Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oya, Orisha of Storms and Transformation

Oya is the African orisha of storms, fire and transformation. She represents the powerful force behind natures fury such as thunder, lightning and wind. One of three wives to Shango, orisha of thunder and dancing, Oya also symbolizes hurricanes and tornadoes. It is said when it rains, Oya is crying and storms are created when she is enraged.

Oya is known as the guardian of the cemetery. She receives the souls of the dead to help them crossover. Although she is associated with death and the afterlife, she is not seen as death itself  as she guides the souls to rebirth. She is also endowed with magical powers such as clairvoyance, communication with spirits, divination and the ability to summon death as well as controlling destructive storms to bring about change. She is said to be a Goddess for witches and is referred to as "Mother of the Elders of Night".

Oya is a Goddess of change and transformation. She helps us to connect with and know our inner most selves and urges us toward the necessary changes that need to be made in our lives. Just like a tornado is destructive and chaotic in its nature, the same can be true for great personal transformation. Oya teaches us to let go of the things that no longer serve us or are holding us back. She teaches us that change, like death, is a necessary and natural occurrence in life.
In Santeria she is honored in her aspect of the saint Lady Candelaria on February 2nd which is also a day for the Celtic Goddess Brigid. She is also seen as a warrior Goddess for women and an advocate for feminine leadership and strength. Call on Oya when you are ready to make big changes in your life, when its time for you to let go of that which no longer serves you.
Her colors are all but black although her most well known are purple and reddish-browns. Her sacred number is 9 and her sacred offerings are eggplants, red wine, black beans and copper. 

Picture courtesy of Sandra M. Stanton

Monday, June 24, 2013

Magic Monday, Creating a Sigil

Sigils are symbols created from words with magical intent. When creating a sigil, one must first decide exactly what it is one wants in order for the sigil to work properly. A sigil must be created entirely by pen/pencil, paper, intent and then forgotten. It must be forgotten in order for the magical symbol to work. The first step, besides figuring out exactly what you're trying to accomplish, is to write down your intent. It must be written in a positive way.

Take a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and write a sentence of what it is you want. Make sure there is no ambiguity about what you write, your intent must be crystal clear. It is said that the reason for such clarity is because the subconscious mind will remember a symbol better than words and giving the most specific meaning to that image will give the sigil a better chance at achieving its magical goal. For example, lets say you need extra money to buy a new pair of shoes. Now this is a grossly simplified example but it proves the point none the less. You would write:


Now scan the sentence and cross out any repeating letters until you're left with a list a random letters from your original sentence. From this sentence it should read like:


Now take those letters and create a image with them. Put them together in any fashion you like and play with them until you have a stylized symbol that looks nothing like the sentence you originally started with. Simplify and style your image and find creative ways to add your letters to the symbol where there might already be another letter. For example, add an E in with an F, or an I with an H. Feel free to play with your symbol as much as you want until you are satisfied with how your sigil looks. The symbol above is of a sigil I created to give you an idea.

Now you must empower your sigil with what you desire. There are different ways to accomplish this. I suggest meditating with your sigil and saying out loud what it stands for. You may wish to do a short ritual with candles and incense or if you're creating your sigil in a hurry, simply visualize the symbols meaning while holding it in your hands. Whichever way works best for you as long as its charged with the magical purpose it should serve.

The last step is to forget your sigil and its meaning. This is a crucial step to making sure it works. After its charged, burn the paper the sigil is drawn onto and all other words/letters stating what it means. Burn your paper and then simply forget about it. Move on with your day or start another project to help you forget about it. This will help your subconscious mind to remember the symbol and not the words used to create it. Sigils are fairly easy to create and act as great magical tools. I hope you enjoy crafting your own empowered magical sigil!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice!

Today we honor the Summer Solstice also known as Midsummer or Litha. This is the longest day of the year and from now until the Winter Solstice the days will grow shorter and the nights longer. In the ancient world the Summer Solstice was celebrated with bonfires and outdoor festivities. In ancient Rome the Goddess Juno was honored as the month of June was named for her. She is a Goddess for women and marriage and still today many people wed in the month of June.

The Summer Solstice was also viewed as a time for balance of water and fire. While the sun is necessary for crops to grow, and the summer months are the best time grow crops, water is a very necessary element to keep the plants hydrated and alive. Without water the crops would wilt, dry up and die. Fire represents the warmth and life giving properties of the sun and water sustains that life. Just like in our own lives, warmth and water are necessities for survival. Water activities were implemented on the solstice as well as a way to honor this element.

Also around this time St. Johns eve is honored by Voodoo practitioners. This celebration takes place on the night of June 23rd and is especially celebrated in New Orleans. Famous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau was known for holding large ceremonies on this night on the banks of the Bayou where tons of people would gather. St. John's eve is one of the most important festivals on the Voodoo calendar. It's a night for magic and honoring your ancestors.

The Summer Solstice has been said to be a great day for gathering magical herbs. St. John's wort is a popular herb for Midsummer as it corresponds to the sun. It is used for depression and protection. Other traditional herbs are mugwort, chamomile, thyme and sage. Bees and honey were honored on the summer solstice as this is the time when the bees hives are filled with honey. Meade, which is a honey wine, was made as well as honey cakes and other honey filled foods. The full moon of June was called "the honey Moon" in honor of the sweet treat and the bees. Goddesses who were prayed to at this time are Vesta, Goddess of the hearth, Isis, Egyptian Mother Goddess of the universe and Freyja, Norse Goddess of love and war. On your altar have flowers, honey, fire, water and representation of the Summer Goddesses. 

Have a lovely Summer Solstice!

Picture courtesy of The Eco-Goddess Temple

Monday, June 17, 2013

Magic Monday, Love Spread

I found this tarot spread for love which answers the age old question, is he/she the one. It's also good for determining when true love will find you or if you are even in the right place in life for love. I have discovered that when reading the tarot, the cards will not reveal the answer to the question you seek if something in your life, or within yourself is blocking the way for this "answer" to happen. The layout of this spread is made with seven cards formed into a circle of sorts with one card in the middle.

As with any reading, shuffle your cards first and think of the question you want to ask. Then either fan out your deck and choose seven cards or cut your deck in half and pick seven cards from either pile. Pick each card and place them into the spread you see pictured. Now it's time to read and analyze your cards. Use the following list to decipher what each card stands for
  • First card represents if you will ever find true love
  • Second card represents if you will feel secure with this person
  • Third card represents if marriage is a possibility
  • Fourth card represents any similarities this lover will have with past lovers
  • Fifth card represents if commitment is a possibility
  • Sixth card represents if the love between you will last
  • Seventh card represents what to do to find this person

I hope this spread works well for all who try!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Magic Monday, Gris Gris Bags

Gris gris, pronounced gree gree, is a magical tool used to bring about different wishes/desires. The practice of making gris gris was brought to the states by Africans during the salve trade and is used in Voodoo and Hoodoo traditions. There are many different ingredients that go into a gris gris bag but there is no set definite number of things you can use. It is said that the minimum number of things to use is three but I have not seen any maximum number. These magical bags were popularized by the famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in New Orleans in the late 1700's. Her gris gris bags were said to be so powerful that even the mention of gris gris was feared.

To make gris gris you need pieces of fabric (enough to form a small bag) or an already made small bag, herbs, crystals, powders, oils, charms, bones, feathers, corresponding colors and any other magical inducing  items. They can be used for love, protection, healing, money, luck amongst other things. Once you have all your items ready, its time to make your bag. To empower the gris gris bag with its magical powers, a prayer or incantation must be said over it or the prayer can be written on a small piece of paper and put into the bag itself. There are different ways to go about this process such as drawing a magical symbol, or veve, to invoke a particular deity to empower your bag. You can choose to write your prayer with magical ink or dragons blood. There is really no concrete process to making gris gris so feel free to get creative.

Once your gris gris bag is complete and empowered, you may carry it, keep it in your car, house, purse or place it somewhere that is good for its magical powers to take affect. Be sure that wherever you do decide to keep your gris gris that its hidden from others as this will hinder its magic.

Enjoy making your powerful gris gris bags!

Picture courtesy of Voodoo New Orleans

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Vestalia, Festival of Vesta

Today begins the Vestalia in honor of the Goddess Vesta. This was an eight day festival that began around June 7th and lasted until June 15th. The Vestalia was basically a cleansing festival in which the temple, the Vestal Virgins and the women attending were purified. For this festival the Vestals made the sacred Mola Salsa Wafer which was used as an offering and looked upon as a bloodless sacrifice. These were made using parched spelt, which was a type of wheat, and water from a holy spring. The water was carried in consecrated jugs and was not permitted to come into contact with the earth between the spring and the baking process as this was seen to take away its sacred nature. The wafers were baked and then cut into slices as offerings to Vesta.

During the Vestalia only women were allowed to enter the temple. Once inside they removed their shoes and made simple food offerings to the Goddess. On the last day of the festival a cleansing of the shrine took place. This is when the ash pit, where the ashes from the altar were put, was cleaned out. 

The Goddess Vesta was seen as the divine personification of fire. She was the hearth fire in the homes of Romans as well as the sacred fire in her temple. To honor the Vestalia, light a fire in a fireplace or light candles. Clean and purify your home and yourself. You may also make food offerings to this Goddess or make/buy some bread to represent the Mola Salsa Wafer. 

Enjoy the purifying festival Vestalia! 

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