The Magickal Music of Llewellyn and Juliana

lanj2When I first discovered the music of New Age artists Llewellyn and Juliana over 10 years ago, I was living in San Francisco. I had walked into a shop that sold decorative items from different countries, including a large assortment of New Age and metaphysical items. While browsing the store, I wandered into a side room and found one of those music displays that allow you to listen to short samples from various CD’s. Among them was Moonlore from Llewellyn and Juliana. I put on the headphones to listen, and was immediately spellbound. From that moment, Moonlore became my most favorite CD of all, and remains so to this day. The entire recording is pure magick. When I heard it for the first time, I felt such an intense connection to this music, and a feeling of kinship. It seemed to have made contact with my inner magickal self. I purchased it that day, and since that time have given several copies as gifts for friends and students. I now own over 30 Llewellyn and Juliana recordings, but Moonlore will always be my favorite. There are many magickal recordings to choose from. Sacred Circles, Moon Spells, Walking With Merlyn and Mysts of Avalon are all wonderful. Celtic Legend and Faerielore are both amazing.

landj1Llewellyn and Juliana have won several awards for their recordings, and have sold over a million albums. Magickal energy certainly flows through all of their music. Both are very talented singers and musicians, and both are healing practitioners. For some special recordings, they worked closely with other healing practitioners to produce music for those who do healing work with Crystals, Aromatherapy, Massage, Color Healing and Reiki. There are a number of Reiki recordings to choose from. Reiki Gold in particular, recently went platinum and is used by Reiki practitioners worldwide. They have also recorded music for those who practice Shiatsu, Pilates and Tai Chi. I personally have used their music in countless public rituals and meditation classes.

A few years ago, they formed their own music label, Paradise Music, which offers selections from other talented artists. Not only music, but various teaching or ’workshop’ CD’s, which helps the listener learn about everything from Auras to Shamanism. (I personally love the Magick workshops by Cassandra Eason).

Digital downloads are available for many selections through Spotify, iTunes and Amazon, but I prefer an actual CD that I can hold in my hand. I enjoy the artwork and printed lyrics, etc. (It seems everything is going digital these days, and yes, it is simpler and faster to just download something, but I guess I’m an bit old-fashioned).

Visit their websites below, and listen to samples of their music, along with the artists on Paradise Music. I’m sure you will find many things you love!

Llewellyn and Juliana

Paradise Music

Magickal Earth

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Catching Up

smallpentLumos, Blessed Be.

 

It’s been a month since I last posted in this blog, but my time has been rather occupied. A few weeks ago, I somehow contracted a skin infection, with some swelling and poison oak on my neck, face and legs. My blood pressure was dangerously high, and I really did not feel well at all. It was quite uncomfortable, requiring three visits to the doctor, time off work, numerous medications, and continous self-Reiki treatments. One of the medications was Prednisone, a steroid. Although effective, it made me feel very strange, and I hope to never use that one again. Thankfully, I am back to normal now, even my labwork all came back normal, cholesterol and everything, which I was a little concerned about. I just turned 49, so health and fitness is more of a priority than it used to be. I’m still a tad overweight, but I’ve been losing pounds slowly, so I’m hoping the changes I’ve made to my eating habits will help me lose even more before the Fall.

My laptop is currently in the shop for repair. I had left it on when I ran to the store, and when I came back the screen was frozen. Nothing was working, so I had to ‘force’ it off. When I turned it back on, the screen would not come back up. I could hear the motors running, but no screen. They called today to tell me they have found the problem, but must order a part, and I will have my laptop back by the weekend. I am currently using my partner’s.

2013cover-indexI have started collecting back issues of The Witches Almanac. These little books are a treasure, filled with interesting articles about Witchcraft, Herbal Lore, Mythology and Folk Magick. In addition, there are spells, poetry, recipes and current moon phase information. Each issue is illustrated throughout with medieval and old world magickal artwork. Many of the older issues are out-of-print (it has been in publication for over 40 years), but I want to try and collect as many of them as possible. Regrettably, I didn’t buy them on a regular basis over the years, mainly because my visits to the bookstore were to look for something else, so I’ve missed quite a few issues.

We have a few trips coming up in the near future. In August, we return to Salem, Massachusetts for a few days. We’ve been there before, but since that time several of our friends have moved there, and new shops have opened that I’ve been very anxious to visit. In September, we go back to Gettysburg, PA for a weekend visit. Gettysburg has become quite a hotspot for ghost-hunters and paranormal investigators. There are many interesting activities to participate in, and one hotel in particular hosts late-night seances that are open to the public.  In October, we make our yearly visit to the Wizarding World. I am anxious to see the progress of the new expansion, due to open in 2014. At some point this year, we want to visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire again, which is incredibly pagan-friendly and always lots of fun.

I did manage to obtain a few Yarrow plants, for meditation and pathworking. One is in our patio garden right now, the other is in the cauldron on my altar. Yarrow has many magickal properties, and I have felt very drawn to it the past couple of years. It is used to increase psychic abilities, instill courage, strengthen the aura and many other things. I will be using it as much as I can, either as a live plant or dried herb.

We are preparing for Lughnasadh, a witch/wiccan holiday that takes place on August 1st, in honor of the Celtic god Lugh, The Many-Skilled One. At Lughnasadh rituals, I usually ask people to bring something to share that they have created, whether it be artwork, a song, a poem, a dance, something they have made, or anything that displays their creative skills and talents. We then offer these gifts to our deities, so that they may strengthen them or inspire us with new ways to use them.

Once I have my laptop back, I will be able to post more often. Until then…

Waterfalls and Dragonflies

smallpentLumos, Blessed Be.

 

I am sitting at my very cluttered desk, drinking a hazelnut latte and hoping to get alot accomplished today. This is the first day in a while that I’ve been able to stay at home, with nowhere I need to be at any certain time. I’m not a person who “sleeps in”, even on my days off I’m still out of bed by 6:30 am. Summer started with a bang, and even the days leading up to it have been rather busy. I will enjoy being home today.

riktarotA few weeks ago, we were at ARTIFEST, a local annual event that celebrates creativity and diversity from many cultures. Myself and a friend were doing tarot readings, and my partner Matt was selling his handmade pendants. We were in the Renaissance Village section, which was a bit small, but still had it’s own unique magickal energy. It was a very warm day, and our tent was a bit sweltering at times, but we still had fun. There were belly dancers, fire eaters, Irish step dancers, and people in nearby tents selling handmade tunics, gypsy jewelry, leather belts and such. We were there the whole weekend, and though Saturday was a bit slow due to the poor weather, Sunday was great and we did fairly well. Whenever I do public tarot readings, I always feel a slight tinge of nervousness. My spirit guides tell me “Don’t worry, just jump in and do it, read what you see”. It seems at times that the cards themselves are teaching me how to read them. At one point while we were chatting during a break, a dragonfly entered our tent. It was flying around us, and then suddenly landed on one of the cards from the oracle decks I use. It remained there a few moments, and then just as quickly flew out of our tent. Out of curiosity, I turned over the card to see what it was. Familiar Spirit. The Dragonfly has appeared to me in the past, but I never considered it one of my personal familiars. Lately, however, I have been seeing them everywhere and they seem to be following me. So, I will be studying the magickal significance of the Dragonfly, and what it might mean for me on a personal level. We enjoyed ARTIFEST, and will likely do this event again next year.

We recently visited Bushkill Falls, a large wooded area with several natural waterfalls, hiking trails and lots of beautiful scenery. There are trails for every level of hiker, from beginner to advanced, and we usually walk the “Red Trail”, which is the longest and most difficult. It’s a 2-mile trail, which isn’t really that long, but it covers steep hills, narrow paths, lots and lots of steps, and takes you right next to the waterfalls. I did manage to take a few photos.

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I am still on the hunt for the ever-elusive Yarrow plant. The local plant stores don’t carry it, and even though it grows in abundance here, it always seems to be in a spot that is not easy for me to get to. For example, where I live it grows alongside busy roads and highways where it is quite difficult to pull over, or in a field on someone’s private property. I’d like to pull a few of them and bring them home where I can plant them, and use them in meditation and spellwork. I shall continue my search. I may end up traipsing through a field somewhere.

1012346_195385440620030_23129754_nSummer is finally here, and we celebrated the holiday with our group, The Moonlit Grove. This one was extra special, as it was not only the Summer Solstice (or Midsummer/Litha, as some call it), there was also a Super Full Moon occurring, and a Handfasting. At the Summer Solstice, the Sun is at it’s highest height, and it is the longest day of the year. It is a day of powerful magick and divination. Herbs picked at this time are believed to be at their strongest and most magickally potent. The Oak King and the Holly King have completed their twice-yearly battle, and the Holly King is now victorious, ruling over the dark half of the year, as the days begin to grow shorter and the nights become longer until the Winter Solstice, when the battle takes place again. At our celebration yesterday I wanted to draw upon the massive power of this Super Full Moon, so I asked those present to choose a big, ambitious goal, and we did a bit of magick to help bring these desires into reality. What is a Super Moon? This Full Moon is the closest and largest Full Moon of the year. It presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013. The moon will not be so close again until August, 2014.

Our Summer Solstice celebration took place outdoors near the Wagner Forest in the Pocono Mountains, and also included a Handfasting. I was asked to conduct the ceremony (I am ordained through the Universal Life Church, a multi-faith organization which accepts Wiccan clergy among it’s members), and I was honored to do so. It was a perfect day, lots of great food, magick, conversation, and I had the opportunity to meet a few folks I had only known through Facebook. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many creative and inspiring people who are devoted to the magickal path. I have truly amazing friends. After the ritual/ceremony was over, people were commenting on the fact that there were spiders crawling on the altar, and guess what was flying around us at various times throughout the ritual?

Dragonflies.

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I am currently reading Celtic Lore and Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess, a book about the Morrigan. The Morrigan isn’t a deity I work with on a regular basis, however she is one of the deities I call on in my own version of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and I wanted to learn more about her. I developed my own LBRP using Celtic deities (Cerridwen, Cernunnos, The Dagda, The Morrigan), and it seems to work well for me.

Later this year, I want to publish a tarot/oracle journal, with space to write the date/time of reading, name of deck, spread used, cards drawn, personal interpretation and actual outcome of the reading. I haven’t seen many of these on the market, so I figured I would just publish one myself. This journal can be used for both tarot and oracle decks, since I use both, so I didn’t want it to be tarot-specific. This coming July I will begin writing my next book, Walking The Magick Path. My current book, The Boy Who Lived: Magickal Spirituality in the Harry Potter Universe is available through Lulu and Amazon.

My magickal herb garden is growing nicely. Rosemary, Mugwort and Sage. Hopefully I can add some Yarrow soon…

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Have a happy Summer! Next weekend we are making our yearly trip to a local Lavender Farm. It is an amazing place. Just wait til you see…

World Tarot Day

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In celebration of World Tarot Day (May 25), I wanted to share some information that budding tarot readers may find useful. I have been offering public tarot readings for the past 6 years, and have been using the tarot for inner, spiritual growth and spellwork for many more. There are numerous resources available for those who wish to learn tarot, deepen their practice, or connect with other readers worldwide. Below are some links that I have found particularly useful.

Tarot Professionals is the best place to learn, develop and receive ongoing support for your Tarot as an absolute beginner or experienced professional with other students & professionals around the world. This is a full-time professional Tarot organization dedicated to supporting your Tarot studies and career. Membership gives you a range of innovative and modern Tarot courses, the worlds leading Tarot magazine (TarosophistInternational), video lessons and Tarot projects for you to take your Tarot to new levels. As a professional you gain valuable legal, business & marketing support. They also have a Facebook group. (Please note that membership in this group is by request only).

Aeclectic Tarot is a very useful website where you can browse through thousands of different tarot decks before you buy. Photos of cards from each deck are presented, as well as card meanings. Also offered are accessories such as tarot bags, boxes and jewelry.

Tarosophy Tarot Conventions take place around the world each year. This website provides info about upcoming tarot conventions in your area.

That’s Totally Tarot is a great tarot blog from professional reader Angelo Nasios. He has wonderful insights on tarot reading, YouTube instructional videos, and was awarded Tarosophist of The Year. He is very knowledgeable and explains things in a no-nonsense, easy to understand way.

The Sacred Circle Tarot is the deck that I use. As soon I picked up this deck I knew it was for me. There are many things I like about this one: the imagery of Celtic landscapes and symbolism, keywords at the top of each card, elemental associations (Fire, Air, Water, Earth), and I love how the realistic-looking figures on the cards appear as though they may begin moving and speaking at any moment! This deck comes with a companion book that explains the meaning of each card, along with some helpful spreads, including one of my favorites, the Planetary Spread.

There are two other books that I have found personally helpful in my tarot practice. They are “Tarot For The Green Witch” by Ann Moura, and “A Magical Course in Tarot” by Michele Morgan.

 Happy Tarot!

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Spring into Summer

smallpentLumos, Blessed Be.

I finally have time to sit down and write about my latest magickal adventures, things have been a bit hectic! This past weekend I was at the Spiritual Holistic Expo, a local event that takes place twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. This was my second time at the expo, and I did fairly well, though I’m not sure I want to do this particular one again. Booth rentals are pricey, and it takes a bit of work just to break even. Plus, I was limited on the services I could offer, which I found a bit annoying, especially since I have regulars who come to me for those services (such as tarot readings). There are other expos and festivals in the area that are less expensive or restrictive, so those will get priority in the future.

On May 13th, we returned from Laconia, New Hampshire, where we attended MISTI-CON, a Harry Potter convention that took place there. This is the fourth Potter convention we have been to. We had an amazing time, and it was wonderful to see our Potter family again. Over the years, we have made many friends through Harry Potter, friends whom we now consider family. It is a close-knit, creative group of people whose lives have also been profoundly influenced by the story of the boy wizard. In fact, an entire community and sub-culture has been built around Harry Potter. Unless you are part of it yourself, it is difficult to explain. For many, it has become a lifestyle, integrating various themes, elements and concepts from the Harry Potter mythos into everyday life. It is unconventional, but also highly creative and fun. MISTI-CON was an amazing experience, as are the HPEF gatherings. We prefer these smaller gatherings, as they are more intimate and meaningful. I am not fond of the terms “fandom” or “con” , as these are not typical conventions. They are not centered around celebrities or merchandise. They are organized by/for fans themselves, and are more like family reunions. We are all adult fans, sharing our love for all things Harry Potter, through various creative outlets: presentations, artwork, lectures, music, fashion, academia, games, crafts, discussions, etc. These smaller gatherings are exclusively Harry Potter based. In my opinion, that’s how it should be. The larger gatherings (such as LeakyCon) seem to be less about Harry Potter and more about celebrity fans and their fangirls, Potter off-shoots (such as Starkid), Pop Culture, and other things that are only loosely Potter-related. No, thank you.

Another MISTI-CON is being planned for 2015, and we will certainly be there.

My first book, The Boy Who Lived: Magical Spirituality in the Harry Potter Universe, was recently published (you can order a copy at the BOOKS link above), and will soon be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. At Misti-Con I presented a lecture based on the book, and sold nearly every copy I took with me. I will start work on my next book, Walking The Magick Path, later this Summer. I am brimming with inspiration and am already compiling notes for this one!

moonSpells

I am really enjoying the new CD from my friends at Paradise Music, entitled MOON SPELLS.

This CD contains music for each phase of the Moon, and comes with a booklet of spells from British witch Cassandra Eason. You can order a copy at THIS LINK.

In a few weeks I will be at an event called ARTIFEST, where I am doing Tarot/Oracle readings for the entire weekend, with a friend and fellow reader. This will be a fun event, as we are in the ‘Old World Renaissance’ section, which means I get to dress up and do readings in period clothing. Can’t wait!

The weather is getting warmer now, it has been in the 80’s the last few days. I am looking forward to the Summer months, Litha/Summer Solstice, and our yearly visit to the seaside. I am glad to see the Yarrow flowers cropping up along roadsides and in the fields. I will be gathering a bunch of it very soon for meditative and magickal work. The Yarrow plant began calling to me last Summer and I can sense it doing so again. I feel it is going to become a close plant ally. My next blog post will be about the magickal properties of the Yarrow plant.

This weekend we shall celebrate my partner Matthew’s birthday. We have been together for over 11 years now. Below is a recent photo of us.

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Also this weekend I plan to do some magickal spring cleaning, sorting through my ritual items, re-organizing and getting rid of a few things. As my magickal practice has evolved, there are certain items I rarely use anymore and other items that I use more often. Some things will be passed along to friends so that I can make room for new magickal tools that more accurately reflect my magickal path as it is now. Our ritual room at home has become a bit cluttered, as it also doubles as a storage room and is in desperate need of re-organization. Some things I will be getting rid of are: old and damaged essential oil bottles, certain brands of incense that I rarely use, ripped/damaged magickal craft items that cannot be repaired, and a few broken, partially used candles. While I am a fan of recycling wax for candle-making, I prefer not to re-use wax from a candle that has already been previously used for a specific kind of magick. I always use fresh, new candles for each spell. The only candles I re-use over and over again are those I have set aside for meditation, deities or spirit guides. I have acquired several new magickal herbs that need to be properly stored and labeled, and I still have a ton of information to transfer from my magickal journals into my Book of Shadows. Geez, this is going to take awhile, but I like things to be organized.

I’m getting hungry now, and there is meatloaf in the oven. And, while I was the grocery earlier I found Pumpkin Ice Cream! In May! My spirit guides are smiling on me. Tonight I shall have comfort food and begin watching the last season of Hamish Macbeth.

Til next time…

Magical May

smallpentLumos, Blessed Be.

 

Spring has finally arrived, May is here, and it is wonderful to see the leaves returning to the trees, the flowers blooming, the green grass and warmer temperatures. Summer is not far off.

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My first book, “The Boy Who Lived: Magical Spirituality in the Harry Potter Universe” was recently published, and I am quite happy with it. It is currently available on Lulu at THIS LINK, and in about 6-8 weeks you can also purchase it thru Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I would like to thank my friend Brian, for his invaluable assistance with formatting and helping it to look nice and professional.

 

May is a busy month for us, we have things going on nearly every weekend until the first week of June. After that, I want to take a break until Late Summer/Early Fall, when I would like to do more teaching and start working on my next book, “Walking The Magick Path“.

ppOn May 1st, we went to see the off-broadway production, Potted Potter with one of our close friends. We had seen it before in NYC and we loved it. This time, Potted Potter was here in town, performing locally for one-night-only, and we had the opportunity to see it again. The two talented and energetic British actors cover the entire Harry Potter saga, in comedic fashion, in just over an hour. It’s such a fun production, go and see them if you get the chance.

On May 2nd, we attended the MyChoice Voice Awards, where the best blogs in the Lehigh Valley (the area of Pennsylvania where I live) are honored and recognized. This event is presented by the local newspaper, The Morning Call. I am happy to say that I won again this year, for Best Religion Blog. Two years in a row, not bad! I am grateful to everyone who voted.

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May 4th, (last night, in fact), was our Beltane ritual and celebration with the magickal community we belong to. Good food, some divination, stories of the faerie realm, and afterward it was so much fun to circle around the Maypole again with our friends and extended family. The Maypole is symbolic of the union between the Goddess and the God, a union that is reflected in the flourishing earth. It also represents the weaving together of the soul of man with the soul of nature.

In just a few days, we make the journey up to New Hampshire for MISTI-CON, a 4-Day Harry Potter conference for adult fans, with many fun activities planned: academic presentations, music, games, crafts, Quidditch and a costume ball, among other things. This will be the fourth Potter conference that we have attended, and they are especially magickal. We are anxious to see our friends again and re-connect with our Potter family. It is always a transforming and inspiring experience, and I always come back from these conferences recharged and refocused. I will be lecturing on my book, The Boy Who Lived, and taking several copies with me to sign.

May 18 & 19 I will be at the Spring Spiritual Holistic Expo offering Magickal Reiki treatments. Reiki (pronounced Ray Key) is a combination of two Japanese words ‘Rei’ and ‘Ki’ meaning Universal Life Energy. Reiki is an ancient laying-on of hands healing technique that uses the life force energy to heal, balancing the subtle energies within our bodies. Reiki addresses physical, emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances. I am a certified Reiki II practitioner, and developed Magickal Reiki, a combination of Usui Ryoho Reiki, Crystal Therapy, Chakra Healing, Meditation and Aromatherapy. At the expo, I will be doing half-hour sessions for 30$. Magickal Reiki is done in sacred space, within the boundary of a magick circle. I will also be offering a small selection of my handmade ritual and spell candles. I wanted to do Tarot/Oracle readings there as well, but apparently they “already have too many”. Oh well, next time.

June 8 & 9, however, I will be doing Tarot readings for the whole weekend, at an event called Artifest. A friend and myself will be the only tarot readers there, so I am looking forward to this a great deal. This will be my first time at this event, and I’m told we are in the “Old World Renaissance” section. It sounds like lots of fun! Look for some of my candles there too.

For more info about these events, click the Upcoming Events link at the top.

Lots happening this month!

 

Tarot: The Planetary Spread

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For those of us who work with the Tarot, “spreads” are various card patterns that are used to intuitively obtain information. This is done by divining the meanings of the cards according to how they are ‘spread’ in the pattern.

I first learned about the Planetary Spread about 6 years ago, when I purchased the Sacred Circle Tarot, the primary deck that I use. It was suggested in the companion book, and I immediately felt a connection to it. I try to avoid over-used spreads (such as the Celtic Cross), and prefer instead to use spreads that are less known, or something I devised myself. (I developed a ‘Lightning Bolt’ spread that calls on the wisdom of the Three Realms, but I will share that in another post).

There are other versions of the Planetary Spread, but what I love most about this one is how it works with the seven classical planets of ancient astrology. Another wonderful thing about this spread is it’s simplicity. Each planet has it’s own magickal association that can be added to the meaning of each tarot card in it’s position. For example, if The Magician is in the Moon position, it can indicate an increase of psychic awareness and a revealing of hidden knowledge.

The cards are laid out clockwise in a circular pattern, with the first card at top/center. Their positions in order are: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. I’ve posted a photo below as an example.

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Let’s examine each of the seven planets and their magical associations. There are many more, but we’ll look at the basics.

MOON: The Moon is linked to Goddess energy, Divination, Psychic Awareness, Intuition, Meditation, Magickal Ability, Arcane Knowledge, Occult Mysteries, The Shadow Self and Introspection. It is Feminine and associated with the element of Water.

MERCURY: This planet’s energies affect all forms of Communication, Travel, Creativity, Writing, Conversation and Self-Expression.

VENUS: Venus is associated with Personal Relationships, Love, Intimacy, Family, Friendships, Affection, Romance, Passion, Lust.

SUN: The Sun lends it’s energy to Success, Achievement of Goals, God Energy, Connection to Divinity (both without and within), Power.

MARS: This fiery planet often indicates Aggression, Force, Masculinity, Male Energy, Rivalry, Competition, Ego, Assertiveness, Determination.

JUPITER: This planet is linked to Prosperity, Abundance, Career, Finances, Money, Employment, Growth, Business, Expansion, Increase.

SATURN: Saturn is associated with Conflict, Restriction, Protection Magick, Banishing, Binding, Removing Harmful Influences, Barriers, Obstacles.

(For more information about the planets, and how to use them with other correspondences, I recommend Book of Witchery, by Ellen Dugan).

Once you learn the magickal qualities of each of the planets, your tarot readings will take on a deeper meaning when you use the Planetary Spread. This spread is very simple, and can be used with any tarot deck.