Imbolc:season of the Youthful Crone

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Often we find ourselves taking this time of year for granted. It’s after the hubb-bub of the holidays, often we take a step back and are just glad we made it through the chaos of dinners,family,and gift giving. So when good ol’ january gets here…then febuary we forget to enjoy this season of quiet. Its in this time that we can recharge and recoup. But all too often folks dread this season. I suppose its the lack of light or the lack of perceptible life. But in truth, i think, its the fact that we are no longer distracted from the face in the mirror. No pretty flowers,or errands to do, no lawns to mow or picnics to be had…just that face staring back at you.

 

   So what do we do? We get depressed and we waste time. But my dear witches, and pagans, this season is very important this is the season of, what i call, the Youthful Crone. this is the time of wisdom in potentia. it is not in the movement that dance is beautiful, its in the open spaces between motion. Its only after darkness that light has meanings,life has purpose only when faced with death. So how do we harness this raw potential? Personal spiritual journeys AKA crossing the hedge and preparing ourselves for the coming year of magical work and spiritual travel.

 

  Traditionally this time of year new witches were initiated and new tools are dedicated. At this time of year i go through several little rituals all leading up too Imbolc. The first is i clean my home physically. Yup witchcraft involves house work! Everything gets done right down to alphabetizing my books. Once thats done (and it takes a while my house is as messy as my mind) it all gets cleansed spiritually. I start at the backside of my home in the eastern most corner, and in a clockwise direction, i smudge the house. Ah did i mention all the windows and doors need to be open? I didn’t did i…sorry yes every things gotta be open. The old year has to be allowed to flee. Now i smudge the entire house. Then i aspirge it with salted water. So now we hit it up with all the “classical” elements. Finally we bless the house, close all the doors and windows and on each one you anoint it with either blessing oil, or olive oil thats been prayed over. Personally i place a few runes on each door and window but hey, do whats right for you.

 

   Next i need to recharge,or make new wards for the house. For those unaware, Wards are magical barriers for you or your home. A witch’s bottle is a type of ward spell. Personally i dont use witch bottles. Just never have…i think the idea of pissing in a bottle bothers me. I use an old hill folk ward, because it makes sense to me from a scientific perspective. Get yourself 4 old rail road spikes and drive them into the four corners of your property. Railroad spikes are made of Iron…just plain ol’ iron. Iron grounds out any negativity, be it a spell or otherwise, directed at your home. So each year i pull them up, rebless them,charge them and plant’em again.

 

  Now finally i cleanse,bless,and dedicated my ritual tools. And each year i rededicated myself too the witching way. How each witch does this is their own business and is as privet, i feel, as a lover announcing their love for the first time. I also create new charms or items to be used for charms at this time of year.

 

  For those who read my blog often, you’ll know i had a child last year. She was Born Sept. 29,2013 and was 6lb 15 ounces. She is growing fast and a handful. But if i can manage it i will be tring to blog a bit more specific details on said charms and hopefully, leading up too Imbolc, i will post my personal Imbolc ritual.

in theory this is the order of the blogs:

spinning the web, using thread spinning in magic

Wards, how they work, what they are

Intoning: your voice in magic

Imbolc: Ritual too the Cailleach

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Presenting Miss Autumn Rose

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Realm of Land: Veneration of The Genus Loci

For the next few posts i plan to do a series of posts about the celtic realms of Land, Sea,and Sky. These posts with largely be workings to honor spirits specific to each area. At some point i may, in the future, write a bit about their shamanic significance. But for now i wanted to start with some basics. What follows is a working to venerate or honor the Genius Loci, or Land Spirit of a specific area.

The Genius Loci is the spirit of a specific area,even cityscapes have some genius loci in them. This spirit will watch over the area and the spirits that reside within it. They are the Guardians of the area and can be a great ally too the practitioner.

This process or ritual is intended to be used on a regular bases to build a relationship with this entity.  The benefits of doing the work is many fold, including helping the practitioner to come to understand, in a more personal way, the symbiosis between man and nature. As well as learning the locations of power spots or Faery Gates in the area,being able to ask favors or petitions of the Land Spirit, and creating a power location for personal spiritual work.

I strongly suggest you not petition the land spirits for anything until you have established a firm relationship with them.

What you will need for the working:

  • 1 red candle
  • Bread (please remember this is an offering too someone, quality DOES matter)
  • Wine,beer,or other spirits again quality
  • any bobbles you may wish to also offer
  • bell,whistle,or drum

For this rite you will not be casting a circle, so you do need to be mindful of the area you have chosen. If an area feels hostile or negative its a good bet its not a land spirit interested in your company. Thus do not choose to do this working there. I would suggest starting with the Genius Loci near your home. Look for some thing distinctive in the landscape. Often that is where you will make the strongest first connection with the spirit. Once you have found your location you may proceed as follows:

Facing north, place the candle in the middle of your work space, bread to the north of the candle,wine to the west,bell to the east, and finally, you set in the south. If you wish at this point you may walk in a widdershin direction around your work space 3,6,or 9 times. This will help you create a stronger connection with the Unseen spaces. Think of it as cranking on an old Graham Bell telephone.

Settle down before your altar, setting in the south facing north,close your eyes and experience the sounds,smells, and sensations of the area. Try to sense the spirit here. When you are calm and centered and have fully awakened your senses too your surroundings; take up your bell or other instrument and ring it. As you do you must KNOW that this sound rings forth into the Otherworld across the Veil and is heard by the Genius Loci.

Now light the red candle saying something to the effect of:

“I kindle this flame

as a beacon into the unseen places.

I draw the eye of the Spirit of this Land.

A sworn child of the Mother,

who wishes only to honor you.”

Hopefully, if all goes well straight out of the gate, you could get some sort of response here. Be patient and above all, observant. It will be subtle a branch moving oddly, an animal that looks at you in an uncanny manner. If nothing happens, do not fear, it may not for several workings. Just continue on with the work. However, if a feeling of panic, or hostility comes over you, pack it in sister! You’re being told to shove off. But lets say all goes well.

Next hold your hand over the bread and say something to the effect of:

“Here is the bread of life,the nourishment of the Earth

As it gives life too me

i offer of it too you

I consecrate it in honor too the spirits of this land.”

Take a small bit of the bread and say “May we never hunger”

Next take up the cup of wine and say some thing too the effect of:

“Here is the cup of Mater Sangreal

The blood of the Mother

The blood of abundance

I consecrate it in honor of you the land spirits.”

Take a sip of the wine and say “may we never thirst.”

Now you have a few options here, you may place the bread and wine in a hole you have dug, or a bowl,or place the bread in the cup then poor it out as you speak. However you choose to do it bring the two together and say something to the effect of:

“As i have taken,

So this is given

Shared in honor

as one who is of the family of the Old Gods

with the Spirits of the Land.

I give it to the Ground

I give it to the Genius Loci

That the seen and unseen people

and spirits may be made whole

again and live in peace.

For behold,what is taken is truly given,

and what is given is truly taken.

So be it.”

(by the by the line what is taken is truly given and what is given is truly taken is from Robin Artissons book The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill please check it out for more workings and prose )

From here you may leave any other offerings you have thank the spirits and leave your offering of bread and wine on the earth as the invocation suggests. Tahda! you just honored a Genius Loci…now keep doing so! Come back and keep the area clean, feed the animals, do this working again at least once a month. Eventually very interesting things will happen if you allow your self to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

and now a few resources:

ge·ni·us lo·ci (j n – s l s , -k , -k ). n. 1. The distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place. 2. The guardian deity of a place.

Mabon:A walk on the first day of fall

Today marks the first day of Autumn, my favorite season. I love every thing about it, even the dreary, grey, rainy days. Today, day and night will be equals. To my pagan mind, today the God and Goddess stand together at the crossroads of life and death. I honor the Harvest God for his sacrifice and the Great Mother for all the bounty her body has brought forth. And finally i take a step back and take stock of my personal harvests this year.

It’s been a bitter sweet year for me. As many of you out there have heard my home town was devastated by an EF5 tornado that ripped through the center of town. I am thankful that i was not harmed in the storm, nor where those i love. However, the devastation caused me to go jobless for a very long time. On top of that my Partners father had a massive stroke and fell into a come not 9 days prior too the storm. Many more things have happened and are happening so this year it was hard for me to view the world with the wisewoman eyes i know the Goddess has gifted me with.

To that end i went for a walk today. my little apartment does not have the space for rituals, hell it doesnt have the space for most any thing. So i went out got my self a pumpkin spice latte and headed too my local wooded park.The weather is perfect here today a nice 70ish degrees with a cool breeze. So i found a good entry point.Distantly i could hear Ravens calling to each other and i instinctively moved towards the sound. The forest isnt thick but it is almost a straight down drop, for anyone who didnt grow up running around in the Ozark woods it wouldnt be a fun walk.

For me it was like being a kid again, i could almost hear my dads voice, “ok now put your foot their and braise your self on that tree…good job!” Slowly steadily i made my way half way down the hill and found a good comfy spot under a twin trunked oak tree, with a clear view of the creek. On my way down i could feel the forest aware of me, wondering if i had brought anyone else with me. If i was here for magic again (i found my stang in this forest in April)

I sat on the ground and anounced why i was here, it was Mabon and i had come to say my thanks and to reconnect with the Earth and her children. Above me the oak tree dropped 3 acorns, big fat ones, just a few feet infront of me. I took this as a welcoming sign so i settled in. Just then a doe made a noise about 100 yards away from me i turned just in time to watch her bound away from me into the woods. As i looked back too the creek a pair of cranes flew down stream, as the Raven started a call and answer game off in the distance.

As i sat there i wrote this poem, it is about my life as a woman my spiral:

I Am The Spiral

I spiral out

I spiral within

I remember, I rejoice

I am the woven

I am the wreaver

I remember long nights

Long trips sleeping in our car

I am the spiral

I spiral out

I grow, I change

I remember being the odd child

Knowing,seeing what others did not

I am the spiral

Spiraling out

I grow, I evolve

I remember the abuse

It made me strong

I will survive

I am the spiral

I am the spinner

I grow, I evolve

I remember the asault

The unwanted touch

A virgin now!

No man shall own me!

I am the spiral

I am the spinner

I am the weaver

I am the woven.

And some day

my sprial shall be more

than my form may contain

I shall spiral into the cosmos

Into the cauldron

Back too the Mother

Back too the Roving.

I finished the poem, read it aloud a story of my life. Both good and bad. Strength gained from adversity. As i finished the poem the wind picked up and i felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

  I decided to get up and explore a bit more below me i picked up the three acorns and the thought occurred to me to use them in a small impromptu ritual. I went too the creeks edge and named each acorn some thing i was thankful for and one things i was laying to rest and i tossed each one into the creek. Each one with a *Kurplunk* and then a few seconds later a large fish breeched the surface and dipped down.

  With that i turned to my right and began to explore further down the creek edge between the worlds of forest and water. I walked a half mile or so i would guess when suddenly i felt some thing softly touch the skin on my face, like a spidar web, yet there was no place for a spider to make a web where i stood. Looking around for one, i looked down and at my feet was the mostly decomposed body of a fox! Now before you go “eeewww” please bare in mind that magic didnt use to be so sanitary. Magic was visceral and dirty. So using a skull, half decomposed or no, is normal.

  Now why would a fox interest me? why that animal? let me tell you about a dream i had a few years back. Mind you i have dreams of this nature off and no. I call it the Divine Hotline dreams.

  In my dream i am driving down the road its your average long straight highway, the person infront of my stops in the middle of the road….they just set there, so i finally get out to ask them whats up when i see whats wrong. The road stops! just gone and where it should be is a big open field of golden,ready to harvest, rice.Instead of being shocked, i was more like pleasantly surprised. I decided to investigate and in the center of the field i found a small red resin Quan Yin statue and a hand found red book. When i lean down and pick up the book and statue they disappear and i find my self at the foot of a black and red japanese style temple and i was standing at the foot of a long stair case leading up too the temple.

 Finding no other idea coming to mind, i start up the stairs taking note of my enviroment as i go. When i reach the top there is a small thin elderly japanese man with an odd hat on smiling at me.  He bows, so i bow and ask him,

“Where did the road go?”

He smiles even bigger at me with a sparkle in his dark eyes and says,”All roads lead here.” in a matter of fact sort of way, as if i should know that.

From there he procceded to show me around his temple. there where bags of rice here and a statue of a fox there ect.. Finally just before i woke he told me to read the 22 chapter of the Dao De Ching. when i did it said this:

Chapter 22

Yield and remain whole
Bend and remain straight
Be low and become filled
Be worn out and become renewed
Have little and receive
Have much and be confused
Therefore the sages hold to the one as an example for the world
Without flaunting themselves – and so are seen clearly
Without presuming themselves – and so are distinguished
Without praising themselves – and so have merit
Without boasting about themselves – and so are lasting

Because they do not contend, the world cannot contend with them
What the ancients called “the one who yields and remains whole”
Were they speaking empty words?
Sincerity becoming whole, and returning to oneself

Later i kept seeing foxes when i was out and about. I had never seen them before,but it made me wonder. So i looked into a japanese god who had a red and black temple and associations with rice and foxes…to my dismay there was such a god! his name is O’Inari. His messenger is the Kitsune a 2 too 9 tailed fox.

and this was his temple. its physical location is Kyoto japan.

Later, to confirm my idea i had a dream i was visiting a japanese garden, and in side was a small altar too Inari,under my breath i said “Un-airie” which was how i thought his name was pronounced to my shock a handsome young japanese man appeared behind me and said, “you’re saying it wrong my dear, is Enaree.” he smiled and i woke up. I later confirmed it via the web that that was the proper pronunciation.

So, the fox is my totem i believe, when looking into the fox medicine information it seems to fit. My totems have changed and been added too over the years. And i welcome this addition so i plan to turn the fox skull into a fetish once i have allowed the rest of the skin and meat to rot away.

I thanked the forest and the fox’s spirit, but did not take the skull yet. i won’t until tomorrow when i have an offering to leave. From there i turned into the forest and called upon the Horned Hunter by word and sign. I asked that he be with me as we moved through the darkness and thanked him for calling me to his service.

Now, im home and plan to back some apple scones and pumpkin bread… i had taken several pictures but now my darn phone won’t let me upload then *sigh* i guess the things i saw were for my eyes only.

I hope everyone elses Mabon was as good as mine!

When Love Is Forgotten

Love has been on my mind as of late.  It reaches back to my previous post about not tricking our selves into thinking we are some one we aren’t. For a time love was scares for me. I was taught as a child love was some thing given to very few people in ones lives. Like it was a rare commodity that only so much of could be produced by any one person. I lived my life like that, yet part of me knew, instinctively, it was wrong. I can remember writing a paper for my lit. class about “Passionate Compassion”.

Many years later i read Healing Wise By Susun Weed and in there she talked about how love for others was an over flow, or surplus of love that one felt for them self. I never was able, at such a young and akward age, to grasp the idea. Years later, in a failing marraige and a life i hated, my heart went cold. It felt like a lump of wet coal in my chest.  And when my husband left the wet coal imploded and created a black whole. I felt nothing, one would be amazed but in truth love is the progenitor of all other emotions.  If you loose love, you loose likes, dislikes,anger,happiness even contentment.

It was at this point in my life, not 2 years ago, that i rejoined the Gods on my road of life. I looked at my self in the mirror one day and for all my solidness i seemed hollow. Empty,almost translucent. So i chose to look into meditations and self-esteem tools. One of them i found was a very simple buddhist meditations. It goes like this:

Set quietly in a nice locations (i sat infront of a primitive alter with one tiny kwan yin statue a horned one statue and a few candles and sage smudge) close your eyes and picture in your mind some one you love and say”

Peace and love be to those i love”

now picture some one you hate (my ex was in there and his mistress) and say:

“Peace and love be with those i do not love.”

now picture your self and this was the hard part for me and say:

“Peace and love be with me.”

and lastly picture the whole of the world and say:

“Peace and love be with the world”

at first when you do this it will be just words, but after a few weeks of doing it i could feel the love energy stir in my heart chakra and i truly was sending love to those i love, those i didnt love, myself, and the world.  after a while this simple meditations helped me enough to get me back on my feet. Eventually this and a few other meditations became daily regiments for me, that included calling the gods to stand by my side as i meditated.

Now looking back i realize love is the essences of life. With out that one single emotions all others dont exist. And love is never ever some thing one should squander. LOve freely, love well, love often and never regret having done so!