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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Litha

Litha occurs on longest day of the year, which, in the southern hemisphere is around 21 to 23 December when the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn and for the northern hemisphere it is when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer around 21 to 23 June. It is the first sabbat of the waning year.

Other names for Litha include Alban Heruin or Alban Hefin (Druidic), Feill-Sheathain, Gathering Day, Midsummer, St John's Day, Summer Solstice, Thing-Tide, Vestalia, Whit Sunday or Witsuntide.

There are many themes for this time of year, some of which are as follows:
* Abundance of light
* Balefire, especially jumping over the balefire
* Fairies
* Fertility of plants and harvest
* Fires / Bonfires
* Mistletoe
* Oak Trees
* The Sun – sun wheels, peak of the sun’s strength

The colours of Litha are the bright colours of summer, particularly blue, gold, green, orange, red, white and yellow.

Traditional foods for Litha are:
* Ale
* Corn cakes
* Garden fresh vegetables
* Honey
* Honey cakes
* Lemons
* Mead
* Oranges
* Pumpernickel bread
* Squash
* Summer fruits

Popular herbs, plants and flowers include:
* Carnation
* Chamomile
* Daisy
* Elder
* Fern
* Frankincense
* Heather
* Honeysuckle
* Ivy
* Lavender
* Lemon
* Lily
* Mint
* Mistletoe
* Mugwort
* Oak
* Rose
* Saffron
* Sage
* Sandalwood
* St. John’s Wort
* Vervain
* Wild Thyme
* Yarrow
* Ylang-ylang

Popular incenses at Litha are:
* Frankincense
* Lemon
* Myrrh
* Pine
* Rose
* Vanilla
* Wisteria

Litha-related gemstones include:
* All green gemstones, especially emerald and jade
* Diamonds
* Lapis Lazuli
* Tiger’s Eye

In Pagan mythology, Litha is seen as the time when the Oak King, who represents the waxing year, is triumphed over by the Holly King who represents the waning year. The two are actually one God, the Horned God, but the Holly King is seen as the growing youth while the Oak King is seen as the wise and mature man.
The Goddess is also celebrated at Litha by many Pagan traditions. She is seen as the woman heavy with child, who will give birth to the God at Yule. She is also seen as the bounty of coming harvests, of protection and sustenance.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

St Patrick's Breastplate is a prayer commonly said to have been written by Saint Patrick in the fifth century however as the style is based on that used in druidic incantations it is most likely that it was actually written in the eighth century and therefore was never uttered by Saint Patrick at all.

Other names for this prayer include "Faeth Fiada", “The Lorica of St. Patrick" (or sometimes simply “The Lorica”) as well as “The Deer’s Prayer” or “I bind until myself today”, which is the first line of the prayer. The reference to Saint Patrick’s Breastplate arises from the words in the prayer seek God’s protection and it most often used for protection on a journey.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is often sung today as a Christian hymn, particularly on Saint Patrick’s Day or Trinity Sunday and is currently included in the English Hymnal, the Irish Church Hymnal and The Hymnal (1982) of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
As the prayer was originally written in old Irish, it has been translated into English. There are two common translations, the first is the more traditional translation by Cecil Frances Alexander and is as follows:

I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.


I bind this day to me for ever,
By power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.


I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the Cherubim;
The sweet 'Well done' in judgment hour;
The service of the Seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.


I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.


I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.


Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.


Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death-wound and the burning
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.


Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.


I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

The second translation by Kuno Meyer is somewhat more modernised and is as follows:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.


I arise today
Through the strength of
Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of
His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of
His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of
His descent for the judgement of Doom.


I arise today
Through the strength of
the love of the Cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of the resurrection
to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In prediction of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.


I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.


I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak to me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me,


From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in a multitude.
I summon today all these powers
between me and those evils,


Against every cruel merciless
power that may oppose my body
and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and
smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge
that corrupts man’s body and soul.


Christ to shield me today
Against poising, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So there come to me
abundance of reward.


Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of
every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of
every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye of
every one who sees me,
Christ in every ear
that hears me.


I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Delphic Oracle

The Delphic Oracle is one of the most famous oracles of Ancient Greece. Located at the town of Delphi on Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis in Greece, it is site of the Temple of Apollo.

Legend has it that Apollo came to Delphi, in some stories he appeared in the shape of a dolphin carrying Cretan priests on his back and in others he walked there to pick laurel, which is a sacred plant and has many links to his life and worship.

The Delphic Oracle was originally said to be inhabited by an enormous female serpent or dragon, called Pythia, who spoke the prophecies of Gaia and guarded the oracle as the centre (sometimes referred to as the navel) of the earth and the whole universe. Apollo killed the serpent, casting it into a great chasm on which the Temple of Apollo was built and claimed the oracle from Gaia (although there are also stories where the oracle was handed on via various bequest with Apollo eventually being given it as a birthday present).

The role of Pythia was then filled by a woman, chosen from the Delphic community. In some stories she had to be a young virgin but later as a celibate post-menopausal woman. Pythia was upon a brass tripod above the chasm, which emitted vapours, which were said to be caused by the decomposing corpse of the serpent although modern theories have suggested it may have been ethylene gas or methane or that the chasm may have been a seismic ground rupture.

Pythia was said to then enter a trance like state, sometimes also enhanced by chewing bay leaves, in which she would pass on the messages of the oracle.

There are different stories as to how often this occurred, some say only once a year on Apollo’s birthday (the 17th of the ancient month Bysios, which corresponds to our current second part of February and first part of March) and then later to the 17th of every month, except in Winter when Apollo left Delphi.

In some stories, Pythia spoke in garbled language that was interpreted by the attending priests, however most say that her words were fully comprehensible but the meaning was cryptic and this is what the priests interpreted.

Click here for an online Delphic Oracle - it's not very convincing but it's still fairly interesting nevertheless.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spellcraft - Healing Old Wounds

Scenario :
You have a 25 year old friend who has recently had a surprise visit from an old boyfriend who had been quite abusive during their short relationship.

Your friend had thought that she was over it all but this chance meeting had bought up some bad feelings for her to a point where she was having bad dreams and it was now disrupting her life. She was feeling scared and fragile and her self esteem had plummeted.

She has come to you for help and asks to create a spell/talisman to help her return to a more stable mindset.

Response :

I have put together a little spell kit and a letter for my friend in response to this scenario. The kit contains the following:
* a pink candle
* a toothpick (to inscribe the candle)
* sweet musk incense oil
* small pink organza pouch containing rosemary and thyme
* sodalite
* rose quartz
* hematite

To My Friend,

This is a difficult time and my heart goes out to you for all of the emotions you have found yourself confronting once again after bumping into your old boyfriend. I remember how you were during your relationship and have seen how much you have strengthened and grown since it ended but I understand that you are still dealing with and trying to work through the pain and hurt you felt during the time you were together. I was very relieved to hear that you have contacted a counsellor and are working through these issues however, as you requested, I have put together a little kit containing a few items that I hope will also be helpful.

The colour pink is used to represent the heart and is the universal colour of love. It is used throughout this spell to restore your ability to love yourself and to feel worthy of love from others. As a result of combining the fiery, lustful colour red and the neutralising and pure colour white, pink is perfect to represent the red passion that brought you and your old boyfriend together initially, as this is an essential and honourable part of who you are, and the white cleansing purity that is needed to restore balance and calm without creating a state where love no longer exists at all.

There are no particular words you need to recite for this spell to work as it is something that works with your heart not your head and I didn’t want you to have to remember more than was necessary. If there is anything that you wish to say as you work through this, please do say it as all words that come from your heart are perfect for this spell.

This spell will work best when performed at night during the new moon or at dawn on a Sunday or Monday as may suit you better. It should be seen as a new beginning as it will help you discard all of the feelings that are no longer honouring you and will prepare you for your new start.

Part One – Candle Dressing

Take the pink candle and inscribe with words that describe the emotions you would like to be feeling – love, confidence, balance, peace, healing, self-worth, beautiful etc. Dress the candle with the sweet musk oil.

The sweet musk works with the positive aspects of love and will remind you that the offering of your heart and love reflects on your strengths, not your weaknesses. It should help you recall sweet and innocent memories and will be used to create a positive association and act as a trigger to provide strength and reassurance any time the negative memories start to re-surface.

Part Two – Purification Bath

Draw a warm bath free from any soaps or other additives and add the herb sachet containing rosemary and thyme to the water. Place the dressed candle in sight of the bath, undress and stand for a few moments just breathing deeply until you feel a sense of peace and calm. Light the candle and get into the bath.

Once in the bath, breathe in the aromas of the rosemary and thyme and know that both of these herbs have powerful protection and purification properties. As you gaze into the flame of the candle, allow all of the negative feelings to flow out of you and direct them towards the flame. It may be painful as each thought rises up within you but know that you are safe where you are and that the flame is accepting those negative thoughts and memories from you and cleansing them in the fire while the rosemary and thyme are doing the same through your physical body. Remember, tears are cleansing also so if they start to flow, just allow them to and think of them the release of all of the pain you have been feeling that is also being accepted by the purification bath and therefore cleansed from within you.

Rosemary is an excellent herb for clearing negative energy and thyme is wonderful for promoting courage. Both are powerful healers and can aid with sleep and preventing bad dreams. They are also perfect herbs for love and even though right now it seems that love has been at the centre of all of your grief and pain, they will actually help you work through this so you will be able to separate from this misconception and to once again see love as the positive experience that it is. Not all offerings of love are meant to be eternal but we can always learn a little more about life from them each time.

Do not allow yourself to spend too much time thinking about the negatives of your past relationship. If you start going over the same events and feelings you know you are ready to move onto the next stage.

As the candle burns, reach out your senses and invite the smell of the sweet musk to come to you. As you start to smell its sweet aroma, start to think of all of the ways that love is wonderful. Think of all of the things about yourself that make you happy. Recall every compliment that you have ever been given. Think about things that you do, things that you wear or things that you own that make you happy and that give you a great feeling about yourself. I know there are many so this should keep you busy for a while. Keep watching the flame of the candle and know that it has burnt away all of the feelings that you no longer need to hang onto and you are ready to be filled once more with all of the feelings that you inscribed on the candle earlier.

Once you feel ready, get out of the bath. At some point in the next 24 hours, remove the used herbs from the bag and bury them in the earth.

Part Three – Crystal Pouch

Take the three crystals from the small pink pouch.

The blue stone is sodalite. It helps to create a sense of emotional balance and calm so will help at any time you feel like you are starting to become emotionally charged over thoughts of your old boyfriend. It also enhances self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-trust as well as rational thought, objectivity and truth.

The pink stone is rose quartz. It is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace and will work directly with your heart. This stone will help you heal and will also prepare you for future love both from yourself and from others are you move forward.

The dark silver stone is hematite. This stone is a grounding stone and will work to harmonise everything you have done so far as part of this spell with your mind, body and spirit. It is also a great stone for strength, which is something that you have always had but have now been reminded of through the work you have been doing with your counselling and this spell.

Now, dress each of the crystals in the sweet musk oil. Think about their properties as you rub the oil over them and visualise yourself as these properties apply to you while breathing in the sweet smell of the musk.

Place the crystals in the pouch.

Part Four – Maintenance and Completion

Carry the pouch for seven days if you performed it at dawn or 28 days if you performed it during the new moon. If you start to feel doubt or negative feelings about your old boyfriend surface, take the pouch out, close your eyes (ensuring you are in a safe place to do so first i.e. not driving etc) breathe in the sweet musk smell and recall the positive feelings and traits you have been working with during this spell. Place it under your pillow at night so it can also work with your subconscious mind as well as help alleviate any bad dreams. 

At the end of the required period, return the remaining items to me.

If you have any questions or if you would like any clarification, please contact me as soon as possible. I know you will work through this and that all will be well once again soon.

Blessed be, my friend, blessed be ♥
~ Kora ~

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Nine Muses

The beginning of the mythology of the Muses is somewhat confused and contradictory leading to a school of thought that the concept of inspiration for literature and the arts that the Muses stand for was originally embodied in several non-specific goddesses who were the patrons of poets. Later there is a suggestion that there was only one Muse but it is commonly believed that there were originally three Muses, who were the daughters of Gaia and Uranus. The three Muses were Melete (pronounced mel-uh-tee) who was the Muse of practice and meditation, Aoide (pronounced ay-ee-dee) who was the Muse of song or voice and Mneme (pronounced nee-mee), which is sometimes said to be the shortened form of the name Mnemosyne (pronounced nee-mos-uh-nee) although other sources indicate these are separate deities, who was the Muse of memory.

Of these original three Muses, Mneme was said to have had nine daughters by the God Zeus (in some stories this was a result of Zeus lying with Mneme over nine consecutive nights) and these daughters were known as the nine Muses. It is believed that the nine Muses did not originally have specific domains but provided inspiration for all poetic pursuits and it was as a result of artistic representations of the Muses, particularly in sculptures, where each was depicted with a different emblem in order to differentiate between one another and it was from these representations that their domains were later defined.

Calliope (pronounced kuh-lie-ah-pee) is the eldest and highest ranking or most superior of the nine Muses. Her name means “beautiful voice” or “fair voiced” and appears as a mediator in a story about an argument between Aphrodite and Persephone over possession of Adonis where she decided that time with Adonis would be shared between the two suitors as well as allowing Adonis some time to himself. She is the patron of epic (or heroic) poetry and is usually depicted with a writing tablet and stylus. Calliope has been partnered in different stories with the was God Ares, with whom she had four sons, Mygdon, Edonus, Biston, and Odomantus who were the founders of the Thracian tribes known as the Mygdones, Edones, Bistones and Odomantes respectively, and also had two other famous sons, Orpheus and Linus although it is not clear as to whether these were by Apollo or the King Oeagrus of Thrace and in some cases Linus is said to be the daughter of Calliope’s sister, Urania.

Clio (pronounced klee-oh) means “the proclaimer”. She is the Muse of history and is usually seen with a parchment scroll or a set of tablets. Clio is credited with introducing the Phoenician alphabet to Greece and had one son, Hyacinth, with Pierus, the King of Pieria.

Erato (pronounced eh-rah-toh) is the Muse of lyric or love poetry. Her name is derived from the Greek word eros and means desired or lovely. In art, she is depicted with a Kithara (which is a member of the lyre family and which Erato invented) but also sometimes with a wreath of roses or a love bow and arrow as is carried by Eros (Cupid).

Euterpe (pronounced yoo-tur-pee) means the “giver of delight” or “rejoicing well” and she is the Muse of music. Her symbol is the flute and she is credited as the inventor of the aulos (or double flute). According to Homer's Iliad, Euterpe became pregnant by the river god Strymon and bore a son, Rhesus.

Melpomene (pronounced mel-pom-ah-nee) is the Muse of tragedy and, as such, is typically shown with a theatrical tragedy mask although sometimes also carries a bat, club or sword and wearing cothurnus, which were boots traditionally worm by actors, and a garland or crown of cypress. Her name means “the songstress”.

Polyhymnia (pronounced pol-ee-him-nee-ah) means “the one of many hymns” and she is the Muse of sacred poetry or divine hymns and sometimes also of geometry, mime, agriculture and meditation. She is usually shown with a serious and pensive expression and often wears a veil.

Terpsichore (pronounced turp-sika-ree) is the Muse of dancing and is usually holding a lyre whilst either dancing herself or while sitting down with others dancing to the music from her lyre. She was mother to the Sirens by the river God Achelous.

Thalia (pronounced thuh-lie-ah) is the Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry and her name means “flourishing”. She usually carries a theatrical comedy mask although may also be shown with a shepherds staff or a wreath of ivy.

Urania (pronounced yoo-rey-nee-ah) or Ourania means “heavenly” She is the Muse of astrology and her symbols are a globe and a compass. She is sometimes listed as the mother of Linus from a union with Apollo.

As with most deities, the muses can be seen as archetypes however it is particularly interesting with their being descendants of Mneme, one of the three original Muses who was the Muse of memory. There are many references to the Muses being able to provide the gift of inspiration as well as being able to take it away and in this context the link to memory is frequently made but in an inverse sense as the Muses act to take away the memory of inspiration. While the connection to memory is logical given that they are the daughters of the Muse of memory, this rationalisation appears incomplete. If one applies the concept of the collective unconscious to the gifts bestows by the Muses, it can be seen that the gift that the Muses bestow on those they work with are not new gifts but are a connection to the memories held in the collective unconscious.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Goddess Maia

Pronounced May-ah, the Goddess Maia appears most commonly in Greek and Roman mythology but is typically represented as a fertility goddess associated with spring and the month of May.

In Greek mythology, Maia is the eldest of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. She was said to be the most beautiful of all of the daughters but was shy and chose to live alone in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia and is therefore sometimes referred to as a mountain nymph. The God Zeus fell in love with Maia while he was married to Hera. Zeus met with Maia secretly in her cave where, according to the Homeric Hymn they were “unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera fast."

Maia fell pregnant to Zeus and gave birth to Hermes. One night while Hermes was still an infant, (in some stories on the very night of his birth) after Maia had wrapped him in a blanket and fallen asleep, Hermes crawled out of the cave and went to Thessaly where he stole some of Apollo’s sheep and hid them in his mother’s cave. Apollo was enraged by the theft and confronted Maia who showed him Hermes who, as an infant, should not have been capable of such a deed. Apollo was not satisfied, however, and appealed to Zeus, who sided with Apollo and declared that the sheep should be returned to Apollo.

During this debate, Hermes invented the lyre using a turtle shell, which he was playing when Apollo returned to the cave to reclaim his sheep. Apollo was instantly enchanted by the lyre and exchanged the stolen cattle as well as other gifts for this new and wonderful instrument.

Maia is also sometimes referred to as the “Grandmother of Magic” due to her son, Hermes, having been the one to discover and master this art.

Other than Hermes, Maia had no other children of her own but she was charged by Zeus to raise his son, Arcas, when his wife, Hera turned Arcas’ mother, Callisto into a bear upon discovering Callisto and Zeus’ affair. Arcas is thought to be the namesake of Arcadia, which is a region of Greece in the Peloponnesus.

Maia and her sisters Taygete, Elektra, Alkyone, Asterope, Kelaino, and Merope were turned into doves by Zeus. In some stories this was said to be deliverance from the pain they felt at their father, Apollo’s punishment following he and his brother, Menoetius, siding with the Titans in their war against the Olympians in the Titanomachy (or War of the Titans). As a result of his involvement, Zeus ordered that Atlas to stand at the western end of the earth and hold up the heavens on his shoulders (not the earth as is the common misconception due to later artistic interpretations). In other stories, the transformation into doves was deliverance from the pursuit of Orion. As doves, they flew into the heavens and turned into stars to form the Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus.

As a Greek goddess, Maia’s name is given to mean “great mother”, "midwife", "female doctor", “nurse”, "good mother", "foster mother", or "aunty". As a Roman goddess, however, Maia is also called Maia Maiestas, meaning the “good goddess”, “great or powerful”, “more” or “she who is great”. Other names for Maia in Roman mythology include Bona Dea, Fauna or Ops and she is celebrated as the Goddess of Spring, typically on the 1st of May but also sometimes on the 15th of May, which is also the date of her son, Mercury’s, dedication of his temple (NOTE: Mercury is the Roman name for the God Hermes).

Maia was often associated with Vulcan, sometimes as his wife, as both were deities of heat – she in terms of the increasing natural heat of the earth at the commencement of spring and he in terms of fire and volcanos. In ceremonies held on the 1st of May, a pregnant sow was often sacrifices by the priest who oversaw the rites of Vulcan, however some sources indicate that a sow-shaped wafer could be substituted. The choice of the sow represents the fecundity (pronounced fi-kuhn-di-tee, meaning fruitfulness, fertility and also referring to the capacity to produce many offspring) of the earth and therefore of the goddess Maia.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What Tarot Card Am I?


You are The Wheel of Fortune


Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success


The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Little Ostara Lemon Tarts

With spring in the air and time on my hands, I decided to cook something for Ostara. A recipe for little lemon tarts recently caught my eye so I decided to use this as a base for some Ostara themed treaties. Here's how it happened...

Firstly, I gathered the ingredients for the tart base:
* Cooking spray OR 1 tablespoon of oil
* 2 cups plain flour plus a little extra for kneading
* Pinch salt
* 125g butter - chopped
* 2 teaspoons castor sugar
* 1 teaspoon lemon rind - grated
* 1 egg yolk
* 3 tablespoons iced water

Next was the ingredients for the filling (yum!):
* 125g creamed cheese - softened
* 1/2 cup castor sugar
* 2 egg yolks
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
* Food colouring and items to decorate (optional)

To make the tart bases:

* Sift flour and salt into a bowl
* Rub in butter
* Add sugar, lemon rind, egg yolk and water
* Mix with a knife


* Knead gently on a lightly floured surface


* Cover in cling wrap and place in fridge for 10 minutes
* Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
* Grease two 12-cup patty tins (the recipe I was working off called for "shallow cup" patty tins but as I didn't have any of those I used normal ones and just pushed the bases a little higher up the sides)

Then on to the filling:
* In a separate bowl, add cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk
* Mix with electric mixer until smooth and thickened
* Add lemon juice and condensed milk
* Beat with electric mixer until well combined
* Separate into bowls and add food colouring as desired

Then back to the base:
* Roll out a portion of the base dough between two sheets of baking paper until approx. 3mm thick
* Cut the dough using a 7cm fluted round cookie-cutter


* Carefully place each round into a patty cup, pressing down gently into shape
* Lightly prick each round three times with a fork


* Bake for 10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden
* Remove from over and allow to cool slightly

Now put it all together:
* Spoon the filling into each of the cases
* Bake for 5 minutes or until set


* Allow to cook before removing from patty tins
* Decorate using skittles, smarties, piped icing, sprinkles etc to look like flowers and the bright colours of spring

Ostara

Ostara is one of the Wiccan sabbats celebrating the spring equinox, which is then midpoint between the winter and summer solstices. This is the time where balance is restored and the world starts to bloom into life. Spring has finally arrived! In the southern hemisphere, Ostara occurs between 21 and 23 September each year. Other names for this sabbat include:

* Alban Eiler (Druidic)
* Bacchanalia
* Eostre’s Day
* Lady Day
* Spring Equinox
* Vernal Equinox

The themes for this celebration are balance, birth, creation, new life, butterflies, eggs, fertility, light overtaking the darkness, rebirth, transformation and the God and Goddess in their youthful phases.

In pagan mythology, this is the time when Persephone returns from the underworld to be with her mother, Demeter, and all of the earth blooms in celebration and renewed care and nurture. It is a season of play and joy, as the renewal of the Earth is readily apparent. This is the time to plant, and to begin new projects, a fertile time when ideas and plans start to grow. Rituals at this time celebrate the young God and Goddess, the restoration of plants and animals after the cold of winter.

Traditional foods associated with Ostara are:

* Dairy foods
* Eggs (especially hard-boiled)
* Honey
* Honey cake
* Leafy green vegetables
* Milkshakes and milk punch
* Nuts
* Seeds (such as pumpkin and sunflower)
* Spring fruits
* Sprouts
* Waffles

All pastel colours are in favour at Ostara, particularly light blues, greens, pinks and yellows.

Traditional Ostara herbs, plants and flowers are:

* All spring flowers
* Crocus
* Daffodil
* Ginger
* Gorse
* Honeysuckle
* Iris
* Irish Moss
* Jasmine
* Jonquils
* Narcissus
* Olive
* Peony
* Rose
* Strawberry
* Violet
* Woodruff

Incense popular at Ostara include:

* Any type of floral fragrances
* Jasmine
* Rose
* Sage
* Strawberry
* Violet

Gemstones associated with the time of Ostara include:

* Amethyst
* Aquamarine
* Moonstone
* Red Jasper
* Rose Quartz

Friday, September 11, 2009

Malachite


A beautiful bright to dark green crystal, usually with stripes or swirling patterns, Malachite has a silky appearance and is found in the Congo, the Middle East, Peru, Romania, Russia, Zaire and Zambia. The green colouring of Malachite comes from copper with the water content affecting the depth of the green and the dark/light patterns.

Chemically, Malachite is closest to Azurite and can actually be formed from Azurite as it crystallises. As a result, the two are often found together.

Malachite is toxic therefore should be used cautiously when carved or used in crystal water. It should not be taken internally. Malachite is also sensitive to acid, heat, hot water and ammonia. As such, polished Malachite should not be washed in water, acids or any product containing ammonia.

The word Malachite may be a derivative of the Greek words "malache" meaning "mallow" (a green herb) or possibly "malakos" meaning “soft”. Both aptly relate to this green, soft stone.

Physically, Malachite is often associated with the following:
* Stomach
* Liver
* Kidney stones
* Lungs
* Immune system
* Multiple sclerosis
* Circulation and other issues related to the blood (e.g. reducing bleeding, blood purifying, blood pressure)
* Radiation and chemotherapy
* Sleeping problems
* Asthma
* Bones and bone marrow
* Cancer
* Growths and tumours
* Joints
* Muscles
* Inflammation
* Bacterial infection
* Brain disorders
* Purging of toxins
* Vertigo
* Child birth
* Morning Sickness
* Pain relief and trauma
* Epilepsy
* Gall Bladder
* Infections

Magically, Malachite is generally used for the following purposes:
* Protection
* Transition and transformation
* Clearing negativity
* Promotes faithfulness and loyalty in relationships
* Accepting responsibility
* Releasing inner truth
* Clarifying emotions
* Assisting in physical and psychic healing
* Meditation
* Psychic visions
* Self-expression and creativity
* Money matters

Malachite may assist with the following:
* Depression
* Anger
* Nightmares
* Addiction
* Anorexia
* Confidence
* Emotional healing
* Trust

Malachite has a feminine feel to it and is associated with the astrological signs of Capricorn, Scorpio, Taurus and less commonly Libra, Aquarius and Sagittarius.

Malachite can be used on the heart chakra due to its green colour for matters of the heart but also the throat for self expression and creativity. In history, the ancient Egyptians used ground Malachite for their eye make-up and over children’s beds as a protection symbol.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Passionflower

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is sometimes known as Passionvine or Mayhop and is a perennial vine that is native to the West Indies and Southern America although it is now grown in most parts of the world.

The passionflower gets its name from 15th and 16th century Spanish missionaries who applied the unique physical structure of the plant to symbolise the last days and crucifixion of Jesus Christ according to Wikipedia as follows:
* The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
* The tendrils represent the whips used in the Flagellation of Christ.
* The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
* The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the Crown of Thorns.
* The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
* The 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
* The blue and white colours of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.


The leaves, stems, flowers and tendrils of the plant have been used medicinally, ritually and recreationally and the fruit from the plant (sometimes known as passionfruit, granadilla or water lemon) is also popular. It can be taken as a tea infusion, tincture or smoking mix, however, as with all herb, a medical professional should be consulted first.

Although thorough medical testing has yet to be conducted, passionflower is thought to provide sedative and mild hallucinogenic effects. As a result, passionflower is sometimes used for anxiety and related conditions such as nervousness, agitation, stress, tension and insomnia as well as being used as a muscle relaxant and digestive aid. It is typically thought of as non-addictive and has been successfully used to decrease the impact of opiate, cannabis and alcohol withdrawal.

Passionflower may interact with other drugs, particularly blood thinning agents, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. There have also been reports of passionflower causing hypersensitivity reactions (such as hives, skin blood vessel inflammation) and asthma. As a sedative, it may cause drowsiness and in larger doses it can create a hypnotic state or cause hallucinations. Passionflower is not recommended for pregnant women or young children.

As a magical herb, passionflower can be used to attract and keep love as well as to bring peace and blessings, particularly when grown in or around the home. The hummingbird (in the form of a charm or some other representation) enhances passionflower in spell work due to the assistance several breeds of hummingbird afford to some varieties of passionflower in terms of pollination.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oracle Bay Spell


This spell is inspired by the Delphic Oracle. At the site of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, a woman, in some stories a young virgin possibly of noble blood and in others a post-menopausal celibate peasant woman, sits on a brass tripod over a crevice in the inner hearth. As she breathes in the vapours created from the decomposing body of the monstrous serpent that was slain by Apollo, the woman, known as the Pythia, speaks the prophecies of Apollo.

This spell should be used when you seek guidance from the oracle. Before conducting this spell, give proper thought to why you are seeking guidance. Clearly understand your reasons and ensure you have given consideration to your motives and the factors affecting the situation. Once you have this settled in your mind, you will need to formulate a specific, concise and direct question and have this ready for the ritual. You can either write this question on the paper (see list below) before performing the spell or you can do it when you actually perform the spell.

For this spell you will need:
* A picture of Pythia (look in books, try a Google image search, etc)
* A medium to large cloth
* Two sticks or cones of bay incense and a lighter/matches
* Crushed bay leaves
* Pot suitable for pouring filled with boiling water
* Spoon or athame to stir the water
* White cup and saucer
* Small piece of white or light coloured paper and pen or pencil
* Writing pad

Choose a place where you won’t be interrupted. Fold the cloth into a triangle and place it on the ground. This will represent the tripod on which the Pythia sits.

Cast circle.

Stand facing north with the tripod cloth representation in front of you and say:

“Here in this sacred space, I am Pythia.
I am she who was chosen to speak the oracle of Apollo and I am ready to pass on his message and that of Gaia before him.”

Sit on the tripod cloth.

Take the crushed bay leaves in your right hand and say:

“By the leaf of the bay, favoured herb of Apollo, I infuse this water with the power to divine.” Sprinkle the crushed bay leaves into the water and stir with the spoon or athame.

Light the bay incense and say:

“By the leaf of the bay, favoured herb of Apollo, I light this incense to create the vapour of the slain python.”

Visualise yourself as Pythia and complete the recreation of the scene of the Delphic Oracle in your circle. Look at your picture of Pythia for a few moments then close your eyes and imagine that your folded cloth is really the tripod on which Pythia sits. Picture yourself sitting there looking down over the chasm. Smell the incense and allow it to form an association with Apollo and with the smell of the vapours that rise from below you and linger all around. Taste them in your nose your and mouth and feel the giddy sensation they create as your head buzzes and swarms with the energy of the moment. Then, meditate on the situation surrounding your question until the first incense has burned out.

Write your question on the small piece of paper if you didn’t do so previously and place it on the saucer under the cup.

Stir the hot water with the crushed bay leaves with the spoon or athame and say:

“By the leaf of the bay, favoured herb of Apollo, I draw on the knowledge of the unknown and the insight and wisdom of the Delphic Oracle.”

Pour some of the water and crushed bay leaves into the cup and say:

“By the leaf of the bay, favoured herb of Apollo, I sip on Pythia’s cup and take prepare for the words of the oracle.”

Carefully sip the water avoiding the crushed bay leaves until they are all that is left in the cup then turn the cup upside-down onto the paper with the question that is on the saucer.

Light another bay incense and meditate on your question. Look at the pattern of the crushed bay leaves and residue on the piece of paper that your question is written on. Pick up the writing pad and pen in preparation for any messages that come through via automatic writing and also allow yourself to speak aloud any words that come to you.

When you feel that you have received your answer, even if you don’t understand what it means, allow yourself to become more aware of your physical surroundings. When you are ready say:

“In this moment, I give thanks to Apollo, Gaia, Pythia and the spirit of the oracle and release you from this circle. Blessed be.”

Open circle.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bay Laurel

Other names

* Bay
* Bay Laurel
* Bay Tree
* Daphne
* Grecian Bay
* Grecian Laurel
* Greek Bay
* Laurel
* Laurel Tree
* Laurier d'Apollon
* Laurier Sauce
* Laurus nobilis (botanical name)
* Lorbeer
* Noble Laurel
* Roman Bay
* Roman Laurel
* Sweet Bay
* True Laurel

Habitat and Physical Description

Bay laurel is an evergreen native to Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region and can grow to a height of 10 to 18 metres but can be successfully grown in a pot to reduce the size. It grows well in shady and damp areas of the garden in most soil types though preference is to soil that retains moisture and are well drained.

The leaves of the bay laurel are usually anywhere from 6 to 12 cm long and 2 to 4 cm wide with a finely serrated and wrinkled margin. Bay laurel is dioecious, so each plant will be either male (androecious - flowers produce pollen but no seeds) or female (gynoecious - flowers produce seeds but no pollen). The flowers on the bay laurel are about 1cm in diameter and are typically produced in pairs beside a leaf. Bay laurel bear fruit in the form of a small black berry, approximately 1cm long.

Culinary Uses

Bay is a popular herb for cooking with due to the aromatic nature of the dried leaves, although the leaves are removed at the end of the cooking process and is not eaten. In cooking, bay laurel serves as an appetite stimulant and also assists with the digestive process of heavy foods.

Medicinal Uses

Bay laurel is said to be an excitant (exciting, stimulating) and to have narcotic properties although may cause perspiration as it acts as a diaphoretic or as an emetic, which causes vomiting, in large doses. Medicinal uses of bay laurel include:

* Analgesic
* Anti-bacterial
* Anticonvulsant
* Anti-inflammatory
* Antioxidant
* Bronchitis
* Bruises
* Cancer
* Cough
* Dandruff
* Digestive complaints
* Ear ache
* Flu
* Fungicide
* Insect repellent
* Muscle aches and pains
* Promotes onset of menstruation (and therefore can cause miscarriage in pregnant women)
* Respiratory issues
* Rheumatism
* Settles the stomach
* Sprains

To make a herbal tea from bay leaves, boil 1 litre of water and add three level teaspoons of crushed bay leaves. Cover and allow to steep for approximately half an hour. Strain before use. Can be stored in the refrigerator.

To prepare a rub using bay laurel, combine bay leaves and a little olive oil and heat for approximately 20 minutes. Ensure the heat is kept very low to prevent the oil from overcooking, burning or smoking. Strain the oil from the leaves, allow to cool and then rub or massage into the affected area.

Use the stained leaves from the tea or rub when warm to make a poultice by spreading them on a cloth and applying to the affected area.

Magical Uses

Bay laurel is a strong purification and protection herb. Magical uses include:

* Avoid curses / jinxes
* Clairvoyance
* Prevent unwanted attention / interference
* Prophetic dreams
* Purification bathing (e.g. Ritual bath)
* Remove curses
* Wisdom

Ways that bay laurel can be used in magic include:

* Added to a talisman or mojo bag
* Candle dressing
* Dream pillow
* Hung in a room or area to prevent mischievous or harmful workings cast by others
* Scattered on a floor, in a cupboard, doorway etc then swept away to purify the area and to ward off negativity
* Worm as an amulet

History and Myths

Laurel wreaths were used in ancient Greece, particularly as a prize at the Pythian Games. This is one of the many areas where bay laurel is seen as a symbol of victory, success, fame or prosperity. This is also the origin of the term ‘to rest on your laurels’ and of the title ‘poet laureate’.

In Chinese folklore there is a great laurel tree on the moon, and the Chinese name for the laurel, (traditional Chinese: 月桂), literally translates to "moon-laurel". This is the subject of a story of Wu Gang, a man who aspired to immortality and neglected his work. When the deities discovered this they sentenced Wu Gang to fell the laurel tree, whereupon he could join the ranks of the deities; however, since the laurel regenerated immediately when cut, it could never be felled. The phrase (simplified Chinese: 吴刚伐木) ("Wu Gang chops the tree") is sometimes used to refer to endless toil, analogous to Sisyphus in Greek mythology.

The Delphic priestess are said to have made use of bay leaves to aid in their prophetic visions and divination rites.

In Greek mythology, Apollo, who was a great warrior, was said to have insulted Eros for playing with bows and arrows when, in Apollo’s view, Eros was unworthy of using such weapons. In retribution, Eros took a lead arrow and shot Daphne in order to incite hatred and then took a gold arrow and shot Apollo through the heart to incite love. Apollo was thereby stricken with love for Daphne whereas she saw him as repulsive and fled from him. Apollo took chase and as he was about to catch her, Daphne called out to her father, Peneus, to open the earth to enclose her or to change her form. At that moment, Daphne was transformed into a bay tree. Apollo still loved her and tended to her with his powers of healing and eternal youth to render her evergreen.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What is Shamanism?

This is just some very basic information on Shamanism gleaned from my own research and is meant as an overview, not an extensive or comprehensive article. I am not a Shaman, nor do I have direct experience with Shamanism so I welcome and corrections or additional information via comments to this post.

In essence, Shamanism is the spiritual practices followed by Shamans, who are the practitioners of Shamanism; however, there are many views on how this is specifically practised, the intent applied and the founding belief system.

The basis of Shamanism is animism, which is the belief that all matter has a spirit or life force. Shamans dedicate their existence to being at one with all of nature by connecting with these life forces. This connection is typically made by the Shaman in a trance, or waking-dream like state, also sometimes referred to as astral projection or an out-of-body experience (OOBE). It is believed that while he or she is in this state, the Shaman is able to travel between the physical world and the spiritual world.

Various means are applied by Shamans in order to enter into trance. Meditation using drumming and chanting are common, as are the use of entheogens and hallucinogenics.

The purpose for entering into trance is for the Shaman to travel between worlds, dimensions, parallel universes or planes of existence in order to affect our physical world. This, of course, allows for both negative and positive impact however the most common application is for the purpose of healing.

Shamans have also been credited with powers of divination and the ability to work with the elements, including fire, air, water, earth and the weather in various forms.

Shamanism is not an actual religion and traditionally, only those chosen into Shamanism become shamans. A Shaman may be male or female, although the latter is relatively uncommon. The calling to Shamanism is often via a near death experience (NDE), particularly being struck by lightning, falling from a great height or life-threatening illness. Another means to be called is via lucid dreaming, especially if the dream involves one’s own death or ones internal organs being consumed or removed and then replaced.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who is Aradia?

Aradia is the central figure in the book ‘Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches’ written in 1899 by Charles Godfrey Leland. Leland claims that his book, ‘Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches’, was written based on a manuscript he obtained through his ‘witch informant’, who he referred to as Maddalena. The book contains stories and myths as well as spells, rituals, prose-poetry and blessings.

There are varying claims as to whether Aradia was a goddess, daughter of Diana, or whether she was the mortal woman, Aradia di Tuscano born in Tuscany, Italy in 1313. ‘Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches’, includes a story of Aradia’s birth that supports the former theory of Aradia’s origins.

In 1981, Raven Grimassi published ‘The Book of the holy Strega’, in which he supports the theory of Aradia being a mortal who was taught witchcraft by her aunt.
The common story of Aradia is that she taught witchcraft in order to free women of the 14th century from the oppression of the time. She gathered followers and taught a belief system and practices that empowered and released them.

Aradia is sometimes referred to as La Bella Pellegrina (the beautiful pilgrim) or Mistress of the Fairies (in reference to Diana being sometimes called Queen of the Fairies). She has also been linked to the names Erodiade, Herodiade and Herodias.

Some of the words attributed to Aradia have been interpreted as to instruct practitioners of witchcraft to perform their rituals naked and are thought to have been influential in the choice for some modern-day Wiccans to work sky clad. Sexual acts have also been referenced in relation to Aradian teachings and rituals, particularly by Aiden Kelly (co-founder of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn), which Leland astutely refers to in the appendix of “Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches’, stating, “They adored forbidden deities and practised forbidden deeds, inspired as much by rebellion against Society as by their own passions."

Another important impact of the stories of Aradia on modern Wicca and many of the associated topics of debate is in the postulation that witchcraft is the ‘Old Religion’, and that modern practices are a survival of ancient pagan beliefs. For this reason, debates on this subject will often include reference to Margaret Murray, an advocate of the theory of modern witchcraft being a revival rather than a reinvention.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is Circumambulation?

From the prefix circum-, meaning around, round about or to encompass or surround, and the word ambulate, a derivative of the word amble, meaning to walk or move from place to place.

Generally, circumambulation is to walk or move around something, especially as part of a ceremony or ritual. In a religious or spiritual context, circumambulation is performed around a special object, just as a shrine or an alter, or sometime it is performed with a special object, such as an element representation when casting circle in Wicca.

Many religions use circumambulation as part of worship. A Catholic priest may circumambulate an alter, other priest or person, gifts etc while swinging a thurible of incense (also known as censing) as part of a blessing or ceremony. The number of times and the method used to swing the thurible is significant and, in some denominations, forms part of the liturgical law.

Muslims circumambulate the Kaaba seven times as part of a Hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Buddhist use circumambulation as a means to connect through focus on the object they are walking around. Even today, visitors to the Stupa, which is a popular Buddhist site in India, circumambulate the site in order to reflect on the many sculptures that make up this site.

Pradakshina (Sanskrit), literally meaning 'the the right', consists of walking usually in a clockwise direction around in a 'circle' as a form of worship in Hindu ceremonies in India. Typically, Pradakshina is done after the completion of traditional worship (pooja) and after paying homage to the deity and can be performed around the sacred fire as part of the Hindu marriage ceremony.

In Wicca, the casting of the circle, which creates a sacred space for ritual, meditation etc, is done using circumambulation. As with many other circumambulatory practices, direction is important. Wiccans cast (create) circle in a deosil direction, meaning 'with the sun' and open (release or deconstruct) circle in a widdershins direction, meaning 'against the sun'. Many Wiccans acknowledge that the direction of the path of the sun is different in the northern and southern hemisphere and will cast and open circle accordingly. In the southern hemisphere, deosil is anti-clockwise so this is the direction that the circle is cast in (i.e. north -> west -> south -> east) and widdershins is clockwise and therefore the direction that the circle is opened (i.e. north -> east -> south -> west). These are reversed in the northern hemisphere.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Into The Land Of Esoteria

The night before last I woke around 3am with a strange sort of feeling that I had been listening to myself breathing for the last half hour as I slept.

Usually when I wake at that time its a fairly quick process but this time I felt like I had slowly slid out of the depths of sleep and lingered for some time just listening to the rhythm as I inhaled and exhaled. I have no idea where the time frame of half an hour had come from but it was very clear in my mind when I woke.

After a moment, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and started to analyse the feeling which felt more like a memory than a dream. In my mind it started to become less and less likely that I could have actually been listening to myself breathe while I was asleep and soon as much doubt existed as there had previously been belief.

I sometimes think my logical mind is what prevents me from delving as far into the land of esoteria as would be otherwise possible.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some More Then

Dreams, dreams, dreams. So many strange dreams!

I dreamt that I was shaving my forearms. I was using a razor but was fascinated to note that it was cutting like clippers into a fine but even coat. The hairs on my forearms are actually quite fine and light in colour, as they were in the dream but there were more of them there. The amazing w.w. looked this up in a Polish dream book of hers and says that dreams of hairy arms relate to job offers but she added that me shaving the hair in the dream begs the question of whether I would take the offer or not. I didn't draw a parallel until she gave me her interpretation but the day after I had this dream I was offered some additional work at my temp job but I turned it down. Spot on dream interpretation, me thinks.

The next night I dreamt I was at a hotel and a friend of mine from high school was there. We've always been in touch since we left school but in the dream she was trying to play practical jokes on me. At one point I was in the bathroom of my hotel room and a stream of sun screen squirted down on me from a roof vent out of what looked like a sauce bottle nozzle. I don't know how I found out but it was done by an older man, perhaps in his late 40's but my friend had put him up to it. The next thing I knew I was on the roof top of the hotel and was angry because I had been in the bathroom and felt that the joke had crossed the line as I could have been undressed or anything. My friend was laughing but I was somehow calmly pissed. I grabbed the guy and threw him over the edge of the building. As I looked over I saw him fall and crash into a glass ledge.

My friend freaked out, which is understandable, and screamed at me, "Oh, my God, what have you done?". I'm usually the sort of person who would always try to talk about things but I remember just walking off in the dream and feeling like I didn't really need to answer. I was smiling to myself as I left and I said something that might have been, "You didn't expect that, did you?" or something really callous like that.

My dream then turned to a need to dispose of the body of this guy I'd thrown off the building. As I was thinking this the image of him crashing into the glass flashed past and I realised that other people would have seen what had happened and would be attending to the body but I still had to do something about it anyway.

I talked to The Starchild and then got a flash of an image of a hole he had dug, but it was in the old dirt driveway at my Mum's house, which is the house that I grew up in, but the driveway in the dream was more like as it was in around 1980 to 1985, when I was between the ages of five and ten. The Starchild didn't really talk much but he listened to what had happened and then got to work, which is much like him, and just muttered something about it being a good job that he had dug that hole so now we could bury the body in it. I felt good and hopeful and went to the linen closest in my current house to get something to wrap the body in before we buried it. I took ages trying to find something appropriate, which for some reason I thought needed to be brown and green - not common colours for any of the things I own, and by the time I decided on something, The Starchild was slapping the dirt from his hands and clothes and had finished the job, which is, again, much like him.

I'm a bit disconcerted about this dream, as you can imagine, as I can't consolidate any of my thoughts, feelings or actions in it with my usual self. I've had a really strange energy with me for a few weeks now and I kind of feel like it is related. I've also had some really great advice today from w.w. about good ways to release the energy, which she noticed on Monday night, but that advice also included a comment that resonated with me quite strongly and that was sometimes these things have some work to do with us. I have had a bit of a reluctance to release it just yet and there are a number of situations that have shown me that I don't feel really scared by it at all, but I don't trust it, and I feel that it is trying to influence some of my conscious decisions. There doesn't seem to be an immediate need to take action on this as yet but it does feel like I'm going to go on a bit of a trip each night when I go to bed, not that that is so unusual, but I think there are some things that I need to work with at the moment. Once I am through with that I will go a tree-hugging, which I will probably blog about some more then.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healing Poppet Spell To Give Health To A Plant

The task was to create a spell using Aloe Vera - a common plant but not one with an abundance of references in terms of spell work.

As with many things in Wicca, I was inspired by my natural environment and the things happening around me. I had been recently gifted with an Aloe Vera cutting but I fear I wasn't doing very well with my charge and needed to give it a bit of a healing boost. As Aloe Vera is a plant with amazing healing qualities, I decided to write a spell to create a healing poppet to give health to a plant...

This spell can be used to help when a plant is starting to wane, is looking slightly unhealthy or when replanting to help the plant to stabilise and thrive. You will need a healthy Aloe Vera plant from which to take a small cutting and some natural / bio-degradable material, which can be anything from a swatch of cotton to a paper towel, from which to make a small poppet.

Sit before the healthy Aloe Vera plant and ground and centre.

Focus on your intention to bring health to the plant you will be working the spell on. Picture the plant as it is now and ask the healthy Aloe Vera plant for help with your intentions by saying:

By the flower, bush and tree
With health and life to share
Pass your abundance here through me
As my intentions I declare

Take a small cutting from the healthy Aloe Vera plant using your boline.

Fashion a small poppet using the natural / bio-degradable material placing the cutting of Aloe Vera inside the chest area as you make it. It doesn’t really matter how you make the poppet or what it looks like but it will need to be of an appropriate size to place in the pot or on the ground very close to the plant you will be working with. As you make the poppet, chant the following:

She carries here within her heart
This gift of health she will impart

Under the new moon or at dawn during the new moon phase, kneel before the plant that you will
be giving the healing poppet to and say:

By the flower, bush and tree
This gift I bring to you
Her healing love will shine on thee
And your health she will renew

Place the poppet as close to the base of the plant as possible and say:

Blessed be

The poppet should be left in the plant until it breaks down naturally and can be turned into the soil in due course.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shamanism

In essence, Shamanism is the spiritual practices followed by Shamans, who are the practitioners of Shamanism; however, there are many views on how this is specifically practised, the intent applied and the founding belief system.

The basis of Shamanism is animism, which is the belief that all matter has a spirit or life force. Shamans dedicate their existence to being at one with all of nature by connecting with these life forces. This connection is typically made by the Shaman in a trance, or waking-dream like state, also sometimes referred to as astral projection or an out-of-body experience (OOBE). It is believed that while he or she is in this state, the Shaman is able to travel between the physical world and the spiritual world.

Various means are applied by Shamans in order to enter into trance. Meditation using drumming and chanting are common, as are the use of entheogens and hallucinogenics.

The purpose for entering into trance is for the Shaman to travel between worlds, dimensions, parallel universes or planes of existence in order to affect our physical world. This, of course, allows for the potential of both negative and positive impacts; however, the most common application is for the purpose of healing. Shamans have also been credited with powers of divination and the ability to work with the elements, including fire, air, water, earth and the weather in various forms.

Shamanism is not an actual religion and traditionally, only those chosen into Shamanism become shamans, though the means to be chosen can be self-proclaimed. A Shaman may be male or female, although the latter is relatively uncommon. The calling to Shamanism is often via a near death experience (NDE), particularly being struck by lightning, falling from a great height or suffering a life-threatening illness. Another means to be called is via lucid dreaming, especially if the dream involves one’s own death or ones internal organs being consumed or removed and then replaced.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Domestic Witch Blog Award


What a lovely surprise this morning to find I have received the Domestic Witch Blog Award!

Michel is an awesome blogger who has posted a lot of thoughts on Wicca and related subjects, as well as her thoughts and feelings as she follows her spiritual path. She is also the one who passed on this award, which is a fantastic way for other like minded people to network and share information here in blog land. Thanks, Michel, for the award!

The rules of the award are as follows:

Pass the award on to 3 blogs about Domestic Witchery that you really enjoy.
Include the award in your blog post.
Link the nominees within your post.
Don't forget to mention the person who gave you the award.
Let your chosen winners know that they received The Domestic Witch Blog Award by commenting on their blog.

There are an increasing number of blogs that I currently follow that are exceptionally worthy of this award but in order to pick three I have selected the three with the most recent posts on that would fit into the Domestic Witchery category. If you are interested in finding more blogs along this vein, check out some of the other blogs I'm following.

For now though - the winners are:

Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom

Witch Hollow Primitives

Hibiscus Moon

I hope you all enjoy checking out these blogs - and congratulations to the newest recipients of this wonderful award.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Every Day Life

On Wednesday night I dreamt that I was back at high school and I'd lost my school bag. I was retracing my steps for the day and returning to classrooms that I'd been to but was calm and just kind of going through the motions to find my bag. As I walked along the corridors it was like I knew it was the present time because I was noticing little renovations and was trying really hard to remember the names of the buildings and was thinking that made sense because it had been so long since I'd been there.

At some point I passed a staff room and one of the teachers seemed very worried that I hadn't handed in a note to go to some excursion. They told me it had to be in two days ago and that too long had passed for them to be able to do anything about it. They were quite upset, but in a sad and sympathetic way and not angry as I guess would have been the case if I really was a student. I told them that it didn't really matter and that I wasn't worried but they continued to fret.

Different things happened in each of the classrooms that I went to but I can't remember much about those parts other than there were other people who were also worried about this permission note that I hadn't handed in but I still wasn't phased, even though I probably would have been at the time had it had been real.

The last room I went to was an English class but it was one of my old Maths teachers (which actually makes sense as I remember that her and one of the English teachers were really good friends and that she had done three unit English when she was at High School and the English teacher had done four unit Maths). I didn't really like this teacher but got along with her ok. She told me that I'd left my bag there early and was surprised that I didn't remember. She seemed quite sympathetic but then started to get angry at all of the work I'd missed because I'd been wandering around all day trying to find my bad. She kept saying how I was usually so organised and was asking me why I couldn't remember things. She gave me a pile of books and papers and told me to photocopy them, but I didn't know which ones she meant and couldn't remember where the photocopier was. When I asked she got angrier and I ended up getting upset and telling her to cut me some slack and to think about the times when I was organised and did do the right thing and that it was ok if I was having a down day for once.

The next night I had a dream that I was going to a job interview that a friend had recommended me for and set up for me. I got there and realised I didn't even know the name of the guy I was meant to be meeting but just as I started to call my friend to ask, the guy came out and he knew who I was.

We went inside the office area and it was all very laid back but really productive and everyone seemed happy. He was asking me some questions, but not really very many for an interview. I was trying to work out what his name was and then I realised that I didn't even know what the job was that I was interviewing for. I started to feel that it was all a little bit too relaxed and the interview was too unstructured and lacking direction so I started to take charge and lead the discussion.

This seemed to be the right tact as he then took me on a tour and I seemed to be starting work there and then - talk about hitting the ground running! I don't know what the company did but it was something to do with marketing and everyone kept telling me how much of a genius this guy was at what he did.

I started to meet the people in the office and was thinking how great it would be to work there. Then I saw my sister-in-law, who is usually a quiet and reserved type of person but in the dream she was outgoing and had a lip piercing, which also quite unlike her in real life. The piercings seemed to be knew in the dream because the area around them was red and swollen.

The next thing I remember I was standing outside the front door of the office and I noticed there was an identical door next to it but inside everyone wore white clothes and were very stoic and quiet. There was some sort of set up where all employees had to spend some time working on both sides and I was a little disappointed because it looked so boring compared to the first side.

The boss from the white side then came out and he turned out to be the twin brother of the guy who had interviewed me, even though they didn't look the same other then in age, which was somewhere in their 50's. The white boss guy was angry about something and had an argument with the interviewer guy. Even though I wasn't involved I felt like it had something to do with me and I was even more worried about having to work for the white boss guy.

Both of these dreams seem to be about life choices and external pressures and expectations. They've probably come up because of the temp work I will be starting tomorrow. I'm sure there is more to it than that though as they were so involved and so vivid at the time, it seems like such a lot of trouble for my subconscious to go to just to talk to me about such obvious and basic elements of every day life.

Jacob's Ladder

The term Jacob’s Ladder has been applied to several contexts, including film, literature, music, botany and even an electrical device; however, it is originally from the bible in the book of Genesis Chapter 28 verse 10-22, which is where Jacob is fleeing from his brother, Esau’s rage after having stolen his father’s blessing and birth-right. This is translated in the New International Version of the bible as follows:

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway [a] resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it [b] stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, [c] though the city used to be called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD [d] will be my God 22 and [e] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."

Footnotes:
[a] Genesis 28:12 Or ladder
[b] Genesis 28:13 Or There beside him
[c] Genesis 28:19 Bethel means house of God.
[d] Genesis 28:21 Or Since God the father's house, the LORD
[e] Genesis 28:22 Or house, and the LORD will be my God, 22 then

In general terms, Jacob’s Ladder is a connection between Heaven and Earth; however, there have been a number of interpretations of the meaning of Jacob’s Ladder based on both the Christian and Jewish teachings. Some of the interpretations are as follows:

  • The angels on the ladder were said to climb to certain rungs and fall down representing the exiles that the Jewish people would be subjected to before the coming of the Messiah.
  • The angels on the ladder were Jacob’s constant companions, with the ascending angels being those who were assigned to the Holy Land and were returning to Heaven as Jacob had reached the border of Canaan, which was to later become Israel, and the descending angels being those who were assigned to other lands and were returning to earth to continue on with Jacob.
  • The place where Jacob had been given the dream of the ladder (or stairway) was where the Temple in Jerusalem would later be built, which was seen as a connection to Heaven through the prayers and sacrifices that were offered there.
  • The dream has also been interpreted as a reference to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, another connection between Heaven and earth. Jewish scholars note that the word ‘sulam’, which is the Hebrew word for ladder, and the word ‘Sinai’ have the same numerical letter value, known as gematria.
  • Subscribers to the idea of reincarnation believe that the angels represent souls descending to bodies when the physical body is born unto the earth and ascending to Heaven when the person dies.
  • The dream reflects the highs and lows of life with the angels descending to earth to help those in need in times of despair and suffering and pulling those souls upwards when needed.
  • The stairway in Jacob’s dream refers to Jesus. This is further reinforced in John 1:51, which uses the same imagery of the angels but refers to Jesus, a descendant of Jacob, as the Son of Man in place of the ladder. This supports the bible’s message that through the sacrifice Jesus made at his crucifixion, his death opened the path to Heaven. This verse reads as follows:
He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
  • The stairway can also been seen as the church itself and was referred to in this way as early as the 2nd Century by Saint Irenaeus.
  • The stairway is the path that the soul takes after death in order to get to Heaven.
  • The rungs on the ladder represent virtues that a person should aspire to in order for their soul to be able to ascend into the Kingdom of Heaven when they die.
  • The dream reinforces the idea that only God can provide the path to Heaven. This idea is often juxtaposed with the story in Genesis 11: 1-9 where the people of Babel attempted to build a tower to Heaven by their own means and not through a true connection with God. In this story, God punishes the people of Babel by confusing their language and scattering all over the earth.
  • The angels were carrying messages and prayers to and from Heaven and the earth.
Jacob’s Ladder is also used as a symbolic connection between the physical and spiritual existence, particularly in many Hermetic concepts. In some Hermetic texts, the ladder was depicted as a chain, with each link in the chain representing different spheres of consciousness and also the representation of how man on the physical plan is connected with God at the highest level. In other Hermetic texts, the ladder was used as another representation of the tree of life, which is the basis of the Kabalah. Sometimes the ladder was shown as a circle, thereby representing the continuous cycle of life and death. In alchemy, the ladder symbolised the transformation that took place between base substances and those of the greatest worth, both physically and spiritually. It has also been used as a meditation visualisation for ascension towards transformation and the Divine light.