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Cooking with Magic


Lately I’ve been working on bettering my husband’s and my diet. Making everything from scratch or as near to scratch as sanity would allow and only purchasing what we needed. Easy rules I’m following; if I can make it get the healthiest (not trendiest) ingredients, if I can buy it fresh get it fresh and preserve it at home, be mindful of where the food comes from. I also tend to add to my food storage as well. I admit I’m a mild prepper, but it’s saved my family, animals included, when we had major power outages during the winter storms in my area when snowed in for a few days and without power for nearly a week. I get box milk, tests the same if not better and lasts nearly a year, eggs 5 dozen at a time, and I get canned meat, fruits and veggies making sure they’re packed in water, juice or oil avoiding things like syrup and added sugar. I found avoiding non-fat and low-fat food items I’m not getting digestive issues or headaches. Too many additives trying to make fat-less food taste good and these in turn can make you sick. Beware dieters!!! We allow cookies and dark chocolate once in a while… I wouldn’t survive otherwise. ^_^

I’ve gotten off topic. We’re here to talk about magic and food. Two great, yet delicious subjects. *I’m torturing myself at the moment since I have brownies in the oven and it smells awesome while I’m typing this.* I know some of you crafty witchy folk out there are a little timid when it comes to casting spells and actually trying new ideas. You’re probably worried you’re going to mess it up or it’ll backfire and cause you problems.

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Here’s my advice to you… Don’t be afraid of it. Big things like evocation, invocation or spirit crafting of some sort I agree takes a huge amount of respect for the entity you’re dealing with as well as knowledge. However, we’re not doing that. We’re doing simple you and the food magic. You don’t even need a spell book for this or special herbs or tools! Just you and whatever yummy dish you’re cooking up!

Firstly, we’ll answer some simple questions, no need for pen and paper. Just answer them to yourself. What do you need in this moment. Easiest way to do it is by non-materialistic needs. If you need money, car, tools or something like that you can do it here but would be more effective with additional workings to make it more potent and more chances for success.

For instance, today I was feeling numb and not energetic in the least, more lethargic than anything. So I decided to do some magical food to help lift my spirits and let me get back to work doing research and such for more material for both this blog and for my own book of shadows. I found that comfort food works best and whatever ingredients or additions that sound tasty to you. I decided on brownies, but this is magical and I wanted to punch it up a bit, even though it isn’t necessary for it to work.

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As you start the cooking process each time you add something in imagine you’re fulfilling your initial goal of this dish. Doesn’t have to be a spell or even rhyme. Mine didn’t even make sense. The whole time I was mixing the dough I was grumbling about how I didn’t want to be sore, tired or melancholy anymore. I was starting to feel a little peppier when I got to pouring the mix into the pan and when I was striping the top with caramel and dark chocolate I was singing something I was making up as I went along. Go with the flow. Spirit wants to sing, sing. Easy!

I felt much better but not completely recovered. I remembered I had Himalayan Pink salt and sprinkled that over the top of my brownies for a salted caramel *drooling* twist to it. I popped it in the oven and have been bouncing ever since. The closer to being done, the more positive I’m feeling.

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This is perhaps one of the easiest spells I’ve ever worked that has had such great results. For many years now I’ve done this and without a doubt it’s worked every time… except that time I dropped my pan of cinnamon rolls on the floor when I was putting them in the oven. That was unfortunate, but I recovered them by unfolding each one and rolling a strip of bacon into it. That was delicious. It pretty much turned into a batched working and was recovered, and very om nom nom I might add.

This magical workings doesn’t depend on the tools or ingredients, but yourself and the intent you’re putting out there. You can look at it as a form of active meditation designed to alter your state to a more positive one. Be safe in all your workings and I hope you enjoy this finger licking good article!!

In case you were curious, here’s the recipe I used:

Best Gooey Salted Caramel Brownies EVER!

I would like to add a cooking tip that’s not mentioned in the recipe. If you use cold heavy cream when adding it to your mix it will mix more evenly and quicker without cooking to the bottom and becoming lumpy. Works for rue sauces, too. Just a thought. Enjoy!

The Importance of Closing the Gates


What Happens When You Leave A Magical Portal Open?

There are many reasons for doing this. Since few of us have permanent ritual spaces, ritually opening and closing substitutes for processing into and out of a temple or sacred grove. It lets us know we’re beginning something special, and then that we’re returning to the ordinary world. It opens portals so we can experience the Otherworld, and then it closes those portals so that beings and energies that belong on the other side stay on the other side.

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What happens if you don’t close the gates and portals between the worlds? In Neopagan Rites, Isaac Bonewits said this was a bad thing but not a permanent thing:

Having been the first to be formally invited to the ritual, the gatekeeper is the last to be thanked. The Gates Between the Worlds that he/she opened need to be closed. Granted, they will eventually close on their own, after a few hours or days, but in the meantime the lives of the participants may be visited by a wide variety of energies from the Other Side, not all of them pleasant. So it’s a good idea to formally ask the gatekeeper to close them as he/she leaves.

A lot has changed since I was a baby Pagan. Beings and energies that belong on the other side are finding their way to this side on a regular basis. I’ve been noticing this for some time, but I experienced it in a rather dramatic fashion last June. In November I wrote that the Veil Between the Worlds is shredded.

Regular Patheos Pagan commenter Woods Wizard suggested that open gates and portals may be causing our high strangeness:

I am beginning to think that Isaac Bonewits was wrong – that portals do not close up all by themselves – that some of them at least, stay open. Over the past three years, I have discovered and closed two portals. I had another incident where a group opened the Veil at a Samhain ritual and just left it open after they finished.

Maybe unskilled people are part of the problem.

I see no reason to challenge the first-hand experiences of others, particularly the experiences of people who’ve shown themselves to be intelligent and responsible. I have no problem believing Woods Wizard found and closed two portals (over the years I’ve found several and closed one), and I’ve been to too many rituals where someone opened a gate between the worlds and then neglected to close it.

Could this be causing a few of our incidents? Sure. Might it have been the source of my green glowing bird? Possibly. But I have a hard time seeing unskilled and irresponsible Pagans as the root cause of this much weirdness, this much chaos, a Veil that’s Samhain-thin year round, and multiple Wild Hunts riding near-constantly for the first time in memory.

Phaedra Bonewits is Isaac’s widow and a first-class magician in her own right. I asked her opinion on this question.

I agree with Isaac. Having viewed what has been perhaps more than my share of bad ritual over the years, I would have thought that if something bad would have happened from all those wonky portals, it would have manifested far worse than it has by now.

It also assumes that more people than I suspect can are going around opening gates and portals. Bad ritual is not often effective ritual.

With a bit of training, just about anyone can cast a circle and put a barrier around themselves. Whether that circle is truly between the worlds is another matter entirely – that takes skill and practice. I’ve been in rituals where the leader announced “we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time” and the circle was still 100% in the ordinary world. Opening a portal takes even more skill and practice. There’s a reason why ADF’s Core Order of Ritual asks a Gatekeeper deity to help with opening the gates – it’s a lot easier for Them.

I’ve been in rituals where someone found a tear in the Veil and was able to open it just enough to see Otherworldly light seeping in. But that’s not the same thing as opening a portal the size of a castle gate where a whole army can march through.

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Besides that, my experience tells me Isaac was right. Most gates and portals will eventually close on their own, particularly those that were opened just for a ritual. There have been a few times when I would realize “we didn’t close everything up last night.” When I went back the next day, things were pretty much back to normal. The techniques and the skill level needed to open a portal that will stay open indefinitely are different from those needed to open one for a one-hour ritual.

The bottom line is that I don’t think unskilled people can cause this problem accidentally, and there aren’t enough people with the skills but without the ethics to cause it on purpose.

And not everything that crosses the Veil needs a human-opened portal. The Gods certainly don’t. Neither do some spirits of less-than-divine power.

Last year I participated in a ritual that required opening a specific portal in a specific location for a specific reason. The details of this ritual are oath-bound, which especially includes the reason it was done. My job was to open a portal, monitor and hold it for the duration of the ritual, then close it once the ritual was done.

That’s what I did. But during the ritual, I was explicitly told “Druid, this portal is here for your benefit, not ours” – and I knew those words were true. I created a convenient meeting point, but the beings we were dealing with can come into our world on their own… if not at will, then easily enough that finding an inadvertently open gate is no big deal.

In our exchange, Phaedra said:

Human brains like to believe that if we can understand something, we can control it. So if we “understand” that it’s all the gates and portals that are causing this, a) we have something at which to point a finger, and b) we have a problem that could conceivably be fixed. Oh, also c) we can say other people are causing the problems because we wiser folk would never do a dumb thing like leave open a gate or portal.

Those of us who are paying attention have no trouble seeing that the Otherworld is bleeding through into this world. For those with certain skills and gifts, the problem is not seeing it. But figuring out why it’s happening is hard, and figuring out what we can do about it is harder still.

And there may be nothing we can do about it, other than figure out how to live with the new reality.

So, leaving a gate or portal open is a bad thing (mainly, it’s a sloppy thing) and we shouldn’t do it. When we do, bad things can happen. But not on the scale of badness that we’re experiencing right now – not by a long shot.

I thank Woods Wizard for raising this issue. He’s far from the first person to suggest that human magical activity is behind this shift, but he’s the first one who got me to write about it in depth. Now that we’ve eliminated one possible cause, we can move on to exploring other causes.

And to figuring out how to deal with the shift.

Find the original article here.

Witch’s Garden


It’s that time of year again when we soil loving souls get to dive back into the earth and plant some seeds to aid us in our workings in one way or another. Here is a fun little article I found that I thought was well suited for this topic. I hope you enjoy!

Creating a Witches Garden

By Jennifer Seitzer   Mon, Mar 05, 2012

To feel the earth within your hands and beneath your feet is a sacred and sensual experience given to us by our Beloved Mother Gaia. Creating a witches garden is a ritual all unto itself from choosing your location right down to planting and nourishing your chosen seeds. Photograph by *UKTara at DeviantArt at http://uktara.deviantart.com/

Creating a Witches Garden

It isn’t long before we walk along our Earth based path(s) that we as Pagans, Wiccans and Witches feel the need to play in the dirt. There is a spiritual need and excitement when sinking our hands deep into the earth or nourishing and caring and watching a plant grow into maturity. This alone is pure Earth Magick. Stable and strong. It sustains us and if we chose to, we can then begin to grow our gardens into our very own nature’s grocery store and pharmacy. For the scope of this article I will be discussing planning and creating a witches garden. After that, if you would like to further your knowledge base and get more in depth, I have listed some excellent books that I have read and utilized within my own garden sanctuary.

When choosing space for your witches garden you can have something as simple as a container garden for those living in a city where land is scarce and that is perfectly okay as container gardening can be quite beautiful. I have had container gardens before and most likely will be doing that again as the land in my backyard is very swampy and the expense of a raised garden bed is out of reach right now. If you are lucky to have wide open space then choose a place within your yard and begin the designing process by choosing the right amount of light you receive right down to the actual design. A great book that includes design ideas is The Real Witches Garden by Kate West. It’s an excellent guide to choosing herbs, plants and your sacred space within your garden.

Choosing Your Plants

Do you use Mugwort often? Do you smudge your home with sage? Do you love using lavender, chamomile in your sachets and teas? Think of all the herbs and plants you love and use often and then begin researching on their upkeep and care. Also make sure to research your planting zone so you may get the very best climate to nurture your plants and herbs. Here is a link for the US planting zone chart and from there you can then decide which plants and herbs will do the very best in your area. One very important thing to remember is to research plants and herbs that can be toxic or poisonous to ensure the safety of children and pets.

Magickal Intent

Once you have chosen you plants now would be a great time to infuse your magic and intent. If you are creating a garden specifically to be used in rituals and circles these plants already resonate that vibration you are after but you can also bless and charge your plants during the growing process from seed to maturity. If you are planting an indoor garden of any kind this Seed Blessing is wonderful or you may create your very own seed blessing.

Working with the phases of the moon is always something to keep in mind. Remember, your intent is always, by far the very most important aspect of anything you do in your magickal life but if you are inclined to want to follow the moon phases, here is an excellent Moon Phase Guide for gardening.

“Here’s a quick rule of thumb, although it might vary from plant to plant:
Always plant during the new or waxing Moon phase, preferably in the fruitful Moon signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. There are some exceptions: Plant garlic during a new or waxing moon in the sign of Scorpio or Taurus. Root crops should be planted during a waxing or full moon in Taurus. Plant vines and flowers in Libra during a new or waxing moon. Sage needs to be planted in Pisces, Scorpio, or Cancer during a full moon. Valerian: Gemini or Virgo during the new or waxing moon….”-(Source: Earth Witchery)

Some other ways to bring magick into your witches garden is to design your pots or other gardening tools with symbols and/or runes. Placing clear quartz crystals or moss agate (the gardeners stone) within the soil will amplify and charge your plants and has been proven to help your plants flourish and grow. Watering your plants with water that has been blessed and charged will also amplify and nourish your plants. Creating a moon charged gem elixir with clear quartz is excellent for watering your plants. During the growing season you may chose to do a mini-full moon ritual to give thanks and gratitude to Gaia for abundantly blessing you with her sacred gifts of nature.

Some Plants to Choose for Your Witches Garden-(this list is by all means not exhaustive)

Plants You Need to Be Very Careful With-(they are toxic to children, animals as well as yourself so take heed and be very careful)

Recommended Books for Your Witches Garden

The Real Witches Garden by Kate West

Garden Witchery: Magick From the Ground Up by Ellen Dugan

Article page found here Click me

Celtic Fairy Tales #1


Connla and the Fairy Maiden

-by Joseph Jacobs 1892

CONNLA of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the height of Usna, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire coming towards him.

“Whence comest thou, maiden?” said Connla.

“I come from the Plains of the Ever Living,” she said, “there where there is neither death nor sin. There we keep holiday alway, nor need we help from any in our joy. And in all our pleasure we have no strife. And because we have our homes in the round green hills, men call us the Hill Folk.”

The king and ail with him wondered much to hear a voice when they saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy Maiden.

“To whom art thou talking, my son? ” said Conn the king.

Then the maiden answered, “Connla speaks to a young, fair maid, whom neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla, and now I call him away to the Plain of Pleasure, Moy Mell, where Boadag is king for aye, nor has there been complaint or sorrow in that land since he has held the kingship. Oh, come with me, Connla of the Fiery Hair, ruddy as the dawn with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits thee to grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never shall thy comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last awful day of judgment.”

The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard though he could not see her, called aloud to his Druid, Coran by name.

“Oh, Coran of the many spells,” he said, ” and of the cunning magic, I call upon thy aid. A task is upon me too great for all my skill and wit, greater than any laid upon me since I seized the kingship. A maiden unseen has met us, and by her power would take from me my dear, my comely son. If thou help not, he will be taken from thy king by woman’s wiles and witchery.”

Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells towards the spot where the maiden’s voice had been heard. And none heard her voice again, nor could Connla see her longer. Only as she vanished before the Druid’s mighty spell, she threw an apple to Connla.

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For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing, either to eat or to drink, save only from that apple. But as he ate it grew again and always kept whole. And all the while there grew within him a mighty yearning and longing after the maiden he had seen.

But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla stood by the side of the king his father on the Plain of Arcomin, and again he saw the maiden come towards him, and again she spoke to him. “‘Tis a glorious place, forsooth, that Connla holds among short-lived mortals awaiting the day of death. But now the folk of life, the ever-living ones, beg and bid thee come to Moy Mell, the Plain of Pleasure, for they have learnt to know thee, seeing thee in thy home among thy dear ones.

When Conn the king heard the maiden’s voice he called to his men aloud and said:

“Summon swift my Druid Coran, for I see she has again this day the power of speech.”

Then the maiden said ” Oh, mighty Conn, fighter of a hundred fights, the Druid’s power is little loved; it has little honour in the mighty land, peopled with so many of the upright. When the Law will come, it will do away with the Druid’s magic spells that come from the lips of the false black demon.”

Then Conn the king observed that since the maiden came Connla his son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of the hundred fights said to him, “Is it to thy mind what the woman says, my son?”

“‘Tis hard upon me,” then said Connla; “I love my own folk above all things; but yet, but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden.”

When the maiden heard this, she answered and said “The ocean is not so strong as the waves of thy longing. Come with me in my curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. Soon we can reach Boadag’s realm. I see the bright sun sink, yet far as it is, we can reach it before dark. There is, too, another land worthy of thy journey, a land joyous to all that seek it. Only wives and maidens dwell there. If thou wilt, we can seek it and live there alone together in joy.”

When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla of the Fiery Hair rushed away from them and sprang into the curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all, king and court, saw it glide away over the bright sea towards the setting sun. Away and away, till eye could see it no longer, and Connla and the Fairy Maiden went their way on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did any know where they came.

Magic and the Bible


I was approached on the subject of Curanderismo (and any kind of magical art) being “against the teaching of the Bible and against God’s word”. The person that approached me attested that God said to stay away from this sort of divination (“card reading”) in the following verses…Deuteronomy 18:10-12 New International Version (NIV)10 Let no…

via Magic And The Bible — Curious Curandera

Thought Forms


Another way to perceive and use magick is through the understanding of thought forms.

Nonphysical entities which exist in either the mental or astral plane. Each entity is created from the thought. Every thought is said to generate vibrations in the aura’s mental body, which assume a floating form and colors depending on the nature and intensity of the thought. These thought-forms are usually seen by clairvoyants; and may be intuitively sensed by others.

Theosophists and clairvoyants Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater placed thought-forms in three classifications: (1) the image of the thinker (see Bilocation); (2) an image of a material object associated with the thought; and (3) an independent image expressing the inherent qualities of the thought. Thoughts which are of a low nature, such as anger, hate, lust, greed, and so on, create thought-forms which are dense in color and form. Thought of a more spiritual nature tend to generate forms possessing a greater purity, clarity, and refinement.

Thought-forms can be directed toward anyone, but to be effective they must latch onto a similar vibration in the other person’s aura. If they are unable to do so, they can boomerang back on the sender. Thus, working according to the occult theory, one who directs evil toward another runs the risk of having it return.

The strength and clarity of the original thought determines the duration, strength and the distance of travel of its developed thought-form. It is said that thought-forms can have the capability to assume their own energy and appear to be intelligent and independent. Equally strong thought-forms can disperse them, or they may disintegrate when their purpose has been accomplished. Some may stay in existence for years, while others can become uncontrollable and turn on their senders.

Thought-forms, in magic, are also called “artificial elements,” which are created through ritual involving intense concentration, repetition, and visualization. (see Egrigor) They can be directed toward individuals to protect or heal, or to harm. Also, thought-forms can be created to perform low-level tasks and errands.

Other thought-forms can occur spontaneously, for example, “Group minds” that emerge whenever a group of people concentrate on the same thought, ideas, or goals, such as a team of employees or a crowd of demonstrators. To a certain extent the group-mind possesses the group, such is seen in psychic bonding and power that coalesces in crowds, and in the synergy of a close-knit working group. Usually when the group disbands the power of the group-mind dissipates too.

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Programming and using thought-forms.

Now we heard of them, but just what are they, what are they composed of, how are they created and what are they used for? Let’s look at it from another angle to help strengthen our understanding of them so we can get to using them.

A thought form is a structured interdimensional energy form intentionally created to carry out a specific task for which it has been programmed. It is created by you with the co-operative efforts of the universe. Essentially they are what your spells and rituals create to carry out your instructions, but can also be created without the spells and such.

A TF is different than random thoughts we have every day which also create, positively or negatively, but are chaotic and without structure. Common thoughts, as I call them, take on a life of their own, seek out areas of like energy to combine with and become even more powerful. Most of humanity is totally unaware of the destructive forces it creates moment by moment with negative thoughts.

But why would someone intentionally create a structured TF. It sounds dangerous and may possibly get out of control. This is true if created out of fear, anger, hate, and revenge. This is called a negative TF and is instilled with destructive negative programming. A negative TF is not something to play around with. An individual that creates a thought form for destructive purposes may suffer severe consequences.

On the other hand, creating a TF using valid procedures with love, wisdom, understanding and awareness becomes a very POWERFUL uplifting tool to utilize in many situations which include healing, and removing negative energy. A TF can only do what it’s programming allows. It is like a robot, and has no mind of it’s own.

I have used thought forms for many reasons. It took much time and patience to perfect the process, and is now second nature to me. I didn’t know how to construct them when I first received the information that it was a viable tool. I began by using intuition and knowledge received from my Source (spirit guides). Through the use of my interdimensional sight I could simultaneously observe the results of my directed thoughts in creating a TF and make adjustments as necessary.

Many people have asked if I would also teach them. This document was written to serve that purpose. The creation of a TF is not difficult. I outline the procedure step by step. Simply follow the directions and you will have at your disposal a very POTENT tool that very few people have any knowledge of. Remember that it is also a creation of the universe, treat it with respect.

Now let us get on with the process. A TF can be created in any image you wish. Use one that best suits your intention or purpose for it. For instance, imagine there are parasites in your body. A TF could be created which looked like a small robot carrying a container. You would instruct the robot to search the entire body securing all the parasites in the container and upon completion put the container in a rocket and send it to the universe.

Other examples might be…A high-powered suction device to remove a negative substance, a bulldozer to remove obstacles, a magnet to remove impurities from the circulatory system. The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination and what feels right.

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THE PROGRAM

NOTE…The word “input ” means, send these directions to the TF as part of it’s programming.

Step 1) Determine precisely what the TF is to accomplish. Be very specific.

Step 2) Tell your Spirit Guides what you want to do and ask them to work with
you. Request the wisdom necessary to create in a positive and loving manner.

Step 3) Construct the TF image in your mind. Be creative. With an attitude of love visualize if you can, or imagine the form you wish it to take.

Step 4) Input…The thoughts…”mercy, love and compassion”. This ensures that frequencies of a positive nature become an integral part of your creation.

Step 5) Input…It’s purpose or mission. Be very specific. Example…Locate and remove all parasites from the entire body.

Step 6) Input…Parameters to work within. Example…Remove all parasites without harming any cell in the body.

Step 7) Input…Give it tools you wish it to use. Example…A container with unlimited capacity to place the parasites in. (Never use tools which cause harm, i.e. firearms, explosives, etc.).

Step 8)Input…You are “invulnerable” with unlimited energy to accomplish your task. You have the power of the Universe to draw upon.

Step 9) Input…You have unlimited capacity. Example…It has unlimited capacity to absorb anything without damage. Unlimited capacity is used so it always has more than
enough of whatever it needs to accomplish any task.

Step 10) Input…You have unlimited maneuverability. With this input it can always avoid anything coming it’s way. Example…while removing impurities from the blood stream, it may encounter and avoid white blood cells.

Step 11) Input…Complete your task without harm to anyone or anything.

Step 12) Input…Return to the nothingness from which you came after completion of your mission. (At this time reiterate it’s purpose or mission.)

These are basic instructions to build upon. As you become familiar with them you may wish to add others and customize your procedures. Remember…Never use tools which are destructive. Do not attempt to destroy anything. Although you cannot destroy, a negative attitude will prevail and the TF will be created as negative. Always have a loving attitude when creating a thought form.

Use Thought Forms whenever the need arises. Do not change programming once its task has begun. Just tell it to abort the mission and return to the nothingness from which it came. Send it on it’s way with love and thanks then create another one with your revised program. Use it wisely and it will serve you well.

(https://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/t/thought_forms.html)

(https://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/t/thought_forms_how_to_program_and_use.html)

Samhain ritual as performed in the Wiccan Church


Samhain (pronounced saw-an), commonly referred to as Halloween, is a religious holiday celebrated by Wiccan and witch. The festival traditionally is a feast for the gathering of the family in love and remembrance. All the family including one’s ancestors.

Wiccans do not regard physical death as an end but merely one more event in a continuing progress of the soul’s in its path toward fulfillment of divine destiny. Because of these beliefs, it is only natural at this time of year to invite our beloved ancestors to remember and to celebrate with us.

If you do not find these beliefs in conflict with your own personal beliefs, please join us in the following ritual of thanksgiving and remembrance.

    Whether you join with us or not,

      May you walk in the Light of the Lady

        and know the Wisdom of the Lord.

Blessed Be.

The clergy and members of the United Wiccan Church.

After you have shared the bounty of your harvest with the children of your neighborhood (candy, etc) and the house has settled down for the night, disconnect or turn off your telephone so that this state of serenity will continue uninterrupted.

Prepare a special feast of whatever foods reminds you of a special departed friend or family member, or of past family gatherings. While you are preparing this feast think of all of the good times you had with them.

When the feast is prepared, set your holiday table with a special place of honor for the departed friend or family member.

Decorate the table and room as you would for a holiday dinner with the family, add those special things that are important to you and your family (flowers, candles,etc.) If you have a picture of the loved one, it is nice to place it at their place at the table.

Speak to that special person and invite them to join you in this celebration and time of remembrance. It is completely appropriate to say grace or offer any prayer that you feel is fitting.

The following is done in complete silence:

Serve the meal remembering to serve your honored guest (or guests) first. If wine or other alcoholic beverages are served, it is recommended that they be kept in moderation as you and your guests need to have a clear head.

Now sit down to the table with your loved ones and enjoy your feast. When you address them in your mind, always see them as well. (Try not to say in your mind, “if you can hear me…”, etc.). After the meal, the time of silence is over. Do whatever you normally do at a family holiday gathering (clear the table, play games, sing songs, etc.). Enjoy the companionship.

When the evening is over, or in the morning if you wish to make it an all night party, thank your invited guests for being with you and for making your celebration a special one.

There are a few words of caution that we will offer.

  1. If this ritual does not feel right for you, do not do it. Follow your instincts.
  2. Remember that crossing over does not necessarily change a person, so if you could not get through a meal in peace with them while they were alive, you will probably have the same problem with their spirit.
  3. Do not ask your guest to grant you wishes or do you favors. It is rude to invite a guest and then make it obvious that a favor is the reason they were asked, not because of love and respect. Spirits do not like rudeness! Besides, spirits often forget that you are limited in ways that they are not. If you ask them for $1,000, it may come as an insurance settlement after a painful break in your water pipe with all the delight in cleaning up the mess from ensuing water damage.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos037.htm

Spooky Ancient Irish Myths on Halloween — Metal Gaia


Samhain is the ancient Irish festival that became Halloween as we know it. “The Celts believed the year was divided into two parts, the lighter half in the summer and the darker half in the winter. Samhain, or Halloween as it is now called, was the division between these halves. The Celts believed that the veil […]

via Spooky Ancient Irish Myths on Halloween — Metal Gaia

All Hallow’s Eve


by Mike Nichols

Halloween. Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaw. Slide and creep. But why? What for? How? Who? When! Where did it all begin? ‘You don’t know, do you?’ asks Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud climbing out under the pile of leaves under the Halloween Tree. ‘You don’t REALLY know!’
–Ray Bradbury, from ‘The Halloween Tree’

Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve. Hallow E’en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane’s dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A ‘spirit night’, as they say in Wales.

All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of AllHallow’s Day (November 1st). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31st, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year’s festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles.

The Celts called it Samhain, which means ‘summer’s end’, according to their ancient two-fold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern Covens echo this structure by letting the High Priest ‘rule’ the Coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the High Priestess at Beltane.) According to the later four-fold division of the year, Samhain is seen as ‘autumn’s end’ and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pro- nounced (depending on where you’re from) as ‘sow-in’ (in Ireland), or ‘sow-een’ (in Wales), or ‘sav-en’ (in Scotland), or (inevitably) ‘sam-hane’ (in the U.S., where we don’t speak Gaelic).

Not only is Samhain the end of autumn; it is also, more importantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Celtic New Year’s Eve, when the new year begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year, just as the new day begins at sundown. There are many representations of Celtic gods with two faces, and it surely must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain. Like his Greek counterpart Janus, he would straddle the threshold, one face turned toward the past in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, mystic eyes attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds. These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year’s celebration.

As a feast of the dead, it was believed the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan. And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidhe mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way. Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year. And there are many stories that tell of Irish heroes making raids on the Underworld while the gates of faery stood open, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow.

As a feast of divination, this was the night par excellence for peering into the future. The reason for this has to do with the Celtic view of time. In a culture that uses a linear concept of time, like our modern one, New Year’s Eve is simply a milestone on a very long road that stretches in a straight line from birth to death. Thus, the New Year’s festival is a part of time. The ancient Celtic view of time, however, is cyclical. And in this framework, New Year’s Eve represents a point outside of time, when the natural order of the universe dissolves back into primordial chaos, preparatory to re-establishing itself in a new order. Thus, Samhain is a night that exists outside of time and hence it may be used to view any other point in time. At no other holiday is a tarot card reading, crystal reading or tea-leaf reading so likely to succeed.

The Christian religion, with its emphasis on the ‘historical’ Christ and his act of redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time, where ‘seeing the future’ is an illogical proposition. In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil. This did not keep the medieval Church from co-opting Samhain’s other motif, commemoration of the dead. To the Church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God — thus, All Hallow’s, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls.

There are so many types of divination that are traditional to Hallowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazel nuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, ‘If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.’ Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder. Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, ‘I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart’s name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o’er my head, / My sweetheart’s letter on the ground to read.’ Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your hearth. The considerate little creature will then spell out the initial letter as it moves.

Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o-lantern. Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin. However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. (The American pumpkin seems to have forever superseded the European gourd as the jack-o-lantern of choice.) Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a Pagan ‘baptism’ rite called a ‘seining’, according to some writers. The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice’s head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also puts one in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony.

The custom of dressing in costume and ‘trick-or-treating’ is of Celtic origin with survivals particularly strong in Scotland. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Also, the ‘treat’ which was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety). This has recently been revived by college students who go ‘trick-or-drinking’. And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing. In fact, the custom known as ‘caroling’, now connected exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major holidays. Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing (i.e., men dressing as women, and women as men). It seems as though ancient societies provided an opportunity for people to ‘try on’ the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. (Although in Scotland, this is admittedly less dramatic — but more confusing — since men were in the habit of wearing skirt-like kilts anyway. Oh well…)

To Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called ‘THE Great Sabbat.’ It is an ironic fact that the newer, self-created Covens tend to use the older name of the holiday, Samhain, which they have discovered through modern research. While the older hereditary and traditional Covens often use the newer name, Halloween, which has been handed down through oral tradition within their Coven. (This is often holds true for the names of the other holidays, as well. One may often get an indication of a Coven’s antiquity by noting what names it uses for the holidays.)

With such an important holiday, Witches often hold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for non-Craft friends, often held on the previous weekend. And second, a Coven ritual held on Halloween night itself, late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible friends taking part in the rites. Another date which may be utilized in planning celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween, or Halloween O.S. (Old Style). This occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological ‘power point’ symbolized by the Eagle. This year (1988), the date is November 6th at 10:55 pm CST, with the celebration beginning at sunset. Interestingly, this date (Old Halloween) was also appropriated by the Church as the holiday of Martinmas.

Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism. Interestingly, some schools have recently attempted to abolish Halloween parties on the grounds that it violates the separation of state and religion. Speaking as a Pagan, I would be saddened by the success of this move, but as a supporter of the concept of religion-free public education, I fear I must concede the point. Nonetheless, it seems only right that there SHOULD be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the supernatural. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants. And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o’lanterns burn bright on this All Hallow’s Eve.

Question: Does the Media Depict Witchcraft as Evil?


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Last week a student emailed me some questions for a school project she was putting together. One of the questions was: “Do you feel as if the media represents witchcraft as evil, and would you say this effects how people view you?”

My initial response was that the question wasn’t one that could be answered quickly. In fact, it could probably be a dissertation rather than something answered briefly for a school project, but I mulled it over and decided to blog about it.

The first point really is whether the schoolgirl was talking about historic witchcraft or modern pagan witchcraft, as they are two different things. Historically the word “witch” was generally used for someone who did malefic magic – curses and so on – but nowadays people use the term to mean followers of nature religions such as Wicca. Wiccans are very nice witches. We are followers of a nature religion that celebrates the seasons. We aren’t evil and we believe that it is wrong to use magic for harm. I emailed the student asking which witch did she mean?

However, the problem with the question might well have been that the school pupil didn’t realise there was a difference. And, of course, that can be the problem with the way witchcraft is reported in the media. Journalists – and the general public – don’t necessarily know the difference either.

Wicca and similar forms of modern pagan witchcraft have only been in the eyes of the media since the mid 20th century – and certainly back in the early days newspapers produced a few horribly inaccurate reports that depicted Wiccans as evil, although even then most journalists tried to report the truth. The main culprit was the now-defunct News of the World. This is what Professor Ronald Hutton said about that in his book The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft:

The only outstanding exception was a Sunday paper especially notorious for scandal mongering, the News of the World, which on 1 September 1963 launched a short series on ‘black magic’, which it equated with pagan witchcraft and declared to be a ‘terrible new menace to youth’ in the style of the denunciations of the 1950s. …Strong in rhetoric but weak in actual material, the articles instituted a tradition, maintained with a few lapses until the present [1999], of hostility to pagan witches on the part of this particular newspaper. This attitude, it must be stressed again, was relatively rare among journalists of the time. … [The] newspaper had treated witchcraft only in passing after its big attempt to scaremonger in 1963 – until 1967, when it printed [a few more balanced articles]. Then, two years later, the paper changed its policy [and did] denounce them [Wiccans] anew, as having links with Satanism… The intent was relentlessly destructive. The names and addresses of the witches chosen as targets were printed along with their photographs, and the purpose (next to that of increasing sales of the newspaper) was clearly to ruin their public reputations and so their lives.

As Professor Ronald Hutton pointed out, even in the 1960s The News of the World was not typical of the media in its portrayal of modern pagan witchcraft.

Nowadays, journalists in the UK – and the public in general – have a much better understanding of what Wicca is about and don’t depict it as evil. I would say most newspaper reports are reasonably factually accurate and report Wicca as a gentle nature religion. There are still a few exceptions – mainly the Daily Mail – but even Daily Mail journalists tend to poke fun at modern witches as being eccentric hippy types rather than saying they are wicked.

However, although news reports these days don’t tend to portray modern pagan witches as being evil, in movies and TV dramas the situation is annoyingly different. I guess when you are making a horror film, the stereotypical villain of the wicked witch is still popular. Of course this is fiction, but it does annoy me because it gives an unfair image of modern paganism.

Murder mystery dramas are another category of TV show that regularly represents witches and modern pagans in unpleasant and inaccurate ways. A couple of weeks ago I watched an episode of BBC TV series Father Brown called The Standing Stones. It was filmed at the beautiful Roll right Stones and although I enjoyed the setting of the lovely stone circle, I didn’t think that much of the plot. Here is the description (*spoiler alert*):

Father Brown and [his housekeeper] Mrs McGuire visit the cottage hospital in the village of Standing where many of the children have been struck down by an outbreak of Polio. The desperate villagers, seeking a cure, sacrifice an innocent girl in a pagan blood ceremony at ancient stones.

My comment would be that no Wiccans or similar modern pagan witches would kill anyone. We do not do blood sacrifices.

Another murder mystery series that has been less than flattering about pagans and witches in the past is ITV’s Midsomer Murders and I understand that the episode on Wednesday 4 February at 8pm, called Murder by Magic is also about pagans. Here is an excerpt from the press release about it (*spoiler alert*):

Landlady Hannah Altman is crushed to death by a giant Perspex box during a magic show by famous illusionist Gideon Latimer aimed at raising funds for St Cyprian’s Church. Kate finds that cables to the box were deliberately sabotaged – it’s murder…
Evangelising curate Andrew Maplin tells vicar Magnus Soane that the tragedy is God’s vengeance for the pagan traditions still held deep in Midsomer Oaks. Barnaby and Nelson fear Gideon was the real target, especially when Annabel reveals hate mail has been sent to Melmoth Hall, his newly-acquired country seat. That night a group of masked pagans hold a fire-lit ceremony….
Andrew tries to perform an exorcism at Melmoth. The family together with Gideon’s devoted mother Carole are angry. The next day Annabel finds Andrew stabbed to death by the pagan temple in Melmoth’s grounds. His face is covered with oak leaves – the pagan Green Man symbol. Nearby is the grave of Sir Hugo Melmoth, who according to legend threw himself on a fire in an act of self-sacrifice.
Andrew’s camcorder reveals footage of a pagan ceremony which ends abruptly when one of the pagans spots him and runs towards his camera… Sarah discovers Sir Hugo was no hero – he was killed by villagers seeking justice for years of tyranny… Barnaby and Nelson race to the pagan temple where Lorna is re-enacting the death of Sir Hugo. Gideon is put into a crate over a burning pyre. As firefighters douse the flames, another person is found in the crate…

I hope the schoolgirl who emailed me her questions finds my answer useful for her school project. But what do you think about the way Wicca and modern pagan witchcraft are portrayed in the news and in movies?

I’d be really interested to read comments, so do have your say.

The photo at the top shows a scene from Midsomer Murders: Murder by Magic

Links to some previous posts about witchcraft in the news
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/05/news-satanism-101-in-washington-post.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/10/news-halloween-wicca-and-witchcraft.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/08/news-witches-witches-witches.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/06/news-druids-witches-pagans-and-summer.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/the-history-of-gerald-gardner-at-witchs.html

To read more posts like this visit A Bad Witch’s Blog at http://www.badwitch.co.uk

Source: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/02/question-does-media-depict-witchcraft.html

Original article found at HERE
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