Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Why is the great rite, I asked myself, the chalice and the blade and not the cauldron and the wand? For truly the ecstasy of sex is alike to the fervent stirring of a wand in a cauldron and not at all like the stabbing of a knife into a cup. And now, years later, I collect an answer.

For like the maiden bleeds afore she can create life, so must ritual sacrifice let blood to make its will manifest.

The menstrual current underlies magic and this is why the price is blood. Because the woman must bleed before she can conceive.


For Eve the cost was blood.
For Cain the cost was blood.
Sarah gave her pagan idols blood.
Delilah gave Dagon blood.

And to this day, the witch knows the prices is blood. The original meaning of sacrifice is blood intrinsic to the menstrual current.

By Sara Star

Read Full Post »

Invocation to the Holy-Stone

I have found
A holy-stone upon the ground.
O Fate! I thank thee for the happy find,
Also the spirit who upon this road
Hath given it to me;
And may it prove to be for my true good
And my good fortune

hagstones by Sara Star

When you see a holey stone or hag stone on the ground you should say something in gratitude to the spirits that left it there for you. The above is just an example from the Gospel of Aradia.

Now once you have one, what do you do with it? You can’t really hold it in front of your eyes all the time to look for the fae.*

Making a hagstone cord is a useful project. You can make it with one hag stone and multiple knots, or multiple hag stones and multiple knots. The number varies between spells. I say chose a number with meaning to you. Chumbly’s consecration has 7 knots in a black leather cord, Bramshaw’s has nine knots and up to nine hagstones on a red string.

Either way, the point is to concentrate on a different otherworld setting for each knot, including at least one at a witches sabbat. Visualization is important on this one. Each knot is a place you want to go to. Once you have tied the knots you will string the hagstone(s) on and tie it off as a bracelet.

As you string the knots through the hagstones picture you are running each destination through the gate to the otherworld, fey land, underworld, astral, and so on.

You will hold the bracelet with at least one of the stones in your off hand (non dominant hand) as you sleep. Your dreams shall be significant astral or otherworldly dreams rather than regular dreams. You will travel to one of your chosen destinations.

If you don’t remember what happened in the astral dreams, but remember you had them. Then some part of you does remember and it will still impact your knowledge and practice.

If the you find it isn’t working and you aren’t going anywhere. Meditate with your stone specifically on one of the chosen dreams and journey there in meditation. There is plenty to be done that way as well.

I have found this tool to be very powerful and my dreams have changed when I wear my hagstone cord. I know where I have gone each night, but unfortunately I cannot remember much of what happened when I wake up. But I feel different somehow and I stopped having nightmares.

*Spiderwick Chronicles art by Tony DiTerlizzi

Black, Holly. Spiderwick Chronicles. 2004 http://www.amazon.com/The-Spiderwick-Chronicles-Boxed-Set/dp/0689040342/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335197860&sr=8-1

Bramshaw, Vicki. Craft of the Wise. 2009 http://www.o-books.com/book/detail/616/Craft-of-the-Wise

Chumbly, Andrew. “What is Traditional Craft?” http://www.xoanon.co.uk/xoanontraditionalcraft.php

Leland, Charles. Aradia, Gospel of the Witches http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara06.htm

Traditionalwitchcraft.com wiki “Hagstone.” http://www.traditionalwitchcraft.com/Hagstone

Read Full Post »

The Alruan is a type of plant familiar. In this case a dried root that is kept, fed and cared for to work with the witch on various jobs to bless the home.

Mandrake

Mandrake root in coffin by Sara Star

An alruan is made form a root that looks like a man, woman or child either grown that way or carved to such a shape, dried, and kept in a box-coffin or on a plaque. Alruans were traditionally made form the rare and poisionous mandrake or more often from a briony root. But at its root (see what I did there) the Alruan can be chosen from any witches plant best if it has forked in the ground to form legs and/or arms. My first one was carved from a parsnip and my friend just gifted me one from blackberry roots.

Digging up rituals are all masked with rumors of danger to protect the trade secrets of the Alruan peddlars. Despite what you may have read, you needent have a dog pull it up for you to avoid its deadly scream, ear muffs will do ;)

Mandrake Lego

A witch and her mandrake alruan

Loosen the soil around you Alruan with your working knife in a circle three times or until the soil is nice and loose.  Then very carefully pull up your root as to not break it much.  Any broken off parts can be reburied and maybe given some root hormone so they will start new plants. (Depending on the root it could start a new plant right away or take as long as a year to put out new sprouts, as long as the root is still clearly alive, firm and moist in the dirt, it could still sprout.

If you do plan to carve yours, please practice on a plentiful tuber like carrot or parsnip before taking your knife to a rare root like mandrake. If you are going to carve your root do so very carefully as to not kill the plant or damage its foilage. You should then rebury your root so it will form a skin over where you carved and look more natural.  You might bury your Alruan at an especially potent spot like a crossroads or a graveyard. Traditionally the Alruan will be the opposite gender as you. Female Alruans usually have not forked at the legs and male ones have.

To dry your root in hot dry weather, a covered box with some air circulation works fine.  You should turn your Alruan over daily to prevent it molding or worse rotting! In wet or cold weather dry your Alruan in the oven at 200-250*f with aromatic herbs such as lemon verbana.  Your root will lose half its mass when drying so choose a big one!

There are a variety of ways of keeping an Alruan. Some live on the hearth, others are made beds, and still others have mini coffins. I encourage you to look at the Alruans and Mandrakes at theonline Bocastle Musem of Witchcraft.

Mandrake Bocastle

A Mandrake Alruan in his coffin from Bocastle Musuem of Witchcraft, Richel Collection

Make your Alruan’s life nice and he will repay you in kind or so the lore says. Alruans like to be bathed, clothed, bedded, fed and given gifts. Give him gold coins for money magic and he will bring wealth into your life, bathe him in wine for love, feed him milk for fertility and dress him in white silk for happiness.

Read Full Post »

A photo of a magical place outdoors:

Our outdoor ritual space by Magical Musings

My coven has a few outdoor areas we work in, but the most magical is when whatever space we are in seems to lift out of place and time and we are surrounded by mist or darkness and all that is there is the magic.

Read Full Post »

Keeper and Companion

Keeper and Companion painting by Sara Star in sepia tone

A favourite Goddess.

One of my favorite Goddesses is Brigit. I paint her aspect as a Saint quite a lot. And I hope to paint her more in pagan art.

Brigit is so many things, a hearth goddess, a well and spring water goddess, a muse, a healer a forger. I find she is all things relating to creation the spark of inspiration the making and the repairing/treating of the created.

As an artist I find her especially helpful and I think of her often and am devoted to her.

There are so many traditions associated with Brigit. From the Brigit’s mantle that you set out to collect due on Imbolc Eve, to the Brigit’s dolly and bed, to flame cells, to well dressings.

Brigit is my ama chara, my heart kindred friend. I love her and want to be alike to her.

Read Full Post »

Sara water 1 by aprilskiver
Sara water 1, a photo by aprilskiver on Flickr.

Picture of nature (water element)

Read Full Post »

A myth or story from folklore.

Here is my own retelling–mostly from memory so it could be quite off in time line and such–of the Morrigu’s role in the death of Cuchulain.  I connected events with characters I thought might be related as in a organization together to give some unity:

The Morrigu

The Morrigu Triptych, Banshee Maiden, Warrior Queen, & Milking Crone by Sara Star

The Morrigu queens wanted to ally themselves with the winning side in the upcoming battle between Queen Madb’s army and the Men of Ulster.

They had a few things to take into consideration.  In the past, their war queen, Emain Macha had cursed the men of Ulster.  The Ulster men had grown into her disfavor twice.  Firstly when she was in hiding in Ulster and living with an Ulster Farmer, and pregnant with twins, she admonished him to tell no one of her.  However, at the King’s horse races he bragged that his wife Macha could run faster than any horse.  Macha begged the men of Ulster to excuse her from the bet because she was heavily pregnant.  But they would not back down, and she was forced to prove her husband’s claim.  Macha won the race and miscarried her twins at the finish line.  Then she cursed the men of Ulster to be weak with the pains of child labor when most needed by their country.

Yet, the Morrigu wanted to give Ulster another chance, perhaps she considered handing them this out because she had wished it for herself that day long ago when she was heavy with twins.  Perhaps despite the men’s treatment of her, she loved the land of Ulster and wanted it to be protected.  For whatever mysterious reason, Macha offered Ulster another chance.

The foster son of Fergus, the  exiled king of Ulster, Cuchulain was free of the curse because he was of divine birth, his father being Lugh.  The Warrior Queens of Morrigu intercepted Cuchulain and offered him victory if he would couple with her.  Cuchulain had already recently lost a battle at the border of Ulster because he was off in a tryst so he angrily denied the robed woman without paying attention to her.

He should have noticed she was a goddess, for she had the red eyebrows and her horse was white with red ears, both obvious signs of the otherworlds.  But Cuchulian was too distracted.  He looked away from her in disgust at her sexual offer and when he looked back, the woman, the chariot and the horse were gone, and he saw a large hoody crow.  He immediately knew his mistake!  It was one of the Morrigu, how could he have missed the signs!  It was too late, he had sealed his death warrent by spurning her.

The youngest fair maiden of the Morrigu waited by a river where Cuchulain would have to ford and she sang his death dirge and washed a spectral bloody shirt on a rock that was clearly Cuchulain’s shirt.  This Banshee was foreboding a second time the failure of Cuchulain and therefore (as Ulster’s only abled bodied man) the loss of the ensuing war to Connacht.

The Morrigu was on the warpath!  She would get revenge on all of Ulster, and on Cuchullain!  She sent three of her witches to intercept him. Cuchulain had a major geis or weakness, he could not eat dog, his totemic animal.  And his code of honor was to always accept food and drink offered to him as a guest.  The Morrigu whispered these secret weaknesses to her witches, and they cooked up a stew of dog.  They waited near the river where Cuchulain crossed and invited him to eat with them.  He received the dog stew and ate it.  It burned his mouth and disabled the s

The Morrigu in her three forms turned each into an animal that would attack and wound Cuchulain.  The watery banshee Morrigan turned into an eel and tried to strangle Cuchulian.  The sovereign Cuchulain turned into a white heifer and came out him and tried to gore him with her horns.  The wild wood Morrigan came at him as a she-wolf and bit at him.  Each time Cuchulian injured her, she was crippled and half blind when they were done.  But he too was weakened.  She would get her revenge yet!  But first she had to be healed.

The Morrigu went together, one is the form of a Heifer, and the other as an old crone woman.  They waited near the battlefield where the Connacht men were preparing for battle.  The third Morrgan when to dance upon the tops of the Connacht men’s swords and call a storm in to aid them in battle.  The old woman Morrigan milked the Heifer Morrigan as Cuchulain passed.  He was hurt and thirsty and she offered him some milk.  Out of gratefulness, Cuchulain offered her healing for each cup of milk she gave him.  The old crone was able to walk, see and was healed after sharing the milk with Cuchulain.

Ultimately, Cuchulain died fighting the men of Connacht and the Morrigu queen came down in her crow form and ate his intestines out of his belly in triumph.  In this way the Morrigu’s wrongs were righted upon the men of Ulster.

Read Full Post »

What’s your witchy background?

Little Witch

It all started on Halloween 1983

It began when I was very young, just  a girl and I was interested in witches and sympathetic to them and their familiars in stories–even when they were cast as the bad guys.  My mom encouraged my interest and taught me wishcraft and protection energy work.   She and my father were non-members of a new age eastern christian fusion church, Unity.  I became interested in Druidry and Irish folk custom in college, a few of my teachers were witches and druids in college, and one of my class mates was the priestess of an interfaith coven, and I started to get involved with it.  Her group broke up and decided to go totally Wiccan instead of interfaith. I moved on into a sort of Coptic/Gnostic interest in Christianity, especially iconography and Mary Magdalen and priestess and Mary Mother of God.

From there it was only a matter of time before I became pagan and witch.

Because of my background, I knew a number of solitary witches and magicians.  Friends lent me books, and one trusted friend suggested I find a group.  I shopped around a bit and eventually found Amy as she was founding her new group (she had moved to a new area too far from her old coven).  And we started, the group slowly grew, often it was only the two of us.  We studied together, she taught me a bit, and now it is at six/seven members.  I studied a ton, and I don’t recall exactly why, but Amy and I got interested in mandrakes.

My internet searches for how to grow mandrakes led me to a now defunct forum on Traditional Witchcraft.  I joined and learned and learned and researched and practiced and experimented so I could begin to give back.  Around the same time, I caught wind of Celtic Reconstructionalism–probably through one of the groups I tried out on experimental magic.

I also began to study under Jack Darkhand in the Millennium Tradition he was founding.   It is a Celtic and Witchcraft magic tradition and spirituality way.   I studied intensely his lesson for about half a year, read thoroughly on theory and spent a lot of time building my practice.  Then Jack Darkhand let me know he was dying.   Later on he and I had a small disagreement that led to us not continuing our lessons, but partin on good terms.  He died a year later and I went to his funeral to try and find other members of his tradition, but I did not, his friends told me it was a new tradition and only his widow is privy to more information than I am.  It saddens me know, because I mostly came around to his point of view on the disagreement and all those months of lessons we lost over it.

These three major sources molded me and I continue to work from lessons from all three, Traditional Craft, CR, and Jack Darkhand.  I bring all these things into the picture when I work with the coven and the other members bring their compatible but diverse backgrounds in as well.

It was ten years ago May, that I first got involved in magical and mystical traditions, and 6 years of being a pagan polytheist.

Read Full Post »

Used book stores can be just like in the movies and books, musty crowded places run by witches, pagans or at least those who don’t mind carrying a selection of pagan books.  When you discover a used book shop that carries pre-read magic books, you have hit gold!

Vancouver, Washington:

Cover to Cover Books

(360) 993-7777

6300 NE St. James Rd., Suite 104B

Vancouver, WA 98663

Mel runs a great shop, she is very involved with the local community. I have on and off attended the Ghost Town Poetry readings that are monthly at her shop.  There are a few pagan poets who come now and then.  It can be quite inspiring and a good place to meet people.  Cover to Cover has a full wide shelf of witch and pagan books, and a few shelves of other occult and new age stuff too.  Don’t miss the shelves right by the counter, they have local Vancouver area ghost stories and a few occult thrillers by local great Lilith Saintcrow.  Look up and see some original art by local painters. And the best part? Cover to Cover has a bookstore cat, his name is Smedley.

Cover to Cover Cat

Cover to Cover's Cat

Portland, Oregon

S. M. U. T.

(503) 235-7688

7 SE 28th Ave

Portland, OR 97214

No particular reason that I can tell why this thrift/junk shop is called S. M. U. T. (So Many Unique Treasures).  There is some kitschy stuff, some retro clothes, tons of cheap records, and a bunch of paperback books.  I can usually leave with at least two or three old witchy books for 5-10 dollars.  There are so many books and the organization is a little strange, so I can easily end up spending an hour looking through everything for treasures.  One of my favorite finds that combined the kitschy and the witchy was Chant-o-Matics by Raymond Buckland–after getting my laughs out, I traded it in at Cover to Cover to get different books.  Mel got a good laugh at it too.

So Many Unique Treasures

The rummaging to be had at (S)o(M)any(U)nique(T)reasures

Read Full Post »

The new pagan movement has been going long enough now that it began needing its own line of theology. The discipline of theology is part of the credibility of a religion and something to bring to the table at interfaith gatherings and discussions. Recently pagans have been taking a greater part in the ecumenical scene as well as the political scene to powerful effect. There are two elected pagan officials in the United States (both ran publicly as pagans in their respective races and each is from a different political party).  And I think we all remember the role Selena Fox and Circle Sanctuary Coven played in helping Wiccan veterans gain the right to pentacles on their graves. Over the last few years there was seemingly a vacant spot for much pagan theology, but pagans have stepped up to the plate and their are a lot of great books out there.

Frankly, theology is heavy stuff, and I can’t say I have read everything out there. But, I have read four very good books on specialized topics in the pagan sphere: polytheism, henotheism, pagan ethics, and magic over psychology.

A World Full of Gods by Michael Greer

This is pure theology on the subject of polytheism. This is an unapologetic appraisal of the philosophical arguments for athiesm and monotheism and the way in which polytheism trumps the issues between each an arises a viable option. Much of this book is focused on atheism and classical monotheism and so sometimes can feel a little off topic for a polytheist, but a survey of those theologies is necessary to create the space for a new polytheology. Greer is a druid, but little of his discussion focuses on anything celtic. More often than not, Hinduism as the large scale polytheist body holds the most powerful examples and has a greater history of theology for him to draw on. Believe me, it works and aids in crediting the pagan movement as what we who practice it to know it to be: a better option for living today and on this planet.

Four out of Five stars!

Devoted to You Edited by Judy Harrow

One of the ways of being polytheist, is henotheism. Henotheism is worshipping specifically one god among many. All the pagan’s focus is on that one god or goddess. This book, although it is subtitled as a Wiccan publication, actually has essays relevant to Egyptian, Celtic, Reclaiming and Greek pagan practices. While all four essays are excellent, for myself, the Essay by Alexei Kondretiv on Brigit was most excellent and relevant to my life. I am not a henotheist, I, like most pagans today, worship different gods and goddesses at different times based on the season, need, or holiday. However, henotheism is a valid and fascinating path, and understanding more about it, will help pagans understand each other.

Five stars, something for everyone!

The Other Side of Virtue Brenden Myers

There are several ethics books out there today for pagans. Myers breaks from the standard harm none rhetoric and examines an Aristotelian virtue based ethical system. Couched in classical polytheist history, virtue ethics is a great lens to focus on what the myths and legends can guide us through life choices and a code of honor. The strange part of the virtue ethics is they seem to be gendered and Myers does not spend very much time examining the female aspect or reconciling the dichotimy of a gendered virtues system. Don’t get me wrong he does address it, but I felt like I needed more, being a female reader.

Four out of Five Stars

UnderWorld Initiation by RJ Stewart

This classic out of print book is needed more today than ever. RJ Stewart takes on the emasculation of magic from psychology head on. He explains why magic falls beyond the reach of psychology and urges magicians to look deeper than the popular discipline to find enlightenment. Stewart examines the symbols in English folk songs to fish out an authentic magical tradition. He merges the trees of initiation together with the Qubala Tree of Life and makes his own corrections to the system to lead the magician on a shamanic path to underworld initiation. This book is very heavy. Often the words although plainer language than some ceremonial jargon were still over my head. I needed a dictionary on hand to expand my vocabulary. Don’t read this book while you are distracted, the meaty stuff takes quiet and concentration to absorb. I suspect I will need multiple readings of this book. However, I think that the struggle is worth it. This book delivers.

Four out of Five stars.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers