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
Alcohol
Matches
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.

 

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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.

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Lughnasadh – August 1st

August 1st marks the Celtic holiday of Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sa), also known as Lammas, which is the beginning of the grain harvest.

In days past, candidates for king would go to the Fayre of Tailtiu. Tailtiu was the queen of the Fir Bolg (an ancient celtic race) , the daughter of Mag Mor and the foster mother of Lugh. She died of exhaustion after the labor of clearing the lands of Ireland for cultivation, and in commemoration, Lugh held a festival for her. Two weeks prior to festival day, it was customary to climb a hill and survey the land before harvest. The festival then commenced, and lasted for four weeks � two weeks past the actual day.

The last chaff of wheat or grain to be cut was kept and crafted into a corn doll, symbolizing Lugh. At Lughnasadh, she is called the Corn Mother. In the spring, she becomes Corn Bride, the Maiden Goddess Bride.

It was Lugh who invented draughts (checkers), ballplay and horsemanship and these sacred games were important in the celebration of the festival, as they were used to show off strength and skill. In addition, this festival was used to gather news, settle arguments and arrange marriages and alliances. Mighty feasting and drinking were the underlying theme of this wonderful festival.

It is prophesied that, as long as the custom shall be maintained, there will be corn and milk in every house, peace and fine weather for the feast.

This is the season when everything seems at its richest = trees crops and long warm days. These are called the “dog days” of Summer, because Sirius (The Dog Star) rises and sets with the sun between mid-July and September.

The word “Lammas” comes from “loaf mass” which celebrates the bread made from the first grain to be harvested. It is in honor of the Corn Mother that we now eat fresh bread and cakes.




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Yule – December 21st

Winter Solstice, the return of the sun, was truly a cause for celebration among our ancestors. Yule begins on Mother Night. At the Yule the Goddess shows her Life-in-Death aspect. In this season she is the White Lady Queen of the cold darkness yet this is her moment of giving birth to the child of promise who brings back light and warmth to her kingdom.

 

 

Most Christmas traditions are rooted deep in ancient Yule rituals, many coming from the Vikings. During the Winter Solstice the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with religious rituals and feasting. A wild boar was sacrificed to Frey, the God of fertility and farming, to assure a good growing season in the coming year. They then feasted on the boar and this is the origin of today’s Christmas ham. During the twelve day festival a giant Sun wheel was set on fire and rolled down a hill to entice the sun to return. This could possibly be the source of the Christmas wreath.

Another ancient tradition is the Yule log, a large oak log decorated with sprigs of fir, holly or yew. This was carved with runes asking the Gods to protect them from misfortune. To make your own Yule log use a piece of apple, birch or oak. Begin by drilling holes for the three candles of the Triple Goddess; red to symbolize the bloodshed of birth, white for the innocence of new life and green symbolizing the growth process. Be sure to trim the bottom of the log to steady it. Decorate with greens, wild rose hips and winter berries. To insure good fortune and prosperity anoint with a sprinkle of apple cider and dust with corn meal before lighting the candles. Be sure to return the wood chips and sawdust to the sleeping earth. A piece of the log should be saved to protect the home during the coming year and to light next year’s fire.


The Yule tree was often adorned with symbols representing the sun, moon and stars. These, along with pieces of food, small statues of the Gods and carved runes were used to entice the tree spirits to come back in the spring. Gifts were also hung on the tree as offerings to the Gods.

Our pagan ancestors would dress someone to represent Old Man Winter, wrapped in a hooded fur coat with a long white beard. It is believed that he represented Odin and he traveled on Sleiphir, Odin’s great white horse. Old Man Winter was welcomed into homes and invited to join the festivities. When the Vikings conquered Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries, he was introduced there and became Father Christmas.

Ancient myths surround the mistletoe. It was believed to resurrect the dead. This was based on the legend about the resurrection of Balder, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow but resurrected when the tears of his mother Frigga turned the red mistletoe berries white. Mistletoe was considered magical and thought to have great healing powers.

The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Christmas symbols. Its origin is the legend of the protective, good natured Thunder God Thor who rode in the sky in a wagon pulled by two magical goats. They would visit the homes and bring happiness and protection at this very special time of the year. An old custom was for young people to dress up in goat skins and go from house to house to sing and perform simple plays. They were rewarded with food and drink.
What Yule celebration would be complete without a steaming cup Wassail to warm the chill of night while encircling the bonfires? ‘Waes Hale’, good health! This spicy holiday drink is more of an event than mere refreshment. An important ritual for the benefit of the apple harvest as well as the health of the local economy this tradition is still practiced in many areas. Gathering in the apple orchard on the ‘twelfth night’ townsfolk would drink large amounts of wassail with great mirth, merriment and dancing around the bonfires in order to honor the orchard and ensure good yields.

Here is one recipe for wassail:

Heat a large container of ale or beer, about 3 or 4 pints. Add:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup mixed spice (cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are also excellent)
2 or 3 small sweet apples, cut up
1 1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/4 cup orange juice
the juice of 2 lemons
Place over a slow flame; then, before it begins to boil, take off the heat and whip up some cream. Let this float on top of the brew like foam.
Put in a suitably large bowl (the more ornate the better)

Now go out to a tree or trees with a few friends (these don’t have to be apple trees, since all can benefit from a well-intentioned blessing, but it is traditional to wassail fruit-bearing trees). Wet the roots liberally with the brew. Pass the rest around and when everyone is thoroughly warmed up sing a wassailing song, for example:

Here’s to thee, old apple tree.
Whence thou may’st bud and whence thou may’st blow,
And whence thou may’st bear apples now.
Hats full, caps full, bushel, bushel sacks full, and my pockets full too!

Lift your glasses to the tree and shout “Wassail!” as loud as you can.

Magical associations
apples – love, health, peace
pineapple – healing, money, protection & love lemons – love, happiness & purification
cinnamon – love, psychic awareness & money
sugar – love

A simple Wiccan ritual:
The celebration begins before dawn to culminate into the sun’s birth with a toast of apple juice or wine made to the holly king

Winter day of longest night
Step aside now for the light
Thank you for the things you’ve brought
That only darkness could have wrought

Then name the gifts of darkness such as regeneration, peace, dreams, organization, quietude, etc.
Use a white altar cloth and decorate with evergreens, poinsettias, rosemary, holly, mistletoe and ivy. To insure good luck and prosperity anoint a bayberry candle with oil and roll it in dried chamomile. Burn Yule incense (a mixture of chamomile, ginger, pine and sage). Meditate in the darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting the candle and singing chants and carols.
End the ritual at dawn with a toast of orange juice or mimosa to the sun!

O Newborn Sun of love and light
Rise quickly now, rise high and bright
Gain power in the sky above
I grant to you my support and love

This is an especially magical time when divination of the events of the coming year is also a prominent feature. Rune or Tarot readings can be especially significant at this time as can dreams or visions seen in meditation. Winter Solstice is also an excellent time for banishing rituals to eliminate disease, bad habits and addictions.

While we all enjoy exchanging gifts and feasting with our friends and family at this time of year perhaps we should extend this beautiful custom to include the other living creatures who share this earth with us. Put up bird feeders and keep them stocked with seed. You can make decorative wild bird treats by rolling pinecones in peanut butter and bird seed. This is also a wonderful time to donate funds, time or items to environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace.

Yule Recipes

By Patrick McCleary

Gingerbread Stars

One of the most traditional dishes at this time of the year is gingerbread. My kids and I absolutely love the rich taste of the ginger and molasses. So this past weekend we decided to make some gingerbread.

We had originally planned on making a gingerbread house, but we have had to many failures at that project. So we settled on making shapes instead. Following is the recipe that we used. Hope that you all enjoy as much as we have.

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 1/1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

Instructions
Sift the dry ingredients together in medium mixing bowl
Beat butter and sugar together in large bowl with electric mixer
Add molasses and egg and beat well
Gradually beat in flour mixture
Press dough into thick flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap
Refrigerate for four hours or overnight
Roll dough to 1/4 thickness on lightly floured surface
Cut into shapes
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 300 degrees
Cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes
Remove wire racks and cool completely





Yule Ham with a bit of Rum

Ham is the most traditional dish for this holiday season. And while a ham is easy to cook, the glaze for it is sometimes tougher to make. Here is a recipe that I have used on several occasions to fantastic reviews.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp mustard
2 to 3 Tbsp Dark Rum

In a medium size saucepan whisk together and heat to just before boiling these ingredients. Pour over a fully cooked ham and bake for ten to fifteen minutes more. Now don’t worry about the alcoholic content the cooking should cook out the alcohol. If you are still antsy then you can let the glaze simmer for about five minutes.

Yule Duck on the Grill
This brings me to the other animal that I choose to cook at this season. The duck. While tasty it is very greasy. You can boil it the same way as the ham to get rid of the grease, just be sure not to use the water from boiling the ham.

The last duck I cooked was on the BBQ grill. I arranged coals around a drip pan in the center of the grill. And after dipping the duck in boiling water, I dried it off and placed in on the grill on a low heat and let it slowly cook. I didn’t add anything else to the duck, but I enjoy the taste of the duck alone without any additions.

But you can make an orange glaze for the duck. Here is a recipe from recipecircus.com.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp brandy

Combine orange juice, marmalade, honey, sugar and brandy in small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spoon glaze over ducks and return to oven for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Watch to prevent scorching. Remove duck to platter and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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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 editor@pagannews.com. 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:

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Herbs: Their usage and properties

Herbs have been used for millennia to treat a variety of ailments, and for use in spells, talismans and amulets. Modern medicine has replaced the more widespread use of herbs for treatment of illnesses, but homeopathic remedies continue to grow in popularity and effectiveness.

Having said that, the information provided in this section is here to allow you to begin investigating herbs.

If you or someone you know is sick, they should seek medical attention.




Dosages

Infusions, decoctions and wines are measured in cups (8 fluid ounces) and the adult dose would be 3-4 cups a day for infusions, 2-3 cups a day for decoctions and .5 cup a day for wines.

Tinctures and syrups are measured in teaspoons or drops (1 teaspoon equals roughly 20 drops). The adult dosage for tinctures is 1 teaspoon (5ml) 2-3 times a day. For syrups the dosage is 1-2 teaspoons 2-3 times a day.

Preparations

Infusions: Infusions are better suited for the more delicate parts of a plant. If you will be making your infusions in a teapot, reserve one pot for this process only. To make an entire pot of the infusion, use 3 cups of water to 1 ounce dry herb or 1.5 ounce of fresh herbs. To make it by the cup, you will need 1-2 tsp dried herb or 2-3 tsp fresh herb per cup of water. To prepare a pot of tea, warm your pot, add herbs and then pour the freshly boiled water over it. Cover the pot and let the herbs steep for at least 10 minutes. You can drink it hot or cold and add honey to sweeten if you like. Refrigerate unused portions to be drunk later in the day, and it should hold it’s medicinal properties for 24 hours from the time prepared. To make one cup, put your herbs in a tea ball, add boiled water, cover with a saucer and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Decoctions: Decoctions are used to prepare the parts of the plant where its constituents are more difficult to extract, such as barks, roots and berries. A decoction will last a bit longer than an infusion since the boiling process sterilizes the liquid. To make a decoction, you will need 4 cups of water to 1 ounce dry herb or 2 ounces fresh herb. Place very finely chopped herbs in a pan and cover with the water (which should be cold). Bring this mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then strain the liquid off and press as much of the remaining liquid out of the herb (you can wrap the herb in cheese cloth to help squeeze the rest of the liquid out). Again, refrigerate unused portions and these should last up to a couple of weeks. (If you wish to add a more delicate herb to the decoction, it should be added after the liquid has been simmered and then be allowed to steep for about 10 minutes before straining.)

Tinctures: A tincture is a good solution for long term treatment as will store for up to two years. These are also much stronger than teas and as such they are taken in much smaller doses. To make a tincture, you will need 8 ounces of dried herb, 1.5 cups of alcohol (grain alcohol like Everclear), and 4 cups of water. For a smaller bunch, use 4 ounces of dried herb, .75 cup of alcohol and 2 cups of water. Chop your herbs up finely and put them in a glass jar with a good tight fitting lid. Pour the liquid over the herbs and tighten the lid. Keep the jar in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks. Shake the jar every two days. After the two weeks, strain the liquid off through cheesecloth into a clean glass jar, pressing all of the liquid out the remains of the herbs. Store in a colored glass bottle if you can and keep it in a warm dark place (sunlight can have negative effects of tinctures).

Herbal Wine: There are two ways to make herbal wines, one is easy and one is difficult. The easy way requires 4 ounces of dried herbs and 5 cups of red or white wine. Finely chop herbs and place them into a large jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour the wine over the herbs and let this mixture steep for two weeks. Strain off with cheese cloth and bottle. The more challenging way is to make the wine yourself. To do this, you will need: 1 whole root ginger, peeled; 2.25 pounds sugar; rind and juice of 2 lemons and 2 oranges; 1 banana; 1 pinch of cayenne pepper; 8 ounces of raisins; a package of yeast compound; a large pot of tea and a 2 quart jar. Squeeze the oranges and lemons and slice the banana. Grate the ginger, chop the lemons and oranges, add the raisins and pepper and 1 pound of the sugar. Place in the 2-quart jar, one that is sealable, like an apothecary jar. Pour some fresh brewed tea over the mixture (enough to cover and go about 1 inch above the ingredients) and allow the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool down. Then add the yeast. Loosely stopper the container and leave to ferment for one week. Add 2 ounces of fresh tea to the jar every day until the jar is 2/3 full. Then strain out the fruit and ginger, add the rest of the sugar and more fresh tea (fill the jar this time), ferment another week and then bottle.

Mouthwashes and Gargles: Mouthwashes are one of the simplest to do if you already have the knowledge to make tinctures, decoctions and infusions. With infusions and decoctions, you can just swish away, find the herbs that meet the purpose you are looking for, make your infusion and use it as you would any other mouthwash. With tinctures you need to dilute, 1 teaspoon of the tincture to .5 cup water. You will want to choose herbs that are known for antiseptic properties as they will likely be the most helpful. A gargle or mouthwash can be used up to four times a day, as necessary.

Eyebaths: An eyebath is prepared in much the same way as an infusion. The main difference is that you will need to boil the water for 10 minutes before pouring it over the herbs to make sure that the water is properly sterilized. You also need to very carefully strain the herbs from the water to make sure no herb particles make it into the eye, which can actually complicate your problems more than the eyebath can help. Also, if you need to use an eyebath frequently (like every day), add a little salt to help balance your eye’s natural salinated liquids.

Inhalations: For ailments which you feel would be cured by vapors such as chest congestion and lung problems, inhalations are best suited. You will need about 4 cups of water, 2 ounces dry herbs or essential oils of your choice, a large bowl to put the liquids in and a towel to drape over your head and keep the beneficial steams from escaping. Begin by boiling the water and prepare your bowl by placing the herbs (if any) you plan on using inside. When your water is boiling, add it to the bowl and herbs (or if you choose to use essential oils, pour the boiling water in the bowl and add 3-6 drops of oil) lean over the bowl and drape the towel over your head so that it covers the sides of the bowl and breath the steam for 10 minutes. If you need to, by all means, come up for air during the treatment, and sit in a warm room afterwards to allow your lungs time to readjust to the environment.

To learn more about a specific herb, select from the list below:
Full Herb List

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The Runes of Odin and their Uses

Runes (Proto-Norse: ᚱᚢᚾᛟ (runo), Old Norse: rún) are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters).

Legend has it that Odin, hung from the world tree for nine days in order to gain the wisdom of the Runes, and he lost an eye in the process. Odin’s sacrifice and the knowledge of the runes was passed down in the poem Hávamál:

“I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.”

No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there

The original poem is much longer, and has been interpreted and edited by several people. Here is a selection if you wish to purchase a copy:


It is a relatively easy process to make a set of Runes for oneself, simply by scoring small lumps of roughly oval clay or some other crafting material and then painting them to suit.

You can also use crystals , glass or metal and paint the runes on to them, however if possible try and etch the symbols in first with either an special acid or vinegar depending on the medium you are working with.

To learn more about the meaning of the individual runes, select from the list below:

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Metals and their uses

Like crystals, metals have vibrations, energies and other properties that can be useful in ritual workings. In this section we have provided information on the most common metals – those used in alchemy and spellcraft for centuries, in the hope that it will assist you in finding the right balance and the most effective energy patterns for your own rites.

Gold
Gold is heavy – almost twice as heavy as lead. With a hardness of less than 3, it is quite soft. Since it can be hammered into thin sheets or drawn out into thin wires, gold is sought after for a wide range of applications, including jewelry and electronics. “Gold leaf” is gold that has been beaten into a sheet less than one tenth of a millimeter thick. The latin name for gold is Aurum, which is why the symbol for gold is Au.

"Gold-crystals" by Alchemist-hp (talk) www.pse-mendelejew.de - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gold-crystals.jpg#/media/File:Gold-crystals.jpg
“Gold-crystals” by Alchemist-hp (talk) www.pse-mendelejew.de – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons

The process of turning Lead into Gold is the aspiration of the alchemist. It is seen by some as a physical transformation, and by others as a spiritual metaphor for cleansing and purifying the soul.
Gold adds energy to a ritual. It aids in developing courage, confidence and will power. It promotes wisdom, and attracts wealth and success.

Mercury (Quicksilver)
Mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures. Mercury rarely occurs free in nature and is mostly found in Cinnabar ore in Spain and Italy. A heavy, silvery-white liquid metal, Mercury (or Quicksilver as it is sometimes called) is a rather poor conductor of heat. It alloys easily with many metals, such as gold, silver, and tin. These alloys are called amalgams.

"Pouring liquid mercury bionerd" by Own work - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.
Pouring liquid mercury bionerd” by Own work – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Its ease in amalgamating with gold is made use of in the recovery of gold from its ores. The symbol for Mercury is Hg, which comes from Mercury’s Latin name Hydrargyrum, which in turn comes from the Greek word “hydrargyros” (“hydor” for water and “argyros” for silver). Mercury can therefore be seen as an agent of change, and a catalyst. Sometimes associated with luck, it was used in older time as a scrying mirror and for protective charms. Note! Do not use – Mercury is poisonous by touch, ingestion or aspiration.

Copper
The word copper comes from the Latin word “cuprum”, which means “ore of Cyprus”. Copper is the only naturally occurring metal other than gold that has a distinct color. Copper’s color is a slightly reflective brown red. As it oxidizes, Copper turns to a Teal Green which is (why the Statue of Liberty is green). Also like gold, copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

"NatCopper" by Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg: “Jonathan Zander (Digon3)"derivative work: Materialscientist (talk) - Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
NatCopper” by Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg: “Jonathan Zander (Digon3)”derivative work: Materialscientist (talk) – Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Copper is a very versatile and useful metal, and Its earliest known use dates back to 4000 BC where it was used in ornaments and vessels. Today it is used for wiring and industrial applications but it remains highly popular for ornamental use. The seventies saw a resurgence of its use for medicinal purposes, including treatment for arthritis, headaches and motion sickness. In addition, Copper can be used to attract love, bring luck, to draw prosperity. It’s electro-magnetic properties make it useful aligning auric energies, and adds power to spells.

Silver
Silver’s latin name is Argentum (hence the Ag abbreviation). Silver is an extremely useful metal and is used in decoration, industry and photography. It is the believed to be the best conductor of electricity and heat. Because of its value and durability, it has for a long time been used to make coins and bullion. It’s sensitivity to light has lead to its use in photography.

"Silver crystal" by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) - Own work (additional processed by Waugsberg). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Silver crystal” by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (additional processed by Waugsberg). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Like Copper, silver has a very ancient history and has been found in sites dating back to nearly 3000 BC. Silver is used today in dentistry and surgical implants. Silver is believed to act as a conductor for spiritual energy, and as a conduit to channel energy from stones and minerals into the body. This is why gemstones are usually hung on silver necklaces. Silver is also used in healing to correct chemical and hormonal imbalances, and to improve the transmission of nerve impulses, all of which can affect one’s mental state. It is also associated with improving communications, reducing conflicts, increasing popularity, and cleansing/balancing emotions.
Iron
The symbol for Iron (Fe) comes from it’s latin name ferrum. This hard, abundant metal has been used for thousands of years for making weapons and tools. It can be combined with Carbon to make steel, the key resource of the industrial revolution. It is essential to the human body which uses it to make hemoglobin, yet too much of it is poisonous. The core of the planet Earth is solid Iron.

"Iron electrolytic and 1cm3 cube" by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) - Own work. Licensed under FAL via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iron_electrolytic_and_1cm3_cube.jpg#/media/File:Iron_electrolytic_and_1cm3_cube.jpg
“Iron electrolytic and 1cm3 cube” by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iron_electrolytic_and_1cm3_cube.jpg#/media/File:Iron_electrolytic_and_1cm3_cube.jpg

Like Steel, Iron is highly magnetic, and so it has become extensively used in navigation, electricity production, the entertainment industry (video and cassette tapes) and computing. Iron is a very good grounding metal, as it stops the flow of psychic and emotional energy. It is used defensively as a protection from negative energy in all forms, and also represents physical strength.
Tin
The symbol for Tin (Sn) comes from the latin name Stannum. It is found in a variety of locations and has been used at least since about 3500 BC in Western Iran. Primarily today tin comes from Malaysia, Boliva, Indonesia, Zaire, Thailand, and Nigeria. Since tin is expensive and not very strong, it is primarily used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion –

"Sn-Alpha-Beta" by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons.
Sn-Alpha-Beta” by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons.

Tin plate over steel is used to make cans for food. Tin is non-toxic and easily mixes with the majority of other metals, it is this quality together with the low melting point which makes it an essential ingredient of most solders. Tin encourages Inspiration and creativity. It promotes enthusiasm, tolerance and trust. Assist in healing in the central nervous system, respiratory tract and liver function. Tin can also be used to assist in cleansing areas of the body that have become infected or diseased. Some believe it is another “luck metal” and can bring prosperity.
Lead
The Latin name for this cheap, relatively abundant metal is plumbum, and gives rise to the symbol Pb. Lead is a bluish-white lustrous metal. It is a poor conductor of electricity, and quite heavy. Lead is unique amongst common metals, in that it has little mechanical strength, virtually no elasticity and is extremely soft. It is an easy metal to work, but cannot support any weight, so its structural uses are limited. It is also highly toxic, which is why it is being phased out of gasoline.

"Lead electrolytic and 1cm3 cube" by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) - Own work. Licensed under FAL via Commons.
Lead electrolytic and 1cm3 cube” by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Commons.

It has been used by humanity for a long time, because it is very resistant to corrosion. Lead pipes from the baths the days of the Roman Empire are still in service. Alchemically speaking, Lead is the basest of metals, and represents the impurity of man that must be stripped from the soul if one is to progress and ascend. Lead is used for Protection, both physically (from radiation) and spiritually (from negative energies).

Remember that some metals, particularly lead and mercury, can be toxic when handled, and certainly when digested in large enough quantities. Always take appropriate precautions when incorporating these metals into your rituals!

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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.

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