Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seshat, Scribe to the Pharaohs



Seshat is the Egyptian Goddess of writing, wisdom, architecture, geometry, astrology and books. Her name translates to mean "She Who Scrivens" or "She Who is the Scribe". Seshat was married to the God of wisdom and writing, Thoth. Together they had a child named "Hornub" which literally means "Gold Horus" so Sheshat was often associated with the Goddess Isis. It is said that Seshat invented writing and that her husband Thoth taught writing to mankind. Sometimes Sehsat is considered to be the feminine aspect of her husband Thoth. 

Seshat was the royal scribe to the pharaohs recording all their life achievements, battles, treasures and captives from battle.  She really was in many ways a Goddess for royalty. Since she was viewed with such importance among the royal family, Seshat was also involved in the "Sed Festival" which was held in honor of a pharaohs thirty year reign. This ceremony was held to celebrate the continued success of the pharaoh. The scribe Goddess was depicted wearing a leopard skin dress and a papyrus plant as her headdress. She is also seen holding a palm stem which she uses to record the passage of time, especially the time allotted for the life span of the pharaoh.

Seshat also took care of Thoth's library of scrolls and was given the title "Mistress of the House of Books" and is known as the patron Goddess of librarians. Also referred to as "Mistress of the House of Architects", Seshat was said to be involved in a ritual called "stretching the cord" which related to laying out foundations of temples and other important structures. This would determine sacred alignments and precision of the dimensions.
 

No temple was ever found in her name although her main sanctuary was in Heliopolis. Seshat teaches us that the best way to prepare for the future is to learn from the past so keeping record of events and time is important. She helps writers with their latest writing endeavor and she guides mathematicians and architects. Seshat is also a beneficial Goddess for historians to call upon.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice, Celebrate the Return of the Sun



Today is the Winter Solstice which is also known as Yule. The Winter Solstice marks the longest night and the shortest day. From this day forward the days will grow longer and nights shorter until the Summer Solstice. Many ancient cultures around the world honored the Solstice such as the Egyptians, Romans, Celts, Norse and many others. The Winter Solstice was a celebration honoring the sun and praying for its return in Spring. Cultures like the Nordic people are said to have large celebrations with lots of food, drink and merry making. This is said to be where the tradition of the Yule log and wassailing originated. Wassailing was essentially where the modern tradition of Christmas caroling comes from. People would go out in the cold of winter and visit peoples homes singing and drinking to their health and to the return of the warmth of Spring. They would pour wine on the ground to encourage the fertility of the crops.

In ancient Rome we have the famous Saturnalia festival which many today say Christmas originated from. This festival was held in honor of Saturn, Roman God of Agriculture and lasted about a week towards the middle to end of December. Saturnalia was said to be a festival with lots of partying, feasting, gift giving and sacrifice. It was also a festival of light to represent the return of the sun. During the Saturnalia the roles of slave and master were said to be reversed so the slaves could experience the luxury of being a free Roman citizen. The Saturnalia was one of the most popular popular festivals on the Roman calendar and was described as being "the best of days".



In honor of the Winter Solstice I found a great tarot spread to try called "The Light of the Solstice". It is in the shape of a circle representing the sun. Use the picture on the right as your guide for the layout. This spread is great for determining how things will go for you in the new year. The card meanings are as follows:

Card 1. What are you hopeful about?
Card 2. What is your hearts desire?
Card 3. Where would you like to be at this point next year?
Card 4. How can you restore balance to your life?
Card 5. How can you open your heart to others?
Card 6. What do you need to do to plan the life you want?

Wishing everyone many Winter Solstice blessings!




Top picture courtesy of Emily Balivet

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holda, Germanic Goddess of Winter



Holda, also known as Frau Holle, is a Germanic triple Goddess of Winter. She is a Goddess of spinning, the home, protector of children, winter and the weather. Holda is deeply connected to winter and it is said that when she shakes out her feather bed it begins to snow. She is honored at Yule or the Winter Solstice where she is said to fly across the night sky in her wagon and hand out treats to children who have been well behaved. This is where the modern tale of Santa Clause comes to us from.
 

She is often portrayed with long white hair and a long white cape. She is seen as a beautiful maiden, a caring mother and hag with a long nose and crooked teeth sitting at her spinning wheel. Holda was demonized as a hag and a witch when Europe became Christianized. Women accused of witchcraft were said to be "riding with Holda" and she is often depicted riding across the night sky in her wagon.
 

She is very much a patroness of the household and domestic arts such as cooking, cleaning, spinning and child care. She is a Goddess for women and is said to help them with their household chores. Holda has no patience for lazy people especially when it came to spinning. She would punish those who were lazy with their chores and reward those who would fall asleep from hard work by completing their spinning for them.

Holda is a protectress of children and would collect the souls of those children who had died too soon. It is said that a procession of children's souls followed Holda's wagon. She has been portrayed as an evil witch who stole the souls of healthy children in later tales and this is where she gets part of her bad reputation.
 

Holda is said to bring the first snow of winter. She is thought to control many aspects of weather. For example when it rains she is doing her wash and when there is fog it's the smoke from her chimney. She is also associated with animals and the forest. Geese are one of her sacred animals and it is thought that Holda may be the Mother Goose from fairy tales. Other animals that are sacred to her are hounds, pigs and goats.
 

Call on Holda when you need motivation to finish your housework or when your cooking. You may also pray to her at the winter solstice or ask for her to protect your children. A good way to honor this Goddess is to light a candle to her while you're doing your chores or cooking a meal for your family or if you're so inclined to work with fibers and spinning. You may also call on Holda to bless your home.






Picture courtesy of A Polar Bear's Tale

Monday, December 9, 2013

Magic Monday, Yule Smudge Sticks



In honor of the Winter Solstice I made some smudge sticks with clippings from Fraser Fir trees and sage. Smudge sticks are used to cleanse an area or negative energies before a ritual, personal cleansing or to simply cleanse a new home of any residual energies left by previous owners or spirits. They can also be used to cleanse an area after a fight or after a person with negative energy has left. Smudge sticks are easy to make and many different herbs and tree clippings can be used in them.

For winter solstice smudge sticks you can use traditional winter herbs and trees such as fir, holly, pine, mistletoe and sage for added purifying benefits. I will go over the magical properties of each of these plants below.




Supplies:


  • Thread about three or four feet long
  •  Scissors 
  • Any two or three of the herbs/plants below

Fir: Part of the evergreen family. Good for prosperity, divination, adds a boost of power to spells and purification. Common tree honored at the Winter Solstice. Represents immortality.

Holly: Sacred Yule herb, also sacred to the Druids and at Yule they were said to decorate heir homes with holly as a way to invite nature spirits such as faeries in. Good for restful sleep, easing the passage of death and spells dealing with death and rebirth.

Pine: Good for purifying a space, wards off negativity, prosperity and fertility. Elevates the spirit and brings on feelings of tranquility and peace. Pine branches were used as the traditional Yule log. Thought to ward off disease.

Mistletoe: Sacred Druid herb, good for protection, fertility, sexual energy and luck. Kissing under the mistletoe originated in Ancient Rome during the festival Saturnalia. It is said that to kiss under the mistletoe insures marriage in the future for the couple.

Sage: Good for purification, healing, wisdom and protection. Can be used to purify a space before ritual or to cleanse an area of any negative energies. Sage is also a healing herb and was used in the Middle Ages to treat fevers, liver disease and memory.



You can read how to make the smudge sticks here: Love of the Goddess


I hope you enjoy creating your Yule smudge sticks! Just a warning, when burning fir be careful as it tends to flame up rather quickly and the flames can jump due to the high oil content in these trees. Use with caution!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winner of Giveaway for Yule Stag Altar Tile!

Thank you to all who entered! And the winner is.......TheBlakkDuchess. Congratulations! I enjoyed hearing about what everyone is planning to do for Yule. Many of you are going to watch the sunrise as I will be doing as well! I hope you all enjoyed playing. Have a blessed Yule and Winter season. Enjoy your new altar tile TheBlakkDuchess!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Giveaway! Yule Stag Altar Tile!

Since Yule is just around the corner I decided to have a giveaway for one of my hand painted altar tiles. As some of you may know I hand paint different altar tiles and decided to create one in honor of the Winter Solstice. The tile I'm giving away is my Yule Stag altar tile which has been painted on a 4 1/2 inch birch wood circle in colors of green and white. The stag, or deer, was honored at the Winter Solstice and is seen as a representation of the Horned God. 

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment telling us your plans for Yule. I will announce the winner on Sunday! Feel free to check out my shop on etsy to see the other tiles and goodies I create: Sage Art. Good luck to all who enter! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Magic Monday, Palmistry Part II



This week we will go over part II of Palmistry. If you didn't catch part I check it out here: Palmistry, Part I. The next step to reading the palm is reading the mounts. These are the little pads under each finger on the palm and are determined by height.

Mounts

Venus mount: Under the thumb where life line curves around. This mount relates to love, intuition, sensuality and success. A high Venus mount can indicate someone who might be over indulgent or promiscuous or seeks instant gratification. A normal size Venus mount means that person is influential and passionate or ambitious. If the Venus mount is flat it can indicate a critical nature.

Jupiter Mount: Under index finger and stands for personal beliefs, philosophies and leadership capabilities. A high Jupiter mount can indicate someone who is self centered and domineering. If the Jupiter mount is normal size it denotes intelligence and natural leadership. If it is low it means little to no self confidence.

Saturn Mount:
Under the middle finger and stands for patience and responsibility. A high Saturn mount shows stubbornness, shyness, possible depression and a cynical nature. If it is normal size it indicates a friendly disposition and a hard worker. If the Saturn Mount is flat it means disorganization and a superficial nature.

Sun Mount:
Under the ring finger and stands for creativity, imagination and happiness. A high Sun mount can indicate pride fullness, a life of extravagance and possibly a temper. A normal Sun mount indicates someone who is confident, adaptable and outgoing. A low or flat Saturn mount indicates someone who has little or no imagination and can't make decisions.

Mercury Mount: Under pinky finger and stands for wealth, travel and intellect. A high Mercury mount indicates someone who talks to much and is untruthful. A normal Mercury mount indicates thoughtfulness and varied interests. A low or flat Mercury mount indicates someone who is shy, can't communicate and doesn't make a lot of money.

Moon mount: Runs along the outside of the palm, starts under your pinky and runs along the side of the hand and stands for imagination, creativity and emotion. A high moon mount signifies someone who lives too much in their own imagination that they loose touch with reality. A normal moon mount indicate someone who is very creative, compassionate, loves the arts and has psychic abilities. A low moon mount indicates someone who is a loner and pessimist.



Fingers

Thumb Shapes: A large thumb indicates someone who is very opinionated with high energy and a possible workaholic. If the thumb bends toward the palm it can indicate someone who has a cold nature. If the thumb bends away from the palm it indicates someone with a generous nature.

Finger shapes: Long fingers indicate someone who is anxious, well-mannered and delicate. Short fingers denotes someone who is impatient and highly sexual. Pointed fingers indicate someone who is well intentioned but their mind is extremely unorganized.

Finger Nails: Long fingernails indicate someone who is kind and trustworthy. If they’re long and thin it can indicate someone who is psychic. Long, large fingernails denote a shy person who keeps to themselves.  Almond-shaped fingernails denotes someone who is sweet, kind and extremely diplomatic. Rectangular fingernails denote someone who is practical and logical.

I hope you enjoy learning and discovering palmistry! There is still much information out there so keep learning.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Anuket, Egyptian Goddess of the Nile



Anuket is the Egyptian Goddess of the Nile cataracts, the fields and hunting. Daughter of the God Khnum, a water God, and the Goddess Satet, she was often depicted with a crown that held tall ostrich feathers. She ruled the realms south of present day Egypt in Aswan and Nubia and was referred to as "Mistress of Nubia" or "She Who Embraces".  Anuket was also a Goddess of the hunt and her sacred animal was the gazelle and her mother Satet is associated with the antelope.

She was particularly worshiped by sailors who would inscribe prayers onto stone for safe passage and a safe return on the Nile river.
The areas of the Nile that Anuket ruled over were the cataracts or rapids. Cataracts of the Nile are the rocky areas where whirlpools and rapids ensued. These areas were impassable except during high flood. The annual flooding of the Nile was important to the ancient Egyptians as the excess water gave life to the crops. Being the Goddess of the Nile the ancient Egyptians saw her as a giver of life.
 

Anuket had a temple erected to her on the island of Seheil. It is said this temple was built in the 13th dynasty by the pharaoh Sobekhotep III. Her cult was located on the island of Elephantine where the annual flood waters from the Nile passed. It is said that this is where her cult originated along with the worship of her mother and father. The three Gods were seen as a triad known as "The Elephantine Triad" with Khnum, Satet and Anuket. They were seen as protectors of the Nile river.

At the start of the harvest season the festival of Anuket was celebrated in which thanks were given for crops such as wheat, flax, papyrus and barley. The festival consisted of magnificent river processions in which the rest of the Gods from the Elephantine Triad were honored. Statues of the Gods were carried on the shoulders of the priests to the boats on the Nile. The celebration also consisted of music, dancing, beating drums and rattling sistrums, burning incense and offerings of jewelry and coin were thrown into the Nile.


I hope you enjoyed learning about this ancient Mother of the Nile!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Magic Monday, Palmistry Part I



Palmistry or palm reading is the act of telling ones future by interpreting the lines, mounds and other features of the hands. Palmistry dates back thousands of years and is thought to have originated in India. Although many cultures have practiced this form of divination including ancient Babylonia, Egypt, China, Tibet, Persia, among many others. Some sources also state that palm reading has it's roots in Roma or Gypsy culture.

When reading the palm there are many things to pay attention to. For example the size and shape of the hand, the lines on the palm, the different mounts or bumps of the palm as well as the fingers. Also the right hand is different from the left. It is said that the left hand represents "what the Gods have blessed you with" or your potential, and the right hand represents what you've done with your blessing or potential. Since there is so much information about palm reading I will be breaking this up into two blog entries, part I and part II for next week.

First we will go over the types of hands to get started.

Earth hands:
Wide with square palms and fingers and the skin is usually rough. The length of the palm is equal to that of the fingers. People with earth hands are said to be quite practical and experience oriented. They would rather get out in the world and experience things for themselves rather than just learning about it. They are also nature lovers and crave being in the great outdoors.

Air hands: Square palms with long fingers, protruding knuckles, low thumbs and dry skin. The length of the palm is equal to that of the fingers. People with air hands are said to be intellectual, curious and full of ideas. They are great communicators but tend to internalize their own feelings. Air hand people also have nervous energy and are prone to worry and stress.

Water hands: Short, oval palm with long fingers. Palms are wide and fingers are the same length to that of the palm. People with water hands are said to be emotional, artistic and motivated to find peace. Stress is hard for water hand people as they usually handle things based on feelings.

Fire hands: Square palm, flushed skin with short fingers. The length of the palm is greater than the length of the fingers. Fire hand people are full of energy and always on the go. They need variety and are known to be impatient. They are also extremely individualistic and said to make great leaders.

Now for the lines:

Heart line: Deals with all matters concerning love. If your heart line starts under your index finger you have a satisfying love life, if it starts under your middle finger you are selfish when it comes to love and if it starts in the middle of those two fingers this means you fall in love easily. If the heart line is short it means you have little interest in love. A heart line that is broken or has lines going through it means you may have experienced or will experience some kind of emotional trauma. A wavy heart line means you will have many lovers!

Head line: Stands for wisdom and intelligence. A curvy head line means you're creative and a straight line means you're practical. A short head line means that you prefer physical activities to intellectual ones. If your head line is separated from your life line it means that you are an adventurer. If the head line is wavy it can mean that you have a short attention span while if it's long and deep it means you're a focused thinker.

Life line: Line of destiny. The life line shows your true character as well as important life events. If the life line is in the shape of a semicircle it means that you're very enthusiastic and if it's straight it means you're cautious in relationships. A life line that is close to the thumb means you have low energy while a wide curvy line means you have plenty of energy. A break in the life line means a major change in life.




Fate Line: (Not everyone has this) Also known as the line of destiny. If the fate line has many breaks in it it means that your life will change many times. If the line is deep it shows that your life is controlled by destiny. If the fate line is joined with the life line it shows that you're a self made person, possibly owning your own business.


I hope you enjoyed learning the first part of Palmistry 101. Check back next Monday to learn the rest!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baba Yaga, Slavic Goddess of Death and Regeneration



Baba Yaga is the Slavic Goddess of death and rebirth. She is seen as a crone Goddess and a dark Goddess. She is portrayed as a hag who travels in a big mortar which she steers with a pestle.  Baba Yaga is a wild woman representing our fears of death and the misunderstood. She is called a witch in many cultures. She lives in the forest in a hut which is sitting atop of chicken legs and can move on its own. If someone approaches her hut it will move around and screech until the visitor recites a special incantation to make it stop. Then it will drop and it's door will blow open to invite the visitor in. Her hut is also said to be surrounded by a fence made of bones to keep out intruders. Baba Yaga represents the death of the ego, wisdom and rebirth.

There is a myth involving Baba Yaga about a young girl named Vasilisa. There lived a merchant and his wife who had a beautiful daughter named Vasilisa. The girls mother was very sick. She made Vasilisa a doll and told her that whenever she needed guidance to feed the doll and it would always help her. The girls mother soon died and her father remarried. The woman Vasilisa's father remarried was mean and very jealous of Vasilisa's beauty. She decided to move the family to the edge of the forest where Baba Yaga lived. 


One night the stepmother, Vasilisa and her sisters were working on things around the house when the stepmother decided to trick Vasilisa. She extinguished all the candles in the house and then declared "Someone must go to Baba Yaga to fetch us some light as we cannot work in the dark!" So out into the dark night Vasilisa went in search of Baba Yaga. Despite her fear, she fed her magic doll and asked it for advice. The doll assured her all would be well and to go to Baba Yaga to get light. As she walked through the forest being guided by her doll, she met Baba Yaga's three horsemen riding along, one white, one red and one black. She finally approached the hut of Baba Yaga which was supported by chicken legs and was surrounded by a fence made of bones with illuminated skulls on each post. 

Baba Yaga came out of the hut and approached Vasilisa to ask her what she was doing here. Vasilisa explained to Baba Yaga that her stepmother sent her here for light. Baba Yaga then told the girl she would give her light if Vasilisa did some work for her. If not she would eat her. So Vasilisa began the work Baba Yaga gave her and was finished by nightfall. Baba Yaga then gave Vasilisa some bread which she fed to her doll and then went to sleep. This cycle lasted for about three days when finally Baba Yaga became annoyed that Vasilisa was finishing all her tasks so decided it was time for the girl to leave.

She gave Vasilisa one of her lit skulls and sent her back home. She walked through the forest until she could see her home and almost threw out the skull when a voice said "You need me for your stepmother and sisters." So Vasilisa kept the illuminated skull. When Vasilisa finally returned home and entered the house with the lit skull, it's glowing eyes searched for her stepmother and sisters and burned them to ashes. Vasilisa buried their remains along with the skull in her garden and she carried the magic doll her mother made her until the day she died.

This story teaches us to always trust and listen to our inner voice. To feed our intuitive abilities which in turn will make us all the more wiser. It also shows us that even in the darkest of times, there can be light. Call on Baba Yaga for her wisdom or for help with listening to and trusting your intuition. You may also call on her when you're trying to come to terms with your darker self or to bring about the death of the ego
.





Picture courtesy of The Broom Closet








Thursday, October 31, 2013

Samhain, Parting the Veils



Samhain is the last of the three harvest festivals as well as the Celtic new year. In the ancient world Samhain was the time when the last of the crops were harvested for food before winter. It was a crucial time for the harvest as it was a deciding factor in how much food there would be to last through the cold winter months.

It is also a time when the veils between worlds is thin and communication with spirits and other magical beings is possible. Faeries and other spirits roam the earth on this night. It is said that people would leave a lit candle in their windows to help guide the wandering souls on Samhain night.

On Samhain we honor the crone and dark Goddesses such as Hekate, The Morrigan, Cerridwen, Persephone and Lilith. These Goddesses help us to let go of that which no longer serves us. They guide us on a journey to our darker selves so that we may prepare for rebirth at Spring. They also  help us with inner transformation and acceptance.

This is also a perfect time for magic of all kinds. Rituals, spells and divination can be performed on Samhain night. Communication with the dead and faery magic is also popular at this time. Leave out some milk and honey for the faeries or a plate of food for your departed loved ones. You may also wish to leave a lit candle in your window to help guide the souls.

Wishing everyone many magical Samhain blessings!





Picture courtesy of Nicole Evelina

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magic Monday, Samhain Tarot Spread



Samhain is just a few days away! The time of year when the veils between worlds is thin and communication with spirits is possible. This is also a great time of year for divination of all kinds. 



Since Samhain is the Celtic New Year, this tarot spread will give you insight into the coming year. The spread will require seven cards placed into the formation pictured above. Once you have shuffled your deck and spread out your cards you may begin your reading. You may even wish to invite your ancestors to aid you in this spread. 



Card 1: Where I'm at currently in life

Card 2: Where I would like to be

Card 3: What am I ambitious about?

Card 4: What I want to achieve 

Card 5: An area I need to work on

Card 6: An idea I should consider

Card 7: Where do I go from here?



Make sure to write down your reading to use as a sort of guide for the upcoming year. Have fun with your reading!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Samhain Magic, Dumb Supper



Many Samhain celebrations involve a Dumb Supper which is basically a meal honoring loved ones who have passed over. On Samhain the veil between worlds is thin and communication with the dead is possible. This is a great time to set up an ancestor shrine and speak with your loved ones once again. Many of us speak to them on a regular basis already but it is tradition to do so on Samhain.

For the Dumb Supper you may choose to have people over for dinner or even have a quiet meal by yourself. There are some requirements for a Dumb Supper such as setting up an ancestor shrine, not speaking during dinner and making a plate of food for your loved one. Although as with any other magical working feel free to get creative.

On your ancestor shrine have photos of your loved ones, family heirlooms, or anything your loved ones left behind or anything that reminds you of them. Also be sure to have candles, incense and sage on your shrine. If you have people over for dinner have them place mementos on the shrine as well.

For your dinner use only candles for light no electricity and smudge the area with sage. You may also wish to invite the Goddess to join the dinner as well. Once your altar and dinner table is set up you are ready to enjoy your meal! Make your plate of food and make a plate for your ancestors, now you may eat in silence. While you're eating remember the times you had with your loved ones who have passed.

Once you're through eating clean up the table and thank the Goddess for joining you. Now you may go to your altar and talk with your passed loved ones. You may wish to light some incense in their honor as well. Once everything is completed you may blow out the candles and turn on the lights. Write down your experience and pay attention to your dreams that night. Sometimes spirits communicate with us while we are sleeping.

Enjoy your dumb supper!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Berchta, Germanic Goddess of Winter



Berchta, also called Perchta, is the Germanic Goddess of winter, the forests and destiny. Her worship originated in Bavaria which is in Southern Germany. She is associated with other Germanic Goddesses such as Mother Holde and also the Norse Goddess Frigg. Known as "the Bright One" or "the White Lady" she is said to dwell in the forests and caves and amongst the snow.

Berchta is honored at the Winter Solstice in a celebration called "Mothers Night". During this festival everyone stops working on their spindles for the night and enjoys a meal of fish in her honor. As spinning is sacred to her she is said to check all the spindles on this night and reward those who have been working hard. It is said that if she is angered on this night she will slice open your belly open and fill it with straw.

Berchta is portrayed in two forms. Sometimes she is said to be beautiful with a white robe and a crown. Other times she is portrayed as a hag with straggly hair and long teeth, while flying on a broom with a goose flying beside her. She is closely associated with the goose and according to Jacob Grimm, author and mythologist, has a goose foot or swan foot which is thought to be a sign that she has the ability to shape-shift.

Berchta is also honored at the time between the winter solstice and the new year. She is said to travel around with her wagon to visit children. She rewards those who behave well with gifts and punishes those who have been bad. There are other Goddesses who practice the same act such as La Befana, an Italian deity, who has similar characteristics to Berchta.
 

Berchta is known as the great teacher and initiator. In her myths the act of her belly slicing is seen as a form of initiation. She teaches people the stories of her culture and prefers not to break away from cultural norms. She works at the spindle spinning the fates of many and teaches us that we have the power to decide our destiny. Berchta's sacred colors are black and white, her sacred animals are the goose, bear and wolf and her sacred herbs/trees are elm, juniper and willow. She is also associated with the spindle and the Wild Hunt.

Enjoy honoring this Germanic Goddess of destiny! 






Picture courtesy of Source Ceremony



Monday, October 7, 2013

Magic Monday, Reading Tea Leaves



Reading tea leaves, also known as tasseography or tasseomancy, is a form of divination which involves interpreting patterns formed by loose tea leaves at the bottom of a cup. Coffee grounds can be used as well. The practice of reading tea leaves comes from the ancient Middle Eastern, Asian and Greek countries. This form of divination is very meditative and taps into the subconscious mind to interpret the symbols. It can be seen as a way to stimulate the imagination and open your psychic abilities.
 

To practice a tea leaf reading you will need the following:
  • Loose tea leaves of your choosing
  • White cup
  • Hot water

The first step is to make tea, pour the loose tea leaves into the cup and then pour hot water in the cup. Let the tea steep. While the tea is steeping focus on quieting your mind and meditating. Clear your mind of all thoughts to ready yourself for divination. Once your tea has cooled you may begin to slowly sip it and focus on the reason for your divination or answer to the question you seek. If you're right handed drink the tea with your left and if you're left handed drink with your right. You will most likely have floating leaves but try your best not to drink too many.
 

After you've calmed your mind and body after drinking your tea, leave a small amount of tea at the bottom of the cup. Now take the cup to the sink, hold it in your hands and swirl the cup three times which will cause the leaves to disperse around the interior of the cup. Pour out the remaining liquid and keep your cup turned over for about three breaths before you look at the leaves. Now you can start interpreting your leaves!
 

Jot down the first symbol you see and pay attention to which symbols are near one another. Also write down what each symbols meaning is. The cup will be divided up into three categories: the rim, the middle and the bottom. It is said that the first symbol you see corresponds to your character, the rim represents the present moment, the middle represents the near future and the bottom represents the conclusion.
 

There are some lists of symbols and their possible meanings which you can find here. Although tasseography is a different form of divination in which you tap into your subconscious mind to interpret symbols which is very personal. Not everyone will see the same symbols you see so not everyone may have the same meanings for them. Whichever meaning, just like the symbols, comes into your mind first go with.
Have fun reading your tea leaves!






Picture courtesy of  Tasseography

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In Honor of Those Lost During the Salem Witch Trials

 
Examination of a Witch by T.H. Matteson

In honor of the witchy season, Samhain and Halloween, I decided to write about and honor those who were killed during the Salem witch trials of 1692. Most of us, especially witches, know what happened during this horrific time. Many say the chaos of the Salem witch trials, as well as the witch trials around the rest of the world, was a war against women, not just witches. I tend to agree but I also think that during that time period mass hysteria spread about evil and the devil which stemmed from the fear of their God or religion. Because of this thousands of women were burned at the stake or hung for being accused of witchcraft. There were also many men that were murdered during this terrible time in our history.

The witch hunts began in Europe around the 14th century and by the 1700's tens of thousands of people accused of witchcraft had been tortured and burned at the stake or hanged. About 75% of those killed were women. According to Steven Katz, author of "The Holocaust in Historical Context",  this can be seen as a time of "genderized mass murder". When people migrated to the states and settled in the New England area they brought their fear of witchcraft and women with them. The first women accused of witchcraft in Salem was Tituba, a slave to Revered Samuel Paris.

Tituba: First women accused of witchcraft in Salem. It is thought that Tituba practiced a form of folk magic and was said to have been caught teaching the Reverend Paris's daughters, Betty and Abigail, how to perform divination. Revered Paris beat Tituba until she confessed. Once on trial, Tituba, trying to save herself, wove a tale about all the women in the village being witches. She named Sara Good and Sara Osbourne as practitioners. Tituba was never killed for witchcraft. Instead because she gave up the supposed other witches in town she was jailed for a few months.

Sara Good: Born in 1653, Sara married William Good around 1687 or so. The couple was very poor and practically beggars in the village. She was an easy target for accusations of witchcraft. Sara was not well liked in Salem and was put on trial for witchcraft in 1692. She was the first one put on trial. She was also accused of afflicting Betty and Abigail. People were scared into testifying against her including her daughter and her husband. She never confessed to the crimes but was condemned to be hung after the birth of her child. Her infant died in jail before Good was executed at the gallows.

Sara Osbourne:
Born in 1643, Sara was married to Robert Prince who died prematurely in 1674. She then became involved with Alexander Osbourne who she hired as a farm hand. She had a legal battle with her children over her deceased husbands estate and was not well liked by his family. She was brought to trial for witchcraft in 1692. Sara never confessed nor did she accuse anyone else of witchcraft. She died shackled in prison before she could be hung at the gallows.

Rebecca Nurse: Born in Norfolk county, England, Rebecca was 71 years old when she was accused of witchcraft. Her sisters, Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyce, were also accused of witchcraft. It is said that Rebecca was one of the most unlikely of those accused due to her flawless reputation and her age. While she was on trial many people spoke up for her declaring her innocence. The jury originally gave Rebecca a verdict of not guilty but because of the outcry from the two afflicted girls, the judge asked the jury to reconsider and so they then gave Rebecca a guilty verdict. She was executed on July 19 and there is said to be outrage at her execution. This was seen as the first time any negative voice towards the executions was heard from the people of the village.

Bridget Bishop: Born sometime between 1632 and 1637, she married three times and her last was to Edward Bishop. Bridget is said to have owned a tavern in town and was accused of witchcraft because of her "flamboyant ways". She liked gossip, entertaining guests at her home until late, drinking and fighting with her husbands. She is said to have worn the color red at times which was seen as a sign of evil and she was accused of conversing with the devil. All this made her a prime target for accusations of witchcraft in Puritan New England. Bridget was the first to be hanged for witchcraft and she professed her innocence up until the moment she died.

Giles Corey: Giles was accused of witchcraft by Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam Jr., the afflicted girls. They claimed to have seen his spector and that he asked them to write in the devils book. Giles was eighty years old when he and his wife Martha were put in prison for five months on accusations of witchcraft. When it was time for his trial, Giles refused to stand for trial and there was a severe punishment for this. In September of 1692 Giles was stripped naked and a board was placed upon his chest where heavy stones were to be placed. Giles was pressed to death, slowly, as the whole town watched. It is said that he begged for more weight so that his death would come quicker. He was buried in an unmarked grave on gallows hill.

During the Salem Witch Trials more than 200 people were accused and 20 were executed. May we honor the lives of those lost and may we never forget what mass hysteria and paranoia can cause.


To read more about the Salem witch trials and the people involved check out: Famous American Trials

Friday, October 4, 2013

Winner of Giveaway from Carioca Witch!

Thank you to all who entered! And the winner is......Sheryl! Congratulations! Thank you to Nydia for donating her adorable sugar skull. I hope everyone had fun playing and checking out all of Nydia's wonderful creations. Enjoy your sugar skull Sheryl! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Giveaway! Sugar Skull Keychain by Carioca Witch!


In honor of the upcoming holidays, Samhain, Halloween and The Day of the Dead, I'm hosting a giveaway for a handmade sugar skull key chain made by Carioca Witch! Nydia, owner and creator, has generously donated one of her adorable creations for this seasonal giveaway. The sugar skull is 5 inches long and is stuffed with cinnamon and apple. 

To enter the giveaway please visit Nydia's Facebook page, find some products you like and come back here to comment on them. If you are not already, become a fan of her page. Please be sure to leave your contact info in your comment so I can contact you if you win! For extra credit, start following this blog if you are not already. The giveaway will last for one week at which time I will choose the winner using random.org.

Thanks to Nydia of Carioca Witch for donating her wonderful creation! Good luck to all who enter!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Magic Monday, Mabon's Harvest Tarot Spread

Mabon, also known as the Autumn Equinox, is the second of the three harvest festivals. It is a time to give thanks for our bountiful harvest and to prepare for the dark months of the year. In the ancient world this would be a time when the crops were done being harvested and people were preparing for winter. Baking breads, cakes and taking part in Autumn celebrations all happened around this time of year. This is a time of balance as on the Autumn Equinox day and night are of equal length. It is also a time of retrospect, to look back on our year and see what we have gained, lost and where we are headed for the coming year.

A tarot spread is a great way to see where we have gone and where we are going to end up. To begin, shuffle your cards thoroughly and feel free to light some sage and cleanse the area around you before you get started. Once your cards are shuffled, cut the deck in half and then put one side of the deck on top of the other. Now take your cards one by one and create the spread you see above in the order of the numbered cards, with number 1 being at the top. The card placement meanings are:

1. What am I harvesting? 
2. What projects/endeavors are coming to fruition?
3. What are you most thankful for this past year?
4. Where is balance needed in your life?
5. What provisions do you need to make for the dark half of the year?


Write down your cards and their answers if you like and check it each month to see if it's matching up with your life as it moves forward. You may also keep this spread to look at this time next year to see what progress you have made.

Wishing everyone very bountiful Mabon blessings and a happy harvest!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Magic and Transformstion



Cerridwen is the Welsh dark Goddess of magic, transformation and wisdom. She is known as "The Keeper of the Cauldron" which is said to be full of inspiration. Her most famous myth deals with her magic cauldron and her son, Afagddu. Cerridwen is said to have two children, a beautiful daughter and a horribly ugly son named Afagddu. Due to her sons extreme ugliness Cerridwen set out making a special brew of wisdom to give her son so that he could have an opportunity to overcome his bad looks. She concocted this brew using six herbs for a year and a day and only three drops of this powerful brew were said to impart great wisdom.

She puts a boy named Gwion in charge of watching over the brew for her. Accidentally, three drops of the brew fall on his finger blessing him with the magical knowledge held within. Knowing that the brew was meant for Cerridwen's son and not him, Gwion fled and Cerridwen pursued him. As she chased after him they each continued to transform into a different animals. Gwion changed into a rabbit and Cerridwen would transform into a hound, then he transformed into a fish and she would chase him as an otter, then a bird and she chased him as a hawk. Finally Gwion turned into a kernel of wheat and settled into a pile of grain on the floor. Cerridwen then became a hen and swallowed him whole.

Nine months later she gave birth to the former Gwion who was now known as Taliesin the great bard. In this story Cerridwen and her chase represents the changing of the seasons and transformation in general. She is also seen as a lady of death which goes hand and hand with the power of transformation as we must let that which no longer serves us die in order for change.

Cerridwen symbolizes the twists and turns that life throws us into. She teaches us to understand that life can change in an instant and sometimes we need to learn to go with the flow and let the new shape your life is taking form on its own. She also represents knowledge and inspiration, fertility and the earth. We can journey to Cerridwen's cauldron for inspiration in our creative endeavors and she will impart her great wisdom to us. Since the cauldron represents the womb, where life is formed, it makes sense that Cerridwen would be associated with fertility as well as creativity.

Her sacred animal is the pig, her symbols are the cauldron and the moon and she is also associated with grain. On your altar you may leave her offerings of grain, wine or ham/bacon if you are so inclined to meat. If not leave grain or wine and have a cauldron and a representation of a pig. 


 Enjoy your journey to transformation and inspiration with Cerridwen!





Photo courtesy of Hrana Janto

Monday, September 16, 2013

Magic Monday, Make a Besom



A besom, or witches broom, is an essential magical tool. They are used to cleanse and purify a space either on or around your altar or any area of your home. A besom is seen as a symbol of fertility and sexuality and can also be used to "sweep" away bad spirits or negative energies. In the old world people would jump over the besom on their wedding day as a way to ensure fertility in their new union. Traditionally a besom is made from sacred woods such as oak, ash, birch and willow for the binding.
 

Although its quite easy to buy a broom, crafting your own is also easy and adds your personal magical energy to it. Feel free to use any type of wood you like as not all of us have access to the traditional woods. You may also use herbs such as mugwort or thyme for the bristles.
Supplies:


  • 4 foot piece of wood for the handle
  • Thin branches or herbs for the bristles
  • Willow or hemp twine for the binding
  • Scissors and a bucket of warm water

Depending on the type of wood you are using for the bristles they might need to be soaked over night in warm water to make them more pliable. Take your handle and lay it somewhere flat. Lay your bristles along side of it about four inches from the bottom of the handle facing up towards the top of the broom. You will be flipping them over soon. Tie the bristles to the handle with your cord and make sure to tie them tight so they don't pop out later.

 

Now take your bristles and flip them over so they are facing down towards the bottom of the broom and tie them at the base of the handle with your cord. While you're doing this visualize what energy you want to empower your besom with. Feel free to recite a chant or cleanse it with sage or incense as well. You will need to let your broom dry out some before using it. You may decorate your besom with ribbons, charms or anything you wish. Now your besom is ready for use! Keep it on your altar or standing up by the front door or you may even wish to hang it over a doorway for protection.
 

I hope you enjoy crafting your very own witches besom!





Picture courtesy of Witch Way

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sedna, Inuit Goddess of the Deep Ocean



Sedna is the Inuit Goddess of the deep ocean and the Underworld. She is often depicted as a mermaid with long dark hair. Many stories of her begin with her being a mortal woman who later became a Goddess. Her myth is a sad story but it's also filled with important life lessons.
 
Sedna, daughter of a widower, was said to be quite beautiful and had many suitors after her affections. Although Sedna refused them all as she wanted no part in marriage. Then one day she was approached by a handsome man who asked for her hand and she said yes. He took her away to his island, the land of birds, all the while hiding his secret identity which was that of a bird spirit. When Sedna realized this and that the man lied to her, she became sad and pleaded with her father to come rescue her.

Sedna's father then went in his boat to save her. Although once they were both in the boat on the way home, Sedna's husband became enraged that his wife was taken from him and caused a deadly storm. He created huge waves almost sinking the boat and putting the Inuit people in danger. In order to save himself and his people, Sedna's father threw Sedna in the ocean to appease this God and when Sedna tried to climb back in the boat, her father cut off her fingers. She sank to the bottom of the ocean where her body became all the sea life.

Sedna rules over Adlivin, the Underworld, where she is said to live in a house made of whale bones. Some say that she is feared because of the dark depths she represents. The message she brings though is very important as sometimes we must all reach down into the darkness in order to have the light shine.

It is said that Inuit shamans journey to her and when they do they bring a comb to brush her long dark hair. They rely on Sedna to provide them with the creatures of the sea for the hunters to gather food for their families. Sedna teaches us to keep going through the dark days because there will always be brighter days ahead. She also helps us with inner anger showing us that bringing it to the surface and letting it out is the only way towards inner happiness.





Picture courtesy of Love Your Design

Monday, September 2, 2013

Magic Monday, Make a Witches Bottle



A witches bottle has been used for centuries to ward off or trap evil or malevolent spirits, hexes or curses. They originated in the UK around the 1500's and the practice was brought over to the states with immigration. Some old witches bottles have been found in Greenwich, Worcestershire and Pershore, England some dating back to the 17th century. The original witches bottles were made during the witch hunts and were used to protect against "witches" and their magic. They were seen to reflect the evil magic back to its sender.
 

A witches bottle is basically a glass jar with a tight lid that has sharp objects as well as liquids and other items placed into it. The bottle is then sealed with wax and usually buried. One of the main ingredients in the old witches bottles was urine or menstrual blood, although if you don't feel comfortable using bodily liquids feel free to use a magically charged oil or other personal item that identifies with you. The purpose for using these liquids was to personally attach oneself to the bottle. Although the original witches bottles were used to ward off evil magic, modern ones can also be used for protection, prosperity among other things. I will be giving instructions one how to craft the original witches bottle.
 

Supplies:
 

  • One glass jar with a tight fitting lid
  • Nails, pins, glass, thorns (some call for bent or rusty nails)
  • Liquid such as water, magically charged oil, vinegar, wine, urine, menstrual blood
  • Sea salt or regular salt
  • Candle wax
  • Any other personal item you would like to add

You may choose to use one of each ingredient or however many you wish. Take your bottle and place the sharp objects inside first, fill it about halfway. Then pour in your salt to match up with your sharp objects. Now fill up the bottle halfway with whichever liquid you wish to use. If you don't feel comfortable using urine (which is understandable!) you may spit into the bottle once its filled to personally connect your body with it, or place a very personal item in it. Keep in mind though that this bottle should not be re-opened once sealed to retrieve your personal item if you decide to do that.
 

After your bottle is filled, close the lid tightly and take a lit candle and pour wax around the lid and seal to secure it. You may correspond the color of the wax with whatever magical purpose you want the bottle to serve. For example black for negativity, green for prosperity, etc. When your bottle is completely finished, charge it and cleanse it with sage. Now traditionally the bottles are buried but not all of us have a yard and some of us live in apartments. If this is the case you may bury it in a flower pot and place it by your front door or patio, or it can also be hid in a closet.
 

I hope you enjoy crafting your very own witches bottle!










Picture courtesy of Tumblr

Monday, August 26, 2013

Asteria, Greek Goddess of the Stars



Asteria is the Greek Goddess of the stars, prophetic dreams and necromancy. She is one of the Titans and daughter to the God Coeus and the Goddess Phoebe who were both original Titans born from chaos. Asteria is known for reading the stars (astrology) and prophetic dreams. She and her husband, Perses, God of destruction, are parents of the Goddess Hekate.
 

There is a myth involving Asteria in which her body becomes the creation of the island Delos. Asteria was fleeing from the God Zeus who was sexually pursuing her. She transformed into a quail and threw herself into the ocean to get away from him. It was then that the God Poseidon pursued her and the quail she became then turned into the island Ortygia (quail) which later became known as Delos. It was there that her sister Leto, seeking refuge from the jealous Hera, gave birth to Artemis and Apollo. Asteria is sometimes referred to as Delos as the island was originally named after her. In myth it is said that this island fell from heaven like a star.
 

It is said that Asteria was a dream Goddess worshiped on her sacred island of Delos. She is known as the oracle of night and sends prophetic dreams. She is also said to be a Goddess of falling stars as well as necromancy. She dwells in the realm of night amongst the stars and dreams and also among the dead. Her daughter Hekate is also a Goddess of night, the dead and necromancy. Call on Asteria when reading the stars, before sleep and to communicate with spirits.





Picture courtesy of Emily Balivet

Monday, August 19, 2013

Magic Monday, Make a Scrying Mirror



Scrying is an ancient form of divination. It involves gazing into different mediums, such as a crystal ball, a mirror, fire, smoke or calm water to receive visions or messages. It is just another form of quieting your mind so your subconscious can give you the answers you seek. In order to prepare for scrying you must first put yourself in a trance while staring into the
medium you're using. This can be done be repeating a mantra, deep breathing, invoking a deity or sometimes simply the act of gazing is enough.

I find the best way to scry is to practice some deep breathing first, light some incense and then begin gazing. Sometimes it can be hard to keep your eyes adjusted and open the whole time. It is alright to blink and and refocus your eyes if need be. Once you are in a trance like state from the gazing your eyes will naturally adjust to your scrying. Take note of any visions that come through during your scrying session.

For this post I will go over how to make your own scrying mirror which is easy and fun!

Supplies:

  • Picture frame with a glass insert
  • Black matte spray paint
  • Newspaper

Make sure you pick a frame that has some aesthetic appeal to you. Take the glass out of the frame and clean it off. Now take the glass to a well ventilated area (preferably outdoors) place some newspaper down under the glass and begin to spray paint one side of the glass. Let one coat dry then keep adding more coats of paint until the glass is no longer transparent. After the glass has dried, reassemble the frame with the painted side facing towards the back. This way the front of your mirror with not have paint on it and it will make the mirror appear deeper.

Now you may consecrate your scrying mirror and its ready for use! Feel free to paint symbols around the mirror or decorate it how you wish. Although with something like this, simplicity is best, it is your personal divination tool so an extra decorating will be entirely up to you.

Make sure to cover your mirror when its not in use with a velvet bag or some cloth. Enjoy making and using your scrying mirror!









Picture courtesy of eHow

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Winner of Goddess Connections e-Book Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered! And the winner is.........Aphrodisiastes! Congratulations! I will get you your Freyja e-book asap. I hope everyone had fun playing. Thanks again for helping Love of the Goddess reach 5000 fans on Facebook! Stay tuned for the next giveaway.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giveaway! Goddess Connections e-Book of Your Choice!



In honor of reaching 5000 fans on Facebook I decided to have a giveaway! The prize will be one of my Goddess Connections Workbooks of your choosing. I'm so excited to have reached 5000 fans! Thank you all so much for your support. If you don't know about the Goddess Connections Workbooks check out the e-Books section of my blog: Goddess Connections. Here you will find information about the e-Books as well as which ones are currently available.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment stating which e-Book you would like and why you are interested in learning about that particular Goddess. For extra credit please follow this blog if you are not already. Please be sure to leave your email address in the comment so I can send you your book if you win. I will announce the winner on Saturday. Thank you to all who enter and good luck! And a big thanks to all the awesome fans of Love of the Goddess!! Without your support all of this would not be possible. Many blessings )O(

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nemesis, Greek Goddess of Justice and Balance



Nemesis is the Greek Goddess of divine justice and retribution. She keeps happiness and unhappiness balanced among the mortals. She sees that justice is served for those who have acquired things in a malicious way. She is associated with the Moriai (Fates) and the Erinyes (Furies), all of these are deities dealing with mortal fate and emotion. Nemesis also brings about loss or suffering in those she feels have been experiencing too much good fortune. This brings balance into ones life and humbles us. The cycle of good and bad must continue in our lives to ensure that the correct lessons are taught. Nemesis sees to it that this gets done.

Daughter to Nyx and Oceanus, Nemesis punishes those who partake in excessive indulgence. Some myths claim that Zeus is her father, instead of Oceanus, as is portrayed in the myth aboutthe birth of Helen of Troy. It is said that Nemesis is the mother of Helen of Troy. In this story it is said that Nemesis was forced to lie with her father, Zeus. Though she did not want this and fled across the sea. Zeus pursued her and she transformed into a fish but this did not slow him down. Nemesis then took off over the land and she transformed into many different creatures. Still Zeus followed. Finally she turned into a goose and Zeus turned into a swan. He forced himself on her and after which Nemesis laid an egg. She kept the egg in a box and when it hatched, Helen of Troy emerged and Nemesis claimed her as her own.

Nemesis is portrayed as a winged goddess with a sword in her hand. She is associated with the apple branch, whip and with balance. She is sometimes referred to as Nemesis Rhamnusia which stems from her cult following at Rhamnus in Attica. There was a temple sanctuary there in her honor. She is said to be the mother of four of the Telkhines
which were metalworker/sea daimones.  They are known as mysterious magicians who crafted magical tools for the Gods. Their father was Tartaros who is the spirit of the great pit of the underworld.

In the tale of Narcissus, Nemesis is invoked by the nymph Echo to seek vengeance. Narcissus was known to be a quite handsome man, also quite vain. Everyone that laid eyes upon him fell in love with him although he rejected them all. Echo fell in love with Narcissus and when he rejected her, she became so sad that she faded away. But before she did she called on Nemesis for vengeance. Nemesis saw what happened to her and punished Narcissus by making him fall in love with his own reflection. He was condemned to stare at himself in the reflection of water in a pool for the rest of his days. There he wasted away, died and was transformed into the flower, Narcissus.


Nemesis will only see that justice is served if it is deserved, so take care when invoking her. You might be invoking your own punishment if the vengeance you seek is wrongly deserved. 


I hope you enjoyed learning about this ancient Greek Goddess!







Image courtesy of Camp Half Blood

Monday, July 29, 2013

Magic Monday, Make a Witch's Ball



A Witch's ball is a brightly colored glass ball hung in the home or the garden to ward off evil spirits. They were made popular in the 18th century in England but are believed to be much older. They can also be used for luck and good fortune for the family in which they are protecting. The witch's ball is brightly colored which will attract evil spirits and then filled with strands of thread, hair or glass which is supposed to trap and entangle the evil spirits. Making your own witch's ball is fun, easy and inexpensive!

What you will need:

  • Clear glass ornament of which the top can be removed
  • Silver craft paint or any bright color of your choosing (silver reflects ill wishes back to sender)
  • Silver or red thread, tinsel or hair
  • Teaspoon of crushed herbs such as lavender, St. john's wort and/or cinnamon
  • Essential oils of frankincense or patchouli

To begin take the top off of the Christmas ornament and pour in the paint (not too much) and tilt the ball around until the paint covers the inside. After the inside is painted and you can't see through it, let it sit upside down on newspaper so the excess paint drips out, then let it dry over night. Once it's dry, take your thread and cut it into a few three inch pieces and stuff it inside your ornament. Now take your herbs and mix them together with a drop or two of essential oil and put them into the ornament. Place the top back on the ball and string some thread through the hole at the top to hang it. 

Feel free to bless/cleanse your witch's ball with sage or sweet grass and recite a protection chant over it. You may also wish to decorate it further with glitter, jewels or painting designs on the ball. Hang your witch's ball in a window, by your front door, in your garden or anywhere that you prefer. Have fun creating your very own witch's ball!







Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lughnasadh Crafts



Lughnasadh is the first of three harvest festivals for fall. It is a time when the first grains and ripe fruits are harvested and thanks is given for natures bounty. There are many fun crafts to do at this time, some of which are baking bread and making your own smudge sticks.
 

Baking bread was an important part of this festival for ancient people as the bread baked at Lughnasadh, as well as Mabon, would last them through winter. If you decide to bake bread there are a few magical ways to spice things up. You can mold your bread into different shapes such as a Goddess, moon, pentacle, triple Goddess etc. You can chant a few words or blessing over your bread as your baking it. Corn was also a popular harvest crop so feel free to make corn bread or any other type of flavored bread such as cinnamon. Place your bread on your Lughnasadh altar as an offering or serve it with your Lughnasadh dinner.
 

Smudge sticks are easy and fun to make. Even though you can buy them pre-made, I like to make my own magical tools whenever possible. Cut herbs from your garden or go wild-crafting. If neither of those options are available to you, try your local farmers market or grocery store. 

What you will need for this project:
  • Scissors or clippers
  • String cut about four or five feet long
  • Cut herbs such as sage, mugwort, rosemary, lavender, etc.

Cut your herb stalks about six to ten inches long and gather them so the cut ends are together. Wind the string tightly around the stem of the bundle leaving a few inches of hanging string (you will need this later). Continue wrapping tightly around the stem of the bundle then gradually work your way up to the leafy section until you reach the end. Now go back down with your string wrapping the bundle the opposite way creating a criss cross pattern. Once you reach the end where the stem is, tie the remaining string with the extra two inches you left at the stem.
 

Once you are finished, cut off any loose leafy ends sticking out through the string so the smudge stick looks smooth. Now you may hang your smudge stick up to dry. It can take up to a week for your smudge stick to completely dry. Once they are dry they are ready to be ritually burned! You can also bless them at your altar to further empower them with your own energies.
 

Enjoy baking your bread and crafting your very own smudge sticks!







Photo courtesy of  Live In Art
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