Monday, July 27, 2009

My New Old Cauldron

Yesterday David and I went to a once-a-year antique fair at Elm Bank in Wellesley. We bought a beautiful Fulper vase early on and were beginning to think that that was it for us for the day, but as we were leaving we passed an aisle we weren't sure we had been through or not (the vendors were set up rather willy-nilly rather than in orderly rows so it was easy to miss stuff or find yourself doubling back to things you had already seen). As we stood there, taking a moment to think whether we had already perused those stalls, I saw a collection of ironware in a group on the grass outside the first booth and I knew instantly we hadn't been there. I made a beeline for that dealer and scored the find of the day for me: a very old iron cauldron. In fact, this was the find of the year (several, to be exact) as I have been looking for a pot like this for ages.

I now have a new cauldron that is very old. The dealer estimated it to be from the late 18th century, the very early 19th at the latest. It carries a mark from this early period and has the wear of more than two centuries to it. While 'new' might be better for some, for me 'old' is king. I could have bought a new cauldron from a mail order house that is clean, the right size and decorated with pentagrams or bats or some such design people think of when they think "witch." And I could have had it in my hands a long, long time ago. But instead I chose to wait until I found exactly what I had in my heart and in my mind. And the wait was worth it. Even though there were many pots and cauldrons sitting there in the sun, I was immediately drawn to this one and I bought it without a second thought (and got a fantastic deal on it too: I've seen smaller new cauldrons from China selling for far more than I paid for this perfect gem).

The body of the cauldron is a generous size (almost a bit too big for some applications) at 3 1/2 inches in height (not including its three legs) and 7 3/4 inches in diameter. Its exterior was repainted black an eternity ago and this last attempt to clean it up is itself now very aged and lovely. I simply love the idea that so many women through so many years have used this piece for what at one time, among other things, were uniquely feminine chores such as cooking supper for their families and heating water for washing. I can sense it hanging over their fires. I can feel the feminine energy in it. It's very strong. I need to wash it and cleanse its energy for myself before I put it to work for me and my own needs, but for the time being it's sitting happily before the fireplace in my living room, biding its time and waiting patiently for me once again, just as it had been for all those years when I was searching for it.

I can't wait for it to join me in circle.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kitchen Witch Prosperity Spell

Fancy ground herbs aren't needed to cast an herbal spell. It's perfectly acceptable (and also equally as powerful) to use the basic cooking herbs you have in your spice rack or items from your kitchen cabinets, just be sure they aren't too old as fresher means more power.

This is a spell for prosperity, for the money needed for something that is important, and/or for a very specific thing that you wish for. This ritual should be tailored to your individual need(s) and mention made of the specific thing you desire within the actual spell, but it's a nice foundation for you to build off of. This is a spell I wrote for a very important desire of my husband's, something he had hoped for for many years. Remember that your energy input and intention is the most important part of a spell and even given my non-pagan husband joining me in the ritual and not generating the proper energy as it should have been raised, this spell was not entirely unsuccessful! It worked well enough.

This spell uses equal amounts of dill, sage, oats, poppy seeds and cinnamon.

When you set up your circle altar with the usual items that are personal to you and your ritual (salt water, incense, Deity candles, athame, etc), be sure to also have on your altar your herbs measured out in little individual jars/bowls, a clean empty dish or shallow bowl for them to be mixed in, and candles in the color(s) of your choice, based on your specific need, as well as a small green candle to sit in the middle of the empty herb dish. And in a few moments when you light this little candle, be careful if you are using any herbs that are large or flammable! I chose orange and green candles, for success/luck and money/luck respectively.

Ground and center.

Power up each herb before it is placed into the empty dish. This is done by waving your power hand (your dominant hand, the hand you write with) over each. Feel the energy of the herb building and say as you hold your hand over it: "I purify and consecrate this herb for use for good." Place them into the empty dish one at a time once you feel they have been empowered sufficiently. Repeat this for each herb. Place the jars outside the circle.

Light your incense and your candles, (not the little one in the empty herb dish however). Again hold your hand over the herbs and say "Dill, I pray that with your magickal properties you bring me the money for ____." "Sage, I ask that with your magickal properties you make my wishes come true." "Oats, I pray that with your magickal properties that you provide me with the money needed for ____." "Poppy Seed, I pray that with your magickal properties you bring me luck and the money I need for ____." And lastly, "Cinnamon, I pray that with your magickal properties you bring this spell to a speedy fruition."

Walk once around to cast your circle deosil (clockwise, in the direction of the sun). Walk the circle a second time with your salt water, sprinkling as you go and say, "I purify and consecrate this circle with the sacred elements of water and earth." Walk the circle a third time with the lit incense and say, "I purify and consecrate this circle with the sacred elements of air and fire. "

Sit and meditate for a moment feeling the elements surrounding you. Call the quarters. Invite the Goddess and the God. (I cast this spell on a Thursday and also invoked Jupiter, the King of the Gods and Diana, Goddess of the Moon, but while this isn't necessary, be aware that carefully choosing your day of the week and phase of the moon only serves to make a spell more powerful). If you can wait until the best time, then it is wise to do so, but in the event of an emergency or immediate need, obviously waiting for the right moon makes no sense at all.

Pull energy again from the earth, grounding once more, and feel it filling you and energizing you. Recite this spell:
"By these herbs of elements four,
Earth, water, air and fire.
I pray that you hear my deepest desire
And make my wishes come true.
Dill, sage, oats and poppy seed,
Work your magickal ways
And bring what I dearly wish
To have for all of my days."

Then say:
"By the power of three times three,
As I will it, so mote it be.
By this witch's words
I work this spell,
May I _____
May I know this well."

Light the green candle in the middle of the herbal/oat mixture. Meditate on your desire, your need. Be very specific what you wish for, you cannot be at all vague. If you can compose a two or three line chant specific to your wish, this is very helpful as chanting helps to raise the energy needed to cast your spell. If you have written a personal chant, now is the time to use it until you feel the energy reach a crescendo, at which point you shout, "Now!" and raise your hands up as you send your desire to the universe. If you feel this is a bit too much for you, quiet but very focused meditation is fine as well. Whatever is most comfortable to you is what will be the most effective. Being uncomfortable, self-conscious or nervous isn't going to help you generate positive energy.

Ground your energy back into the earth. If you have offerings to make, now is the time to share your food/wine offering with the Divine.

Thank the Goddess and God for gracing your circle.

Wish a farewell as you dismiss each of the quarters.

Put out the candles and walk three times around the circle widdershins (counter clockwise) to break the circle while saying, "Fire seal the circle round, let if fade beneath the ground. Let all things be as they were since the beginning of time. My circle is open but never broken. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again."

May all the luck you wish for be with you and may all your desires be fulfilled. Peace.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Legacy of a Witch

"If you want to know more about [witches], you should first search yourself, throw a glance into your own past and become completely self-aware. For only if you know where you ultimately come from will you know where you are going. Sure of yourself, then you can comfortably go out on the eve of a new moon, cross the way and go over to the witches' field, to the witches' tree...You should come to it without asking "how" or thinking "but," come to it without guile and falseness, like a child, wrapping your arms around the trunk of the linden tree in order to feel the power that flows out from it and into yourself...These are no wicked faces that you are allowed to look upon. They are the faces of wise women, old as stones, furrowed with the runes of the ages, from whom radiates a deep knowing. Many of them have gone through the fire, yet their countenances have not been thereby destroyed, for their knowledge made them immune to it. Uninjured [were] their souls and spirits which were thrust into the embers in order to destroy them, for they were also not made of the transitory stuff of the earth."

-Gottlob Haag, Maientanz und Hexentanz, 1992 (excerpt from the book "The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village, written by Thomas Robisheaux and published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2009)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Full Blackberry Moon

Today is the Full Blackberry Moon, the name I personally prefer to some of the other names this moon goes by, as I adore the process of wandering among fruit bushes both in the wild and those cultivated on berry farms. There is nothing quite so musical as the sound of those first few berries hitting the bottom of the empty little metal bucket. In my family, we call it "the sound of berry rain."

Today's moon is also known as the Full Buck Moon, as this is the time of the year when bucks begin to grow antlers, and the neo-pagan name for this moon is the Hay Moon.

Today also brings a penumbral eclipse of the moon, though I doubt that I'll be able to see it as it's dark and cloudy here with thundershowers and it isn't supposed to clear for several days. It will be visible on the west coast and in the central US, as well as Alaska and Hawaii in the early evening and here on the east coast as the moon sets for those lucky enough to have clear weather and good visibility.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Granola Recipe

What better way to honor our body than to eat healthy and mindfully and in doing so, nurture our soul as well? This a wonderfully simple recipe for granola, and while it should be eaten in moderation as there is some fat and sugar in it, overall it's still healthy and delicious as well.

GRANOLA makes approximately 8 - 10 cups

6 cups raw organic oats (not "quick" or "minute")
3/4 cup wheat germ
6 tablespoons organic butter
3 ounces pure maple syrup (not artificial breakfast syrup)
3 ounces light brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups dried fruit and/or nuts

In a large bowl mix together the oats, wheat germ and brown sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and maple syrup and heat in the microwave until butter melts but doesn't burn. Add the vanilla. Pour over oat mixture and stir thoroughly to coat. Spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350f for 30-40 minutes or until golden in color. It's best to not spread the oats right to the edge of the sheet, but to keep them at least a couple of inches in, and also to not spread the mixture too thin, but to keep it about 3/4 inches deep. This will keep it from burning.

Cool thoroughly, crumble and add dried fruit or nuts as desired. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy.

Some dried fruit suggestions: apricots, raisins, black cherries, cranberries, apples and blueberries.

Some nut suggestions: almonds, pecans and walnuts. These can be lightly toasted and cooled before adding for a richer flavor.

The Dog Days of Summer

Today marks the start of the "dog days", 40 days that run from July 3 through August 11 when Sirius, the Dog Star, is visible every day with the rising sun. Sirius is known by this name as it is located in the constellation Canis Major, or the Big Dog. Our ancestors also associated the star with the weather at this time of the season as we experience the hottest days of the year. And as we see our furry friends lying about limply in the heat and humidity, the "dog days" have taken on another meaning entirely.

Today the earth also reaches aphelion, when in its orbit it is farthest from the sun.