I create other shrines depending on what energies I am currently working with. I have had in the past and know several people who have a shrine blessed to each god or goddess they work with. A shrine can be a nice focus for bringing in more of the energy of a specific deity.

It’s a valuable idea to keep a journal of your communications with the gods, so that over time you can look back and see how you have grown and changed in your approach. Be conscientious; keep your altars and shrines clean and well-organized (unless they’re to Eris!). Spend time engaged at your shrines every day, and you will come to have a very close relationship with the gods. Raise energy for them, and offer gifts…. remember the gods and they will remember you!

Items that you might want to place on your altar or shrine

For a working altar, you will want a number of magickal tools including, but not limited to:

  • Athamé (sacred to the God)
  • Bell (air)
  • Bowl of water (water)
  • Candles (fire)
  • Cauldron (earth)
  • Chalice (Goddess)
  • Incense burner and incense (air)
  • Oil lamp (fire)
  • Representations of the God and Goddess
  • Rocks or crystals (earth)
  • Salt (earth)
  • Shells (water)
  • Wand (air)

For a shrine, you will want:

  • Representations of the deity; these may be pictures, statues or other things that represent the god or goddess in question to you
  • Altar cloth
  • Anointing oil
  • Athamé
  • Bells
  • Candles
  • Crystals
  • Earth
  • Feathers
  • Flowers (alive or dead)
  • Fruit
  • Herbs or greens
  • Incense and burner (the fire of consumption)
  • Meat or animal parts
  • Metal
  • Money
  • Oil lamp (the fire of illumination)
  • Poetry
  • Salt or sand
  • Shells
  • Stones
  • Wand
  • Water
  • Wine
  • Other offerings as appropriate

The suggestions following, regarding shrines to specific deities, will aid you in starting shrines, but use your personal preferences and the colors and items associated with your particular deities.

For Aphrodite, I recommend a rose-colored altar cloth, rose quartz, a statue or picture of a beautiful woman or sexually explicit photos, some Aphrodite incense, red candles, shells, pink or red flowers, water and a condom or two. Her colors are rose, red, orange, white and pink.

For Pan, think green! Provide a green or brown altar cloth. Pinecones, greenery, wildflowers, phallic-shaped stones, statues or pictures of the god, goats or a beautiful man are good, as well as animal skins (especially goatskins), Pan incense, green or brown candles, earth, mushrooms and phalluses (dildos). His  colors are brown, tan, forest green, leaf green and teal blue.

For Hecate, remember she is the goddess of magick and witches as well as the goddess of death and transformation (destruction). For her, I have a black altar cloth, a crystal ball, Tarot cards, crystals, dead and living flowers, animal skulls and bones, Hecate oil and incense, black candles, an oil lamp and a threefold statue of Hecate. She likes her devotees to write poetry and songs to her, and she is somewhat jealous. Her color is black.

Gem of the Day for June 14 – LAZURITE (LAPIS LAZULI)

LAZURITE (LAPIS LAZULI)

 
SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: Lazurite is a silicate of sodium calcium and aluminum, with some sulfur. It is a member of the sodalite group. It’s chemistry is (Na, Ca)8(Al,Si)12O24(S,SO)4. The color ranges in shades of blue from violet blue and azure blue thru greenish-blue. Lazurite is distinguished from sodalite by its deeper color and fine grain. It is also softer and lighter in weight than lazulite. It is dull to greasy and the streak is pale blue. The hardness ranges between 5 and 5-1/2.

 
ENVIRONMENT: Crystals are rare. It is usually granular, compact, massive. It forms in association with pyrite, calcite, and diopside in hornfels of contact metamorphic rocks. The opaque, vivid blue, light blue, greenish-blue, or violet-blue stone, consisting largely of lazurite but with appreciable amounts of calcite, diopside, and pyrite, is a rock called [lapis lazuli.] The stone is usually veined or spotted. Its value depends largely upon excellence and uniformity of color and absence of pyrite, although some purchasers prefer lapis with pyrite.

 
OCCURRENCE: Lazurite is a rare mineral in North America, but it does occur on Italian Mt. in the Sawatch Mts. of Colorado; on Ontario Peak in the San Gabriel Mts., Los Angeles Co., and in Cascade Canyon in the San Bernardino Mts., San Bernardino Co., California. The finest lapis lazuli has come from Badakshan in Afghanistan, and less valuable material has come from Russia and Chile.

 
NAME:  The name is from the Arabic [lazaward], “heaven,” which was also applied to sky-blue lapis lazuli.

 
LEGEND and LORE: Lapis Lazuli was a favorite stone of the ancient Egyptians. In the past Lazurite has been burned and ground to form the pigment “ultramarine.” It was consider an aid to childbirth, and has long been associated with altered states of consciousness and trance work. Lapis is sometimes designated as a birthstone for December, although turquoise is most common.

 
MAGICAL PROPERTIES: To quote Cunningham: “This stone is used in rituals designed to attract spiritual love. Take an untumbled piece of lapis with a sharp edge.  Empower the stone and a pink candle with your need for love. Then, using the lapis lazuli, carve a heart onto the candle. Place the stone near the candleholder and burn the candle while visualizing a love coming into your life.” Actually, the most important magical aspect of lapis is it’s ability to strengthen psychic awareness. Cunningham says “Despite its somewhat high price, lapis lazuli is one stone every stone magician should own and utilize.”(2)

 
HEALING: This stone is used at the Ajina, the Brow Chakra. It’s related gland is the pituitary. The pituitary gland is also referred to as the “master gland” because it regulates all of the others. This location is also the center for the eyes, ears, nose and brain.

——-bibliography——-
1. Scientific, Environment, Occurrence and Name are from (or paraphrased from) “The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals”.
2. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from “Cunningham’s En- cyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic”, by Scott Cunningham.
3. Some of the healing information may come from “Color and Crystals, A Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.

Scrying Using the Black Mirror

Seeing Into Darkness

by Katlyn Breene

The following excerpt comes from a book-length work on scrying and magick mirrors. Katlyn, a scrying expert, also runs Mermade Magickal Arts, manufacturing black scrying mirrors in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The black scrying mirror, or magick mirror, is a powerful psychic tool. It can bring the user hidden knowledge and clairvoyant ability and can act as a portal to other planes of existence. History shows its use in many of the traditional mystery schools and oracular temples. Today the serious student of magickal arts can rediscover the ancient rites of the magick mirror, for these techniques are again coming to light.

Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing into or upon a crystal or dark mirror, allowing the physical eyes to relax, thus letting the inner psychic eyes begin to open and receive desired visions or information. The use of the black mirror is one of the best methods of achieving the state of mind required for entering trance and for scrying work. It not only acts as a focal point for visualization but can become a doorway into the astral plane. It allows communication with higher realms and the subconscious and access to Akashic records. The traditional crystal ball is also a wonderful tool, but it is more difficult to scry with and is extremely expensive. The mirror is a more efficient way to begin to learn to scry and journey in other realms. However, all techniques in this article may be used with a crystal ball as well as the black scrying mirror.

Consider the reality of the Akashic records, in which all ideas, actions, influences and vibrations are stored. The practiced scryer has the ability to “read” these records and focus on this vast source of timeless knowledge with the aid of the mirror and a strongly directed imagination. Guides from the world of spirit often lead the scryer in astral travel and mental journeying through the black mirror or crystal sphere. Scrying develops one’s clairvoyant abilities and is especially helpful in strengthening the third eye.

The preparation and construction of the mirror is extremely important. The black scrying mirror must be created with the highest magickal standards and traditions. At the full moon, specially cut glass disks are cleansed and magnetized. They are then anointed with a powerful herbal fluid condenser to attract and hold energy, vital force and any charge given them. A tincture of gold and moonstone is then applied to the surface, and they are ritually blessed under the light of the full moon. They remain for a night and a day within a circle of protection. The black coating is then applied to seal in the energy, and a felt backing is put on to protect the mirror and absorb later applications of fluid condenser. The mirror stand is carved rosewood, ebony or teak.

Ways in which the black mirror can be used

  • To contact spirit guides
  • To access knowledge
  • For healing and self improvement
  • As a magickal transmitter and receiver
  • For divining the past, present and future
  • As a portal to the astral plane
  • For shamanic journeying
  • For ritual invocation and evocation
  • To improve visualization skills

Preparing to work with the black scrying mirror

  • Always keep the surface very clean using alcohol and a soft cloth.
  • Never use it for anything but its intended magickal purpose.
  • Do not let others look into its surface, except in ritual context. Keep it stored in a silk bag when not in use.
  • Frequently recharge the mirror with vital force and fluid condenser, as explained following.
  • Practice the visual exercises described following until mastered.
  • Keep the working area clean and free from any disturbance.
  • Generally, scry using the mirror at night, preferably during the full or new moon, depending on the operation. The mirror can be used at any time, but tends to work better at these points.
  • When indoors, light two votive candles, one on each side of the mirror. Use white or colored candles appropriate to the work: blue for healing, purple for psychic work, orange for communication, and so on. (For more suggestions on candle colors, see any standard table of correspondences, for example in Scott Cunningham’s books or The Spiral Dance).
  • Burn a lunar or psychic blend incense before working with the mirror.
  • Place the mirror on a wooden table or altar with a clean cloth beneath it and be seated on a wooden chair in front of it, or if you prefer, assume a comfortable asana on the floor with the mirror before you.
  • Extinguish all light sources except the candles and/or moonlight.
  • Allow nothing to reflect in the mirror’s surface. It should appear as a dark tunnel or window.
  • Before starting, always create a sacred space to work in. Cast a circle of protection or visualize the area surrounded by white light and protection from false or misleading influences – call your guides and guardians to protect the working.
  • Keep a journal to record your experiences.

The rite of scrying

First, clearly decide what you seek or are trying to accomplish in the working and prepare appropriately. Then prepare the work area carefully as suggested previously.

Once you are ready, close your eyes and begin to relax; feel every part of your body releasing, relieved of all tension. Visualize your circle of protection and know you are safe and in control of all that happens within it. Begin to breath rhythmically and fully; try a count of four in, hold four, release four, four in, hold four, release four and so on. Feel yourself entering a light trance surrounded by sacred space, removed from time and the material world. Silently call your guides or guardians of the work, invoking the Goddess or calling angelic presences, spirit guides, watchtowers, astral guardians or whatever you prefer. Reaffirm your desire and the purpose of the work.

Now open your physical eyes and gaze into the mirror; remain relaxed and do not hesitate to blink when necessary. Relax the focus of your eyes but remain alert. After a while, the surface of the mirror will begin to change and fade; a dark mist will appear.

Your inner eyes will now open, and the journey into the mirror begins. Remember that the inner eye sees inside the mind, through the magickal imagination. Most people when scrying do not see the images appear with the physical eyes on the mirror’s surface but see within the mirror and in the mind’s eye. The mirror acts as a focal point, a gateway within.

When you have completed your journey or work you set out to do, begin the return to your body and ordinary senses. Breath fully and deeply, and remain still until you feel you have completely returned. Now close your eyes and remember all you saw and felt during the scrying or journey. Review your entire experience mentally.

Write it all down immediately in a journal kept for this purpose.

To begin to see

This is a very important exercise to master if you are new to scrying or are having trouble receiving images. It will aid your “visual imagination,” which allows your psychic and physical eyes to see clearly together. It gives clairvoyant strength.

Sit before your mirror and begin to imagine objects on its surface, one after another. You should try to see these images clearly in the mirror with your eyes open, just as if they were there in reality. Try simple shapes or colors first. Hold onto the image of each shape, object or color one minute before dissolving it and going on to the next. For example, use a red triangle, a yellow square, a blue circle and silver crescent; see them appear in the mirror using your firm imagination. For best results, do this exercise every day for 15 minutes until it is mastered.

This exercise is well worth the effort; it gives magickal discipline and strengthens the inner eye so visions can come with clarity and ease.

Charging the mirror with light

To charge and empower the mirror with light force is a simple but powerful process. It should be done frequently, especially just before using the mirror, so as to ensure you see correct visions, connect with positive energy and do not experience interference.

First, you must imagine that white light is collecting inside your body, being channeled down from the crown chakra. The body becomes a vessel filled with light. Remember to breathe fully, deeply and rhythmically. Now stand in front of the mirror and direct the palms of your hands toward one another. Imagine that the internal light is now moving into your hands, forming a ball of condensed white light between them. See and feel this clearly in your imagination. When ready, begin to project this ball of light into the surface of the mirror, purifying and enlivening the mirror, filling it with magickal force. See the light “soak” into the mirror. This process needs to be repeated until the mirror feels “full.”

This process can also be used to give a special or programmed charge to the mirror. Follow the steps preceding and create the ball of light between your hands, then mentally project your desire into the light before projecting the light into the mirror. This technique can be used for healing works and self-improvement. You can also charge the light with a specific color or vibration – whatever can be felt or imagined can be put into the mirror to aid the magickal energy. The empowering exercise can be used for other magickal operations as well, such as charging other magickal tools and the giving of healing light to another person. All it takes is a strong desire and powerful imagination.

Locking the charge into the mirror is accomplished by willpower. When the light has been absorbed into the mirror, state in your mind and with all the faith you can muster that the charge will remain as long as you require it. To release or remove a special charge, simply reverse the procedure, pulling the light out of the mirror into the space between your hands. Then disperse the energy into the atmosphere through the imagination. Do not draw it back into the body – see it return to the universe.

Creation and use of the fluid condenser

A fluid condenser is an infusion of herbs with tinctures, essences and gold added. It serves to hold the mirror’s magickal charge and attract elemental force. The condenser can be used not only on mirrors but also on all other ritual tools you want to charge for ceremonial use. The use of certain herbs, stones and metals in small quantities attracts etheric energy of a like kind. These fluids can be made individually to represent each of the elements or to enhance a particular work. I recommend making a universal fluid condenser that will work for all purposes, having all elements represented along with tincture of gold, representing solar and God energy, and essence of moonstone, representing lunar and Goddess energy.

The fluid is applied to recharge the mirror and to draw magickal symbols upon it for use in ritual. When the mirror is not in use, it is wise to anoint its surface with the fluid before putting it away. The fluid can be cleaned off with alcohol or distilled water later.

To make the fluid, you must first gather the herbs you need. They can be fresh or dried, but the more life force they contain, the better. The list of herbs following includes some suggestions, but you need not use all the herbs to make a good condenser. Use the ones you can find of good quality.

Once gathered, the herbs are placed in a pot with distilled water or rainwater. There should be about an ounce of each herb and enough water in the pot to cover the contents completely. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then turn down the flame and let it simmer for an hour with the pot lid on. When this is done, let the mixture cool and strain it through a muslin cloth. Put the liquid back into the pot and simmer without the lid until only a quarter of the original amount is left. When this is cool, add the gold tincture, about 13 drops to each pint of liquid. Then add the essence of moonstone. If gold tincture and essence of moonstone are not available, gold chloride or gold salts can be used and whole moonstones and crystals added to the mixture as a vibrational additive. Gold tincture can also be made at home with fairly good results.

To make gold tincture, take a pure piece of gold and holding it with a pair of pliers heat it over a flame until red hot. The red-hot gold is then dunked into a container of about half a quart of distilled water or rainwater. The heat and rapid cooling causes gold molecules to remain in the liquid. This process should be repeated nine times in the same water. Be careful of the rising steam, and try not to get the hot pliers into the water!

When you have combined all the fluid condenser ingredients together in a sterilized glass container, then add an equal amount of wood or isopropyl alcohol to act as a preservative. Store the condenser in an air-tight glass container in a dark place, and it will last for years.

For a very powerful and personalized condenser, add a few drops of your own blood to the mixture. Quartz crystals can be left in the fluid while it is stored to keep it clear.

Herbs for the fluid condenser

  • For the water element: elder flowers, water lily, orris root, white rose, willow, cucumber seeds, jasmine
  • For the fire element: red poppy, cinnamon bark, bay leaves, orange peel, rosemary, marigold, galangal, damiana, tobacco, nutmeg
  • For the earth element: oak, ivy, cypress, mugwort, vervain, patchouli herb, wheat, primrose
  • For the air element: mistletoe, acacia, clover, pine, sage, lavender, verbena
  • For spirit: gold, blood, crystal
  • For healing: juniper, thyme, mandrake, tansy, elder, coriander, lavender, life-everlasting, sage, cypress
  • For universal fluid condenser: chamomile, dittany of Crete, ivy, oak leaves, bay leaves, almonds, cypress, clover, grape leaves, rose petals, mugwort, jasmine, vervain, mandrake root

Incense for psychic work

The best incense to use when working with the mirror or any scrying device is lunar or psychic in nature, representing the sphere of Yesod. These types of blends may be purchased or created by yourself and must be burned on self-igniting charcoal disks. Here are some excellent recipes for fine-quality magickal incense to be used for the rites of scrying.

Lunar blend incense:

  • A base of white sandalwood powder
  • Orris root and myrrh in equal parts
  • Oil of jasmine and jasmine flowers
  • Oil of lotus and synthetic ambergris
  • A small pinch of refined camphor
  • Poppy and cucumber seeds

Blend together sandalwood, myrrh, and orris root, and crush them together into a powder. True refined camphor is hard to come by, but if you should have some available, add a pinch to the powdered base. Also add at this time the poppy and/or dried cucumber seeds. Put this mixture aside in an air-tight jar.

Next, blend the jasmine, ambergris and lotus oils together in equal parts. Coat the dried jasmine flowers with the blended oil and set them aside in an air-tight jar. Let these sit until the next full moon. On the evening of the full moon, mix together (in a silver or crystal bowl if possible) the oil-soaked flowers and the powder base with your hands, meditating as you mix on the beauty and wisdom of Mother Moon. Ask her to bless this incense with Her magick.

Scrying incense (psychic blend):

  • A base of mastic gum, myrrh, galangal powder and frankincense
  • Mugwort and wormwood herbs
  • Rose petals and lavender buds
  • Green cardamom pods and star anise
  • Bay leaves
  • Oils of mimosa and lotus, and dark musk

Blend together mastic, myrrh, galangal and frankincense in equal parts and grind to a powder base. Add a few cardamom and star anise seeds to the base and put aside in an air-tight jar. Now mix equal parts of ground mugwort, wormwood and bay, about half the amount used in the powder base. Coat this mixture with dark musk oil, and put it aside in a sealed jar. Mix the lavender and rose petals together, coat them with mimosa and lotus oil and put them aside in a sealed jar. Let the ingredients stand for nine days during the waxing of the moon.

Then blend all ingredients together by hand. As you mix, meditate upon your spirit guide and developing your psychic abilities. Know that when the incense is burned, your inner eyes will open and a link will be formed between you and world of spirit. (It is best to remove anise and cardamom seeds from the incense before burning; their scent will have been absorbed by the incense base.)

So Many Questions and Ideas…

So Many Questions and Ideas…

Author: Divine Witch

I have decided to be a witch. Well, I think I have. For the past three years I have been going back and forth with the infatuation with Wicca and Witchcraft. But really it started before that. As a child, I wondered about Voodoo or Black Magic. My grandmother was afraid of it. She would tell me not to let people play in my hair because they could use the hair strand to put a curse on me. Also, she didn’t like me giving pictures out to friends for the same reason. I always thought she was a bit paranoid about the whole thing. So I grew up with that and for that reason I never really heard about good witches, the ones that practice good or white magic. Except maybe the ones in fairy tales or Disney. But we all know that stuff is a joke anyway.

Of course for Halloween, kids dressed as Witches, Wizards and things of that nature. I was a Witch quite a few times. My granny (yes the same one) even made me a witch costume from scratch one year. Then when I was about thirteen, I got invited to a Halloween party last minute and had nothing to wear. So my aunt made me into a Gypsy.

I had no idea what a Gypsy was at the time. But it was fun being dressed up in all of the jewelry and other things she put on me. I don’t remember everything I had on but I do remember it was fun, and that she went a little overboard. Damn, I wish I had a picture. So really, that’s all I got about Witches and stuff like that. I always assumed it was just fairy tale Disney stuff and that it was never really real.

Then when I became an adult I had an older boyfriend who swore his last girlfriend and well as another did Voodoo on him. He would tell me stories on what happened to him. Now I’m not saying that Voodoo is nonsense or that it doesn’t exist but sometimes he was a little dramatic also. So even though I partly believed him, I was becoming more interested about it by this time.

In 2000, I took a Tarot reading class and ended up buying two decks of cards. One I actually used and the other for was more for collection purposes. Still have them I believe. After my youngest son was born in 2001, I used the deck to do readings on myself, mostly for practice. Since I wasn’t really good about reading due to lack of experience, I didn’t really understand what I was getting. But I wrote it down to see if it would make sense later. And sometimes it did. Years went on and I would be touch and go with things; I wore an Amethyst pendant around my neck or maybe I would carry a “good luck charm” in my purse from time to time.

Then in 2007 it happened. By this time I was heavy into Native American studies and culture (still am as that is my heritage) and was looking to connect more with Natives. I ran into a lady on a Native American news/culture/events website and she told me about a retreat that is held every year in June. I received more information about it and wanted to go. So I went and found about Goddess worshiping and the moon cycles, and loads of other stuff I never really thought about. Oh, and I participated in a sweat lodge too. Wore me out but it was a nice experience. But the whole three days was an eye opener for me. It was full of women, regular women like myself that were Witches.

I went home with my head spinning and swimming with ideas and thoughts. I never knew there were publications catered to the Goddess or Witches. I never really heard of Wicca either. All I heard about was the negative stuff. So I bought Scott Cunningham books and Sage Woman magazines. Then I started purchasing candles, athames, seashells for incense burning and other things for my altar. And I really wanted to work with herbs. I even wanted to grow my own herbs for magickal purposes.

Then I would practice. Or try to. I could not concentrate. For one, I was waiting on one of my kids to get out of bed and disturb me, or the phone to ring or whatever. My brain would never shut up, that didn’t help either. So I grew frustrated and walked away from it. Well, not entirely. I would still pick up a Sage Woman magazine every so often or read about the Salem Witch Trials. But then it was hard because school kept me busy and I really couldn’t dedicate myself to it.

And now here I am again with all of this time gone by and still basically at square one. I know so much but still know so little, feeling just as lost as before. So now I do have a couple of friends that I could get insight from but one lives in Canada and the other does not practice really anymore either. So in between being uneducated and being in an area where witchcraft is taboo I am stuck. And I don’t like being stuck.

So you’re probably asking was is the point of all of this? Well, it’s really because I need some help. And maybe I felt that I needed to say this and I has helped me realized some my problems too. One of the reasons I felt I could not concentrate is I still have some stigmatizing behavior and thinking to take care of. And I also realized that I am more passionate about Witchcraft and root work. Go figure, huh?

So now I need to find someone or something to help me on that path while working with the stigma and other things as well. But how do I get over that? How long is it going to take before I feel like a real Witch? But hey, I’m getting there. As a kid I never thought it would come to this.

Slowly but surely.

Summer Solstice Incense Recipe

Summer Solstice Incense Recipe

Oils and incense recipes from: The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham (USA), The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and… (UK)

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon’s Blood
1 part Thyme
1 part Rosemary
pinch Vervain
a few drops Red Wine

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

Lighting Fires at Imbolc

by Sylvana SilverWitch

If you have been living in the Northwest for long, you must be used to frigid aluminum-gray skies glistening with cold soggy drizzle. Barren tree branches scratch the side of the house as if the chill will come in, past the walls, past your skin into your very bones — and it shouldn’t scare you anymore. Clouds obscure the pale, faint sun till you can’t remember the feeling of it fiery hot on your shoulders. Darkness falls for so many months on end that every so often you must turn every light in the house on just to have some brightness in your world. Wild windstorms knock out the power for hours and days at a time, so you have to use candles for light and heat with the fireplace.

It is the time of year that, for me, best reminds me of how things were, way back when. It is the time of year that I can best appreciate the contrast between cold darkness and warm light. I am ready for change! I am ready for the return of the light to my world!

Seattle winters are dreary, and by the time we get to Imbolc, we are all more than ready for a little lightheartedness and to leave the darkness behind, at least for a few hours. We are ready for purification from the heaviness of the long winter months, and we are ready to celebrate, if not the warming of the land, at least the hope that the heat will soon return and we will yet again bask in the sunshine.

There are many traditional ways to celebrate Imbolc or Bride. These include decorating natural springs and sacred wells, leaving wishes tied on the branches of trees and making corn dollies in honor of the Celtic goddess Brigid (another name for Bride). Making Celtic crosses or Bride’s crosses from wheat straw and braided cornhusks and making and charging (or blessing) candles are other traditional tasks for this time of year. The holiday is also known as Candlemas, this name taken when the Christian church adapted the pagan holiday and made it a candle blessing and the feast of Saint Brigid.

In this culture, most of us were raised to go outside on this day and look for our shadow. If we saw it, there would be six more weeks of winter, as this is a weather marker day — also known as Groundhog’s Day. One of my sisters had the audacity to be born on Imbolc, and she’s seemingly been running from her shadow every since!

You can find more about Imbolc traditions in a multitude of published books. Following, I will tell you about some of my favorite ways to celebrate, purify and get in touch with the energy of fire, water and the earth and that of the Goddess at this time of year.

Creating Beeswax Candles

One of the things we almost always do in our coven is make candles. We save the glass containers from seven-day candles and at Imbolc wash and reuse them to make our own magickal candles. On this day, I also like to create rolled beeswax candles with herbs, oils and stones and infuse them with a specific purpose, for my own personal use all year long.

Making candles is easier than you might think. We ran an article on making your own seven-day candles last year. This year, I’ll talk a bit about the beeswax type, since you can make one, a few or a bunch with little muss and fuss.

First, you’ll want to visit some place that sells candle-making supplies, I personally like Pourette, located in Ballard, that bastion of pagan life. Pourette has been in business for a long time, and the employees there can tell you most anything you want to know about how to make candles and what you will need for a particular kind of effect. Not the magickal effects, unfortunately, but then that’s your department, right?

First, decide what magickal intentions you want to make the candles for — you can have more than one, just concentrate on one at a time. Choose colors accordingly and get a few sheets of the colors of beeswax that you want to work with. For example, if you want to work for money and prosperity, you might choose green. For healing, you might want blue. Psychic work and divination would be white or purple; for love and sex, you might choose red or pink. Look up color correspondences in the back of some of your books; Scott Cunningham has some good correspondence tables for herbs, flowers, stones and oils as well as colors and astrological influences. Don’t forget that your own associations are also important. If gold means money to you, then use that. You’ll want some kind of cotton wicking as well.

You can also include in your candles runes, little bits of paper or parchment with the purpose written on them rolled up in the candle, symbolic charms or figures representing what you want and bits of paper money (corners work well) or stones. The more thought and effort you put into creating your candles, the better results you will have.

Gather all of your ingredients together, planning to make one type of candle at a time. You’ll want a clean, soft surface to work on so as not to crush the beeswax pattern; for this, you can put down an old towel or T-shirt as padding. Also, you should decide at this point how large a candle you want to end up with. I usually cut the sheet of wax into two pieces, so I have two sheets about 4 inches high each. Otherwise, you end up with a fairly tall candle. With herbs, oils and magick inside, they tend to burn very hot. An 8-inch candle can burn up rather quickly.

When you begin, you will want the room to be reasonably warm, so that the wax stays pliable and does not crack when you roll it. I commonly put down the beeswax, then cut a piece of wick the desired length, about an inch or so longer than the wax is tall. Then I get out a bit of everything I want to put into the candle. I use eyedroppers for essential oils and rub a small quantity of oil on what will be the inside of the candle after the wax is rolled around the wick (the part of the wax that’s facing up).

Next, I sprinkle a small amount of each flower or herb I am using onto the wax, so they are evenly distributed from top to bottom. I generally try to keep things simple and only use one or two kinds of herbs in any given candle. Then I include the other things: stones, symbols, paper, and so on that have meaning for me. Next, I slowly and carefully roll the candle tightly around the wick. It helps to fold the wax over the wick a little bit prior to adding the ingredients. Being careful to keep the wax level so I don’t disturb the ingredients’ distribution, I keep rolling until the whole candle is rolled around itself. During this process, I think about the desired results of my magickal candle, as if they have already manifest. I keep the purpose in mind during the whole process and put as much positive energy into it as possible.

When you finish rolling, you’ll want to gently heat the edge of the wax (a hairdryer works well for this) so that you can press the wax into itself and seal the candle, being careful not to crush it in the practice. This process gets easier the more you do it. Don’t be discouraged if your first efforts are a tad messy. You’ll get the hang of it!

When you have finished all of the candles you wish to create at this time, you’ll want to bless and charge them with energy. To do so, cast your circle and do a ritual imbuing them with your purpose. Then you can burn them in your spell work for the rest of the year. Make sure when you burn these candles that you attend them closely, keeping in mind that they should be on a nonflammable surface and being cautious that there is nothing in the vicinity that can catch on fire. When candles have flower petals, herbs, oils and paper inside them and are magickally charged, they tend to burn like an inferno. Your candle may be burning nicely and then all of a sudden flare up and be consumed in a matter of seconds. So guard them closely!

Making Bride’s Water

Another thing I like to do at Imbolc or Bride is to make Bride’s water, water holy to Brigid. We usually do this during a ritual where we invoke Brigid and raise energy for the many things that she represents to us. She is the patron goddess of wells, fire, the forge, music, storytelling, poetry, arts and crafts and much more. She is central to my artistic inspiration, and so I honor her at this time of year by purifying myself with her holy water and with fire (more on that later).

To makes Brigid’s water, we place a huge cauldron in the center of the altar, filled with alcohol and Epsom salts; when lit, it emits a beautiful blue flame. We have ready purified and blessed water in a large container, several pieces of charcoal, some long barbecue tongs and enough small containers with corks that we can each take some Brigid’s water home.

Once we cast the circle and invoke the goddess, we raise energy for Her by chanting, dancing or whatever we have determined. During the energy raising, the charcoal (self-lighting incense charcoal, not barbecue charcoal!) is lit from the fire in the cauldron, and it is allowed to burn for a few minutes until it is glowing red. At the apex of the energy raising, we chant, “Bride, Bride, Bride, purify me… Bride transform me!” Then when we all stop, the charcoal is thrust into the water with a great amount of sizzling, smoke and steam. We then file past the fire and water and are anointed and blessed with the Brigid’s water for purification and inspiration. Each covener takes some home to use much as one would any holy water, to bless and purify house, tools, self family, and so on.

Purifying with Fire

My very favorite form of purification is that of fire. It is odd to think that I — a Pisces with Cancer rising, very watery signs — would enjoy fire so much, but I do have a lot of Aries in my chart, as well as Moon in Leo. A veteran firewalker since 1984, I have a good and close personal relationship with the powerful fire elementals. They are a means to profound transformation, bringing change wherever they occur, whether we like it or not!

I have been working with fire for so long that it takes me by surprise when people are irrationally afraid of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy fear and respect for what fire can do if I am not careful! I have seen people badly burned, and when I lead my coven in firewalking rituals, I admonish them to be very, very afraid. But I add that if you allow fear to stop you in life, you’ll never do anything worthwhile. Don’t be careless with fire, though, or it will most definitely teach you the hard way!

With this in mind, I offer my version of purification by fire. You can do this as the first part of the former ritual or all on its own; it is very powerful all by itself! If you want to do a combination, do the water ritual second, as a blessing after purification by fire.

For the fire purification, you’ll need a cauldron full of 90 percent rubbing alcohol and Epsom salts, which you will light. You can also use 151-proof rum for the alcohol content. Use alcohol and salts about 50/50 by volume; the alcohol should just cover the salts.

Be sure to take safety precautions, such as having a number of wet towels and a fire extinguisher available within reach. Move all furniture out of the way and pull back the drapes, or just do the ritual outside, away from anything flammable if you can. Take off any loose clothing that could catch and tie up your hair if it’s long. It helps if the participants are skyclad, or at least topless, as it is easy to accidentally catch clothing and extremely difficult to put it out! Then get ready for an intense encounter with fire.

Depending on whether you want to in fact light people on fire (very temporarily, and safely) or just allow them to experience the energy of fire, you’ll need one or two torches — one torch if you’re not lighting people, two if you are. If you are not lighting people, you can pass the lit torch slowly over various parts of the body so that the fire just touches the skin. It is instinct to pull away, and it sometimes takes a few moments for people to allow the fire to interact with them. That’s okay. Take time and go slowly, and you will have better results.

If you do want to actually light people on fire, you’ll need a couple small torches. You can make these by wrapping cotton batting around a wooden rod that’s about 10 to 12 inches long and small enough around to be comfortable in your hand (see drawing below). Wrap the cotton around the rod five or six times, then follow that with a complete wrapping of plain gauze. Wrap the gauze around the cotton six to ten times until you have covered it all, and you have a good torch. Finish the torch by tying it with cotton thread wound around the handle at the top and bottom and around the middle several times, so the thread goes from the bottom up, around and ends up back at the bottom. The thread winding ensures the torch stays together.

To light people on fire, you’ll need 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Do not use a higher concentrate than this, or you’ll really burn people! Put the alcohol in a small spray bottle with a mist capability. Before working with a whole coven, it’s not a bad idea for you and a friend or two to try this out yourselves first, just to get familiar with how it works, timing, the feeling it has on different body parts and so on.

During the ritual, you’ll want to have a person or two who do nothing but “spot” people and be ready to put them out if necessary. You put the fire on skin out by using a petting action from the top down, smoothing out the fire. Don’t allow any body part to burn for more than about 5 to 10 seconds, or it may scorch the skin, and you’ll end up with a sunburnlike burn. Be sure and go over the safety procedures before anything is lit! If anything gets out of hand, use the wet towels on people, the fire extinguisher on objects.

When you are ready, the cauldron is lit and the chanting or music begins. Whoever does the lighting holds two torches, one to spray with alcohol and apply to people’s skin, one to remain lit.

To light the ongoing torch, spray it generously with alcohol, being very careful not to drip or get any alcohol on anything else. Then, light the torch from the fire in the cauldron. Next, spray the second torch with two or three mists of alcohol. You’ll then use this torch to apply alcohol to the body part to light.

The safest body part to light is the hands. Have participants hold these out, palms up very flat and together. When you apply alcohol, make sure not get ritualists’ hands too wet or to let alcohol pool on their hands.

After you have applied alcohol, light it with the lit torch, saying something like: “Be transformed!” Let the flame burn for a moment or two and then have the ritualists clap or rub their hands together to put it out. Don’t let them shake their hands in the air while lit; that just makes the fire burn hotter.

The fire will go out of its own accord fairly quickly as the alcohol burns away, but it is more empowering for people to feel able to control it and put it out on their own. The first inclination will be for them to want to put it out right away, as soon as it’s lit. Let them try it a few times, and as they learn that it won’t hurt them, they will be more inclined to allow it to flicker for a few seconds. Suggest that they put their hands on a body part that they want purified by the fire energy, such as over their heart, but only after the fire on their hands is completely out!

We have done this ritual many times with only minor incidents. One year, when we were doing symbols on people’s backs, one man who had said he only wanted to light his hands changed his mind and wanted us to light a symbol on his back. He had longish hair that wasn’t tied up, and though we had him bend over, he stood up before the fire was out and his hair caught slightly and was singed a bit. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was scary enough that I want to reiterate the precautions. If you intend to light anything, including hands, be very careful and do a practice session out of ritual space first.

We use this very powerful energy to transform ourselves, our projects and our lives — coming out from darkness and lighting up our purposes. This ritual has a tendency to be very intense, so keep in mind that people can get carried away by the energy and forget the safety precautions! Make sure to be responsible with the fire and always err on the side of caution.

Afterward, breathe and ground well and share your experiences of the fire energy with one another. It’s amazing the different perceptions people will have.

Whether you choose to enjoy one or more of these suggestions or something else entirely, have a great Imbolc and a wonderful year!

Light a Candle, Cast a Spell

Light a Candle, Cast a Spell

by Melanie Fire Salamander

In Northern European societies, Imbolc or Candlemas traditionally fell at a time when, with the end of winter in sight, families used the animal fat saved over the cold season to make candles. I don’t butcher stock, and I’m not planning to render meat fat to make candles, but I like connecting with the past through candle-making. And though the days are longer now than at solstice, they’re still short enough that a few candles help.

To further your magickal purposes, you can make a spell candle for Imbolc — a candle into which you imbue a particular magickal purpose. Once you’ve made and charged your spell candle, you burn it over time to further your intention. I find spell candles particularly good for goals that require a period of continued energy to manifest, for example a new job, and for things I desire recurrently, for example peace and harmony for myself and the people around me.

Also, Imbolc is traditionally a time of initiations, of divination and of all things sacred to the goddess Bride, including smithcraft, poetry and healing. To align with the season, consider making spell candles dedicated to these ends.

You can make two kinds of candle, dipped and molded. For spell candles, I’d recommend molded candles, so you can include herbs and other ingredients that wouldn’t mix evenly with dipping wax.

Things you need

  • Cylindrical glass container or containers
  • Paraffin-based candle wax
  • Double boiler or other large pot in which to melt the wax
  • Wick
  • Scissors to cut the wick
  • Popsicle sticks (tongue depressors), one per candle
  • Metal tab to anchor the bottom of each wick (a heavy paper clip will do)
  • Crayons, old candles or candle coloring for color, if desired
  • Small objects appropriate to your spell
  • Herbs appropriate to your spell
  • Scent appropriate to your spell

For your molding container, the best thing is the used glass from a seven-day candle. You can find seven-day candles all over, including at Larry’s Market. The Edge of the Circle Books has them, or check your local pagan store.

You can also use glass tumblers, jelly jars and the like. The larger the container, the bigger the possible candle and the longer it will burn. Seven-day candle containers have the advantage of having a good candle shape, so that the flame easily melts the wax at the sides of the glass. To accomplish your purpose, ideally you’ll burn the entire candle, leaving no stub, which is easiest to do in a container shaped like a seven-day candle’s. Make sure also that the glass of your container is fairly thick.

If you do use a seven-day candle, you’ll need to clean out any remaining wax. To do so, heat the glass in a pot of water to melt the wax. Be sure to heat the glass with the water, rather than introducing cold glass into boiling water, which might break the glass. You’ll need a bottle brush, detergent and some concentration, but it is possible to clean these containers.

Candle wax can be found at candle-supply stores and craft stores. It comes in blocks of two pounds each; the smallest amount you can buy is more than enough for several candles. For wick, again you’ll need a candle-supply or craft store. Lead-based wick, which has a thin thread of metal covered with cotton, is easiest to work with, but you can also use pure cotton wick. The popsicle stick, a craft store or drugstore item, is used to anchor the wick at the top of the candle.

If you do use a seven-day candle container, and the tin tab at the bottom hasn’t disappeared, save it. Such a tab anchors the wick to the bottom of the glass, making sure the wick lasts the length of the candle. If you haven’t saved the tab, you can use a heavy paperclip or buy the real thing at a candle-supply or craft store.

The remaining ingredients depend on the intention of your spell and should have associations appropriate to that intention. None of these ingredients is required — you can make a spell candle by simply making and charging it, or by charging an ordinary candle. However, as with any charm, the more energy you put into in its creation and enchantment, the stronger the spell. I give some ideas for ingredients following; for a full list of associations, check your favorite table of magickal correspondences, or see The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk; Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham; or Aleister Crowley’s 777.

The easiest way to color candles is to melt crayons or old candles with your wax. To get a strong color, use more colored wax. Don’t mix colors, or you’ll end up with a muddy brown. You can also purchase candle coloring at a candle-supply or craft store. For color symbolism, check tables of correspondences; as always, your personal associations and preferences are the strongest and most resonant. Some common associations follow:

  • Red: Lust, passion, health, animal vitality, courage, strength
  • Pink: Love, affection, friendship, kindness
  • Orange: Sexual energy, earth energy, adaptability, stimulation
  • Brown: Earth energy, animals
  • Yellow: Intellect, mental energy, concentration
  • Green: Finances, money, prosperity, fertility, growth
  • Blue: Calm, healing, patience, peace, clairvoyance
  • Purple: Spirituality, the fey, meditation, divination
  • Black: Waning moon, release, banishing, absorbing and destroying negativity, healing
  • White: Waxing or full moon, pro-tection, purification, peace, awareness; good for most workings

Probably the most common small object to add to a spell candle is a written expression of intention. Candle makers often add semiprecious stones; you can add a stone appropriate to your intention, for example sacred to a deity who rules that area of life, or personally connected to you, say a birthstone. Depending on your spell, other small objects might suit. If you’re doing a spell to invoke the peace of the ocean on a still day, you could include sand or seashells. A candle to draw love might include small cut-out hearts, one to draw money pieces of dollar bill. Note that any added objects should ideally be flammable, or if not flammable small enough not to prevent your candle from burning.

You can use herbs suitable for incense to further your spell. Use herbs you can safely burn indoors. Herbs may make a candle smoke and can combine with the wick to create a large flame, so use them sparingly. Also, herbs tend to clump at the top and bottom of the candle, often producing a stub at the end that’s hard to burn. However, herbs are easy burnable ingredients to add in line with your intention, and if you choose the right herbs they’ll smell good. For lists of herbs, try any incense-making book, such as Scott Cunningham’s The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews or Wylundt’s Book of Incense. To make sure your herbs smell sweet, burn a pinch first.

Both the preceding books also discuss scents, which you can incorporate also. For a strongly scented candle, you’ll need to add perfume. It’s best to use candle scent, found at candle-supply and craft shops, or synthetic perfume oil. Essential oils are volatile and break down in the wax, leaving your candle with no scent at all.

The candle making processAs with any spell, start by considering what you want and what symbols represent your goal. Likewise, as always, don’t try to compel someone who hasn’t consented. Remember that what you do returns to you threefold.

Start by collecting your ingredients and planning your candle-making for a day and hour appropriate to your intention. Imbolc this year falls just after the full moon, so for spells of increase you might want to wait till the moon turns. Or phrase your spell to release something negative. If you need money, banish poverty. If you want love, banish loneliness.

Give yourself a few hours to make your candle or candles, during a period when you’re unlikely to have your concentration broken. Just melting the wax alone, depending on the volume melted, can take from 15 minutes to an hour. You’ll be using the kitchen, so make sure you’ll have it to yourself or that any visitors will be attuned to your purpose.

First, melt the wax in the top of your double boiler. If you want all your candles to have the same color, add the crayons or old candles now. You can use a single pot if you’re willing to watch the wax closely — you don’t want it to burst into flames. Break the wax into small chunks beforehand, so it will melt faster. Heat the wax over medium heat, but don’t let it boil. If you want candles of different colors, you’ll need to melt the crayons or old candles separately, then add clear wax to about the right volume in the pot and mix before filling your containers. Add candle coloring according to package directions.

While the wax is melting, pad your working space well with newspaper, because you will almost certainly spill some wax. Make sure all your ingredients and tools are handy. If you have herbs in unmanageable sizes, for example whole rosemary stalks, break them down so the pieces are a size to burn without becoming small bonfires.

Once the wax is fully melted, turn the heat low and let the wax cool till the wax on the sides of the pot starts to set, at approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooling the wax a little helps prevent the creation of large air bubbles in your finished candle.

Now you’re ready to start forming candles. I usually cast a working circle at this point, calling my patron deities to witness, but without a lot of tools or formal setup. You can work as elaborately or simply as you like. However, I would recommend making the candle with focused intention, as well as charging it later.

Take a moment, then, to focus your concept of your goal. You might create a running mantra to repeat through the rest of your candle-making, or consider an image or group of images to help you concentrate. Be sure to state your intention simply and firmly. If it seems appropriate, write your intention down.

First, if you want multiple candles with the same scent, or you’re only making one candle, scent the wax now.

Next, cut a wick for each candle. The wick needs to be as long as your candle container, plus several inches. Thread the end of the wick through the metal tab or paperclip, or other object appropriate to your spell — for a money spell, you might anchor the wick with a folded bill. Then, drop the weighted wick-end to the bottom of the glass container. Making sure the weighted end sits flush on the bottom and the wick stays as straight as possible, wrap the other wickend around a popsicle stick and set the popsicle stick across the mouth of the glass. Make sure the wick-tail is in the center of the candle-to-be. The more centered your wick, the more evenly your candle will burn.

If you’re using unleaded wicking, pour a little wax around the tab at the end, then let it harden firmly. Then gently stretch the wick taut, and rewrap the top around the popsicle stick.

Next, add the nonwax ingredients to your candle. Drop your folded written intention, if any, and any other objects into the bottom of the candle glass. As each falls, imagine it adding strength to your spell. You can add herbs now as well, or you can add them to the top after pouring, if you want them to float down through the wax and be distributed through the candle.

When your objects and initial herbs are in, pour the wax. Pour evenly and slowly, and try to make sure your wick stays in the candle’s center. If you want to add herbs after pouring, do so directly afterward. If you want to scent a candle singly, now’s the time.

The next part is the really hard part — set the candle out of the way, and leave it alone! It will take up to an hour to harden. You can continue to meditate on your purpose, set up an altar to formally charge your candle, or take down your circle for the time being. You might want to check your candle in this interim period, as the top’s center may form a depression, which you can top off with melted wax. To this end, keep some wax melted.

When your candle’s solid, cut off the extra wick at the top, leaving about a half-inch.

Next, energize the finished candle with your intention. Cut your circle and call any deities or spirit helpers you like, if you haven’t yet, and restate your purpose. Then raise energy in your chosen manner. When the energy’s at its height, send it into your candle, then ground any excess into the earth, keeping what you need for yourself.

Finally, burn your candle. One of the great things about burning a candle in a glass container is that you can keep it going night and day in relative safety. Make sure, however, that the candle is in a place where no human or pet can knock it over, and where no combustible thing can fall across it. Also, at the end of the candle’s life, you might want to burn it while you can watch; it’s during the last inch or so that the glass will break, if it’s going to. Either way, just in case, burn the candle on a nonflammable surface, say an earthenware plate or a tile floor.

If you don’t want to burn your candle every day, burn it on days appropriate to your spell. For example, burn a love candle on Fridays, a day sacred to Aphrodite, Freya and other love goddesses. Again, tables of correspondences can help you figure appropriate days, or you can determine them astrologically. Or you can burn your candle when you feel particular need.

Ingredients for different intentions

If you can’t find or don’t like any of the following ingredients, by all means cut them, substitute or better yet create your own recipe from scratch! The stronger the associations for you and the more personal your candle’s creation, the more effective your candle will be.

  • For divination and psychic work: Purple coloring; a small image of an eye, for far-seeing; lemongrass, sandalwood, cloves, yarrow and a pinch of nutmeg; frankincense scent
  • For protection: No coloring; basil, vervain, rosemary, St. John’s wort and a pinch of black pepper; vetiver or patchouli scent
  • For healing: Pale blue coloring, bay, sandalwood, cedar, carnation, lemon balm; eucalyptus scent
  • For peace and harmony: Pale blue or lavender coloring; lavender, meadowsweet and hops; lilac or any light floral scent
  • For inspiration in the arts: Yellow coloring; a small image of a lightbulb; a piece of amber; bay, cinnamon, lavender, orange peel; scent of bergamot, or any citrus scent
  • To attract love: Pink coloring; small silk or candy hearts; rose petals; jasmine scent
  • To attract sex: Red coloring; sexual images; rose petals, ginger, damiana, ginseng, a vanilla bean; musk scent
  • To attract money: Green coloring; a folded bill or shiny dime; dill, lavender, sage, cedar, wood aloe; oak moss, vetiver or patchouli scent, or some combination of these
  • To get a job: Green coloring; a topaz or turquoise; pictures of tools you use in your work; bay, lavender, cedar, red clover, nutmeg; orange scent, or any citrus scent

As you make and burn your candle, attune to the season as well as your intention. Now is the time to ask Bride for inspiration and to light a new flame, beckoning the longer days to come.

 

Are The ’13 Goals of the Witch’ Being Thrown Out the Window Today?

Are The ’13 Goals of the Witch’ Being Thrown Out the Window Today?

Author: Gullveig

The 13 Goals of the Witch has been attributed to Scott Cunningham and other authors, but is treated by traditionalists and non-traditional Pagans alike to be the cornerstone of what a Witch is. However, many Pagans pay lip service to these rules in public while going against them once they are in their own groups and private lives. Even our group leaders, who are supposed to support and encourage us, fail in passing on these goals and living by example. How can we be great Witches if our leaders are backstabbing and living chaotic lives? Simple. We can’t. So we have to be those leaders.

Each goal is listed with a modern explanation below, most having to do with how I see those goals being violated in our Pagan community and how to stop such behavior.

Know Thyself – This is the most important of the goals. This goal is often taken as if you are a jerk in life and you know it, then you “know yourself”. People do believe this. Know Thyself, however, means to be constantly working on yourself, to know your shortcomings and not give in to them. It means also not to make up excuses for bad behavior. If you do not know yourself or work on yourself to make yourself better and therefore be in a spot to help others become better, you might as well not be a Witch.

Know Your Craft — The Craft is a vague word for getting to know your world; because anything you learn in the world can be applied to Witchcraft. I have known natural Witches in my time that would say they could do magick without reading a single book, but these Witches I found had no sympathy or empathy with the world around them. You need to learn about religions, even Christianity, the good points and the bad, in order to see how paganism fits in the time frame of history and religion. On top of this, you need to practice, meditate and keep notes of your observations. That way you can reflect on them and share them with others.

An open mind is key, but there are a good number of Witches out there that can be as judgmental as those closed-minded. A Witch who isn’t educated in the sense of being a “world student” isn’t a true Witch.

Learn — How many of us learn from our mistakes? How many Witches redo the same hurtful actions to others without thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t start any ill will in the Pagan community?” The role of learning goes way beyond books and knowing your Craft, but how you apply the knowledge gained. It is to learn how to fix problems, heal hurt and bring people together instead of gossiping, sneering at the nemesis coven down the road or sitting back and doing nothing when you want a problem to be solved. This learning is key to being a moral Witch. We only will repeat ignorant actions if we never learn to stop them.

Have Patience — Patience is essential for the Craft. You have to have the patience of a spider, still in its web in order to deal with others and your life goals. People take advantage of patience, such in covens where one person does all the work and the others come and go when they please, not understanding the violation of trust they are causing. They hurt this person by thinking that the person will always have patience with them. It is up to every single witch to be patient and also not violate the patience of others, even if they have a lot of it. It is the one goal that is used most by others disrespectfully.

“Don’t like the childish way I am acting? Don’t you have patience? A Witch has patience, so you shouldn’t be upset I am here two hours late.” Don’t be one of those people. Don’t turn patience on those in your life.

Apply Knowledge With Wisdom — A Witch can know a lot about the world. But Witches that run off at the mouth about this knowledge can be show offs. A true Witch takes what he or she has learning and tapers it with wisdom, also known as tact. If you are a leader, don’t put down others because they don’t understand what you know.

If you are a student and your coven is being immature, speak out about it; use your knowledge to help to solve the problem. Add action into the mix of knowledge and wisdom, and you can be a Witch who does good for yourself, your group, the Pagan community and for humanity and the world. Use your knowledge for good too, not to put someone else down. Set a good example to others about what a Witch is.

Achieve Balance – Witches try to live lives of balance, not chaos. Yet many Witches try to live lives of drama and anger. Some think being a Witch will add spice or drama to their lives. Some of these Witches do it intentionally; some may have an inner problem they need to work on. They might not mean to cause harm by the chaos in their lives, but give into it.

A Witch’s life should be like the calm sea. Not that storms can’t rage in the sea, but problems are taken care of. Stress is controlled and moderate. A Witch tries to combat anxiety and depression, not let illness take over them. A Witch tackles problems head on and doesn’t let others do it for them. Sometimes in the Pagan community, people try to hurt those who have balance. Maybe it is human nature, but it is a sad display of our Witchcraft community to hurt someone just because your life is chaotic and theirs isn’t.

Keep Your Words In Good Order – This means, no gossip and gossip runs rampant in our community. I’ve known Witches who have gone out of their way to say insulting things to others. If you wonder why the Pagan community isn’t taken seriously, this is why. You can’t be a good Witch if you are smiling and talking to someone at a Pagan event, only to stab him or her in the back once you are done. I’ve had people praise a Pagan ritual only to laugh at it to others once it was done.

If everyone would lock their lips and not try to hurt others with words, more problems would be solved or probably wouldn’t happen in the first place. Your words are your honor and those who use them badly don’t have honor for the Craft. If your words don’t ring true, people can’t take you seriously. They will never know if you mean you will show up for event or can be trusted if your words don’t match your actions. So say what you mean and follow through with your actions. If you say you are going to do something, do it. No excuses.

This goal can be lifted if you are having abuse problems with your coven. By all means if someone is hurting you mentally, psychologically or physically or threatens you in a pagan group or coven, let the Pagan community know. This not only helps you, it also helps those who might end up getting the same teacher or stop them from having a bad experience. Don’t let the seriousness of this goal stop you from using your words to make things right. Sometimes a little speaking of the mind works miracles, even if it is tough love.

Keep Your Thoughts in Good Order – Try to solve problems. Sometimes people don’t care how you feel so you have to take the time to get over that and move on. It is hard not to hold malice if someone hurts you, but holding in means thoughts about a person inside yourself will only hurt you. Try to talk and if that person doesn’t wish to listen, move on. Don’t dwell on bad things in your life. This goal is much like keeping your words in order.

Speak out when a situation is bad; use your thoughts to try to heal it. Think good of people. If you can’t then try not to think about the person or situation at all, if you tried your best to clear it up. But please, use your thoughts and words to try to problem solve instead of doing nothing. Make your thoughts strong and positive. Focus on goals. Live those goals. And be aware getting over problems can take a long time. Give yourself that time.

There are comments in our community that state there will never be any more Scott Cunninghams or Doreen Valientes. But we can be. Why can’t I use that as a goal? Why defeat myself with the thought I can never be grand? These thoughts are what hurt our community. We need thoughts with more ambition. We need to think we can all be leaders and that starts now!

Celebrate Life — Celebrate your own life, the lives of others, the lives of animals and nature. This means not harming nature. This one can be tricky if you own a car. But try to respect nature by being as eco-friendly as you can. Some Pagans I have encountered smoke like chimneys, flicking their butts into the street and littering the road with pieces of paper from their cars. It is like kicking the Goddess in the face. She made you this great world and you litter and make it toxic.

Take care of others, work in the community, donate items to your Pagan community, and ask how you can be of service. It isn’t only about having fun, but when you celebrate life, you should have that too. You are a Pagan, connected to all life. What hurts humanity, should hurt you. You should want to take action, even in small ways, like recycling or spending time helping those less fortunate.

Be happy for what you have. Maybe of us Pagans come from countries where we think luxury items are needed for our survival, but we don’t take time to reflect how lucky we are to live in places where we can get an education and have our wants taken care of. One should pray to the God and Goddess for these gifts.

Observe insects and other animals. Pay attention to the value of life. Take joy in the flight of a month or the jumping of a cricket. Or the smile of a friend.

Attune With The Cycles of the Earth– I am surprised by the number of Witches who don’t celebrate the Sabbats or Esbats. Even if you don’t have a ritual, one can toast Demeter during Lammas, for example or harvest berries during Strawberry Moon. Talk to animals and trees. It may sound overly hippie, but you will find you connect. As I said before, many Pagans I have seen, even leaders, throw trash into the street or don’t keep the Sabbats. How will students learn if their leader doesn’t care if it’s the full moon or not? Again, they won’t.

Not keeping the Sabbats also creates a wishy-washy year for students and missing pages in their Books of Shadows. If a group can’t meet, a ritual should be provided for those to do at home. Solitary rituals should be encouraged. I find writing my own rituals helps me develop as a person, because I put myself and my goals into them. They transform me into a better person.

So attune yourself with Mother Gaia, plant native plants, treat animals with respect, acknowledge and learn the cycles of the moon and names of the seasons. Even their symbols. If you don’t live in a place with four seasons, use the ebbs and tides of your areas or imagine how it must be to live in a place with snow in December.

Being a transplant from the Midwest to Southern California, it is hard to do, but must be done. There are lessons for each season to that reflect into one’s own life. It is hard to be a Witch without knowing the land, the grass, the sun, the moon and the stars.

Keep Yourself Healthy – This means, healthy food, no smoking, no excessive drinking, exercise and no harmful activities affecting the body. Yes, I know pagans who tan in tanners, who smoke, who drink and who have even done drugs. This violates the temple the Goddess has given you.

I am not saying you can’t have a burger if you want it, or a cigar at a party, but constant use of these or addiction to them can hurt your temple and also hurt your mind and your outlook on life. I don’t think one has to be a vegan to be a better witch, but a healthy diet helps. I do eat meat, but sparingly. I would smoke a cigar at a party. Yet I don’t have addictions to these things.

As your body ages, you realize you may want to become healthier and quit even the occasional cigarette or dinner of fast food. That happened to me! I even know people I tried to teach meditation too that coughed when they took long breaths because of smoking. So how can you meditate if you can’t even breathe?

Take care of yourself. Be a healthy weight. Note I didn’t say starve yourself either. A person can be a size 0 and be very unhealthy. Witches look healthy and alive. Even the Goth ones. (I would consider myself Gothy by nature.) Take care of yourself before you have to see the doctor.

Meditate – Meditation is a state of mind. It can be from a book or walking along a shady path in the woods. All Pagans should make time for personal meditation and reflection. They should make time to talk to their deities or to nature. This can be a time to write out one’s problems in a journal or to be creative. To me, this should be at least an hour a day, or more ideally, an hour in the morning and an hour at night.

If you don’t think you have time for meditation, you do. Turn off the TV, get off the computer and find a silent place to be. Let your thoughts go. Sit quietly and hear the world around you. Fall into that noise and be. Get books on meditation if you can’t focus. All Witches should be able to meditate because you need to be able to focus in rituals and to direct magickal energy, for example, in spellwork. It is a very crucial part of our religion, being able to focus our will.

Honor the Goddess and God — I wonder when this one went out of style? I have run into a lot of people who tend to speak very vaguely about Gods. As if I need to hide my Athena worship from someone who is into Freya as not to offend their sensibilities. There are a lot of Gods out there and some pagans who don’t even have Gods, but to me, there is nothing more spiritual than making an altar to a God and praising them. I feel it connects action to ritual. It tells the ritual where to go.

So what if someone does a ritual to Shiva when I only worship Diana? Can’t I get something out of that ritual as well? I also find Pagans calling and dismissing Godforms like they are puppets to do their bidding.

What happened to thanking the Gods? Thanking the Sun and the Moon, being grateful for each day given? Listen to what the Gods say to you. If you have a pantheon, read up on the Gods in it. Sometimes I go to rituals and people, even though they are in a coven with a certain pantheon, the members of that group can’t even recite the names and myths of their Gods. It’s a shame.

Study up on the Gods, read mythology and folklore; learn how stories connect to people in real life. You will learn much. Planting an organic apple in the ground for Venus or pouring spring water in the ground for Elen of the Ways is good practice to showing the Gods you appreciate them.

Looking at these goals, I can see why they have stood the test of time and people use them as public domain, though I know that Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner has these goals phrased like this but I have seen it in many other forms. Using this goal list as a moral framework, a Witch can succeed in magick and working in the community, both the Pagan one and world of humanity and nature.

As Witches, we need to go back to structure in our practice and not freeform, to turn our passivity and bad character traits into ones that benefit life, from without to within. I urge you to print these goals out and follow them. I challenge you. And in meeting the challenge, we can be better Witches and better people.

Water Gazing

Water Gazing

 
The simplest of these is known as gazing or scrying, in which water is used to create symbols of the future. To perform this ancient rite, pour water into a blue ceramic bowl. Ask your question. Sitting with your back to the light in a darkened room, gaze into, but not at, the water. (Some people add a few drops of blue food coloring or ink to the water to darken it; this is particularly useful when using a light-colored bowl.)
 
As with a crystal ball, the water may cloud. Eventually you may begin to see symbols within its cool depths. Make a note of any such symbols. When no further symbols are seen, begin the process of interpretation.
 
Some water gazers prefer to have a candle’s light reflected on the water’s surface. Others take the bowl outside on a cloudless night and, capturing the moon’s reflection, divine by its appearance on the water. All three of these techniques can be used.
 
A method related to water gazing involves wine. Pour wine into a clear glass. Place a candle behind it and light it. Sitting before the glass, ask your question (if any), gaze into the illuminated wine, and search for symbols to appear. This is known as oinomancy.
 
Sycphomancy is defined as the use of cups or glasses in divination (as in the above technique). It is of uncertain origin. The following procedure allows the reader to discern the past, present, and future. Three cups of three various materials are needed.
 
Old instructions state that the weather must have been calm for three days prior to the divination, and that the diviner be dressed in white. Fill a silver cup with wine, a copper cup with oil, and a vessel of glass with water. Scry in the silver cup to view the past, in the copper cup to see present events, and in the glass to discover the future. Use of these three scrying tools is ideal when the past, present, and future all pertain to the question-which is usually the case.
 
Gold cups filled with water were also sometimes used for gazing, but these have always been out of the reach of most diviners. A variant of this practice consists of placing a gold ring in a glass of water. Set this glass before a mirror and gaze into the ring’s reflection in the looking glass.
 
Natural bodies of water provide excellent gazing tools. A calm lake or a small pool that is continuously filled by a running stream is ideal. Sit before the lake or pool. Shut out all distractions and gaze into the water. If appropriate, ask a question. You will see what you need to know.
 
Finally, toss a lump of gold into a well. The water will become clearer and, thus, more conductive to scrying. (Silver was probably more often used in this rite than gold. This is a relic of the day in which well were considered to be sacred and the gold or silver was an offering to the well’s spirit or attendant deity.)
 
Other methods of water gazing include watching the waves at a beach, gazing into the sea from a high point that juts into it, scrying in the reflections of the sun sent up by water against a flat surface, and many other techniques.
 
Divination For Beginners
Reading The Past, Present & Future
Scott Cunningham
ISBN 0-7387-0384-2