Archives for category: HANDS-ON-WICCA

Windmills Afternoon w Clouds DSCN0244 edit WEB (1) (1)

We celebrated a lovely Wiccan Mabon Rite outdoors this year. We were at our very pleasant mountain retreat, provided by the Temple’s High Priestess, GreenBerry. We had scheduled the celebration well in advance, and were met with a gorgeous breezy evening in unseasonably cool weather.

At Mabon, we observe the second of the three Wiccan Thanksgiving feasts. We express our gratitude to The Goddess and The God for the bounty of Nature’s goodness. Knowing that Deity ensouls the Earth and the Universe, and is omnipresent in the natural world as well as in the realms of Spirit, gives us deep and authentic gratitude for what to some may seem mundane. We know that the joy of our existence, of our lives on the Sacred Earth, is a gift of experience that makes for Spiritual growth of every Witch in our Temple.

Without the fruits of the harvest, of the grains and the vegetables and the fruits, all products of the magic of the marriage of energy, rainwater, the earth itself, and the air that the plants (and us Witches) breathe, there would be no chance for us to experience the communion with Deity that engenders love and ecstasy. Without the divine magic of seed and soil, sunshine, and the breeze and rain, we would not be, and we see our beingness as the greatest gift.

This year, we had the most blessed time during our Rite. Two Elder High Priests, one High Priestess, a Priestess and two students who were Dedicating to study for initiation into the clergy were present. Some of our beloved clergy and students were not able to be with us physically, but, they were in our hearts and present in spirit. What was conspicuously and blessedly absent was Ego. When we raise Sacred Circle for worship, we enter there in “perfect love and perfect trust.” We understand and teach that much of the separateness that is espoused in secular culture is an illusion for a Witch. The high ideals we strive for and teach about cannot be achieved while remaining separate and apart from the Sacred Earth, or from each other. To achieve the blessed magic we do, we know that we are a part of one earth, of one solar system, and one common humanity. To enable our personal realization of this love and trust requires us to silence the ever boisterous “me” within, and instead, listen to the “us” which we share.

The weather was unexpectedly cold enough to find that during the Rite, it was best for us to hurry along. Within the Sacred Circle, with the Elements and The Gods present, we were cold in the beautiful first breath of autumn. In the state of perfect love and perfect trust, we were conscious of each other. We drew up seating close around the bonfire, and skipping some of the dramaturgy planned, we went on to share the Dedication of our students. There was no ego. No judging, discerning, or whining. That is where Wiccan people who have clear understanding of the joy of unity stay. Wiccans stay in their joy and love. And in love, self-centeredness and selfishness fades, and Deity ensouls the group with love. This happens despite some challenges which may come around.

When The Goddess arrives in circle, she generally informs us that “…My law is Love unto all beings.” We are grateful for that. We hold that to our hearts. We did this Mabon, as we recalled and celebrated that the Divine Light of The God had now entered into the seed. This special presence of Deity in the seed and in other storage crops would sustain us and our neighbors through the dark part of the year when obtaining food would be more difficult. It also contained within it the promise of continuing life and future crops. These are crops that are both the Bounty of The Sacred Earth and the growth of human love.

230px-Mercuryorbitsolarsystem

I know that we are all very used to blaming our old Mercury Retrograde for every glitch, and I’ll be the first to agree that in these confusing times, with glitches happening all throughout the year, it’s comforting to have a planet to blame for at least a few weeks.

So why am I giving up this useful clutch? Maybe it’s a Mercury Retrograde effect: a revisiting of the Catholicism that was around me as a child. By Catholic time we are now in Lent, and it’s time to give something up before welcoming Easter’s resurrection. This 2013 Lent is quite historical since the Roman Pope just gave up his Papacy.

After our last full moon Esbat, with Luna traveling through Virgo, our Spring cleaning was energized, and now, after a week of cleaning, weeding and reorganizing our computer files, it’s time to let go of some old to make room for more new. I’m feeling good about giving up the old Mercury Retro clutch.

My new name for these periods, three or four every year, will be Mercury Reconnect, and I’m associating them, not with extra obstacles or nostalgia, but with useful looks back at our old selves, to fully appreciate our new, current selves.

While Sol visits Pisces, energizing dreams and religious needs, we can use this Mercury Reconnect to look at the dreams we had as children, and see if there’s anything there worth revisiting that can help us today. Our younger sense of awe and the clearer devotion of our earlier days can be revisited and recycled as fuel for our current practice. Our old expectations, what we needed to get out of our relation to divinity back then, can be compared with our current, fresher, mature attitudes to the same or other aspects of the divine.

Now it’s a good time to Re-Connect with Divinity. Wicca rarely uses the tools of intense devotion, the “Inflame Yourself in Prayer” of some Magickal, Abrahamic and Hindu paths. Our Gods are neither jealous nor demanding of unwavering devotion, and we tend to be more balanced, rather than excessive in our love for them. Just like we prefer equality based human relationships. Many of us don’t really worship, but rather acknowledge our Gods. We often relate to them as both internal and external “other” beings, which are in many ways also “us”, we love them and serve them, and they love us and help us, but we are not slaves to them, nor them to us. There’s plenty more human and divine fish in the seas, if we don’t “click”.

As children we probably developed our first connection to Divinity either following the examples of our families or reacting to them. As adults we may have found a different path, or rediscovered that our family’s path wasn’t that bad after all. Let’s meditate on our old feelings, fueling our meditation with any mementos that may have come up during our Spring cleaning.

How can we use those memories in our current paths? Let the ghost of our younger selves have a few minutes of our bodies, and energize our Spring if that makes sense. If there’s nothing to recycle, let’s clear space for some brand new connections.

We attune to the Lunar and Solar energies by celebrating our monthly Esbats and our yearly Sabbats, bathing in their rays and learning the stories of the old Mythos about them. We can also help solidify our connection with our Lady and Lord by creating a permanent or temporary altar to them.

A small table, not too low or too tall, with a nice altar cloth and a couple of candles is enough.

The candles can be wax or electrical, green and red, or silver and gold, or any other colors that you associate with our Lady and Lord. You can place them in front of images of some aspects of the divine with which you are familiar. Sometimes candle holders have female and male aspects that can serve as integrated images.

A small plate or basket can be placed in front of the candles to hold offerings like fruit, nuts, crystals, grains, etc. Fresh flowers, cut or rooted can be placed on the altar. Incense, water, salt, and oils can make your altar more elaborate. Little statues of animals sacred to the divine aspects you are working with can also add layers.

Make sure the final look is not one that of a flea-market clutter. If you have a lot of materials you’d like on your altar, you can keep it all in an altar box, and as you attend to refreshing and replenishing your altar, you can change what’s displayed with the box’s materials. This way you could keep your altar changing through the seasons, or even more often if that suits you.

Daily, weekly and monthly practices and meditations can be built around the maintenance of your altar. If you can take care of a small pet, you already know everything you need to know to take care of your small altar. Try to keep dust, bacteria, mold, and other unwanted things from building up on the altar surface, while layering vibrant energy through meditation, prayer, ritual, and calling on the divine as often as possible. Learn of any special dates for your favorite divine aspects and make your altar specially nice on those dates.

Ultimately only you can determine what’s appropriate, and what will work in your altar.

You can share it with your household, friends, or business, or you can set it up in a private space where only you can see it. As with everything else in Wicca, it’s important that you enjoy it, and have fun with it.

Your next encounter with Mercury the Reconnecter doesn’t have to be a dreadful glitch race. It can be just a time set aside for extra altar art and divine communication, while slowing down a bit in the mundane plane.

Blessed Be!

candle

As I hope we all know, divination is always to be taken with a good sized grain of salt, and a full spoon of common sense, and later chased with a gulp of humor.

We are supposed to obtain those items before we learn any method of divining.

With the increasing popularity of the Tarot and other divination tools, there’s a growing need for techniques to obtain spiritual answers directly by ourselves, but there’s also a need for a system of checks and balances, so as not to make fools of ourselves by providing “bad” info, or by dressing good info to fit our personal designs.

Divining is a lot of fun, and we don’t burden it with too many dark warnings.
Who wants to hear about those?
Well, hopefully we all do, if we want to have fun divining, without causing harm to others, and ourselves.

The brief words that follow address negative situations that are uncommon, but they are all based on real life events.

We all have heard of the abuses of some African Diaspora house where some priest was divining the need for costly ceremonies at the end of the month, not in order to avert any real dangers, or to obtain any real benefits, but just to pay rent.
The odd possibility of priestly self-delusion still doesn’t help that priest’s image at all.

More recently I’ve heard of someone whose cards were full of words against the boyfriend of a female seeker, which the male diviner found attractive. Obviously this was wrong, but was the diviner unconscious of this conflict, or just deaf to any ethics? It looks grayer than the case above, but still doesn’t look clean.

In Wicca we don’t charge for ceremonies, and we keep financial involvements to a bare minimum, usually as a “fruit cake-ish” exchange that comes and goes around, often in the form of altar necessities like incense, etc. On the other hand, we can still be affected by emotional conflicts, and they are not always as obvious as the above examples.

We can find ourselves doing divination without proper ethical safeguards.

I’m not talking just of the obvious checklist: choosing the right location and time, divining only when we are properly centered, or when the weather is calm.

After checking all those boxes, we still need to think about what we are doing from an ethical perspective that includes our, hopefully healthy, egos.

Any divination in which we are invested on the results in any way, is always suspect of our possible subconscious or even conscious manipulation. That’s why readers go to other readers.

Trancing helps us with this, by taking our personas out of the equation to some degree. Asking our Gods or our Helping Spirits to be there assisting us is essential. Keeping a daily connection with Deity is of the greatest help in all spiritual matters. This cannot be stressed enough.

When in a group, any divination by one person regarding another needs to be checked for conflicts of interest, and for red flags, ranging from silly prankster humor to real abuse of trust.

Red flags:
People gossiping about others, always out of real concern, of course, but not concerned enough to check their sources, or seek others’ views on the subject.

When our emotions take over our rational functions and prevent us from checking our sources or hearing others’ voices, we may be in need of a long break, and in some cases, we may even need some professional mental help.

Gossipy character assassination is bad enough by itself, and can become very destructive in a group. Now, when this is compounded with a “proof” by a self-serving or tainted divination, then the drama escalates fast.

If we are doing divination on someone without their permission, and without telling them the result, yet we are going around telling others about our “shocking findings”, this already falls on the zone of the unethical, even defamatory, depending on which “facts” were read and then spread.
Common sense would tell us that this is wrong even when the info is in jest and not serious. We should listen to it.

Professional diviners are aware of these pitfalls, but unseasoned beginners can be very tempted to use divination as a weapon for purely mundane games, unconsciously or even consciously.

Hopefully we can outgrow some of these issues, as we deepen our connection to Deity.

The practice of keeping a divination diary, like any other type of magickal diary, can help us to spot unconscious patterns, biases and unconscious manipulations, and can help keep us honest, and keep our divinations ethically grounded and fun.

candle

Happy Imbolc and other Holidays of Lights to everyone!

(Irish tip for the season:
Don’t pronounce that b in Imbolc!)

Romans and other Mediterranean peoples
used candle rituals in February for purification
from winter’s needs.

In Christianity, and other religions
that celebrate a Holy Solstice birth,
forty days after giving birth is often the time
for the Mother’s ritual purifications from Her
birthing stress. As below, so above, I guess.

Other traditions would phrase this time of the year
differently, but always stressing the expansion
of vegetation about to bloom overnight,
Spring’s new growth is already being felt everywhere,
soon it will be visible to our eyes too.

The candles we light are in honor of that which we call,
awaken and re-awaken, by many images and names:
divine inspiration, the poetic Awen,
the energies of the East, and Air,
the awe of the unnumbered Arcanum,
or the influence of the Iranian archangel Raphael.

After lighting a candle we close our eyes, and…

In our minds, we braid the light of the candle
into a three dimensional, rotating,
grass braid shaped like a small Brigid’s Cross,
an image of the living Sun-Wheel,
turning to form, as the year forms…

…in the shape of a Celtic Goddess of Magic and Wisdom:

Brig, Brigit, Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, Brid, Bride, Ffraid,
Bricta, Brigindu, Brigantis, Brigantia, Brigandia, Bragança, Braga,

and many other variants of Celtic Brighid (exalted one, vigor, force, flame),
the daughter of the Dagda, and one of the Tuatha De Danann,
the people of the Goddess Danu.

She is also called Roman Minerva forming the
Capitoline Triad with Jupiter and Juno,
and also appears as Athena, or St. Brigid,
and under the name of many other entities
that are entwined in her light,
since every hill had, and has,
an inspirational Goddess,
may every hill be seen as divine again.

Happy Brigid’s Day to Everyone!

Lugh, 2013

LeoMoonLast Saturday’s Esbat, the Snow Moon, or Hunger Moon, had Luna visiting Leo while the newly born December Sun transits Aquarius. This week’s sky frames an eerie period between the collective needs and the individual needs of peoples, and it is strongly felt in all types of groups, including covens.

Let’s focus this Leonine energy towards our internal work, accessing the leader qualities that we all have, and asking ourselves what do we have to offer our sisters and brothers in this new solar year. How can we lead in trust and love?

This is our strong center, the internal power attitude that says that we are all valuable, and we have good things to contribute to society, starting by our own family and community. The lion head in ancient Egypt was the symbol of Sekhmet, a healing deity whose name means “Powerful One”. This giving of ourselves from a place of power is the solar sacrifice of leaders for their people, and that’s the attitude of a priest/ess.

When our lion is not acting from our strong center, when we feel fearful, insecure, victimized, or hurt, or when our lion is young and still unable to think collectively, then it’s all about us.

This ego-high can actually be a good thing for a while, we need a healthy ego when growing and learning, it helps you feed your fast developing awareness, and free yourself from any old “Elephant silk leashes” and other over-restrictive voices in your head or your environment.

After a point, though, our ego can become a weight, if we let it, that can keep us from our progress. If we don’t acknowledge this passage, and keep thinking of ourselves as our old lion cubs in constant need of attention, we become the astrological cliché of a Leo constantly on stage, but lacking an appreciative audience. Kittens grow up from cute cotton-balls to beautiful and powerful free beings.

In Wicca, after learning the basics, it’s important to remember a few rules of thumb to grow into our power in health of mind and body:
1st. -It’s not about us.

No matter how much we were pampered as cubs, if we are not solitaries we need to think group and larger community, and we need to be in synergy with many others, that’s the whole point of collectives. Solitaries also can, and often do benefit from many community activities.
We all have a tendency to forget this obvious fact, and we round up the wagons in our comfort zone. Remember that we, all of us and always, have free will and free choice.
We can choose to respect others’ boundaries and not to isolate, just as well as the opposite.

The baby Sun is now in Aquarius. Being ruled by Uranus and Saturn, He radiates a great blend of creativity and social vision. These are exactly the refreshing waters that we need to heal from our cold Winter’s wounds and to be again our giving, leading, sacrificing Lions in mature full power this solar year.

The genius-level creativity of Aquarius and a happy young Sun translate into another great rule of thumb to keep in mind as we keep growing and learning:
2nd. -Have fun!

All rites of love and pleasure are the Goddess’ Rites. We can accomplish much more if we, and everyone involved, are having fun with their activities. Fun is collaborative and contagious.

An African saying addresses the energies of this period very well:

If one needs to go someplace fast, one goes singing alone.
If one needs to go somewhere far, one goes singing together with many friends.

The waters above, those of the Water Bearer, start already baptizing us and cleansing us before we even enter the month of February, the month of purifications.

In the Desert now is a good time to plant, we have more humidity in the air than at any other times. This period is short, since the winds will rise soon with Spring, and will dry us out again. The beauty of our blooming Spring depends on the amount of rains we get right now.

My garter snakes are out of brumation and are beginning to mate. Their internal Wheel of the Year is running a bit fast. LOL.

Blessed Be!

As She waxes in the next few days, the crescent Moon will move higher in the sky as She’s traveling from the South West towards the East.

Starting on Aquarius by the 14th, next day She will be just below the Pisces Circlet.

She hovers to the right of Uranus on the 16th, reaching Full Quarter on the 18th.

The month’s premier conjunction is the strikingly close meeting of the Moon and Jupiter on the 21st, when they will be over bright Aldebaran in the Holy Bull, with the Hyades and Pleiades framing the joyous picture.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

current night sky over Los Angeles, CA
Sky map by AstroViewer®
Get the HTML code for this sky map

This has been quite a busy Samhain so far.

We had a small gathering for our first Samhain party at Gita’s in Palm Springs, with great food and a large fire, and then we had a larger gathering in Palm Desert, at Chris’. We talked about the significance of Samhain and read as a group about the Sabbat’s history and it’s traditional forms. At our second gathering we had a guided meditation, visiting the Tir na nOg, the Land of Youth; the Otherworld. We sailed to the Island of Apples, and danced there with our beloved dead, listening to their messages for the New Year.

Then we brought our awareness back to our bodies and shared a meal and plenty of fun.

This meditation, as part of Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance, is a yearly event in the Bay Area. Originally we had planned to go there for it. Our group had grown since those plans were made, and now it made sense to start celebrating Samhain here.

Samhain is our New Year, and my favorite part of the Wheel of the Year, not just because I was born around this time, (Yes, I’m Scorpio, and thanks to everyone for the best B-Day ever!) but also because in the desert, this is almost a second Spring. People come back from Summer vacations, businesses reopen, and the weather is great.

Traditionally Samhain brings us a harvest of apples, which are the northern version of the Vendimia, the wine harvest of the Southern European lands.

In California we celebrate both harvests.

In the Southern Hemisphere this harvest happens between February and April, In the Northern Hemisphere the harvests go from July to October. In the desert now it’s more of a planting season start, rather than a harvest. Food for thought: to do something unique to the Desert seasons, at some point.

People get together for merry making; drinking wine and cider; eating seasonal dishes with nuts, berries, roots, and gourds; doing all kinds of divination; dressing up in humorous or ancestral outfits; playing games, and being socially creative in a million ways.

Our classes and discussions have been matching the mood of the season with themes like Spell Work, Mirror Making, Reincarnation, Scrying, Life Regression, etc., and Joanne will end November with a presentation of Joseph Campbell’s Hero of 1000 Faces.

Another theme running through the season is that of Thanksgiving:

Some of us have been attending some of our neighbors rituals.
Thanks to all our witchy neighbors for their invites (especially to TouchStone Local Council of CoG), and thanks to all of them for their great works. As we get more organized we will do much more of that, as well as keeping inviting our neighbors to our Sabbats.

Thanks to everyone that voted in the elections, and congrats to our President for his second term.

Thanks to all the veterans that have made our lives today possible, not just on Veterans’ Day, but everyday.

Thanks to everyone for all your magical energy, company and feedback, as we enter, together, the darker part of the year.

Blessed Be.

After casting a circle with volunteers we discussed how to make a Magick Mirror.

Chris started by describing how he orients his mind and soul within the Tree of Life before starting the trance and opening the cosmic vision gates:

Firmly in Malkut, facing Yesod, and through Yesod contemplating the Triangle of the Art, superimposed with the Supernal Triangle of the Holy Tree.

We talked about how to make the actual mirror with a convex clock glass, and some black paint, we mentioned the paints we like to use for this.

We showed some mirrors already made, some scrying balls made of obsidian, and some bowls that could be used to scry with water or oil.

We discussed how to ritualize the work, like we did with Incense Making, by making the mirror during the Dark Moon, salting the parts to cleanse them; bathing them in a condenser and vision correlated herbal tea (chamomile, eyebright, mugwort, etc.) to charge them; adding nine thin layers of paint to build up the mirror surface, and charging each layer with energy as it dries; carving the frame to finish the mirror, and finally consecrating it to the Art within circle.

We did not get into much scrying detail, but we discussed it in general, mentioning both its methods and the possible sources of the information obtained, as well as the correlation of the  modern quantum physics concepts of the Zero Point Field and Non-Locality, with the old metaphysical concept of the Akashic Records or the psychological Collective Subconscious.

We talked about where this information can be coming from, and how this information could be common not just to all humans on Earth, but to all biological and psychological life that exists now, ever existed or will ever exist; anywhere in our Metaverse, or Multiverse. It’s described as a huge superdense, superfluid information depository connecting and attuning everything.

We mentioned how Wicca embraces science, and does not affect to have religious answers for everything, neither physical nor metaphysical.

We described the scientific evolution of theories about the vacuum of space from the XXth Century’s luminous ether to the current  information and dark energy packed Zero Point Field that keeps stars and planets orbiting, as well as our body atoms stable, and it may contain holographic records of everything-everywhere-everywhen as quantum wave patterns. Patterns of sounds, images, feelings, which we might be able to experience as we trance, accessing our own wave function nature: our soul.

As theories go, this one is beautiful, but the astral territory is still much vaster than any maps we have of it.

We warned about how it’s best to scry in the company of experienced guides with knowledge of hypnosis and hypnotic trance, to avoid some possible problems.

We will put a scrying course together some time soon.

After the presentation was over, we talked about our personal experiences with scrying and mirrors. Then we shared some libation and cakes.

Thanking the Gods and spirits as they departed to their strange lands, we opened the Circle, and merry parted, off to a Pizza dinner and more hours of bewitching chat, LOL. I know, it’s true, we can’t shut up. LOL.

Our next public meeting, Hands-On-Wicca, is next Saturday October 20th at 4 PM, at the Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs.

We will discuss Healing Qi Gong; until then, merry part, and…

Blessed Be!

 

 

Thanks to all the people that came to our Saturday Teaching Circle, Hands-On-Wicca, at Crystal Fantasy.

We welcomed and introduced everyone, and after some news, like this new blog, news from CoG, etc., we traced our Circle.

In Circle, between the worlds, we presented  Spell Casting: To Cast or not to Cast.

Turns out that, after getting some working practice at first, there’s only need for a few spells. The first preparation is deciding if it’s even worth doing in the first place. When a spell is needed, keeping it ethical and grounded makes all the difference for its effectiveness.

We talked generally about candle work, intention, ethics, entities, things that work and things that don’t work.

Any spiritual letter or prayer can be seen as a spell if it expects results in our world, or even if it just expects to be read or listened to in the spirit world.

Let’s get the basic definitions and spelling out of the way:

Many religions teach that you can just address a number of Gods and spiritual entities by changing awareness to a prayer mode, and talking, reciting, or writing a note.

These are metaphysical communications, and therefore they are not only wireless, but magickal.

They would be magical too, without the k, if the letter materializes in your hand after you pull my ear. :  )

Religions and religious people are always more or less magickal, with a k, while only a circus magician is magical, without k, and neither of them are usually psychotic, with a ch, even if they all associate their names to things that cannot or shouldn’t be proven, scientifically dotting all their i’s and crossing all their t’s.

That’s enough spelling. Most Wiccan spells use some props. Simple spells use a couple of props and metaphors; more complex ones can use herbs, colors, scents, any thing that is vibrational, any correlation from any Table of Correspondences. We often use ye olde Liber 777 for correspondences in our Temple, but not always.

Yesterday we also talked about rhyming charms, rope spells or witch ladders, and about releasing the finished astral program at the end of a spell to let it do its work.

We think that, to the extent that magic works (when it does work, which is not always, and that’s usually a good thing!) it works because we are all connected and it works thru that connection.

Healing spells work very well, and can be as simple as a prayer for health or the act of covering something or oneself with the healing vibration of the color blue, physically or by visualizing it. Blue candles or blue ropes can represent healing and are used in healing spells.

We talked about how spells for personal material well-being work  better  when pulling energy for the benefit of a group or for all people, and not just for ourselves.

Prosperity spells seem to work better when two people do this type of spells for each other.

Protection candles are used to keep peaceful energies around you. When dealing with confrontations we talked about taking the higher road, and avoiding Karma when possible.

We talked about candle spells for mirroring or returning energies, something to be done often and in general, rather than specifically naming any source of possible malice, since the intel could very well be wrong.

We mentioned how returning what is sent to you is a great way of staying grounded without incurring Karma by escalating a grudge.

We talked about the tricky love spells, and how they work better when more general, and get buggier and worthless when directed at a specific person, unless you have the person’s consent for it, which of course, makes the whole need for a love spell basically nil.

After the presentation was over, we talked about our personal experiences with spells. Then we shared some libation and cakes.

Thanking the Gods and spirits as they departed to their strange lands, we opened the Circle, and merry parted, off to a Kosher dinner and more hours of bewitching chat, LOL.

Our next public meeting, Hands-On-Wicca, is next Saturday October 13th at 4 PM, at the Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs.

We will discuss mirror making; until then, merry part, and…

Blessed Be!