Sunday, October 31, 2010
Samhain is without a doubt my favorite sabbat/holiday. It is a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with the dead is much easier. It was also celebrated as the Celtic new year and marked the last of the harvest festivals before the cold of winter. In honor of Samhain, great bonfires were held, and people would leave food on their doorsteps or altars for the "wandering dead". They would also light a candle and put it in their window to guide the lost souls on Samhain night. It is said to be a good idea to leave a spot at your dinner table for your dead ancestors on this night as well.
At Samhain we pray to Goddesses such as Hekate, Goddess of letting go and crossroads, and Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron. Both of these dark Goddesses represent the crone aspect, which is also celebrated at Samhain. As Autumn represents the setting of the season, the crone represents the final setting of our lives. Death is something that as a society, we tend to shy away from today, but that wasn't the case in the days of the ancient pagans. Just as the plants wither and die every winter, so do our own bodies one day. Death was seen as just part of the natural cycles of life. In honoring Hekate and Cerridwen, we honor the darker aspect of ourselves and our life, and come to terms with the fact that one day just like the plants and animals, we too will be returned back to our Great Mother.
Both of these dark Goddesses, represent different aspects of birth, death, rebirth, transformation, and letting go. Hekate is the keeper of the key to wisdom, and guardian of the crossroads. Therefore, she gives us the knowledge to choose our decisions wisely, while shedding our negativity on the way, all the while being reborn. Cerridwen, is the keeper of the cauldron. And in her magic cauldron a potion of transformation is brewing. Call on her to transform your own life, into something you've always wanted. On Samhain, the festival of death, we pray to these Goddesses to let go of that part of us which is dieing. We shed our old skin and get rid of that which no longer serves us.
In honor of my favorite sabbat, I found a great little ritual for letting go on Samhain, and thought I would share it here:
Remember all the things in your life that don't work for you. Now walk around outside somewhere and collect fallen twigs or branches. Each one of these will represent something that you would like to release from your life. In a special place build a sacred Samhain fire, and throw onto it one by one the sticks which represent so much of your hearts desire for change. Really feel these things being let go as you throw them into the fire. Watch the sticks being consumed by Her flames. Open your heart to Her transforming power, trusting Her to show you how to truly let go. When your done, bury the ashes into the earth.
On your altar, have representations of fall, death, and the crone. Have black and orange candles, and pumpkins. You might even want to have a carved pumpkin, with a candle in it , on your altar as well. A cauldron, and a statue of Hekate or Cerridwen, a picture of a witch, an apple or dieing vegetation.
Have a wonderfully blessed Samhain!
Ritual taken from Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess by Kathy Jones.
Photo courtesy of Wayofjoy.co.uk
Posted by Tara at 12:35 AM
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I love the element of water. The power and rhythm of the ocean is something that always puts me into a trance. Watching her powerful waves smash against the sand, then pulling them back into her depths. Very trance inducing! So while I was reading my 2011 Magical Almanac, and came across some water spells, I decided to share them here.
*The first one is a spell of purification with rain water:
Refreshing rain spell
This simple spell is good to refresh yourself after a long day or just for purification. For this spell you will need: blue glass bowl, your wand, and some rainwater. Pour the rainwater into the blue bowl. Gently tap the side of the bowl with your wand, then put the tip of the wand into the water and stir. Chant:
Water clean and water bright.
Make my spirit feel all right.
Set down the wand. Rinse your hands in the water, lifting it and letting it trickle back into the bowl; pat your face with your wet hands. As you listen to the trickling water and feel it on your skin, concentrate on washing away the negative energy and drawing fresh power from the element of water. Finish by pouring any leftover water outside onto the ground.
*The second one is a spell of protection for your home:
White water warding spell
For this spell, you will need to gather a bottle of water from a fast running creek or river in your area. Put the water in a white bowl or vase. If you live in a house you'll be walking around the outside of your yard or house; if you live in an apartment you'll be walking around the inside of your room. As you walk, sprinkle the water and chant:
Swift, white water running free,
Keep all harm away from me.
If harm tries to pass by thee,
Wash it down into the sea.
Visualize a river rushing and roaring around the boundary of your home. Imagine that any negative energy or unwelcome entities get swept away from you.
Enjoy playing with the element of water! For more info check out Llewellyn's 2011 Magical Almanac
Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews
Posted by Tara at 8:48 AM
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Andraste also known as Andrasta, was a warrior Goddess of ancient Britain. It is said that she was the patron deity of the Iceni tribe, which was lead by Queen Boudicca. She was seen as a Goddess of victory, ravens and battles, and is very similar to the Irish warrior Goddess, Morrighan. Her name was thought to mean "The invincible one" or "She who has not fallen". She was called upon at the eve of battle, for her warrior strength and guidance. She was worshiped in woodland groves throughout Britain, and there is said to be a sacred grove dedicated to her somewhere in the Epping Forest. Her symbol was a hare, and in old Britain people were against hunting hares, for fear that killing one might afflict the hunter with cowardice.
Andraste was invoked by Queen Boudicca while fighting against the Roman invasion of Britain. According to Dio Cassius, these were her words:
"I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman... those over whom I rule are Britons, men that know not how to till the soil or ply a trade, but are thoroughly versed in the art of war and hold all things in common, even children and wives, so that the latter possess the same valour as the men. As the queen, then, of such men and of such women, I supplicate and pray thee for victory, preservation of life, and liberty against men insolent, unjust, insatiable, impious."
Queen Boudicca and her army fought the Romans so well, that the Emperor Nero almost decided to withdraw Roman forces from Britain. It is said that Queen Boudicca released a hare to the Romans as an act of appeasement. In The White Goddess by Robert Graves, he speculates that Queen Boudicca may have released the hare in hopes that the Romans would kill it and loose their courage.
Many of the warrior queens people believed that she was a priestess of Andraste or the Goddess incarnate. Her strength and courage as a warrior queen is inspiring , honorable and very impressive, as she almost beat the Romans! To honor Andraste, call on her when you need the strength of the warrior Goddess in your life. When your fighting a battle of your own. On your altar to Andraste, have a red candle with red or black stones such as garnet or black tourmaline, representation of a hare, and incense made with dragon's blood.
Enjoy working with this fierce warrior Goddess! For more info on Andraste, check out TheWhiteGoddess.co.uk
Photo courtesy of AishasBookofShadows
Posted by Tara at 9:42 AM
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This might sound odd to some people, but I love house cleaning. And if I can add a little magic to it, even better! So when I found the book Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst, I was very excited! Not only does her book give you ideas for house cleaning, it also helps you to get rid of any clutter inside your house, and your mind. Her approach to the subject is holistic in that it clears your house and your mind of any unnecessary baggage or things you've been hanging on to and cant seem to let go of.
The book starts off with some basic cleaning techniques and how to get rid of clutter in your home. It's a process of going through those dreaded closets or cabinets, any place we store things that we will "get to later". She goes on to say that anything you haven't used, touched or maybe even forgot you had should be thrown out. Even it your hanging on to something because it was a gift given to you by a family member, if you really aren't planning on using it, get rid of it. Tess says that clutter in your house reflects the clutter in our minds and in order to "declutter" ourselves we must first "declutter" our homes. She actually gives lists of categories of clutter, from things that may have negative associations to any old paperwork, books, clothes, etc.
After clearing the clutter in our homes, it's now time to clear the clutter in our minds. In this section she gives us ideas to cleanse ourselves, and get rid of that extra baggage with techniques of forgiveness, clearing toxins from our bodies, and getting over old grudges and hurts. This can sometimes be an emotional process, but it's an important process to keep us moving forward in our lives in a healthy and clutter free way.
Now comes my favorite part, the actual cleaning of your house! For this Tess gives wonderful recipes for floor washes, room clearing techniques, mantras and affirmations, and learning how to call on different deities to keep your house feeling refreshed and renewed. She also explains the importance of getting rid of stagnant energy in your home by clapping your hands together in places where you feel this may be. With a little influence of Feng Shui, Tess says that stagnant energy in a home can stop the natural flow from room to room, creating a certain feeling of negativity in a particular place in your house. Clapping your hands together, burning sage or using any one of the other cleansing techniques she offers should do the trick.
She even goes on to talk about the animals inside and outside of our homes and the significance they have. That spider in the corner may actually be looked at as a friend instead of a scary pest! This book is so chock full of great ideas, I couldn't even begin to go over all of them here. That is why I recommend you go out and buy yourself a copy of Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst. I know I will use this book for a very long time, as the process of "decluttering" is something we all should do from time to time, to make sure our homes and our minds are free and clear of any negativities. I highly recommend this book! Enjoy your housecleaning!
Posted by Tara at 6:20 AM
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! And the winner is....Aishtamid!! Congratulations! I hope everyone had fun playing. I would like to thank Lori over at Witchcrafts for donating her magical Samhain Oil. I know I plan to do some shopping at her store myself very soon as well! Thanks again! Stay tuned for our next giveaway.
Posted by Tara at 4:34 AM