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Litha – June 21st

Litha is the Summer Solstice. It occurs on or about the 21st of June, when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer, thereby marking MidSummer. On this longest day of the year, the Sun God is at the peak of his power. Like Samhain, Litha is a day when the boundaries between the worlds are thin, when mortals have strange experiences, and when otherworlders travel in our plane.

Litha is also the traditional time of year to harvest your herbs and flowers, especially St. John’s wort, either to hang in your home as protection or to tie onto the wicker man as a symbol of a wish that you want carried into the next world. Ideally, you should cut your herbs with a scythe or boline, by moonlight, and chant the appropriate purpose for which each plant will be used. Leave an offering for the rest of the plant, don’t harvest more than a third of the plant – the rest will remain healthy and vigorous.

Beltane was the festival of union between the God and Goddess, and so it was seen as unlucky to marry in May. But often as a result of the Beltane festivities, many young maidens found they weren’t maidens any more, and indeed were on their way to becoming mothers! Because of this, June became a popular month for marriage. The Full moon in June is called the ‘Honey Moon’, because it as this time that honey is harvested from bee hives. The night after marriage thus became the ‘Honeymoon’.

Made from Honey, Mead is the traditional drink for Summer Solstice, and an excellent recipe for making mead can be found here.

If you don’t want to make mead, here is a simpler recipe for

Honey Apple iced tea:
4 black tea bags

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • lemon slicesMakes 6 to 8 servings
    In a 2 quart pot, brew tea bags in boiling water. Remove bags, add
    honey and apple juice. Stir well. Pour over ice.

Beltane – May 1st

“The May-pole”

The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I’ll drink to the garlands around it:
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.

A health to my girls,
Whose husbands may Earls
Or Lords be, (granting my Wishes)
And when that ye wed
To the bridal bed,
Then multiply all, like fishes.

Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674)

“Beltane” meaning “bright fire” is also known as May Eve, May Day and Walpurgis Night. It is the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

  • Beltane herbs: Almond, Belladonna, Clover, Frankincense, Hawthorn
  • Beltane colors: Red, white, green, dark yellow, all the colors of the rainbow!
  • Beltane offerings: sacred wood and dried herbs burned in Beltane fires
  • Beltane is a time to honor Artemis/Diana,Pan, Bel, Creiddylad.

It is the celebration of the glory of spring at its height – a festival of sensuality and fertility. The God and Goddess are represented by the May King and Queen, and the tradition of dancing ’round the maypole represents their unity – the pole being the God and the ribbons the Goddess, wrapped around him.

Some covens choose this sabbat to go Skyclad, so make sure you check and are comfortable with the dress (or undress) code before attending!

It is also traditional to perform the Great Rite to bless your land on May’s Eve.

Beltane is a fun festival, usually associated with lots of singing and dancing, fire jumping and raucous behavior – it was seen as a brief respite from toil when winter was now only a memory and the summer and harvests were but a few months away. It is the last of the Spring fertility festivals and the most joyous.

Beltane Recipes

One of the traditional meats that was served at Beltane feasts in the lands of the ancient Celts was most likely pork.
In fact sheep are still the predominant livestock in Ireland of today. Apples are also a popular fruit of Beltane.
So I hope that you enjoy the recipe below.

Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Apples

3 whole, boneless fresh pork tenderloins, about 1 3/4 lbs.
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. corn, peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp. dried or chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 onion, about 1/4 lb., peeled and cut in half crosswise
8 red, waxy potatoes, about 1 lb.
2 Golden Delicious apples
1/4 c. fresh or canned chicken broth
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Put the corn oil in a pan large enough to hold the whole tenderloins in one layer. Sprinkle with rosemary and turn the pork in the mixture to coat it all over. Place on top of the stove. Arrange the onion, cut side down, around the pork. Heat the pork, turning to make certain the pieces do not stick. Cook until the pieces are lightly browned all over. Place them in the oven.
3. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.
4. Peel, core and quarter the apples as the potatoes cook.
5. Drain the potatoes and arrange them around the meat. Turn the pork and continue baking for total of 30 minutes.
6. At the end of that time, scatter the apple quarters around the meat and return the pan to the oven. Continue baking 15 minutes.
7. Remove the meat to a warm serving platter. Add the broth to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Cut the pork into crosswise pieces and serve with the potatoes, apples and the sauce spooned over. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. courtesy of

Another great idea for dinner on Beltane is mead. But since it is alcoholic it is not always acceptable to everyone and is off limits to kids. So why not try a non-alcoholic mead?

Soft (non-alcoholic) Mead
4 cups spring water
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced

Bring the water, honey, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon to a boil in a non-metallic pan. Stir until honey is dissolved; heaviness should disappear from bottom of the pan. Use wooden spoon to skim off skin that forms at top of brew. Add lemon and orange slices, squeezing as they are placed in the pan. Cool completely; strain. Store in bottle in refrigerator. courtesy of

Ostara – The return of Spring and New Life!

OSTARA (pronounced O-STAR-ah, also known as Lady Day or Alban Eiler) is one of the Lesser Sabbats, and is usually celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox around March 21. Other names by which this Sabbat may be known are Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Alban Eilir, Festival of the Trees, and Lady Day. The Christian holiday of Easter is very near this same time, and is determined as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 – Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venusand Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eostre (aka Eastre and Ostara). Second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations and attempted to convert them to Christianity. As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense to the christian church, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

In the Pagan Wheel of the Year, this is the time when the great Mother Goddess, again a virgin at Candlemas, welcomes the young Sun God unto her and conceives a child of this divine union. The child will be born nine months later, at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
The Great Rite, symbolic of the sexual union between God and Goddess began to be enacted on Ostara. The positive effect of this rite, a form of sympathetic magic helped to bring fertility to the land and people and the animals.

Easter Eggs

In ancient times the return of the birds meant an important protein source had returned. The ability to find eggs in the fields and forest often meant the difference between health and hunger in the lean days before the harvest.

The festival of the Thesmophoria – sometimes called the Eleusinian Mysteries – lasted between three and ten days. Each day of the festival had a different name and included specific rituals.

A highlight of the festival was a procession from Athens to Eleusis which was led by a crowd of children known as ephebi. The ephebi assisted in carrying the hiera (sacred objects) including an egg (Easter eggs), and in pulling a statue of Dionysus as a boy (Iacchos). The children also assisted in the ceremonial cleansing of the initiates (candidates of the mystery religion) in the sea.

Upon arriving at Eleusis the women organized the first day of the celebration (anodos) by building temporary shelters and electing the leaders of the camp. On the second day (nesteia) they initiated the Greater Mysteries which, according to myth, produced the cult’s magical requests (a fertile harvest). Such mysteries included a parody of the abduction and rape of Persephone, and the positioning of the female devotees upon the ground weeping (in the role of Demeter for her daughter), and fasting for the return of Persephone (the return of spring). The setting upon the ground and fasting was also intended to mystically transfer the “energies” of the women into the ground, and thus into the fall seeds. Not suprisingly, the festival was held during the time of the fall planting, so as to nearly guarantee a positive response to the cult’s magic.

On the fifth day of the festival the participants drank a special grain mixture called kykeon (a symbol of Persephone) and ate Easter (Ostara) eggs in an attempt to assimilate the spirit of the goddess. The idea was to produce an incarnated blessing of fertility, both of the crops and of children.

Instructions for an Ostara Egg Hunt

  • Make natural egg dyes from herbs.Color hard boiled eggs and add symbols for the Fertility God, the Goddess, the Sun God, unity, fire, water, agriculture, prosperity and growth, strength and wisdom, spring, love and affection, and protection.
  • Consecrate the eggs:In the name of the Goddess of Spring, (name); and the ever-returning God of the Sun, (name); By the powers of the four elements — earth, air, fire, and water; I do consecrate these eggs of Ostara..Point the athame at the eggs, make the sign of the pentagram, and see the energy flow through the blade into the eggs, and say:

    New life lies within as new life shall enter the soil. Let those who seek this life find it and consume it, for all life feeds on life.
    The eggs may be hidden and an Ostara Egg Hunt commences.


    Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now. The most common colors associated with Ostara are lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. Other appropriate colors include grass green, all pastels, Robin’s egg blue, violet, and white.

    Stones to use during the Ostara celebration include aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone. Animals associated with Ostara are rabbits and snakes. Mythical beasts associated with Ostara include unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus. Plants and herbs associated with Ostara are crocus flowers, daffodils, jasmine, Irish moss, snowdrops, and ginger.

    For Ostara incense, you could make a blend from any of the following scents or simply choose one… jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.


    Foods in tune with this sabbat include eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

    Herbs & Flowers

    Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers.

    Special Activities

  • Planting seeds or starting a Magickal Herb Garden.
  • Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.
  • Make hot cross buns to honor the union of the earth and the sun for Spring. Slash the “X” with the bolline and bless the cakes.
  • Toss crushed eggshells into the garden and say:For fairy, for flowers, for herbs in the bowers, The shells pass fertility with springtime flowers.
  • Wear green clothing.
  • Eat an egg you have empowered with a quality you desire.


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

Imbolc Recipes
By Patrick McCleary


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

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

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

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


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

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.

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

Everett Collection /

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


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


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


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


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:

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.

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 summoner then asks each person:


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


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.


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.


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.

Samhain – October 31st

At Samhain, the Sun God, having died at Mabon (September 23) and having returned to the womb of the Great Mother, grows strong and awaits his rebirth at Yule. This begins the time of the greatest darkness, the time of the Crone, the ancient Queen of Death. In the natural world, life is decaying into death, returning nutrients to the soil that will bring life again in spring.

  • Samhain herbs: Acorn/Oak, Apple, Corn, Dittany of Crete, Hazel, Nightshade, Fumitory,mugwort, Allspice, Sage, Gourds, Catnip, Apple trees.
  • Samhain colors: Orange, black and brown.
  • Samhain offerings: Apples, pumpkin pie, beets, turnips, hazelnuts, corn, gingerbread, pomegrantates, cider, herbal teas, pork dishes.
  • Samhain is a time to honorHecate/Carmenta, Anubis, Isis, Nephthys, Osiris,Hel, Arawn, Don, Merlin, Morrigan, Idunna,Winter_King, Cailliach.

The celebration of Samhain (pronounced in proper Gaelic: “sow-in”) came from the Celtic peoples many centuries ago. This yearly festival was adopted by the Roman invaders, who helped to propagate it throughout the rest of the world (and at that time, the Roman Empire was the world). The word “Halloween” itself actually comes from a contraction of All Hallows Eve, or All Saint’s Day (November 1), which is a Catholic day of observance in honour of saints.

It’s a time which is thought to be when the division between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. Samhain was considered to be a gateway not only from the land of the dead to the land of the living, but also between Summer and Fall/Winter. For the Druids, this was the last gasp of summer (it was also the Celtic New Year), so therefore they made sure it went out with a bang before they had to button down for the winter ahead.

According to Irish folklore, there once lived a man named Jack who was known for being a drunk and a prankster. One night Jack tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and quickly carved an image of a cross on the trunk, trapping the devil. Jack then made him promise that, in exchange for letting him out of the tree, the Devil would never tempt him to sin again. He reluctantly agreed, but was able to exact his revenge upon Jack’s death. Because of his mischevious ways in life, Jack was barred from entering heaven and because of his earlier trick, he was also barred from hell. So he was doomed to wander the earth until the end of time, with only a single ember (carried in a hollowed out turnip) to warm him and light his way.

Ritual of Samhain

This ritual comes from the neo celtic tradition, Inis Glas Thoir and was written by John Gibson

Items needed:

Cauldron & heatproof base
Bi/le image
Salt for Mana/nnan
Grain for Danu
Honey for Bi/le
Milk & bread for the land spirits
Milk jug
Libation bowl
White pillar candle
Birch scented oil
Incense burner & incense
Votive candles & candle holders
Images of ancestors & dead
Ritual feast
Plates for deities & ancestors
Suitable music
Tarot & other divinatory tools
Two or three people to perform the ritual

The altar table is set at the head of the dining table, with the altar cloth, the Cauldron of Hospitality and the image of Bi/le. When all are assembled, the Cauldron is lit.

R1: Three cauldrons that are in every fort: the cauldron of motion, the cauldron of warmth, the cauldron of guests. Tonight we welcome you into our home, and light the cauldron of hospitality, which contains all these three. (lights cauldron) We are come to
celebrate the new year and to remember those who have gone into the Otherworlds before us.

R2: Tonight we call upon the spirits of this place, of the Duwamish, of Seattle, of the land all around us to be at peace with us, and to walk lightly among us. We call upon the spirits of rivers, oceans, mountains, and forests to be at peace with us and to walk
lightly among us. We call upon the land spirits to accept our offerings on this, the night of the new year. (Each person pours out milk and breaks bread into the libation bowl. Each person says:) May the land spirits bless us in this new year.

R3: On this night, the ancestors walk abroad. The gates between the worlds are open wide. We call upon our ancestors, those known and unknown, to come among us and celebrate our reunion on this night of Samhain. We call upon our loved ones who have passed into the
House of Donn to come and feast with us tonight. We call upon the Mighty Dead to assemble here and be remembered.

R2: Mana/nnan, a thiarna, Lord of Mists, Gatekeeper, you who lead the dead from the House of Donn into the Plain of Delight, be with us this night and guide the Mighty Dead through the gates to join us in our rite. (Each person tastes salt.)

R1: Danu, mo bandia, Mother of Gods, Mother of Rivers, you who embrace the dead as they leave our world for the House of Donn, be with us this night and support the Mighty Dead
as they join with us in our rite. (Each person tastes grain.)

R3: Bi/le, a thiarna, Tree of Life, Lord of Death, you who rule the dead on the Plain of Delight, be with us this night and guard the Mighty Dead as they join us in our rite.
(Each person tastes honey.)

Recipes for Samhain – Fruits and vegetables
By Patrick McCleary

There are a few fruits and vegetables that are traditional for Samhain, besides pumpkin that is. A few of these are squash, and apples. Nuts are also traditional for this time of the year. It is the time of the last harvest and so those things that we associate with late fall are the foods we will be wanting to prepare. So here are a few recipes for you to enjoy:

Apple nut Stuffing in Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 6 slices of white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. each rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4 dried apple rings, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup warmed milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsps. butter

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Prepare squash, set aside.
3.In a medium bowl, toss together bread and spices, set aside.
4.In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tsp. butter until melted. Add chopped apple rings and nuts. Saute until apple is slightly softened and nuts are golden in color.
5.Add apple and nut mixture to bread mixture.
6.Add warmed milk and salt and pepper to taste.
7.Dot squash halves with butter.
8.Scoop stuffing into hollow squash halves
9.Put squash halves on a baking sheet, brush lightly with butter, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
10.Squash will be ready when soft and fragrant
Clear Sight Carrots

  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon; stir until the carrots are well-coated.

Samhain Pumpkin Bread

Personally I have never been a fan of pumpkin flavored anything, but since this the most prevalent food of this season, I figured I would give it another try. So I went to the store and bought a small pie pumpkin. A small one that weighed like two pounds or so. I then chopped the pumpkin in half and gave a half to each of the kids for them to scrape out the seeds and the strings, which I had to help them with. I then baked each half for about an hour at 350 degrees. Then, when cool, the kids got their half back to scrape out the flesh of the pumpkin from within the shell. The recipe we used for pumpkin bread is as follows:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree, packed

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
2. Add the eggs and mix well.
3. Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.
4. Stir in prepared pumpkin.
5. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until bread tests done.

Now that I have baked this bread, I must say that my palette has truly changed. I actually enjoyed the pumpkin and am planning on buying a larger pumpkin this week to make more of this fantastic bread. I must tell you that the two pound pumpkin only yielded me about 3 cups of usable pumpkin puree, so if you are planning on making more than a couple of loafs you will want either more pumpkins or a larger one.


Mabon – September 21st

As the summer draws to a close, we are once again brought to the time of Mabon. The second harvest ritual of the year, Mabon is also the Autumnal equinox, and one of the times of the year when day equals night. In times of old the farmers would harvest by moonlight to avoid the insufferable heat of the day, hence the phrase “harvest moon”. This is also around the time of year when livestock was slaughtered so meats were plentiful. Of course the colors of this sabbat are in correspondence with nature, warm colors, gold tones, rich warm reds, yellows and oranges.

  • Mabon herbs: Acorn/Oak Benzoin, Fern, Grains, Honeysuckle, Marigold, Milkweed, Myrrh, Passionflower, Rose, Sage, Solomon’s Seal, Thistle, Vegetables
  • Mabon colors: Gold, rich, red, yellow, orange
  • Mabon offerings: Grains, meats fruits of the harvest
  • Mabon is a time to honor Apollo,Demeter/Ceres, Dionysus/Bacchus, Hathor, Thor,Gabriel, Gaia/Tellus.

This ritual is one in which we will give thanks to the Gods for the bountiful harvest of this year, but also evaluate the year that has past and decide what you will “harvest” and keep with you, and what it is best to give back to the earth. It is a time to seek out that balance and mirror nature, work towards an equilibrium in your life, shed those things that are weighing you down. In a Mabon ritual you may expect to find homage to a dying God who knows his time with us will soon draw to a temporary close, dying at Samhain to be reborn of the Goddess at Yule. You may also see depictions of the Goddess becoming her crone aspect and leaving the earth for the winter such as enactments of the Goddess Persephone going down to spend the next few months in the underworld. Themes that dominate and those of storing and preparing for the winter and lean times, reflection and then relaxation and preparations to enjoy another winter by the hearth. Mabon is also a time for feasting, friends and family, a time of abundance and plenty. And, of course we must keep in mind the aspects of festival and celebration of nature, and remember to be free and love the earth and all that surrounds us.