Winds of Change

So much has happened over the past month, and now I can’t believe Fall is nearly over…

In early October I started having more car issues. My Subaru finally kicked the bucket, something to do with an oil leak. The indicator lights in that vehicle never worked properly, not even the gas gauge, so I never really knew how much gas was in the car. The oil light NEVER came on, and the car had a coolant leak, which meant I was refilling it every week so it wouldn’t overheat. So, when it finally expired, we began the search for another used vehicle. After a couple of weeks of searching, we thought we had found a good one, a yellow Ford Escape. From all outward appearances, it looked to be in good shape, so we got it and had it only a week when we discovered something horribly wrong. There was some rust on the bottom, so I took to it to a body shop to see how extensive it was. The mechanics there raised it up on a platform, took one look at it and then pulled me aside with serious looks on their faces. They said the vehicle was not safe to be on the road, there was severe rust all over the bottom and was literally ready to fall apart. They had me take pictures with my phone of all the damage. They also said it should never have passed inspection, that we should demand our money back, and if they refused to refund us, we should get the state police involved. In Pennsylvania, lemon laws only apply to new vehicles (strange, huh), but it is still illegal for used car dealers to sell vehicles that are not safe for the road. We can’t afford a new car, and neither of us are mechanics, so we really don’t know what to look for when shopping for used cars. The dealership did agree to give us our money back, and we eventually found another vehicle, a Chevy Tracker, that thankfully is working fine. Everything works, nothing’s leaking, and I know how much gas I have. But, what a fiasco!

In mid-October we made our bi-annual visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This time we were able to see the new Diagon Alley that opened this past July. We had an amazing time, connected with friends, and spent the entire 5 days going between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Below are a few pics.

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Immediately upon my return to Pennsylvania, I finished up a presentation for the School of Sacred Ministries in Doylestown PA. Myself and my friend Filomena were asked to speak to the students there about Witchcraft and Wicca. It was a great experience, and everyone was very receptive and open-minded. At the School of Sacred Ministries, students explore the world’s major religious, spiritual and wisdom traditions, experience the power of ritual and the beauty of celebration, and study to become inter-faith clergy. There was wonderful energy there, and we met some amazing people.

The following weekend was our Samhain celebration. A joint effort between The Moonlit Grove (the group I work with currently) and Coven of the Sacred Path. It was a magickal night, with flaming cauldrons, a candle-lit path through the veil to the ancestor altar, music, dance, great food and conversation. It was a night of crossing thresholds, re-connecting, and spiritual evolution. Samhain was another threshold for me, as on this night I made a formal decision to embrace Druidry as part of my path. I had never really fully embraced Druid spirituality until now, but since so many elements of druidry and celtic mysticism have been part of my practice for so long, I could no longer deny it as a calling. I am still a Witch 100%. I am very attached to Witchcraft, it is who I am, but now Druidry has also become part of my Witchcraft spirituality. The two have blended together. In many ways, it has always been there, I just never acknowledged it as such. I am quite fond of the teachings of Philip Carr-Gomm and Kristoffer Hughes. As soon as I am able (money, you know), I want to take the Bardic course from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. In the meantime, I have become addicted to Druidcast and Celtic Myth Podshow.

I loathe to say it, but Winter will soon be here. It is already getting quite cold and windy, and I’ve had a lingering cough for days. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I loathe and despise winter. The frigid temperatures that wreak havoc with my health…the slippery, icy roads…the freezing rain, the snow and sludge that leaves an ugly mess on the roads as it melts…not looking forward to this at all. The very sight of snow gives me anxiety, truthfully, and during the winter I prefer to keep my curtains closed so I don’t have to look at it. I am somewhat offended when people criticize how I react to snow. I did not grow up here and I wasn’t raised driving/walking through snow like so many people here have. It doesn’t make it less dangerous just because you’ve done it all your life. Suffice it to say, Winter is my least favorite season. It does give me time to work on creative projects, however. I enjoy making Winter candles and finishing up writing projects. It is an instrospective time, when I look within to examine my life and where my spiritual path is leading me.

After Yule, my leadership commitment to The Moonlit Grove will be finished, and I can focus more attention on Blackthorn, and training students in this personal tradition that evolved from my studies and interaction with Cerridwen. I will soon put out a call for local students who meet the requirements and desire to learn. I look forward to teaching and appreciate the opportunities that Cerridwen sends my way. I also hope to eventually find a local druid group to interact with, but for now I am satisfied to study on my own.

At this moment, it is quite windy outside, the windows are rattling and the windchimes on the outside patio are playing a haunting melody. There are dark clouds in the sky, and raindrops on the windows. I enjoy this kind of weather, so now I think I will go light some candles and incense, open the patio door just a bit and relax for awhile…

Til next time…

Crystal Magick: Mugglestone

mugglestoneI discovered this stone, quite by accident, when I visited a recent holistic expo where I live. I love going to these expos, they seem very much like Diagon Alley to me, with rows and rows of vendors selling their magickal wares: runes, crystals, tarot cards, incense, magickal books and music, home décor, soaps, candles, oils and all manner of other mystical things. There are also several practitioners present who offer tarot & rune readings, reiki treatments, aura photos, various forms of energy healing and more things too numerable to mention. I was fortunate enough to be a vendor myself a couple of times in the past. I had my own booth where I sold my handmade candles and soaps, and offered tarot readings and reiki treatments. This recent expo was the Fall expo, and I enjoy being a shopper at this one rather than a vendor, because I love to explore the many wonderful Fall-themed items, and it is my favorite season.

So, as I was browsing through one of the crystal booths, I scanned over the many crystals that had been neatly separated into individual compartments, each crystal named along with a short list of it’s magickal uses. There were literally hundreds of different crystals in this booth, on 3 long tables. I happened to be standing right in front of this one particular crystal. I had just briefly looked down at them and turned my head, and then realized I saw a very familiar word…..muggle.

guessI looked down again and found the stone….Mugglestone. “Is this for real?”, I thought to myself. “Why have I never heard of this one before??” I brought it home, and when I did more research I found that it is a real, actual stone. Mugglestone is a blend of Red Jasper, Tiger’s Eye and Hematite. It is also called Tiger Iron. It has many magickal qualities, but in my research I saw a common thread in all of the articles I read: Mugglestone deflects harmful energy caused by the judgments of others. Thus, Mugglestone is appropriately named.

Muggle is a word found in the Harry Potter mythos, but it is gaining popularity in the magickal community. The word has a few layers of meaning in Harry Potter metaphysics, but the main idea refers to a person who does not believe in magick or considers it evil. We all have encountered people like this. When you tell them you’re a witch/wiccan/pagan, they get that disapproving look in their eyes, and you can feel their judgmental energy coming at you. It is a subtle form of psychic attack.

If you know you’re going to be around people who disapprove of your beliefs, magickal practice or wiccan spirituality, carry Mugglestone with you to deflect and neutralize those harmful energies. You can carry the stone in your pocket, or wear it as jewelry. I have provided a link below where you can order the polished stones, and some websites offer jewelry made with Mugglestone/Tiger Iron. Another option is eBay, where I found several Mugglestone items for sale.

Meditation with Mugglestone

  • Hold the Mugglestone in your dominant hand.

  • Close your eyes, and take several deep breaths until you reach a meditative state.

  • Bring the Mugglestone to your Third Eye Chakra, at the center of your forehead. Hold it next to your skin.

  • Visualize a spinning wheel of indigo (midnite blue) energy spinning at your Third Eye. Allow this energy to envelope the Mugglestone.

  • Next, visualize the indigo blue color enveloping your entire body. Picture the energy of the Mugglestone merging with this blue light that surrounds your aura. Hold this visualization for at least 3 minutes.

  • Say 3 times, “I charge this crystal to protect me from all harmful energies, judgments and intentions”.

  • Slowly bring yourself back to full awareness, and when you feel ready, open your eyes.

  • Carry the crystal with you, or wear it as jewelry.

To help you further with this meditation, you can light a white candle, and Dragons Blood, Sandalwood or Patchouli incense.

You can order polished Mugglestone at this link.

Check out all the great Mugglestone jewelry on eBay.

The Story of Mabon

Originally posted on Rik Potter:

Mabon is celebrated on the Autumn Equinox, which occurs sometime near September 21-23, and is known by many as the ‘Witches’ Thanksgiving‘. It is the second Harvest Festival of the Witches’ calendar, and it celebrates and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest of fruit, squash, grains, and vegetables. Mabon is also the time when we give thanks to the Goddess and God for what was “harvested” in our lives during the year, as we prepare for the Winter ahead.

Witches meet and share celebration feasts with family and friends at each of the sabbats. Though joyous, Mabon also a serious time, as Witches of many traditions prepare for the season of sleep, the dark time of Fall and Winter. Witches call to the animal spirits for guidance and insight as we enter this time of inner searching. We prepare to meet our true inner self and grow and further our…

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Ritual Etiquette

434da4168885699dfd73a7d177b0182dAs far as rituals go, I will admit that I am stricter than most and strongly prefer formal, traditional rituals as opposed to those that are more casual and relaxed. However, not all groups work the same way and I adapt whenever I need to. Over the years I have led and attended countless rituals, and there are a number of things I think need to be addressed. Depending on the structure of your coven or magickal group, whether it is casual or formal, some of these may or may not apply. These are just my own observations, you may choose to agree or disagree…

RITUAL ATTIRE

As much as I prefer the traditional robes, the hooded cloaks, the ceremony and pageantry of formal ritual, there are many groups who are more casual with their requirements in ritual attire. What you wear to a ritual will depend on a number of factors. For rituals that are open to the public, casual attire is usually acceptable unless otherwise specified, but those who wish to wear robes and cloaks are welcome to do so. Formal groups, whether public/outdoor or private/indoor will require traditional robes, cloaks and formal ritual wear no matter the weather. This is my personal preference, but admittedly I am more traditional than others,(even though it does get a bit uncomfortable when outdoors in 90 degree heat!)

Casual groups are more relaxed with their requirements and will be less strict in what attendees wear to ritual. Another factor is the amount of space available. Some groups who meet in homes have very little space, with not much room for flowing robes and cloaks. In these cases it would not be practical to wear them, especially when lighting candles or if there is going to be lots of movement. Groups who practice ‘SkyClad’ (clad only by the sky, naked) perform rituals in the nude. Although I see nothing wrong with this at all, it is not my practice and I have never participated naked in rituals, public or private. I am honestly much too self-conscious about my body. For my private rituals at home, I have special clothing set aside for this purpose, and I often wear my robes for these.

My personal opinion is that those who are leading a ritual, whether High Priest/ess or someone else, should always be dressed in proper ritual attire, whether your group is casual or formal, at least until the ritual is over. It doesn’t have to be a long, flowing robe, as long as it is something that sets you apart as the one guiding the others between the worlds. Rituals are sacred acts, it is not something we do for play or just to have fun. If I attend your ritual and you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I will find it difficult to believe you are taking it seriously. (I said I was strict).

ALTAR TOOLS

When you attend a ritual, you may notice the beautiful altar decorated with various tools and magickal items. The general rule is, you may look but don’t touch. Why? First of all, they are not yours. Secondly, all of these items have been carefully chosen for the ritual, and have been placed where they are placed for a reason. They have been consecrated and magickally prepared with specific energies and intentions. By touching or handling them, your own energies can interfere with them and have adverse effects on the ritual. Leave them alone! Look but do not touch. It is very rude to walk up to someone’s altar and start picking things up. I understand some folks are not aware of this, but I am happy to gently remind them…

CONVERSATION

Ritual gatherings don’t have to be solemn and quiet, they are celebrations, of course. However, there comes a point when it’s time to get serious. There is usually a social time before the circle is cast when people can chat and get to know one another. Likewise, when the ritual has ended and the circle has been released, there is a time of feasting and socializing.

But when you are standing in the circle, it is a different matter. Why?

We are about to create sacred space, we are preparing to call on divine forces, and this is where your mind and energies should be focused. It is not a time to be discussing with the person next to you what you’re doing later, what you’re making for dinner tonight or what you watched on TV. Again, this is not a game. When we are in the circle, we are supposed to be of one mind and in one accord. Focus all your attention on why we are here and the purpose for the ritual. Everything else can wait until later. A good circle-caster can cast the circle strong enough to overcome any random energies, but when those in the circle are not focused, it makes his/her task much harder. This is why I like to start my rituals with a group meditation to help get everyone on the same page and in a proper ritual state of consciousness.

CELLPHONES AND ELECTRONICS

When you are standing in the magick circle, please turn your cellphone OFF. Electrical energies can interfere with the energies we are raising in the circle. Magick is delicate. Everything has to be precise and strongly directed for it to be effective. We are focusing on specific intentions and directing our energies toward their manifestation, and when a cellphone starts ringing, this causes a rift in the energy. It would be best for you to stand outside the circle, or perhaps not attend this one if you think you may be urgently needed elsewhere. I know some people like to bring their laptops into the circle (to play music or to read ritual notes, etc), but I am very leery of this practice and personally would not recommend it.

ENTERING OR LEAVING A CIRCLE

When we cast the circle, we create an invisible, energetic boundary between the physical and muggle worlds. The circle contains the energy we raise within it, and blocks out any harmful energies that we do not want. If you arrive late to a ritual and the circle has already been cast, don’t just find a spot next to someone. Please wait for the High Priest/ess or assigned person to create a doorway for you to enter. Likewise, if you need to leave the circle for whatever reason (restroom?) , wait until someone creates a doorway for you to exit and re-enter when you return, By just walking into the circle, you have broken the boundary, and the circle may need to be re-cast. We are working with unseen energies, and it is imperative that everything remain in place.

TAKING PICTURES

If you want to take pictures, please get the permission of the High Priest/ess and others present before doing so. You may be asked to stand outside the circle to take photos, or you may be asked to wait until the ritual is over. Rituals are sacred occasions, and not everyone will be willing for you to take photos that will be posted on Facebook or wherever else. Also, there may be people present who do not wish to be in your photos. Not everyone who attends a ritual is “out of the broom closet”, and would prefer not to have their faces all over the internet attending a ritual. My personal view is that I don’t really mind if people take photos before or after the ritual, I think it is important that we show others how we practice, but we must also be sensitive to others who are present and may not want their photo taken.

PRIVACY

Again, rituals are sacred occasions, and there is often a time of sharing when people ask for healing or guidance. Many times people share things that are deeply personal. Please respect the sacred space we have created, and respect the privacy of those in the circle, do not share their personal matters with others when the ritual has ended.

ARRIVE ON TIME

I am very strict on this issue, and it has annoyed people in the past, but I am unyielding on this one. When I plan rituals, I announce them plenty of time in advance, so that those who wish to attend have sufficient time to arrange their schedules so they can be there. There really is no excuse other than “I don’t want to go”. My rule is, if you think you’re going to be more than 20 minutes late, it is best not to come, and we’ll see you at the next one. I do understand people have jobs, family responsibilities, etc, however, there was ample time for planning, making arrangements to leave work early if necessary, etc. If you miss 20 minutes, you’ve missed alot. It is true that rituals don’t always start on time, and I will wait a few minutes for people who are caught in traffic, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. It isn’t fair to keep everyone else waiting because you’re going to be 20 minutes late.

RESPECT DIVERSITY

Understand that when you attend a ritual, they may do it differently than you. It doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong, they just do it a different way than you do. There are numerous methods of circle-casting, and countless ways to lead ritual. Each ritual is as different and unique as the person leading it, with elements from many different traditions and practices. Respect those differences, and acknowledge that even if it is not how you were taught, or what you prefer, it can still be meaningful and you just might learn something and make a few new friends.

RESPECT THE SACRED

Remember, rituals are sacred occasions where we work with unseen energies to create change and transformation. We invite the divine to join with us, as well as elemental forces, spirit guides and animal totems. It is a highly-charged spiritual gathering. Yes, you can laugh, you can have fun, but it is also a time to honor and respect the sacredness of the event. Please treat it as such.

Tarot: The Lightning-Bolt Spread

The Lightning-Bolt Spread uses a total of 9 cards, and draws wisdom from the three realms of the World Tree. The concept of the World Tree can be found in several religions and mythologies. It is represented as a giant tree divided into three realms: Upper, Middle and Lower Worlds. It symbolizes a direct and unbroken link between the realm of matter and the realm of spirit. It’s branches reach high into the cosmos, and it’s roots extend deep into the earth. The trunk of the tree, the Axis Mundi, provides a pathway for higher beings to descend to earth in order to assist those seeking enlightenment. Likewise, it also provides an opportunity for aspects of the shadow self to rise from the Lower World, to receive healing and transformation.

In this spread, the cards are laid out in the shape of a lightning-bolt, as shown in the photo below.

SAM_0965The upper three cards represent the Upper World. These cards reveal information about our own spirituality, our connection to our higher self, our deities and spirit guides. The wisdom in the upper three cards are direct messages to us from our divine guides.

The middle three cards focus on our lives in the material plane, the Middle World, and relate to issues concerning job, finances, career and family. These cards address matters regarding everyday life, and functioning in the physical world. The middle three cards also act as an anchor, adding extra insight to the upper/lower cards.

The lower three cards represent the Lower World, or Underworld, and shed light on issues that we keep hidden in shadow. These are things that we keep hidden from others, things that make us feel ashamed, insecure or anxious. The Lower World is the unseen realm, where we interact with the shadow self, our ancestors, and our own dark nature.

Use this spread for personal readings, shamanic journey work, or to make a connection to the World Tree through divination.

Available Now

This will be a short post, but I just wanted to let my awesome readers know that my new book is now available for purchase. It is currently available through Lulu, but in a few weeks you can also get it on Amazon and Kindle. Just click the photo below to order a copy!

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New Book Coming Soon!

My latest book, Walking a Magick Path, is now complete. I’ve ordered a proof copy and as soon as it arrives, and I’ve looked it over, I will approve it for publishing. Here is a photo of the cover.

WAMPThis will be my third book release, and I used one of my own photos for the cover this time. I hope it isn’t blurry on the actual book. If it is, I’ll just take another one, but I’m crossing my fingers that won’t be necessary. So far it looks good.

In this book, I explain the difference between practical, natural and spiritual magick. I also share the magick found within each of us, the magick that exists all around us, in the sky above and the earth below. There is a chapter on magickal ethics where I share my personal views about the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law. There are meditations in the book, as well as a list of resources for those who are seeking wisdom on their own magickal path. The aim of this book is to help people become more aware of magick and how to bring it into everyday life.

It will be ready for purchase before the month is over…

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The Magick is in You