Category Archives: Finding your Path

Allies of the Wild Earth

In my local woods the sunlight glows vivid through the leaves of downy birch and slants, golden, through the gaps between the pines. Where the earth steams and the buzzards call overhead, the spirits I meet have faces but no names. Sometimes they appear as guides, delivering a euphoric moment or a much-needed catharsis. Other times a new sigil appears in the form of a snapped-off piece of twig and I know exactly who has sent it. For me, nature is the source of life, magic and spirit. She is also my greatest inspiration, my safest refuge and my best friend.


Let’s be honest. The human world of the 21st Century has no great love for nature. Whether or not we choose to recycle or use energy saving bulbs in our homes, every day we are forced to interact with the toxic, extractive and wasteful industries upon which our economy is based. As I write, mountaintops are being removed for the coal underneath, people are being maimed and arrested for opposing a dangerous oil pipeline and the Pacific is becoming an irradiated soup of discarded plastic junk. A climate change denier sits in the White House, doing everything in his power to reverse what scant legal protections have been afforded the natural world. We are saturated with surplus and hemorrhaging waste. Humanity’s great battle to tame and reshape the Earth has reached the level of ecocide.

Out of Hiding

Enlightened non-attachment is a fashionable philosophy within New Age circles. However, in this desperate state of affairs, silence equates to compliance. I believe that as pagans, witches, animists and energy workers we no longer have the luxury of fence-sitting. It’s time for us to recognize that drawing power from nature whilst continuing to live high-Co2 lifestyles sustains a one-sided relationship with our sacred planet. The natural world is a place of beauty and the source of our strength, but too few of us are willing to actually step out from behind our altars to defend it. If she’s worth our reverence, she’s worth our allegiance.

It is time to come out of hiding, but for many of us this will go against our fundamental instincts. Globally, pagan and shamanic traditions have never been well-treated by the newer monotheistic organized religions. As a European practitioner I am constantly aware that my culture’s dislocation from its landscape is the product of an ultimately successful campaign of religious and misogynistic persecution designed to fracture rural community spirit, that ultimately paved the way for land enclosure and industrialization. The psychic resonance of our ancestors’ disenfranchisement and the violence directed at our spiritual forebears has left us wary, encouraging private or even secret practice to this day. However, by rendering ourselves invisible we are depriving the Earth and its defenders of our potential as allies and decreasing the likelihood that future generations will have natural energies to connect to. As energy workers we could be a powerful, possibly essential part of events to come.

Towards an Active Ecological Shamanism

From my vantage point in the UK, I am profoundly struck by the role of Native American spiritualities in some of the ecological struggles of North America. Although I have not been able to visit Sacred Stone camp, it is clear that land rights and ecological action are more powerful when backed-up by a genuine shamanic tradition with deep roots in the landscape. When colonizers and business interests get stuck into a place they show equal disregard to the ecology, indigenous access to land and the spiritual resonance between local people and their natural habitat. This applies equally in contexts as diverse as the Industrial Revolution in the UK, the frontier genocide of the Americas and the present-day struggles of indigenous Amazonians against international oil and logging interests. For humans maintaining both a material and spiritual connection to nature, these three issues are actually the same thing and must be dealt with holistically, rather than separately.

For Europeans, even more so. Industrialization, land enclosure and the crusade against paganism all started here. It is crucial that our spiritual practice addresses the alienating effects of our cultural dislocation. For European practitioners, perhaps it is doubly important that we are out there, not just confining our magick to our isolated homes.

However, our economically-enforced participation in the capitalist system keeps working-age adults largely disconnected from all three aspects of the struggle. As a result, frontline ecological movements are often characterized by a turnover of young idealists and a general lack of wise, experienced older participants. In occupied forests and protest camps across the world, we are creating new tribes based on equality between individuals and reverence for nature. But without our elders, we are struggling.

Spirit Warriors

I regret that this article is written from such a eurocentric perspective, however it is mainly the European pagan community that I intend to address. Within that community, we are facing a trap. Many of our more ancient European pagan religions, particularly the Norse and Celtic ones, originate from warlike societies with strong warrior traditions. Increasingly, I am encountering individuals who identify their pagan spirituality with a highly idealized take on their North European heritage and a worrying national-socialist sentiment. Despite having been fully and disastrously explored in the last century, such attitudes are actually missing the point. Supremacism according to race or gender creates a thematically similar hierarchy to the supremacy of humans over nature, which should be fundamentally at odds with any pagan belief system. As pagans we need to guard against any tendency towards nostalgia, ethnic division and violent, fascist leanings. Such elements only divide us from others across the world who are facing the same ecological destruction. Like it or not, we are not Vikings anymore. We are part of an interconnected global humanity.

However, there is still merit in the concept of the warrior. Whether in la ZAD or the Amazon, the modern day tribal warriors are not soldiers, but campaigners. Those who take on the cause of their neighbors and local ecologies, pitting themselves against state and corporate violence in order to affect change. Shamanic and pagan spiritualities can play a stabilizing, strengthening and motivating role amongst today’s warriors by encouraging unity, evoking catharsis, healing trauma and preventing burnout. Equally, for those unable to dedicate themselves in this way for whatever reason, spiritual practice can be used to strengthen the ecological movement as a whole, through intention, ritual and consciousness-raising. However each of us is able to contribute, it is important that we do so.

If we are to continue to exist on this planet, humanity needs a practical magick; a harmonious two-way relationship with the wild Earth. As pagans, witches and shamans we already know this and should now manifest our full power behind the environmental movement. Let’s build an active ecological shamanism, comprising psychic affinity groups of spirit warriors, supported by their elders, allied across continents and embedded in the landscape.

This Connection is Worth Defending

In another woodland one night not so long ago, the tribe was awake. As the red shadow of the Earth crept across the lunar surface high above, cries went up and torches were set alight. Under a gigantic blood moon, silhouettes howled through the treeline and shadows danced to the flicker of flame. Beating the bounds that night, we could not have known how soon the eviction would come. In a few short months, a property developer would unleash devastating violence upon the trees, gardens and scrub; this idyllic habitat of skylark, kestrel and wild boar. Although our wards were strong and our sigils were set, there were just too few boots on the ground. Now we are scattered to the four directions, but for all of us there will be a next time. Perhaps we will see you out there too.

“Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of The Celtic Goddess” by Courtney Weber

I have to admit then when I first picked up this book my first thoughts were “oh no, not another book about my beloved Brigid” Being from UK and with Irish roots I have a great affinity with the Celtic Goddess and was a little wary of what I may find. Hadn’t it all been written about before in the many books I had on my shelves?

I had not finished chapter one “Who is Brigid?” before I realized that the author Courtney Weber had researched Brigid extremely well and also had a great love for her. She discusses in great detail the different roles that Brigid/Brig/Brid/Brigantia/Brigette has had all over the world. How she was, and still is, “The Exalted One” in Ireland and how she became St Brigit after the Christianization of the emerald isle.

As I read on, captivated by the author’s obvious love for her subject, I discovered associations with the oak – which is my favorite tree – and the raven which for obvious reasons is my favorite bird. There are references to myths and legends as to the origins of Brigid. I appreciated the author’s acknowledgment and honesty when she says that she is not an expert in Iwa Maman Brigitte and the Caribbean culture surrounding this version of the Goddess. But she does refer to her personal experiences in the back streets of New Orleans searching for images of Brigid. For readers interested in this persona the author recommends other books to read. I did not realize that Brigitte is the only Goddess in this culture who is white skinned with red hair.

There are several relevant photos in the book that, although black and white, show sacred wells, rivers, artifacts, rituals, images, statues and crafts. The author has extensive personal knowledge of “Brigid the Healer” and “Brigid the Bard” as she was a guide for several years of the sacred sites of Ireland, and so the photos are mainly from her own camera.

The spells and rituals in the book are simple and creative. There is one for inspiration, one for releasing writer’s block – which I wish I had known about two months ago when my own words stumbled to a halt. The book details different practices and rituals, with photos that help to explain and illustrate the words.

I love that there are some of my favorite quotes and poems in this delightful book. Some of these are worthy of meditation but there are also detailed meditations in the book. My favorite guided meditation is the one called “Journey to the Grove” in chapter six, Goddess of the Oak: The Sacrificial Brigid.

So really all the different personas of Brigid are explored. The roles of healer, smith work, arts and poetry, as the embodiment of spring, patroness of sheep and cattle, Goddess of Fire and of Water, as a Goddess of War, protector of the poor and justice for all. In all these roles across the globe Brigid’s fierce passion erupts to the surface every time.

No book about Brigid would be complete without reference to her holiday/Sabbat Imbolc. Imbolc marked the end of wintertime for the ancient Celts and so it was a time of relief and celebration. Again there is reference to similar rituals around the world. As “The Lady of Springtime,” Brigid’s myths are discussed by using traditional Irish myths and tales. There are prayers and blessings in chapter eight “Imbolc: Brigid the Springtime Goddess, the Mother, and the Midwife.” The rites of spring and the myths associated with them are also found in this chapter.

I mentioned there were photos of various crafts in this book and there are some great pictures explaining how to make a St Brigid’s Cross. The information about Imbolc includes divination, spells, and rites of Imbolc for just one person and another for a group. Again these are simple and creative. There is also a lovely Baby Blessing in this chapter.

Finally there is a chapter is dedicated to “Brigid and Animals” which starts with a beautiful blessing. This traditional charm called “St Bride’s Charm” is accompanied by one of my favorite images of Brigid “Brigid at Imbolc” by Carey A. Moore. This is how I first envisioned Brigid when I was young. All of her associations are in this chapter, including the traditional tales for each animal. It concludes with a creative visualization to help you to discover your Brigid animal or totem.

Throughout the book there is magick, recipes, spells and rites for the reader to try for themselves. The final chapter, chapter ten, called “Brigid Magick” has a lot of these as a conclusion to the book. They are easy to understand, easy to do and effective. I thoroughly recommend that the reader try the home protection spell and rite.

Do I recommend this book? Totally. It gets five broomsticks from me and is a worthy addition to any Pagan bookshelf.

Review of Rupert’s Tales : Learning Magick

When I was first approached about reviewing Rupert’s Tales : Learning Magick by accomplished author Kyrja, I jumped at the chance. My family loves Rupert the Rabbit, and follow some of his adventures on the Friends of Rupert facebook page. Our family is a mixture of ever evolving beliefs so finding a series that everyone liked was a huge plus. The kids can relate to the children in the books, often surprised that others have the same questions and emotions as themselves. As early readers, making connections is a big deal and Kyrja facilitates this so well. Tonia Bennington Osborn is such a talented artist and lends her extraordinary talent to Rupert bringing his world into the imaginations of children of many ages.

In the first half of Rupert’s Tales: Learning Magick, Rupert learns about the tools of the craft when he happens upon a interesting group of people. What little Rupert hears and sees intrigues him so much as the youngsters in the group talk about these tools. A few of the tools kids will learn about with Rupert include the Athame, Candles, Wands and the Bell. We learn about the elemental association of the elements and are introduced to Intention. A theme carried over in the second half of the book as well. I truly enjoyed the emphasis on what’s inside each of us being the most important part of any ritual or magickal practice.

Written by Kyrja Illustrated by Tonia Bennington Osborn
Written by Kyrja
Illustrated by Tonia Bennington Osborn

In the second half, we follow Rupert as he listens to a pair of friends and learns about the importance of intention and imagination in magick. A young boy questions his ability to perform magick, in this case, in the form of casting a circle or Bubble. Kids learn about insecurities and how to overcome those fears. He learns to trust not only himself but also his friend. She learns how to be a good mentor which is very important in circles with children of varying ages. It teaches leadership skills and compassion for others. Rupert also finds his own boundaries such as not being ready experience being inside a Sacred Circle. All while doing a bit of sympathetic magick himself.

My trio of witchlets absolutely love Rupert and his adventures . They are 8, 6 and 2 years old and each one had their favorite part. My youngest, loved the pictures of Rupert, who he called Bun Bun; and the baby in the sling, who he had to give kisses to while we read! My girls were so happy to read a book about kids learning magick; seeing other kids ask questions they’ve had, while enticing the to think about the same things from a different perspective. What they saw was a family and close friends hold a learning circle, just like they have. My eldest says that book was fun to read because it was it is easy to read to her brother and sister and Rupert is so cute.

Personally, Rupert won my heart over with his gentle curiosity. I really love and appreciate the flow of both stories. Kyrja is so good at conveying imagery through wands , which is amplified by Tonia Bennington Osborn’s beautiful illustrations. Together they created magick with charming addition to the library of any magickal child. We have already chosen our next adventure with Rupert. I highly recommend Rupert’s Tales for childrens circle reading material, it is very informative and of course.. Rupert is the best!

Buy Rupert’s Tales on Amazon style=

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.


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 , 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.


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


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.


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!

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.

Choosing a Pagan Tradition

In the sense we mean it here, a Tradition is a group or organization that initiates and instructs individuals in some kind of magical or spiritual path. Use the links on the left to find out more about a particular tradition. Do you know of a tradition that we need to include that is not here? Please let us know by sending email to Please include as much information as you can so we can research as thoroughly as possible!

The purpose of this section is to provide you with information on the different traditions that exist within the Wiccan and Pagan communities.

A tradition is a term that may or may not be used to describe a set of beliefs and practices that a group of people may or may not adhere to. That is about as concise as one can get when describing the term ‘tradition’ within the pagan community, since the term means many different things to different people!

Some believe that a tradition is only a tradition if it is Wicca based and can trace its lineage down from Gerald Gardner. Others believe that a tradition is whatever you want it to be. Not all pagan traditions are Wicca, and not all Wicca traditions are pagan.

Some traditions have many covens, groups and/or individuals that adhere to their belief structure, others may have only one. Some pay homage to deities from one pantheon (celtic, for example), others combine deities from different sources.

There are so many different traditions, and we cannot hope to include them all in this section, but if you know of one that should be included, or if you know the information that we have gathered is clearly inaccurate, please let us know – we’ll be happy to make any corrections and add any new entries!

You may find the chart below useful in determining which tradition most closely suits your needs. Do you want more structured teaching and ritual, or more freedom to develop your own style? Are you looking for a tradition that keeps itself to itself, or one that is more open and sociable? Locate yourself on the chart below, and then use the menu on the left to look up information on the tradition that is closest to you. For example, if you think you are some what sociable, and somewhat eclectic, perhaps one of the celtic traditions may suit you. If you feel you need a lot of structure and seclusion, perhaps the Gardnerians would make a good home for you!

To learn more about a specific tradition, select from the list below:

The Seven Archetypes of the Gods

At some point on your exploration of Pagan and Wiccan traditions, you are sure to come across the Seven Archetypes, or Seven Great Powers. Three of these are commonly referred to as Maiden, Mother, Crone – the triple aspects of the Goddess. In addition to being aspects of the Goddess, they also represent the life of a woman, from her impassioned youth to her wise old age.

The Maiden

This aspect represents the youth, vitality, innocence and passion of young womanhood. Unfettered by the caution that comes with age, the Maiden is eternally hopeful and charged with a desire to do great things, and to change the world for the better.

The Mother

The Mother represents the nurturing nature of motherhood. It is fertility. Knowledge and experience combine to bring youthful passions under control, and to encourage more planning and forethought in one’s actions.

The Crone

Freed from the drive to reproduce or to change the world, The Crone represents wisdom, completion, rebirth and the occult. The Crone can look back on her life and see her deeds. She can watch her children and grandchildren become their own people and see that without her they would not have existed. In this realization she understands that she has indeed accomplished great things, even if they were not the works her passionate youth had anticipated.

Everyone completes these periods of life at different times, based on their environment and personal attitude, but as a rule of thumb you can use thirty-year segments and not be too wide of the mark.

The Male also traverses these three ages, however his aspects are often ignored in the more Goddess-centric traditions. Those that do incorporate the male aspects refer to them in differing terms. You may see the Male described as Hero, Lover, King or Son, Father, Sage or some other variation. Whatever they are called however, they do represent the three stages of man:

The Hero

Full of the impetuosity and arrogance of youth, this one seeks to strike out upon their path and nothing will stand in their way. They are unstoppable. Life will open up before them and bow down in their wake. They are the soldiers of destiny that will hold the previous generations accountable for their misdeeds.

The Father

With middle age come responsibility and with responsibility comes duty. Now the man understands many things the youth did not. He still desires to change it for the better, but will work from his own house, his own family – making things better for the ones he loves and cares for.

The Sage

The wisdom and understanding that is garnered from a lifetime of experience helps him understand that things always change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Life is a cycle, and what he has changed for the better will remain but a short while. Likewise the mistakes he has made will be swallowed up by the past. The youthful exuberance which may frustrate the father, encourages the Sage, for in seeing this arrogance and passion in the young, he knows that the wheel continues to turn as it should. Life, death and renewal.

The final aspect is referred to either as the Source, or the Sorcerer, the Mage or the Godhead. It is neither male nor female, but is also both. It is only after physical death that we can completely connect with this aspect.

In each of the major pantheons, you will find these archetypes represented in some way. Use the Deity reference tool here to help you: Gods & Goddesses

It is important to bear in mind, when using these correspondences, that the deities themselves may have specific colors, planets, days or elements that they are associated with in addition to those listed above. You can however use these in conjunction with or instead of their specific correspondences if you are unable to locate them.

Gods & Goddesses

Choosing the right deity or deities can make or break a ritual. Many people choose to work more than one – typically a god and goddess, to help balance the energies and increase the power of their magical workings.

If your ritual does have more than one deity involved, make sure they are complementary and not at odds with one another! Also, be clear about your purpose, pay attention to ritual construction, and make sure the environment is one that would please the deities you choose.

In addition to choosing deities, you should take the time to read these sections also, to ensure your ritual achieves the purpose you intend:

Remember these different aspects of deity represent different strengths within yourself, so be sure you are honest with yourself about the intent of your working.

To select a deity, use the selector below to see which deities hold influence over what areas. Note that the Greek/Roman deities are grouped together as Olympians, since many Roman deities were simply renamed from the Greeks. In addition to pantheon and sphere of influence, you can select by weekday, planet, element, gender and name.