From the Editor...
Clearing out the Dead Wood
Of late I have been doing some spring cleaning and clearing out the dead wood from my life. It is amazing how the dead wood surfaces over the winter months of reflection. Strangely enough it coincides with my downsizing program which started back in April. I decided that I should lose weight and get fit, so over the past few months I have been downsizing literally, 2 dress sizes actually.
As the season changed to Spring so did my psyche; the tarot card the Knight of Swords defines this time of change. The card indicated that a clearing process is taking place, which entails a time of pruning, and of honing issues down into essentials.
The question I needed to ask was, "What do I need to prune in my life right now?" It was time for me to make space for growth and to allow space to breathe and be, to experience new joy and energy levels. As I took a look around me I wondered how on earth did I allow all this physical and emotional clutter to accumulate!
So at the moment I am engaged in pulling out my allegorical fallen branches and twigs and piling them up for disposal. It is amazing how over time the deadwood accumulates in the form of interests no longer pursued, possessions migrating to storage, and relationships altered as people live, die, and change. This project will no doubt take quite some time; after all it took years to accumulate. In the not too distant future I will need to think about new directions and decide what new trees and bushes I should plant.
I opine that a person's life is like a forest. If one does not clear out the undergrowth from time to time, it accumulates until a once living wood becomes a dead wood.
SOL's Full Moon Circle
by Janine Donnellan
~ Friday September 4, 2009
Our last Full Moon on the 4th September was a special occasion; one of our dark moon members conducted her first full moon ritual. This ritual was indeed a time of completion and celebration. With the full moon in Pisces, the spirit and cosmic bliss of this special night was illuminated and grounded through the Sun in Virgo. The energy created from this circle assisted in providing deep inner healing that allowed us to progress to the next important stage of our development. With the lighting of the sun candle, the following affirmation was recited:
Look to the Sun
Feel its warmth its joy
Its creation of life its abundance
Through its growth we find the strength within to see past the darkness.
Each person then entered the Sun maze via the east and as we moved through the maze to the altar we had to contemplate on what we wanted to bring into our life. Once the altar was reached each person read the following:
I face the Sun
I face the future
I stretch to the sky
Bringing forth all that is
For new beginnings
I take with me all that is possible
In harmony, in balance in order to evolve
Enrich my senses
We each lit a tea light candle from the Sun candle and chose a Smoky Quartz crystal from the altar to assist us in the healing process. Once we had completed the maze we held up the candle and crystal and chanted, "There is always light beyond the darkness". We then visualized all our negativity leaving our bodies and forming a column in the centre of the hall, when the chant had reached its climax we sent the negative energy up to the sun asking that it be returned as healing and loving energy.
We all then shared our experiences and we thanked our hosts and the elements for their presence and guidance, the circle was closed, the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing.
More information regarding this circle and past circles can be found in our Book Of Shadows. Our next Full Moon Circle will be held near Engadine on Friday, October 2. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
The Spring Goddess
by Janine Donnellan
The Spring Goddess celebrates the turning of the wheel of the year as the cold harshness of winter gives way to a time of rebirth and renewal. Spring begins with the first signs of new green shoots followed by a sensory explosion of blossoms and promise of good times ahead. In ancient times many festivals were held to celebrate the Spring Goddesses who were associated with new growth and fertility of the land.
Flora - Goddess of Flowers and the Season of Spring
In Roman mythology, Flora was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring. While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime. Her name is related to Latin floris, meaning naturally enough "a flower".
Flora is one of the primal earth goddesses. She is the divine patroness and protector of all gardens, orchards, and fields, and of everything that blossoms, grows, and ripens. Flora was often depicted by the Romans wearing light spring clothing, holding small bouquets of flowers, sometimes crowned with blossoms. Honey, made from flowers, is one of her gifts, and her name is said to be one of the secret (holy) names of Rome. She is sometimes called the handmaiden of Ceres.
The poet Ovid, in the first century CE, told a story about Flora in which she is identified with the Greek nymph Chloris. In this story the wind god Zephyr fell in love with the beautiful nymph Chloris and carried her off. Chloris agreed to become his wife, and Zephyr made her the mistress of all flowers. In another of Ovid's stories, Flora possessed a magic flower that would make any woman who touched it pregnant. The goddess Juno wished to have a child of her own and asked for Flora's help. Flora gave Juno the magic flower and in due course Juno gave birth to the god Mars. In the northern hemisphere spring begins in the month of March which is named after Mars.
The Floral Games (the Floralia) were held annually in honour of Flora and consisted of theatrical presentations and chariot races. The Floralia was a time of celebration, with an emphasis on sensuality, and it was a time of joyous abandonment to the rites of spring. After the chariot races on the last day of the festival, hares, goats, and roe deer were released in the Circus for a ritual hunt. These animals were symbols of fertility, and to catch one would bring prosperity to the lucky person who caught it.
Painting - Flora, the Goddess of Blossoms & Flowers Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919)
Male Paths in Modern Paganism
by Craig PhoenixWolf
When we look at the diversity of Paganism as it is today, we see many different paths and traditions. Some are personal journeys that are embarked on by the individual. Others are spiritual choices that centre about the old religions or interpretations of ideas based on those old ways. Many authors debate the truth of specific traditions and the way they are practised today compared with how the ancient peoples practised their version of religion. I personally believe we are all on a spiritual path and that for each that path is a personal thing. I have over the years called my self witch, Wiccan, Wizard, TechnoPagan and even Jedi. (Come on, what modern Pagan isn't a Jedi? We see the value and importance in the old ways. We are aware of the Natural Force of the Universe and for most of us we see and embrace the new technologies that have allowed us to all come together.)
I do not have anyone else's endorsement for those titles. I have not been recognised by any group or coven. I am Pagan and I am a Solitary. That is one of the beautiful things in Paganism. You don't have to be a Third Level Grand Mage With a Dragon Totem and a Fifth Degree in Witchcraft or any of thousands of other titles to be accepted as a Pagan. It is who you are and others will accept you for it. Sure you might not always be invited into a group's personal area or inner circle because they reserve that space for people who share their specific beliefs and are initiated into their group or coven; but you will be accepted for who you are.
As a Pagan Man I have learned about Paganism through books written by men. Yes that is right. Look on most Pagan bookshelves and you will find works by Charles Leland, Gerald Gardner, Stewart Farrar, Raymond Buckland, Gavin Frost, Scott Cunningham, and Isaac Bonewits. Most people accept Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner as founders of modern Paganism and Wicca. My own journey started with books by Gavin Frost, Ray Buckland and Scott Cunningham; all knowledgeable men and leaders in the Pagan community.
Recently I was reading Sacred Paths for Modern Men, A Wake Up Call From Your 12 Archetypes by Dagonet Dewr. In the introduction Dagonet, a male author and part of The Mankind Project, says; "I've had it happen time and time again. I'm sorting my way through my e-mail and there it is. Three words that fill my heart with cynicism: "Dear Miss Dewr."" In modern times the large volume of books being readily available in book stores and through book clubs are by female authors. So why wouldn't you assume someone writing about male energy to be a woman?
Any way I am digressing some. In the book Sacred Paths for Modern Men Dagonet describes the 12 Archetypes of man. These he relates back to deities from not just Pagan but other spiritual belief systems too. Man is at all times a diverse being and at any time in our life we can draw on the 12 Archetypes for guidance and inspiration. I know one such story he spoke of well; the story of Sun Wukong.
Sun Wukong, for those of you not familiar with his tale, is The Monkey King, Great Sage, Equal of Heaven. Monkey is a skilled Warrior, a Trickster and Magician being able to change his shape and perform magick. Monkey is as impulsive as a child, he is the guide that helps the young priest achieve his goal. Monkey is a King and yet has known sacrifice spending time trapped under a mountain. Monkey has a chaotic nature. Sun Wukong embodies the aspects of the 12 Archetypes to me. Sun Wukong is charged with escorting a Buddhist Priest from China to India to fetch the Buddhist Sutras. Monkey is both protector and prisoner. He wears a band around his head that was given to the priest by Buddha. The band cannot be removed and through prayer the priest could use it to control the mischievous Monkey. For me the tale of Monkey highlights how one being can indeed be many of the Archetypes either simultaneously or at different points in their journey just as Monkey was in the tale The Journey West.
Sacred Paths for Modern Men lists the 12 Archetypes as: The Divine Child, The Lover, The Warrior, The Trickster, The GreenMan, The Guide, The Craftsman, The Magician, The Destroyer, The King, The Healer, and The Sacrificed One. As I read the book I could see in some of these the basics of who I am as a Pagan Man. Some are signs of our personality while others offer us a path we can follow. Most men will explore these paths throughout their lives. We do not walk just one path but walk many as we change and grow.
So what then would we see as paths for Pagan Men.
We all start as Children, learning about the world and people. We make our first tentative steps into the world and our eyes open to all the possibilities before us. But we can not stay children for we must grow and mature just as the natural world about us grows and matures. We become Men and take our place in society. We work. We have families. But we have another side too that is connected to the world and the Gods. This side will be called to fulfil it's destiny.
While many have shaken off the stereotypes such as the stoic male who never shows his weaknesses, Pagan Men are allowed to feel. They can be in touch with their sensitive side. The side that allows us to find beauty in others as well as in the natural world. We can cry, laugh and make merry how we chose. We can still be Warriors who stand proud in their honor and their beliefs. I know some question the Warrior path. How can you for example follow the Wiccan Rede and be a Warrior. The Rede says do no harm. But it does not say be a victim. A Warrior can defend themselves and others and can defend their beliefs and way of life. A Warrior does not go seeking trouble but is prepared to fight when trouble finds him. The gardener, the craftsman who take the gifts of the world and make something new with them or help them become more than they were are equally as important. Look back in history. The Knight was only as good as the man making his armor and swords. A poor craftsman could cost a Knight his life. Still true today. Look to the sky at the planes over head. The pilot is the Knight but with out the countless craftsmen that put together and maintain his plane, the pilot is left sitting on the ground dreaming of flight and glory and adventure.
There have always been Male spiritual leaders. Priests, Druids, Shaman and Witch Doctors who tended to the spiritual needs of their community. This is still the case today with most groups having a good mix of male and female members and the leaders being both male and female. In Wicca this is often seen as the High Priestess and High Priest. Together they embody the Goddess and the Horned God. Both play their parts and are essential to the work they are performing. A good High Priestess not only respects her counterpart but knows his worth to the group and the ritual.
As a Pagan Man we can all be our own Priests. We can stand before the Gods of our choice and offer ourselves in their name and ask they grant us their gifts. We have that power in all of us, male or female as the Pagan Priests and Priestesses we are.
We can all aspire to be spiritual leaders; to be examples of what Paganism should be.
There are however other roles we as Pagans can perform. I myself have explored many. I have counselled and taught on the subjects of Wicca, Magick and Paganism. I have helped educate the curious and helped those who were drawn to Paganism by Hollywood to see that there is a difference between Hollywood magic and the Magick we as Pagans believe in and call on in ritual and in our daily lives. I have found too, to use the old name for it, I am a Bard. I am a writer, chronicling the events I see and telling the tales that I have heard. I use my writing to further my own education as well as educate others. I am also finding myself enjoying the playing of my flutes and drums. I play a flute based on the Native American Flute and have haunted the night with the sound of this instrument.
Who we are as Pagans is what is important in the end, not what role we have, nor whether we are a part of a group or Solitary. For a Man this means being true to yourself. Being strong when strength is needed and being all to human when we feel hurt, sad or lonely. To laugh when we are happy. To sing when our heart is full of song. To beat a drum. Or our chest when the time is right to do so. A true Modern Pagan Man is respectful of himself and of others. He follows a code of conduct and moral beliefs that serve him well.
Be you Priest, or High Priest, be you a Druid or Bard, be you a leader or one of many who work in the background to get things done; you are someone who is respected, valued, honored, not by others though that comes easily too. No, you are respected by yourself. You are a Pagan Man and you are walking your Path.
The Pagan Man walks his path
By the creek you hear him laugh.
By the the hill you will hear him sigh.
In the night you may hear him cry.
Oh Gods of Old Look on Me
This Pagan Man that you see.
I who as a Warrior Bold
I who as a Bard, story told
I who walk this Pagan way
Call on you Oh Gods hear me pray
I am a Pagan Man
I honour you and honour my clan
I ask that you to guide me
To become the man I was meant to be.
Shamanism - Totems that Comfort
The other day I was writing a response to someone who was asking me something about totem animals. To paraphrase the situation; this person constantly had totems in their life that pushed them hard, and made them feel constantly challenged. They were confused and upset, because they didn't always feel like they had the energy to be challenged all the time. Sometimes all they wanted was comfort, or reassurance. I have seen this sentiment expressed before, in many places, and so I asked them if they had ever thought of putting the mental and spiritual call out there for totems or spirit guides who would simply offer comfort and succour.
They responded with surprise. It had never occurred to them that it's possible to have supportive spirits in their life, and so they laboured under the idea that spirituality always had to be hard, and a struggle. After my email, they searched out a totem animal that would provide comfort when things were very difficult; and things progressed well for them spiritually after that.
Spirit helpers and totem animals can help with a lot of different things. They can be the energies that take you apart during an initiation, they can be the ones to tell you to 'get your act together!' and the ones to give you a metaphysical kick up the backside to get you back on track, they can be the ones to offer advice in a difficult situation, or offer silence to remind you that you really can figure it out on your own; honest. They can be the creatures we are terrified of, or the ones we adore and admire, and they can be animal energies we didn't know we could appreciate until they came into our lives.
But they can also be the energies that simply love us for who we are. The totems that soothe us when things are hard. They might be the animals that offer comfort without us 'working' for it. Who take us in when we are broken and overwhelmed and give succour in exchange for our seeking them out in a crisis or a hard time.
Heron is the animal energy that offers this to me. It's quite strange, really, because although I have always loved herons, I have mostly seen them as bold, powerful, graceful animals. And if you look at how most herons raise their chicks; they are not perhaps the animal you'd immediately associate with softness and love. But then animal totems are also unpredictable, and heron chose this for himself in my life; I didn't choose the role for him. As some of you probably know - animal totems never just fit into a box of select keywords. I mean sometimes they do, but very often they don't. That's why it's so important to go beyond the dictionaries in your personal relationships with totem animals, but that's for another article!
The heron that comes to me is a super-sized white-faced heron (Egretta novaehollandiae). He very rarely says anything, and only comes into my life and lays his wings upon me when I think I cannot go on; when I think I cannot keep loving and caring for myself; when I just need some help. He doesn't ask for anything in return, though he has my love and gratitude always, and he has never pushed me away.
That being said, I do not work with him as much as I could, because accepting comfort, and reassurance, and unconditional love is - of itself - very challenging for me, and for many of us. It's why so many of us don't even think about searching out or asking if there are any energies in our lives that would offer these valuable things to us. And no wonder, when so many of us struggle to offer comfort and succour to ourselves when we most need it. We are so often pushing ourselves past the next frontier, throwing ourselves into the next challenge, worrying we won't be good enough, or simply forgetting that accepting love, peace and comfort (from ourselves, as well as from spirits) is a form of valid spiritual nourishment; just as giving others love and comfort is as well.
For those of you who work with spirits of any kind, are there any who simply offer you comfort, love and reassurance? Did they come to you at a tough time in your life? Or did you have to search them out? If you have no spirits of energies in your life that could offer this, why do you think this is the case? Do you think you would benefit from knowing there was someone other than human who you could approach for succour?
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So far I've written about Eagle and Bear in relation to a ritual I am going to do, and recently in a meditation I was given a salmon, so now here's some information about this creature of the deep.
The Salmon Spirit Ceremony
The Skokomish people perform the Salmon Spirit Ceremony in order to thank the earth for its supply of food. When salmon start to appear, the people hold a ceremony where they sing songs and offer the first salmon caught that year back to the river. This ceremony is similar to saying a prayer before eating. The true salmon is called shibe, and this word means either "the great thing" or "the chief food". It is also known as kamui chep besides, and that means "divine food" or "divine fish," and it is reported to have originally come down from Paradise.
According to Northwest Native Indian legend, the salmon were actually people with superhuman abilities and eternal lives. The Salmon people lived in great houses under the ocean but since they knew that humans on land needed food, they offered themselves to the land based tribes as food by turning into salmon fish. Their spirits were returned to the ocean where they were reborn again.
To fully appreciate the symbolic meanings of fish, we must first consider their watery domain. Water holds ancient symbolic meanings dealing with the subconscious and depth of knowledge. Water contains all the mysteriousness of the unknown.
Consider the murky depths of the ocean - we never know quite what to expect there. Even seasoned oceanic explorers are still awed by their findings from the deep.
Water holds endless mystery to us - it represents that which is certainly there, but cannot be seen.
Water has also been known to be a womb symbol and as such, an emblem of birth, fertility and woman-ness. This association comes from many ancient flood myths, and the "from water springs life" concept.
Given the wonder that its domain holds, the fish too has similar symbolic meaning. There are numerous species of fish, but the creature in general holds some prime symbolic meanings:
- good luck
The fish was sacred to the Greco-Roman mythology, where it held symbolic meaning of change and transformation. We see this in the myth of Aphrodite and Heros when they turned themselves into fish in order to escape from the ferocious Typhon.
In Christianity, the fish is a symbol of abundance and faith as observed in the Biblical story of fishes and loaves. There are also several Biblical references as Christ and his disciples being "fishers of men". Here, man is represented as the transformational fish and the ocean is a symbol of the abyss of sin in which man finds himself.
Pagan traditions recognized the fish as a feminine symbol of fertility and an attribute of the Goddess. Water is a natural emblem of the flow of the Divine Mother principal, and as such, all creatures of the water (including fish) are aspects of the fertility and power of the female deity.
As an ancient Celtic symbol the symbolic meaning of fish (salmon, specifically) dealt with knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and prophecy. Ancient Celts believed the salmon derived its wisdom from consuming the sacred hazel nuts from the well of knowledge (Segais). Further, they believed to eat the salmon would mean gaining the wisdom of the well too.
In ancient Eastern Indian mythology, the fish is a symbol of transformation and creation. This is observed in the ancient flood myth in which Vishnu transformed himself into a fish (Matsya) to save the world from a great flood. In this form, he guided king Manu's boat (which contained the select few survivors & seeds of life to re-create the world after the flood subsided) to safety.
Ancient African creation myths tell of Mangala, the creator, planting seeds in the cosmic womb. From these seeds two fish erupted, and were set forth into the cosmos upon the waters of creation. We see from this myth the symbolic meaning of fish yet again deals with fertility and creativity by embodying a new phase of initial life.
In China, the fish is symbolic of unity and fidelity as it is noted that fish (particularly koi) often swim together in pairs. With this in mind, fish are often given as wedding gifts in the form of charms or figurines to present the newly wed couple with an auspicious sign of fidelity and perfect union. They also represent fertility and abundance due to their ability to reproduce in speed and volume.
Furthermore, in Buddhism, the fish symbolizes happiness and freedom. Also the fish makes an appearance as one of the eight sacred symbols of the Buddha: 1) Conch, 2) Lotus, 3) Parasol, 4) Wheel, 5) Knot, 6) Pair of Golden Fish, 7) Banner of Victory, 8) Vase.
Lastly, in Norse and ancient European cultures, the fish had symbolic meanings of adaptability, determination, and the flow of life. It was observed by these cultures that fish often display enormous attributes of adaptability in the wild, and they adopted these characteristics for themselves. Salmon were commonly revered for their determination in their annual pilgrimage to their spawning grounds - the entire journey swum against the current.
Psychic Protection & Shielding
by Janine Donnellan
Psychic protection is the most important thing you can learn if you are planning to investigate paranormal activity. There are some people that would like you to believe that love and light can defeat anything but in reality that simply is not true. All paranormal investigators should learn to protect themselves against attack from the various entities that they may encounter during their investigations.
I would just like to emphasise that protection is aided and enhanced by the ongoing process of cleansing and clearing your energy body and by developing your mental, emotional and spiritual integrity. Please note that one's own fear of attack is usually far more harmful than an actual attack.
The best form of protection when on an investigation is a psychic shield. When devising a shield it is important to note that you are using universal energy in its construct and not your own energy. The construct of a shield can be as simple as an energetic bubble to a very complicated shield with many energetic layers. The complexity of the shield needed would depend on what you are protecting yourself from.
Colours used in protection
Some people are very firm in the belief that white energy is the purest and therefore the most powerful. Generally white and blue are the most commonly used colors for psychic protection, but this may not be the case for you; it is always best to listen to your instincts. If you feel an urge to use a different colour shield, then go with it. You can always experiment by changing your shield's colours to see what works best. If you find one shade or tone to be more effective, then stick with it.
Visualizing such a shield does take time and strong focus, and holding this image in your mind's eye can be challenging. Since the appearance of this shield requires more effort, it should be empowered by your intent and will. Unusual patterns in shields can also aid you in psychic self-defense. Integrating a religious design or an occult symbol that represents protection can also add extra strength and power.
I do not normally advocate wearing crystals during an investigation as entities can attach themselves to the crystal. If you decide to wear a crystal for protection always ensure that the crystal is cleared and fully energized and programmed for protection. You may want to change protective stones frequently to give them a rest. Some stones repel or dissolve negative energy, others absorb and or neutralize it, but whichever type you use they should all be cleared and recharged on a regular basis.
Totem, Power Animals, Guides and Angels
Shamans and indigenous cultures have long been familiar with the concept of using guides and higher beings for protection. Power animals and totem animals are also guardian spirits who empower and protect us. To be effective in providing guidance and protection, they all require a unique and highly personal relationship with the individual. When experiencing a psychic attack you can call on your guides to protect you. For your guides to be effective in assisting you, a high level of trust and familiarity needs to be established over time.
Amulets and Sigils
Amulets are used for protection. They can serve to defend against demonic, or negative, forces. Amulets may be used to overcome hostile powers of any kind. The word amulet is derived from the old Latin word "amoletum", which is literally defined as "means of defense". In the making of Amulets we use many different forms of symbolic "magic". The Amulets can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them and can be worn around the neck, or carried in a bag or your pocket. The benefit you receive from your Amulet will be directly related to the effort and personal energy you put into it.
A sigil can be used in conjunction with your amulet and is usually an original artistic creation, produced by conceiving a sentence or words that expresses a magical intent, and converting that sentence into a pictorial representation. The point is to obtain an image that can carry the intent past the psychic censor and into the subconscious mind, where it becomes magically effective.
Spells and similar work, such as the use of talismans and amulets, is primarily a means of assisting us in focusing our affirmations and intentions and in harmonizing with the natural rhythm of the Universe. A vast number of herbs, colours and other tools and correspondences can be used for protective work. However, the clarity of your focus is far more important than any tool or device you choose to work with.
Crystals ~ Smoky Quartz
At our last Full Moon Ritual we were all given the choice to choose a smoky quartz crystal on the altar to assist with our ritual and any extra healing that was needed.
For the scientific person in us all
Colour: Brownish to a blackish hue, sometimes yellow.
Appearance: Translucent, with dark ends. Comes in all sizes. It is easily found but there are artificially irradiated types around (not naturally made)
It is found worldwide.
Above left: raw smoky quartz. Above right: polished smoky quartz point
For the spiritual person in us all
A very efficient grounding stone and at times raises vibrations during meditations. Has a strong link with the earth and the base chakras, and is an antidote to stress and assists with coping with difficult times and situations. It can teach us how to leave behind things that we no longer need in our lives.
Psychologically, Smokey Quartz relieves fear, lifts depression and brings emotional calmness. It aids in acceptance of the physical body and the sexual nature (enhancing virility). It alleviates nightmares when you dream (so place it next to your bed for it to help with all of the above). Promotes positive thought and can be used with scrying to give clear insight and to neutralize fear of failure.
For the medical person in us all
It is excellent for treating radiation related illness or chemotherapy (use only naturally formed stones). Provides pain relief in healing (a layout of Smoky Quartz pointing out from the body). Effective for ailments of the abdomen, hips and legs. It relieves pain with headaches, and benefits the reproductive system, muscle and nerve tissue and the heart. It dissolves cramps, strengthens the back and fortifies the nerves. (Again with the sexual aiding possibly).
Position: Place the smoky quartz near the base chakra, under the pillow or wear as a pendant for long periods of time. To dispel stress, place a stone in each hand and sit quietly for a few moments.
Did you know that soldiers traditionally carried a small stone of Smoky Quartz into battle as a talisman?
Author's note: This crystal can heal or aid with many aspects within your life. I brought mine home with me and it has lived next to my bed since then.
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall
The Crystals Handbook by Denise Whichello Brown.
Photo by Jenwytch
Herbs ~ Lavender
The sun is shining, there is a light breeze blowing and my lavender is flowering madly. I've written before about Lavender Essential Oil, but now it's time to write about the herbe itself.
Botanical: Lavendula angustifolia
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Planetary associations: Mercury
Zodiac associations: Virgo, Gemini
Magickal classifications: Fertility Herbe, Herbe of Consecration Herbe of Love, Magickal Herbe, Religious Herbe, Visionary Herbe
Invocatory: Hecate, Saturn, Cernunnos, Medea & Serpent Goddess
Part Used: Fresh flowering tops
Synonyms: Lavendula officinalis, Lavendula Vera, Elf Leaf; Nard; Nardus; Spike
We know that lavender has been a herbe treated both with respect and as a sacred herbe since ancient times. Customs date to pre-Christian times in which lavender is brought into Midsummer rites. Lavender was very popular in the Middle Ages. Used by some to promote lust and romance, others believed it kept them from the temptations of the flesh. Prostitutes use to wear lavender water or the essential oil to attract men and advertise their profession. In the Renaissance period it was thought that along with rosemary, it should be worn to preserve a woman's chastity.
Lavender is a staple of the magickal herbalist. Among the lore is the belief that lavender is associated with snakes. In the second volume of Grieve's A Modern Herbal we find this reference:
Dr. Fernie, in Herbal Simples: "By the Greeks the name of Nardus is given to Lavender, from Naarda, a city of Syria near the Euphrates, and many persons call the plant 'Nard'. Saint Mark mentions this as Spikenard, a thing of great value. It was formerly believed that the asp, a dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of abode, so that the plant had to be approached with great caution."
In Pliny's time, blossoms of the Nardus sold for a hundred Roman denarii. This Lavender or Nardus was called Asarum by the Romans, because it was not used in garlands or chaplets.
Modern usage includes lavender being burned in birthing rooms, the scent of its smoke welcoming the new life into the world. Lavender may have the properties of a Fertility herbe; it has been woven into small wreaths to crown newly married couples, the blossoms added to the bridal bouquet, the flowers may be ground into a fine powder to be mixed into the wedding cake's batter. This powerful herbe is known to bring calmness and serenity to your inner self. It is believed that its strength is so strong that if gazed upon when depressed, all you depression will disappear and a feeling of well being will emerge. Carrying lavender brings strength and courage.
Lavender is known for its ability to increase one's clarity when viewing the world and to assist the evolution of one's spirit through life. This well-known herbe is used magickally to assist bringing any work into manifestation.
Lavender is sometimes used to increase one's ability to manifest money or to attract desired possessions, however if the motive for the magickal working is desire rather than genuine need, the magick could work in reverse.
Lavender (as herbe or essential oil) may be used in as an ingredient or substitute for magick spells and formulas related to Mercury matters (overcoming addiction, breaking bad habits, communication, divination, eloquence, intelligence, mental powers, psychic powers, self-improvement, study, travel, and wisdom). Be careful about substitutions for preparations that will be ingested or come in contact with the skin. These substitutions do not apply to medical uses.
As mentioned, there is some association with snakes. Whether this is an aspect of lavender's ability to increase wisdom (the snake has been associated with knowledge since early biblical times) or of folklore (snakes may find comfort resting beneath the bush), this information may be of value to many practitioners. There are significant number of deities associated with snakes and lavender might be used in a ritual to any of them. Lavender would also serve as a patron herbe fore those who work with or keep snakes.
Associated with the Hermit card, lavender is also used in the blessing of your home. A bunch of lavender bound together is well used in aspurging your home, temple or ritual circle.
Place lavender under your pillow, while thinking of a wish, right before retiring for the night. If you dream something that is connected to your wish it will come true.
A compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by PAUL BEYERL
Photos by Amethyst
Aromatherapy ~ Lemon Essential Oil
Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is?
I know darn well where the birdies is, they're hassling my dog for her food and at the moment some are sitting on my lemon tree waiting for her to finish her breakfast. Just what I need, organically grown lemons garnished with bird poop ...bugger! But it's got me thinking about the properties of the lemon, a spring fruit and its essential oil.
Botanical name: Citrus limon
Synonyms: C. limonum
Place of origin: A small thorny evergreen tree, native to India and now common to many countries.
Other species: There are about 47 varieties of lemon.
Description: A fresh and sharp citrus fragrance.
Characteristics: Fresh, sharp, sweet citrus smell.
Part of plant used: Peel of the fruit.
Method of extraction: Cold pressed.
History: The fruit became know in Europe in the middle ages, but it was known to the Greeks and Romans. The therapeutic value of lemons was recognised by the middle ages. Nicholas Lemery in his book on simple drugs in 1698 mentioned lemons as being digestives, as a blood cleanser, and as helping sweeten the breath after a heavy meal. Lemons reached the height of their fame when they were issued to counteract the effects of scurvy in the British Navy.
Chemical constituents: A typical chemical composition of lemon is reported as follows:
a-pinene (1.8-3.6%), camphene (0-0.1%), B-pinene (6.1-15.0%), sabinene (1.5-4.6&), myrcene (1.0-2.1%), a-terpinene (0-0.5%), linalool (0-0.9%), B-bisabolene (0.56%), limonene (62.1-74.5%), trans-a-bergamotene (0.37%), nerol (0.04%), neral (0.76%).
Blends well with: Bergamot, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, ginger, juniper, lavender, neroli, rose, rosemary, sandalwood and ylang-ylang.
Properties: Anti-anaemic, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antisclerotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, hypotensive, insecticidal, rubifacient, tonic and vermifuge.
Mind and spirit: Refreshing and cooling when feeling hot and bothered. Research in Japan has found that lemon improves the ability to concentrate. In one study it was found to reduce typing errors by 54%, when the essential oil was vaporised in the air.
Other research into lemon essential oil found that is reduced health symptoms reported. According to Susanne Fischer-Rizzi lemon oil "hums like a bumblebee" and lifts the spirits, especially during times of mental fatigue. It has been found to be useful for stimulating and clearing the mind and aids the decision making process.
Body: Lemon oil is highly prized for its high antibacterial properties. Lemon oil is able to stimulate the action of the white blood corpuscles, the body's own defence. Lemon oil is also haemostatic.
It improves the functioning of the digestive system, counteracts acidity in the body and makes the stomach more alkaline. Other problems arising from too much acidity in the body give rise to painful symptoms, including rheumatism, gout and arthritis. Whenever the body does not rid itself effectively of uric acid, this forms crystals which cause pain and inflammation of the joints.
Lemon oil can be used in cases of toxaemia, such as rheumatism, arthritis, gout, high blood fat and cholesterol, general obesity, cellulite and abscesses, boils and carbuncles.
Lemon has a tonic effect on the circulatory system and is useful in treating varicose veins. It is helpful in cases of high blood pressure and can be used in preventative regimes against arteriosclerosis.
Skin and hair: Being astringent it has an effective cleansing effect on greasy skin. At the same time its antiseptic properties make it useful for treating cuts and boils.
Precautions: Non-toxic, may cause dermal irritation or sensitisation reaction in some people. Phototoxic so avoid using on skin and then exposing to the sun.
From - The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
Now that I've mentioned my garden, I'm pondering how can I use magick in my garden. I Googled (of course) and came up with this site: www.earthwitchery.com/witches-garden.html. It has some simple but good ideas to put into practice.
Issue 19 - SPRING, SEPTEMBER 2009
SPHERES OF LIGHT (SOL)
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
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For general inquiries...
Phone Janine on 0408 025 268
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 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.
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.
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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.
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...
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 email@example.com for times and meet up details.
Join us on a magical journey to rediscover the ancient rite of scrying. Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing upon reflective surfaces, allowing the inner psychic eyes to see through the mist and receive desired visions or information.
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SPHERES OF LIGHT ON FACEBOOK
We're in the process of changing Spheres Of Light's and SOuL Searchers' presence on Facebook from "groups" to "pages". We plan to use these pages for announcements and advertising rather than discussions, and hopefully direct more people to our discussion forums on our main website as a result.
We'll use the Facebook pages for posting updates about SOL's various gatherings and activities. We invite you to become a "fan" of each of our new pages, which in addition to helping us to build up our Facebook presence, will also enable you to conveniently keep up to date with SOL's activities via Facebook. Just use the links below to check out our new Facebook pages ...and please remember to click on the "Become a Fan" link at the top of each page.
We also ask members of our original 2 Facebook groups (Spheres of Light - Eclectic Pagans and SOuL Searchers) to please delete your memberships from those 2 groups as they are no longer in use by SOL and will not be updated by us. We encourage you to become fans of our new pages instead, and we thank you for your continued support.
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PAGAN AND COMMUNITY EVENTS
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
October 4, 2009 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Sunday October 4, 2009 at 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 here, and Full Moon FAQ here or for other details, email Jo
3rd October, 2009
Drawing Down the Moon, or the Full Moon Esbat is amongst the most traditional and sacred practices used by Witches. Experience the energy of raising the cone of power and the ritual immersion into the sacred. Places will be limited firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming together as community as we journey from Unity to Diversity to Community through the discovery of drama, healing and ritual. Bunk dorm style accommodation and facilities. Ambrosial Ritual ~ dress no fuss white for unity. Workshops on drama in ritual, in history and more. Mask making and possibly even face painting. Diversity Ritual ~ dress up as deity of choice. Beer, Wine & Philosophy Bar with a new Ambrosial Brew. Healing Circle ~ Revealing authentic self. Starting at 3pm Friday 9/10/09 at Ewen Maddock Dam, Landsborough. For more information or a registration form contact Linda (07) 5422 9812 email@example.com
Expressions of interest in this workshop for October are now being taken. This workshop over 4 consecutive weeks covers much of the study essential to Circle work. Originally used by our local Sydney Coven as training prima, it is a hands-on approach to understanding the transformative power of the four elements in the Witch's circle. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those ready to continue their magickal work or wanting greater depth, this workshop series offers you a psychological understanding of the transformative power of working in covens, as well as a hands-on practical experience. Contact: email@example.com
6 hard boiled eggs
2 tsp mayonnaise
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish
Cut each egg in half and carefully scoop out the yolk. Mash yolks and remaining ingredients together to make a paste. Whether to make it completely smooth or to leave small lumps is a matter of personal taste. A blender will help for a really smooth paste.
When the egg yolk mixture is finished, carefully spoon it back into the egg white. For more decorative eggs you can put the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag and pipe it back into the white. Sprinkle with a little paprika for colour and flavour.
Little fried cakes, dipped in honey and nutmeg.
1/2 cup Riesling wine
2/3 cup flour
1 cup honey
2 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt
Beat the egg together with the wine. In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir until blended through. Let sit for 30 minutes. In another small bowl, mix the honey and nutmeg. In a skillet, heat up about a 1/2 inch of oil. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil and fry until golden brown. Drain off the oil, and dip into the honey mixture.
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Benzoin
1 part Cinnamon
a few drops Patchouli oil
2 parts frankincense
1 part benzoil
1 part dragon's blood
½ part nutmeg
½ part violet
½ part orange
½ part rose
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