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Posts Tagged ‘The Craft’

I came across a fantastic post this morning entitled The Symbolic Meaning of Trees. In it the author compared and contrasted the symbolic meaning of trees in different cultures and spiritual systems. The following passage resonated most with me:

It also notes that the fruit, shade, and protective nature of trees have caused them to be seen as feminine or maternal symbols; yet, at the same time, the erect trunk is a phallic symbol. Perhaps this is why, for Carl Jung, the tree symbolized the Self, androgyny (integration and equality between the masculine and feminine principles), and individuation.

Androgyny – the integration and equalization of masculine and feminine energies. Many (including myself) attribute this quality to angels and other high beings, and believe that this balance of energies takes place once we are no longer bound to our physical forms. This integration is also something I strive for while in physical form.

There is a beautiful maple tree in my mother’s yard. I used to sit under it on warm, clear summer nights and look at the moon. Its trunk at my back was very grounding, and brought feelings of safety and wholeness. I would often speak with it, asking it where I should go and what I should do once I left home. Its responses were always soft and simple, and invariably it urged me to step outside of my comfort zone and travel far, which I eventually did. I told it how much I’d miss our visits and it replied, “Like my leaves in the autumn, I let you go…”

Courage and how to let go are just a few of the lessons I learned from this wise one. Trees truly are remarkable beings.

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I’m far from the average male anything…but found myself grinning and chuckling when I read the Typical Male Wiccan.

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Happy Ostara!

The vernal equinox is a time when rebirth and renewal are celebrated in many religious and spiritual traditions. For me it’s a happy time that marks the end of winter’s darkness and beginning of longer days and nicer weather. In years past it was a time when the earth was tilled, seeds were planted, and hopes of an abundant harvest filled the minds of many.

Here’s a simple and enjoyable ritual you can use to connect with the earth and use the power of the runes to help you manifest what you desire.

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Handful of beans OR a Chia Pet (or similar product).
  2. If using beans, you’ll also need a medium sized pot filled 2/3 full with soil and some plastic wrap.

After gathering these, decide what rune’s energy you’d like to manifest more of in your life. A few suggestions are given below, along with links to more.

Wealth

Fehu, rune of nourishment and wealth

Who couldn’t use more prosperity? Use Fehu to manifest money.

Remember that showing gratitude for what you’ve already been given naturally attracts more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

          Love

Inguz, the Rune of FertilityAre you ready for a relationship that’s mutually beneficial in all ways? One in which you love passionately and are passionately loved in return? One in which you teach and are taught, give joy and receive it, nurture and are nurtured? Plant Ingwaz!

When using this rune for love magick, allow the Universe to bring you the best and highest relationship possible by focusing on the qualities you desire in a mate rather than on a specific person. The latter interferes with that person’s free will – something that is not only unethical, but also won’t bring you what you truly desire.

 

 

Personal Power

Perth

Are you depressed, sad, or angry more frequently than you’re happy and at peace? Use Perth to help you remember that you have the right and the power to choose how you feel, regardless of your circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

    

     Protection

Algiz, rune of protection and refuge

Are you feeling drained by others? Is every inch you’re giving being taken a mile? Use Algiz to help you create healthy boundaries. This rune’s energy can also be used to make and keep your home a peaceful refuge.

More rune meanings can be found here and here.

Once you have your magickal goal in mind, strengthen your intent by doing any of #1-#3, plus #4:

  1. Imagine how you’ll feel when you have more of the desired energy in your life. Feel how empowered and peaceful you are. Make this real for yourself! Our imaginations are an in-road to our Higher Selves, and ultimately to the Divine.
  2. Visualize yourself moving through your life with more of the desired quality. What does that look like for you? (Remember – do not attach yourself to specifics. Focus on the essence, and allow the Universe to bring you the form. Doing this will help the Universe bring you what you desire in the quickest and most efficient way.)
  3. Focus on the image of the rune you’ll plant, either in your mind or with your eyes. Hold it in your mind or look at it for as long as you can, feeding the emotions and/or images from #1 and #2 into it.
  4. Hold your beans or Chia seeds in your hands. Take a deep breath, feeling and/or seeing bright white loving light entering your lungs. Exhale this breath onto your seeds, and feel your magickal goal infuse them.

With your goal still firmly in mind, prepare your pot of soil or Chia product.

If using a pot of soil, smooth the surface and use your finger to make small holes no deeper than your first knuckle, one for each bean. As you plant your beans, think about/visualize/feel what concrete, real-world things you’ll do going forward to help manifest what you desire. Simply planting the beans is not enough! You must meet the Universe half way. When finished, water the soil and place plastic wrap over the top. Store your pot in a warm place, like on top of the refrigerator (the heat will help them sprout). Check your pot regularly – if the soil dries out, be sure to water it. When the beans sprout, you can move them to another location in your home or plant them in your garden (if it’s warm enough where you are). Every time you see or water your rune, remember your goal and see/feel it manifesting as the plants grow.

If using the Chia, prepare the seeds as instructed. But instead of spreading them over the entire surface of the terra cotta, spread them in the shape of your rune. You may find it helpful to arrange the Chia seeds in longer lines about the width of your finger. Echoing what I said above, as you spread the seeds think about/visualize/feel what concrete, real-world things you’ll do going forward to help manifest what you desire. Simply planting the seeds is not enough! You must meet the Universe half way. Every time you see or water your rune, remember your goal and see/feel it manifesting as the Chia grows.

If your seeds don’t sprout, you may need to rethink your goal. Are you too attached to the exact form of your manifestation? If careful thought and reflection reveals this to be true, try again – and let the Universe fill in the details. 🙂

 

This post was inspired by and adapted from this one.

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Interfaith symbolsReligion exists to unify, to move us toward Love, and to help us remember Who We Really Are.

How do you use yours? To unify, or to divide? To love, or to conquer?

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I’ve shied away from posting spells on this site up until now, for a few reasons.

Those unaware of its true nature and origins – Christian fundamentalists and Wiccans/Neo-Pagans alike – make inaccurate assumptions about witchcraft. These assumptions have long distorted the truth of what it is and is not – a quagmire impossible to remedy with a single post on a little-known blog. While I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about The Craft, I do know it is not many of the things close-minded religious zealots and novice Neo-Pagans think it is. I’ll write more on this topic in the future, but for now I offer this:

Witchcraft is nothing more and nothing less than focused intent united with action. It does not spring from anything supernatural or inherently evil. Christian religions have been practicing it for centuries, though they’ve given it names like prayer and communion.

Contrary to popular Wiccan opinion, witchcraft as we know it today is not ancient – it’s probably less than 200 years old. (Read Dr. Ronald Hutton’s book Triumph of the Moon to learn more). 

Also, casting a spell you find on the internet or within the pages of that book you bought at Barnes & Noble won’t yield the results you desire unless you invest personal time and energy. (That is, more than using a search engine or handing the clerk your debit card).

Disclaimers behind us, here is a short and simple spell I use regularly to focus protective energy on my pentacle necklace. It can be adapted as you wish and can be used on any type of jewelry.

*** *** *** 

Holding the pendant in my left hand, I raise it skyward and extend index finger and thumb (tips pointing up) with the other fingers holding the jewelry. (This hand gesture is symbolic of the crescent moon and the Goddess, or the feminine aspect of the Divine.)

“By the grace of the Goddess [insert name of a particular Goddess if you wish]…”

(As you speak these words, perceive the Divine Feminine in any way you wish. Make it real for yourself. Sometimes I see Her face, sometimes I feel Her feminine energy wash over me.)

Moving the pendant to my right hand, I again raise it skyward with my index and middle fingers pointing upward and the other fingers holding the pendant. (This hand gesture is symbolic of the Horned God, or the masculine aspect of the Divine.)

“By the grace of the God [insert name of particular God if you wish]…”

(As you speak the words above, perceive the Divine Masculine in any way you wish. Sometimes I see His face, sometimes I feel His masculine energy.)

“And by my own will, I now don this sacred symbol to protect me from all types of harm – and to illuminate the Path of Power before me. So mote it be!”

As I speak the last part above, I trace an invoking pentagram on the face of the pendant. (Refer to the illustration below. Using your index finger, trace an unbroken line from point 1 to point 5 and back to 1 while visualizing blue-white fire illuminating the path you trace. Blue-white is a protective color, and fire is the element that rules protective magick.)

Invoking pentagram

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It could be said that those who consider themselves spiritual have always aimed to create peace with the heavens so that they might have peace while on earth. The wise have always taught that serenity within corresponds to serenity without.

While reading The Triumph of the Moon, a lengthy but captivating book on the history of Western Paganism and Witchcraft, I realized why the ancient Pagans’ approach to creating this peace differed from methods used by modern Neo-Pagans – each holds/held dramatically different world views. 

Today’s Neo-Pagans conduct ritual for reasons like self-empowerment and healing the earth, whereas our forebears did so out of fear that the Deities would become vengeful if they didn’t. The latter can most logically be attributed to our ancestor’s experience of the world as a dangerous and uncertain place. (After the fall of Rome, violence and disorder were commonplace in Western Europe as warring tribes vied for land and security). The evolution of ritual as joyful communion rather than fearful placation seems to be a natural outgrowth of the rising stability of nations along with industrialization.

Though spiritual motivations have changed throughout history, the guiding principle has remained “As Above, So Below.”

(As an aside, while many Neo-Pagans and occultists believe this phrase originated with Hermes Trismegistus, it’s also interesting to note its appearance in the Bible: “…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Whether Christians appropriated the concept from Pagans or vice-versa is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, as the wisdom behind it transcends man-made doctrine.)

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Wicca’s Charm by Catherine Edwards Sanders

Catherine Edwards Sanders strikes me as an intelligent, compassionate woman who truly believes that despite its challenges past and present, Christianity remains the one and only way to Divinity. Funded by a Christian source and written to a Christian audience, her book aims to explain what Wicca and Neo-Paganism are, why people continue to leave the Church to pursue them, and what Christians can do to counteract this exodus.

Before I address the difficulties I had with Wicca’s Charm, I’d like to give the author credit for owning up to the hypocrisy of her religion on numerous occasions throughout the book. I was also glad to see her call on fellow Christians to be more environmentally conscious and to recognize women as spiritual equals. And though I’m sure this wasn’t her intent, I’m also grateful for the questions she raised about my faith – questions that have challenged me to look beyond the latest mass-market Wiccan publication and examine the history of Western Paganism from an academic perspective.

Edwards-Sanders garnered still more respect by pointing out how many Wiccans and Neo-Pagans are hypocrites. Many of us shake a disapproving finger at consumer culture with one hand while forking over cash for the latest ritual gear or tarot deck with the other. If Wiccans and Neo-Pagans weren’t spending increasingly large amounts of money on occult books, jewelry, clothing, and ritual tools, we wouldn’t see these things alongside other merchandise at mainstream retailers. How is this consistent with Neo-Paganism’s tenants of simplicity and sustainability?

Positives aside, the biggest problem I had with this book was the author’s attempt to appear balanced and objective when she was actually neither. It was impossible for Sanders to objectively compare and contrast another religion with her own because she came to the keyboard already convinced her way was the “right” way. Because of this, most of her writing came across as a scattered and passive-aggressive attempt to prove why Christianity is true and Wicca is false.

Yet another challenge was Sanders’ hypocrisy when discussing a Pagan creation myth. When she questioned Wiccans and Neo-Pagans about why they chose their current path over Christianity, one of the most frequent answers was “It empowers women, unlike Christianity.” The author then discusses why she feels Wicca isn’t empowering for women, citing the supposed fallacy of the matriarchal myth as well as the womanizing tendencies of a man who influenced early Wicca, Aleister Crowley.

To Neo-Pagans who practice Goddess Worship, the matriarchal myth (the theory that all of society was matrilineal and matriarchal prior to the establishment of Christianity) isn’t a myth at all – it’s a conviction. Though I’m in agreement with the author and prominent Wiccans like NPR correspondent Margot Adler that the theory’s historical accuracy is questionable, Sanders is hypocritical for citing academic references to tear it down while not subjecting Christianity’s creation myth to equal scrutiny. There is far more evidence that suggests why the latter is less plausible than the former. She also went to great lengths to convince her readers that accurate interpretation of the Bible shows how Christianity empowers women. I don’t mean to nay-say, but I have a hard time understanding how this could be the case when Eve is portrayed as the bearer of original sin. Perhaps Sanders was right when she said, “A myth does not have to be true to be meaningful.” 🙂

Every serious Neo-Pagan who reads this book will find opportunities for growth within its pages (though they probably won’t be the opportunities the author intended to present). It is worth reading for this reason alone.

Level: Initiate to Elder

Grades:

Offers practical information that can be used now: B

Approachable and easy to understand: C

Intellectually credible: C

Overall: C

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