Wicca: Year and A Day: Day 1

 

Earth- Centered Spirituality

In Europe’s Neolithic past, long, long ago when human communities were mostly tribes, in the ancient days of our ancestors well before the introduction of any spiritual path we know- or could possibly imagine- earth centered spirituality practices were customary. Long before religion became Religion, full of dogma, regulations, ceremonial figureheads, theme parks, and teleministries, there was simply nature. The first spiritual impulses were born of a people who lived close to the land and who relied on it for survival. They knew the ways of the seasons: the annual promise of the warming days, the long period of growth that followed, the importance of harvest, and the seasons of frost and death. Women knew the ways of the moon, of healing and childbirth. Men knew the movement of the herd animals and the secret ways of the hunter and the hunted. There were no holy books or official spiritual doctrines. The divine did not exist in some inaccessible realm. It lived among and through the people. It sang in bird songs, it formed the ocean’s waves, it filled the human body, plants, and animals with life.

Spirituality had its birthplace right here- in the dirt, in the soil, in the struggles and triumphs of everyday life. It emerged from human laughter and fear. It was something that pervaded one’s eating, sleeping, eliminating, and reproducing. It governed family and community life, the coming of age, marriages, births, and deaths. Spirituality had little to do with lofty philosophical notions- the things that emerged from thinking- it centered on the hard facts of life. The soft facts of life must have played their part too. Love, tenderness, and compassion are universal human emotions that have long quickened the heart and informed the spirit.

These are the ancient, indigenous roots of the spiritual system that we today call Wicca or Witchcraft. In considering Wicca’s earthy spiritual roots, most likely it will come as no surprise that getting started in the path requires you to settle down into the metaphorical dirt- the experiences of the world itself- and get your hands and feet muddy. You’ll need to taste, touch, smell, hear, see, and experience life and the spiritual energy that infuses it all.

Let’s get down and dirty, shall we? Go outside. Find a green patch of grass, a dark, rich, root-buckled swath of Earth, a stone formation, or a tree, and touch it. Rub your hands across it. Sit down and feel the weight of your body on the land. Breathe deeply and allow the earth to hold you. This is where you belong. Welcome home.

Exercise: Connecting to Earth

Sit somewhere in a natural setting: on a beach, in a forest, a field, or even in your own backyard. Breath deeply and close your eyes.  As you sit, imagine that you have roots that extend from the base of your spine. These roots reach not only down into the earth, but out to everything on it. Imagine that this vast network of roots connects you to animals, plants, objects. Take a moment to feel the pulse of your connection to the great All. Notice where your connection to things might be weak and where it feels strong. Spend 10 minutes (or longer) simply feeling your connection. When you are finished open your eyes. Consider the following questions:

  • In what way was my connection strong?
  • What do you suspect is the reason for any strong connections?
  • In what way was my connection to things weak?
  • What do I suspect is the reason for any weak connections?
  • What actions can I take that may strengthen any weak connections?
Spend the rest of the day acting in accord with your heightened awareness to people and things around you.

 

Events Across the World September

Denver Pagan Pride Day

When: Sep. 7th. 2014
Where: Denver, Colorado

Celebrating magical acts of kindness!

Event Details: Celebrating magical acts of kindness!

Join us for a fun and free community celebration of religious diversity and tolerance in Civic Center Park! With informational workshops on magical and spiritual topics, a variety of practical rituals, music, dancers, arts and crafts, many unique vendors, food, games, and more, you’ll want to plan for a full day of fun and fellowship! Everyone is welcome; come out and discover what Paganism is and explore the variety and diversity of Pagan faiths and practices in a friendly, open, educational, respectful, and non-proselytizing environment.
Group photo opportunity at 12:00 p.m. in the amphitheatre for anyone who wants to take part, and a community drum circle will begin at 3 in the amphitheatre—bring your drums and join in!

Event Location: 101 W. 14th Ave. in Denver
Event TIME Details: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Directions: Civic Center Park is located in downtown Denver, flanked by Colfax, E. Broadway, and 14th Ave.

Website: http://www.denverpaganpride.org

 

Sacramento Pagan Pride Harvest Festival

When: Sep. 13th. 2014 – Sep. 14th. 2014
Where: Orangevale, California

Sacramento Pagan Pride Harvest Festival

Event Details: Tentative Entertainment/ritual schedule PPD 2014

9:45 AM Ritual

10 AM Dave Harpe ~ Stage

11am …Michelle Hardy Music~ Stage

Noon Ritual

12:30 Lunar Shadows

1 PM The Method ~ Stage

2:30PM

3 PM Ritual

3:30 Ma’at Morte Manifesto

4-6 PM Hecate’s Riddle ~ Stage

6 PM Ritual

6:30 TBA Dance

7-9 PM Two Peace ~ Stage

Sunday, Sept. X+1, 2014

10 AM Ritual Name ~ Ritual Leader (s) ~ Ritual Area

11 AM Hecate’s Riddle ~ Stage

12:30…………TBA Dance

1 PM Ritual Name ~ Ritual Leader (s) ~ Ritual Area

1:30 Lunar Shadows

2 PM Ian M Smith ~ Stage

2:30 TBA Dance

3-5 PM Caliban featuring members of Tempest ~ Stage

5 PM Ritual

Event Location: 8990 Kruithof Way in Orangevale
Event TIME Details: 10am-8pm

Directions: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Fair+Oaks&state=CA&address=8990+Kruitof+Way&zipcode=95628-6534&country=US&latitude=38.6505&longitude=-121.220484&geocode=ADDRESS

Website: http://sacpaganpride.org

 

31st Annual Wild Magick Gathering

When: Sep. 18th. 2014 – Sep. 21st. 2014
Where: Bedford, Indiana

Elfin Harvest Festival Open to Everyone.

Event Details: Wild Magick Gathering is Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary’s annual celebration of the harvest and Autumnal Equinox in the beautiful limestone hills of Southern Indiana.

We offer primitive camping around community fire pits or tucked into the trees for more solitary campers, hot showers, wood fired sauna, dish washing station, composting privies, and limited recycling. Bring a container for water. Please carry out what you carry in. Low cost breakfast/brunch is available from the kitchen of our solar powered long hall. Camping and vendor spots are first come. There is no additional fee for vending. We do not have RV hookups, but can accommodate a few small pop-ups or van-sized campers.

During the festival we have seasonal rituals and ceremonies, activities for kids and teens, workshops, meditations, musical and theatrical performances and great Fellowship. Evenings are filled with magical drumming and dancing in our Dome. You can spend your days attending workshops, sitting in the shade visiting other festival goers or wandering the paths of our 109 acre wooded sanctuary. Although many of our festival goers are from pagan and other earth centered traditions, we welcome people from all spiritual paths and traditions. We encourage everyone to set up altars and share their beliefs and knowledge with one another. .

The weather at this time of year can vary form hot to rain to chilly, so be prepared. Bring your own shelter and whatever you need for primitive camping, food, personal items and of course festival finery, sturdy shoes, rain gear, etc. . Please bring only biodegradable soaps, shampoos, etc.

Proceeds from festivals go entirely toward the maintenance and care of Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary and Elvin HOME, Inc.

Visit us on-line for complete details and updated information.

Event Location: 559 McFadden Ridge Road in Bedford
Event TIME Details: 8:00 AM-11:00 PM ET (gate hours)

Directions: Maps are available on our web site and we also recommend using ‘Mapquest.’

Phone: (812) 2729463

Website: http://elvinhome.org
Website II: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elvin-HOME-Lothlorien-Nature-Sanctuary/86299833938
Mailing Address: P.O.Box 1082, Bloomington, Indiana, 47402-1082

 

Gaea Goddess Gathering

When: Sep. 18th. 2014 – Sep. 21st. 2014
Where: McLouth, Kansas

A Festival for ALL Women

Event Details: Gaea Goddess Gathering (GGG) is a festival for all women. The founding mothers, Carrie Moonstar and Rosalie Vaught, started GGG in 1997 and the festival has evolved into a wonderful 4-day women’s spirituality event focusing on the celebration of the Goddess in every woman.

The festival offers a wide variety of workshops encompassing:
Psychic Development, Self-Healing, Drumming, Hands-on Artistic Creations, Herbal Mysteries, Rhythmic Dance; Maiden, Mother & Crone Workshops & Ceremonies; Goddess Lore

…that all makes for a truly empowering weekend.

Event Location: Gaea Retreat Center in McLouth
Event TIME Details: Gates open Thursday at 9am

Directions: Best to follow the map instructions…

Phone: (816) 231-1919

Website: http://www.gaeagoddessgathering.com
Mailing Address: PO Box #3112, Kansas City, KS 66103

 

Pagans at the People’s Climate March

When: Sep. 20th. 2014 – Sep. 21st. 2014
Where: New York, New York

Pagans March for Eco-Justice in NYC!

Event Details: Will you join us???

The People’s Climate March is set for Sunday, September 21. This march, timed with the UN Summit on Climate Change, is predicted to be the largest climate march in history–a movement urging government leaders to support an ambitious global agreement to address the causes of climate change. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, hundreds of thousands of people will peacefully march through the streets of Manhattan to show support for a clean, green future–safe from the devastating effects of climate change.

And…members of the worldwide Pagan community will be there alongside members of other faiths who share the vision for a green, clean world!

Join us in peaceful solidarity with like-minded others. Let us show the world that the Pagan Community stands for our Sacred Mother Earth.

The weekend will also include:
Rituals
Fellowship gatherings
Teach-ins led by Pagan leaders fighting for eco-justice in various areas of the world

Bring yourself. Bring your family. Bring your friends. Bring your message: How will climate change affect you? Take this

****Time and march route to be confirmed. Watch this space for information about housing and transportation resources, meet-up hubs, and more!****

Join us!

Event Location: TBA in New York
Event TIME Details: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Directions: Specific locations TBA. Please watch our website for updated information: http://www.pec-nyc.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.pec-nyc.blogspot.com

 

Wear a Big Pentacle Day for Beebe Arkansas.

When: Sep. 22nd. 2014
Where: Beebe, Arkansas

Wear a Big Pentacle Day

Event Details: This year, we take it to Beebe, Arkansas who thinks that Religious Discrimination doesn’t apply outside of Christianity. Believing that it can deny a permit for a church on the basis of difference of Religion. This year we do it for Beebe Arkansas!

Event Location: 321 N Elm St in Beebe
Event TIME Details: All day, during open hours of City Hall.

Directions: Depending on where you are coming from.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/769516939758623/?ref=4

 

Mind, Body, & Spirit Connection Expo

When: Sep. 28th. 2014
Where: Newburgh, New York

Mark Your Calendar!!!

Event Details: Mark your calendar!!!

OFFERING:
Variety of Vendors
Holistic Practitioner
Gem and Mineral Dealers
Psychic Readers
Workshops
and more…

Tina Vesely Psychic-Medium will be doing her well know workshop “Messages from the otherside”.

If you are interested in vending call 570-832-2120
Private message or email TinaVesely@aol.com
Contact Tina Vesely or Jerry Vesely

Event Location: 15 Crossroads Ct in Newburgh
Event TIME Details: 11 am to 6 pm

Directions: From I-87: Take I-87 to exit 17 towards Route 300/RT 17K. Turn right at the light onto RT 300 and follow for ½ mile and turn right onto Route 17k. The hotel will be on the left hand side.

From I-84: take I-84 to exit 7B RT-300/Union Ave. Left onto NY-300/Union Ave. At 0.8mi make a right onto RT 17K. The hotel will be on the left hand side

Website: http://tinavesely.com

 

Vancouver Pagan Pride Day 2014

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Pagan Pride Day 2014

Event Details: Vendors, Rituals, Information booths, Entertainers

For more info see the website vancouverpaganprideday.wordpress.com
Or find us on Facebook at Vancouver Pagan Pride

If you are interested in vending or volunteering please contact catsnpiggies@gmail.com or click on the second link below.

Please spread the word!!!

Event Location: Trout Lake Park in Vancouver
Event TIME Details: Starts at 10 am and goes all day

Directions: Trout Lake Park South West Meadow, 3300 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC

Website: http://www.vancouverpaganprideday.wordpress.com
Website II: http://vancouverpaganprideday.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/want-to-get-involved-in-vppd-2014/

 

Connecticut Pagan Pride Day

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: Berlin, Connecticut

Connecticut Pagan Pride – Education, Fun, & Fellowship!

Event Details: Connecticut Pagan Pride is a one day event that encourages the Pagan community to educate the general public. Dispelling the myths they may have about who and what are Pagans. This year’s theme is “Service In Our Community”.

With that in mind we work hard at gathering local teachers and leaders from our community to provide workshops geared to introduce and expand participants knowledge of all aspects of Paganism.

We support our Pagan businesses, educators and groups by including them in our event. As a part of the greater Connecticut community, we also collect donations for local food banks, animal shelters and religious items for soldiers deployed overseas.

Our event takes place during the harvest season which lasts from August 1st until the October 31st. This is the season when many celebrate the first harvests of grain from their growing season. Traditionally you will see this expressed in loaves of bread and baked goods.

This year Pagan Pride Day is on September 6th from 10 am to 5 pm at the VFW Hall (152 Massirio Dr.) in Berlin, CT. Our morning ritual is at 10 am and the main group ritual is at 1 pm.

Admission is a non-perishable food item or pet supply. Join us for a great day of education, food, fun, crafts and great Pagan merchants!

Event Location: 152 Massirio Drive in Berlin
Event TIME Details: 10 am to 5 pm – Group ritual at 1 pm

Directions: From 84 E

Merge onto I-84 E via the ramp on the left toward Hartford. Merge onto CT-72 E via EXIT 35 on the left toward CT-9/New Britain. CT-72 E becomes CT-9 S. Take the Christian Lane exit, EXIT 23, toward Berlin. Turn Slight Right onto Christian Ln. Turn left onto Massirio Dr. 152 Massirio Dr is on the Right.

From 84 W

Merge onto I-84 W via the ramp on the Left. Merge onto CT-15 S via EXIT 57 on the left toward I-91 S/Charter Oak Br/N.Y. City. Merge onto I-91 S via EXIT 86 toward New Haven/N.Y. City. Merge onto CT-9 N via EXIT 22N toward New Britain. Take EXIT 22 toward US-5 S/CT-15 S/New Haven. Turn Right onto Frontage Rd. Turn right onto CT-372/Worthington Rdg. Turn Right onto Mill St/CT-372. Continue to follow CT-372. Turn Right onto Massirio Dr. 152 Massirio Dr is on the left.

From 91 N

Merge onto I-91 S toward Hartford. Merge onto CT-9 N via EXIT 22N toward New Britain. Take EXIT 22 toward US-5 S/CT-15 S/New Haven. Turn right onto Frontage Rd. Turn right onto CT-372/Worthington Rdg. Turn right onto Mill St/CT-372. Continue to follow CT-372. Turn right onto Massirio Dr. 152 Massirio Dr is on the left.

From 91 S

Merge onto I-91 N via the exit on the left toward Hartford. Merge onto CT-15 N via EXIT 17 toward I-691/Berlin Tpke/CT-66. Take the CT-372 exit toward CT-9 N/New Britain/East Berlin. Keep right at the fork to go on CT-372/Mill St. Turn left onto CT-372/Worthington Rdg. Turn right onto Mill St./CT-372. Continue to follow CT-372. Turn right onto Massirio Dr. 152 Massirio Dr. is on the left.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/883274038365578/

 

Southern NH Pagan Pride Day

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: Concord, New Hampshire

Southern NH Pagan Pride Day

Event Details: Come join us at Southern NH Pagan Pride Day! Shop Merchant’s Row, get a reading in the Reader’s Grove, take in a lecture or workshop at Earth’s Classroom. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and cool green spaces of this beautiful park!

Event Location: Rollins Park: 100 Broadway in Concord
Event TIME Details: 9am-5pm

Directions: From South of Concord: Rte 93 N, Exit 12N. Left on Broadway. On Street Parking or left on Broad Ave and right on Bow St to the parking lot.

From North of Concord: Rte 93 S Exit 12N. Left on Broadway. On Street Parking or left on Broad Ave and right on Bow St to the parking lot.

Website: http://www.snhppd.com

 

Lexington-Bluegrass Pagan Pride Day Festival

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington-Bluegrass Pagan Pride Festival

Event Details: Come join us in celebration of the Autumn Equinox at our 8th Annual Lexington -Bluegrass Pagan Pride Day Festival on Saturday, September 6th, 2014. This event will be held at the Courthouse Plaza, at North limestone and Main Street, in downtown Lexington, Kentucky 40507 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..

There is no entry fee, however you are asked to share in the harvest by bringing a non-perishable food item to benefit the Catholic Action Center.

All ages are welcome to attend this free event, which will have vendors and merchants, diviners and rituals. Workshops such as ” Ask A Witch”, for those who may have questions about the magickal practices within pagan traditions and “Introduction to Paganism” by Res. Sunny D..

Lexington-Bluegrass Pagan Pride’s musical guests will be Violet and Abbas with the return of Danny Ocean.

New this year, Kentucky born aothor, Wynter Wilkens, will present a discussion on his new book “Strigoi”, and possibly hav a book signing afterwords.

Lexington-Bluegrass Pagan Pride is a local chapter affiliated with the Pagan Pride project. We are a non profit organization whose primary purpose is the advancement of knowledge and accurate information to eliminate discrimination, misconceptions and Prejudice based on religious beliefs.

Event Location: N. Limestone St. and Main St. in Lexington
Event TIME Details: 11 am to 5 pm

Directions: Located downtown at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza at N. Limestone and Main St.

Phone: (859) 576-1025

Website: http://lexpaganpride.org
Website II: http://paganpride.org
Mailing Address: P O Box 4443, Lexington, Ky 40504

 

London Pagan Pride Day

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: London, Ontario

London Pagan Pride Day

Event Details: Come celebrate the harvest with us in the Forest City!

London Pagan Pride Day 2014 we will be celebrating a milestone! That’s right; it will be the fifth year for London Pagan Pride Day!

To celebrate we are planning to have the biggest and best Pagan Pride Day festival yet. We want to bring out the entire Pagan community of London and the surrounding areas and we are going to do our best to make it worth your while to come join in!

The fifth annual London (Ontario, Canada) Pagan Pride Day will be held on September 6 2014 in Gibbons Park. We hope to see you all there.

Event Location: Gibbon’s Park in London
Event TIME Details: 11am – 5pm

Directions: Park at the Victoria Street parking lot. PPD is just to the north-east of the facilities.

Website: http://www.londonpaganpride.org
Website II: http://www.facebook.com/events/260105310812432

 

Lafayette Pagan Pride

When: Sep. 6th. 2014
Where: West Lafayette, Indiana

Lafayette Pagan Pride

Event Details: Purdue’s Pagan Academic Network is hosting the Lafayette Pagan Pride event on the Purdue Memorial Mall. Space is still available for merchants and information booths. More details are forthcoming and will be added as they become available.

Event Location: Purdue Memorial Mall in West Lafayette
Event TIME Details: 10am-6pm

Directions: Parking in garages and lots are free on weekends.

Website: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006850576459

By clnow3088

Teachers: Good & Bad

Many people are investigating the religions of Witchcraft, Wicca and other Neo-Pagan Paths today. There are many books and reference materials available, yet after some self study, there are some folks who would like to meet and perhaps work with a physical teacher. This can be a rewarding learning experience – or it could turn out to be your worst nightmare…

The Many Ways to Pass along the Knowedge…

There are all kinds of people out there today who may call themselves “teachers” or “experts” in Witchcraft and Wicca. Some advertise in New Age shops and publications or over the Internet. Some are well known local personalities who offer regular lectures, workshops or Wicca 101 classes. You may hear of a teacher through networking with other Pagans in your area. How can you know that these people are who they say they are? Or more importantly to you perhaps, how can you know that a teacher will be the right one for you?

There are many Paths and many different approaches to passing on the Craft. A little prior research into the various systems or Traditions in advance is almost a necessity before making the decision to take training in a particular system. We encourage everyone to do as much reading on the subjects as possible. See what interests you and then try to find a teacher that will help you further develop in these areas of interest.

There are some definitive things that you can do to help insure that you enjoy a positive experience BEFORE you spend a lot of time or money in classes or other training. We have provided a listing below that we have developed from personal experiences, the experiences of others and various reference materials that may help to know what you should be looking for and how to ask the questions that may help you decide if this is the teacher for you. Some teachers may not exhibit all of the signs listed, but most teachers will fall predominantly into one category or another.

A GOOD TEACHER… generally:

  • Has a sense of humor… Humans do silly things sometimes, and a sense of humor can help keep things in perspective. A good teacher will help you laugh at yourself (and them!), but will not hold you up to ridicule.

  • Has respect for all living things… One needn’t be a vegetarian to care about the lives and welfare of animals. Environmental concerns are also important as Neo-Paganism is a “nature or earth-based” religious Path. Abuse of any living thing is pretty much a “no-no”.
  • Has a healthy self image… A teacher who realizes that he or she can learn just as much from a novice as the novice may learn from the teacher is probably comfortable in what they know, yet open to new ideas and concepts.
  • Is kind and compassionate… This doesn’t mean that you will not be challenged or have to work hard, but it does mean that your honest efforts will be met with encouragement and gentle guidance. A good teacher will not “look down his or her nose” at your sincere attempts; they realize that experience is necessary to gaining knowledge.
  • Tells the truth and is direct… This means that you will not be led astray either by one who is afraid to confront you when you are heading in a wrong direction or by one who seeks to manipulate you for unspoken ends. They call a spade a spade and want you to do the same. They ‘walk their talk” and do not have a separate code of conduct for themselves while expecting you to follow another.
  • Is able to teach by example… The good teacher will often tell stories of the time that they really ‘screwed up”. They also can tell you about their successes and failures and do so-neither making excuses or being overly melodramatic about their experiences. They can offer practical examples and show applications of such examples clearly. They are not “mysterious” so much as they demonstrate the “mysteries” in simple ways to help you understand them.
  • Has a global point of view… Local “gurus’ may only be interested in making a name or creating a following for themselves. A good teacher will encourage their students to reach beyond the local area and embrace the rest of the world community.
  • Is inclusive rather than exclusive in attitude… Anyone who promotes an “us vs. them” is dangerously close to becoming a cult leader. There are real forces out there to contend with, but a teacher who finds an enemy around every corner should be avoided.
  • Allows for mistakes and admits that he/she is not perfect… “We are all in this together” is a good statement to hear from a teacher that you are considering working with.
  • Is flexible, yet honors commitments… Too rigid a set of rules and regulations stifles energy flow and the learning experience. Too random a training program may also interfere in the discipline required for growth. A balance between the two is best.
  • Encourages you to do your own research and ask questions… A good teacher wants you to discover and explore new ideas. A good book list should be included in any training program. You should be able to disagree with a teacher without being censored or reprimanded.(A well thought out concept should be “thought provoking” however and not just “provoking”.).
  • Gives credit where credit is due… A teacher who is using references or techniques from other sources should plainly state this fact. The use other people’s work without credit is theft, plain and simple.
  • Listens more than talks… A good teacher is genuinely interested in your thoughts, feelings and opinions. Feedback is one way that a teacher can tell how you are absorbing and integrating the materials and lessons. Someone who talks all the time about his/her experiences is more interested in impressing you with their personal knowledge than helping you to acquire knowledge of your own.
  • Wants you to mature and move on… A good teacher wants his or her students to surpass them. That is the greatest compliment that a teacher can receive. Just as a good parent wants to send mature and well balanced children out into the world, so does a good spiritual teacher want their “children” to grow up and leave home.

ON THE OTHER HAND:… You Should AVOID a teacher who:

  • Possesses a superior attitude… If a teacher states or implies that they are the sole holder of some sort of “special” or “secret” knowledge disclosed only to a “chosen few”, you really don’t want to know what that may be…really.

  • Excludes members of any race or culture… Bigotry of any kind has no place in spiritual circles.
  • Is attacking or violent… Obviously.
  • Is either overly sensitive or too insensitive… Someone who either sees slights and attacks where there are none or ignores actual tangible problems may not be in touch with “reality”. Best to leave them to their own little fantasy world.
  • Is ingratiating… Someone who is overly friendly and shares intimate details of their personal life with you almost immediately may be looking to “win you over.” This is a real danger sign that is often overlooked. By “baring their soul”, they encourage you to do the same in return. This “instant intimacy” can leave you vulnerable to manipulation and abuse. Go slowly when meeting someone new.
  • Is controlling… No teacher should expect you to abandon your family and friends. Isolation from the rest of society is a classic cult activity. You should not be expected to run errands or perform tasks. Sometimes you and the teacher will work out a “fair exchange of energy” in return for training. Make sure it IS fair. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, you probably are.
  • Is continually cancelling classes… This is a classic indication that they simple have your money and no longer care about fullfilling the deal. If they are postponing classes until several months from now, you may have a real problem on your hands.
  • Belittles you or uses you as an “example”… You deserve to be treated with respect even if you are a novice. No teacher has the right to strip you of your self esteem. You should not be bullied into doing something that makes you uncomfortable or that you do not understand. On the other hand, being held up to others as the “teacher’s pet” is also incorrect and this teacher may be setting you up for something that you may not want to become involved in.
  • Has few or no “elders” in their group… “Where are the people who have been trained before me?” is a good question to ask. Perhaps they DID mature and move on… or perhaps they just ran screaming from the room!!…It pays to check. Talk to anyone you can find who has trained with this teacher before.
  • Wants a lot of money up front… You should be able to get a class schedule or other outline of what the training will consist of BEFORE you sign up. Look it over carefully and ask questions. If the information seems to be no more than what you can get free from books or by talking with other Witches, it may not be a good value. Degrees and titles are earned, They are not bought…or sold.
  • Has assistants, cohorts or senior students who you are expected to obey… Some groups do have a system of ‘elders” who deserve respect. However, you are not obligated to accept anyone simply based on their “rank” within a group. If the teacher has an “entourage” which follows them everywhere and seems to “cater” to this teacher’s every whim, watch carefully. You may end up being the next “groupie.”
  • Is overly idealistic and impractical… If this teacher has marvelous plans for the world-and especially if they tell YOU that you will be a part of this grand scheme-but he/she cannot balance their checkbook, take care of their children or hold onto a job, you want to leave now. You may end up not only shoring up these “dream castles”, you may end up supporting this person financially and emotionally. Witchcraft is a Path of personal responsibility and a teacher should be able to manifest this in their own lives.
  • Exhibits any of these characteristics… lying, sexual misconduct, theft, physical violence or abuse.

 

“Thus the wise man residing in the Tao
sets an example for all beings.
Because he does not display himself,
people can see his light.

Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is,*
people recognize themselves in him.

Because he has no goal (secret personal agenda) in mind,
everything he does succeeds.”

*(meaning he does not set him/herself above anyone.)

-Tao te Ching

By clnow3088

Circle Casting: For Your Protection

The Circle has been used in a number of traditions excluding Wicca. The Circle in Wicca however is among the most interesting and very different from many others. Where Ceremonial Magicians use the power of the Circle to protect themselves and keep evil spirits contained within its circumference, Wiccans use the power of the Circle to invite energies into their rites and keep unwanted spirits out. This leads Wiccans to do a number of wonderful things because the Circle really has no endless power and potential. The Circle is excellent for keeping power contained that we have raised, and also allows us to commune with our Gods. The Circle is probably the most important function to Wicca and no ritual could begin without a Circle– except in certain occasions which you will know them (such as magical working , praying and meditation) .

The Circle is symbolic in shape that has been used for magical purposes throughout the world is still widely used in many religions and cultures today. It has many different meanings and functions, all which can be used in the practice of Wicca by a group, a couple or even yourself who might be working alone. Although Wicca isn’t technically meant to be a solitary practice, its adaptability as a religion and a way of life for those who seek Wicca has found its way to the solitaires who practice without a problem. The truth is you don’t need a Coven to cast a Circle. You don’t need four people, of separate elements, to call the Quarters. Although, they might be a good idea if you are working with a large group. EVERYONE should be doing something in Wiccan Circles. It is one of the reasons why I am not to fond of Open Circles because I’m just standing there waiting for something to happen while everyone else seems to take the lead.

Why is the Circle so important in Wicca than?

Well from what I’ve stated I hope its obvious some of its functions but the Circle does provide other functions. The circumference of the Circle separates that which is within from that which is without. It also has no beginning and no end, and so represents eternity. The area within the Circle’s edge is considered to be a place outside ordinary space and time, and indeed, rituals held within Circles do often seem to take on a time structure of their own, with hours of “ordinary” time rushing by in what seems like an instant.

Outside of the Circle is ordinary time and reality exists, and to jump between the two requires a little ritual of its own in order to keep the two worlds separate in everyone’s mind and space. The point is within the Circle anything is possible. It is here where we meet our Gods, commune with spirits, conjure the elements and perform our ceremonies and magical rituals.

“But I don’t need to use a Circle when casting a spell!”

I get this snarl remark all the time by Wiccans. Which is fine. Work with what is best for you. But keep this in mind (and also a further discussion on Power) the magic Circle used for the purpose of casting spells or any magical operation is primarily to keep out unwanted influences and to contain any power raised for magical working. In this way, the power raised can be focused for its intended purpose before sending it beyond the boundaries. Magic isn’t an absolute thing, it is a mystical force which draws in the attention of many spirits (that’s why animals seem particularly drawn to rituals) and many are not kind spirits who can twist the magic around (this doesn’t necessarily mean they do it on purpose) making the Pattern of the spell something unrecognizable. I know how that sounds. Believe me. But it doesn’t change the truth of what it is. When we are working magic we are doing just more than bending reality to our will, we are forging connections “As Above, so Below” and this statement (whether you believe in it or not) refers strongly to Kabbalah and the Tree of Life (which maps out the existence of Divinity). That might not seem harmless but many Wiccans tend to neglect the other half of the Tree known as Quliphoth. Look, Wicca isn’t all light and shiny as you might have read it in the books and I sure as hell don’t want to burst your bubble, but understanding the roots of Wicca should be your first step and see where Wicca draws from its sources. We may not believe in a Satan but doesn’t mean we do not believe in evil spirits. Qliphoth is the idea where impure and evil spirits reside among its branches. When we cast a spell it goes through both those trees (As Above, so Below) that is the reality. A magic Circle is what prevents impure, or evil spirits, to twist our magic. I really won’t get into it here now, and it isn’t meant to frighten you but doesn’t change the fact either. Take this warning in mind, follow it if you will.

The Circle is much more than what we think it is, and has also presented itself in our faith through the Pentacle in Wicca. A circle surrounding a five pointed star. Cut open an apple and you will see that a pentacle resides in the heart of the fruit. In this way we are connecting to magic. In any magic system it is how you do it that makes it powerful. In knowledge and reverence.

We are going to go through the basics of Casting a Circle, how to take down the Circle, and the meaning behind the Circle more in depth.

Casting the Circle

You should practice casting a Circle at least once a week. You should try to memorize the steps necessary to do so. Reading from paper, from a book or script will only distract you and a lot of emotional value and importance will be lost. I frown on anyone who uses scripts during ritual work– period. Should not be tolerated. There are exceptions, of courses, such as starting out and trying to remember the lines (the paper should be placed to the side or close enough where all you need to do is glance down). Those who are experienced they should never use a script and I often loose a lot of respect for them.

The first steps of casting a circle are simple:

  1. Clear the space intend for use.
  2. Mark out a Circle on the floor. Traditionally speaking the Circle should be 9 feet (3 meters) in diameter, but reality is it should be a Circle comfortable and suitable for you and your Coven (if you have one). If you are working with others, take each others hands and step an arms length apart so it is comfortable diameter for movement and and activities. The Circle can be drawn with salt, flour, chalk, flowers of seasons, crystals etc. Make sure it is easily swept or cleaned away. This isn’t necessary but it does help put you in the right set of mood for ritual working. Traditionally a white cord is sometimes used (sometimes Purple) to do so.
  3. Now you should lay out your altar in the North (some say East, some say North-East) I say the North because the North is the direction of the Gods. The altar should be round, but in reality it can be any round surface. It can be placed in the center of the circle or placed off to the side.
  4. Place a candle at the four cardinal points. Ideally, all objects should fit inside the marked-out Circle, but if space is severely limited, you can place things just outside it as long as you include them with the magical sword (or athame) when you draw the Circle later.
  5. You can adapt any Wiccan rituals and practices to suit your needs. What I present here is what I have been taught and may not work for other people, this is some of the ore traditional ways of working Wicca.
  6. The Circle is than swept (or before) with the besom (the broom) from the middle out to the edges deosil (clockwise). A small little charm could be said as you do so, I will provide the charm in another post but here is one for you now: “Sweep, sweep, sweep away all the cares of the day. Cast out shadows, cast out wrong, make the Circle safe and strong.”
  7. Your altar is then set up the way you like it (no candles are lit yet) and the broom is laid aside (usually in front, behind or to the east of the altar).
  8. Before any ritual you should spend a few moments contemplating of the sacredness of the space around you. Then the candles are lit at the altar.

I will go more in depth with the Altar in a few posts (maybe the next one) on how it should be set up. For now use your imagination and the knowledge that you know now and what will be presented to you here. In Wicca everything is about symbolism. Everything should be dark right now because in the beginning there was darkness. On your altar you should have at least two candles (one for the Goddess and one for the God) but you may wish to include a lamp. If you desire to include the lamp it should either be placed aside and somewhere in the distance from the Circle which is than brought into the Circle and place between the God and the Goddess, or it is already in the center between the two and placed somewhere else if it bothers you and you don’t like it on the altar.

The lamp need not be a real lamp, any other candle is fine.

This is the Void, the Source of all creation. From it all things shall come to pass and all life was born. This is symbolic. What you will be doing essentially is mimic (a form of sympathetic magic) the Creation of the Universe. If you do not want to do it this way or disregard the lamp all together, that is fine, the left candle (the Goddess) is always lit first than and from that source of flame all other candles should be lit. The God candle is than lit from the Goddess candle if you choose this method. No other candle is lit yet. Only these two (three).

If you decide that you enjoy using the idea of the lamp you may wish to do a ritual drama first before lighting the candle or narration, for example you may wish to use the Vangelo delle Streghe. You may not wish to. Light the lamp and say:

“I light this Candle/Lamp

(light the Presence Lamp)

in the name of that Ancient presence,

which is, was, and ever shall be

male, female, all-knowing, all-powerful

and present everywhere.

And in the names of the four Mighty Ones,

the ruler of the elements,

may power and blessing descend

in this hour upon this place

and those gathered here.”

This becomes the next crucial step. Taking both the Goddess and the God candle you are going to light both the candles at the same time. Set those aside. You may wish to burn the charcoal block now using the flame of the Presence Lamp. The Quarter candles are not lit yet. What comes next is the exorcism of the water and the blessing of the salt. I was taught water than salt, but you could bless the salt and than the water. There are three crucial steps in this, water, salt and than you add the two.

Exorcising the Water

I’m not sure, but I in my experience I have never really seen any Wiccan use the pentacle so much in eclectic practices. The pentacle is very important in Traditional Wicca and it is important to note now that whatever you put on your altar have a good reasons for using it. Place the bowl of water on the pentacle (the star pointed down because we are exorcising spirits). Take your athame and slowly lower it into the water until its tip touches the bottom. Visualize an electric blue light flowing from the blade and say:

“I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water,

that thou cast out from

thee all impurity and uncleanliness of

the world of phantasm.

In the names of the Lord and the Lady.”

You do not need to use a formal chant like this. You may wish to say something informal and casual. The important thing is how you do it and what the words mean to you. If there is no meaning in your words than there will be no meaning in your actions.

Blessing the Salt

Like the water, you are going to place the dish of salt on the pentacle (this time the point of the star should be upwards because we are asking divine presence) and as before slowly lower your athame into dish and as you touch the bottom visualize a blue light dancing through it, say something like:

“Blessings be upon thee, O Creature of Earth,

let all malignity and hindrance

be cast forth from thee, and let all good enter within.

Wherefore, do I bless and consecrate thee,

that thou may aid me.

In the name of the Lord and the Lady.”

Purity into Purity

Now comes the final part to this, this is called in my Tradition purity into purity. The idea that you are taking to blessed and consecrated items and merging them together, purity into purity to create blessedness. So what you do is very simple, with the athame scoop some of the salt and place it into the water. Stir deosil with the athame three times while saying:

“Behold, the Salt is Pure!

Behold, the Water is Pure!

And so purity into purity

Creates blessedness.

So mote it be!”

Set it aside for later.

Now that the basics are out of the way lets start talking about the actual ritual casting of the Circle. The only candles lit should be the Goddess, God and the presence lamp if you have decided to use it. Incense should be going in the censer and now you will take the sword from the altar (or use the athame) and to the North you will you start to cast the Circle. Many Wiccans in books I’ve read say to point the sword and athame outwards and draw the Circle this way, if this works for you than do so. Personally that way doesn’t make real sense to me because the idea is that you are limiting yourself. I mean this because you are still grounded to the physical world in the sense you need to visualize the sphere before you as you draw. That is fine, but I am not a fan of drawing the Circle that way. I draw it the “As Above, So Below” if you will.

The Circle is a sphere of power that knows no bounds. Physical substance means nothing to the Circle and can pass right through them and still hold its integrity. Let me go through the basis of this Circle casting and behind some of the symbolism. First thing is first, AS ABOVE SO BELOW is a common term, the way I cast my Circle puts that statement in theory. Second, we walk on the Earth and in so the earth keeps us grounded, focused, centered and provides us with unlimited source of untapped power. I’m not saying my way is the right way, far from it, this is the Circle casting that makes sense to me.

Take the sword or the athame (like before) stand to the North. With the blade pointed to the ground you should will your energy through your arms and out the tip of the blade pouring into the Earth rising to create a sphere below you and above you. Take your time as you move around the Circle. If others are present they may wish to use their own athames and walk with you as you pass them and perform the same technique. This allows everyone to have a place of their energy in the Circle. Set the sword aside.

If you wanted to say an incantation while cast the Circle you might. Personally I don’t use one because I am to busy working on the Circle trying to erect it as something sacred and purity that I sometimes forget to chant. If others are present in the Circle this might be a good activity for them to do, sing or chant as you cast the circle.

All Wiccans Circles should be cast three times. This can be done in a number of ways. This is how I do it.

The first circle is drawn with energy to divide the world.

Next with the salted water aspurge the circle (sprinkle the salt water) starting from the North, this seals the energies raised within and keeps unwanted spirits out.

Lastly perform a third circle with incense at the line. The incense allows you to commune with the Gods if you will.

This is the basics of casting the Circle.

Leaving the Circle

This is something that I discourage but sometimes cannot be helped. If you have to leave the Circle for any reasons at all, there is a small ritual to do so. This helps keep the illusion in the mind of the people that Circle is still there. You do what is known as cutting a doorway and should be done at the northwest by using the athame to draw a small piece of the circle in widdershins (counterclockwise) direction and then laying the athame at the threshold. To close the door, use the athame to redraw that piece of the circle in a deosil direction.

*FUNNY STORY– To be honest not sure how funny this is but it was funny at the time and maybe some of you who are experienced in Wicca will also laugh at this because they too might have experienced this. People have often asked me whether or not the Circle is real and if it simply is just psychology making you believe that it is there. Personally I strongly believe in the magic Circle because of other reasons than this, but by far this was the funniest, I kind of felt bad afterwards.

I had someone new to Wicca wanted to come to one of my Open Circles that I host every so often for those who are interested, he was very skeptical about Wicca but he wanted something to believe in. He felt drawn to Wicca and wanted to have a connection with it because it made sense to him but the idea of the magic, faeries, dragons etc. Was a little far fetched for him. He was raised Catholic and he wasn’t sure how to feel or how to be. After this little experience he had with the magic circle after mocking it he soon became a believer in Wicca.

He giggled during the ritual– which is normal you don’t see it everyday– and we had a good chat after the ritual was done. He admitted that we looked like role playing rejects which I laughed at too. Sometimes we present ourselves that way and not mean to be, but over all he really liked the ritual. He thought it was very poetic and it still intrigued him. At this time the Circle was not broken and I was teaching him Grounding techniques and explain the Circle to him. So after he mocked the Circle he claimed he wanted to go pee, so I turned my back to reach for the sword to cut a doorway for him but before I could turn around all’s I heard was a loud thump!

I turned around quickly and there he was on the floor on his ass confused!

I was also confused than he looked up at me and he said, “I hit the invisible wall.”

I laughed.

The Quarters

The Circle isn’t quite finished yet, although it could be left this way if you would like, the Quarters (sometimes called Cardinals or Quadrants or something else) are every important in Wicca because of what they represent. There are generally four (but sometimes five) which a magic circle is divided into four quarters by the cardinal points: north, south, east, west.

Each point is associated with an element, an elemental, and in some traditions, a watchtower.

The elements represent the forces of nature that make up the material world of the cosmos. Although we understand that these aren’t necessarily real elements but we understand their effectiveness and their powerful symbolism in our faith. Elements are the creatures of the elements, and if left unrestrained, can sometimes cause a lot of trouble. The elements are therefore controlled by higher spiritual beings called the Lords of the Watchtowers; their names vary from tradition to tradition.

Whatever their real names are, all Wiccans traditions who acknowledge these beings approach them with the utmost respect and understands their importance in the Circle and also in this world as a whole. These Lords of the Watchtowers are known as Mighty Ones.

After casting a Circle, you need to invoke the elements (elements need not be summoned). If you are summon the elements you do not need to summon the Watchtowers (I do anyways because they are old friends) however if you are working with elements you absolutely need to summon the Watchtowers. Without them, the elemental forces will take control. Watchtowers aren’t just those who keep the elements under control but they can also keep out unwanted forces and influences as well. Here is the thing in Traditional Wicca the Mighty Ones aren’t typically summon for anything other than dedications, imitations and other important rites of passage because the God and the Goddess are protection enough. If you do not feel the need of the Watchtowers don’t use them. In my tradition they are only used if we are using elements or rites of passage because they are very powerful entities. The God and the Goddess are enough, and those who claim otherwise in Wicca really know nothing of the Arts.

Back to the Watchtowers however, there are many ways of summoning these powers, sometimes drawing from other magical paths and cultures, such as Nordic, Egyptian, and yes even Judeo-Christian Kabbalah. There i no right way or wrong way to do it; the important thing is that it works for you!

However, there are common elements to summoning the Watchtowers.

It was said that the Watchtowers are protectors of the Goddess and in so you need to first awaken them. Take the bell from the altar and ring it three times at each Quarter.

Return to the altar and ring the bell two times. Set the bell aside.

Before we get into the actual invocations of the Watchtowers I would like to to talk quickly about the correspondences:

From left to right this is how it will be introduced quickly, Quarter, Element, Elemental, Watchtower Lord, Color and Magical Tool.

This is from my tradition. Adapt it as you like.

NORTH–Earth–Gnome–Boreas–Green–Pentacle

With the pentacle, walk deosil around the Circle, holding it up to each quarter, if others are present you may want them to kiss the pentacle as you pass them, saying:

I call upon the element of

earth to bless this Circle.

May it protect us with

its grounding force as we

perform our works tonight.

EAST–Air–Sylph–Eurus–Yellow–Wand

Carry the smoking censer from the altar deosil around the Circle. If others are present, waft the incense under their noses, say:

I call upon the element

of air to bless this Circle

May it take our prayers to

the God and the Goddess as we

perform our works tonight.

SOUTH–Fire–Salamander–Notus–Red–Sword/Athame

Pick up one of two altar candles (if the presence lamp is available use it) and carry it around the Circle deosil, holding it up at teach quarter (if others are present you may wish for them to feel the heat of the flame) and say:

I call upon the element of fire

to bless this Circle.

May it grant us inspiration

and passion as we perform

our works tonight.

WEST–Water–Undine–Zephyrus–Blue–Chalice

Take the bowl of salted water and walk around as before, splashing drops of the water around the edges of the circle, when you come to someone already in the Circle draw a Celtic cross or pentacle on their foreheads and continue, when you are finished do the same for yourself, say:

I call upon the element of water

to bless this Circle.

May it grant us inner

sight as we perform

our works tonight.

These are the basics of call the elements to you. I will not talk about elemental right now. Maybe later.

SUMMONING/BANISHING THE WATCHTOWERS

Whether or not you actually summon the Watchtowers is completely up to you. They are the guardians of the four directions. Hence, the Mighty Ones. Some Wiccans find that summoning the elements is sufficient, and that the protection of the God and the Godddess are enough, however for those like me who love very ritualistic magic you may wish to incorporate them into your workings. Taking from Ceremonial Magic, the Watchtowers are summoned with the athame (no other tool!) by drawing special invoking pentagrams in the air. The North is always summoned first and is always banished last. Again, this is because North is associated with the God and the Goddess. Whereas the elements and elemental may be summoned at either North or East.

Here is the banishing pentagrams of the Watchtowers:

After the ritual the Watchtowers must be banished!

It is essential that the spirits are thanked and dismissed, and the Circle is dismantled properly. This is good for psychic hygiene for if traces of magic are left, strange things tend to happen and these aren’t always very good things. I have seen horrible things happen to Wiccans who forget to dismiss the elements, elementals and the Watchtowers. Doesn’t matter if we obey Wiccan Laws, energies that are left rampant cause chaos and havoc. They absolutely must be banished.

The same way is to summon the Watchtowers is done the same way to banish them.

The only real difference is that you are using a banishing pentagram and you are going to go east, south, west and north is always banished last.

As you do such say something similar to as:

(lord of the watchtower), Lord of the (direction), and

the watchtowers of the (direction), thank

you for your presence and

protection tonight/today. As this Circle

is closed and you return to your

realms, may be there be peace between us,

I bid you a kind farewell.

And that really is all to it for Circle casting. Invoking the Gods, ritual, spell casting, sabbat cakes, dancing, singing are done further on in the Circle, but this is the basics to get you started.

*NOTE! Grounding. This is very important. Rituals and visualizations can leave us feeling spaced out or with to much magical energy. This can be very bad for our health and psychological and emotional state of being. To carry on in either condition is potentially harmful. To ground yourself, sit on the floor and connect yourself to the earth via your palms, feet, and bottom. Feel thee energy of the Earth below you– it is strong, slow, and steady. Pull that energy into your body through your contact points, and feel it working its way around your whole system. Eventually, it flows back into the earth again, taking with it excess energy, tiredness or negativity that has been found within you. Do no rush grounding. It must be done properly, and if you don’t believe me you soon will if you do not perform grounding properly. When you feel it is done, thank the earth and have something to eat and drink. Grounding should be done before and after every ritual. It will help keep you centered and focus.

THE WATCHERS’ HOUND

I wanted to talk about this for a moment. This is an influence brought to me by my own Tradition. My family are hunters, we have a strong affinity for animals and we make use of falconry and dogs in our hunting. It only made sense that a hound of some sort was introduced in my family Tradition. Not every Tradition uses the Watchers Hound in fact I am pretty certain my family is one of the very rare few who do. To be honest I am not exactly sure where it comes from. It is something that has always been used in my family Tradition and will continue to be. I wanted to talk about the Watchers’ Hound because it means something very special to me personally. The Watchers’ Hound is very rarely ever summoned in Circle for very good reason. It is a spectral hound (some say it was given by Apollo others in my family say Hecate) which prowls the borders of the Circle. It is the ultimate protector. The Mighty Ones (the Watchtowers) are the ones who control the beast. It isn’t a fluffy little puppy who will lick your face, no it is a beast. The Watchers Hound is also called the Watcher or the Guardian in my Tradition. It is ultimately a weapon and a protector at the same time. In my Tradition the hound can only be controlled, restrained and sent into submission by the aid the Watchtowers, not even a High Priestess or High Priest can hold it down. It is for this reason that the Watchtowers are often called in our Circle to keep the beast under control. Wicca isn’t all about the Light and has many Dark elements to it. The Watchers’ Hound although a protector will has been known to attack those within the Circle. This is either because the High Priest or Priestess have neglected the Watchtowers assistance or someone has left the Circle. Once the Watchers’ Hound has been summoned in ritual no one, and I mean no one, leaves the Circle. Sometimes we see it flickering around the border line and that enough is to send you into fright. So why summon it? Because it is Traditional in our family and also because it is the ultimate protector. It guards the Circle from any intruders (physical and spiritually speaking). The Watchers’ Hound has a special connection to our Summoners. Summoners are people who protect the members within the Circle, he (because usually a male) draws the Circle as well and is also the one who calls on the Lords of the Watchtowers and therefore ultimately controls the Watchers’ Hound. This is just some of the many differences between Traditions and I thought I would share this with you. A special bowl is placed outside the Circle containing foods of delight for the hound so that it may eat. There are generally four bowls placed at the quarters but only one is necessary (the food to keep it happy :D ). In North is the food, in the West is a bowl of water, in the South is fire (for substance) and in another is specially made incense to give the hound form. The sword is the tool that keeps the creature under control. Although any High Priestess and High Priest can control the Watchers’ Hound by acquiring the assistance of the Watchtowers but it is the Summoner, however, that should do this. It is his or her responsibility.

 

 

Divination: Pendulums- A How To

A pendulum is one of the simplest and easiest forms of divination. It’s a simple matter of Yes/No questions being asked and answered. Although you can purchase pendulums commercially, ranging from about $15 – $60, it’s not hard to make one of your own. Typically, most people use a crystal or stone, but you can use any object that’s got a bit of weight to it.

Make Your Own Pendulum

If you decide to make your own pendulum, you’ll need a few basic supplies:

  • A crystal or other stone
  • Jeweler’s wire
  • A lightweight chain
  • Lightweight Chain

Take the crystal and wrap it in a length of jeweler’s wire. When you’re done wrapping it, leave a loop at the top. Attach one end of the chain to the loop. You’ll want to make sure the chain isn’t too long, because you’ll probably be using it over a table or other surface. Generally, a chain between 10 – 14″ is perfect. Also, be sure you tuck in any poky pieces of wire so you don’t jab yourself later.

Charge Your Pendulum

To charge your pendulum, place it overnight in water or salt. Remember that some crystals will degrade in salt, so be sure to check before you do this. Another option is to leave the pendulum outside overnight in the moonlight.

Calibrate Your Pendulum

To calibrate your pendulum simply means you’re checking it to see how it’s working. To do this, hold it by the free end of the chain so that the weighted end is loose. Make sure you keep it perfectly still. Ask a simple Yes/No question to which you already know the answer is Yes, such as “Am I female?” or “Do I live in California?”

Keep your eye on the pendulum, and when it starts moving, note whether it goes side to side, forwards to backwards, or some other direction. This indicates your “Yes” direction.

Now, repeat the process, asking a question to which you know the answer is No. This will give you your “No” direction. It’s a good idea to do this a few times with different questions, so you can get a feel for how your pendulum responds to you. Some will swing horizontally or vertically, others swing in small or large circles, others don’t do a whole lot unless the answer is really important. Once you’ve calibrated your pendulum and gotten to know it a bit, you can use it for some basic divination.

How to Use a Pendulum

Pendulums are made from a variety of materials including crystals, wood, glass, and metals. They are often used as tools for spiritual healing and inner growth.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 15 to 30 minutes

Here’s How:

  1. Choose A Pendulum:
    Allow a pendulum to choose you. If you like the way it looks or feels, it is meant for you.
     
  2. Cleanse Your Pendulum:
    You may cleanse it by holding it under running cold tap water, soaking it in sea salt, or setting a mental intention to free it of ‘picked up energies.’
     
  3. Understand the Directional Swings of Your Pendulum:
    Pendulums swing in vertical straight lines, horizontal straight lines, and in circular movements.
     
  4. Define the Directional Swings of Your Pendulum:
    Assign each directional swing a “response” by first asking the pendulum to show you what certain responses look like. Ask: What does a NO look like? What does a YES look like?… and so on.
    • Pendulum Response Examples:
      • vertical swing signifies NO
      • horizontal swing signifies YES
      • circular movement signifies NEUTRAL
  5. Prepare Your Questions:
    A question should be one that can be answered with a positive, negative or neutral response.
    • Good Example Question:
      Will I be offered the job I interviewed for this morning?

      Poor Example Question:
      Will my pregnant cousin deliver a boy or girl?

  6. Set Your Intention:
    It is imperative that you precede your question session with a prayerful request or statement.
    • Example Intention:
      It is my intention to receive truthful answers which will serve the good of all concerned.
  7. Ask Your Questions:
    Be prepared to ask several questions in order to receive enough information to aid you in your quest for answers.
     
  8. Between Questions:
    Make sure to completely stop any pendulum motion between questions to clear any lingering energies that pertain to the previous question.

Tips:

  1. Accept information only if your instincts assure you it is accurate.
  2. Keep a notebook handy to write down your questions and your pendulum’s response.
  3. Each pendulum may have a different response. Likewise, each person must establish their own directional swings before using a pendulum.
  4. Make sure that the pendulums have been cleared of any negative energies before and after each use.

What You Need:

  • Pendulum
  • Intentional Mind Set

Death: Let’s Talk About That

With the recent passing of Robin Williams, I thought I would take a moment to talk about Death and what that means for Wiccan’s. Everyday the world loses someone, but not many people like to talk about it, unless it’s a celebrity. Of course, we should be very respectful of the friends and family, regardless of how famous the person is. So..

What Is the Wiccan Perspective on Death?

Death . . . punishment, oblivion, or release? Or perhaps something else altogether?

To a culture which fears failure, resists natural balance of cycles, and lacks spiritual connection with the Divine, dying is a terror to be avoided at all costs.

But what does death mean to witches? What is a Wiccan perspective on life and the afterlife?

The Answers?

Unlike most religions, Wicca does not fear mortality.

While a loved one’s passage is always painful, witches don’t shrink from the natural processes of life. The Wheel turns, and sometimes things must be let go.

We also know the Wheel will turn again, and things that have been lost will be returned to us. The form may change, but nothing is ever really lost.

 

Wicca also has a different relationship than many modern religions to people who are dead.

Death is not a wall, to witches, but a veil. We may not be easily able to see and touch our beloved dead, but they are not entirely gone.

We may grieve the distance between us, but we still perceive an enduring connection with our beloved dead.

So it is natural that friendships can endure past death.

Many people, even non-Wiccans, have experienced communication with their beloved dead.

How many stories have you heard about a loved one appearing to family members, at the moment of death? So many of us have had dreams and whispered words and half-glimpses of loved ones who have died.

Some of those may be simple imagination, but not all can be so dismissed.

 

So What is a Witch’s Relationship with the Dead?

One of acceptance. Even of honouring.

Even though Wicca celebrates life on Earth, most witches are aware that mortal existence is limited and limiting.

Death is a freedom from the burdens and blindness that come with a physical body.

And it is an inevitable part of life. Without death, birth would be a disaster. Without death, new life must remain unmanifest.

In the turning of the Wheel, it is the periods of rest that empower growth.

This doesn’t mean that a witch neglects to do what she can to preserve and improve life, within reason.

But it is pointless – even harmful – from a Wiccan perspective to keep someone alive at any cost, or without an enjoyable quality of life, or against a person’s wishes.

So the things that our culture fears most about dying has no meaning in Wicca.

Do Witches Go To Heaven?

Well, “Heaven” was a Christian word for a mostly-Christian concept. Its refers to a literal, physical place up in the sky where Yahweh lives with Jesus and angels and all good Christians.

So . . . no. Thank goodness!

The Christians probably wouldn’t want us, and we certainly don’t want their idea of heaven. (Most of us are not impressed with Yahweh.)

An Expansive Heaven

But the word Heaven is shifting in meaning, as human consciousness shifts from religious dogma to spirituality.

Sometimes now Heaven refers to being in the presence of the Divine, without the illusions of separateness that flesh creates.

As a state of expanded consciousness and Oneness with the Divine, then certainly all witches go to Heaven. If not after this incarnation, after some future one.

Life After a Witch’s Death

Words confuse an issue for which we have no vocabulary.

As a culture, we lack even the understanding and concepts to talk about life in a meaningful way, let alone death.

But here’s what I’ve read, and believe to be true.

The afterlife is very different than the Christian ideas of heaven and hell, at least for many people.

For some people, it seems that there is a sort of life on another plane, where people are free of pain, and their thoughts immediately create the world they live in. They all seem very happy there.

But for most, there is a transition to another state of existence. They pass through a “barrier” that’s described like a cloud, or a filmy veil, or a field of light. They are cleansed of the pain and suffering from their time on Earth, and then they rejoin their soul-friends to discuss their lives and how far they came on their journey.

Sometimes we feel a sense of peace when someone passes, like they’ve opened a window to the other side and the sweet breeze blows through… and for just a moment we feel it along with them.

I think we can trust that feeling… I think it’s far more TRUE than all the mumbo-jumbo that many religions put out.

Is There Life After Death?

This is a question that can be answered only once we figure out what we mean by life.

Is life consciousness? Is it the physical processes of body and brain? Is it the “me” we think of as ourselves?

Like everything else in Wicca, it’s impossible to state The Wiccan Viewpoint. Every witch has her own.

But commonly, witches believe that there is more to existence than the physical plane we now inhabit. And that when we die, we are opened up to expanded levels of existence.

Do Witches Reincarnate?

One possibility for life after death is reincarnation.

Many witches accept at least the possibility of reincarnation – that is, that the spark which is “me” comes back to life in another body, possibly throughout eternity.

What this really means, though, is unknowable. How can I be “me” if I’m somebody else? What is the “me” that comes back? These are questions that can’t fully be answered.

The Mystery of Life after Death

 

The mystery of death is certainly not going to be solved by any one article, or even any one religion.

Wicca Spirituality has a certain philosophy, which inspires Wiccans to have certain perspectives on death. But we don’t claim to have all the answers, and not every witch would agree with any one viewpoint.

It’s probably safe to say that all witches believe that consciousness continues after death, and that no one really knows how or in what form.

As witches, we’re comfortable with this kind of ambiguity.

We can’t know all the answers of life. And we don’t need to.

We only need to find what is true for ourselves. And then live it.

When you’re really living, you don’t worry so much about death anyway.

Setting up your Altar

An Altar is an important aspect of the Wiccan religion for many witches. A value that goes way beyond having someplace to put all your witchy stuff! An altar can be as elaborate as a custom carved church style massive affair with ornate ritual tools placed in specifically measured positions. An altar can be a stump of wood in a forest, a TV tray in your living room, or anything in between. Any altar is a symbolic manifestation of your innermost self. It is an expression of your heart’s longing and your soul’s potential. It is also a focal point for your devotion. A spiritual practice arena for devotion to the Divine. 

 

Temples Within And Without

We each have a Temple in our inner hearts. And any spiritual process is about entering and worshiping there. It’s not easy to access something so abstract. So, like your symbols and tools and Gods and Goddesses, you create something that comes through the gate of your senses. Something you can see and smell and touch. Even hear and taste, if possible. The more senses you engage, and the more you balance your sense perceptions, the more you can access the spiritual levels that you seek. In this context, altars are not some esoteric mystery, but the most natural expression of what has value to you.

One of the first considerations for your altar space is likely whether it can be displayed openly, If you feel that your practices would bring unwanted scrutiny on you, you might decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and find a small cabinet you can hide your altar tools and ritual supplies in, and close.

Other possibilities for an altar can be just a regular table with an altar cloth, a nightstand, a bookshelf, a tree stump, or just about any other surface you desire. It can be as large or as small as you are comfortable with, that will hold your Wicca supplies, and where you can work with them appropriately.

Once you have chosen your altar, then you can decide which ritual tools you wish to place on it. Of course, you CAN choose the ritual tools first, THEN find an altar that will fit them all, but in either case, you can modify the advice to suit your particular situation. See, that’s the fun part about being Eclectic….very few instances result in the accusation that you “aren’t doing it right.”

First comes the altar cloth. I always choose a cloth that is pretty, functional, AND not too difficult to get wax off of. You know you’re going to be dripping wax from time to time. It’s inevitable. That’s why I personally don’t buy very expensive altar cloths, since I know I am a clumsy witch. The altar cloth is generally used to protect the altar, and is not “necessary” but can be meaningful (depending on its symbolism) or merely functional.

One of the things I always put on my altar is a statue of the Matron Goddess I am working with at the time, and, depending on the ritual I am about to perform, I may include my patron God. Well, what if you don’t HAVE a Matron or a Patron yet? That’s perfectly fine. You may always choose to exclude a statue, or to instead include a generic statue of the Spiral Goddess and/or the Spiral God. I place my statues in the top center of the altar, just because I like them there.

Next comes the candles. My personal taste is three candles, one white, one red, and one black signifying the Goddess in her maiden, mother and crone phases respectively. These I put in the top center right in front of the statues, making sure they are far enough away from the statues not to drip wax on them or to set them on fire. There’s nothing more annoying during ritual than having things catch fire when you do not intend them to :-)

My cast iron cauldron with a chunk of charcoal in it goes in the center of the right hand side of my altar. I prefer cast iron cauldrons and charcoal to stick or cone incense, but your milage may vary and you can use what suits you best, of course. You can also place it anywhere you like, as I am merely using my set up as an example. I still use incense a lot in my rituals and in my everyday use in the house.

So we have our Fire (candles) and our Air (incense). Where’s our Earth? For Earth, I use an offering bowl . And in said offering bowl, I place some sea salt . So why would sea salt signify Earth instead of Water? Well, to me it’s a little of both. Salt comes from the earth and mixes with the water of the sea. You can, of course, put dirt in there, or anything else that signifies Earth to you. I put the Earth to the center left side of my altar.

And then, the either totally elaborate, utterly plain, or maybe even paper cup chalice . Anything that can hold water can be your chalice if it has that meaning for you. As we have said, the chalice holds the element of Water that you can use for your ritual. Whether you add salt to it to purify it or not is up to the type of ritual you are doing and your personal preference. I put the chalice in the center center part of the altar, in front of the candles and the statues.

That just leaves the athame and/or the wand. I like to use both, the athame to cast the circle, “cutting” out a sacred space beyond time, and the wand to direct power. I generally carry my athame on my degree cord around my waist, OR in the center of the altar to the front, in front of the chalice. I put the wand next to it.

So, that, in a nutshell, is altar set up. If you feel that your correspondences (i.e. must put Earth in the East, etc.) do not agree depending on the position of your altar, that’s all right. The important thing is that you understand WHY you are placing things where you are placing them, not that you copy someone else exactly. If it doesn’t have specific meaning to you, the ritual itself will not be as meaningful or powerful.

Feel free to comment or ask questions, here on the Contact Page, on Facebook, or at EverydayWiccanWays@gmail.com

By clnow3088

Drawing Energy from Mother Earth

In Wicca, energy and nature are one.  We know that Divine energy naturally flows through everything.  It connects us to each other and to the very world we live in. This energy can be manipulated and directed by our thoughts and activities, so it’s important to learn exactly what increases or drains it.  In this article we’ll explore how our Mother Earth can help us draw on this energy.

Many of us feel renewed after contact with our Mother Earth or one of her four elements.  Who hasn’t been refreshed by the feel of soft grass or cool earth beneath their feet, the fresh outdoor air, the warmth of the sun on their face or the relaxing sound of running water?  You don’t even need to be outside to draw on these energies.  Filling a room with plants, a water fountain, pictures or artwork of Nature and other gifts from your Mother Earth can also lift your spirit and raise your energy.  Your mind simply needs to visualize or sense the Earth and it will naturally begin to draw energy from the connection you have to her.

Mother Earth can also strengthen your energy by improving your overall psysical health.  In addition to fresh air, sunshine and pure water, you should allow your Mother Earth to bless your kitchen with an assortment of fresh, unprocessed foods.  Her bountiful gifts of living foods can help improve your health and increase your lifespan.  Spiritual leaders from many different paths also believe that these foods can actually enhance our ability to communicate with the Divine.

Sharing Your Energy and Gifts With Others
Once we learn how to raise or maintain our own energy, most of us feel the need to reach out and help others in any way we can.  One reader recently asked “Can I bring this gift to people who do not ask for it? Another wrote, “I now worry for my family who are non-wiccans. What can I do to protect them?”  I believe it pleases the Divine when we extend this positive energy to others.  Of course we should get the persons permission if we want to do serious energy work on them.  But as for sharing a smile, hug, kind words or some bit of knowledge you have about natural remedies, these are all perfectly acceptable ways to lift up and help strengthen a person’s spirit.  Best of all, when you give this positive energy away, it tends to multiply and return to you 3-fold!

What is YOUR favorite way to share positive energy with others?

Witchy Crafts: The Witches Ladder

Since olden times, feathers have been collected for magickal uses. One of the most famous charms using feathers is the Witches Ladder. To make a Witches Ladder, three different coloured yarns are braided together, the colours depending on the purpose of the spell. Nine feathers are worked into the braid.  Feather colours will depend on the type of magick you are working.

 The magickal qualities of feathers are determined by their colour, and sometimes by the birds from which they fell. Listed below is feather lore from European folk magick sources. You’ll find it differs slightly from that of colour symbolism in general.

 Found feathers are best. Walk in the wild, keeping your eyes open for these treasures.

 FEATHER  COLOUR &  MEANING

 WHITE –    White feathers symbolize purification, spirituality, hope, protection, peace, and blessings of the Moon.

  RED – Red feathers symbolize physical vitality, courage, good fortune, and life.

  BLUE –  Blue feathers symbolize  mental abilities, peace, protection. And psychic awareness.

 YELLOW –  Yellow feathers bring cheerfulness, mental alertness, prosperity, and blessings from the Sun.

  GREEN –  Green feathers symbolize money, prosperity, growth, health, and fertility. Green and red mixed feathers affect financial matters.

  ORANGE –  Orange feathers bring attraction, energy, and success.

  PINK – Pink feathers attract love.

  GRAY –  Gray feathers symbolize peace and neutrality.

  BROWN –  Brown feathers give stability and respect. They also symbolize the home and grounding.

  •  Brown feathers striped in black, like the tail feathers of a pheasant, give a balance between the physical and spiritual life.
  •  Brown feathers banded or mixed with white bring happiness and give the kind of protection that enables one to go unnoticed amidst those who would harm them.
  •  Brown and red mixed feathers bring healing to animals.

  BLACK –  Black feathers give the mystical wisdom that comes with true spiritual initiation. 

  • Black, iridescent feathers give mystical insight. Black and white mixed feathers give union and protection.
  • Black (or gray) feathers banded or mixed with white give hope, balance and harmony.
  • Black mixed with purple means deep spirituality.
  • Black, white, and blue mixed feathers brings change.

 PEACOCK FEATHERS – The “eye” on the end of the peacock tail feather protect against the “evil eye” and stimulates inner clairvoyant vision.

 ROOSTER FEATHERS – The rooster’s two prominent tail feathers (called sickles) are symbols of the God and Goddess.

  • The black ones are sacred to the God because of their resemblance to the curved horns of the Horned God. They are also a symbol of male virility.
  • The white ones are sacred to the Goddess because they resemble the tool (the sickle) with which grain (sacred to her) is reaped. They also resemble the waxing and waning Moon.

 

MAKING THE WITCHES LADDER

 Items needed:

     3 cords of equal length, each 3 feet long (Traditionally, these cords are red, black, and white for the three aspects for the Goddess, however you may substitute any color for its magickal correspondence.)

  •     9 feathers
  •     Ring on which to tie cords to anchor them while braiding (Optional)

 

Assemble materials. Cast circle or create sacred space. Light a candle in a colour corresponding to your magickal working. (Blue for peace, etc.) Burn incense which corresponds to your purpose. Have a small bowl of salt and a small bowl of water at your work space.

 If using a ring, tie one end of each of the three cords side by side to the ring. (You could even use a belt buckle or hanger). Anchor this ring to a doorknob, handle, or chair back. If not using a ring, tie one end of the cords together loosely. Begin to braid, saying this or a similar rhyme:

 

    Yarn of red, black, and white

    Work your magick spell this night.

 

As you braid, work all nine feathers (all one colour or a combination of colours, depending on your magickal intent) into the ladder, one at a time, as evenly spaced as possible. As you insert the feathers, begin this or a similar chant:

 

    With this feather and this string,

    Protection (or peace, etc) this charm will bring.

 

When all nine feathers have been tied onto the cord, and the length is braided, tie the ends of the cords together to make a circle (after removing the braid from the ring). Consecrate the ladder by passing it through the incense smoke and candle flame, asperge it with salt and water, saying:

 

    In the names of the Goddesses

    And the God

    By Air, Earth, Fire, and Water

    I consecrate this charm

    Of feathers nine and cord of three

    As I will, so mote it be!

 

Hang the witch’s ladder high in your house where it will not be seen by others, but where you can see it everyday.

19th Century witch's ladder found in Wellington, Somerset, England (now in Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford)

 

By clnow3088

Cleansing Tarot Cards

This is for Sara Bittick, who requested information. Keeping your cards clean is mostly a matter of common sense. They are made of paper, so if they get sticky or dirty, wipe them with a very slightly damp cloth and then wipe them dry immediately. But when people ask about “cleansing the cards” they are not usually asking about a bit of jam or pizza sauce that dripped on their Ace of Pentacles. What they really want to know about is how to energetically cleanse the cards.

When to Cleanse

As with so many things tarot-related, there are no absolutes. Here are some points when some readers feel the need to cleanse or clear their cards:

1. after a very challenging reading

2. after many readings in a row

3. before using a new deck

4. after the cards have lain dormant for a while

5. after a milestone, life change, or shift in spiritual belief

6. at certain times of the year, such as holidays, birthdays, or full moons

7. before using a second-hand deck

8. when feeling disconnected from the cards (this may be more of a case of the reader grounding his or herself rather than cleansing the cards)

9. if someone has touched your deck without your permission

How to Cleanse

As with the timing, there are a variety of ways that readers cleanse or clear their decks. As long as the method makes sense to and has meaning for you, then that method is perfectly valid. A clearing ritual can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I usually do a quick clearing technique (simply going through the deck one card at a time, touching each card, looking at it, making sure it is upright) when I’m working. For holidays or for welcoming a new deck, I usually do a more elaborate clearing and blessing ritual, to clear the cards, to imbue them with energy, and bond with them.

1. store your deck with a rose or clear quartz (or any other crystal that has meaning for you…for example, I like to use a Tiger’s Eye)

2. run your deck through the smoke of burning sage or other incense

3. lightly sprinkle your deck with sea salt dissolved in water (I have never done this, but have sprinkled dry sea salt on my cards in a blessing ritual; I just don’t want to risk putting water on my cards)

4. put all the cards upright and in order (Major Arcanas, 0 – 21; Wands, Ace – King, etc.)

5. shuffle the deck seven times (or whatever number has meaning for you)

6. set on the inside of a windowsill overnight during a full moon (I make sure it is a full moon that is in a sign that resonates energetically for me)

7. light a white candle (or purple, or whatever color represents the energy you want to bring to your cards), sit in front of the candle holding your cards. Pray, meditate, or visualize your cards becoming clear and/or cleansed.

By clnow3088