Blessing Moon of July

July’s full moon is known as the Blessing Moon, although it’s also called the Meadow Moon. July was originally called Quintilus but was later renamed in honor of Julius Caesar. Falling in the heat of the middle of summer, this moon phase takes place when we’re all feeling a bit lazy and sluggish – after all, going outside can seem like a chore as the heat index climbs. Physically, we’re often a bit slower than usual in July, which is why this is a good time of the year to focus on meditation and dream work.

This is indeed a season of blessings – if you’ve got a garden growing, July is when you’re starting to see fat tomatoes form on the vine, plump peppers, watermelons, and the beginnings of squash for later harvesting. Your flowers are blooming, and corn stalks are on their way to being tall and bountiful. If you have herbs growing, now is the perfect season to start thinking about harvesting and drying them for later magical use.

Correspondences

  • Colors: Green, silver, blue-gray
  • Gemstones: Moonstone, white agate, opals or pearls
  • Trees: Ash and oak
  • Gods: Juno, Venus, Cerridwen, Athena, Nephthys, Lugh
  • Herbs: Mugwort, hyssop, lemon balm
  • Element: Water

Blessing Moon Magic

This is a great time to do divination and dreamwork. For a bit of moon magic divination, consider doing some full moon water scrying.

If you’ve ever thought about creating a dream journal, this month is a good time to start one. Dreams can be prophetic, in that they may tell us of things yet to come, or they can be therapeutic, a way of our subconscious acknowledging problems that have to be resolved. Write down your dreams so you can try to interpret their messages later, and see how they’ll apply to your life in the coming months.

Find a way to incorporate the watery energy of the Blessing Moon into your spell crafting and ritual. Enjoy the relaxing feeling of July’s full moon and use it in your personal meditation. If you garden, get outside and do some weeding. Turn it into a meditative exercise, pulling weeds as a way of getting rid of the emotional and spiritual clutter that may be stifling your happiness.

The full moon has long been considered a symbol of wisdom and intuition. We feel its connection every month when it lights the night sky. Many of us feel more energetic and alert during the full phase of the moon.

This is partly because our bodies and mind are intricately connected to the lunar cycles. Like ourselves, water is also linked to the changing face of the moon.

Using a reflective surface as a tool for scrying is hardly new — the ancient Romans did it in their religious rituals, and the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” contains references to Hathor’s magic mirror, used to see the future.

Pre-Christian Celtic seers were believed to have visions when they looked upon dark stones such as beryl or other crystals, according to Pliny. Even in the 1500s, Nostradamus made notes about staring into a bowl of water by candlelight to gain inspiration.

This divination is one of the simplest. It’s best to do it outside if at all possible, because, after all, you are relying on the moon to illuminate the water for you! If you can’t perform this ritual on the night of the full moon, the night immediately before or immediately after is just as acceptable.

What You’ll Need

In addition to a clear sky and a full moon, you’ll need the following items:

  • A table or some sort of flat workspace
  • A dark bowl
  • A pitcher containing enough water to fill the bowl
  • A journal or notepad to write in, as well as a pen
  • Optional: your favorite meditative music

If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now. If you’d like to play some music, go ahead and start your CD player. Sit or stand comfortably at your workspace. Begin by closing your eyes, and attuning your mind to the energy around you. Feel the soft earth under your feet. Hear the rustling of the wind in the trees. Breathe in the scent of grass and earth that lingers in the air. Raise your arms out to your sides, palms facing up, and feel the energy of the moon above you.

Take some time to gather that energy. It’s a pull, a palpable sensation that we can feel if we just take the time to look for it. Feel that silvery power above you, and recognize your connection to it, and to the Divine.

When you are ready to begin scrying, open your eyes. Notice the night all around you. You may feel an unusual sense of clarity and alertness – don’t be alarmed, it’s just that lunar energy at work. Raise the pitcher in one hand, holding it over the bowl. As you do, visualize wisdom and guidance within the water. As you pour the water into the bowl, from the pitcher, see the energy of the moon charging that water. Recognize that this water can show you the mysteries of the moon.

When the bowl is full, position yourself so that you can see the moon’s light reflected directly into the water. Stare into the water, looking for patterns, symbols or pictures. You may see images moving, or perhaps even words forming. You may have thoughts pop spontaneously into your head, that seem to have nothing at all to do with anything. Use your journal, and write everything down. Spend as much time as you like gazing into the water — it may be just a few minutes or even an hour. Stop when you begin to feel restless, or if you’re getting distracted by mundane things.

When You’re Done

When you are finished gazing into the water, make sure you have recorded everything you saw, thought and felt during your scrying session. Messages often come to us from other realms and yet we frequently don’t recognize them. If a bit of information doesn’t make sense, don’t worry — sit on it for a few days and let your unconscious mind process it. Chances are, it will make sense eventually. It’s also possible that you could receive a message that’s meant for someone else — if something doesn’t seem to apply to you, think about your circle of friends, and who it might be meant for.

Afterward, you can leave your water out overnight to charge it even more, or you can pour it away into your garden as an offering.

** Note: If you live near a natural body of water such as a pond or lake, you can perform water scrying with these larger “bowls” instead!

Also: if you have any water that needs cleansing, don’t forget to leave it out for the moon.

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

This post is an exact re-post from last year’s lesson as a refresher*

Planet: Mars and Saturn

Element: Fire

Symbolism: The Sword of Truth, Unconditional love, sacrifice, reincarnation

Stone: Ruby

Image result for ruby stone

Bloodstone

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Powers: Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream Magick

Birds: Cardinal

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Starling

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Color: Red

Deity: Lugh, Tannus, Thor

Sabbat: Lughnasa, Celtic festival of the Sun God Lugh, Lammas

Death of the God of the Waxing year (Oak King) and Birth of the God of the Waning year (Holly King)

Folk Names: Aquifolius, Bat’s Wings, Christ’s Thorn, Holy Tree, Holm Chaste, Hulm, Hulver Bush

Medicinal properties: The powdered leaves were brewed into a healing tea for measles, and the ashes from burning the leaves in a drink soothed whooping cough. Hot compresses made from the leaves and bark helped ease the pain of broken bones and dislocations. 

Magickal properties: A “par excellence” protective herb, it protects against lightning, poison, and evil spirits. When thrown at wild animals it makes them lie down quietly and leave you alone.  Sprinkle an infusion made with Holly on newborn babies to protect them. Holly is considered the male counterpart to the female Ivy. Even though Holly’s Yule festival greens are traditionally burned at Imbolg, a small sprig us kept for luck and to keep evil away throughout the year.

  • Holly reminds us of the need to calm our emotions, if we are to reach wise decisions about our situation. The often painful consequences of our actions are brought to the surface for examination, and calm acceptance of our responsibility is required. We are reminded of the need to view ourselves, as well as others, in the light of compassion and unconditional love. Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
  • Holly wood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, and as the spiny leaves show, it is well prepared for battle. A symbol of firmness and masculine energy, the holly endows those born under its sign with an equally well-prepared nature. You have a strong connection to the earth, amazing physical strength, and the ability to direct your energy in a balanced even flow. This stability gives you a generosity of spirit ad a very matter-of-fact solidness that others will respect, admire, and rely on. Before you engage in any battle, look inside for understanding and respect for your opponents.
  • Dreaming of Holly means you should be mindful of what is troubling you, and picking holly in your dreams means you will have a long life. 
  • After midnight, on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine Holly leaves. Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots to tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow and your dreams will come true.
  • Holly berries were used to predict winter weather. If there were a profusion of berries, that meant it would be a hard winter, because the Goddess was providing extra berries for the birds.
  • Holly is one of the three timbers in the Chariot Wheel.
  • It represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
  • Use Holly berries with your favorite spell for female fertility and sexuality:
  • Red Holly Berries symbolize the life-giving blood of the Mother Goddess. Gather three berries (or a multiple of three) and carry them in your hand to a body of water. As you say your incantation, drop the berries into the water. Visualize a circle of light surrounding you as you go through your spell.

CAUTION: Holly Berries are purgative and often cause nausea and vomiting. They are poisonous to children. DO NOT CONSUME HOLLY BERRIES

Spell Jars

What is a spell jar? Essentially, it is how it sounds. It is a spell with correspondences added all together to create the spell. Remember, intent is always important, and I never recommend not casting 

Some of the earliest documented witch bottles consist of salt glazed stoneware jugs known as Bartmann jugs, Bellarmines, or “Greybeards.” Bellarmines were named after a particularly fearsome Catholic Inquisitor, Robert Bellarmine, who persecuted Protestants and was instrumental in the burning of Giordano Bruno. Greybeards and Bellarmines were made of brown or gray stoneware glazed with salt and embossed with a bearded face. Later witch bottles were made from glass bottles, small glass vials, and a variety of other containers.

This form of “bottled spell” dates back hundreds of years, and were prevalent in Elizabethan England – especially East Anglia, where superstitions and belief in witches were strong. The bottles were most often found buried under the fireplace, under the floor, and plastered inside walls. In 2016 a glass bottle found buried in the threshold of a man’s house was featured in an episode of Antiques Roadshow filmed in Trelissick, Cornwall; glass specialist Andy McConnell tasted a small amount of the contents theorising it was possibly port or wine though he did note the rusty flavour and the presence of nails, a later episode in 2019 then revealed the contents had been analysed by Loughborough University that identified it actually contained “urine, a tiny bit of alcohol, and one human hair” alongside some brass pins dating from the late 1840s and an ostracod. It was theorised to be a witch bottle.

Wiccans, of course, do no harm. Meaning that the ill intentions witch jars have the history of have no part in a Wiccan ritual. 

One way to make a spell jar can be found here.

Post-Holiday Wallet Money Spell Jar

The best day to cast this spell is during a waxing half moon, or on a Thursday if you can’t wait that long.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 air tight jar with a lid
  • 8 dimes to represent money. In numerology, the number eight is associated with the movement of money
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme (dried works too) for luck
  • Orange peels for prosperity
  • A handful of fresh basil (dried works too) for protection
  • Cloves (whole or ground) for money
  • Oats for prosperity and abundance
  • Sprinkles or dextrose star candies (fruits or stars) to sweeten the deal
  • Paper
  • 1 pen or marker with green ink
  • 1 green candle and 1 white candle

1. Set up your space for spell-casting in whichever way makes you most comfortable. Clean it, sage it, lock your door — whatever makes you feel safe. (You don’t necessarily have to do anything special if you don’t feel the need.)

2. Write your intention on a piece of paper with a marker or pen with green ink. Fold and lay at the bottom of the jar.

3. Layer 8 new or freshly cleaned and purified dimes (or another type of coin) on top of the paper, focusing on your intention (aka thinking about money!). The number eight is considered the money number.

Gimme Love Spell Jar

This spell jar is the sweet touch you need to attract the person with the right energy for you.

The best time to cast this spell is during a full moon or on a Friday.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Pink food coloring for romance
  • Orange food coloring for attraction
  • White sugar for sweetness
  • Dried or fresh red or pink roses for love
  • Dried or fresh lavender for love and protection
  • Cinnamon for protection
  • Paper
  • 1 pen/marker with orange ink
  • 1 pink candle

1. Fill two separate bowls halfway with white sugar. Add one drop of pink food coloring to one and one drop of orange to the the other. Mix well until the sugar in each bowl is a consistent color.

2. With the pen and paper, write the qualities of the person you’re hoping to attract, and put the paper in the bottom of your jar.

3. With a mortar and pestle, crush together the roses and lavender, all while thinking about your intention to attract love.

4. Layer pink sugar, herb mixture, and orange sugar until you fill the jar.

5. Sprinkle a little cinnamon to draw love and happiness on the top.

6. You can seal the jar and leave it at that, or burn a pink candle over the top.

Please find a great example of a protective Salt Jar here.

Father’s Day

How Did Father’s Day Come About?

Fathers have been celebrated long before Christ was even born. Father’s day is closely related to pagan celebrations in honor of the sky fathers, summer solstice, and sun gods.

During these pagan rituals, whenever goats were sacrificed, they tied ribbons around the goats’ necks. This was done to set them apart from the rest of the herd. Ever wondered where we got the tradition of gifting our fathers ties on this holiday? Everything in these holidays have pagan symbolism. Nothing is new under the sun said, King Solomon.

Sky Father

According to ancient cultures, sky fathers were (are) refer to sky gods who were looked upon as “fathers.” And I state this in plural because there are so many sky fathers, in fact, most cultures have one.

However, “sky father” is a translation of the Vedic pantheon Dyaus Pita. This Indian god is the equivalent of the Roman god, Jupiter and the Greek god, Zeus.

Summer Solstice

As I mentioned earlier, father’s day is closely related to the summer solstice pagan practices. You will see what I mean in a minute.

The word solstice comes from the Latin word solstitum which means “sun stands still.” It is the longest day of the year and the shortest night in the Northern Hemisphere. It is known by different names throughout the world, in Europe for example, it is called Midsummer. Wiccans and Neopagans refer to it as Litha. And to the Catholic Church, it is St. John’s Day.

All are one and the same and can trace their roots all the way back to ancient times. Pagans celebrated the summer solstice by sacrificing to the sky fathers (sun gods) and women performed pagan rituals. The festivities lasted a whole week from June 19-25. 

Many of these traditions remain to this day.

Roman Festivals 

Festivities in honor of several gods took place during the summer solstice pagan celebrations. One such example is the festival in honor of the goddess Juno (wife of Jupiter). Juno was the goddess of women and childbirth. The month of June was named in her honor. She was also the patroness of marriage and the reason why June remains the most popular month for weddings to this day. 

The goddess Veta (goddess of the hearth) was also honored during this time. Women would go to her temple for 8 days to perform rituals and offered salted meat asking for blessings upon their homes.

In Modern Times

In 1909, Sonora Dodd, a woman from Spokane, Washington founded Father’s Day in the US. She wanted to her honor her father, William Smart, a civil war veteran who raised her and 5 siblings after his wife died giving birth to their last child. Sonora wanted to honor him during his birth month which happened to be in June. 

Father’s Day was officially first celebrated on June 19, 1910. President Wilson supported the holiday in 1914. And President Johnson signed the proclamation to officially declare the holiday in the 3rd Sunday of June in 1966.

This is the type of thing that God repeatedly punished Israel for doing. It is spiritual adultery and no matter how you may look at it, it will remain pagan. You can change the name, change the traditions…they were never ordained by God.

Litha

When is Litha: June 20-22

Litha pronunciation: LEE-tha

Themes: abundance, growth, masculine energy, love, magic

Also known as: Midsummer, Midsummer’s Eve, Gathering Day, St. John’s Day, St. John’s Eve, Summer Solstice, Alban Hefin, Feill-Sheathain

“Litha” is the name given to the Wiccan Sabbat celebrated at the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year, marking the pinnacle of the Sun’s power to fuel the growing season. From here on out, the Sun will set a little earlier each night until Yule, and so we recognize and give thanks for its warmth.

Though it’s typically celebrated on June 21st, the exact moment of the Summer Solstice varies from year to year. This is due to a slight misalignment between the Gregorian calendar and the actual rate of the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The Solstice also occurs at differing local times, so depending on where you live, it may fall the day before or after the date listed on any given calendar. For this reason, a date range of June 20-22 is often cited in sources on the Wheel of the Year.

As the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, the God is now in his full power, and the Goddess of the Earth is bringing forth the greatest abundance of the year. The crops are reaching their full maturity and the forests are bursting with lush growth. In just a few short weeks, the harvest season will begin, but for now we pause to celebrate the manifestation of what was planted in the early weeks of Spring. The warm sunlight is a welcome contrast to the cold and dark of Winter, and we bask in its comforts. There is a focus on the Element of Fire in honor of the Sun God, but recognition is also given to the Horned God of the forest and its wild animal life.

Ancient pagans celebrated the Solstice with torchlight processions and giant bonfires to ritually strengthen the Sun. Another tradition found among European cultures was centered on the need for balance between the Elements of Fire and Water—large wheels were set on fire and rolled downhill into creeks, rivers or lakes, perhaps as a charm against summertime drought. This is also the traditional time for gathering wild herbs for medicine and magic, as most are fully grown by Midsummer and the power of this particular day will add to their benefits. For this reason, Litha is known as Gathering Day in Wales.

To celebrate this Sabbat, you can decorate your altar with summer flowers, herbs and fruits, and summer colors like yellow, green and blue. This is a traditional time for rites of re-dedication to the God and Goddess, as well as divination related to love and romance. Keep at least one candle lit throughout the day to honor the Sun, and if possible hold your Litha rituals at noon, when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky. Have an outdoor picnic feast to bask in the warmth of the day, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables—ideally from a farmer’s market or harvested from your own garden. This is a good time for magic related to masculine energies and any situation that needs to be “fired up” in your life.

Litha was long known as Midsummer, an older name for the Solstice that emphasizes the actual course of the warmer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer was considered to begin around May 1st, when Beltane (or May Day) is celebrated, with June 21st marking the midpoint of the season. The name “Litha” is traced back to an old Anglo-Saxon word for the month of June, and came into use as a Wiccan name for this Sabbat in the second half of the 20th century. However, many Pagans continue to use the more traditional “Midsummer.”

Ways to celebrate:

  • Host/ Attend a bonfire
  • Solar activities/ rituals

Solar Potion for Fortune, Success and Prosperity

Materials Needed – Makes 7 cups (56 ounces)

  • 3 cups of a light, fruity white Wine – Abundance and Prosperity
  • 1 cup Orange Blossom Water – Solar vitality and Good Fortune (Or substitute freshly squeezed juice of one large orange, strained of pulp blended with enough water to make 1 cup), God, Sun, Fire
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Juice – Wishes and Wealth, Goddess, Earth
  • 1 cup infusion of Cinnamon Bark – Power and Success, Love and Money, Fire, Sun
    • Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cinnamon stick in a glass jar, cover and allow to steep for a few hours while sitting in the summer sun. Remove the stick. Alternatively, a single shot of Goldschläger cinnamon schnapps has edible gold flakes, which is as solar a potion as ever there was one, but beware the additional alcohol content.
  • 1 cup infusion of Fresh Ginger Root – Success, Fruition, potency, Passion, Fire, Mars

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of diced fresh Ginger root, in a glass jar, cover and allow to steep for a few hours while sitting in the summer sun.  Strain out roots.

After the cinnamon and ginger infusions are done, I like to re-bottle them in witchy-looking, food-safe glass bottles in fiery colors of yellow, orange and red. I think it makes a difference psychologically, especially in group work, when things have that dramatic aesthetic flare, but that part is totally optional.

Altar Tools needed for the ritual

  • Chalice – the larger the better. We have a very large coven chalice that holds a whole bottle of wine, and we can mix directly into it.
    • Alternatively, a larger bowl, or pitcher, and a spoon to blend ingredients prior to pouring into a smaller ritual chalice…choose something special, perhaps that family heirloom crystal punch-bowl, or that glass margarita pitcher you pull out for the good parties.
  • Athame – ritual knife
  • Yellow or Gold candle lit to represent the sun.
  • Altar cakes of your choosing: orange, ginger or cinnamon favored treats are a good choice!

Prepare your altar and create sacred space in the way you normally would for your Litha Sabbat Give your chalice (and/or mixing bowl/pitcher) and athame a central place on the altar, and lay out the bottles of potion ingredients so they are easy at hand.

Call to be present any Solar God(s) and Earth Goddess(es) you work with.

Take up the Wine, holding it aloft over the altar:

Awaken wine, fruit of the vine! Lend your spirit of abundance and prosperity!

Pour slowly into the mixing vessel, chanting: abundance and prosperity!

(If you are working with others, this is where they can chant along with you.)

Take up the Orange Blossom Water:

Awaken Orange, Great God of the Sun! Lend your Spirit of good fortune and vitality!

Pour slowly into the mixing vessel, chanting: good fortune and vitality!

Take up the Pomegranate Juice:

Awaken Pomegranate, Great Goddess of Earth! Lend your Spirit of wealth and fertility!

Pour slowly into the mixing vessel, chanting: Wealth and fertility!

Take up the Cinnamon Infusion:

Awaken Cinnamon, of Fire and Sun! Lend your Spirit of success and energy!

Pour slowly into the mixing vessel, chanting: Success and Energy!

Take up the Ginger Infusion:

Awaken Ginger, of Fire and Mars! Lend your Spirit of passion and potency!

Pour slowly into the mixing vessel, chanting: Passion and Potency!

Stirring the potion now in the pattern of the invoking pentagram, then circling deosil 13 times, chanting to build power:  Prosperity, vitality, fertility, energy, potency! (repeat with vigor until you feel it is well charged.) Pour some solar potion into your chalice, if it isn’t there already.

Holding the athame now high over the chalice, visualizing the bright sun shining down, and the dark nutrients of the earth rising up. Where they intersect, see the growing bounty of the plants grow lush and green, full of flowers. Lowering the knife slowly to dip into the potion, say:

As the Athame is the God, so the Chalice is to the Goddess, and when conjoined, all blessèdness flows.

Once more, draw the invoking pentagram in the potion with the athame, and see all the raised power filling the cup.

Bless your altar cakes with gratitude for the promise of sustenance they fulfill. Touch a drop of potion onto each cake.

Offer a libation of cake and potion to the powers who’ve aided your work.

Hold the chalice in both hands, in a powerful stance raising your glass to the high sun. Say:

Powers of the Sun, shine through me! In fortune, success and prosperity! As I will, so mote it be!

Now, drain that cup of every delicious drop of liquid sunshine. Enjoy your cake, and meditate while visualizing yourself glowing yellow, warm, full of good cheer, fortune, shining brightly. Just like the massive ball of burning gas that is our actual star, you have the gravity to attract all the resources and opportunities you need so that you are fulfilled on all levels. See that the outcome of your Great Work of magick, that you’ve been striving toward all year, is being achieved.

Litha recipes:

Midsummer Ale Bread: Yield: 3 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces ale
  • ½ cup melted butter

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix flour and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon. Blend in the ale in incriments.
  • Transfer batter into three 6x3in loaf pans and drizzle butter on top.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.

Tip: 

  • If you use all purpose instead of  self-rising flour, you may substitute with 3 tsps baking powder and 1 ½ tsps salt in the flour and sugar mixture.

Elder Flower Chicken: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ fresh elder flower heads (5-6 clusters)
  • Salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅛ tsp ground ginger
  • Almond milk (see DIY Almond Milk)

Instructions:

  • Place chicken in a pot with enough salted water to cover it. Poach the chicken, simmering until cooked (approx. 35 minutes). Strain broth and set aside 2 cups for almond milk. Set chicken aside.
  • Making the sauce: Carefully strip elder flower heads from stems. Grind elder flowers and salt to season in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Combine flowers and almond milk mixture in a saucepan. Beat the egg yolks and mix them into almond mixture. Stir sauce frequently over fairly low heat until it thickens (avoid boiling). Season with ginger.
  • Skin chicken and cover with sauce to serve

Note: You may substitute 2-3 eggs and 1 tsp rice instead of 4 egg yolks.

Note: While exact measurements vary, the ratio is always 3 parts almonds to 4 parts broth or water.

DIY Almond Milk: About 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups ground almonds

Directions:

  • Bring water/broth to a mild boil. Turn off heat.
  • Add almonds and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  • Cover a widemouthed pitcher with cheesecloth. Carefully pour half of the almond mixture over the cloth, straining the milk and catching the almonds.
  • Once liquid has been strained, carefully pour the remainder of liquid over cheesecloth.
  • Ensure the almond milk is not gritty. The thicker and smoother the milk, the better. If it comes out lumpy, strain the mixture again. You may also choose to strain the milk through a fine-mesh strainer or sieve.
  • Save strained almonds for other recipes.

Full Moon 6/5/2020

Correspondences

  • Colors: Incorporate sunny colors like gold, yellow, and orange into your magic, ritual, and altar decorations
  • Gemstones: Topaz and agate are associated with the summer solstice season and the month of June
  • Trees: Oak and maple are flourishing this time of year
  • Gods: Isis, Cerridwen, Juno, and Persephone are connected with the month of June, which means it’s a great time to do moon magic focusing on female empowerment and the sacred feminine
  • Herbs: Parsley, mosses, skullcap, and mugwort in bloom, so find a way to work them into your spellwork
  • Element: Earth is tied deeply to this full moon phase

This is the month where magical workings are well suited to maintaining and enhancing things you already have.

Try one or more of these to welcome the magic of the Strong Sun Moon into your life:

  • Weed your garden, prune the bushes, give your lawn all the tender loving care it needs. If you’re growing fruit or vegetables, begin harvesting those that are ready to be gathered. Early herb and flower blossoms can be collected as well, and hung up to dry for later use. 
  • Take time to let your personal life blossom as well—focus on things that improve your job or education, as well as your relationships with family and friends.
  • Honey has a number of magical properties, so why not find a way to tie it into your spellwork this month?
  • Focus on the power of the sun to help with spells and rituals related to strengthening yourself mentally and spiritually. Spend as much time outdoors as possible – it’s not only good for your emotional well being, it also can help you feel better physically!
  • Use sun energy to charge your tools by leaving them out on a bright warm day to absorb the sun’s rays. You can also consecrate water for rituals by placing a jar of it out in the sunlight—use this for workings related to strength and power, as well as personal growth. 
  • If you’ve been dealing with issues in your personal life that are rooted in indecision or uncertainty, this is a good time to fix them. Take a long hard look at your possible choices, and make one. Ask for advice from others if you need to, but in the long run, it’s okay to trust your intuition. 
  • Remember this is also called the Lovers’ Moon. Allow yourself to welcome love into your life—and if you’ve already got it, then let yourself appreciate it even more! Do things that make you feel sensual and sexy, affectionate and abundant, and in addition to loving other people, and allowing them to love you in return, know that you’re allowed to love yourself as well.

Back to the Basics

Hello, everyone. I have decided to take the time to return to some of the basic ideas of Wicca and witchcraft with posts about the basic tools of the altar, rituals, and basic terminology that every pagan should know.

After these few posts, please note that I will be taking the remainder of May off from blogging to catch up on some projects and lessons I haven’t had time for and a revisit to take care of my mental health during this trying time. Remember, a positive mental space is crucial to your workings, so I highly recommend the lack of lessons as a good time to visit your mental health and return to a positive space.

Stay healthy and I will “see” you in June!

P.S. Hand sanitizer and Social Distancing! Stay healthy, my friends.

Tools of the Altar

  1. The Altar

The altar is vital for any witch, pagan, or wiccan. It’s your sacred space, where you interact with your guides and perform your spells. It is the focus of your personal power. For a witch, not having an altar is the same as not having a home. You can’t go without it. However, your altar doesn’t have to be complicated, or beautiful, to be effective.

Remember, it is personal to you. So do what you feel comfortable with.

  1. Altar Cloth

A cloth is an easy way to decorate your altar. You can choose various colors and materials according to the purpose of your ritual. Scarves, spare cloths, or a special made pagan cloth will do. Whatever feels right for you

  1. Blades

Blades are important tools in ritual magick. The blade represents masculine energy, movement, and the act of cutting something (metaphorically). Just like the Swords tarot suit, blades are associated with the element of air.

  1. Besom or broom

The broom symbolizes the union of the God and the Goddess. Its phallic shape is associated with masculinity while its three-parts design symbolizes the three cycles of femininity. Associated with the element of water, the broom is used to spirituality cleanse your space, before rituals and spellwork. To do so, simply swipe around the room in a clockwise direction. When you are done, open the nearest door and swipe everything outside, to ensure that the negativity doesn’t come back. Be sure to consecrate your broom before using it, and make sure that it’s not used for the mundane cleansing, but only in a ritual manner. Suspended on top of your front door, the broom acts as a guardian against negative influences. The broom also plays an important part in pagan weddings. In handfasting ceremonies, the newly wed couple jumps on top of the besom to attract fertility, prosperity and harmony in their household. If you want to craft your own, the traditional recipe includes :

  • A four-foot length of ash or oak for the handle
  • Thin branches of birch, mugwort or thyme for the bristle part
  • Lengths of willow or heavy cord to bind everything together
  1. Altar Tile

The altar tile is usually round or square in shape. It can be made of various, natural materials, like wood, stone, ceramic and metal. It is often engraved with power symbols such as the pentagram or the wheel of the year. It has a grounding power and helps the energy to stay focussed. When my ritual is done, and my circle is open, I have found that touching my altar tile helps me in sending back the energies to the earth.

  1. Book of Shadows/Grimoire

Blades are important tools in ritual magick. The blade represents masculine energy, movement, and the act of cutting something (metaphorically). Just like the Swords tarot suit, blades are associated with the element of air.

  • Athame

The athame is a double-edged blade used for casting the circle. Traditionally, the athame had a black handle. Your athame should not be sharpened, because it’s not made to cut physical things. However, I often use mine to carve runes and sigils on candles

  • Boline

The boline is a small sickle with a blade in the shape of a half-moon. Traditionally, its handle is white. It is used to harvest herbs, flowers and branches. Nowadays a lot of witches use letter openers or more mundane knives instead.

  • Sword

The sword is a larger, more formal version of the athame. It is generally used for marking the limits of the sacred circle during large, public outdoor rituals. Unlike the athame, usually, only the High Priest and High Priestesses of a coven has the right to carry it.

  1. Candles/Candle Holders

Candles are another must have for any witch out there. Cheap and easy to use, they are the perfect tool of witchcraft. You can use them in a lot of different ways: to summon guardians, deities and various entities, to symbolize the element of fire, to manifest a goal (candle magick), to light your way during astral projection, and much more. On top of it they are very useful to set you in the appropriate mood before performing a spell.

Some witches believe that simply blowing out the candles is disrespectful to the fire spirits. For this reason, it is common to use a candle snuffer instead. Personnaly, I believe that if you say “thank you” to the fire spirits before blowing the candles, it is totally acceptable.

  1. Cauldron

Traditionally, a book of shadows was a document containing religious texts, rituals and spells from a specific wiccan tradition. Nowadays, a lot of witches also use it like a journal of their magickal and ritual practices. Magickal journaling in itself is a great tool for all witches. You’d be surprised to see how much magickal work can be done with just a pen, some paper, and your book of shadows. Simple affirmations written on paper can be very powerful. Add a sigil or a rune and believe me, you will attain results. But more on that in another post.

  1. Chalice

The chalice or cup also represents the sacred womb of the Goddess. Like the Cups tarot suit, the chalice is associated with the element of water. The chalice can be made of any natural material. Stainless steel is very common, but glass and ceramic are good options too. Fill your cup with water to represent this element in the sacred circle. The cup can also be used for libations, which consist in pouring small drops of a beverage into the ground to honor the Gods, then passing it around the circle so that everyone can take a sip.

  1. Various Containers

Bottles, boxes, chests, jars and pouches are very useful for any practitioner of the Arts. Not only are they useful to  harvest and store ingredients, but they can also be active tools for your spells. A lot of workings require the use of a container, be they witches bottles, manifestation boxes, honey jars, reiki boxes, spiritual baths, witchy brews, etc. For example, in my coven, we have a little “wishing chest” that we use on every Ostara. Each year, everybody writes a wish on a piece of paper and puts it into the chest. The following year, we open the chest together, and we reflect on our wish. Then we make another wish for the next Ostara. This is one of the many ways that you can use containers and boxes as tools for witchcraft.

  1. Crystals

There is a lot to say about crystals. They are more than mere rocks. Take the time to know your crystals, and in each of them, you’ll find a friend. Each of them possesses a unique frequency. In aligning with your crystals, you will experience healing on a deep level. Crystals are like small batteries, infused with the power of the Earth. They can be found in all shapes, colors and sizes. You can use them as focuses for any spiritual work. If you own crystals, don’t forget to clean them on a regular basis.

  1. Divination Tools

Divination tools are organized systems that are used to receive information. They are an extension of your natural six psychic senses. The most popular divination systems are crystal balls, oracle cards, pendulums, runes, scrying mirrors or bowls and tarot decks. All divination systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and no tool is better than the others. Feel free to try different systems to find which one resonates the most with you.

  1. Dolls

Dolls are useful in witchcraft as more than the stereotyped voodoo doll here. In witchcraft, dolls are 3D images that serve to focus your intentions. Dolls can represent any entity, may it be human or spiritual. Use a doll to represent someone as the target for your spell  (don’t do it without their permission though). You can even use a doll to represent yourself. You can play with color meanings and physical parts associations (chakras, for example) to manifest specific things to your target. You can also use dolls to represent deities on your altar.

  1. Herbs and Essential Oils

Just like crystals, herbs and oils possess their own magickal associations. Herbal magick is a whole branch in witchcraft. There is a lot of different ways to include herbs and oils in your spells. Usually, herbs are used in a dried state, and essential oils are diluted in vegetable oil. You can use herbs and oils for spiritual baths, magickal teas, kitchen witchcraft, incense (see below), talismans, and much more.

  1. Incense and Smudge Sticks

Incense plays an important part in all spiritual practices. This is not surprising since it is a very powerful tool. Incenses are made of dried herbs, resins, and essential oils, and their properties depend on their composition.  They are available in a lot of different forms, and smudge sticks fall under the same category. Keep in mind that there is no real difference between herb bundles, incense sticks, cones, or powders. Just use what’s at your disposition and trust the process.

In the same vein, the censer is a fireproof container used to hold hot charcoal, for burning powders and incense cones. There are a lot of different models that you can use for this purpose. Personally, I use a small cast iron cauldron as a censer. In Wicca, the incense and censer are associated with the element of Air. Incense is burned to purify the practitioner and the space, before casting the circle. Then, incense is passed around the circle’s boundaries, to consecrate it.

In addition, you can also use incense to help you manifest your goals. If you frequent metaphysical shops and websites, you will notice that they sell incense for every purpose (by example, love, career, etc.). Used in this way, incense becomes a form of magick by itself. For it to work, you simply need to focus on your intention. Light the incense, and meditate on it while you let it completely burn.

  1.  Instruments and Music

Music in all its forms is a great magickal tool. From recorded music to bells, drums, singing bowls, or your own voice, music holds magick. It’s just another kind of intention, expressed with musical sounds. The altar bell is associated with the element of water because it’s made of metal. It can be used in two ways: to summon or to banish spirits. Wiccans ring the bell after calling the elemental guardians. It is customary to ring the bell to delimitate the different parts of a ritual, like a punctuation mark. To banish negative spirits from a space, you can ring a bell, clap your hands or a drum, or emit a loud sound in each corner of the room.

  1. Mortar and Pestle

The mortar and pestle are used to crush herbs and resins to make herbal powders. You can use it to fabricate incense and various brews and potions. While you are crushing your herbs, be mindful of the intent you are putting in it. With the right mindset, the act of crushing the herbs can reinforce your spell. On a side note, if you are cooking ritual food, be sure to use a different mortar and pestle, because some plants and resins used in herbal magick can be toxic if eaten. Kitchen Witches: This means have two Mortals and pestles if you prefer to grind your herbs and spices for cooking!

  1. Offering Bowl

The offering bowl is a must-have for any devotional shrine.Hopefully, you can use almost anything. An offering bowl is simply a container where you’ll place your offerings. You can use the same bowl for all your deities or choose a different one to each entity that you work with. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a bowl at all. You can use anything that speaks to you: a flat rock, a trunk, a dish that you particularly like, a small chest, etc. My offering bowl to Venus is a clamshell, and I use it every day.

  1. Ritual Clothing

When performing a spell, some witches wear items that are specifically made for ritual purposes. It can be a ritual cloak, mask, robe, or hat, or a piece of jewelry including occult symbols or crystals. Other witches prefer to perform skyclad (ritual nudity), so that they appear in humility before the gods. Nothing is wrong in performing a spell in casual clothing, but ritual clothing helps to attain the appropriate mindset for spellwork. Furthermore, the color of your clothes can affect the way the energy behaves into the sacred circle. Usually, in public rituals, the custom is to wear plain black clothes, because it absorbs light and keeps the practitioners away from distraction.

  1. Rope

Just like containers, ropes are very useful for witches. You can use it to tie herbal pouches and talismans, but also to perform spells. With a decent length of rope, you can make witches ladders and knot magick. Knot magick are spells that are performed while tying multiple knots on a rope. This type of magick originates from sailor’s superstitions, and nowadays it’s become a part of sea witchcraft. In a broader perspective, two popular rituals involving rope are the Beltane Maypole and the handfasting ceremonies. In a handfasting ceremony, the hands of the bride and groom are clasped together using one or many ropes. The knot represents the unity of the couple, who is now bound together.

  1. Statues/ Visual Representations

Statues are a great addition to a witches altar. Most of the time, they’re not used as active witchcraft tools, but they can help you to visualise the entities that you are working with. If you can’t afford to buy a statue for your patron deity, you can easily craft your own. You can also use a tarot or oracle card or draw the entity as it appears to you in your mind’s eyes. Besides, statues and visual representations makes great offerings.

  1. Wand/Staff

The wand is not only used in Harry Potter. In fact, it is an important tool in witchcraft, especially in Wicca. Traditionally, wands are made of wood, but they can also be made of any natural material like glass, metal, or stone. Wands and staffs are associated with fire and the wands tarot suit. In wicca, it represents masculinity, and it is used to direct the energy, just like the athame. I usually use my wand to summon the entities and to consecrate other tools. Just like the broom, you can easily craft your own wand. Choose its material for its properties, according to the type of work that you will perform with your wand.

  1. Bells

Bells are repellers of witches and evil spirits. Bells are associated with the divine: their sound is symbolic of creative power, their shape a symbol of the female force and the celestial vault. The sound vibrations created by the ringing of bells have been believed for centuries to possess magical and/or spiritual power. Bells are used in many religious rites. In Wicca and Paganism, small hand bells may be rung in rituals to enhance harmony and augment power. In African religions and Vodun, bells and dancing are used to invoke the gods and has. Shamans have long used magical bells in their rituals to chase away evil spirits.

In folk magic, the ringing of bells drives away evil spirits, witches and the Devil himself, and wards off the Evil Eye. Bells have been attached to clothing, worn as amulets, tied to children and hung from the necks of horses, camels, cows, asses and other animals important to a community.

As fertility charms, bells have been worn on human phalluses in certain rites. Bells are sometimes said to have curative powers; medicine is drunk from them. In the Middle Ages, bell ringing was believed to clear the air of disease and was prescribed by some doctors. Bells also have been used to raise the spirits of the dead and Fairies.

  1. Mirrors

One of the most ancient forms of Divination is crystallomancy or catoptromancy, performed with a magic mirror. The magi of Persia are said to have used mirrors, as well as the ancient Greeks and romans. In ancient Greece, the witches of Thessaly wrote their oracles in human blood upon mirrors. The Thessalian witches are supposed to have taught Pythagoras how to divine by holding a magic mirror up to the moon. Romans who were skilled in mirror reading were called specularii.

In lore, mirrors are believed to reflect the soul and must be guarded against lest the soul be lost. These fears carry over into superstitious customs, such as covering the mirrors in a house after death to prevent the souls of the living from being carried off by the ghost of the newly departed; and removing mirrors from a sickroom because the soul is more vulnerable in times of illness. According to another superstition, if one looks into a mirror at night, one will see the Devil. In Russian folklore, mirrors are the invention of the Devil, having the power to draw souls out of bodies. The Aztecs used mirror-like surfaces to keep witches away. A bowl of water with a knife in it was placed in the entrances of homes. A witch looking into it would see her soul pierced by the knife, and flee. According to another belief, witches have no souls, and therefore, like vampires, have no reflections in mirrors.

  1. Charcoal

The purpose of charcoal is to burn herbs, incense or oils. It is usually found in a compressed small disc that burns for about 45 minutes. Modern witches can find quick light options that burn uniformly.

  1. Paper

Many spells call for the witch to write something down: wishes and goals or things you want to release. It’s good to have some different kinds of paper on hand for a variety of purposes. Some paper burns faster or slower, some paper shouldn’t be burned at all. Some can be buried and seeds grow from it, some changes color, some dissolve in water. If you want to charge your paper for magical use, simply wave it through the smoke of some incense for a short period of time (careful not to light it on fire indoors if the spell calls for it’s burning!).

  1. Pen and Ink

You may wish to keep a variety of pens in different colors based on color magic uses. You can charge your pens for magical use similarly to charging paper. Some witches will separate pen and ink to charge individually, this is personal preference. You can also buy or make ink that is created specifically for magical purposes if you prefer.

  1. Pentacle

There is some confusion about the difference between a pentagram and a pentacle. A pentagram is a five-pointed star. A pentacle is a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle (PENTA-gram + cir-CLE = pentacle) This symbol is used for all sorts of purposes dependent on your belief system. One common practice is as a charging station for other objects (like the chalice, a crystal or an amulet).

  1. Salt

It is a symbol of the Earth. It is used to create Lustral Water and for Rituals.

  1. Books

You can never have enough knowledge in witchcraft. Some reputable authors to begin with are Scott CUnningham, Margot Alder , Raymond Buckland, Lisa Lister, Arin Murphy-Hiscock, Yasmin Boland, Lisa Chamberlain, and Silver Ravenwolf.

Terminology

Here are some of the terms you should know in your craft. You, of course don’t have to have every single one memorized as this list is quite extensive. Therefore, I have made the most important terms that SHOULD be memorized italicized.

Adept: An individual who through serious study and accomplishments is considered highly proficient in a particular magical system.

Akasha Spirit: The fifth element, the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe.

Alchemy: A branch of High Magic developed in the Middle Ages which sought to magically and/or chemically turn base metals into gold.

Altar: A special, flat surface set aside exclusively for magickal workings or religious acknowledgment.

Amulet: A magically charged object which deflects specific, usually negative energies. A protective object.

Ankh: An Egyptian hieroglyphic widely used as a symbol of life, love, and reincarnation. It is a cross with a looped top.

Arcana: The two halves of a tarot deck. The Major Arcana consists of 22 trumps, the Minor Arcana consists of 56 suit cards (sometimes called the lesser or lower Arcana).

Aspect: The particular principle or part of the Creative Life Force being worked with or acknowledged at any one time.

Asperger: A bundle of fresh herbs or a perforated object used to sprinkle water during or preceding ritual, for purification purposes.

Astral Plane: A place which is generally conceptualized as an invisible parallel world which remains unseen from our own solid world of form.

Astral Travel/Projection: The process of separating your astral body from your physical one to accomplish travel in the astral plane or dream time.

Astrology: The study of and belief in the effects the movements and placements of planets and other heavenly bodies have on the lives and behavior of human beings.

Athame: A cleansed and consecrated ritual blade. Usually double edged and black handled. It is never used to cut anything on the physical plane. Pronounced several ways: Ah-THAM-ee ATH-ah-may ah-THAW-may.

Aura: The life-energy field which surrounds all living things.

Automatic Writing: Form of divination where the channeler uses a pen, paper and an altered state of consciousness to receive messages.

Balefire: A fire lit for magickal purposes, usually outdoors. They are traditional on Yule, Beltane, and Midsummer.

Bane: That which destroys life, which is poisonous, destructive, dangerous.

Banish: To magically end something or exorcise unwanted entities. To rid the presence of.

Bells: Often used as ritual tools. They can be used to invoke directional energies, to ring in the sunrise on a Sabbat, or to frighten away faeries and baneful spirits.

Besom: A witch’s broom.

Bi-Location: A type of astral projection during which you maintain awareness of your present surroundings.

Bind: To magically restrain something or someone.

Blue Moon – Whenever there are two Full Moons in one calendar month, the second is referred to as a Blue Moon.

Book of Shadows: A witch’s book of spells, rituals, magickal lore. Much akin to a magickal cookbook. Also known as a BOS.

Boline: A white-handled knife, used in magick and ritual for purposes such as cutting herbs or piercing a pomegranate.

Burning Times: Reference to a historical time from around 1000 C.E. through the 17th century when it is said that up to nine million people were tortured and burned by church and public officials on the assumption that they were the Christian version of Witches. This turned into an extremely profitable venture, as all land and property was seized from the accused individual and portions given to the accuser (in reward fashion) and the remainder seized by the church officials. Historians indicate that the majority of people tortured and murdered were woman and children.

Call: Invoking Divine forces.

Calling the Quarters – Verbal or symbolic acknowledgment of the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire Water) in a ritual environment.

Cauldron: Linked to witchcraft in the popular mind, this symbolizes the Goddess, the waters of rebirth.

Censer: A heat-proof container in which incense is burned. It is associated with the element air.

Ceremonial Magick: A highly codified magickal tradition based upon Kabbala, the Jewish-Gnostic mystical teachings.

Chakras: Seven major energy vortexes found in the human body. Each is usually associated with a color. They are: crown – white; third-eye – purple; throat – blue; chest – pink or green; navel – yellow; abdomen – orange; groin – red. Smaller vortexes are located in the hands and feet as well.

Chalice: A ritual tool. It represents the female principals of creation.

Channeling: A New Age practice wherein you allow a discarnate entity to “borrow” your body to speak to others either through automatic writing or verbally.

Chaplet: A crown for the head usually made of flowers and worn at Beltane.

Charge: The Originally written in modern form by Doreen Valiente, it is a story of the message from Goddess to Her children.

Charging: To infuse an object with personal power.

Charms: Either an amulet or talisman that has been charmed by saying an incantation over it and instilling it with energy for a specific task.

Circle: Sacred space wherein all magick is to be worked and all ritual contained. It holds ritual energy until the Witch is ready to release it.

Cleansing: Removing negative energies from an object or space.

Collective Unconsciousness: Term used to describe the sentient connection of all living things, past and present. See also Akashic Records.

Coming of Age Ritual: At age 13 for boys, and at the time of a girl’s first menses, Pagan children are seen as spiritual adults. The ritual celebrates their new maturity. Generally this is the age when they are permitted membership in covens.

Cone of Power: Psychic energy raised and focused by either an individual or group mind (coven) to achieve a definite purpose.

Conscious Mind: The analytical, materially-based, rational half of our consciousness. The part of our mind that is at work while we balance our checkbooks, theorize, communicate, and perform other acts related to the physical world.

Consecration: The act of blessing an object or place by instilling it with positive energy.

Correspondence – An item that has a magickal association. Correspondences include: days, planets, moon phases, herbs, oils, colors, gemstones, Zodiac signs, hours, etc.

Coven: A group of thirteen or fewer witches that work together in an organized fashion for positive magickal endeavors or to perform religious ceremonies.

Covenstead: The meeting place of witches, often a fixed building or place where the witch can feel safe and at home.

Craft: Witchcraft

Crone: Aspect of the Goddess represented by the old woman. Symbolized by the waning moon, the carrion crow, the cauldron, the color black. Her Sabbats are Mabon and Samhain.

Cross-Quarter Days: Refers to Sabbats not falling on the solstices or equinoxes.

Days of Power: See Sabbat. They can also be days triggered by astrological occurrences – your birthday, a woman’s menstrual cycle, your dedication/initiation anniversary.

Dedication: The process where an individual accepts the Craft as their path and vows to study and learn all that is necessary to reach adept ship. It is a conscious preparation to accept something new into your life and stick with it, regardless of the highs and lows that may follow.

Deosil: Clockwise, the direction in which the shadow on a sundial moves as the Sun “moves” across the sky. Deosil is symbolic of life, positive magic and positive energies.

Dirk: Ritual knife of the Scottish tradition.

Divination: The magickal art of using tools and symbols to gather information from the Collective Unconsciousness. This can be on people, places, things and events past, present, and future.

Divine Power: The pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force, the ultimate source of all things.

Dowsing: The divinatory art of using a pendulum or stick to find the actual location of a person, place, thing, or element.

Drawing Down the Moon: A ritual performed during the Full Moon by witches to empower themselves and unite their essence with a particular deity, usually the Goddess.

Drawing Down the Sun: Lesser-known and lesser-used companion ritual to Drawing Down the Moon in which the essence of the Sun God is drawn into the body of a male witch.

Duality: The opposite of polarity. When used as a religious term, it separates two opposites such as good and evil and places those characteristics into two completely separate God-forms.

Earth Magick: The energy that exists within stones, herbs, flames, wind, and other natural objects.

Earth Plane: Metaphor for your normal waking consciousness, or for the everyday, solid world we live in.

Elements: Usually: Earth, air, fire, water. The building blocks of the universe. Everything that exists contains one or more of these energies. Some include a fifth element- spirit or Akasha.

Elementals: Archetypical spirit beings associated with one of the four elements. Elementals are sometimes called Faeries.

Enchantment: A magickal object that must be kept absolutely secret and hidden from all human eyes and affects a hidden aura. They must be charmed first. Gems and magickal writing are good items to use.

Eostre’s Eggs: Colored, decorated eggs of Ostara; named for the Teutonic Goddess Eostre. AKA Easter eggs.

Esbat: A gathering or ritual usually occurring on the Full Moon and dedicated to the Goddess in her lunar aspect.

Evocation: To call something out from within.

Faerie: See Elemental

Faerie Burgh: Mound of earth which covers a faerie colony’s underground home.

Familiar: An animal that has a spiritual bone with a witch; many times a family witch. Familiars can also be entities that dwell on the astral plane.

Fascination: A mental effort to control another animal or person’s mind. Also known as “mind-bending”. Often considered unethical.

Folklore: Traditional sayings, cures, faerie tales, and folk wisdom of a particular locale which is separate from their mythology.

Folk Magick: The Practice of projecting personal power, as well as the energies within natural objects such as herbs, and crystals, to bring about needed changes.

Gaea/Gaia: Mother Earth.

God: Masculine aspect of deity.

Goddess: Feminine aspect of deity.

Grain Dolly: Figure usually woven at Imbolc from dried sheaves of grain collected at the previous harvest. The dolly is traditionally burned at Yule and a new one made the following Imbolc.

Great Rite: Symbolic sexual union (also sacred marriage) of the Goddess and God that is enacted at Beltane in many traditions, and other Sabbats in other traditions. It symbolizes the primal act of creation from which all life comes.

Green Man: Another name for the God

Grimoire: A magickal workbook containing ritual information, formulae, magickal properties of natural objects and preparation of ritual equipment. Often used interchangeably with Book of Shadows.

Grounding: To disperse excess energy generated during magickal work by sending it into the earth. It also means the process of centering one’s self in the physical world both before and after any ritual or astral experience.

Grove: Synonymous with coven.

Guardians: Ceremonial magicians use the Guardians of the Watchtowers or Four Quarters. Some witches use them, too.

Hand Fasting: A Pagan wedding.

Herbalism: Art of using herbs to facilitate human needs both magically and medicinally.

Higher Self: That part of us which connects our corporeal minds to the Collective Unconscious and with the divine knowledge of the universe.

Hiving Off: This term is used for a small coven which splits off from a larger one. Sometimes this is done to keep the gatherings of a manageable size, other times covens split over philosophical differences.

Horned God: One of the most prevalent God-images in Paganism. NOT Satan or the Devil!!!

Initiation: A process whereby an individual is introduced or admitted into a coven. Usually a ritual occasion. Not to be confused with dedication.

Incense: Ritual burning of herbs, oils, or other aromatic items to scent the air during acts of magic and ritual, and to better help the witch attune to the goal of the working.

 Invocation: To bring something in from without.

Karma: The belief that one’s thoughts and deeds can either be counted against them or added to their spiritual path across several life times.

Kabbala: Mystical teaching from the Jewish-Gnostic tradition. Ceremonial Magic and the Alexandrian traditions are based in these teachings. Also, Qabalah.

Labrys: A double-headed ax which symbolizes the Goddess in Her Lunar aspect. Has roots in ancient Crete.

Left-Hand Path: Refers to the practice of using magick to control others, to change the will of others, for personal gain. Generally frowned upon by true Wiccans and Witch’s. Dark Magic.

Libation: Ritually given portion of food or drink to a deity, nature spirit, or ghost.

Macrocosm: The world around us.

Magick/Magic: The projection of natural energies (such as personal power) to bring about needed change. Magic is the process of raising this energy, giving it purpose, and releasing it. Some choose to spell magic with a “K” on the end. This spelling was made popular by Aleister Crowley in the 1900’s to differentiate it from the stage magic performed in that time. Some believe that Magic is evil and should not be tampered with, or that it is only possessed by “chosen” ones. Both of these statements are false.

Magic Circle: A sphere constructed of personal power in which rituals are usually performed. Within it the witch is protected from outside forces. The sphere extends both above and below the surface of the ground.

Magical System: The basic set of guidelines relating to the worship of specific Gods and Goddesses or cultural traditions.

Male Mysteries: Pagan study which attempts to reclaim the power and mystery of the old Gods for today’s Pagan males.

Matrifocal: Term used to denote pre-patriarchal life when family clans centered around and lived near or on clan matriarch.

May Pole: Sexual symbol of Beltane representing the phallus.

Meditation: Reflection, contemplation- turning inward toward the self, or outward toward Deity or nature. A quiet time in which the practitioner may either dwell upon particular thoughts or symbols, or allow them to come unbidden.

Megalith: A huge stone monument or structure. Stonehenge is the best-known example of a megalith.

Menhir: A huge stone probably erected by early peoples for religious, spiritual, or magickal reasons.

Microcosm: The world within us.

Monotheism: Belief in one supreme deity who has no other forms and/of displays no other aspects.

Mother: The aspect of the Goddess representing motherhood, mid-life, and fertility. She is represented by the full moon, the egg, and the colors red and green. Her Sabbats are Midsummer and Lughnasadh.

Myth: Cycles Body of lore about any land or people that makes up their mythology.

New Age: The mixing of metaphysical practices with a structured religion.

Nursery Rhyme: Cute doggerel or poems supposedly written for the amusement of children. Much Pagan lore was hidden in these ditties during the years of witch persecutions.

Occult: Literal meaning is “hidden” and is broadly applied to a wide range of metaphysical topics which lie outside the accepted realm of mainstream theologies.

Occultist: One who practices and or studies a variety of occult subjects.

Ogham: Celtic equivalent of the Teutonic runes. The ancient alphabet of the Celtic people.

Old Ones: The A term which refers to all aspects of the Goddess and God.

Old Religion: A name for Paganism as it pre-dates Christianity by at least 20,000 years. Also referred to as the Old Ways.

Pagan/Neo-Pagan: General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and magickal systems.

Paganing: When a baby is presented in circle to the Goddess and God, and given a craft name which s/he will keep until about 13 and can choose their own at their Coming of Age celebration.

Pantheon: A collection or group of Gods and Goddesses in a particular religious or mythical structure.

Pantheism: Belief in many deities who are really one because they are all merely aspects of the single creative life source. Paganism is pantheistic.

Passion Over Ritual: Ritual observed when a loved one dies.

Past-Life Regression: Act of using meditation or guided meditation to pass through the veil of linear time and perceive experiences encountered in a previous existence.

Path Working: Using astral projection, bi-location, or dream time to accomplish a specific goal. Also called vision questing.

Patriarchal: Term used to apply to the world since the matrifocal clans that worshipped Goddesses were supplanted by codified religions that honor all-male deity(s).

Pendulum: A divinatory device consisting of a string attached to a heavy object, such as a quartz crystal, root, or ring. The free end of the string is held in the hand, the elbows steadied against a flat surface, and a question is asked. The movement of the heavy object’s swings determines the answer. It is a tool which contacts the psychic mind.

Pentacle: A circle surrounding a five-pointed, upright star (pentagram). Worn as a symbol of a witch’s beliefs. Many witches consider wearing it inverted to be blasphemy of their faith and is commonly associated with Satanism.

Pentagram: The basic interlaced five-pointed star, visualized with one point up. It represents the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. It is a symbol of power and protection.

Personal Power: The energy which sustains our bodies. It originates within the Goddess and God. We first absorb it from our biological mother within the womb, and later from food, water, the Moon and Sun, and other natural objects.

Polarity: The concept of equal, opposite energies. The Eastern Yin Yang is a perfect example. Yin is cold; yang is hot. Other examples: Goddess/God, night/day, Moon/Sun, birth/death, dark/light, psychic mind/unconscious mind. Universal balance.

Polytheism: Belief in the existence of many unrelated deities each with their own dominion and interests who have no spiritual or familial relationships to one another.

Poppets: Anthropomorphic dolls used to represent certain human beings in magick spells.

Projective Hand: The hand thought to be the point through which personal power is sent from the body. Normally the hand used for manual activities such as writing, dialing the phone, etc. It is also the hand in which tools such as the athame and wand are held.

Psychic Mind: The subconscious or unconscious mind, in which we receive psychic impressions. It is at work when we sleep, dream, and meditate. It is our direct link with the Divine, and with the larger, nonphysical world around us.

Psychism: The act of being consciously psychic, in which the psychic mind and conscious mind are linked and working in harmony. Also known as psychic awareness.

Qabalah: See Kabbala

Receptive Hand: The hand through which energy is received into the body. The left hand in right-handed persons, the reverse for left-handed persons.

Rede: The Basic tenet of witchcraft. “An it harm none, do what thou will.

Reincarnation: The process of repeated incarnations in human form to allow evolution of the sexless, ageless soul.

Ritual Ceremony: A specific form of movement, a manipulation of objects or inner processes designed to produce desired effects. In religion ritual is geared toward union with the Divine. In magickal works it produces a specific state of consciousness that allows the magician to move energy toward needed goals.

Ritual Consciousness: A specific, alternate state of awareness necessary to the successful practice of magick. This state is achieved through the use of visualization and ritual. The conscious mind becomes attuned with the psychic mind, a state in which the magician senses energies, gives them purpose, and releases them toward a specific goal. It is a heightening of senses, an expanded awareness of the nonphysical world, a linking with nature and with Deity.

Ritual Tools: General name for magickal tools used by a witch or magician. They vary by tradition and usually represent one of the elements.

Runes: A set of symbols used both in divination and magickal work. There are several types will different origins- Scandinavian, Norse, Germanic.

Sabbat: A witch’s festival.

Scourge: Small device made from leather or hemp which resembles a whip and is used in flagellation rites within some traditions.

Scrying: A method of divination. To gaze at or into an object (a quartz crystal sphere, a pool of water, reflections, a candle flame) to still the conscious mind in order to contact the psychic mind. Scrying allows the scryer to become aware of events prior to their actual occurrence, as well as to perceive past or present events through other than the five senses.

Shaman: A man or woman who has obtained knowledge of the subtler dimensions of the Earth, usually through periods of alternate states of consciousness. Various types of ritual allow the shaman to pierce the veil of the physical world and to experience the realm of energies. This knowledge lends the shaman the power to change his or her world through magick.

Shamanism: The practice of shamans, usually ritualistic or magickal in nature, sometimes religious.

Shillelagh: Magickal tool corresponding to the staff in other traditions. Usually made from blackthorn wood.

Sigil: Magically oriented seal, sign, glyph, or other device used in a magickal working. Ones you create yourself are the most effective. Sigils can be used on letters, packages, clothing, etc.

Simple Feast: A ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God.

Sky Father: Shamanistic in origin. It refers to the sky, or that which is above us, as a masculine deity.

Skyclad: The act of celebrating or performing magickal works in the nude. Considered deeply spiritual, NOT sexual.

Solitary: Pagan who works and worships alone.

Spell: A magical ritual or concentrated form of energy, usually non-religious in nature and often accompanied by spoken words. It should always be clear, concise, focused and emotional.

Spiral: Symbol of coming into being.

Staff: Ritual tool which corresponds to the wand or athame.

Subconscious Mind: Part of the mind which functions below the levers we are able to access in the course of a normal working day. This area stores symbolic knowledge, dreams, the most minute details of every experience ever had by a person.

Summerland: The Pagan Land of the Dead.

Sympathetic Magic: Concept of likes attract. Most common way spells are worked.

Talisman: An object charged with personal power to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.

Tarot Cards: Set of 78 cards which feature pictures and symbols used to conned the diviner with the collective unconscious.

Threefold Law: Karmic principle that energy that is released is returned three times over.

Tradition: Branch of paganism followed by any individual Pagan or coven.

Trilithon: A stone arch made from two upright slabs with one lying atop these. They are featured in Stonehenge.

Triple Goddess: One Goddess in all of her three aspects: Maiden, Mother, Crone.

Virgin: Youngest aspect of the Triple Goddess. Also known as the Maiden. Represented by the waxing moon, colors white and blue. Her Sabbats are Imbolc and Ostara.

Vision Quest: Using astral projection, bi-location, or dream time to accomplish a specific goal. Also called path working.

Visualization: The process of forming mental images. Magickal visualization consists of forming images of needed goals during ritual. It is also used to direct personal power and natural energies for various purposes during magick, including charging and forming of the magick circle.

Wand: Ritual tool brought to the craft from ritual magick.

Warlock: Antiquated term misused in reference to a male Witch. It means oath-breaker or Liar. Most Pagans, Witch’s find the term offensive.

Web Weaving: Networking with other magickal people via conversation, writing, e-mail, to gather information which will mutually assist each party.

Wheel of the Year: One full cycle of the seasonal year.

Wicca: A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magic; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magical circles for ritual purposes.

Wicce: Synonymous with Wicca. In some circles, Wicce is used for women and Wicca is used for men.

Widdershins: Counter-clockwise motion, usually used for negative magical purposes, or for dispersing negative energies or conditions such as disease.

Witch: A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.

Witchcraft: The craft of the witch- magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. This belief system also has nothing to do with Satanism.

Yggdrasil: One of the best known Tree of Life symbols. It unites all existence from the Underworld, to the Physical world.

Rituals Part 1; Establish Your Ritual

Wicca is often thought of as a loosely structured, or even completely unstructured spiritual tradition, and for many people who were raised in more formal organized religions, this is definitely part of the draw. Nonetheless, there is a core feature of Wicca that serves to bring people together around a collective focus: Wiccan rituals.

Whether the occasion is a Sabbat, an Esbat, or a milestone such as a handfasting (wedding), an initiation, or an end-of-life ceremony, covens and circle members will gather to worship together, honor the Goddess and God, and celebrate the wonders to be found in the ongoing cycles of life. While most Wiccan rituals are held in private, some covens will occasionally hold theirs in public, so that all who wish to observe can come and learn more about the Craft. Many Wiccan circles do the same, and may even invite the public to participate.

Of course, solo rituals are no less significant, and solitary Wiccans know that as they worship at each point along the Wheel of the Year, they are adding their personal light and power to the collective magical energy on these special occasions.

Wiccan rituals can take many different forms, with no two events being exactly alike. Some may be highly structured and elaborate. This is often the case with coven rituals, though since most covens keep the details of their rituals secret, known only to initiated members, it’s difficult to describe them with much accuracy. Other rituals, particularly those practiced by solitary and eclectic Wiccans, may be fairly simple by comparison, and may even be made up on the spot.

The content of any given Wiccan ritual will depend on the occasion. For example, Esbats, or Full Moon celebrations, are focused solely on the Goddess, while Sabbats honor the co-creative relationship between the Goddess and the God. Despite all the possible variations, however, there are a few basic elements that tend to be included in what we might call a “typical” ritual.

First, there is a purification, both of the celebrant(s) and the place where the ritual is held. This can happen in the form of a ritual bath, and/or a smudging ceremony to remove any unwanted energies from the ritual space, whether it’s an outdoor area or inside the home. Smudging involves the burning of sacred herbs, such as sage, rosemary, and/or lavender.

Setting up the altar comes next. Some Wiccans are able to keep an altar permanently set up in their homes, but even in this case, it will likely be decorated differently depending on the occasion, such as bringing in fall foliage for Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) or Samhain (also known as Halloween.) The altar is arranged with the various Wiccan tools, symbols, and offerings, laid out according to any one of a number of traditions.

Next comes the casting of the circle, an act that creates a boundary between the sacred space and the ordinary, mundane world. The altar is typically at the center of the circle, with plenty of room for all involved to work freely within the circle, with no accidental stepping outside of the energetic boundary. The circle may be marked with sea salt, a long cord, several stones, herbs, or candles. There are many methods for circle-casting.

Once the circle is cast, the invocations begin. The order here can vary, but typically the God and Goddess are invited to join the ritual, and then the four Elements—Earth, Air, Fire, and Water—are invoked, as these are the raw materials that make up all of existence. (In many traditions, a fifth Element—Akasha, or Spirit—is also called in.) In other traditions, this step is known as Calling the Quarters, and the four directions (North, East, South, and West) are addressed, either instead of or in addition to the Elements.

Once these steps have taken place, the heart of the ritual begins. First, the intent of the occasion is stated—whether it’s to celebrate a Sabbat or an Esbat, or perhaps to petition the God and Goddess on behalf of someone who needs healing or some other kind of assistance. (Magical spellwork can indeed be the focus of a ritual, though many Wiccans will do this separately from Sabbat celebrations, so as to keep the focus on the Goddess and God during Sabbats.)

After the intent is stated, the main body of the ritual may consist of various activities. The focal point may be the performance of a ritual drama—such as reenacting scenes from ancient myths or poems—or other liturgical material, depending on the tradition of Wicca the group is following. Solitary Wiccans might also read from ancient mystical texts, or compose their own poetry for the occasion. Chanting, singing, dancing and/or other ritual gestures may be part of the proceedings, as might simply reflecting informally on the blessings of the season. Prayers might be offered, whether they are personal or on the behalf of others. In fact, it’s common in some traditions to use ritual space to intend for the benefit of an entire community, or even all of humanity.

In many traditions, a ceremony known as “cakes and ale” (or “cakes and wine”) is an important part of Wiccan rituals. Food and drink are offered and symbolically shared with the God and Goddess, typically at the end of the body of the ritual (although some traditions begin with it). This ceremony connects the spiritual plane with the Earth plane, and helps to ground and center the participants before closing the ritual proceedings. When it’s time to end the ritual, the Elements and the Goddess and God are formally thanked and released, and the circle is closed.

Again, this is just a basic template that a Wiccan ritual would typically follow. If you join an established coven or circle, the group will most likely have its own version of what’s been described above, with many possible variations. If you’re a solitary practitioner, you can research a specific tradition to follow, or you can create your own unique Wiccan rituals. As long as your intention is sincere and you are focused on your actions, there’s really no way to get it “wrong”!

The classical ritual scheme in British Traditional Wicca traditions is:

  • Purification of the sacred space and the participants
  • Casting the circle
  • Calling of the elemental quarters
  • Cone of power
  • Drawing down the Gods
  • Spellcasting
  • Great Rite
  • Wine, cakes, chanting, dancing, games
  • Farewell to the quarters and participants