Imbolc – February 2nd

Groundhog day approaches, and we will be halfway through the winter as we await Spring’s impending return! This ancient festival, Celtic in origin, is considered one of the greater sabbats. This celebration marks the early signs of spring and the lengthening of days. The lighting of fire and candles represent the return of the sun. We honor the Goddess as the waiting bride of the returning sun God. Other names for this time are: St. Bridget’s Day, Candlemas, Candlelaria, the Snowdrop Festival, the Festival of Lights or the Feast of the Virgin. During this celebration we honor the goddess Brigid.

  • Imbolc herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Blackberry
  • Imbolc colors: White, pale yellow and silver
  • Imbolc offerings: Beer
  • Imbolc is a time to honor Bast, Brighid,Cerridwen.

To celebrate Imbolc you should set your alter with white candles. Decorate with holly, nuts fruit and a small bowl of wheat berries. Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple Goddess and leave until Ostara. Cleanse the area where you do reading with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:

“By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative influences that this
place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.”

Cleanse the alter and tools. Do a self-purification rite with the elemental tools representing earth (salt) for body, air (incense) for thoughts, fire (candle flame) for will, and water (water) for emotions.

Leave a ribbon outside before going to bed for Brigid to bless. This is an excellent time for divination.

Here is a simple ritual for Imbolc:

After casting your circle, say a blessing such as:

Blessed be the earth, and all who dwell upon it.
We give thanks for the season now departing from us.
For the blessings it has bestowed upon us,
And upon those with whom we share this world.
Blessed be the new season.
We pray that it will be a time filled with peace,
With abundance, with prosperity,
With wisdom,
With love.
Blessed be all who share this feast.
Let us now prepare for the time ahead
By opening our hearts, and our minds, and our spirits.
Blessed be.

Thank your Deities, say goodbye to the darkness of winter and welcome the coming of the sun and new life. Lay your wand or crystal point on the bowl of wheat and acknowledge and welcome the cycle of death and birth and the continuous turning of the wheel. Sing, chant, make music or meditate at this point, whatever method you choose to bring your psychic ability to a higher level. When ready, use your diving tools for your enlightenment. When you feel
your ritual is complete, thank your Deities again for all you have and close with the cakes and wine ceremony.

Now, on to the feast! Traditional winter foods such as ham, root vegetables, fresh crusty breads and winter fruits like apples and pears should be served. Food should be plentiful! Mead, ale, spiced wine would all be appropriate
beverages.

Imbolc Recipes
By Patrick McCleary

Colcannon
Ingredients

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. milk or unsweetened/plain soy milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups chopped cabbage or kale
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp. margarine or butter, for frying
Directions

Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender (at least 20 minutes); drain, reserving water.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add chopped cabbage to the reserved potato water. Cook 6-8 minutes or until tender.
Mash potates with a hand masher. Add milk, salt and pepper and beat until fluffy.

Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew
Ingredients

2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
1 tbs. lamb fat
4 medium onions
1 tbs. butter/margarine
4 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups water
4 medium potatoes
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tbs. chives, chopped
Preparation:

Don’t let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into eight pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Baked Custard

Ingredients

4 eggs
3 C. milk
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Preparation

Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and blend for about 15 seconds, or until well mixed.
Pour custard mix into ramekins or custard cups.
Place the ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water up to a depth of about 3/4″.
Bake the custards for one hour.

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Ten Ways to make your world better in 2016

2015 has come and gone, and it has not been pretty for many people.  The world seems to have gotten scarier, harder and less secure.

There are many reasons for this, and we are not going to list them all here. What is clear, though is that a large portion of the population feels overwhelmed and less in control of their destiny, and does not like the path we are on.

According to Realclearpolitics.com , recent polls suggest that, in the US, 2/3rds of the country now feels we are heading in the wrong direction. Although there is undoubtedly a lot of disagreement about what the right direction should be, it is clear that as a country, there is a sense that we have lost our way.

It isn’t just the US. Similar results can be found in the UK, and could be found in Canada prior to the last election.

I have yet to find a person that thinks we are leaving the world a better place for our children than the world our parents left for us. Inequality, over consumption and disregard for the small blue and green bubble we call Home places the future of all life in doubt.

Finding hope and love when all around you is fear and despair may seem an uphill battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, the governments are made up of individuals, and as individuals we still have the ability to change how we see the world, how we enter the world, and to lead by example.

There are things we can do, as individuals, that don’t involve overthrowing the government, shedding each other’s blood, or trying to force a Utopian ideal on a world that is not listening.

These things are simple. Yet the more people that do them, the more we change the world. Here then, is our list of ten ways you, personally, can make the world a better place, and it’s easier than you think!

1. Fast once a week

I know, perish the thought right? Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you do it from Sundown to Sundown. Adjust for your medical needs and check with your doctor, but there are significant health and world benefits to do this.

You will feel better

A lot of the reasons that people feel tired all the time is because the calories we put into our body are used for more than just movement. They are also used for healing, and digestion. The more you eat, and the more processed the food you eat, the harder your body has to work to actually digest your food, and consequently, a lot of the calories you are eating to give you energy, end up being used to digest the food you just consumed. Allowing your stomach to rest once a week for 24 hours gives your body time to burn some of the stored energy it has to heal.

You will lose weight.

It takes 3500 calories to add a pound of fat. Assuming you average 2000 calories a day, you have the potential to lose around 30 lbs in 2016 if you avoid binging either side of the fast.

You will help the planet

According to the World Bank, the US consumes 200 billion calories each year more than it needs. We consume as much energy as 6 Mexicans or 370 Ethiopians. If only a third of the country fasted for a day each week, we would eliminate that number, reduce the depletion of Earth’s resources and have more available for everyone else.

2. Turn off the “News”

This may be hard to hear, but there is nothing meaningful in news programming that you cannot learn from other sources, with less spin, less hysteria, and less fear.

badnews

What appears in the news is designed to keep you watching, so you buy the products sold during the commercial breaks. Whatever the original noble purpose it served in the 1950s is long gone.

It encourages fear and consumerism. Both of which are very bad for the planet. If anything truly bad happens that you need to know about, trust me, you’ll know.

3. Eliminate Hate from your Social Media feeds.

Whatever people would have you believe, assholes and sociopaths are not defined by, or limited to, their alleged religious or political beliefs.

If you see hate or finger pointing in your social media feed, aimed at a specific demographic, turn it off.  Turn off the notifications, unfollow, unfriend or block, depending on your preference.

The less hate you see in the world, the less hate there is in the world. Hate can only survive when people respond to it.

4. Go for a walk

walkbride

Every day. Your body will thank you. Your doctor will thank you. Your dog will thank you too. Around the block at least, but 2 miles a day has an amazingly healthy effect on the body, and your outlook on the world. Just being outside in the (reasonably) fresh air can make a difference to your attitude.

5. Help someone, every week

There’s a great site called Volunteer Match if you want to get really serious about it, but even if it is helping a friend move, taking in the neighbor’s newspaper, giving someone $5 to buy gas, anything that you do to help someone else helps your spirit and their life. Ask them to pay it forward. Help one person a week and you help 52 in a year. Imagine if we all did that?

6. Cut down on Meat

Yes, yes I I know. If you’re going to wear the leather jacket you might as well eat the bacon sandwich. But hear me out for a minute. The typical human needs about 46 grams of protein per day. You can get that from meat or from vegetables. Meat is harder for your body to digest, especially red meat, and over consumption can lead to a lot of health problems later in life.  Take one day (not your fast day, smarty-pants) a week to not eat meat, and switch to a vegetable based protein instead. Rice and Beans, for example. It’s cheaper, and better for the planet. Remember, before you can eat the meat, the meat has to eat the plants. So eat the plants yourself and cut out the middle cow.

Maybe in the future, we can move to a meatless society, and that would be beneficial for all Life on the planet. Before we can get there however, we have to move the needle a little. This is one of those Lead by Example things we talked about earlier.

7. Buy Less ‘Stuff’

Economists love us to consume. They believe that is what keeps an economy going – the continual buying of crap that goes obsolete or breaks so quickly that we have to buy more.

You don’t need the newest anything. Take care of what you have, be grateful you have it and make it last longer.

Avoid large chain stores – and stay away from the mall! They are designed in every way to nurture impulse spending and they survive by keeping almost everyone in the supply chain working for near poverty (or in some cases actual poverty) wages.

Instead, save your money,  or give to a reputable charity, or buy second hand.  Consumption is out of control in the developed world. We are strip-mining the planet and mortgaging our children’s future just so that when we die they have to get rid of a houseful of useless crap they don’t want. True Story.

8. Grow Something

Whether you plant a tree or set up an indoor herb farm, you are helping to reconnect yourself with the cycle of life. You also reduce the amount of CO2 and toxins in the atmosphere.

Gardening teaches us about responsibility, care for the environment, nurturing life,  and is a wonderful thing to do together as a family.

olive

Growing your own food also wrests control of our food supply from the corporations and puts it back into the hands of individuals and communities. This of course means that at some point, someone will try and make it illegal.

9. Find the Good in all

This is hard to do, I know. But just as Hate breeds Hate and Fear breeds Fear, so does Love breed Love.

Start by making a list of people that just make your blood boil. It may be those you had to un-follow from Step 3 above! You already know the reasons you dislike them, so instead, next to their names, write down something you have in common with them.

Don’t pretend you have nothing in common – regardless of who it is, you do, at least at the genetic level. Start there.

When you can find what you have in common with people, your perspective changes. You may find that you have to forgive yourself along the way to forgiving them for whatever sins you believe they have committed, but that too is a worthy exercise.

10. Be Grateful

Be grateful for the food you eat. Take a moment, however brief to thank your higher power for placing it before you.

Be thankful for what you have – there are so many who have so much less.

Be grateful for the challenges you face, for from them comes growth.

Remember to take a minute every day to breathe, look around and realize that you are alive, on an incredible planet, and are part of an amazing adventure!

You are responsible for how you feel about the world, and you are responsible for changing your perception if it no longer serves you.

Be grateful you have that power. Most of all, be grateful for the love you have in your life, and love as much as you can. Remember – Love breeds Love.

I wish all of you a happy and hopeful 2016!

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Conjure your life with the Magician

RWS Tarot 01 Magician.jpg
RWS Tarot 01 Magician” by Copyright holder was retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images).. Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia.

The Magician is the first card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I thought I would give some thoughts about this card, rather than some hard definitions, which you can find in any good tarot book or online.

Magicians appear in stories all over the world. ( Merlin, Gandalf, et al.), but when reading tarot cards, I wouldn’t become too fixated on the notion of the Magician as some mysterious occultist. When we encounter this card, it refers to manipulating reality itself. I think a useful way of thinking of this card is that of a person acting as a kind of artist. Using the tools of the Classical Elements, which are Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, this character is able to make a change in the fabric of reality.

In the Rider Waite deck, the Magician strikes a particular pose, with his right hand toward the heavens, and his left hand pointing at the earth. The phrase “as above, so below” is a phrase from Hermetic thought, and it means that the spiritual realm mirrors the mundane. For example, people thought of Heaven as a kingdom, and so it was well and good that there would be earthly kingdoms, and that line of thinking went down to families ruled by a head of a household. The Magician is someone who has access to the Divine, and uses that connection to cause beneficial change on a mundane level. As a metaphor, we can think of it as making mundane changes, that pay big dividends in a spiritual level.

The Magician sometimes deals with illusion, but that doesn’t mean he’s a liar. The word artifice conjures up notions of the inauthentic. But the Magician in his full manifestation isn’t really attempting to deceive. For example, when we go to a movie or play, we allow for a brief time the idea that what we’re seeing is real life, and in this way, we can be moved. We’re not being tricked or conned by accepting, for a time, fiction as real life.

There is a strong trickster element to this card, which isn’t surprising, considering the name of the card. We’re constantly exposed to advertising and propaganda, so much that it becomes background noise. The trick for the tarot practitioner, is to listen to the right kind of Magician, perhaps a mentor or trusted colleague, a person that can enrich our lives, and ignore hucksterism and your local friendly neighborhood confidence artist.

The shadow aspects of this card can indicate deception. Gaslighting, the willful manipulation of the past, and memories, is absolutely in the domain of the shadow Magician. Shadow Magicians can also appear to be unclever. I actually worry more about con artists that “act dumb” than someone with a thin mustache and black cape.

Immature aspects of the magician, usually displayed by children and teenagers, are expressed by the youthful characters of Ferris Bueller or Bart Simpson. One gets the idea that these characters, when grown up, would continue to use their trickery, hopefully for the good of everyone.

Mature aspects of the magician could be described by a number of characters from myth and fiction. Whenever you have a character using their wits, the energy of the Magician is around.

Be a Magician!

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Why the world needs Pagans this holiday season

As many of you may have noticed, the world has gotten a bit crazier than normal in recent years. A trend that started after 9/11 of increased fear, war mongering and general xenophobia has reached such epic proportions that if Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann were running in the 2016 election they would seem like the sane, moderate choice.

ISIL/ISIS/Daesh is gaining ground throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and continually launching attacks in Europe, and now the US, scaring the crap out the American public in the process.

This last, is of course, what Daesh wants. They have started using Donald Trump’s speeches as recruiting material. They love the xenophobia, and the hysterical rhetoric, because they know that when we turn against people in our community, or who wish to be part of our community, they will have to find somewhere to be accepted. And ISIS is waiting with outstretched arms and a suicide vest.

This fear, however, is not universal. Yes, most of the world, including most muslims, are angry and disgusted by ISIS. Many are in favor of the US reducing it’s nuclear arsenal one missile at a time.  But the fear is not universal, nor should it be.

You are about 4000 times more likely to kill yourself than to be killed by a terrorist, if you live in the US., and suicide is only the 10th highest annual killer (according to the CDC). In fact, your odds of being killed by a terrorist in the US are about 1 in 20 million.

While many in the US support screening out all muslims (presumably by getting them to say ‘Shibboleth’) most Europeans do not. There are many complicated reasons for this, but there is one big factor: Recent History.

Growing up in Europe in the seventies, we were subject to ongoing terror campaigns from the IRA, Baader-Meinhof, ETA and the Red Brigade to name a few.  We grew up angry and disgusted with their attacks – but not fearful. We were not fearful because our parents were not fearful, and our parents were not fearful, because, in comparison to the world war that had ripped their lives apart growing up, these attacks were small potatoes in comparison.

Leaving aside the occasional sociopath like Timothy McVey, the US has not had many major attacks since pearl harbor, and even then, there were no attacks on the continental US during World War II.

Consequently, the events of 9/11 burned a scar deeply into the minds of every man, woman and child and that scar has shaped US foreign and domestic policy ever since.

More than that, with the addition of Russia and NATO into the middle eastern mix, we are shaping up for a self fulfilling prophecy of the Christian and Muslim end times. This is also, what Daesh wants, and unfortunately, it appears to be what many in the evangelical community are hoping for as well, because then, they believe, their savior will return.

Regardless of my personal thoughts about the likelihood of this happening, they believe it, and many seem willing to throw away their basic morality in pursuit of this goal.

As pagans, we are used to being vilified, accused, excluded and laughed at.  But as my old history teacher used to say, the bad things that happen to us build character, and it is the character of people that will decide what happens next.

Pagans have a love of the earth, and of all life. Even the meat eaters among us are conscious of the sacred nature of the life we have taken that we may live, and many choose to honor that in their own way.

This season, we need calm reason, not mindless rhetoric. We need love, not fear; we need hope, not desperation.

Mid winter was traditionally a time when wars stopped, and people huddled together to last out the cold winter and share what they had with each other, healing old wounds in the process.

Use the gifts that you have nurtured to spread love and acceptance as the old year ends. Don’t engage in petty bickering, name calling or setting yourself up in opposition to those whose only crime is being a different creed than you. Most Muslims hate what is being done by sociopaths in the name of Islam, and despite what you read, many are speaking out, just as we would, if it happened to us.

Lead by example. Show those in your community that you are not afraid. Anger is a useful tool sometimes, but hate is always self defeating, and Fear is almost always useless. Use common sense. Be cautious if you must, but be cautious based on reason.

Turn off the 24 hour news cycle and watch something beautiful instead. Spend time with friends and family, go outside and experience the beauty of the Rhythm of Life.

Help those who need help. Feed those who are hungry, nurture those who are lonely, and give voice to those who have none.

Organize, help, share, and most importantly, Love.

May you live in peace this holiday season, and help others to do the same.

earthlove

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Softer Landings with the Fool

RWS Tarot 00 Fool.jpg
RWS Tarot 00 Fool” by Pamela Coleman Smith – a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/) for the public domain, and retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images).. Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia.

This will be an on-going series of short articles that will hopefully help to add substance to your tarot readings, and make them stronger. This is my first article for Pagan News, and since I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, it’s fitting that today’s talk is on the Fool.

The Fool is traditionally numbered zero in what is known as the Major Arcana, or trump cards. The imagery depicts a rather smartly dressed fellow about to naively walk off a cliff. The Sun, which also has its own card, is to his back. An excited white dog barks near this person, acting as warning from our unconscious, “What are you doing? Can’t you wake up for a second and see you’re about to walk off a cliff. Are you listening to me?”  Or perhaps this white dog is spurring our Fool on to his leap. “Oh boy oh boy! This is gonna be great!”

Before we get started about the meaning of this card, let’s go down a meandering path. In mythology and fairy tales, the hero or heroine may encounter an animal that leads them to another magical or forbidden area. In Celtic and Welsh mythology, these animals were unusual for they were depicted in these tales as having white fur. In Alice in Wonderland, the main character follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole, and finds herself, quite unexpectedly in another realm. By coincidence or design, our tarot Fool is encountering a white animal, and this same type of going into the unknown is happening.

The dog in the Fool card, and animals in mythology and stories that lead characters into hidden places, are representatives of the natural world. The Fool is in his head, the animal companion is not of the intellect, but of primal nature. Our dog reminds us that our bodies are entrenched in nature. The body can also surprise the person for both heart-warming and heart-breaking reasons. For example, pregnancy can be both an intentional and unintentional path.

An important point, all of this imagery is allegorical. If you go out in the woods waiting for some white animal to lead you to a new discovery, you will be sorely disappointed. Dreams are another story. Try to follow where animals take you in dreams.

Alice par John Tenniel 14.png
Alice par John Tenniel 14“. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

But what of the Fool in the card, the main character? In older depictions of this card, the Fool is a bit of a wandering hobo. He has a disheveled, vagabond appearance, quite removed from the dandyish and clean youth of the Rider Waite deck. In the Waite deck, he holds a white flower, which symbolizes a freedom from primitive baser instincts, and also a straight staff tied with knapsack, full of hidden personal items. Again, our Fool in the Rider Waite deck may think he’s given up primal instincts, but remember our white dog, nature’s reminder of the animalistic, he’s along for the ride too.

The Fool may be naive about what they’re getting into, but not everyone leads a life like that. The Fool card is still relevant, for anyone, including the most structured planners. When we embark on any new project or path, we can plan for everything, but there is still an element of the unknown and accident. Changing careers, graduating from college, all manner of life changes are in the domain of the Fool. When encountering this unknown, it does require a leap of faith.

Ultimately, this is a card of immense creation, but don’t let this card be an excuse to jump off a cliff without a parachute or a plan. How many times in your life have you heard this clever plan?

Yep! We’re moving there. Hollywood (or wherever) here I come. I don’t have a job, I don’t have a place to stay. I don’t know anyone there. But, you know. I think everything is going to be okay. I’ll figure it out on when I get there.

This is still in the realm of the Fool card, but isn’t very smart. It easy to confuse the romantic notion of a pioneering, exploring spirit, which most people would agree is a positive, with simply being reckless. When encountering the Fool tarot card, try to figure out the multiple paths to land. Because you’re going to land somewhere.

Tarot aficionados will often use the term “Fool’s Journey” to describe the Fool’s interaction with other trump cards. The first characters the Fool usually meets are card number I and/or card number II, The Magician and/or The High Priestess. But different orders can and will happen. You could, if you wanted to as a way of getting to know the cards, map out the events of The Hero’s Journey to the trump cards of the tarot.

Quick Tip: In your readings, see which card the Fool has a relationship with, or is juxtaposed next to. If the Fool is next to a destructive card*, such as The Tower, be careful as it may be a warning of disaster. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. However, If the Fool gets paired up with The World, then this leap of faith usually has a more benign outcome.

*Yes, I know, save your letters! The power of Tower card can be just what you need in your life. We’ll talk about this at another time.

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Spell Working

Wicca is primarily a religion. It is the worship of the Old Gods and the attunement with nature through the eight festivals of the Wheel of the year. But what of the practical side of the Craft, the working of Sacred Magic?

To put things in perspective, magic is very much a secondary function of the Craft. Any Coven worth its salt should put the worship of the Gods and spiritual development of the Coven members first. Nevertheless there are working evenings of the Coven or Esbats to give them their correct Craft name. These usually occur on or before the full moon of each month although special working meetings may be convened at any time in an emergency.

There are many different types of Magical working ranging from long and highly ritualised Golden Dawn style invocations of God forms to simple candle magic workings, all are valid and may work equally well as the complex ritual.

The point to keep in mind is that magic is a natural phenomenon not a supernatural phenomenon and as such it conforms to natural laws and therefore logically it has its natural limitations. Magic is not a miraculous panacea for every difficulty that life throws at you, despite what some books on the subject tell us. How on earth are we supposed to learn the lessons and gain experience of life if we “run to mummy” and reach for the spell book every time we have a problem to negotiate? This is a mistake that many operators make.

The spell is best likely to succeed when you have a realistic chance of achieving it by your own efforts to begin with. Let us remember that magic is an ally – it is not our servant. Anyone attempting to use magic as their slave is working to the Left Hand Path and will end up in deep trouble. For example, if you are caught red handed throwing a brick through a jeweller’s window, you are going to prison, it is as simple as that. True, you could do a working for the judge to be lenient with you, but that would be all you could do. No amount of rituals could keep you out of court.

These days do-it-yourself books of spells are easily available and although there are a few good ones, many contain much nonsense – the commonest mistake that they print is that belief is all you need to perform a successful spell.

Belief is certainly vital, after all there would be little point in attempting the spell if you had no faith in it. But it is a special kind of belief that matters, and much more important is personal effort on the part of the operator. I can believe that I can jump off a building and fly. It doesn’t believe matter how strongly I believe it, as soon as I jump off the building I am sure to hit the pavement! Consider this equation:

POSITIVE THOUGHTS + POSITIVE ACTIONS + POSITIVE VISUALISATIONS = POSITIVE RESULTS

The problem with performing spells from a book is that they are somebody else’s spells and although effective for the author they may not work so well for you. It is far better to compose your own spell or ritual especially considering what we have said earlier about making a personal effort. Just as a magical tool will have more power if it is hand crafted by the Magician, so a self composed spell is sure to be more effective for the same magical reasons.

You must also be very precise in the working of your spells. You must be clear beyond doubt as to what you are trying to accomplish. A London Wiccan I know petitioned for £500. He stepped out into the street and found a £500 monopoly note. Yet he got what he asked for! The lesson here is, for example you want a new car, visualise yourself in it and driving it. Work for the car direct, not for the money with which to purchase it.

This brings us to another important point – visualisation. This, like belief and personal effort is essential to the successful magical working. Mental discipline is therefore very important. When I first joined the Craft, part of my early training in the First Degree involved a gruelling programme of some 60 exercises involving visualisation and concentration, and working with the four elements. Although tough, and not everyone can hack it, I have never regretted working through it and to this day I always pass them onto anyone that I teach the Craft to. The exercises provide an excellent primer to serious ritual work and I believe that no Wiccan however experienced could fail to benefit from the course. Mental discipline then, is of paramount importance.

The would-be spell worker should define their goals within a special framework of ethics. Traditionally Wicca teaches that whatever magical forces you transmit through your rituals will return threefold. Most serious Covens will not attempt psychic attack for this reason. The consequences for even attempting this kind of working can be dire indeed.

Similarly money and love spells are a dubious area. Rituals to win the pools or lottery are quite wrong in my view. The Wiccan Crede is “Eight words the Wiccan rede fulfil – an’ it harm none do what you will”. If you perform a spell to win the lottery you are basically working to give yourself an unfair advantage over everyone else who has bought a ticket. You are not physically harming them, but you are certainly harming them in another way. Such a working is therefore against Wiccan law.

Love spells are another grey area. I personally prefer to leave them alone although I acknowledge that they can be justified in some circumstances. Casting spells to win the love of the attractive girl in the office are a blatant attempt to interfere with the free will of another especially if the target is in a relationship that you are trying to break up. Such a spell is pure Left Hand Path and would in any case almost certainly fail.

So can money and love spells be justified at all? In some cases I would say yes. For instance, if a brother and sister were starving or the bailiffs were at their door, then I can’t see that a working to improve their financial situation by fair effort would be out of order. Clearly a degree of discretion is called for when assessing rituals for financial gain. I feel that as long as one sticks to the maxim “need not greed” you will not go far wrong. As for love spells, I have no problems with a single person performing a spell to attract a new partner without naming a specific individual. Similarly if a Coven knew of two people who were attracted to one another but both were painfully shy, I think that few people would say the group were wrong to work a spell to bring them together.

On the subject of Covens, working spells with a group and as a solitary both have their pros and cons. Working with a group it is easier to raise the power and more of it, but the goal worked for is more or less at the discretion of the High Priestess. Furthermore only one member of the group needs to be a little tired or depressed or lose concentration for the whole working to be short circuited. Once again we can see the need for first class concentration and visualisation skills.

Working alone, it is harder to raise the power, but the lone worker is “the boss” as it were, and is in complete control of the ritual. He/she can work for whatever he/she wants; one is not bound by the rules and wishes of a particular Coven and he/she can work whenever is convenient for them, not specifically designated Coven nights. In twenty-six years as a Wiccan initiate, I have only been a Coven member for about five of those years. Personally I have a marked tendency to prefer working alone.

Just how do we know when a ritual has succeeded? This is a difficult question to answer. There is a sort of feeling, a gut feeling or flash of intuition which may tell you that petition has been answered, or some set of circumstances may bring it about that which are so remote or unlikely to have happened without unseen aid. This is the true religious miracle. Similarly when we perform a ritual that works only partially or not at all we often receive signs why it is inappropriate for the wish to be granted at that time. But before writing a ritual off as a failure, always remember that some spells may require several repetitions before any results are observed. in magic, persistence pays.

Magic can be found in virtually every religion there is. Christians pray to God or to Jesus for favours, Roman Catholics go one step further by petitioning saints for aid. Nichires Shoshu Buddhists chant a special formula to bring about changes on a material plane…etc, etc. The Roman Catholic Mass seeks to unite the worshipper with God through the sacrament of communion. Is not union with God the true Great Work, the ultimate magic ritual? The working of magic is a true sacred and special gift/privilege of the Gods. Clearly care must be taken not to abuse it and to use the art ethically, discreetly and with respect. Just as the Gods have given us the gift of spell working, they can just as easily revoke it and take it away. They also have a knack of teaching those who abuse the Craft a sharp and unpleasant lesson if need be!

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Understanding the Kabbalah

Largely due to the interest shown by Esther (The artist formerly known as Madonna), the Kabbalah has received a lot of mainstream media attention of late. It is an integral part of high magic, and yet it is exceptionally difficult to write about concisely, which is why it has taken so long for us to put together a useful section for you, here at PaganNews.com.

madonna
Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

We have been able to pull together some of the key points that you need to know in order to get a basic understanding of this fascinating mystical tradition. However, since we cannot hope to encompass everything you need to know about it in one small article, we have also identified some key books that can help you get a better understanding. You’ll find the reading list at the end of the article.

"Tree of Life 2009 large" by Alan James Garner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Tree of Life 2009 large” by Alan James GarnerOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Kabbalah, Qabala, Qabbalah, Cabala.

The spelling varies because the word, which means ‘Oral tradition’ comes from Hebrew, which is very much a phonetic language. It evolved from Jewish mysticism, which wanted to penetrate the inner mysteries of the Torah – the Jewish Scriptures. The key symbol of the Kabbalah is the Tree of Life, and the Spheres (or Sephiroth) that it contains. Understanding the Kabbalah allows one to understand the true nature of being. Many Wiccan traditions incorporate the study of the Kabbalah into their higher degrees, and it is also central to the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism and Hermeticism.

It is important to understand the Kabbalah because it provides a unified system of theology that in many ways ties quite neatly into current scientific thinking regarding the creation of the Universe.

Basically it goes like this:

In the beginning, there was not even nothing. Not zero, but Null. This was the Ain Soph Aur. Then from that came limitless nothing – the Ain Soph. And in that moment there was a flash of realization, and there was limitless light. And so began the World of Emanation – Atziluth. The Godhead, The Monad, suddenly existed. In order to experience itself it became two – The God and Goddess. And with the knowledge of each other they formed the Supernal Triad, And thus began the world of Creation – Briah. The creation led to the world of Formation (Yetzirah), wherein lay the distinctiveness of individuality. This is the realm of the Gods and Goddesses, or the Archangels and all that live beyond our plane. And it was from here that our plane was manifested – Assiah – The world of Action and Manifestation.

So began the billions of years of expansion and evolution that finally led to a vessel for the Godhead to experience the Material world – Humanity. For in each of us lies the Divine Spirit – the Holy Ghost – The Higher Self. But our animal side makes us forget who we are. We forget we are divine, and so the world’s religions and prayers and spells are our (often unconscious) attempt to reconnect with that.

As we grow and evolve, we begin our movement back up the Tree of Life, but beware – for before we can rejoin with the Godhead completely, we must pass the Abyss (the Sphere of Da’ath) through which we can once again fall back to the Material, if we are unready.

The Triads and Pillars

The Spheres on the Tree of life and grouped into three Triads, with the Earth plane, Malkuth, at the bottom. These Sephiroth are arranged on Three Pillars. the outer pillars are The Black Pillar of Might (On the left) and the White Pillar of Mercy (on the right). These are the Pillars of Boaz and Joab that appeared in Solomon’s Temple, and which are depicted today in many Tarot decks on the card of the High Priestess. In fact you will find much of the imagery in traditional Tarot decks (particularly Rider-Waite decks and Crowley’s Thoth Tarot) are representative of different aspects of the Tree of Life.

The middle, golden pillar of Mildness and Power is a later addition, and is more a path than a true Pillar. One of the key exercises in High Magic is the Middle Pillar Exercise, wherein one vibrates the Divine Names of the Sephiroth on the Middle Pillar as they correspond to key energy points (or chakras) in the body.

The Supernal Triad

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This triad represents the highly abstract emanations of Divinity. This level of the Godhead is so far beyond our experience that it is impossible to truly comprehend. It is the essence of all of us, of all things, and the primal force – the Universal Deity. This triad consists of:

Kether – Crown

Kether is the Root, the Crown, the ‘Primum Mobile’. It is the first state of being. Before Kether, there was nothing. It is the Emanation, which lead to the Creation. Kether is androgynous – neither male or female, and contains the All within in. It is the first realization that says ‘I AM’.

Chokmah – Wisdom

Chokmah is the first idea. The idea of Force, or change. It is the first masculine essence, the first positive polarity. Chokmah is totally without form, simply pure force.

Binah – Understanding

Binah is the counterpart – and counterbalance – of Chokmah. Where Chokmah is the force, Binah is the Form. It is the first feminine, the first negative polairty. Where Chokmah is active, Binah is passive. Binah is the great Mother. It is without force. Neither Binah or Chokmah can exist without the other. One without the other is incomplete.

The Abyss

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Below the Supernal Triad lies the Abyss. The Abyss is called Da’ath, and is not a Sepirah in the true sense. It is rather a marker, representing the fall of mankind – the fall that lead to our forgetting, for Da’ath represents knowledge – knowledge we have lost. It also separates the lower sephiroth from the Supernals, and acts as a barrier through which only that which is truly ready to rejoin with the Godhead can pass.

The Ethical (secondary) Triad

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This Triad echoes the supernal, but contains within it a stronger sense of individuality. It is the realm of the greater gods and archangels. It is here that Might and Mercy are ultimately balanced and tested. This triad consists of

Chesed – Mercy

Chesed is the first sphere of the second triad, the first sphere of actuality. Chesed is Mercy and Love. But unbalanced Mercy is weakness, and so Chesed is balance by Geburah, which is Might.

Geburah – Strength

Where Chesed is Mercy, Geburah is Might. It is Power and Strength, Energy and Courage. Geburah is Severity, but unbalanced severity is cruelty, hence it is balanced by Chesed, the sphere of Mercy.

Tiphareth – Harmony

Tiphareth stands at the center of the tree, and as such represents Harmony, Balance and Beauty. It is called the Lesser Countenance, for it reflects the Divine light of Kether. When one leaves the Outer order of the Golden Dawn, one stands before Tiphareth to commence the Great Work. Tiphareth is Death and Rebirth, being reborn cleansed and purified.

The Lower Triad & Malkuth

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This triad reflects and extends the pattern of the previous triads, adding complexity and a stronger individuality. It is this triad that interacts most directly with the Material plane which is found in the last Sephirah, Malkuth. The Sephiroth of this grouping are

Netzach – Victory

Netzach is Victory, Emotion and Love in all its forms. Netzach is first sphere on the third triad, and it is here where the energy we refer to as the God or the Goddess is split into its different aspects. Netzach is selflessness and altruism and. It is the sephirah of animal drives and passion. It is the Natrual as opposed to the Contrived.

Hod – Splendour

Hod is Glory and Splendor. It is Honesty and Integrity.Hod is sound and the word. It is the circuit, energized by Netzach. Where Netzach is Nature, Hod is Knowledge. It is the artificial and the contrived. Hod is the sephirah of mental faculties, of Intelligence and Reason.

Yesod – Foundation

Yesod is the dark side of the Moon. It is the last sphere of the last triad, and the boundary between the material world and the planes beyond. Yesod rules the cycles of Time and of Nature. It is the phases of the Moon. Yesod is fluid, yet precise. Yesod provides the life force for the Material plane, Malkuth. Yesod is the potential – Malkuth is the realization of that potential.

Finally, we enter the Material Plane

Malkuth – Kingdom

Malkuth is the last sphere on the Tree of Life, and the first from our point of view, for it is where we manifestly exist. Malkuth is the Kingdom, where Kether is the Crown. Here is the plane where the princess resides, both the daughter and Bride of the God. Malkuth is where her journey – our journey – both ends and begins.

Each of these spheres, and the paths between them, correspond to cards in the Tarot deck.  In fact understanding the Qabbalah is an incredibly useful tool to help you learn the mysteries of the Tarot.

To continue your studies further, here are some books we recommend that you may find useful:


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Spells 101

First things first. Hogwarts is a wonderful fictional place that sprung from the creative well of J.K. Rowling’s imagination. It is not real, and you are not Harry Potter.

What Spells are, and what they are not.

If nothing else, spells are intention. They are a focused, directed desire for a change in circumstances for you or someone else.

Spells are often compared to prayers, and that is a reasonable though misleading comparison, because while many spells involve calling up help from a specific deity, others do not. In the sense that both spells and prayers seek for external intervention in the trajectory of events, they are indeed similar.

Spells are not going to break the laws of physics. They are not going to turn someone into a toad. They are not going to turn water into wine, unless part of that spell involves adding grapes to the water and fermenting for a long period of time.

Spells are not going to make you prettier. You know the best glamor spell? An honest smile. Probably the most disarming thing a person can do is smile honestly at someone else. Try it, you’d be amazed.

And this gets to the heart of the matter – spells are no substitute for doing real work in the real world. If someone is hungry, make them a sandwich. If they are cold, give them a blanket. If you’re too far away to do any of those things, then by all means, send them love and good energy.

A real witch knows that knowledge, common sense and experience and more magical than any ritual or spell and are far more useful attributes to have.

However, before we can do anything in the world of any use, we need to be clear about our intentions, and in that regard, spells can be useful for helping create that clarity and focus.




Preparing for Spell work

Before performing any spell, first ask yourself these questions, which basically summarize the information above.

    • Can I achieve the same result without magic?

      Magic should always be your last resort, not your first. There are often more practical ways to achieve the same result!

       

    • What is the purpose of this Spell?

      You should be very clear on what you are looking for. Write it down, in the form of the outcome. Do not write, for example ‘I want a lot of money’. You may find that what you end up with is the desire for money, and not the money itself. Instead, phrase it thus ‘I have all the money I need.’ This is the desired outcome – to arrive at that state. Be clear in your mind of the outcome, and the outcome will be more likely to occur the way you want it.
    • Is what I am asking for impossible?

      Contrary to popular belief, spells (and prayers for that matter) cannot break Universal Law. They can appear to, by producing an improbable outcome. But that is not the same as an impossible one.

Now that you’ve got all that out of the way, you should cleanse and purify yourself and your working space. Take a bath. Meditate. Clear your mind and body of anything that can interfere with the intention of your working. Sage is a great tool for cleansing spaces, and we will talk about smudging in a later article.

Think about the purpose of your spell, and start pulling together components that can help it come together. Sympathetic magic uses the energy of things that resonate with what you seek. Colors, scents, similar objects and so on.

In Weird Science, Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) try to create the perfect woman. The bras on their head are a rather bizarre example of sympathetic magic.
In Weird Science, Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) try to create the perfect woman. The bras on their head are a rather bizarre example of sympathetic magic.

The following example spells include correspondences that are in resonance with the desired outcome. By pulling all this together, you are creating a very powerful intention.

Spell for Abundance

Abundance spells are associated with the following deities:

    • The Olympian Deity Hecate/Carmenta (Goddess of the Crossroads) – A suitable offering would be Honey, Pomegranate.
    • The Celtic Deity Brighid (Goddess of Fire, Healing and Smithcraft) – A suitable offering would be Fire, Coins, Blackberries.
    • The Celtic Deity Dagda (The Good God)
    • The Celtic Deity Llyr (God of the Sea)

      Each of these Gods has their own needs in terms of offerings, colors and the best time to work with them. The spell itself (in this case Abundance), also has its own special energies which should be attended to. Unless otherwise stated, spells grow in power between the new and full moon (waxing) and reduce in power during waning moons.

      For Abundance spells, the best day to perform the spell is Sunday, since Sunday is associated with Abundance. (In fact it is associated with all of these: health, abundance, healing, confidence and hope, prosperity).

      You should also be sure to use the right herbs, candles, perfumes and incense for your ritual. For your Abundance ritual, the following would be appropriate, in addition to any offerings you wish to make to the chosen deity:

      Correspondences for Abundance
      Incense: Mastic, Palaginia, Pepper, Dragons Blood
      Planets: Sun
      Incense: heliotrope, orange blossom, cloves, frankincense,
      Candles: Green, Gold
      Herbs: Jasmine Flowers, Cinnamon, Yellowdock Root,

Remember to check the needs of the Gods and Goddesses you intend to work with also, and include appropriate offerings for them.

Every Tradition has its own method of ritual construction, so you will have to decide how best to incorporate all the above elements into your calls, casting, purification and offerings. All these elements help to raise the cone of power, and focus the attention of the deities, the elemental forces and you, on the matter at hand. Finally we come to the spell itself. Here is a Abundance spell you can use for this ritual:

Spell for Abundance

You will Need:

  • A Green Pen
  • A Check from YOUR checkbook.

    Write a check to yourself. In the amount field, put Paid in Full. Sign the Check: The Law of Abundance.
    Put the check somewhere safe.

That’s it! The universe works on its own timeframe. The last and most important ingredient in any spell should be patience.


For Love spells, the best day to perform the spell is Friday, since Friday is associated with Love. (In fact it is associated with all of these: Love, friendships, affection, partnerships, money, sex).

Friday also happens to be the favored day of the Goddess Aphrodite/Venus , the Goddess Hathor , the Goddess Freya , the Goddess Frigg/Frigga , the God Eros/Cupid , the Goddess Brighid , the Goddess Asherah , the Goddess Inanna/Ishtar , the more the spell and deity have in common, the better!
You should also be sure to use the right herbs, candles, perfumes and incense for your ritual. For your Love ritual, the following would be appropriate, in addition to any offerings you wish to make to the chosen deity:

Correspondences for Love
Incense: China Rain, Gardenia, Jasmine, Lavender, Musk, Rose
Planets: Venus
Perfumes: Stephanotis, apple blossom, musk, ambergris
Candles: Red
Herbs: Cinnamon, Vervain, Mistletoe

Remember to check the needs of the Gods and Goddesses you intend to work with also, and include appropriate offerings for them.
Every Tradition has its own method of ritual construction, so you will have to decide how best to incorporate all the above elements into your calls, casting, purification and offerings. All these elements help to raise the cone of power, and focus the attention of the deities, the elemental forces and you, on the matter at hand. Finally we come to the spell itself.

You will need:

  • A Fresh Onion
  • Potting Soil
  • A Pot to plant the onion in
  • Water

    Place the soil in the pot, plant the onion in the soil, so that only the tip peeks out. As you do this, repeat over and over:
    As this onion grows, so does {their name}’s love for me.
    When the ritual is completed, place the onion near a window but away from direct sunlight, and water lightly every two or three days.

    When you have completed the spell, thank the gods and carry out your normal closing ceremonies.


These are just a couple of examples. You will find more in the following books.


Finally, one word about negative energy spells. Don’t. There is no benefit in casting spells that have the intention of hurting others, because doing so weakens you, and does little or nothing to those you seek to affect. Better to consider releasing them from your life altogether and moving forward in Love.

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Performing a Ritual

True Magic is knowledge, and experience. It is doing what needs to be done, helping those you can, comforting those you can’t, protecting those who need it, and giving voice to those who have none. That is the real magic that changes the world. That is the Pagan Way – honoring the Earth and every living thing in it.

Sometimes, however we may feel a need to perform a ritual, whether it is simply to honor the Sabbats and Esbats, or to perform a marriage or celebrate a birth, and occasionally to walk those who are passing to the next world.

Rituals can be used for other things too, but before you perform any ritual, ask yourself if there is a simpler, more direct way to reach your goal? If you still need to perform a ritual, then this guide should help you.

What is the Purpose?

When preparing a ritual its purpose and method of execution must be clearly defined. The ritual should be carefully choreographed ahead of time, partly to avoid confusion, partly to ensure clarity of purpose, but mostly out of respect for the deities and spiritual watchers that will be expected to sit through it! The Priest and Priestess will normally confer and prepare an appropriate ritual once the purpose has been decided upon, then share it with the other key players within the ritual who will be responsible for ensuring its smooth execution. This typically includes the Summoner and the Handmaiden, and any other people that will primarily involved in the rite (for example the bride and groom in a hand-fasting).

Charge of the Summoner

The Summoner, or “Fetch” as he is often called, is used to communicate between covens, to protect the circle and its participants, and to challenge those who would enter the circle. Typically, he will carry a staff and will thump it on the ground three times at the start of the ritual, and ask each person (except the Priest, Priestess and handmaiden) their name, and how they intend to behave during the ritual. This has evolved into ‘What is your name and how do you enter?’. When challenged, you may provide your birth name, given name, chosen name or secret name. The answer to the question ‘how do you enter?’ should be short and honest, and should reflect your state of mind. ‘With perfect love and perfect trust’ is a common response to give, but make sure you understand what that means – a state of mind without expectations, prejudices or dis-ease.

Here is a typical Summoner’s Charge, which is spoken by the Summoner after calling people to attention.

“THE PRESENCE OF THE GODDESS EXTENDS EVERYWHERE
THROUGH MANY STANGE, MAGICKAL AND BEAUTIFUL WORLDS.
TO ALL PLACES OF WILDERNESS, ENCHANTMENT AND FREEDOM.
THE GOD IS WITH US THROUGH ALL OF OUR LIVES
WHEREVER WE FIND OURSELVES, HE IS THERE, GUIDING AND PROTECTING.
FOR WE HAVE ASKED:
LET THE PAGANS DWELL TOGETHER IN LOVE & UNITY,
IN LOYALTY & TRUST
THINKING NO EVIL OF ONE ANOTHER
LET COMPASSION TEMPER JUSTICE,
AND LET JUSTICE BALANCE COMPASSION
BE SERENE & DILIGENT,
WISE & TEMPERATE,
SECURE & STRONG
FOR THERE IS A BLESSING ON ALL WHO WORSHIP THE HORNED GOD AND THE MOTHER GODDESS.
ENTER NOW, WHO WILL DO SO
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE CIRCLE.”

The summoner then asks each person:

“WHAT IS YOUR NAME AND HOW DO YOU ENTER?”

Besom Sweep

The handmaiden has many duties. She will greet and annoint those whom the Summoner has permitted to enter the circle. She assists in preparation and execution of the ritual, and sweeps the ground to sanctify it for the rite ahead. As she travels around the circle sweeping, it is common practice for her to touch the heel of those who have gathered, to sweep any evil or negative energy from them.

This is a traditional Besom Sweep chant, spoken by the handmaiden as she sweeps the circle

Besom, besom long and lithe
Made from ash and willow withe
Tied with thongs of willow bark
In running stream at moonset dark.
With a pentagram in dighted
As the ritual fire is lighted;
Sweep ye circle, deosil,
Sweep out evil, sweep out ill.
Make the round of the ground
Where we do the Lady’s will.
Besom, besom, Lady’s broom
Sweep out darkness, sweep out doom
Rid ye Lady’s hallowed ground
Of demons, imps, and Hell’s red hound.
Then set ye down on Her green earth
By running stream or Mistress hearth,
Til called once more on Moon or Sabbat night
To cleanse once more the dancing site

Quarters/Watchtowers

Some call them Quarters, others Watchtowers, or Guardians or Elementals. In any event they represent the four elements, and in some cases the fifth element – Spirit. Their energies are brought into the circle to provide depth, power, balance and witnesses to the proceedings. Each quarter is usually offered something representing their domain, e.g. incense for air, a candle for fire, water for water (strangely enough) and salt for earth. Some traditions use candles, or an offering to a specific deity that has dominion over that element.

Since we’re starting to move into oathbound territory, we’re not going to provide examples for these next few sections (sorry), however there are plenty of books that you can find some powerful calls in to use. A couple we recommend are by Raymond Buckland:

God/Goddess Calls

The Priest and Priestess typically call upon the God and Goddess to join their rite. Sometimes it is a generic call to ‘Our Lord God’ and ‘Our Lady Goddess’. In other cases, depending on the coven or Sabbat, specific deities may be called. In some traditions this is also known as the Charge of the God/Goddess. It is also quite common to recognize that one deity may have different names in different pantheons (Cerridwyn, Persephone etc) and call on all their aspects as the circle is cast.

Blessing

The ritual food is blessed by the priest and priestess. This usually consists of wine or ale, cakes or bread, or items suitable to the ritual or sabbat. Once blessed, it is normally passed around between all those in the circle, so each may partake of the offering. Once this is complete, the remainder is usually placed in a libation bowl and then offered to the gods.

Raising Energy
Depending on the purpose of the ritual, it is common to use the combined energies of all those in the circle to add power to the rite. This is why the manner in which you enter the circle is important. A chant is frequently used to achieve this energy raising, often while the priest and priestess are performing the working that forms the focal point of the ritual. The chants are usually repeated over and over, slowly and quietly at first then louder and faster, until then energy reaches the appropriate level to ‘power’ the workings.

This example of a power chant is quite commonly heard at public rituals:

Air, I am.
Fire, I am.
Water, Earth and Spirit,
I am.

Dismissal

Once the deities have departed, the elements (quarters, watchtowers etc). Are then also dismissed. Again, they are thanked for their presence and then bid farewell.
This method varies from tradition to tradition, and again some people get a bit touchy about oath-bound stuff (a debate for another article perhaps).

Opening the Circle

With all non-physical entities now departed from the circle, the Priest or Priestess will perform an appropriate action to signify that the circle is open once more.

A typical ritual may end with all present speaking a brief closing poem or song, like this commonly used one:

The circle is open , but unbroken,
May the peace of the Goddess and God
Go in our hearts,
Merry meet, and merry part.
And merry meet again. Blessed beThis rite is ended. So mote it be.

All are then free to depart from the ritual.


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