Axis Mundi
The beginning of a circle is also its end. Not I, but the world says it: all is one. And yet everything comes in season.
- Heraklietos of Ephesos

From the Editor...

Haiti - The Healing Begins

It hasn't been a happy start to the new year, with the devastating earthquake creating so much death and despair in Haiti. Even in a country that has endured deadly hurricanes, unrelenting violence and grinding poverty, the destruction was epic.

With so much pain and grief being felt across the world it is a time to grieve with those who mourn and stand in solidarity with those who have lost so much. The time for trying to fully process what has happened will come but first we must allow this time of grief to take its course and the season of healing to begin.

For all those people that have survived this terrible catastrophe, let us unite in thought and deed and send them healing in whatever form we can, whether that be through Ritual, Meditation, Energetic Healing, Reiki or Prayer. Please also give a thought to the dead and ask your guides for assistance to help them cross over.

Please send cash donations to help survivors of the Haiti earthquake at the following major aid organisations:

Save the Children's Haiti Earthquake Emergency Appeal at this link. Donations can also be made at NAB branches or by phoning 1800 76 00 11.

Australian Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal online or by phoning 1800 811 700. or call 13 32 40

Oxfam's Haiti Earthquake Appeal online or by phone at 1800 034 034.

CARE Australia has said the biggest challenge facing aid groups on the ground is reaching all those who need their help. CARE's staff have been handing out food and other supplies. The agency has said a donation of just $50 can provide water sanitation kits to homeless families. You can donate to CARE's Haiti Earthquake Appeal online or at 1800 020 046.

ActionAid Australia's emergency appeal online or by phone at 1300 66 66 72.

The animal victims desperately need help too, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is joining forces with other animal welfare groups to come to their aid. Donate to WSPA online or phone 1300 13 9772. More information regarding the animal situation in Haiti can be found on WSPA's Animals in Disasters Blog.

Spheres Of Light will be collecting money at our upcoming Lughnasadh ritual, which will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

Janine Donnellan

SOL's end-of-year Social
Saturday December 19, 2009

Each year SOL holds an end-of-year dinner, inviting circle members, friends and family along for an evening of fun and friendship. This time we had a picnic/bbq on the foreshores of the Woronora River. Click on the image below to see a collection of "happy snaps" taken on the night.

SOL Social at Woronora River

SOL's Full Moon Circle & New Year's Eve
Thursday 31st December, 2009

When you have a gathering of circle friends around to welcome in the New Year and it just so happens to be a full moon and a partial lunar eclipse, what do you do? You have an impromptu ritual in the backyard of course!

With the Full Moon in Cancer, it was definitely an opportune time to release what was no longer serving our growth and purpose. Everyone could sense that a positive change was in the air which became the incentive to put our intent for 2010 out into the Universe so that we could manifest our dreams and surround ourselves with things that will nurture and nourish us over the next twelve months.

We all spent some time reflecting on what we would like to manifest which was then written down on gold embossed paper. Armed with a few basic tools and a torch we then marched up along the dark winding path into my bush backyard. It was a beautiful clear starry night with the moon just peeking over the fence when we formed our circle under the guidance and protection of the Dragons. We then summoned the energy of the Earth Mother and the Cosmic Father to officiate at this sacred ritual.

A symbolic sweeping away of the past was then conducted with a besom, each person in turn holding the besom and focusing on what needed to be released. The areas of our life activated by this lunar eclipse will no doubt see some changes coming over the next few weeks, after which the path is hopefully clear for us to move forward.

Our desires which had previously been written on gold embossed paper were burned in the cauldron of Fire in keeping with the old belief that prayers and requests are carried to the Gods on the smoke of the altar fire. Once everyone had placed their paper within the cauldron, the fire burned with great ferocity and as we chanted 'air so healing, fire empowering, water connecting earth manifesting'; our desires were then sent up to the universe to return as a reality. We then thanked our hosts and the Dragons for their presence and guidance and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. The circle was closed and then we spent a few moments gazing at the spectacular beauty of the rising moon before continuing with our New Years Eve party.

More information regarding our Full Moon rituals can be found on the SOL website in our Book Of Shadows. Our next Full Moon Circle will be held near Engadine on Friday, January 29, 2010. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.

What happened in 2009?

2009 was definitely a jam packed year of activity for Spheres Of Light with a grand total of 44 events conducted in Southern Sydney/Illawarra region throughout the year.

  • 12 Open Full Moon Circle gatherings (incl. New Year's Eve)
  • 11 Dark Moon Circle gatherings
  • 8 Meditation meet-ups in the park
  • 1 Group Mind Workshop
  • 1 Wicca Workshop
  • 1 Samhain Weekend Retreat
  • 1 Drum Making Weekend Workshop
  • 1 Scrying Weekend Workshop
  • 1 End of year gathering and Summer Solstice ritual

Paranormal investigations & house clearings:

  • 1 at Mt Kembla
  • 2 at Roselands
  • 1 at Cronulla
  • 1 investigation at Woronora cemetery
  • 1 Paranormal Group Meet-up at National Park
  • 1 Paranormal Group Meet-up at Gymea Bay

Spheres Of Light is an Affiliate Sub-committee of the Pagan Awareness Network and is covered by PAN's public liability insurance.

What is happening in 2010?

In 2010 we will be continuing to include articles and information that correspond to a seasonal theme that highlights the rhythms and cycles of the natural world and our lives from a southern hemisphere perspective. Your suggestions, comments and contributions are strongly encouraged. Let us know how we're doing, and let us know what is going on in your part of the community so we can advertise your events on our website and in Axis Mundi.

We invite you to send us an e-mail letting us know about something you especially liked or didn't like about our coverage. We appreciate your ideas. If you see something that you think might be an interesting topic, or just something you wonder about, give us a call, or drop us a line.

National Pagan Directory

If you would like your group listed here please send an email including the group's name, email address and/or contact number, website link if you have one and a one sentence description of your group. Please also include the state and region/suburb your group is in. To see an example click here.

Proposed Spheres Of Light Workshops & Events

"What is Shamanic Witchcraft?" Workshop
Energetic Healing - Working Through the Chakras
Beltaine Weekend
Meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park - Our meditations will be conducted every third Sunday of the month.
SOuL Searchers will also be organizing some interesting paranormal tours during the year. Upcoming events, tours and dates will be published on the website and in the Axis Mundi.

Southern Hemisphere Magick

By Frances (South Australia)

Despite what appears to be a wealth of information available on neo-Pagan traditions, one section of the community seems to be grossly under-represented and that is those of us who reside in the Southern Hemisphere - Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa, to name but three countries. The majority of authors residing in the Northern Hemisphere seem to have little or no knowledge at all of the differences between the hemispheres. And if such a difference is acknowledged, it is usually limited to only the Sabbats. It is no wonder that endless debates occur on how to "do things" down under.

The following is a suggestion based on my own personal observances as both a Wytch and magickian who resides in the Southern Hemisphere, which may be of assistance to others.

There are at least four major differences between the Hemispheres. The first is the obvious six-month difference in the seasons. When it is Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere, we in the South are celebrating Midwinter (the "Christmas in July" theme is becoming a popular event even amongst non-Pagans). The dates, according to general consensus, of the Southern Sabbats are:

  • Samhain - 30 April
  • Midwinter Solstice (Yule) - 21 June
  • Imbolg - 1 August
  • Spring or Vernal Equinox (Eostre) - 21 September
  • Bealtaine - 1 November
  • Midsummer Solstice (Litha) - 21 December
  • Lughnasadh - 1 February
  • Autumn Equinox (Mabon) - 21 March 

If we use the astrological signs in which the Sun moves into to determine each Sabbat date as opposed to actual calendar dates, then this too is changed by six months:

  • Samhain - 15 deg Taurus
  • Midwinter Solstice - 0 deg Cancer
  • Imbolg - 15 deg Leo
  • Spring Equinox - 0 deg Libra
  • Bealtaine - 15 deg Scorpio
  • Midsummer Solstice - 0 deg Capricorn
  • Lughnasadh - 15 deg Aquarius
  • Autumn Equinox - 0 deg Aries 

This means that Northern Hemisphere-based festivals appear largely out of place in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Morris Dances however still celebrate "May Day" on 1 May regardless of the fact that it marks the beginning of Winter; likewise the Christian Easter falls in Autumn as opposed to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. However, there are specific events that do align - in particular specific Southern Hemisphere-based public holidays. One good example is ANZAC Day, the day on which we remember Australian and New Zealand service men and women that died at war. This day of remembrance occurs on 25 April, close to the Southern Samhain on 30 April.

The next major difference between the Hemispheres is the direction in which the Sun moves across the sky. As in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun still rises in the East and sets in the West, however on its journey across the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, it travels via the North because of the tilt of the Earth's axis. For this reason, most Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere cast their circles in this direction, via the North or in an anti-clockwise direction.

It irks me when authors refer to deosil as meaning "clockwise" and widdershins as meaning "anticlockwise." Not only does this not apply to the Southern Hemisphere, but also it is etymologically incorrect. According to the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word deosil comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning "sunwise" or "in the direction of the (apparent) motion of the sun," and in the Southern Hemisphere this is anticlockwise. The term widdershins comes from the Middle High Germanic word "widersinnes" meaning "against the sun." In the Southern Hemisphere, this is clockwise, representing the direction for banishing, winding down energies or even for darker workings. Of course, as English - as well as other European languages incorporated into the English language - stem from the Northern Hemisphere as opposed to the Southern Hemisphere, Northern associations are more dominant. For example, deosil is also said to come from the Irish word "cor deiseil" which means "auspicious right hand turn," while widdershins is akin to the Irish "cor tuathal" meaning "the mundane left-hand turn." To save confusion, however, for Southern Hemispheric Pagans, I prefer and recommend the first definition with respect to the Sun.

A further observance is that the energy flow of the Earth between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is also reversed. Prior to spending time in England I was told to observe the direction in which the water drained down the plughole. In the Northern Hemisphere, energy moves in a clockwise direction, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, it is anti-clockwise.

If we take the above information into consideration when placing the elements around our magickal circle, it then seems logical for the placement of Fire to be in the North, while Earth is placed in the South. Environmentally, to the North is the Equator and from the North come the scorching Summer winds. North is also the placement in the sky of the Noonday Sun. In the South however, where the Sun never appears in the Southern Hemisphere, are the bitter cold Winter winds, as well as the frozen mass we refer to as Antarctica. However, this goes against the directional placements of the elements in more traditional Pagan groups.

I know a number of traditional Crafters who continue to place their altars in the North because according to their tradition (despite it being Northern Hemispheric-based) this is the "dark quarter." One reasoning behind this is that on the astral the directional placements of the elements do not matter. If this is the case, then when I operate between the worlds, it should not matter if my physical altar and circle casting reflects the land in which I reside. Surely, if the founders of Earth-based traditions such as the Craft and Wicca (for example, Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders or even Aleister Crowley) were based, or had spent some time, in the Southern Hemisphere, would they not have taken the differences into consideration?

Some Pagans living in the eastern states of Australia not only swap the elemental directions of Fire and Earth around, but also Water and Air. When you take the environment into consideration, it is easy to see why they do this. East of Australia is the Tasman Sea or even the Pacific Ocean - large bodies of water. In the Southern Hemisphere our weather patterns move largely from the West (therefore the placement of Air).

Another difference between the hemispheres, which is often overlooked, is the direction in which the crescents of the Waxing and Waning Moons point. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Waxing Moon in the sky actually points to the right, while the Waning Moon points to the left. Therefore the symbol of the Triple Moon Goddess (the maiden, mother and crone) reflects an introverted appearance opposed to the extroverted appearance in the Northern Hemisphere. But there are times where the Moon decides to really throw the spanner into the works and the Waxing Moon can be observed lying on her back pointing upwards, and the corresponding Waning Moon pointing downwards.

For us Southern Pagan practitioners, there is more to take into consideration when we work our magick and our circles than simply swapping the Sabbat dates around. And with the varying opinions and reasons behind even basic circle casting, it is little wonder newcomers to the various Pagan traditions in the Southern Hemisphere find it all very confusing. Maybe Pagan book publishers should take this into consideration, and if anyone is interested in issuing a contract for such a book, I would be interested in writing one (shameless plug, but I couldn't resist).

In the Southern Hemisphere not only do we appear to do things standing on our heads but also working backwards as well - or maybe it is the Northern Hemispheric Pagans who have got it wrong!

Temple of the Dark Moon

Frances has been a student of metaphysics and the occult for most of her life, with her training occurring in England as well as Australia. She is the founder and HPs of the Temple of the Dark Moon, as well as a regular contributor for "Insight" magazine. In February 2010 Frances will be speaking at the New Zealand Pagan Festival, where she will also be performing the opening ritual alongside chaos magickian Ramsey Duke.

Shamanism - Totems for the New Year

by Ravenari

So often, totems are treated like accessories, animals that we show off to our like-minded friends, and that's where the connection tends to end. But totems (of any kind) can have meaningful benefits outside of basic research into an animal's meanings and behaviour.

Consider aligning yourself to animal totems or guides for the year ahead. What are you wanting to achieve? The messages of our animals friends are more than able to support us on our goals, and suggest new ones to boot.

Want to be more creative? Consider the orb-web spider and her beautiful woven tapestries. Orb-web spider knows how to create something beautiful no matter how she feels, she teaches us that we create to survive, and not just to feel good. For those considering creative ventures as a career for the first time, orb-web spider can teach diligence, discipline, and the reward of a job well done. For those who want to explore art as a hobby in general, consider bowerbird, or even the curious thief magpie, who steals things that appeals to his or her eye.

Considering quitting a bad habit? Look into animals that demonstrate a call to action, and steely willpower. Quoll - all species - are an excellent Australian example of applying discipline, strength and ferocity to any area of your life. If you prefer to go more gently into quitting a bad habit, or creating health; consider gentle frog, who cannot tolerate pollutants in his or her environment, and can communicate to you when you're going overboard, or drifting back into self-destructive habits. If you're focusing primarily on halting thought patterns you don't like anymore, try appealing to the adaptive, curious Australian raven, or highly intelligent bottlenose dolphin.

If you're wanting to challenge yourself, or try something completely new, consider those animals that have adapted extremely well to challenges themselves. Feral animals, as much as they can be a bane on our native species, are excellent examples of animals that can adapt to just about anything. Camels, cane toad, domestic cat, rock pigeon, rabbit and fox are just a start. As many people have fox, cat and rabbit as totem in particular, it won't be so much of a leap for those that have worked with these animals before. Alternatively, you can consider native animals that adapt extremely well to human habitation, like willie wagtail, Australian raven, red-back spider or grey kangaroo.

If finance or an increase in wealth and independence is your game, consider animal totems that live in areas of material abundance. Birds of paradise are an immediate ally for those wanting to live the life of the rich and famous (or at least, get one step closer to it!) The reason birds of paradise have been able to develop such beautiful courtship displays, is simply because they live - compared to other birds - relative lives of leisure. Food is abundant, all around them, throughout the year. They want for nothing as much as any animal can. If you're also someone who has problems with concepts of material richness and wealth, the birds of paradise, particularly those that live in the richest of rainforests, can be extremely helpful.

Travel is often a big one; for people wanting to see the world, take more time to themselves, or spend more time with loved ones in new environments. For those who wish to have some animal totems for the goal of travel, consider all animals that migrate, or are truly nomadic, going where their needs take them. Many native parrots are excellent totem ambassadors for travel; rainbow lorikeet, and wild budgerigar both go where food and water can be found. Then of course, there are the true travellers; the albatrosses and petrels, many of which visit and nest on our shores. These birds can spend incredible amounts of time out at sea, and have been known to be protectors of sailors in many cultures.

As to the asking for help process, you can try different things. You can consider creating a new visualisation to meet this animal, and ask for its help and support. See if you can work something out between your two energies that is reciprocal and meaningful. You can also try researching animals that reflect qualities you may want to adopt in your own life. If you like affirmations, you can try something as simple as "as orb-web spider creates works of beauty to help her thrive, so will I". Be lateral, whatever works for you, is something that is working well!

Remember, the animal totems in our lives - those that come to us, and those we invite into our space - are immensely powerful, from blowfly to bear. Working with them on a more intensive level, such as what is described here, can lead to an enrichment in your life. If nothing else, it can certainly help you to reach your goals and resolutions of 2010!

Click on the banner below to go to Ravenari's website...

Australian Lughnasadh Flower - Bush Fuchsia
(Epacris longiflora)

by Janine Donnellan

I am blessed with a natural bush backyard with an abundance of native flowers. One of the plants which is out in bloom now and would make an ideal flower decoration for Lughnasadh is the Bush Fuchsia. It is an evergreen shrub to 1.5m (5') high. The tubular flowers are red with white spreading tips or all white, and extend down the branches. The main flowering time is between December and May, but spot flowering occurs throughout the year. The beautiful native fuchsia is shade loving, and is found naturally growing on rocky ground in sheltered woodland. Epacris longiflora does well in cultivation in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and the mountains.

Bush Fuchsia - Bush Essence

This particular Bush Essence assists with problem solving and improves one's access to intuition - it helps a person to trust his or her own 'gut' feelings. It allows for balance between the logical/rational and the intuitive/creative, i.e., the integration between the male and female aspects. It will give people courage and clarity in public speaking as well as the ability to speak out about their own convictions.

Positive Attributes: Allows one to integrate information, develops intuition.
Negative Attributes: Inability to balance the logical and rational with the intuitive and creative, switched off, ignoring gut feelings.
Affirmation: I am balanced and strong


Lammas - A major Sabbat within the wheel of the year

by Rayvensclaw

To begin with, as this is my first edition of Axis Mundi for the year I would like to wish health, happiness and vision to all that I don't know and to those of you I do know, get on with it and stop mucking about, lol.

Lammas in the southern hemisphere is on February the 2nd (northern hemisphere is around the start of August). The word Lammas could have come from Loaf Mass, although in medieval times this festival was known as "Gule of August". Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, August eve or Earth Labour.

Back in the old times, the first bread from the first of the harvested grain would have been brought into the church on the 1st of August. Food was and is now very important, if we don't eat we die regardless of our spiritual beliefs. Back then there weren't too many Coles or Woollies around so how important do you think harvest time was? They were thankful that there was food on the table and seed for the next year's plantings.

Very few of us really get our hands dirty these days and we don't appreciate how hard it is to get plants to grow and then harvest what we grow. But having stood on the soapbox and said we don't appreciate the effort involved, I do think we have a basic understanding and we can connect, even in a small way with our ancestors' innate relationship to Mother Earth.

Lammas is a time for reflection, for planning and achieving goals: our own harvest of sorts through our efforts, skills, hard work and through sacrificing of something we value. After all nothing comes from nothing (a famous person must have said this but can't remember who). The sacrifice I am writing about is not the same as the ancients who sacrificed animals in order to buy favour with their gods, but rather the sacrifice we personally make as adults for the good of the family or the community. These sacrifices could be the time we take to be with our kids, to help them whether they want us to or not. Time to be with our partners even if you would rather go to the pictures alone. Letting him/her buy something they really want even if it's bloody horrible or useless. The sacrifice of having to get up and go to work each day just so your partner doesn't have to learn how to grow plants and harvest them.

Lammas is a good time to think of these things (life's tough but sometimes we need to get over it and move forward). It is important to acknowledge what and who we are, and that we do have a lot to learn and a lot to teach each other.

"Wheel of the Year - The complex cycle of time" by Rhys Chisnall, in "Witchcraft & Wicca" Issue 17, 2008.

Crystals ~ Garnet

by Maria
This is a group of differently coloured minerals with crystal structure and related chemical composition. The name derives from the Latin for grain because of the rounded crystals and similarity to the red kernels of the pomegranate. Garnet in the popular sense, is usually understood only as the red "carbuncle stones" pyrope and almandite.

Appearance: Transparent to opaque
Crystal System: Cubic - rhombic dodecahedron, icositetrahedron
Pyrope: Red, frequently with brown tint
Almandine: Red with violet tint
Rhodolite: Purplish red or rose-colour
Spessartite: Orange to red-brown
Grossularite (Grossular): Colourless, green, yellow, brown
Andradite: Black, brown, yellow-brown
Uvarovite: Emerald-green

Properties: Garnet stone is associated with gentleness, affectionate nature, kind heartedness, sincerity, frankness, charity, constancy and truthfulness.

Garnet is a stone of purity and truth as well as a symbol of love and compassion. Traditionally used for engagements rings, garnet inspires love and devotion and removes inhibitions and taboos. Opening the heart, it bestows self-confidence. This stone balances the sex drive and alleviates emotional disharmony. Can gently release emotional conditions blocking sexual energy and stimulate passion once more. If looking for more verve and eroticism, scatter garnets around your bedroom.

Garnet is a powerfully energizing stone that protects you, and is said to warn of approaching danger. It helps protect one on trips. Garnet will help everyone's security level and spiritual awareness.

This stone brings out your best qualities and stimulates devotion to your family, friends, yourself and your purpose or goals. Garnets bring constancy to friendships.

Garnet will stimulate the senses and increase your vitality and stamina. Enhances and awakens the "inner fire" of creativity. Can help, get the creative juices flowing if they fell "blocked".

The Garnet is known as the stone for a successful business. Helps one become motivated and productive it attracts good luck in business ventures. If your business is not as good as it should be, just put 3 or more garnets on your desk. Garnet makes a wonderful executive gem, particularly for women. This is a great stone to give to yourself if you would like to advance in your career. Square-cut garnets bring success in business matters.

Garnet can provide a sense of grounding in times of change and upheaval. It will help you feel less depleted at the completion of tasks. Stimulates kundalini energy and enhances the flow of kundalini from the base to the crown chakra.

Useful in a crisis, garnet is helpful in situations where there seems to be no way out or where life has fragmented or is traumatic. It fortifies the survival instinct, bringing courage and hope. Crisis becomes challenges under garnet's influence and it promotes mutual assistance. It provides balance and a calming effect when everything seems chaotic. Red garnet helps reduce unreasonable anger, especially towards yourself.

With strong links to the pituitary gland, garnet stimulates expanded awareness, past-life recall and out-of-body experiences. Garnet is usually held in the hand or placed on top of the head when searching or meditating on past lives. The information released in a search may be painful, but it will always be what the searcher needs. Also aids in dream recall.

The Garnet is associated with the thyroid and spleen. It helps cleanse and purify both when held over the area. Garnet enhances bodily systems especially the bloodstream and it stimulates blood flow, regenerates the body's metabolism.

Garnet activates other crystals, amplifying their effect.

Position: earlobes, finger, or over heart. Wear in contact with the skin. Place on the skin as appropriate in healing. Past-life recall: place on the third eye.

Chakra: First Chakra - Base or Root. The colour stimulates, activates and energizes but also grounds and focuses.

Talismans: Due to its cubic crystal system, as a talisman it helps us to focus our efforts to build on our successes, enhance our lives and self-improvement both physically and mentally. It is also holds the energy we need to help us arrange our lives in a more orderly manner.

Deities: Garnet is an excellent crystal to use in honouring Demeter Greek Goddess of the Harvest (Agriculture, Grain, and Bread). Use the dark red ones such as pyrope and almandine. These are similar in colour to pomegranate seeds that have bewitched her daughter Persephone. They should be used with some small crystals that are golden representing the ripening grain, such as citrine or topaz.

Hestia, Greek Goddess of Home and Hearth. Her Roman name is Vesta, Goddess of Fire. Both her names mean "the essence." Use Red garnet to honour Hestia. It is the colour of fire and is used for protection and strength. You should have a red garnet in your home near the fireplace to honour the Goddess of the Hearth, Hestia.

Sekhmet, Egyptian Goddess of War and Healing She represents the power and force that woman can bring to bear when necessary. She gives strength and confidence to young girls. To honour her, and ask her blessings, use red crystals such as ruby, red agates, and garnets to appeal to her warlike aspect; bright yellow and orange crystals honouring her as "the lady of flame" such as citrine and orange calcite; and brown and tan coloured crystals such as amber, topaz, and tiger eye honouring her association with the lion and its strength. Place these crystals on a small altar outdoors at noon to ask her for strength and power in your life.

Mars the Roman god of both agriculture and war, who represented the ideal Roman as farmer, protector and wise ruler and then as conqueror.

Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, the female counterpart of Mars whose chariot she drove into battle.

Magical Work: Red colour - use in spells for action, courage, assertiveness, power, determination, stamina and strength, sexual passion. Potency, sensual pleasures, and the consummation of love; for the impetus for positive change and for taking the initiative, it also represents competitiveness, standing out against injustice and protection the vulnerable and loved ones under threat; for survival and for overcoming seemingly impossible odds.

Element: Fire - inspiration and courage, willpower with stability, endurance and perseverance to see it through. (Earth element - Base Chakra)

Gemstones of the World, Walter Schumann
The Seven Secrets of Crystal Talismans, Henry M. Mason
Complete Book of Natural Magick, Cassandra Eason
Health Essentials, Crystal Healing, Simon Lilly
Illustrated Guide to Crystals, Judy Hall
Images from:

Seasonal Gemstones

Article used with permission from,
contributed to Axis Mundi by Maria

Power up your holidays with supercharged seasonal gemstones

Alongside their beauty and rarity, gemstones are treasured for their mystical properties and healing energies. Did you know that the energy of a gemstone is heightened during certain times of the year?

For example, your own birthstone is most powerful for you during the time of your birth ...moonstone energy changes during different phases of the moon ...turquoise changes when its ownership changes.

Seasonal Gemstone Blessings

Sit in a comfortable position with your seasonal gemstone in front of you. Think about the blessings in your life and the particular gifts that your stone offers. What are you grateful for at this moment? What have you achieved in your life so far that gives you joy and pride? There is powerful magic in recognizing all that you already possess.

Now visualize what you would like to accomplish in the coming months or year. Remember to include spiritual achievements as these often act as a springboard for material success.

Breathe steadily and deeply, inhaling and exhaling slowly for about twenty minutes. As you meditate, send the positive energy of your thoughts into the stone. Place the stone or sphere in a place where you will view (or wear) it often. Whenever you receive a big or small blessing, recharge the stone in the same manner. The gemstone blessings will be there anytime you need them!

Herbs for Lammas ~ Bilberry & Hollyhock

by Amethyst
Usually I just cover one herbe, but this time I thought that perhaps I might cover two of the lesser known (but just as important) herbes for Lammas.


Botanical: Vaccinium myrtillus
Planetary associations: Jupiter, Pluto
Zodiac associations: Leo
Element: Water
Gender: Feminine
Magickal classifications: Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Lugh, Crom Dubh, Zeus, Jupiter, Demeter, Ceres, the Corn Mother and John Barleycorn
Part Used: Ripe fruit leaves
Synonyms: Whortleberry, Black Whortles, Whinberry, Trackleberry, Huckleberry, Hurts, Bleaberry, Hurtleberry, Airelle, Vaccinium frondosum and Blueberries.


The Farrars' Eight Sabbats for Witches describe the bilberry as being deeply linked to the Celtic Harvest Festival, which today is commonly known as Lammas or Lughnasadh.

The people of Cheshire are said to eat the berries picked on Lammas with cream and milk for good luck. In Ireland, there are still numerous county festivals centred around the picking of the bilberries on Lughnasadh.


Carrying a sachet in which bilberry leaves are placed will increase your luck, keep away evil and break hexes or curses. Eating the berries provide protection from within. Burn the leaves like incense in the bedroom directly before going to sleep. Do this for 7 days to make all your dreams come true.

Placing some bilberry fruit or the leaves of the plant around the entrances to your home can prevent malign influences from entering. Bilberry can also be used in spells or rituals to attract love or success. Bilberries may also be used as part of the temple decoration for the Lammas Feast.


Botanical: Althaea rosea
Planetary associations: Venus
Zodiac associations: Libra
Magickal classifications: Magickal Herbe, Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Ceres, Demeter
Part Used: Whole plant
Synonyms: Garden Hollyhock


Hollyhock got its name "Althaea" from the Greek word "Altho", which means "to heal". It has been used medicinally since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. The root is rich in sugars, and both the leaves and root have been used as a vegetable. In ancient Egypt, flowers of this herb were imported and made into wreaths used to decorate mummies. Thus, this plant has strong associations with death and rebirth.

This magick herb is associated with the festival of the first fruits. The seedpods of this wonderful Faery plant are known as "fairy cheese" because they are shaped like an old-fashioned wheel of cheese. They make a good symbol for a well-stuffed purse and because of the abundance of seeds, for fertility.


Some practitioners work with ripe seedpods to increase success in the material world, to increase the flow of money, or to acquire new possessions. These old-fashioned flowers are known for their ability to attract Devas and help provide shelter for the little people. When grown near a home they help the success of the family flourish. Hollyhock finds modern ritual usage with the beginning of the harvest season, ritually celebrated at Lammas, as described in The Master Book of Herbalism:

"One long stalk of hollyhock may be carried by the children, at the beginning of the ritual procession to the fields."

Use hollyhock to attract wealth, abundance, success & healing. The white & pink blossoms are particular favourites of the faeries. The tiny leaves that shoot up at the base of the blossoming plant are incredibly potent in magick-making. Plant several hollyhocks around your home to bring material gain & prosperity to your family.


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Issue 23 - SUMMER, JAN 2010
ISSN 1839-4396

Spheres Of Light
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
More about us...

For general inquiries...
Phone Janine on 0408 025 268

Full Moon Circles
In addition to our regular Full Moon Circles we also run workshops and classes which are highly interactive and experiential, focusing on participation and engagement of participants. If you want to keep abreast of SOL's circles, gatherings, workshops and activities please click on the banner below to check out our Events Calendar.

SOuL Searchers
SOuL Searchers is Spheres of Light's paranormal investigations subgroup. One of the many things you will find unique about the SOuL Searchers team, unlike the majority of other paranormal investigators, is that we undertake our investigations from a shamanic perspective.

SOL Holistic Centre
The Spheres Of Light Holistic Centre has within its members practitioners who can provide Spiritual Healing in a variety of natural healing modalities. Each modality is designed to heal all levels of the body; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. Working with ancient universal energies, healing works to restore balance, bring inner harmony and peace, to re-energise the body, to stimulate the body's own immune system and so aid recovery, as well as inducing deep relaxation. Healing is excellent for relieving modern day stresses and providing support during difficult times in your life.

If you want to know about current topics check out the forum pages. This is a place where you can discuss ideas and catch up on general news. So if you want to participate please become a member as we would love to hear from you.
... plus much, much more!

National Pagan Directory
The National Pagan Directory is a Spheres Of Light initiative to help Australian Pagans connect with each other in their local area. It is a FREE listing & provides links to information about covens, groups, classes, workshops, retreats & other special Pagan events, plus Aussie Pagan businesses & services. If you would like your coven, group, regular meet-up or special event to be listed in the NPD please send us your details. We also invite Celebrants in the Pagan community to promote their services in the NPD. For further information & contact details click on the banner above.


SOL Full Moon Circle
Friday January 29, 2010

Full Moon circles
Click here for more information...

Spheres Of Light holds regular Full Moon Circles near Engadine (Southern Sydney, Australia) on the Friday before each Full Moon. These Full Moon gatherings are Open Circles, meaning that all Pagans are welcome to come along any time and experience a Full Moon circle with us. Details here...

SOL Meditation in the Royal National Park
Sunday February 21, 2010

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Come join us for meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park. Our meditations will be conducted every third Sunday of the month. Please email for times and meet up details.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)


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Please email us the details of any pagan or community events, classes, workshops or regular meetings that you'd like to see promoted here in this free listing & in the National Pagan Directory.

PAN Full Moon Public Circle
January 30, 2010 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)

Date: Saturday January 30, 2010 at 7:30pm

PAN Inc. full moon ritual. PAN runs a public full moon ritual each month at Rotaract Hill, Seven Hills. Anyone is welcome to attend - the purpose of the ritual is to provide members of the pagan community an opportunity to celebrate the full moon together & network with friends, it is also a public ritual where those new to paganism can attend to learn more and meet like-minded others, and the rituals also help inform the general public about what pagans do and dispel misguided myths about paganism and witchcraft.

This month we celebrate the Blue Moon with a gesture ritual - a ritual performed through gestures. A free workshop will be held prior to the ritual, at 7.30pm, for those interested in learning more about the use of gesture in ritual and to learn the gestures that will be used during the ritual which will start at the usual time of 8.30pm.

The circle is held on the top of Rotaract Hill on Terminus Road Seven Hills NSW, just next to the train station. Getting there is easy. If you take the train, the hill is less than five minutes walk (and easily visible from the station). If you drive, there is plenty of parking available both at the base of the hill and across Terminus Road. Full Moon info and contact details here.

Anatomy of a Witches' Coven
Starting February 2, 2009 at Ultimo, Sydney

Casting the Witches Circle Workshops
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The workshops are an introduction to the core practices used by our local Sydney Coven. Learn how to use the Witch's Circle to transform your life and restore a connection with the psychic reality. These are currently being run as ongoing workshops, alternating between "Coven Training nights" and "Witch's Circle workshop nights". Email for an update or see our website for full details.

NOX ~ a night soul-journey
February 6, 2009 at Ultimo, Sydney

NOX Ritual & Workshops
Click here for more information...

NOX is Latin for 'Night', a time when liminal states of consciousness link us to parts of the Self not normally accessible; a period experienced between ordinary reality and a psychic (soul) reality. The NOX ritual/workshop incorporates an exploration of magickal techniques, including trance-dance, chanted mantra and energised ritual. The ritual introduces the creation of sacred-space and provides a unique form of magickal training. The NOX ritual explores doorways to Self Initiation, as we examine it's qabalah and mythology of soul-journeys. Please see website and brochure for details and updates.

Pagan Community Weekend
February 13th & 14th, 2010
West Lindfield

Pagan Community Weekend
Click here for more information...

The Pagan Community Weekend was designed to allow the community to come together to teach, learn, make contacts & friends, meet active pagan organisations, & to discuss the direction & future of the pagan community. We are holding lectures & workshops run by many familiar faces from the Australian pagan community, an open ritual, & market stalls! Workshops include learning about your ritual voice, percussion in ritual, dance in ritual, life development of the mind, body & spirit, a review of the Parliament of the World's Religions 2009, astrology, pagan activism, a panel discussion on homosexuality in paganism, inspired painting, looking at the Australian wheel of the year & much more, including beginners workshops & guidance. Held at the West Lindfield Community Hall -- see website for further details -- in association with the Pagan Awareness Network Inc.



Introducing Lolcats, owned by Marg. Lolcats is a mixed up little cat who had to leave Sydney and come to live with me in the country because living close to the airport and traffic gave her ADHD. She loves the country life and is now quite laid back. She wears her pentacle and attends all circles and is an active member of each circle. Our circle is held in my tree circle which consists of small trees trying to grow in our severe climate. Lolcats walks around the circle, laying down around the base of each tree in turn for a few minutes and then standing up and walking on to the next one - almost as if she is giving them Reiki. She patrols the perimeter of the circle while it is cast and never steps outside it until it is opened. When offerings are given, Lolcats comes up for her share of cake, and then goes and sits at the Eastern edge of the circle until it is opened again and she can go home. Not sure what spirit is in her but it is definitely a Pagan one.


Boxty (Potato Griddle Cakes)

Contributed by Janine

(Makes 12 x 3 inch pancakes (4 to 6 servings)

1 cup hot unseasoned mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated unpeeled raw potatoes
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
Butter or margarine, for frying

In large bowl mix together mashed potatoes and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in eggs and grated potatoes, then the flour, baking powder, salt, caraway seeds and pepper. Blend in milk. Heat 1 tablespoon butter to sizzling in large nonstick skillet. Drop potato mixture, about 2 1/2 tablespoons at a time, into skillet to form pa tties. Flatten slightly. Fry over medium-high heat until crisp and browned, turning once. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding butter to skillet as needed. Serve hot.

John Barleycorn Broth

Contributed by Amethyst

This soup is delicious as part of your Lammas feast, serve with some homemade multigrain bread that's full of seeds and grains - serves 4.

1Kg Boiling Beef (such as shin)
25g pearl barley
100g Sweet corn Kernels, (tinned or fresh)
100g Peas, frozen
350g Carrots, diced
350g Swede, diced
1.5 Litres Water
2 Tomatoes, skinned & chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 Leek, sliced
1 Tbspn Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Blanch the barley by pouring on boiling water (separate from the 1.5L for the broth). Leave it for a minute or two, then strain. Bring barley, beef and water to boil, skim and simmer for one hour. Add the prepared vegetables, seasoning and cook for a further two hours. Add one tablespoon chopped parsley before serving; you can either make up some dumplings to go with this broth, add these 20 minutes before the end of cooking time. Or serve the broth with some fresh crusty multigrain bread.

Apple Cake

Contributed by Amethyst

450g Soft Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
375ml Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs
450g Cooking Apples, peeled, cored & diced
450g Plain Flour
110g Walnuts, chopped
1 Tsp Baking Soda

Mix together sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to oil mixture. Stir in vanilla, apples, nuts, and mix well. Pour batter into a greased 23cm loaf tin. Bake at 160 degrees C for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cake is done.

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