The Spiritual Dignity of Witchcraft

Those who follow the path of Witchcraft have every right to hold their heads up high, (whether they practice openly or discreetly), and be proud of who they are as followers of the oldest religion. Wicca/Witchcraft is legally recognized by the U. S. Government as a religion, and it’s followers have the same legal rights and protections as those who follow other legally-recognized religions. Those who follow Witchcraft as a spiritual path are worthy of high esteem, respect and dignity. What are the aspects of this path that make it dignified?

1. Witchcraft is a path of personal growth and transformation. This is a path that demands introspection and self-awareness. Witches continously examine their own motives for doing magick and casting spells, seeking only the highest good so that no harm comes to anyone. They are on a life-long quest to develop their magickal gifts and skills so that they can be used in service to their communities. Study of the magickal arts is a life-long endeavor, and Witches have a thirst for knowledge, learning how to apply that magickal knowledge for the good of those around them. Witches spend a great deal of time on personal growth and inner development, honing their psychic/intuitive abilities and exploring the shadow self. Witches understand that the more we know ourselves, the  better we will be able to help others.

2. Witchcraft is a path of service. Witches use their skills to serve the community, through healing (such as Reiki, Crystals, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Chakra Balancing and other alternative, sometimes unconventional, healing modalities). They offer guidance with tarot readings, runes, divination, astrology, teaching, counseling, writing or leading both public and private ceremonies. It is no coincidence that many Witches work in the health care field. Every witch is Priestess and Priest, and many serve as clergy for the pagan/wiccan community.

3. Witchcraft is a path that respects and honors Nature. Witches view all of Nature as Divine. The natural world is revered as the embodiment of the Goddess. Witches believe that the Earth is alive, and that the trees, flowers and plants are teachers and companions that desire to interact with us and teach us. We celebrate the changing seasons and call upon the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to participate with us in our ceremonies and rituals.

4. Witchcraft is a path that embraces individuality. Every Witch is free to choose the manner in which they practice their craft. They are not bound to dogma or a strict set of rules that everyone must follow. While some prefer to follow specific traditions of Witchcraft, others choose an eclectic path that draws from multiple sources. Some witches function better as a member of a coven, others prefer to practice alone. Witches recognize that a system that works for one person may not work for another. It is a path of personal discovery, using what works and discarding what doesn’t. Every witch is unique and not all witches practice the exact same way.

5. Witchcraft is a path of Advocacy. Witches recognize the importance of fairness, human rights, equal rights,  and the humane treatment of animals. Many witches are active in civil rights groups, frequently participating in social activism and speaking out for environmental issues.

6. Witches seek to preserve the myths and legends of the ancient past. Witches embrace the wisdom found in the legend and lore of ancient mythology.  The stories from Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse and other cultures are treasured and studied, and the spiritual wisdom found within them is applied to modern-day living. Many witches are drawn to a particular culture, and absorb the wisdom from that culture into their personal practice.

7. Witchcraft is a living path that is constantly evolving. Witches honor the old ways of Witchcraft while embracing the new ways of Modern Witchcraft. As Witches continue to grow and learn, they find new ways to bring magick to the world, new ways to bring healing and restoration to their communites.

8. Witchcraft is a path of Balance. Witches recognize that both Light and Dark are necessary for growth. Placing too much emphasis on one or the other puts us out of balance. By understanding the darkness within, we gain a better understanding of the Light. Dark and Light work together, like Yin and Yang.

9. Witchcraft is a path of Magick. Witches use magick and cast spells to bring positive change. That change may be for the intention of healing, protection, prosperity, justice or anything else that brings restoration, balance or growth. Witches believe in the power of magick as a catalyst for positive change and transformation, both inwardly and outwardly.

10. Witchcraft is a path of connection to the Divine.  Witchcraft views deity as both masculine and feminine, Goddess and God. Witches recognize many deities and spirit guides. Not all Witches choose to interact with deity, however those who do have developed close relationships with their deities and guides. Witches also believe that each of us have a spark of divinity within us. We not only interact with Divinity, we ourselves are Divine. Since we recognize the divinity within ourselves and each other, as well as in Nature, we do not believe in causing harm to others for any reason. This divinity is both within and without, and we are guided by it.

Because of these things, Witchcraft is a spiritual path of honor, respect, esteem and dignity. If you are on this path, whether in the broom closet or out, you have every right to be proud and fully embrace who you are as a Witch, a magickal being called forth to be a force for positive change in the world.

The Magick is in You. Always.

So Mote It Be.

The Mindful Witch

Those who follow the path of Witchcraft are in a constant state of evolution. As we learn and grow, we apply any newly gained wisdom and knowledge to our lives and to our path. Hopefully we do this in a way that shows evidence to the world around us how we have grown and matured on our spiritual path.  As we reflect to the world who we are as Witches, it is of utmost importance that we present Witchcraft as a spiritual path that is respectable and dignified.

Let us always be mindful of how we are perceived by those around us.

Attitudes toward Witchcraft are slowly changing for the better, at least in some parts of the world, but we still have a long way to go. Many still have misinformed and pre-conceived notions about who Witches are and what they believe. Education is important, yes, but it isn’t always enough.

The way the world perceives us will depend largely on how we present ourselves.

It is unfortunate that the mainstream media does not always portray us in a positive light. Witchcraft is believed by many to be a religion that is embraced only by rebellious non-conformists, tree-hugging hippies or goths in black lipstick. These same people are surprised to discover that a suit-and-tie business executive, the neighborhood dentist or college professor might also be a Witch. It is true that the paths of Witchcraft and Wicca attract people from all walks of life, not just those who belong to a particular group or sub-culture.

I have noticed that in the pagan/wiccan communities, some people have the attitude of “I don’t care what people think“. I saw a bumper sticker that says “I’m a Witch, Deal With It“. Is this really the impression we want to give to the world? I don’t think so. This defiant attitude is not good for our community. While I believe in standing firm as who we are in the face of opposition, we must use wisdom in the manner by which we do so. We should care what people think, to a certain degree, if we truly want to be taken seriously as Witches.

If we present ourselves as intelligent, respectable and dignified, we will be received much better than we would by being defensive and defiant.

Be proud of who you are as a Witch or pagan, know what you believe, and be prepared to explain those beliefs, in a non-defensive way,  to any who might ask. If you’re not sure what you believe, it’s time for some soul-searching. As witches, we are called to bring healing and restoration to the world around us. We do not consider ourselves superior to those who do not share our beliefs.  We are not meant to separate ourselves from the world and live our lives in a happy, fluffy pagan bubble. It is not Us vs. Them.

If you encounter someone who is verbally attacking you or passing judgment because of your beliefs, smile politely and say “I’m sorry, I don’t agree with you, but I hope we can still be friends”, then just walk away. Handle the situation with dignity.

When you share your beliefs with others, don’t just talk. Listen. You may find you have alot in common. When they realize you are a person who is much like them, yet you happen to be a Witch, then perhaps they will see you in a more positive light.

Remember, the way the world perceives us will depend largely on how we present ourselves. If people know you are a Witch, you are likely going to be scrutinized by those around you. They will observe how you dress, how you interact with others, how you react to various situations and how you live your day-to-day life. If you follow Witchcraft as a spiritual path, let it be evidenced in your actions and behavior. Be proud to call yourself a Witch and carry yourself in a confident, dignified manner.

Every morning before you begin your day, remind yourself…to be mindful. The world is watching.

There and back again, with a ring

As I write this, it is early Sunday evening, and the setting sun is casting shadows through the trees onto the snow-covered lawn behind our home. I can appreciate the quiet, serene beauty of this scene, but at the same time I know it is several inches deep due to the recent snowstorms we’ve had, and I have no desire to go trudging out in it. It is warmer than usual today, and thankfully much of the snow is starting to melt…for now. Winter has not yet passed. We’ve had an unusual amount of snow this year, it was literally up to our knees. I am looking forward to the Spring Equinox.

A couple of weeks ago we escaped the winter weather and returned to Universal Orlando with two of our friends. This was our 6th or 7th visit there-I have truly lost count by now. We had a wonderful time, despite the fact that it rained much of the time we were there. I wished I had brought my Gryffindor robe along on this trip, because it was actually cool enough to wear it and be completely comfortable. Temperatures stayed in the 50’s and 60’s due to the cold weather front that extended down even into Florida. I don’t mind rain, especially in Hogsmeade, because it keeps the crowds away and adds a mystical atmosphere to the already magickal surroundings. I bought some new gloves to match the jacket and hat I bought there previously, and I also picked up that awesome Wizarding World track jacket.

tjj

 

Also while we were there, this happened…

mematty

As we were standing near Hagrid’s hut, my partner Matthew proposed to me, and gave me a beautiful pentacle engagement ring. I was surprised and of course, I said “Yes”. We’ve been together for 12 years and have always wanted to get married, but gay marriage isn’t legal yet here in Pennsylvania. We have considered going elsewhere to get married, but we aren’t sure if it would be recognized here in PA. Regardless, sooner or later, we will be married…somewhere. Here is the ring…

pentring

I am still studying Kristoffer Hughes’ book, From the Cauldron Born. I truly love this book, which is a lesson on how to apply the magickal aspects of Cerridwen’s cauldron and her sacred brew into one’s life. The Welsh legend of Cerridwen and Taliesin has had a powerful influence in my life for several years, and it is a story that I connect deeply with on many levels. While my personal path contains elements of both Modern and Old World Witchcraft, Spiritual Alchemy and the balance of Light/Dark, it is heavily Celtic-influenced. Much of my studies come from sources pertaining to Celtic wisdom and mystical lore. I wondered for awhile if I was really a “Druid-in-training”, because my beliefs seem to fit Druidry to the letter, but my practices are more in line with Witchcraft. Is there such a thing as a “Druid Witch” ? I don’t know. Philip Carr-Gorman has written a book, DruidCraft, which apparently explains the blend of Druidry and Witchcraft (two separate paths that some folks combine into one). I will be reading this one soon. I don’t really consider myself a druid. I’m just a Witch who draws primarily from Celtic sources, some of which happen to be druidic. Druidry is described as:

a spiritual way and practice that speaks to three of our greatest yearnings: to be fully creative in our lives, to commune deeply with the world of Nature, and to gain access to a source of profound wisdom. Each of these yearnings comes from a different aspect of ourselves that we can personify as the Singer, the Shaman and the Sage. In Druidry, Bardic teachings help to nurture the singer, the artist or storyteller within us: the creative self; Ovate teachings help to foster the shaman, the lover of Nature, the healer within us; while the Druid teachings help to develop our inner wisdom: the sage who dwells within each of us” (from druidry.org, the official website for The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids).

Part of the Druid path is about preserving the ancient tales of Celtic myth and legend, not only learning them but internalizing them and applying their lessons to your life. This is something I have tried to do for many years. There seem to be many similarities between Druidry and Witchcraft: reverence for the Earth, the use of herbs, crystals and divinatory tools, ancestral wisdom, animal lore, etc, but there are differences as well. Many druids do not cast a circle or use the same tools that witches use. There are differing views regarding deity and divinity. In retrospect, I don’t think I could call myself a druid. I am fond of Druidry and I highly admire and respect those who follow the Druid path, as I share many of their beliefs, but in my heart, I am a Witch.

My Witchcraft practice just happens to contain several druidic elements, drawing much inspiration from Celtic lore and mysticism. One of the beautiful things about Witchcraft is that it is a living tradition. It is alive. (I’m sure the same could be said of Druidry). As Witches, we are free to bring our own uniqueness to our path, in a way that works best for each of us. Not in some willy-nilly ‘whatever’ eclectic sort of way, but in a way that encourages spiritual maturity, growth and magickal transformation.

In other news, I am really enjoying the new CLANNAD CD, Nadur. I have loved Clannad for many years, their music is in both Gaelic and English. So beautiful.

clannad

For more information about Celtic wisdom and the Druid path, I recommend:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom, by Carl McColman

The Celtic Myth Podshow

The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

Ár nDraíocht Féin

Druid Magic, by Maya Magee Sutton and Nicholas R. Mann

Magic of the Celtic Otherworld, by Steve Blamires

Essential Guide to Druidism, by Isaac Bonewits & Philip Carr-Gorman

Damh the Bard

Kristoffer Hughes

 

Magickal Symbols: The Pentacle

Pentacle

Pentacle

The pentacle, a 5-pointed star in a circle, is an ancient symbol used in many cultures throughout history. It is not a “satanic” symbol, and it’s origins pre-date any concept of the Christian Devil figure. History tells us that many medieval warriors had a pentacle on their shields, Celtic tribes viewed it as a symbol for the Underworld Goddess, Morrigan, and followers of the ancient philosopher Pythagoras identified themselves with a pentacle (which they called Pentalpha) drawn on their hands. Early Christians used this symbol to represent the five wounds of Christ. Archaeologists have found fragments of pottery displaying a pentagram that date back 4,000 years. Today, it is a symbol of modern Witchcraft and those who live by magick.

King of Pentacles tarot card.

King of Pentacles tarot card.

Both the pentagram and pentacle are not only used in Witchcraft and magickal practice, they are also important symbols in druidry, sacred geometry, Kabbalah, alchemy and tarot. The pentacle is a symbol of Venus, particularly the 2nd Pentacle of Venus used in ceremonial magick. Venus is the only planet that follows the path of a 5-pointed star as it moves through the sky.

2nd Pentacle of Venus

2nd Pentacle of Venus

Pentagram

Pentagram

The first recorded use of the word “pentacle” (in English usage) was in 1561, from an earlier French use, in turn from post-classical Latin pentaculum (from penta- “fivefold” +”-culum’”. The French word had a meaning of “talisman”, typically in the shape of a pentagram, but the word could also refer to talismans in the shape of a hexagram. The Oxford English Dictionary connects it to the Middle French word pentacol or pendacol, (a jewel or ornament worn around the neck). These words identify the pentacle as a magickal talisman that is worn around the neck or on the body, either as a pentacle, or a pentagram (a simple 5-pointed star without the outer circle). It should be further noted that when you study the old magickal texts, such as the Key of Solomon and the works of Cornelius Agrippa, you will discover many other “pentacles” that may not necessarily have 5 points. These pentacles, such as the Second Pentacle of Jupiter, for instance, have traditionally been used by ceremonial magicians but they are now being used by many modern Witches and Wiccans as well. Since I am not a ceremonial magician, I will focus mainly on the use of the pentacle in modern Witchcraft. The five points of the pentagram represent the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.

When they are enclosed within a circle, representing the Universe, the symbol becomes a pentacle. The pentacle illustrates the Witch’s connection to the elements and Universal Wisdom. The pentacle is normally worn with one point upwards, to indicate the Witch’s partnership with the elements and the descent of Spirit into Matter (Self). When the pentacle is inverted (upside down), it represents the triumph of Matter (Self) taking dominion over Spirit. It is for this reason that the inverted pentacle has been adopted by Satanist groups even though this symbol is not connected to the Satan figure in any way. This has contributed to the false notion that Witches are “Satan worshippers”.

VetrpentThe pentacle drawn in one continuous line illustrates the body of man, (head, arms and legs), much like Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of the Microcosmic Man. It is, in essence, a 5-pointed star in a circle, symbolizing man’s connection to the Universe. It is the joining together of the Microcosm (Man/Below) with the Macrocosm (Divine/Above).

I own several pentacles in various styles and designs. I have pentacle necklaces, rings and a black leather wrist cuff with a pentacle on it. I am always wearing a pentacle, even when I sleep. You can find some beautiful pentacle jewelry at Azure Green, Abaxion or other places online. Visit your local metaphysical/Wicca shop to see what they have available. Most will be able to order one for you. Some are very simple and affordable, others are quite elaborate and expensive, but when you find one you really like, it will become a powerful magickal talisman that you will treasure for years to come.

The pentacle is a symbolic represention of my connection to the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. It is a gateway to the mysteries of magick and the transforming power of witchcraft. This symbol reminds me of who I am and what my true purpose in life is, to be channel of healing and transformation. The power of the pentacle offers protection, enlightenment and divine guidance. I wear my pentacles proudly, I do not hide them, and for those who dare to ask, I willingly share with them the true meanings of this powerful, ancient symbol.

pentcab 

Casting the Magick Circle

Circle3Witches and other magickal practitioners do much of their work in what is called the “magick circle”. This is where spells are cast, rituals are performed, magickal tools are consecrated, and meditation and other introspective techniques can all be practiced. I use the magick circle for these purposes, and nearly everything else from personal tarot readings to Reiki treatments. By casting the circle, you are creating sacred space, a “world between worlds”. It is a space that not only contains and amplifies the energy you raise within it, it also serves as a barrier to deflect any energies that may be harmful. It is a place where the creative forces of the Universe gather with you to make magick. The circle is a microcosm of the Universe, and perfectly illustrates the concept “As Above, So Below”. Whatever is created in the circle (Below) will eventually manifest in the visible world (Above). One of my favorite teachers, Christopher Penczak, describes the circle in a beautiful way, as symbolic of the witch’s cauldron into which “we invite the powers of the universe…to create a unique stew between the worlds”.

CircleCastCircle-casting is not a product of modern Wicca, as some claim. The earliest known record comes from a woodcut illustration in 1608, depicting witches gathered in a circle traced upon the ground. Early Puritans demonized this concept by placing the Devil outside the circle, to imply that the Witches had conjured it. Even so, this image still illustrates the protective quality of the circle against harm. (The artist of this illustration also mentions in his writings that Witches work with the elemental spirits of Earth, Air, Fire and Water). The circle has been used by practitioners of magick for centuries, long before Gerald Gardner (the “father” of modern Wicca) was born.

Circle2Casting the circle is not something to be done haphazardly or with a casual attitude. I have been to rituals where it seemed people were just saying words and going through the motions. Don’t rush the words, take your time, pay attention to what you’re saying. Circle-casting is an art that requires strong focus, visualization and intent. When the circle is complete, it is no longer a circle, but a sphere. This is so that not only the circumference is protected, but also the top and bottom of the sacred space you have created. Before casting the circle, however, it is important to be in a right state of mind. Remember, the circle intensifies whatever energy is brought into it. If you are angry or tense, you are going to bring that energy unless you do some centering and grounding exercises first. Before I begin any ritual, the first step is meditation. Simply close your eyes, take some deep breaths until you reach a meditative state. Prepare yourself spiritually and mentally for what you are about to do. Put away all worries and concerns of the day. Once you have reached “ritual consciousness”, then you may begin casting the circle. Many people skip this step, and I think it has detrimental effects on the energy of their circles. Another important thing to do before casting your circle is to cleanse the area. This can be done with incense, salt water, a lit candle, or through white light visualization.

I won’t go into a full ritual outline, as these vary greatly according to tradition. In this article, I will focus only on Casting the Circle and Opening the Circle. It must be understood that this is only one way to cast a circle. There are other ways, however, this is a traditional method that works best for me.

Casting the Magick Circle

  • Cleanse the area with incense, salt water or visualization.
  • Close your eyes, put away all worries of the day, and take several deep breaths until you reach a meditative state of mind.
  • Stand up and face the North or the East (whichever direction feels right for you). Using both hands, grasp a sword, athame (a black-handled ritual blade) or wand, and point it upwards. Not vertically straight up, but in an upwards diagonal position. If you don’t have these tools, it is perfectly acceptable to use the forefinger of your dominant hand. My coven uses a dagger, my personal tradition uses a simple, unadorned wooden wand.
  • Begin walking clockwise in a circle, and visualize a blue flame coming out the end of your sword/athame/wand. You will walk this circle three times while making the following three statements, one statement for each circle. If your space is limited and you can’t walk around, you can stand in one spot and turn as you cast your circle.
  • Circle1

CIRCLE ONE: I cast this circle to protect me from all harmful energies.

CIRCLE TWO: I cast this circle to allow only the most perfect energies for this work.

CIRCLE THREE: I cast this circle to be a sacred space for the highest good, harming none.

My personal circles at home are a bit more wordy, but this is the basic idea.

  • Don’t just say the words, but think about what you’re saying. “See” it and “feel” it happening. Once your circle is created, it is not uncommon to sense a difference in energy and temperature. As you walk the circle three times, visualize the blue flame forming a circle in the air around you. You can write your own words for circle-casting, and make them as creative and elaborate or as simple as you want, but they must include the intentions that your circle is for protection from harmful energies and is a sacred space.
  • Next, point your sword/athame/wand straight up and say “As Above”. Visualize the top half of the sphere being formed by the protective blue light. Then point your sword/athame/wand down so that the tip is touching the ground, and say “So Below”. Visualize the bottom half of the sphere being formed. You have now created not only a circle, but a sphere of protection.

It is important to visualize the entire process of circle-casting as clearly as you can in your mind’s eye, with strong focus and intention. You are not just saying words. You are creating an energetic sphere of protection and power.

At this point, most magickal practitioners invite the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water into the circle by facing their associated directions. This is also done in a clockwise direction: North/Earth, East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water. You may also invite any deities or spirit guides to assist and lend their energies to the circle. Now you are ready to do magick or anything else you have cast your circle for.

Opening the Circle

  • At the end of your ritual or magickal working, if you have invited the elements, thank them for their assistance, and gently release each one in a counter-clockwise direction with a statement like “Stay if you will, but go if you must”. Remember to thank your deities and spirit guides as well. I have special candles devoted to certain spirit guides that I light and extinguish at the beginning and end of each circle ritual.
  • Return to the same position where you began your circle (North or East), and point your sword/athame/wand upwards again. While walking a counter-clockwise circle only once, say “This circle is open, but remains unbroken”. As you walk the circle, visualize the blue flame of the circle/sphere dissolving into nothingness. When opening the circle, it is only necessary to walk the circle one time.

As I mentioned earlier, you can use the magick circle for almost anything. I cast a circle when I meditate, use my tarot/oracle cards, commune with my deities and spirit guides, for rituals to do magick, or to celebrate the Sabbats or the Full Moon and New Moon. The magick circle creates a sacred space where the only energies present are there for your highest good.

 

Simple Planetary Magick

planets2The planets in our solar system all contain their own unique energies that can be called upon in rituals and magickal workings. Each planet, including the Sun and Moon, has an ancient magickal link to certain aspects of life, herbs, colors, metals, symbols, tarot cards, crystals and many other things. The planets in our solar system: The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Earth, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto* are used widely in various forms of magick. It is advisable to use as many links as possible when performing any kind of planetary magick. Those who work with planetary forces discover that they are more than just ‘energies’, they are spiritual entities that have assisted magickal workers for centuries.

*Pluto is still considered by many practitioners to be a planet, even though Pluto lost it’s “official” planet status in 2006. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a “dwarf planet” because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-sized planet. Essentially Pluto meets all the criteria except one- it “has not cleared its neighboring region of other objects.” Be that as it may, some practitioners still use the energies of Pluto with great success.

First, let’s examine each of the planets and their magickal qualities. The correspondences listed below are by no means complete, there are many more.

MOON: The Moon is considered a feminine energy, linked to the powers of divination, intuition, psychic ability and the Third Eye Chakra. Crystals that draw upon Moon energy are Moonstone, Clear Quartz and Lapis Lazuli. Herbs and flowers linked to the Moon are Jasmine, Lily and Moonflower. The metal Silver and the colors White and Silver are associated with the Moon as is the day of Monday. In the Tarot, use The Moon, The Star or The High Priestess cards.

MERCURY: Mercury is linked to all forms of communication, self-expression and travel. Crystals for Mercury are Citrine, Goldstone and Yellow Jasper. Herbs and flowers for Mercury are Lemongrass, Peppermint and Clover. The color Orange and the day of Wednesday is linked to Mercury, and the Throat Chakra. From the Tarot, use The Chariot card. Mercury is also the metal for the planet, however, real Mercury is toxic and deadly, so many practitioners use the symbol instead. (See chart below).

VENUS: Venus is associated with love, lust, romance, relationships, friendships, family and other emotional attachments. It is also associated with Women’s Mysteries and Feminine Magick. Crystals that draw upon Venus energy are Rose Quartz and Amethyst. Herbs and flowers of Venus are Rose, Lavender and Elder. It’s day for magick is Friday and The Lovers card from the Tarot can be used. Venus colors are shades of Red, Pink and Blue. The metal of Venus is Copper, and it‘s Chakra is the Heart. (I sometimes simmer herbs in a copper cauldron when using Venus energies).

SUN: The Sun is associated with ambition, success, enlightenment and achieving one’s goals. It is linked to the Crown Chakra, and various shades of Gold and Yellow. The metal of the Sun is Gold and it‘s day for magick is Sunday. Crystals for the Sun are Goldstone, Citrine and Golden Topaz. Flowers and herbs linked to the Sun are Sunflower, Marigold and St. John’s Wort. Use The Sun card from the Tarot in your Sun rituals.

MARS: The energies of Mars are fiery and masculine, primal and aggressive. Mars is linked to assertiveness, force, masculinity, Men’s Mysteries, male lust, passion, strength and power. It is very protective and militant. Herbs and plants linked to Mars are Red Clover, Cinnamon and Red Pepper. The color of Mars is Red and it’s day for magick is Tuesday. Crystals linked to Mars are Red Jasper, Ruby and Amber. Mars is ruled by the Sacral Chakra. From the Tarot, use The High Priest or the King of Swords.

JUPITER: The energies of Jupiter are associated with prosperity, money, career, growth and expansion. It’s day for magick is Thursday, and it’s colors are Green and Purple. Herbs and plants for Jupiter are Cinquefoil, Bayberry and Sage. Crystals for Jupiter are Green Aventurine, Emerald or Tree Agate. From the Tarot, use the Wheel of Fortune card. Call on Jupiter energies when looking for a new job or any kind of advancement in your career or creative projects.

SATURN: The energies of Saturn are linked to boundaries, limitations, restrictions, obstacles, protection magick, banishing and binding. It’s day is Saturday and it’s color is Black. Crystals for Saturn are Hematite, Onyx, Hypersthene and Jet. Plants and herbs of Saturn are Mandrake, Belladonna and Henbane. (These are highly poisonous, so use caution! For a less toxic substitute, use Snapdragon or Slippery Elm). From the Tarot, use The World or The Tower cards.

EARTH: The energies of Earth represent grounding, stability, health, manifestation, and life on the physical plane. It is linked to the Root Chakra, and color shades of green and brown. All crystals and herbs can represent Earth. Tree bark can also be used. In the Tarot use the King of Wands or Queen of Wands.

NEPTUNE: Neptune is associated with the element of Water, intuition, sensitivity, empathy, compassion, adaptability and imagination. It’s color is Grey. Plants and herbs associated with Neptune are Melon, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Water Lily and Lotus Flower. Neptune crystals are Clear Quartz, Smoky Quartz and Pearl. Ocean sand, seashells and sea foam can also be used. In the Tarot, use the King of Cups.

URANUS: The energies of the planet Uranus are associated with individuality, non-traditionalism, revolution, invention and eccentricity. Plants and herbs linked to Uranus are those with sharp, irregular leaves, rare herbs and plants that shock or excite the nervous system, or plants that are purple or electric blue in color. Uranus colors are bright, neon or abstract designs. Rough, unpolished stones and crystals can be used to call upon Uranus planetary energies. In the Tarot, use The Fool or the Page of Wands.

PLUTO: The energies of Pluto are linked to rebirth, transformation, destiny and the subconscious. Herbs and flowers of Pluto are the passionflower, acacia, hollow larkspur, coneflower and the male fern. Colors for Pluto are White and Black. Crystals and stones are Snowflake Obsidian, White Howlite, Hypersthene and Black Tourmaline. In the Tarot use The Hanged Man or Death cards.

It should be noted that many witches and magickal practitioners use only the seven classical planets: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as these were the only planets known in ancient times. Neptune, Uranus and Pluto were not discovered much later, and their magickal correspondences are fairly new. Now that we know what each of the planets represent, and the energies they contain, how do we use them?

One way is through meditation and visualization. Each of the planets have a symbol. If you are doing magick to bring prosperity in your life, you can enter a meditative state, close your eyes and visualize the symbol for Jupiter with an intention for prosperity. Or, you may choose to draw the symbol on a piece of parchment paper and place it on your altar under a green candle. It is important to use as many correspondences of the same planet that you can. Carve the Jupiter symbol on the side of the candle, place Jupiter crystals and Jupiter herbs around the candle. Write your intention for prosperity on a piece of paper and light it with the candle, and drop it into a cauldron to burn.

There are many ways to use planetary magick, and this article only scratches the surface. There are planetary sigils and kameas, (these are special symbols you create to manifest specific intentions), planetary oils and even planetary hours of the day. It is also helpful to know that each day of the week is associated with a planet. It can seem a bit confusing until you get it all figured out.

How will you use planetary magick? Examine the charts below.

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For more information on other ways to use planetary magick, I recommend the following books:

  • Planetary Spells and Rituals: Practicing Dark & Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies, by Raven Digitalis. 
  • Planetary Magick: Invoking and Directing the Powers of the Planets, by Melita Denning and Osbourne Philips.

 

Snow Day

SAM_0763Wow, this weather is something isn’t it? Here in eastern Pennsylvania we were just hit with a winter storm that dumped 10 inches of snow (more in other places) last Friday. It actually started here on Thursday evening, and I had to drive home from work in it. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a Winter person. I’ve only been in Pennsylvania for six years. Snow is nice to look at, but I prefer to enjoy it from afar, very afar. Before I moved here, I lived in California where it never snowed and I never had to scrape ice off my car or drive through blizzards. There was no way I was going to work on Friday. When I first moved here, I was appalled at how many of the local businesses don’t make allowances for extreme weather. Seriously? If there’s a blizzard outside or freezing rain, don’t expect me to show up for work. There seems to be very little concern for people’s safety. It’s greedy and thoughtless. I understand the world doesn’t stop just because we’re having bad weather, but precautions should be taken and one of those should be the safety of your staff. I find it personally insulting when people say I’m over-reacting. It doesn’t matter that I’m not from here. Noone should be expected to drive on snow-covered, icy roads. Forget it. I refuse. I spend the winters here indoors as much as possible, reading, writing, studying and working on creative projects. I know some people like Winter, and others strangely prefer it, but for me Winter means dangerous driving conditions, time missed from work, freezing rain, and scraping sheets of ice off my car. When the snow melts from the roads it turns into an ugly gray slush that sometimes lingers for weeks. I’ve learned to tolerate Winter with introspection, looking within, and embracing the darkness under the warmth of blankets and cardigan sweaters. Just close the curtains so I don’t have to see the snow, although it does give me an excuse to wear my fancy Hogwarts scarves/hats/gloves, etc. I’ve tried to find some kind of deep personal meaning for Winter-time that would make it more bearable for me, but the real truth is I just don’t like Winter. And that’s okay.

I spent this 3-day weekend napping, cleaning, and working on my next book, Walking a Magick Path. There are seven chapters, as follows:

The Paradox of Magick, Magick Within, Magick Without, Magick Above, Magick Below, Ethics of Magick, and Walking a Magick Path.

I have the entire book already outlined, it is just a matter of putting it all together. The first two chapters are complete, and I will soon begin writing chapter three. I am looking forward to 2014, I have already been asked to do book-signings and classes later in the year. In February we return to Universal and the Wizarding World, with two of our good friends who have never been. It will be fun to act as tour guide, we’ve been there so many times we know it inside and out. It is one of our favorite places.

On New Years’ Eve we stayed inside. It was freezing cold out, and we had no desire to go stand among the crowds. New Years’ Day however, was especially magickal. There was a New Moon on January 1st, so I did a private ritual at home to bring good things for the coming year. I am still studying From The Cauldron Born, a wonderful book from Kristoffer Hughes, about the witch goddess Cerridwen and her magickal cauldron. Such an amazing book, I am taking my time with it. I have devoted my altar to Cerridwen until I finish this book and the exercises Kristoffer suggests in it. I have been a follower of Cerridwen for several years, and my altar always has a candle lit just for her.

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It’s now January 5, and we still have our tree up. Our tree is Harry Potter-themed. We made many of the ornaments and decorations ourselves, but some were bought, some were gifts, some are one-of-a-kind. I’ve been collecting Harry Potter memorabilia for over 10 years-I have quite a large collection. Here are a few pics.

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Tomorrow I return to work, it’s supposed to be in the 40’s but on Tuesday it’s goes back down to single-digit temperatures.

I will keep my black cardigan sweater closeby…and the curtains drawn.