There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
–Carl Sagan

Solstice = Standing-Still-Sun

Dec. 21st, we enter the belly of the night.

Winter Solstice: We come to the portal that separates darkness from light. Standing in this arch of time where Earth takes a breath before facing us back towards the sun, we too, take a breath, turn inward, pause in this pregnant moment and let darkness reveal its gifts:

Winter Solstice: A time to look back at the year gone by, gather its lessons and put them in the stew of your life. Time to let the heat of your presence cook the stew. Render the lessons into the sweet nectar of wisdom. Then drink of it. One-small-sip-at-a-time.

Winter Solstice: A time to let the longest night of the year seduce you into stillness. Time to silence inner voices, listen to the beating of your own heart. Time to breathe slowly, become the breath. Linger here. The night is long.

Winter Solstice: Time to savor the sweetness of the dark. Nothing to fear. It’s only you. And millions of years of Earth’s turning; away and then back, away and then back towards the light. It’s all you. The dark, the light, the fire, the night: it’s all you. You’re all it. Sweet oneness, savored in the dark.

Winter Solstice: A sacred link, where Earth’s veil thins, the unseen, seen. Images of ancestors and ancient roots threading back beyond time. Back to first humans, their fires still burning to call back the light. We are the ones who hold them sacred. We honor their struggles, their triumphs. We’re here due to them. They gave us our blood.

Winter Solstice: A time to reflect on your life in this moment. Like never before, or ever again, reflect on this sweet, fragile moment.

Winter Solstice: A time to let go of what burdens. Empty out stones sitting heavy in the heart. Let bygones be bygones. Acknowledge. Forgive. Begin again.

Winter Solstice: A fertile time, a time to ready the womb; a time for pregnant possibility. A time to sow seeds of imagination, to germinate in the darkness. A time to tend the inner hearth; be warmed by the coals of creativity.

Winter Solstice: The union of opposites. Fullness: emptying. Emptiness: filling.
The shortest day meets the longest night. Celebrate the dark. Greet the light. We’ve journeyed long; we’ve journeyed far. In summer, we rejoiced in the sun, now absent. In winter, we settle into the night, now present. We draw inward, tuck in our wings to keep warm. All flights are canceled.

Winter Solstice: A time to check inner weather and road conditions. Are you cold? Are you hot? Are you merely lukewarm? Is it stormy? Is it balmy? Are there blue skies inside? Does the road rise to meet you? Are you on shaky ground? Is it smooth? Is it rocky? Can you see where you are?

Winter Solstice: Can you be with it all, just as it is? No fighting, no trying, no pushing the river. It flows by itself, so you watch it. You notice. You see twigs and branches submerged in the stream of your life. Without effort, the water flows over, under and around it all. Nothing can stop it; it goes on forever. Like you do. Like I do. Like we do.

May you go on forever, like this most pregnant night of the year.

A brief ritual to include in your observance of Winter Solstice:

1) Set aside at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, but whatever works for you is fine.
2) Include friends, family members, or celebrate alone if you prefer. It all works.
3) Settle in, light some candles. Build a fire, if you have a fireplace.
4) Spend time with your eyes closed, breathing slowly, watching the breath.
5) Let your awareness settle down in your belly. Sense it, feel it fill and empty. See your
life coming and going on each inhale and exhale. Feel the strength and fragility of each
breath.
6) You might want to include this magnificent video with images from the Hubble space
telescope. It will connect you with the grandeur of the universe in which we live.
Towards the end of the video, notice the tree-like images from deep in space. As
astrology tell us, “As above, so below.” Here’s proof.
7) Reflect on your connection with the universe and your place in it. Who are you in the
grandest scheme of things?
8 ) Remain in silence for a few minutes after you’ve finished. Savor the moment.

The Blessing of the newborn Sun God: “Out of Darkness Light is Re-born. Carry the hope of this moment like a torch in your heart through the coming year. Let it sustain you in your times of darkness, 
and be a symbol of blessing in your times of joy. Let Peace be with you.

source

With just my heart and my mind
I can be driving, driving home
With you asleep on the seat…
Go to sleep, little Earth!
–Kate Bush

Mabon — The Autumnal Equinox

September 24, 2010

Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox, is always a Sabbat that is special to me. It’s the first Sabbat I ever celebrated, so it’s like an “anniversary” to me. Every Mabon marks one complete turn of the Wheel of the Year since I began my journey in the Craft. This year marked my third Mabon. It feels like no time at all has passed, and I’m still learning all the time and deciding what I think, feel, believe, and want to do — but I’ve grown so much since that first Sabbat. It feels simultaneously as if a thousand years and none at all have passed.

This year I celebrated with my sister and my friend S, both of whom are my “students”. Together we are our own little makeshift coven — and it’s nice to have such a thing. We had a bonfire in S’s firepit, a lovely meal, mulled cider, and we made holy water because of the Full Moon. It was really nice to have a Sabbat and an Esbat coincide like that! Our ritual focused on balance and thankfulness. I think we all needed the time out we took for it.

I think everyone’s favourite part was the toast — I wrote the ritual, and I wrote three toasts in. One to the Earth and its seasons, one to the Goddess, and one to the God. Everyone cheered when I raised the mug of hot, spicy cider and near-yelled, “To the Goddess!” before continuing with the rest of the toast. I think we’ll definitely keep that in the rest of our Sabbats together, maybe with a little re-writing depending on the season.

I need to hold on to the way I feel following Mabon. I’ve been letting school & life really get the better of me lately. It’s time to take a step back and practice some of that good old-fashioned letting go of attachments.

Catechism For A Witch’s Child
by J L Stanley

When they ask to see your gods,
your book of prayers,
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing.
Tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open,
spilling streams of molten ice to earth,
and tell them how you drank
the holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your Mother
who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being.

Blessed Lughnassadh

August 2, 2010

I’m alone for tonight, but will be celebrating later in the week with friends. We are focusing on what we have seen come to fruition already, and I will be blessing the starting school year.

Some notes…

June 8, 2010

… On why spells don’t always work.These are just generalizations and may not apply to your situation but they can be good for you to examine, just in case.

1) What you are asking for may not be a good idea and the powers that be are blocking it. Remember, be careful of what you wish for…

2) You may not be asking or framing the working in the right way. When I was having trouble with my job search, I was doing spell after spell for a new job, success, whatever. At one point, I got so fustrated and my friend advised I step back and reevaluate my approach. I did and reworked my ritual from an alternate presepective, outlining the type of job I wanted and a spell to smooth my overall path to what I wanted, and it worked.

3) Are you stressed? Often, being upset and frustrated with your workings not working, trying too hard and being too stressed IRL can create tension that prevents your workings from getting through.

4) How much time has passed? Sometimes it can take a long time for causality to get around to bringing your final desired out come.

5) Are you applying real world solutions towards what you want to happen? I recall once upon a time somebody asking me for a spell to bring her more money, without specifiying a possible source or any plan to obtain this windfall. Just a spell for more money, as though it would just fall from the sky. I told her that the Gods help those who help themselves, so do this spell then look for part time work. Unless you are prepared to take a few IRL steps, just spell work isn’t always enough to make something happen (there are exceptions of course, depending on what the manifestation is).

Six of Pentacles

May 21, 2010

The Six of Pentacles was the card I pulled today. In the Goddess Tarot, the pentacles are the “Path of Lakshmi” and all the cards feature her. The pentacle itself features a lotus on the golden coin rather than a pentacle star.

The Six of Pentacles is a card of having/not having, of the experience of and duality of those things. For me, this is evident in my worry about will I or won’t I get into nursing school. I keep thinking about this and sort of… freaking out, a little. Even though I can make it if I don’t, and try again, I am too proud. I have experienced much having in my life but not as much… not having. It’s something to think about. Do I appreciate what I have? Or am I only worried about what I lack?

New Tarot Deck

May 19, 2010

After a long time of wanting it, I finally bought the Goddess Tarot Deck. It’s a lovely deck that depicts a different goddess figure for each of the major arcana, and then follows the traditional suits for the minor arcana. A friend of mine has this deck and I’ve read from hers a few times — it’s lovely, and I am so happy to finally have my own.

I haven’t done any daily draws with it yet as I only bought it yesterday and I need to cleanse it. So into the window it goes! A few days and nights of sun and moonlight should fix it right up. Then I will start pulling my daily draws from it so I can familiarize myself with the cards. Very excited!

p.s. lessons are going well. yesterday’s was taking care of yourself & affirmations, as well as the making of bath salts and some ritual oils. very productive.

Eight of Wands (R) – You tend to get carried away with new ideas. Try not to loose sight of your perspective or your self-confidence now. Take any sudden infatuations or new ideas in stride and control your emotions. Your own apprehension can create insecure feelings and cause you to procrastinate. Act swiftly and communicate directly. Jealousy arises from uncertainty and confusion – in both your own feelings and the feelings of others. Quarreling solves nothing and any force or pressure could ruin all your plans. When things are not “working for you” – take the time to reevaluate your situation. Know and trust that a slight adjustment can and will change everything.

Here are the problems of extremes – a major temptation is to move too fast. To try is like letting a rubberband be drawn tighter as the lead end move on – eventually the tail end must be let loose and will spring forward to join the lead end in one great snap to make up for the lost time. The backlash can hurt.

Questions to Answer: What are you rushing into? A relationship? A new direction for growth? A belief or philosophy? What are you being “carried away” by or overwhelmed with? What do you feel the urge to move on quickly? What do you need to tell others about?

Getting carried away with new ideas? Story of my life. I was just lamenting recently with a good friend that I have all these things I always want to do. Sometimes I get partway through something before I just don’t finish — I often feel like things just don’t hold my attention, or that I for some reason am simply no longer interested in them. Part of that may be Attention Deficit, which I have & regularly do not take medications for, but I hesitate to say that that’s the only reason. I do need to learn to properly invest myself in things I do.

From my handout for this coming week’s lesson on house and object cleansing and blessing, a word or two about how to inscribe a protective Pentagram in the Air for protection against malevolent energy…:

1. Stand with feet apart shoulder’s distance.
2. Fold pinky and ring finger of right hand down, with thumb covering them. Point with middle and index finger together.
3. Point fingers outward to inscribe Pentagram with arm outstretched whole time. Starting position in front of left hip
4. Bring pointing hand up so it’s level with your forehead
5. Down to right hip
6. Left shoulder
7. Right shoulder
8. Left hip

This week’s handout includes a lot of spells, charms, and directions as far as how to cleanse your home, what to use, and various methods are concerned. I’m using this week to talk also about hearth deities and the magickal/ritual practice of keeping a healthy, clean, and tranquil home.

For our lesson this week, we’re going to be covering witch bottles/bottle spells. Because I am teaching my sister — and my friend, S, too — basic and very self-oriented magicks, like protections and so on, my plan for this lesson is to create a protection witch bottle. Usually a “witch bottle” means a protective spell, while a “bottle spell” refers to any other kind of spell made using a bottle.

Historically witch bottles have been used in Europe to protect from witches, the evil eye, or those with foul intent. Witch bottles have been found that date back to the 1600s. “Some of the ancient witch bottles found sealed by archaeologists in England have been opened and all of them that still contained liquids tested positive for the presence of urine,” writes Cat Yronwode. In Latin America, they have been used as luck charms or amulets as well.

Bottle spells come in all kinds of sizes and shapes — for our lesson, we’re going to be using mason jars — and are in use by many kinds of people. For example, there is a shop here in my city that sells tiny lucky patron saint bottle charms from Latin America. They can be filled with a variety of things, depending on the person’s intent for the spell.

For our purpose, we’re going to use pins, needles, or whatever other sharp objects we can come up with, protective herbs, a piece of hair, and urine. Things like urine, blood, and semen are common ingredients in folk magic things. Urine is used by animals to mark their territory. I think also that part of the reason for using bodily fluids is that these materials are unique to each individual, and are therefore the best ingredient to use. Urine often appears in spells to break jinxes or in love spells to tie someone to only one other person.

Now that that’s out of the way — we’ll talk about how we’re going to make them. To start with, I’m going to have nails, pins, and some protective herbs on hand for the lesson.

Herbs we will use:

  • sage – protective from all things
  • hyssop – cleansing and protective
  • red pepper – to keep the evil away
  • salt – purification and protection
  • rosemary – to protect the individual
  • camphor – to protect from disease

We’re going to put the sharp objects in first, focusing on their use for trapping up evil and keeping evil away. The protective herbs will be added while discussing their qualities, and the hair and urine while focusing on the self and making it clear who is being protected. When we’re finished, the bottles will be buried on the property where we live. In my sister’s case, she lives in an apartment building, however there are little strips of dirt along the parking lot — we will bury it in the one closest to her apartment.

source: Cat Yronwode’s Hoodoo in Theory & Practice.